New Listing on MLS for Carlyle Condos in Minneapolis!

New listing in Carlyle Condos to hit the market last week! This listing is a 2+den, 2 bath unit facing downtown on the 12th floor of the tower and is loaded with upgrades! The owners have painstakingly kept the unit in flawless condition! Carlyle condos are a unique product to the Minneapolis Condo market in that the building is for a condo buyer looking for a full amenity, luxury condo lifestyle. For more details contact Ben Ganje, Downtown Resource Group at 612.808.6041.

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What Drives Buyers To Purchase At The Carlyle?

As a real estate agent with a focus in the urban markets I am constantly running through buildings throughout downtown Minneapolis. While every building has it’s pros and cons there are a number of reasons plenty of my clients wind up making The Carlyle their permanent home. Below are the top 5 reasons buyers choose Carlyle:

  1. Proximity to the Skyway System – One of the driving factors people choose to live Downtown Minneapolis is the ability to walk/bike to work assuming their office is located to not far. Aside from a small collection of older buildings downtown, Carlyle is the closest (1/2 block) to the Skyway System making it ideal for a short commute during the winter. Minneapolis has the largest skyway system in the world, linking nearly 80 blocks of downtown attractions, businesses and hotels.
  2. Full Amenity Building – Part of the luxury feel of The Carlyle comes from the amenities in the building. The outdoor pool deck which is located on the 5th floor is the main attraction during the warmer months of the year and provides the perfect spot to watch the fireworks during the 4th and the Aquatennial. The fitness center and locker rooms complete with steam rooms are also located on the 5th floor and can be quite busy in the morning before 8am and late evenings. There are even 3 fully furnished guest suites which owners can rent out on a daily basis for $100/night.
  3. Full Staff and High Security – There are 32 video cameras throughout the Carlyle, 24/7 front desk attendant, a building manager and 4 caretakers who ensure Carlyle is a well oiled machine all the time.
  4. Price Spectrum – Carlyle has 1 bedroom resales that are in the high 200s all the way up to custom penthouse units priced in the multi-million dollar range. The attraction is that buyers from all price points have the ability to purchase within the building.
  5. Location to the Riverfront – Carlyle is at the edge of the Mississippi riverfront. Being able to walk out your door and wind up right on the River Parkway Road for a quick jog or bike ride is the urban experience buyers are looking for when making the move downtown.
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Underground heated parking at The Carlyle

For the past few weeks in Minneapolis temps have been hovering near zero. If the wind chill is factored into the equation we are currently living in subzero temperatures. The local stations update everyone on wind chill advisories and snow emergency parking restrictions. For those living in a condo in downtown Minneapolis one things is for sure: heated underground parking truly takes the bite out of winter for residents.

There is nothing quite like pulling your car out of a condo tower parking lot while it is snowing and braving the elements in a warm car. With the exception of a few condo projects(Falls/Pinnacle & Centre Village as well as plenty of smaller projects) in Minneapolis nearly every building includes parking within condo ownership. These parking stalls can be deeded with the property or acquired by license via the homeowners association. With the advent of warehouse conversions to lofts in Minneapolis, some buildings have valet parking as the only option due to the limited size of the footprint of the building making owner parking nearly impossible. Valet parking has been a mixed bag in this market from a buyers perspective. Buyers are not as willing to cough up the premium on a monthly basis for the additional fees and know they are not getting any ownership of a stall with a purchase.

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Who was the architect for the Minneapolis Carlyle?

Answer: Humphreys & Partners Architects

Humphreys & Partners Architects, L.P. is an Architectural and Urban Design, Master Planning and Land Planning firm engaged in the design of high-rise, mid-rise, mixed-use, luxury, senior, affordable, military and student housing – both rental and for sale – in markets across the country based in Dallas, Texas.

Humphreys & Partners can be summed up in one word – innovative. That one word describes the firms goals, work and the process by which they achieve them.

With eight U.S. offices employing over 125 people, the size and scope of the firm allows to handle the entire project continuum from design to construction.

Other notable Minneapolis Real Estate Condominium project Humphreys has done is Grant Park Tower in Elliot Park for Opus development in the early 2000s.


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5 Reasons why Luxury Minneapolis Condos Are Selling in 2013

  Minneapolis real estate has been on the rise over the last 12-18 months, and luxury Minneapolis condos are no exception.

Carlyle Condos penthouseThere are a number of factors playing into the increased momentum of sales activity, up nearly 60% year over year.  Check out the data we have assembled showing sold and pending units from 1/1/12-9/6/12 Upper Bracket Minneapolis Condos Sold in 2012 and 1/1/13-9/6/13 Upper Bracket Minneapolis Condos Sold in 2013

  Today we will cover a few reasons to explain the uptick in activity from our perspective and give some important considerations if you are just beginning the search for a Minneapolis condo at any price point within the market.

Interest Rates

Its no surprise that a 30 year fixed mortgage costs more now than the beginning of the year which was in the low 3s.  Though rates are still fantastic, upward pressure is putting a damper on purchasing power for Buyers at most price points in the spectrum.  The real underlying drive for Buyers to act on purchasing sooner than later is that rates COULD continue inching higher over the next 12-18 months.

Buyer Motivation

Plenty of Buyers thinking of purchasing luxury Minneapolis condos have been sitting on the fence for the past few years for a few reasons.  Some had to wait for the real estate market to rebound before they could sell their current residence to fund the purchase of their future purchase.  Others were shell shocked over the impact of the recession and didn’t feel confident about purchasing just yet…until recently with the uptick in the market which gave the confidence needed to drive interest in making a purchase.  In 2013 motivation is high helping to explain the increase in sales.

Economic Outlook

To echo the last reason above on a macro scale: Buyers are confident about the economic outlook and given this fact the ‘wealth effect’ is setting into the Buyer psyche.  From the stock markets to jobs data in the US and abroad the general feeling that our country is in a better place makes the Buyer market confident in purchasing.

Influx of Out of State Buyers

With the high amount of Fortune 500 companies coupled with the fact that the Twin Cities is the silicon valley of biomedical devices makes the area a hot bed for the creative class and corporate executives of the county.  As these companies continue to build human capital selecting the best employees to fit positions will include a talent base outside the twin cities.  Many of our valued clients Ben Ganje + Partners represent come from out of state.  The Buyer expectation has search criteria that nearly always includes living in high density areas most notably downtown Minneapolis, Minneapolis Lakes area and Edina.


The upper bracket luxury Minneapolis condo market has historically and continues to be driven by empty nesters with a sizable net worth that typically own multiple properties in the US. Across the Minneapolis market in buildings like Ivy Minneapolis Condos, 16Twenty and Linden Crossings.

For more insight into the Minneapolis condo reach out to Ben Ganje + Partners at Lakes Sothebys International Realty at 612.460.5638.

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Is Condo Life Right For You?

Perhaps you’ve looked over the housing market and have sticker shock. Maybe the idea of maintaining a backyard has you running for cover or you just want to keep things simple.

Whatever the reason, if you have decided that you are interested in a owning a smaller, more easily maintained property, you may be investigating condominiums.

Buying a condominium is a bit different from buying any other types of property, and has both advantages and disadvantages. To start the process of determining if condominium life is right for you, there are some important questions to ask.

Namely, for starters, what is a condominium?
A condominium, commonly referred to as a condo is a single unit on a multi-unit property where individual units, including the land beneath them, can be purchased with the overall maintenance expense of the entire property shared.

How are the shared expenses handled?
Typically decisions affecting the entire “condo complex” are made by a Condo Association which holds regular meetings for board members and owners. As such each unit owner is subject to rulings established by that association. A Declaration or the Bylaws often referred to as CC&Rs dictate and help to determine how maintenance issues are addressed. As a prospective condo owner, associated maintenance fees and projected increases, assessments for the reserve fund, and insurance fees are items that you should learn about prior to your purchase.

Do I pay homeowner’s insurance?
In terms of insurance, typically condo owners are responsible for the contents inside their individual dwelling – from walls and floors to cabinets and doors. Each condo association has an individual declaration which is a legal document that will spell out the details so that you can have a clear understanding . Typically condo owners can remodel and change interior surfaces at their discretion. Exterior modifications, however, generally need to be approved (or denied) by the Condo Association Board.

Anything else I need to know?
It is also helpful to consider homeowner statistics in the “condo complex” before finalizing your purchase. Knowing the percentage of properties that are “owner-occupied” and the amount of owners that are current on their dues can have impact on your future home and financial security. You may also want to ask questions regarding time frames of major upgrades, like pool or clubhouse renovations or roofing needs and the ramifications of those on association members, before making your purchase. Speaking with other residents that live near the condo you are considering, can help you find out the inside scope about that particular property and help you to read the “fine print” in the association agreement, too.

As you make your condo purchase, there is a lot to consider, aside from the points listed above. Give me a call to discuss what other “need to know” items you should add to your list or to see some properties that are available now. I’d love to help you find a home you will love!

For further information on condo life vs housing life check out this blog post.

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Owning a Second Home or Condo – a Dream or a Reality?

Have you dreamed about owning a second home or condo?

Perhaps you find yourself in a position where it would make sense to have another home in a vacation location or a condo near family or friends.

If your life and finances make owning a second home an option, you’ll be interested to know that there are still tax benefits, along with lifestyle perks to owning a second home.

Some exciting parts of home ownership are pretty evident in the purchase of a second home. Firstly, if you can afford the initial expense, a second home or condo used as a rental property can be a way to increase your income and cash flow. Also, in terms of quality vacation time and relaxing with family, a condo in the location of your choice for a yearly break seems a lot more “fun” than investing in a mutual fund. A third aspect to consider though is that condos typically are solid investments. The housing market regularly changes, however looking long-term, you’ll find that homes appreciate. Expecting to quickly buy and then sell a vacation home, however, can be quite risky, and is not recommended.

Whenever you purchase a condo, whether it is your first or your twenty-fifth, remember the key to good real estate investments. Location, whether stateside or overseas, in a mountain resort or a college town, is critical. Trust your real estate agent to advise you on areas where you are not familiar, and make sure your investment is in a sound location now and in the years to come.

Depending on your area of interest, you may be able to find a great deal on a condo or home while mortgage rates are still low. Current low interest rates can provide for a more desirable property without increasing your budgeted amount, and depending on your situation, can be advisable to paying cash. Qualifying for a second home loan can be tricky, though, and if you intend to use the condo as an investment, you will need to evaluate that the “numbers” make sense.

Owning a Second Home – the Numbers

Some of those numbers, aside from any mortgage payment, include insurance, taxes, and maintenance costs. If you plan on using the condo as a rental, you will most likely need to plan on increased insurance and furniture costs, too. Maintenance will be higher than just a simple garden and pool service, too, as cleaning and repairs will be required after each tenant. If you will not be living in the condo, it is wise to hire a general caretaker to oversee the property – handling emergency weather and hazard events – from frozen pipes and snowplowing driveways in mountain homes to fires and thermostat regulation in desert home areas.

Prior to buying a second home you also need to consult with professionals who work with estates, taxes, and finances to make sure owning a second home is the right decision for you. Consider whether the second home would pay for itself as an investment property or if you can realize tax-benefits with expenses or depreciation. You should also recognize that as a rental, the condo will only be available for your personal use about two weeks per year, unless you agree to take less of a deduction. If you choose to only rent the home for up to 14 days per year however, you can still receive rental income, but tax deductions will not apply. As mentioned before, your tax professional should be consulted to fully explain current tax regulations on owning investment property. Either way, armed with the correct information and the right real estate agent, can explore the options of owning a second home.

For more information on why it is a ideal time to buy a condo check out this blog post at Yoururbanlife.

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Deciding Between Buying a Home or Buying a Condo

In your search for the right home, you will likely be doing a lot of footwork and analysis. Before you begin looking at actual homes, it is wise to determine how much home you can afford and the level of maintenance you desire. In doing so, you may find that the new home that best fits you is not a traditional single family house, but instead a home in a planned community or a condominium.

Your location, city or suburbs, is largely determined by your lifestyle and occupational needs. Cost is always as factor, as well, since living in the city often means less space for the same amount of money. Less space may lead to you exploring the condominium home market and the benefits and challenges that condo life introduces to home ownership.

When buying a condo, you often need to consider Homeowner Association (HOA) fees as you will be sharing the costs of overall property maintenance, along with the decision making power to make any changes on the property. For this reason it is extremely important that you review all Homeowners Association bylaws before making a condominium or planned community purchase.

Ask yourself these questions – to determine what type of property you value most.

  • Proximity – Where do spend your time? Where do you want to live? What type of housing is available in that location in your price range?
  • Neighbors – Would you prefer them to share your walls or need more separation? Would you prefer more privacy than condo life can offer?
  • Control – Do you like to share control over home matters or be the final authority? Do you care if you need to ask permission before making a change to your deck or paint?
  • Upkeep – Do you like the idea of a garden or would you rather never weed again? Yard maintenance handled by an association is a prime benefit for many condo owners.
  • Price – Can you afford the home? If there are association fees, are they reasonable?

Whichever type of home you decide to pursue, asking these questions will help you feel secure in the knowledge that your new home is suited to you and your specific needs. Happy home hunting!

For Information on Condos in the Minneapolis area contact Ben Ganje.


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Luxury rentals in Minneapolis at Carlyle Condos

  Halfway into 2012 the Minneapolis condo rental market is red hot.  How hot? Well rental inventory is less than 1% (.73% according to Maxfield Research) and demand is higher now than in the past few years which is making for some interesting phenomena: sky high rents downtown for pretty much anything and every price point out there.  Look at a building like the Carlyle condos downtown–rents for a 1 bed run $2600/month and two beds with two parking stalls (no views) start at roughly $3000/month.  Here’s a Carlyle rental we listed for lease last week at over $4000/month.

  Year over year increases in downtown rents are to the tune of roughly 11%–renters are starting to sign 24-36 lease contracts simply to lock in on rent prices.  They fear in a few years the increase could be even more significant which brings to me another point: year to date sales in the downtown market point to an increasingly high number of previously rented Minneapolis condos and lofts.  My team and I at Downtown Resource Group handle a good chunk of the rental market as well as the buy/sell end of things in Minneapolis so it’s fair to say we have a pulse on things.  Renters continue to call us telling us they need to find another rental out there in a landscape that is changing very quickly and owners continue calling us ready to list their condo or loft for sale and displace the current renter in the process.  The market is tightening on the for sale end as well as the rental end and it will do so for the foreseeable future from momentum of the downtown market as a viable lifestyle for an increasingly larger spectrum of the population.

  If you want to begin the search for a Minneapolis rental or looking to get more information on the downtown and Minneapolis lakes area market to make a permanent move in the future check out our site dedicated to the Minneapolis urban real estate markets.

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Buying a Minneapolis condo using FHA financing versus Conventional financing

Financing FHA vs. Conventional

If finding a Minneapolis condo wasn’t hard enough, deciding on how to finance the purchase could be another big decision.

  The most popular ways to set up a mortgage for your new property are through an FHA insured loan and a conventional home mortgage. There are benefits to both avenues, and depending on your situation one may be better than the other. An FHA insured loan is backed by the Federal Housing Administration and allows those who would normally not be able to afford the loan to borrow money for the purchase of the property. To abtain this loan, a mortgage insurance premium (MIP) measured as a percentage of the loan will be required at closing. Typically, an FHA loan requires only 3.5% down but has higher guidelines to follow. On the flip side, conventional loans require a slightly higher 5% down payment but have far less guidelines to follow.

  In this current market, going conventional with a higher down payment will speed up the mortgage application and closing process. Sellers would mch rather work with buyers who are going with conventional financing. Words of wisdom for 2012: save up for your down payment and stick with a conventional mortage loan.

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Do Views In Minneapolis Condos Matter in 2012?

Anyone who is doing some preliminary work looking at the condo market will notice a unique metric that defines high rise Minneapolis Condos: the view which can weigh into the total value of the property more so than other factors involved.  From an initial reaction its not always easy to understand how this can bear so much into price without having a point of reference to begin with.  Anytime I have clients that have high rise living on the radar I always try to give some perspective from listings which can be on the upper end of a tower in terms of height to units on the lower floors.  Below is a simple list of reasons why the buyer market in Minneapolis has consistently put a higher price per square foot on condos and lofts as height increases within a bulding:

Less street and traffic noise.  Let’s be honest, this is the number one reason condo dwellers want the height in a Minneapolis condo.  From the first few floors in a building to the 30th floor there will be considerably less street noise.

More sunlight during the day depending on location in the city.  In Minneapolis we have 3 months of warm weather and 9 months bad skating–it can be dark throughout a good chunk of the year.  Having plenty of sunlight can make a difference for owners and the higher up you go in a building will increase the amount of sunlight you will get in a day.

From the first few floors to the top floors in any building views are considerably more visually attractive.  Looking at the concrete jungle of Minneapolis from the first floor to looking miles in any direction on the upper floors give owners something to look at as well as make a visual statement. 

In the past the Minneapolis Condo market has paid a premium and it continues to do so today.  Every real estate market is different, since the beginning of high rise living in Minneapolis the market has seen pending and sold units at a higher price per foot as the height of the building gets taken into effect.

Downtown and non-downtown views will have a difference in values.  Everyone who comes to the table initially wants to have a view and be on the upper end of a high rise.  As search criteria and wants vs needs float to the top the buyer market begins to see the difference in downtown views versus no views even on the higher floors of buildings which can give an additional spread in price anywhere from 5 to 15% difference.

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