Professional plumber doing renovation in kitchen home.

The Vital Importance of Home Inspections for Cottage Grove Home Buyers

Did you know the latest stats reveal the median sales price for an existing home in the U.S. is about $350,000 dollars? A home is expensive and likely the biggest asset you’ll own. You want to make sure you’re getting every penny’s worth before you sign on the dotted line.

How can you make sure your Cottage Grove home meets your standards? Home inspections are one way of making sure the home you want doesn’t have any hidden surprises.

Keep reading for vital information about why you should get a home inspection before buying a home.

Home Inspection Standards

The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) has a standard of practice for all home inspectors to follow during an inspection. The standard divides the home into systems and reveals how each inspection should include all components of each system.

The inspector looks at accessible, observable, installed systems. The inspector then offers a written report detailing any defects, deficiencies, or unsafe systems. Inspectors also let you know if a system, such as an HVAC system or a roof is nearing the end of its useful life.

An inspection and appraisal are important pieces on your real estate checklist. Always have an expert guide you through the homebuying process.

What Are the Systems?

Here’s a list of the main systems the inspector checks. Keep in mind that most inspectors won’t enter a crawlspace that has less than 24 inches of vertical space.

Structural System and Home Exterior

The inspector looks at the structural systems, including the foundation structure. He also inspects the floor, wall, and ceiling structures.

This includes the exterior, including flashing, trim, and wall coverings. The inspector also looks at decks, balconies, porches, railings, stoops, and steps. This includes the soffits, fascias, and eaves as long as they’re accessible from the ground.

She’ll also make sure the surface drainage, grading, and important retaining walls are sound. The inspector checks entryways, walkways, patios, and driveways.

Roof Systems

A home inspection also includes the roof systems. He’ll check the drainage systems, materials, flashing, skylights, and chimneys. Also included are any areas of roof penetration such as from a vent-stack system.

Insulation and ventilation systems get checked for the attic. Other ventilation systems checked are in the foundation, kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room. Clothes dryer exhaust systems are also inspected.

Plumbing, Electrical Systems, and HVAC

All plumbing and electrical systems are also inspected. This includes fixtures and faucets, drains, waste, and plumbing vent systems. The inspector makes sure all sinks, toilets, and other plumbing are in good working order.

The inspector looks for overcurrent protection devices and ground fault circuit interrupters in the electrical systems. The inspector doesn’t typically inspect any wiring systems that aren’t part of the primary electrical system.

The heating and air-conditioning systems also get inspected.

The Importance of Home Inspections

Home inspections are crucial when buying Cottage Grove real estate. Always get a home inspection so you know what condition the home is in before you commit.

Need help buying property in Cottage Grove? We know the area and the market and can help you get the best deal for your money. Contact us today if you need help finding your next dream home!

Immobilie Inserat Immobilienmarkt

4 Questions to Ask a Cottage Grove Realtor When Selling Your House

If you’re planning on selling your home soon, hiring a Cottage Grove realtor should be one of your first steps. Not only can they help your prepare your house for the market, but they can also help you value your home appropriately.

Just as importantly, they have an in-depth understanding of the local real estate market. They also have valuable connections to help you sell your home faster. Finally, realtors possess extensive negotiation skills to ensure you get the best deal possible for your home.

However, not all realtors near Cottage Grove are on the same playing field. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you find the right one to help you sell your home. Keep reading for four important questions you must ask before hiring a realtor.

1. What Are Your Commission Fees?

First, ask the Cottage Grove realtor what their commission rate is. Typical commission rates vary from three to six percent. However, a low commission rate might mean fewer included services, less experience, and less-than-desirable results.

Therefore, don’t simply choose the cheapest option to help you sell your Cottage Grove, MN real estate.

2. How Will You Market My Home?

Next, ask how the realtor lists and markets homes for sale in Cottage Grove, MN. Do they have access to the popular listing services. What about social media marketing and other methodologies?

The best Cottage Grove realtor will be the one who knows how to market your home for maximum visibility. Additionally, find out if they specialize in selling single-family homes only, or if they can target other areas of the market. For example, your home might make an exquisite residential investment for someone looking for a rental unit.

3. How Many Other Clients Do You Have?

Before hiring a realtor, find out how much room in their schedule they have for you. If a realtor is working part-time as a realtor and has another job, they may not be able to give you and your home the time and attention you deserve.

This also means asking about their current client load. While it’s quite common for realtors to juggle multiple clients at one time, you don’t want a realtor who has bitten off more than they can chew. As a result, your home could be placed on the backburner while he/she focuses on other clients.


4. What Services Do You Provide?

Finally, find out what services are included in the Cottage Grove realtor’s commission fee. Do they handle communications with potential buyers, negotiating with their realtors, and showing your home? What about hosting open houses?

You might also look for a buyer broker in Cottage Grove that offers property management. Real estate in Cottage Grove, MN isn’t always predictable. It would be beneficial to hire a realtor who goes above and beyond to ensure the best possible outcome for your home sale.

Looking for a Cottage Grove Realtor?

How do you find the best Cottage Grove realtor? As you can see, it mostly comes down to asking the right questions. Make sure you know the quality of your realtor before hiring them.

Whether you’re looking for property management in Cottage Grove or for someone to help you sell your house, we can help. Contact us today to get in touch with an experienced realtor.

We have in-depth knowledge about the area and are well-versed in the art of negotiation. More importantly, we’re committed to making sure each and every one of our clients get what they want.


Undersupply: Understanding the Current Real Estate Industry

There’s no denying the real estate industry is soaring. In October 2020, year-over-year new home sales were up an astounding 41%, paving the way for 2021’s real estate market.

But what does this mean for buyers and sellers alike? How are interest rates and house stocks affecting sales?

During volatile economic times, investors are often quick to sell off stocks and bonds. As demand increases, so does the price. This then lowers the interest payment.

The result? Lower bond yields (interest payments), and lower mortgage rates.

To understand more about the current real estate market, home value, and why it’s a sellers’ market, keep reading for information every buyer and seller needs to know.

Current Housing Market

Did you know that more homes were sold in 2020 than in the last 14 years? This may have you wondering how long trends will hold out.

It’s expected that the housing market will remain hot throughout 2021. The results are sellers receiving over-asking-price for their homes, and multiple-offer situations occurring.

Multiple offer situations are ideal for sellers, since they’re able to sell their homes quickly while turning a sizeable profit.

But what’s driving buyers to purchase property with gale-force speeds?

Record Low Interest Rates

Record low interest rates are making the American dream of homeownership a reality. Interest rates dropped approximately 14 times in 2020 alone, dropping to numbers as low as 2.71%.

However, as the economy recovers, so will interest rates. Rates have already increased by .5% since the start of the year. Even though the current housing market favors sellers, there are more buyers than there are available homes.

This past April, St. Paul residents have seen a 6.1% increase in home sale prices. On average, a home in St. Paul sold for $260,000 after being on the market for only two weeks.

In April 2020, 327 homes sold. However, in April 2021, 404 homes sold. It’s obvious the market is still hot, and there’s no time like the present to become a first-time homebuyer, purchase an investment property, or move up to a larger house. Luckily, low inventory has been on the rise, something that affects the forecast for investors.

Other Factors in the Real Estate Industry

Record low interest rates and the desire to purchase larger homes have played a contributing factor in the real estate market. As more people work from home and provide homeschool instruction, the need for separate offices increased, as well as space to conduct virtual learning.

Families also invested in vacation properties in rural areas, looking to escape city life as the pandemic gained traction, causing people to remain home.

Real Estate for All Your Needs

The real estate industry is hotter than ever before. With homes in demand but an undersupply of inventory, it’s no wonder homes are selling at or above the asking price and in record fast time. Add to the mix low interest rates, and you have a seller’s market.

Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, Elhm Realty has you covered. Contact us today to discuss your next real estate transaction.

House For Sale By Owner Sign in a front yard of a house

First Time Home Buyer and Real Estate Checklist

Did you know that first-time buyers account for more than 38% of all home buyers? That’s a figure that has dropped considerably over the last couple of decades.

Buying your first home can be both exciting and daunting. It may seem like there are lots of hoops that you need to jump through when taking your first steps to home buying.

So, what do you need on your real estate checklist when you’re a first-time buyer?

In this article, we’ll look at the home buying process

Your Real Estate Checklist

If you’re a first-time buyer, the buying process will be completely new to you. Here is a home buying checklist in brief.

  • Determine your budget
  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage
  • Find a real estate agent
  • Visit houses
  • Put in an offer
  • Get an inspection
  • Get an appraisal
  • Close the sale

Let’s take a look at how to buy a home in more depth.

Determine Your Budget and Get Pre-approved for a Mortgage

Before you can even start looking for a home, you’ll need to determine your budget. It makes no sense to start house hunting until you’ve got an idea of what you can afford.

The best way of doing this is by speaking to a mortgage company and getting pre-approved for a home loan.

The lender will review your income and your credit score. They will then agree on a set amount of money that you can borrow. Once you have an in-principle mortgage agreement, you can start to find your perfect home.

Find a Real Estate Agent

Once you know how much you can spend, start speaking to real estate agents. Give them your budget and any requirements that you have from your home. Your real estate agent will then give you some suggestions for homes that suit your needs.

Visit Houses and Put In an Offer

Your real estate agent will then take you on tours of the homes that suit your needs. It can often be helpful if you take a tape measure with you when you view a home so you can see whether your furniture will fit.

It can be easy to become emotionally attached to a property that you view. If you’re 100% sure you like a property, put in an offer on it.

If you know you want to buy a home, submit an offer as soon as you can. It may get sold if you wait.

Get an Inspection and Appraisal

Getting your potential new home appraised and inspected is vital. The appraisal will confirm the property’s value for your lender, and the inspection will let you know whether there are any concerns about the structure or integrity of the property.

Once you’ve had these carried out, you may want to renegotiate your offer if the surveys flag up any issues.

Close the Sale

Once you’ve ticked off every box on your real estate checklist and the deal is going ahead, it’s time to close the deal. That means signing the papers and exchanging funds.

For more help understanding how to buy a home, speak to our team of experts today.

Estate Agent Looking Around Vacant Property For Valuation

Understanding Real Estate Valuation: How Your Home Is Valued

How much is it worth? We tend to see our homes as a nest egg. After all, it is an asset.

Our home’s value fluctuates depending on the economy as well as various other factors. Real estate valuation measures what a home is really worth.

If your curious as to what factors into your home’s worth or what the process is like don’t worry. We’re about to go over the home appraisal process.

Formal Valuation v. Market Appraisal

A professional valuer is the only one that can give a formal valuation. Real estate valuation methods come in three sub-categories: Kerbside, desktop, and full valuation.

A Kerbside or drive-by-valuation is as the name implies a valuation based on your home’s outward appearance. A desktop valuation is an appraisal based on what information is available online. Both are less expensive alternatives to a full residential real estate valuation, but without the benefits of having your home’s inside value-added.

Full valuations are typically required by lenders to help them how much they will be willing to lend. Potential home buyers or sellers will benefit from a full appraisal to properly gauge what their home is really worth.

market appraisal is conducted by a real estate agent. It can help you estimate the value of your home based on other home sales in your area. You may find this helpful if you are not seeking a loan or just want a ball-park guess at what you could be sitting on.

Real Estate Valuation Process

Appraisals are requested mostly by lenders. If they are going to be loaning large sums of money they want to make sure you have enough collateral to support the loan. That is also why a lender must hire an appraiser with no vested interest in the property. Appraisal fees are usually covered by the potential borrower.

An appraiser with no direct interest in the property must be found. Similar to a market appraisal, a real estate valuation will also have some influence from sales home sales similar to yours.

A complete inspection will include the interior and exterior of the home, including repairs your home may need. The number of rooms, square footage, and location of your home will also be factors. The report will be a summary of the appraiser’s findings and include public land records, sketches, pictures, a street map, and an explanation as to how the appraiser got the number he did.

Reap What You Sow

If you are wondering if the sale of your home will help you reach your retirement goals, find out. Having a realistic perspective can save you time, stress, and help you plan accordingly.

Real estate valuations are also used on rental properties. Charging the market rate for rent never hurts. We invest time and money in the present with the hope of reaping bountiful rewards in the future.

Undervaluing your property will cost you, so don’t take the risk. Find out how much your home is worth.

Interested in learning more about the housing market? Contact us for more about your real estate needs.