Archive for October, 2011

Minneapolis Duplex Sellers Stick With Tradition

said on October 11th, 2011 categorized under: Buying A Duplex

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Duplex and Stacks of Money Isolated on a White BackgroundThank goodness for traditional Minneapolis duplex sellers.

You know who they are. They’re the ones who have equity in their duplexes and as a result, don’t have to get a bank’s permission to sell them.

Those sellers were responsible for 43.5 percent of the duplex sales in the Twin Cities the week ending October 1.

They also contributed 56.25 percent of the newly listed duplexes, triplexes and four unit buildings.

Compare this to the same week one year ago, when traditional sellers were responsible for just 15.35 percent of the duplexes sold and chipped in 48.27 percent of the new listings.

Because of these equity duplex sellers, the week saw an average off-market list price of $132,021. Although this figure will likely drop when those duplex sales are closed, this number is nonetheless up considerably from last year’s sold price of $111,646 for the week.

The single family home market continued to see inventory shrink, with a 21 percent drop of new lisitngs week over week.

Meanwhile, pending home sales saw a weekly spike of 32.7 percent over last year’s mark.

In all, there are 22.8 percent fewer homes on the market at this time than there were one year ago.

As these reduced numbers may well be a result of the bank foreclosure freeze, it’s promises to be an interesting winter.

Why Your Realtor Won’t Buy You A Duplex

said on October 10th, 2011 categorized under: Buying A Duplex, Selling A Duplex

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duplex dollarIn the last several weeks, I’ve had several buyers and sellers ask me to give up all or part of my previously agreed upon commission on a duplex sale so they can either pay less or net more.

My answer was “no”.

Yes, real estate commissions are negotiable.

And I realize every get rich quick real estate seminar or web site encourages you to ask your Realtor to financially contribute to the sale. After all, the thinking goes, you’re going to be giving that agent “so much business” they’ll be glad to trade hundreds or thousands of dollars for the opportunity of your continued loyalty.

Besides, Realtors make so much money, they can afford to give up some or all of their commission, right?


In 2010, the average income for a Realtor was $34,100. This was down 4.5 percent from the average Realtor income in 2009.

Compare this to 2002, when the average Realtor earned $52,100; 34.7 percent than they do almost a decade later!

And that figure includes agents who’ve been working selling duplexes and homes for more than two years.

Realtors who’ve been in the business two years or less earned, on average, $8900.

Out of that income, Realtors pay for gas, car insurance, desk fees, errors and omissions insurance, marketing of their listed properties, mandatory continuing education, MLS dues, cell phone and Internet bills, open house signs, the installation of signs in yards, and a thousand other expenses associated with running a business.

All of this in the worst housing market in decades.

I absolutely love what I do. And I am happy to work long hours for clients who see the value in what I do; whether it be finding them a non-MLS duplex that suits their needs, or guiding them through the complicated process of a short sale.

But unfortunately, Duplex Chicks have bills to pay too.

Pumpkins Mean It’s Time To Call The Duplex Chick

said on October 6th, 2011 categorized under: Buying A Duplex

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buying a duplex PumpkinI know the holidays seem far away – but once Halloween gets here, well, you know how fast time flies.

What does that have to do with Minneapolis duplexes?

Well, many of my clients are ex-Minnesotans who are thinking of moving home for all or part of the year. As a result, they want to look at duplexes over the holidays.

The trouble is, especially in a market where duplex inventory is down, there isn’t very much to see.

Now I wish it were as easy as just running down to the duplex store, finding one in your size, trying it on and buying it. But right now, it takes a lot more leg work than that.

Given enough warning, I can probably find exactly what you’re looking for -whether it’s currently on the market or not.

So if you’re coming home in the next several months, drop me a line or call, Soon.

That way, when you get here, I’ll have duplexes to show you.

5 Factors That Impact Your Ability To Buy A Duplex

said on October 5th, 2011 categorized under: Financing

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Good vs Bad Credit - how to buy a duplexWe’ve all heard how important your credit score is when buying a duplex.

After all, the way the bank sees it, the higher your score, the more likely you are to pay off the loan.

In other words, you’re low risk. And that, to them, is worth rewarding with a lower interest rate.

So how do they come up with your credit score anyway?

According to Waterstone Mortgage, the credit bureaus consider five factors. In order of importance they are:

  1. Payment History – 35% Impact. Late payments, delinquencies and charge offs indicate that you’re a risk to a lender. Especially if they’ve occurred in the last two years.
  2. Outstanding Credit Card Balances – 30% Impact. The important component here is the ratio between your outstanding balance and the amount of credit you have available on your account. While the ideal scenario includes credit balances at or near zero, you should at least owe less than 30 percent of the available credit; especially if you’re planning on buying a duplex in the next few months.
  3. Credit History – 15% Impact. This component considers the length of time you’ve had a credit line. The longer its been open, the more likely you are to be a strong borrower.
  4. Type of Credit – 10% Impact. It’s not only the amount of money you owe, but it’s also the kinds of payments you make. For example, if you have a mixture of car loans, mortgages and credit cards, you’re viewed more favorably than if you just have credit card debt. Waterstone also suggests you should always have one or two major credit card accounts.
  5. Inquiries – 10% Impact. Did you know if you go around having people pull your credit, each time they do so it can cost you between 2 and 25 points on your credit score? Credit bureaus can ding you up to 10 times in a year for doing this. A better strategy might be to pull your credit yourself, which will have no impact in your credit score.

You must have, at minimum, a credit score of 620 before any lender will consider giving you a loan.

Again, the higher your credit score, the lower the interest rate you’re likely to be charged, which may save you hundreds of dollars a month on your payments, not to mention thousands over the life of your duplex loan.


Ask Oprah About The Minneapolis Duplex Market

said on October 4th, 2011 categorized under: Twin Cities Real Est


duplex epiphaniesIf you’re looking for an “Aha!” moment in Minneapolis and St Paul duplex sales for the week ending September 24, 2011, you’ll have to ask Oprah for it.

Because I’m not finding it here.

There were 23 duplex and small multi family property owners who accepted purchase agreements on their properties for the week.  Of these, only six did not need to get a bank’s permission to sell their duplex.

Last year during the same week, just 16 duplex and multi-family property owners received and accepted offers. Of these, four did not need a lender’s ok to sell.

The average list price duplex lisitngs left the market at for the week was $109,201. While this is above last year’s $100,175, it’s important to remember that on average, Twin Cities real estate is selling for somewhere between 8-10 percent less than that off market number.

However, St Paul and Minneapolis duplex buyers got a bit of good news, in that there were 37 new listings to choose from for the week. This is an increase of 13.5 percent over the same week one year ago.

Over in the single family home sector, new inventory continues to dwindle. Last year at this time home buyers had 30,178 houses to choose from.

This year, they only have 23,351.

This drop can be attributed to the continued decline in new listings coming on the market, as well as an average increase of 260 sales every week over last year.

It’s too soon to tell whether this inventory decline is due to the moratorium banks took on foreclosures while they sorted out the paperwork, or a true tightening of the market.

I guess we’ll have to wait a little longer for our epiphany.

What? I Need More Insurance On My New Duplex?

said on October 3rd, 2011 categorized under: Buying A Duplex

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Sign your name here on the mortgage applicationOne of the most common things I find duplex buyers confused about at closing is title insurance.

After all, most have already had to buy an insurance policy to protect the property in the event of a catastrophe.

So why do you need title insurance?

Title insurance is usually purchased the day you buy the duplex and involves a one time fee that’s part of your closing costs.

It protects you as the duplex owner in the event there are any problems with the property’s title that weren’t discovered by your title company or escrow officer prior to closing.

What kind of problems could those be? Well, let’s say one of the property’s previous owners had some construction done on the property but didn’t pay the contractor; who was slow to put a lien on the property.

Or, perhaps a previous owner failed to pay property taxes, or there were heirs to the property who only now discovered they’d inherited it.

In each of these cases, you could find yourself having to hire an attorney to defend you and your property from these claims.

An owner’s title insurance policy would cover those expenses for you.

And those expenses can be significant.

I had one buyer whose $700 title insurance policy covered almost $100,000 in legal fees and settlement charges.

For what? A litigious neighbor who simply liked to sue people for money involving a driveway easement.

And just this morning, a duplex seller I was working with, was glad he was protected by the policy he’d purchased with the property. It seems the previous owner hadn’t notified anyone his sale was part of a divorce.

As a result, his ex-wife could have a claim to the duplex, even though he no longer owned it!

I realize buying a duplex can be an expensive endeavor. But title insurance is something you should never be without.

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