A Deeper Examination of Schools Near Your Next Minnesota Home

We highly value the feedback we get on how we can improve your home search tool, the Home Scouting Report®.  Over time, your recommendations have led to many additions (all available by clicking on our ugly mugs after you’ve logged in).  Now, we’ve added another interactive research tool; The Minnesota Report Card from the Minnesota Department of Education. While you’ve always been able to get basic school information via the Map View of your Home Scouting Report® but with this new tool, you’ll have access to these additional resources: My School – Demographics, trend data, graduation rates, contact information and …

Top Three Reasons to Feel Good About Buying a Home in the Twin Cities

It doesn’t happen very often where, in a compact period of time, I see a wealth of reliable data released that shed such sunny light on the decision to buy a home in the Twin Cities but lately that has been the case.  If you’ve been contemplating such a decision, here are 3 great reasons to feel good about your decision and its timing in ascending order. Reason 3: CNBC Ranks Minnesota as a Top State for Business. CNBC’s announcement may seem boring, and it definitely is, but from the perspective of a homebuyer or homeowner, it’s critical.  This is …

Homebuyers: Thinking About A Lowball Offer? Think Again.

 If you are under the impression that the Minnesota real estate market is still a buyer’s market, it may be time to put away the bell bottom hip huggers and burn the flower power polyester pullover.  Okay, that may be dating back a bit too far but you get my point.  Let’s time warp to 2013. Long gone are the days of putting in a lowball offer and hope it sticks.  It won’t and it doesn’t anymore.  I know, I know…your friends, family and colleagues who purchased homes just a few years ago still boast that they got their home …

Buy a Home Now vs. Wait – Who Needs a Forecast for that?

Charles Dailey – Branch Manager, Loan Officer, Certified Military Housing Specialist – CA DOC, MN DOC & WI DFI The Home Buyers Scouting Report® is provided directly to the buyer by HBM II, a licensed national real estate brokerage service company, not to or through a lender. The FREE home finding service is provided directly to prospective homebuyers by HBM II and its real estate brokers, as part of their ordinary real estate brokerage services. HBM II, Inc. works cooperatively with other real estate agents across the United States in attempting to find ready, willing and able buyers for homes …

iLoan Puts its Money Where its Mouth is for Veterans Using VA Loans

For a long time, we’ve been trying to figure out what we can do for our VA clients besides being highly trained, offering superior interest rates, and providing high-touch service.  We had talked about doing something more for some time now and finally thought we should get off our laurels and get ‘er done. For any military veteran or Foreign Service worker who chooses to do his or her Veteran’s Administration insured mortgage with iLoan, there will be no cost for the appraisal.  This is a value of between four hundred and five hundred fifty dollars which; a minor sacrifice …

So HVCC is Over? – Nope, it Still Lives On – Fannie Mae’s Appraisal Policy Broken Down

Breaking Down Fannie Mae’s Appraisal Rules Have you heard of the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC)? If you are a lender or Realtor, of course you have. What I wanted to do with this post is breakdown Fannie Mae’s policy now that HVCC has expired. Basically the Code lives on and has been slightly rewritten from the original. Unlike HVCC, Fannie’s policy has the force of law behind it. This new policy is clearly illustrated in Fannie Mae’s Appraiser Independence Requirements, Fannie, Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Finance Agency and others developed this specifically to replace HVCC. So whether …

10 Home Renovations That Don’t Necessarily Add Value

Some people assume that all renovations done to the home will add value.   As a matter of fact most people spend thousands of dollars on expensive upgrades and renovations over a period of time. What these people forget is that the next owner may not like the renovations.  Everybody needs to remember that your home is only worth that of homes of comparable size are appraised at, not necessarily by the characteristics of your home.  Yes, some qualities are highly sought after like garages, finished basements, enclosed yards or large kitchens but you need that certain buyer to appreciate them. …

Minnesota Home Prices Headed for a Double Dip? – Don’t Believe the Hype

If you’ve been watching the evening news or reading what’s been coming off the press, you might be thinking that the sky is about to fall on Minnesota home prices. You’ll hear a lot of doom and gloom and a lot about the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. I assure you that the media will not do an adequate job of explaining what this does and more importantly does not mean to you as a Minnesotan. Since the great recession hit, metropolitan areas have increased in home values 3 percent from their lows. There were 5 major metropolitan areas that bucked …

Who Is Going To Write These Loans?

The mortgage industry has seen much blood shed in the last 2 years, particularly in the last year.  After reading a very interesting magazine article, I began to think about the future…the eminent future and a big question arose, “Who the heck is going to write these loans”?  What is the MN Mortgage Mom rambling about now?  Well, let me take a step back a few years first. In the early to mid-2000’s, loan officers were a dime a dozen.  We were in offices, working out of our garages and in the comforts of our living rooms.  We were dressed in …

It’s High Noon on Shadow Inventory as Banks Halt Foreclosures

So Ally’s GMAC, Bank of America and J.P. Morgan Chase are halting foreclosures in 23 states. More importantly, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have stepped in to outline correct foreclosure processes and are demanding lenders adhere to them. What’s more, many more lenders are sure to follow the big 3’s changes. That’s great but what does it mean for us?

Home Values…You Got It, Your Home Is NOT Worth What You Thought.

I’m certainly not an appraiser or an expert on home values, but being in the biz as long as I have, I do have a fairly good understanding of appraised home values and the ever restrictive lending requirements behind it. For many who have had an appraisal done in the past year or so, may be able to attest to this blog’s title.  The appraisal was done and you were shocked that the value came in so low. “But I just spent $25,000 for this beautiful landscaping!” In this day and age, that is called over-improved.  You just spent a lot of money that did …

Monthly Private Mortgage Insurance – It Doesn’t Make Any Sense. . .

Few know that there are more than 22 different types of private mortgage insurance that can be used what a homebuyer puts less than 20% down on a conventional loan.  Most assume they’ll be saddled with monthly mortgage insurance which, more often than not, makes the least mathematical sense.  A different application of private mortgage insurance to a conventional loan can reduce monthly payments, add tax advantages, increasing a homebuyer’s purchasing power and save many thousands of dollars. As though there isn’t already enough to know, real estate professionals need to know the differences between the mortgage insurance providers (i.e. …

Upside Down on Your Home? – Here’s Your Playbook

In my home state of Minnesota, Minneapolis and Saint Paul have nearly 39 percent of homeowners under water. I’ve had the question, “I’m upside down on my home, what are my options?” so many times that I wanted to prepare a menu of options for people to reference. This article briefly outlines 9 potential solutions that may serve you well. The target audience here is not necessarily someone who’s in default on their loan but simply one who owes more than the home is worth. All too often, when one is upside down on their home and/or struggling with their …