Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Great News for the Real Estate Market this week

MAAR’s Weekly Market Activity Report – Pending Sales Up 10% Over Last Year

Remember the week ending May 1? The weather was considerably warmer, there wasn’t more than two feet of snow on the ground and the optimism was high surrounding our professional sports teams. Things change.

That fateful week in May was also the last time our market recorded a year-over-year increase in weekly pending sales…until now.

For the week ending December 3, there were 606 pending sales, an increase of 10.0 percent from the same week last year. That’s the first year-over-year increase in 30 weeks. Whether this positive trend continues will depend upon job growth and other economic factors, but this small sign of hope is nice to see in December.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, new listings are consistently not matching last year’s marks — a welcome sign in this era of high supply. The 1,081 new listings for the most recent week is a decline of 13.8 percent from last year’s pace and marks the 11th week of the last 13 to post a year-over-year decline.

For the full market report visit


MAAR Weekly Market Activity Report is information from the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS

Friday, November 19, 2010

Staging Works!

Before I even had a chance to tell you about our wonderful new listing on 2345 Sheridan Terrace in Minnetonka, we SOLD it!

This amazing home was previously listed with another agent and our sellers came to us asking what we could do for them. After deciding to work with Stafford Family Realtors, Sharla conducted a staging appointment and gave the sellers some pointers to get their home ready for market. Not only did a few minor staging items make a huge difference, we sold the home in 4 DAYS!

In a Buyer’s Market, first impressions are extremely important. Having your home prepared for market and staged to appeal to the largest group of buyers will distinguish your home above the competition. The proof is in the numbers: Staged homes sell 15% faster and for 17% more money.

The first suggestion she made was to paint the living room and kitchen. Take a look at these before and after photos.

Many different color paints on the walls can be shocking for buyers when they enter a room. Tone it down with more neutral colors. Pottery Barn offers free color books that have some great color options.

If you would like more information on staging or any suggestions, please feel free to visit StaffordFamilyRealors.com and contact us today! We know what it takes to get homes sold!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Great Minnesota Fall Drives - Are you a leef peeper?

by Linda (minnemom) of Travels with Children

These crisp fall days are perfect for a fall drive and the fine spectator sport of “leaf-peeping.” If you’re up for a tour of the fall colors in Minnesota, consider these destinations:

Split Rock State Park
The North Shore Drive, north of Duluth along the shores of Lake Superior. The leaves were just starting to turn when we were there at the end of September. Combined with the views of Lake Superior, there are some spectacular sights to see. If you want to go beyond driving and see the leaves close-up, stop at Gooseberry Falls State Park or Split Rock Lighthouse and take a walk in the woods.

Fall Colors at Historic Forestville
Southeastern Minnesota. We were in the Preston area last weekend, and the colors were beautiful. Check out the paths near Historic Forestville, or find a gravel road and wander around for a while.
The Minnesota River Valley. Follow the Minnesota Scenic Byway for some beautiful views in the river valley. I saw a beautiful combination of green, yellow, and bright red there yesterday. For a great lookout point, climb to the top of Hermann Monument in New Ulm (check for fall hours).
Find your own: Check out the Minnesota DNR’s Fall Color Reports to see where leaves are at their peak color.

If you have your kids along, find a park and let them play in the leaves. Find some that are interesting. Make a pile and jump in with them. Then find somewhere to stop for a cup of hot chocolate on the way home.

Fall is the perfect time to get off the highways and enjoy the back roads. The combination of blue skies, crisp fall air, and beautiful fall colors is hard to beat.
Do you have a favorite fall drive, in Minnesota or elsewhere?Read more: http://attractions.uptake.com/blog/beautiful-fall-drives-in-minnesota-184.html#ixzz111apZZJg

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Great New Listings!!!

1735 Carriage Drive, Victoria
MLS: 3971695
Priced below market & loaded with designer amenities! Enjoy special features such as a Main Floor Office, 3 Fireplaces, a Gourmet Kitchen with extensive Granite countertops, Butler's Pantry & large Walk-in Pantry. Newly complete the professionally Lower Level with a 5th Bedroom, full service wet bar Bar & Family Room!

2012 Amberg Court, Chaska
MLS: 3971239
This beautiful former model home features a spacious floor plan & stunning finishes including walnut floors, soaring vaults, gourmet kitchen & main floor office. Perfectly located and offering easy access to shopping, restaurants, schools and the new 212 Medical Center.

5105 Hooper Lake Road, Deephaven
MLS: 3973860
Nestled on a beautiful, private lot in desirable Deephaven & the award-winning Mtka School District! This beautifully remodeled home has been totally updated from pillar to post including all tiled baths, hardwood floors, and new Stainless steel Appliances!

For more information on these listing or to check out all our listings, please visit StaffordFamilyRealtors.com.

Return on Investment?

The return on that investment comes in two forms. First, you live in the house and so it provides you with a real flow of valuable services. The second part of the yield on investment is the capital gain you receive if the home appreciates and you sell. Gains are excluded from taxation if the property is a primary residence and the gain is less than $250,000 for a single filer or $500,000 for a married couple filing jointly.

Do the math. Four years ago, the monthly payment on a $300,000 house with 20% down and a mortgage rate of about 6.6% was $1,533. Today that $300,000 house would sell for $213,000 and a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with 20% down would carry a rate of about 4.2% and a monthly payment of $833. In addition, the down payment would be $42,600 instead of $60,000.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New to market in Longacres!

Welcome to 7357 Bent Bow Trail in the demand neighborhood of Longacres. Rarely available, this stunning neighborhood offers beautiful winding streets, 3 private neighborhood parks and great events throughout the year.

From pillar to post this home has been completely remodeled with designer finishes and custom touches on every level.

The formal dining space offers large windows and a vaulted ceiling along with a custom granite topped serving buffet.

The three season porch offers a beautiful setting to relax in private.

The gourmet kitchen has been totally remodeled with a beautiful backsplash and new granite counters. The large center island offers a breakfast counter on enjoy a meal in the eat-in dining space.

The two-story Great Room features a stone-faced fireplace flanked by built-ins.

You will also find a main floor office in this home.

The second floor offers four bedrooms including the master suite with private bath and large walk-in closet.

The fully finished lower level is where you will find a second fireplace perfect for curling up with a good book, the family room offers custom built-in entertainment center. The spacious game room features a full service kitchenette. There is a large bedroom currently used as an exercise room and finished play room.

Nestled on a premier lot in this stunning neighborhood, this home enjoys the privacy offered by the mature trees that cover the property. The backyard is home to a spacious deck perfect for entertaining or relaxing, wander down to the custom fire pit and enjoy the professional landscaping.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Stunning New Listing in Wynnfield of Eden Prairie

Welcome to 8127 Spruce Trail in the demand neighborhood of Wynnfield. This stunning one owner home is sited on one of the best lots in the neighborhood. Backing to a tranquil pond, enjoy the beautiful view from this home.

Only occupied by one owner, this home has been meticulously maintained and lovingly updated. You will find custom touches throughout from the well appointed Gourmet Kitchen featuring new granite and stainless steel appliances to the main floor Office with its custom built-in cabinetry.

The main floor offers beautiful spaces for relaxing or entertaining. Enjoy a meal in the formal Dining Room or curl up with a good book in the Four Season Porch.

The Great Room features one of the two gas fireplaces in the home. The second floor is where you will find four bedrooms including the private Master Suite featuring a sitting room, 3 large walk-in closets and a private bath with Jacuzzi tub and His & Her vanities.

The fully finished lower level offers a 5th bedroom, Hobby Room and spacious Family Room & Billiards Room. Walk out to the covered patio and enjoy the privacy offered by the mature trees.

This home truly has no equal in Wynnfield.

To schedule a private showing, please contact us for a private showing at 952.470.2575 or visit StaffordFamilyRealtors.com for more information.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Good News from Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac Featured Perspective

July 21st, 2010

The Housing Market You've Been Saving ForJuly 19, 2010 – Like a rare astronomical event, America is experiencing a conjunction between very affordable home prices and historically low mortgage rates that hasn't been seen for at least 50 years. Since nobody knows how long this will last, today's market is a rare buying opportunity for working families with stable incomes and good credit.

There are even some hints the present combination of historically low rates and more reasonably priced homes are beginning to slip away in some markets. For example, the National Association of Realtors' housing affordability index, while still high, has dropped nearly six percentage points in the past few quarters as existing home prices in many areas have reversed course and begun to rise again.

So why aren't more families in the homebuying market? While job worries may have some potential buyers holding back, others are sitting on the sidelines because they are unsure about the new rules of the road for getting a conventional conforming mortgage. They are actually straightforward and not so difficult for families who have:
· A stable income;
· A good credit history
· A common-sense down payment. Generally, about five percent of the purchase price for a conventional, conforming mortgage. (Fortunately, there are down payment assistance programs for qualified borrowers.) Documentation – responsible lenders today will want documentation verifying your income (like W-2 forms, tax returns), employment, credit history, and assets – such as bank statements -- to verify savings.
· Under the new rules of the road, the lender must also obtain an impartial third-party appraisal that complies with tough new rules to verify that the value of the house you want will support the mortgage you need to finance it.

Anyone still unsure about the new rules should ask a reputable lender to pre-qualify them for a mortgage. Think of a pre-qualification letter almost like a driver's permit for the new rules of the homebuying road. A mortgage pre-qualification letter can:
· Confirm you can qualify for a mortgage
· Tell you how much you can expect to borrow;
· Make you a stronger home shopper since sellers won't have to worry about whether you can qualify for a mortgage.

During the pre-qualification process the lender will review your credit, financial, and employment information. There may be an application fee. Athough mortgage pre-qualifications are usually only good for a limited time they are still worth getting. The reason: even though you will need to apply for a mortgage once you find a house to buy, your pre-qualification letter helps clear the way by telling home sellers you're road-tested for the most affordable mortgage market in 50 years.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Great News for the Twin Cities & our Moms!

Accoding to ForbesWoman, the Twin Cities is the #1 place to live for working Moms.

When calculating the list, Forbes began woth different qualities that are cinsidered to be important. This list includes safety, health care, schools and quality of life. However, the folks over at Forbes took an even deeper look at other important issues such as: job opportunities, high earnings potential and a budget-friendly cost of living.

Forbes.com slideshow: 20 best cities for working moms

"So how did New York, last year's No. 1 city for working mothers, get displaced by unassuming Minneapolis? This year we placed greater emphasis on women's earnings, which we think play a major role in the best cities for women to work and raise children.

And at only 216 crimes per 100,000 residents annually, Minneapolis has the lowest violent crime rate, which means there are fewer murders, rapes, robberies and assaults than any other major U.S. city, as well as the second-lowest unemployment rate at 6.4 percent."

Other Cities that top the list?

1.) Minneapolis, MN

2.) Washington, D.C.

3.) Boston, Mass

4.) Pittsburgh, PA

5.) Baltimore- Towson, MD,

Originaly published 7/28/2010 by Meghan Casserly

Thursday, July 22, 2010

New Listing on Pheasant Road

Welcome to 2695 Pheasant Road of Orono. This captivating, story-book home has been completely updated with designer finishes throughout. Perfectly situated on a .52 acre, fenced lot, covered with large trees, this setting offers tranquility and privacy. This home offers one and one half stories of beautifully finished spaces and a private boat slip on Lake Minnetonka.

The slate foyer opens to a cozy hearth room featuring a three sided fireplace with slate surround, bay window and original warm hardwood floors.

The hearth room is open to the remodeled kitchen with new tile flooring, new granite counters & new stainless steel under-mount sink. There is a spacious eat-in area perfect for entertaining.

Just off the kitchen and dining room is the large great room with soaring vaulted ceiling, built-in bookcases and grand stone fireplace.

The main floor master suite is spacious and offers a private bath with His and Her closets and custom closet organizers.

The powder room has been totally remodeled with all new materials.

The spacious formal living or dining room is currently home to a billiards table and is a great room to entertain.

The finished lower level is spacious and features a third fireplace and room for your game table. You can add an additional two bedrooms on this level.

Accompanying this property is a private boat slip on Lake Minnetonka which is located at the end of the cul-de-sac. The corresponding boat slip is the second from the left.

To schedule a private showing, please contact Stafford Family Realtors at 952.470.2575.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Congress tries again to extend homebuyer tax credit deadline

Our in-house lender John Skoglund, with PHH Home Loans sent out this article to our office today. Originally published by CNNMoney.com, this article

The House has passed their own version of the Tax Credit Extension. The Senate needs to sign this version as does the President if it going to become law.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The House of Representatives Tuesday voted to give first-time homebuyers three more months to close on their purchases and land an $8,000 federal income tax credit.

But the Senate had better act in the next 24 hours...the deadline is currently June 30.
The House voted 409 to 5 to delay the closing deadline to September 30 in a stand-alone measure. The move comes nearly a week after the Senate failed to advance a much larger jobs bill that contained the tax credit provision.

The smaller House bill would raise the deficit by $9 million over a decade.

An estimated 200,000 people may miss out on the tax credit because they won't be able to close by close of business Wednesday. Many are trying to take advantage of short sales, which are complicated deals to complete.

The measure also seeks to reduce fraud associated with the credit. Some 1,300 prison inmates are thought to have claimed and received more than $9 million in tax credits, according to a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report released earlier this month. The bill would allow the Internal Revenue Service to disclose tax return information to prison administrators.

Senate Democrats hope to address the measure this week, said an aide to the Senate Majority Leader.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fannie Mae to Penalize those who Default

Fannie Mae said Wednesday it would "lock out" borrowers from getting a new loan for seven years if they default on a mortgage they could afford to pay.

The move represents the latest effort by the mortgage industry to prevent a new wave of losses that could result if more borrowers who can afford their monthly payments instead opt to "strategically" default on loans, because they owe far more than their homes are worth.
"Walking away from a mortgage is bad for borrowers and bad for communities, and our approach is meant to deter the disturbing trend toward strategic defaulting," said Terence Edwards, Fannie's executive vice president for credit portfolio management.

The government-owned mortgage-finance titan also said it planned to step up legal actions to pursue deficiency judgments in states that allow lenders to go after borrowers' other assets. In addition, Fannie said it would instruct its lender partners to monitor delinquent loans owned by Fannie, and recommend cases that warrant attention.

Fannie's move comes amid greater concern that it has become socially acceptable for borrowers to stop paying their loans, and that such a shift could exacerbate the housing bust. Those worries are particularly acute in Arizona, Nevada, Florida and other hard-hit housing markets where it could take years for borrowers to return to positive equity.

Nearly one in four homeowners with a mortgage is underwater, or owes more than their home is worth, according to CoreLogic, a real-estate data firm. A Morgan Stanley report estimated that around 12% of all mortgage defaults in February were strategic.

In 2008, Fannie revised to five years from four the period that borrowers with a foreclosure must wait before they are eligible for a new loan.

Under the new rules, the five-year waiting period is eliminated. Borrowers who can't document "extenuating circumstances" or show that they made an effort with their lender to avoid foreclosure will have to wait seven years to get a new loan; those who can demonstrate hardship or attempted a workout with their lender may have to wait only three years.

Its smaller sibling, Freddie Mac, also requires borrowers with a foreclosure to wait at least five years. Foreclosures can stay on a credit report for up to seven years.

Even as it steps up penalties, Fannie is preparing to reduce waiting periods for borrowers facing hardship who surrender their homes and avoid foreclosure. Under previously announced rules that take effect next month, Fannie will reduce waiting periods to two years for borrowers who agree to transfer their homes to the company through a "deed in lieu of foreclosure," or who complete short sales, where homes are sold for less than the amount owed.

Originally Published in the Wall Street Journal
JUNE 24, 2010
Fannie Set to Penalize Defaulters By NICK TIMIRAOS

Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Listing in Eden Prairie: 18948 Explorer Trail

18948 Explorer Trail: Eden Prairie, MN

Check out this amazing, single family home in demand location of Eden Prairie. Built by Lennar, this Remmington floor plan offers two main floor offices ( one can be converted into a fourth bedroom), a spacious Kitchen fit for a Chef and outfitted with commericial grade appliance including Wolf double wall ovens and cooktop, Fisher & Paykel Dishwasher and Sub and granite counter tops.

The beautiful Hickory hardwood floor perfectly commpliment the Cherry wood cabinetry.

Curl up with a good book in the Great Room in front of the fireplace.

The upper floor offers three bedrooms including the Private Master Suite with its own sitting room and large spa-like bath.

The two junior bedrooms are private suites with baths.

Enjoy the beautiful views of the wetlands from the large deck, perfect for entertaining.

For Sale: 4BR/3+1BA Single Family House in Eden Prairie, MN, $799,000

Looking to move to Minneapolis and wondering is it better to rent or buy?

What should you do!?!

Well, if you are moving to the Minneapple, it looks like your best option would be to buy. The real estate website Trulia recently conducted a survey of their users to see where the visitors were at with their decision to Buy or Rent.

In response to the survey, Trulia will be launching an all new index for the top 50 cities in the U.S. that will compare and contrast the difference between Buying & Selling.

To determine which option is better, the index will weigh the costs of buying a two-bedroom condo with the costs of renting one which then can be translated into numbers to fit a Single Family Home.

"Minneapolis was the city on Trulia's index where it makes the most sense to buy. The average listing price for a two-bedroom there was about $150,000, while the average annual rent for one came to about $20,400. Buying, therefore, costs less than eight times the annual cost of renting. Economists generally hold that anything below 15 times the annual rent is a buyer-friendly city."

To read the full article from CNNMoney.com please visit the link below.

Should you rent or buy?

Are you thinking about buying in Minneapolis? Stafford Family Realtors can help. As certified relocation specialists, we have the tools and materials that will make your transition as smooth as possible. Please contact us today for your free relocation package and to see how we can help bring you home!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

What's New in Our World!

So here we all are in the office, working away and excited to announce that we are looking at a great month ahead. Stafford Family Realtors will be closing on 5 properties in the next few weeks. This is great news for our team.

After a beautiful Memorial Day weekend here in the state of Minnesota, we are continuing to see the market moving and homes being sold. Here are a few homes that we have closed in the past few weeks:

1234 Amber Point, Waconia

1630 Field Drive, Victoria

Horizon Ridge, Victoria

Not to mention the upcoming & new Listing! New to Market as of May 28th –

2290 Longacres Drive of Chanhassen is a beautiful Lundgren Brothers home in a demand neighborhood. Beautifully finished, the home has been updated with new paint, carpet, granite and more!
Looking for a great First Time Home? 8016 Erie Avenue in Chanhassen is a well updated twin home in a great location. Walk to schools, parks, shopping and dining! Sited on a spacious lot with mature trees, this one is a great opportunity!
As always, should you have any questions or would like a private showing of one of our listings, please contact us today! 952.470.2575

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New Listing 1758 Seashell Lane in Waconia

Custom built by Songergaard Forcier, this walk-out Rambler in Waconia Landings offers a bueautiful finish level and enjoys deeded day dock access on Lake Waconia. For more information on this listing, please visit StaffordFamilyRealtors.com or call us today! 952.470.2575.

Waterfront Tour for Coldwell Banker Burnet

Well, its that time of year again! The spring Waterfront Tour hosted by Coldwell Banker Burnet is this Sunday, May 16th. There are over 170 homes offering everything from Lakeshore Living to Deeded Access on lakes, river, ponds and more.

Stafford Family Realtors will be hosting 4685 North Shore Drive in Orono open from 1-5 PM. Stop in for some Refreshments and enter to win a Brunch Cruise on Lake Minnetoka for 2!
This beautiful home is sited on over 70 feet level lakeshore with a pristine sandy beach. The home offers amazing vaulted ceilings, walls of windows and over $100,000 in upgrades! This home truly offers resort living at home.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Coldwell Banker Burnet’s Waterfront Home Tour

For nearly twenty years Coldwell Banker Burnet has been promoting its waterfront listings through annual waterfront home tours. No other real estate company has the inventory to mount a tour such as ours. Last year we had 178 waterfront homes on our Spring Waterfront Tour with the highest priced home listed at $5,950,000.

We choose a Sunday in mid-May, avoiding Mother’s Day, because we believe the homes look their best with their docks in the water and their gardens starting to bloom. It also is the perfect time to capture the interest of Minnesotans who have been indoors all winter.

Timing of the tour is everything. This year on May 16th interested buyers will be able to view a number of waterfront properties in one afternoon. They will be able to write an offer, negotiate that offer and close it with summer days to spare!

Our upcoming Tour will be held on May 16th from 1-5. Stafford Family Realtors are pleased to offer 4685 North Shore Drive in Orono as a featured home on this tour. Located on over 70 feet of lakeshore, this home has it all. For more information, please visit StaffordFamilyRealtors.com or contact Eric & Sharla Stafford today for a private showing.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Open Sunday!!!!

Stafford Family Realtors have some great open houses this weekend!

We are pleased to announce 4 great opens for this weekend!

1878 Sandbar Circle ~ Waconia
Open Sunday 12-2
Better than new construction!! This amazing home is completely loaded with all the upgrades & custom finishes! Entertain in style in the Gourmet Kitchen with Granite counters and Stainless Steel Appliances, enjoy to beautiful Hardwood floors & the fully finished Walkout Lower Level! The backyard is fully fenced with a wood privacy fence & the neighborhood enjoys a beach & day docks on Lake Waconia.

8801 Wedgemere Drive ~ Victoria
Open Sunday 12-2
Simply Stunning! This amazing one level home sited on the premier lot on Deer Run Golf Course offers attractive amenities including a private main floor Master Suite, Great Room floor plan, main floor Office or Formal Dinning Room and a Gourmet Eat-In Kitchen with stainless steel appliance. The fully finished lower level walk out features three Jr. Bedrooms, and Exercise Room, large Family Room with full Wet Bar and a Billiards Room. Nestled between greens #2 and #15, enjoy the long fairway views and all the conveniences of this great location!

2305 Lukewood Drive ~ Chanhassen
Open Sunday 12-2
This beautiful home is sited on a spacious lot with mature trees and lots of privacy. The finish level of this home is amazing! Open spacious floor plan offers a Great Room with Crown Molding and Fireplace that looks into the Hearth Room. The large flowing Kitchen offers newly installed Granite countertops and all new stainless steel appliances. Enjoy the deck off the private Master Suite. The fully finished Lower Level offers an Amusement Room with built-ins, stone faced fireplace and a full wet bar. There is also a Play Room, Game Room and Office. The flat expance of the back yard is great for any type of entertaing or relaxing. Contact us today for a private showing!

1234 Amber Point ~ Waconia
Open Sunday 2:30- 4:30
Only available due to relocation, this beautiful home in the Pinehill neighborhood of Waconia offers an open floor plan with great spaces. Freshly painted throughout, this home show like a model.

For more information on these open houses or other listings from Stafford Family Realtors, Please visit StaffordFamilyRealtors.com

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Minneapolis is one of the top Bicycling Cities in America!!!

The new issue of Bicycling magazine, published Tuesday, ranks Minneapolis ahead of 49 other large and medium-size cities in accessibility to bicyclists. Portland has long ranked first, both in the magazine's rankings and other surveys.

In its assessment of Minneapolis, the magazine pointed to the fact that the city has nearly doubled its percentage of bike commuters in just three years and its pledge to install new bike racks and start an innovative bike-share program. Other criteria include the number of bike lanes, municipal bike racks, bike boulevards, government interest in cycling improvements and local bike culture.

"Despite the cold wintertime climate, Minneapolis has a thriving bike community. It has 120 miles of on- and off-street bicycle facilities, plus indoor bike parking and other cycling-friendly facilities."

Not surprisingly, other high-ranking cities include such granola-eating communities as Seattle, Boulder and Eugene. Madison, Wis., ranked seventh. The only other Upper Midwest cities that made the cut were Sioux Falls, at 31st, and Fargo, which ranked 46th.

Originally Published by the Star Tribune - article by BOB VON STERNBERG

Friday, March 26, 2010

Open Houses for March 28th!

Stafford Family Realtors have some great opportunities for you!

We are pleased to announce 4 great opens for this weekend!

12237 Jasper Lane ~ Eden Prairie
Open Sunday 12-2
Just listed and first time open! This home shows like new construction - a true MUST SEE! Beautifully finished from Pillar to Post and well maintained, this home has been freshly painted and the seller's have installed all new flooring throughout. The amazing lower level features a full service wet bar, a stunning family room with a wall of custom built-ins and a fifth bedroom. Other upgrades include granite countertops, archways and a gorgeous deck.

2301 Boulder Road ~ Chanhassen
Open Sunday 12-2
Pottery Barn finishes accentuate this beautiful Hans Hagen home sited on a private lot in demand Stone Creek. Upgrades galore; including Enameled woodwork, Granite, Stainless Steel Appliances. Walk to Neighborhood Park & new Chanhassen High School! Chanhassen voted #8 Best Place to Live by Money Magazine!

2305 Lukewood Drive ~ Chanhassen
Open Sunday 2:30-4:30
This beautiful home is sited on a spacious lot with mature trees and lots of privacy. The finish level of this home is amazing! Open spacious floor plan offers a Great Room with Crown Molding and Fireplace that looks into the Hearth Room. The large flowing Kitchen offers newly installed Granite countertops and all new stainless steel appliances. Enjoy the deck off the private Master Suite. The fully finished Lower Level offers an Amusement Room with built-ins, stone faced fireplace and a full wet bar. There is also a Play Room, Game Room and Office. The flat expance of the back yard is great for any type of entertaing or relaxing. Contact us today for a private showing!

4716 Temple Road ~ Minnetonka
Open Sunday 12-4
This is not your typical townhome! Loaded with character, this home has been beautifully updated & lovingly maintained. Sited on a gorgeous .37 acre lot covered with mature trees! Enjoy the Gourmet Kitchen with new stainless steel appliances, the spacious Lower Level Walkout with full Wetbar. The current owners have done over $100,000 in Upgrades! Association maintains Yard/Snow/Garbage.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fannie Mae: Recovery is Moving Forward

The decline in home sales in February was a disappointment to the housing industry, but Fannie Mae’s analysts say it is temporary and a sustainable turnaround is likely by the end of the year.

Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan points to evidence that a recovery is on its way, including an increase in consumer spending, an improving service sector, and the likelihood that employers will begin hiring soon.

"More favorable financial conditions overall keep us optimistic that we are moving forward with the recovery, albeit at a lower trajectory than previously forecast," Duncan said in a statement.

Source: Fannie Mae (03/17/2010)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Best Housing Markets of 2010

Some U.S. housing markets have faired quite well regardless of the economic turmoil of recent years. These markets share a few things in common: modestly appreciating home prices, a high affordability rating, better-than-average economic activity and a low foreclosure rate.

Realty Trac, an online marketplace of foreclosure listings, estimates that 4.5 million foreclosure filings are expected in 2010, up from 2.8 million in 2009. This weighs heavily on the housing market. Foreclosures supply an excess of inventory that destabilizes home prices. Louisville, Kentucky, is fairing well partially because it has a 1.15% foreclosure rate, the lowest in the country, and about half the national average. Louisville – as opposed to some coastal cities and vacation destinations – never really encountered the boom so it’s been less affected by the burst.

Midwestern cities such as Indianapolis, Minneapolis and St. Louis have among the best housing markets largely because they have some of the best housing affordability rates in the country. Indianapolis had the highest affordability with 96% of homes affordable to families making the median income.

According to Forbes, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has the best housing market in the country for a host of reasons: the second lowest foreclosure rate, a housing affordability rate of 85%, home prices anticipated to increase 2.67% in 2010, and a diversified and comparatively robust economy. This stable economy is largely due to Pittsburgh transforming itself, over several decades, from a center of manufacturing to one of education and health care.

Stable economic activity is also boosting the real estate markets in Tacoma and Seattle, Washington. The housing market in Memphis has faired well and is expected to improve, largely because the city’s largest employer, FedEx, will be one of the first industries to rebound in the economy recovery.

Published by Realty Trac

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

See what our clients are saying...

Stafford Family Realtors are getting great feedback from some wonderful clients! Look below to see how Stafford Family Realtors is rating with their clients!

“I likes the very professional, yet relaxed, attitude of both Eric & Sharla. It helped us feel more relaxed about the whole selling experience. We felt confident that our house was in good hands with ther strong work ethic and degree of experience. Also, they were both fun to work with. Thanks for your good work!”

Doug & Eileen Peterson

“You amaze me! The level of attention you provide to your clients, and the degree of consideration involved with your efforts toward excellence are beyond measure! More than my gratefulness is my awareness of your incredible attention and commitment to others! You are models of stewardship! Thank you so much!”

Mary Beth Moze

Stafford Family Realtors strive to offer the best experience whether you are buying or selling your home. We promise to protect your investment and treat your family as if it were our own.

Contact Eric or Sharla Stafford today for more information and your free market analysis of your home.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Looking ahead to Spring? Here are a few helpful tips to get your home ready!

March 20th is the first day of spring. It may be hard to imagine that spring is actually only a few weeks away if you are still cranking up the heat in your home and shoveling snow from your driveway. But, it won't be much longer before old man winter will be sent packing. While you are waiting for the arrival of spring, here are seven things you can begin to think about to get your home ready for spring.

Windows - Your windows take center stage once the weather changes from cold to warm. Begin thinking about whether you will wash them yourself or hire someone to tackle the job. If you choose to hire someone, you'll want to make an appointment now before they become booked solid. Consider what window treatments you will use. Undoubtedly, you will want to switch to a lighter fabric and different color value that is more conducive to springtime.

Carpets / Flooring - Our floors take a real beating during the winter months. Whether you have carpet or hard wood, or whatever, chances are your floors could use some tender loving care. Again, will you tackle the job yourself or hire someone? And, once your floors are cleaned, consider using runners to keep the dirt from foot traffic to a minimum.

Outdoor living area - It doesn't matter what the square footage of your outdoor space is; what matters is that you make the most of it. Take a look at your outdoor furniture and determine what kind of care is necessary before you use them or if you need to start fresh with new pieces. If you have a fence, what kind of maintenance does it require? Who will cut and take care of your grass this year? If you have a wood deck, does it need to be stained?

Gardens - Boost your curb appeal. Begin planning your color scheme and the flowers you will plant this spring. Read up on the different flowers and plants and do something different this year.

Roof / Gutters - Ice (which can cause damage to roofs and leaks in the home), leaves, you name it, it could be up there. Hire a professional to clean them. This will help your curb appeal a great deal, too.

Foyer - The foyer of the home tends to be neglected and used as a pass through space. But, during warm weather, people linger a little longer. So, be sure to enhance the look of your foyer. Resist using it as a place simply to drop keys, mail, and take off shoes.

Entertainment Area - Company's coming. People are just more social during warmer months. Is your entertainment area inviting? Maybe now would be a good time to de-clutter and organize the space.

These are just a few projects you can begin before spring. Instead of looking longingly at the calendar wishing spring would hurry up, take this time to think about these projects so that when spring does arrive your home will be ready.

©Rena Bullard 2010 This article may be reprinted, in its entirety, with copyright information.
Rena Bullard is certified and trained as an Interior Decorator and loves to help people with design. Rena is an Expert writer for EzineArticles.com, contributed articles to the online magazine, The Decorator's Notebook, and writes her own blogs where you will find quick ideas on how to solve redecorating dilemmas. Rena interviews industry professionals and gives away free decorating tips as the host of her own blog talk radio show called, ReDecorating by Rena.
Contact Rena via her website: [http://www.redecoratingbyrena.com/]

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Non-MLS Listings & Open Houses

Open Sunday!

MLS #3878893
12-2:00 PM
Stop in and check out this amazing family home in neighborhood of executive homes. Sited on a park-like .65 acres, this home offers one level living at it's best! Spacious rooms, large windows and great spaces for entertaing or relaxing. Stop in and check it out!

We have a few new Non-MLS Listings coming soon to market:

This amazing family home is sited on 2.86 acres in Chanhassen. Enjoy country style living with all the ease of downtown Chanhassen. 3,160 Finished Square Feet feature 4 Bedrooms, 4 Baths, a fully finished lower level. Contact us today for a private showing!

Landmark Shorewood Estate

Call for Pricing

This English Manor Home is a landmark for residents of the Shorewood / Excelsior area. Sited on 1.72 acres covered with lush, professioal landscaping, this spacious home offers 4 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms and TONS of charm. Located on the grounds you will also find a Pool House with kitchenette and in-ground pool.
Eric & Sharla Stafford ~ 952.470.2575

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

10 Home Features Buyers Want

Home designers and builders speaking at the recent International Builders Show in Las Vegas say that buyers are seeking cost-effective features and rejecting things that don’t have lasting value.“It's all about family togetherness – casual living, entertaining and flexible spaces," says Carol Lavender, president of the Lavender Design Group in San Antonio.

Paul Cardis, CEO of Avid Ratings, which conducts an annual survey of buyer preferences, identified these must-haves in new homes:

~ Large kitchens with islands
~ Energy efficiency, including energy-efficient appliances, super insulation, and high-efficiency windows.
~ Home offices
~ Main-floor master suite
~ Outdoor living space
~ Ceiling fans
~ Soaking tub in the master suite and/or an oversize shower with a seating area
~ Stone and brick exteriors rather than stucco or vinyl
~ Community walking paths and playgrounds
~ Two-car garages, but three-car garages are even more desirable

Are you looking for a home with these features? Stafford Family Realtors have a selection of Exceptional Homes that fit most or all of the above mentioned criteria. Call us today or visit www.StaffordFamilyRealtors.com to see a list of all our homes for sale.

Source: MarketWatch, Steve Kerch (01/30/2010)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

6 Surprising Facts About the Buyer Tax Credit

The homebuyer tax credit is not as simple or straightforward as you might think. Here are some nuances that will affect homebuyers who plan to use it.

- To qualify for the move-up tax credit, a home owner must have occupied the same principal residence for five of the last eight years consecutively.
- Buyers can elect to claim the credit on either their 2009 or their 2010 tax return, whichever is best for them.
- Buyers who claim the credit in 2009 can’t file electronically because the Internal Revenue Service hasn’t put the required forms on line. The wait for a refund is three or four months.
- The home can be a mobile home or travel trailer that is fixed to land owned or leased by the home owner. A mobile home or travel trailer that is actually mobile doesn’t qualify.
- The home can’t be purchased from a close relative, including a parent, spouse, child, grandparent or grandchild.
- A buyer who earns no taxable income or doesn’t owe any federal income tax can qualify for the tax credit and file a tax return just to claim it.

Source: Bankrate.com, Marcie Geffner (01/21/2010)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Newest Exceptional Home from Stafford Family Realtors

Trump Nets Big Profit for Florida Palace

Donald Trump has sold his Palm Beach mansion for $81 million, $24 million less than his asking price but up 150 percent from his $32 million 2004 purchase price.

A Russian fertilizer billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev bought the 60,000 square-foot, oceanfront home. The property was renovated by Kendra Todd, a winner on “The Apprentice.”

Todd is said to have added lots of marble and 24-karat gold fixtures in the bathrooms.

Trump says, “ In an age of so many people getting hurt in real estate, it shows that you can still do well.”

Source: Daily Mall (01/26/2010)

Friday, January 29, 2010

JOB Fair

The recent recession has scorched the best of us. Erik Paulsen is hosting a Job Fair bursting with great community resources that will connect employers and potential employees

Date and Time:
Monday, February 8, 1:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Location: Normandale Community College (Cafeteria)

If you're looking to hire or know a business hiring, learn more about this free opportunity to connect with the public. There are no fees associated with participation or admission. Submissions due on January 29, 2009.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Housing Components Don't Last Forever

Many aspects of a home last little more than a decade. Home buyers should be especially vigilant about inspecting these household components because they have a relatively short lifespan, says the National Association of Home Builders.

• Aluminum roof coating: 3-7 years
• Enameled steel sinks: 5-7 years
• Security systems: 5-10 years
• Carpet: 8-10 years
• Smoke detectors: fewer than 10 years
• Faucets: 10-15 years
• Garage door openers:10-15 years
• Air conditioners: 10-15 years
• Asphalt: 12-15 years
• Termite-proofing during construction: 12 years

Source: Bankrate.com, Marcie Geffner (01/22/2010)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Minneapolis is in the Top 10 Smartest Places to Buy!

10 Cities Where It's Smarter to Buy

For people who want to own a home, the premium to buy—the spread between what they’d spend to rent and what they’d pay for a mortgage—is much lower than the 15-year average in many cities.

To determine what cities are smart buys, Forbes magazine computed the premium and also identified locales where economists predict home prices will go up the most over the next five years.

Here are the top 10 cities the magazine chose as the best places to buy right now.

  1. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass.
  2. Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, N.C.-S.C.
  3. Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, Ill.-Ind.-Wis.
  4. Cincinnati-Middletown, Ohio-Ky.-Ind.
  5. Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, Colo
  6. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wis.
  7. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md.
  8. Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, Ore.-Wash.
  9. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif.
  10. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.V.

Contact Eric & Sharla Stafford for information on Relocation, Buying or Selling in the Twin Cities!

Great Tips as we head into Tax Season

With tax season approaching, here are a few tax incentives you'll definitely want to discuss with your tax professional.

Up first is the popular $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers. Originally scheduled to expire on November 30th, 2009, this valuable tax credit of up to 10% of the purchase price or up to $8,000 was extended into 2010 (purchase agreements must be signed by April 30, 2010, and closings must be final by June 30, 2010). The new program was also expanded to include a tax credit of up to $6,500 (or up to 10% of the purchase price) for qualified buyers of a second or "replacement" home under the same deadlines. To qualify, home purchasers must have owned and occupied a primary residence for five consecutive years during the last eight years. Most importantly, the new program significantly increases previous income requirements. There are other important guidelines to meet in order to qualify, so be sure to discuss your situation with a tax professional.

Property-Tax Deduction for Non-itemizers

You don't have to be a new homeowner in 2009 to deduct qualifying property taxes, but prior to 2008, you did have to itemize your taxes in order to receive the benefit – not anymore. Under the new rule, homeowners who don't itemize can boost their standard-deduction amount by up to $500 if they're single and up to $1,000 if they're married and file a joint return to account for property taxes paid during 2009. You'll need to include a Schedule L with your 2009 tax return, but it's definitely worth it if you qualify. Talk to your tax preparer and don't be one of the millions of taxpayers who will claim the standard deduction and miss out on the savings. Refinancing Points – When you buy a house, you get to deduct (all at once) the points paid to get your mortgage. When you refinance a mortgage, though, you have to deduct the points over the life of the loan. That means you can deduct 1/30th of the points per year if it's a 30-year mortgage. It's not a lot of savings, but everything helps when you're legally trying to lower your tax bill.

Energy and Home Improvements Credits

Homeowners can make energy-conscious purchases that will provide tax benefits when filling out their tax returns for 2009. The new law provides tax credits for making your principal residence more energy efficient and for buying certain energy efficient items. Residential Energy Property Credit – The new law increases the energy tax credit to 30% of the cost of all qualifying energy-efficient improvements to existing homes. It also raises the maximum credit limit to $1,500 for improvements placed in service in 2009 and 2010. Qualified improvements include adding insulation, energy efficient exterior windows, energy-efficient heating, air conditioning systems, and more. A similar credit was available for 2007, but was not available in 2008. Ask your tax professional about the IRS' issued guidance, deadlines, and other important qualifying factors for this and the following tax credit. Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit – You can receive a tax credit of 10% of the purchase price of qualified energy-efficient products installed in the taxpayer's main home in the United States. The tax credit for home improvement purchases is limited to $500 and applies to the total credit you can claim for all years combined.

Other 2009 Tax Breaks

New Car Purchases – If you bought a qualifying new car or truck ($49,500 or less) between February 16 and December 31st, you may be able to deduct the sales or excise tax. Your income must be less than $125,000 for a single taxpayer or $250,000 for a couple to get the full deduction. The benefit applies to more than one vehicle, as long as all of them qualify and delivery was taken by Dec. 31.

Unemployment Benefits – Unemployment benefits are usually fully taxable. If you received any unemployment benefits at any time during 2009, however, you are eligible to exclude the first $2,400 of these benefits when you file your tax return. For a married couple, the exclusion applies to each spouse separately.

Moving expenses – If you were unemployed in 2009 but you got a new job, moving expenses may be deductible, if you moved more than 50 miles away – and you don't have to itemize to get it. For 2009, you can deduct the cost of getting yourself and your household goods to that new area 50+ miles away, this includes 24 cents per mile for driving your own vehicle, plus parking fees and tolls.

For more information please contact Eric & Sharla Stafford or John Skoglund of PHH Home Loans.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Listings are on the Rise!

The Holidays are over and everyone has returned to their regularaly scheduled lives, as evident by the number of cars on the road during rush hour, but we are also seeing the number of new listings coming to market rising.

New listings rose to 688 for the week— while pending sales posted a number of 378.

A few additional stats for the New Year:

Housing Affordability continues at historic levels: rising to 208 for January, an 8.3 percent increase from the previous year and a good sign for buyers in the year to come.

The Months’ Supply of Inventory is back in balanced market territory at 5.0 months. This is a dramatic 34.2 percent under the supply at the beginning of last year.

For the full market report visit

Can Stafford Family Realtors help you find your new home in this buyer's market? Let us know how we can assist you!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Very Exciting News!!!

I have never seen Sharla & Eric Stafford this excited!

The team ventured out to Bayside on Lake Minnetonka Sunday afternoon for free Sloppy Joe’s, Beer and the VIKINGS game! It was a great game to watch. Sharla got so excited that she knocked over her chair during Rice’s touch down.

Should anyone be in the area next Sunday evening, come down and join us as the Vikes take on the Saints (and win, because we ARE going to the Super Bowl).

We will also be hosting open houses on Sunday so check back here or at StaffordFamilyRealtors.com for times and addresses.


Friday, January 15, 2010

SKOL Vikes and Open Houses

Stafford Family Realtors are opting to host an open house this Saturday since we all plan to cheer on the Minnesota Vikings at Floyd’s in Victoria this Sunday. If you are in the area, please come on out and share your purple pride and enjoy a Free Beer for every quarter the Vikes score a touch down during and chili with all the fixing’s! SKOL VIKES!!!

Open Saturday 1:00pm - 3:00pm

This beautiful home in the demand neighborhood of Bellavista, located on the beautiful Chaska Town Course, offers a spacious yard with tons of room to play. Other amenities include an open floor plan, Gourmet Kitchen with granite counters, a Main Floor Office, Private Master Suite with large Walk-In Closet and a large soaking tub. The basement is unfinished – a great chance to build equity. This home is subject to a short sale.

1632 Isabella Parkway, Chaska ~ MLS # 3650507

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fed says "it's time the Market Stands on its Own"

April 1 will be the first day that the Federal Reserve will end its debt purchase program and allow the struggling U.S. mortgage market to operate unassisted. As a result, the Fed believes mortgage rates will rise about three-quarters of a percent to about 6 percent, Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said Saturday.

Fear of a worldwide perception that the U.S. government is simply printing money to use to purchase mortgage-related securities is a big reason the Fed has pulled back, analysts say. If that fear caused a sell-off of U.S. government bonds, it would push borrowing costs substantially higher and derail the economic recovery.

"We are still in uncharted waters," Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn said in an unrelated speech Saturday. "We will need to be flexible and adjust as we gain experience."

Source: Reuters News, Pedro Nicolaci da Costa (01/08/2010)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tips for Choosing a Home Inspector

Purchasing a home can be an exciting and worrisome experience but along with a professional Realtor, a good Home Inspector can help make your purchase a smooth transion.

There are several factors you should consider when looking for a good inspector:
  • Look for inspectors who offer General Liability Insurance - An inspector who doesn't carry general liability insurance does not protect against property damage in the event the inspector damages the property before or after inspecting the home.
  • Ask about their training qualifications - Training is key to a proper home inspection. Many inspectors may not have received formal training. Training limitations can lead to potential problems in the event something is not properly inspected.
  • Look for an inspector who meet industry and state standards - Hiring an inspector who does not adhere to industry or state standards could result in missing thousands of dollars in problems, costing you additional money, time, and aggravation.
  • Ask if your inspector if they provide services outside of a general home inspection - Among other areas, we like to have our inspectors test for Radon.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

7 Helpful Home Tips for January

Ring in the New Year with a few helpful home tips that will help you keep your home running smoothly and avoid potentially costly issues later:

1. Clean or replace furnace filter.
2. Check and clean mechanical ventilation system (HRV/ERV).
3. Clean snow from air intakes, exhausts and meters. (we had to do this other day at our house, our gas fireplace wouldn’t turn on… whoops!)
4. Clean range hood filter. (goes along with #2)
5. Remove excess snow from roof to prevent ice dams.
6. Inspect water heater (check the temperature valves).
7. Observe humidity levels and adjust the setting on the humidistat or air exchanger controller as needed to eliminate condensation or frost on windows.

For more tips, visit the Home Energy Resource website and may you have a great 2010!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Coldwell Banker Ranks highest for home sellers!

According to J. D. Power and Associates Home Buyer/Seller Study, Coldwell Banker ranked highest for home sellers.

For both buyers and sellers, the agent is the most important driver of overall satisfaction. The importance of additional services provided by companies and agents has risen by 8 percent among sellers.

“Among home sellers, Coldwell Banker ranks highest with a score of 815 (out of 1,000) and performs particularly well in all four factors. (Four factors are examined for the home-selling experience: agent (34%); marketing (34%); office (17%); and package of additional services (15%).)”

The 2009 Home Buyer/Seller Study includes more than 3,100 evaluations from 2,801 respondents who bought or sold a home between April 2008 and June 2009. The study was fielded between April and June 2009.

For more information on Stafford Family Realtors and the exceptional home services we provide, please visit StaffordFamilyRealtors.com or call us today to see how we can help you.