cottage grove mn

Local Housing Trends Within Cottage Grove, MN Real Estate

Despite the current chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic, the real estate market continues to boom. While this current boom is deemed a “seller’s market,” favorable marketplace conditions for buyers drive the current upswing.

All across America, first-time buyers are in a frenzy, trying to get themselves locked into the home of their dreams before an inevitable downturn.

If you’re thinking of investing in Cottage Grove, MN real estate, now is the time to act. Read on to learn the current market trends.

Interest Rates

The driver for the current housing boom is the historically low interest rate on mortgages.

Depending on your credit score and loan program, you can lock in a rate of two to three percent on a 15 or 30 year fixed rate loan.

These rates are low. Part of the reason the Federal Open Market Committee set these low rates is to spur activity in the loan market despite the massive job loss and economic upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A residential investment now means you get a favorable rate should the market fluctuate in the future.

Competitive Market

Right now, real estate in Cottage Grove, MN is highly competitive. Homes in the area receive multiple offers and often sell at two to four percent above list price.

Given the competitive market, you need a capable Cottage Grove realtor to guide you through the process. An expert realtor can help you maximize your value in a competitive market.

Rising Prices

According to Zillow.com, homes for sale in Cottage Grove, MN have a median price of $297,740.

Zillow’s numbers show the median price jumped from $202,000 to the current $297,740 in the past ten years. That’s an increase of $95,740 in a decade!

Unless an extreme market disruption or crash occurs, prices should keep this steady rise. Zillow predicts the median price will reach $317,000 by September of next year.

This means your investment in Cottage Grove, MN real estate will pay off big time.

New Development

One of the major drivers of real estate pricing is new development.

New city development projects can push real estate market values through the roof in a very short period of time. Buying in a neighborhood or city where development is imminent but has not yet broken ground is a great way to find value.

The town of Cottage Grove is about to explode with new development. In January 2020, plans were revealed for a 75,000 square-foot mixed-use walkable development.

Titled Shoppes at Cottage View, this new project calls for new homes, apartment buildings, retail space, and green space. When built, this type of development will increase the value of your investment.

Buying Cottage Grove, MN Real Estate

Right now, the real estate market all across the United States is hot. Thanks to low and steady interest rates, buyers are willing to buy like never before.

Cottage Grove, MN real estate is on a steady trajectory. As interest rates are low and prices continue to rise along with new development projects, now is the time for you to lock in your dream home.

Looking for realtors near Cottage Grove to help you buy your dream home? Contact ustoday.

Document with title Property tax on a desk.

Understanding Property Taxes Within Cottage Grove, MN

I’m so excited to pay my taxes!…said no one ever. However, many of us do enjoy the benefits such as good schools, roads without potholes, and the other government services that taxes help to pay for.

If you’re thinking about talking to realtors near Cottage Grove to move to our beautiful city or make a residential investment, you may be wondering how the property taxes work in our area. Get an idea of what you’ll have to pay and when in this little guide to property taxes in Cottage Grove, MN.

How Are Property Taxes in Cottage Grove, MN Calculated?

Washington County, where Cottage Grove is located, separates properties into four different classifications.

  • Residential Homestead
  • Residential Non-Homestead (single unit)
  • Residential Non-Homestead (2-3 units and vacant land) and Apartments
  • Commercial/Industrial

Taxes are calculated slightly differently for each type but the amount is based on the value of the property. Each year, county appraisers assess the value of each property in Cottage Grove. In March, homeowners receive notice of how much their home has been appraised for. If homeowners believe the value is erroneous, they are allowed to appeal in April.

By July, all values are set and this is the basis for the taxes that are due the following year.

When Are Payments Due?

You can pay your property taxes in two parts. The first payment is due by May 15 and the second by October 15 of each year.

There are a number of ways that you can pay your taxes. You can send them by mail, pay online, use a bill pay service, or make an in-person payment at the Stillwater Government Center.

Tax Capacity

So, how much will you have to pay? Well, the calculation varies from year to year. As part of the city’s annual budgeting process, how much money will be needed to meet operating expenses and pay the city’s debts is determined each year. Then, the property tax formulas are set by the legislature.

The tax capacity on homes in Cottage Grove, MN is often graduated. For example, the first $220,000 may be assessed at 1% and any value above that at 1.25%. The amount typically won’t vary drastically from year to year.

Ready to Move to Cottage Grove?

Don’t let property taxes in Cottage Grove, MN scare you away from our beautiful city. You’ll have to pay taxes anywhere you decide to live or buy a rental property. We hope this article has taken some of the confusion out of the matter and you’ll be more prepared to join our ranks. Remember, the more people we have sharing the tax burden, the less each individual will have to pay.

Are you looking for homes for sale in Cottage Grove, MN? With many of the top Cottage Grove realtors as associates, we’re happy to help you find the perfect piece of real estate in Cottage Grove, MN.

Reach out to us today to get connected start shopping for your dream home!

Miniature house with money on tax papers

5 Tips for Finding the Best Affordable Homes in Your Area

In 2018, 10.9 million renters spent more than half of their income on housing.

As rent prices continue to increase, it’s no wonder that you’re thinking about purchasing your own property. But you might quickly find that the housing market isn’t much more affordable than the rental market – so you need to know where and how to look.

There are plenty of affordable homes out there that are sure to fit your budget. All you have to do is know what that budget is and then start looking with an open mind and a willingness to make some sacrifices.

Keep reading for five essential tips on how to find a place to call home that doesn’t break the bank.

1. Start With a Budget

The first question you need to answer before you start looking is: “what home can I afford?” Knowing that figure means sitting down and working out a detailed budget.

Of course, you’ll avoid any home that exceeds your budget. But you also need to take into consideration things like transportation costs. You might be able to afford higher housing costs if you live closer to work, for example.

2. Look for Sellers Willing to Make a Deal

How do you find sellers that are ready to make a deal? You know how to spot the signs.

First, you can look for homes that have been on the market for a long time. Sellers who need to move will be more open to making a deal.

Second, you can look for homes that have recently had their price reduced. This usually indicates that a seller hasn’t received any offers and is looking to sell their home, even if it means making a deal.

3. Buy a Fixer-Upper

When you see the words “as is” in a listing, it’s typically indicating a home that needs a bit of work. And a home that needs a bit of work can usually be had for the deal. You can also find fixer-uppers in your cities vacant housing list.

If you decide on an affordable home that needs work, make sure that you’re capable of completing the work. If you’re not doing the work yourself, then have a good idea of what the fixes will cost. Otherwise, you could end up spending more on renovations than you saved on the selling price.

4. Don’t Be Limited by Location

You pay less for homes that are in less-desirable neighborhoods. Less-desirable neighborhoods are those that are further away from your local hot spots, shopping, transportation, recreational areas, and schools.

 

Make a list of what’s important to you but don’t be limited by location. And consider that if you’re willing to relocate completely, you stand to save a lot of money. Moving to the Midwest or the Southern US is far more affordable than living on either coast, for example.

5. Don’t Be Limited by Home Type

If it’s important that you’re living in a hot spot or that you’re close to transportation, then you can’t limit yourself to a single-family home. These days, single-family homes located in metropolitan areas are often unaffordable for first-time buyers.

Instead, think about the benefits of a condo, duplex, or townhouse. While they may be smaller, they’re more likely to fit into your budget. And as more people opt for these housing types because of their affordability, many are designed with families in mind.

Start Looking for Affordable Homes

Before you start looking for affordable homes, make sure you set your budget. Don’t limit yourself to location or home type and have a willingness to be flexible with how much work you’re going to put into your new home.

With all of those items in mind, your sure to find a home that you can afford. And when you’re ready to start looking, start narrowing down your search with our listings.

The Homeowners Checklist: A First Time Buyers Guide to Purchasing a Home

In a year as turbulent as 2020, you might think that buying a home is at the bottom of many priority lists.

Think again. Existing home sales just jumped to a 14-year high, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

What does this mean for you?

If you’re dreaming of buying your first home, now is the perfect time to make it happen. Here’s your homeowners checklist to help you turn your dream of homeownership into reality!

1. Get Your Finances in Order

It’s never too early to start saving for your new home. Even a 3% downpayment on a $300,000 home is nearly $10,000, so you’ll need plenty of time to plan and save.

You also need to factor in closing costs (typically 3%-5% of the loan amount), as well as any move-in expenses. This is also the time to strengthen your credit, if it’s less than stellar, as that will affect your mortgage and interest rate.

2. Secure Financing

Next you’ll need to consider which mortgage options you might qualify for. Common programs for first-time home buyers include:

  • Conventional mortgages
  • FHA loans
  • VA loans
  • USDA loans

Many states offer financial assistance for down payments and closing costs, so check to see what’s available in your state. It’s also a good idea to compare different options among local banks, credit unions, and mortgage brokers.

Important note: Just because a lender approves you for a $300,000 mortgage doesn’t mean you should spend that much. Use a mortgage calculator to determine how much house you can afford so you don’t end up “house poor” after you move in.

3. Start Shopping

Now comes the exciting part: looking for houses! Search online, hire a real estate agent, and drive around the neighborhoods that most interest you.

Think carefully about your budget and lifestyle. Attend open houses and view as many properties as possible to better understand your wants and needs.

Are you looking for a starter home or your forever home? Would you rather buy a small condo that’s move-in ready or a larger fixer-upper? How important is it for you to be near good schools or have a shorter commute to work?

4. Make an Offer

When you think you’ve found “the one,” take a final look at your budget. You don’t want to make an impulsive decision or offer more than you can afford.

Ask your real estate agent to ensure your offer is competitive but still within your budget and the home’s actual value. If the seller accepts, you’ll make a good-faith deposit and the process moves into escrow. This gives you time to tick the final item off your homeowners checklist, which is…

5. Get an Inspection

No matter how amazing the home looks on the outside, you have no way of knowing what’s happening underneath. Hire a professional home inspector to analyze the safety, integrity, and overall condition of the house.

If the inspection reveals no serious problems, congratulations! You can move ahead to the closing date with confidence.

On the other hand, what if the inspection reveals serious defects that the seller chose not to disclose? You’re better off saying goodbye and continuing your search for a home in better condition.

Bookmark This Homeowners Checklist

Whether it’s for home office space, a home gym, or a bigger backyard, many Americans are on the move this year.

Would you like to join their ranks? Use this homeowners checklist to guide you through the home buying process!

Are you looking for a home in the Twin Cities area? Click here to begin your search.

The Latest Unemployment Rate Fell to 8.4%

The Latest Unemployment Rate Fell to 8.4%

The Latest Unemployment Rate Fell to 8.4% | MyKCM

Last Friday, the Bureau for Labor Statistics released their Employment Report for August 2020. The big surprise was that the unemployment rate fell to 8.4%, a full percent lower than what many analysts had forecasted earlier in the week. Though it is tough to look at this as great news when millions of Americans are still without work, the number of unemployed is currently much lower than most experts had projected it would be just a few months ago.

Not Like the Great Depression or Even the Great Recession

Jason Furman, Professor of Practice at Harvard explained:

“An unemployment rate of 8.4% is much lower than most anyone would have thought it a few months ago. It is still a bad recession but not a historically unprecedented event or one we need to go back to the Great Depression for comparison.”

During the Great Depression, the unemployment rate was over 20% for four consecutive years (1932 – 1935). This April, the rate jumped to 14.7%, but has fallen each month since.

During and after the Great Recession (2007-2009), the unemployment rate was at 9% or greater for thirty consecutive months (April 2009 – October 2011). Most economists believe the current rate will continue to fall monthly as the economy regains its strength.

What Happens Going Forward?

The outcome will be determined by how quickly we can contain the virus. In their last Economic Forecasting Survey, the Wall Street Journal reported the economists surveyed believe the annual unemployment rates will be 6.6% in 2021 and 5.5% in 2022. Though that will still be greater than the 3.5% rate that we saw earlier this year, it is lower than the annual rate reportedin 2011 (8.5%), 2012 (7.9%), and 2013 (6.7%).

Bottom Line

There are still millions of Americans struggling through this economic downturn. There is, however, light at the end of the tunnel. The unemployment situation did not get as bad as many had predicted, and the recovery is taking place faster than most thought would happen.