Realtor profile photo
Brette Hermann | |612-221-7561
Traci Peterson | |612-386-8577

a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate

What are mortgage discount points and how can they help today's buyers?

/media/3684/discount-points.jpg

Key insights:

  • As interest rates rise, buyers may be concerned about their diminished buying power.
  • To combat these rising rates, some buyers are seeking to purchase mortgage discount points, which can lower the overall interest rate on your mortgage.
  • Mortgage discount points can be the right option for buyers who plan to stay in a home past the “break-even point,” but borrowers should speak with their lender about the pros and cons before making a final decision.

After years of historically low interest rates, buyers may be stunned to see that rates are rising quickly. This will not only lead to buyers paying more over the life of their loan, it can also impact the total loan amount for which they could qualify. As we reported earlier this year, a 1% jump in interest rates can be equivalent to an 11% reduction in buying power for an aspiring homeowner.

So, what can hopeful buyers do, aside from maintaining good credit and saving as much as possible for their down payment? Experts say it may also be time to take advantage of mortgage discount points.

What are mortgage discount points?

Mortgage discount points — also called discount points or mortgage points — are fees that a homebuyer pays directly to their lender in exchange for a reduced interest rate.

Each point that a homebuyer purchases typically:

  • Reduces their interest rate by .25%
  • Costs 1% of the total mortgage amount

In other words, if a buyer was taking out a $400,000 mortgage and rates were set at 5%, then they could pay $4,000 for one mortgage point. This investment of $4,000 would (in most cases) reduce their interest rate to 4.75%, allowing them to save on interest over the life of the loan.

How much do you end up saving by purchasing mortgage points?

Purchasing discount points may end up saving you significant money over the loan term. Here is an example of how much a homebuyer would save, over the course of 30 years, by purchasing one (1) point during a time when rates are set at 5.5%.

Loan amount: $300,000

Points and rates

Upfront cost

Monthly payment**

Total savings on a 30-year fixed-rate loan

0 points
5.5%
(5.667% APR*)

$0

$1,703.38

N/A

1 point
5.25%
(5.492% APR)*

$3,000

$1,656.63

$16,832

* Sample points, interest rates, and APRs are for illustrative and educational purposes only and are not an actual rate quote, pre-qualification or commitment to lend. Actual rate buy-down per point varies by loan program and market conditions. Interest rate and annual percentage rate (APR) are based on current market conditions as of 4/25/2022, are for informational purposes only, are subject to change without notice and may be subject to pricing add-ons related to property type, loan amount, loan-to-value, credit score and other variables. Estimated closing costs used in the APR calculation are assumed to be paid by the borrower at closing. If the closing costs are financed, the loan, APR and payment amounts will be higher. If the down payment is less than 20%, mortgage insurance may be required and could increase the monthly payment and APR. Contact us for details. Additional loan programs may be available. Accuracy is not guaranteed and all products may not be available in all borrower's geographical areas and are based on their individual situation. This is not a credit decision or a commitment to lend.

** This is the cost of monthly principal and interest only. Taxes, property insurance, and mortgage insurance are NOT included in this example.

Who should buy mortgage discount points?

Not everyone is a candidate for buying discount points. If you are cash-strapped and unsure how you’ll afford a down payment, for example, then buying mortgage points may be out of the question.

However, it may make the most sense to “buy down the rate” if you are:

  • Buying in an environment where rates are going up and are not expected to go down in the near-term.
  • Taking out a loan with a fixed-rate mortgage. The points may then allow you to reduce your rate for the life of the loan.
  • Planning to own the home after you reach the “break-even” point, or the time it will take to recoup the cost of buying points.

Other common questions about discount points

Can buyers purchase more than one discount point?

Yes, it’s possible to buy more than one discount point, but each lender will have their own limitations for how many discount points they allow.

Should I put more money into a down payment, or buy mortgage discount points?

There’s no easy answer to this question, because your financial situation is so different from every other buyer and borrower out there. Together, we can work with your lender to help evaluate the benefits of putting down a larger down payment (and borrowing less overall) or buying down the rate (so your rate is lower for the life of the loan).

Are mortgage points tax-deductible?

If you itemize your deductions (rather than taking the standard deduction), you may be able to claim a deduction for your discount points. Remember, though, your taxes reflect your personal financial situation, so you are advised to speak to a tax specialist about the tax consequences of discount points.

Get help navigating the mortgage process

As with all mortgage-related activities and decisions, it’s important to get the personalized help of your home mortgage consultant when making a decision about purchasing mortgage discount points. For help getting in touch with a mortgage consultant near you, reach out today.

Points may not be the best option for all borrowers. Contact your mortgage consultant to determine the best loan option for you.

Not all buyers will qualify. Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC does not offer financial advice. This information is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or financial advice.

Edina Realty Mortgage is an affiliate of Edina Realty. See Affiliated Business Arrangement Disclosure Statement

Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC may operate as Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC dba Edina Realty Mortgage in Minnesota and Wisconsin. All first mortgage products are provided by Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC. dba Edina Realty Mortgage. (877) 275-1762. Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC products may not be available in all areas. Not all borrowers will qualify. Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC dba Edina Realty Mortgage is licensed in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC is licensed by the Delaware State Bank Commissioner. Massachusetts Mortgage Lender License ML75164. Licensed by the NJ Department of Banking and Insurance. Also licensed in AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NE, NC, ND, NH, NM, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV and WY. NMLS ID #75164 (NMLS Consumer Access at http://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org/) ©2022 Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC.

Three home improvements with 100% ROI

/media/3686/home-improvemnt.jpg

Key insights:

  • The market is hot for sellers, but homeowners may still wonder how to put their best foot forward when listing their home for sale.
  • A recent report shares three low-cost home updates that will earn back their money at resale.
  • Soon-to-be home sellers can consider these projects as a way to boost their home’s value and interest among buyers.

If you’ve lived in your home for a few years (or decades), it likely will need a bit of sprucing up before you list it for sale. But it can be hard to know what buyers really want to see when they’re hunting for homes — and what they’re willing to pay for when they make an offer.

The 2022 Remodeling Impact Report

The National Association of REALTORS® recently released a report sharing the home renovation projects with the best return on investment (ROI) upon resale. The organization found that three of the lowest-cost home updates tend to pay off the most, earning a 100% or better ROI for sellers making updates.

Here are three projects that buyers love to see, and that will earn your money back at the closing table.

1. Refinishing hardwood floors

Cost estimate: $3,400

Resale value estimate: $5,000

Cost recouped estimate: 147%

Hardwood floors are in such high demand among buyers that NAR’s data shows that sellers can earn back 147% of the cost of refinishing their floors when they list their home for sale. This makes sense on a few levels: Well-polished floors will help a listing stand out online, which can lead to more buyers visiting in person. Once buyers enter and see the gleaming floors are as advertised, it may help coax an already-eager party into making an offer.

If your hardwood floors are covered in carpet, linoleum or have simply seen better days, the stats show that refinishing them will pay off when you sell your home.

2. Installing new wood flooring

Cost estimate: $5,500

Resale value estimate: $6,500

Cost recouped estimate: 117%

How much do buyers really want hardwood floors? Not only will refinished hardwood pay off at resale, so will brand-new wood flooring! For homeowners who still have carpet, laminate or other flooring in their main living areas, the replacement cost of new wood flooring will likely pay off at resale; NAR estimates these sellers will recoup 117% when closing on their home.

Note: This project includes real hardwood flooring, rather than laminate flooring. As a seller, you can make the determination whether you’d like to go with the “real thing” or a less expensive alternative.

3. Upgrading the home’s insulation

Cost estimate: $2,500

Resale value estimate: $2,500

Cost recouped estimate: 100%

If your home’s insulation is subpar, you likely experience inconsistent temperatures in your home, as well as high energy bills. Further, a home inspector may take note of your faulty insulation during their pre-sale inspection. To mitigate the issues you could face getting to the closing table, it may be worth paying for your home’s trouble areas to be reinsulated before you take it to the market.

NAR’s most recent data shows that this is a relatively low-price project, at just $2,500 on average. Best of all, NAR estimates you’ll break even at resale with a 100% return on investment at the closing table.

Get expert guidance before you sell

Not sure where to start as you consider selling your home? That’s where a local expert can come in handy! By simply reaching out when you’re ready, you’ll receive personalized insights on the most cost-effective, impactful changes you can make as you prepare to list your property for sale.

How sellers can benefit from reverse contingencies

/media/3685/reverse-contingency.jpg

Key insights

  • Sellers may find themselves in a tight spot if they sell their property but haven’t yet found a new home to purchase.
  • To avoid this anxiety, sellers may consider adding a reverse contingency to their purchase agreement.
  • In a reverse contingency, the seller adds a clause saying that the home’s sale is contingent on their purchase of a new property.

Worried about not having housing during the time between selling your current home and buying a new one? Here’s how using a reverse contingency can help you ease your mind as you list your home for sale.

What is a reverse contingency?

When there’s a shortage of homes for sale, sellers typically rejoice. After all, the simple dynamics of supply and demand dictate that in a low-inventory market, sellers can benefit from shorter time on the market and increased sales prices.

Of course, sellers who need to buy another home have the same challenge as every other buyer looking for a property in their preferred location and budget. Naturally, this can cause anxiety for sellers who aren’t sure they’ll be able to find an acceptable new home before their current home is sold.

That’s where a creative option, known as a “reverse contingency,” can come into play. In a reverse contingency, sellers insert a clause into the purchase agreement that makes their home sale contingent on finding another home to buy. (Note: This is the opposite of a buyer’s contingency clause, which makes a home sale contingent on whether the buyer can sell their home.)

When should sellers use a reverse contingency?

Let’s say you receive a very attractive offer on your home, but you haven’t yet found another one to buy. In this case, you can consider adding a reverse contingency clause into your purchase agreement.

Together, we will determine the exact language to include in the contract. But in essence, the reverse contingency will give you a period of time to try to find a new home before you are legally bound to close on the sale of your existing home. In short, you get the advantage (and relief) of knowing that your home is under contract, and some extra time to look for a new property.

If you find a home during that period that suits your needs (and your offer on that home is accepted), we will remove your contingency and you’ll move toward closing the sale of your own home. If you don’t find a home during that time, we may be able to:

  • Cancel the purchase agreement and walk away from the deal.
  • Negotiate a longer contingency if the buyer is willing.
  • Negotiate for a longer path to closing, so the sale moves forward and you still have time to continue searching.

Note: When making the decision to pursue a reverse contingency, consider not relying on stats or news stories about the market as a whole. Real estate is hyper-local, and so is buyer demand. Together, we can evaluate the buyer interest for homes like yours and determine if a reverse contingency is the right call.

Alternative options to reverse contingencies

If a reverse contingency doesn’t feel right, there are other seller-friendly options available for sellers who are concerned about finding a home to purchase in time.

Transitional housing

Some sellers opt to arrange short-term or transitional housing, which allows you to sell in a strong market while taking the time you need to find — or build — your perfect house. Common transitional housing options might include a short-term rental, an extended stay at a hotel or staying with friends or family for a month or two.

Home equity loan solution

Most homeowners plan to use the proceeds of their home sale to fund the down payment on their next property. Those who haven’t yet sold their first home may worry about their ability to fund their future property. Today’s lenders are understanding about this predicament and some offer home equity loan solutions*, where homeowners can fund their down payment on the assumed equity of their existing property. When their home is sold, they can pay the lender back and the loan is canceled.

The right team

Selling a home can be stressful. But with a little time, creativity and the right team in place, you can gain the flexibility and freedom needed to find your ideal home. Call or email today for expert advice on how to properly time your home sale and purchase.

*Not all buyers will qualify. Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC does not offer financial advice. This information is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or financial advice.

Edina Realty Mortgage is an affiliate of Edina Realty. See Affiliated Business Arrangement Disclosure Statement

Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC may operate as Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC dba Edina Realty Mortgage in Minnesota and Wisconsin. All first mortgage products are provided by Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC. dba Edina Realty Mortgage. (877) 275-1762. Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC products may not be available in all areas. Not all borrowers will qualify. Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC dba Edina Realty Mortgage is licensed in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC is licensed by the Delaware State Bank Commissioner. Massachusetts Mortgage Lender License ML75164. Licensed by the NJ Department of Banking and Insurance. Also licensed in AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NE, NC, ND, NH, NM, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV and WY. NMLS ID #75164 (NMLS Consumer Access at http://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org/) ©2022 Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC.

What are native plants and how can you use them in your lawn?

/media/3683/native-plants.jpg

Key insights:

  • Embrace the concept of “No Mow May” by incorporating native plants in your landscaping.
  • Native plants and pollinators are on the decline. Creating a natural habitat in your yard may help to revive these local species.
  • Wildflower and clover yards require less maintenance and water than the traditional grass yard, which saves homeowners money and time.

A recent push for “No Mow May” has taken social media and local governments by storm. This trend encourages the growth of native plants and grasses in order to protect natural wildlife and habitat.

Follow along if you’re interested in replacing your green, manicured lawn with an equally luscious alternative that also supports local pollinators and plant species.

Plant a wildflower or clover yard

While a yard full of wildflowers or clovers may sound like a whimsical fairytale, it’s becoming a desired lawn feature for households across the country – and not just for its beauty. Even though these natural plants offer a beautiful sight, the addition of such greenery serves a greater purpose: to build back lost habitats for insects. Currently, 40% of insect species are on the decline. Building back their natural habitat with wildflowers or clover may help to save these small, vital creatures.

Wildflower

A yard full of wildflowers is one of the best options for encouraging the biodiversity of plants, insects and birds. Once these yards are established, they require much less upkeep than a typical grass lawn. It’s important to use seeds for flowers that grow naturally in your area. Here are some popular native plant species to use in lawns throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin:

  • Black chokeberry
  • Blue false indigo
  • Blue flag iris
  • Bush honeysuckle
  • Butterfly milkweed
  • Cardinal flower
  • Michigan lily
  • Purple coneflower
  • Red osier dogwood
  • Swamp milkweed
  • Wild columbine
  • Wild geranium

Clover

Clover yards are easy to plant and a breeze to maintain. With this style of yard, homeowners can potentially mix clover with native grasses to add interest to their lawn. Plus, clover requires less water than the standard lawn – and it costs less to plant, too. The most commonly used clover species are:

  • Micro clover
  • Dutch white clover
  • Red clover

The benefits of native flowers and grasses

Creating pollinator gardens, incorporating native plants in your landscaping or planting a full-fledged wildflower or clover yard all offer a variety of benefits. Here are some of the advantages associated with this style of natural yard:

  • Creates a refuge for bees, birds, beetles, butterflies and other pollinators
  • Allows for plants to grow freely, which increases biodiversity
  • Generates visual interest
  • Reduces runoff and erosion
  • Saves you time and money on yard maintenance

Maintain your yard naturally

Here are some tips to create a natural and inviting outdoor space that will help pollinators and plants thrive:

  • Prepare your soil
  • Plant wildflower, clover or natural grass seeds
  • Plant fruits and vegetables that you enjoy
  • Water seeds only when necessary
  • Eliminate or reduce pesticide usage
  • Incorporate shrubs and sections of mulch for visual interest and erosion protection
  • Set up a seating area with citronella candles

Looking for more natural yard tips? Moving forward, reach out for more ways to enhance your home’s yard and boost its sale potential.

Why a higher property value benefits you, even if you don't plan to sell

/media/3680/property-value.jpg

When home prices rise, as they have been for the last few years across Minnesota and western Wisconsin, many homeowners may become frustrated by the increase in their annual property taxes. While it's not expected that you celebrate a higher tax bill, there are various reasons that homeowners should accept rising values as a good thing.

Here are insights you can use when assessing your home's rising value and how it affects you.

Short-term benefits of a higher property value

If you didn't put down a hefty down payment when you purchased your home, you may pay mortgage insurance — either private mortgage insurance (PMI) on a conventional loan, or mortgage insurance premium (MIP) on an FHA loan. These insurance payments add up; borrowers can pay hundreds of dollars per year on mortgage insurance for their loan.

These insurance payments are based on the level of risk the lender is taking to loan you money. When your home's value rises, the loan becomes less risky to the lender because its loan-to-value ratio decreases.

Here are the details you need to know about the possibility of canceling your mortgage insurance payments:

  • Conventional loan borrowers can take advantage of their rising property value by canceling their PMI when their loan-to-value ratio reaches 80 percent; it will automatically be canceled when the loan-to-value ratio reaches 78 percent.
  • FHA borrowers, unfortunately, are not able to take advantage of a similar cancellation. They will continue to pay MIP for the entire lifetime of the loan.

In short, a small uptick in your property taxes may signify that your home's value (and equity) is rising — and allow you to bank more each month by canceling your mortgage insurance.

Medium-term effects of a higher property value

Over the last few years, the headlines have focused a lot on the rising property values across the country and in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. On average, homeowners saw their property values increase by 20% in the early months of 2021! That amounted to, on average, $33,000 in equity for the average homeowner. Of course, most folks don’t have tens of thousands of dollars in cash sitting around to pay off bills, take on renovations or fund a new car or college student.

While many homeowners hope to wait until they sell for a big “cash-out,” many are starting to recognize that their increasing home value and home equity gives them some financial options they can explore in the here and now.

There are a variety of options to look at — from tapping into home equity to receive a lump sum payment, to getting a revolving line of credit similar to a credit card, to a cash-out refinance. Each of the options have pros and cons but they all share one similar trait: They offer cash to homeowners who have built up wealth via their home equity, but who are not quite ready to sell their home.

The long-term effects of a higher property value

Explaining the long-term benefits of a higher property value is far less complicated. In short, surprising circumstances can arise that cause you to sell your home — even if you swear that you will never, ever leave it.

Perhaps you'll outgrow the quirks you love now, or maybe it'll be far too much space after your kids grow up. Maybe you'll be offered your dream job on the west coast and have to pack up and move on. In short, you never know what the future holds, so having a higher potential sales price on your property means that you won't lose money if (and when) you eventually come to sell it.

Wondering how to check your home's value?

Get in touch for a personal estimate that goes far beyond the automated options you may see advertised online. There’s no obligation and no risk — you’ll simply receive the professional assessment of a local expert to help guide your way.

Getting outbid? What buyers can do to stay in the game (and win)

/media/3679/out-bid.jpg

Buyers today are feeling the squeeze. As home prices and interest rates rise, inventory continues to remain low. Even the most hopeful home seekers may be feeling pessimistic, and wondering if the right home will ever be theirs to keep.

Here are some top insights for navigating today’s market as a buyer. Whether you’re just dipping your toes in or have lost in multiple offers a few times, these tips should help you determine the right path forward.

Have the hard conversations

First, it’s time to take a peek at the offers you’ve placed and how you’ve stacked up against the other bids and winning buyer. Together, we’ll work to determine the answers to the following questions:

  • Have we ever been close to winning an offer? Or are we being heavily outbid every time?
  • How many offers are typically being placed on the properties we like best?
  • How much did they end up going for, compared to our offer or budget? Were we close or quite far off?

If you’re in the running for the houses you like best, then it may just be a matter of being patient. If you tend to be in the bottom half every time, it may be time to adjust your expectations or look to other neighborhoods or cities for houses that better fit your budget.

Think through your timeline

Today’s sellers have a keen advantage in the market… until they sell and have to re-enter the market as a buyer! If you have flexibility in your timeline, then you may want to add that into your offer. Whether you end up closing in 90 days to allow the seller more time to find their new home, or renting it back to them before you move in, offering more time to the seller can help your offer stand out — even if your monetary bid comes up a bit short.

Reassess your “must-haves”

“It’s pretty common for buyers to have a long list of non-negotiables… until they find a house that just feels right,” said Edina Realty President Sharry Schmid. “Then, suddenly, having laundry in the basement isn’t such a big deal.”

Of course, it’s fine to have standards. But if you have been ultra-picky about the homes you’ll consider, and you’re losing bid after bid, you may want to take stock in the amenities or features you really need… and let some of the others go.

Try touring a few homes that wouldn’t have passed your original requirements. Discuss the pros and cons of buying a home with only two garage stalls instead of three, or a split-level design, or one that doesn’t have an owner’s suite with an attached bathroom. If you decide to hold strong to your original must-haves, that’s just fine. On the other hand, you may encounter a home that has 90% of your desires, and you might just decide it’s worth it after all.

Reconsider your down payment, if possible

You’ve likely been saving for years for a down payment, so it’s unlikely that you have an extra bank account you haven’t tapped into yet. However, if you’re lucky enough to have family or friends who are willing to provide mortgage gift funds, it may be time to ask for a financial favor. There are regulations in place for how you can legally obtain these funds, so be sure to speak with your home mortgage consultant to follow the proper process.

Alternatively, we can determine if you are eligible for down payment assistance. In Minnesota, funding assistance up to $17,000 may be available; in Wisconsin, the maximum assistance amount is 6% of the home’s purchase price.

Consider other home types

While many buyers are looking for single-family homes with a yard and garage, other housing options are available and can offer just as many advantages. Condos and townhomes tend to have lower price points, while requiring less maintenance.

Plus, multi-family housing is a lot different than it used to be. Condos are no longer available in only the swankiest parts of downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul; they can also be found in most suburbs and neighborhoods. Townhomes are not only being built in large developments, but also in smaller communities near parks, walkable retail and more.

Need help entering the market as a buyer?

If you haven’t hired an agent to represent you in the home buying process, get in touch any time for an honest, open conversation. It’s a tricky time to buy, but having the right professional on your side can make all the difference.

iBuyers: What to know about selling your home for an immediate cash offer

/media/3681/i-buyer.jpg

If you read or watch the news, you may have heard about a non-traditional home buying model known as “iBuying.” iBuyers tend to be larger investment firms that make fast offers to home sellers, based on a home value that’s generated by their proprietary algorithms.

So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of using an iBuyer to sell your home? Let’s dive in.

Understanding an iBuyer’s automated valuation

When iBuyers make an offer, it’s usually based on their algorithm’s analysis of local market values and nearby, recently sold homes. So if your neighbor with an identical bed and bath count sold last year, the iBuyer may rely heavily on that sale price to determine their offer.

But what if your neighbor’s house still boasted 1970s era shag carpet, while your decor is inspired by the newest trends on HGTV? What about the return on investment of your new roof, picture-perfect landscaping and energy-efficient windows?

While algorithms might get an iBuyer in the general vicinity of the value of a property, they can’t take into account the work you’ve put into your home. That’s why it’s always beneficial to have a live, local expert determine the price of your home before selling. Your perfect rows of petunias and your bright, modern decor have real value in the marketplace, and could lead to more buyers and a higher offer than if you go with an online analysis.

Which homeowners benefit from selling with an iBuyer?

For the right seller, using an iBuyer can be advantageous. Homeowners who opt for selling with an iBuyer typically fit into one of the following scenarios:

  • They want to move without staging or updating the house.
  • They need to sell quickly due to a professional move or personal reasons.
  • They want to avoid the hassle of showings, open houses and buyer foot traffic.

In today’s fast-moving market, though, many sellers are concerned about finding the right home to purchase after they sell. For these folks, working with a certain iBuyer can help provide more flexibility for their move.

QuickBuy, a modern option for sellers who need certainty and flexibility

At Edina Realty, we represent sellers in every neighborhood across Minnesota and western Wisconsin, offering full-service real estate solutions for sellers who want a more traditional home sale. But we also recognize that not every seller does want to go that route.

Edina Realty has now partnered with QuickBuy, a financial partner that allows us to offer homeowners a larger variety of options when they sell. These services include:

  • The full-service real estate solution we’ve been providing (and improving upon) for more than 60 years.
  • An immediate “Quick Buy” offer that allows the homeowner to avoid showings and home prep, work with a cash buyer and close in just 14 days if desired.
  • A QuickBuy “lock,” which allows sellers to lock in an offer that they can accept at any time in the next 150 days while the home is traditionally listed on the market (provided the home stays on the market).
  • The ability to sell the home and then lease it back for a short time. This option gives sellers the sales proceeds they need to fund their next home, and allows them to avoid short-term rentals or other transitional housing as they look for their next property.

Here’s one more important difference about our partnership with QuickBuy: Prior to getting the cash offer from QuickBuy, we can meet and do a qualified market analysis of your home’s value, should you list it on the traditional market. Then, whether you choose to sell on the traditional market or accept the QuickBuy offer (and service), you’ll have peace of mind that you’ve made an informed decision

Still not sure which path you want to take when selling your home?

It’s a big decision, and it’s smart that you are not taking it lightly. At Edina Realty, we are here for you whether you want to sell quickly to a cash buyer or position yourself for multiple offers on the traditional market. We even offer a pre-market option for sellers, so we can begin marketing your home among fellow Edina Realty agents who may just know the right buyer. No matter what, you’ll want to get started by securing the help of a professional real estate agent you can trust.

Reach out today to talk through your options and find the best selling path for you.

What’s the difference between a condo, loft and apartment?

/media/3678/difference-between-condo.jpg

You’re ready to make the next step in your homeownership journey. You can even picture yourself shopping for new decor to furnish your new condo — or will it be an apartment? Or a townhome? Or a loft?

The differences between these four types of homes are distinct. And you will want to carefully consider the type of property that you will live in. Here are tips to help you make a confident decision about whether a condo, apartment, townhouse or loft is right for you.

What is a condo and how does it differ from an apartment?

A condo, also known as a condominium, is a private residential unit that is surrounded by commonly-owned areas. Condo owners have the freedom to make decisions within the space they own, including:

  • Painting the interior walls
  • Replacing appliances
  • Changing the flooring

Although a condo owner has creative and legal ownership over their individual unit, the space surrounding their unit is jointly owned. Shared spaces and amenities such as hallways, fitness facilities and security systems are maintained by the homeowner’s association (HOA). The HOA also enforces special condo rules or regulations within the complex. Keep in mind, condo residents pay monthly fees to their HOA in exchange for these conveniences.

Outwardly, condos and apartments can appear very similar. However, the difference between a condo and an apartment is how they are owned and managed:

  • Condos are sold to individuals who have complete ownership of their condo units; the entire condo complex is overseen by the HOA.
  • An apartment complex is owned by an individual or group that rents apartment units to tenants; each unit is rented for a period of time agreed upon in a lease.

What is the difference between a townhome and a condo?

Townhome and condo owners both have ownership over their personal housing units, and they both pay monthly fees toward general maintenance and upkeep of common areas. The distinction between a townhome and a condo lies in the boundaries of ownership.

As previously explained, a condo owner can expect to have ownership over the elements that are found solely within the interior walls of their unit.

In a townhome:

  • Ownership typically includes the housing unit and the ground beneath the unit.
  • In many townhouse properties, the owner also has control over exterior components like the roof, driveway and yard.

What are the benefits of living in a condo or a townhouse?

A condo may be the best purchase for you if:

  • You’re community focused. Condo entrances may be shared and condo units are often in close proximity. Whether you wave hello to your neighbor while picking up the mail or get to know a fellow resident in the elevator, condo living can provide an instant sense of community that other types of housing can’t.
  • You want to explore a variety of styles. Another exciting condo trait is that they come in all shapes and sizes. Unlike townhouses (which are typically constructed as a series of units linked together by common walls), condos tend to come in a variety of architectural styles ranging from skyrise units to renovated old mansions to detached, single-level properties.
  • You like low-maintenance living. When living in a condo, you won’t typically be responsible for mowing the lawn, shoveling the walkways or vacuuming the shared property spaces.

Meanwhile, a townhouse could be the right choice if:

  • You want to have a bit of green space. Most townhouses will have a small yard that you can call your own. Whether you want to grow your own flowers and vegetables or have a backyard fit for grilling, townhouses offer the outdoor lawn that condos typically can’t.
  • You want a dedicated entrance, but don’t mind living in close proximity. Many townhome communities have shared amenities and even shared walls, so you may meet fellow residents at the pool or clubhouse, or as you enter and exit your property — but you typically won’t share an elevator ride or garage with anyone.

What is a loft? Where are they typically located?

Lofts are large, open, adaptable spaces that have been converted for residential use. Many lofts have exposed fixtures, huge natural light sources and flexible layouts with minimal walls. These apartment-like units are typically, but not always, found in urban settings.

Lofts can be apartments or condos — meaning they can be available for purchase or for rent. In recent years, old warehouses, factories and mills have been rezoned as apartments and condos in Minneapolis, St. Paul and other towns with a history of industry.

You’ll have to do a bit of research to buy and live in one of these unique units, but you can start by looking at available properties in the following areas where lofts are commonly found:

  • North Loop
  • Downtown St. Paul
  • Northeast Minneapolis

Find the features that are right for you

Committing to a property is filled with choices. Do you prefer a community-oriented condo? An apartment with a renewable lease? A townhome with a yard to call your own? Or a quirky loft with the original brick as a focal point?

No matter where you’d like to live, you’ll want to start your home buying journey the same way: by reaching out to a local, professional expert you trust. Get in touch by phone or email today.

Buying and selling a house — how to time it perfectly

/media/3672/buy-sell.jpg

Need to sell your current home and buy another? Whether you’re a first time homebuyer or you’re ready to move into a different property, it can be challenging to time a move so the sales perfectly align. While every property transaction is unique, we’ve outlined the common pros and cons of selling a home first versus buying a home first.

Selling a home first

Congratulations, you sold your house! Now what? Here’s the inside scoop on the pros and cons of selling your home first.

  • Upside: By selling first, you’ll likely feel more financially secure as you begin searching for homes to buy. It can be helpful to know what kind of money you’ll walk away with at closing so you can set a responsible budget for house #2 and feel confident that you can get approved for your next mortgage loan.
  • Downside: There’s more to think about than just the money you’d acquire from a sale, though. Consider this: The current inventory of homes for sale is low and it may take longer than you think to find your next home. This means you may have to consider transitional housing or other creative solutions while you search for the perfect place to plant roots.

If you’re in the process of selling your home, and you’re concerned that you might close on your sale before finding your new home, you’re not without options. Together, we can try to negotiate for a later closing date when accepting a buyer’s offer. This will help you gain more time to find your next property.

Buying a home first

It’s also possible to buy a new home before you list your current home for sale.

  • Upside: By buying a new home before you sell your current home, you can search on your own terms and put an offer on the home of your dreams — rather than being tied to a timeline.
  • Downside: If you buy a new home before selling your current property, you’ll need to have enough cash on hand to cover the down payment for house #2, and you may end up paying two mortgages until your original home sells.

If you choose to buy first, be sure to prepare your finances and save as much money as possible in order to get approved for a second mortgage. This will also give you peace of mind as you commit to paying two mortgages for the short term (or possibly longer). And of course, you’ll want to hire a real estate agent who has strategies to help you sell quickly.

In some cases, homebuyers can use the equity of their existing home to fund their down payment for house #2, even if they haven’t closed on their first property sale yet. This kind of mortgage home equity loan* may be an option for those who are intending to sell, but it’s important to consult a home mortgage expert for tailored guidance.

Adding a contingency when buying

If you want to buy first, but avoid two mortgage payments, you can try to add a buyer’s home sale contingency in the purchase agreement of your new home. This contingency states that the transaction for the new house is dependent on the sale of your current property.

Consider that a seller may perceive a contingent offer as weaker than a non-contingent offer. And, in a housing market that favors sellers (like we have today), you may have a more difficult time getting a seller to accept a contingent deal.

Should I buy and sell a home at the same time?

This is a pretty common scenario, especially for homeowners who don’t have a “backup plan,” like the option to move in with family or friends for a few weeks or months.

At first, it may seem like the best-case scenario to both buy and sell at the same time. Here are a couple of considerations for you as you decide if this is the right path for you.

  • Upside: You can time your moves to coincide. This will allow for a seamless transition from one house to the next. Packing up a van and relocating a few miles away is about as easy as a move can get.
  • Downside: It can be a challenge to stage your for-sale home and keep it clean for showings, all while touring other homes, making offers and negotiating coinciding closings. If you think this would be too overwhelming, staggering your purchase and sale may be a better option.

So, what’s the best plan?

Unfortunately, there’s no one answer to this question. All homeowners are different, with unique finances, timelines and other logistical factors (like school and work schedules, family trips, short-term living options, etc.) to consider.

And, all homes are different, too! In an area without many homes for sale, sellers might accept an offer on a home in just a few days or even hours — while a seller with a less appealing property may wait months for just one offer.

All in all, the perfect option for one seller might not work for a different seller, even if they live on the same block. Together, we can weigh your personal and financial factors to determine if you should sell your home first, buy a home first or buy and sell at the same time.

Key points and next steps

Because the current housing market is full of demand, you’ll want to formulate a game plan in advance to organize the timing of your home sale, purchase, and a “Plan B” option. Reach out any time to get started on your journey of buying and selling.

*Not all buyers will qualify. Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC does not offer financial advice. This information is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or financial advice.

Edina Realty Mortgage is an affiliate of Edina Realty. See Affiliated Business Arrangement Disclosure Statement

Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC may operate as Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC dba Edina Realty Mortgage in Minnesota and Wisconsin. All first mortgage products are provided by Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC. dba Edina Realty Mortgage. (877) 275-1762. Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC products may not be available in all areas. Not all borrowers will qualify. Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC dba Edina Realty Mortgage is licensed in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC is licensed by the Delaware State Bank Commissioner. Massachusetts Mortgage Lender License ML75164. Licensed by the NJ Department of Banking and Insurance. Also licensed in AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NE, NC, ND, NH, NM, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV and WY. NMLS ID #75164 (NMLS Consumer Access at http://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org/) ©2022 Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC.

11 Packing and moving tips for the big move

/media/3671/moving-tips.jpg

While it may seem like an enormous task to pack up your entire life, try not to overthink the process of packing and moving. Here are hot tips from moving experts that will ensure your move from one residence to another goes off without a hitch. Plus money-saving tips so you don’t have to pay an extra dime!

From the moving timeline to tips on bubble wrap alternatives, here’s everything to consider when packing and moving.

6 Moving tips

If possible, prepare for the big move as early as possible. By prepping your family members and space in advance, you’ll set everyone up for success and avoid the potential headaches that could come from a lack of planning.

Plus, keep in mind that getting ready for a move includes more than just packing. For example, garage sales and utility transfers are also important steps. Keep reading as we dive into the top moving hacks and tips.

Have a garage sale

Even before you begin packing your belongings, consider hosting a garage sale where you can flip items that you no longer use. This will help you pare down the amount of stuff that you need to pack and transfer, which ultimately simplifies your moving process.

Here’s how to have a successful pre-move garage sale:

  • Advertise your sale around the neighborhood and on social media.
  • Offer items sold in bundles.
  • Set fair prices to get more sales.
  • Prepare plenty of change, or offer online payment options like Venmo or Paypal.

Start packing early

Once you’ve gotten rid of any excess items that won’t be coming along for the move, it’s time to pack up the belongings that will trek from one home to the next. While it’s best to start packing as soon as possible, you’ll want to keep your most-used items out until closer to your move date. Experts agree it’s ideal to start the packing process around six weeks before the move.

Finish packing the day before the big move

While gathering boxes to pack your belongings, remember that you won’t want to pack up your favorite kitchen utensils, daily toiletries, or beloved jackets until much closer to the move. It’s okay to still be packing all the way up until the day before the move, as long as you don’t leave the bulk of the packing to the last minute.

Schedule your utilities

Most utility companies can process a request for new services quickly, but it’s a smart idea to plan your utilities — both a service termination and initiation – a couple of weeks prior to your move. Making the extra call or completing an online application for utilities now will make the transition of moving much smoother later. And, the good news is, this step should only take a few minutes out of your day, but the payoff is substantial. All you have to do is:

  • Make a list of all of the utilities you currently use.
  • Contact your providers and update them with your change of address.
  • Pay off any current balances.
  • Schedule your new service to begin a day prior to your move, and your previous service to end a day after your move (so you don’t have a lapse of time without water or electricity at either place).

However, if this sounds like a lot of work, don’t worry! Because of Edina Realty’s partnership with a company called Updater, we can automatically get your address and utilities changed when you move. Reach out today for more information!

Set a moving budget

When moving, some homeowners start to rack up significant bills. It’s a good idea to prepare your finances in advance so you’re ready when the moving day comes. The price of the following tends to add up to a few thousand dollars for most movers:

  • Base fee with a moving company
  • Extra fee for specialty items (think oversized or extra fragile pieces)
  • Renting your own moving truck
  • Purchasing moving equipment, including boxes and tape
  • Transportation from your sold house to your newly purchased home
  • Storage units (especially if you opt for temporary transitional housing)
  • Booking a sitter for your pets or children

Eat what’s in your cupboards

Aside from purchasing a light amount of produce and other perishables, try to hold off on grocery shopping before your move. Eating what’s in your cupboards will mean you have fewer items to transport on moving day.

However, if you have a large spice collection or are hoping to move everything in your kitchen and pantry, you still can. Here are some food packing hacks for moving:

  • Pack dry food goods in plastic boxes to keep pests out.
  • Move refrigerated items only if your new location is less than 2 hours away.
  • Donate any food that can’t be taken with you, rather than throwing it out.

5 Packing tips

Packing can seem daunting. These methods to pack for moving will help simplify your process, while making sure all of your belongings make it to your new property safely.

Label everything

Attach a label to every box you pack. Not only will this help you identify what’s in each box, but it will also help your movers (whether a professional company or helpful friends) know where in your home to organize the boxes.

You can also come up with an easy color-coded system for each room in your new house, then label each box or bag with the correct color. Here are some materials that you likely have around your home already that work well for color-coding boxes:

  • Washi tape
  • Colored markers
  • Pieces of colored paper
  • Stickers

The best way to pack clothes for moving

Most of us don’t have enough garment bags to house all the clothing items in our closets, but it’s a waste of time to pack up each button-down shirt, dress and pair of pants into boxes. Instead, the best way to pack clothes for moving is to turn a plastic garbage bag upside down and make a small hole in the middle. Hook a group of 10 hangers into the opening, then seal the “top” of the bag using the bag’s original strings.

Voila! Now you can transport closet items with ease.

Switch peanuts and bubble wrap for clothes

When packing up your dinnerware, picture frames or other breakable items, you’ll want to protect them. And, it’s possible to keep these fragile items safe without spending a fortune on bubble wrap.

If you have unused Styrofoam party plates, layer them between breakables as you pack. Or, consider separating and wrapping fragile items with the following:

  • Clothes
  • Cloth napkins
  • Tablecloths
  • Placemats
  • Towels

The best way to pack shoes for moving

To maintain the condition of your shoes, you’ll want to follow these moving tips and tricks for shoes:

  • Place heavier shoes at the bottom of the box.
  • Wrap nicer shoes in a plastic bag, or keep them separated in their own box.
  • Tie pairs with laces together.
  • Stuff shoes with socks to maintain their shape — and save room.

How to pack a TV for moving

A television is typically a higher-ticket item, so you’ll want to take care when packing it. Ensure the screen doesn’t crack throughout the move by wrapping the TV generously with bubble wrap, packing paper or a blanket. Then, place the TV in the original box if you have it. Otherwise, use both a packing blanket and stretch wrap to secure the device.

Before you dismantle your TVs, computers or other electronics, take pictures of the cords behind them and how they interact with one another. Setup at your new home is a breeze when you have a visual guide for how to best connect your devices.

Ready to get moving?

These moving and packing hacks are bound to make your moving experience flow with ease. But moving is about more than just packing up — you’ll also want the insights and guidance of a local specialist who has your best interests in mind. Reach out today for tailored help from start to finish.

Status Definitions

For sale: Properties which are available for showings and purchase

Active contingent: Properties which are available for showing but are under contract with another buyer

Pending: Properties which are under contract with a buyer and are no longer available for showings

Sold: Properties on which the sale has closed.

Coming soon: Properties which will be on the market soon and are not available for showings.

Contingent and Pending statuses may not be available for all listings