Archive for October, 2013

Halloween! By: Randy Cullen

October 25th, 2013
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Did you know that Salem, Massachusetts and Anoka, Minnesota are both the self-proclaimed Halloween Capitals of the world? We have come a long way since the actual three day holiday was started by the Catholic Church in the 11th century. The pope decreed Hallowmas as a three day period of time that people would pray for the recently deceased. The time frame, from the last day of October until November 2nd, was referred to as All Hallow’s Eve.  The church was trying to convert the pagan people as they celebrated the beginning of their Celtic year. The ancient pagan festival celebrated by Celtic people in Ireland and Scotland celebrated the beginning of the Celtic year which began on November 1st.  The Celtic tribes practiced the Druid Religion and worshiped Samhain, the Lord of Darkness. For them the New Year began as the hours of the nighttime were growing over the hours of sunlight. They believed this was a time that the dead could walk among the living. No wonder we see so many scary costumes on this night!

Halloween came to the United States in the 1800’s with the immigrants from Ireland and Scotland. This was before pumpkins were used for decorating – the immigrants used turnips that were carved into Jack-O-Lanterns. The Jack-O-Lantern came from the Celtic Folk tale of the stingy farmer named Jack who would constantly play tricks on the Devil. The Devil responded to Jack by forcing him to wander purgatory with only a burning lump of coal from Hell. Jack took the coal and made a lantern from a turnip to help guide his lost soul.

The history of the holiday is amazing and not commonly known. We Americans have transformed it into an event second only to Christmas. It is a celebration of fun using a healthy dose of imagination. Here are some other Halloween facts: Read the rest of this entry »

We are in the 4th Quarter and the finish line for 2014 draws near…By-Kate Wilson

October 18th, 2013
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We are in the 4th Quarter and the finish line for 2014 draws near…

Yesterday, I spent the day with an ‘on fire’ real estate office helping them complete a business plan for 2014. To say the least,  it was a highly participatory event. This is an engaged group of really bright and energetic people who have gelled as a team behind a common vision. Their execution on the action steps required to achieve their common goals has been nothing short of spectacular. Over a 3 year period, their sales are up 428% plus. Why? The leaders are clear where they are headed and meet with their leadership team monthly to measure their success; review and revise their plan.

”In the book What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School, Mark McCormack tells of a study conducted on students in the 1979 Harvard MBA program. In that year, the students were asked, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” Only three percent of the graduates had written goals and plans; 13 percent had goals, but they were not in writing; and a whopping 84 percent had no specific goals at all. Read the rest of this entry »

“Boomerang buyers” – former homeowners who have experienced an Economic Event such as foreclosure, short sale or bankruptcy – may qualify for a new mortgage in as little as 12 months- By Barb Crea

October 11th, 2013
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“Boomerang buyers” – former homeowners who have experienced an Economic Event such as foreclosure, short sale or bankruptcy – may qualify for a new mortgage in as little as 12 months (down from 36 months)  thanks to a recent change introduced by FHA on August 13, 2013 in Mortgagee Letter 2013-26 Back to Work – Extenuating Circumstances http://portal.hud.gov/huddoc/13-26ml.pdf.

RealtyTrac data shows nearly 2.5 million formerly foreclosed homeowners could be re-entering the housing market due to this change. That 2.5 million is the number of homes lost to foreclosure or short sale between September 2010 and August 2012. That’s in addition to the more than 4.3 million potential buyers who went through foreclosure or short sale between September 2007 and August 2010.

FHA has taken a big step toward acknowledging that the economy forced many responsible homeowners into default or bankruptcy. The Back to Work Extenuating Circumstances expands FHA’s definition of extenuating circumstances to include loss of income due to economic hardship resulting from lay off, termination, or employer going out of business.

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Hats off to all of our Realtor, Builder, and Remodeler Partners! You have all done such a remarkable job this year.-By Randy Cullen

October 7th, 2013
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The Fall Parade of Homes and the Remodelers Showcase have just finished up here in the Twin Cities area. The products that were on display during this time were simply stunning in design, presentation, and quality.  We are fortunate to have such a wide variety of products to choose from at prices to match the needs of the buyer. Building new or remodeling an existing home has never been more affordable.

Building and remodeling takes special expertise to match the buyer with the perfect product. You spend your time digging deep to discover how the new home or new space needs to look and feel. The goal of that effort is putting together a product with all the fits and finishes that will make the buyer ecstatic about their home.   Before that design can become reality it is important to make sure the math works. Let us put all the financial pieces together so the plan will be successful. Let us take the fear away so everyone has the freedom to do their best – with financing to match the project. From lot loans to construction loans, construction rehab loans to end loans, we are able to put the right structure in place as the solid foundation for you to build upon.   Read the rest of this entry »