Archive for August, 2013

The Parade of Homes starts September 7th and runs through September 29th. It’s still a great time to buy a house.

August 29th, 2013
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Last year I went in for my annual physical and my doctor told me I had high blood pressure. I’d never had it before so I thought it was kind of strange that it shot up so suddenly. I forgot to tell him that I’d had a bad cold and had been taking Sudafed…the kind you have to give your pharmacist a driver’s license to obtain. On the evidence of the moment, he prescribed some sort of high blood pressure medication that made it very difficult for me to stay awake and upright so I stopped taking it after using it for just a few days. I bought a blood pressure cuff at my local Walgreens and started to track my blood pressure daily. Most of the time it was right back in the 120 over 70 range. I did notice that if I had a particularly trying day at the office, or got worked up about something, it shot up. The small print on the Sudafed box indicated that it could cause higher blood pressure. Depending on what you ingest and try to digest, your blood pressure can change daily. Monitoring information over time can give you a better idea of your overall health than prescriptions based on a short term snapshot. It’s the overall trend that’s important.

“A combination of factors, including higher employment and low interest rates are driving up demand for homes. There are comparatively few homes for sale, so the net effect will be a sustained period of rising home prices….” Says Lawrence Yun, Economist for the National Association of Realtors. “Lagging housing starts and a continuing housing shortage mean home prices are primed to rise further, by 13% cumulatively in 2013 and 2014” says Yun.

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Yes, it’s that time of the year again for the Great Minnesota Get-Together!

August 26th, 2013
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Yes, it’s that time of the year again for the Great Minnesota Get-Together. Twelve Days of smiling, laughing, and having FUN from now through Labor Day. My sister and I made our annual opening day appearance yesterday and had so much fun we’re going back on Sunday with our Mom and another sister. With our early-bird discount tickets and Blue Books in hand, our first course of business was to strategically park (not knowing how many times we’ll need to trek back to our vehicle to unload all the “stuff” we buy). My sister is GREAT at striking a deal with “if we buy two…?”


We ate our share of the “on average, 500,000 corn dogs that are consumed by fair goers each year” along with mini donuts and the world’s greatest Fresh French Fries. We covered all 320 acres before the day was done. Some of our favorites included seeing all of the beautiful needle crafts in the Creative Activities Building, visiting the International Market to pick up another piece of Polish pottery to add to our collection, checking out the Princess Kay “butterheads” (those butterheads weigh 85 pounds and take about 6 to 8 hours to complete each carving), and being sure we were in our favorite spot when the Daily Parade started at 2:00 featuring the high school marching band competition, floats, animals (love the Clydesdales), specialty units and visiting royalty.

MORE Fair Fun Facts and Trivia Read the rest of this entry »

With great buys in great neighborhoods, there are still a few distressed properties out there that only need some TLC to make them a home.

August 16th, 2013
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FINALLY, after looking and looking, your buyers have found the not-so-perfect house in the perfect neighborhood and a rehab loan just isn’t in the cards- now what? There are some minor plumbing issues (you know they’re going to get called by the appraiser), the property is bank owned and they are not going to fix them prior to closing. Perhaps an ‘Escrow Holdback’?

Escrow Holdbacks are used to facilitate loan closings for properties that are ready for occupancy but require minor repairs. The buyer or seller can establish the cash escrow and it’s held in an escrow account with the lender or the title company until after the repair requirements are completed.

With great buys in great neighborhoods, there are still a few distressed properties out there that only need some TLC to make them a home. These properties are generally bank owned and just need some slight repairs to get them back into shape. The seller or bank cannot, or will not, allow property repairs to be completed before closing on the property. If the cost of these minor repairs will not warrant a rehab loan we can look at a short term escrow to cure the problem.

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What's on your Bucket List?

August 9th, 2013
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I was standing on the Westminster Bridge in London taking this picture of Big Ben when the lights on all of the nearby buildings turned blue, announcing the birth of England’s new Prince George. The following day, we took a bus ride to Stonehenge and I felt the cool faces of those ancient and mysterious stones. In a whirlwind three weeks, I stared into the gates of John Lennon’s Strawberry Fields, kissed the Blarney Stone, walked the Giant’s Causeway on the Antrim Coast of Ireland, stood on the shores of Loch Ness with my binoculars in the hopes of getting a glimpse of Nessie, retraced the footsteps of Braveheart’s William Wallace in Scotland, and walked up the Champs Elysee in Paris to the base of Napoleon’s Arc de Triomphe. Read the rest of this entry »

Mortgage Insurance Options available for buyers putting less than 20% down on conventional loans

August 2nd, 2013
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Whether a first-time homebuyer or move-up buyer cash is often a little tight, and putting 20% down to avoid mortgage insurance isn’t always an option. Buyers with 10% down can look at doing a 1st and 2nd mortgage, but as interest rates continue to increase the rates on those second mortgages may become uncomfortable for some homeowners. A loan with mortgage insurance (MI) may offer your buyers a more stable loan. Households with adjusted gross incomes of $100,000 or less are still able to deduct 100% of their MI premiums (borrowers should contact their tax advisors). To meet the individual needs of each borrower, mortgage insurance companies offer several options:

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