Monday, December 21, 2009

KARE 11 - Toys for Tots Donation

Check out Coldwell Banker Burnet donating the toys we collected to the Toys for Tots program on local NBC channel KARE 11 - start watching the video at 16:50 to see the hand-off!

Weekly MAAR Market Update

What a crazy weekend!

The Vikings learned that they are not invincible and the Wild loosing to Ottawa after loosing their equipment to a fire, it was a red letter weekend for MN! Thanks goodness that we don’t live on the East Cost (sorry New York).

We did get some good news this week from MAAR in regard to our weekly market update.
At 5.7 percent, this is the lowest Months Supply of Inventory in more than two years and a full 32.9 percent below last year. The higher price points are still Buyer’s markets however the general price points are turning for the Seller’s benefits.

Now that the Thanksgiving Turkey coma has worn off, a push is in effect for the Twin Cities housing market. The week ending December 5 saw pending sales swing upward from the previous week by 152 to settle at 551.

This is 7.7 percent less than last year at this time, marking the third week of the last four to post pending sales numbers lower than a year ago. The aftermath of the tax credit’s initial expiration date is combining with the typical holiday slowdown to bring sales down.

For the full report visit -

4 more shopping days--- are you ready?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Exterior Remodeling: Best Bang for Your Buck

Looking to see what you can do to increase the resale value of your home… in the current economic times?

According to a REALTORS® report that the smartest home improvement investments may also be some of the least expensive. Results from the 2009 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report show that small-scale exterior projects are the most profitable at resale.

What’s it gonna’ cost me?

On a national level, eight out of the top 10 projects in terms of costs recouped were exterior replacement projects that cost less than $14,000.

Certain types of door and siding replacements, as well as wood deck additions all returned more than 80 percent of project costs upon resale. A steel entry door replacement – a new addition to this year’s list – recouped 128.9 percent of costs, followed by upscale fiber-cement sliding replacements at 83.6 percent. Wood deck additions recouped 80.6 percent of costs.

The 2009 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report compares construction costs with resale values for 33 midrange and upscale remodeling projects comprising additions, remodels and replacements in 80 markets across the country. Data are grouped in nine U.S. regions, following the divisions established by the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the twelfth consecutive year that the report, which is produced by Hanley Wood, LLC, was completed in cooperation with REALTOR® Magazine, as REALTORS® provided their insight into local markets and buyer home preferences within those markets.

What do the Numbers Say?

On a national level, the project with the biggest improvement from 2008 was the attic bedroom addition, recouping 83.1 percent of remodeling costs compared to 73.8 percent in 2008.

  • The only other interior project that landed in the top 10 was a minor kitchen remodel with 78.3 percent costs recouped.
  • Other exterior projects in the top 10 include midrange vinyl and upscale foam-backed vinyl sliding replacements, which returned more than 79 percent of costs.
  • Several types of window replacements – midrange wood, midrange vinyl, and upscale vinyl – all returned more than 76 percent of costs upon sale.
  • The least profitable remodeling projects in terms of resale value were home office remodels and sunroom additions, returning only 48.1 percent and 50.7 percent of project costs.

Remodeling projects are just one of many factors that contribute to a home’s overall resale value. Stafford Family Realtors can help to identify the projects and investments that will make a difference in your home.

Results of the report are summarized in the January issue of REALTOR® Magazine. To read the full project descriptions, access national and regional project data, and download a free PDF containing data for any of the 80 cities covered by the report, visit “Cost vs. Value” is a registered trademark of Hanley Wood, LLC.

Source: NAR

Thursday, December 17, 2009

8 Day left until Christmas!

That’s right folks; we are in the home stretch. Christmas is only a few days away. This weekend I am planning on getting the rest of my shopping “wrapped up”, if you’ll pardon the pun. I am also going to start in on my holiday baking.

Last week I did a trial run on my Chocolate & Peanut butter Biscotti. This is an easy recipe to do, if I can make it and not ruin anything, anyone can! I highly recommend it; they went fast when I brought them into the Coldwell Banker office.

If you are one of the lucky ones who have all your shopping done, the cookies baked and your presents wrapped and you are looking for some fun things to do this weekend check out a few of our suggestions:

- The James J. Hill house in St. Paul does a great tour with costumed actors who play the roles of servants in the home as they are getting ready for a holiday party. It is interesting and a fun family outing. Swing by Cossetta’s on W. 7th and Chestnut, after the tour for a huge slice of pizza and tiramisu.

- If you are on the western side of the ‘burbs, check out this home in Waconia! They have an amazing light display that performs to four Christmas songs. It’s a lot of fun and if you can’t get to the home before Christmas, never fear, they continue the show until January 10th.

- If we get some of this snow that they are forecasting for tomorrow, you can always curl up with a copy of your favorite Christmas movie and a hot cup of coco! Bring on the White Christmas!

Good luck if you are heading to the malls this weekend!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Weekly Market Update from MAAR

The local housing market experienced the traditional Turkey Day drop off for the week ending November 28 as Twin Citizens focused more on turkey and stuffing than purchase agreements and closing dates.

Even taking into account the expected holiday drop, market activity in the last few weeks has slowed considerably from the breakneck pace we saw during the first 10 months of the year, likely due to the passing of the home buyer tax credit’s initial deadline.

There were 5.9 percent fewer pending sales compared to the same week in 2008. That’s only the second week of year-over-year decrease in all of 2009 (the first was two weeks earlier).
Now for the good news: Days on Market before Sale dropped 14.5 percent to 127, and the Percentage of Original List Price trended positive over last year to 94.3. These two metrics should shore up sellers who are weathering the current economic storm.

For the full market report visit

information published by MAAR.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Foreclosures Decline for 4th Straight Month!

Some good news coming out about the state of the Foreclosure market!

Foreclosures declined 8 percent in November compared with October, but were still up 18 percent from November 2008.

This was the fourth-straight month that U.S. foreclosures have declined since hitting an all-time high in July, according to online foreclosure marketer RealtyTrac.

Default notices, an indicator of coming foreclosures, also were down 8 percent from October, but up 22 percent from November 2008. Bank repossessions were flat from the previous month and down 2 percent from November 2008.

"We don't really believe the underlying problems have been resolved," said Rick Sharga, senior vice president for RealtyTrac. Many borrowers, he told the Associated Press, "simply aren't going to qualify" for government and mortgage servicer help.

States with the highest foreclosure rates are:

  • Nevada
  • Florida
  • California
  • Arizona
  • Idaho
  • Michigan
  • Illinois
  • Utah
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey

Four states account for more than 50 percent of actual foreclosures: California, Florida, Illinois, and Michigan.

Source: RealtyTrac, (12/10/2009)/ REALTOR Magazine

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Catching Up

Minnetonka Coldwell Banker Burnet had the best Trees for Tots event EVER!

Thanks to the help of our clients and friends and the support of local businesses, we were able to collect over 750 TOYS which were donated to the Toys for Tots program!!!! Over 9,300 toys were donated from the participating Coldwell Banker Burnet offices from around the metro area; the donation was aired on KARE 11 News on Wednesday evening. (We'll post the video once they have it up online.)

Thanks to all who took part! Let’s make next year even better!

We have two Exceptional Homes open this weekend for you to visit.

19864 Wynnfield Road, Eden Prairie – Sunday, December 13th from 12-2

2408 Hunter Drive, Chanhassen – Sunday, December 13th from 1-3

Click on the links to view more information on these listings!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Blue Moon – I saw you standing alone

If you happened to look up towards the heavens last night, you might have noticed that the sky was brighter than normal. We are going into this December with the first of two full moons. This delightful event is known as a Blue Moon. The first full moon will grace our night sky tomorrow December 2nd and 3rd. The second full moon will occur over New Years Eve.

For more about the night sky, visit EarthSky, a vast forum compiled by scientists from around the world with content on various scientific topics.

Monday, November 30, 2009

It's Great to be Minnesotan!

Christmas music is blaring thru the radio and we are hard at work in the Stafford Family Realtors office today. We hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend and survived all the hectic shopping. Are you hard at work today (a.k.a. – checking out the Cyber Monday Sales)?

The Vikings are now posting double digits in the win column after yesterday’s win over da’ Bears. So, I guess you could say that all is right with the world in Minnesota today… except for the impending snow in the forecast for Thursday. Again, welcome to Minnesota.

This Saturday is our office’s annual Trees for Toys Event stop by and check out the Choir, Santa Clause and donate a gift for the Toys for Tots program.

Coldwell Banker Burnet - your Donation Destination!
19400 Highway 7
Excelsior, MN 55331

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Ok, so I’m a little over excited for Turkey, Stuffing and all the Fixings.

Do you have any great plans for this weekend? Are you looking for any ideas?

If you don’t plan on joining us crazies in the swell of shoppers on Black Friday, try checking out Christkindelsmarkt in downtown Excelsior. This great outdoor market/festival is only open the weekend after Thanksgiving and offers live holiday music, local vendors and a lantern parade. This is a great opportunity to experience some of the local holiday festivities.

If shopping is defiantly not on your list of “To Dos” this weekend, check out the Minneapolis Institute of Arts who is one of only two museums in the country to exhibit the Louver and the Masterpiece. This exhibit offers some of the wonderful works from the Louver that rarely leave France.

Or stop in at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis and check out the Nordic Christmas and their Christmas Trees. This is a long standing Minnesota tradition.

Any other ideas? We would love to hear from you!

Stafford Family Realtors would like to give a sincere and heartfelt Thank You to all our Friends, Clients and Family who have made this past year a success for us.

Thank You and we wish you a very wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Housing Recovery - By the Numbers

For the first time in three and a half years, the sale of new construction homes has added to the economic recovery of the housing market. We will also watch the other factors that have, and hopefully will continue, to aid in the improvement of the market will be the extension and expansion of the Homebuyer Tax Credit and the involvement of the Federal Reserve with the secondary mortgage market.

By the Numbers

• 24% - the Gain in Existing Home Sales since January
• 22% - the Increase in New-Home purchases
• 40% - the Rise in Single-Family Housing
• 5% - Fixed 30-Year Mortgage rate is at a multi-decade low
• 30% - How far prices have dropped since May of 2006
• 350,000 – this years projected increase in sales of existing homes
• 45% - the number of First Time Homebuyers making up the market
• 7.8 months – the number of homes available, the lowest in 2.5 years
• 29% - Market Share of Distressed Home sales in September vs. 51% in March

Information published by Businessweek - November 9, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Existing-Home Sales Record Big Gains

Some GREAT news about the market from REALTOR Magazine:

Citing the recent extension and expansion of the Home Buyer Tax Credit, a decline in Inventory and Home Prices as the main driving factors for the gains posted by the Housing Market in October. For the full article, please click on the link below.

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Existing-Home Sales Record Big Gains

For more information on the Tax Credit or for a Free Market Analysis of your are, please contact us today!

Stafford Family Realtors

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Open House Scheduls for November 21 & 22

We have exciting news! A Price Reduction and great open houses!

19864 Wynnfield Road - Eden Prairie. We jsut reduced the price of this great home $20,000! Now offered at $525,000. We will be open this Saturday, November 21 from 1-3 & Sunday, November 22 from 12-2.

2408 Hunter Drive - Chahassen. $529,900- a little of the Pacific Northwest in Chanhassen. We will be open Sunday from 12-2.

8792 Horizon Ridge - Victoria. Breathtaking views from this custom home filled with designer finishes. We will be open Sunday from 12-2

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Weekly Market Report from MAAR

For the full text of the Weekly Market Report - Click Here.

With the home-buyer tax credit now expanded and extended, sales activity in the Twin Cities region slowed down as expected for the week ending November 7. And by "slowed down," we mean it "only" posted a 17.2 percent year-over-year increase as opposed to last week's 42.9 percent year-over-year increase. So we're being openly facetious; market activity is still robust despite the respite from urgency.

New listings were down 14.3 percent for the same time period comparison, but the expansion of the tax credit to provide $6,500 to move-up or move-down buyers may create more new seller activity in the coming months.

And for the first time in several years, new listings may actually be welcome. The region has shed more than 12,000 units of inventory since the supply peak in September of 2007. In the lower price ranges, buyers are facing a shortage of good inventory. See page 6 of our Housing Supply Outlook for a more detailed look.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Go Green at Home to Save Money

NBC's Today show featured a great segment today on ways to go green to help save yourself some money this Fall/Winter. Here area a few tips to make your home Green

  • It sounds simple: turn off lights and unplug bigger items such as your T.V. or stereo. Just because the electronic is off, doesn’t mean that it isn’t sucking power.
  • Look out for hot spots and cold drafts in your home and calk or insulate where the air is coming in – remember – if you can see daylight, air is getting in.
  • Wash your laundry in cold water
  • Switch your light bulbs over to Fluorescent Bulbs – these light bulbs are longer lasting, durable, mercury free and more cost effective.
  • Have your furnace and A/S units checked yearly. Replace your filter and note the date you do so.

Click here to watch the short segment from Today.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Little Known Facts...

Thanks to all our clients and friends who came out last night in support of the ICA Food Shelf and made our annual Old Log Theatre event such a success!

Here is some of the interesting events we have coming up (and some of my little know facts!)

Little Know Fact: The first Pumpkin Pies were created without crusts. The pilgrims would remove all the seeds and goop out of the pumpkin then add milk, sugar, honey and spices. They would bake the whole gourd over hot ashes then eat the goodies inside!

Well, it’s official. While the first day of winter isn’t until December 21st, we have already broken some records with the first snow fall of the season.

Along with the snow come the visions of pumpkin pie, spiced cider and Christmas trees! This is my favorite time of year. Any holiday that involves eating copious amounts of food followed by shopping is great by me!

Little Known Fact: Shopping burns 300 calories an hour.

It all starts with caramel apples. This is the first sign of fall. Shortly after they make their appearance on grocery store end caps, the leaves start to change and the scent of cinnamon and allspice start to fill the air.

This is also when time seems to speed up and we become engulfed in the festivities. From the sugar induced coma of Halloween to the strike of midnight on December 31st, we enjoy Jack-O-Lanterns, Pumpkin Pie, Christmas Trees and, of course, the leftovers.

Most importantly, I love that the spirit of this season is to reflect upon our friends and family who make the holidays truly special.

At the Office, we are getting ready to kick off the holiday season with some great events for our friends and clients. All the events are designed to help the families that are in need in our community.

In November we invite our clients to an evening at the Old Log Theatre in Excelsior (hosted by select Agents at the Minnetonka Office of Coldwell Banker Burnet). It’s a quintessential Minnesota experience with a special kind of ambiance you only find at the Old Log. We ask all who attend the play to bring non perishable food items or a cash donation for the ICA food shelf.

Two Little Known Facts: The Minnetonka Coldwell Banker Burnet Office is a year round drop off point for the ICA food shelf. The ICA Food Shelf serves 1 family every 15 minutes.

This will be the fourth consecutive year Eric & Sharla are chairing the annual Trees for Toys event for the Minnetonka Office of Coldwell Banker Burnet.

This is one of the best events of the year and a great time to re-connect with our clients and collect toys for the Toys for Tots program. We give out Christmas Trees and Wreaths and our clients enjoy food, entertainment and a chance to tell Santa what they want for Christmas.

Two More Little Known Facts: During tough economic times the number of letters sent to Santa increase from roughly 7,000 a year to as much as 15,000. Last year our office donated 600 toys to the Toys for Tots program.

If you are going to be one of the 91% of Americans who eat turkey this Thanksgiving, as you take a moment to give thanks for all you have, please know that we are giving thanks for you.

And if you find yourself buying an extra toy (while burning off 300 calories after Thanksgiving) or you realize that you have too many cans of mushroom soup, feel free to stop by our office and drop them off—we will make sure they get to the families who are in need in our community.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Blog title...

Stafford Family Realtors would like to simply say a heartfelt "Thank You" to all our nation's Veterans today for their dedication, service and sacrifice.

Tips to Help your Home look great this Winter

Now that the leaves have fallen and the gardens are settling in for winter, how do you make your home look as inviting on the outside as it is on the inside? The upcoming holidays are a great chance and excuse to get out a do some decorating! Here are a few tips from the Star Tribune on ways to make your home more appealing to buyers:

Last weekend, I pulled out the broom and took to my front porch. I began by sweeping away the cobwebs and debris away from the front door, A few other ideas to keep your home’s fa├žade looking fresh would be to wash your windows, raking leaves (always a fun chore), trimming plants and getting ready for the snow.
If you are a fan of the DIY network, you might understand some of the nest tips on our list. Dress up your home’s exterior by adding planters filled with tree topper bundles which you can pickup from a local hardware store or garden center. Arrange the bundles in planters that you can position near your front door or nest to your garage. If you are like me, you like to change your welcome mat to a more durable one to handle the snow and sand. Mats have come a long way and finding one that is stylish isn’t too hard.

With the sun setting earlier now, good lighting is very important. Hang holiday lights and make sure that all your exterior light fixtures are clean and working. Nothing makes people feel more at home than the holidays and Christmas lights are the perfect way to get people in the spirit.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Weekly Market Update from MAAR

The Twin Cities housing market continues to post strong pending sales figures as fall progresses. For the week ending October 31, there were 826 pending sales. That's down from the week before but 42.9 percent greater than the same week last year.

The extension and expansion of the tax credit means that first-time home buyer activity will remain strong, but don't bank on the same blockbuster numbers we have seen this year. If you were a potential first-time buyer who was qualified to purchase in 2009, odds are good that you already bought. The fact that the income limits have been raised for eligibility does help since it widens the credit's availability.

The $6,500 credit for second-time buyers will spur some sellers to put their homes on the market who had previously been on the fence. New listings will likely strengthen this winter and into early 2010 as a result.

Some updated numbers for this month:
  • Days on Market is still shrinking, down to 128. That's 9.4 percent below last October.
  • The Percent of Original List Price Received at Sale bumped up to 94.6.
  • The Housing Affordability Index increased to 202, up 25.5 percent over 2008.

To view the Weekly Market Report from MAAR, click here.

Do you have questions about the Short Sales and Foreclosures? MAAR has some great information CLICK HERE.

Eric's newest designation as a Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) would be a great resource! Call him today to see what we can help you with. or 952.221.7751.

Monday, November 9, 2009

More informaiton on the Tax Credit!!!

Exciting News! Were you feeling left out while 1st Time Homebuyers were collecting $8,000? Well thanks to the passing of the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act (H.R. 3548); which President Obama signed into law, you too can now claim up to $6,500!

The new law includes an amendment which allows for buyers who have lived in their current home for five of the last 8 years, to be eligible for at $6,500 tax credit when they purchase a new home. The 1st Time Buyers are still able to claim up to $8,000. Both groups are required to have all purchase agreements signed by April 20, 2010 and have the sale closed by the end of June 2010.

There are some restrictions for who can take advantage of the credit. The IRS has a great site that spells out the rules.

For more information on the Tax Credit and the answers to some frequently asked questions check out the links below!

Home Buyer Tax Credit Changes

Tax Credit FAQs

As always, if you should have any questions about the credit or how Stafford Family Realtors can help you, please contact us today!

Friday, November 6, 2009

We Represent Chanhassen!

The November issue of Mpls St Paul magazine is on newsstands and right smack dab in the middle of page 260 are Eric & Sharla Stafford. Now why are they in this issue, you may ask

The Stafford’s’ are featured as a team for the 2009 Super Real Estate Agents Award. This recognition is the result of a survey conducted by Mpls St Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Business and Crescendo Business Services. 120,000 people were able to nominate agents who were then graded on nine criteria including: communication, customer service, integrity, market knowledge, negotiation, finding the right home, marketing of home, closing preparation and overall satisfaction. The nominees were then reviewed and selected by a panel of industry insiders. The end result was a list of 680 agents over more than 20 metro areas.

Not only are the Stafford’s happy to represent the market of Chanhassen, they also call the City “Home”.

We would like to say thank you for this recognition and say “Thank You” to everyone who has made this possible.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


With an overwhelming margin of 403-12, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act (H.R. 3548) which includes an amendment to extend the $8,000 Homebuyer Tax Credit. Now buyers will have until April 30, 2010 to sign a purchase agreement and close by the end of June.

Now we will wait for President Obama to sign off on the bill, which the White House has indicated that he would do.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Weekly Market Update from MAAR

Did you get all your screams out over the Halloween weekend? Well here’s a scary thought to keep you in the Halloween spirit: we’re running out of homes to sell in the lower price ranges.

For the week ending October 24 there were 926 signed purchase agreements, up a monstrous (get it?) 53.8 percent from a year ago. Over the last three months, sales of homes under $250,000 are up 40.0 percent from the same period during 2008, while sales above that watermark have dipped by 0.3 percent. As a result, compared to a year ago the inventory of available homes below $250,000 has dropped by over 5,300 units.

With the possibility of the federal tax credit for first-time buyers being extended and expanded, there may be significant shortages of inventory for buyers looking in those price ranges as 2010 begins.

For November, the overall Supply-Demand Ratio is a paltry 7.69 per buyer, down 29.3 percent from the year prior.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Skol Vikes???

Welcome to the Land of 10,000 + lakes and the adopted homeland of Swedes, Danes, and all other breeds of Scandinavians. With the Vikings defeat of the Packers (yet again) over the weekend, SKOL VIKES was the phrase on people’s lips. Which lead me, a transplant from Missouri (and a non Scandinavian) to ponder what the meaning of this foreign term was?

Much like lutefisk, I didn’t quite understand and being full of useful/less information as I am, I set out to learn. Here is what I found:

Skol is the Danish/Norwegian/Swedish word for a salute or a toast, as to an admired person or group.

Lyrics to the Vikings Fight song:

Skol Vikings, let's win this game,
Skol Vikings, honor your name,
Go get that first down,
Then get a touchdown.
Rock 'em . . . Sock 'em
Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!
Go Vikings, run up the score,
You'll hear us yell for more. . .
Skol, Vikings, let's go

So I must say, Skol Vikings! Enjoy your bye week, it was well earned!

Where are we at with the extension of 1st Time Home Buyer Tax Credit?

Well, we are almost there! The Senate is set to vote on the bill that will extend the tax credit until April of 2010. The vote, which is scheduled to take place this week, would not only extend the deadline for signed purchase agreements, it would also offer a credit to move up buyers who fit into certain limits.

As it is with government, nothing is every straight forward. The amendment extending the tax credit is attached to a larger bill that offers an extension of unemployment benefits along with new requirements for some tax return preparers and a few other stipulations.

The bill and its amendments is going up for vote in the Senate this week and, if approved, will move to the House and finally to President Obama. The White House has implied that the President will approve the legislation.

The amendments to the bill will include the following provisions:

• An $8,000 tax credit for first time homebuyers who have signed purchase agreements by April 30, 2010 and will close on the property by June 30, 2010.
• A NEW $6,500 tax credit for move-up buyers who December 1, 2009 and May 1, 2010. These buyers must have owned and lived in their home for a consecutive 5 of the last 8 years.
• The income limit will be expanded to $125,000 for singles and $225,000 for joint returns.

If you have any questions regarding the information above, please contact us and we'll be glad to fill you in!


Friday, October 30, 2009


Over night Fall has happened and the trees are now bear. No more leaf peeping this year my friends however, there are still some Autumn activities in which you can partake!

If you haven’t gotten your pumpkin for tomorrow’s holiday many grocery stores are still offering the orange gourds. If you have a little more time and are interested in taking a drive to Shakopee, Peter’s Pumpkins gives free hay rides thru their fields and a visit to their website will give you a coupon for a FREE pumpkin. The Peter’s is open from 9-7 on the weekends. Located just south of Hwy 169 on Old Brickyard Road.

It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with Wild Hockey, so it should come as no surprise that I chose to carve my pumpkin as homage to #24 the “Boogeyman!” Feel free to post a photo of your creation! We’d love to see how inventive you can be!

After you get a chance to stop by one of the great open houses we have this Sunday. Get ready to cheer on the Vikings as the take on the Pack in Green Bay! SKOL VIKES!!!

We would like to wish everyone a Happy and Safe Halloween!

REMINDER: Don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour when you go to bed on Saturday, October 31st for the end of Daylight Savings Time.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

We have 3 Great Properties open before the Vikings play.

8360 Crabapple Court: Victoria $250,000
Sunday November 1st - 12-2 PM

This is our newest listing located within walking distance to the Victoria Rec. Center, schools and parks. This twin home lives like a single family and features all living amenities on one level.

18964 Wynnfield Road: Eden Prairie $545,000
Sunday November 1st – 12-2 PM

This spectacular home in demand neighborhood of executive homes features designer details from top to bottom. The Amazing Lower Level offers Media Room, Billiards Room and Custom Wet Bar. Stop in and Check it out – you’ll want to stay for the game!

2301 Boulder Road: Chanhassen $409,999
Sunday November 1st – 12-2 PM

This great home is sited on winding streets lined with mature trees and stately homes. Located within walking distance to the neighborhood parks and the new Chanhassen High School. This enjoy the 4 Season Porch or the private yard. Relax or Entertain from the Gourmet Kitchen!

So Much Going On! Forbes Ranking, Trees for Toys & the 1ST Time Buyer Tax Credit

This week has been going by so quickly (as has this year). I can’t believe that November is just around the corner! We are getting ready for our annual Trees for Toys event and with Turkey Day coming up we are all looking forward to the holidays.

Forbes just announced their top pick for Most Affordable Places to Live Well and Minneapolis came in #1. “It nabbed the top spot on our list of Most Affordable Places To Live Well. There, homes are relatively affordable; residents enjoy a high quality of life and access to choice arts, leisure and entertainment offerings.” On top of this recognition, we have also been ranked as one of the Safest Places to Live.

Here is a little more from Forbes about Minnesota: “Last quarter, 61% of the area's home sold were available to the median household earner, according to NAHB/Wells Fargo, which puts the City of Lakes in 17th place of the 50 cities we measured. Minneapolis ranked just under the median in cost of living. Its quality of life ranking most distinguishes it; here the city ranked third, and came in ninth in arts and leisure offerings.”

We are gearing up for our annual Trees for Toys event which brings our clients and friends together with an event that asks for donations to the Toys for Tots program. Out office is a local Toys for Tots drop off location and we give either a Tree or Wreath to our clients. For one Saturday we get entertainment, Santa and great treats!

On the Legal Front, word is coming in that Congress is looking to extend the $8,000 First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit until April of 2010. This would mean that all purchase agreements would need to be signed by the end of April and the property would have to close by the end of June 2010. They are also discussing an option to give a $6,500 Tax Credit to buyers who are purchasing but have owned their current home for at least 5 years. The Senate has agreed to this plan but now we will need to watch the House before we can call this great news. We’ll keep an eye on this and let you know of any updates.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Congratulations Eric!

We are excited to announce that Eric Stafford has a new designation! To add to the already impressive list of specializations, we can now offer Certified Distressed Property Expert!

As a CDPE, Eric can save 9 out of 10 people from going into foreclosure; do you know anyone having trouble making their house payment?
The trends are pointing to the number of Foreclosures available is going down; however, the number of short sale situations is going to continue to rise in the coming months.

We can help! Call us today to see what your options are and how we can help. 952.470.2575.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Introducing 18964 Wynnfield Road, Eden Praire

We’ve got another Exceptional Home for you! Only available due to relocation, this single family home sold two years ago in multiple offers in 1 day! Custom Designer Finishes from top to bottom! Check out the Gourmet Kitchen with granite counters and the main floor Office with custom built-ins. All 4 bedrooms are located on the second floor, including the private Master Suite with the large walk-in closet and private bath.

The amazing lower level features over $100,000 in updates. Relax or entertain at the full Wet Bar while you play billiards in the Game Room, or sit back and enjoy a movie in the Media Center with the large screen.

The back yard of this home offers loads of privacy with its large mature trees. Take a soak in the Hot Tub or relax under the pergola with friends.

Call us today for a private showing!

Weekly Market Update from MAAR

The fall Twin Cities housing market has been full of wild things, mostly first-time home buyers stampeding to take advantage of the federal tax credit before it expires on November 30. The week ending October 10 was no different than others we've seen this fall. There were 947 signed purchase agreements for the week, a 37.6 percent increase over the same week last year.

At 1,543 new listings we're down 4.4 percent from the same week a year ago. The trend continues: New listings haven't been keeping up with the amount of sales, bringing total housing supply down dramatically in the Twin Cities. There are currently 24,901 homes on the market, 21.0 percent less than a year ago.

The rumpus is likely to subside as we near the November 30 tax credit deadline, silencing the sales activity of the market's most active buyers.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Open House Schedule for Sunday, October 18th

We have three great listings for you to check out this weekend!

Just Listed and First Time OPEN! 2:00-4:00PM
843 Barrington Drive E.
Shakopee - $398,900
This executive home is sited on over 1.5 acres in a park like setting covered with matures trees. You will find a main floor office, private master suite and a newly finished lower level walkout.

Breathtaking Views and Custom Finishes! 2:00-4:00PM
8792 Horizon Ridge
Victoria - $539,000
This home shows like a model! High end finishes throughout this amazing home in the demand neighborhood of Deer Run Golf Community.

A Little of the Pacific Northwest in Minnesota - 2:00-4:00PM
2408 Hunter Drive
Chanhassen - $549,900
Meticulously maintained this home features a Gourmet Kitchen, Fully Finished Lower Level with Wet Bar and enchanting gardens.

Stop by one of our open houses this weekend and visit. We’ll be sure to keep the game on for you!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Weekly Market Update from MAAR!

Autumn may be bringing colder temperatures (and snow, too: what's up with that?!?) but the Twin Cities housing market is still hot. Contrary to the typical fall slowdown, pending sales are gaining weekly momentum as home buyers take advantage of the final days of the Federal tax credit.

For the week ending October 3, signed purchase agreements were a stunning 61.2% higher than last year, jumping from 647 to 1,043. New listings are a different story, however, down 8.0% below the previous year. Total active listings remain sluggish compared to a year ago, with the 24,354 on the market representing a 20.9% drop from a year ago.

There are some new stats this week that help bring some perspective on just how much better things have gotten for sellers in the last year:
• Days on Market Until Sale: at 129 days is 11 percent below last year.
• Percent of Original List Price Received at Sale: at 93.9% is 1.8 percent higher than last year.
• Months Supply of Inventory: at 6.6 is 30.5% lower than last year and is closer to a balanced market.

All three indicators are important reflections of market shift. Yet we can't minimize that sellers still face tough conditions, especially in the higher price ranges where sales are still on a downward trend.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ginger, Smoke, Rain & Rice

Don’t worry this isn’t the title track to a new age CD dropping today nor are they the ingredients for making this Minnesota fall a great one… not unless you are looking to update or sell your home.

Just as you are reading this on the internet now, buyers are checking out your home online before even considering seeing it in person. One of the best ways to make a good first impression is in the paint colors you select.

Neutral colors show better in photos and make your home more appealing online. Here are a few suggestions that might take your Red Delicious walls from precarious to Perfect!

Behr offers Ground Ginger - a pale olive tone that is great for dining rooms and kitchens.

Sherwin-Williams has Kilim Beige – puts that crisp, clean touch on a wall. Khaki colors tend to cover flaws well and is great for touching up.
Benjamin Moore submits Pale Smoke – soft blue/gray shades work well in bedrooms and creates a serene setting.

Sherwin Williams brings on the Rain – too much beige can be boring. This is another smoky blue that works well in bedrooms but also for bathrooms. If you have white fixtures, this color balances well. It also looks great with any type of metal fixtures.

Duron offers Rice Paddy – is another green toned shade that is great in living rooms and kitchens. It blends well with granite or stone counter tops.

Wickham Gray from Benjamin Moore – This is a great option if you need to cover up a bold color already on your walls.

For all the people who love Red, there are just as many who don’t. Keep this in mind when you are selecting your paint colors.

Here is your Stafford Family Realtors helpful hint: If you find a color that you like but don’t want to pay the designer price for a gallon or you can’t match your favorite color, take your paint chip or sample to Home Depot. They will color match and print a sticker for you so that if you run out you can always order more without having to find the color again.

Happy Painting!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Great New Listing in Shakopee

Welcome to 843 Barrington Drive East

4 Bedrooms / 4 Baths / 4 Car Garage
MLS# 3844789

This stately home is sited on 1.58 acres of park-like yard covered with mature trees. A circular driveway leads to the front of this well maintained home.

Just off the foyer you will find the main floor home office with French doors that lead to the Separate Formal Dining Room.

If you would rather opt for casual dining, the Eat-in Kitchen offers plenty of space and a large center island. Sit on the deck and enjoy the amazing views of your yard.
The main floor Family Room features a gas burning fireplace, a great place to curl up with a good book.

The Private Master Suite is spacious & comfortable. Take a soak in the Jacuzzi tub.

The current home owners finished off the lower level walkout. They have added a 4th bedroom, Game Room and Family Room with a wood burning stove.

Relax in the hot tub in the privacy of your backyard and enjoy calling this house a home.

Call us today for a private showin at 952.470.2575 or check out more informaiton at

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Weekly Market Update from MAAR

Fall is officially on in the Twin Cities, but it hasn't slowed the housing market as much as usual. After the school year begins, we typically see a drop in buyer activity, but the 2009 fall market is remaining robust due in large part to the final weeks of the tax credit for first-time home buyers. There were 1,056 pending sales for the week ending September 26, up 41 percent from the same week last year.

As a direct result, inventory is dropping like a stone. There are approximately 24,500 homes for sale in the 13-county metro area, down more than 20 percent from a year ago.

The October 2009 Supply-Demand Ratio (SDR) comes in at 6.88 houses per buyer, down 22.5 percent from last year. The SDR has shown year-over-year drops of 30 percent or more for the past few months, but we're projecting that the year-over-year decline for October will be smaller because pending sales are likely to be significantly lower if the federal tax credit for first-time buyers is not extended. If the credit goes *poof*, it will remove buyers from the market.

Welcome to the Manor

Ever wonder what $150 Million can buy you?

Standing as the crown jewel of one the most exclusive neighborhoods in Southern California, the Manor is recognized as one of the most famous mansions in U.S. history. Built by entertainment royalty Candy and Aaron Spelling, the estate rests on approximately 4.7 acres of rare flat land in the Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles. Offered at $150,000,000.00

Monday, October 5, 2009

“In a recent survey of Wall Street Journal subscribers, Coldwell Banker ranked #1 among all measured Realtors as the company they would consider using for future real estate transactions.”

Source: 2009 Residential Real Estate Survey; The Wall Street Journal Marketing Dept./Beta Research Corp.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Weekly Market Update from MAAR

The Labor Day fluctuations came and went, and the Twin Cities housing market is better for it. Pending sales for the week ending September 13 rose dramatically to 1,043, which is 33.5 percent above last year's total for the same week. We must assume that a healthy chunk of this buyer activity can be attributed to first-time home buyers taking advantage of the tax credit before it expires on November 30.

New listings came in at 1,846, up 3.2 percent in a year-over-year comparison. Home sellers have recognized a window of opportunity in recent months and are listing with a little more frequency, but the overall inventory of houses for sale is still below that of the last three years and our Supply-Demand Ratio (which measures the number of houses available per buyer) remains 30.3 percent better than where we were a year ago.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

We've Got a Hole in One!!!

This amazing home in Deer Run wont last long so contact us today for a private showing.

Just listed, this home is nestled on a private cul-de-sac covered with mature trees with tranquil views of a glacial pond. From pillar to post, designer finishes can be found throughout. Curl up with a good book in front of the fire in the front Office or gather in the Gourmet Kitchen. The 4 Season Porch offers private views of the pond and wooded yard.

We will be hosting the first Open House this Sunday, September 24th from 12-2

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Weekly Market Update from MAAR

Once again, the six-day gap between where Labor Day fell in 2008 and where it fell this year is causing our year-over-year weekly numbers to look weird. For the week ending September 12, you'll see a steep drop-off in new listings and pending sales, but there's no such dip last year.
New listings for the week ending September 12 were 1,624, a 12.9 percent drop from this period last year. Pending sales agreements also dropped precipitously to 840 from 1,070 a week ago, 7.3 percent higher than this week last year.
Next week's figures should begin to provide more relevant year-over-year comparisons. As the final days of the tax credit tick down (72 days and shrinking), we'll be watching market activity with heavy interest. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Thanks to all of our Clients and Fiends who made our 3rd Annual Client Appreciation Cruise a great event!

Saturday shaped up to be a wonderful day both weather-wise and the company it was spent with. We are so very lucky and grateful to all who attended and to Brian Call with Rubicon Mortgage who helped us pull together our outing on the Queen of Excelsior II on Lake Minnetonka.

The fall leaves were just starting to change but the weather was wonderful. We are already looking forward to our 4th Annual Cruise where we hope to celebrate our success with even more Clients and Friends.

Thanks Again to you All!

Weekly Market Update Report from MAAR

In 2008, Labor Day fell on September 1; this year, it fell on September 7. That six-day gap is enough to make our year-over-year comparisons of weekly market activity look a little goofy this week. For instance, for the week ending September 5, there were a whopping 42.9 percent more pending sales than there were a year ago, but this is only because Labor Day—a holiday that notoriously silences the local real estate market for several days—fell during that week last year and didn't this year. Expect similar confusion next week.
Independent of these numerical oddities, sales are still extremely robust as the days remaining on the first-time buyer tax credit continues to tick down. 78...77...76...
New metrics updated this week:
• Housing Affordability Index: At 195, it towers over last year's affordability by 29.1 percent. Falling prices continue to do their job, at least for buyers.
• Months Supply of Inventory: The 6.9 months of inventory available is 30.3 percent below this time last year.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Weekly Marketing Update from MAAR

For the first time in 9 months, the number of weekly new listings coming on the market was actually higher than it was a year ago. The 1,641 new homes on the market during the week ending August 29 represent a 3.3 percent increase from a year ago. The slight year-over-year uptick is due in part to growth in the number of new, traditional, non-lender-mediated listings.

For the most recent reporting week, the number of brand new traditional listings (excluding re-lists that have already been on the market sometime in the last 12 months) has grown 20.3 percent compared to a year ago. Home sellers are becoming more active, likely in response to the increase in home sales seen throughout the year.

And if you look at three of our newly updated metrics, it becomes obvious why more sellers are jumping in:

Days on Market Until Sale - 133 days, a drop of 7.1 percent from a year ago.
Percent of Original List Price Received at Sale - 94.1, up 1.5 percent from a year ago.
Supply-Demand Ratio - 5.46 homes per buyer in September, down 30.3 percent from a year ago.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The psychologie Home Buying

When it comes to buying a home, women are in a bigger hurry, according to a national survey for Coldwell Banker Real Estate that delved into the homebuying psyche.

Coldwell Banker wanted to understand the difference between men and women in the homebuying process so it could help its practitioners do a better job of guiding first-time homebuyers who must make up their minds before the tax credit expires on Dec. 1.

Here are some key findings:
• When asked how long it took before they knew their home was “right” for them, almost 70 percent of women had made up their minds the day they walked into the house vs. 62 percent of men. On the other hand, significantly more men needed two or more visits (32 percent of men vs. 23 percent of women).
• 55 percent of women find it more important to be closer to their extended family than to their job, compared to only 37 percent of men.
• 64 percent of women said that if they found the home of their dreams but had concerns about its security, they would no longer be interested. More than half of men agreed (51 percent).
• When the respondents were asked how they would use an extra 12x12 room if it could be anything they wanted, men and women agreed on the top three responses: Bedroom, office/study, and family room/den.
• 8 percent—nearly all of which were men—said they would use the extra space for recreation/entertainment.
• 70 percent of couples said the responsibility for making major financial decisions--such as homebuying--are shared equally.

Source: Coldwell Banker Real Estate (08/17/2009)

Buyer activity in the Twin Cities housing market continued its strong run in July.

For the 13th consecutive month, there were more pending sales than there were a year ago. July saw 5,174 signed purchase agreements, up 16.0 percent from July 2008 and the strongest July showing since 2005. Of these sales, 43.6 percent were lender-mediated foreclosures and short sales.
"It's been a busy summer," said our prez, Steve Havig. "Buyers are active and supply is shrinking."
New listings continue to post weak numbers, with July's total of 7,669 representing the lowest July output since 2002.

As sales have grown and new listings have slowed, the total number of houses available for sale has dropped dramatically in the Twin Cities. As of August 1st, there were 25,862 homes for sale in the region, down 21.6 percent from a year ago.

The overall July median sales price for all properties was $171,000, down 17.8 percent from one year ago, but up 2.1 percent from the second quarter median sales price of $167,500. The median sales price of traditional homes in June was $213,150, down 6.2 percent from a year ago. Lender-mediated homes posted a May figure of $126,000, down 15.4 percent from a year ago.

There appears to be less room for negotiation, as the Percent of Original List Price Received at Sale continues to improve—the July mark of 94.0 is 1.5 percent higher than last July.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Weekly Market Activity Report from MAAR

The Twin Cities housing market continues to regain a semblance of balance in supply and demand. For the week ending August 8, there were 1,802 new listings, down 9.5 percent from last year. There were also 1,037 purchase agreements signed (pending sales), up 15.2 percent above last year. The total inventory of homes available for sale is down 21.5 percent from a year ago.

The Housing Affordability Index (HAI) of 195 has begun to taper off from its high of 219 earlier this year, yet the current HAI still represents an increase of more than 30 percent from the boom years earlier this decade. Months Supply of Inventory currently sits at 7.2—down 31.4 percent from last year's mark of 10.5.

All in all, the see-saw is moving back towards equilibrium. This doesn't mean that everything is hunky-dory; sellers still face a challenging market, especially in the higher price ranges. But the overall shift is welcome news.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Economists Pronounce the Recession Over

The majority of economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal say the recession is over and Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke deserves another term.

Of the 47 economists the newspaper surveyed, 27 said the recession has ended and 11 predict another trough this month or next. The rest refused to commit. But they were nearly unanimous is saying that Bernanke should be rehired.

Gross domestic product is expected to grow 2.4 percent in the third quarter at a seasonally adjusted annual rate. Economists were also heartened by a better-than-expected jobless report in July.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Phil Izzo (08/12/2009)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

748 Kirche Hill Drive, Carver, MN | Powered by Postlets

748 Kirche Hill Drive, Carver, MN | Powered by Postlets

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Buyers Shouldn’t Wait on Falling Prices. Advice for Buyers who are on the Fence.

Fear of overpaying for property is common these days, especially in places like New York where prices continue to be unstable.

Are you one of the many buyers who are frozen because you are concerned that you will pay too much? Here are some factors that might get you off the fence:

*Waiting for the right time can be expensive. Some buyers would have more equity today, despite falling prices, if they had bought when they were first considering it, instead of continuing to pay rent.

*Financing is fickle. Some people who were highly qualified last year can’t find financing this year because the credit market has tightened or their personal financial situation now makes them an undesirable borrower.

*Interest rates are headed up. If prices decline by another 10 percent, but interest rates increase by 1 percentage point, the monthly payment will be the same.

Don't wait too long. If you get into the housing market now, you can also take advantage of the $8,000 Homeowners Tax Credit!

For more informaion on this or any other services we provide, contact us by visiting

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Douglas Heddings (07/27/2009)

Weekly Market Update from MAAR

Woof, it's getting hot out there. The Twin Cities housing market is entering the dog days of summer, and with that comes a bit more stagnant air revolving around new inventory. The 1,637 new listings for the week ending August 1 are 12.2 percent below last year's numbers. Over the past few weeks, pending sales have been flat, but in year-over-year comparisons they are still 20.9 percent above 2008 numbers.

Two new stats for the week:

Days on Market Until Sale: Dropped by 6.6 percent over last year, from 146 to 137. Inventory is being swept up.

Percent of Original List Price: 94 percent. On a steady increase the past few months as is usually the case during the summer months.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Open House Schedule for August 9th, 2009

We have three great properties open this weekend in Chanhassen!

2408 Hunter Drive ~ Chanhassen
Open Sunday 12-2

In the demand neighborhood of Longacres, this home brings a little piece of the northwest to Minnesota. From the enchanted Gardens to the well appointed Lower Level, this home is great for relaxing and entertaining.

2301 Boulder Road ~ Chanhassen
Open Sunday 2:30-4:30

Opening this fall, the new Chanhassen High School is within walking distance from this great home! A Four Season Porch allows you to enjoy the private yard covered with mature trees.

2305 Lukewood Drive ~ Chanhassen
Open Sunday 2:30-4:30

Just listed, this home features a park-like backyard and single level living at its best. Open and spacious the flowing floor plan offers three bedrooms on the main level and a hearth room next to the gourmet kitchen.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Weekly MAAR Market Update

August. Welcome to another summer month in the Twin Cities housing market. Pending sales in July ended on a fairly positive note. The 1,009 purchase agreements signed for the week ending July 25 were 21.4 percent above last year at this time. The 1,652 new listings this week are 9.0 percent less than this week in 2008. Active listings as a whole are 21.7 percent behind last year.

The metric to watch this month is the Supply-Demand Ratio. At 4.88, this is a startling 34.8 percent less than where we were at this time last year. With less than five houses on the market per buyer and an affordability index sky-high at 192, the window is quickly closing for those wanting to get into a home under ideal conditions.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Weekly Market Activity Report from MAAR

"You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone." – Cinderella, 1980s power-balladeers

This week's quote-of-note applies to the current situation of available inventory in the Twin Cities housing market. Our disappearing supply—down 21.4 percent from this time last year—is being caused by absorption from strong pending sales activity (up 18.2 percent year-over-year for the week ending July 18) and weak new listings (down 12.1 percent for the same time period comparison).

With a consistently shrinking inventory and more buyers this summer than we've seen since 2005, buyers who lack urgency could find themselves singing along to that sad classic Cinderella song.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Easy Ways to Improve Curb Appeal

Curb appeal can make or break a sale in today’s market.

If your sellers are willing to improve the outside of their homes, here are some low-cost ways to increase a home’s curb appeal.
• Clean up beds by weeding and pruning shrubs. Add mulch for a high-end look.
• Invest in pots. A couple of attractive ceramic (or ceramic look-alike) pots filled with attractive plants can really make an entrance look classier.
• Install landscape lighting on the path to the front door.
• Replace the mailbox with a newer one and put some nice plantings at its base to dress it up.

Source: Tribune Media Services, Cameron Huddleston (07/26/2009)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Open House Schedule for Sunday, July 26th!!!!

Come Visit Us at one of our great listings this weekend!

12-2 PM
2301 Boulder Road, Chanhassen $417,000
Amazing family home in the demand neighborhood of Stone Creek, walk to parks and the new Chanhassen High School.

12-2 PM
8016 Erie Avenue, Chanhassen $225,000
Freshly Painted and totally turn key! Everything is new and improved. This great twin home offers walking to shopping, dining, schools & parks.

2408 Hunter Drive, Chanhassen $572,000
A little piece of Seattle in Minnesota! Well appointed and amazing finished level in this home sited on a lush lot in the demand neighborhood of Longacres.

9801 Overlook Court, Chanhassen $499,900
A cul-de-sac lot in Springfield of Chanhassen. This home offers a Great Room floor plan with tons of open spaces for relaxing and entertaining. Enjoy the community pool just for residents.


Bake Sale Helps Mom Save Her Home

A Teaneck, N.J., mother of three advertised her plight and sold 500 home-baked apple cakes at $40 each to make the overdue mortgage payments that would make her eligible for a loan modification, saving her home from foreclosure.

Angela Logan’s story appeared first in The Record newspaper and then was widely promoted online and on television. Sympathetic readers and listeners sent in their orders.

Initially, disgruntled neighbors complained to health officials, who said that state law prohibited Logan from baking the cakes in her own kitchen, so the Hilton Hasbrouck Heights lent her their commercial kitchen. She filled the orders by baking for 10 hours straight.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Nick Timiraos (07/22)

Weekly Market Update from MAAR

As summer progresses, the Twin Cities housing market continues on a well-established pattern of shrinking supply and growing sales. New listings for the week ending July 11 were 1,867—a 13.7 percent decrease over last year but a nice pickup after the annual July 4 slowdown. Pending sales rose to 1,007, a year-over-year increase of 16.6 percent. That's not as much of a year-over-year expansion as the 30-plus percent growth this number has seen recently, but it still represents a trend of growing demand.

Active listings are at 26,279, a decrease of 21.3 percent from this time last year. Coupling this with a shrinking number for Months Supply of Inventory and a flattening of our Average Days on Market, it's apparent that the buyer advantage over sellers is waning, at least in the lower price ranges.

For more information please clickk on :

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Check out the Cheapest Places to Live: Twin Cities ranked #1!!!!
Forbes magazine looked at the 100 least expensive places to live. It ranked all 380 metropolitan areas based on cost-of-living data from Moody’s and home affordability from the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo.

The magazine also factored in four quality-of-life considerations, including the rate of violent crime, unemployment, average salary for college grads, and cultural opportunities.

The Twin Cities has the #1 spot for the Central Region followed by Omaha-Council Bluffs, Neb-Iowa and St. Louis, Mo.-Illinois.

Experts Say Now is the Time to Buy

Many investment experts advise it's time to buy. With prices falling, it is a once-in-a-generation chance to load up on property, they say.

How much of an investment portfolio should be devoted to real estate? David Swensen, who manages Yale University's endowment, says 20 percent is a smart number.

One possibility is real estate investment trusts (REITs), which, despite the fact that they are slashing dividends to conserve cash, are still paying average yields of 7.3 percent. That’s double the yield on Treasurys.

Should a home be part of the equation? Michael Kirby, founder of Green Street Advisors, says no.

"You should own a house to provide shelter," says Kirby. "In a way, it's not an investment, and it's not part of your investment portfolio. It's really just a living expense. By owning a house you are prepaying rent."

Source: Forbes (08/03/2009)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Open Houses for Tuesday, July 21!!!! 2408 Hunter Dr., Chanhassen 11-2 & 1115 Cove Cir. Minnetrista – 11:30-2 – Come for LUNCH!
Introducing 2408 Hunter Drive - Check out our new listing in the #2 Best Place to Live!
Introducing our newest listing!!! 2408 Hunter Drive, Chanhassen. This amazing home in demand Longacres is nestled on a private lot covered with mature trees. The open and spacious floor plan offers many great options for relaxing and entertaining. From the spectacular 4 Season Porch and the charming gardens to the finished Lower Level with it’s wet bar, there is no better place to call home!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Stafford Family Realtors have a new listing: Check it out at - - 8016 Erie Ave. CHAN!
First-Time Buyers: Hurry for $8,000 Tax Credit

It’s time to remind all you first-time home buyers that in order to qualify for the government’s $8,000 gift in the form of a tax credit, you must close on your home by Dec. 1.

Purchase contracts need to be signed by early October, so you have 45 to 60 days to arrange financing and safely close on your new home!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Weekly Market Activity Report from MAAR

The Twin Cities housing market experienced its annual pre-Independence Day drop in activity as fireworks, barbeques and lake cabin excursions preoccupied the minds and schedules of many Twin Citizens. New listings took a steep dive prior to the holiday, dropping to 1,482 for the week ending July 4. This is an 8.3 percent decrease from the same week in 2008.

Pending sales also dropped to 989 for the week ending July 4. Fortunately, this stat is still a healthy 34.6 percent above where it was last year, when there were just 735 pending sales reported.

Further metric watching:

  • Housing Affordability Index – 192. While astoundingly high, the index has dropped since January due to price rebounding and higher mortgage rates.
  • Months Supply of Inventory – 7.3. This is a 31.1 percent decrease from the 10.6 figure posted last year at this time.

The market is showing signs of slowly moving back towards balance.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Chanhassen made the list yet again!

Money Magazine has released their Best Places to Live issue and guess who’s on the list:

Coming in at number 2 is our very own Chanhassen!

Money cites decreasing property taxes, low unemployment stats, and the increasing property values as a few of the reasons Chanhassen landed on the list once again.

Residents of Chanhassen love the small town feel this city has. Chanhassen is home to 11 lakes and 34 parks along with the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

Other Minnesota cities that made the list:
#20 Chaska (#8 in 2007)
#36 Lino Lakes
#97 Owatonna

This is the second time since 2005 that Chanhassen has made the list.

For more information on Real Estate in Chanhassen from the #1 Coldwell Banker Burnet Agents in Carver County, please contact us today.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Weekly Market Activity Report from MAAR

Welcome back from the 4th of July weekend. Our post-4th news is remarkably the same as our pre-4th news. New listings continue at an atypically slow pace but pending sales are robust.

The 1,719 new listings for the week ending June 27 is 18.9 percent less than a year ago. The 26,043 total listings available is 21.3 percent less than last year. However, the 1,121 pending sales for this week excels last year by a giant 31 percent.

Additional metrics worth paying attention to this month:
  • Supply-Demand Ratio: 4.9 homes per buyer; 32.6 percent below last year; lowest since 2005.
  • Days on Market Until Sale: 140; seemingly high but crawling down to a pre-bubble level.
Housing market improvement has been significant in the lower price ranges, while homes priced above conforming loan limits still face significant challenges. With fewer homes available than last year, the number of days on market dwindling, and the clock ticking on government incentives, the buyer advantage is not as great as it once was.

PMI Predicts Where Prices Are Likely to Fall

Mortgage insurer PMI Group predicts that home prices will fall through the first quarter of 2011 in about 30 of the country’s 50 largest metropolitan areas.

“The housing market has been hit by a demand shock of high unemployment and a supply shock of distressed foreclosure sales,” LaVaughn Henry, senior economist at PMI.

The areas PMI says have the highest probability of lower prices in 2011 are:

  • Miami
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • West Palm Beach, Fla.
  • Orlando
  • Tampa, Fla.
  • Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Riverside, Calif.
  • Los Angeles
  • Santa Ana, Calif.
  • Sacramento
  • San Diego
  • Las Vegas
  • Phoenix
  • Providence, R.I.
  • Detroit

Cities with the lowest probability of falling prices are:

  • Cleveland
  • Pittsburgh
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • San Antonio
  • Houston
  • Dallas
  • Fort Worth

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July from Stafford Family Realtors

In 1777, the first Anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence was celebrated with 13 gun salutes, speeches, parades and fireworks.

Celebrate in the tradition of our forefathers at the Excelsior Commons this Independence Day! This year, Stafford Family Realtors have donated to help fund the Excelsior Bay Firework display.

Come out to historic Excelsior and enjoy the music of the Minnesota Orchestra and one of the best firework displays in Minnesota!

We wish you and your family a safe and happy 4th of July!

Eric & Sharla Stafford

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Weekly Market Activity Report from MAAR

The number of homes for sale in the Twin Cities metro area continues to decline relative to a year ago. As of Monday morning this week, there were 26,674 homes for sale in the region, down 20.9 percent from a year ago. In other words, we've lost 1 in 5 homes in our inventory in the last year.

Sales are a different story. For the week ending June 20, there were 1,156 signed purchase agreements, up 32.1 percent from the same week in 2008. That's the 12th week of the last 13 to feature a year-over-year increase in sales activity exceeding 20 percent.

We must bear in mind, however, that sales are only up in certain categories and price ranges. Year to date, traditional home sales (excluding foreclosures and short sales) are still down 17.8 percent from last year. New construction sales are down 21.7 percent from last year. And sales of homes priced above $350,000 are down 26.8 percent from a year ago. The lion's share of market activity is taking place in the lower price ranges this year

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Come to Minneapolis if you are looking for Opportunities!

Best Cities for Finding Opportunity

Where are the best cities to live in the United States if you want to work hard and get ahead?

Forbes magazine examined the nation’s 40 largest metropolitan statistical areas and based on the number of Forbes' 400 best big companies and 200 best small companies that are headquartered in each, it identified what it considered places with the most opportunity.

The magazine says it took this route because the best big companies provide opportunities for those who seek to be employees, and the rate of success of small businesses indicates how the area treats entrepreneurs.

Here are the top 10:
1. Houston
2. Dallas
3. Minneapolis
4. Pittsburgh
5. Boston
6. Washington, D.C.
7. Austin
8. St. Louis
9. Kansas City, Mo.
10. New York

Source: Forbes, Lauren Sherman (06/19/2009)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What's the Skinny?

June's The Skinny video is now up and running! The Skinny is a 3 min. video produced by the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS and narrated by our President-Elect, Brad Fisher. The content is a brief snapshot of the state of the market in the Twin Cities. Click the link below to view this video.

Monday, June 22, 2009

We are getting more great news from MAAR on the state of Real Estate Market.

More Good News on the State of the Market!

MAAR’s Weekly Market Activity Report - New Listings and Sales Continue to Rise

New listings and pending sales both took a jump upward in the week ending June 6 as the annual post-Memorial Day surge in activity took place. There were 1,226 signed purchase agreements in the Twin Cities for the week, which represents a 33.4 percent increase over the same week last year. The 2,160 new listings were a 4.3 percent decline from a year ago but were a significant bump over the activity seen during the Memorial weekend respite.

The June Housing Affordability Index of 199 is down 20 points over the last two months due to recent rises in mortgage rates and seasonal increases in the region’s median sales price. Combine that with a steadily declining Months Supply of Inventory (7.6 months) and falling Supply/Demand Ratio (5 homes per buyer), and it’s clear that market conditions are changing compared to a couple of months ago, moving towards a more balanced market.

Regardless, there remains a healthy inventory of properties available for purchase. And with the $8,000 federal tax credit spurring first-time home buyer activity, this summer should continue to be busy.

For the full market report visit

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

Thursday, June 11, 2009

New Listing coming to MLS!!!

We are excited to announce the newest listing brought to you by Stafford Family Realtors!

2301 Boulder Road, Chanhassen, MN 55317

This beautiful 4 Bedroom, 3 Bath home in the demand neighborhood of Stone Creek features a private yard with mature trees. For more information, please contact Eric or Sharla at 952.470.2575

Foreclosure Information

Foreclosures declined 6 percent in May compared to April, but the number is still an increase of 18 percent compared to May 2008, reports RealtyTrac.

Nevada continued to have the highest foreclosure rate with one in every 64 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing in May, six times the national average.

These 10 states account for nearly 77 percent of total U.S. foreclosure activity: Nevada, California, Florida, Arizona, Utah, Michigan, Georgia, Colorado, Idaho, and Ohio.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Great New Listings and Open Houses

We are excited to announce a great new price on a well maintained home in Carver!!!!
748 Kirche Hill Road in Carver is now listed for $220,900. The current owners of this home have installed new carpet and pad thruout, along with fresh paint, new light fixtures, new hardware, new flooring, and much more. The quiet yard backs to a business and are the quietest neighbors your could ask for.

Our OPEN HOUSE schedule is now posted for this Sunday the 7th. Come and visit Sharla & Eric and check out some great opportunities!

8500 Cedar Court, Victoria - $335,000 open from 12-2
910 Anthony Way, Victoria - $429,900 open from 2:30 - 4:30
9108 Overlook Court, Chanhassen $510,000 open form 12-2

For more information, please visit or call 952.470.2575.

Weekly Market Activity Report from MAAR

For the week ending May 23, there were 1,103 pending sales, which was down slightly from the week prior due to the Memorial Day weekend holiday. Despite the low-cal dip, the mark is still 27.2 percent higher than last year at this time. Of the week's sales, 43.2 percent were lender-mediated foreclosures and short sales. In week-by-week, year-over-year comparisons, sales are expected to be higher than last year for the remainder of the year.

Heavy sales and soft growth in new listings equate to no growth in the supply of homes for sale this spring—the time of year that typically shows the largest increases. There are currently 26,453 active listings, lagging 19.6 percent behind this time in 2008.

This week's edition of the MAAR Weekly Market Activity Report features a new Supply-Demand Ratio for June 2009 of 5.04, which means that there will be 5.04 houses per buyer during the month. This is an astounding 33.4 percent drop compared to June 2008.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Emerald Ash Borer Pests

Minnesota has officially seen its first Emerald Ash Borer Beetle. This exotic bug has already killed more than 50 million Ash trees in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Canada. With 872 million Ash trees, Minnesota is home to the third largest population in nation. If preventative measures are not taken, the state can expect to see potentially devastating results from these bugs.

Preventative measures can be taken to protect against the damage inflicted by the borer. Many Cities have an Arborist on staff that can answer questions or offer treatment suggestions; this is generally a great place to start. Jill Sinclair is the Arborist for the City of Chanhassen, she is reached at 952.227.1133. Another great resource is the Emerald Ash Borer Website.

The most recent discovery of the beetles was in St. Paul and measures have been taken to prevent the spread. The DNR and the Department of Agriculture request that you report any concerns regarding an infestation. They have set up an Arrest-The-Pest Hotline at 1.888.545.6684.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Welcome to 7095 Northwood Court, sited on a quiet cul-de-sac in the demand neighborhood of Longacres. This home is truly a Gem, with amazing living spaces designed and built specifically with Family and entertaining in mind. From its custom finished Lower Level to it stunning landscaped yard this home has no equal in Longacres.

From pillar to post this home features brilliant details. Crown Molding can be found in every room. The main level features a Separate Formal Dining Room and Living Room, a spacious Eat-In Gourmet Kitchen, Great Room with gas burning fireplace and built-ins.

The Kitchen features Maple hardwood floors, Birch Cabinets, Granite center island, Stainless Steel Appliances and a Work station.

You will find four bedrooms on the second floor including the private Master Suite. With a vaulted ceiling, large walk-in closet and bath with a double vanity, this is a wonderful retreat.

If the top two floors aren’t quiet enough, the custom finished Lower Level of this amazing home will. A perfect space for entertaining, relaxing or the big game, all your needs are covered with the stone faced fireplace, custom built-in entertainment center and full service Wet Bar. The granite countered Wet Bar features a full refrigerator, wine refrigerator, dishwasher and microwave.

There is another large bedroom on this level.

This home is sited on a beautifully landscaped, private cul-de-sac lot. With the professionally built Deck and Paver Patio, enjoy every moment of this lush retreat. The Deck has been wired for speakers.

The residents of this neighborhood are more than neighbors; the relationships built here become great friendships. With the winding streets, private parks, walking paths you'll enjoy the prime location of this neighborhood nestled between the City of Chanhassen and the Village of Excelsior. Experience Lake Minnetonka and all the conveniences of Chanhassen. Longacres is a unique neighborhood that has a welcoming feeling of community; many social events take place throughout the year including an Annual Picnic, Bunco, Book Clubs and numerous parties. Made up of 225 Lundgren Brothers built residences, Longacres is a neighborhood that people aspire to live in.

For a private showing, please contact us at 952.470.2575 or visit for more information.
Check out this New Listing! 7095 Northwood Court, Chanhassen:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Great News for First-Time Home Buyers!

HUD recently announced that qualified First-Time Home Buyers who want to take advantage of the available tax credit of up to $8,000 now have another option available to them to help them become homeowners.

It's clear that first-time home buyers have been having a major impact on the housing market this year. The National Association of Realtors announced that first-time buyers, who typically account for less than 40% of home sales each year, have been especially busy…in March, homes that were purchased by first-timers accounted for 53% of all sales, and this percentage is expected to hold true for all of 2009.

With home affordability higher than ever, available tax credits and some of the lowest interest rates ever recorded for home loans, who can blame them? Particularly as a first-time buyer, there may never be a better time to buy a home than right now.

However, the availability of a tax credit, while a great incentive, does not put the money in the hands of a buyer right away. HUD's announcement now allows for prospective and qualified home buyers to borrow the money from approved agencies and lenders.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Weekly Market Activity Report from MAAR

1,004. 1,046. 1,083. 1,078. 1,120. 1,185.

Notice a pattern? That's the number of signed purchase agreements each of the last six weeks in the Twin Cities housing market, growing most weeks as the spring buyer market heats up. The 1,185 pending sales during the week of May 9 were a robust 26.6 percent higher than the same week in 2008. Over the last three months, there have been 2,228 more pending sales than the same period last year.

There are some caveats to this good news:

1. Traditional home sales (excluding foreclosures and short sales) over those last three months are down 17.6 percent from a year ago.
2. Sales above $190,000 are down 19.2 percent from a year ago.
3. Sales of new construction homes are down 16.8 percent from a year ago.

Looking through a sharper lens is sometimes the best way to fully understand market dynamics. Take a look at our Housing Supply Outlook and foreclosures and short sales report to learn more.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Weekly Market Activity Report from MAAR

Not everyone is thrilled by increasing numbers, but what they represent in the Twin Cities housing market is nothing to worry for 108 minutes over. Two increases—pending sales and housing affordability—are indicating improvement in the local housing market.

There were 1,120 pending sales for the week ending May 2, a healthy 26.3 percent above last year at this time. The Housing Affordability Index, now at 219, is 45.5 percent above where it was a year ago.

Active listings continue to underwhelm at 26,450, a decrease of 19.5 percent from last year. The lower figure, coupled with increased sales, has in turn helped to create a Supply Demand Ratio of 5.02 for April—31 percent lower than last year. Combining this with the 24.5 percent drop in Months Supply of Inventory over the past year could speak to the amount of houses (and foreclosures) remaining on the market that are selling through.

We don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves, but this could also usher in some new construction for the summer period. According to the Builders Association of the Twin Cities, there were 419 residential units permitted in April 2009, an increase of 43 percent over March 2009.

You don't have to be able to read hieroglyphics to see that within these numbers there could be some optimism found in what was once Lost.


It has been another crazy week here in the Stafford Family Realtors Office. We have so much to report!

We have added another New Listing to our desk:


748 Kirche Hill Drive, Carver
4 Bedroom / 2 Bathroom / 2 Car Garage
MLS #3681868

This well maintained home is just a short walk from 2 neighborhood parks and historic downtown Carver. The current owners have put a lot of work into this home. Their efforts include new paint thruout, new carpet and pad, new light fixtures, new hardware, new wood flooring, new tile, new faucets in the bathrooms.... NEW, NEW, NEW! Great for a First time home buyer!

Take advantage of the new $8,000 Tax Credit as a first time home buyer. Stop by the open house on Sunday, May 17th from 12 -2 and find out more information.

We are also currently running a promotion! When you stop by any of our open houses this month, you can fill out a form to be entered to win a $50 gift card to Bachman's nursery.


Saturday, May 16th

1 - 4 PM
1340 Alpine Pass, Golden Valley $399,900 -
Just Reduced $20,000! Now listed at $150,000 LESS than what the previous owners paid in 2008.

Sunday May 17th

12 - 2 PM
748 Kirche Hill Drive, Carver $234,900 -
Just Listed, this is the first open.

12 - 2 PM
9108 Overlook Court, Chanhassen $510,000 -
Another Great listing that has received a price reduction.

2:30 - 4:30 PM
6605 Pointe Lake Lucy, Chanhassen $872,000 -
Another Price Reduction! Beautiful Masterpiece in Minnetonka School District.

2:30 - 4:30 PM
8500 Cedar Court, Victoria $335,000 -
This one too!!! Just reduced. First open since reduction.

3 - 5 PM
910 Anthony Way, Victoria $429,900
Beautiful Twin Home loaded with all the upgrades. Granite, Tray ceilings, Private Master, One Level Living!


For more information on these or any of our other listings, visit, or call 952.470.2575.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Weekly Market Activity Report from MAAR

We trust that you had a good May Day, International Worker's Day or early Cinco de Mayo celebration. Whatever your cause for celebration, the Twin Cities housing market did not take a holiday. During the week ending April 25, pending sales posted their fourth consecutive week of more than 1,000 sales, a feat not accomplished since 2006. The 1,078 sales represent a 34.1 percent increase over the same week last year.

Supply remains a different story. New listings were hitting the market at a robust pace last spring, but activity has been comparatively tepid this year. New listings are 16.4 percent behind one year ago and the overall supply of homes for sale trails last year by 19.0 percent. We have remained near 26,000 homes for sale for most of this year, betraying the healthy seasonal growth we typically see this time of year.

Yes, supply is down, but there's still plenty of inventory out there. April's showers are behind us, the Housing Affordability Index is stratospherically healthy, low mortgage rates persist, and a first-time buyer tax credit remains in effect. At this clip, your buyers could certainly find May flowers blooming in front of their newly purchased homes.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Weekly Market Activity Report from MAAR

Low mortgage rates, high affordability and government programs designed to encourage home purchases are continuing to spur home sales this spring despite an iffy economy. The week ending April 18 was the fourth consecutive week of pending sales activity that was more than 20 percent higher than during the same week in 2008. There were 1,083 pending sales for the week, up 21.3 percent from this time last year. It was also the third consecutive week of 1,000-plus unit sales, a first-time occurrence since 2006.

All these sales are quickly whisking inventory off the market at a time when new listing inventory is not growing at its typically robust spring rate. The number of total homes for sale is down 18.4 percent from a year ago at 26,318. As a result, the gap between this year's supply of homes and that of previous years continues to grow.