Archive for September, 2013

Falling in love with your home again doesn’t have to cost a fortune -By Kate Wilson

September 27th, 2013

You love the neighborhood you live in. Your friends are there. The school district is perfect. It’s conveniently located within walking distance of the shops and night life you love. Yet your once charming house has lost it’s luster and doesn’t work with your updated lifestyle. What do you do?

Falling in love with your home again doesn’t have to cost a fortune and can return value functionally, emotionally and financially.

Back in April, we made the decision to downsize to just one lawn to mow and one driveway to plow. We sold our acreage home and our lake cabin and bought a lovely older home, on acreage, on our lake. As we toured the house just prior to putting an offer in, I envisioned each room, how it would look, and what it would take to “retain the charm while bringing it into the 21st century.” Then I went home and made a list on a yellow legal pad and created a budget. Some things will return value and some won’t. My budget has been a great decision making filter these past 6 months as our labor of love went from vision to completion. The local Fed Ex driver started to cry when she saw the house and said, “It was dying and you brought it back to life again!”

Cost vs Value is an important consideration in deciding the scope of the project.

Part of the value equation when making the decision to renovate has nothing to do with how much it will cost. It has to do with how much you love where you live and just how important it is to you to stay put! In every home budget should be a home maintenance account that goes toward future renovation. Very few renovation projects deliver a 100% return in value on an appraisal nor should they. Replacing a roof or siding, windows, appliances and flooring is simply required maintenance to keep a house in good repair over time.

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If you want to be truly successful at something, approach it like a kid. -By Kate Wilson

September 20th, 2013

Running Ryan the Sunny Slayer is my 4 year old grandson’s new moniker. He opted out of a trip to the ice cream store and the beach with his mom and other siblings to go fishing with Dad, Grandma and Grandpa over the weekend. Armed with his unsinkable 2 foot long neon green pole, a #6 hook and a night crawler, he did battle with a school of sunnies and won! He reeled in the first one vigorously and just as it went whizzing past my face, reached out and grabbed it with his little hands. No squeamish boy here.  In a very matter of fact voice, he announced that he intended to catch 2 more to beat his previous lifetime achievement record of having caught 3 fish in total.  We quickly dispatched the first one into the wire basket and set him up for round two. In less than an hour, he landed a total of 4! Back on shore, he participated in the beheading and cleaning of said fish and then sat down to eat them for shore lunch. As he packed up “Bear” and his pillow to leave, he announced that his friends called him Running Ryan and to that we added, “the Sunny Slayer”. In a word he replied, “Awesome!”

If you want to be truly successful at something, approach it like a kid.

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Recently, investor appetites have been increasing for Jumbo loans and as a result interest rates have improved and become very competitive compared to where they were.

September 13th, 2013

According to Zillow, 3.2 million homeowners have been freed from negative equity in the last twelve months. 1.9 million additional are expected to be freed in the next twelve months. As the equity in our homes continues to increase, more and more homeowners are thinking about moving up to the home of their dreams and may be in need of a loan larger than your standard conforming loan amount of $417,000.

In the past few years, buyers needing financing greater than $417,000 had few options and usually ended up with a $417,000 first mortgage along with a second mortgage for the difference. These loans are commonly referred to as 1st and 2nd Combos. Combo mortgages have been widely used to avoid the higher interest rates on Jumbo (> than $417,000) loans and to avoid having to pay mortgage insurance when putting less than 20% down. Those 2nd mortgages have been attractive because of their low rates and low payments, which are typically interest only payments during the first 10 years. Most 2nd mortgages have adjustable interest rates tied to the prime rate which moves with the federal funds rate.   Recently, investor appetites have been increasing for Jumbo loans and as a result interest rates have improved and become very competitive compared to where they were.

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The 2013 Fall Parade of Homes is here!

September 6th, 2013

The 2013 Fall Parade of Homes is here! The Spring Preview and Fall Parade of Homes are presented by the Builders Association of the Twin Cities. Two times yearly the doors are open wide to all the new construction offerings in our local market. This is the time when dreams of a new home are planted in the hearts and minds of all who walk through the model home doors. Let’s all be ready to answer the call to make the dream a reality.

Most every dream will need financing. The new home buyer will fall in love with the look and feel, the fits and finishes that a new construction home will offer. Your time and talents that go into crafting the perfect plan could all be wasted if the buyer has the dream but not the ability to perform. Construction financing in the buyer’s name is back in vogue. Our team has great depth of experience when it comes to financing new construction, so count on our expertise to put the financing piece in place. You are selling the dream. Builders are building the dream. Let us finance the dream. We make it as easy as 1 -2- 3! Read more at to pick up some talking points that could be helpful.

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