Archive for June, 2012

“Are you going to love it or List it?”

June 25th, 2012
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You love the neighborhood you live in.  Your friends are there.  The school district is perfect.  It’s conveniently located within walking distance of shops and nightlife and yet, the house no longer meets your needs.  What do you do?  In the popular TV show with that name, a Realtor and Designer compete with each other to help you decide whether it makes more sense to do an extensive home renovation or to go out and find the perfect, move in ready home of your dreams.  There’s a lot of poetic license in the show around the money piece of the question:  how much a renovation really costs and how much it adds to the value. 

So what really makes both sense and cents in the construction financing market of 2012? Read the rest of this entry »

Things are really looking up in Minnesota folks!

June 18th, 2012
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For the second consecutive year, Minneapolis-St. Paul is the healthiest, fittest metropolitan area in the US, according to the American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) annual American Fitness Index™(AFI)

Foreclosures continue to drop in MN

The StarTribune reported this morning  “that the number of default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions in the metro area fell 6% from April, to 2347, and were down 7% from a year ago…..Across the state, foreclosure sales have fallen slightly over the past year, largely in response to improvements in the economy and efforts by nonprofit agencies to rescue homeowners from foreclosure.  Brandon Moore, RealtyTrac’s CEO, said it was the 20th consecutive month of year-over-year declines. ” Read the rest of this entry »

We’ve come a long way baby! Today, Minnesota leads the country in down payment assistance programs.

June 11th, 2012
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 As a single mother of 3 small kids, I lived in an apartment in Burnsville.  We were on the second floor.  Kids will be kids and if mine were being particularly rambunctious, the neighbor below tapped on the ceiling with her broomstick to let us know we were making too much noise.  The walls were painted pasty white and the landlord charged a dollar a hole for each nail hole you put in the wall to hang a picture.  The carpet was a shade of green reminiscent of my mother’s viscous pea soup and the landlord had allowed it to remain past it’s useful life.  You had to carry groceries from the parking lot, up flights of stairs, and down a long hallway to your front door.  I had an old piano I dared not play or practice on, for fear of upsetting the neighbors below.  There was no patch of green to call our own…a simple garden space to plant a tomato or see if we could coax a cucumber or pumpkin from the ground.  It was a place in flux, with people coming and going, moving in and moving out, and I longed for a place to call my own.  Each month I had just enough money to pay the bills and could not imagine how I would ever save the money for a down payment on a home for the four of us. I asked my employer if I could skip all of my vacation time that year, get paid for it and for working too,  and it was just enough to open the door to homeownership for us.  Read the rest of this entry »

If you don't read another one of my blogs this year, please read this one!

June 4th, 2012
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As a result of the mortgage crisis, many layers of fact-checking have been added into the mortgage process by regulators, and by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA  & VA (the national authorities who finance the majority of mortgage loans in this country).  There is a Zero Tolerance policy in place for errors in data integrity, changes to a file between approval and closing, and the result is that we will be asking people for documentation many more times during the process than was the case just a few years ago.  My surveys this month tell me that we need to do a better job telling you this and telling the consumer this.  We are not WAITING until the last minute to request documents.  We are required to re-document at the last minute.   There’s a big difference.  Read the rest of this entry »