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Based on the implosion of equity in the past few years, one begins to wonder. At the same time, if you look back from a historical perspective, home ownership and home equity have contributed to the net worth of many. Recently, there was a study/survey done by the Federal Reserve. NAR presents and interprets the resultshttp://www.realtor.org/research/economists_outlook/didyouknow/dyk111610dh
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Minnesota Foreclosure And Distressed Home Fact Sheets PLUS Twin Cities First Time Buyer Special Programs
I have mentioned it before, but I really am impressed with the Minnesota Home Ownership Center. I frequently get calls from people who need to find information about how best to deal with a distressed real estate situation. You must visit their website and bookmark it for future reference. Here are just some of the links you need to look at:
Foreclosure & distressed property fact sheets
Counseling Agencies that work with HOCM
List of Down Payment/Grant Assistance in Various Areas
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Also, watch the video below
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A buyer in Minnesota, and specifically the Twin Cities area-Minneapolis/St Paul, should consider visiting the board of Realtors site at http://www.MplsRealtor.com On the tab regarding market activity, they will be able to click through and find out aggregated information that is compiled into city specific reports. For example, Minneapolis real estate will be broken down into the various areas of our MLS. All the data mining and statistical information is done for you. This is an excellent resource, as it gives you average market time, sales prices, and percentage of list to sales price.
Another resource is Http://www.Hocmn.org This site provides information for homeowners in distress and explains all the Minnesota laws regarding the foreclosure process and debt forgiveness. Visit this site and download the PDF fact sheets. Buying distressed properties today represents an opportunity. Understanding how the law works in our state is imperative.
Crime reports are also a useful tool. Some cities have the information aggregated and reported better than others. Minneapolis is one of the best. If you visit the Google search engine and type in “shots fired Minneapolis” you will be taken to the crime statistics area. You might want to use this to determine how close in proximity your desired home sits in relationship to previous criminal activity. Along that same thought, if you want to research registered sex offenders, visit http://www.corr.state.mn.us
Another site that can help source down payment assistance and grants for Minnesota home buyers ishttp://www.Workforce-resource.com This links with the MLS and actually becomes specific to a property in which you are interested. You will find that not all lenders will work with these programs. So, you may need or want to switch lenders if you want to access some of these special programs.
Lastly, we have sourced various discounts with local & national companies. For example, at this time, I can get you a discount coupon at Lowe’s, Pods, and other national firms. Many companies have discounts arranged for their agents to offer buyers and sellers. Not every Realtor is aware of this, so you might require that they check in with their corporate office and find out-or you could just work with me.
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Recently I was asked to create a list of top tips. Here is my list. I have been selling homes for over 25 years. I hope these help you make better choices and improve your real estate making decisions.
1) Before you begin to search for a home, always get prequalified FIRST. Seek out an experienced mortgage broker to arrange your financing. Even if you think you want to use a large bank, at least see what a broker has available. In fact, you may find that a broker can deliver the same mortgage to you cheaper from the “same” large bank you were considering. Generally, brokers have access to wholesale pricing as well as more products and programs than traditional large banks or in-house type lender arrangements that you find at large real estate companies. Besides pricing, you might find special grant money or unique loans that otherwise would not be made available. Also, regarding special programs, if you can identify the cities or areas you might be interested in, you may want to call the local HRA (housing redevelopment authority) and see what they offer. Today, we are seeing special programs for purchase or post purchase rehab of foreclosed and short sale properties from the cities themselves. The FHA 203K loan is a program that can be used for rehab on any home. It is not tied to any city or any property specific status. There are a couple of versions of this loan-limited and extensive rehab. FHA loans have size limits that vary based on the geographic location of the property. Not all lenders make this loan available, so seek it out if it is of interest.
2) Look at all homes for sale. Don’t exclude any specific sector of the market. Initially, you may have wanted to run away from short sales, foreclosures, and auctions. Ultimately, once you get a feel for the marketplace, you may actually decide to focus on distressed properties. When buying in the distressed segment be prepared for a more complex process. Knowing that upfront will help. Depending on the community, almost 50% of the transactions are not “traditional” sales. Distressed sales often sell for what the market will bear, whereas traditional sellers may be unable or unwilling to adjust to the realities of the market. Until job creation comes back and our economy starts growing beyond anemic levels, expect distressed home sales to be a large part of the market. Frustration may set in but don’t allow it to influence an otherwise good decision in your purchase. Don’t be put off by some dirt and light repair, analyze the structure and the location.
3) Look to your Realtor as a partner. Loyalty works both ways. An agent only gets paid upon a successful closing. We only stay in business with happy repeat clients and referrals. Most Realtors will work extremely hard for you if you work exclusively with them. Agents work on commission, so they need to know that they will eventually get paid for their time invested in helping you find the right home. If you are an investor and you approach five different agents to “call me” when you get a really good deal, you will probably never get a call. If on the other hand, you work with one agent who you assume is competent, you will get a phone call when they see something that meets your criteria.
4) If you are an investor or want to become one, seek out agent representation from someone who knows the rental property market. The rental real estate game can be rewarding but can also cost you a lot of money and aggrevation if you make a mistake. How can an agent who has never been a landlord really give you good advice on how to buy and manage rentals? Not all agents have the same level of experience. This is a recommendation not to be taken lightly. You want to be “educated” not provide someone an education at your expense.
5) Be prepared to engage technology in your search. Twenty-five years ago we used MLS books and did open houses. Today, we use virtual tours, websites, blogs and auto generated emails to deliver properties to your in box. The internet opens up information to everyone in a very user friendly way. If you are a younger buyer, you are probably engaging in texting, email, and video. The agent you choose should be embracing technology and be able to deliver the information you need in the way you want it delivered.
6) Have a home inspection upon an accepted purchase agreement. Don’t come away from the inspection and expect that everything in the home that is reviewed must be fixed at the seller’s expense. An inspection, in my opinion, is to discover hazardous items or items that would require a very large expense to change or repair that you were not initially aware of. Remember, an existing home is not a new home. This means it will have various amounts of obselecense and required repairs. An inspection report is not meant to be a renegotiation tool or checklist. I think the best home inspection is the one that makes you feel comfortable after “getting to know” your new home so you can make a purchase with “your eyes wide open”. Give your inspector permission to tell you are buying a great home. Otherwise, he or she may feel they have to manufacture some item of concern in order to justify the expense of the report.
7) Use an independent title company to do your closing. The buyer is allowed to choose their title company. The captive title companies (known as affiliated business arrangements) which are tied to the real estate or mortgage company are often not as competitively priced as outside vendors. When have you or someone you know ever directed the selection of the closing/title company? If you are like 99% of the people, the answer is never. Yet, this one simple recommendation could save you hundreds of dollars.
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