Posts tagged real estate

New Listing: Eat Street Condo

2530 1st Ave. S. #N305

Visit The Website

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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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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Have We Hit The Bottom Yet?

This Article was in the Star-Tribune today:

North Side home sale clears nothing but the books

Last update: March 30, 2009 – 11:59 PM

The market for foreclosed and stripped houses has gotten so bad on the North Side of Minneapolis that lenders are walking away from some closings barely clearing any money when they unload a house.

Just ask real estate agent Scott Ficek. He represented investors at a closing Friday at which the lender walked away with a grand total of $69.60.

That’s because normal closing costs plus city assessments against the property at 1914 Russell Av. N. nearly ate up the entire $12,500 sales price.

Ficek said he’s seen banks walk away with as little as a couple thousand dollars before, but he found this closing so unusual that he featured it on his real estate blog. “This one happened to catch my eye,” he said.

Get ready for more, said neighborhood activist Roberta Englund, who tracks North Side real estate patterns. She said she knows of more than 30 houses in the two north Minneapolis ZIP codes listed for less than $30,000. “I think in many cases the banks are clearing nothing except their books,” she said.

The squeezed margins come after banks already have discounted sales prices heavily. The three-bedroom Russell Avenue house sold for $189,900 early in 2006. But after a year and half on the market, it had been stripped of its copper pipes and its radiators. It was listed for $35,300 when Ficek approached the agent representing owner Fannie Mae. He offered a mere $8,000.

Ficek had a powerful negotiating tool on his side. The city already had assessed $6,000 against the house, which represented an unpaid fee from 2008 that the city imposes on houses registered as vacant and boarded. With the same fee due to be imposed next month for 2009, Fannie Mae had a strong incentive to unload the house now.

There is a lot of this going on right now.

I’ve working with a few cash buyer/investors who are looking at homes at prices that would have been unimaginable just two years ago (think $25,000 for a “habitable” home), bidding lower then asking prices and getting it.

Banks can’t be clearing anything on these deals, just getting these properties off their books, and avoiding further fees from the city on boarded-up properties.

I’ve seen investors update these homes, which in the case of a boarded house means EVERYTHING has to be brought up to code (a  tall order in a century plus old home), and turning it for over a $100,000 more then what they bought it for.

Some of these homes are gorgeous, even before they are renovated, but the work involved in replacing all the plumbing and electrical can be daunting.

Tread cautiously.

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A Running Start

I’ve written two purchase agreements in as many days.

One of them has already been accepted!

Other agents I’ve spoke to have commented on the unusually high level of activity in the past couple weeks.

It’s a perfect storm of motivated sellers, low interest rates, and a wealth of quality, well-priced inventory for buyers to choose from.

I, for one, have nothing but good things to say about the current market.

Let’s keep it going.

It’s warmed up significantly, and my internally-geared bike runs like a top.

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Hot Sales In The Cold Weather

Since getting back on this crazy Real Estate train last week. I’ve been amazed at the incredible amount of activity out there.

People are buying homes all over the metro area, and in my stomping grounds in particular.

Banks have gotten smart. Rather then pricing homes at what they believe to be the current market rate, they are putting them on the stump at drastically reduced prices. Prices on par for what the home might have sold for ten years ago, before the housing bubble over-inflated.

Serious first time home buyers and bargain hunters are snatching them up, quickly.

A good home, priced right, finds itself  dealing with multiple offers, and in several cases the price is driven up above list price, showing the lenders and corporations who own them what the REAL market value of the property actually is.

Not to suggest that everything for sale right now is corporate or bank owned. Well maintained, seller occupied homes are selling at prices that would have seemed unimaginable to me as recently as last spring.

If you have been on the fence about whether to buy, I suggest you jump down and go speak to a qualified loan officer.

Interest rates are insanely low, and probably won’t remain that way for much longer.

Then give me a call and a hunting we will go.

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