Archive for March, 2014

Analysts foresee the most robust expansion for any year since 2005. -By Barb Crea

March 28th, 2014

Spring is here and temperatures are rising with the hope of hitting 60 degrees on Sunday. This, coupled with the positive comments from an article in the Pioneer Press this morning, is encouraging. After the brutal winter weather many analysts foresee the most robust expansion for any year since 2005, two years before the Great Recession began. The combination of an improving job market, pent-up consumer demand, less drag from U.S. government policies, and a brighter global outlook is boosting optimism for the rest of 2014. “We are looking for progressively faster growth as the year goes on,” said Doug Handler, chief U.S. economist at HIS Global Insight. Gus Faucher, senior economist at PNC Financial Services says, “People will be buying cars and homes and making other purchases that they put off during the winter.”

A recent survey conducted by LendingTree indicated that a whopping 71% of current homeowners would like to put their homes on the market in 2014. Of the 71% thinking about selling, 24% plan to sell their home regardless of any home value increase or decrease.

To assist first-time homebuyers as they emerge from their winter hibernation, MINNESOTA HOUSING just released a program update increasing the down payment assistance available and income limits under their Deferred Payment Loan (DPL) Program.

Read the rest of this entry »

The birds are back and the buyers are out. -By Randy Cullen

March 21st, 2014

When I got home from the office on Wednesday night I was simply amazed to see all the robins and other birds out singing and flying around from tree to tree. They did not seem a bit concerned that it had snowed the day before, or that the temperatures were headed for the mid 20’s for the weekend. Just like us, birds don’t venture from their winter nesting places until they feel the weather has finally made a positive turn. The birds have made it back to my yard to announce that spring has arrived!

As I read through the March report of Keeping Current Matters, I gather that across the country the first quarter of the year has been much the same for all of us. The weather kept everyone indoors, or in our winter nesting place.  We are now ready to venture out.

We are fortunate not to be like some service providers that miss out on revenue if consumers stay home during bad weather. Consumers that didn’t go out to eat because the weather was too nasty meant lost revenue for those shops they might have visited. Consumers that put off buying a home in the first quarter will now be out, and we will still see the sales even though the first quarter brought few. Be prepared to get busy.

Here are the latest studies from Keeping Current Matters that confirm what we have been saying over the last three months: Read the rest of this entry »

The market is getting healthier and 2014 is going to be, as projected, a phenomenal year for us! -By Barb Crea

March 14th, 2014

It’s been fun visiting Open Houses over the past several months, observing and learning from sales people in action. One thing I’ve learned is most of us can use a little brushing up on our sales skills – including me. Right now, many of you are taking time out of your precious lives, and away from your families, to sit in Model Homes (some of you 6 hours a day 4 days a week) during the Spring Parade of Homes.

You need to ask yourself if you’re just showing up at that Open House to put in your time, OR are you capitalizing on the opportunities THAT PARTICULAR Open House presents. Think about it – EVERY person who walks through the door did it for a reason. Even if it’s because they’re suffering from “cabin fever” and needed to get out or they’re looking for decorating ideas, guess what, THEY have friends and family that may be looking to sell, buy or build a house this year.   Engage – find out WHY they stopped in and WHO they know.

When that prospect leaves YOUR Open House, what’s going to stick in their mind? Will they remember you? Will they remember that house? Will they feel comfortable reaching out to you for additional information or with questions – maybe to look at a different house? Do you have their contact information and do they have yours?

Are you making people feel comfortable when they walk through that door, warmly inviting them in, encouraging them to look around, and telling them a little about the house and Builder if it’s new construction? Are you asking open-ended questions like, “So, what brings you in today?” This is not a yes or no question – it gives you the opportunity to engage in conversation. Read the rest of this entry »

Let’s get building! -By Randy Cullen

March 7th, 2014

The days are indeed getting longer, and this weekend we spring forward as we adjust our clocks for daylight savings time. It will take all of us a day or two to get used to the new normal in our sleep and wake up schedules, but we will adapt as we always do. More daylight will lift everyone’s spirits even though our daytime temperatures are not yet above freezing. People are out and about, walking through the doors of the model homes during our Spring Preview for the Parade of Homes, so we should take a few minutes to brush up on construction financing.

Our construction financing package is as easy as 1-2-3. Others copy our process but no one can match it.

Step 1: This process begins with you – the Realtor and Builder. You will be the first to meet the client and listen to their wants and needs. You will find the price point and plan that fits the lifestyle expressed by them. There are still many questions to be asked, and you may not feel comfortable diving into them. That’s where our seasoned team will help. We will preapprove your client so you know the new home plan and price fits with the income, assets, and credit of the borrower. Building a home for someone that does not qualify is never a good business practice.

Step 2: We will order the appraisal and title on the property to complete the approval process of the borrower. Before we close on the borrower’s construction loan to build the new home, we know they have the income to support the project, the cash to execute, and a credit profile to match. Once the construction loan closes the work can begin. The borrower will make interest only payments throughout the process as the money is drawn to build the home.

Step 3: The construction is complete! The appraiser performs a final inspection to confirm the home is done per plans and specifications provided. We balance all the final numbers and update the borrower’s file one last time in preparation of signing the paperwork for the permanent financing.

You have now successfully completed another sale and everyone got paid. It was done flawlessly, as your team was behind you every step of the way from plan to completion. Easy as 1-2-3 … Let’s get building! –   Randy Cullen