Minneapolis – St. Paul Condo and Loft Homebuyer’s Guide

Minneapolis St Paul Urban Loft

If you’re looking for an urban home in Minneapolis or St. Paul that features attractive interior & exterior design, modern amenities and a low-maintenance lifestyle in the Twin Cities, a condo or loft may be the right choice for you.

A condo is referred to as an individual unit in a low to high rise building. You can find anywhere from traditional to modern condo developments.  Also, the shared amenities (amusement/party room, roof top deck, and exercise room) can vary from building to building.

The Homeowners Association (HOA) manages and governs the condo community, collect the monthly association dues and maintains the common areas.

Lofts are usually located in converted old factory or warehouses in the city. Lofts is a nice alternative for individuals who enjoy the benefits of urban living. The lofts floor plans tend to be more open space, higher ceilings, brick or concrete walls, etc.

Minneapolis St Paul Lofts

If you’re considering buying a condo or loft, follow the steps listed below:

Step 1: Weigh the Advantages and disadvantages.

The condo lifestyle can be an attractive choice for most potential buyers,

Some of the advantages of living in a Condo or Loft buildings are listed below:

  1. Low maintenance
  2. Sustainability. You will find some condo developments have eco-friendly features.
  3. Some condo developments have resort-like amenities, such as pools, fitness facilities, roof deck with views, and valet service.

Step 2: Find a Minneapolis- St Paul Urban Realtor Who Knows the Market

Some individuals who are looking to buy a condo or loft are entry-level buyers. These new first time buyers should consider finding a real estate agent who has local experience with selling condos & lofts and who can explain the buying process

A knowledgeable local Real Estate Agent like RE/MAX Results – Shannon Lindstrom can help in your property search, whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or experienced. Shannon can help you achieve your goal of homeownership!

Step 3: Know What to Look For

Be a smart shopper. Some of the questions you should ask your Realtor once you’ve narrowed your search are listed below.

How many units are owner-occupied?

If a high percentage of units are rentals, it might affect the property’s value or difficult to obtain certain mortgage loan products.  

How is the building maintained?

When you buy or own a condo, you have vested interest in the common areas. You should view the common areas to make sure they are well maintained by the Homeowners Association management. If the hallways are dirty than it might be a red flag the management company is not running the building as well as it should.

Step 4: Get to Know the HOA

Homeowners Association (HOA) is an association or group established by the project developer The HOA is also responsible for collecting monthly association fees. And maintaining the common areas.

In addition to these financial responsibilities, the Homeowners Association (HOA) can easily change the rules governing the property, like the operating hours of the pool or fitness center and the size or number of dog and/or cats that you can have. 

Step 5: Consider Insurance

You find majority of the condo & loft developments in Minneapolis and St. Paul have hazard insurance, which covers the exterior of building and also for the common areas. The insurance fee is usually included with your monthly association fee.

Even though the building is insured, condo and loft owners should consider buying an insurance policy (HO6) to cover their belongings inside their unit. A HO6 Policy is a separate homeowner policy to ensure the contents of the home, similar to renter’s insurance. You find some associations require a condo or loft owner to purchase a HO6 policy. It’s important for the buyer and/or owners to read the association rules & regulations, covenants and declarations for the development to find what is required.

If you’re looking to buy or sell a condo or loft in Minneapolis or St Paul, please feel free to contact RE/MAX Results – Shannon Lindstrom, Urban Real Estate Agent @ 612-616-9714 or visit www.ShannonLindstromRealtor.com today.

What is the Difference Between a Condo and a Townhouse?

Minneapolis High Rise Condos

Condo

A condominium (condo) development is a building with multiple units where each unit is owned by an individual. The building usually has common elements and/or shared amenities which may include the following; exterior courtyards, rooftop decks, exercise rooms, amusement/party rooms, etc… Condo buildings can range from low-to-mid-to high-rise buildings. 

If you buy a condo, you own only the interior of the unit while the building owner owns the rest of the building area and property. 

Condo Living

Townhouse 

A townhouse is a single to multi floor residence with their own entrance. The townhomes usually will have anywhere from three to five units in a section.

If you buy a townhouse, you own both the interior and exterior of the individual townhome unit. That will include the driveway, the front and the backyard of the unit. The interior will have at least one to two shared common walls (unless the townhome is detached).

Maintenance 

The Homeowners Association (HOA) monthly fees usually covers common areas and also the outside maintenance. Such as; snow removal & lawn care, landscaping, etc..

A condo and a townhouse both have their pros and cons. Deciding between a condo and a townhouse greatly depends on your preferences.

If you have additional questions or looking to buy and/or sell a condo or a townhome, please feel free to contact RE/MAX Results – Shannon Lindstrom, Realtor at 612-616-9714 or visit www.ShannonLindstromRealtor.com today.

 

MN Investment Properties: Landlord Deductions from Security Deposits

downtown minneapolis apartment rentals

A property rental security deposit against damage is a standard part of all housing rental agreements. The purpose of the security deposit is to protect a MN landlord from loss in the event the tenant does not take proper care of the property. Most tenants/renters sometimes don’t even think about it when they sign a new lease, assuming they will get their entire deposit back when they move out.

Twin Cities Apartment

So, it often comes as a surprise when the refund amount is lower than what they paid when they signed the agreement. Many renters are surprised to find out what the landlord can deduct from their deposit. Here are some common items that the landlord can charge to renters when they leave:

Non-Payment of Rent – This should seem obvious; if the tenant leaves before the lease is up or simply owes back rent, the landlord can deduct or keep the deposit to compensate.
Unpaid Utilities – Utility companies will hold the landlord responsible for unpaid bills, so if the water or electric bill has been unpaid, they will deduct this from the security deposit.
Unusual Cleaning – While normal wear and tear are not deductible, when a landlord has to clean the property after the tenant has moved out can be charged to the renter.
Damage – This also should be obvious. This was the main purpose of the deposit.
Trash and Other Items Left Behind – Renters should think twice about leaving that old patio furniture behind. Any cost to remove and dispose of anything left in the property can be charged against the deposit.

Finally, breaking the lease for any reason could put your deposit at risk. Renters need to educate themselves about the risks to their deposit and read the lease carefully for any specific terms included by the landlord. This can help renters avoid the shock of a smaller-than-expected refund check.

MN Landlord & Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

MN Rental Lease

Home Issues That Shouldn’t Be Deal-Breakers and a Few That Might Be

House Hunting

Finding the right home can sometimes feel like hunting for a needle in a haystack. Unless you’re buying brand-new construction, every home has some drawbacks, whether it’s style or real maintenance issues. If you’re looking for your next home, understanding the difference between minor issues and true deal-breakers can help you evaluate your options and make the best possible choice.

Home Repairs

Manageable Annoyances

Cosmetic – All aesthetic concerns can be fixed – for a cost. The key is to understand the difficulty and level of effort or money involved. A dying lawn can be addressed with new sod. Is the kitchen dated? A new backsplash is relatively inexpensive. With some fresh paint and new lighting fixtures, you can easily brighten a room and make a small space seem more expansive.
Healthy Homes – Many homes have older carpet, drapes, and other elements that can irritate allergies. Home air filtration systems are affordable and very effective in clearing the particulates out of the air. Replacing the attic insulation and cleaning the vents are easy and inexpensive ways to correct these situations.

Rehab Home

Deal-Breakers

Foundation Problems – Foundation cracks and other issues can be expensive or impossible to correct.
Mold – While treatments for mold are available, they normally involve major demolition to open walls and flooring for access. Unless the sellers will correct the mold issue before closing, it’s better to reconsider on this one.
Water Leaks – Signs of water damage or existing leaks could be a reason to search for a different home. Leaks and water issues will most likely bring you to the mold issue above.

Home Repairs

Consider Upgrading Your Twin Cities Condo or Home before You List

Kitchen

Most people have wandered through new condo or single-family home developments in the Twin Cities & surrounding suburbs and wished their own home looked as modern and chic. Model homes showcase the latest upgrades and decorating trends; for home sellers these homes are their competition, and it can feel daunting to offer an older floorplan and design.

While it might seem like a smart idea to simply offer a buyer credit and list, there are downsides to this plan, and taking the time to update on your own first could possible mean thousands of dollars in your pocket.

White Kitchen


Here are a few reasons why offering a credit might not be the best strategy:

Buyer Impression – A dated home looks old and not all buyers can see the potential.
Lower Offers – Offering a credit for repairs or updates could be viewed as high seller motivation, resulting in lower offers.
Value Differences – You and your buyer might disagree on the value of needed upgrades. For example, you might feel $2,500 is a fair cost for a new countertop whereas your buyers might expect considerably more; this can lead to more negotiations and lower sales price.
Home Condition – A property that shows its age can prompt the buyer to worry about the overall condition.
Loan Approval – Lenders are wary of buyer credits; in fact, upgrade or repair credits can be an issue. You might have a buyer unable to take advantage of the credit at all.

Home design trends change quickly. If you’re ready to sell, it could be tempting just to list your home in its current condition. Before you just add a credit to the listing, consider some simple updating so your buyers can see the value of your home.