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Build Your Financial Future, Even in a Pandemic

saving money

The global pandemic caught many of us unprepared, especially financially. Last year you may have been considering buying your first home, this year you’re wondering how to stay afloat. If you are still struggling with job loss, business reduction or other financial impacts, your mind may not be on how you can better insulate yourself financially in the future. 

Possibly the best time to create a financial mindset shift is while you are still feeling the money struggle. The right mindset can help you get you through this difficult period, be happier and help put you in a better financial position a year from now. Here are the basic steps.

Housing Market Crash or Rise in 2021?

housing future

Instead of just relying a crystal ball, there are some facts that help predict what will happen to home buying and selling in the coming year.

Throughout the pandemic, residential real estate markets across the country have remained steady, and most have even seen growth. While we feel for those that are truly suffering due to COVID-19 related losses, there are positive economic indicators for the future. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data released a consumer survey of responses in September 2020 entitled Survey of Consumer Expectations showing less pessimistic views about personal financials in the year ahead due to improvements in the labor market and spending expectations.

Details About Mortgage Forbearance

mortgage forbearance

As the coronavirus pandemic continues and the economy furthers into disarray, more people are having financial difficulties including how to pay their monthly mortgage bill. As of October 2020, nearly 3 million Americans are in mortgage forbearance plans as according to data firm Black Knight. Forbearance may mean you can forgo some of your mortgage payments. Ed DeMarco, president of the Housing Policy Council (HPC) says, “Forbearance is a normal tool in the toolkit, it’s been used with some regularity with natural disasters, or any temporary emergency which disrupts normal living and income.”

Remodeling Projects that are Best for Resale

remodeling ROI

In today’s market, remodels that are planned with a return on investment in mind is essential. Properties are selling quickly, so only those projects with the best opportunity to increase value are worth the investment. For investment properties, you can then rent your units for more income while planning to sell. Or, you can add value to your home while enjoying living in it.

According to the 2018 Consumer Housing Trends report, nearly 80% of sellers made at least one improvement before selling with most sellers averaging 2.2 renovations or improvements before selling. Only 21% of the sellers in 2018 actually listed their home as-is. This article covers a range of the best improvements for return on investment across different budgets, plus those remodeling projects that do not pay off at resale.

Understanding a Buyers Comparative Market Analysis

Buyers CMA

A comparative market analysis, commonly abbreviated as CMA, is a report we prepare to help determine the value of a home. The report analyzes three or more recently sold properties similar to the home in question, usually chosen based on their similarities in size, location, age and quality.

CMAs are a valuable tool that you, as a buyer can use to ensure you are making a competitive offer on a home. CMAs are also used by sellers to help determine an accurate listing price.

Buying or Selling Over Winter? This Year is Different

winter real estate

If you think nobody buys or sells a home in the winter, this year may surprise you. If you check the numbers, you’d find that a good chunk of home purchases are done during the coldest months of the year. This year, because of low inventory and record low interest rates, homes are still getting bought and sold despite icy roads and snow-covered roofs.

In fact, if you are a numbers guy or gal, almost a million homes were sold in the U.S. last winter between December 2018 and February 2019. This year, industry experts expect winter home sales to be even greater. Sure, more homes are sold in the summer months. But, if you’re wondering if you should put off buying or selling a home until spring, why wait? You may be surprised to learn that there are actually advantages to buying or selling while Jack Frost is nipping at your nose.

What are the advantages? You’re about to find out!

How to Save, Budget and Manage Debt

saving money

Financial issues are a great concern to many people right now. Whether you have concerns about losing a job or other source of income, or just want to plan for the future in uncertain times, these money management tips can help.

Should You Buy or Sell a Home During Covid-19?

family looking at computer

We often receive questions about whether this is the right time to buy, considering COVID-19 has hung around longer than expected. It’s understandable—both buyers and sellers are worried about making a move right now. However, for those in a good position to buy or sell, the timing is very good. Here’s why.

10 Ways to Stretch Minnesota Summer Into Fall

summer in Minnesota

It seems like we were just whining about hot weather. Soon, it will be Fall, with crisp days and golden leaves to rake up in the yard. September is typically a warm, sunny month, so get out and enjoy the natural vitamin D provided by our extended summer. Here are 10 fun ways to keep summer going all month long, while still keeping your cool.

Land of (more than) 10,000 Lakes

Itasca State Park

Whether you are new to the area, or are a long time resident, there is a lot to love and learn about the history of lakes country. Otter Tail County, and the surrounding communities, are immersed in beautiful streams, rivers and lakes. We are also the gateway to even more recreational areas. From our home base, you could create a lifetime of memorable recreational experiences, all within driving distance. This includes some of the most unspoiled wilderness on the planet.