Archive for March, 2013

It is still possible to build a new house, anywhere you want, with zero down if you’re willing to sweat a little and can find a willing partner in a Builder.

March 29th, 2013
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For decades it was very popular to “paint your way in.”  With the easy money decade of the 2000’s and zero down 80-20 options, this practice fell off dramatically.  Unless you’re a qualifying Veteran or willing to build a house in a USDA approved rural development city, Zero down options are no longer available. This may explain why “sweat equity” is once again seeing a resurgence.

What is sweat equity and how does it work?

The Federal Housing Administration, aka FHA, allows a buyer to get credit for labor performed when the buyer does some of the work on their new house.  The buyer essentially acts as one of the sub contractors on the build by agreeing to provide the labor for such things as painting of the interior and exterior of the home.   If the buyer is qualified, they can do other work as well.  Frequently this happens when the buyer is in the trades.  For instance, if the buyer is a licensed electrician, they could potentially receive sweat equity for doing their own wiring.  Plumbing, roofing, and other types of labor would qualify as well, as long as the buyer can demonstrate that they have the necessary license or skill set to perform such work.

There are some caveats to allowing the consideration of sweat equity as the rules have tightened up around this practice.  So how does it work? Read the rest of this entry »

Nothing is worse for buyers or sellers than finding out one day before or the day of closing that we aren’t finished yet and their transaction is not going to close. Yet, it does.

March 22nd, 2013
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According to Wikipedia: Deadline   Origin 1864

It began as a real line, drawn in the dirt or marked by a fence or rail, restricting prisoners in Civil War camps. They were warned, “If you cross this line, you’re dead.” To make dead sure this important boundary was not overlooked, guards and prisoners soon were calling it by its own bluntly descriptive name, the dead line. Nothing could be more emphatic than dead line to designate a limit, so we Americans happily applied the term to other situations with strict boundaries.

If you do a job long enough, it trains you. I have a sense of urgency unequaled by anyone I know that comes from nearly 30 years of anticipating and meeting deadlines.  We have a team conviction that “Failure to hit a deadline is not an option.” Nothing is worse for buyers or sellers than finding out one day before or the day of closing that we aren’t finished yet and their transaction is not going to close. Yet, it does.

Top five reasons why and what you can do to help us get to the closing date on time. Read the rest of this entry »

They are back and they still want the dream.

March 15th, 2013
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The way back home…

I was reading through some of my old blog posts last night.   I seem to have carried the eternal torch from year to year that the housing crisis would end sooner rather than later.  None of us knew then what we know now.  Millions would lose their homes and their self esteem to foreclosure.

According to an article by the Minnesota Housing Partnership, written back in 2011, over 100,000 families in Minnesota had already lost their homes to foreclosure and thousands more have followed since.  As painful and damaging as it is, it is possible to recover.

They are back and they still want the dream. Having waited the requisite time period post foreclosure or short sale,  record numbers of families are now applying to be pre-approved so that they can once again claim a piece of a neighborhood, paint the walls whatever color they want, and have a place for their kids to make forever friends.  There is still a lot of confusion about how long someone has to wait before they can once again be approved.

So let’s just be clear about those time periods:  what’s possible and when Read the rest of this entry »

There are some clients that are not worth having!

March 8th, 2013
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They don’t understand your value and don’t want to pay you for your work.  I’m sure you’ve run into one or two of them yourself.  They call, want endless amounts of information, want you to spend hours of your time researching things for them and yet, they don’t want to commit to using you or give you anything in return.  In fact, after you’ve done all of the work, figured out the best possible solution for them, they tell you they are shopping you against others and ask you to cut your fees.

You may be setting yourself up for this experience by not communicating your process or value upfront and what your expectations are in return.  This may seem counter intuitive to everything you’ve ever been taught but consider this: You, as a professional sales consultant, have the right to not to present to a person who is unwilling to commit to you.  Unless you still need practice, discerning this early on is critical. Read the rest of this entry »

For those who’ve been thinking that they’d build a new house someday, that day ought to be right now!

March 1st, 2013
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“Someday has finally arrived!”

For those who’ve been thinking that they’d build a new house someday, that day ought to be right now.  With existing inventory scarce and interest rates still hugging 60 year lows, there just isn’t going to be a better time in the near future to get exactly what you want, where you want it, at a better price.

Redfin did a survey of 1119 buyers between February 22 and February 25.  According to their survey those buyers are “anticipating continued price increases.  79% of buyers who responded to their survey now believe that home prices will increase in their neighborhood in the next 12 months.  The number who believe prices will rise “a lot” shot up from just 10% last quarter to 22% this quarter.”

According to the Minneapolis Association of Realtors weekly market activity report, “there were only 3 months worth of listings on the market as of the end of January and median prices increased a whopping 14.3% over the same time last year.  In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending February 16, new listings decreased by 31%” creating one of the lowest levels in a decade. Read the rest of this entry »