Your no-nonsense real estate guide
Three reasons the housing market won't slow down this winter
Generally, the housing market slows at the beginning of winter, and doesn't pick back up until the spring market begins in earnest.
This year, experts believe that our local market might keep booming straight through the coldest months.
Mortgage rates have fallen
Last spring, as buyer demand soared, rates began to slide up. In September, the Federal Reserve committed to buy $85 billion a month in bonds – a move that should keep rates low for buyers in the near future.
Sellers are motivated
Median sales prices were up 11 percent in October 2013 over the previous year, and days on the market decreased 27 percent. As more and more sellers come out from underwater and see buyers competing over quality listings, they are entering the market. New listings were up 15 percent in October, showing seller confidence is increasing, too.
Despite a major boom in multi-family housing developments, rental prices in the Twin Cities continue to rise. Nationwide, vacancy rates are at an eleven-year low of 4.5 percent; in the Twin Cities, the vacancy rate is at 2.5 percent. As mortgage payments begin to rival monthly rental rates, frustrated renters are encouraged to look into their homeownership options.
Whether you’re buying, selling or considering both, let us help – no obligation and no expectation. Reach out today to talk about mortgage rates, your home value and more.
What does it mean if a listing is contingent?
If you’re a homebuyer, you may find yourself falling for homes labeled contingent – but what does contingent mean? In short, a contingent property is still available for showings, but it is under contract with another buyer. Of course, all contingencies are not created equal!
Contingent, subject to inspection: The buyer and seller have signed a purchase agreement, but the buyer is allowed to cancel the deal if the buyer does not like the results of the home inspection. Usually these inspections take place a few days after the purchase agreement is signed.
Contingent, sale of another property: The buyer and seller have signed a purchase agreement, but the buyer is allowed to cancel if the buyer's own home does not sell. This is ideal for the buyer, who is protected against having to buy before they’ve sold their current home.
Contingent, subject to third party approval: The buyer and seller have signed a purchase agreement, but the seller's lender must approve the sale because the sale proceeds will not be sufficient to pay off the seller's mortgage loan.
How can I tell which properties are contingent?
Now, when you are on edinarealty.com or our mobile search tools, you can see the current, accurate status of properties in the “listing information” area. On my site, you can filter by status to include or exclude contingent listings.
In the past, Edina Realty was only allowed to show a property as “active” or “sold.” We’ve recently received approval to display the listing status of properties that are contingent or pending sales.*
Your source for complete, accurate and timely real estate information
We know you have so many options when it comes to searching for homes, so we worked hard to be one of the first websites in our local marketplace to display this information. We’re dedicated to making edinarealty.com the best online resource for complete, accurate and timely real estate information.
Begin your home search now
*Only properties listed through the Regional Multiple Listing Service (RMLS), which makes up the bulk of Minnesota and western Wisconsin, will reflect this new feature. Some multiple listing services do not offer listing statuses for display online and therefore cannot be displayed.
Should you sell your home over the holidays?
It’s common to assume that selling over the holidays is a bad idea – whether it’s because you don’t want to add to the stress, or because you think buyers won’t bite. In reality, buyers are still out there in full force, and it may be a great time for you to list your home.
First, buyers who are looking over the holidays are highly motivated, and they are ready make a move.
Second, buyers in any year are being forced to compete over a smaller inventory of homes for sale. Buyers have fewer homes to choose from at this time in any year, because on-the-fence sellers usually wait until January to list. This year, that’s especially true; inventory has been scarce for months, and in October, the number of active listings was down 4 percent from October 2012.
Still want to celebrate the holidays? If you receive an offer close to your holiday, you can always delay (or restrict) your closing date to allow your family the celebration you all deserve. (Your realtor and closer will probably thank you for this, too!)
Thinking you might want to dive into the world of holiday selling? Get started with a free home market value estimate today.
How to prep for the holidays as a first-time homeowner
For those entertaining
Repair and maintain
First, check appliances and fixtures to make sure nothing is leaking or on the verge of breaking. The last thing you want on your hands is a plumbing disaster as your guests arrive.
Three weeks before your celebration, start deep-cleaning room by room. Start with the rooms that have the least traffic, and save high-traffic areas (like the kitchen and main bathroom) for the days leading up to the big day. If you’re leaving for the holidays, do this anyway. There’s nothing better than coming home to a clean and welcoming home… especially when you have bags of gifts and new belongings in tow.
Consider guest accommodations
Dust off the guest bedroom or rearrange the office to allow for a comfortable home away from home for family and friends. While couches were fine in college, luxe air mattresses are now affordable and expected. For additional tips on creating a nice guest area, regardless of your space, check out these tips.
Check the kitchen
Do you have enough pots, pans, dishware and table space to host your holiday meal? If not, don’t panic – borrow the kitchen items, or invest in an inexpensive set that you can take out once a year. As for tables and chairs, it’s perfectly acceptable to buy a fold-out table and cover it with a chic tablecloth. Just make sure to buy in advance – you’re not the only one lacking table space this time of year!
For those traveling
For food, that is. Make sure to eat your perishable items in the week leading up to your departure. Clear out your cupboards and fridge the night before your trash collector comes, so you don’t come home to a stinky situation.
Secure your stuff
Burglaries are common this time of year, especially in homes where the owners are away. Be sure to alert a trusted neighbor or friend that you will be out of town, and ask them to pick up your mail and even turn on lights at night if they are able.
Lots are scarce, but buyers are purchasing newly built homes
Homebuyer demand is strong in the Twin Cities, and as a result, builders are doing what they can to keep up.
As of September 2013, single family housing construction was up 33 percent in the Twin Cities over 2012, according to Metrostudy. Of the 2,736 units started by September 2013, 75 percent are still under construction.
"We will likely end 2013 up right around 6,000 new home starts, 30 percent higher than 2012 and twice the amount from 2011," said Ryan Jones, director of Metrostudy's Twin Cities market.
What does this mean for buyers? Well, as existing inventory continues to sag, new construction is becoming more and more appealing to eager buyers.
Buyers can expect high competition if they are looking to build, but may find that newly built homes are available in their price range come spring.
Search new construction in your area now to get started.
Along with homeownership comes the responsibility of keeping the home's appliances and heating/cooling systems in working order. By purchasing a home warranty through Edina Realty Warranties, you'll be covered on repairs and replacements of covered systems.
While many service contracts offer only repairs to failed systems, the Edina Realty Home Warranty plan goes beyond repairs to include replacement coverage as well. You'll find the Edina Realty Home Warranty covers more appliances and systems, like plumbing and electrical, than other service plans like your energy company's.
Learn more about the buyer benefits of a home warranty.