New Listing: Eat Street Condo

2530 1st Ave. S. #N305

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Check out this fantastic (and affordable) top level 1bed/1bath condo on 1st Ave. in Minneapolis.

Flat305 is a charming corner, upper level flat located in the thriving Eat Street neighborhood (Nicolette Avenue, South Minneapolis). This unit features all the comforts and needs of urban living. Lots of sunlight, fantastic condition, modern woodwork, hardwood floors, and tons of closet and storage space.

Conveniently located near downtown and uptown. The building was remodeled three years ago; everything from appliances to flooring is less then 3 years old. Features stainless steel appliances and fixtures, hardwood floor, granite countertops in kitchen and bathroom, and modern style cabinetry and trim.

Heat, water, and sewer included in low monthly association fee. Assigned off-street parking spot located safely to the back of the lot along the fence. Beautiful, large, and lightly wooded landscaped patio areas with gas grill and outside seating shared with other unit owners. Walking distance to Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 4 star restaurants, shopping, hip coffee shops, and large public park.

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Potential FHA Changes

From Broker/Agent Social Network:

HUD Secretary Donovan and FHA Commissioner testified that they expect FHA to announce major changes to esure FHA’s long-term financial soundness.  Some examples are as follows:

1) Increase the down payment required from 3.5% to 5%

2) Raise the upfront premium from 1.75% to as much as 3%

3) Eliminate the ability to roll in to loan that up front premium

4) Increase monthly MIP from .55%

5) Reduce seller concessions from 6% to 3%

6) Raise minimum FICO score

7) Possible LTV maximums by FICO score

8) Increase accountability of FHA Lenders for fraud

Timing: “We expect these changes to be announced soon and could be implemented within a couple months.  None of these changes requires congressional approval and can be made administratively and therefore can be implemented quickly.”

This is of course going to make it tougher and more expensive for borrowers to obtain FHA loans and therefore reduce the number of eligible borrowers.

These are significant changes.

Most of my buyers over the past 12 months have been FHA approved. Changes in the downpayment requirements and premium costs are going to make qualifying for a government back loan much more challenging.

If you are considering making a purchase using a FHA loan, speak to you lender about how the timing of these potential changes affects your qualification status.

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Monthy Skinny

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This Just In…

Direct to you, from the Minneapolis Association of Realtors:

The first full week of reporting for the 2010 Twin Cities housing market is in and while there are a few “green shoots,” it’s becoming apparent so far that the market won’t see the same spectacular growth in sales it saw at the beginning of 2009.

There were 520 pending sales for the week ending January 9, down 1.7 percent from the same week in 2009. That’s the seventh week of the last nine to see slightly fewer sales than the prior year, a time period that coincides closely with the initial expiration date of the first-time home buyer tax credit. However, we’re still 21.2 percent higher than the pace in 2008 for that period.

As you likely know, the credit’s been expanded to include a $6,500 incentive for buyers who have owned a home for five years of the last eight. Since we can safely assume that many of these buyers will need to sell their home first before buying a new one and receiving the credit, new listings numbers might shed light on how much effect the new credit is having. So far, it doesn’t appear to be much.

Over the last three months, the number of new listings has been 11.7 percent behind the same period one year prior. With many looking for continued “seedlings” of hope in the local housing market, this isn’t welcome news. As always, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the evolving market and reporting back what we see.

View the full report HERE

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Weekly Market Report

Click HERE to see the full report.

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New Year Update

It’s that time again.

Memberships to renew. Annual fees to be paid. Educational requirements to meet.

Time to take stock of this crazy business and ask whether or not it’s worth carrying on.

Unlike last year, when I gave serious consideration to packing it in, I have no reservations about continuing to sell real estate in the Twin Cities in 2010.

In fact, I’ve never been more confident in my my ability to grow under these challenging market conditions.

In 2009, I doubled the number of transactions I completed (granted, I had to work MUCH harder to get these deals to the table). I also increased my client  and experience base. I facilitated sales to investors, sold HUD homes, short sales, newly foreclosed properties and became something of an expert in communicating with banks in order to facilitate mortgage modifications.

2009 also saw banks tightening up their requirements, which means that buyers are buying less expensive homes. Appraisers have also cleaned up their act. Gone are the days when appraisers just walked around a prospective home and just told the lender what they wanted to hear to get the deal done.

First time home buyers (still the meat and potatoes of my business) are having a completely different experience then buyers had just a couple years ago; onerous lender requirements (sometimes changing on a daily basis), higher levels of disclosure, greater scrutiny of an individuals ability to pay back the loan…..

Is this bad?

Absolutely not!

Lending practices had gotten so free and loose, that it’s no surprise that the pendulum has swung far in the other direction.

I expect that we have another year or so of challenges ahead; foreclosures, short sales, lender mediated transactions and the like before we see the housing market stabilize.

But whatever the coming year may hold, you can trust that I’ll still be there to serve your real estate needs.

And perhaps more importantly, I’ll still be on my bike.

In fact, I’m on my way to show a few homes in Longfellow.

Thanks for the support.

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David Byrne’s Bike Racks

Former Talking Heads front-man, and Alt customer, is making bike racks for NYC

I lost both the elm trees in my boulevard this fall.

A lot of people have been encouraging me to call the park system to get on the waiting list for replacement trees.

I’d rather do something like this.

Granted, there isn’t many occasions for multiple bikes, that aren’t my own, to be parked in  front of my house.


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