Sept. 28, 2021

Remote Work, Affordability Driving the Hottest Markets for Real Estate

Remote Work, Affordability Driving the Hottest Markets for Real Estate

 By Clare Trapasso
Sep 27, 2021
Posted in News
Sept. 28, 2021

Why Do Homebuyers and Sellers Rarely Meet? Here’s What Can Go Wrong

Why Do Homebuyers and Sellers Rarely Meet? Here’s What Can Go Wrong

 By Tara Mastroeni
Sep 23, 2021

In real estate transactions, homebuyers rarely meet home sellers before reaching the closing table. So have you ever wondered why?

As a general rule, real estate agents frown on buyers having face time with sellers because things can go wrong. A whole lot of things, in fact. Even seemingly innocent comments could land buyers or sellers in hot water—and jeopardize the entire real estate deal.

Yet despite these risks, buyers and sellers do sometimes meet—whether by chance or intention—and this encounter can have some surprising benefits, that is if it’s done right. Here’s a rundown of the pitfalls to avoid, plus what buyers and sellers could gain.

How homebuyers can benefit from meeting sellers

You can ask questions

First and foremost, homebuyers who meet their sellers have an opportunity to get their questions about the home answered.

“This is a great opportunity for buyers to directly ask the sellers their burning questions, like ‘Does the property have any quirks I should know about?'” says Dan Duval, principal broker/partner of the Elevated Companies in Boston. “It’s an especially great time to ask questions that your real estate agent may not be able to answer easily.”

Buyers might also benefit from hearing some insider tips about their new neighborhood. Sellers can provide homebuyers with key resources that will make settling in easier.

“The seller can sometimes offer valuable information to the buyer,” says Trey Van Tuyl, an agent with Discover Homes Miami. “For instance, they can share recommendations for their favorite nearby restaurants or talk about how great the neighbors are.”

You can persuade sellers to accept your offer (if they haven’t already)

If sellers have not decided yet on whether to sell their house to you, having a face-to-face meet-and-greet can tip the scales in your favor.

“The sellers could walk away from the meeting feeling like the right people will be moving into their home,” explains Jim Armstrong, an agent with JG Real Estate in Philadelphia. “You may help them feel like they’ve found someone who will enjoy their home as much as they have.”

In particular, if the home seller has multiple offers, buyers who go out of their way to meet them could gain an edge.

Risks homebuyers face when they meet sellers

You leave room for misunderstandings

Communication between buyers and sellers can sometimes leave plenty of room for misunderstandings that can ultimately harm the negotiations.

“One side could unintentionally say something to offend the other,” Armstrong warns. “For example, a prospective buyer could blurt out something that they want to change in the home. If the seller put a lot of hard work into that feature, this innocent comment may not go over well.”

If you haven’t yet reached the closing table, even the smallest misunderstanding can cause the deal to fall through.

You may find out something negative about the home

In addition, there’s always the chance that homebuyers could learn something negative about the home. While that could work in your favor if you haven’t yet submitted an offer or closed the deal, it may not be such a good thing if you’re already under contract.

“I had a seller who just happened to cross paths with their buyer at the home inspection,” says Jason Gelios with Community Choice Realty in Birmingham, MI. “The seller inadvertently said something that made the buyer focus on the amount of traffic coming down the street.”

This seller slip-up caused the buyer to walk away from the property. Fortunately, that buyer was still in the contingency period and could take back the earnest money deposit; but in many cases, a buyer could end up forfeiting that money.

How home sellers can benefit from meeting buyers

You feel better about leaving your home behind

Selling a home is an emotional experience. If selling your home feels bittersweet, meeting the buyers may help to assuage some of your worries by making it clear that your home is in good hands.

“For sellers, having the opportunity to meet buyers face to face may make the process feel more personal and comforting, especially if they feel a connection with the new buyers,” explains Duval.

Louise Phillips Forbes, a New York city broker with Brown Harris Stevens, adds that when there is a connection between the buyer and the seller, both parties can go out of their way to make the transaction a pleasant experience.

“I once worked with owners who left behind an expensive painting for the purchasers because they had connected over a shared loved of a place where they both like to vacation,” she says.

Risks sellers face when meeting buyers

A Fair Housing Act violation

Under the Fair Housing Act, sellers are not allowed to discriminate against buyers on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, familial status, or disability. Unfortunately, even the most seemingly innocuous comment could unintentionally raise red flags in a high-stress buying situation.

“Even a comment about the local churches, synagogues, or neighborhood’s diversity can be misconstrued as looking for a certain type of person,” warns Hillary Landau, a real estate agent with Compass in Westchester, NY.

Violating this act has far bigger consequences than just hurting someone’s feelings. As the seller, if your buyers feel that they’ve been discriminated against, you could unintentionally find yourself on the receiving end of a lawsuit.

“The less a seller knows about a buyer, aside from their financials, the less trouble they can get into,” Landau advises.

You may not like the buyers

There’s always a chance that you simply may not like the buyers when you meet them. If this happens, it can be extremely hard to stay levelheaded during the rest of the transaction—or you may end up regretting your decision to sell them the house.

“When a buyer and seller meet during the transaction, it makes things messier,” admits Michele Harrington, the chief operating officer of First Team Real Estate in Irvine, CA. “If they don’t get along, the negotiations become much more difficult. Both parties may start digging their heels in over little details.”

How home sellers and buyers can safely meet

Now that you know more about the pros and cons of meeting the other party in your real estate transaction, the next step is to learn how to make this meeting go smoothly. If you do decide to get together before you sit across from each other at the closing table, follow these tips to ensure that your meeting stays on track.

Have both real estate agents present

At its core, a real estate agent’s job is to act as the intermediary in the negotiations. This is one situation where you don’t want to be left without a professional negotiator in your corner. With that in mind, make sure that both parties’ agents are present when you meet and let them be the ones to lead the conversation.

Stick to talking about the house

Although it’s nice to make small talk, having side conversations can increase the risk of a misunderstanding between you. Keeping the conversation limited to negotiations and practical information about the property will help lower the risk of misinterpretation and accidental bias.

Be at your best


It almost goes without saying, but this is a time to be on your best behavior. While you’re in the discussion, keep things as polite and cordial as possible. If you have a problem with something that is said, the best thing to do is to discuss it with your agent after the meeting rather than in front of the other party.

Posted in Real Estate Tips
Sept. 28, 2021

Sharing a Home and Mortgage With Family Members

Sharing a Home and Mortgage With Family Members? Here’s How To Not Get Burned

By Erica Sweeney
Sep 28, 2021

Not sure you can buy a home on your own? Or handle a monthly mortgage payment? Here’s an intriguing—if somewhat tricky—option: You could buy a property with a family member (or three).

Families getting mortgages together is a scenario lenders are seeing more frequently, whether it’s siblings jointly buying a home, or adult children and their parents pairing up on an investment property,

It turns out, the trend isn’t just tied to affordability issues or living in high-cost places.

“Some baby boomers are electing to co-buy a home so they can age in place with the help of family members,” says Sherry Graziano, head of mortgage experience at Truist.

Still, it’s imperative to think about the commitment long and hard, whatever the motivation for buying a home with someone you’ll see at a family reunion. Homeownership is generally the biggest investment people make in a lifetime, and participating family members must engage for the long haul.

Here’s what to ponder before jointly buying a home and getting a mortgage with a family member, according to lenders.

Strength in numbers

“Purchasing a home together can be an incredible asset to a family, and help them grow their wealth over generations,” says Graziano. Buying a home with a family member typically works the same as when spouses purchase a home together. There is one mortgage tied to the home and multiple co-borrowers.

Each family member would be included in the pre-approval, full mortgage application, and underwriting processes. All the traditional verifications, such as income, assets, and credit scores, apply to each borrower.

And the assets of all the parties on the application are combined into one total figure. In this way, co-borrowers strengthen the income or asset portion of the application.

Beware of relations with low credit scores

All co-borrower loans, whether between spouses or other family members, are underwritten based on a combined debt-to-income ratio, calculated by dividing ongoing monthly debt payments by monthly income, says Stephanie Hawley, assistant vice president of sales at Flagstar Bank. So each borrower needs to qualify individually with his or her own credit score.

Note: The lower of the scores is used for the overall loan qualification, which can affect your mortgage interest rate, down payment requirement, mortgage terms, and type of loan product you may qualify for.

Approved mortgage loans are reported on each borrower’s credit reports for the life of the loan, meaning everyone is equally on the hook for the repayment. But that doesn’t mean if you’re a one-third owner you are responsible for only one-third of the loan. If Uncle Henry goes into default, each co-borrower is still obligated to repay the full loan.

And all parties on the loan will have their credit equally affected if a payment is partial, late, or missed.

The upside of the downpayment

Down payments can come from various sources—it’s up to borrowers to decide who pays what, Graziano says. One borrower can put all the money down, or it can be split among borrowers. This can be a massive plus if you’re struggling to scrape up a 20% down payment.

You don’t all have to live together

If you decide to invest with your metal band drummer brother on a property, it doesn’t mean you have to live with them. A non-occupant may contribute income for the loan, essentially acting as a co-signer to help everyone else qualify for the mortgage.

Keep in mind having a non-occupant involved could affect the type of mortgage you can get.

“Certain loan programs allow non-occupying homebuyers, while others may not,” Hawley says.

Other scenarios involve family members buying second homes or investment properties together, she says. These may also limit your mortgage options.

You can’t sell or refinance on your own

If things don’t work out living together or co-managing the property—or someone’s finances change—you may want to move out or get out of the mortgage. But it’s not that easy.

You can’t sell or refinance the home without all co-borrowers on the loan being in agreement.

“Should a family member later decide they want to exit the ownership or debt obligation of a home, they may have to refinance out of the property, often cashing out any equity or settling funds due with the remaining owner,” Graziano says. This process requires your relative’s approval and agreement.

Work out who is obligated for how much on the monthly mortgage payments, as well as who is on the hook for how much when it comes time to pay taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and other expenses before signing on the bottom line of the loan.

“Who pays it is something worked out by the borrowers outside our transaction,” says Hawley.

Once these details are nailed down, have a contract drawn up to outline each owner’s fiscal responsibilities. A legal document will help to keep problems from popping up.

Posted in Real Estate Tips
Sept. 22, 2021

5 Tips for Making Your Best Offer

5 Tips for Making Your Best Offer

5 Tips for Making Your Best Offer | MyKCM

In today’s sellers’ market, standing out as a buyer is critical. Multi-offer scenarios and bidding wars are the norm due to the low supply of houses for sale and high buyer demand. If you’re buying this fall, you’ll want every advantage, especially when you’ve found the home of your dreams.

Below are five things to keep in mind when it’s time to make an offer.

1. Know Your Budget

Knowing your budget and what you can afford is critical to your success as a homebuyer. The best way to understand your numbers is to work with a lender so you can get pre-approved for a loan. As Freddie Mac puts it:

“This pre-approval allows you to look for a home with greater confidence and demonstrates to the seller that you are a serious buyer.

Showing sellers you’re serious can give you a competitive edge. It enables you to act quickly when you’ve found your perfect home.

2. Be Prepared To Move Fast

Speed and the pace of sales are contributing factors to today’s competitive housing market. According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average home is on the market for just 17 days. As the report notes:

“Eighty-nine percent of homes sold in July 2021 were on the market for less than a month.”

When homes are selling fast, staying on top of the market and moving quickly are key. After you’ve worked with your agent to find the home that suits your needs, they’ll help you put together and submit your best offer as soon as possible.

3. A Real Estate Professional Can Lead You to Victory

No matter what the housing market looks like, rely on a trusted real estate advisor. As Freddie Mac says:

“The success of your homebuying journey largely depends on the company you keep. . . . be sure to select experienced, trusted professionals who will help you make informed decisions and avoid any pitfalls.

Agents are experts in the local real estate market. They have insight into what's worked for other buyers in your area and what sellers may be looking for in an offer. It may seem simple, but catering to what a seller may need can help your offer stand out.

4. Craft a Strong, Fair Offer

In the past, offering at or near the asking price was enough to make your offer appealing to sellers. In today’s market, that’s often not the case. According to the latest Realtors Confidence Index from NAR, 50% of offers are above the list price.

In such a competitive market, emotions and prices can run high. Having an agent to help craft a strong, fair offer is critical in these situations. Your agent can help you understand:

  • The market value of the home
  • Recent sales trends in the area
  • Current buyer demand

5. Understand the Seller’s Needs, but Resist Waiving Certain Contingencies

When crafting an offer, you’ll want to keep both your best interest and the interest of the seller in mind. Your trusted real estate advisor will help you consider which levers you could pull, including contract contingencies (conditions you set that the seller must meet for the purchase to be finalized). Of course, there are certain contingencies you don’t want to give up, like the home inspection.

Freddie Mac explains:

“Resist the temptation to waive the inspection contingency, especially in a hot market or if the home is being sold ‘as-is’, which means the seller won’t pay for repairs. Without an inspection contingency, you could be stuck with a contract on a house you can’t afford to fix.”

Bottom Line

Today’s competitive housing market makes it more important than ever to make a strong offer on a home. Let’s connect to make sure your offer rises to the top.

Posted in News
Sept. 22, 2021

Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing?

Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing?

Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing? | MyKCM

An important metric in today’s residential real estate market is the number of homes available for sale. The shortage of available housing inventory is the major reason for the double-digit price appreciation we’ve seen in each of the last two years. It’s the reason many would-be purchasers are frustrated with the bidding wars over the homes that are available. However, signs of relief are finally appearing.

According to data from realtor.com, active listings have increased over the last four months. They define active listings as:

The active listing count tracks the number of for sale properties on the market, excluding pending listings where a pending status is available. This is a snapshot measure of how many active listings can be expected on any given day of the specified month.”

What normally happens throughout the year?

Historically, housing inventory increases throughout the summer months, starts to tail off in the fall, and then drops significantly over the winter. The graph below shows this trend along with the month active listings peaked in 2017, 2018, and 2019.Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing? | MyKCM

What happened last year?

Last year, the trend was different. Historical seasonality wasn’t repeated in 2020 since many homeowners held off on putting their houses up for sale because of the pandemic (see graph below). In 2020, active listings peaked in April, and then fell off dramatically for the remainder of the year.Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing? | MyKCM

What’s happening this year?

Due to the decline of active listings in 2020, 2021 began with record-low housing inventory counts. However, we’ve been building inventory over the last several months as more listings come to the market (see graph below):Is the Number of Homes for Sale Finally Growing? | MyKCMThere are three main reasons we may see listings continue to increase throughout this fall and into the winter.

  1. Pent-up selling demand – Homeowners may be more comfortable putting their homes on the market as more and more Americans get vaccinated.
  2. New construction is starting to take off – Though new construction is not included in the realtor.com numbers, as more new homes are built, there will be more options for current homeowners to consider when they sell. The lack of options has slowed many potential sellers in the past.
  3. The end of forbearance will create some new listings – Most experts believe the end of the forbearance program will not lead to a wave of foreclosures for several reasons. The main reason is the level of equity homeowners currently have in their homes. Many homeowners will be able to sell their homes instead of going to foreclosure, which will lead to some additional listings on the market.

Bottom Line

If you’re in the market to buy a home, stick with it. There are new listings becoming available every day. If you’re thinking of selling your house, you may want to list your home before this additional competition comes to market.

Posted in News
Dec. 9, 2020

Knowledge Is Power on the Path to Homeownership

 Knowledge Is Power on the Path to Homeownership

Knowledge Is Power on the Path to Homeownership | MyKCM

Homeownership is on the goal list for many young adults, but sometimes it’s hard to know exactly how to get there. From understanding the homebuying process to pre-approval and down payment assistance options, uncertainty along the way can ultimately hold some buyers back.

Today, there are over 75 million Millennials and 67 million Gen Z’ers in the U.S., making up a significant number of both current and soon-to-be homebuyers. According to a recent Fannie Mae survey of more than 2,000 of these individuals:

“88% said they are confident they will achieve homeownership someday.”

In addition, the survey also reveals that for younger generations, the motivation to own a home may be more emotional than financial compared to previous generations:

  • <50% say they want to use their home as an asset
  • 78% believe it’s the best way to live the way they want, without restrictions
  • 80% believe homeownership is the best way to make it on their own

Whether homeownership goals come from the heart or are driven by financial aspirations (or maybe both), the obstacles standing in the way don’t have to bring these dreams to a screeching halt. The same survey also reveals two key roadblocks for potential buyers. Thankfully, they’re both easily overcome with the power of knowledge and trusted advisors leading the way. Here’s a look at these two challenges potential homebuyers face today:

1. 73% of future homebuyers are unaware of low-down-payment mortgage options

For those who want to purchase a home, low-down-payment options are instrumental to affording one sooner rather than later, especially given the amount of debt many younger adults have accumulated. Fannie Mae also notes:

“Among the challenges they face is an unprecedented amount of debt, along with a lack of understanding of the mortgage process and their own purchasing power. Debt, in particular, creates many obstacles such as a limited ability to save and the fear of taking on more debt.”

Today, there are more than 2,340 down payment assistance programs available nationwide to help relieve this pressure. Understanding what’s out there and the options available may help many buyers become homeowners faster than they thought possible. In a year like this, with record-low mortgage rates making their mark in the history books, being able to take advantage of the opportunity buyers have right now is essential to long-term affordability.

2. 64% of buyers expect lenders and other real estate professionals to educate them about the mortgage process

While many people love to do a quick search online to find instant answers to their questions, it isn’t the only way younger generations want to consume information or build their knowledge base. As the survey mentions, having trusted professionals help them learn what it takes to achieve their dreams is definitely on their wish list too.

Bottom Line

If you’re aiming for homeownership someday, it may be in closer reach than you think. Let’s connect so you can learn about the process and get the guidance you need to make it happen.

 

 

The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

 

 

Posted in News
June 27, 2017

Home Mortgage Assistance Programs

Two Available Home Buyer Assistance Programs - the PATH Grant Program & the MY HOME Program


The PATH Program can provide $4,000 for down payment or closing costs*.  Funds can be used towards down payment, closing costs and or prepaid items. 


The features of this program include: 

• Available for prospective home buyers purchasing or building a primary residence in eligible counties(Anoka, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington Counties). 

• Available for owner-occupied primary residences, including: 
- Single-family detached homes
- Condominiums
- Townhouses 
- One-to-four unit owner-occupied properties 

• Borrower income and/or purchase area must qualify.  Maximum gross income cannot exceed $68,160.

• Available on fixed rate mortgages, adjustable rate mortgages and construction loans.  No FHA Loans. 

• Eligible for first-time and repeat home buyers.  First-time homebuyers will need to complete a Home Ownership Education Program. 

 

The My Home Program provides $5,000 towards a buyer's closing costs.  Funds can be used for closing costs to eliminate the buyer needing to pay for them or having to add the costs into the purchase price.


The features of this program include: 

• Available for prospective home buyers purchasing or building a primary residence in eligible counties(Anoka, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington Counties). 

• Available for owner-occupied primary residences, including: 
- Single-family detached homes
- Condominiums
- Townhouses 
- One-to-four unit owner-occupied properties 

• No maximum income requirements. 

• Available on fixed rate mortgages, adjustable rate mortgages and construction loan products.  Available on conventional loans, jumbo loans, FHA & VA loans. 

• Eligible for first-time and repeat home buyers.  There is no Home Ownership Education Program needed for first time buyers.

Call or text 952.200.1994 for more details or email bradandjillsellhomes@gmail.com

Posted in News
April 21, 2017

!!!!! PRICE REDUCTION !!!!! GORGEOUS 3B/2.5B TOWNHOME FOR SALE IN ST. LOUIS PARK, MN

<*><*><*> PRICE REDUCTION <*><*><*>

<*><*><*> LISTING FOR $335,000 <*><*><*>

Listing Details

3 Bedroom, 2.5 Bathroom END UNIT Townhome for Sale in St. Louis Park, MN

3712 Wooddale Ave S., Unit 1, St. Louis Park, MN 55416

 

************* Text "HAPPY1" to 952.260.0011 for more info and pictures *************

 

Listing Details:
End Unit Townhome for Sale in Apple Valley, MN
Bed/Bath: 3/2.5
Price: $335,000
MLS number:
Square Footage: 1,818

 

************* Text "HAPPY1" to 952.260.0011 for more info and pictures *************

  

Call Brad Lacher at 952-260-0011 to see if this property is still available and arrange a showing.

Rare opportunity for an end unit in Village in the Park.  Great St. Louis Park location with easy access to Chain of the Lakes in Uptown, Greenway bike path/trails, grocery stores, Knollwood Mall, LAFitness, movie theaters and major highways.  End-unit with massive amounts of light filling the open main level floor plan with 10' ceilings, fireplace, cherry hardwood floors, granite countertops, ceramic tile and beautiful cherry cabinets/woodwork.  Huge master bedroom with 2 walls of windows.  Master suite includes large walk-in closet, separate tub and shower.  Upstairs laundry and 3 bedrooms on same level.  Plus heated and private underground parking for 2 cars!

Call us right away to setup a showing on this nice home ~ $335,000.

 

 

 

 

What's in the Neighborhood?

 

Posted in Listings, News
April 18, 2017

NATURISTS RETREAT FOR SALE IN LAKEVILLE

Listing Details

 

3 Bedroom, 3 Bathroom Rambler for Sale in Lakeville

17110 Hershey Court, Lakville, MN 55004  

 

**** Text "nature34" to 952.260.0011 for more info and pictures ****

 

Listing Details:

Bed/Bath: 3/3

Price: $265,000

MLS Number: 4817637

Square Footage: 2,171

 

*** Text "nature34" to 952.260.0011 for more info and pictures ****  
Call Brad Lacher at 952-260-0011 to see if this property is still available and arrange a showing.

You'll love this awesome 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom rambler home that sits on a quaint cul-de-sac lot.  It's located within the top-rated and highly desirable 194-Lakeville school district. It boasts an amazing, private backyard which backs up to a DNR protected wetland with walking paths and a bridge going across to Vermillion Creek. Not everyone can say they have their own nature retreat in their backyard. The lower level office can be converted to a 4th bedroom with the addition of an egress window. Walk out lower level. Large deck & separate covered deck overlooks the beautiful natural habitat. You will cherish having your very own nature retreat!

 

What's In The Neighborhood?

Posted in Listings
April 14, 2017

WONDERFUL END UNIT TOWNHOME FOR SALE IN APPLE VALLEY, MN

Listing Details

2 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom END UNIT Townhome for Sale in Apple Valley

15940 Flotilla Trail #343, Apple Valley, MN 55124

 

************* Text "cake45" to 952.260.0011 for more info and pictures *************

  

Listing Details:
End Unit Townhome for Sale in Apple Valley, MN
Bed/Bath: 2/2
Price: $169,900
MLS number: 4815469
Square Footage: 1,260

 

************* Text "cake45" to 952.260.0011 for more info and pictures *************

  

Call Brad Lacher at 952-260-0011 to see if this property is still available and arrange a showing.

Wonderful end unit townhome boasts spacious layout w/2 bedrooms + loft & 2 bathrooms. Completely updated with new carpet & flooring. Great kitchen with eat-in breakfast nook. Master bedroom has a large walk-in closet & and walk-through hallway bathroom. 2 stall garage. South facing windows & patio door off the kitchen. Huge greenspace and lots of extra parking! Great Apple Valley location w/quick access to restaurants, shopping & highways. 

 

 

What's In The Neighborhood?

 

 

Posted in Listings, News