Preapproval will strengthen your negotiating power

Ready to make an offer on that dream lake home or cabin? 

A preapproval letter from your mortgage lender can be an important tool to strengthen your negotiating power. Sellers and listing agents tend to take offers more seriously when the buyer has been preapproved.

When you have found your dream home, and you are ready to make an offer, submitting a preapproval letter with the offer says you are a serious and committed buyer.

A preapproval letter is based on a preliminary review of your credit information and preapproves you up to a maximum loan amount. Because a preapproval includes a credit check, it’s more powerful than a prequalification letter, which only estimates your potential buying power.

With a preapproval letter, you can confidently shop for a home in your price range, and you are in a position to negotiate an offer – especially when there are multiple offers for the home you want.

Need a great lender? Contact Sandy Vesel, Edina Realty Mortgage.

As you prepare to make one of the biggest purchases of your life, a preapproval can ensure that you are in a loan program that meets your needs. Call Jean Hedren, Your Edina Realty NW Wisconsin Realtor at 218-590-6634. Start your property search: www.JeanHedren.com

What type of mortgage loan works best for you?

What type of mortgage loan works best for you? 

Your mortgage loan consultant will be able to discuss the best mortgage loan program for you. Basically all mortgage loans belong to two main groups: conventional and government.

Conventional loans

Two types of conventional loans:

  • Fixed rate: Traditional type of financing. The interest stays the same for the full term of the loan, typically 15 or 30 years with predictable and stable payments.
  • Adjustable rate: An adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) interest is linked to a financial index, such as a treasury security, so the monthly payment can vary over the life of the loan, usually 25 to 30 years. There are lower initial payments. Some ARMs can be converted to fixed rates generally after the first 5 years.

Government loans

  • FHA loans, which are insured by the Federal Housing Administration, are typically designed to meet the needs of first-time homebuyers with low or moderate incomes. FHA loans can be approved with a down payment as little as 3.5 percent and a credit score as low as 580.
    Often called “helper loans,” they give a boost to potential borrowers who may not be able to secure one otherwise. For this reason, FHA loans have maximum lending limits. Talk with your lender to see what the FHA loan limits are in the counties where you are searching.

    And remember, because the agency is taking on more risk by insuring FHA loans, the borrower is expected to pay mortgage insurance both at the time of closing and on a monthly basis, and the property must be owner-occupied.

  • VA loans, backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, are guaranteed to qualified veterans and active-duty personnel and their spouses. VA loans can be approved with 100 percent financing, meaning VA borrowers are not required to make a down payment.Unlike FHA loans, borrowers do not have to pay mortgage insurance on VA loans.
  • USDA loans, backed by the United States Department of Agriculture mortgage program, are intended to support homeowners who purchase homes in rural and some suburban areas. USDA loans do not require a down payment and may offer lower interest rates; borrowers may have to pay a small mortgage insurance premium in order to offset the lender’s risk.
  • WHEDA: Low down payments and below-market interest rates. Interest rate is fixed for 15 to 30 year loan term.

Ready to enter the buyer’s market?

Need help financing a new property? Understanding the loan types is step one, but you’ll need the help of a qualified expert to get you into your dream home.

Reach out today to get help connecting with a trusted, local mortgage specialist.

Start your property search at www.JeanHedren.com

Someday it would be great to have a place up at the lake. Someday…

In all the years I’ve been in this business, no one has ever told me they wish they’d waited another ten or fifteen years to buy their lake home or cabin.

Sure, it’s good to be prudent. And hard-working couples, especially those with with young children, may not have a lot of extra time or money. Someday, after they’re retired and their children are grown and gone, they’ll have plenty of both.

But instead of waiting for someday, right now is a great time to begin building memories at your cabin or lake home. And at this stage of your life, there’s no need to skip directly to the luxury lake home where you plan to live out your retirement.

If you’re ready, I’d be glad to show you a couple of those dream lake homes; I’m listing a few of them right now. But I can also show you some surprisingly affordable alternatives. You might call them “starter cabins.”

Sure, you may need to make a few compromises. But when your kids grow up, they won’t remember that the kitchen in your cabin didn’t feature high-end stainless steel appliances. They’ll remember roasting marshmallows and making s’mores down at the campfire. They won’t remember that your cabin wasn’t on the biggest lake with the biggest muskies. They’ll remember the four-inch bluegills they caught from the end of your dock.

Maybe someday is today. And if this year is the year, it’s not too early to get started right now. Here’s why: It may take us a while to find the lake and the cabin that are just right for you. Figure a little negotiating before you have an accepted offer, and then typically about another 60 days until the actual closing can take place. This means that if you’d like to start enjoying weekends at your new cabin this summer, it may not make sense to launch your search in May or June.

To learn more about the cabins and lake homes for sale in NW Wisconsin, call Jean Hedren, Edina Realty NW Wisconsin  at 218-590-6634.

Buying a lake cabin – deciding where in NW Wisconsin?

Deciding where to buy a vacation home or retirement home in NW Wisconsin?  What you can learn from our dashes back to Minneapolis/St Paul, MN.

My husband and I moved to Northwest Wisconsin 16 years ago, when we were nowhere near ready to retire (we’re still not).  Our work has required both of us to make occasional trips back to the Twin Cities for meetings.  We also get down to the Cities now and then to visit relatives.  Even if your situation is different, there’s a lot you can learn from our dashes back to the city.

Elsewhere on my website, I’ve shared many great reasons to consider Northwest Wisconsin.  We have lots of great lakes, streams, trails, public land, and more.

To get here from Minneapolis/St Paul, we can head north on I-35, hang a right at Hinckley, and be in Minong before we know it.  From there, we’re almost home.  From the Twin Cities, it’s an easy 2.5 hours.

So if you’re looking for a vacation home or retirement home, then what do these occasional dashes to the city have to do with you?  Everything.  The same thresholds will still be there.  But they’ll instead determine how much enjoyment you get from your new cabin or lake home.  If your drive time is beyond a certain threshold, then there will probably be fewer weekends when you get away to your weekend getaway.

Planning to move up here for good when you retire?  Welcome to the neighborhood!

If places like Minong, Wascott, and Gordon aren’t yet on your radar, they should be.  Same with the Minong Flowage, St Croix Flowage, Whitefish Lake, and many other small to large lakes. Barnes and Solon Springs is just a bit farther and offer Upper St Croix Lake, and the Eau Claire chain of lakes. Under the lakes and rivers tab above, you can find out more about these lakes.

Please take a moment to explore my website and find out more about the lakes and rivers of Northwest Wisconsin.  Then drop me an email or give me a call at 218-590-6634.  I’d be glad to show you what’s available in our neighborhood.

Shoreland zoning protects your property values

If you’re shopping for waterfront property, you should know about shoreland zoning and the rules that go with it. No one likes rules. But the first thing you should know is that these rules don’t just benefit fish, birds, and wildlife, they benefit you

By preserving the up north qualities of our lakes and streams, these rules also preserve your property values. Even up here in NW Wisconsin, some lakes have a more urban feel. Other lakes, however, still have a relatively undeveloped feel – even though most of their shoreline is developed. Views are preserved, privacy is preserved, and so are property values.

Second, it’s important to know that certain minimum standards are in place in Wisconsin. In some counties, and even on certain lakes and streams, the rules are more strict. Existing homes, of course, are grandfathered in. But if you’re building on shoreland anywhere in Wisconsin, you’ll need to meet these minimum standards:

  • Lot size. Lots served by a public sanitary sewer must have a minimum average width of 65 feet and a minimum area of 10,000 square feet. “Unsewered” lots must have a minimum average width of 100 feet and minimum area of 20,000 square feet.
  • Buffer strip. Clear-cutting of trees and shrubs isn’t allowed in the strip of land from the ordinary high-water mark to 35′ inland. One exception is for a 30′ wide path, for every 100′ of shoreline, down to the water. That allows you to reach the water, have a great view from your living room, and still protect your privacy. (And also, by the way, preserve the view of whoever lives across the lake.)
  • Setbacks. All buildings and structures must be set back at least 75′ from the ordinary high-water mark. Exceptions include piers and boat-hoists. And, if an existing pattern of development exists, some counties may have a “setback averaging” system that allow homes to be built closer to the water. On certain bodies of water, though, setbacks are increased to 125′ – or, in rare cases, up to 300′.

This is just an overview; for details on these and other shoreland zoning provisions, contact the DNR or county officials. Keep in mind, too, that existing homes are grandfathered in. When you buy one, you obviously can’t do much to change the lot size or setback. You can, however, take steps to restore the buffer of natural vegetation along your home’s waterfront.

But don’t try shoreline restoration just because it’s good for the environment. Do it if you’d like to increase your privacy, see more birds and wildlife, and catch mroe fish. (And also, by the way, spend less time mowing your lawn.)

Buying or selling in NW Wisconsin? Call Jean Hedren, Edina Realty NW Wisconsin Realtor. 218-590-6634. Or visit www.JeanHedren.com.

 

How to Prepare for House Hunting

Know that there’s no “right” time to buy.
If you find the perfect home now, don’t risk losing it because you’re trying to guess where the housing market and interest rates are going. Those factors usually don’t change fast enough to make a difference in an individual home’s price.

Don’t ask for too many opinions. 
It’s natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas from too many people will make it much harder to make a decision. Focus on the wants and needs of the people who will actually be living in the home.

Accept that no house is ever perfect.
If it’s in the right location, the yard may be a bit smaller than you had hoped. The kitchen may be perfect, but the roof needs repair. Make a list of your top priorities and focus in on things that are most important to you. Let the minor ones go. Also, accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will most likely pass.

Don’t try to be a killer negotiator.
Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price or refusing to budge may cost you the home you love. 

Remember your home doesn’t exist in a vacuum.
Don’t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself that you forget about important issues such as noise level, access to amenities, and other aspects that also have a big impact on your quality of life. 

Plan ahead.
Don’t wait until you’ve found a home to get approved for a mortgage, investigate insurance, or consider a moving schedule. Being prepared will make your bid more attractive to sellers. 

Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation.
A home is still considered a great investment, but its most important role is as a comfortable, safe place to live.

From the National Association of Realtors.

Ready to start your home search in NW Wisconsin? Call Jean Hedren, Edina Realty NW Wisconsin, 218-590-6634.

10 steps to buying your dream home

Buying a home is without doubt the biggest financial commitment you’ll make. It isn’t just about dollars and cents, you are making an investment in your future.

Here are the important steps in the process. I’ll be here to help you every step of the way.

  1. Choose a Realtor® to assist you in the home buying process. The term Realtor® identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors®  and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.
  2. Get Pre-Approved. It’s the key to increasing your negotiating power. Meet with a mortgage consultant and get pre-approved for a loan. Don’t confuse this with a pre-qualification which is simply an estimate of your potential buying power. A pre-approval is a preliminary review of your credit information and pre-approves you up to a maximum loan amount.
  3. Refine your focus. Discuss your housing needs, wish list, preferred location, and budget.  Searching and previewing your properties online will help to narrow down your choices. I can create an online search for you at www.JeanHedren.com  based on your specifications to help you narrow your choices.
  4. View properties. Once you find homes that meet your criteria, request a tour of several in person so you can be comfortable with what’s on the market. I can show any home, even those listed by another firm. Be realistic with your expectations. There’s no such thing as a perfect home. Make a list of priorities as a guide to evaluate each property.
  5. Make an offer. When you know you’ve found the right property, you may need to act quickly depending on the market conditions. Ask about current market conditions and  get advice about preparing your offer. Several points for negotiation should be included in your offer, including price, financing, terms, date of possession, inclusion or exclusion of repairs and furnishings or equipment. The offer to purchase should also include a period of time to have appropriate inspections completed.
  6. Negotiate terms. Counter offers are common in real estate. Be prepared to be a little flexible on price, closing date, repairs, or other items.
  7. Get an inspection. This is your best chance to have the property’s systems and structure evaluated. In NW Wisconsin, it’s common to have three types of inspections: house, well, and septic system.
  8. The walk-through. Usually a day before closing, do a final walk-through of the house to make sure everything you thought was included in the purchase agreement has remained on the property.
  9. The closing. At the closing you will sign the mortgage loan documents and pay your closing costs. The seller will execute the deed to the property, and the closing agent will record the necessary instruments to give you legal ownership of the property. The keys will be handed to you and the house is yours!
  10. Move in.

Start your home search at www.JeanHedren.com. Call Jean at 218-590-6634 when you are ready to view properties.