Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

March 23, 2021

What should I spend on a mortgage?

Have you decided to buy a home but are wondering how much you should spend? In this video, I’m going to show you how to determine a comfortable monthly mortgage in today’s market. I’ll explain why your price range is the most important part of your home search so you can narrow down the best house for you.


Determining Your Monthly Mortgage Payment

Buying a new house is exciting, but you might be wondering how much you should spend. Remember that when you buy a home, you're also committing to a monthly housing payment. That means the very first thing you need to do before you start looking at homes is find a price range that you're comfortable with. 

The first thing we need to break down is every cost associated with your monthly mortgage payment. Knowing all of the costs involved in owning a property will help us determine what you can afford for your purchase price. It’s also not just the mortgage you’ll need to account for. My advice is to work the numbers backward so we can figure out what a comfortable purchase price is going to be. Then, we're going to look for a purchase price that reflects that number.

The largest monthly payment you're going to have is the one you make to the bank for owning a home. If you’re obtaining a loan, you’ll have a monthly mortgage payment that consists of principal and interest. This will be a fixed amount based on the loan that you have taken. A portion of it gets applied to interest, which goes to the bank, and the other portion goes towards the principle of paying down that mortgage loan. 

Property Taxes, Special Assessments, And More

The next expense you'll have for homeownership is your property taxes and special assessments. You'll take your annual property tax and your special assessments and divide that number by 12 months. This will then be added to your mortgage. The special assessments include your hazard insurance—which is your home insurance—that will cover anything that goes on with your property while you own the home. 

Another expense you might have is HOA dues, or homeowners association dues. You’ll normally pay these when you live in a condo association. It takes care of things like your water, sewer, garbage, lawn care, and snow removal services. It won't apply to every single property that's out there, but you’ll want to find out if this would be part of your monthly expense.

The last expense you might need to pay is private mortgage insurance (PMI). PMI covers the bank in case you default on the loan. It’s typically going to be applied to your mortgage, especially on an FHA finance mortgage, because they have more liability. If you go with a conventional mortgage, you can typically have this fee removed as long as you put 20% down. PMI varies anywhere from $50-$200, depending on the size of the mortgage. 

A Successful Home Search

All of these costs will constitute your monthly mortgage obligation. Before we start looking at homes, we want to make sure that we're looking at areas that are within your budget and that you’re considering all costs that go into homeownership. 

The last thing you want to do is go out and start looking at homes without knowing exactly what your monthly mortgage is. I've been in these situations many times where I've gone through a property with somebody that thought their budget was a lot higher than what it was. They got their hopes up, and that's the last thing we want to do for you. 


I hope this helps you determine your search price with your ideal monthly mortgage. Our team helps people just like you every single day find their dream home, and we would love to sit down and assist you. If you want us to show you the full process and how to get from point A to point Z, feel free to reach out and I’ll be happy to connect!

Posted in Home Selling Tips
March 9, 2021

Home Selling Tips... Closing Cost Explained!

Have you decided to sell your house and wonder how much it’s going to cost you? In this video, I'm going to show you exactly what it costs to sell your house. I’ll explain how knowing your selling costs will give you the upper hand in negotiations and help you understand your bottom line.


Title Fees

Before you list your property, it’s wise to know the bottom line figure that will get you into your new home. Selling your home can be very stressful, as you have to think of packing, moving, and adjusting to new surroundings. What’s even more stressful, though, is not knowing what it’s going to cost you to get from point A to point B. Remember, the most important number is not what you sell your home for but what you walk away with. 

The very first cost you'll see on your closing statement is the title fees. This is going to vary, depending on the sales price and the title company. Expect to pay anywhere between $800 to $4,000. This also includes your closing fee, abstract, update, carrier fees, wire feed, dog prep, and transfer fee. The title company's job is to transfer the title to the new buyer and insure it. This is just the standard cost of doing business with the title company. 

The Survey, Taxes, And Commissions

Another fee you may see is the survey of the property. This can depend on the type of property and the parcel that is located on. Additionally, when you close on your property, you’ll be responsible for your share of unpaid taxes and special assessments. 

This is called the real estate tax and special assessment proration. It will be charged from the time that you live there for that year until the day that you close on it. The amount will be determined on the actual closing date that you sell your property. 

If you’re using a realtor to sell your home, you're also going to have a commission or a real estate brokerage fee. This fee can vary anywhere from 5-7%, all depending on the brokerage and the individual agent. A realtor’s commission is evenly split between the buyer’s and the seller's agent. All the marketing that goes into selling your property is normally taken care of with the commission that is paid to that realtor. 

Total Closing Costs

When added up, your closing costs will typically be 6-9% of your new home’s sales price. I highly advise you to speak with a trusted realtor. They can provide you with a net sheet detailing exactly what your bottom line could be. 


We help people just like you sell their properties every single day, and we would love the opportunity to sit down and assist you in filling out a detailed net sheet that specifically fits your property. If you have any additional questions about the process, feel free to reach out to me and I’d be happy to connect with you! 

Posted in Home Selling Tips
Feb. 19, 2021

What 2 Do When Selling And Buying A Home At The Same Time

Do you currently own a house and you're looking to buy another but aren’t sure how it works? In this video, I’m going to show you how to buy your next home if you need to sell your current one first. I’ll explain how timing is critical in this type of tricky transaction so you can save yourself thousands of dollars.


Timing It Right

When you are buying and selling a home at the same time, there are a lot of moving parts that may be contingent on one another. If you don't properly time these moving parts, you could find yourself in between closings. This means you could potentially be homeless and left with a whole lot of stress.

Timing your sale and purchase at the same time is key to completing this kind of move successfully. The first question you need to ask yourself is if you truly need to sell your home first before you buy your next. If the answer is no, the transaction could be timed in many different ways according to your goals. Your agent can walk you through these timings, but you'll still want to plan it as well as you can. Ideally, you'd like to sell your home within 30 to 45 days before you close on your next. 

If you do need to sell before you buy, this is when it becomes more challenging. To ensure a seamless transaction, your timing has to be exact. In a perfect situation, you would not want to be under contract on a new home purchase until you have an offer accepted on your property.

Contracts And Closings

The next step is to make sure that you set up a time to close on your current property before you close on your new home. The reason for this is that you need to clear up the debt on your current home so you can take on another mortgage for the new one. It will also give you more purchasing power, making your offer non-contingent on the new home you're looking to buy.

If your home is not under contract yet, that's going to make you look like a weaker offer compared to everyone else—especially if they're not contingent. This is why we always want to make sure that you get your home sold first before we make an offer on the next property.

If your home is already under contract, a seller is more likely to accept your offer. The best way to make this happen is to start loosely looking at homes as your home is new on the market. If you do feel like you're going to get an offer, we’ll start getting a little more aggressive in looking for that perfect home for you.

The contract date of the sale of your home will be lined up before the purchase of your new home. Of course, this is how it would work in general. Everyone's going to be in a different situation, which is why this type of transaction needs planning and strategy to do it as stress-free as possible.

We’ll Help You Make The Move

I hope this showed you the importance of timing and getting the proper representation in this type of transaction. Of course, there are many details we did not specifically cover. We would be more than happy to sit down and go through the details to tailor an exact game plan for you.


We help people buy and sell homes every day—simultaneously—and we would love the opportunity to assist you. Please feel free to reach out to us or subscribe to our channel for more information about West Fargo and the surrounding area. I look forward to hearing from you!

Posted in Market Updates
Nov. 6, 2020

How Market Time Affects Your Home Sale


Did you know that selling your home for top dollar doesn’t mean pricing it high? In this video, I'm going to show you the importance of market time and how limiting it can get you the most money for your home sale. Knowing exactly how to adjust to the market will ensure you walk away with the biggest profit in the least amount of time.

The First Two Weeks On The Market

When you put your home on the market, you'll receive the most amount of traffic and showings within the first two weeks. Your home will become the brand new listing on the block, and serious buyers will schedule an appointment for showings before it's gone. People want things that they can't have, and it's no different in real estate. Haven't you ever wanted something so bad just because it was gone?

When your home comes on the market, it gets a ton of interest. This means that your best chance of selling your house will be in those first two weeks. Nobody likes losing out, and many buyers think it's going to be gone if they don't act. If The listing sits on the market longer than it should, buyers think they have more negotiation room. They come in and send you any kind of low-ball offer. It makes sense when you think of it from the buyer’s perspective. Which house would you be more likely to negotiate on? The one that sits on the market for six months, or that one that just came on the market and is fresh to the public?

Pricing Right The First Time

It’s for reasons like this that pricing your home too high in the beginning can hurt you in the long run. I understand that you want to try to make as much money for your property as possible. Sometimes, though, testing the market can come back to haunt you. Remember, we don't create the market; we can only adjust to it. It's the buyers that set the market for us.

I hope this helps you understand how vital market time is in selling your home. If you need some help in determining the market value for your property and how to sell it the right way, please don't hesitate to call, text, or email me anytime. I look forward to hearing from you!

Posted in Market Updates
Nov. 2, 2020

Why You Need A Marketing Plan To Sell Your House


Did you know that most agents only have a 3-point marketing plan? In this video, I’m going to show you why you need a realtor who does more than just put a sign in your yard, list your home on the MLS, and cross their fingers in hopes that it sells. If you want to get the most money for your home and sell it fast, you’ll need a good marketing plan that makes your property look like the amazing house it is.

How To Market Your Home For Sale

Most agents are going to be mad at me for this statement, but 99% of realtors in our market typically do not have a fully developed marketing plan. Most only stick a sign in the yard and put the home on the MLS. This strategy, however, will not get you the biggest profit in the shortest amount of time. Rather, before we can put your home on the market, we need to make sure the property looks good.

Staging, Videos, And Photos

To start the marketing process when selling your home, we first need to stage the property. I’ll need to come out and take a look at some of the personal items in your house to help you with the decluttering process. By removing some of your personal belongings, we can show the property in the best light and give space for potential buyers to envision themselves living in your home.

Once the home is ready to be shown, it's time to get professional photos and a video done. Because your first showing takes place online, high-quality photos and a video walkthrough are essential for making a good first impression. We’ll make sure that the professional photos and video show the ins and the outs of the property, giving potential buyers an idea of the layout and vibe of the house. Another thing we do is to add floor plans to the listing, which gives buyers a bird's-eye view of the home’s layout.

Listing Online

After ensuring that the listing shows exactly what the home has to offer for potential buyers, it’s time to market the property online. We’re going to make sure that your property is promoted to every single real estate website that's available, especially, Trulia, and Zillow. In addition to featuring your property on national websites, we’ll create a perfect spot for you on our website for additional traffic. Your home will also be listed on the MLS—or Multiple Listing Service—which will then push your property out to all the realtors within our area.

Doing this will ensure that realtors will see your property on the MLS and push it to every one of the buyers that they're working with. Since the vast majority of all buyers are working with other realtors, we want to make sure other agents see your house. To do this, we’ll make sure that your property sticks out by adding as many details about the property as possible in the listing.

It’s In The Details

Spending a lot of time adding details is non-negotiable for us. We want to make sure that we can showcase your property’s details so that everybody that looks at it knows exactly what your home has to offer. For example, if your property sits in a very good school district, we want to make sure this fact is positioned in the right light.

Another important detail is the location of your property. For example, if your home is next to one of the more prominent golf courses in our area, that would be another feature we’d want to add. These details highlight more than the square footage or layout of the house; they speak to the community around it. Since people often choose a house based on the neighborhood, it’s important to include this information.

Social Marketing

The next step in our marketing plan is to advertise your house on social media. Everybody uses Facebook, so we’ll start there. Next, we’ll put our video walkthrough of your property on YouTube. For all of those great professional photos, we’ll use Instagram to make sure the community can see your property. We push hard with your home to make sure that it's in front of as many people as possible.


Of course, you have to have a sign in your yard—it just shouldn’t be the only thing an agent uses. It’s important to do this because sometimes your neighbors can be your biggest fan. We make sure to put our signs where buyers can easily drive by and see, getting as much information as they can. We also employ reflective signs, which will advertise your house 24/7. While most other agents’ signs stop working for you around 7:00 PM, we want to make sure nighttime drivers will also see that your house is for sale.

The Open House

Last but not least, we’re going to hold an open house. We want to make sure this is an event. Since we need to be as aggressive as possible within those first two weeks of listing, we want to get people coming in to tour your home. What we do that sets us apart from any other agent is we make sure to put 15- 30 signs on the boulevard, pushing as much traffic to your house as possible.

Getting You Top Dollar For Your Home

Our main goal is to get your home sold for top dollar. We achieve this by making sure you stick out from the competition, actively marketing your property to get the most traffic in the shortest amount of time. If you have a home that you think you need to sell and want to get the most money for it, I'm confident that our marketing plan will help you achieve those goals.

Feel free to reach out to me, and I’ll be happy to supply you with a market valuation for your property. This will help you understand exactly what your home is worth in today's market. Don’t hesitate to give me a call or email me with any questions you may have!


Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 31, 2020

3 Stages of the Home-Selling Process



Congratulations on making the decision to sell your house, but if you’re like most normal people you are probably wondering what to do next.


Hi, I’m Jeremy Qualley, with Qualley & Associates at eXp Realty, and on this video, I’m going to walk you through the 3 stages of the home selling process so you can get an idea on the timeline and know what to expect.


If you’re anything like most people the thought of moving is daunting. You have to think about physically moving as well all of the steps involved with getting from point A to point B.  The good news is I'm going to simplify what to expect so you can start planning!


The good news is that I'm in your exact shoes! I’m standing in my living room which also doubles as my kid’s playroom and as some of you may know, once you start having children, you start outgrowing your property. I’m going to take you through the home selling process with my own property so you can get a more in-depth look at what really happens. 



Before we can begin marketing your house, we need to make it look good.  Oftentimes this is going to involve preparing your home for sale by doing things such as decluttering and rearranging your home to show in the best light.


As you can see, I am in my garage and this is going to be the main area that I will use for non-essential items in the home for staging so that I can ensure the home shows in its best light. 


It is during your pre-listing stage that you begin preparing the house for sale.  


This is a crucial step to handle BEFORE you take the pictures and video as the way it shows online will be EVERYTHING.  Your first showing will take place online, so it’s essential to make a good first impression with potential buyers so they are more motivated to schedule a showing.

You might also want to look for areas in your home that you may be able to improve and get a positive ROI with.  A few places you’ll want to start with first are going to be the kitchen and the bathrooms. 

Here in my own home, we chose to spruce up our kitchen cabinets that were original to the home. Secondly, we had countertops put into our kitchen. We chose the bare minimum option for spending purposes but they look amazing! Simple tricks like this can sometimes save you double the money when you sell your home!


Active Process

Once the house is ready to be shown, it’s time to get it listed.   Your home’s first showing is taking place online so it’s crucial that we create the buzz right away to take advantage of being a newly listed property. 

It is essential that we are most aggressive in the first 2 weeks your home is listed. This is your best chance to sell you home for top dollar.  It’s crucial that during these two weeks that several events are held around the house.  Things like having an open house, brokers open, and other blitz like marketing approaches will create the buzz!

I really hope this video showed you a glimpse of what goes on during the home selling process.  Of course, there are many details here we have not covered the specifics, but I can answer any further questions you may have.


Every home sale is different and there are no two deals done alike so if you would like to receive a customized plan or you are just curious about what your home is worth please feel free to contact me.

Posted in Market Updates
July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

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Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

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You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates