Minneapolis Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our Minneapolis, MN blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Jan. 13, 2019

Journey to Cathedral Hill

 

If you are looking to move to the St. Paul area, you may have a hard time choosing between all of the potential neighborhoods where you can buy your house or condo. From the beautiful architecture to the fun environment, you will never be without beautiful sights and sounds in Cathedral Hill.

 

St. Paul – Cathedral Hill in particular –  is one of the best places to live in Minnesota. It is a fantastic mix of historical and trendy, and everyone can find something they love to do there. Call Roost today and let us show you some incredible condos or a lovely house you can call home.

History of Cathedral Hill

Cathedral Hill is a phenomenal neighborhood with The Cathedral of Saint Paul at its center. This Roman Catholic place of worship sits atop Cathedral Hill and is one of the most distinctive cathedrals in America. It is recognizable by its copper dome, and there are only three churches in the country which are taller. It is named after Saint Paul, who is also the namesake of the city.

 

Cathedral Hill is one of the oldest and most historic neighborhoods in St. Paul. Initially, the downtown area was the entirety of St. Paul. To avoid the congestion and clutter of the budding city, wealthier residents moved to the higher ground of Cathedral Hill. As more people moved to this iconic location, the neighborhood began to form with its large houses, stone buildings, and beautiful churches in a well-organized grid.

Dining Out in Cathedral Hill

If you are looking for some delicious food in Cathedral Hill, you won’t be left wanting. A local favorite is Fitzgerald’s on Western Avenue. This quaint bar has a lovely happy hour and serves up distinctive appetizers and entrees.

 

For those who love a delectable brunch, The French Hen is the perfect weekend spot. Described as cozy and a wonderful blend of French and Creole, you will find creative dishes that are sure to satisfy. Try the catfish eggs benedict for something you won’t soon forget.

 

Known as the best beer bar in Minnesota, the Happy Gnome will quickly become one of your favorites in the Cathedral Hill area. This fun bar and restaurant offers a lively environment perfect for hanging out with friends and enjoying a beautiful summer day. Order a beer from their extensive menu, or try a sandwich or their lobster mac-and-cheese.

 

If you like international food and want to try something other than the more typical Italian or French fare, try Moscow on the Hill. This Russian bar and restaurant not only offers delicious brunch, but it also boasts a fantastic happy hour. You will get a truly authentic feel from the atmosphere, food, and in-house vodka.

Fun Things to Do in Cathedral Hill

When you are in Cathedral Hill, the views are impeccable. If you look north, you will see the stunning Capitol building. Looking towards the east, you will see downtown St. Paul and Dayton’s Bluff. If you look southeast, your eyes will fall on Cherokee Heights.

 

If you enjoy history and beautiful architecture, a walk around Cathedral Hill will showcase some of the most elegant buildings and homes you can hope to see. Selby Avenue is the main street that runs through the area and is full of magnificent structures, including beautiful churches and homes.

 

A walk down Selby Avenue brings you to the picturesque Saint Paul Roman Catholic Cathedral, as well as the Virginia Street Swedenborgian Church and the Dayton Avenue Presbyterian Church, both designed by architect Cass Gilbert. You don’t have to be religious to appreciate the beauty and history of these buildings.

 

Everyone who visits the area enjoys walking among the incredible homes and buildings. You can walk through history and imagine what life in St. Paul used to be like as you admire these amazing structures.

 

Not everything in Cathedral Hill revolves around history! You will find an array of activities, from shopping to spas, to fill up more of your time. For an incredible experience getting pampered, check out Gem Salon and Spa on Selby Avenue. Fashion and art combine in the welcoming environment where you will leave feeling like a new person.

 

After you have found the perfect place to live in Cathedral Hill, take a trip to Ten Thousand Villages to discover some fair-trade decor for your new home. Part of a sizeable fair-trade organization, this shop offers pieces from over 130 groups of people from 40 countries. The finds are impeccable, and you can feel good about shopping there.

 

Once you’re settled, visit Blooma Yoga. The owner is a birth doula and yoga teacher and offers a wide variety of classes including Flow yoga, Barre (with or without baby-wearing), warm flow yoga, and a variety of yoga for kids classes. This incredible business will be a favorite of yours in the area.

Options to Live in Cathedral Hill

So far, it might seem that the only places to live in picturesque Cathedral Hill are massive older homes that may be out of your price range or exceed your needs. While these gorgeous homes are an option (and an awesome one should you choose to go that route), there are a variety of more modest and modern living arrangements available.

 

Many of these magnificent older buildings have been made into affordable condos. Not only will you be able to live in a thriving neighborhood with a rich history, but you will also get to be part of a unique community in an incredible condo. There are many two- or three-bedroom condos that are perfect for young individuals, couples, or families.

 

If you are looking to buy a nice house or condo in one of the best places to live in Minnesota, look no further than Cathedral Hill in St. Paul. Let Roost help you navigate the process of finding a house or condo in this incredible neighborhood. We have the experience in the area to ensure that you find what you are looking for and enjoy a smooth purchasing and moving process. Welcome to Cathedral Hill!

Jan. 6, 2019

6 Facts That Will Take the Fear Out of Buying a Home

So you think you might want to buy a home. While the idea is exciting, it may also be terrifying. Where do you start with such a significant purchase? How do you know which house is the house?

 

Partnering with an experienced and professional real estate agent can take the terror out of home buying. Our friendly staff at Roost knows the Twin Cities area well, and we will walk you through the steps of finding the house you will call home. Let’s look at these facts about the home buying process that will help alleviate your fears.

You Don’t Have to Put Down a Large Down Payment

One of the biggest concerns many people have when considering purchasing a house is the upfront cost. More specifically, buyers are concerned with the down payment required to obtain a mortgage. It can be scary trying to pull together twenty percent of the asking price, or other down payment requirements.

 

No worries! Some mortgages require a low down payment or none at all. According to the  Mortgage Report, you can put as little as three percent down, or skip the down payment altogether if you qualify. If you are making a consistent income that will cover the monthly mortgage payment but haven’t saved enough for a down payment, you can still buy a home.

 

Buying a house is about affordability. A large down payment will decrease your monthly payments, but you shouldn’t deplete your entire savings to do so. You don’t want to be “house-poor,” that is, having money on paper but not in the bank.

 

Good real estate agencies can refer you to an experienced mortgage broker who will walk you through your options. They can help you decide if you qualify for a no down payment loan. Or you can look at low down payment options like FHA loans, The HomeReady Mortgage, a Conventional Loan 97, or the Piggyback Loan all with 10% down or less. If you’re a first-time homebuyer, there are many options to assist you.

You Have Done the Research

Before any massive purchase like a home, you do research. You have looked at school districts, crime rates, home values, property taxes, local park systems, available entertainment in the area, etc. You have looked at houses, condos, duplexes, and townhouses. You have decided on your preferences; you know what you are looking for in a home.

 

If you have been scouring websites, Facebook pages, real estate pages, Zillow, and statistical data, take a deep breath. You have done the research.

 

The next step is to ask, “what are the real estate agencies near me?” and begin your research deciding who will be your partner on your home-buying journey. We invite you to contact us at Roost, where our agents have years of experience helping individuals and families go from thinking about buying a home to being handed the keys.

You Know the Questions to Ask When Buying a House

Once you are ready to buy, you have selected your real estate agent, and you have found a home that you love, you still have important questions to ask when buying a house. Your agent will help you create a fair and favorable offer for a home you wish to purchase, by considering such questions as:

 

  • “What is the asking price based upon?” Knowing what the seller paid, what similar homes have sold for in the area, how many offers this home has received, and how long the property has been on the market will affect what price you should offer.

 

  • “What is the condition of the home?” Ask how old the roof is, what is the type of foundation, when they replaced the appliances, and what quality the insulation is in can save you time and money down the road.

 

  • “What is the location of the home?” Location is more than the physical address. The area surrounding a house or condo drastically affects your quality of life. Look into what kinds of properties are nearby, like apartments or industry. Consider the demographics of the neighborhood, the quality of the school districts, and your daily life in that home: think of noise factors, traffic, dogs barking, etc.

You are Buying for the Right Reasons

If you are buying a home for the right reasons, you won’t regret your purchase. There are several wrong reasons to buy a house. You should never buy a home because of peer pressure, or because most of your friends are. If you plan to move in the next couple of years or have a substantial amount of debt, you should not purchase a home. Just because you qualify for a mortgage does not mean you should buy a house or condo.

You are Financially Ready and Want to Build Equity

If you have a good job and good credit, and you can cover the monthly payment and a required down payment, you don’t need to be nervous about becoming a homeowner.

 

Buying a house is a fantastic way to build equity. If you purchase a home, you won’t be spending money on rent that you won’t see again. A mortgage payment goes towards your home each month. When you sell your home, you will recuperate much of the money you have spent.

You Want Stability

If you are tired of moving every few years, buying a house is an incredible option. Owning a home gives you one set of schools, one neighborhood, and one community to call yours. A mortgage also provides stability for your budget, as you will no longer be subject to rising rental costs.

 

Buying a home does not have to be scary. At Roost, we can help you with all the research that comes with purchasing your own house or condo. Being a little nervous about such a big decision is normal, and it means that you are taking it seriously. Take confidence in knowing that we have helped hundreds of prospective buyers just like you demystify the buying process and enjoy their new home.

Posted in Home Buying
Dec. 30, 2018

Curb Appeal and Why It's Important

Well-manicured lawns, clean walkways and neat porches, and fresh paint with charming decor can make the outside of your home look both amazing and inviting. While many of us strive to keep the outward appearance of our homes presentable and beautiful, sometimes getting it looking as we’d like can be difficult. The day-to-day busyness of life gets in the way, and the outside of your home might get neglected.

 

If you are selling your home, curb appeal is crucial to catching the eye of potential buyers and real estate agents alike. You’ll want to make sure the outside of your house is looking its best before you put your home on the market. When buyers are looking for their next real estate investment, the first impression is going to make a huge difference.

 

If you are looking to buy a new home yourself, you’ll understand how important curb appeal is as you survey and mull over your different options. Pulling up to a house and seeing an overgrown lawn, peeling paint, and a multitude of clutter can be a tremendous turn-off that may be seriously damaging to a potential real estate investment.

Enhance Your Curb Appeal and Enhance Selling Potential

Whether buying or selling your home, curb appeal is necessary and essential. You’ll want your home looking great and standing out from all of the rest of homes for sale. Roost Real Estate can help you identify ways to improve your home’s curb appeal with ideas for fantastic curb appeal landscaping, and importantly, how to work with curb appeal on a budget. The way your home looks will help bring buyers to you, so it’s important to keep your property as stunning as possible.

 

Naturally, selling your home also requires the outside of your house to be extensively photographed and published on websites. You’ll want to make sure your photos look as good on a screen as they do in real life. Curb appeal can make or break a potential sale, so take a look at some of these great ideas. Get your home ready to put on the market by deploying outstanding images that highlight your home’s curb appeal.

 

Here are some of our favorite tips featuring the best ways you can accomplish magnificent appeal, even from a curb.

Curb Appeal Landscaping

You might want to consider updating the landscaping around your home to give the external appearance extra appeal. Since you might not know how long your home could be on the market, consider choosing plants and shrubs that will grow year-round. This will prevent you from having to rethink and redo your landscaping each season. As you might have guessed, using these types of plants additionally helps your wallet, too.

 

To add color, choose some exquisite perennial flowers that you won’t have to replace each year. If you are having trouble keeping your lawn mowed frequently enough, consider replacing a portion of your yard with some easy-to-care-for garden beds. You can cut back on the amount of time you are caring for your lawn and add something that will look beautiful.

Keep Your Exterior Clean

It’s essential to ensure the exterior siding of your home stays in great shape to maintain outstanding curb appeal. Remove and touch up any peeling paint, keep the siding clean from dirt and mildew, and keep your gutters clean and empty.

 

Keeping the exterior of your home clean will also help you to keep track of any potential issues such as cracks or leaks. You’ll be able to keep your home in top condition by cleaning and evaluating the exterior on a regular basis.

Walkways and Driveways

You will want to make sure your walkways and driveway stays neat and tidy. Eliminate any weeds or cracks and keep both walkways and the driveway swept clean.

 

Clean walkways leading up to your home will help to keep the first impression of your home fresh and neat.

Increasing Your Curb Appeal on a Budget

If you need ways to revamp your home’s curb appeal on a budget, there are plenty of inexpensive ways to update and make improvements with minimal investment. These fantastic, money-saving ideas will help your home’s appeal live up to its potential.

Give Your Front Door a Pick-Me-Up

The front door to your home is a central focal point, so why not spend some time and a little bit of money sprucing it up? Consider repainting your door with a complementary color that will pop and make a statement. A fresh coat of paint on a door will not only completely update the entire look of the front of your house but will also stand out and grab attention.

 

Aside from painting the door, you could also add a charming wreath or some pretty planters to either side of the door to dress it up. These options are all inexpensive and will just take a little bit of your time.

Windows That Shine

Keeping your windows clean goes a long way in making your home stand out and look sensational. Crystal clear windows add to the overall appearance of your home and reveal how well your home is taken care of. Consider adding window-boxes for colorful perennials to brighten up your home’s exterior as well as draw attention to your sparkling windows.

Fill Your Flower Beds

Garden beds are a low-cost way to dress up the front of your house. Garden beds are a simple and cost-effective way to boost curb appeal. You’ll want something low-maintenance so you can easily care for the flower bed, all while maintaining your home’s appearance.

 

Planting low-growing shrubs and greenery with some color splashes for attention is a fantastic way to give your home a quick makeover while maximizing curb appeal inexpensively.

Don’t Sell Yourself Short When it Comes to Curb Appeal

When it comes to selling your home, don’t cut corners with your home’s curb appeal. You’ll want that first impression of your home to be inviting and inspiring, not drab and run-down. You’ll make the most out of your home’s online photographs as well if you concentrate on creating a welcoming and beautiful exterior.

 

Your home’s curb appeal can help attract buyers and assist you in establishing an appropriate asking price. If you are looking for ways to increase your home’s curb appeal, contact Roost Real Estate so we can help you make the most of your home’s curb appeal.





Dec. 23, 2018

Should I Buy or Rent a Home

 

Choosing where to live is an important decision. Aside from settling on a location that works for your job, family, schools, and budget, determining the type of house or apartment is also a significant consideration. Once you’ve made a decision based on all of these factors, you are also left asking yourself: “Should I rent or buy?”

 

Figuring out whether you should rent or buy a home can be difficult. There are a lot of factors to consider in order to make the best decision for you and your family. Fortunately, the local realtors at Roost can help weigh the pros and cons with you. Whether your next step ends up being renting or buying, we are here to help you get into the home of your dreams.

 

Before you make your next move, consider whether renting or buying makes the most sense. Regardless of which you choose, making an educated decision will help you feel confident about the choice you make. Here are some factors to consider in your decision.

How Long Do You Plan to Stay?

Evaluating how long you’re planning to live in your new home is an essential consideration. If you think the move will only last three to five years, renting might be a better choice. While selling a house after only owning it for a few years isn’t impossible, you won’t have as much equity as you could if you lived in it longer.

 

Selling a home after only a few years may also result in a loss on your investment. Of course, how the market is performing also factors in, but owning your home for more than five years typically improves your equity.  

 

If you plan on staying in one place for less than five years, renting can be the perfect situation. Most leases are for twelve months, but allow you the flexibility of being able to move sooner if you need, usually with conditions or a fee. Renting is an excellent solution for a short-term living arrangement.

Owning a Home is an Investment

When you own a home, any improvement you undertake increases its value. Owning a home is an investment, and you’ll be happy knowing that the money and time you put into your home is to your financial benefit in the long run. When renting, any improvements you do on your own (with your landlord’s permission) benefit someone else’s investment.

 

Renting typically comes with restrictions on what alterations or improvements you can make to the home, including even painting the walls. When you own your home, any addition, renovation, or project makes your living experience more enjoyable and increases your home’s value. If you are ready to start putting time and money into a home, or it is important to you to be able to customize your living space to your preferences, buying a home will make more sense.

Repairs Can Be Costly

Owning a home means you are responsible for any and all repairs. Whether a leaky roof, a fried water heater, frozen pipes, or a broken heat pump, you are responsible for taking care of any issues. The upside is that you can choose who does the repairs as well as how and when the repair or replacement is made, instead of being beholden to a landlord’s decisions. The downside is the financial impact of the repairs as well as the stress of the responsibility of ensuring the issues are resolved.

 

Sometimes being able to rely on someone else to take care of home repairs both financially and physically is a welcome relief. Not having to worry about the bill or making the repairs helps keep your life simple and stress-free.

 

When you are deciding whether to rent or buy a home, consider how much responsibility you want to incur, as well as how well you can afford maintenance and repairs.

Financial Picture

Another essential aspect to consider when determining whether you should rent or buy a home is your financial picture. If you are hoping to buy a home, you’ll need funds for a down payment, realtor fees, and closing costs available. Homeowners are also responsible for all utilities, such as electricity, cable or internet, water and sewer, and trash disposal. Many rentals include some or all utilities in the cost of the monthly payment.

 

In addition to these elements, your mortgage on a home may be a higher monthly amount than your rent, especially once you include homeowner’s insurance and property taxes. However, your monthly rent may increase every time your lease renews as your landlord adjusts the payment to reflect the market in the area and any improvements they have made.

 

With most mortgages, you know your monthly payment for the next 15 or 30 years, creating a stable budget that doesn’t change with the housing market. When you rent, you can expect some unpredictability in your monthly payments since when a lease renews, the terms of the agreement can change. Taking a good look at your budget and determining what you can afford will help you decide which option is best for you.

 

Adjusting your budget to rising rental prices is the most common complaint of renters. If you feel you are in a good financial position to take on the monthly mortgage, the additional fees associated with buying a home, and the money for future repairs and maintenance, buying a house could be a fantastic investment.

Let Our Local Realtors Help You

If you are moving to the Twin Cities area, let our local realtors at Roost help you find the perfect living situation. Whether you are looking for an affordable rental for a few years, or to buy your dream home, we can help you evaluate the best solution for your housing needs.

 

Our experienced professionals will help you determine whether you should rent or buy a home or condo, and then help you find the one that’s perfect for you.

 

Once you decide what is best for you, we will be there to help you move forward with finding a fantastic place to call home. Contact us today to make your home search easy and pleasant.

Posted in Home Buying
Dec. 16, 2018

Find Your Way to Wayzata, MN

 

Wayzata, Minnesota (pronounced “why-zett-uh,” by the way) is a stunning city on the shores of Lake Minnetonka. In fact, the name Wayzata comes from the Lakota Sioux phrase meaning “North Shore.” This shore city of fantastic views is a perfect place to call home or simply enjoy an especially relaxing visit.

 

With a population of just around 4,000 people, you can be sure you won’t get lost in the bustle of a big city. However, you can also still count on all the conveniences of living in a city. From the schools to all the activities afforded in the area, Wayzata is a place where you should consider putting down roots if you are looking to live near the Twin Cities.

 

We think you’ll love it so much that we’ve created a list of top-notch reasons to consider Wayzata, Minnesota your new hometown.

1 - An Adventurous Outdoor Life

Because Wayzata is located on the shores of Lake Minnetonka, you have access to huge variety of out-and-about activities.

 

If you enjoy being outdoors, Wayzata is your new ideal location. If your family enjoys swimming, you can have absolutely delightful experiences at the Wayzata Beach is in the summer. Bringing your sunscreen, towels, and picnics can maximize your Wayzata Beach time. And, as with all responsible beaches, there are lifeguards present.

 

If chilling on the sand isn’t your thing, try checking out the marinas. Boat-owners have enjoyed docking their boats between excursions, and there are places to rent boats, as well. For an especially fun afternoon, take a ride on the restored 1906 Steamboat Minnehaha. You can also find other equally lovely and beneficial charter boats.

 

If you are an active type, there are watersports galore! Whether you enjoy tubing, wakeboarding, fishing, kayaking, or stand-up paddle boarding, you will find yourself in good company. The shores of Lake Minnetonka are a watersport lover’s dream.

 

Naturally, there are more than just water activities in Wayzata, though. With miles of trails for hiking and biking, there is always something new to explore. Mountain biking is so well-loved in the area that Wayzata High School even has their own mountain biking team. If you’re looking to try a specific trail, give the Dakota Trail a try. The Dakota Trail is a 13-mile paved trail featuring overlooks of the lake, wetlands, and woods that are such a cherished part of Wayzata.

 

Once the weather turns cold, you can also find tons of opportunities to embrace fun winter activities. Klapprich Park offers both a dog park and a skating rink. Nice, right?

2 - High-Quality Schools

Wayzata High School consistently ranks as one of the top high schools in the state and the nation. The school has a 96 percent graduation rate and more than 50 percent of its students participate in Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Newsweek and US News and World Report have lauded the school on their notorious annual lists. Additionally, Wayzata High’s Quiz Bowl and Mathematics League teams have held championship titles almost continuously for the last decade.

 

Besides impressive academics, students can participate in 30 different sports at Wayzata High. Options range from traditional sports like cheerleading, football, basketball, baseball/softball, and track and field, to winter sports such as Alpine and Nordic ski racing and hockey. The school also has strong swimming, diving, and synchronized swimming teams, as well as gymnastics, soccer, lacrosse, wrestling, tennis, golf, and volleyball. If your student is looking to join a team for their favorite sport, Wayzata almost definitely has their sport covered.

3 - Fantastic Shopping

If you enjoy a good day of shopping, you won’t even have to venture into a big city to get your kicks. Wayzata offers incredible shopping right downtown. The Promenade is on the shore of Lake Minnetonka and offers chic boutiques and high-end shops. As might be guessed, downtown Wayzata is quite the popular destination.

 

The Lake Street shops are an eclectic mix of businesses promoting local and artisan flavors. You can shop at exclusive boutiques and upscale European lines, as well as some American favorites like Talbots and Chicos, all while enjoying views of the lake.

4 - A Foodie’s Paradise

If brunch is your idea of the perfect Saturday, you will find a tremendous amount of food opportunities in Wayzata as many well-known chefs have opened restaurants here. Many of them also feature exquisite outdoor patios for dining al fresco in spring and summer.

 

Michelin-star-winning chef Gavin Kaysen chose Wayzata to open his second restaurant, Bellecour. Bellecour serves fantastic French fare, but you’ll need to make reservations far in advance to find yourself in a coveted Bellecour seat. The patio and bar, however, are first-come, first-serve. Don’t miss the bakery out front, either. Bellecour has one of the most notable bakeries in the state, bringing shoppers in from the Twin Cities and Hennepin county areas.

 

For coffee lovers, Minneapolis-originated Caribou Coffee serves up fresh brews daily. Be sure to check out Wayzata Brew Works (the only boat-up brewery in the state) for some local offerings. Wayzata is known for great surf-and-turf restaurants, too, such as CoV Wayzata and 6 Smith, which serves a fabulous brunch. Gianni’s Steakhouse is another local favorite for incredible steaks.

5 - Safe and Strong Community

With about one-fifth of its population under age 18, Wayzata is a marvelous place for families. On the other end, nearly a quarter of residents are over age 65, so it’s also a popular destination for retirees, too. Wayzata is a comfortable town with a striking balance among its residents.

 

With a free trolley around the downtown area and multiple festivals, it’s easy to see that Wayzata focuses on a vibrant community. If you have ever thought of golfing on a frozen lake, check out the Chilly Open. In June, check out the Wayzata Art Experience, for live music, boat tours, artsy parties, food trucks, and art shows.

 

In the summer, check out free music at Depot Park on Wednesdays. Every fall, the Boo Blast brings two Halloween-themed trains to the Wayzata Depot, a 5k road race, costume contests, and trick-or-treating downtown. Voted Lake Minnetonka’s best festival, the annual James J. Hill Days (every September) offers movies on the lawn, Dachshund races, log rolling, fireworks, concerts, a beach bash, carnival, and a parade.

 

Wayzata is a safe city to live and work in. Crime rates are substantially lower in Wayzata that in the rest of the state or even country. There is less violent crime and property crime in Wayzata, meaning you can feel safe in your own home and when you are out enjoying all the city has to offer.

Buy Your Home in Wayzata

 

If you’re considering moving to Wayzata, you won’t be disappointed. With beautiful neighborhoods and convenient condos, you will find the perfect place to live. At Roost, we can assist you with buying your family or retirement home in this incredible city. We’re excited to show you the beautiful homes and condos in the area and hand you the keys to your dream.

 

Dec. 9, 2018

What are the Two Biggest Myths that Stop Potential Home Buyers

Buy Home

If you’re like many would-be homeowners who haven’t committed to purchasing a home just yet, you’ve probably considered some potential roadblocks to your goals. Daily commute length, lifestyle changes for your family, and finances are all aspects to evaluate before pre-qualifying for a loan. No doubt you’ve read a fair amount of advice about tidying up your credit score, so it’s in optimal condition for loan qualification. If you’ve worked on doing that, along with socking away some dollars for that down payment, awesome!

 

But what happens when you haven’t saved a significant amount of funds, or you worry about your credit history affecting home loan qualifications?

 

You may have fallen victim to two of the biggest myths that stop people from buying a home. Let’s take a look.

 

Myth #1: You Need a High FICO Score

Most Americans believe you need a FICO score of 780 or above to qualify for a home loan, and that if you have anything less, you shouldn’t bother applying. In fact, Ellie Mae reports that over half of all home buyers were under that score, mostly in the 600-749 range.

What is a FICO Score?

Your FICO score is one type of credit score. Lenders of all kinds use it, whether you’re applying for an apartment, a new credit card, or a home or auto loan. While you don’t necessarily need a high FICO score to qualify for a home loan, it does factor into your interest rate. Your lender can give you specifics on how your particular score may affect your interest rate. If you don’t have a lender yet, Roost can always help you find awesome lenders to work with.

 

Remember, you can improve your FICO score, and interest rates vary heavily depending on the market, both locally in Minnesota and according to federally set terms.

How do I Find Out My FICO Score?

It’s always a good idea to know your FICO score before you apply for any loan—or anything that will result in an inquiry on your credit history. Before you attempt to qualify for a loan (or even contact a potential lender or real estate agent), take the time to examine and clean up your credit score.

 

Most people have inaccurate items sitting on their credit report. You can dispute those, and they’ll drop off, improving your score. There are also many small adjustments that comfortable income earners can make to puff that score just a bit.

 

If you’re feeling stopped by the FICO myth, you’re at least at the point of wondering whether you can afford home ownership or qualify for a loan. That’s the ideal time to really dig into credit improvement.

 

Again, a lower score doesn’t make buying a home impossible, but it does increase your interest rate. That means you’ll pay thousands of dollars more in interest over the life of the loan. Get the best results by upping your score before you begin the journey to home ownership.

What is a Realistic FICO Score to Qualify for Home Ownership?

Having a FICO score above 700 can help you minimize your interest rate, but realistically, lenders can work with you at a score of 600 or above. Additionally, there are many unique circumstances and programs out there, including some local ones, so make sure you talk with your Roost Real Estate agent about any options or concerns.

 

A low FICO score isn’t necessarily a barrier to home ownership: it’s something to consider and discuss, but we can usually work with future home buyers to make their dreams come true.

Myth #2: You Need a Substantial Down Payment

The second home ownership myth involves down payment. Most Americans assume you need one-fifth of the home’s sale price for a down payment. This simply is not true. Depending on your current financial situation and current rental status, you can qualify for a down payment of 3 percent or less.

 

Over half of surveyed renters believed that having no down payment was a major barrier to home-ownership. After all, with rent increases, utilities, and other expenses, it can be challenging to save for a home. Sometimes, monthly rent and fees are more than you’d pay compared to a mortgage—a huge reason to consider home-ownership in the first place.

 

This myth persists thanks to the 2008 financial crisis. Banks required 20 percent down for many new homeowners then, but things are considerably more relaxed now.

 

Buying a Home with Little or No Money Down

If you’re interested in purchasing a home but have little or no money to put down, you may have some options.

 

FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loans are generally pricier when it comes to interest, but if your credit score is hanging out in the 600's, they are a likely option for you. If you have a credit rating under 580, you might still qualify for this type of mortgage if you have 10 percent down.  

 

Are you an armed forces veteran? If so, VA (Veterans Administration) loan options may help. Most VA loans require no money down, and unlike FHA loans, you aren't required to have mortgage insurance and related fees attached. The VA will work with active duty service members, former military service members meeting certain prerequisites, and reservists who have been active for at least six years.

 

If you’d like to purchase a home in a rural area, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) might be able to help. You can learn more about USDA mortgage options here. There are usually decent options for low to middle-income earners.

Ready to Explore Home Buying Options?

If you’ve let one or both of these home buying myths deter you and you’re ready to move forward, reach out to us at Roost. Our agents understand what a monumental step it is for most people to buy their first home—or upgrade to something that makes more sense for the whole family.

 

Now that we’ve busted these myths give us a call to start the journey to home ownership. We look forward to handing you those keys.

 

Posted in Home Buying
Dec. 2, 2018

Questions to Ask When Buying A Home

Buying A Home

Buying a home is not an impulse purchase. You’re buying something to live in for years, a place where you will raise a family. Your home is a major investment, and you want to be sure you’ve made a smart one.

 

You may have heard the phrase, “buyer beware.” That means it's up to you, the homebuyer, to learn about the home and property you are purchasing. You’ll need a partner to navigate the process. At Roost Real Estate we’ll help you every step of the way to get the keys to your dream home.

 

How do you know what questions to ask when buying a home? While this may vary somewhat from buyer to buyer, there are some general questions every homebuyer should ask to learn about the house and land they are purchasing. Here are some questions to start the conversation with your REALTOR®.

Why Ask Questions When Buying a Home?

The most important reason to ask questions before buying a home is to find out about any issues the home may have. Frequently, new owners find quirks or shortcomings, big or small, within a few months of purchasing their home. Asking questions beforehand doesn’t guarantee that everything is fixed, but you will have a better idea of what you are getting into, and you will be able to adjust your offer or budget accordingly.

 

Plus, the initial appeal of the house may keep you from being objective. If you have ever purchased a home, you know the feeling. You’ve found the one. Similar to a new relationship, it’s hard to see flaws with a new love. Asking the right questions helps bring you down to earth.

Four Big Questions To Ask When Buying a House

When you’ve finally found the house you want, there are several questions to ask before you put in an offer. You may be tempted to quickly jump in with an offer because you love the house and are scared someone else will snatch it out from under you. Don’t! Sit down with your real estate agent and go over these things.

What is the Asking Price Based On?

Working with your agent, determine how the seller landed on the asking price. Is it based on comparable homes in the neighborhood? Those prices may have little to do with the home you’re interested in, especially if it’s in a nonconforming neighborhood.

 

Other useful questions are how much did the seller pay, and how much do they owe? Knowing what the seller paid will tell you if the value of the home has gone up or down. If the seller owes more than the asking price, then the house is a short sale. That means the seller may have to bring cash to closing, or you’ll have to deal with special rules from the bank that could delay closing. In this case, you’ve lost some of your bargaining chips: it is unlikely the seller will pay for repairs or assist with your closing costs. You want the seller to have equity.

 

Also, ask how many offers the seller has received, and how long the house has been on the market. If there are multiple offers on the house, your offer will need to be very competitive to get the seller’s attention. Conversely, if the house has been on the market for a while without an offer, there is a good chance you can get a discount.

What is the History of the House?

Several questions about the history of the house will inform your offering price. Ask about past major repairs, as well as the age of the roof and appliances. For example, a busted pipe in the past could mean lingering water damage or mold. The average roof needs to be replaced after 15-30 years, depending on the materials used. A major repair like a new roof or heat pump can cost over $10,000.

 

Some questions that might affect your desire for the house are a history of paranormal activity, or pets buried on the property. You might also want to know if any major crime has occurred there, or if the house was used in criminal activity. Check the registry to determine if there is a sexual offender in the area.

What is the Condition of the House?

Ask basic questions about the construction of the home, such as what type of foundation it has, and what kind of plumbing. If it’s an older home, ask if the electrical wiring has been updated to modern standards. Also, find out what the land was used for before the home was built. It may have previously been designated wetlands, which could lead to foundation issues, or it may have been an orchard that used harmful chemical pesticides that remain in the soil and groundwater.

 

Find out about utility costs before deciding to purchase the home. Knowing beforehand will help you with budgeting and will help you understand if your home is about average for the area or more or less energy efficient. A lack of insulation in the walls and attic or older, leaking windows and doors can lead to much higher heating and cooling expenses that you expected.

 

Ask if any appliances have been replaced and when. The appliances that convey with the home must be in working order when the house is sold, but “working” doesn’t always mean efficiently. They may be limping along and need replacement shortly after you close.

What is the Location of the House?

It’s vital to ask what types of properties surround the house. Is it mostly houses of similar size and value, or are there apartments, retail, or industrial buildings as well? What is near the home, and what its zoning regulations are will affect the home’s value.

 

If you have school-age kids, ask about the quality of the public schools in the district. Better schools also improve the home’s value.

 

These are just a few of common questions to ask when buying a house. As you can see, there are many details to think about. You’ll want someone in your corner to help you get to the bottom of these questions, and more. At Roost Real Estate, we have the experience and knowledge to ensure you have all the answers before you sign the dotted line. Give us a call and let us help you.

Posted in Home Buying
Nov. 25, 2018

Discover St. Louis Park, MN

St. Louis Park

 

 

What’s important when considering where you will live? What do you look for when you are looking for your future home? Do you want nearby shopping? How about unique and delicious restaurants and an exciting nightlife? If you want a fantastic park system, as well as all of these benefits, consider St. Louis Park, MN your new home.

Shopping, Restaurants, and Nightlife

Whether you are looking for a well-known chain restaurant, local places, or a hole-in-the-wall favorite, St. Louis Park has it all. If you are looking for a chain like Benihana, or a fast food favorite like Chipotle or Chick-fil-A, or anything in between, you will find it in St. Louis Park. If you prefer local cuisine, there’s a multitude of options, as well.

 

Mill Valley Kitchen is a local favorite with a reputation for fantastic brunches as well as American food with vegetarian and vegan options. They have established themselves as offering high-quality food with incredible service in a great facility. If you end up living in St. Louis Park, this will surely become one of your go-to places.

 

Another spot many locals rave about is Yum Kitchen and Bakery. Customers love their soups, salads, and sandwiches. Yum Kitchen makes everything from scratch, and they change their menu seasonally. You will always find something new to taste, and you can be confident in the quality. It is the place to go for cakes, cupcakes, and other sweets.

 

With a variety of places to shop, including multiple malls, you will find everything you need without having to drive far. Excelsior and Grand is an upscale shopping district that also has luxury apartments. There are a variety of shops and restaurants in this location so you can easily make a day of it. You can even check out the Fit Club for Women here, or grab a coffee at Starbucks.

 

Another excellent shopping option is The Shops at West End. This unique location is only minutes from downtown Minneapolis and is full of local boutiques and well-known brands. It also has many bars and restaurants, as well as a movie theatre. If you are looking for a salon or spa you will be surprised at the great options you will find at West End. There are fabulous restaurants at West End, as well. You will find incredible dining at McCoys, Yardhouse, Crave, and Good Day Cafe.

 

When it comes to nightlife, St. Louis Park does not lack for anything. There is an array of bars, clubs, and lounges that offer great specials and entertainment to keep the fun going. Theatres and clubs offer shows and other entertainment, as well.

Community Life

St. Louis Park is a thriving community with year-round events. Whether you are looking for little league sports for your kids, or community events to meet your neighbors, you will find a plethora of activities. You will find holiday celebrations open to the community, as well as festivals and shows. There are sports teams to cheer for and local athletic events like races to enjoy.

 

The park system in St. Louis Park is phenomenal. The parks have just about anything you can think of, from open spaces to playgrounds to trails to games. St. Louis Park, MN, also offers incredible outdoor activities if you are looking for an active lifestyle. With a variety of parks and recreational areas and seasonal events, you will always find something to do.

 

If you like hiking, biking, or enjoy going for a walk or jog, you will find miles of trails and beautiful natural areas to explore. Three Rivers Park District manages several bike trails in St. Louis Park. There is a 3.6-mile trail with different walking and biking lanes that connect you to downtown Minneapolis. Another trail that will get you to Hopkins is Cedar Lake Extension Trail, which is 4.3 miles and paved. There is also another 5-mile trail along the rail line next to Highway 7 with beautiful views. In St. Louis Park there are no shortage of trails to navigate and explore.

 

If you enjoy being on the water, you will find numerous lakes that offer canoeing and kayaking. There are several places to rent boats for day use, or you can enjoy the lakes and parks with boat launches if you have your own.

 

If fishing is more to your liking, check out Wolfe Lake. It is a 3.3-acre lake with a pier for fishing, as well as several fishing stations on the shore. You will find a variety of fish, as well as recreational areas with picnic tables and playgrounds. For those who are looking for a home that isn't a house, this area also touts the Wolfe Lake Condominiums.

 

In the cold months St. Louis Park becomes a winter playground. You will find outdoor skating and hockey rinks, as well as fun sledding hills. Birchwood Park and Oak Hill Park are lighted skating rinks with warming houses. Oak Hill Park and Browndale Park have sledding hills with lights.

 

The Jewish Community is thriving, as well, in St.Louis Park, MN. Sabes Jewish Community Center offers services and events, throughout the year, that help their community strengthen and thrive as a people. Whether you are practicing yourself, or want to learn more, you will find a wonderful community to join.

Schools

St Louis Park, MN has a thriving public school system, as well as many private schools. The St. Louis Park School District, Independent School District 283, serves around 4,200 students from kindergarten to 12th grade in seven public schools. This phenomenal district consistently performs well and is the only district in the state of Minnesota with every school being acknowledged as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the United States Department of Education.

When it comes to private schools, residents have many high-quality options. Whether you are looking for secular, Christian, or Jewish schools, there are many private schools for you to choose from. If a good school system is essential to you in your next move, you will find what you are looking for in St. Louis Park.

 

St. Louis Park, MN offers incredible living with unique and fun entertainment throughout the year. If you want a home with easy access to shopping, great food, a fun nightlife, incredible outdoor activities, and fantastic schools that promise an outstanding education for your children, St. Louis Park needs to be your next home.

If this is a place you can see yourself living, call the experts at Roost. They will help you navigate the process of finding a place to live. Roost will be your partner in finding your dream home or condo in this thriving community. They have experience and an excellent reputation in the area and will do everything they can to find the perfect place for you to call home.

Nov. 19, 2018

FSBO: Do I Really Need a Realtor

For Sale By Owner

So, you’re ready to sell your home. You’ve noticed other homes for sale by owner (FSBO), and the idea is intriguing. Several questions run through your mind.

 

Do I need to hire a realtor? Does a realtor make a big difference? Would it be easier to sell your home yourself? After all, it is your home. You’ve put the time and money into it. Doesn’t it make sense that you’d be better able to represent it better than a stranger?

 

If you’re thinking about selling your own home, there are several factors to consider. Do you have the time, knowledge, and know-how to tackle this task? It’s incredibly time-consuming to market and sell your home. You might not fully understand the market and how to price your home, and you might have a hard time correctly preparing your home for sale. Furthermore, it’s hard to schedule the showings, and the legal paperwork is quite tricky. Considering these factors, you might reconsider that great idea to sell your own home.

Selling and Marketing Your Home Takes Time

If you’re considering selling your own home, you’ll need to examine the time commitment involved. As a “FSBO” seller, you’ll have to do all the steps a realtor would typically do by yourself.

 For starters, you’ll need to list your home online. Most buyers start their search on the internet and go to real estate websites. Only certified Realtors can access the Multiple Listing Service or MLS, the place that other Realtors and customers look for homes for sale. If you don’t have your home listed on the MLS or a Realtor’s website, you’ll have a lot more legwork to get your home the needed attention.

 Listing a home on Zillow or other websites takes time and expertise. All this can only happen after your home is prepared to sell and looks the part. You’ll have to arrange a photographer to take high-quality pictures of your house that will entice buyers. Realtors have access to tools that create 360-degree walk-throughs to help showcase your home.

If you use a qualified real estate agent, you immediately gain access to their company’s website, resources, and the MLS. A Realtor does much more than stick a ‘for sale” sign in your yard. The contract with your realtor includes the cost of advertising, rather than you having to pay out-of-pocket. Your home listing will reach many more potential buyers with the resources of a real estate agent.

You Could Price Your Home Wrong

If you intend to sell your own home, you will most likely use an online assessment tool or base your price on other houses for sale in your area. Both of these methods can lead to inaccurate listing prices. Most people do not have the market knowledge to understand the intricacies of pricing a house accurately.

 Pricing your home too high can cause it to sit on the market too long and cause potential buyers to be concerned. If you then lower the price, buyers will question why you reduced it. Pricing your home too low, can cause you to miss out on money you deserve.

 If you hire an agent, the most crucial thing they will do is give you an accurate value for your home based on comprehensive market research and analysis to calculate the correct listing price. You want the perfect price that will bring you what your home is worth without scaring off buyers. Market analysis shows that houses for sale by owner sell for less on average than homes sold by an agent. Not using a real estate agent could be leaving money on the table.

Your Home Might Not Be Prepared Correctly

If you don’t have the help of a real estate agent, you might not be staging and preparing your home in the best way. Since you love your home, you are subjective about how it looks, whereas an agent knows how to look at your house objectively. You could overlook small things like landscaping or paint or spend too much money increasing the curb appeal.

 An agent can help you find budget-friendly and straightforward fixes to make your home saleable without investing more than you need. A Realtor has learned from experience the best and most cost-effective ways to present your home to potential buyers.

Showing Your Home is Time-Consuming

If you work full-time, it can be difficult to set up open houses and arrange for showings. You may also have a tough time balancing the calls and emails about the property. Also, it is hard for a novice to distinguish between serious buyers and browsers with no intention of buying. It can be challenging to deal with flippers, as well.

 It is a Realtor’s job to be available to show houses to potential buyers on their schedule. An agent is responsible for scheduling and being present for showings and tours. It’s better for the owner not to be present during showings, as it often makes buyers uncomfortable. An agent will objectively handle feedback to help you with your sale.

Real Estate Paperwork is Hard

Finally, and probably most importantly, real estate paperwork is incredibly tricky. The average seller is not versed in contracts or law and leaves themselves open to legal issues. The closing paperwork alone is usually over 20 pages of detailed paperwork full of legal jargon.

 Negotiating a sale is hard and requires lots of paperwork with every offer and counteroffer. Navigating this intricate legal process can give you a lot of headaches if you these matters are new to you.

 If you have an agent helping you sell your home, they’ll take care of the paperwork and legal issues, helping you avoid future liability. A Realtor can keep you from an unnecessary lawsuit because it is their job to know the laws and requirements in your area. They’ll also explain these legal terms in language you can understand.

If you’re considering selling your home, partnering with a qualified Realtor will save you time, energy, and money. A real estate agent knows what it takes to quickly and efficiently sell a house, and it is their job to make sure it gets sold. You won’t have to invest time out of your busy schedule to stage your home and coordinate showings. You won’t have to figure out the stacks of legal paperwork required to sell a home.

 

Save your sanity and call us. Roost Real Estate will be your partner in the home selling process.



Nov. 14, 2018

Urban Living: Consider a Loft

Consider a Loft

Urban living can be an exhilarating prospect, especially for younger couples, professionals or any of us that like to be within striking distance of that electricity and magic that the hustle & bustle of the city can provide.

 

With continued urban development trends in metropolitan areas across the country, and the many lifestyle choices that they offer, it can be confusing and even overwhelming for those looking to embrace the urban life to choose between so many options for types of living spaces to call home.

 Many factors draw people to choose urban living over more suburban or rural lifestyles. There are almost as many choices as to where and how to live in your favorite city. Lofts are more popular than ever, providing perks like convenient, local, safe and secure living and a sense of community, to name a few.

If you haven't signed on that dotted line yet and are still undecided as to what type of home will best lend itself to your goals, then consider loft living; it might be right up your alley.

What Is A Loft?

Vast open space is generally what defines a "Loft." Lofts typically have high, vaulted ceilings and windows substantially more prominent than those of a typical house or apartment. Historically, loft apartments are carved out from older, abandoned and otherwise unused industrial buildings such as warehouses, factory or other commercial buildings. These older buildings are converted and up-cycled into large, open, individual living units.

 A hallmark and unique selling point of these open loft apartments are the industrial remnants of the building interior left in their places, such as exposed heating and ventilation ducts, plumbing and electrical piping, brick walls and concrete floors. These unique elements can add to the aesthetics and feel of the living space.

 Some loft apartments can be designed and finished by the developers and ready for a new owner or renter to move into though it is common for the property developer to leave the loft space raw, open and unfinished. This raw look is often a major selling point as it allows for the new tenant to exercise complete freedom in designing the living area of their dreams.

Initially, the word loft, in our context here, referred to the attic room or the very top floor of a building. "Hard" lofts, made out of the existing spaces in old buildings, and  "Soft" lofts, newer buildings designed specifically with loft spaces purposefully built, are two types of lofts you will notice.

Here in the U.S., the loft movement began in the SoHo district of Manhattan during the 1960s and 70s. Urban revitalization took off in the States during the 80s, and the loft apartment wasn't just for starving artists anymore, they were in demand. Throughout the 80s and 90s, urban living was thrust into pop-culture when loft living was front-and-center in movies like Ghost and television staples like Seinfeld, Friends and Sex and the City.

Over the past decade, many of the old industrial buildings in Minneapolis' historic industrial area, nestled between the city's bustling downtown business district and the Mississippi River, have enjoyed a revitalization movement, renovating and transforming its empty factories and warehouses into modern lofts and condos while preserving the exterior aesthetics of these historic buildings.

Is A Loft Right for You?

Here are a few of the factors that may help you decide if a loft is your best choice for urban living.

  • Lofts are a larger open space, giving you the feeling of freedom and the room to move around. They aren't as constrictive and restricted by compartmentalized rooms and walls.
  • The larger, open room of a loft, with its high ceilings and extra-large windows, affords you the ability to design and use the space creatively, allowing for larger pieces of art, larger pieces or sets of furniture, area rugs and multi-use spaces.
  • Lofts give you plenty of space for working on projects and entertaining guests.
  • You can wall-off or partition-off areas of your loft to fit your personal needs and desires.
  • And maybe most important, lofts don't give you that closed-in apartment feel.

Lofts: The Ultimate In Urban Living

So why choose a loft over any other type of home? There are many reasons professionals and couples alike choose the freedom and comfort of a loft apartment. Here we'll list some of the benefits for you to consider. Your team of professionals at Roost Real Estate can further help answer your questions and will be happy to help guide you through the decision making process after considering the points in this list. 

  • Lofts typically are developed in proximity to restaurants, natural foods grocers, shopping and nightlife. It's more cost effective and time efficient to live closer to work, school and shopping than to commute from a traditional house in more rural areas.
  • Lofts provide large, open spaces that let you create your home design to fit your tastes and lifestyle. High, vaulted ceilings and large windows with lots of sunlight help set lofts apart from other homes.
  • Lofts often have Home Owner Associations (HOA) that take on much of the responsibility of maintenance and upkeep on the building, addressing concerns and problems and even providing mediation with disputes between neighbors.
  • Lofts are lower-maintenance than other types of homes.
  • Loft living provides a sense of community with other neighbors in the building. Being involved with your HOA and regularly attending meetings is a big part of that equation.
  • Safety of living in a secured building.
  • Loft developments often include secured, on-site parking.

Lofts can include some great amenities like pools, fitness rooms, open and shared rooftop spaces and some even offer valet parking and concierge services. 

Roost Real Estate is the Twin Cities expert in lofts. Roost can help you find the perfect fit, so contact us today to find out more about starting your urban living adventure.

Posted in Home Buying