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!