West Metro Minnesota Real Estate Blog

Aug. 30, 2018

Homebuyer Basics: Engaging a Mortgage Lender

When facing a competitive buying market, two things are key to landing the home of your dreams-- you must be prepared and you must show up well.  By engaging a mortgage consultant early in your search you can simultaneously impact both.  


Mortgage Pre-ApprovalWhile purchase price may frequently be the most important factor considered by home sellers reviewing an offer, viability of the buyer can be just as crucial. Sellers simply respond better to buyers who demonstrate they are prepared and serious. Some will even choose an easier path with a lesser purchase amount if they are confident in the buyer and terms.

How can you deliver this confidence to your seller? By making an offer that is free from major contingencies and provides proof that you are creditworthy and able to secure funding.

Meeting with a mortgage lender prior to identifying a property to purchase can give you the leg up you need. Better yet, most mortgage lenders are ready to meet you where you are in the process. This can include any of several levels of prep-- a preliminary conversation, a pre-qualification or a pre-approval. 

Preliminary Conversation

Meeting with a lender for an informal conversation can help you understand the process and timing for securing a mortgage loan. It can also help you build a relationship you’ll need in the future while offering a chance to ask high-level questions.  This can help you determine if a given lender is the right fit for your family as you share goals and discuss products and rates.

A Pre-Qualification

One step past a consultation is the pre-qualification. While similar to a consultation, a pre-qualification requires answering set questions from a lender about income, debt and other financial info. By using this information a mortgage lender can help you dial in your buying power and speak more specifically about how a loan might be structured.  

A pre-qualification can help balance your priorities and give you an idea of payment and terms to aid your search. This is appealing for many buyers because it can deliver directional advice without a financial deep dive or excessive paperwork.

Mortgage Info


A pre-approval is the more formal step and is essentially like applying for the loan (albeit a fictional one if you have yet to identify a property). It requires a look at your financial situation, credit report, cash flow and other factors --with documentation required for all. 

The outcome here is more than directional and will spell out precisely the amount of payment you qualify for. Taking this step now will significantly reduce the time and level of effort for the actual mortgage application process.

Following a pre-approval, your lender will be able to supply you with a pre-approval letter to include with any offers you write.  That letter tells your buyer that you have been vetted by a mortgage professional and it can help your offer rise to the top of the stack in a competitive bid situation.

The Bottom Line

No matter which route you choose, it is a good idea to understand your credit-worthiness, options and payment limit prior to beginning a home search. Today’s mortgages offer incredible flexibility, but frequently additional options bring more questions.

Any reputable mortgage lender would be happy to walk you through your choices and their process via any of the services listed above. He or she will also be able to help you understand timing and other logistics if you have a property to sell or other factors to consider. If you don’t have a preferred lender, your real estate agent would be happy to make a referral.

At Zachary Adams and Associates we realize that the mortgage and homebuying process can be confusing. That is why we focus on educating our clients on all facets of the journey ahead of them while serving as a trusted partner looking out for their best interests. We’d love to partner with you to understand where you are in the process and help you take the next steps so that when the time is right, you are ready.

 Contact Zach today to get started.



Aug. 8, 2018

Homebuyer Basics: Defining Your Budget

How much home can you afford? The answer is a combination of many factors, but properly dialing in a budget is a good first step that can be easier than you think.


How Much Can I Afford?Setting a proper budget prior to beginning a home search is an important early step in the process that can make your search more efficient and help you balance priorities.  The good news is that arriving at a ballpark number need not involve tedious expense accounting or a deep dive.

By factoring in a few key data points you can establish a range that can help you vet properties and better understand their potential impact to your lifestyle and your bottom line.

Tip One: Reject the Rule of Thumb

Many may be familiar with conventional wisdom that states that you should spend no more than 25%-30% of your income on a mortgage payment. While this passes as decent advice, there are several inherent issues with this math. First, depending on your additional debt service, credit history and other factors, lenders may simply choose not to lend you that much. Second, approaching any purchase with the “what’s the most I can spend?” mindset can prove foolhardy. While the 25% limit is a good disqualifier of any payment that exceeds it, it isn’t a great way to set a budget.

Tip Two: Understand your Cash Flow

So how can you begin to set a budget? A good starting place is via some high level cash flow analysis using your online banking app. Today nearly every major bank has built-in tools that automatically categorize your expenses and can help you understand your take home pay and other important metrics. These can be invaluable in budgeting for a new house payment.

With only a few clicks on a bank app, you can approximate your average monthly income and expenses over time.  Digging even slightly into these numbers can be eye-opening and identify how much money you are devoting to rent or housing today, how much is available and most importantly, where to find more. By investing a little time to understand your budget, you can reverse engineer an acceptable payment.   

Tip Three: Know your Buying Power

Now that you understand what type of payment you can afford, you need to see what type of home that may support. While any mortgage lender would be happy to put your finances through their paces, dissect your tax returns and tell you exactly how much home you qualify for, the very outset of a home search may not be the time for such a detailed discussion. This doesn’t mean your mortgage pro is of no use to you. While they prefer to speak in absolutes, nearly all of them will help you spitball numbers to understand a theoretical bottom line.

To arrive at yours, simply present the amount you are comfortable spending per month, share your expected down payment and ask them to run the numbers based on prevailing rates. Make sure they include estimates for insurance and taxes in your payment.

To find tax rates and other details, it may help to preview some active listings and use real numbers-- even if they are for a home you have no intention of purchasing.  Ask your mortgage lender to share the impact that changes to term of loan and other factors may present. 

Housing Budget

Tip Four: Begin your Search (but watch your step)

Armed with an idea of your payment and budget you are now ready to begin your search. Keep in mind that making an apples to apples comparison of homes requires you to keep a few additional things in mind. While rate, term and purchase price amount are obviously huge factors in determining a monthly mortgage payment, other factors can play in as well:

Property Tax- Annual property tax can make two strikingly similar listings deliver markedly different mortgage payments. Taxes should be considered early in the process, and you should make sure to include 1/12th of the annual property tax amount in any projection.

HOA Fees- Depending on your search area, some homes may include an HOA fee for community services. These will be disclosed with every listing and their impact should also be carefully considered.

Insurance- You may want to ask your insurance agent to estimate homeowner insurance rates based on the value of home you are targeting. This can help project a payment with even greater detail. You should also understand that if you are planning to put less than 20% down on a home you may also be subject to Private Mortgage Insurance.

Experienced Agent with Local Expertise

Defining a budget is an important early step in the home buying process but one that need not be taken alone.   While the tips above can help you approximate a simple budget, to truly understand your options, it may make sense to meet with a real estate agent. He or she can help you understand mortgage options, connect with finance resources, refine your wish list, understand your target area, build a custom search and much more.

Zach Adams has extensive experience in the west metro of Minneapolis helping families like yours with issues like these. He is laser-focused on Eden Prairie, Plymouth, Maple Grove, Minnetonka and the surrounding communities.  His wisdom is built upon 100s of local transactions and can help you to understand the often complex world of residential real estate in this area.

A free consultation with Zach is a value-add no matter where you are in this process. He’d love to help you define next steps, create a custom timeline and align the resources you’ll need to find the home of your dreams.

 Contact Zach today to get started.



July 9, 2018

West Metro Dominates Twin Cities Livability

The perfect location for your family is one that supports your lifestyle and goals. While selecting a home can be a complex emotional decision, quantitative data about livability can help you narrow the field.


Livability is an important consideration when buying a home-- but it can be tough to define.

It depends greatly on which factors you and your family look for in a community and how those may balance with affordability, proximity to family and friends and other considerations that may inform your search.

While we’d all like to live on the lake in a million-dollar mansion, that may not always be practical.

Selecting a target area for a real estate search therefore is an exercise that is equal parts quantitative and qualitative. When analyzing the former, there are few areas as highly regarded as the west metro.

School District Rankings

An analysis of the school districts for the entire state of Minnesota was completed by the website Niche and the results reflect incredibly favorably on the west metro which is home to six of the top 10. This included a remarkable five schools that received an overall A+ ranking with several others receiving As.

#1 Wayzata A+
#2 Minnetonka A+
#3 Edina A+
#4 Eden Prairie A+
#6 Hopkins A+
#9 Orono A
#28 Osseo A-

Source- Niche.com 2018 Best School Districts in Minnesota

A similar report issued by US News and World Reports looked at college readiness and attempted to rank how well individual high schools prepare their students for secondary education. Again the west metro performed well with each of the major schools earning medals.

Gold Medals- Orono, Edina
Silver Medals- Minnetonka, Wayzata, Chaska, Eden Prairie, Osseo

Source- USNew.com Minnesota Best High School Rankings

Taken together, these studies indicate that in a state that takes public education seriously, the west metro finished at the top of the class.

Parks and Community Events

Another key component to quality of life relates to parks, city festivals and events. The west metro includes many public areas that support outdoor activities.

Of course there is proximity to Lake Minnetonka and the unique cities of Excelsior and Wayzata, but the area also offers several larger regional parks. These include Clifton French in Plymouth, Bryant Lake in Minnetonka, Fish Lake and Elm Creek Park Reserve in Maple Grove. Each offering trails for running, hiking and biking, beaches, disc golf and other amenities.

In terms of festivals and farmers markets, the west metro calendar is packed with options throughout the summer months. The list reflects a public investment in parks and recreation, a key component to livability. Healthy living is a way of life in Minnesota and by leveraging these resources you can ensure your family enjoys the best there is to offer.

National Livability Awards

Perhaps the best validation for west suburban living has come via Money Magazine which has consistently featured cities from the area when ranking the best places in the entire US.

This is a based on a combination of fabulous communities, economic factors, proximity to the metro and significant investment in green space and infrastructure.

Money Magazine Best Places to Live in the US
2017 Minnetonka - 100 Best Places to live
2016 #2- Eden Prairie
2014 #2- Maple Grove
2008 #1- Plymouth


The Bottom Line

While livability is a moving target and subjective based on your goals, there is no mistaking that something unique is going on in the west metro.  Overall reviewers found the area economically vibrant and dynamic with incredible schools and public infrastructure bolstered by a prime location near the Twin Cities.

If you are ready to see what all the fuss is about and look into calling the west metro home, we’d love to match a quantitative screen of communities with a list of your must-have features. Together we can find the city, neighborhood and home that is right for you. We have unmatched local knowledge and the wisdom of 100s of transactions matching families to the homes that they love.

An introductory meeting is a great start. Contact Us today to get started.



Posted in West Metro Life
June 12, 2018

2018 Guide to Summer Family Fun in the West Metro

The kids are off of school and summer 2018 is finally upon us. Finding activities to keep your family engaged need not break the bank. Make it the best summer yet with some free outdoor entertainment options in the west metro.


Plymouth Entertainment in the Parks 
Today – August 14th

The city of Plymouth summer calendar of events features many diverse entertainment options centered around one of the most picturesque outdoor venues in area. The Hilde Performance Center features both a large amphitheater and small stage which combine to offer a flexible setting for live music, drama, outdoor movies and much more.

A full schedule is here, but highlights include:

  • June 19th Plymouth Rockers
  • June 28th Plymouth Concert Band
  • July 20th and 21st Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre
  • July 27th Annette Fragale Magic Show
  • August 2nd Kids Fest- ZooMobile/ Jolly Pops / Dazzling Dave
  • August 7th Dirty Shorts Jazz Band

And of course, no summer would be complete without a trip to Parker’s Lake Playfield to view the Shockwaves water ski show, set this year for July 17th.


Minnetonka Summer Fest
June 23rd

Minnetonka has laid claim to the weekend prior to the fourth of July on the city festival calendar, packing it with activities and surprises as a part of Summer Fest. The result is the hidden gem of west metro city celebrations complete with games, live music, an ice cream social and of course, fireworks. Additional activities include a tot trot, climbing wall, K9 police demonstration and much more.

Most activities take place at the Civic Center Grounds (14600 Minnetonka Blvd.) or the Burwell House (13209 E. McGinty Rd.) and the city offers an extensive PDF event schedule to ensure you don’t miss a moment of the fun.


Maple Grove Days
July 11- 15th

Celebrating its 30th year, Maple Grove Days offers a chance to showcase the northwest suburb over a packed five-day festival. Events include an art fair, fishing clinic, corn feed, tennis tournament and live entertainment. The focus is on outdoor activities throughout the city with fireworks capping things off on the 14th. Those seeking an early start to the fun (and $$$) can even participate in the medallion hunt going on now with clues on Facebook through July 12th.


Eden Prairie Movies in the Park
Friday’s in August
Staring Lake Park Amphitheatre 14800 Pioneer Trail

Eden Prairie offers an extensive calendar of events including theater productions, live music and much more, but a favorite end of summer tradition is their family-friendly outdoor movie nights. These take place at Staring Lake Park on Friday nights and always kick off with live music.

Local Farmers Markets

In addition to special community events, local farmers markets offer a weekly entertainment option that can get your kids off of their electronic devices and outdoors. While the herbivore in you will appreciate the produce, it’s really not about the vegetables anymore. Most  markets have expanded into true events that feature food trucks, music and much more.

Excelsior Farmers Market
Tuesdays 2pm -6pm
Water Street, Downtown Excelsior

Minnetonka Farmers Market
Tuesdays 3–7 p.m.
Minnetonka Civic Center Campus 14600 Minnetonka Blvd.

Plymouth Farmers Market
Wednesdays 2:30-6:30 p.m.,
Parkers Lake Playfield- 15500 County Road 6

Maple Grove Farmers Market
Thursdays 3-7 p.m.
Maple Grove Community Center- 12951 Weaver Lake Road


Posted in Market Update
May 29, 2018

Ask A Pro: Rising Rates, Inventory Shortage & Downsizing

May/June 2018 Real Estate Q & A 

This summer has brought transition to the housing market.  Rising rates, soaring values and low inventory have left many with questions.

Zach Adams has answers about today’s real estate market:

  • Rising Rates Impact on Buying Power
  • Housing Inventory Shortage
  • Downsizing

The economy is roaring and interest rates have risen, how serious an issue is this for a buyer looking to upgrade? – Rao in Wayzata

You are right Rao. Rates have risen fairly consistently throughout 2018. According to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) 15 of the first 21 weeks of this year have seen an increase. This has carried average rates over 4.6% for a 30-year fixed mortgage (up about 0.7% in a year).

How big an impact this will have on you depends on a variety of factors. It is worth noting first however that the news is not all negative. While rates are rising they remain low historically. In addition, along with the increase in rates has come a general uptick in the value of most homes in our area. As we looked at last month, West Metro homes have appreciated well over the past year. So buyers like you who are looking to upgrade are likely well-positioned to find a new home and still attain a manageable payment.

Clarity depends on your exact situation and next steps require that we run a few scenarios. Rates are an important consideration, but property taxes, moving expenses and other factors also play into the equation. A Comparative Market Analysis can help you quantify things as it relates to your current home value and can inform your new home budget.

In addition, remember that finding the right home also means selecting the best mortgage. The median length of time a family stays in a home is 10 years. If your timeline is similar, it is doubtful that a 30-year mortgage makes sense. This opens up a variety of options to finance your purchase, each with tradeoffs of their own.

The only way to set a course is to run the numbers and consider your options. A consultation is a great first step

My wife and I have been searching for a home, but are getting discouraged. Why aren’t there more listings in our price range? – Brett J., Maple Grove

Thanks for your question Brett. I can tell you are frustrated, but encourage you to stay the course. You are not alone in lamenting a shortage of listings. While we’ve seen an active season, inventory remains challenging at certain price points (notably $300k - $500k). Compounding matters, when compelling listings do show up at that price point they often elicit multiple offers.

This makes buyer preparation crucial. Getting the home of your dreams in a tough market requires the ability to recognize contenders quickly and be ready to act.

Several items can help:


  1. Engage a Full Time Local Agent
    By working with an agent who knows your search area well and has the wisdom of experience, you can ensure speed in setting up a showing, prompt submission of an offer and a proactive relationship with the listing agent. Agent availability and experience are crucial to staying nimble and acting fast.

  2. Develop a Highly-customized Search
    Spending time to refine exactly what you are looking for in a home can help you and your agent collaborate to build a custom search and significantly cut the time from initial listing to showing to offer.

  3. Obtain a Mortgage Pre approval
    A mortgage preapproval can help make your offer more attractive to sellers in a competitive bid environment and offer better budgetary guidance to increase your speed to respond to contending listings.

The bottom line is that although it may not seem like it, inventory is increasing. Finding and buying your new home requires increased diligence in preparation along with a little patience.


My kids are grown and my husband and I need to downsize. Do we need to update things in order to sell?—Mary Anne, Minnetonka  

The scenario you describe is a common one, Mary Anne. You are not alone.  Baby boomers are retiring at a fast rate and many are looking at housing options that better fit their changing lifestyle and goals. The good news is that there are likely many buyers anxious to purchase your existing home.

In many cases simple carpet and paint can do wonders to prepare a home for sale. For others a few additional updates may be needed. While every home is different, some of the more common upgrades are listed in the article Crucial Updates When Listing the Family Home.

As to your home in particular, a walkthrough with an experienced agent should provide all of the info you’ll need.  An experienced agent will be able to assess your home and answer any questions you may have about updates and their impact.  In addition, if you choose to work with Zachary Adams and Associates, our walkthrough will also include a home valuation and net proceeds report.  These will spell out the financial side of any potential sale including not only a bottom line number but all of the information that went into arriving at that final number.  This includes comparable listings that have sold recently and an assessment of the overall market in your area.   




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.