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April 2018

Actionable Tips For First Time Home Buyers in 2018

1000 500 Sam Radbil

Whew! It seems everything has accelerated in the past couple of years. You graduated from college, got married, landed a nice job, and now there is a child on the way. Your apartment in Chicago on the 32nd floor is just not going to do it anymore, so it’ s time to think about purchasing your first home. Where to even start? Well, how about starting right here. Here are some great tips for first time home buyers.

Tips for First Time Home Buyers: Your Realtor

First Time Homebuyer Broker

Establish a relationship with a buyer’s agent. You’re looking to your agent for tips for first time home buyers, so after you explain your needs and price range, this person will find properties for you to view, make the appointments, keep a record of what you have seen, negotiate deals and write up offers to purchase. And guess what, there is no cost to you, since the seller pays all commission expenses!

Next Tip: Clean Up Your Credit History

Bad MN credit can be a problem as it can injure your ability to get good bank financing at the lowest possible rate. Go to Credit Karma, look at your credit score, view your credit report, and dispute any errors you find.

Tip #3: Pay Down Those Cards

As any Minnesota mortgage lender will tell you, if you have a high credit utilization rate, your projected monthly mortgage payment will be higher. Savvy first time home buyers plan well in advance to reduce credit card balances.

Tip #4: Work on Those Student Loans

As Student Loan Hero tells us:

“Spending a few more years getting your student loans or other debts paid down could mean that you would qualify for a lower interest rate or a higher loan amount. Once you have a better credit history and more secure income history, you will have more options available when you finally are ready to take that leap into homeownership.”

Become aware of the many repayment options available to MN student loan holders, and strengthen your monthly cash flow.

Tips for First Time Home Buyers - Student Loans

First Time Home Buyer Tip #5: Save for that Down Payment

You will be asked to show that you have anywhere from three to ten percent or more down-payment money available. While some lenders allow you to accept this money as a gift from your relatives, others like to see that you have saved it. Few lenders, however, will accept a borrowed down payment.

Tip #6: Be Realistic and Discerning

Our friends at U.S. News tell us:

“When you look at houses, focus on the right things. Don’t be distracted by the owner’s odd décor, paint colors, dirty carpet or anything that is easy to change. Granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances are easy to add later. You can’t easily add another bedroom, a better location or a more functional floor plan.”

Tip #7: Be Serious and Ready to Go

Don’t casually look for houses without having a plan to move if you find your dream house. You could find a gem on day one, but be stuck for six months in an apartment lease. Great opportunities may present themselves fleetingly, and you need to be ready. But be prepared to take some time to shop around for home insurance — don’t forget about this!

Tip #8: Check Out the Neighborhood at Different Times of Day

That nice, quiet three-bedroom dream home may turn out to be a nightmare if you only saw it on a quiet Sunday afternoon. Check traffic patterns and activity at different times before you make an offer.

Tip #9: Talk to the Neighbors

Homebuying Neighbors

No one can give you a more realistic view of the area than someone that has lived there for years. Knock on doors, talk to people you see, and frankly ask them if the neighborhood is a good place to live. You’d be surprised at the genuine answers you will receive.

Be sure you check in on the home and neighborhood safety as well. You don’t want to become just “another statistic.”

Final First Time Home Buyer Tip: Don’t Give Up

If you have found your dream home, but have been turned down for conventional financing, there are alternatives. C4D, our company that specializes in helping those with bad credit in Minnesota, may be able to help you find your path to home ownership through a contract for deed. Go here to find out more about this legitimate and widely used method that can get you into a home even if you have credit issues.

And if you’re looking for even more tips for first time home buyers, you can check out some more great information from our friends over at Bankrate. They have a fantastic blog post which shares many more tips for first time home buyers. You can check it out here.

Tips to Become the Top Realtor in Your Area in 2018

1000 500 Sam Radbil

How to be successful in real estate? This is an extremely common question in the industry. Many real estate pros watch glamorous TV shows like Million Dollar Listing New York, House Hunters, Designed to Sell and many more. These same people would love to achieve the amount of success as many of the real estate superstars on TV. So what does it take? Is it luck? Right place and right time?

Well, there’s lots of competition in the Minnesota and Minneapolis real estate space but by following some proven business practices, you can rise to the top. From client/customer service to quality networking, let’s look at the things that can make you a top MN realtor.

How To Become Successful In Real Estate

The “t” word—transparency—has almost become a cliché, but beginning with the first Minnesota Realtor client meeting you need to be honest and forthright about expectations and costs. If the stats show that it may take 47 days to move a client’s property, don’t give then the impression that you can sell it in a week, unless, of course, you really can.

New sellers may not fully understand the commission process, and you should take some time to explain it. There may be confusion about how you share your commission and who you share it with. With median housing prices rising, the standard six percent commission can easily reach $20,000 or more, and if you have to split your commission with another broker and/or you company, your clients should understand that you don’t pocket the entire amount.

Look Like a Professional

While business casual may be sufficient in your area, showing up at a client meeting in cutoffs and a t-shirt is probably not the way to go. Then again, some will advise to dress how your clients dress. Either way, you know if you have a huge prospecting meeting that you should probably throw on your business suit and dress as professionally as possible. Projecting a professional image is critically important for real estate professionals.

Return Calls and Emails Promptly

As you undoubtedly understand, great Realtors are always working, and their clients want immediate answers. When there is a pending offer, clients on either side can get extremely hyper, and they probably won’t adhere to “normal business hours.” Have a thorough voicemail message that explains exactly when your clients can expect a return call:

“Hi – it’s Maryann. You have reached my voicemail because I’m speaking with another client or in a meeting. If you are calling before 7:00 p.m., I will return your call today. Otherwise, expect a call from me tomorrow. Please do not hesitate to text as I may be able to respond quicker that way. Also, feel free to email me at maryann@gmail.com. Regardless, I guarantee a response within 18 hours.”

This may seem basic and academic but it’s very important to do correctly.

Real Estate & Digital Media

You need a website, but a bad site with a terrible user experience and functionality may be worse than having none at all. As commonplaces.com says,

“Your website is no longer a URL at which you park the existence of your online business. It’s often the first and most powerful presentation of your business – who you are as a company, what you offer, and why your products and services are better than all the rest.”

Make sure that you find a quality developer, especially one that has experience with Realtor websites. And if you need more advice on the big picture of real estate digital media, below is a video from Million Dollar Listing star Ryan Serhant and social media influencer Gary Vaynerchuk on the state of real estate in 2018.

Social Media Presence & Brand Building

Gone are the days when a home buyer just opens up a newspaper, looks for properties, calls an agent from a phonebook and makes an offer. Buyers today are looking online more than ever. From review websites like Yelp to social media profiles like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube it is imperative that Realtors use social media to communicate with potential buyers. For example, if you worked at PlateJoy, you’d want positive platejoy reviews, right? The same goes for Realtors.

Digital Media For Real Estate

Some tips include:

  • Posting photos on Instagram to generate leads
  • Creating a content presence on Facebook
  • Tweeting to promote listings to your audience
  • Guest posting to collaborate with other local real estate pros
  • Sharing your content on LinkedIn with your industry connections
  • Reply to everyone and create a sense of community

Monthly Newsletter

It’s critically important for clients and potential clients to know how to find you. Start compiling an email list from day one, and send out a carefully crafted and informational newsletter. Again, you may think that this is Realtor 101, but you might be surprised at the number of your colleagues that fail to do this, start and then stop, or send out junk. A great monthly blog sent out in your newsletter will keep your name fresh.

Monthly Real Estate Newsletter

How To Be Successful In Real Estate: Financing

Of course, you know the deal isn’t done until funds have been wired. Savvy Realtors immediately begin building their financing network, and they know who will work hard to get marginal MN bad credit loans approved. You need to assemble your financing team, and have a go-to lender available for each particular situation, and here’s where we can help. We at C4D are MN contract for deed specialists, and every day we work with clients to make the home ownership dreams a reality. If you have difficult or even rejected financing deals, let us take a look and see if we can help. Please contact us for further information.

Buying a House After Foreclosure

Buying After Foreclosure: Your Next Steps

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While many people think that foreclosure, like bankruptcy, signals financial death, this is simply not true. The chart below shows that distressed Minnesota home sales have significantly fallen, but if you lost your home to foreclosure, contrary to what you might have read, you may find yourself in the market for buying a house after foreclosure.

Distressed Home Sales

What Is Foreclosure?

Our friends at Investopedia define foreclosure like this:

Foreclosure is the legal process through which a lender seizes a property, evicts the homeowner and sells the home after a homeowner is unable to make full principal and interest payments on his or her mortgage, as stipulated in the mortgage contract.

Here’s why it might have happened to you.

Buying A House After Foreclosure: The Reasons

You may have faced foreclosure for one or a combination of the following reasons:

  • Major illness
  • Job loss
  • Spousal death
  • Predatory mortgage practices
  • Adjustable rate loans
  • Unexpected relocation
  • Divorce
  • Excessive credit card debt
  • Lots of student loan debt
  • MN Bad credit

Regardless of the cause, you can take steps now to first rebuild your credit, and subsequently find yourself buying a house after foreclosure.

Credit Repair

Credit Repair for Foreclosure

The first thing to do is repair your credit. If you have overwhelming debt and are continually making payments late, it will be difficult to make progress. It is important to become cash flow positive in order to begin chipping away at your debt, and a legitimate credit counselor or a good financial advisor can help you here. If you don’t feel that you will ever be able to get out from under your particular debt situation, bankruptcy may be an option since this would give you the proverbial clean slate to begin again.

Everything Has Its Price

If you have gone through foreclosure, you already know that foreclosure will quickly drop your credit score – maybe 100 points or more. Bankruptcy can do the same thing, so there will be a time period when no one wants to lend you any money. You can rebuild your credit but it means being diligent and taking small steps. This FICO chart explains what categories constitute your credit score:

Buying A House After Foreclosure

Get A Card

The first way to repair your MN bad credit is to get a credit card. This may have to be a secured card; in this situation you deposit money with the credit card company and basically borrow against it. You do this because if you make on-time payments, these will be reported to the credit bureaus, and your credit score will rise. Make sure you are never late on any payments, and that you do not make the same mistakes that got you into trouble the first time.

Time Is Your Friend

If three years have passed since your foreclosure and you have had stellar credit since that time, it will be possible for you to get a mortgage.  You probably will have to come up with a 10 percent down payment, and lenders will be a lot happier if they see that you have saved that amount. Still, you will face a load of scrutiny, and you will pay a higher loan interest rate. You may be turned down by a number of lenders, and that can be a frustrating process. Keep in mind, you can find ways to make quick cash. For example, you could use the ibotta referral code to save a few bucks and get your finances in order.

Contract for Deed Financing

This is where your friends at C4D can help. We are a legitimate Minnesota business that helps people with bad credit issues, and we help them become homeowners. Our process looks like this:

  • You find your dream home.
  • You fill out our online application.
  • We contact you.
  • We determine if we can help.
  • If so, we buy the home.
  • Then we sell it to you utilizing a MN contract for deed.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. Bankruptcy and/or foreclosure are traumatic financial events, but you can certainly recover from them, and we are here to help!

Buying A House In Minnesota

Buying A House In Minnesota: The True Cost

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You already know that home buying a house in Minnesota is complicated, but if you haven’t been through the process there are many details you need to be aware of. Even if recently you bought a car and felt like you were on your game at the dealership, buying a house is definitely like playing in another league.

Here’s what you really need to know:

Everyone Likes to Get Paid

Home deals regularly generate multi-hundred thousand-dollar deals, and lots of people want a piece of that. Lawyers, Realtors, title companies, surveyors, paralegals and even more groups are all in the hunt for your money, so let’s look at some of the costs.

Realtor Commission

Buying A Minnesota House Realtor Commission

Standard real estate commissions are six percent of the total deal with the amount split between Realtors or real estate agents involved. Even though this amount is almost always paid for by the seller, you can bet that it has been rolled into your purchase price.

Title Policy

When you buy a property, you must be sure that you are not purchasing someone else’s problems. Title companies insure that you will have a clean title; if something comes up later—like a lien the title company did not uncover—the title company will have to make things right at their expense. This can cost you $1500 to $2000, however.

Document Preparation

Lending institutions love to charge for you document prep, even if they are only cutting and pasting into a form document. This can set you back $500 or more.

Attorney Review

The same goes for the cost of having the bank’s lawyer review the deal. This can cost $150 – $500. And if you need more information about real estate law, check out this real estate law resource.

Buying A Minnesota House Using Attorney

Underwriting Fees and Application Fees

Lenders also may charge you random amounts for merely applying for your loan. The due diligence they normally perform is often charged as an underwriting fee.

Fee For Buying A House in Minnesota

So, you go to the bank, they approve your loan and they give you an interest rate. You’re done, right? Not so fast, because the bank many times will charge a fee to lock in your interest rate for a fixed time period. Don’t forget to include this fee in your budget!

Origination Fee

This is free money for the bank. They may charge one percent of your total loan just to give you the privilege of borrowing money! If you need a more clear definition of the origination fee, you can take a look at this resource from Investopedia.

Discount Fee

Mortgage Interest Rate

If you want a lower interest rate when you’re buying your house in Minnesota, you can pay upfront. This is sort of like the $199 per month car payment that requires $3,000 at signing. And when it comes to your interest rate, take a look at a few of the major factors that determine the actual rate.

Credit Report Fee

The bank can access your credit report for free—so can you at Credit Karma—but they might charge you 35 bucks anyway. Remember, pay your bills on time, take out smart loans for other purchases and make sure you keep track of changes to your credit score. It’s a very important piece of the home buying process.

Homebuying Credit Score

Appraisal

You know that you are buying a house in Minnesota at market rates, but your bank wants to be sure, so they will send a $500 appraiser out to confirm that the sales price meets the neighborhood comps—of course at your expense. For more information about what an actual appraisal means, check out this real estate appraisal resource from Wikipedia.

Home Buying Appraisal

But Wait

That’s not all as the bank may even charge you a wire fee to send your loan proceeds to the seller. Creative financial institutions are constantly looking for more ways to add costs to your home buying transaction, and you may be even charged a signing fee for executing your loan documents!

Having Trouble?

Remember, traditional financing for buying a house in Minnesota isn’t always the only way to go. We at C4D make home ownership possible through MN contract for deed. If you are having trouble with the bank, have large student loan debt, have MN bad credit, have liens, judgments, or just need an alternative financing solution, be sure to contact us; we’ll do everything we can to make your home ownership dream come true.