It’s time for our annual Pillow Fight Challenge! We raised over 3000 pillows as a company last year, and over 500 just from our office. Bridging needs 5000 new pillows. Help us make our office goal of 1000 pillows! My personal goal is 500 pillows (last year I raised 227 pillows!) Yes, I am an over achiever.
We’ll purchase the pillows for you! We have made special arrangements with Walmart to buy bulk pillows at $3.00 each! All you have to do is go to: https://squareup.com/market/cbb-eden-prairie to purchase online, or feel free to send a check payable to CBB-EP my attention at the address below.
For every pillow you purchase in my name, I will enter you into a drawing for 2 MN Wild Hockey Tickets against the Nashville Predators on Sunday April 13,2014. Sec 101 Row 7 Seat 9 or if you are out of town, I appreciate any tax deductible donation!
How did your 2013 go? Did you achieve what you wanted to achieve? 2013 Real Estate was “interesting” according to “Cheryl”. No scientific facts, no factual data, just pure in the trenches, from the gut feeling. We usually get 35% of our inventory between Jan-Mar and we didn’t. Our winters play a big part in our market, and due to the extended winter last year, we were negative numbers for new inventory until July! This created a buying frenzy for homes priced under $500K. I still saw price collapsing for homes between $600K-1M+ but for the most part it was multiple offers all over the place.
Typically, everyone takes a vacation from home selling and buying in July while they go on vacation. Then we had what seemed to be a promising fall market, when the government decided to shut down, it literally sucked the wind out of our market and brought it to a halt. Real Estate is very consumer confidence based, and consumers, heck, the world, really thought we were in trouble (per a German exchange student visiting America, her mother put our friend on the first flight back in fear she would never get out) and everyone backed off from buying until our government came back to work. Because we live in Minnesota, our peak selling time ends around Thanksgiving and starts again around the Super Bowl or Parade of Homes whichever comes first, and of course is completely dependent on the weather. So when the Government came back to work, we (Minnesotan’s) had drumsticks and sugar plums on our mind and everyone backed off from real estate while we enjoyed the holidays.
Here we are middle of January 2014, and we are at or below where we were last January in inventory. Some suburbs like Plymouth are up 5%, Minnetonka is down and Eden Prairie is way down. I can pull up individual suburbs if you like. But overall, we are at or below last year and can I say, BELOW 2003 listings which was the lowest amount of inventory in history and caused the housing bubble.
What are your plans for 2014? I’m always a half full optimistic, watch out here I come kind of person. I think this spring will rock again. I think we have a lot of buyers who wanted to buy last fall and held off. I think our sellers know what is expected and are educated on what needs to sell their homes and are realistic on pricing. I think the spring will rock with multiple offers, but will cool in the fall again due to mid-term elections.
If you are thinking about buying or selling, do it now, do it now, do it now. Don’t take your time getting your home prepared and waiting until July. Don’t chase your neighbor in price because your home has newer carpet or paint. Get your home ready now, get it listed now, and list it for the appropriate price. We constantly tell our kids to beat your opponent to the puck (yes, I am a hockey mom and proud of it). Beat your neighbor to the market.
BRYAN, Texas – Holiday cheer in Texas has become even sweeter thanks to a giant gingerbread house that has broken a world record for confectionary construction.
Coming in at 35.8 million calories and covering an area of 2,520 square feet, or nearly the size of a tennis court, the 21-foot high gingerbread house in Bryan, Texas, 90 miles northwest of Houston, has been declared the biggest ever by Guinness World Records.
The house, with an edible exterior mounted over a wooden frame, was built by the Traditions Club near Texas A&M University to help raise money for a trauma center at the regional St. Joseph’s Hospital.
“We think big around here and we are competitive,” said Bill Horton, general manager of the club.
The Texas creation topped the previous record holder for gingerbread houses, a 36,600-cubic-foot model constructed in Bloomington, Minnesota’s Mall of America in 2012.
The recipe is simple. Mix 1,800 pounds of butter, 2,925 pounds of brown sugar, 7,200 eggs, 7,200 pounds all-purpose flour, 1,080 ounces ground ginger and a few other ingredients, bake and form into panels for mounting.
The bakers tried to cut back on the butter and baking soda as much as possible to help the gingerbread better stand up to the weather.
The edible and aromatic panels, icing and candy were mounted over the wooden frame and have so far stood up to the Texas sun as well as a few storms.
“One problem we did not anticipate was bees on warm days,” Horton said. “They have been coming over, getting so much sugar and stumbling around like they are drunk. But no one has gotten stung.”
Prospective homebuyers hoping to buy a home in the next four months say the lack of inventory is their biggest challenge, but many believe winter is a good time to buy because sellers are motivated to sell and more willing to negotiate.
That’s according to a survey of more than 1,300 visitors to realtor.com conducted from Nov. 7-16, which found 45 percent of buyers in the market said there’s not enough inventory in their price range.
The survey also found that a surprising number of prospective homebuyers — 19 percent — are planning to do all-cash deals.
Of those planning to buy without taking out a mortgage:
-29 percent said they are downsizing to a smaller or less expensive home.
-26 percent are relocation buyers.
-11 percent are moving up to a bigger or more expensive home.
-11 percent are buying a vacation home.
But most of those surveyed said they’ll need a mortgage to finance their home purchase. Among that group, most did not have the 20 percent down payment that would allow them to qualify them for a conventional loan backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac without having to also purchase mortgage insurance.
More than 1 in 10 of those surveyed (13 percent) said they were planning to put just 3.5 percent down (the minimum down payment on FHA-guaranteed loans). Only 22 percent said they’d be able to make a down payment of more than 20 percent, which would allow them to avoid purchasing mortgage insurance.
The reasons most often cited for buying a home in winter were:
-26 percent said they believe that sellers are more motivated to sell and willing to negotiate.
-24 percent indicated that they think home prices will be better.
-24 percent revealed that they were unable to buy a house during spring or summer.
-20 percent shared that they think there will be less competition between buyers.
“This summer and spring homebuying season was particularly challenging for buyers, especially first-time homebuyers trying to compete with all-cash offers and bidding wars because of reduced inventory,” said Alison Schwartz, vice president of corporate communications at realtor.com, in a statement. “In fact, a quarter of the winter homebuyers revealed they are in the market now because they were unable to find a home during this last homebuying season.”
While 28 percent said they were planning to buy because they are relocating, 19 percent were existing homewoners downsizing to a smaller or less expensive home, and 15 percent were move-up buyers. Nearly 1 in 5 of those surveyed (19 percent) said they were first-time homebuyers.
Tight inventories and rising home prices continued to hamper home purchases, with sales falling for the second month in a row in October, the National Association of Realtors reported today.
There were 2.13 million existing homes for sale at the end of October, NAR said, down 1.8 percent from September. But at October’s slower pace of sales, it would take five months for all those homes to sell, up from 4.9 months in September.
Housing analysts generally consider a six-month supply of existing homes for sale as an even matchup of supply and demand — anything less can indicate that demand has outstripped supply.
Although there continue to be “significant supply shortages,” inventories are “stabilizing” compared to the dramatic year-over-year declines seen earlier this year, realtor.com said Tuesday in releasing another report analyzing October listings data.
NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun recently forecast that 2014 sales of existing homes will be flat due to factors including declining affordability, limited inventory and tight mortgage lending standards.
Yun expects inventory shortages will continue into the spring buying season, which could keep a lid on sales. NAR is forecasting that when all the numbers are in, 2013 sales of existing homes will finish up 10 percent from last year, at 5.13 million. But similar gains aren’t expected next year — NAR predicts existing-home sales will hold steady at 5.12 million in 2014.
By: Inman News
Mpls Association of Realtor’s Heart of the Community Award to Groveland Gala
Cheryl Holds, Coldwell Banker Burnet REALTOR®, receives the MAAR Heart of the Community Award. MAAR will contribute $500 on her behalf to the Groveland Elementary School (PTA) for her continued involvement planning their annual gala event. Under her guidance the event raised nearly $80,000 in the last three years. She exemplifies how REALTORS® make a difference in our community.
The actor slashes the price on his posh beach compound by $4.1 million.
Who wouldn’t love sitting down for a family meal with that view? Sliding glass doors and floor-to-ceiling windows give this room a true indoor/outdoor feel.
Leonardo DiCaprio is itching to ditch his picturesque Malibu beach home so much, he’s relisted the property, which originally went on the market in November 2012 for $23 million. The Great Gatsby actor purchased the luxury Malibu Colony estate in 2002 for $6 million and has since rented the property. It looks like he’ll be turning a sizable profit, even with the price cut, at its current listing price of $18.9 million. The 2,633-square-foot compound includes three separate residences with seven total bedrooms, multiple whirlpools, luxury decks and, of course, private access to a stunning stretch of Malibu beach.
Want more pictures? Visit HERE.
By Anne C. Lee @Money October 14, 2013: 3:47 PM ET
Housing inventory is stiflingly tight in many locations, making it a challenge to find, much less land, your dream home.
The number of available houses in the hottest markets has dropped dramatically over the past year, says the National Association of Realtors: In the Boston area, for one, inventory levels are down 29% vs. 2012. And Denver, Seattle, and San Francisco aren’t far behind.
Shopping in a popular spot? You’ll have to go beyond the usual sellers’ market tactics, such as getting prequalified for a mortgage. These strategies will help you find homes first, stopping a bidding war before it starts.
One way to head off the competition is to look for so-called pocket listings, homes that are for sale but don’t show up on the multiple listing service, where brokers post available properties.
Owners may choose not to list because they want to keep details about their houses private, or simply because they don’t want to deal with staging the home and taking photos, says Zillow contributor and agent Brendon DeSimone, who works in New York and California.
To find these homes, you’ll need a well-connected broker. “You want someone who has an inside track,” says DeSimone. Agents who have experience with pocket listings should be able to tell you about examples of off-the-radar houses they’ve handled in the past, as well as any they are currently aware of (keep in mind that pocket listings are most common in areas with tight inventory).
A caution: Buyers considering an unlisted property should be on the lookout for defects and check that the price is in line with the area, says San Francisco broker Samuel Cadelinia. Owners sometimes use this low-profile method to avoid calling attention to a problem or to see if they can sell for more money.
Get the real-time scoop
Many would-be buyers depend on automatic search, a regular roundup of listings sent out by the local MLS. But by the time these emails go out to shoppers, included homes may have been online for hours or even days.
Ask your agent about real-time MLS alerts, emails that are sent the moment a new listing goes live. While not yet in all markets, the alerts are available in the San Francisco Bay area, Las Vegas, Columbus, parts of Connecticut, and more.
Agents often have a home for 24 hours or so before entering it into the MLS, so your broker may be able to give you a heads-up on a house he just received. To increase your chances of getting that call, tell him that you’d like to be notified immediately, and be sure he knows exactly what type of house you’re after.
See through bad listings
Don’t be scared off by a hideous paint job, bad lighting, or unflattering photos. “Sometimes sellers don’t listen to agents about getting the house ready for sale,” says DeSimone.
In a tight market, he says, it’s worth checking out marginal listings to avoid missing a badly packaged gem — just factor in the price of any project required to bring the home up to snuff.
Set your search criteria a bit higher than your target price; you’ll likely catch some overpriced homes that may eventually go for less. How will you know? The number of days on the market is one telltale sign, says Cadelinia.
For example, if most homes in the area are gone within a month but this one’s been on the market for two, the owner may be willing to consider a lower offer. If the listing is new, get a sense of how realistic the cost is by comparing it with the recent sale price of similarly sized houses in the same area.
Spot would-be sellers
Finding a home that’s not for sale but might be soon is tricky but not impossible.
One strategy: Ask your agent to search expired listings, says Mark Cenci, a Chillicothe, Ohio, realtor. Owners who tried to sell a couple of years ago may not be up on rising home values (June median home prices were 16% higher than two years prior, says the NAR) and might be swayed by what you’re willing to pay.
Rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage are currently averaging 4.6%, up from 3.35% in early May.
Prospective buyers who have been shying away from the housing market due to rising rates may have reason to start shopping again.
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve surprised market watchers when it announced that it would not start tapering its purchases of mortgage-backed securities and Treasury bonds.
Mortgage rates have risen significantly amid concerns that the Fed would cut back on its $85 billion a month bond-buying program. Rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage are currently averaging about 4.5%, up from 3.35% in early May. That rate increase has meant an extra $132 a month in payments for a homebuyer with a $200,000 30-year loan.
But now that the Fed has said it will continue to purchase the bonds, rates will likely retrace some of those gains, said Keith Gumbinger of mortgage information provider HSH.com.
“Now, we do have some space for rates to fall,” he said. “I don’t expect a plummet, just a drop of 0.1 percentage points or so over the next week or two.”
The day after the Fed’s announcement, Freddie Mac reported that rates on 30-year fixed-rate loans fell from 4.57% to 4.5% over the past week. Freddie Mac’s chief economist, Frank Nothaft, said rates were reacting to the same economic trends that influenced the Fed’s decision.
Among them: slowing growth in retail sales and industrial production and the lowest reading in consumer sentiment since April. He also noted tighter financial conditions, including the sharp increase in mortgage rates in recent months.
Should the economy gain more momentum, however, fears that the Fed will taper off its bond purchases will most certainly resurface and rates will move higher again, he said.
Nothaft expects rates to hit about 5% by mid-2014. That’s an increase of less than $24 a month for every $100,000 borrowed — enough to weed out borrowers who are struggling to afford homes but not enough to impact overall demand.
Despite recent increases, rates are still low by historical standards. During the housing boom years, they typically ranged between 6% and 7%.
And higher rates should prompt some banks to ease up on their lending standards, helping more people to buy homes, said Jed Kolko, chief economist for Trulia.
By Les Christie NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
Should I use my home’s equity to purchase another property?
With housing markets heating up and interest rates still low, it can be a great time to invest in real estate. But if you don’t have a lot of extra cash on hand, how do you pay for it?
There are the usual methods, like financing the purchase with a mortgage or selling some stocks and bonds, and the usually bad ideas, like taking money out of your IRA or a loan from your 401(k), but some second home buyers have another option: the equity they’ve built up in their home.
Home equity is the difference between what a person owes on their mortgage and their home’s market value. For example, someone who owes $200,000 on a home that is worth $300,000 has $100,000 in home equity.
As home prices rise nationwide, so too does the value of your home’s equity. That value can be monetized through a home equity loan, home equity line of credit or what is called a cash-out refinance. (That’s when you take out a new loan with a higher balance that pays off your existing mortgage and then you can use the remaining balance toward other things, like a second home.)
Unlocking some of your home’s value to pay for a second home has its advantages — but it has some big drawbacks too, says Greg McBride, a senior financial analyst for Bankrate.com.
Lenders tend to give more favorable terms to those who tap their home’s equity to pay for a second home because they have more skin in the game.
Buyers who take out a separate mortgage on a second home are more likely to stop making payments if they run into financial trouble and default. To offset the increased risk, banks charge higher rates and require larger downpayments of these borrowers. But those who use their primary home’s equity will work harder to pay off the loan and are much less prone to miss payments, said McBride.
The costs of borrowing, especially on home equity loans, can be lower as well, since these loans don’t involve paying for title searches or insurance and other transactional costs of new mortgages.
But there are some negatives. By tapping your home’s equity you’ll be increasing your monthly mortgage payments and increasing the risk of losing your primary home to foreclosure.
Also, by buying another home you’re tying up a lot of your money into one type of asset, said McBride. “You’re putting a lot of eggs in the real estate basket. wise portfolio management says that’s not prudent,” he said.