Archive for May, 2010

Minneapolis Bedroom Requirements Come Out Of The Closet

said on May 10th, 2010 categorized under: Legal Stuff

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A row of colorful row t-shirts hanging on hangersIf I asked you to describe a bedroom to me, chances are that early on, you’d include the word “closet”.

For most of us, a closet is a necessity in a bedroom. After all, where would we hide the mess when company’s coming over if we didn’t have one.

So if you see a duplex or single family home with a room that doesn’t have one, it can’t be a bedroom. Right?

Not in the city of Minneapolis.

In fact, the word closet isn’t even mentioned in the city’s requirements for a bedroom.

Minneapolis bedrooms are required to have a door and at least one escape window. The window has to be at least 20″ wide and 24″ tall, with a net overall clear opening of 5.7 feet.  What’s more, the bottom sill can’t be more than 44 ” above the floor.

Of course, you can’t cover the window with anything that would keep someone from escaping during an emergency, like grilles or grates, unless they have approved release latches.

If the bedroom is below ground level, the window needs to have a window well. If the well is more than 44″ deep, it’s also  required to have a permanent ladder.

Bedrooms must also provide the equivalent of at least 8 percent of the floor area in window glass. For example, if you have a room that’s 200 square feet in size, you would need window glass totalling at least 16 square feet.

According to the city of Minneapolis, bedrooms must also have a minimum ceiling height of 7 feet, and be no less than 70 square feet in size.

Since this is Minnesota, it goes without saying that the city also demands a bedroom feature a heat source capable of keeping the room at a minimum temperature of 69 degrees.

The city clearly cares about the health and well-being of its residents.

But it could care less what they do with their clothes.

Duplex Rates Plummet With Stock Market

said on May 7th, 2010 categorized under: Financing

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Businessman with tie and handbag falling downWith last week’s end to the home buyer tax credits and yesterday’s inexplicable 1000 point slide on the stock market, historians might think it would be a good day to check tall buildings for jumpers.

Of course, every dark economic cloud has a silver lining, right?

Well, maybe not. But this one did. It seems investors fled from the stock market and into Treasury bills, which drove the yield down. The result? Interest rates on 30-year mortgages plummeted.

At one time on Thursday it was actually possible to get a 30-year fixed rate of just 4.5 percent.

Things have settled down in the 24 hours since, but the good news is both FHA and conventional owner occupant interest rates for the weekend settled in at 4.875. 

The difference in monthly interest between a rate of 4.875 and 5 percent amounts to about 40 cents per $1000. So, if you purchase a $300,000 duplex, this seemingly small rate difference could actually result in your saving about $120/month, $1440/year or $43,200 over the life of the loan.

That’s reason enough to stay off the building’s ledge, and consider instead, duplex ownership.

Comments Off on Minneapolis Duplex Sellers Rush To Beat Tax Credit

cargo shipmentsThank God that shipment of newly listed single family homes and duplexes hit the market just in time for the expiration of the first time and repeat buyer tax credits.

I’m being sarcastic, of course.

But with 2,147 new single family listings for the week ending April 24, representing an increase of 19.1 percent over last year, and duplex and multifamily listings up 32.7 percent year over year, it does appear sellers were rushing to get their properties on the market before the incentives ended.

Traditional sellers represented a clear majority of the new to market duplexes, with 60,9 percent of the new listings. This represents a significant jump from last year’s 21.2 percent market share.

Of the multifamily properties that received purchase agreements over the week, 38 percent were offered by traditional sellers. While not the majority of the transactions, this figure nonetheless represents healthy improvement over last year’s 7.9 percent.

This increase in traditional seller market share may also account for the average off market price of $155,428 compared to $88,026 for the same week last year.

Have the tax credits had an impact? We won’t know until the numbers for last week come in, but pended single family home sales for the week were up 9.8 percent over the same stretch last year.

Guess we’ll have to wait until next week’s report to see if sellers, as well as buyers, benefited from the tax credit’s end.

Minneapolis Duplex Owners See Changing Signs

said on May 3rd, 2010 categorized under: Tenants

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For Rent Real Estate Sign Isolated on a White Background.If you could swear you’re seeing fewer “For Rent” signs in area lawns and windows, you’re right.

A report by GVA Marquette Advisors released on Friday announced that Twin Cities vacancy rates dropped to 6.1 percent for the first three months of 2010.

This figure, while still historically high, represents a significant drop from last fall’s 7.3 percent vacancy rate.

While GVA Marquette Advisors tracks this data for communities with at least 10 units, trends in this sector also influence smaller multi-family properties.

Marquette’s report estimates that job growth and an improving economy lead to 1800 vacancies being filled in the metro area, with affordable urban and close-in units going first.

Of course, the increased numbers of vacancies the last few years has lead to more rent concessions and incentives. Collectively, this has lead to an average effective rental rate which is 2 percent lower than it was one year ago.

Continued vacancy rate reduction should, over the long term, force a shift in this trend as well.

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