Just Listed brings you the latest news and information from the Twin Cities-area commercial and residential real estate market and beyond from veteran reporters Jim Buchta and Kristen Leigh Painter.

Sold! ReMax Results co-owner, Marshall Saunders, sells his half of the brokerage

Posted by: Jim Buchta under Buying Updated: September 29, 2014 - 2:14 PM

Marshall Saunders, who is addressing a group of sales agents at a regular company meeting, is selling his half of Re/Max Results and will pursue other real estate ventures.

Marshall Saunders, who is addressing a group of sales agents at a regular company meeting, is selling his half of Re/Max Results and will pursue other real estate ventures.

There's a big change underway at at Eden Prairie-based ReMax Results. Marshall Saunders, the co-owner and broker , is selling his half of the company to business partner, John Collopy. Collopy, co-owner and broker, said the change is effective October 1 and that the leadership team of both RE/MAX Results and Home Title will include CEO Lynn Foulke, and general manager, Brenda Tushaus.

“We are optimistic about 2015 and look forward to a long and bright future for RE/MAX Results and Home Title,” said Collopy.

Saunders isn't pulling out of the business entirely. He's leaving the company to pursue "some really cool stuff," he said.

Saunders plans to focus his energy on enabling people to invest in real estate through crowdfunding websites, a relatively new way for individuals to pool their money and invest in real estate. "I want to transform how people own commercial, multi-family and senior housing," he said.

According to the latest report from Real Trends, ReMax had $4,537,027,523 in volume and 18,470 transaction sides last year, making it the 19th largest company by volume in the country. The brokerage was founded in 1986 by Collopy and Bill Saunders, Marshall Saunders’ father.

Bill Saunders died in 2008 and Marshall, who had already been working for the company for more than a decade, took over his father’s interest in the company. At the time, the company had 450 agents. Today, ReMax Results has about 900 agents, Saunders said, making it the largest ReMax franchise in the world.

A mouse in the house? Here's one couple's $350,000 solution

Posted by: Jim Buchta under Architecture Updated: September 26, 2014 - 11:49 AM

It's that time of year. Mice are seeking shelter from the weather. Think your house is mouse proof? Probably not. Here's a little excerpt from a story in the Wall Street Journal by J.S. Marcus about what one couple did when they discovered a mouse - or hundreds - in the house.

"A mouse infestation is every homeowner's nightmare, but for Swedish architects Gert and Karin Wingardh, it proved to be blessing in disguise. Addressing a rodent invasion forced them to redo their coastal retreat north of Gothenburg, Sweden, transforming an existing hodgepodge of old and new structures into a striking contemporary home.

The couple bought the house, which dates to the 17th century, in 1992 for 1.3 million Swedish kronor, or about $182,000. A lawyer had been using the structure, originally built as a traditional Swedish cottage, as a summer home when the Wingardhs found it. The 750-square-foot house was ramshackle, but a teardown wasn't an option. A new couple, they needed the house immediately as a year-round residence for their blended family, including three children from previous marriages and a new son on the way.

"We both had just divorced," says Mr. Wingardh, now 63 years old, "and when you're divorced, you're devoid of money."

In just a few weeks, Mr. Wingardh had a solution: add two wings to the house, one for the children's bedrooms and sitting room, the other for an open-plan studio. The work, which took about nine months, tripled the size of the house. A few years later they redid the kitchen and added a ground-floor library. Around that time, they acquired a neighboring plot of land for about $14,000.

The house became a weekend home and summer refuge in the late 1990s, when their young son reached school age and the family relocated to Gothenburg proper.

But there was a problem. An ad hoc 1980s extension by the previous owner had provided "a freeway" for mice to enter the house, says Mr. Wingardh. By 2007, the problem had gone from bad to worse.

"The construction engineer told us to tear the house down," says Ms. Wingardh, 60, "because it would be easier just to rebuild it." But the couple was attached to their layers of additions, especially the cozy library, painted a deep red, and the quaint, low-ceiling kitchen. Plus, they had already spent more than $400,000 on the various renovations.

Click here to see photos and the rest of the story.

A Twin Cities apartment portfolio attracts more than 20 bids

Posted by: Jim Buchta under Buying Updated: September 25, 2014 - 5:12 PM
The Granda apartments along Lagoon Avenue in Minneapolis was included in this transaction.

The Granda apartments along Lagoon Avenue in Minneapolis was included in this transaction.

A joint venture including CPM Property Management of Minneapolis and Fides Capital Partners of Lake Forest, Ill., won the bid for 407 apartments in a total of 11 buildings, most of them in the Twin Cities metro area. Terms were not disclosed, but the bidding was hot. There were more than 20 offers.

The buildings had been owned by Warner Properties for decades and ranged from 25 to 71 units with an average occupancy rate of 97 percent. In a statement, Ted Warner, president and co-trustee, said, “Though selling assets which have been in the family for generations is a difficult thing to do on many levels, we are confident that given the valuation we achieved this was a great trade for Warner Properties.”

Ted Abramson of CBRE’s Minneapolis office represented the sellers and said that the sale price set a new high for these types of properties. The deal comes at a time when demand for rental properties is intense. Cassidy Turley said last week that the vacancy rate in the Twin Cities at the end of the second quarter stood at 4.2 percent, the fourth-lowest in the nation.

Opus to build speculative 121,000 square-foot warehouse in Shakopee

Posted by: Jim Buchta under Debt Updated: September 25, 2014 - 2:45 PM

The market for industrial space continues to improve. The Opus Group said Tuesday that it signed an agreement with Capp Industries Inc. to design and build a 121,000-square-foot speculative warehouse and distribution facility at 4551 12th Avenue in Shakopee.

The building will be adjacent to the first phase of project, which Opus built for Capp in 1996. The new building will have 32-foot height ceilings and 50-foot deep structural bays. Capp is a Bloomington-based commercial and industrial real estate developer that’s been in business more than 50 years.

With the economy on the mend and the commercial sector heating up, a growing number of companies are trying to anticipate future growth by building more commercial and warehouse space in the Twin Citeis metro. My colleague, Janet Moore, explored that trend in a story earlier this year. The vacancy rate for industrial buildings in the metro is just 10.8 percent, according to a Compass report from Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq.

This is not the first collaborative effort for the two companies. “We’re looking forward to again working with Capp Industries to bring another top-of-the-line facility to the Twin Cities industrial market,” said Leith Dumas, director, Opus Design Build, L.L.C. “This project will build on the success of our previous work for Capp Industries and provide a flexible, well-located facility to fill the demand for industrial space in the area.”

Construction is expected to begin this fall and be ready for completion in January 2015. Capp will own and lease the project.

Negative equity rate in Minnesota far lower than the national average

Posted by: Jim Buchta under Buying, Foreclosures Updated: September 25, 2014 - 9:48 AM

Rising home prices continue reducing the number of people who have a mortgage that exceeds the value of their house. In the Twin Cities metro, 8.0 percent, or 46,099, of all residential properties with a mortgage were in negative equity at the end of the second quarter, according to CoreLogic. That's compared with 10.4 percent during the first quarter and 10.7 percent nationwide.

The states with the higher rate of negative equity:

  • Nevada: 26.3 percent
  • Florida: 24.3 percent
  • Arizona: 19.0 percent
  • Illinois: 15.4 percent
  • Rhode Island: 14.8

Twin Cities neighborhood non-profit gets $2.6 million investment from U.S. Bank

Posted by: Jim Buchta under Architecture, Buying, Foreclosures Updated: September 24, 2014 - 11:35 AM

A SHOP/Bridge to Success home in the Dayton's Bluff neighborhood of East St. Paul.

An infusion of cash is expected to help a Twin Cities non-profit help about 20 Twin Citians with credit problems become homeowners. U.S. Bank has invested $2.6 million investment in the Sustainable Home Ownership Program (SHOP) Bridge to Success Fund, which also received funding from clients of the bank's high net-worth wealth management unit Ascent Private Capital Management.

SHOP is a partnership between Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation and Dayton’s Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services, which sells houses, like the one in the Dayton's Bluff neighborhood pictured above and below, to people who are ineligible for traditional financing on a contract for deed that enables them time to resolve credit issues and eventually get permanent financing. That process usually takes 5 to 10 years.

Investors also include the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and the nonprofit Family Housing Fund are also investors. SHOP is apparently one of the first programs in the country to take the approach. The program was applauded by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

Here's what Phillip Trier, market president for U.S. Bank in the Twin Cities, had to say about the company's involvement in the program: “In addition to soliciting private business investment, SHOP provides an attractive, socially-responsible investment opportunity for individual high-net-worth investors. Hopefully, it can serve as a template and help generate capital to support homeownership nationwide.”

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