Archive for March, 2009

What Is A Minneapolis Duplex Anyway?

said on March 13th, 2009 categorized under: What Does That Mean?

Comments Off on What Is A Minneapolis Duplex Anyway?

DublinEvery now and then I get called by someone to either come out and tell them what I think their duplex is worth, or, I have a buyer send me a link to a property they like and believe is a duplex.

Inevitably, as I get closer to the address, I realize I’m in a sub-division. And I know instantly there’s been a misunderstanding.

Many people confuse twin homes and duplexes. While the two property types bear many similarities, as well as the potential to change categories, there are some significant differences.

A duplex is a house that has separate apartments or living quarters for two families or groups of people. While the units may share a wall, or floor and ceiling, they do have separate entrances.

Of course, these characteristics are true of a twin home as well.

So where do they differ? Well, a duplex has one legal description and property identification number. It is usually owned by one party, who is responsible for the the lot and insurance.

On the other hand, a twin home has two separate legal descriptions and property identification numbers. The sides or floors of the property are generally owned by different parties. There may also be a home owner’s association or set of rules as to how the units maintain the exterior of the property, which may require a monthly fee.

Can a duplex become twin homes? Yes, through some legal work which generally involves forming an association and getting each property separate property identification numbers.

During the real estate boom, many duplexes were purchased and subdivided with the intention of being resold as twin homes. When they didn’t sell, the owners simply continued to use them as rental properties.

1 Comment »

the cost of moneyInterest rates for both conventional and FHA mortgages are at 4.875 percent today, which means my phone is ringing with excited buyers.

How can they buy a property and be guaranteed this terrific rate? Well, if you’ve already found a property you like and have an address, you can simply call a qualified loan officer and lock an interest rate.

What if you’re looking for a house but haven’t found one? Many reputable mortgage companies offer 90-day rate locks while you shop.

For example, loan officer Vicki Boeddeker of PHH Home Loans, says for an up front fee of $350, you can lock a rate that is .25 percent above current market rates. Once you’ve found a home and are within 7 to 60 days of closing, you can relock if the current rate is lower.

The $350 fee is then credited back to you at closing.

If you’re thinking of buying a Minneapolis duplex in the next three months, today might be a great time to call your loan officer.

Minneapolis Duplex Market Still A Blockbuster

said on March 10th, 2009 categorized under: Twin Cities Real Est

Comments Off on Minneapolis Duplex Market Still A Blockbuster

Guy icon surfing on film scene clap boardIt seems all of the pieces are starting to fall into place to write a blockbuster script about an action-packed housing market recovery.

Interest rates remain low. Prices are down. The government will pay any first time home buyer $8000 to purchase a duplex and the amount of inventory in the Minneapolis/St Paul market is starting to tighten.

As they always do, MAAR released their weekly market activity report today. And for the week ending February 28, the market sunk its teeth into a meaty role.

The number of  new listings was down 19.2 percent from the same week in 2008. Overall, there are now 5000 fewer homes on the market than there were at this time last year.

Buyers also seemed ready to audition for homeownership, with a 12.1 percent increase in pending home sales over last year. This activity has helped reduce the montly supply of inventory to 7.8 months, which is a 15.2 percent drop from the mark of 9.2 months at this time last year.

The Minneapolis duplex market, meanwhile, continued to shatter 2008 box office receipts. Sales were up 65.38 percent while the number of new listings dropped 16 percent.

Of the small multi-family units that sold the last week in February in 2008, 88 percent were lender-mediated.  While their was a slight uptick in this statistic this year, it was just 2 percent. 

The average off market price for the week last month, however, remained significantly below last year’s take, at $86,990. In 2008, that figure was $134,210.

Let’s hope next week we see a remake of Star Wars.

Learn The Secret Of The Minneapolis Duplex Market

said on March 9th, 2009 categorized under: Twin Cities Real Est

Comments Off on Learn The Secret Of The Minneapolis Duplex Market

thesecret-logo1Was it really that long ago that “The Secret” was a national phenomenon?

You remember “The Secret”; the runaway best-seller DVD and book which purported to share a long-hidden truth to personal wealth and happiness.

Which was?

The “Law of Attraction”. In its essence, the premise was whatever we think about in life, both consciously and unconsciously, is what we get.

I was reminded of this while reading a number of media stories over the weekend.  Among all the headlines of doom and gloom I saw  “Home Listings for February Stayed Steady” in the Wall Street Journal.  The story included data from a survey conducted by ZipRealtyInc.. Inventory in the 29 major metropolitan areas covered was down 0.4% from January. More significantly, however, when compared with February 2008, listings were down 14%.

In USA Today I read “Most Foreclosures Pack Into A Few Counties”.  The story began by stating, “More than half of the nation’s foreclosures last year took place in 35 counties, a sign the financial crisis devastating the national economy may have begun with collapsing home loans in only a few corners of the country.” Read the rest of this entry »

Minneapolis Duplex Ownership Requires Fair Play

said on March 6th, 2009 categorized under: Legal Stuff

Comments Off on Minneapolis Duplex Ownership Requires Fair Play

Baby and Mother Hands TogetherWith the passage of the first time home buyer tax credit, there will be many new Minneapolis and St Paul duplex owners learning to become landlords.

One of the most important first lessons is the importance of following Federal, State and local fair housing laws when selecting and advertising for tenants.

On a federal level, there are two laws you must follow when selecting tenants: the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race and the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits landlords from discriminating because of race, color, sex, national origin, family status (including families with children), disabilities, religion or background.

In the state of Minnesota, it is also illegal for landlords to discriminate due to sexual or affectional orientation, marital status, or receipt of public assistance (such as Section 8).

The city of Minneapolis’ Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination for all of the afore-mentioned categories, while the St Paul Human Rights Act also includes age. For a comparison, check the HUD web site.

When advertising a vacancy, it is important to realize you can’t make any statement in an ad that indicates a preference, limitations or discrimination based on the named criteria.  So phrases like, “suitable for single woman” are not acceptable.

The ad should focus on desirable features of the duplex, amount of rent and availability.

It is important to note, that landlords who rent one, two or three units in properties that double as their own homes may be exempt from some provisions in the Fair Housing Act.

Up, Up And Away With Minneapolis Duplex Sales

said on March 3rd, 2009 categorized under: Twin Cities Real Est

Comments Off on Up, Up And Away With Minneapolis Duplex Sales

hot air balloon festivalWhile it’s too soon to tell, there seems to be a little hot air lifting the Twin Cities real estate market a bit off the ground.

Since the end of December, pending sales for the Twin Cities housing market having continued to outperform sales for the same week for the prior year. In short, sales have been up for three months now.

In fact, for the week ending February 21, pending sales in the single family home sector where up 12.4 percent over the year before.

New listings, meanwhile, were down 15 percent from 2008.  And the number of homes available per buyer has dropped 21.8 percent from the 2008 mark; to 6.38 available homes for every buyer looking.

In the small multi-family unit market, pending sales were up more than 208 percent for the same stretch in 2008. The amount of new inventory saw equally dramatic changes, falling 34 percent from their 2008 mark.

While 2008’s figure was comprised of 60 percent lender-owned duplexes, 96 percent of the February 21, 2009 total were bank owned.

The news isn’t as uplifting when it comes to discussing the average off market price, however. In 2008, properties that received purchase agreements averaged $167,998 when they left the market. For the third week in February 2009, however, the average price was just $98,348.

In 2008, 83 percent of the pended Minneapolis and St Paul duplexes were bank owned or mediated. Ninety-six percent of those that left the market in 2009 with a purchase agreement involved lender negotiations.

In all likelihood, the last figures are the ones worth watching. When they start to tip the other way, we’ll probably be well off the ground

Comments Off on Know The Story of St Paul’s Vacant Building List Before You Buy That Fixer Duplex

big book little humansI was standing with a client in front of a St Paul duplex that was one whale of a deal last week when a neighbor passed.

She abruptly informed us the property was a Category 3 vacant building and had to either be repaired before it could be sold or torn down. Knowing the listing agent is a competent foreclosure specialist, I doubted this.

Nonetheless, when I got back to the office I double checked the city of St Paul’s vacant building list. It wasn’t there. At all. Which underscores the importance of checking for facts, rather than believing neighborhood fiction.

So, what is the vacant building list? Like many metro area cities, St Paul requires the seller of a property to get a Truth In Housing report done prior to putting it on the market. This holds true for foreclosures as well.

Once this is completed, the duplex is classified as Category 1, 2 or 3.  The category level not only is a commentary on the property’s condition, but a reflection of its marketability as well.

Category 1 properties are unoccupied, unsecured, secured by other than normal means (like boarded up windows) or have been unoccupied for one year without any nuisance orders.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Page 2 of 2
  • <
  • 1
  • 2