Could? Should?

Zillow has been busy.  That makes sense – it takes a lot of research activity and media attention to create the massive online presence they have.  Their latest release is a data analysis with this headline:  “14% of Renters Can Afford to Buy.”   It’s human nature to react to headlines, and that’s a statement that can either prompt people to say, “Maybe I can qualify to buy a home!” or “There’s more than an 80% chance I can’t qualify to buy a home.”  Outside of an initial reaction to a news story, many renters really do want to know two things:  Could I buy a home? Should I buy a home? It’s definitely worth finding out the answer to both of these questions.  

The “could” question can easily be answered by talking to a qualified mortgage loan officer.  Qualified lenders can tell you what your status is now and help you get prepared to get approved for a loan if you’re not quite ready or have some work or organizing to do with your financing.  A loan officer can help you plan and give you a timeline.   

The “should” question is a little more complicated.  Ultimately, the individual consumer needs to decide that homeownership is for them.  Realtors can provide information to help you decide if owning a home will help you move forward with your goals in the short and long term.  Housing is the biggest monthly expense most of us have.  Advice from a qualified mortgage loan officer and Realtor can help you figure out how to get the best return on that huge monthly investment.   

The GCS Title team and I can introduce you to great people who can help you answer the “coulds” and “shoulds” of owning a home.  We’re here to help!  ~Charlie

Title Fight?!

I’m surprised to hear that a member of the public knows what title insurance IS, so imagine my reaction when I heard someone “got in a fight about title insurance.”  A friend is on the Board of Directors of her condominium association and apparently got in quite the dustup with others on the board over whether or not they needed to buy title insurance on parking spaces the association was buying downtown Minneapolis.  Luckily, she was in the majority and the association purchased policies for all of the spaces, but some common perceptions and misperceptions about title insurance came up in the “argument.”  Dissenting board members argued the following things:



  1. Title insurance is expensive.

Well, it does cost money – but the price is nothing compared to the expense of defending yourself against a lawsuit, mechanic’s lien or another hostile claim to the ownership of and equity in your property.

  1. We’re buying five parking spaces, but we only need title insurance on one.

Wrong!  These parking spaces are newly-constructed and the chance of mechanic’s liens popping up is higher than on a piece of property that has been built for many years.  Also, every owner of each piece of property generally gets named in the types of suits that these new spaces are vulnerable to.  If something went wrong, the only space protected would be the one with a policy.

  1. Title companies only insure things when there is no risk.

Wrong again.  I could tell you so many stories….

There’s a reason lenders require title insurance policies – they need to make sure their interests are protected.  Home buyers should do the same.  Title insurance protects you against things you never imagined would come up.  The lady that went to the mat to convince her condo board to buy title insurance was pushing to spend some of the association’s money – but the amount they paid is well worth what they’ll save if there’s a problem.  Got questions?  The GCS Title team and I are here – call anytime!  ~Charlie


Home prices are up again according to the latest figures from CoreLogic.  In June, U.S. home prices saw a 5.7% year-over-year increase. Anyone looking for a home in the Twin Cities Metro – whether it’s a first home, a move up or a down-size – has probably experienced the fast pace of the market due in part to low housing inventory.  Some of that could be attributed to supply and demand, but CoreLogic’s Chief Economist Frank Nothaft says, “Mortgage rates dipped in June to their lowest level in more than three years, supporting home purchases.  Local markets with strong economic growth have generally had stronger home-price growth.”   

We did a blog recently explaining how home appreciation outpaced a leading investment index in 2015, and this year looks equally strong.  If you have questions about whether or not real estate is a sound investment, now is a great time to talk to a real estate professional about the home you have – or the one you want.  A conversation with a loan officer is also a great idea – CoreLogic’s chief economist mentioned interest rates and you should find out what they mean to you.  At GCS Title, our team helps home buyers and sellers get to the “closing finish line” – but, we’re here for you at other times as well.  What does the housing market news mean to you?  We can help you get the answers you need – let’s talk!  ~Charlie

Time Flies…

when a house goes on the market these days! Zillow’s June Market Report says properties are selling one week faster than they did a year ago and there are 5% fewer homes on the market.  The average time on market for a home is 78 days nationwide – including the time it takes to close!  Here are some things people need to know about these fast-paced market conditions:  Both home buyers and home sellers need to get ready – because things are going to move quick once the sale is set in motion.  If you’re buying your first home – or if you’re a seller moving to another home – make sure you have your financing lined up and that you’re pre-approved (that’s different from pre-qualified).  If you haven’t found an experienced, professional Realtor and lender to work with – we can help!  

Also, GCS Title is all about the customers.  We understand the pressures buyers and sellers are under and what how important the transaction we are closing for you is.  You can count on us to “bring the hustle” and make sure you can keep up with the market, your closing date and your goals.  We’re here to help!  ~Charlie