Friday, March 31, 2017

Happy Friday - It's the Parade of Homes.

This is the last weekend of the parade of homes! It is supposed to be in the upper 50’s for the temperature all weekend so it should be a lovely time to get out and see the Parade. You can see beautiful homes and gather great ideas

This year’s Parade features 481 new homes. You can easily narrow that number down using their website. You’ll be able to filter by builder, whether a home is new or remodeled and if it is part of the Green Path. They even have a tool if you set up an account to create your own tour path. 

Have fun and enjoy the parade!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Questions Every Buyer Should Ask Before Making an Offer on a Home

Buying a home is a big financial commitment, so it’s important to make sure that you’re getting the best value for your money. While a home inspection will help prevent a buyer from purchasing a property that is full of problems, there are many things that the sellers can choose to withhold if they aren’t asked directly. Knowing which questions to ask can help you cover your bases and will prevent you from wasting money and time if the home is at risk for major problems in the future.

Carefully review any disclosures that the sellers provide, and check to see if the following questions are answered. If they aren’t, have your real estate agent ask the listing agent before you decide to make an offer on the property.

1. How old are the home systems, and how often have they been serviced? The HVAC and electricity systems might be working when you look at the home, but if they’re old or have gone a long time without being properly maintained, you might end up having to spend a great deal of money to have them inspected or replaced with a newer system.

2. What are the monthly expenses? Asking the current homeowners what they spend on utilities each money is a good way to get an idea of what you’ll be paying. People often forget to include utilities and bills in their monthly expenses list, so get an estimate.

3. When was the roof last replaced? Asphalt shingle roofs usually need to be replaced every 15 to 20 years, so if the roof on the home is approaching the 15-year mark, you might be looking at a major future expense.

4. Is this a “stigmatized property”? In some states, sellers are not required to disclose if there has been an occupant death, murder, suicide, or serious illness of someone living in the home. Whether such an event has occurred might not make a difference on whether or not you make an offer, but it’s good to know the history of your home, especially if it could negatively impact future resale value.

5. Are there any warranties on the appliances staying with the home? If the sellers are leaving behind any appliances, ask them to provide the warranty documentation. You’ll want to be able to review the paperwork to see how long everything is covered and what the terms and conditions are.

If the home happens to have some potential red flags before you put in an offer, that’s not to say you shouldn’t make one. Asking upfront allows you to be aware of any lingering issues instead of being surprised by giant problems that could have been foreseen. Be a smart buyer, and always make sure that you have a home inspection done on the property after you make an offer. A thorough inspection will expose any issues that need to be resolved immediately and can give you an idea of future home projects as well.

Source: Tamara Oakley - Blue Matter Blog

Monday, March 27, 2017

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending March 18, 2017

The number of existing home sales was down last month, indicating that there is
still a large divide between supply and demand. However, we need to keep in mind
that the value of the housing market is the highest it has been in years. Confidence
and household incomes are increasing, which are indicators of future home buying,
which should lead to a continued strong market.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending March 18:
• New Listings decreased 2.2% to 1,728
• Pending Sales decreased 2.7% to 1,247
• Inventory decreased 23.7% to 9,633

For the month of February:
• Median Sales Price increased 7.8% to $223,500
• Days on Market decreased 14.6% to 82
• Percent of Original List Price Received increased 1.4% to 96.5%
• Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 28.0% to 1.8

Publish Date: March 27, 2017 • All comparisons are to 2016

Friday, March 24, 2017

What's Happening this Weekend?

The MSHSL Boys Basketball State Championships are this weekend. They are at Target Center on Sunday, March 25th. Come cheer on your favorite team. Games start at 11am and continue until the AAAA game at 8pm. The games are below:
  • Champlin Park vs Apple Valley (AAAA)
  • DeLaSalle vs Austin (AAA)
  • TBD (AA)
  • Minneapolis North Community vs TBD (A)

If basketball isn’t your thing consider visiting one of the indoor winter markets. There is one at the Mill City Museum from 10am – 1pm featuring local food, ceramics, jewelry, art and home products. There is also one at Bachman’s Floral Home & Garden - 6010 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis from 9am – 1:30pm. Both are on Saturday.

Last but not least there are a couple of movies out this weekend. If you haven’t already seen it consider Disney’s Beauty and the Beast which came out last weekend. It is the #1 movie in the world currently. It is also rated 70% on Rotten Tomatoes. If you have seen it there are a couple movies out this week including CHIPS and Power Rangers. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending March 11, 2017

In the last three months, the Federal Reserve has now twice increased its
benchmark interest rate a quarter point. The good news is that this was an
expected move due to strong confidence in the economy. Mortgage rates will likely
increase as well. That said, homes are still selling quickly, and there is little
indication that the trend will slow down in the spring and summer months.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending March 11:
 • New Listings decreased 3.3% to 1,740
 • Pending Sales decreased 11.1% to 1,102
 • Inventory decreased 24.8% to 9,290

For the month of January:
 • Median Sales Price increased 7.7% to $223,250
 • Days on Market decreased 14.6% to 82
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 1.4% to 96.5%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 28.0% to 1.8

Publish Date: March 20, 2017 • All comparisons are to 2016

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

There are a bunch of events going on this weekend for you to enjoy whether or not you are irish!

All Metro transit rides are free for St. Patrick's Day so feel free to ride the bus into Minneapolis to enjoy their parade at 7:30 Friday night. There will also be various attractions throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul.

On Saturday it is free ink day. If you've ever wondered what print making entails you can go give it a chance for free. It is at the Highpoint Center for Printmaking in Minneapolis. Wear clothes that can get messy and plan for at least 30 minutes of working on your art. 

Do you like trivia? On Sunday there are a couple of local options to get your game on. Mainstreet Bar and Grill in Hopkins has trivia starting at 7pm Sundays. Your other Sunday option is Cy's bar in Chaska at 8pm. Trivia is run by Trivia Mafia and usually lasts around 2 hours. A helpful hint is to look up the internet only question of the day before you go. You'll get a free point that most teams miss. To find out the question head to 

Happy St. Patrick's Day. May you have a great and safe night. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Before you DIY...

1. Don’t believe everything you see on HGTV. 
Those shows have professionals working the projects. There is also a lot that goes on behind the scenes – like a 30-person team working around the clock to finish a large project in 2 days. Don’t let this stop you from taking on a long project but have realistic expectations. If you want to take on your kitchen you should go for it. There is nothing better than when you get a compliment on your project and can say you did it yourself. 

2. Time…So much time
It almost always takes longer to do something then you think it will.  It’s not a good idea to decide to re-grout the bathroom two hours before you have a party. It’s also not great to have a hard timeline for a project. Inevitably something will come up that will delay the project. Try adding some fix it padding time into your timeline. You’ll be much happier in the long run. 

3. Tools
Do you ever wonder why Menard’s or Home Depot have so many tools? Every job has it’s perfect tool. While you can get by with the basics for a specific job it might be worth it to get the tool needed. You can always find someone to borrow from too. Basics would be a hammer, drill, level etc. 

4. Know your capabilities
With a huge project, there might not be steps that you are not comfortable with. Consider having an electrician come in before you attempt something or a plumber. Those can be costly mistakes if not done correctly. 

Good Luck and Have Fun DIYing. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending March 4, 2017

Tight inventory, lower affordability and higher mortgage rates continue to dominate
residential real estate news, but a declining unemployment rate offers a bright spot.
Employment in the construction industry had some of the largest gains. It would be
great to see this increase translate into an impact on the construction of new homes
for sale.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending March 4:
• New Listings decreased 11.9% to 1,727
• Pending Sales increased 0.3% to 1,155
• Inventory decreased 23.4% to 9,042

For the month of February:
• Median Sales Price increased 7.6% to $223,000
• Days on Market decreased 14.6% to 82
• Percent of Original List Price Received increased 1.4% to 96.5%
• Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 28.0% to 1.8

Publish Date: March 13, 2017 • All comparisons are to 2016

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Thank You!

Yesterday morning the Stafford Family Realtors attended our office awards breakfast where we received some shiny new pieces of hardware. Among our International Presidents Elite distinction, our 100% Club award, and recognition for supporting Burnet Title, we walked away with the piece de resistance.... Our team ranked as the #15 Sales Agents and the #32 Listing Agents out of all Coldwell Banker Burnet agents! All of this success would not have been possible without the support of our amazing clients and friends! We would like to sincerely thank you for a fantastic 2016 and are very excited to see what 2017 has in store for us! 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending February 25, 2017

As mortgage rates rise, median sales prices increase and stiff competition for low
inventory continues, buyers are beginning to face some limitations with their
housing options, especially for first-time buyers. That being said, for most weeks in
2017, sales have been higher in year-over-year comparisons with the same weeks
in 2016.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending February 25:
 • New Listings decreased 7.6% to 1,345
 • Pending Sales decreased 6.7% to 980
 • Inventory decreased 23.7% to 8,950

For the month of January:
 • Median Sales Price increased 4.6% to $224,900
 • Days on Market decreased 7.1% to 79
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 0.9% to 95.9%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 26.1% to 1.7

Publish Date: March 6, 2017 • All comparisons are to 2016

Friday, March 3, 2017

5 Ways to Sell Your House Stress-Free!

You’ve made the decision to sell your house. You may have been mulling it over for years, or perhaps a sudden life change has prompted you to make the leap. Whether you’re relocating for a job, empty-nest downsizing, or just need a change, you’ve made it past the first hurdle of reaching the decision!
But the many complicated logistics of selling your house may feel overwhelming. Before you get stressed out and change your mind about the whole thing, know that there are some great ways to stay focused and positive as you navigate this important step. Here are some tips to help you sell your house stress-free to make this leap a very positive one.
Be Clear About Your Objectives Up Front
A lot of communication is required when selling a house, so it’s critical to set a clear set of objectives to yourself and everyone else involved in the process: your real estate agent, your family, and your friends. From the outset, determine an attainable selling price for your home with your real estate agent, and set up clear and reliable lines of communication.
Be clear with your family and friends about what they can expect during the process, and what you’ll need from them to help facilitate the situation with as little stress as possible. Determining your goals and expectations and sharing them clearly with those closest to you is a critical step in eliminating undue stress as you maneuver through the process of selling your home.
Stay Flexible
You may have an idea in your head of how long it will take to sell your home. If it begins to take longer than what you expected, the stress will grow. Keep in mind that there are so many variables at play—the location, the price, the market—and you’re setting yourself up for disappointment if you set your mind to a too rigid deadline. An immediate house sale is rare, so it’s best to curb your expectations and stay flexible as the process unfolds.
Keep Things Tidy
You may be required to show your home to potential buyers at a moment’s notice. Maybe they’re in the area and want to pop in to view your home, or perhaps some out-of-towners want to add your house to their list before ending their visit. You won’t be so easily rattled by these last-second requests if you work diligently to keep your house tidy and in order at all times.
Make beds before leaving for work in the morning, never leave dishes in the kitchen sink, and keep up with the laundry and vacuuming. Thoroughly clean the bathrooms every week. If this is overwhelming, consider hiring cleaning help during this transition period. You may want to consider enlisting the help of a willing friend or neighbor who can help with last-minute tidying up if you can’t leave work. Keeping things neat consistently will dramatically reduce your stress level when last-minute showings come up.
Leave the House for Social Activities
Sometimes the pressure of unexpected showings and persistent phone calls can begin to take an emotional toll. To stick a pin in the building stress of selling a home, give yourself permission to get out of the house on occasion.
Go out to dinner with friends. Take a long weekend trip. Go to a museum or sporting event. Think of this time as an investment in your personal well-being, by getting your mind off the house sale for a bit. Getting out of the house can work wonders, especially during the first few weeks your house is listed.
Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle
No matter how all-encompassing it may seem, selling a house is never more than one piece of the large pie of life. Don’t forsake your other needs and demands while navigating the process of selling a home. Maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the process by eating healthy meals and getting plenty of exercise and sleep.
If you plan to move out of town, you may not be inclined to get a gym membership or join a yoga class. But you can still walk for a half hour every day or take the kids to a park where you can blow off some steam together.
Getting the appropriate nutrition is a natural way to help your body fight stress. Drink more water, pass on the fried foods, and get more hours of sleep than normal. You’ll thank yourself for the extra effort.
Selling your house can be stressful, but if you set realistic expectations and come to terms with the certainty of uncertainty for the time being, you’ll make it through with a smile.

Source: Sharon Lee -