minnesota real estate

Contract for Deed

[2019 UPDATES] Contract For Deed: The Ultimate Guide

1000 500 Sam Radbil

Contract for Deed Home Financing in 2019

Contract for deed home financing is a great option for those individuals struggling to get a traditional loan from the bank. Now, let’s get into the details.

Conventional financing, in 2019, as we all know, is the preferred home loan vehicle. This refers to a standard mortgage loan from a licensed lending institution, and typically can be a15 or 30 year loan with a down-payment that ranges from 3 percent to 20 percent. The higher your credit score, the better deal you will get.

Even before you find your dream home, you should obtain mortgage pre-approval from your lending institution. While pre-approval does not guarantee that everything will go smoothly, it does provide you with significant negotiating power when dealing with sellers.

Applying For Conventional Financing

Your parents probably had to spend an afternoon at a banker’s office when they applied for their first home loan. Now, you can do this by phone or online, although you will eventually have to sign closing documents in person. Some important things to do and factors to be aware of are:

  • Know your credit score.
  • You can easily see this number at Credit Karma, and the service is free.
  • Determine what factors make you less attractive.
  • High student loan balances, maxed out credit cards, judgments, liens, unpaid taxes and underreported income can hurt you.
  • Analyze your actual credit report and correct errors. The FTC reports that one of every five credit reports contains inaccuracies.
  • Optimize your credit status by paying down card balances to below 30 percent; do not make any large credit purchases while attempting to secure home financing.

Understanding What You Can Afford

Banks have certain debt to income ratios that they do strictly enforce. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) explains:

“Your debt-to-income ratio is all your monthly debt payments divided by your gross monthly income.  This number is one way lenders measure your ability to manage the payments you make every month to repay the money you have borrowed.”

To calculate your debt-to-income ratio, you add up all your monthly debt payments and divide them by your gross monthly income. Your gross monthly income is generally the amount of money you have earned before your taxes and other deductions are taken out.  For example, if you pay $1500 a month for your mortgage and another $100 a month for an auto loan and $400 a month for the rest of your debts, your monthly debt payments are $2000. ($1500 + $100 + $400 = $2,000.) If your gross monthly income is $6000, then your debt-to-income ratio is 33 percent. ($2000 is 33% of $6000.)

Evidence from studies of mortgage loans suggest that borrowers with a higher debt-to-income ratio are more likely to run into trouble making monthly payments. The 43 percent debt-to-income ratio is important because, in most cases, that is the highest ratio a borrower can have and still get a qualified mortgage.

Housing Affordability

Finding Your Home

You can spend all day trolling Trulia and Redfin, but many times you can be missing out on homes for sale that only Realtors can easily access. Remember, sellers pay real estate commissions—you don’t—so avail yourself of this free service and find a good Realtor.

Finding Your Home With Contract For Deed

Working With A Contract for Deed Realtor

The Realtor/client relationship is a two-way street. If you are a type A personality and want all of your texts answered within two minutes, make sure your Realtor is as hyper as you are. Conversely, don’t expect your Realtor to work miracles with incomplete or false information. For example, don’t inflate your income and/or minimize your debts at your first meeting. In the credit world, there are no secrets, so be upfront with you Realtor.

Turned Down For Traditional Financing?

Mortgage Rejection

Those that give up after being rejected for a home loan end up renting apartments while those savvy enough to understand that there are alternatives to conventional financing will look at the rejection as a bump in the road and move forward. Rent to own is one way to become a homeowner, but a preferred method is MN contract for deed. In a rent to own situation, you pay rent to a property owner that may put aside a portion of your monthly rent as a down payment for a future purchase.

If everything works out, either the seller provides financing or you obtain it at some later date. In a contract for deed sale, you sign a contract that states that you will be given the deed to the property you are occupying after you make all of your required payments. Contract for deed is seller financing, and while interest rates can be a bit higher than conventional financing, credit requirements are typically significantly more lenient.

Finding Contract For Deed Opportunities

There are a limited number of MLS contract for deed listings.  If you’re lucky, you might find the right opportunity in a nice location. At C4D, however, we give you an advantage that others that wish to utilize contract for deed just don’t have. Just bring the home you wish to purchase to us. If we can do the deal, we will purchase the home and sell it to you on a contract for deed basis. We have paved the home ownership road for many that were rejected for conventional financing. Application is easy—just go to our website. C4D has the financial power behind them to make these deals happen.

Contract For Deed Documentation

While C4D offers less stringent credit requirements, we still will need pay stubs and bank statements. We look, however, at your situation today, and we care a lot more about what you can do now than what bad things have happened to you in the past. At C4D even high student loan balances and recent bankruptcies are not necessarily the hindrances they would be at a large bank.

Contract For Deed: How It Works

Although the nightmare of waiting 60 days or more to close on even great credit deals is generally behind us, banks take longer than we do at C4D. We usually can close deals in as fast as two to three weeks.

MN Contract For Deed Costs

We’re upfront about all of this. We do require an origination fee and we do add a small initial property markup. And, the interest rate you pay will be higher than the prevailing conventional mortgage interest rate.

Contract for Deed: What Problems?

We have many satisfied former renters that are now homeowners. We are transparent and forthright. If we can help you, we do everything possible to get your deal done. We are MN contract for deed experts, and happy customers are our paramount concern.

If you deal with an individual that is offering a contract for deed, you have to do serious vetting to ensure that there will be no problems with your deal in the future. With C4D, this is not necessary.

Contract for Deed: True Disclosure

When we purchase your home, we get a loan from our bank. With the blessing and full knowledge of our bank, we then sell the property to you with a MN contract for deed. You make your monthly payments to us and we, in turn, make our payment to the bank. But check this out:

We’ve never missed a payment and don’t ever plan on it.  In addition, we’ve worked with our bank partner to have an assignment of contract included in your documents that basically says if we stop paying our lender, you can pay them directly and your contract remains intact.

You won’t find this protection with most individual contract for deed sales. In fact, many times the seller’s bank isn’t even made aware of the transaction, and this can throw the original mortgage into default because of the due on sale clause that is embedded in almost every mortgage note. Our agreements with our bank do not have due on sale clauses.

Everything is upfront and at closing the contract is recorded at the appropriate County.

Helping You Refinance

Our goal is to get you into a home and ultimately help you refinance with a traditional lender.  We have relationships and systems in place to help make this happen. Typically, we can help people refinance within three years of purchase.

For the Realtor: Turned Down? There Is Still Hope!

So you spent weeks trying to get your buyer and seller agree upon a price. Both were difficult at times, and when you finally got all sides to listen to reason, an old unpaid judgment appeared and derailed the financing. After you’re done binge watching House of Cards to ease your pain, give us a call. We have been able to resurrect many deals that have been turned down by others.

Realtor Contract for Deed

We are a reputable, experienced and recognized company that does MN contract for deed. You bring us the buyer and the property, we buy the property and sell it to your client on a contract for deed. Even if you have an iffy buyer with shaky credit and you have not yet found the perfect property, bring them to us; we will get many of them pre-approved and send them back to you.

Is My Commission Protected?

Realtor Commission

You betcha! 80% of our referrals come from realtors, and they wouldn’t keep coming back if we didn’t guarantee that their commissions would be protected.

The Deed

Contract for deed means exactly that.

  • We buy the property.
  • We hold the deed.
  • We sell the property to the buyer.
  • They occupy the home.
  • They make their monthly payments.
  • At the end of the contract period, we turn over the deed and they are homeowners!
  • They can also refinance early with a traditional lender, and this is something that we will facilitate.
  • In addition, the buyer actually has equitable title, and can sell the property at any time if they wish to move on.

What About Financing?

Yes, we use a bank.

  • Our bank gives us a mortgage.
  • Our bank knows what we are doing.
  • The buyer pays us and we pay the bank.
  • We are never late.
  • We never miss payments.
  • Our mortgage with our bank does NOT include a due on sale clause.
  • In fact, we have an assignment of contract put in place that basically says if we stop paying our lender, the buyer can pay them directly and the contract remains intact!

The Final Paperwork

We will hold your client’s hand from application to closing. We will assist with all documentation and paperwork.

When The Offer Is Accepted

At this point, Taylor and the C4D Crew take over.  We work directly with the lender and title company to schedule closing and work out all the paperwork.  The C4D Crew will also work directly with the C4D buyer on all the paperwork and logistics for the day of closing This will be one of the easier transactions you do this year!

Down-Payment

Contract For Deed MN Down Payment

A down-payment is of course necessary, but the down payment be gifted to the buyer in a C4D transaction. Just make sure your clients speak with their accountant for possible tax implications.

C4D Crew Reputation

We can provide you with client references. Just by looking at our website you can see that we provide tons of valuable and free information about MN contract for deed. Of course, we are in business to make money—so are you—but we are also dedicated to helping those with compromised credit become homeowners.

How Long Does It Take?

From the time you and your client find a home they’d like to buy, and an offer is accepted, we can close as quickly as two to three weeks.

Credit Score Minimum?

We don’t have one. We look at every deal individually. Prior BKs, student loans, judgments divorces and tax liens are all issues we can work around.

Credit Score

Can You Approve Any Deal?

In short, no. We are not going to lie and tell you that we can do anything, but you would be amazed at what we can accomplish.

Call Us About Contract For Deed

MN Contract For Deed

Again, just because the loan officer rejected your client’s loan, your deal is not necessarily dead. Contact us and we’ll quickly get started on a contract for deed program that can make your client’s home ownership dream a reality.

Home Buying in 2019

Buy in 2019? 7 Must-Do’s Before Homeownership

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Buying your first home can be an exhilarating but exhausting experience. Before you even worry about the ins and outs of finding a great plumber, you not only have to find the place you want, but you must get your financial life in order in a hurry if you haven’t done that already. Here are seven important things to do before you purchase your first home:

Get A Realtor to Represent You

buying your first home

Important technical point #1: Sellers pay all real estate commissions, including those of a buyer’s agent. You should find the best and most knowledgeable real estate professional in your area and sign them up to represent you. They will flood your inbox with listings, they will help you negotiate, and they will draft purchase offers. And you won’t have to pay a penny, so there is no reason to purchase a home without the help of a buyer’s agent.

Look at Your Budget

Understand what you can afford and what you can’t. Principal and interest aren’t the only components of a monthly payment. You have to add real estate taxes, property insurance and maybe even private mortgage insurance (PMI) to the equation. You can’t start the process of buying your first home without understanding exactly where to draw the affordability line as there is no sense in wasting time looking at properties you can’t afford.

Credit score

Buying Your First Home: Get Your Credit Score

A few years ago, you had to pay for your credit score, but not anymore. Today, there are many vendors and credit card companies that will provide your score in seconds. If you have a low score, research what you can do to improve it, as your credit score is the first thing lenders look at.

Seek Pre-approval

While pre-approval from a lender does not necessarily guarantee that you will get a loan, it does give sellers assurance that you are creditworthy. When a seller accepts your offer, they are tying up their property until the deal closes, and if you are not a good risk, sellers will look at other offers.

Gather Your Down Payment Resources

Down Payment Resources

Substantial down payments can work magic because:

  • They lower your monthly payment amount.
  • They show the lender you are committed and serious.
  • They show the seller that you have resources.

Yes, you can but a home with no down payment—a VA loan is one example—but your financing options may be limited, and your interest rate could be higher.

Don’t Fear the Inspection

When buying your first home, you will want to have the property inspected by an impartial third party after your offer is accepted. Many persons worry that the inspector will find something bad and the deal will die. Some deals need to be killed, however, especially if an inspector finds glaring defects and problems. Your dream home can quickly become your nightmare if you don’t have it properly inspected while you still can void your purchase contract.

Have a Contingency Plan

If a deal falls through, or if you are turned down for a mortgage, it’s not the end of the world. There are other homes out there and other financing methods available. MN contract for deed is a great way for those with some credit issues to participate in home ownership. Be sure to contact us if you need an alternative to traditional financing.

MN Real Estate

Minnesota Real Estate: C4D’s 2019 Outlook

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Minnesota real estate has been strong in 2018.

Bigger metropolitan areas like Minneapolis-St. Paul have seen months where the median number of days on the market for typical homes was only 47. And check out these stats from the Minneapolis Area Realtor’s Association:

Minnesota Real Estate

  • New Listings increased 9.5% to 702
  • Pending Sales decreased 6.7% to 723
  • Inventory increased 1.0% to 9,487
  • Median Sales Price increased 8.2% to $265,000
  • Days on Market decreased 7.1% to 52
  • Percent of Original List Price Received decreased 0.1% to 97.3%
  • Months’ Supply of Homes for Sale increased 10.5% to 2.1

Median Sales Price Prior Year Percent Change

The trend is neatly summarized by this simple report about Minnesota real estate:

  • December 2017: $248,000 – $226,000 (+9.7%)
  • January 2018: $244,000 – $222,500 (+9.7%)
  • February 2018: $250,000 – $221,650 (+12.8%)
  • March 2018: $258,100 – $235,000 (+9.8%)
  • April 2018: $267,000 – $245,000 (+9.0%)
  • May 2018: $271,000 – $250,000 (+8.4%)
  • June 2018: $270,500 – $257,250 (+5.2%)
  • July 2018: $268,000 – $251,500 (+6.6%)
  • August 2018: $268,000 – $252,000 (+6.3%)
  • September 2018: $262,000 – $247,000 (+6.1%)
  • October 2018: $265,000 – $244,000 (+8.6%)
  • November 2018: $265,150 – $245,000 (+8.2%)
  • 12-Month Median: $264,100 – $245,000 (+7.8%)

As you can see, Minnesota real estate prices have climbed steadily, and are continuing to do so.

Positive 2019 Factors in Minnesota Real Estate

First, let’s look at the 2019 factors that may keep this real estate train running. The price of oil took a serious tumble in late 2018 to a present-day value of only approximately $45 per barrel; oil prices ripple through the U.S. economy and affect many sectors.

Minnesota Real Estate Factors

  • Jet fuel prices will be cheap and that will help airlines make more money without ticket price increases.
  • Gasoline and winter heating oil prices have declined with gas falling below $2.00 per gallon in many parts of the country.
  • Anything made with petroleum like plastics will be cheaper to produce.

These trends mean stable prices and more money in the pockets of Americans. This is turn strengthens the economy as a healthy consumer sector makes the chance of a recession less likely in 2019.

Employment

The unemployment rate is nationally at record lows, and at what is considered full employment, wages start to increase, and that also leads to greater consumer spending power.

All of these factors mean consumers will be in better shape, will have better credit scores (you can still buy with bad credit!), and will be ready to buy more homes.

Minnesota Real Estate Negatives

Two main problem areas are rising interest rates and stock market volatility. The Fed, concerned that the strong economy will overheat has been steadily raising interest rates from zero to a more “normal” level. This has caused mortgage rates to cross the psychologically perilous fiver percent mark, and higher mortgage rates may cause some potential buyers to sit on the sidelines.

Also, the recent stock market volatility has many wondering is a recession is indeed on the horizon as stock market declines usually predict a near-term downturn. As you know, a weaker economy will impact housing prices, and at the very least would flatten the market for a while.

Stock Market Chart 2018

So, our prognostication for 2019? We feel that if the economy even chugs along at a slower pace, housing prices will continue their increase. If a recession occurs, we really don’t see homes losing much value, but instead feel that things may just level off for a while.

Contract for Deed Homes: What Realtors NEED To Know

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There are a number of reasons Minnesota residents looking to buy contract for deed homes have had success. But you might ask: why not just buy your home with a traditional mortgage from the bank? Let’s talk about that.

We’ve all had it happen. 

Loan Rejection

After a difficult and protracted negotiation period, you finally got both your buyer and the seller to agree on price, contingencies, and before-closing repairs. At the end, everyone came to their senses, gave a up a little, and all parties were looking forward to closing.

Then the bank stepped in and killed the deal. Even though your buyer was pre-qualified, they made a mistake, didn’t follow your instructions and decided to finance an expensive vehicle. As the bank did a final credit check, the new car loan appeared and skewed the buyer’s debt to income ratio. The deal was dead, but you could have brought it back to life.

Contract for Deed Homes

Image result for home buying process

Contract for deed is a widely accepted Minnesota financing tool where a seller finances the property purchase on an installment basis, and they buyer receives the deed upon making the final payment. Many think that for this to work they need to find free and clear properties where a seller agrees to be the bank.

Why free and clear?

Because sellers can’t usually sell encumbered properties without breaching the lender’s mortgage contract. Therefore, those interested in contract for deed financing look specifically for contract for deed homes. There is another way, however.

Companies Like the Contract for Deed Crew (Yes, that’s us!)

There are quality companies out there like C4D, and it works like this: You bring a deal to C4D. Like a bank, C4D analyzes the deal to ensure that the seller can make the required monthly payments.

Unlike a bank, however, C4D can look past problems like the vehicle purchase mentioned above. With a good contract for deed homes company, you will be dealing with the company owner—not a bureaucratic bank loan officer. If C4D approves the deal, they will buy the property.

They do this with a bank loan, but the company’s bank does not include a due-upon-sale clause in its mortgage to C4D. Therefore, C4D legally and ethically buys the home, and with the bank’s blessing, C4D sells it on a contract for deed to the buyer.

Contract for Deed Homes

Benefits to the Realtor using Contract for Deed

  • You can explain difficult situations to C4D and they will understand. A debt to income ratio that has recently changed can be worked with if the buyers can legitimately afford the home.
  • Contract for deed revives dead deals. Banks can be arbitrary and unforgiving, but with a contract for deed transaction, the seller has more leeway to analyze what really makes the buyer worthy.
  • While a down payment is needed, the actual percentage is not necessarily set, and there are even ways the contract for deed companies can facilitate payment assistance.
  • Buyers can look at any home—not just contract for deed homes. With a MN contract for deed sale, the seller is unaffected since a company like C4D is the only purchaser they need to deal with.
  • All real estate commissions are protected.
  • Sellers can move their homes more expediently because companies like C4D have lots of buyers waiting for their dream homes.

Also, if you’re looking to understand property value event more, check out this presentation:

Presentation courtesy of LoseTheAgent, a listing platform for homes for sale by owner.

Don’t let loan officers and finicky banks get in your way. Consider using MN contract for deed for any deal where the lender is causing you trouble. It’s worth an email!

saving for a minnesota house

10 Tips to Start Saving for a House in Minnesota

1000 500 Sam Radbil

Unless you can get a VA no-down payment loan, you are going to work on saving money for a house for a first home deposit. Conventional mortgages usually require at least five percent down, and FHA loans will ask for three percent. If you are buying a second home or if you have compromised credit, you will have to come up with more cash. Let’s look at some ways to accumulate that elusive down payment when you are saving money for a house, including those awesome side gigs.

Saving for a house

Image via bankrate.com

Treat Money Wisely

You don’t necessarily have to go on the peanut butter only diet to save cash, but with some commodities like milk, the bottom of the shelf brand that the stores try to hide is probably the same product as the more expensive nationally branded milk. Try it, and if it tastes the same, buy the cheaper brand and you’ll save money every week.

Pay Yourself

According to SavingLoop, “it’s important to set up a bi-weekly direct deposit to a savings account—same as a deduction taken from your check. You won’t feel it, and you will accumulate dollars fast.”

Ditch the Corvette

Saving Money with Kia

*Save money with a Kia lease

Get a sensible car that is reliable. Think KIA Soul, and if you can drive a manual transmission, you can lease one of these for under $200 per month.

Become a Landlord

Rent your garage or an extra bedroom and pick up cash monthly. This strategy really helps saving for a house. Let’s say you have an apartment in an area like Uptown, well, maybe you have a money-making opportunity on your hands. Rent it out!

Sell It to Start Saving for a House

Old cards, vintage guitars and collectibles that you never will use can sometimes fetch great prices. If you are not using it, turn it into cash.

Don’t Be a Walmart Snob

Stuff is cheaper there and you can really save some money at Costco. It really is. That $4.50 two-ounce tube of cortisone cream you just bought at CVS is probably sold at Walmart for two bucks. Check out dollar stores as good retail alternatives also, and saving for a house will be less of a hassle.

Saving for a house with Costco

Get a Side-Hustle to Start Saving for a House

This means a second income stream. Cut lawns, wash cars, walk dogs, babysit, work catering gigs; just find out what else you are good at beside your regular job and work a few extra hours.

Locate Your Rich Uncle

Your family may include someone that will loan you down payment cash. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Buy a Smaller House

If your dream home is out of reach, go intermediate and buy a smaller or starter home. Treat it nicely and in a few years, you can sell it and move on up.

Find a Duplex

Duplex

If you have only saved a minimum down payment, find a duplex where you can rent the other side. While this falls into the starter home category, think of the advantages that having someone else paying half of your mortgage will afford you.

All in all, there are a ton of ways to save money; we’re not saying one is better than the other. A lot of people use really cool apps like Digit, but there are a ton of ways you can do it, too.

As you know we, at C4D really hope you can get traditional financing. But if you can’t, be sure to let us know. Yes, we also require down payments, but our innovative use of MN Contract for Deed has allowed us to help many that had previously thought home ownership was impossible. Be sure to contact us!

Most Affordable Cities in the United States

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So, you’ve lived in Minnesota all of your life, but you’re ready for a change?

Do you want the ambiance of safe living in a large city with the feel, affordability, and safety of living in a small town? Then, you might want to look at a lesser-known city like Arlington, TX or Pittsburgh, PA. 

Here are three awesome cities that fly under the radar. We think you will agree, these are cities worth exploring.

Example of How We Rate a City: Arlington, TX

What makes a city a good place to live? We look at the following criteria before we endorse a city:

    • Cost of living
    • Educational facilities
    • Diversity of the population
  • Entertainment

Cost of living

The cost of living in Arlington is lower than most major cities in the United States. The single factor that makes the cost of living higher than other cities in Texas is the price of home ownership. However, Arlington is a very nice city to live in and many people bypass that hurdle by living in a luxury apartment in Arlington Apartments.

Opting for apartment living reduces the monthly cost of living. When you factor in the maintenance of keeping a home while you are building your career, your cost of living is much lower. There is no such thing as free money, but you can certainly try to make things easier on yourself!

Education

Arlington comes in the top 200 public schools in the United States. Many of Arlington’s residents are furthering their education at the University of Texas Arlington or one of the 36 colleges and universities that are within a 50-mile radius of Arlington Center. There are 2-year and 4-year schools as well as trade schools.

Diversity of population

There are 392,787 people living in Arlington. Across the board the diversity of people is close to equal. The three primary races that make up the numbers are White people, 39.8%, Hispanic people, 29.7% and Black people 35.3%.

There is a significant number of people in their mid-30’s but, with a student body of more than 10,000 people at University of Texas, there is a large population of people in their early adult years.

Entertainment

Arlington is the home of Globe Life Park Baseball stadium and the A.T.&T. Football stadium (home of the Dallas Cowboys.) This is just two sports stadiums in Arlington. There are many more. So if you love sports, you will love Arlington.

Arlington features Six Flags of Texas amusement park. While this park is the most popular, it is by far not the only amusement center in the city. Click here for a list of the top 10 amusement parks in the area.

Due to the fact that Arlington if just a few miles from Dallas, there are many world-class museums, art galleries, and a booming nightlife.

If you are a person who loves fine dining, you will love this city. Try Restaurant 506 if you want great American food. Chamas Do Brazil is the place to go for Brazilian Steak. One of our favorites is Taste of Europe. They serve Polish, Russian, and Eastern European food.

There are plenty of restaurants that features every type of food from Asian to Greek. There are many family-style restaurants and of course, every kind of fast food you can imagine.

Charlotte, NC

If you want to live in the most upcoming city in the United States, you need to head to Charlotte. There are many reasons why Charlotte is so popular. You can describe Charlotte in one word; diversity!

Industry

Charlotte is the melting pot. Industry is drawn to the area because it is a hub. This makes it easy and profitable to produce and distribute product in Charlotte. Of course, where there is industry, there are employees. Employment is available, as is housing, and public transportation.

Education

There are 40 colleges and universities within 25 miles of Charlotte, including University of North Carolina. The NCES rates the 2 and 4-year colleges have the highest education rate in the country.

There are 113 public schools and 128 private schools in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district. Charlotte has above average ratings in their overall

Diversity of population

Charlotte has a diverse population. There are 45% white, 35% black, and hispanic, asian, Native American and many other ethnic groups are represented.

Entertainment

Charlotte is well known for their museum’s variety of world-famous collections of art. However, there are many more museums in this beautiful city. Enjoy science, history, discovery, and racing museums. Click here for more information and details.

Charlotte is breathtakingly beautiful. It draws nature lovers and adventurers. There are nature hikes and trails for every level of hiker.

The entire family will enjoy the theme parks that feature the highest roller coaster in the country and the largest man-made white-water river. Motor sports are very popular and they are the home of the motorsports hall of fame.

Enjoy high-end restaurants that feature gourmet food from around the world, family dining, and plenty of fast-food venues near the activity centers.

Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh is a historical city in the western part of the state of Pennsylvania. When you think of Pittsburgh, three things come to mind. They are history, traditional and modern art, and the Pittsburgh Steelers football team.

There are many other attributes of this city. Let’s look at a few of them.

Education

According to research done by Niche.com sites that Pittsburgh schools at every level score very highly.

There are 29 colleges and universities within the greater Pittsburgh area. The top college for 2018 and 2019 is Carnegie Mellon University. There are also many trade schools. No matter what path one chooses to take, they can get the education they need to succeed.

Students report that Pittsburgh is a safe area, and the diversified student body gives them a unique opportunity to meet people of different cultures.

Cost of living

It may surprise you to know that Pittsburgh is rated as one of the most affordable cities to live in. The city is beautiful. It is built where three rivers join. Their reputation for historic sites and art make us immediately associate the city with money.

Commerce is alive and well in Pittsburgh. They have a massive and impressive list of corporations, so jobs are plentiful. They have an unemployment rate of only 3.9%. Housing is not a problem.

Entertainment

As mentioned there is a large network of various types of museums. Sports are big in Pittsburgh with football being the top of the heap. The diverse citizens contribute to the many types of foods you can enjoy at every level.

With the colleges and universities in the city, there are plenty of young adults who want to party. Pittsburgh has a thriving and exciting nightlife. Whether you want to throw back a few beers with the guys or go for wine and dancing, it is available to you.

All in all, Pittsburgh fits comfortably into our top three places to live.

Other cities that made our list

Based on the same criteria, here is a list of other cities around the country that we consider to be on this level. We encourage you to do your own research. Plan a trip to a city that you are interested in and go for it. Don’t go by what other people say. Gather your information based on what you are interested in. You will not be disappointed.

    • St. Louis, Missouri
    • Kansas City Missouri
    • Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Syracuse, New York

Final thoughts

There are good attributes and bad in every city. Based on our research, any of these cities have a lot to offer. We encourage you to do your research. We recommend you start with this list. You may find exactly what you are looking for.

First Time Home Buyer Checklist

First Time Home Buyer Checklist: 15 Quick Tips

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You’re going to get a lot of advice thrown at you as you attempt to purchase your fist home. Financing, inspections, Realtors, credit scores and many more similar issues will need to be dealt with. First, however, check out the following 15 tips on our first time home buyer checklist:

First Time Home Buyer Checklist

1) Is Real Estate Recession Proof?

First Time Home Buyer Checklist Recession

No, it’s not. If you buy at the top of the market, realize that you may not be able to turn around a year later and make a profit or even get your money out if the economy has tanked. Sure, if you wait long enough things might turn around, but if you need your money quickly in a bad economy, realize that a reasonable sale might take quite a while to consummate.

2) HOA

Thought HOAs were just for those that bought condos? Think again, as buying into a deed restricted community governed by an HOA may mean that you can’t paint your house purple—even if you own it outright. This is an important piece of the first time home buyer checklist. Don’t forget about extra fees!

HOA

3) I Qualified for a $450,000 loan

That’s great, but it doesn’t mean that you have to stretch your budget and buy a $450,000 home. Buy only what you can afford, and don’t pay attention to any higher amount that you have qualified for.

4) Good Money

First time home buyer checklist number four — beware of exotic low-interest, no-interest or no down-payment loans as these can be costly in the future.

5) Check Those Renovations

You may be a woodworking DIY person, but you certainly don’t want to inherit the first-time renovations from the previous accountant owner that couldn’t figure out how to use a reciprocating saw.

6) Location

Pick your location first, and then your home. A perfect home in a bad location really isn’t a perfect home.

7) DIY

If the home your want does need repairs and you are handy, DIY in this case may be a good option. Just make sure you know what you are doing. And of course, a fixer-upper can be purchased at a better price.

8) School District

Unless you are considering private schools, make sure you properly vet the neighborhood schools before you make any offers. Consider using a tool like Niche to find the best schools in your neighborhood or city.

School District

9) Survey

Tell your Realtor you want a current property survey. This will accurately map the borders of your property and help avoid disputes later.

10) Good Inspection

Don’t look at the inspection as possible impediment to closing. A good inspector may find enough things wrong so that you will want to walk away from the deal.

11) Negotiate

Negotiate like you don’t care if you get the house or not. Sure, this is easier said than done, but great negotiators always operate this way.

12) Yard

If the yard is really ugly and you don’t want to rejuvenate it yourself, consider asking the seller to provide a landscaping credit.

Landscape for First Time Home Buyer

13) Low-balling

Don’t look at every home as an opportunity to offer $50,000 less than the asking price. First the sellers—and then your Realtor—will not take you seriously after you establish a pattern of this behavior.

14) Building Plans

Go to the city hall and check upcoming building plans. That way you won’t be surprised when that great park-like open field a block away becomes a 300-unit apartment complex.

15) Extra Cash

Don’t walk away from your closing with the key and no cash left because unforeseen expenses can be counted upon. If we all could make free money, this wouldn’t be an issue, but you need to be careful.

Remember, your first home is a big deal, and we hope our first time home buyer checklist has brought some important points to your attention. And if you are turned down by the bank, don’t give up. Contact us and we will let you know how we can help.

Minnesota Homes For Sale

Minnesota Homes For Sale: September Updates

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It’s hard enough to ascertain exactly where a certain real estate market is headed, and with the wide variety of sources available, it’s equally difficult to distill those in order to make informed decisions. We’ll try and help you understand the current Minnesota real estate market and Minnesota homes for sale.

Minnesota Interest Rates

Minnesota Homes for SaleIt’s obvious that the Fed’s policy of keeping interest rates low has revived the housing market. Two years ago, you could still get a rate just at or even below four percent if you had excellent credit. Look at this chart to see the effect of a one percent mortgage rate difference:

You can see that a one percent rate increase on a $200,000 home loan costs almost $100 per month. Do the math any figure the costs for more expensive homes, and you will easily view the worrisome effect that higher interest rates cause.

Interest Rate Prediction

Home Interest Minnesota Real Estate

Our friends at Kiplinger tell us:

“The Federal Reserve is committed to raising short-term rates this year and next because it’s concerned about the tightening labor market. The Fed very much wants to stay ahead of any inflation that rising wages may generate and will lift short-term rates by a quarter of a percentage point twice more this year after doing so in June. That would put the federal funds’ rate at 2.5% heading into 2019, when another three increases are expected.”

These increases will trickle down to mortgage rates, and those looking for Minnesota homes for sale will see increases beyond these current rates:

Minnesota Mortgage Rates as of September 6, 2018
TERM RATE CHANGE LAST WEEK
30-year fixed mortgage rate 4.43% 0.02 4.41%
15-year fixed mortgage rate 3.90% 0.01 3.89%
5/1 ARM mortgage rate 4.16% 0.01 4.17%
30-year fixed jumbo mortgage rate 4.53% 0.05 4.48%
30-year fixed refinance rate 4.43% 0.03 4.40%

When the mortgage interest rate reaches five percent, this can cause Minnesota home buyers to take a step back and maybe consider staying where they are or renting.

In addition, a recent Minnesota Star Tribune article said that any price relief will have to wait until 2020:

“Relief is on its way for home buyers in the Twin Cities and beyond who are frustrated by a lack of house listings and lightning-fast sales, according to a survey of housing experts. But they will have to wait until at least 2020. That’s when experts see key indicators in the housing market tilting toward buyers. ‘Conditions are starting to show signs of easing up, but the effects of years of limited construction still linger,’ said Zillow senior economist Aaron Terrazas, cautioning that any shift will be modest. ‘Inventory is still falling on an annual basis, and home values are growing well above their historic pace.’”

Minnesota Homes for Sale: The Alternatives

So, if you are looking for Minnesota homes for sale, you’ll find a torrid market where the median home price may soon reach $300,000. Many in your position may decide to wait out this era of rapid increases and, as we previously mentioned, think about staying put or renting. Our friends at Abodo tell us this about the Minnesota rental market:

A one-bedroom apartment in St. Paul now averages $1020, and a two bedroom is priced at $1256. Both of these median prices are little changed from last month. While the nationwide rental market has shown an uptick since July, it can still be cheaper in some locations to rent rather than buy–more about this in an upcoming post.

It Can Be a Challenge

Finding your home can be stressful and financing it can be even more challenging. At C4D, our goal is to see you become a homeowner with a good, solid traditional loan. Sometimes, however, this just doesn’t work, but through our expert use of MN contract for deed, we get people into homes and put them onto the path of rewarding home ownership. Turned down at the bank? Be sure to contact us because we have helped lots of persons with credit issues ranging from divorce and job loss to bankruptcy and foreclosure.

MN contract for deed myths

Busting the Most Common Contract for Deed Myths

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MN contract for deed can be an excellent way for those with less than perfect credit to finance home purchases. Particularly in Minnesota, contract for deed has been a preferred home financing method for years as many people have credit blips and issues that allow banks to quickly turn them down. Contract for deed, however, is sometimes the victim of misconceptions and broad statements that just do not apply.

It’s Not Rent-To-Own

mn contract for deed

Rent-to-own is another alternative financing method, but it can be an issue for buyers. In a Minnesota rent-to-own scenario, a property owner will offer to rent to a tenant. The property owner then agrees to put a portion of the rent aside that the tenant can put toward the eventual purchase of the home. This is not necessarily a down payment but could be a credit. For example, a property owner could offer to place $200 of the tenant’s $1500 monthly rent payment toward the purchase of the home. If the tenant made 36 on-time payments, the seller would then give the tenant credit for $7200 toward the purchase of the home. The problems with this are:

  • The money doesn’t really exist after it has been paid to the landlord.
  • It only is booked as a possible credit.
  • If a purchase price hasn’t been predetermined, the landlord could just raise the price of the home by the amount of the credit.
  • If the tenant is late on only one payment, all credits can be forfeited.

Minnesota contract for deed doesn’t work like this as we will explain below.

MN Contract for Deed is Not Predatory

How Rent to Own Works

In other states, rent-to-own and similar contracts for alternative financing are called executory contracts and are not liked by state courts.  The reason for this is that unscrupulous property owners would find un-creditworthy victims, receive a substantial down payment, sign them to a contract that requires big monthly payments, and add clauses that forfeit the down payment if even one monthly payment is a day late. Then the property owners would evict the tenant and start the process again.

MN contract deed is different, again, as we will explain below.

It’s Not Only for Those with Bad Credit

Business owners know that even with good credit it may be difficult to purchase a home. Take the example of a restaurant owner that has paid every bill on time, but he or she may have high student loan balances, high business credit balances, too many business credit cards, multiple vehicle payments and other debt. Throw in a recent divorce, and that busy successful entrepreneur may have issues getting financing.

This is a case where MN contract for deed could help.

Contract for Deed Credit

How MN Contract for Deed Works

  • You find a Realtor
  • You find a home.
  • You bring the deal to C4D.
  • We buy the home.
  • We sell it to you using a contract for deed.
  • You make all of your payments.
  • You get the deed, and you are a homeowner!

If you have any questions about us or our MN contract for deed process, be sure to contact us. We make deals where others cannot, and we have an impressive list of homeowners that would still be tenants if they had not come to us.

Your Guide To Buying A Foreclosed Home

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Buying a foreclosed home became extremely popular about a decade ago. Why? Well, the problems that began in 2009 led to a meltdown that created scores of opportunities for both investors and previously foreclosed homeowners that wondered if they’d ever purchase a home again after foreclosure. 

Over 5 million homes were foreclosed since then, and many investors have looked upon these as opportunities.

Since HGTV shows like Flip or Flop have become popular, many people think they are familiar with what a foreclosure is, and they think they can make big money by picking off great property values before someone else does. We advise you to be careful.

What is Buying a Foreclosed Home?

When you are looking at a home that is listed as a foreclosure, you need to understand what that means. Is this home in foreclosure, is the seller trying to avoid foreclosure, is someone offering a short sale, or is the property genuinely bank owned?

Buying a Foreclosed Home

How Does Buying A Foreclosed Home Work?

Usually, after a homeowner crosses the 90 day past due mark, the lender will begin the foreclosure process. This simply means that the lender begins the legal work necessary to take back the collateral—the home—that the homeowner placed as security with the lender. Unfortunately for Minnesota debtors, MN foreclosures are many times non-judicial; this means that properties can be taken back outside of the court system. Foreclosures can take a lot longer in judicial foreclosure states like Wisconsin. Our friends at alllaw.com tell us this happens as follows in Minnesota:

Notice of the Foreclosure

In Minnesota, a foreclosing party must give the defaulting borrower the following notices.

Notice of the default. In most cases, the foreclosing party must mail the borrower a written notice of any default before officially starting a foreclosure. The notice must provide the borrower with 30 days to cure the default.

Notice of availability of foreclosure prevention counseling. Along with the notice of default, the foreclosing party must also provide notice that foreclosure prevention counseling services are available and that the homeowner’s contact information will be sent to an approved foreclosure prevention agency.

Notice of sale. To start the foreclosure process, the foreclosing party must first file a notice of the pendency of the foreclosure with the county recorder’s office. After filing the notice of pendency, it must publish a notice of sale for six weeks before the sale. The foreclosing party must also serve a notice of sale to the occupant of the home four weeks prior to the sale.

Foreclosure advice to owners and notice of redemption rights. Along with the notice of sale, the foreclosing party must provide a foreclosure advice notice, which provides information about how to get help, as well as a notice of redemption rights providing information about what happens after the foreclosure sale.

The foreclosure advice notice must also be provided with each subsequent written communication mailed to the borrower. A foreclosing party is deemed to have complied with these requirements if it sends the foreclosure advice notice at least once every 60 days up to the date of the foreclosure sale.

In Foreclosure

So if you are looking at buying a foreclosed home, the actual home shown as “in foreclosure” is probably somewhere in the process described above. If you are interested in a property while it is in foreclosure you have to deal with all parties including the homeowners and all lenders. You can’t make a deal with only one of the parties involved.

Short Sale Forclosure

Short Sale

Sometimes the homeowner gets the lender to agree to a short sale. This means that the lender may agree to take less than what is owed on the property in order to streamline the process and allow the homeowner to avoid a foreclosure appearing on their credit report. These deals can take quite a while to engineer, and again, all parties need to agree.

Bank Owned

When the foreclosure process has been completed and the collateral has been returned to the lender, the home is termed bank-owned. At this point you only need to deal with the bank or its agents, since the bank is the legal property owner.

Forclosed Home

Strategies

Foreclosures, like storage shed content sales, used to be a more quiet and shadowy business. This isn’t the case any longer, however, as foreclosed properties are commonly inundated with multiple offers as many people want to cash in on the misfortunes of others. The best way to attempt to buy a Minnesota foreclosure is with cash.

Once you have located the property you are interested in, do your diligence and find out who actually owns it. Then, if you have the power of a cash offer, you may be able to make a quick deal. Remember, with foreclosure deals we recommend that you get qualified legal help, and please be advised that this article does not constitute legal advice.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us here.