Get Insights December 2015 Agent | Lil Stocke
Lillian Stocke
(218) 728-7753

Licensed in MN (Broker), WI (Agent)
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Lillian Stocke

(218) 728-7753

December 2015


Four things you should know about buying during the holidays

For the right buyer, purchasing a home over the holidays can be ideal. In addition to competing against fewer buyers, you’ll finish the season off with the greatest gift of all — a new place to call home for years to come. Here are four insights you can use as you purchase a home in Minnesota or western Wisconsin this holiday season.

You’ll compete against a small, committed pool of buyers

The holidays are a less popular time to buy a home, so you may see fewer buyers at open houses. Don’t assume this means you are without competition – holiday buyers are more dedicated to getting to the closing table, and multiple offers are still possible due to limited inventory in many areas. Be prepared to move quickly on a home that meets your criteria, as homes in our local 13-county metro area sold in an average of just 70 days on market in October (Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS®).

Don’t bother putting in low offers

You might think that people selling over the holidays may be desperate to move and willing to accept an offer for well under asking price. While Scrooge would approve of this philosophy, sellers still hold an advantage this holiday season. In October, sellers in our local market area received 96 percent of their original asking price (MAAR). This trend is expected to continue throughout the winter. To avoid losing a home you love, make sure your initial bid is competitive.

Limit your travel and don’t overschedule yourself

It can be difficult to slow down during the holidays, but in our fast-moving market, you’ll need to work around seller schedules. Whether you find a house through online searches or your REALTOR sends a hidden gem your way, your goal should be to see it in person as soon as possible.

Set a small gift budget, and stick to it

It’s tempting to go all out for the holidays but it’s important to keep your spending low as you apply for a home mortgage loan. To ensure you get the best interest rate and loan amount, don’t open any new credit cards and steer clear of racking up debt on any existing credit cards. And this probably goes without saying… but this is not the year to unveil a Lexus with a massive red bow to your spouse. Leave that to the actors in television commercials.

Ready to find the one this holiday season?

If you’re hoping to get a head start on buying before the spring market arrives, start now! Get answers to your market or budget questions, or let us help you get connected with a mortgage loan officer who can provide lending expertise. Contact us today to get started. Contact us today to get started.

Plus, don’t forget to search #BuyerInsights on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter for even more advice on buying a home in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.


What every seller needs to know about selling this winter

While many homeowners plan to sell in the spring, recent years show that the winter market remains competitive as motivated buyers and sellers work to get to the closing table. We’ve analyzed our local market to offer insights you can use as you determine if you should sell your Minnesota or western Wisconsin home this winter.

A snapshot of our local market

First, let’s look at what home sellers are experiencing across our 13-county metro area. According to the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS® (MAAR), local home prices have been on the rise for 44 months. In October, metro area homes sold for a median price of $218,000 — a year-over-year increase of nearly 5 percent.

Price gains for “average” homes in our area are moderate but slowing and we are unlikely to see double-digit increases again soon. If you have a home in this market segment, you may earn as much if you sell this winter as you would if you waited until spring.

Selling a lakeshore home this winter

Twin Cities lakeshore homes are selling at their highest price since September 2008, with a median sales price of $388,000 in October. These homes are also selling faster than in recent years; in February 2010, metro lakeshore homes were taking an average of nearly nine months to close and these homes now average about five months before closing. Last, local lakeshore sellers are receiving an average of 92 percent of their original asking price.

It’s a bit early to tell if there will be dips in this winter’s lakeshore home prices or sales, but numbers do indicate falling inventory for metro lakeshore homes this autumn. Sellers in this segment may find eager buyers who want to move now so they can enjoy the very first days on the water this spring.

Selling a luxury home this winter

Here’s a statement that wasn’t true a few years ago: Luxury homeowners may have the most desirable properties on the market this winter. In local homes priced above $500,000, we are seeing an average of $198/square foot at the closing table. Additionally, pending sales in this price point were up 10 percent year-over-year in October, and sellers are receiving 95 percent of their original asking price. In the winter of 2010, the low point for the local luxury market, sellers were gleaning just 88 percent of their asking price.

Luxury home sellers are also getting to the closing table faster; in October, average days on market was 134 days — a night-and-day difference from February 2009, when luxury homes lagged on the market for an average of 295 days.

As our local economy continues to rebound, the pool of luxury buyers is growing faster than homes are being placed on the market. If you’re thinking of listing your high-end home this winter, you may be able to sell it more quickly and for a higher price than in years past. One important caveat is that the market behaves differently at differing price points — which means a $500,000 luxury property has more potential qualified buyers than a home that’s selling for $1 million or more.

Selling a starter home this winter

While our entire local market is showing relatively low inventory, starter homes — or those priced under $200,000 — are the most limited in supply. If homes in this segment continue to sell at their current pace, we would have a supply of only 2.2 months across our 13-county area. This puts us in a clear “sellers’ market” for this segment. Read more insights on what makes a sellers’ market.

The inventory of starter homes dropped 30 percent year-over-year in October, so first-time homebuyers desperately need more starter homes to come on the market this winter. If you’ve been thinking of moving to a larger home, this winter may be a great time to sell your starter home and move up.

What happens next?

We’ve broken out a few different market segments, but each home is different. Homes on the same block may even have vastly different values and conditions. To know what your home is worth, it’s critical that you speak with a specialist who can evaluate your home’s current value and likelihood of selling this winter.

Request a free (and obligation-free) analysis of your home’s value today.

For more advice on selling a home, follow #SellerInsights on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


Benefits of buying with a home warranty

Buying a home is a major financial investment, and protecting that investment from day one is extremely important. A home warranty plan, like the one offered by Edina Realty Home Warranties, comprehensively covers your mechanical systems and appliances, when a failure occurs due to normal wear and tear.

So how do you shop for a cost-effective home warranty that also provides the most peace of mind? Here are a few insights:

Get repair and replacement coverage

Not all home warranties are the same. Many home warranty policies only offer to repair failed systems, while others will replace mechanical systems and appliances if a repair doesn’t fix the problem.

By purchasing a home warranty that offers both repair and replacement coverage, you could save thousands of dollars. For example, the standard cost of repair for a heating system can be as high as $600, but a full replacement could cost up to $4,700.

Get coverage on more systems

Be sure to look at a full comparison of systems coverage before you purchase a home warranty plan. While most home warranties cover larger systems and appliances like central heat and air, washers, dryers and refrigerators, only a few home warranty companies cover smaller systems. You can avoid needing to have a handyman, plumber and contractor on speed dial by purchasing a home warranty that covers your garbage disposal, ceiling fans, garage door openers and even lighting fixtures.

Get help 24 hours a day, seven days a week

You never know when a system or appliance will fail. But when it does, you won’t have the hassle of finding a service contractor in your area. You simply contact us to report the problem. We have customer service representatives available to help you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Edina Realty Home Warranties

At Edina Realty, we like to offer insights and a plan of action. That’s why we’ve partnered with HSA Home Warranty to offer the most comprehensive and affordable home warranty on the market. Our warranty offers repair and/or replacement coverage of more systems than the plans of local energy companies. Our large network of qualified, pre-screened service technicians means you will not have to find a service provider on your own.

Don’t just take our word for it. You can compare local plans here and see what kind of coverage we offer here. Reach out today, Reach out today, and we’ll get you in touch with a trusted home warranty specialist.


How to add a Pinterest-worthy mudroom at any budget

If you still think of turf-style carpeting and dark wood-paneled walls, then you haven’t seen today’s mudrooms. A mudroom is often the hardest working space in any home — and that’s especially true during our intense winters. They can also be bright, fun spaces that allow your family to stay organized and accountable for their belongings. And, they’re gaining popularity again as an essential room in any home.

Read on for insights you can use whether you’re remodeling your mudroom or repurposing a space to serve as a home for your discarded coats, jackets, bags and more.


Let’s start from the ground up. When selecting a floor for your mudroom, consider ceramic tile or hardwood — both these materials can handle wear and tear, and they wipe down easily after muddy or snowy days. Wood laminate is a good option if you’re keeping costs down, but it may not last as long.

Rugs and boot trays

Next, think about how many pairs of boots may need to be drying at any given time. Consider buying dedicated boot trays, which are available at most big box stores and larger hardware stores. If you want to spruce up the space with rugs, make sure they can be easily tossed in your home’s washing machine.

Storage benches

Benches are a staple of the modern mudroom, and most of them have storage solutions underneath. Consider buying a bench with divided cubbies so your family members can store their hats, mittens and other outdoor gear in a dedicated space when they return home.

Jacket and bag hooks

Keep jackets and bags organized by adding hooks above your storage bench. Like the cubbies, you can give everyone a labeled space for their belongings.

Remember, the party with leverage may not see the need to budge, so it’s important to enter negotiations with open eyes. Once the purchase agreement has been drawn up, it’s up to the buyer and their REALTOR to determine what’s worth fighting for and what can be accepted.

Cabinets and lockers

If you have a bigger budget and space, you can nix the bench and hooks and add built-in tall cabinets or lockers for each member of your family. This option adds a layer of chicness to the space, as the chaos of jackets, scarves, bags and shoes will be hidden behind closed doors.

One final tip

Mudrooms are meant to be a transitional space, so it’s important not to over-organize or pay for complicated storage solutions. The best mudroom is the one that’s used and hard-working, not the one that looks Pinterest-perfect (although that’s a plus). Speaking of Pinterest, check out our Mudrooms and Laundry Rooms board for inspiration from some of our favorite design ideas.

Added appeal

When it comes time to sell your home, your mudroom may be an appealing room to potential buyers. This hardworking area of the house can be a good investment for your family in the coming months and an added attractive feature at resale.


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