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The 2023 Color of the Year: How to decorate your home with the year’s most on-trend hues

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Key Insights

  • Many major paint and decor companies announced warm peach and natural hues as their 2023 Color of the Year.
  • Take care to understand where to best incorporate the Colors of the Year in your home. More vibrant shades are ideal for accent walls or pillows.
  • Whether you’re staying put or staging your home for sale, the Colors of the Year will help bring new life to your space.

Homeowners, builders and designers anticipate the annual Color of the Year announcements. In 2023, major paint companies decided on warm peach and natural hues that are projected to inspire home design concepts and furnishings for the year ahead, while the “Global Color Authority,” Pantone, opted for a much more vibrant shade for its pick.

Read along for expert tips on decorating and staging your home with the 2023 Colors of the Year.

The 2023 Colors of the Year

While shades of green were the collective pick in 2022, this year’s theme incorporates many warmer shades of orange and pink. Collectively, the selected paints play with modernized versions of the natural world, speaking to new beginnings with positive futures. Containing both muted and extroverted coral tones – along with more traditional neutrals – the 2023 Colors of the Year offer a little something for everyone.

Now, let’s dive into each color and its individual meaning.

Pantone: Viva Magenta

Nearly vibrating off the screen (or your home’s decor), Viva Magenta is a rich and lively hue dubbed as Pantone’s 2023 Color of the Year. As a dynamic red derivative, Pantone notes that Viva Magenta is “audacious, full of wit and inclusive of all.” This pigmented color encourages strength and makes a bold statement in any room.

Sherwin Williams: Redend Point

Connection and care combine to create Redend Point, the Sherwin Williams 2023 Color of the Year. This warm hue is a remnant of natural textures, like terracotta and earth. Recognized as an inviting hue, Redend Point offers a balance of calming and intriguing energy.

Benjamin Moore: Raspberry Blush

Benjamin Moore declared Raspberry Blush — an animated coral with a hint of pink — as its 2023 Color of the Year. When used in a well-lit room, Raspberry Blush offers a zingy salmon tone; in shaded rooms, it appears as more of a dusky rose.

Better Homes and Gardens: Canyon Ridge

Another coral tone, Canyon Ridge, serves as the Better Homes and Gardens 2023 Color of the Year. This color decidedly “infuses energy and comfort” into any space. The warmth of Canyon Ridge invokes images of glowing sunsets and sunbaked desert landscapes that can be reimagined in any space.

Behr: Blank Canvas

The Behr 2023 Color of the Year, Blank Canvas, is explained as a complex white with taupe undertones. This creamy hue emanates “well-being and relaxation” from any space, fostering fresh starts and restorative vibes.

Decorating and staging your home with the 2023 Colors of the Year

When staging your home for sale, it’s important to create a neutral space that potential buyers could imagine themselves living in. With the neutral backdrop, you can then sparingly add bright colors to create visual interest in interior spaces – especially if they emphasize the standout features of the home.

Of course, if you’re planning to stay in your current home for the foreseeable future, opt to decorate with the colors that bring you the most joy. Perhaps this is the year to add Viva Magenta wallpaper to the main floor powder room?

Are you looking for a pop of color?

Three vibrant hues make up the 2023 Colors of the Year, including:

  • Viva Magenta
  • Raspberry Blush
  • Canyon Ridge

These colors can be incorporated in small doses within your existing space. Consider decorative pillows, throw blankets or small art pieces that match these hues. Viva Magenta, Raspberry Blush or Canyon Ridge can also be used for home upgrades buyers love, like painted cabinets and accent walls.

Do you want to paint an entire room?

The two more subtle Colors of the Year will work well when setting a tone in an entire room:

  • Redend Point
  • Blank Canvas

Homeowners hoping to incorporate these hues into their space are in luck! Swaths of Redend Point and Blank Canvas can be seamlessly integrated into most existing color schemes. Use area rugs, comforters and large art pieces to showcase these Colors of the Year. If you want to keep that color theme going, other natural design elements will also complement these colors well.

Painting your homeownership journey

Are you moving forward with an improvement project this season? Consider incorporating one of the 2023 Colors of the Year into your home. Whether you’re decorating for your own enjoyment or prepping to stage and sell, a fresh color will bring new life into any space.

From trending colors to market insights, Realtors can help you through every step of your homeownership journey. Reach out for expert advice today, and together we will make a plan!

I don’t have 20% for a down payment. Can I still buy?

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Let’s face it, saving 20% of the price of a home can be daunting – and depending on your debt, job or other factors, it could take you a long time to save up that kind of cash. However, alternative loan options are available for those who cannot save 20% for a down payment.

Here are insights for you to consider as you dive into the world of saving, borrowing and buying. Remember, everyone’s finances are different, so it’s best to consult with a mortgage consultant or financial advisor before you get started on the path to homeownership.

FHA loans

FHA loans are backed by the Federal Housing Administration, and they can benefit first-time homebuyers or those who are finding it hard to save up a 20% down payment. FHA home loans allow borrowers to pay a smaller percentage for their down payment.

FHA loans do have limitations. First, FHA loans are meant to be “helper loans,” so they won’t allow you to finance a multi-million-dollar home. The limits for FHA loans are set by county.

Last, FHA loans require you to pay mortgage insurance at closing and throughout the life of the loan. Mortgage insurance costs vary, so it’s critical that you factor this cost in when you’re considering buying. To determine if an FHA loan is right for you, talk to a mortgage loan officer.

FHA Loan Details for Borrowers

Minimum Credit Score

580

Minimum Down Payment

3.5%

Debt-to-Income Ratio

Capped at 43%

Loan Limit

Limits by county in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Mortgage Insurance

Required for the life of the loan.

VA loans

If you’re a veteran, you most likely know whether you are eligible for VA loans, which are private loans backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). VA loans are the only major loan type that don’t require a down payment and also don’t require mortgage insurance.

Your home mortgage consultant can help you determine if you’re eligible for a VA loan.

VA Loan Details for Borrowers

Minimum Credit Score

Set by individual lenders

Minimum Down Payment

Not required

Debt-to-Income Ratio

Set by individual lenders

Loan Limit

Loan limits are set by county and match the conforming loan limits set by FHFA. The 2023 loan limit is $647,200.

Mortgage Insurance

Not required.

Conventional loans

If you have a strong financial history but simply lack the down payment, you may be eligible for a conventional loan. The benefit to these loans is that — unlike FHA loans, which require you to pay mortgage insurance for the entire loan — they only require you to pay private mortgage insurance until you reach 20% equity on the property.

These loans are intended for less risky buyers, so they do require a higher credit score and may involve a more strenuous mortgage application process.

Conventional Loan Details for Borrowers

Minimum Credit Score

620

Minimum Down Payment

3% (but loan terms will improve if you put down more).

Debt-to-Income Ratio

Set by individual lenders

Loan Limit

The 2023 conforming loan limit is $647,200.

Mortgage Insurance

Required until 20% equity position is reached. (Mortgage insurance is waived if the buyer puts down 20% at closing.)

Getting started with less than 20% down

Even if you can’t save a 20% down payment, you may still be eligible for a loan — or you may be eligible for down payment assistance programs. Talk with your financial advisor or a mortgage loan officer to determine the most responsible loan choice for you and your family, or reach out.

+ 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.

Negotiate, counter or accept: Get the most when selling your home

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You’ve received an offer on your house. Great! Now what? You might feel so excited that you jump at the first offer you see, but there are some smart reasons to be thoughtful before accepting an offer.

It’s important to negotiate house offers to earn the best price and terms on the sale. Here are some insights you can use to accept the champion offer on your home.

  • What to consider when selling your home
  • How to approach a counter-offer
  • Negotiating a house offer or multiple offers
  • Accepting an offer on your house (and the steps that come after)

What should I do when I receive an offer on my house?

If you’ve hired a REALTOR® to represent you during the home sale process, they will receive all offers on your home from agents representing the hopeful buyer(s). Once an offer is made, your Realtor will present you with the information from the buyer’s agent. The offer details typically include:

  • A purchase agreement. This will become the binding sales contract if the offer is accepted.
  • Proposed terms of the deal, like purchase price and whether the deal is contingent on a mortgage approval (vs. an all-cash offer).
  • Proposed closing date.
  • Amount for earnest money deposit, which is monetary collateral the buyer puts down to show they’re serious about the purchase.
  • Provisions regarding title and inspections.
  • Contingencies, including home inspection or sale of the buyer’s home.

Together with your agent, you’ll review the details of the offer to determine if the terms are acceptable. From this point you can either accept, negotiate or decline the offer.

How long do home sellers have to consider an offer?

The answer to this actually depends on if you are making an offer on a home in Minnesota or in Wisconsin.

In Minnesota, there is no standard deadline to respond to an offer — and it’s pretty uncommon for a buyer to stipulate one. In Wisconsin, on the other hand, buyers are required to put a deadline on the offer. If the offer expires without a response from the seller, the buyer is free to walk away and make offers on other properties.

Should a seller ever accept the first offer?

Accepting the first offer can be advantageous for some sellers. Here are a few reasons why you may accept the first offer on your for-sale home:

  • The monetary offer and terms are acceptable to you, or beyond what you were expecting.
  • The buyer has proposed a timeline that works well for you.
  • The buyer has waived contingencies, making for a smoother path to the closing table.
  • The buyer has an all-cash offer and will not have to finance the purchase.
  • You don’t want to deal with additional showings or open houses.
  • You don’t think you’ll get a better offer from anyone else.

Keep in mind that you could drive yourself crazy wondering if you left money on the table by accepting an early or first offer. It’s important to talk with your Realtor early on about your ultimate goals for selling before you list the home. That way, when the right offer comes in — either after one day or one month — you will be ready to confidently accept it.

When can I decline an offer?

Before rejecting an offer outright, be sure to discuss the decision with your Realtor. If you feel as though a buyer will never compromise to meet in the middle, it may be time to reject an offer.

However, it’s very important to keep in mind that if you reject an offer, your reasoning must be based on the terms of the purchase agreement. You cannot, under any circumstances, discriminate against buyers based on race, religion, ethnic group or other factors not related to the terms of the purchase agreement.

What is a counter-offer and how do I make one?

If you receive an offer on your home that isn’t quite aligned with your goals, you may make a counter-offer. In a counter-offer, you are implying that you will accept the buyer’s offer, subject to one or more requested changes.

Respond with a counter-offer

A common tactic for sellers is to respond to a low bid with a counter-offer for the original list price. This shows potential buyers that the list price is what the seller intends to get for the property, and that it wasn’t a high-ball posting. A seller may also find other terms of the offer unacceptable and could make a counter-offer to remove those terms.

If the buyer agrees to your price or terms and signs the counter-offer, you’ve got a deal! Contrarily, the buyer could also submit their own counter-offer in response to yours, and the negotiation process would continue.

Leverage an expert’s advice

Navigating offers and counter-offers is a high-stakes game, and the process can be stressful and confusing as a result. Remember, your Realtor has deep market expertise and a history of negotiating the best deal for their clients, and you can lean on them heavily during this time — and rest assured that you’ll walk away with the best possible offer.

What if I receive multiple offers?

It’s possible that you’ll receive multiple offers on your home. In fact, some home sellers actually try to attract multiple offers with the hopes of being able to choose the best bid for the final property sale.

When facing multiple offers, you’re at a clear advantage — so sit back and determine the best purchase price and terms for you. Here are a few ways to react when you receive multiple offers:

  • Review all bids and choose one. Go through all offers on the home, keeping in mind that you may want to look at more than just the price. To find the best bid, you’ll also want to consider the all-around terms of the offer. You may find that one standout offer is too good to resist and decide to accept it.
  • Ask for a final offer. If the bids are close together, or you believe you can negotiate an even better price or terms, you can request for some or all buyers to submit their best and final offers.
  • Counter-offer. Rather than asking buyers for their best offer, you could also submit a counter-offer to a buyer who is close to your desired price or closing time, but not quite there.

Whether you find a winning bid after the first set of offers, or have to negotiate to get the offer you’ve been waiting for, you’ll find that your Realtor will be an invaluable asset during this process.

What do experts do to negotiate a better selling price?

The simplest way to negotiate as a seller is to make a counter-offer to a particular offer, then simply wait to see if the counter is accepted. But another tactic, when faced with multiple interested buyers, is to give them a deadline to make their “highest and best” offer — after all, an eager buyer may go even beyond the sale price or terms you had in mind.

Remember, though, there is more to a home sale than just price. By thinking about considerations that go beyond the ticket price, you may end up with a sale that really works in your favor. For example, you may prefer to:

  • Request no contingencies from your buyer.
  • Ask for a faster, or slower, timeline to closing — depending on your preferred moving schedule.
  • Choose a buyer who agrees to pay all their own closing costs.
  • Put an expiration date on your counter-offer so you get a fast, final answer from buyers.

Do sellers ever reject offers for the asking price of a home?

Price is just one element of a contract, so it’s certainly possible for a seller to view a list-price offer and still reject it based on other conditions stated within the offer.

When the market (or market-segment such as a certain price point) favors sellers, you may hear about multiple offers driving prices up so that sellers receive even more than their original asking price. In a market that favors sellers, some may hope to earn more than their listing price at closing — and as a result, they may be inclined to reject their initial listing price from a buyer.

Consider pricing your home so that you’d be pleased with a list price offer and view anything above it as a bonus. That way, you don’t set yourself up for disappointment, and you don’t irk buyers who are working in good faith to get approved for list-price offers.

What are the steps after accepting an offer?

Now, it’s on to the closing table. Your agent will help you complete the steps to closing on your home, which include:

  • Monitoring the buyer’s loan approval and title process
  • Negotiating any issues that arise prior to closing
  • Selecting a closing date
  • Finalizing any payments or negotiations you’ve made to the buyer, including any agreements you made to pay for home repairs or closing cost incentives

You’ll also want to begin packing up your home, because moving day will come faster than you realize!

Ready to get started?

Now that you’re a pro negotiator and know how to identify an offer worth accepting, are you ready to get the home sale process started? Reach out today for expert tips on how to move forward with your real estate transaction.

Ask an Edina Realty Lawyer: Can I get out of my lease if I bought a house?

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Homeownership can be complicated, but we also think it’s one of the most rewarding ventures out there. In our series, Ask an Edina Realty Lawyer, we are hoping to demystify some of the trickier aspects of buying, selling and owning a home.

In this edition, one of our lawyers discusses the laws and rules regarding ending a lease.

Dear Edina Realty Legal,

I would like to buy a home, but I have another six months left on my apartment lease. I’ve heard that you can end a lease if you buy a home. Is that true?

Can I break my lease to buy a home?

The idea that you can get out of a lease if you wish to buy a home is a common misconception — and its prevalence is likely the product of wishful thinking. In reality, neither Minnesota nor Wisconsin has any laws permitting a tenant to terminate a lease because they intend to buy a home.

Now, it is possible that your lease agreement gives you the right to terminate it early. But that type of term in a lease is very rare. Most likely, your lease does not allow you to terminate it before the scheduled expiration date.

What if I just leave the rental and stop paying rent?

A lease is a binding contract and if you violate it by not paying rent, you are in breach (or default) under the contract. The landlord can take legal action against you to recover rent and other expenses due. Often, leases contain provisions that allow the landlord to charge late fees and interest if the rent is not paid. And many leases also allow the landlord to recover any attorney fees they pay to enforce the lease. So by leaving early, you could actually incur expenses on top of the unpaid rent.

What will my landlord do if I break my lease?

For residential tenancies in Minnesota and Wisconsin, the law requires landlords to mitigate their damages if a tenant breaks a lease. What that means is that the landlord must use reasonable efforts to re-rent the unit. If the landlord can find a new tenant willing to pay the same rent, a tenant may be able to leave with little consequence.

But the landlord only needs to use reasonable efforts. And if there are other units vacant, the landlord is free to rent those first — which means it could take longer to rent your unit, and you could be charged in the interim. In addition, if the landlord rents the unit for less, the landlord can charge you, the defaulting tenant, the difference in rental amount.

How to properly end your lease

If you wish to leave your rental at the end of the term, you’ll want to make sure that you properly end the lease. Ultimately, you need to review your lease to determine whether there are any particular requirements for ending the lease. Often, leases contain a specific requirement for providing written notice of termination.

A common type of lease is a “term” lease. This is a lease with a specific end date. Typically, you do not need to provide notice to end the lease on the expiration date. You simply vacate the unit. But you’ll want to check your lease to make sure there are no notice requirements and you will still want to coordinate handoff of the keys, and an inspection, with your landlord before vacating completely.

If you don’t have a written lease, but pay monthly rent or if you are beyond the original period of a term lease, you are likely on a month-to-month lease. For a written lease, you’ll again want to check it for any notice requirements.

Terminating a month-to-month lease in Minnesota

If your month-to-month lease has no notice requirement, you’ll want to understand how to properly end it. In Minnesota, you must give the landlord at least one calendar month notice prior to the termination. The termination will be at the end of the monthly rental period, which is usually the end of the month. This means that if you want to end a lease on January 31, you’ll need to give notice no later than December 31. If you gave notice on January 1, the earliest the lease can terminate is the end of February.

Terminating a lease in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is a little different. For a month-to-month lease, a tenant must give at least 28 days’ notice prior to the termination date. Again, be sure to check your written lease to see if there are any other notice requirements.

Moving forward, to a life without a landlord

Leasing laws can be complicated. And while you can’t end a lease just to buy a home, you might have other rights to terminate if the landlord has not fulfilled their obligations. If you have questions about your lease rights, there are many tenants’ rights organizations throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin that may be able to help.

The Edina Realty Legal Department serves as in-house counsel for Edina Realty and does not represent private clients. This Insight is not intended to provide legal advice.

The 2023 housing market: What buyers and sellers can expect

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Key insights

  • National real estate headlines are not representative of the Minnesota and western Wisconsin market, which is less volatile than many coastal markets.
  • Buyers concerned about interest rates should meet with a REALTOR® and loan officer early to discuss budget, loan options and more.
  • Sellers have an advantage but should look to their Realtor for local market stats around time on market and price. Strategic updates to their property will make it more appealing to buyers.
  • Our local economy is strong, and unemployment rates are low. Housing affordability remains a challenge for some.

Sharry Schmid, president, Edina Realty

As president of Edina Realty, Sharry Schmid provides guidance and direction to over 2,000 REALTORS®.

First, a word about those headlines. Just as selecting the right house is about “location, location, location,” the right way to view housing market news is to think “local, local, local.” National headlines tend to focus on areas that are experiencing the largest changes—many of which are coastal cities or areas that also saw the biggest increases in sales and appreciation during the pandemic, when remote work was a boon for some regions. And keep in mind the nature of headlines—they use words and tactics that are likely to grab the most attention.

Here in the Midwest, the housing market has been busy but much less volatile than in other parts of the country. As I’ll explain below, there are challenges and opportunities for buyers and sellers, but housing will always be a tangible asset because you have the opportunity to build wealth while also benefiting from the shelter, comfort and community a home provides. By understanding what’s happening in Minnesota and western Wisconsin specifically — and speaking with a local Edina Realty Realtor directly — it will be easier for you to identify opportunities and make a plan about buying or selling a house.

Here’s what most experts are saying buyers and sellers can expect from the housing market in 2023.

Home buyer expectations

The primary theme for buyers this year will be how today’s higher interest rates impact their buying power. After years of historically low rates, we have seen rate hikes throughout 2022, and experts believe that additional rate increases may occur in 2023 as the government continues to fight inflation. This will likely bring about some new or expanded loan programs for buyers to explore.

First-time buyers

  • Affordability. When interest rates go up, those pursuing a mortgage will see an impact on their buying power. Buyers should speak with their Realtor and home mortgage consultant to learn what they can afford, and what loan programs are the right fit for them today. There are a number of financing options available.
  • Competition. Homes in ideal areas and price points will continue to be in high demand. Rising rates can mean less competition for homes as some buyers delay homebuying or move to lower price points.
  • Control over costs. If you are renting, you are likely facing annual price increases that are out of your control. If you can afford to buy a home that is equivalently priced to your monthly rent, it will be to your great long-term benefit to become a homeowner and leave renting behind. If you choose a fixed-rate loan, you can – property taxes aside – have a stable monthly payment for your residence for 10-30 years with the opportunity to refinance and reduce your payment if rates should go down.

Move-up buyers:

  • Home prices. As in the past few years, homeowners selling their current home will likely be happy with the sales price — and may be concerned about the cost of their next residence. Because the average homeowner in Minnesota and western Wisconsin gained $28-29,000 in equity from Q2 2021 – Q2 2022, home sellers can use that equity to their advantage in their next home purchase.
  • Leaving your current mortgage. Homeowners looking to upgrade may wonder if they should leave behind their low-rate mortgage and buy a new home with a higher mortgage interest rate, or stay in place and remodel their home to suit their lifestyle. It’s a personal decision, and I advise anyone considering remodeling or upgrading their current residence to run the numbers with a contractor, and then talk to your Realtor about the pros and cons of staying and remodeling versus moving. If you need more space, you may find that a new home with a higher interest rate is equivalently priced to a major set of home improvements.
  • New construction options. As long as interest rates remain around 6.5-7%, we are unlikely to see a lot of speculative (or pre-sale) homebuilding. If you are hoping to purchase a new construction home, you should meet with a Realtor who can walk you through the options of developments in your ideal area.
  • Luxury homes. Luxury homes will continue to be in high demand in the coming year. Buyers seeking higher price points should expect competition and to move as quickly as those in the lower tiers of the market.

Whether you’re a first-time or repeat buyer, it’s important to remember that experts are here to walk you through exactly what to expect — and determine exactly what you can afford. Now is a great time to sit with a Realtor and home mortgage consultant to understand:

  • The loan programs that you qualify for, and how they benefit you.
  • What you can comfortably afford for a monthly payment — and what overall budget that would translate to when buying a home.
  • How your equity, savings or financial history is impacting the loan options available to you.

Home seller expectations

Sellers will continue to be at an advantage in 2023, as they have in recent years. However, the increase in interest rates could reduce competition among buyers.

  • Position in the market. Sellers will continue to benefit from low inventory, though it won’t be nearly as low as it was during the height of COVID-19. With a reduced buyer pool due to higher interest rates, price gains will be more moderate than in years’ past. However, sellers with well-appointed homes and fair prices should see swift sales.
  • Bidding wars. Some homes — especially starter homes — may still see bidding wars, as longtime hopeful buyers seek to find their property at last. However, sellers shouldn’t expect a bidding war.
  • Staging and style. Even with low inventory, buyers continue to be discerning and are not interested in overly styled or highly customized homes. If your home has been tailored to your (very specific) needs over time, you’ll benefit from working with a Realtor who can help you neutralize the space and make it more appealing to a larger buyer pool.
  • Luxury sellers. In 2022, homes on the local luxury market moved at nearly the same speed as properties in the lower tiers — which is historically uncommon. We expect that luxury home activity will continue to outpace historic rates in 2023, putting luxury homeowners in a great position to sell.

As recommended for buyers, it’s important that homeowners meet with a Realtor early on to determine how they can update their home, price it right, and navigate the traditional or offline marketplace when selling their home.

A note on the economy and affordability

Our local economy remains strong, due to our diverse business economy. Minnesota is home to many Fortune 500 companies, and we are not solely dependent on a single industry to keep our local economy afloat. Between Target, Cargill, Medtronic, General Mills, 3M and others, our wide range of industry helps insulate us from drastic economic swings sometimes seen in other major markets. In October, Minnesota had a statewide unemployment rate of just 2.1%.

However, even with a strong local economy, challenges remain. Recent data shows that the average age for first-time buyers has risen to 36, which suggests greater difficulty with affordability. We might infer that limited inventory, rising rates and prices all have an impact, but there are likely a number of factors at play that we will continue to watch. As a result, those entering the market for the first time may need to allow themselves more time to find a home, and they may need to re-evaluate their must-haves versus nice-to-haves.

Buying or selling in 2023?

Edina Realty has a team of 2,000+ local experts, who serve every neighborhood and community across Minnesota and western Wisconsin. If you’re considering buying or selling in the next year, reach out to your Edina Realty REALTOR to start the process.

How to lock in your interest rate when buying a home

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After hearing that mortgage rates have risen over the last year, today’s buyers are looking for ways to maximize their buying power. One solution is to “lock in” an interest rate. By locking in interest rates as they search and bid on properties, buyers can gain peace of mind and hedge against rising rates.

Here’s a quick primer on how that works.

What does it mean to lock in your interest rate?

While every mortgage lender may have a different process for locking in interest rates, borrowers can often lock in a rate at the same time that they are pre-approved for a home mortgage loan. Pre-approval essentially means that a lender has reviewed your financial documents and credit, and deemed you worthy of a loan for a certain amount, and on certain terms. Because a hike in interest rates could impact the buying power of a borrower, some lenders (like Edina Realty Mortgage) offer the rate lock alongside the pre-approval letter, so that eligible buyers can set their budget and not be impacted by rising rates during their search.

Are all buyers eligible for a locked interest rate?

If a mortgage company offers borrowers the option to lock in their interest rate, the borrower must typically meet certain criteria. There will usually be a set period of 60-90 days for the lock1, and it would be available to borrowers pursuing a certain type of loan program2. For example, borrowers pursuing a jumbo loan will not be eligible for a rate lock, but those taking out a conventional or government fixed-rate loan would be eligible (provided they meet all other criteria as well).

At Edina Realty Mortgage, the Lock, Shop & Home program offers eligible buyers the option to lock in their interest rate:

  • If they are pre-approved through the Buyer Advantage® program3.
  • If they request a conventional loan, or a government fixed-rate loan program.
  • For 90 days, as they search for a home. (Longer lock periods may be available2.)

I plan to build a house, and a 90-day lock won’t work for me. Do I have any options?

Yes, many mortgage companies recognize that those on a building schedule will not benefit from a short-term rate lock. Some mortgage companies, including Edina Realty Mortgage, offer a longer rate lock for those who are pursuing new construction financing.

Borrowers using Edina Realty Mortgage’s Builder’s Assurance program, for example, are able to lock in their rate for 365 days4 if they are:

  • Building a new construction home5.
  • Pursuing a conventional, 30-year fixed rate loan for $705,000 or lower.
  • Planning to reside in the home as their primary residence.

How can I figure out which program is right for me?

Because most rate-locking programs only last 60 or 90 days, it’s important that you don’t lock in your rate before you’re truly ready to search for and purchase a home. Before you decide on rate locking or a certain loan program, it’s in your best interest to speak with a professional. You don’t have to figure any of this out all alone.

For no-obligation and no-pressure insights on the next best steps you should take, reach out today. Together, we can work with a mortgage professional who can walk you through the steps that you’ll need to take to lock in your interest rate, or to simply get pre-approved in the future.

1. Lock, Shop & Home program is NOT available for bond, jumbo, or renovation loan programs.
2. Interest rate lock available up to 90 days. Longer lock periods may be available. Additional fees may apply for longer lock periods.
3. Buyer Advantage® is not a final loan approval. A Commitment Letter is based on information and documentation provided by you and a review of your credit report. The interest rate and type of mortgage used to approve you for a specified loan amount is subject to change, which may also change the terms of approval. If the interest rate used for credit approval has changed, you may need to re-qualify. Information provided by you is subject to review and all other loan conditions must be met. After you have chosen a home and your offer has been accepted, final loan approval will be contingent upon obtaining an acceptable appraisal and title commitment. Additional documentation may be required.
4. Upfront fee will be due at the time of rate lock and is eligible to be fully refunded at closing.
5. Eligible for permanent financing only. Temporary financing for new construction is not available.

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. Licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act. Licensed by the Delaware State Bank Commissioner. Massachusetts Mortgage Lender License ML75164. Licensed by the NJ Department of Banking and Insurance. Licensed Mortgage Banker-NYS Department of Financial Services. Also licensed in AK, AL, AR, AZ, 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 #75164 (NMLS Consumer Access at http://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org/) ©2022 Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC dba Edina Realty Mortgage.

Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC, dba Edina Realty Mortgage is an affiliate of Edina Realty, Inc. See affiliated business disclosure.

Top home improvements to tackle this winter

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There’s no better time to finalize the interior home improvements on your to-do list than during the chilly winter months.

With help from the Remodeling 2022 Cost vs. Value Report (www.costvsvalue.com), we checked out the top remodeling projects in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area. Here are tips to help you determine which home fix is right for your property this winter.

Replace your front door

Are you feeling a draft? Is your front door sticking every time it’s opened for guests waiting out in the cold? Whatever your reason may be for replacing your front door this winter, you won’t regret doing it.

According to the local report of home projects, homeowners who swap their existing door for a steel version will recoup 70.1% of the project’s cost. On top of being a smart investment, homeowners gain a better functioning door and increased curb appeal after finishing this project.

Note: If your door is working fine, but could still use some refreshing, opt for a fresh coat of paint instead.

Invest in a minor kitchen remodel

A kitchen remodel may feel like a lofty goal in the winter, but it’s a great way to add interest to your house. And, this project will especially pay off if you’re planning to cook in the space for years to come.

A minor, mid-range kitchen remodel runs about $27,948 and homeowners can recoup up to 67.2% of that cost upon resale. The project includes:

  • Keeping original cabinets, but replacing their fronts with new panels, drawer fronts and hardware.
  • Upgrading to an energy-efficient cooktop, oven range and refrigerator.
  • Replacing the countertops.
  • Adding new trim, wall covering and flooring.

To complete this project on a budget, consider tackling projects you can handle yourself rather than contracting out tasks.

How do I really use my house?

Most of us spend a significant amount of our lives at home, so it may be worthwhile to consider optimizing your space for everyday use and life. Ask yourself these questions to see what method of reimagining the rooms in your home could be right for you:

  • Should my dining room be an at-home office space, with desks for grownups by day and homework stations for kids at night?
  • Is it time to extend the kitchen island to include stools for quick meals?
  • Do we use the guest bedroom often? Or should we create a multi-purpose space that can still accommodate occasional guests?

Remember, while a dining room or guest bedroom setup may be the standard for many traditional homes, it’s best to design your space based on your own individual needs. Think about how you really use your space, then plan to make home improvements accordingly.

Moving forward with a real estate expert

Take advantage of the extra time spent indoors and add purpose to your winter with a home improvement project. These tips are ideal for homeowners staying put or hoping to sell this season.

And if you’re curious about what your property is worth or you’re ready to jump into the housing market, email or call today for help from a real estate expert you can trust.

Last-minute gifts for procrastinating holiday shoppers

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With all the hustle and bustle of winter weather and activities, it’s possible that holiday gift planning has slipped through the cracks. If you’re in need of some quick gifts, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of holiday present ideas that are both thoughtful and easy to wrap up, even if you waited until the last minute.

What’s better than two-day shipping?

While giant online shopping sites can offer two-day shipping, you can get same-day peace of mind by shopping locally. By supporting local establishments, you’ll get your gifts instantly and help the small businesses in your community thrive.

Consider starting out at one of the larger holiday markets in the metro, each of which offer dozens of vendors, some on a rotating basis, right up until the end of December:

Alternatively, make a day of heading into the Twin Cities, Duluth or Rochester to check out these top holiday shopping spots:

Order a subscription gift

No time to head out for a day of shopping? Subscriptions are perfect for last-minute shoppers hoping to offer a meaningful gift, while avoiding the hustle-and-bustle of holiday shopping. Most subscriptions can be purchased online, so all you’ll have to do is plug in your payment details and your gift will be complete. Just be sure to include the recipient’s address in the subscription details.

Many Minnesota-based businesses offer subscriptions. Here are a few local companies to shop for holiday subscriptions gifts:

If you have extra time to prepare your gift, wrap something to represent the subscription so your loved one still has something to open this winter. For example, include a wrapped candle and artisan matches with a certificate for a Frostbeard Studio subscription.

Give a shared experience

Sometimes, the most memorable gifts are experiences everyone can share together. Plan a special event that you can give as a holiday gift, such as:

Last-minute gifts that homeowners love

There are plenty of gifts for new and first-time homeowners. Luckily, these gifts can be purchased on a budget – and with little to no planning. Here are gift ideas for the homeowners on your list:

  • A gift card to a coffee shop in their new neighborhood
  • A gift card to a hardware store nearby
  • Indoor plants that are both sturdy and beautiful
  • A kit of homeowner essentials, like green cleaning supplies, tools, pet toys and more
  • A contribution to a prospective homeowner’s mortgage gift fund

Finding the perfect gift this winter

Don’t worry if you waited too long to fulfill your plans for holiday gift-giving. This list of ideas will help you find a present for everyone on your list, even if you’re shopping on a whim.

But, if you’re moving forward with a home purchase or sale this season, now is the time to reach out. Get insights from a home expert who can help you stay on track for a successful home transaction — which is the ultimate gift you can give yourself.

Note: We did our best to look into the companies and gifts named here, but we cannot guarantee the products or services. Please read the fine print when ordering any gifts, to ensure they meet your needs and expectations

What is the first-time homebuyer savings account?

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In a statewide poll, the Minnesota Association of REALTORS® (MNAR) found that 81% of Minnesotans say the biggest obstacle to buying their first home is coming up with funds for the down payment and transactional (closing) costs. In response, MNAR developed a method to assist first-time homebuyers in saving for and achieving their dream of homeownership.

Minnesota’s First-time Homebuyer Savings Account

In 2017, the Minnesota Legislature passed (and the Governor signed) a law creating the first-time homebuyer savings account. The first-time homebuyer savings account is a mechanism that offers a tax incentive to people who are saving for a home purchase. The law also permits others (like parents and grandparents) to contribute to a loved one’s home buying goals.

Setting up a first-time homebuyer savings account

To begin saving, the prospective homebuyer (or someone who is saving on their behalf) should open a savings account with a bank, credit union or similar institution. Under state law, an individual may contribute $14,000 annually to the account ($28,000 for married couples). Over time, the total amount an individual may contribute overall is $50,000, while a couple may contribute up to $100,000.

This is not quite a “set and forget” account. To stay in bounds legally, the savings account holder must designate a first-time homebuyer as a beneficiary by April 15 of the year after the account was opened. This designation may be accomplished through state tax returns.

Last, while the name of the program indicates it’s for those who are truly buying their first home, past homeowners are allowed to set up a savings account (or be named as a beneficiary to one) if more than three years have passed since they last owned a home.

The benefits of a first-time homebuyer savings account

One benefit to setting up a first-time homebuyer savings account is that you’ll receive a state tax deduction as you save up. The interest accrued on the account may be deducted from state income taxes, but not from your federal income taxes.

Of course, the primary benefit of using an account like this is that you’ll be dedicating funds directly to your future down payment or closing costs. For some would-be buyers, having a separate account devoted to their goal of homeownership — and watching that account grow — can be highly motivating.

Note: If you designate the account as a First-time Homebuyer Savings Account on your taxes, then the funds must be used for a down payment or closing costs on a home purchase. If the funds are used for any other purpose, you will incur a tax penalty.

Getting started with your homebuyer savings account

If you’re thinking about buying a home, consider taking advantage of the first-time homebuyer savings account. Reach out for guidance as you set up this account or begin budgeting for your first-ever home. Remember, help from a local expert is only a call away!

What luxury homeowners should expect when they sell their home

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Across Minnesota and western Wisconsin, homes priced above $750,000 are considered to be luxury homes. From the pricing to marketing to negotiating and beyond, selling a luxury home can be different from selling a property in the traditional marketplace.

By working with a REALTOR® who specializes in this unique, upper-bracket market, sellers can leverage the most strategic insights and tactics as they move toward the closing table. Here are insights that every luxury home seller should know before listing their home.

How long does it take to sell a high-end home?

Historically, luxury homes have taken longer to sell than homes listed for under $750,000. This makes sense — as you move into higher price ranges, the pool of eligible buyers tends to get smaller. In our market, it’s possible for a $5 million home to be listed in Minnetonka, at a time when there are a limited number of buyers searching across the entire state in that price range.

However, the current inventory shortage in our market includes luxury properties, and homes in the luxury range are selling faster now than they have in years’ past. For reference:

  • In Sept. 2022, homes priced at $750,000 and above were selling in a median time of 14 days on market.
  • In Sept. 2018, luxury homes were selling in a median 86 days on market.
  • In April 2012 (the high point for the last decade), these homes were taking a median 210 days to sell.

Perhaps more importantly, homes priced below $750,000 are currently taking just 13 days to sell, meaning that luxury homes are selling at nearly the same pace as non-luxury homes. This is pretty unprecedented, and it remains to be seen if both market segments will continue selling at such a rapid pace in coming months.

*Based on information from the REGIONAL MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE OF MINNESOTA, INC. for the 16-County Twin Cities metro area for September 2022.

Will my luxury home sell fast and in multiple offers, too?

Even in a market where homes of all prices are selling quickly, there is never a guarantee that your home will be the subject of a bidding war. Rather than going in with this as a goal, it’s important to consider the various potential outcomes of your sale and to know in advance what price or conditions you are willing to accept — and how you will counter if you are fortunate enough to receive multiple offers.

What can an agent do to help me sell my luxury home?

Agents have a keen understanding of current trends in exceptional properties, and will be able to make smart recommendations for how to update older or outdated homes before they’re listed on the market.

Top trends that luxury specialists have identified include:

  • Elevated storage: Rather than simply offering a walk-in closet, owner’s suites can now include space for the homeowner to prepare for their day. Some are adding espresso machines, furniture for lounging and extra features for their furry friends.
  • Home gyms: Treadmills are no longer relegated to an extra nook in the basement. Today’s high-end homeowners are placing their Pelotons in windowed rooms where they can enjoy a gorgeous view. Bonus points if you add a sauna and cold soaking tub to your space.
  • C-suite at home: High-end homebuyers who will work from home are designing spaces that suit their needs. From a small kitchenette to prepare snacks or drinks between meetings, to fireplaces and reading nooks where they can read executive briefs, the one-of-a-kind home office is becoming more and more common.

What other services can a real estate agent offer?

In the last decade, time has become a much more precious asset for the luxury buyer and seller, and agents are able to design their services in a way that minimally disrupts high-end clients.

One way to achieve this is by pursuing a private sale. Edina Realty has a proprietary networking platform that allows agents to share private properties that are not yet listed on the market. Because Edina Realty has more than 2,000 local agents (and hundreds who specialize in luxury homes), these properties can be shared privately with buyers who are seeking local properties in varying price ranges. Private showings can be arranged, and offers can be placed even before the home is listed on the MLS.

For sellers who wish to take advantage of the traditional real estate market, we can work together to determine the unique services and marketing techniques that will help sell the home, including:

  • Stunning professional photos
  • Virtual tours, videos or drone footage
  • Floor plans
  • Staging services
  • A network of qualified buyers
  • And more

What else should I know when selling my luxury home?

In short, while it’s important to understand luxury trends when selling your home, it’s also critical not to over-generalize this unique market. To sell your home at a competitive rate in the shortest amount of time possible, you should work with a Realtor who is familiar with the recent sales activity of other high-end homes in your area.

Call today to begin discussing how we could sell your luxury property.

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