West Metro Minnesota Real Estate Blog

April 26, 2018

West Metro Home Valuations: How much can I sell for?

Home values may be up nationally but what does that mean in the west metro?  More importantly, how does that impact your situation?


Recent headlines paint a rosy picture for home valuations:

Home prices are on an epic run - CNN Money 4/24

Home Prices in 20 US Cities Rise by Most Since Mid-2014 - Bloomberg.com 4/24

And yet these national surveys are driven by a data set that is focused on major cities-- noting large upticks for San Francisco, Seattle and Las Vegas. This begs the question, where are values here at home?  More importantly, what does that mean for your personal situation? 

The answer to the first question is positive news.  In general, west metro values are faring well. While supply at some price points remains subdued, an active market is pushing valuations higher. These factors have combined with a late start to spring and low interest rates (for now) to drive continued price momentum.


West Metro Average Sales Prices



 March 2017

 March 2018


 Plymouth  $368,713   $402,086    +9.1%
 Minnetonka   $380,512   $409,065   +7.5%
 Maple Grove   $303,290  $319,543  +5.4%


These numbers taken at face value indicate trends that approximate or in some cases exceed the national trends.

Your Personal Situation

The answer to question two regarding how your personal situation looks is the often less-than-satisfying, "it depends".

The best way to help understand what your home might sell for is via a walk through, review and discussion with an agent who can provide a Comparative Market Analysis. Zachary Adams specializes in providing these for his prospective clients. His report can spell out a proposed listing price along with the metrics that led him to that number along with actions you can take to increase it.

Major factors include:

  1. Similar homes listed for sale
  2. Recent sales of comparable homes 
  3. A review of listings that failed to sell

The report will not only offer guidance for next steps, it also delivers a chance for Zach to share the various components that went into the analysis.  In this manner he can “show his work” and how he arrived at the valuation.

Perhaps even more valuable, Zach will also provide a companion piece called a Net Proceeds Report that will spell out how a proposed sales price might work out with your mortgage balance, potential closing costs and other factors included.

This delivers the bottom line of all bottom lines-- the amount you would net on a sale. This can help you define a clear path forward, make a decision on how to proceed and begin to vet new homes using realistic numbers and scenarios.

Getting Started

A first step to begin this process is to apply for an instant valuation on the Zachary Adams and Associates website. This is an online process that takes less than five minutes and can offer a quick snapshot value for your home.

Following the instant valuation, Zach will contact you to do a deeper analysis on your property and complete a Comparative Market Evaluation along with a Net Proceeds Report.  When he assesses your home he'll also be on hand to answer any questions you have about the process.   His extensive experience can help give you not only answers to questions but the confidence to define a clear path forward. 

For more information contact Zach directly at 612.656.9647, or simply click through and request an online instant valuation

Your new home is out there, making it a reality can be easier than you think.  Defining your starting point is an important first step.




March 21, 2018

First-time Homebuyer Resource Guide

Recent headlines paint a challenging picture for first-time homebuyers nationally. Yet in the west metro inventory is actually growing.  This makes spring a prime opportunity for first-timers to get in the game.


A look at financial headlines can be discouraging for potential homebuyers.

U.S. Starter Homes Are Scarcer, Pricier, Smaller and More Run-Down - Bloomberg.com 3/20/2018

Nationwide inventory is down and prices are up, creating the appearance of a real barrier to entry for new buyers. Yet as with all things real estate related, location matters and the west metro appears to be bucking the trend.

New listings Feb. 2018 -vs- Feb. 2017

Minnetonka                                  +8.6%

Plymouth                                      +7.9% 

Eden Prairie                                 +1.8%

Maple Grove                                -6.8%


Inventory strength in three of the four major markets versus last year indicates the west metro is faring better than many communities and the tight market may be easing.  When coupled with moderate mortgage rates this points to the fact that right here, right now may be precisely the time for newbies to get in the game.

Want to learn more about what exactly that means?  

A few resources can help answer some common questions:


Over 30 and Renting: How to know if it’s time to buy

  • How can I tell I am ready to buy a new home?
  • What factors should I consider?


Home Search Essentials: Finding the Best Realtor

  • What makes a good real estate agent?
  • What should I expect of them?


Decoding Online Property Listings

  • How can I begin to window shop and understand what’s available?
  • Are there best practices when searching the internet for a home?


Spring 2018 Buying Guide

  • What are the current market trends for spring 2018?
  • What do I need to know?


Home Financing 101

  • How do I qualify for mortgage financing?
  • Which mortgage type may be a fit for me?


First Time Homebuyers: Four Pitfalls to Avoid

  • How can I leverage the wisdom of other first-time homebuyers?
  • What would surprise?

The Bottom Line

While we have created a library of invaluable resources to aid the new homebuyer, they are no substitute for customized solutions. These require a consultation with an expert to listen, answer questions, understand your current situation and help you build a plan for the future.   

Zach Adams  has helped 100s of clients navigate the selection, financing and purchase of new homes in the west metro. He knows that every client is different and would love to meet you where you are in the process-- all on your timeline with your goals front and center. The home of your dreams is waiting for you. Contact Zach today to get started navigating from dream to reality.

Feb. 26, 2018

Empty Nest Resources: Rightsizing for What’s Next

Your empty nest represents a new opportunity. Finding the right home to support your new lifestyle requires a plan, but need not seem daunting. Five steps can help you get it right.

Many life stage changes lend themselves to a discussion about how your home can continue to support your family as your needs, priorities and lifestyle evolve over time. Perhaps none of these is more dramatic than the empty nest. Once your children are grown and (mostly) self-sufficient, the demand on your home can change significantly.

Several common issues include:

  • Too much home. Cleaning, maintenance and other issues can be more complex as you age and you may find yourself supporting more home than you need.
  • Misconfiguration. You may have the right square footage but the configuration of it is challenging. Stairs are tougher to manage and space for daily living is more spread out than you’d like.
  • Expenses. Perhaps you are helping fund education expenses or settle into retirement and wish to devote more resources to travel, hobbies and other pursuits rather than mortgage payments.
  • Health considerations. Acute or chronic, health issues can be complicated by some of the other examples like cost concerns or a poorly configured home.  Additionally other factors come into play like a poor location or simply a desire to prepare for the future.

Regardless of the reasons, a shift to downsize can create anxiety as you feel compelled to plan, but may lack an understanding of how best to accomplish a transition. Several steps can help you take control of the situation, understand where you are, where you are heading and how best to get there.

Understand the Value of Your Home

Selling a Home Contingent

The first step when building a plan is to understand your financial situation. This begins with a valuation of your current home. This will tell you how much you can expect to net in a sales transaction, how to maximize this amount and how closing costs and other expenses may impact your bottom line. A comparative market analysis from a knowledgeable agent who specializes in your specific geographic area can help immensely.

Define the Action Items to Maximize Sale Proceeds

The right agent will not only be able to put a number on your home, he or she will also be able to list the updates that might move that number. Frequently there are small changes to consider that may more than pay for themselves in final sales price. This requires an agent who knows the competitive landscape of your area and how your home stacks up.

Build Search Parameters for your New Home and Walk through some Contenders

Armed with a market analysis and an understanding of your budget, you are now ready to see what is out there in terms of inventory. An agent should work with you to set up a customized search to email you potential properties. Many find the home search to be the most satisfying step along the way as they envision their lives in a new home.


While that properly configured internet search can help you make the most of your time, there is no substitute for walking through several listed homes you think may be close. Do this with your agent who will ask questions to clarify what works and doesn’t, and can take those discussions to heart as he or she sources additional properties. This hands-on approach can prove invaluable as a professional will look at a home much differently than an eager buyer may. They see 100s of homes and can use the wisdom gained over time to make sure you are carefully considering multiple angles.

Contingent Sale Home

Get the Order Right

Perhaps the most important portion of buying and selling homes is coordinating timing. From the updates to your current home to staging and listing it and finding your new home, this is a delicate dance full of nuance. A knowledgeable agent can help lay out a timeline as well as understand if it makes more sense to list first, or find your next home. Market conditions, inventory and seasonal concerns can all impact this and coordination is key.

A Custom Plan

The bottom line is that there are so many variables, getting it right requires collaboration with the right partner. That is the through line to the entire process. Every situation is different and while the basics likely apply to many, a successful plan must be carefully constructed and adapted to your needs.


Zach Adams has experience in the west metro of Minneapolis that is unmatched. He has 100s of transactions under his belt and decades of experience. He is constantly monitoring market conditions that shift weekly and has the insight and drive to deliver a successful outcome for you. A consultation is always free and begins with listening to what matters to you and adapting any plan to put you at ease and empower you to direct the many resources at his disposal.


Zach would love to earn your trust and begin a long term collaborative relationship. Contact Zach directly to get started 612.845.7890, or complete the form below.



Posted in Buying, Selling
Feb. 6, 2018

Market Update: 2018 Real Estate Trends in the West Metro

February is a transition month in Minnesota.  While brutal weather still pounds our state, thoughts of spring have invaded our minds, as evidenced by home improvement fairs and boat shows around the state. 

Hearty Minnesotans are planners, and despite the brutal cold, your preparations for spring begin now.  Those plans can be greatly aided by understanding the current real estate trends in Minnetonka, Eden Prairie, Plymouth and Maple Grove along with their potential impact to you.


Trend 1- Inventory Still Tight (with one asterisk) as Price Appreciation Continues 

While it is accurate to say that inventory continues to be low in the West Metro, this is only partially true.  Statistically inventory in Eden Prairie, Plymouth and Minnetonka is down significantly versus this same time last year and consistent with the longer term trend. 

However Maple Grove is bucking this trend as total listings are up slightly versus a year ago.  The nuance supporting this outlier is an inventory of new construction homes.  While the land-locked and  mature suburbs aren’t seeing as much new construction, it is significant enough to buoy inventory to the North.



Inventory of Homes for Sale
Dec ’16 – Dec ‘17


Eden Prairie


Maple Grove







In terms of price trends, inventory woes and the higher price tag associated with new construction have combined to push both median and average prices higher across each of the major west metro suburbs (Minnetonka, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove and Plymouth).  This marks the continuation of a longer term trend.


Median Sales Price Changes
Dec ’16 – Dec ‘17


Eden Prairie


Maple Grove








Trend 2: Tight Inventory to Remain but Seasonally Adjust

Reduced inventories combining with increased sales prices seem to indicate a reluctance among potential sellers to list homes and transition. Many of these are family homes inhabited by aging baby boomers. They likely represent the bulk of the inventory gap in the $300k - $600k range. The reluctance of sellers to list their homes and move on is driven at least in part on a desire to maximize value and “catch the top of the market” combined with little urgency.

Seasonal relief should arrive soon as spring typically provides a large influx of new homes, perhaps even enough to finally signal to reluctant boomers that it is time to get off the sidelines.  Though a more likely scenario is some temporary relief for weary buyers, and more of the same.  Regardless this seasonal uptick should help those buyers who know what they want and are ready to act when they see it.

Trend 3: Rate Changes Looming- May Disproportionately Impact First Time Homebuyers



Source: Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation http://www.freddiemac.com/pmms/pmms30.html

While mortgage rates are still low in a relative sense (December 2017 at 3.95%), the overall strength of the economy and longer trendiness seem to point to rising rates in the near term.  This could have a muted effect on move-up buyers by slightly impacting total housing budget.  Much more likely to feel the squeeze are first-time home buyers (many millennials) who may be seeing rising prices combine with rising rates to move the barrier for home entry even higher. 

While rising rates are something to keep an eye on, the markers of a true real estate bubble do not appear to be forming.  A roaring economy shows no signs of slowing down and inventory is still near historic lows.  This tends to point to the fact that a rise in rates can likely be absorbed by the market in the near term with minimal impact to the underlying fundamentals.

Three clear trends, but what does it mean for buyers and sellers this spring?

For those seeking homes, these numbers mean more of the same. A tight competitive market will stay that way with spring promising some seasonal relief that will lift inventory and offer options.  Successfully capitalizing means several key action items:

  • Engage an expert- a pro with extensive knowledge of your primary search area is crucial to getting the right home at the right price.
  • Build your search criteria carefully and be ready to act (or have a delegate ready) the moment a property that fits shows up in results.
  • If you make an offer, show up well with a preapproval in hand and a clean offer as free from contingencies as possible.

If you have a home to sell

  • Obtain a home appraisal from a local agent to help you to understand any updates you need and how you might price your home. Even if you have a fairly recent appraisal, it won't hurt to revisit it as the market has changed.
  • Ask how you can maximize your sale price by investing in home improvements.
  • Armed with a list of to-dos, begin to make your updates now and be ready in March.  The spring rush is largely weather-related and in Minnesota predicting the first warm weekend is a crap shoot.
  • Discuss with your agent timing of transactions.  It may make sense to buy or sell first and every situation is different based on properties and goals.

The Bottom Line

Zachary Adams has been turning real estate searches into house warming parties for two decades.  His laser focus on the west metro of Minneapolis means he's got the inside track on every pocket neighborhood, valuation nuance and property pitfall from West Bloomington to Maple Grove.  He'd love to help you understand your options and define your next steps. 

If you are ready to make a change or even just considering options, Zach and his team are ready to work hard to identify next steps and serve as subject matter experts to help you along the way.  A no cost consultation is a great first step.


Posted in Market Update
Nov. 27, 2017

Millionaire Mansions of 2017: Life on the Lake

Lake Minnetonka is a unique west metro landmark featuring 125 miles of picturesque shoreline and scores of luxury homes.  Our annual look at the most expensive real estate transactions in the state begins and ends on this familiar waterway for 2017. 

While the top five transactions were prohibitively priced over $5 million, the window shopping remains 100% free.  


  • The West Metro is the place to be in Twin Cities residential real estate

  • 2017 saw five homes fetch over $5 million each

  • With the “sold search” function on westmetrohomesearch.com you can explore each of them, as well understand the market for homes that may better fit your budget


Minnesota's Millionaire Mansions 2017

#5- 2750 Gale Road, Woodland

$5.4 Million
12,600+ sq. ft, 2.5 acres
5 bedrooms 9 baths
Sold 09/27/17

If you want amenities, this 12,600 square foot home has them in spades.  How about nine bathrooms, tennis courts, and a separate tea house spread across 2 1/2 acres?  Nine bathrooms!!  While the home is more than impressive, it is notable that it sat on the market for over 400 days prior to sale and carried the ominous "sold in as-is condition" in the property description.  If it were haunted, they'd have to disclose that, right?   


#4- 475 Oxford Road, Orono

$6.2 Million 
9,300+ sq. ft, 2 acres
5 bedrooms 6 baths
Sold 06/05/17

If outdoor entertaining is your thing, it is tough to beat this two-acre property on Oxford Road.  An immaculate yard is trimmed by a stunning garden, landscaping and stone work that is truly a site to behold.  The scene is complemented by massive home that looks like a cross between a luxury hunting lodge and a Bass Pro Shop.  Better yet, 17-foot vaulted ceilings promise that when you aren't outside, you can be in the entryway working on your hoops game.

#3- 2209 Huntington Point Road, Minnetonka Beach

$7.25 Million 
8,400+ sq. ft, 1.35 acres
5 bedrooms 8 baths
Sold 04/19/17

If old money is the vibe you are going for, this Minnetonka Beach home offers a colonial look, complete with English Gardens and patio.  Potential buyers would be smart to invest in a smoking jacket and consider faking an accent for maximum effect.


#2- 20350 Lakeview Avenue, Deephaven

$7.65 Million 
6,890+ sq. ft, 3.9 acres
3 bedrooms 6 baths
Sold 08/31/17

At just under 6,900 square feet this Deephaven find is by far the smallest home on our list. Yet potential buyers didn't seem to mind the modest size as the ultimate sales price ended at $750k above the list price.  This would seem to imply that a bidding war may have broken out.   No doubt the buyers were drawn in by the location on Swift Point near Big Island and the stunning details of what looks to be an immaculate recent rebuild.  Though the real headscratcher is that for an investment of seven and a half million, the buyer only netted three bedrooms and two garage stalls.  Is that third Bentley destined to sit out in the elements?


#1- 1725 Bohns Point Road, Orono

$8.27 Million 
12,700+ sq. ft, 2.5 acres
6 bedrooms 7 baths
Sold 11/15/17

When your new address has 2 1/2 acres, over 380 feet of lakeshore, an in ground pool, expansive gardens and a 12,000 square foot Hampton's style home, you seemingly have everything.  This beautiful estate also comes with the crown for the most expensive real estate transaction of 2017.  The sale closed earlier this month, just in time for the holidays!  Though Christmas shopping may have to be toned down this year as this opulent home also comes with a six-figure annual property tax bill. Tighten those belts!



Interested in joining the club?

If this look at how the other half lives has you dreaming of a new home, we’d love to help you investigate options.  If you are a recent Powerball winner, there is one listing in Orono sitting at $11.9 million that features a three hole golf course and cigar smoking room.  If your price range is south of that considerably, we'd still love to help you find a right-sized home for your family.  It doesn’t take multi-millions to find a home that is a fit and can significantly improve your quality of life.

A free consultation is a great way to define a budget and explore your family's "what's next". Contact us today to get started.



Oct. 23, 2017

The Contingent Offer: What you Need to Know

Understanding the basics of contingent offers can help you approach your home search with confidence.

A contingent offer simply refers to the existence of a contingency clause in a purchase agreement that helps define the terms under which that contract will be executed. It means an agreement has been reached, but for the sale to go through certain criteria must be met within an agreed upon timeline.

These clauses are typically put in place to protect the buyer and seller and outline the terms that would allow the offer to be rescinded without the surrender of the deposit (also called earnest money).

Contingencies are simply contract clauses and therefore can take many forms, but three are much more common than others:

Inspection Contingency

Selling a Home Contingent

An inspection contingency allows the potential buyer to place an offer on a home while retaining the right have a licensed home inspector review the property. The time allowed for the inspection is spelled out in the purchase agreement but generally is within 7-10 days after the offer is accepted.

Following the inspection, small repair items may become a point of negotiation, while larger items could merit the buyer voiding the contract. Almost all single family residential real estate transactions include an inspection contingency. Sometimes a buyer will not include an inspection contingency if they are comfortable with the home condition and want to strengthen their offer.

Appraisal and Financing Contingency

Equally popular as an inspection contingency is an appraisal and financing contingency. This protects the buyer and seller by spelling out the dates and terms that financing must be in place and supported by an appraisal. It ensures that the buyer is approved for a loan and that the property valuation supports that loan in line with the lender’s underwriting requirements. Terms and timing vary, but most financing and appraisal contingencies must be met at least two weeks prior to the agreed upon closing date.

Home Sale Contingency

The third common type of contingency is a home sale contingency which is designed to protect the new home buyer by tying the sale of another property to the transaction. These types of contingencies are more complex and frequently also the least understood. With a home sale contingency, the buyer is interested in purchasing a new home, but only if they can sell their existing property in time.


Terms vary based on a variety of factors, but the following typically apply:

  • Seller retains the ability to market their home in an attempt to locate a buyer willing to purchase without a contingency

  • If the seller finds a new buyer, the buyer from the original contract has a pre-defined period of time to remove the contingency (typically 24-48 hours)

  • If the original buyer fails to meet the terms, the contract terminates

  • Alternatively, if the buyer is able to sell their home, the contract is executed

A home sale contingency introduces additional variables to a home sale contract. These have implications for both the prospective buyer and seller.

Contingent Sale Home

Considerations for buyer 

  • Costs- Contingent offers are not free and require similar out-of-pocket expenses to non-contingent offers (appraisal, inspection, bank fees, etc)

  • Emotions- Along with financial concerns come emotional burdens as you proceed in a process without clarity of outcomes

  • Leverage- Your negotiating power for a contingent offer will be reduced because your offer is less attractive. This can lead to less favorable terms in price and others

Considerations for seller

  • Marketing- A home under contract is harder to market as buyers and agents may prefer the clarity that comes with a clearer path to a purchase

  • Timing- With no guarantees that your buyer will sell their existing home, you could miss out on other opportunities or even an entire buying season

  • Third Wheel- A contingent sale means you are bound by the buyer’s situation without the control to impact decision-making

  • Situational Clarity- To proceed you must understand your buyer’s situation well (is the home priced correctly, what is the average time on market for similar homes etc)


Home sale contingencies can be tricky, but may be worth it in the long run in order to avoid paying two mortgages (buyer) or to obtain favorable terms on a sale (seller). Every situation is different and a clear picture of all the pertinent facts can inform your approach.



At Zachary Adams and Associates we have extensive experience with contingencies, their benefits and drawbacks. We have facilitated 100s of transactions in the west metro of Minneapolis and would love to earn your trust and add you to our list of satisfied clients. For a fast and free consultation, contact us today at 612.656.9647 or find us online at westmetrohomesearch.com.

Sept. 6, 2017

Homebuyer’s Secret Weapon: Autumn

If you ask most Real Estate Agents when the best time to buy a home is, the answer will generally be “now”. Ask one that knows their market in autumn and they just might share one of their homebuyer secrets.

Spring and early summer get all the press as the “hot” time in residential real estate, and for the most part this is true. As inventory soars, activity levels hit a fever pitch during summer months. However you may be surprised to learn that the best deals for buyers generally don’t happen during the summer season at all.

Studies repeatedly show that September and October are the months when sale price trails list price the most. This means the best house at the best price generally comes in fall-- the waning daylight of autumn offering buyers a chance to shine.  

Three reasons to consider a fall home search:

1. Fall Sellers are Serious

Generally there are two types of sellers in the fall.

First are the “leftover homes” from the summer market that may have been on the market for some time and may be deeply discounted. Second are motivated sellers who need to move their home for another reason. Perhaps they built a new house, bought during the summer or are relocating. Either way, both scenarios work in the buyer’s favor.

While spring and summer may have many speculative listings, fall sellers are typically serious and motivated. This means increased leverage for you.

2. Inventory is typically High

Generally fall offers the second best inventory of the real estate year and this year is no exception. While we are still in a bit of a housing shortage in the $300k - $500k range, autumn looks like it is shaping up to be closer to the norm for fall inventory. That means many homes are available, including some that may have started above that magical $500k number and have slowly fallen-- down in price and potentially off other buyers’ radar.

3. The Pressure is Off

Bidding wars, open houses that result in 10 offers and other hazards of an overheated market tend to be a spring/summer phenomenon. While the fall market is active, it isn’t overheated. This allows you a chance to take a breath and review your options carefully. While it is still a good idea to know exactly what you are after so you can act quickly, this time of year allows more time for contemplation and brings significantly less pressure.

Ready to get started? A free consultation with our team can help you understand the market, refine your search and take action this fall.


No one understands the west metro market better and we’d love to help you find the home of your dreams. If you are dreaming of hosting Thanksgiving Dinner in a new home, we’d love to be a resource to help make that dream a reality.


Contact us today at 612-656-9647 to get started.

June 29, 2017

75% of Homeowners Think Now is a Good Time to Sell!

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released the findings of their Q2 Homeownership Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) Survey. The report covers core topics like, “if now is a good time to buy or sell a home, the perception of home price changes, perceived ability to qualify for a mortgage, and [an] outlook on the U.S. economy.”

The survey revealed that 75% of homeowners think now is a good time to sell, compared to 70% last quarter. This is a considerable increase from more than a year ago when 66% agreed.

Even though homeowners believe that now is a good time to sell, many have not taken the step to list their homes, as inventory shortages still exist across the country. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist, had this to say:

"There are just not enough homeowners deciding to sell because they’re either content where they are, holding off until they build more equity, or hesitant seeing as it will be difficult to find an affordable home to buy...

As a result, inventory conditions have worsened and are restricting sales from breaking out while contributing to price appreciation that remains far above income growth.”

Bottom Line

If you are wondering if now is a good time to sell your house, let’s get together to discuss the opportunities available in our market.

Posted in Selling
June 27, 2017

Summer '17 West Metro Home Value & Market Stats

As summer settles in for Minnesota, three trends continue to dominate the residential real estate market.

Trend 1: Home Values Continue to Rise 

Home values throughout the state are up with a statewide increase of 5.7% over last year (May ’16- May ’17). A look specifically at the West Metro is even more positive with significant upticks in median sales price in three of four major markets.

Even the laggard (Plymouth) has been on a growth trajectory this year despite a negative number for May.


Median Sales Price Changes
May ’16 – May ‘17


Eden Prairie


Maple Grove

+ 8.4%


+ 16.0%



Trend 2: Inventory Remains Low as Demand Outstrips Supply 

Low inventory continues to pinch buyers, particularly among those seeking homes in the $300k - $500k market segment. The housing shortage that began last year is only continuing, with inventory trailing 2016 by nearly 20% across the board in the west metro. Buyers are struggling to find homes that fit their family at a price point they can afford.



Total Homes Listed
 May '16

Total Homes Listed
 May '17


Eden Prairie




Maple Grove












Maple Grove while down, trails the other major cities in the region based largely on new construction listings.

Trend 3: Mortgage Rates Begin a Slow March Up 

While rates are still low in a relative sense, they are trending up based on recent Federal Reserve activity. Even more changes may be coming as we continue to move off of historic lows. A look at the numbers shows that nationally rates are now consistently over 4% even with buyers paying an average of 0.5% in points.



Source: Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation http://www.freddiemac.com/pmms/pmms30.html

What does this mean for buyers?

For those seeking homes, these numbers mean more of the same. A tight competitive market will stay that way. This makes having a clear action plan paramount to a successful home search.


Action Items:

  • Understand the nuance- know what it takes to land a house in a hot market
  • Define success- look at a variety of homes at the outset of your search to clarify what you are after and what is a fair price
  • Be ready to offer- obtain a credit pre-approval and be ready to write a competitive bid that is free from contingencies
  • Work with a pro- engage an advocate who can not only submit your bid, but work with the selling agent, read the situation and win a competitive bid situation


What does this mean for sellers?

For those considering selling the time may be right to list. Home values are up and rates remain low. Where both land long term is anyone’s guess, but the empirical evidence seems to support higher rates which will almost certainly impact valuations.


Action Items:


The Bottom Line

At Zachary Adams and Associates we have successfully collaborated with buyers across the spectrum for all of their real estate needs. We are focused solely in the west metro and have facilitated hundreds of transactions, bringing clarity, expertise and wisdom to each and every one. Contact us today at 612-656-9647 to get started.


Check out our Summer 2017 buying and selling guides for even more information

      Selling Guide


Posted in Market Update
May 15, 2017

Mailbag: The Financial Side of Real Estate

May 2017 Real Estate Q & A 

This spring has seen the housing market heat up precisely when concerns about interest rates are also beginning to simmer. This has left many homeowners considering a change, feeling some urgency and seeking guidance as they assess their options.

Many seek a new home but also need to factor in their long term financial health. To that end we’ve engaged Wealth Advisor Joe Burgess to help with this month’s ‘Ask A Pro’ as we marry the wisdom of two professionals adept at collaboration.

Burgess is on hand to answer the financial side of the equation while Zach can weigh in on the impact in today’s real estate market on a variety of topics:

  • Selling Investments to Fund a Home Purchase
  • Windfall:  Pay off My Mortgage or Invest?
  • Purchasing the Family Cabin

I’m planning to buy a new home soon. It seems easier to buy first, move, then sell my existing. My first inclination is to sell a few investments to help me cover this. Is this a good idea? – Stewart in Mound

ZACH- From the real estate side of this equation, the biggest impact will be how long you will you be paying for two homes, regardless of how you choose to fund them. Making a decision here hinges greatly on the current market conditions. They will dictate how attractive your home will be to buyers and therefore how hard it is to sell.

Speaking generally, we are in a low inventory environment for homes in the $350k - $500k space, so if you are planning to sell in this range and have found a home already, you may have some flexibility to wait. The best way to know for sure is to have us prepare a Home Valuation on your current home, we can also define the price point and inventory available for your next home. Both will help you to understand the market nuances better.

Armed with that, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision.

JOE- Financially the answer to this question means marrying the timeline your real estate professional provides with what exactly you mean by “selling a few investments”. If we are talking about cashing out retirement savings in tax qualified accounts, it likely won’t make sense.

If you are referring to non-qualified accounts like brokerage accounts or other investments, it may be possible. Factors like your tax liability on gains, expected returns, goals for the future and other factors will all come into play. The short answer is that all require more info and careful analysis by a Wealth Advisor who understands the tax implications as well as the long and short term impacts to your overall investment strategy and cash flow needs. 


I’ve recently received a large bonus at work. Is it more beneficial to pay off my home or invest the money? Paying off that mortgage would feel pretty good, but I want to be smart. – Dave W in Eden Prairie

JOE- As you allude to in your question, every financial decision involves trade-offs. The value of advice lies in systematically weighing your options while managing risk and planning for the future. This won’t always lead to a clear path, but it will help you consider multiple angles.

Option 1- Math- Defining this option means modeling the opportunity cost for the other possible uses for your bonus. While removing the mortgage may feel good, determining if it makes sense to pay it off requires comparing and contrasting the alternative outcomes. A simple projection can help greatly. This will show each scenario based on interest rate, assumptions for the return rate on a potential investment and tax implications. Specifics will tell the tale, but in our current interest rate environment, the math answer will likely lean toward investing versus paying off the loan.

Option 2- Emotional Decision - If you have more than you need to retire and can already fund goals like education and others, maybe the most efficient math matters a lot less. If so this may become an emotional decision. If you feel better paying off the house and you don’t need the money, there is something to be said for retiring an obligation and sleeping easy.

Option 3- The Know Thyself Angle-  There is the third, real life answer that has a lot less to do with financial models or emotions. A big part of being smart with money is managing behavior. This comes with self-actualization and accountability. If you know you are a poor saver and you don’t trust yourself to leave that money alone, do yourself a favor and pay off the mortgage. It may not be the best option on paper, but it would provide a tangible immediate uptick and guard against squandering the bonus on something that won’t improve your overall net worth.  

My parents are in declining health, facing long term care and are looking to sell the family cabin. Each of the four kids would like to buy it together. How exactly might that work and can you give me any advice? -- Katie in Excelsior  

ZACH- There are two items at play here, a partnership and how the purchase will be completed (ie. cash or financed). Financing would likely be the toughest part. If you intend to finance the home with a mortgage, then all four parties would need to be included on that mortgage. If each party is able to pay cash for their share or has financing not tied to the cabin (like a line of credit on a current home) then it simplifies things. At Zachary Adams and Associates we have some great lending partners we work with that could provide the best possible financing options to facilitate the appropriate financing for your situation.

The other important factor would be defining the ownership interest and the use of the property by each party. Likely some form of partnership agreement may be necessary to clearly identify who is entitled to what use of the property. This will include items like how many days per year each party gets to use it, who pays for common use items like the dock and boat lifts, how property taxes will be paid, how maintenance expenses are distributed, etc.

My advice would be to sit down with a real estate agent to define the goals and options for purchase, then scope out what additional items are needed and proceed on that logical path. It is likely that any formal partnership agreement would need to involve professional legal advice.

JOE- Zach raises several pertinent points. I would only consider this type of arrangement with a clear partnership agreement. It should spell out how expenses are shared, how you handle a sibling wanting to cash out, what happens at death of a sibling, etc. All the "down the line" things can make joint ownership a serious challenge.

The family dynamics of a transaction like this are tricky and the inclination can be to work off of a handshake agreement. Resisting that urge and getting everything in writing can be key to maintaining harmony and making the most of your investment. If a sibling does not want to do a written agreement, I would respectfully walk away.


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Zachary Adams is a residential real estate expert with 100s of transaction in the west metro of Minneapolis. In Ask a Pro he responds to email questions on all things residential real estate related.

This article was co-written with Joseph S Burgess, CFP®, AIF®, CLU, ChFC in collaboration with a professional third party.

Financial Advisors do not provide specific tax/mortgage/real-estate advice and this information should not be considered as such. You should always consult your tax/mortgage advisor regarding your own specific tax/legal situation

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Joe is a registered representative and investment advisor representative of CRI Securities, LLC and Securian Financial Services, Inc. Moxie Wealth Management is an affiliate of North Star Resource Group which is independently owned and operated. North Star Consultants, Inc., Insurance Products and Services| CRI Securities, LLC - Securities and Investments | Securian Financial Services, Inc. – Variable Products and Securities | North Star Resource Group offers securities and investment advisory services through CRI Securities, LLC and Securian Financial Services, Inc. Members FINRA/SIPC. | CRI Securities, LLC is affiliated with Securian Financial Services, Inc. and North Star Resource Group.  North Star Resource Group is not affiliated with Securian Financial Services, Inc. Moxie, North Star, CRI and Securian are not affiliated with Zachary Adams and Associates.  

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