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June 2018

How to find a good minnesota realtor

How To Find A Great Minnesota Realtor

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How to find a good realtor? If you’ve tried, well, you’ve probably realized it’s not as easy as it sounds, right?

How to find a good realtorFirst, there is a difference between a Realtor and a real estate agent. You can be a real estate agent without becoming a Realtor. If you are licensed in your state, you can help people buy or sell commercial or residential property. The State of Minnesota publishes a detailed booklet that explains the real estate licensing process, and you can find it here:

But don’t confuse licensed real estate agents with Realtors, because there is a difference. According to, “A Realtor is a trademarked term that refers to a real estate agent who is an active member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the largest trade association in the United States.” NAR has certain requirements and members must first agree to abide by its ethics code.

Finding a Great Realtor in MN

It doesn’t matter where you’re coming from; you might be moving from a small Cincinnati apartment to a Minneapolis single family home, but whether you contract with a real estate agent or a Realtor, it’s important that you know how to vet and find the person that best fits your needs. And says that these seven items are paramount.

Talk with agents’ recent clients.

At the first meeting, ask for a list of clients. If these are all relatives, beware, because your prospective agent may not be very experienced. Look for a track record of satisfied clients that are happy to provide referrals. While you may want to help a new agent break into the business, that may not be in your best interest.

Check for license and disciplinary actions.

Licensed real estate professionals are regulated, and if they have been disciplined, there will be a public record of this. Some ways agents get in trouble are:

  • Forgetting who they represent.
  • Co-mingling client funds.
  • Seeking kickbacks from lenders.
  • Showing incompetence.
  • Forgetting that the interests of the client should come first.

Ask about professional awards.

OK, so million-dollar club status is not that hard to obtain, but awards do show that agents or Realtors have sold some properties.

Here’s a rundown from another experienced professional:

Select an agent with the right credentials.

If agent Paul Johnson sold your wife’s office building, that doesn’t guarantee that he knows anything about residential real estate. Similarly, an upscale Realtor that specializes in the Milwaukee suburbs may have a tough time understanding how to sell an inner-city property.

Realtor Credentials

Find out how experienced an agent is.

How many clients? How many closings? How many accepted offers? How many failures? How many rejected deals? Ask these questions.

Look at the agent’s current listings.

If your prospective agent’s listings are all rural farmland, and you have a downtown condo to sell, you may have the wrong person.

Gauge the agent’s knowledge of the area.

Does your agent know the schools? The shopping areas? The crime rates? What the last 10 sales have been? A negative answer means you should look elsewhere.

Getting It Done

Most of all, you need to find someone that can get the job done. We at C4D are like that, because we specialize in MN contract for deed financing. We love traditional mortgages, but if you can’t get one, tell your Realtor to contact us ASAP. We can help where others have failed!

Home Repair

The Surprising Ways Your House Costs You Money

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If you’re a current homeowner or a prospective buyer, saving money is surely on the top of your priority list, that’s a given, right? However, occasionally, there are instances where you may not realize that you’re leaking money (almost literally). Making sure that your property is running efficiently and that your home repair is on point are two of the most important money-saving tips around.

So, let’s take a look at some of ways we can help you save money in and around your home.

Home Repair Tip: Fix Your Drains

Ever hear your taps dripping in the night? Or, maybe you’ve turned off all the water after cleaning only to find that it’s still dripping away? Well, while it may not seem like a huge amount of water is being wasted at first glance, it can end up costing you a small fortune in the long run.

Let’s put this into perspective; let’s say your faucet leaks roughly 10 drops of water per minute, that equates to 3 liters of water a day, which is around 90 liters a month. This can mean wastes of 347 gallons of water every year. How much does this cost? Well, it depends on your water supplier, but a leaky faucet could be costing you far more than you think. Similarly, any blocked drains or damaged drains that are left untreated can result in nasty blockages, which may then require professional intervention.

Hidden Leakages and Water Damage

Another water-related issue comes in the form of hidden water storage. Checking for water build-up is crucial, especially if you’re looking to move into a new property. Water has a nasty way of hiding in places that are either difficult to reach or hidden. In most cases, this is caused by a fault in the property’s drainage system or a build-up of water deposits (usually on the roof or gutters) that do not drain properly.

Be sure to check for signs of this, as if it is left untreated, not only will it require a drain inspection, but you may find yourself having to redecorate your walls and/or ceilings.

Repair with Double-Pane Windows

The thought of installing brand new windows is never easy to digest as it’s known to be a fairly expensive practice. However, the reason why it’s so important isn’t just aesthetics. In fact, installing new windows actually saves you money in the long run.

So, why is this? To put it simply, single-pane windows are not efficient at keeping the heat inside your property, nor are they too good at keeping the heat out in the summer months! So, instead of constantly adjusting your heat and temperature, it might be worth considering installing double-pane UPVC windows that help retain heat.

Additionally, installing double-pane windows can save hundreds of dollars each year, so it’s definitely something to consider.

Insulation Issues

In a similar fashion to double-pane windows, a properly insulated home can save you a small fortune. The cost of installing effective insulation is low in contrast to the amount of money you’ll be saving in the long-run. Arguably the most important area to install insulation is in your walls, and while there are varying kinds of insulation, cavity insulation is one of the better options if you’re looking to save money.

Additionally, insulation is fairly low maintenance and usually lasts a life time.

Rising Energy Bills (Turn to Solar Energy?)

With the world relying more and more on green energy, many people are beginning to search for more efficient ways to power their homes.  This has lead them to solar power and the many benefits that come from this source of power.

Installing solar panels by yourself will cut some costs. However, it’s recommended that you hire a professional to install the wiring and metering, as this requires connecting the system to the electrical grid. This can be a seriously dangerous task for those who are inexperienced and in severe cases can lead to injury. According to Westline Professional Electricians founder and director Jordan Vellutini, make sure to contact a certified electrician if you’re looking to efficiently install your solar panels.

All in all, acting on these issues early is the key to saving money. Much like you’d hire a maid service to get your place cleaned. The longer you allow these problems to persist, the more damage they will inevitably cause. Many of the above tips are long-term investments, so while they may seem expensive to begin with, you’ll be glad of your investment as soon as you’ve committed!

MPLS real estate

Minneapolis Real Estate Market: Where We Stand

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We’d like to get technical this week about the Minneapolis real estate market and summarize the comprehensive and extensive report from the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.

While of course what’s happening in the Minneapolis real estate market doesn’t exactly mirror the entire State of Minnesota, it does give us a clear picture of what is going on in our region.

Interest Rates

Minneapolis Real Estate Interest Rates

The Federal Reserve moved again, and raised interest rates for the seventh time since 2015. This second 2018 rate hike raised rates by another 0.25 percent. While this didn’t immediately increase the 30-year mortgage rate, rates will inevitably rise.

New Twin Cities Listings

  • New listings decreased 2.7 percent to around 2000.
  • Pending listings also decreased 4.1 percent to around 1400.
  • Inventory decreased significantly by over 18 percent.

New Listings Minneapolis

What Happened in May?

May was a strong sales month for the Minneapolis real estate market, however, as the median home sales price increased 8.4 percent to $271,000, while days on market decreased 9.6 percent to only 47. The all-important supply figure—in other words how much inventory is available—fell a whopping 12 percent to 2.2 months.

Minneapolis Real Estate Market Trends

Minneapolis Real Estate Trends

So what do these trends mean for the MN Realtor? First, interest rates are on their way up. Mortgage guru Rachel Witkowski recently said:

“Here are several predictions from the largest housing and mortgage groups for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage:

  • The Mortgage Bankers Association predicts it will rise to 4.6 percent in 2018.
  • The National Association of Realtors expects it be around 4.5 percent at the end of 2018.
  • says the rate will average 4.6 percent and reach 5 percent by year-end.”

When rates near the five percent mark, two things can happen. Buyers can become nervous and there can be increased activity as they worry that their buying power may soon be diminished, but after a sales flurry, home prices can begin to decrease because that ethereal buying power actually will dwindle, and this will result in less demand.

Ride the Minneapolis Real Estate Market Wave

As a savvy Minneapolis Realtor, you can use these trends to your advantage as you can nudge buyers into making offers now before higher rates injure them, while at the same time you can counsel sellers to take offers quickly as their homes could be less valuable in the near future.

When It Does Happen

If you’ve been in business for a while, you know that tough real estate market conditions will reoccur. Whether this happens late this year or early next year, higher interest rates = lower stock prices = a weaker economy, and that all can pressure home prices. If a recession does occur, monetary policy will undoubtedly tighten, foreclosures will increase, and financing in general will become more difficult.

And you also know that your clients are going to start looking at charts like the one below from They’ll want to know what they can actually afford. So, be prepared to guide them into making smart decisions.

Remember Us

This is when you need to realize that we at C4D can make deals happen when others cannot. As your MN contract for deed experts, we strive to find ways to take your marginal deals and get them approved. We have taken many hard working but credit score challenged individuals from renters to owners. Please contact us and see what we can do after the bank has said no. You may be pleasantly surprised!

Rent vs Own

Rent vs. Own: The Actual Monetary Difference

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Some consider rent vs. own to be the ultimate real estate question. For example, if you’re living in Dallas, should you just rent from a site like this because someone else is responsible for repairs, yard maintenance, storm damage, etc ., or should you take the plunge and become an owner so that you can build equity? Where is the tipping point? Where do the lines cross to indicate that it is more sensible to either rent or buy? Just because we are MN contract for deed specialists doesn’t mean that we blindly endorse one scenario over another, so let’s get started.

Let’s Take Autos as an Example

Rent vs. Own

A CPA friend of ours used to buy all of his cars. He took care of them, nursed them along, and replaced countless brake pads, tires, alternators, exhaust pipes, and more. He had a rule that he would finally try to sell the car when the rear-view mirror fell off. Our friend would buy the cars with a bank loan and was obligated for four years of monthly payments. During the first three years, the car was under warranty, so major repairs were not a factor. The new car warranty usually ran out after 36 months, however, so in year four, our friend was making payments and paying for certain repairs. After year four the car payments ended, but repairs became more frequent.

Our friend would take the four years of payments, add repairs, then subtract that from the price he ultimately received for his used car. Frankly, with some vehicles he won, and with others he lost. Eventually our CPA decided that we would never buy a car again because it was a depreciating asset, and he didn’t want to own depreciating assets.

He instead decided to lease all of his vehicles for three years max. He made 36 monthly payments but any repairs were covered by the new car warranty. Many times, he could even get along without having to replace the tires. He considered the monthly payment to be a “cost of driving,” and figured that he would have had that cost anyway since it was either payments, payments plus repairs or repairs only. At the end, if he owned a vehicle, his $18,000 purchase might be worth only a few thousand dollars, and he decided that owning a car was a futile exercise.

But What About Homes?

Some people apply the rental theory to homes. They don’t want to cut the grass. They don’t want to pay for repairs, and they don’t want to worry about the housing market. If you agree, by all means find a great rental property and let someone else worry about the taxes, upkeep and maintenance. If something breaks, call the landlord and spend your money on something else.

Check Out the Residential Difference

Rent vs. Own Homebuying

Image via Trulia

We do urge you to look at the other side, however, as there is a one huge difference: Homes increase in value. We of course can’t guarantee that every purchase is going to be a winner. But look at Austin, TX, for example where housing prices have increased over 30 percent in the last few years. And here is what Zillow currently reports about Minnesota:

The median home value in Minnesota is $225,300. Minnesota home values have gone up 8.0% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 7.9% within the next year. The median list price per square foot in Minnesota is $177. The median price of homes currently listed in Minnesota is $265,000 while the median price of homes that sold is $237,300. The median rent price in Minnesota is $1,550.

Rent vs. Own: Compounding Benefits

When you buy, your monthly payment reduces the amount owed on your appreciating asset. You win both ways as your house becomes more valuable but you owe less. Your equity increases because you are paying down the loan, and because prices are rising. Furthermore, as you pay down your loan, the amount attributed to equity goes up, and the amount paid toward interest goes down. Get into that 10th ownership year and you may be surprised at the equity you have built, even if the housing market is not robust.

The Contract for Deed Crew Can Help

We can’t put money into your checking account (you can learn a ton of skills online to help you do that; example: how to start couponing). But remember, we can help you get a house.  That said, we like traditional financing and congratulate you if you have been approved. If not, let’s talk about what C4D can do for you. We are MN contract for deed experts, and as we have told you previously, we many times say yes when your bank has said no. Go here for more info.

Homebuying After Divorce

Buying A House After Divorce: Yes! It’s Possible.

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Buying a house after divorce is a huge issue for many people across the country. To start, divorce can cost you a fortune. What else you ask?

Well, let’s face it, divorce is rarely stress free, and your recent interaction with the family court system is probably something you never want to go near again. You’ve spent time away from work, agonized about visitation rights, thought endlessly about money making ideas and paid some hefty legal bills, but the fun is just beginning because your spouse is occupying the residence and now you need to buy another one.

Buying A House After Divorce

Why Is That a Problem?

If your name is on the deed and the mortgage, even though you may not be living in the house, you are 100 percent responsible for that monthly payment according to potential mortgage lenders. If your ex has been making that payment, lenders will want proof that he or she has been able to handle the obligation for the past 12 months, and will ask for documentation. Yep—more bank statements, ACH confirmations and cancelled checks for you to dig up.

The bank may even want to see proof of your ex’s income to make sure that you are not making house payments in her name. Then they will probably ask for information about where you are living even if you are renting. Who is paying for that? Can you produce the proper documentation that shows you can handle your monthly rent without assistance?

Co-Sign Home Loan

Even if you can definitively prove that your ex has successfully made 12 months of payments, you could still be denied because you are, in effect, still a co-signer on the mortgage. This can also lead to MN bad credit as your credit score could be impacted.

Alimony and Child Support

Child Support

Not your favorite words, we know, and any court-ordered payment amounts will count against your income and injure your debt-to-income ratios. A $1500 monthly payment can cause outright rejection, or at the least, may cause you to qualify for a much smaller loan amount.

Have You Ever Been Sued?

If you were involved in a divorce you probably were, and must answer this question affirmatively. The answer will need lengthy explanation and can open the door for other queries from the lender.

Divorce Decree

Of course, the lender is going to want to see your fully executed decree; they are not going to take your word for anything.

Joint Accounts

Student loans, credit cards, autos, furniture purchases and more can be considered joint accounts. Even if your ex splits these with you, you will need to get your name off of the ones he or she is now responsible for. Again, if you name is on it, the lender will assume you are responsible for the debt, and you may qualify for nothing.

Joint Bank Account

The Answer: Buying A House After Divorce

When traditional financing brings you roadblocks instead of the key to a new home, there can be answers, and MN contract for deed can be an excellent way to become a homeowner—even if you are in the midst of a divorce. Our experts at C4D, a local Minnesota company, have, over the years, worked out a method to make you a homeowner.

Using MN contract for deed, a legitimate and recognized alternative financing method, we can look past things that traditional lenders can’t. Yes, we still want income proof, you have to have a job, and have to be able to afford your payment. We, however, view these requirements differently than traditional lenders, and we helped many recently divorced persons again purchase homes.

Contact us today to find out the details!