Category Archives: Real Estate

5 Things You Need to Get Pre-approved for a Home Loan

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Looking for a house before getting pre-approved for a mortgage is like walking into a grocery store without a wallet. There’s nothing more disappointing than finding your dream house and then discovering you can’t afford it. To ensure that you have the best shot at getting the home you want, you need to obtain a mortgage pre-approval from a lender. It is a reasonable assurance you’ll be approved for a loan.
Here are the 5 things you’ll need to get pre-approved for a home loan:

  1. Proof of income. A record of employment income such as a paystub, T-4 slip or a personal income tax return (if you are self-employed, at least two years of Personal Income Tax Returns and Financial Statements) Proof of any additional income such as alimony or bonuses.
  2. Proof of assets. To prove that you have funds for the down payment and closing costs, you will need to present bank statements and investment account statements as well as cash reserves. Assets may include vehicles, retirement savings account, jewelry, collections and other real estate holdings.
  3. Your credit score. The loan officer will actually do this part for you! You’ll need to provide them with some key information so they can pull your credit. A “good” credit score depends on the scoring system used by your particular lender. Different scoring systems use different scales, and they each develop their own credit score range. Customers with a higher credit score will be able to get lower interest rates which will affect how much you can afford.
  4. Employment Verification. Not only will your loan officer want to see your pay stubs, but they are likely to call your employer to verify if you’re still employed and check on your salary. Today, lenders want to make sure that they are loaning money only to borrowers with stable employment. Borrowers who are self-employed still need to provide additional paperwork concerning their income and business.            
  5. Be ready to provide any additional paperwork requested by the loan officer as quickly as possible. The more cooperative you are, the smoother the transaction will be and the sooner you can find your new home.

The bottom line is by getting a pre-approval first before looking for a house can save a lot of disappointment and heartache later. By doing so, you also have an opportunity to discuss loan options and budgeting with a professional. If you’re interested in talking with a loan officer to learn about your credit score, you’re price point, or a home mortgage, Click here to contact our trusted loan officer John Roehrich.

HOW TO SPOT AN OVERPRICED HOME

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Looking for a house to buy that suits you and your needs can be a daunting, time-consuming task that involves a large financial commitment. And because of this, you need to make sure that you are paying a fair price for a house that you want to buy.

Overpricing a home is one of the biggest mistakes sellers can make. It is important to list your home with a fair and competitive price and just as important, buyers need to know how to spot an overpriced home.  Here’s a checklist to guide you to be able to spot an overpriced home.

DAYS ON THE MARKET. If the house has been on the market for quite a considerable time, it’s an indication that the house might be overpriced. Competitively priced homes tend to bring more offers and tend to sell quickly. That said, be sure to look at the market history of the home to see if they have reduced the price. Also consider the absorption rate of the neighborhood. Some areas move more quickly than others, so a “long” time is relative to the surrounding market.

COMPARABLE PRICES.  One indicator of a home’s value is looking at the listing price of other homes in the same neighborhood. Find out what neighboring properties are selling for or look for homes that was recently sold and for how much. Homes that are in the same neighborhood with similar amenities generally have similar pricing.

CONDITIONS OF A HOUSE. A home that has been updated and cared for meticulously will be worth more than a home that is outdated or unkempt because of the renovation cost. Conditions that would cause a house to be lower includes outdated fixtures, awkward floor plan, rotted fencing, and other obviously needed repairs.

LOCATION. It’s a real estate cliché that location is everything. Location can affect the price of the home. A home is generally worth less if it’s located where schools are poorly rated, located near busy traffic, or neighborhood is filled with unappealing homes. Homes typically have higher values if it’s located near waterfronts, schools are highly rated and or the neighborhoods are associated with newly built homes.

If you are looking to buy a new home or you need help fairly pricing your home for sale, please let us know! Send us an email or give us a call!

Sandy Erickson Real Estate Team of Keller Williams Realty
Direct: 651-269-3487
Email: Sandy@SandyErickson.com
Website: <http://www.ericksonteamhomesearch.com/>

5 Reasons Why You Should Sell Your House During the Winter Season

Winter is not traditionally regarded as being the best time to put a property on the market, so most sellers opt to wait until Spring arrives when they expect greater interest from buyers. But times have changed! Spring tends to be the busiest time for real estate overall, but that does not make it the best time to sell. Why?

  • With fewer listings to choose from in the winter, your home faces less competition then during the busy Spring season. This increases the chances that showings will turn into offers. You can expect a flood of new inventories in the first quarter of 2015 and as supply increases, the likelihood of you getting an offer at an acceptable price decreases.
  • Buyers have more time to look for homes when they are likely to have time off work
  • Some people are eager to buy before the end of the year for tax reasons
  • People who look for homes now are serious buyers! They won’t be dissuaded by the weather like “Spring shoppers” who are just curious, but not really looking to buy.
  • Buyer’s emotions tend to run high during this season as they look for a new home to celebrate the Holidays in. You can help garner these warm feelings by having a decorated home ready to show off just how welcoming your home really is.
  • Interest rates remain incredibly low this year. Savvy buyers will be taking advantage of this while it lasts. By Spring, the interest rates may be rising! Lower interest rates also allow buyers to afford a more expensive home than they could with high interest rates – a win-win for both buyers and sellers!

Winter is not the dead zone of real estate anymore! Call me today to learn what your home is worth! 651-269-3487 or fill out the form at: http://sandyerickson.com/atj/user/CMAFormGetAction.do Take advantage of the market this winter!

New Listing!

4872 Hillvale Avenue North
Oakdale, MN 55128

PRICE:
$325,000

Check out this beautiful home in Oakdale! This home features spacious open floor plan with vaulted ceilings, hardwood floors, and fireplace with stone surround. Enjoy the great deck and patio for views of wildlife and quiet pond!

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Virtual Tour: http://www.realestateshows.com/show.php?mls=strict&id=741996 

For more property information, visit this link:

http://www.ericksonteamhomesearch.com/listing/mlsid/152/propertyid/4539771/

For any questions regarding this property call us at 651-269-3487, or feel free to email us at Sandy@SandyErickson.com

How Much of a Down Payment Should I Have to Buy a Home?

When you think of purchasing a house, the number one challenge most potential homebuyers have to think about is their down payment. Homebuyers are typically required to contribute a down payment equal to 3-20% of the sales price of the home. Low down payment options are real and they represent a significant portion of today’s purchases. However, even if you can get a low down payment loan, is it a good idea? Not necessarily. Let’s see the difference between putting a 20% down payment to having a low down payment.

  • The larger your down payment, the less you have to borrow, and therefore, the lower your monthly payments. You pay less over the life of the loan.
  • If you have a very small down payment, you will be eligible for fewer types of mortgages and may be charged a higher interest rate.
  • For any down payments less than 20%, you will be asked to pay Private Mortgage Insurance. This insurance safeguards the lender should the borrower be unable to keep up the monthly mortgage payments, resulting in less of a financial loss to themselves.
  • The bigger the down payment builds an instant equity the property when you purchase it, which safeguards you if the market turns down temporarily.

So having presented with these, the down payment also acts as a reality check: if you haven’t been able to save for even a minimal 3% amount for down payment, you should ask whether you are financially ready to buy a house. Education is the key. Knowing more how down payments are determined and knowing all your options can save you from a lot of stress and debts in the future. Be sure you are ready and financially secure before you dive into purchasing a home.

Do you want to learn more about preparing your finances to purchase a home? Or do you want to know how much you would qualify for TODAY? We partner with a wonderful lender who can provide information to you in a no-pressure environment! Just send us an email or give us a call so we can introduce you!

Sandy Erickson Real Estate Team of Keller Williams Realty
Direct: 651-269-3487
Email: Sandy@SandyErickson.com
Website: http://www.ericksonteamhomesearch.com

Foreclosures & Short Sales in Lino Lakes & Circle Pines!

As a team part of our favorite cities to work in are Lino Lakes and Circle Pines in Minnesota. Both cities are located in Anoka County, and are located north of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Attached is a list of foreclosures and short sales in these two cities!

http://www.ericksonteamhomesearch.com/listings/areas/33717,123294/minprice/150000/maxprice/250000/propertytype/SINGLE,CONDO,MULTI,LAND,FARM/listingtype/Foreclosure+Bank+Owned,Short+Sale/

If you have any questions about any of these properties, please feel free to contact us:

Sandy Erickson of Keller Williams Realty
Direct: 651-269-3487
Sandy@sandyerickson.
www.ericksonteamhomesearch.com

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Are Open Houses Really Beneficial?

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When someone decides to sell their property, what is the best avenue to take to have their home sell fast? In today’s market most buyers are using the internet to look for houses themselves before contacting an agent to represent them. Much has been said and written about selling homes through open houses. Who benefits more from this…the seller or the agent? The answer is nuanced.

Open Houses have become a never-ending debate, to whether or not they provide value to both the buyer and the seller. Some see the open house as an outdated form of marketing, while others are coming up with unique and fun ways to still incorporate open houses. We will run through pros and cons of open houses, as well as provide some fun and unique ways to host an open house!

BENEFITS:

  • It Provides Exposure. Open Houses help market the property and pull in viewers. Though it may not always yield a buyer, it may increase foot traffic and feedback on what to improve in your house. While the chances of getting a serious buyer is rather slim, an open house will draw in people especially if your property is priced correctly!
  • Draw in Potential Buyers. An open house gives potential buyers the opportunity to check the neighborhood, walk through the house and envision themselves living in the home.  There is just nothing like seeing the home in person! – Although many buyers start their search online, pictures can only do so much justice.

DRAWBACKS:

  • Risk of Theft. Leaving your home open for strangers carries security risks. While the majority of visitors are there most likely to view your property, some may be there for nefarious reasons. Keep in mind that hosting an open house is an open invitation to anyone to enter your home. Make sure when you hire a realtor, you know that you can trust them to keep an open eye at your open houses for suspicious behavior.
  • Attracts NOSY Neighbors. Since open houses are open to anyone, this serves like a beacon to your lovely, nosy neighbors curious about your home that just want to see how your house looks on the inside and gossip about it to their friends. But, actually.
  • Rarely Produce an Offer. Many brokers or even homeowners will agree that open houses aren’t the best way to sell your property. The numbers of houses sold as a result of an open house is staggeringly low. Open houses spark curiosity in potential buyers but it is rare for someone to come look at the home and place an offer to purchase. After all, home buying is a very serious decision homeowner’s make.

IDEAS & TIPS FOR AN OPEN HOUSE:

  • Promote Your Open House. Make sure you find a realtor who will promote your open house. The open house should be posted all over the web- the MLS, Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com, and all of the realtor’s personal and business websites. If they incorporate social media into their business plan, I would make sure the open house is on there as well. Our team makes sure to incorporate open houses on all social media platforms in a fun way!
    Open House Email Examples
    Open House Email Examples

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  • Signs, Signs & More Signs. Although many realtors focus on web strategies, make sure some of the “outdated” techniques are still incorporated. However, instead of a few signs on the corner, add LOTS of signs. Most realtors will use a mix of signs- specialty signs, company signs, and just plain open house signs. Some signs offer “fresh-brewed coffee” or “an area list of foreclosures”. Many realtors will put up 20-40 signs for 1 open house!
  • Add a Personal Touch. Ask your realtor if they bring anything special to an open house. We’ve all attended open houses where you walk up to the door, and the agent is on the laptop, or watching TV. See if they bring some food or drink to the open house. Lots of agents may bake fresh cookies in the oven to create a pleasing aroma and treat, or brew coffee!

Feel free to contact our team to talk about the pros and cons of an open house for your specific property. The effectiveness of an open house can vary greatly by the style of your home and the location of your home. What will be the most effective avenue to sell your property for top dollar, in the shortest amount of time?

Sandy Erickson Real Estate Team of Keller Williams Realty
Serving the Twin Cities Area 

Direct: 651-269-3487
Email: Sandy@SandyErickson.com
Website: www.ericksonteamhomesearch.com

New Listing! 6608 Lower 12th Street N Oakdale, MN 55128

New Listing!

6608 Lower 12th Street North

Oakdale, MN 55128

Price: $210,000

6608 Lower 12th

This home offers bountiful space, loads of natural light, and is located in a stellar neighborhood. This home features 3 bedrooms up, a master with an attached bath, and a beautiful walkout family room to a large and open backyard w/ fire pit. The large 4th level bedroom offers lookout windows and a full bathroom, perfect for guests, a renter, or a teen. Look forward to spending time outdoors with a multilevel deck, and look forward to spending time indoors with plenty of space to grow and enjoy!

For more property information, visit this link:
http://www.ericksonteamhomesearch.com/listing/mlsid/152/propertyid/4531012/

For any questions regarding this property call us at 651-269-3487, or feel free to email us at Sandy@SandyErickson.com

Sunny living room on main level - large windows facing front of home.
Sunny living room on main level – large windows facing front of home.
Master bedroom with walk-thru bath
Master bedroom with walk-thru bath
Lower level family room with closets - great storage!
Lower level family room with closets – great storage!
Large fourth level bedroom with lookout windows. Great for guests, renter or teenagers.
Large fourth level bedroom with lookout windows. Great for guests, renter or teenagers.

Moving Checklist

Checklists can be tedious and overwhelming…but, for a big task like moving, you’re going to want one! Here are some ideas, tips and tricks that we have for a less stressful and more enjoyable move.

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Two Months Before:

1. Research

Start investigating moving companies. The best idea is to pick a few top companies and request an on-site estimate. You want to make sure that your estimate is in writing from the company you choose and has a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) number on it.

 2. Sort & Get Rid Of

Go through every room of your house and decide what you want to keep, and what you don’t need anymore. Do NOT pack things that you know you’re not going to keep. We recommend donating your clean items that you don’t need anymore (get a receipt for your taxes). Also, consider any items in your house that may need special packaging or extra insurance coverage- make a note of those items.

3. Take Measurements

Check room dimensions at your new home. If you know some of your furniture won’t fit, try selling or donating it. If possible, try to decide if larger items will fit out your doorways. If you know you have large items that may be difficult to fit out the doorway, make sure you mention this to the moving company right away.

4. Create a Moving Binder

A lot of people skip this step. But, we recommend it to keep everything organized. Use a binder to keep track of everything during your move- every estimate, your receipts and an inventory of all the items you’re moving.

5. Organize School Records (if you have children)

Go to your children’s school and arrange for their records to be transferred to the new school district. 

Six Weeks Before

1. Order Supplies

Order boxes, packing tape, permanent markers and bubble wrap. Don’t forget to order special containers for items like clothing. You can even order colored stickers to keep everything simple. For example: every red sticker=kitchen, every orange sticker=master bedroom, etc… 

2. Start Using Up Supplies

Use up perishable food items that you won’t be moving. Also, consider using up cleaning supplies that are hazardous to pack.

One Month Before:

1. Confirm Arrangements With Mover

Make sure you confirm your move date, costs and other details with your mover of choice.

2. Begin Packing

Start by packing items you don’t use often. This may be some kitchen supplies (the griddle or blender) or decorations. While packing, make note of items that have a higher value (over $100). Note this to your mover in writing & save a copy for your records. Make sure to wrap every item in bubble wrap.

3. Label

Clearly label each box with a number, and write what is inside the box. This is where the sticker idea also comes into place! We recommend writing the room the items will be going to (kitchen, master bedroom, living room, etc.…). This also keeps an inventory of your items. If there are fragile items in one of the boxes, write this large and bold on the outside. Make sure you pack a box of essential items for things you will need right away.

4. Separate Valuables

If you have special jewelry or paperwork, pack a personal box that you will take with you- consider taking a safe with you. 

5. Do a Change of Address

Go to your local post office and fill out a change-of-address form. You can also go to USPS and fill it out online.

6. Notify Important Parties

Alert the following of your move:

  • Post Office
  • Veteran’s Administration
  • IRS
  • Social Security
  • Pension Plan
  • Draft Board
  • Health & Hospital Insurance
  • Vehicle Registration
  • Driver’s License
  • Schools
  • Library
  • Newspapers & Magazines
  • Banks & Financial Companies
  • Credit Cards & Charge Accounts
  • Stock Broker
  • Housecleaning Services
  • Doctor, Dentist, Optometrist, Chiropracter
  • Lawyer
  • Locksmith
  • Electric, Gas, Garbage, Internet, Telephone & Cable Services
  • Appliance Service
  • Fuel
  • Water Treatment
  • Landscaper & Snow Removal

Two Weeks Before:

1. Tune Up

Take your car to a garage and ask the mechanic to consider different services if you’re moving to a new climate.

2. Remove Contents From Safe-Deposit Box

Place in the safe you are taking with you.

3. Contact the Moving Company

Re-confirm all moving arrangements.

One Week Before:

1. Refill Prescriptions

Stock up on prescriptions you’ll need during the next couple of weeks.

2. Pack Your Suitcases

Aim to finish your general packing a few days before the actual move-out date. Pack a suitcase for everyone in the family with essential items, clothes for a few days, and any valuables you don’t want on the moving truck- place valuables in the safe you’re taking with you.

A Few Days Before:

1. Defrost the Freezer

Only if your refrigerator is moving with you! Make sure that it is cleaned out and defrosted at LEAST 24 hours before moving day.

2. Plan the Payment

If not arranged prior, make sure you know whether you are paying your mover with a credit card, a cashier’s check, or cash. Remember to tip the moving company if they’ve done a good job (10, 15 or 20%). If your move is especially difficult, tip each mover up to $100 and make sure to provide refreshments. – Of course, this is all personal preference.

Moving Day:

1. Verify

Make sure that the moving truck that shows up matches the company you hired. The USDOT number on the side of the truck should match the USDOT number on your contract. Scams are possible.

2. Take Inventory

Before the movers leave your house, sign the bill of inventory and keep a copy for your records. Put in your moving binder!

For any questions you may have, please feel free to reach out to our team. 


Sandy Erickson Team of Keller Williams Realty
Phone: 651-269-3487
Email: Sandy@SandyErickson.com
Website: http://www.ericksonteamhomesearch.com

Minneapolis Ranked Among Top Living Destinations for Millennials

Minneapolis, MN

A millennial is defined as a person of the generation between Generation X and Generation Z. They were born roughly between 1980 and 2000. Young adults in this generation have been known for a few specific things, just like any other generation. Some may look at these young adults as “entitled” or “spoiled”. Many joke that the Millennials have never heard the word “no”. And, much of this blame is placed on the “helicopter parenting” and “every child deserves a trophy” mentality. Another viewpoint of the Millennial is that we are extremely under-employed young adults with very high college debt. The chances of finding a job that will pay a decent wage is a difficult challenge many Millennials face. 

Looking at the latter point, one obvious conclusion is that Millennials are having a hard time finding a good place to live. Most cities have very high costs of living, expensive rent, and very few job opportunities available compared to the number of college grads. A recent statistic from the Project on Student Debt: Recent Publications, shows that seven out of ten college seniors who graduated last year had student loan debt. The average amount of debt is right around $30,000.

However, if you happen to live in the Minneapolis area, you may be in luck. Minneapolis, MN is one of the top-rated cities for low rental rates, inexpensive and accessible public transit, and more open availability for good paying jobs to help cover loan debt, food and clothing. 

According to Forbes.com, the average salary for Millennials is almost $43,000. Around 23% of the workforce in Minneapolis is compromised of Millennials. This is one of the top cities employing young people, and offering a very fair starting wage. Recently, the National Association of Realtors has named Minneapolis as one of the top cities for Millennials to purchase a home. The median home price in Minneapolis is around $212,900. To purchase a single-family home, a Millennial would need to make $47,928 with a 5% down payment, or $45,406 with a 10% down payment. With a 20% down payment, a Millennial would need an annual salary of $40,361. With only a 4.5% unemployment rate, a lower cost of living, and many employers hiring here, this is a great place to call home!

 

If you, or any Millennial you know may be looking to purchase a home in the Twin Cities area, please feel free to contact us at: 651-269-3487 or email us at Sandy@SandyErickson.com

www.ericksonteamhomesearch.com