April is Fair Housing Month!

 |  Community Events, Financial, Purchasing a Home, Real Estate News, Resources to Hire Professionals, Selling a Home

The month of April is a very important time for real estate professionals all across the nation.

Why? This is in the month that we celebrate the anniversary of the passing for the Fair Housing Act and recommit to the goal that inspired the legislation.

For those of you who may not know, the fair housing act essentially eliminated housing discrimination and created equal opportunity in every community.

And, as you might imagine, it’s a critical piece of legislation for anyone interested in buying property in the Minneapolis Area.

A Closer Look at the Fair Hou...

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More US Home Buyers Returning to Market Because of Easier Mortgage Rules, Stable Rates

 |  Financial, Purchasing a Home, Real Estate News, Selling a Home

More and more home buyers are returning to the US housing market because they’re noticing favorable market conditions.

Specifically, buyers are feeling more comfortable about navigating the market thanks to interest rate stabilization and easier mortgage rules, according to a recent article by Reuters.

This is fantastic news for the overall health of the housing market. After all, it suggests that the national real estate market is likely to become more stable over time.

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Tips for Buying in a Tight Market

 |  Financial, Purchasing a Home, Real Estate News

Increase your chances of getting your dream house in a competitive housing market, and lower your chances of losing out to another buyer.

  1. Get prequalified for a mortgage. You’ll be able to make a firm commitment to buy and your offer will be more desirable to the seller.
  2. Stay in close contact with your real estate agent to find out about the newest listings. Be ready to see a house as soon as it goes on the market — if it’s a great home, it will go fast.
  3. Scout out new listings yourself
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Tips for Pricing Your Home in the New Year

 |  Financial, Real Estate News, Selling a Home
  • Consider comparables –  What have other homes in your neighborhood sold for recently?   How do they compare to yours in terms of size, upkeep, and amenities?
  • Consider competition –  How many other houses are for sale in your area?   Are you competing against new homes?
  • Consider your contingencies –  Do you have special concerns that would affect the price you’ll receive?  For example, do you want to be able to move in four months?
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How Big of a Mortgage Can I Afford?

 |  Financial, Purchasing a Home

Not only does owning a home give you a haven for yourself and your family, it also makes great financial sense because of the tax benefits — which you can’t take advantage of when paying rent.

The following calculation assumes a 28 percent income tax bracket. If your bracket is higher, your savings will be, too. Based on your current rent, use this calculation to figure out how much mortgage you can afford.

Rent: _________________________

Multiplier: x 1.32

Mortgage payment: _________________________

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Understanding Capital Gains in Real Estate

 |  Financial, Real Estate News, Selling a Home

When you sell a stock, you owe taxes on your gain — the difference between what you paid for the stock and what you sold it for.  The same holds true when selling a home (or a second home), but there are some special considerations.

How to Calculate Gain

In real estate, capital gains are based not on what you paid for the home, but on its adjusted cost basis.  To calculate, follow these steps:

1. Purchase price: _______________________

The purchase price of the home is the sale price, not the amount of money you ac...

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 |  Financial, Purchasing a Home, Real Estate News

Things You Might Not Know About Title Insurance

The following has been reprinted with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

  1. Your mortgage lender is going to require it. Title insurance protects the lender and the secondary markets to which they sell the loans from defects in the title to your home and property. It ensures the validity and enforceability of the mortgage document. Title defects could include mistakes made in the local property office, forged documents and claims from unknown parties. The amount of the policy is equal to the amount of your mortgage at its inception. You ...
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Common Closing Costs for Buyers

 |  Financial, Purchasing a Home, Real Estate News

You’ll likely be responsible for a variety of fees and expenses that you and the seller will have to pay at the time of closing. Your lender must provide a good-faith estimate of all settlement costs. The title company or other entity conducting the closing will tell you the required amount for:

  • Down payment
  • Loan origination
  • Points, or loan discount fees, which you pay to receive a lower interest rate
  • Home inspection
  • Appraisal
  • Credit report
  • Private mortgage insurance premium...
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Lender Checklist: What You Need for a Mortgage

 |  Financial, Purchasing a Home, Real Estate News, Resources to Hire Professionals
  • W-2 forms — or business tax return forms if you’re self-employed — for the last two or three years for every person signing the loan.
  • Copies of at least one pay stub for each person signing the loan.
  • Account numbers of all your credit cards and the amounts for any outstanding balances.
  • Copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements for both checking and savings accounts.
  • Lender, loan number, and amount owed on other installment loans, such as student loans and car loans.
  • Addresses where you’ve lived for the last...
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Property Tax Questions You Need To Ask

 |  Financial, Purchasing a Home, Real Estate News, Resources to Hire Professionals

Below are five property tax questions you will want to ask when considering purchasing a home to make sure you find the right fit.  Always discuss your own personal situation with a financial or tax professional.

  1. What is the assessed value of the property? Note that assessed value is generally less than market value. Ask to see a recent copy of the seller’s tax bill to help you determine this information
  2. How often are properties reassessed, and when was the last reassessment done? In gene...
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