Tom Sommers
Coldwell Banker Realty

Real Estate Insights

For both home sellers and home buyers. Up to date information for the Twin Cities real estate market. This includes informational videos, market trends, home buyer and seller strategies, timely articles and good old fashioned advice.

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5732 eagle court in St cloud MN 56303 is a 2002 custom built rambler with over 2500 finished square feet, three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a finished lower level. There are many incredible features with this home it would take quite a while to list them all.  I will highlight just a few of the many you will see in this video. Three car attached garage that is heated, insulated and has running water including a sink, concrete driveway, heated floors in both full bathrooms, master suite with walk in closet and huge master bath, low maintenance exterior including maintenance free decking, two patios, outdoor fireplace, gazebo, huge backyard, front porch, surround sound throughout the whole house, extra storage above garage as well as in basement, home theater system, spacious open floor plan just to name a few.

 

Instead of doing that, I put it into a video so you can take a tour of this incredible home right now! Just click on the link and it will take you right to the YouTube video. If you have any questions as always, please feel free to reach out to me. Tom Sommers Coldwell Banker Realty 952-994-7204

 

How to sell your home and buy another one without ending up homeless.

 

One of the first questions people considering selling their home ask me, “How can I sell my home and not end up homeless”? Well, for starters the first thing I would like to say is I don't know of anyone that's ended up homeless. I think it's more fear than reality. That's why I thought I would write about it and make a video.

 

Just like many things in life there are always options. I think educating yourself and knowing what your choices are will help you decide if moving is the right thing for you. So many people are on the move now because their lifestyles have changed with the pandemic, and they need different things from their home that maybe two years ago were not important. If this is you, don't let the fear keep you from moving forward and bettering your situation.

 

One option is to put in the listing that this house, (meaning your home) is contingent upon sellers finding a home. This is always dangerous from my professional point of view because there's no end date. Many buyers will be scared away from this because they feel like they'll never actually move into the home they are purchasing. Here are a couple of other choices that may work better.

 

Choose a later closing date like 120 days from the time you get your offer. That would give you four months to find another home to purchase. That's a lot of time if you're diligent about looking at the market and staying on top of the homes that fall into the category of what you're looking for.

 

Having a non-contingent buyer is huge because if they don't have a home to sell, they are usually much better about being able to negotiate to give you the time you need to accomplish this. They don't have a home to sell so therefore they don't have someone breathing down their neck about closing.

 

You could investigate getting a bridge loan. This way you could purchase a new home before you sell yours and bridge the mortgage. The key to this though is having enough time between when you purchase and your closing time that you can put your home up on the market and get it sold quickly. The goal would be to be able to close on both homes the same day to avoid having to make two house payments. This one is financially risky but can work very well depending on the position that you're in and the type of home you're looking to purchase.

 

There are some other choices as well, but these are the most popular. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me and I'll be happy to answer them for you.

 

 

How do you know that the website you visit is giving you the accurate value of your home currently?

 

This is a very fair question because every website can do it a little bit differently. these different data points to determine the value of your home. But is that information they are gathering is correct? In many cases the answer would be no. Especially if they're using a tax-based analysis.

 

In the current market prices are changing so quickly most of these websites will never get caught up. Even though they appear to offer cutting edge technology, nothing replaces looking at all the angles, collecting all the data to make a professional observation. Who doesn’t want to know what their home is worth? Let’s face it, your home is probably your biggest investment.

 

In the video below, I go over the steps that must be taken to give you a proper value determination on your home. Once you watch it, you will have a complete understanding of the correct process.

 

 

What do I have to do to buy a home? How some home buyers are winning!

Are you a frustrated home buyer in the market currently? Are you losing out on homes in multiple offer situations? Right now, with the current housing market especially in the Minneapolis Saint Paul metro area, most of the homes that come up for sale end up in multiple offers. How do you win? First thing is understanding the tactics the other buyers are using to beat your offer. If you haven't started looking for a home but plan to this spring, if the market stays the same, you will want to know about all these different strategies.

 

It is so important that you know what your competition is doing when you're up against them in a multiple offer situation. The more you know and understand the easier it will be for you to compete and get into that home that you want.

 

Given all the craziness going on in the world right now is it a surprise that the housing market is just that's crazy? Most homes in the metro area of Minneapolis and Saint Paul like going into multiple offers within a day of them being listed. I first would like to answer why that's happening. We have very low inventory and it's been that way for the last several years period there are still a lot of homes to purchase but the difference now, is they're not sitting on the market. They're getting scooped up right away by buyers who are organized and ready to buy.

 

I don't think it will surprise you if I share with you that there are several things that the buyers who are getting the homes in multiple offers are doing that the other buyers are not. If you haven't started to look for a home yet or even if you've started your search, it's very important that you understand what you're up against. The more knowledge you have about the home buying experience will help you to navigate the waters.

 

There are three big conditions that most buyers who are winning in multiple offers are utilizing. The first one is an acceleration clause. This is a clause added to the contract that essentially says we will pay you X amount of dollars over your highest priced offer with a copy of the redacted offer

 

The second one is not having a home inspection. For any of you that have read my articles and blogs in the past, you already know how I feel about this. I think this is a bad idea because it's your last chance to make sure that the home you believe you're buying is in the condition you're hoping it's in. There are several different ways to combat this, and, in my experience, it isn't a deal breaker when you have a lot to put down, strong earnest money and a great price.

 

The third one is appraisal gap guarantee. this basically acknowledges that you are paying over list price for the home and that if for any reason the appraisal were to come back lower than the sales price of the home, you will make up the difference in cash along with your down payment. At first when you read this, you're probably thinking this is crazy. I can't necessarily disagree with you, but everyone is in a different situation and some people need to get a home now because they are moving for work, getting divorced or a myriad of other reasons. That's why we're seeing this. Another way to view it is you are pre-paying for the typical appreciation of a home over the coming years. If this is a perfect fit for you and you absolutely love this home. Plus, you plan to stay there for 10 years or more, this is an option.

 

All these clauses can be tightened up and written in a way that it doesn't leave you as a home buyer completely vulnerable. But you must understand how that language should be added to the purchase agreement. You also must be very aware of the risk that you're taking when you use any of these clauses to try to purchase a home. the agent you choose to represent you makes a huge difference. Above are three examples as to why this is true. As always should you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me.

 

 

 

Three things’ homebuyers focus on-

 

There's a lot more than just three but for argument's sake we'll focus on some of the most important ones. There's a reason why model homes look the way they do. Not only are they clean and organized, they also are consistent. Meaning every room has the same wall color, there's no personal items and the accents are very limited. Mostly flowers and a few colorful knickknacks to help bring out the warmth of the house.

 

Take a few minutes of your time to listen to this audio as a home seller, this is fantastic information. Even though it's a sellers’ market right now, you still have an obligation to make your home look its best. Understanding how homebuyers look and properties will help make things easier for you and will add more to your bottom line at the end of the day.

 

 

What are closing costs for home buyers as well as home sellers?

Most people know by now that if you're going to buy or sell a home there are a lot of fees that are associated with that. It's also one of the most confusing pieces for buyers as well as sellers because it doesn't seem to get talked about all that much. Granted most loan officers go over all of it with a buyer as do the agents. But there's still a disconnect at times because you're so busy with all the other things you must do to get ready to buy or sell a home that it just gets placed on the back burner so to speak.

 

This is a quick rundown of the different fees that are applicable for a home buyer as well as a home seller. There are a few that are applicable for, but most are separated by which side of the fence you are standing on. The video below will help make sense of all of this by walking you through the common charges that make up your closing costs.

 

Most of the charges are relatively the same no matter what part of the Minneapolis Saint Paul Area that you are buying a home in. The biggest change would be by county. Some counties require different fees than others. As always if you have any questions regarding real estate, please feel free to contact me.

 

 

Contingent vs. non-contingent offers

There are several different contingencies in a residential real estate transaction. but at the starting point, as a seller you want to understand the difference between a contingent offer non-contingent offer. This is something as a buyer you want to know as well because if you're in a multiple offer situation, that contingency can cost you from getting the home.

 

Traditionally a non-contingent offer is viewed as an offer from a buyer who's able to purchase the hull without selling to be able to do so. depending on what type of financing it can be almost as good as a cash offer.

 

A contingent offer is typically viewed as a buyer who has a home to sell and they cannot close on the home they want to purchase before the sale of their home closes. That adds another layer for the seller of things to worry about. But if the financing falls through for the buyer of that other home? Will something happen with the sale of their other home that will put this sale in jeopardy?

 

These are questions that you want to get answered before you make a decision to buy or sell home. take a few minutes out of your day and watch the video below, answer all of these questions in detail and give you more specific information.

 

 

 

How to win in multiple offers, seems to be one of the biggest concerns homebuyers have had over the last two years. Rightfully so as prices have risen along with inflation, it's been very frustrating for a lot of home buyers. Not only because they don't have much time to think about the home and have to act quickly, but they also put in an offer right away only to find out that the seller is waiting for two more days to collect as many offers as they can.

 

So how do you win as a home buyer in a multiple offer situation? The answer is quite simple, put your best offer in the very first time. Walk away knowing that if you don't end up getting the home, you did the very best that you could. If someone else is willing to pay more, let them have it. That may sound very naïve but it's not. I have been a licensed real estate professional for over 18 years. I can't think back to one single buyer that I've helped that was angry at the end of the day that they purchased the wrong home. Sometimes when you lose a home you realize well after it's gone that it was a good thing you didn't buy it. Because at the time you didn't see something you learn later.

 

Getting back to how to win, there are several simple ways to do that-

 

The first thing you want to do is make sure that you're fully approved through a loan officer. Make sure you know your numbers, what you can afford and have a full grasp of the cost of purchasing the home.

 

The next thing is present a great offer. What I mean by that is take the time to make sure that the offer is presented correctly. Not only is it a clean offer with everything accounted for, but you also provide a full approval letter from the loan officer with your offer. Consider putting more money down in earnest money. I've had buyers win in multiple offers simply because they put $500 more down then another offer that was very similar. The more you put down in the purchase of the home and the larger the earnest money check, the stronger you look like a home buyer. Remember at the end of the day the sellers want to sell for as much as they can, but it doesn't mean anything if it falls apart before the closing date.

 

Have your agent call before you present the offer to make sure that they find out as much as they can about the seller’s needs. This doesn't put you in a bad situation but let's say the seller wants to close on a certain month or date, if it doesn't matter to you and it's not a conflict then give them that as a consideration.

 

Put in a shorter inspection contingency. Right now, the standard seems to be about 10 days. Perhaps you consider doing seven days or even five days to complete your inspection. Why this is attractive to a seller is it gets the big contingency before appraisal out of the way quickly. They don't end up losing a lot of market time and they feel good about it because they feel you're trying to work as quickly as you can towards closing.

 

Now let's talk about the three things that you should never do-

 

Don't give up your right to a home inspection. I know there is some pressure from agents saying that it's the only way you can get a home. But consider this, even myself as a homeowner for 25 years I'm guessing there's some problems with my home that I'm not even aware of because I've lived there so long. If you give up your inspection and find out that there's a problem after the fact that I didn't know about even as a seller, it's very hard to go back and have the seller correct it without going to court. Like I mentioned earlier, instead of giving up the home inspection consider making it a shorter contingency period.

 

Don't use escalation clauses. I think they are bad idea for several reasons. If you're reading this article and you don't know what that is, an acceleration clause is language that's added to a purchase agreement that says my buyer will pay $1000, $2000, $5000, or even more over the highest offer. Some agents think this is a great strategy, but I've sat with sellers as they've looked at these multiple offers. The main question I usually hear them ask is, well if they were willing to pay more, whatever the amount why didn't they just come in at that price to start with? I think that's a very fair question because at the end of the day, having that acceleration clause can plant the seed of doubt in the minds of many sellers.

 

Lastly don't use an appraisal guarantee clause. That could put you in a very bad position and make it hard financially moving forward. Essentially what that clause is, it says that if the appraisal comes back lower than the sales price, buyers will pay the difference in cash. If you don't cap that number, you honestly don't know what it's going to be. As an example, let's say the house is $300,000. You write an offer for $340,000 that says if there's an appraisal issue, we will bring the difference in cash. So many of these buyers are convinced that it will appraise for whatever value the offer is they truly don't believe this can happen. But then the appraisal comes back at $310,000. Well now you're on the hook for an extra $30,000 on top of your down payment, closing costs and all your other fees. Because you have committed to this, the sellers can try to hold you to it by taking you to court. If you're not sure about something like this or any other real estate question, it's always a good idea to consult a real estate attorney.

 

 

It's my professional opinion that no house is worth giving everything up for. It's true in this market you might lose five or more homes. But this is a marathon it's not a Sprint. You must be patient, diligent, know your numbers and keep pushing till you end up with the right home. Trust me as a professional, if you take this advice, you will feel good about the home you buy.

 

 

Stunning 2 story home available South of the river in The Wilds neighborhood of Prior Lake. This home is currently in coming soon status as of 2/1/2022 and will be live on the MLS 2/5/2022. List price $694,900.

This custom built home was built in 2003 with over 4300 finished square feet, five bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 5 car garage, open main level floor plan, four bedrooms up, finished lower-level walk out to the backyard, cute front porch, 4 season porch, deck, custom cabinets and woodwork plus so much more. The address is 15378 Bobcat Circle NW, Prior Lake, Minnesota 55372.

Take a tour right now in the comfort of your own home, sitting in your car on your phone or wherever you may be. Please reach out if you have any questions about this incredible property. Tom Sommers/Coldwell Banker 952-994-7204

 

 

Condo in 62+ building located in Apple Valley

only $62,705!!!!!!

apple valley condo tom sommers real estate

Yes, you read it right! Only $62,705 gets you into this incredible condominium in Apple Valley MN. This is a Co-op which is not as familiar to people in Minnesota as in many other parts of the country. However, it is really becoming much more popular. Essentially for that investment, you receive a share in the condominium which is the unit itself period from that point it's $1875 a month period that covers your mortgage, interest, taxes, and all amenities. Some of those include a gym, two social meeting places with functioning kitchens for large family events, a library, outdoor patio, underground heated parking, and many others.

The unit was built in 2018 and still feels like new construction with all the latest updates. Including stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, beautiful flooring, walk in master closet, the balcony and very open floor plan.

If you're thinking about downsizing from your single family home or even a townhome, this is a great fit for someone looking to live inexpensively compared to rent and not half the cost of keeping up a home. There's also a great sense of community with the residents who live here. There are lots of social gatherings, game nights and other things that you can become a part of. It's also located very close to the post office, hospital, shopping and restaurants. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Tom Sommers 952-994-7204 tom.sommers@cbrealty.com

 

 

Town Home in Shoreview, Just Listed! $249,900

Located at 802 Sherwood Rd in Shoreview, MN. This town home features two bedrooms, two bathrooms, attached two car garage, two family rooms, informal dining room, eat-in kitchen and so much more. It's an end unit with lots of privacy including a deck and patio. Please click the link below for all of the details of this amazing opportunity. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

 

 

 

Short sales and foreclosures. Will they rear their ugly heads again in the Minneapolis Saint Paul real estate market? If you watch things that have trended over the last year there's a strong case that it could happen. There's some who are even betting on it. The larger question is to what degree?

 

A decade ago, when the market crashed a lot of homeowners at that point were underwater. They owed more on their home then the home was currently worth. Which led to for closures and a huge number of short sales. Essentially the difference between the two is, a foreclosure is a home that's already gone through the foreclosure process and is owned by a bank or investment group. A short sale is someone who still owns a home that's trying to allow the bank to sell them for less than what the home is currently worth. By avoiding the full-on foreclosure process, it keeps them from completely ruining their credit for the next 10 years. Having said that though, short sales are a very tricky thing and require a lot of skill, and the right agent to help you get to that point where you can purchase the home.

 

Once the government as remove the moratorium on rentals as well as people who are delinquent in their mortgage payments, you will start to see foreclosures pop up in some short sales. The difference this time is that many homeowners have equity in their home even if they haven't been paying a mortgage for over a year. There's a good chance if they start early in sell the home off, they can get out from under their debt and walk away with some money. The people who are going to fight it till the bitter end will be the ones who will end up losing.

 

The question is, will this happen? And if so, when? The only information I can offer up at this point would be a guess. Perhaps sometime in the second quarter of 2022. The other thing that will influence a lot of this is interest rates. The video below talk some more about as a home buyer, should you consider buying a short sale or a foreclosure.

 

The real estate market in the Minneapolis Saint Paul metro area has clearly shifted and now the general public is starting to see that. As a result like with most change, there's a lot of fear that comes along with it. I thought I would take the time to explain what's going on in the market. This will help you as a home buyer or a home seller to better understand the best way to position yourself when buying or selling a home this year.

 

 

Should I buy a home or rent? That is a question only you could answer. But I can at least share with you the benefits of owning a home. I've had friends through my life that I've always rented because they may want to move to New York City or some other location around the globe. Funny thing is, 30 years later they still live in town and never moved. At this point they're so deep into the rental trap that they'll never get out.

To me the number one reason to purchase a home is for financial freedom. Once it's paid off you've established an asset and it's one of the first steps that you can take to financial independence. Check out this video, there's more wonderful reasons.

 

 

I have created an interactive PDF for the book I wrote; First time home buyers guide, everything you need to know to buy a home. Within this PDF are highlighted phrases that lead you to videos explaining a subject in more detail. This is the introduction video to the book. It is a great tool for all home buyers. Even if you have purchased a home before and would like a refresher course on the steps to buying a home. I will follow this up with other videos in the coming week. So please stay tuned to this webpage for updates.

 

 

One common home buyer question that I receive on a regular basis is, are home property taxes and real estate taxes the same thing? The answer to that is yes, they are. But where the confusion comes from is your point of reference for the information in the first place. What I mean to say is depending on what article you read in the newspaper or blog online. Some refer to it as property taxes and others refer to it as real estate taxes.

 

 

 

 

What closing costs are associated when buying a home? And what's the difference with those versus seller paid closing costs? This is typically one of the first questions that I will answer for any potential home buyer. It is important to know ahead of time what your bottom line is. There should not be any hidden closing costs or hidden fees?  But at the same time to avoid that you want to have an idea of what your costs are to begin with.

The video below will give you good idea of all the closing costs and how they differ for you in several situations. Meaning buying a single-family home versus a townhome have different costs. This tutorial will help you in 5 minutes learn more about this subject and will help you moving forward.  

 

 

If you are buying a home, chances are you don't really know all the steps to purchasing one. Especially if you are a first-time home buyer. And why would you? This isn't something that you do every day and that's why you hire A licensed real estate agent. They will help you through the process by answering all of your questions.

One of the first questions most homebuyers ask is are there any hidden fees when buying a home? The obvious answer should be no but unfortunately in the world we live in there are some agents that either don't know or won't tell you the truth. This five minute video will answer this question and give you a lot of helpful information to make sure you know the answer.

 

 

Everybody has heard the horror stories about buying and selling homes. I can attest that after 18 years of being a licensed real estate agent that many of those situations could have been avoided simply by making sure you take the time to cover all of the bases. What I'm trying to say is so many agents nowadays seem to skate over the details because they're moving on to something else that some of the most basic obvious things can be completely missed.

As a home buyer or home seller, who you hire to take care of you in a transaction can make all the difference as to how everything plays out. As a licensed realtor I have a fiduciary responsibility to you that I take very seriously. I've seen some pretty bad stuff happen over the last year that I believe is misrepresentation on the part of some of the real estate agents. To protect yourself, you need to be aware of the different things that are happening in the market. Take a few minutes of your day and watch the video below. It will teach you how to protect yourself and what to look out for.

   

 

 **Featured listing**

1015 Lilac Court  Shakopee, MN 55379- Home For Sale. Take a tour of this lovely town home with all living on one level. It features 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and over 2400 finished square feet and so much more!

 

 

Understanding the difference between a contingent off and a non-contingent offer can make all the difference for both a home buyer and home seller. This short video explains the in's and out's of contingent offers Before you buy a home or sell a home, you will want to understand this information.

 

 

 

 

 Your Local Real Estate Connection for the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area.

Information for home buyers and home sellers in the Twin Cities Metro area.

 

Meet Tom Sommers Top Real Estate Agent in the Minneapolis St. Paul Metro Area

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Tom Sommers

Coldwell Banker Realty
Minnesota
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