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Protecting Your Wood Deck

By MNR News 

A well-tended deck sets the stage for decades of lasting memories. It’s a place where family and friends can gather to share meals, reconnect with the outdoors, and relax. Decks can also greatly increase the curb appeal and value of a home.

Despite the rise of composite material construction, many homeowners still prefer wood decking— it’s still the most affordable and popular decking on the market. And there’s no question that traditional timber brings a tranquil energy to deck-related activities, as well as a timeless natural quality that others don’t.

Though they may feel timeless, wood decks are indeed more susceptible to the wear and tear of time, weather, and use than composite decking. Homeowners must provide regular care to preserve the lifespan of their decks. Follow the Golden Rule of deck maintenance, “Respect your deck and your deck will respect you.”

The good news is that many of these maintenance to-dos can be done either for free or without breaking the bank.

Deck Do

Do the Research

All woods are not created equal. Some types need more care than others and therefore require a different maintenance schedule or more intense care. For example, treated lumber is the most common and inexpensive type of wood decking, but is more susceptible to cracking and splintering over time. Cedar or redwood decks tend to be more weather-resistant, therefore requiring less repair, but are more costly upfront. Tropical hardwoods are the most expensive but offer a luxurious feel and unique beauty for homeowners. It’s important to understand the wood type in your deck before you start on regular maintenance work.

Deck Don’t

Don’t Forget to Inspect

An annual inspection of your deck’s surfaces and structure can help you identify potential issues before they become safety hazards. Sweeping the deck first clears the path for a closer inspection. You should check for raised nails or screws, holes in boards, warped boards, and any hardware rust. Consider replacing raised nails with wood screws. Inspect boards, beams, and posts for early signs of rot. If there are holes in the wood, consider picking up an inexpensive wood filler product from your hardware store.

Deck Do

Do Clean It Annually

It’s not too late to do that deep deck cleaning yet this summer. Cleaning practices can vary—from the gentle stream of a garden hose to power washing. While using a power washer can be fast and effective, be cautious with the water pressure level as it can damage the wood. Before rushing out to buy a gallon of cleaning chemicals, consider a more environmentally-friendly approach. Mold and mildew on wood surfaces can be cleaned with a simple bucket, a few rags, and a solution made from water and baking soda, vinegar, or borate treatment.

Deck Don’t

Don’t Put Off Refinishing

Refinishing your deck is a bigger project to take on, but one that doesn’t need to be done more than every 2-3 years. Refinishing a deck is a multistep process that involves scraping off flaking stain or dirt, sanding, and applying wood stain or sealant. Doing this project yourself will take a few days depending on the size of the deck, but the tools required to do the job won’t strain your bank account. A simple paint scraper, vacuum, orbital sander, some sandpaper, and a high-quality sealant will do the heavy lifting. You just need to supply the elbow grease.

Deck Do

Do Remove, Replace, and Rearrange Furnishings

Did you know that many rugs and mats absorb moisture? Even outdoor rugs aren’t impervious to wet and harsh weather. Replacing these rugs with proper water-resistant mats or removing them entirely will save your wood deck from serious water damage. Rearrange your patio furniture and move around the grill or planters every year. Why? Prolonged sunlight on certain areas of the deck will cause discoloration in the wood.

If you’re a homeowner with a wood deck or are considering adding one to your home, these do’s and don’ts are free and/or inexpensive ways to make your deck stand the test of time. It’ll take some upkeep, but with regular tending, you’ll enjoy a more beautiful, safe wood deck for years to come.

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February 2022 Housing Report

Inventory Shrinks as Prices and Interest Rates Rise

Closed sales and new listings were down in February
MINNEAPOLIS (March 10, 2022) — Shrinking inventory and increasing prices pushed closed sales down 12.9% over the previous February. New listings were down 8.5% compared to last year, with just 5,801 homes added to the market. Despite this, consumer demand remained high, with the median sales price rising 7.8% to $304,500, and the average price hitting $353,409, up 10.3% over last year. Sellers were receiving 99.7% of their asking price as the statewide supply of homes plummeted 21% to just 6,606 units. As inflation nudged interest rates up to 4.45% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, the affordability index—which measures whether an average family earns enough to qualify for a loan on a typical home—sank 11.6% over last year.

“We simply don’t have the inventory levels necessary to meet demand,” said Chris Galler, CEO of Minnesota Realtors. “The combination of a falling Affordability Index and rising interest rates is causing significant problems for first-time homebuyers who have been counting pennies and waiting anxiously to purchase a home of their own. Realtors across the state are working to help counsel home purchasers and make them aware of these unique market dynamics.”

February year-over-year summary of key market indicators:

  • Closed sales decreased 12.9% to 3,919
  • Median sales price increased 7.8% to $304,500
  • Average sales price increased 10.3% to $353,409
  • New listings decreased 8.5% to 5,801
  • Pending sales decreased 10.2% to 5,237
  • Days on the market decreased 6.3% to 45 days
  • Homes for sale decreased 21.0% to 6,606background_53_1643815.jpg

Closed Home Sales Across Minnesota by Region

In February, closed sales declined in 10 regions compared to a year ago, bringing Minnesota’s average number of closed home sales down 12.9% year over year. Three regions reported increases, with Southwest Central marking double-digit gains, at 11.1%Southeast at 5.9%, and Southwest at 1.6%. Eight regions saw double-digit declines in closed home sales. The largest of these were West Central, down 27.4%, East Central, down 18.1%, and Northwest, down 17.6%. See the chart below for more details comparing closed home sales for February 2022 to February 2021.

The seven-county Twin Cities region comprises Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties. The official Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington metropolitan statistical area recognized by the Census Bureau consists of 16 counties, on
which MAR & SPAAR local associations report
.View full regional and county reports here.

View statewide report here.

About Minnesota Realtors®

Minnesota Realtors® (MNR) is the membership organization supporting all 22,000 Realtors® in the state of Minnesota. MNR is dedicated to helping Realtors® succeed in providing comprehensive and informed guidance to their customers seeking to buy or sell a home. MNR provides Realtors® with a code of ethics, continuing education, real estate transaction forms, legal services and dispute resolution, as well as lobbying and advocating for homeownership rights and the real estate industry. MNR works in partnership with the National Association of Realtors, as well as more than 15 affiliate regional associations within Minnesota. MNR is a non-profit organization founded in 1919, with headquarters in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and a branch office in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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2020 vs 2021 Housing Market

The 2021 real estate market was seen as a continuation of the 2020 seller’s market, with less availability and higher prices.

Compared to 2020 inventory, the number of homes sold in 2021 decreased ever so slightly. The median sale price in 2021 of $339,900 grew compared to 2020 median sale price of $305,000. That’s  an increase of 11.4% in sales price in 2021  compared to 2020 of just 8.9%.

Sellers also saw an increase in the percentage of their home’s list price in 2021, averaging 101.9% of their asking list price (compared to 99.8 for 2020).

With less inventory on the market (compared to year over year), there was less 1 months inventory (.8 of a month) on the market, compared to 2021 of 1.1 months of inventory.

To find out what the local conditions are like within your city, feel free to reach out to us as Cushman Realty for a complimentary market analysis of your home.

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Home Warranty Pros and Cons

 

washing machine, laundry, clothes dryer, major appliance, laundry room, home appliance, washing, room, dry cleaning, architecture, arch, Free Images In PxHere

Should you include a home warranty with your new home? Home warranties have changed over the years, and there is not a one size fits all for all homeowners. It’s best to compare the pros and cons prior to purchasing one. Here are a few things to keep in mind when comparing home warranties:

Pro
Home warranties are designed to give the homeowner peace of mind in the event of something breaking down or damaged in your home. This is great option for those homeowners that are not not familiar with household repairs. A plus for home warranties is the flat cost for the repair. You are aware of the cost up front, rather than having sticker shock when an appliance breaks down. This could also be very handy in the event of buying a home with older appliances with limited life. This avoids having to purchase a new appliance, and just repairing the appliance you have.

Con
One issue with home warranties are that an an item may not be covered for repair. You need to read the fine print as to what types of repairs are covered for certain appliances. Another issue is that the home warranty company controls who does the repairs, or that the repair personnel may have several other repairs before they can get your your item needing service.

When looking at home warranties, the bottom line is making sure you find the right plan for your home and your situation.