Rebates, Remodeling, and New Construction!

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WOW! In Minnesota, we love a bargain. We tore up the phones to get our hands on appliance rebate dollars and used them all up in 2 days. Way to go Minnesota shoppers. There’s still a lot of cash to be found. 

I took an afternoon last week and went to the annual Home and Garden show down at the Minneapolis Convention Center. I discovered a cool new tool in the Minnesota  Greenstar booth that will help you get more bang for your buck if you’re looking into maximizing credits and rebates for energy efficiency. If you missed out on the cash for appliance program, check this out:

 http://www.homeincentivefinder.org/incentive/find/homeowner/

 Smart Remodeling Investments still pay. I was on the phone with a customer of mine yesterday who purchased a home last year. It had an unfinished lower level and needed some TLC. He had an expanding family and needed to maximize living space. The house had been owned by an elderly couple who were going into assisted living. He finished the lower level, invested in a new HVAC system and radiant heat for the lower level, and modestly updated a kitchen and bathroom.   According to a recent market analysis, he appears to have increased the value of his home in excess of the dollars he spent on improvements. Investors know that remodeling pays but you have to be smart about where you spend your dollars. According to this year’s Cost vs Value Report by Remodeling magazine, the best return on your investment often comes from  the most logical and utilitarian choices.   Adding more livable space, inside or out, appears to add the most bang for your buck. Putting on a deck, finishing an attic space into a bedroom, finishing a basement, a mid range kitchen remodel, residing and putting in new windows as well as something as simple as putting in a new front door, topped the list for return on investment. Every Realtor will tell you that next to location, curb appeal and home condition are the most critical factors in getting the most for your house when the time comes to sell.  You can find the report at:

 http://www.remodeling.hw.net/2009/costvsvalue/division/west-north-central.aspx

 We’ve done a little remodeling ourselveswww.katewilson.com   got a major facelift over the last couple of months. We’ve been online now since 1995 and it was time for us to do a whole house remodel.   We’ve put tons of resources at your fingertips and made it much easier to navigate. Check us out.  

 It been a long road but Hang on…we’re on the mend. According to the Mortgage Banker’s Association of America, short term delinquencies on mortgages dropped precipitously, in January. Usually this time of year, there is a natural spike due to high utility bills and Christmas spending. It didn’t happen this year, surprising economists at the MBA. In fact, short term delinquencies fell from 3.79% to 3.63%. “Thirty day delinquencies have historically been a leading indicator of serious delinquencies and eventual foreclosures.”  According to MBA’s chief economist, Jay Brinkman, “this gives us growing confidence that the size of the problem is now about as bad as it will get.” 

 A combination of the tax credits for homebuyers, intense Investor demand for foreclosure units, and just plain old population growth and household formation, is expected to absorb the new supply of houses coming on the market without much additional downward pressure on price. MGIC, one of the Nation’s largest mortgage insurance companies, lifted their declining markets policy on a national basis yesterday. 

 I’ll be out checking out what’s new this year as we launch the Spring Parade of Homes today. The Remodeler’s showcase is going on at the same time and will give you an opportunity to see some of the finest work in the Twin Cities. Go to http://www.paradeofhomes.org/ to plan your route!

New construction is more affordable than it has been in a long time and I’ll be teaching a class on How to Finance your New move up home on March 27 at College City’s Model #163. Come join us for a great informational event.   
–Kate Wilson

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