How to Find a Qualified Home Inspector

What to consider when looking for a home inspector.

Before you buy and move into that darling colonial house on the corner, it’s imperative to know the house is structurally sound and the systems are in good working condition. You need an expert’s opinion on what issues are a simple fix and what problems might end up as a deal breaker. How do you find an inspector and how can you be confident that the inspector you hire is qualified?Inspector

Recommendations

Your real estate agent has likely worked with many inspectors over the years and has their favorites. That is a good place to start – but it shouldn’t be your only option. Make sure you get not only recommendations, but references, and get them from more than just your agent.

Certification

There isn’t any official licensing to become a home inspector in the state of Minnesota, but you can find inspectors who have taken courses and are certified through the Professional Home Inspection Institute (PHII) and are members of reputable organizations, such as ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) NAHI (National Association of Home Inspectors) and MSHI (Minnesota Society of Home Inspectors). These organizations have rigorous requirements for membership, offer continuing education classes for technical skills and customer service. These organizations offer search engines on their web sites for you to find an inspector in your area by simply plugging in your city or zip code.Read More »

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Why it’s a Good Time to Buy in the City

Living in the city could be the perfect fit for you.

City neighborhoods are bustling – not only with new restaurants, clubs and businesses, but with lots of new and renovated housing as well. And it’s no wonder why — recent surveys reflect that homeowners want walkable neighborhoods with loads of amenities, which is what many urban areas have to offer.   City-living isn’t for everyone, but if you’re thinking it might be a good fit for you, here are a few reasons why it’s a good time to buy in the city:

Walkability: Imagine living just steps away from your favorite restaurant or night-spot. Or perhaps just blocks from the river walks or concert halls and theaters? And you still have places nearby to purchase groceries and visit the dentist or doctor as well. Walkability is becoming a bigger factor for many people looking for housing, and moving to the city can offer that and more.

Is living in the city the right choice for you?
Is living in the city the right choice for you?

Housing Options: Historic in-town neighborhoods provide the best models for successful city living.  True townhouses, appropriately scaled condos, and of course, single-family detached homes on smaller lots are all options. So if you want NO yard work, you can find a place that’ll work. If you want a little place to garden, that’s available as well. A room with a view? You bet.

Transportation: City life offers a lot of options to get around. Not only walking, but biking is a popular mode of transportation as well as buses and light rail. It’s convenient, accessible and affordable. Commute times and costs can reduced by living and working in the city as well.

Diversity: Not just in terms of the people nearby, but businesses, shops and restaurants – local mom and pop shops, great independent restaurants…there is something for everyone living in the city.Read More »

Tips for Buying a Vacation Home

What to consider when buying a vacation home.

What to consider when purchasing a vacation home.With the unpredictable Minnesota weather, it’s easy to fantasize about that vacation home of our dreams. Maybe for you it’s on the beach somewhere…or in the mountains. Or up north tucked away in the woods. Regardless of where you dream about that vacation home being, you will need to consider a lot of things before pulling the trigger. Here are some tips for buying a vacation home.

Tips for Buying a Vacation Home

Location – The majority of second home-buyers choose a vacation home within driving distance of their primary residence and near a metropolitan area (for conveniences). But many too, opt for a place in a warmer climate or in the mountains. Consider the risks regardless of where you choose to look. Beachfront homes obviously have the risk of hurricane or storm damage. Any river or lakeshore property has flooding potential. And picturesque mountain or cliff-side residences have snow removal issues and a mud-season. Just do your research and know the risks before buying.

Rent Before You Buy – You may think you know exactly where you want to be – maybe it’s a special place that you’ve vacationed to every year and you are SURE that is the place for you. But have you spent time there in the off-season? And as a resident vs a vacationer? You need to do that first – many owners of vacation homes rented for an entire season or year prior to purchasing. This allowed them to really determine where they wanted to be and where they didn’t want to be – based on traffic patterns, shopping options, restaurants, etc. You might be surprised what you learn while renting.Read More »

5 Things Today’s Buyers Are Looking for in a New Home

5 Things Today’s Buyers Are Looking for in a New Home house-real-estate-social-media

Are you getting ready to put your house on the market? If it has any of these 5 things today’s buyers are looking for in a new home, you’re sure to sell in no time! It’s important to keep in mind the majority of home buyers shopping the market today are much younger than the previous generation of home buyers. If there is anything Gen X and Gen Y home buyers are looking for more aggressively than a great happy hour, it’s a home equipped with these features.

Updated Appliances

If you want to date your home faster than a red shag carpet, have old appliances.  Since that is not what today’s buyers are looking for, be sure your appliances are modern and sleek. Stainless steel is a safe bet with today’s buyers, extra points if they’re energy efficient.Read More »

Why Housing Inventory Levels Are So Low

Buyers are searching high and low for housing inventory.
Buyers are searching high and low for housing inventory.

Minnesotans experience shortage in housing market.

The housing market in 2013 has had striking similarities to a game of Where’s Waldo. Competition amongst buyers has remained steady as houses receive multiple offers at a fast rate. By the time a home is listed online, it may in actuality already be off the market. Inventory levels are beginning to rise, relieving the stress prospective homebuyers have felt during the search for home sweet home.

Rising values bring more sellers off the sidelines, putting more homes on the market. The housing market has bounced back as the latest report from the Minnesota Association of REALTORS shows. Now is the time to buy AND sell. An 18.1 percent increase in new listings has resulted in the median sales price maintaining its steady growth. Statewide sales prices have increased from $153,000 to $172,513, a 12.8 percent increase as homeowners receive 95.5 percent of their original price. Now is the time to list a home so why is there a housing shortage?Read More »

Real Estate Terminology

The housing market from A-Z.

Housing Market TerminologyWhen searching for home sweet home, you want to know what you’re looking at. What should you expect from the looming house sitting in front of you? You may be led around your potential dream home hearing complex and confusing words as you try to decide whether to make an offer or not. First things first, don’t be afraid to ask your REALTOR to clarify a term you may not be comfortable with. Here are a list of good-to-know words to familiarize yourself with before your next showing.Read More »

Make Money Off Your Home

How to leverage your home’s value.

Make the most of your home's value.Your house and yard represent your single largest asset, yet aside from appreciation, you’ve likely never made a dime off of it. Your home is a financial tool with value you can leverage. Make your home work for you. Avoid these common real estate money mistakes.Read More »