Friday, September 29, 2017

What’s Happening this Weekend?

Can you believe it’s going to be October this Sunday? Here are some thing happening this weekend.

It’s the last weekend of the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. The theme is Oktoberfest and that means a lot of polka and beer. Polka lessons are happening 3 times a day and Schell is letting you sample 5 flavors and learn about how their beer is made. To learn about all the other fun activities for the festival check out their website:

It is also Twin Cities Marathon weekend. Family events are happening throughout the day on Saturday with the 10 mile and full marathon happening on Sunday. Everything will be on the State Capitol Grounds in St. Paul. Anyone wanting to participate or cheer on the runners should plan ahead for traffic. I35 W is going to be closed in both directions starting at 10pm tonight (Friday) until Monday morning.

Here are the other events happening that you should prepare an alternate driving route for:

Twins vs Tigers – Saturday, Sept. 30 @ 6:10pm
Twins Vs Tigers – Sunday, Oct. 1 @ 2:10pm
Vikings vs Lions – Sunday, Oct. 1 @ 12pm
Gophers vs Maryland Terrapins – Saturday, Sept. 30 @ 11am

Wild vs Stars – Saturday, Sept. 30 @7pm

Thursday, September 28, 2017

5 Newbie Mortgage Mistakes That Are So Easy to Avoid

Can’t wait to cozy up in that cute Colonial, but anxious about signing up for your first mortgage?
We get it. Buying your first home is a big stinking deal. But with a little know-how, it’s easier than expected to make smart mortgage moves and save big bucks over the course of your loan.
By avoiding these mistakes, you can put your home-buying butterflies to rest.
#1 Finding Your Home Before You Find Your Mortgage

Tax papers stored in a home office
#2 Not Comparing Loans Correctly
#3 Falling for Marketing Gimmicks
#4 Not Budgeting for Your Craft Beer and Yoga Pants
#5 Not Knowing How to Eyeball the Paperwork
  • The APR (see No. 2 above)
  • The interest rate
  • The monthly payment
  • The loan terms, such as a 30-year or 15-year mortgage, adjustable rate or fixed
  • The total cost of the loan
  • Cash amount you’ll need at closing

How Much It Could Cost You: Enough to send your future kid to college. Seriously, over the life of the loan, you could end up paying tens of thousands of dollars more in interest and fees than you need to.
Why People Mess This Up: If you don’t have your financing buttoned up before you find your dream home, your desire to win the bid could influence you to offer a higher price and overpay on a mortgage because you had no time to shop around. Getting your financing all set before you feel the pressure to make an offer gives you time to qualify for a more attractive loan and gives you the confidence to make a fair offer because you’re a qualified buyer.
How to Avoid It: Start talking to lenders at least three months — maybe even a year — before you start house hunting. Time-consuming tweaks like paying down debt or improving your credit score can have a dramatic effect on overall mortgage costs.
How Much It Could Cost You: Just like No. 1 above, you could overpay by tens of thousands over the life your loan.
Why People Mess This Up: First-time buyers often get seduced by a low interest rate and don’t take into account the cost of fees. A lower-interest loan could actually cost you more than one with a higher rate because those fees can be steep enough to outweigh the interest savings, says Matt Oliver, senior loan officer with Lund Mortgage Team in Glendale, Ariz.
How to Avoid It: Compare loans by the annual percentage rate, or APR, not just by interest rate. Each lender should give you a document aptly named “loan estimate.” The APR will be listed there (if it’s not, you don’t want that lender). The APR combines a home loan’s interest rate with closing costs and other fees like points (which is why it’s usually higher than the interest rate), then converts the overall costs to an annual percentage. This gives you an apples-to-apples comparison so you can understand what you’re paying over the life of the loan. You’re welcome!
How Much It Could Cost You: More than enough to buy a good used car (or at least enough to cover Uber fees for a few years).
Why People Mess This Up: ”Lenders use advertising hooks like, ‘We pay your mortgage insurance,’ or ‘You don’t pay the closing costs,’” says Casey Fleming, mortgage adviser in Silicon Valley, Calif., and author of “The Loan Guide: How to Get the Best Possible Mortgage.” Don’t be fooled. “You still pay those costs,” he says. “If you’re not paying in cash, you’re paying it in the interest rate.” Fleming estimates those costs can add a quarter point to an interest rate, which as an example, translates to $9,203 (the difference between a 4% interest rate and one that is 4.25%) for a mortgage of $176,000.
How to Avoid It: Block out the noise. Shop for your mortgage according to trusted recommendations and reliable reviews, not slick deals that sound too good to be true.
How Much It Could Cost You: Time and money for the things you love to do, like meeting friends over a pitcher of the newest session beer, then hitting the gym in the morning to work it off.
Why People Mess This Up: Lenders qualify you for what you technically can afford on a spreadsheet. They’re looking at your monthly debt-to-income ratio. They don’t look at what you spend your disposable income on: your passions and hobbies. So homebuyers often end up with a mortgage payment they can only afford by scaling back on the things they enjoy.
“One homebuyer may be a homebody, like to cook, and have no pets to pay for,” says Dave Jacobin, president of 1st Mariner Mortgage. “Meanwhile, a second buyer with the exact same income and debt situation might travel every weekend, enjoy fine dining, or shop a lot. Lenders can’t look at that.”
How to Avoid It: Track your spending monthly, so you really know how much you spend. Factor fun into your future when deciding which mortgage offer is the best fit. “Two years into your home purchase, you want to be happy you did it,” says Jacobin. “You don’t want to be mortgage poor.”
How Much It Could Cost You: Thousands of dollars in surprise closing costs.
Why People Mess This Up: Because the paperwork seems so freaking daunting. But good news: As of October 2015, new mortgage rules require lenders to send you paperwork that actually makes sense.
This new paperwork comes in two different documents. It’s much easier to scan and understand than the old paperwork, which used to be the model for everything bad about tiny legal print.
1. The loan estimate will come first. Here are some key things to look for:
2. The closing document will come at least three days before you close. It should look just like the first document, but instead of estimates it will have final numbers. If you see any increases or additional fees you weren’t expecting, question the lender immediately. Because if it shows even a tenth of a percent interest-rate jump you weren’t expecting (say 4.1% instead of 4%) — and you don’t question it — that could mean a difference of almost $3,700 on a $176,000 mortgage.
How to Avoid It: Watch for those docs. Review and compare them. And, most importantly, don’t be afraid to speak up if you spot a surprise. Now, how easy was that?

Alaina Tweddale with

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending September 16, 2017

According to the National Association of Home Builders, there is a rising demand in
the new-home market spurred on by ongoing job and economic growth, the
continuation of attractive mortgage rates and increased consumer confidence. And
there does appear to be a notable increase in building or announced building
projects around the country. Builder confidence tends to equate with more
construction starts, which would be welcome news in an era of low inventory.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending September 16:
 • New Listings decreased 5.7% to 1,536
 • Pending Sales decreased 7.1% to 1,084
 • Inventory decreased 16.5% to 12,740

For the month of August:
 • Median Sales Price increased 6.8% to $252,000
 • Days on Market decreased 14.3% to 48
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 0.6% to 98.5%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 16.7% to 2.5

Publish Date: September 25, 2017 • All comparisons are to 2016
Information gathered from MAAR

Friday, September 22, 2017

Happy first day of autumn!

There are a couple of fun things to do this weekend. It’s the 2017 Studio Tour – Art Wander – Edge of the Big Woods. From Potters to Weavers, Painters and Illustrators, Stained Glass Artists,
Woodworkers, Sculptors and Jewelers, come visit the many talented artists. It starts today and continues through Sunday. For a map and a list of artists visit

Another fun event is Biscuits and Blooms. It’s a fundraising event at the beautiful Tonkadale Greenhouse to celebrate pups that have found their forever home and help those who are still looking. This family-friendly event is free to attend and features a silent auction, Wine wall, Food truck and an ice cream truck along with a photobooth and adoptable dogs. All dogs on non-retractable leashes are welcome. For more info check here:

Thursday, September 21, 2017

5 Ways to Boost Your Curb Appeal for the Fall Selling Season

Sellers looking to get the best price know that curb appeal plays a huge role in getting buyers through the door. Once the flowers fade and the temperature drops, however, it can be easy to overlook your outdoor space altogether. Here are five simple ways to make the most of what fall has to offer and give your home the edge it needs for a quick sale.
1. Improve Your Entry
With every potential buyer passing through your front door, your entryway is critical to a good first impression. Cleaning the door, sweeping the stoop, and ridding the area of dirt and cobwebs can be enough to improve the overall look of your home, but for maximum impact, lay a new doormat and replace or paint any rusted or corroded hardware, mailboxes, or light fixtures. If you’re feeling adventurous, painting your front door a different shade can be a great selling feature that can be done in an afternoon.
Traditional brick colonial dressed up for fall with colorful mums and harvest gourds
2. Let the Light Shine
While the outdoors is the natural habitat for all manner of insects, they don’t need to reside in your outdoor light fixtures. Dirty lights and windows will not only reduce your nighttime curb appeal but can also affect how much natural light makes it through to the inside of your home. A thorough cleaning of light fixtures and windows will boost the overall impression buyers have of your home and can affect their impression of the rest of the home. For added impact, place inexpensive solar lights along the border of any gardens or walkways to illuminate your yard at night.
3. Love Your Landscape
Given that landscaping can amount for up to 15 percent of a home’s value, keeping your yard in tip-top shape is more important in the fall than ever. Fall colors and cascading leaves may provide a romantic vision, but may leave a potential buyer focusing on how much raking they will have to do. When seasonal plants fade away, be sure to cut back the dead growth and ensure your yard is regularly raked. Even if your yard doesn’t require frequent mowing, be sure to edge walkways with a straight-edge for a clean-cut look, and add some quick color by placing pots of seasonal plants in gardens and on porches.
Raking fall leaves with rake
4. Whisk the Water Away
The fall tends to bring increased precipitation, which can be a deal-breaker for buyers if they feel water penetration will be a problem. To prevent pooling water, be sure the grading around the foundation slopes away from the house and use downspout extenders, if necessary, to move water out into the yard. Clean the gutters regularly, and take a good walk around your home after a heavy rain to identify any problem areas that may allow water into the house, like door and window caulking.
5. Don’t Overdo the Decor
Finally, while the bounty of fall can be used to enhance the beauty of your home, be wary of overdoing the decor. Too many Halloween decorations, for example, can easily detract from the beauty of your home. Try instead for colorful mums, gourds, and pumpkins in a variety of colors and sizes that can provide earthy variety without overdoing it.
Regardless of the weather, the fall is still a hot time to sell a home, and can be an incredible opportunity to make a lucrative sale. Keep in mind that most buyers will either view your home online or drive by before making a decision to visit, so a sharp curb appeal can help keep your home above the competition.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending September 9, 2017

For several years, residential real estate markets across the country were relatively
similar except for a few pockets of extreme price increases in the west and a few
areas of slower post-recession recovery in the east. Regional market diversion is
becoming more common. Natural disasters play a part, as do factors such as the
proclivities and incomes of a younger buyer pool.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending September 9:
 • New Listings decreased 3.1% to 1,690
 • Pending Sales increased 2.7% to 1,036
 • Inventory decreased 16.5% to 12,587

For the month of August:
 • Median Sales Price increased 6.8% to $252,000
 • Days on Market decreased 14.3% to 48
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 0.6% to 98.5%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 16.7% to 2.5

Publish Date: September 18, 2017 • All comparisons are to 2016
Information gathered from MAAR

Friday, September 15, 2017

It’s Apple Day!

Tomorrow Saturday, September 16th in downtown Excelsior is Apple Day!

It starts with the Apple of the Lake 5K and 1 Mile which is still open to registration. You can also volunteer if you sign up today. That is at 8am followed by the street fair from 9am-6pm. You can also enjoy an apple pie contest, a beer and wine garden, a pie eating contest and live music with a street dance. For a look at the live music line up and a schedule of events click here:

Thursday, September 14, 2017

If you're starved for the sounds, textures and moods of the great outdoors, bring the outdoors in!

We live in a fast-paced, plugged-in world. Many of us don't have the time to get outside and enjoy nature. This is unfortunate, as studies show that nature is an important part of our health and well-being. If you're starved for the sounds, textures and moods of the great outdoors, bring the outdoors in! You can integrate the natural world into your living space with plants, raw and natural materials, and even art.

In the Woodwork

Wood can be a fantastic and high-impact design element. A solid piece of wooden furniture which shows the grain and has a natural finish can create a calm, grounded atmosphere. Wooden chairs, like wicker and bamboo, can do the same. Chunks of treated wood make for great floating bookshelves, and whole tree stumps can be used as seats and end tables. You can even turn slices of wood into custom-made coasters.

Functional Flora

Growing indoor herb gardens is a popular, functional way to incorporate plants into your home environment. There are a great number of herbs which thrive on small amounts of water and sunlight, like rosemary and chives. If you're not sure of your gardening skills, you can start with one hopeful herb on a windowsill. If you're ambitious, you can plant up to 16 herbs in a shoe organizer or try growing vegetables indoors.
HomeAdvisor's helpful guide to gardening breaks down the needs of individual herbs, vegetables and fruits. It's important to do your research and know before you buy, so you don't waste time cultivating a weepy indoor garden.

Succulent Art

Succulents and terrariums are a low-maintenance option, as they require minimal attention to thrive. For a big-impact project, you can use succulents to create a living picture or wall. Living pictures are collections of succulents fitted into picture frames and held in by hardwire cloth. If you take this on as a DIY project, you can choose coordinating colors and arrange them however you like.


Perhaps somewhere in your house, there's a Ziploc bag full of seashells or a box of unique rocks you've collected during your travels. Out in your yard, there's a beautifully twisted twig or a perfect bunch of baby pine cones. Every one of these items is an opportunity to bring nature into your home. Incorporate twigs, branches and seashells by placing them among books and picture frames. Place stones, rocks and sand in vases and pair with a freshly plucked wildflower.

Pictures as Places

Hanging nature prints and art can make your room design more cohesive. A print of never-ending redwoods will draw attention to your forest-themed accents. A vast picture of the ocean or the view from a mountain-top will make a confined space feel more open and inviting. Take your own pictures from favorite places and vacations and have them enlarged to hang throughout your house.

Sound Therapy

The noises within a home are rarely natural. Your microwave beeps, your laptop whirs, your coffee pot sighs and your refrigerator hums. Perhaps the only natural things you hear throughout the day are your children's laughter and the rush of water in the shower.
The sound of moving water can have a calming effect and even lower stress levels. Find a way to integrate a fountain or small waterfall into your home, particularly where you need it most. A fountain by your desk, where you pay your bills and rifle through your emails, can help you focus and better manage anxieties.
You can use as much or as little nature as you need, in your decor. You may only want one tall, elegant houseplant in the corner of your living room, or you may want your home office to feel entirely like a beach. Whichever your preference, bringing these natural elements into your home can turn it into the relaxing escape you need at the end of a long work day.

Guest post by Lauren White
Lauren White is a freelance writer who enjoys reading, hiking and traveling. She can usually be found on an outdoor adventure with her boyfriend and little sister on the weekends.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending September 2, 2017

Market trends have remained steady for the last couple of years, which has allowed
residential real estate to flourish in terms of sales activity and buyer demand. Even
when total sales are not measuring forward in year-over-year comparisons, it is
evident that the market is responding positively to wider economic indicators.
Higher prices, fewer days on market and lower months of supply are all usual
indicators of healthy activity.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending September 2:
 • New Listings decreased 2.3% to 1,306
 • Pending Sales decreased 4.3% to 1,145
 • Inventory decreased 16.5% to 12,852

For the month of July:
 • Median Sales Price increased 5.6% to $251,650
 • Days on Market decreased 16.4% to 46
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 0.8% to 99.1%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 16.1% to 2.6

Information Gathered From MAAR
Publish Date: September 11, 2017 • All comparisons are to 2016

Friday, September 8, 2017

What’s Happening this Weekend?

Wayzata is going to be a busy town! Tonight is the Wayzata Beach Bash. Tonight’s line up is Randy Houser, Eric Pasley and Hitchville. Tomorrow will have Big & Rich along with Chris Hawkey. The concerts benefit the Wayzata Lake Effect Boardwalk on the Bay. Tickets are still available with General Admin at $40 and VIP at $135. For more info click here:

The Beach Bash is just part of the larger James J Hill Days. Friday’s ‘Train’ has a carnival and the Rails & Ales Craft Beer Festival. Saturday and Sunday have a whole host of events including a coaster cart derby, street dance, climbing wall, parade and fireworks. For the whole list of events and times check out this website:

Thursday, September 7, 2017

7 Ways to Prep your Lawn and Garden for Fall!

agriculture, backyard, blur

Taking care of your lawn and garden in the fall simplifies your spring maintenance. Fall’s warm, dry soil and cooler air temperatures make it easier to work your garden and lawn. Turning dry soil and seedlings is less of an effort now than working with spring’s heavy mud. According to gardening expert Paul James, the ideal time to start your work is about six weeks before the first hard freeze.

1. Spruce It Up
Clean out the remains of old annuals, dried stems and other unsightly debris in flowerbeds. Getting rid of dead plants helps destroy harmful insects and helps prevent the spread of disease during the spring growing season. Remove dieback from perennials and cut their stems to within an inch or two of the ground. Consider mulching to prevent winter injuries.

2. Plant Bulbs
Fall is the ideal time to get tulips, daffodils, crocus and other bulbs into the ground when it’s cool but before it freezes. In the South, where you may not have a hard freeze, the Farmer’s Almanac suggests planting bulbs in early November. Loosen the soil first and add organic nutrients. Check a zone chart to see when and what to plant in your region.

3. Mow Low
Continue to water your lawn whenever it’s dry. Mow the lawn with the blade on its lowest setting to help the sun reach the crown of the grass.

4. Feed the Grass
Most grass is classified as either “cool season” for northern climates, or “warm season,” for southern regions. However, you may live in a transitional region that is home to both types. If you’re not sure what to feed your grass, call in a lawn-care expert like TruGreen® to make sure your lawn is getting the right mix of nutrients. You can also get a soil test, which helps determine the soil pH and nutrient levels and provides recommendations for fertilizing.

5. Enrich the Soil
Soil is a plant’s source of nutrients. Fall provides an abundant source to help improve the organic layer of your soil—leaves! Shredding them and spreading a 2"- 4" deep layer creates natural compost that will enrich the soil over the winter. You can also add grass clippings to the leaves.

6. Wipe Out Weeds
Fall is the best time to get rid of those pesky dandelions, clover, crabgrass and other weeds. Apply weed preventer in spray or granular form when the soil is moist and the air temperature is moderate. A layer of mulch also helps keep weeds to a minimum.

7. Rake and Dethatch
Early fall is a great time to rid your lawn of layers of plant debris. This allows your lawn to breathe by removing excess organic debris that can restrict water and airflow.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending August 26, 2017

Conversationally speaking, it has been a busy and exciting summer for residential
real estate. Much has been said about low supply, higher prices and speedy sales,
but the truth of the matter is that buyers are snatching up desirable homes no
matter the trends. Good transactions are occurring with smart lending practices.
Although more inventory would be useful, the market is finding a way to succeed.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending August 26:
 • New Listings increased 3.7% to 1,499
 • Pending Sales decreased 1.3% to 1,227
 • Inventory decreased 16.4% to 13,010

For the month of July:
 • Median Sales Price increased 5.6% to $251,650
 • Days on Market decreased 16.4% to 46
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 0.8% to 99.1%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 16.1% to 2.6

Information Gathered From MAAR
Publish Date: September 5, 2017 • All comparisons are to 2016

Friday, September 1, 2017

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

It’s the last weekend of the state fair! Have you been to the great Minnesota Get Together yet?
This weekend has some great entertainment at the grand stand. Tonight, Garrison Keller will bring the Minnesota Show to the stage for MPR day. Saturday is the Current’s Music On-A-Stick and Sunday is the Amateur Talent Contest Finals. The fair ends with a Sam Hunt Concert at the Grandstand Monday night.

There are a couple of special events happening this weekend as well. Monday is kid’s day and there a will be an interactive exhibit promoting Tractors along with a promotion for the Lego NInjago Movie.

To see the Entertainment schedule, click here:

For a list of Attractions click here: