West Metro Minnesota Real Estate Blog

May 21, 2019

Home Seller Basics: Five Tips When Making a Counteroffer

You’ve received your first offer! Now comes the crucial step of negotiating favorable terms. With a few key tips, you can be ready to counteroffer like a pro.

 

Selling your home can be a roller coaster of emotions, none quite as unsettling as awaiting purchase offers. You’ve put a ton of work into prepping your home for sale, setting a proper price and staging, and finally you are about to see the fruits of your labors. It is time for the beginning of the end!

Being ready to respond promptly to any and all offers requires a bit of preparation, but it can make all the difference.

A few tips can help:

Check Your Ego

Counteroffer

While you may find an initial offer insulting on some level (most commonly price), do your best to avoid taking it all personally. You have someone interested in your home, that’s a good thing! It’s possible they are just fishing with a below-market bid. That’s OK, you can always reject an offer outright, or use your counter to level-set. Either way, this is just business, so managing emotions is important. No one is trying to put anything over on you, they are just negotiating the other side with distinct and differing goals.

Remember Sales Price Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story

While sale price is the likely the most contentious issue that arises from an offer, it is far from the only issue you should be tracking. Offers you receive will also spell out which appliances and personal property are included, closing date, contingencies and other important information.

 

Be sure to read the offer completely, and ask your agent to summarize the pertinent information beyond sales price, noting anything unusual. Any counter you send back to the buyer will have to address every issue, and all are negotiable-- including the ever-important sales price.

 

More information about contingencies is available here

 

Counteroffer Negotiation

Know Your Buyers

Understanding the motivations of your potential buyers can help greatly in writing a strong counter. Your agent can prove invaluable in this process by having frank discussions with the buyer’s agent to define who is buying your home and help you address what matters to them.

 

Like with any negotiation, information about your audience can ensure your counteroffer factors in items they value and respects their intentions. A little empathy and understanding in this realm could be the key to making it all work.

Let Your Non-negotiables Drive (but not define) Your Counter

If you find any of the offer terms unacceptable, you’ll want to counter. When crafting your counteroffer it is important to know your absolute bottom line. The minimum you’ll accept for your home, and the terms that you cannot live without. While knowing these is important, your counteroffer shouldn’t necessarily include those as the terms. This is a negotiation, so make sure your counter is directionally better, but you may appreciate some additional wiggle-room later in the process. It is important to secure favorable terms in the offer phase because your work doesn’t end when it does.

Realize this Isn’t the End

Most offers will be written contingent on an inspection and prior to an appraisal. The results of both can move the goalposts on the negotiation and potentially lead to some additional work (and possibly expense) for the seller. By keeping this in mind when writing your counter, you can ensure that you are ready to address any issues.

 

To manage risks related to a buyer's inspection, some sellers opt to complete their own home inspection prior to listing their homes.  In this manner they are able to identify any work they can anticipate prior to closing and price accordingly.

The Bottom Line

A formal offer is the beginning of the final phase of selling your home. Being prepared to promptly and effectively act on every offer is crucial to obtaining a favorable outcome. Keep in mind that you are not alone in this process. Your agent likely has years of experience and has reviewed 100s of offers. He or she will be able to provide guidance and support to help you determine if you should accept the terms, reject the offer outright or counteroffer.

 

Zach Adams has experience in the offer process that is unmatched in the west metro of the twin cities. He’s been on both sides of negotiations just like these and has the unique skillset you need to find common ground with a buyer and sell your home. Perhaps his best ability however, is his availability. He’s always reachable, engaged and ready to help sellers just like you.

 

To learn more about this process or any other component of residential real estate, Zach would love to hear from you. He can be reached directly at 612.656.9647

 

Posted in Move-up Buyers, Selling
April 16, 2019

Home Seller Basics: Prepping Your Home for Sale

Preparing your home for sale can go well beyond fresh paint and carpet. To wow a buyer in a competitive market requires attention to detail. A few tips can help.

 

Buyer perception is the key component to putting your home on the bullet train from listed to sold. While many of the steps along the way are intuitive, others may be less so.

What steps can you take beyond a fresh coat of paint, some landscaping attention and a major deep clean?

Here are five things to consider to help your home give potential buyers the “WOW!” moment they covet.

Hook 'em Early

Prepped Entryway

You likely already know that curb appeal can go a long way toward a positive first impression, making landscaping and exterior considerations imperative. However, just as important as that first impression on the outside, is a buyer’s initial emotional reaction to the interior of your home.

To get it right means to honestly assess your home from the entry with fresh eyes.

What do you notice?
Do you have a bright clean and inviting entryway?

If not, it is likely that clutter, space issues and disorganization are the culprits. This presents an obvious starting point for any work on your home.

  • A front door in a bold accent color with shiny new hardware can add visual interest
  • Colorful rugs create a warm and inviting feel
  • Touch-up paint can hide the scuffs and dings of everyday use in high traffic areas
  • Organized and neat applies to the entry, but also closets and storage areas

Declutter

In general, most people simply have too much furniture to showcase the space potential of their home. For this reason you may want to consider renting a storage unit and removing roughly half of your furniture. While this may sound extreme, the line between well-staged and nearly vacant can be tighter than you think. The sweet spot is just enough décor and color to show the potential of the space.

 

When in doubt, tune in to a home improvement show just in time for the reveal and note the general lack of furniture and what is (and isn’t) on display in each room.

  • Remove everyday items from every space
  • Countertops should be empty with a simple and colorful centerpiece on the kitchen table
  • Even unseen areas like cupboards and your refrigerator should be cleaned, organized and Spartan in appearance

Prep for Sale

Depersonalize

Family pictures do a great job of making your home your own, but buyers need to visualize it as their home. This means removing anything that destroys that myth. Whether that means simply removing pictures or painting over the mural in your son’s room, anything you can to do to perpetuate that feeling can help.

 

The key is to be appealing but non-specific. They know someone lives here currently, but they need to envision the future when they do.

  • Collectibles should be placed in storage, pet supplies stowed
  • Consider carefully if your bold accent wall is neutral enough to make the cut
  • Books and knickknacks can be too personal and add clutter
  • Don't forget that jewelry, valuables and medication should also be removed

Focus on Lighting

Clean and bright is inherently appealing. Optimally every showing will be during the day with natural light streaming in from every window. While that may not be feasible, you should strive to approximate the effect.

  • Swap out heavy window treatments and clean those windows!
  • Consider installing new light fixtures to deliver a brighter, more updated look
  • Supplement natural light with strategic lamp placement
  • Replace lightbulbs with an increased wattage

Give every space purpose

Dreaming requires a nudge at times and a space must be defined before you can make it your own. While your spare bedroom may serve as scrapbooking headquarters today, your buyer needs to see it differently. Help them along by adding a bed.

 

Visual cues can be more subtle, but they are important. If buyers are confused by the nuances of your floor-plan, they may be less apt to appreciate the possibilities of all of this space. 

  • A lamp and chair can strategically subdivide a large undefined space into a reading nook
  • A large open living room may work better as two conversation areas
  • Consider hiding or removing your TV so you no longer have to engineer seating around it
  • Convert that unused basement room into an office or workout center

 

The Bottom Line

While interior design and detail work may not be your forte, it is undoubtedly in the skillset of your real estate agent. The best advice to define where to spend energy in preparing your home for sale is to ask. Engage an experienced local pro, trust their wisdom and heed their advice. They walk through literally thousands of homes a year and they are savvy enough to know what works and what doesn’t. Lean into this expertise to make your home shine in a crowded marketplace.

 

If you are interested in a free consultation to define how to showcase your home, Zach Adams has the experience to ensure your home tells the right story to buyers. He has over two decades of experience and 100s of transactions in the west metro of Minneapolis.

 

A walkthrough of your home is always complimentary, and a great first step. You’ll receive a free valuation, competitive market analysis and advice for next steps. Contact Zach today at 612.656.9647 to get started.

March 21, 2019

Home Seller Basics: What is the Value of my Home?

The value of your home is a function of many variables, many of which may be outside of your control. This makes understanding and managing those that are within your control crucial to maximizing your sale price.

Many factors are included when buyers are considering writing an offer. As a seller, your job is to identify and manage those with a direct impact to your bottom line. While it is true that the sales price of any home is largely driven by location, features and the current competitive landscape, it is even more accurate to add “as perceived by the buyer” to the end of the statement.

Therefore the best course of action when selling involves focusing on anything that will afford a large number of buyers the opportunity to view and consider your home in a positive light.

Said simply -- a polished product seen by many potential buyers is easier to sell.

A simple three step process can help:

Begin with a Comparative Market Analysis

Selling a Home Contingent

Consulting an expert and assessing your starting point is wise before you begin any journey. When selling a home this means engaging an experienced local agent to walk through your home and provide expert analysis. They’ll take notes, document specs and fully assess every aspect of your property, noting positives as well as opportunities.

Armed with this information a strong agent can layer in a comparable listing report and the supporting detail to explain the analysis in detail. Perhaps most valuable, this analysis will provide a clear bottom line-- their best guess at a fair listing price. It will be driven by a deep understanding of the marketplace and how your home might fair versus others that are similar. It will also clearly identify which key differentiators will impact price.

Address Key Concerns and Mitigate Risks

Armed with your Comparative Market Analysis, you will be able to sit down with your agent and discuss which factors uncovered in the analysis are worthwhile to address prior to listing. This will include problem areas to consider fixing and key attributes to feature. For many sellers this may simply mean fresh paint and carpet, for others much more.

 

This is a nuanced discussion that often includes strategic investments and some sweat equity. An experienced realtor will discuss recommendations and can give you a clear understanding of which tweaks will provide an out-sized impact to sale price. In many instances a few key expenditures can make a world of difference. Once you’ve determined an action plan and discussed strategic pricing, it is time to talk marketing.

 

Contingent Sale Home

Focus on Marketing

In a competitive marketplace it is important to stand out. It is also a virtual certainty that the buyer of your home will first view it online. Open houses have their place, but they generally serve as the two of a one-two punch. This means every detail of your home’s online profile must be carefully scrutinized.  Your summary should be well-written, photography professionally done and the staging optimized. Attention spans are short in the digital age and capitalizing in this realm requires you to put your best virtual foot forward. Here that experienced agent will also prove their mettle, creating interest visually and via that all-important description.

 

In addition to optimizing your listing, you should also task your agent with explaining additional components of their marketing plan. Virtual tours, social media blasts and direct buyers’ agent engagement are absolutely crucial. Online listings can age quickly and “splash” marketing strategies (along with competitive pricing) can ensure early activity.

 

The Bottom Line

It is no secret that the through line to every component of selling your home is engaging the right sales agent. There is no substitute for the wisdom of experience, but perhaps even more important is where that experience was gleaned. The most effective agents have a neighborhood-level understanding of the nuances of the local market.

 

When buying or selling the west metro, that agent is Zach Adams. Zach has helped clients buy and sell 100s of homes in the west metro over the past two decades. He has assembled a world-class team and would love to understand your unique situation and how he can help drive success for your family. A free consultation is a great first step. Contact Zach today to get started at 612.656.9647 or find him online at westmetrohomesearch.com.

Posted in Move-up Buyers, Selling
Feb. 12, 2019

Home Seller Basics: Finding the Right Real Estate Agent

When selling your home, engaging the right agent can make all of the difference. By focusing on three key factors before the hire, you can help ensure you get it right.

 

Closing Date SetFinding a real estate agent to sell your home is simple.

Radio ads are flush with Twin Cities “experts” touting success while issuing guarantees and promises. Google can spit out 100s of names in fractions of a second.

Yet a recent study conducted by the National Association of Realtors noted that while 91% of sellers worked with a real estate agent, only 64% say they were “very satisfied” with the process.

Why the disconnect?

Because while finding an agent may be easy, finding the right agent takes a little effort. Luckily, agents that deliver satisfaction frequently share three common characteristics.

Local Experience

The Twin Cities metro area includes seven counties and over three million people. This makes “Twin Cities Real Estate Expert” a true misnomer. Aspiring home sellers should not seek Twin Cities resources, but a depth of experience within their own region, city and neighborhood. Values are variable, geographically specific, change frequently and are influenced by many factors. By selecting an agent with local expertise (backed by a transaction history there) you can help ensure your home is not only priced properly, but also marketed aggressively.

When vetting suitors ask them:

  • How long have you been selling homes?
  • What is your geographic sweet spot?
  • How many homes have you sold in my community in the past year?
  • Can you provide examples and referrals? 

Your New Home

Comprehensive Services

When selling a home, you are paying a fee (typically a percentage of the sale price) and it is important to ensure you know what you will get for this fee.

Service levels vary greatly among agents as relates to promotion, marketing and even the preparation of your home. While it is intuitive to understand precisely what you are buying, many home sellers fail to ask before hiring an agent and are ultimately underwhelmed.

A few basics that you should mandate:

  • Detailed listing on the local real estate listing service(we can't say the 3 letter acronym as it is copyrighted)
  • Professional photography, no iphone pictures.  True pros use lighting, multiple angles, drones, etc
  • Comparative Market Analysis showing how your home stacks up with current offerings
  • Recommendations for upgrades including the impact to list price
  • A virtual tour
  • Post-showing feedback reports, it is imperitive to get feedback from agents and buyers that view the home
  • Email blast of your home’s details to top performing local agents
  • Social media posts about your home
  • Broker previews to highlight your property to selling agents
  • Staging advice
  • Open House plans
  • Periodic market updates on local market changes and positioning

Strong Communication Skills

While listing your home begins with a valuation and ends with a hassle-free close, there are many important steps between the two. The success of these additional components hinges greatly on communication between you and your agent. A strong agent will be available, engaged and work hard to demystify the process. This begins with a thorough explanation on the front end. Once engaged, there should be a regular cadence of updates to keep you appraised of what’s now, what’s next and how things are progressing.

When meeting with prospective agents be sure to ask for a process overview. Note the touch points that are built into the process. Share your goals for the sale, taking note if the agent appears to listen well, asks follow-up questions and if you ultimately felt heard. If the answer is no, this is a major red flag.

If a prospective agent passes the initial communication screening ask them:

  • If I engage you as my agent, how often can I expect to hear from you?
  • Will I be working directly with you or delegated to staff?
  • How prompt a response can I expect to phone, email and text inquires?

The Bottom Line

Finding the right agent is integral to success when selling your home. While this step is important, it need not feel overwhelming. By focusing on local expertise, services provided and communication, you can make an effective hire.

Zachary Adams prides himself on a depth of experience in the west metro of the Twin Cities that is unmatched. He couples that experience with an aggressive list of services and a laser focus on communication that truly sets him apart.

If you have a home to sell in the west metro and value honesty, integrity and results, Zach would love to sit down and earn your trust. Contact Zach today to get started at 612.656.9647.

 

Posted in Move-up Buyers, Selling
Jan. 15, 2019

Homebuyer Basics: Closing on a New Home

Tips and tricks to arrive at your closing with confidence…and leave with a set of keys.

 

Closing Date SetCongratulations, you’ve navigated a home search, written an offer and are ready to close on your new home. While your work is nearly done, getting the details of the closing right is an important final step in the process.

Like so many steps along the way, an efficient and hassle-free closing is all about risk management. How you prep, what you bring and a few double-checks can save you delays and heartache. Here are a few tips for a successful close:

Tip 1- Schedule Carefully

Trying to close on a home over a lunch hour is not recommended. Instead, we recommend finding a half day that you can clear. It likely won’t take all afternoon, but hiccups in the process do occur and many are out of your control. Pad your time accordingly. You won’t want to rush a process that involves so many important details.

Tip 2- Focus on Your Prework

The majority of issues that delay closing could have been addressed if buyers took the time to do their homework.

A few action items prior to closing:

  • Review your loan estimate and sign your closing disclosure.
    These documents outline the terms of your purchase and must be in place three days before you close-- but you shouldn’t wait that long. Get them early, verify that all of the details are accurate and fit with your expectations. If you aren’t sure, ask! This is a huge deal for you, but a day at the office for your mortgage pro and they have no doubt had every question imaginable.

  • Finalize specifics related to your cashier’s check or wire transfer.
    Your lender will be all over this, but mistakes do happen. Verifying and double-checking the spelling of your name, account numbers and other key details can save you an 11th hour surprise.

  • Complete a final walk-through.
    Most contracts allow you to inspect the property 24-hours prior to closing. This is when you should ensure all repairs have been completed to your satisfaction and the home is ready for the transfer in ownership. If they aren’t or you find issues, this may delay your close, but it doesn’t have to. You may still able to negotiate compensation and continue on schedule.

Your New Home

Tip- 3 Bring Everything You Need

Buying a home is likely to be the single most significant financial transaction you enter. As such it is incredibly formal and regulated. Regulators require much of home purchasers and you should be prepared to jump through all of the hoops.

This means bringing:

  • All parties to the transaction
    While there are options for buyers who may be out of pocket, securing a power of attorney document or other workarounds can add layers of complexity. It is much simpler to schedule closing at a time when everyone is available.

  • Identification
    Your closer can help you understand what is acceptable, but you should make sure that you will be able to bring a driver’s license or other key documents for everyone involved in the transaction. Remember name changes due to marriage or nicknames can have an impact here.

  • Your deposit
    You’ll need to bring along your cashier’s check or details about the wire transfer that will fund the down payment on your new castle. Again, take a moment to check the details. Wire fraud does occur and an extra perusal of all key documents can help prevent it.

  • Your checkbook
    In the era of online bill pay, you may not routinely carry a checkbook.  However for your closing you should find yours, dust it off and bring it. Unexpected expenses and “missed items” can and do crop up. Most can be addressed in the room, but only if you are prepared.

The Bottom Line

Closing represents the end of a long journey.  While finishing strong requires some diligence, your real estate professional, mortgage lender and closer are all adept at navigating this sometimes confusing world. By finding the right partners you can help ensure you are successful.

At Zachary Adams and Associates we realize our buyers may be on a learning curve and that closing on a new home can be intimidating.  Rest assured that we can help demystify the process, lay out the steps and work with your mortgage lender and closing company to deliver a hassle-free close.

 

 

Dec. 18, 2018

Sold in 2018: The Most Expensive Homes in Minnesota

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Bet it would be even better if you were lakeside on Minnetonka.  It’s time for our annual look at how the other half live via the top real estate transactions of the year for Minnesota.

Takeaways:

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

  • 2018 saw five lakeside homes eclipse the $5 million mark

  • With the “sold search” function on westmetrohomesearch.com you can explore every sold home, as well understand the market for homes in your budget

 

This year's top five features a landmark mansion at #1 and also includes a bonus house that a notorious local businessman used to call home but now houses our state’s most famous hard-court athlete. Without further ado, your top five (+1)

Top Millionaire Minnetonka Mansions sold in 2018

#5- 2600 Spirit Knob Road, Woodland

$5 Million
6,300+ sq. ft, 2.03 acres
5 bedrooms 6 baths
Sold 07/26/18

Got $5 million and a love for turrets? Combine both with 360 feet of west facing shoreline on 'Tonka and this may be the place for you. The listing describes the home as a “Frank Forster-designed French Normandy home” sitting on a “sprawling estate”. It looks a lot like a castle.  One that comes complete with a sunroom, greenhouse, fountain and two giant bronze lions to guard your driveway.

 

#4- 3580 Northome Road, Deephaven

$6.55 Million 
9,800+ sq. ft, 3.5 acres
5 bedrooms 11 baths
Sold 10/22/18

If you happen to find an extra $1.5 million in your couch cushions, you may want to upgrade from the run of the mill $5 million estates and consider this gem. Outbuildings galore include a pool house and boat house to accommodate even the largest posse. A wooded lot with gardens and trails provide even more ambience, enhanced (naturally) by the proper seasonal selection from your wine cellar.

 

#3- 655 Bushaway Road, Wayzata

$6.85 Million 
10,800+ sq. ft, 1.24 acres
7 bedrooms 9 baths
Sold 11/01/18

West-facing shoreline is the name of the game in the best of the best and this home makes our list 3 for 3 on that front with 267 feet of it. This gem features a more modern remodel with stunning white throughout. It is the perfect spot for entertaining, complete with a theater and multiple dining areas.

 

#2- 555 Bushaway Road, Wayzata

$10.03 Million 
6,000+ sq. ft, 6.9 acres
7 bedrooms 9 baths
Sold 6/22/18

Looking for a less updated home with a sprawling lot of nearly seven acres? Or perhaps you are an aspiring land developer looking to subdivide into three lots? Either way the “other” property on Bushaway Road may be the spot for you.

 

There really is nothing like spending $10 million on a teardown.

 

#1- 1400 Bracketts Point Road, Orono

$11.327 Million 
25,000+ sq. ft, 5.42 acres
7 bedrooms 13 baths (!)
Sold 8/27/18

Number one on our list is the historic Pillsbury Mansion and the rare opportunity to own a piece of history. This home is classic and stunning, including a hot tub surrounded by hand-painted murals and other amenities you have to see to believe. The listing says that Mrs. Pillsbury is quoted as saying , "A house can be elegant without being ostentatious”-- you be the judge if she hit the mark.

 

 

BONUS HOME- 1492 Hunter Drive, Wayzata

Around $4.97 Million (private transaction)
17,251 sq. ft, 5.23 acres
5 bedrooms 9 baths


And last but not least, we present the former home of a local disgraced auto magnate and new home to your favorite 7 foot hoops player. Turns out 20 points and 11 boards a night can wear a guy down. Luckily he’s got 11 garage stalls, a golf hole, indoor sport court and tea house to help him unwind.

Only nine bathrooms though? The Pillsbury’s had 13. Oh well, you can’t have everything… but with a max contract you can afford most of them.

 

Interested in joining the club?

Do these listings have you dreaming of a new home?  We'd love to be a resource to help. It doesn’t take multi-millions to improve your quality of life in a new home for 2019-- it only takes action.

A free consultation is a great way to get started by defining a budget and exploring your options. Contact Zach today at 612.656.9647.

 

 

Dec. 18, 2018

Homebuyer Basics: Buyer's Inspection

The buyer’s inspection is an essential step in protecting your interests when buying a new home. Understanding what to expect can help ensure you get it right.

 

Home SearchA home inspection is integral to managing risk when buying a home and should therefore be a written as a contingency in virtually every offer. It offers the buyer a chance to bring a licensed expert in to review a home in detail following acceptance of a contingent purchase agreement.

The home inspection will help document a home’s features, issues and general condition, breaking down items in need of immediate attention as well as maintenance items to be addressed later.

Your inspector should be licensed and can be found via referral or by using the Find a Home Inspector feature on the American Society of Home Inspectors website. Your home inspector will provide a sample report for you to review prior to engagement. Fees for an inspection typically range from $200 to $400+ based on the size of the home.  The inspection itself generally takes two to three hours to complete.

Five best practices can help you make the most of your inspection:

1. Be Present

Walking through your potential new home with a licensed inspector is crucial to understanding not only red flags, but maintenance you may have to address in the future.

Being fully engaged and asking questions can also help you discern which items are major and important versus those that are trivial and to be expected. You’ll receive a written report either way, but participating in the process can help allay any fears and ensure you understand your potential new home

Fall Home Search

2. Be Prepared for a Long List of Findings

Home inspectors are detailed people who are hired to find issues, therefore issues they will find. This detailed analysis can help you ferret out concerns and avoid surprises, but it can also be overwhelming for the uninitiated. Every home has nuances and items that an inspector will note (especially older homes).  Do not be discouraged if the list grows long. Many will be small maintenance issues, or simply raise questions to ask of the sellers. The important part of the process is categorizing issues as outlined in best practice #3.

3. Identify Major -vs- Superficial Issues

Your inspector can help you determine which items rise to the level of major, but the list includes items you might expect. Poor wiring, foundation issues, environmental concerns, mold and others represent significant concerns that should understood fully. Your seller’s disclosure should help you understand existing issues, but If something significant and unforeseen arises, you should consider carefully whether you may wish to void your purchase agreement.

4. Review Inspection Report with your Agent

An experienced real estate agent will have a depth of knowledge about the home inspection process and can help you digest the inspector’s findings. Be sure to engage yours following the inspection to review the list of items and help categorize them as trivial, actionable or deal breaking. Lean on their breadth of experience as an objective third party to help you determine the best course of action.

5. Take Action Post Inspection

Following an inspection and review with your agent, you likely have three options:

  • Define repairs you’d like to see addressed- your agent can help you document these and thus begin a negotiation with the seller to determine which repairs to pursue and whether those are to be completed by the seller, or if funds to cover the repairs may be credited to the sale price

  • Accept the condition of the home- under this option you accept that nothing major cropped up and can remove your offer’s contingency

  • Walk away from the deal- if major undisclosed issues are uncovered, you may choose to rescind your offer, retaining your earnest money

By far the most common scenario listed is the first one. While inspection reports can be lengthy, they typically uncover a handful of items that need to be addressed to bring a property up to code or otherwise raise it to the level of acceptable for sale. Your agent can help you determine which items rise to this level and help walk you through resolving them.

 

The Bottom Line

The buyer’s inspection is one of the final steps in the purchasing process, but it is also a crucial one to protect your best interests. The key component throughout this process is the aid of an experienced real estate professional. An effective buyer’s agent is not a sales person trying to sell you a home, they are a partner for your buying journey, applying expertise and offering guidance along the way. This is true throughout the process, but pays particular dividends during the inspection phase.

That is why engaging the right agent is so important.  Zach Adams take his responsibility as your advocate seriously and has hundreds of satisfied clients across decades of transactions in the west metro of Minneapolis. He can carefully and fully explain the inspection process or any of the other many components to buying and selling homes.

Buying a home can be challenging, but in partnership with Zach it need not be overwhelming. Contact Zach today at 612.845.789 to learn how he can help you at every step along the way.

 

Nov. 29, 2018

West Metro Market Update

According to the National Association of Realtors, 77% of people nationally believe now is a good time to sell a home.  But how do things look here in the west metro?

National trends in residential real estate include a continued tight inventory of homes along with some price stabilization in home values.  But is that true in the west metro?

Three local trends tell the tale.

Trend 1: Continued Price Strength

Since early 2014, residential real estate prices have been on a steady trajectory upward. Home values and sale prices have gone up significantly. These upticks have been seen across the country but especially in the west metro.

This fall however, the national media has included more than a few stories indicating that price increases may have begun to level out. While there is some dispute as to what is happening nationally, this has certainly not been the case in the west metro. Here price strength has not only held but added to recent gains with solid percentage growth versus last year in median sales price.

 

Median Sales Prices
Oct ’17 vs Oct ‘18

 

Eden Prairie

+3.4%

Maple Grove

+14.2%

Minnetonka

+18.1%

Plymouth

+15.2%

 

The message here is that homes hold their value better in the west metro and despite national headlines, local metrics indicate growth.  These are partially bolstered by new construction, but generally indicate strength across the board. Location matters when looking at trend lines and the west metro has proven time and time again to be one of the more stable real estate investments.

Trend 2: Overall Inventory Lower Versus 2017

Another notable trend nationally has been low inventory in residential real estate with supply trailing demand. This has created a market that is more apt to favor sellers. Here at home this trend has proven to be at least partly true. When compared with 2017 numbers, the total supply of homes in 2018 is down, continuing the longer term trend.

 

Inventory of Homes for Sale
Oct ’17 vs Oct ‘18

 

Eden Prairie

-5%

Maple Grove

-14%

Minnetonka

-12.3%

Plymouth

-9.5% 

 

This is not to say that there are not homes available at all price points, only that total inventory is lower versus  last year. It is not all doom and gloom for weary buyers however.  Those seeking optimistic numbers need look no further than trend #3.

Trend 3: New Listings Up in some West Metro Communities

Despite overall inventory falling, new listings are up double-digit percentages in Minnetonka and Plymouth. This seems to support a longer term easing of the persistent inventory pressures we’ve seen during the recent rise in values. 

 

New Listings by City
Oct ’17 vs Oct ‘18

 

Eden Prairie

0%

Maple Grove

-9.3%

Minnetonka

+10.2%

Plymouth

+12.5%

 

These numbers seem to indicate that fall and winter buyers may be well-positioned in the communities seeing this increased inventory. By choosing to purchase a new home outside of the spring rush these buyers may capitalize early on trends and benefit from some additional inherent advantages to avoiding the hyper-competitive real estate period.

The Bottom Line

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 and inventory continues to be moderate.  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.

Overall the west metro remains the preeminent location for Twin City homebuyers. Home values, inventory and other factors point to an active market in a location where livability continues to rank incredibly high.

Regardless of trends, finding a new home continues to be a highly personal process. Trends still matter, but defining your goals and partnering to meet them matters much more.   No matter where you are in the process, Zach Adams 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.  Contact Zach today at 612.656.9647 to get started.

Posted in Market Update
Nov. 5, 2018

Homebuyer Basics: Writing an Offer

Writing a competitive offer is integral to landing the home of your dreams under the terms you desire. Understanding the various components of this process can help you collaborate with your agent to get it right.

 

Home SearchYou successfully defined your budget, engaged a mortgage lender and crafted a strong search. After all of that work you have finally identified the right home. You are confident you are ready for the next step-- to write your first offer.

While it can seem like you may be nearing the finish line, in many aspects the real race has only begun. And while an experienced real estate agent will prove invaluable in helping you break the tape, you need to work in collaboration to tackle a few key action items along the way:

Define the Purchase Price

While this may seem pretty straightforward based on list price, this step can be anything but. Obtaining value means juggling a variety of variables:

  • How long the property has been listed
  • Current market environment and inventory of similar homes
  • Motivation of the seller
  • Existence of competing offers

This is one spot where an experienced local agent can shine particularly brightly. The wisdom of their experience can help you balance all of these components and dial in a price that is attractive enough to either close the deal or at a minimum elicit a counter.

Fall Home Search

Determine Contingencies

Contingencies lay out specific criteria that must be satisfied in order to execute a sales contract. While nearly every purchase agreement will contain a buyer’s inspection and financing contingency, there is great flexibility in which other factors should be written into your offer. For instance, many purchase agreements are contingent on the buyer selling their current home.

Contingencies are important to protect the buyer, but they can also be seen as burdensome by the home seller. Again, we are looking for balance to ensure you have the protections you need but in terms the seller can also accommodate. A good overview of common contingencies to consider is available here.

Consider Concessions

Depending on the market conditions, you may wish to include concessions in your offer. These could include asking the seller to help finance your closing costs. This may be appealing as a way to build flexibility if you have limited cash in hand and need to invest the majority in your down payment.

Additional concessions may include property specific items that you’d like included in the sale like appliances and furniture. All concessions (along with other components of your offer) are negotiable within the counter-offer process.

Make a Deposit of Earnest Money and Share Your Financing Details

Earnest money is a good faith investment that shows you are serious about purchasing a home. It is submitted with your offer, paid by the buyer and typically 1%-2% of the purchase price (but can be more). If the purchase agreement is accepted and the offer terminates due to issues not covered in contingencies, earnest money is generally forfeited to the seller. This gives the buyer some ‘skin in the game’ as a protection for a seller who faces the risk of accepting a purchase agreement only to have it fall through later after significant investment of time.

In addition to earnest money, sellers are further protected by asking buyers to disclose funding details in their offer. These detail show how you’ll pay for the down payment and how your mortgage loan will be structured. Your mortgage professional and real estate agent can collaborate to help you complete this section of your offer as well as help you understand an appropriate amount of earnest money to include.

Select Your Closing Date

A closing date can seem like a benign detail, but can be important depending on the circumstances for either the buyer or seller. Generally a 30-day closing period is standard, but your offer can stand out if you have flexibility in timing. Generally your agent can understand your situation and speak with the selling agent to help you come up with the best closing date for your transaction

Include an Expiration in Your Offer

A sometimes overlooked detail in this process is the expiration of your offer. A clear expiration date spelled out in the purchase agreement can offer a deadline to ensure your offer receives a prompt response.

 

The Bottom Line

While this may seem like an extensive list, it is truly represents the bare minimum of factors to consider when writing an offer. While the process can seem intimidating, the process need not be, though it is important to get the details right. This is a legal contract for what is likely to be your largest purchase to date.

That is why engaging a qualified agent who does this routinely can be crucial.  Zach Adams has extensive experience writing purchase agreements for new buyers and experienced real estate veterans alike. His approach includes educating clients about the options available and the risks and rewards inherent in each.

Zach has a proven track record in the west metro of Minneapolis and the wisdom earned across 100s of transactions. He’d love to help you no matter where you are in the process-- from locating the right property, to submitting a competitive offer, through closing on the home of your dreams.

Contact Zach today at 612.845.7890 to get started.

 

 

 

Oct. 9, 2018

Homebuyer Basics: Beginning Your Home Search with Four Simple Steps

While online listings and web-based tools have simplified the process, your home search could still benefit from one crucial component-- planning

 

Home SearchSearching for a new home has never been easier. With online listings and virtual tours, a few clicks can give you a sense for a merits of a property before you ever set foot in it. While this can help you cast a wide net, the sheer volume of listings can sometimes be overwhelming.

In order to cut through the noise and make the most of your time, it may help to add some structure to your search. A few simple steps can help.

Step 1- Begin with Goals: Define Your Must-haves and Nice-to-haves

Nearly every home purchase ultimately involves compromise. Arriving at the best destination means defining where you are willing (or unwilling) to do so. This means carefully considering your goals for the future and the components of a new home that can help your family meet them.

By prioritizing and classifying these as wants -vs- needs you will be able to assess a given property objectively. Recognizing success is a lot easier if you put pen to paper to define it first. This step in the process is also a good way to get multiple stakeholders on the same page and balance perspectives to develop group priorities.

Step 2- Build some Geographical Constraints

School districts, neighborhoods, commute times and proximity to places you visit can help create another important filter. Perhaps you know your search area well, but even so, getting in a car and driving the nooks and crannies can uncover pocket neighborhoods you never imagined.

Geographical concerns also present an opportunity to leverage the wisdom of experience by engaging a local agent. He or she will know your general search area well and can help you refine your search by offering an extensive knowledge of the local community, resources and homes.    

Fall Home Search

Step 3- Create a Saved Search

According to the National Association of Realtors, buyers spend on average six to eight weeks searching for a home. In a competitive environment this can mean scores of viable properties falling on and off of your radar.

Counting on diligent daily searching as your main avenue to keep track of listing can be hard for busy families. Instead it may make sense to engage an agent to build a custom saved search that brings the listings to you. This will ensure a steady flow of viable options into your inbox, taking the burden off of you, while putting you squarely in the director’s chair.

Step 4- Visit Some Contenders

While your computer can go a long ways toward simplifying your search, it is a poor substitute for your best tool-- your shoes. Inevitably through this process you will find homes that are close, but the way to define if any of them are actually "home" is to visit them.

What’s more, visiting multiple homes (even those that aren’t quite right) will help you understand what is available within your budget, and make the right home stand out even more. Said another way, if you want to get married, you should probably go on a few dates.

Most buyers can expect at least two or three home tours before zeroing in on a property.  Any reputable agent will be more than happy to make that happen. So be sure to visit homes, ask questions and verbalize what you think works (and what doesn’t) for each of them.

The Bottom Line

The information age puts home search tools at your fingertips, making searching a breeze. However, taking this data and synthesizing a clear path forward requires a systematic approach. Supplementing the many tools available by working with a local agent who has hundreds of residential transactions under his or her belt is a key component to adding the structure you need.

Zach Adams has a depth of knowledge about the west metro that is unmatched and he has leveraged this expertise across a broad spectrum of diverse clients to deliver results.  If you are ready to add some structure to your search, Zach can meet you where you are in the process and assist you in defining and executing next steps.

This will happen on your timeline, in your style, with your goals front and center. Contact Zach today at 612.845.7890 to get started.