Selling Your Home Face to Face

  Chisago County is home to many homeowners that don’t use a computer or email. Most, but not all, are senior citizens that want to downsize, many of which, have not bought or sold a home for decades. Most real estate agents, lenders, inspectors, & title companies like to communicate via text and email and use electronic signatures; but for many clients we still work face to face and sign paperwork in person. 

  Buyers and sellers that don’t use email should be more cautious when interviewing a real estate agent to sell their home. There are some agents that work with younger clientele or work closer to the twin cities that have never done a complete transaction in person. To be efficient and timely it is important to work with a local agent that can be responsive in getting signatures quickly.

  Our contracts can be completed online and emailed to our clients for electronic signatures, but we can also complete them by hand and have them signed in person. Over the past couple of weeks, I have worked with six local clients that didn’t use email. 

  At the initial meeting we reviewed the market analysis and the listing agreement. Then the 2nd meeting involved signing contracts and disclosures and reviewing the septic inspection application and the water test instructions. The signed documents get scanned and emailed to the Broker and the listing is input onto the MLS.

    The 3rd meeting was presenting an offer, estimate of proceeds and preparing a counter-offer addendum if needed. The sellers signed the documents and then they were scanned and emailed to the buyer’s agent. There can be multiple counter offers that go back and forth.

  Once we had a fully executed purchase agreement, there was a buyer’s inspection which involved negotiating repairs. An amendment to the purchase agreement needed to be signed with the repair agreement and again there can be counter-offer addendums that go back and forth.

  The signed documents have to be delivered to all parties, so there can be a meeting for signing and another for delivery.

  We also work with lenders and closers that accommodate sellers with mailing documents or meeting them at their homes or even nursing homes. 

  If you don’t text or email, it’s important to work with an agent that will be responsive by phone. It is wise to interview more than one agent, work with a local neighborhood expert that has expertise in your type of property and discuss your communication requirements.

  Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to ckempenich@cbburnet.com. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.

The Real Estate Market is Heating up!

  After another long, hard winter new listings are starting to enter the market. Inventory is extremely low and multiple offers are common as buyers are competing for homes to buy. In March of 2018 there were 113 new listings in Chisago County but there were only 87 new listings last month. 

   There is especially a shortage of one level townhomes for seniors, lake homes, and homes that first time home-buyers can qualify for. 

  Looking at the current Active Listings on the Multiple Listing Service for affordable homes that first time homebuyers qualify for; a 3-bedroom, 2 bath, rambler with 1700sf (including basement) and 1 garage stall in Rush City was listed for $160,000 and had multiple offers the first day on the market. The best buy in the Chisago Lakes Area was in Taylors Falls with a 3-bedroom, 1 bath home with 1150 sf and a 2-car garage for $190,000. It also sold in multiple offers the day on the market.

  There are 18 pre-owned waterfront homes on the market, in Chisago County, with a median price of $342,450. New construction is driving prices up with 11 “to be built” homes on waterfront with a median price of $490,000.

  There are 31 townhomes on the market, 12 of those are pre-owned with a median price of $222,500. There are 19 new construction townhomes on the market with a median price of $255,900. The median price of the new construction, one level living townhomes in the Chisago Lakes Area is $296,900. 

  Homes that sell in April and May typically get the highest prices, because of the pent-up buyer demand. New listings will continue to increase through June, but if your home isn’t sold by July, you run the risk of selling off season. Home prices typically start to decline in August through the end of the year.

  If you are thinking of selling soon, now is the time to talk with an experienced real estate agent for advice on the best time to sell your home, and tips to get the best possible price. 

Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to ckempenich@cbburnet.com. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.

Seniors Need More Attention

  Chisago County is home to many senior citizens that want to downsize. Many of which, have not bought or sold a home for decades. Most real estate agents like to communicate via text and email, and use electronic signatures, and I have found there are many seniors that don’t text or email, and find electronic signatures difficult. They prefer to work face to face.

  I recently met a seller that worked with an agent that cancelled the listing because the seller had too many questions, and took too much of the agent’s time. The seller then hired an agent that was referred to her, but the agent worked and lived 30 minutes away, which was too far to for the agent to stop by to deliver documents and get signatures. This frustrated the seller who didn’t understand the documents or couldn’t open attachments, or sign electronically. Ultimately the listing agent was fired.

  Many seniors don’t interview multiple agents and are very trusting. They assume that all real estate agents are the same and they sign the contracts as directed.  A lake home owner hired an agent, that had never sold a lake home before, and when the buyer’s lender required flood insurance the agent accused the seller of not disclosing the home was in a flood plain. The seller had no idea it was in a flood plain, as the property was acquired through inheritance. 

  My advice to seniors is to interview more than one agent, work with a local neighborhood expert that has expertise in your type of property, discuss your communication requirements, and ask how to cancel the listing agreement if you are not happy.

  I have worked with many seniors that need help finding a new place to live, help with cleaning, packing or maintenance items. A neighborhood real estate expert can help you all of your moving needs through closing.

    

  

  Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to ckempenich@cbburnet.com. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.

The Condo Market is Changing

   Chisago County has several townhome developments but very few condominiums. I’ve sold many condominiums to Chisago County residents in the downtown St Paul and Minneapolis markets. There is an appeal, to some, to leave their small town or lake home and live in an urban environment where the “action” is and there is less yard and exterior maintenance.

  Up until a few years ago, the downtown condo market was dominated by young single professionals and couples, but now it is dominated by baby boomers, because of the affordability index.

  In the early 2000’s there were a lot of condo buildings constructed, but during the market crash of 2008, many of them went into foreclosure because the financing rules changed causing lenders to deny loans for partially sold condo buildings.

  Prices plummeted and buying a condo was cheaper than buying a house, which hurt the single-family home market in the first-tier suburbs. Then the federal government implemented a requirement for a 30-year reserve study for all condominium developments, to project future repairs. Prior to that the developers were selling new condos with low association dues and the new requirement caused assessments and higher monthly dues.

  As the market recovered, condo prices escalated. New condos weren’t being built due to the lack of financing and only new apartments were being built, creating a seller’s market. As the condo prices increased, so did the property taxes and the association dues. It is not uncommon for a $300,000 one bedroom, one bath condo to have association dues and taxes equal over a thousand dollars per month

  The median price of condos sold in 2018 with 2-bedrooms, 2 baths, and at least 1 parking stall in St Paul was $383,000 and in Minneapolis it was $445,000. In Chisago County the median price of the waterfront homes sold in 2018 was $370,000 with an average of 3 bedrooms and 2 baths.

  Because of the increased prices in the downtown condo market, younger people have a difficult time affording them are opting for purchasing single family homes or renting. 

  When buying a condo, it is important work with an experienced condo agent, to review the financials and the association meeting minutes, in addition to the rules and regulations, to determine if the building is a sound investment for you.  

Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to ckempenich@cbburnet.com. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.

Some Buyers are Choosing Urban Cabins

Some Buyers are Choosing Urban Cabins

 Last weekend I held two open houses downtown St Paul at Upper Landing on the Mississippi River. I met 15 couples between 55-75 years old, trying to decide if they should sell their house and move downtown. They were looking for a simpler way of living, closer to entertainment and the arts and many of them were snow birds with a second home in the south.

 The properties they were looking at had 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms a den and 2 parking stalls. One was a condo with one level living and one was a townhouse with a separate entrance, bedrooms upstairs and a private garage. They were priced at $399,900 and $429,900 with about 1,750 square feet. They both had a view of the bluff and not the river. The monthly association dues were $535 per month and the taxes were $5,300 and $6,200. To get the same floor plan with a river view would be $550,000-$600,000, a larger townhome facing the river recently sold for $900,000.

 The average selling price of a lake home on the Chisago Chain of Lakes is $414,133 year to date. So it is about the same price to own one of the condos as it is to buy a lake home. So how do you decide where to retire? Ironically, most of my downtown buyers can’t decide, so they have a condo, a cabin, and a winter home. This seems excessive, but if you ask them, they will tell you that owning real estate is their greatest asset. Sometimes their other homes are close to family and friends.

 My husband and I have spent over 30 summers on Green Lake and have been permanent residents for 11 years, but we also had an “urban cabin” in Lowertown (downtown St Paul) from 2012-2015. We rarely spent time there in the summers, but in the winter, we loved living in an historic open loft, on the skyway, the heated parking, and the entertainment. Our decision to sell the condo was based on the timing of the market as we took the proceeds and invested in Chisago City and Lindstrom. We still enjoy the city as it is only 30 minutes away, but nothing compares to waking up every day to the lake!

An experienced agent can provide you with pros and cons of retirement communities.

Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to ckempenich@cbburnet.com. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.

Top 10 Reasons Homeowners Downsize

Top 10 Reasons Homeowners Downsize

 Thirty percent of the Chisago County residents are between 45-65 years of age. Many of their lifestyles are changing and they are considering downsizing.

The top 10 reasons my clients give for downsizing are:

  1. House, yard or lake is too much work and too large.
  2. Want to move closer to children or grand-children.
  3. Spend more time traveling or have a second home in a warmer climate.
  4. Move to an urban community.
  5. Maintenance expenses are too high.
  6. Desire one level living.
  7. Desire a more socially active community.
  8. Get closer to health care.
  9. Loss of a loved one.
  10. Divorce.

 Downsizing your home opens a new chapter in your life, and gives you the opportunity to declutter your home and decide what is truly important to take to your new home. It is also a great time to assess your financial situation to determine the equity in your home, your other assets, and if buying a smaller house, townhome, condominium, or renting is the best option for you.  Your health is another important consideration. Many of my clients have had a recent hip or knee replacement so one level living important to them.

 The size of your new home is also a major factor. To some of my clients downsizing doesn’t mean less square footage. They sell their home on the lake and move to the convenience of one level living with a better floor plan. I have also had people sell their big house in the suburbs and buy a small house on the lake, but most of my clients decide they can comfortably live in 1200-1400 square feet, after they declutter, donate, and sell a few things.

 There has been an increase in new one level living housing in Chisago County over the past few years to accommodate the baby boomers, which includes townhomes, detached townhomes, and single family homes. There are also 55+ communities that offer one level townhomes or condos for rent with optional services such as meals, transportation, health club with pool, and health care.

 Some sellers have concerns that their house won’t sell because of deferred maintenance items and they don’t have the money to make repairs, or they don’t have help to declutter, pack, and organize their new home. Some sellers fear that their family members won’t agree with their decisions. Although, these concerns that can seem overwhelming, an experienced real estate professional can work with you and your family to make the best decisions for you and discuss the available resources to transition from your existing home to your new home, where ever that may be.

 Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to ckempenich@cbburnet.com. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.