5 Steps Before House Hunting

1. TALK WITH A LOAN OFFICER

First things first, meet with a lender to pre-qualify for a mortgage.  The more documentation you can bring to this meeting the less they will have to hassle you down the road for it.  Learn what documents to bring.  If you do not qualify for a home loan quite yet, do not be discouraged!  Put the shopping on hold temporarily to work on fixing your credit and/or adding to your down payment amount.  There will be plenty of houses available after you’ve got your budget on lock down.

2. WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU WANT

It’s easy to get swept away by snazzy curb appeal, bright lights, and big yards.  Make sure the house you choose is truly what you are looking for.  Write down a list of Absolute Musts, Desires, & Deal Breakers.  Revisiting this list often will help you remain true to what you want in your next home.  This list is also helpful for making sure your real estate agent is on the same wavelength as you.

3. FIND YOUR REALTOR

There are thousands of licensed real estate agents in Minnesota.  You want one that will earn your business and work to win you the best deal at the closing table.  Someone that will call you back same-day and can get you in to view houses as soon as possible.  You also want someone knowledgeable in the area you’re looking to buy in.  Realtors work off of referrals so ask your friends and family who they have worked with or know of in the business.  You can take your time interviewing agents before choosing to be their client, so do your research and trust your instincts.

4.  PLAN FOR UNPLANNED EXPENSES

A savings isn’t a savings if you dip into it for non-emergencies.  Create a savings (and I don’t mean the backup credit card) specific for purchasing your new house.  So when your inspector misses something or the old furnace you were betting on breaks down a week after the closing, you will be ready.

5. HAVE FUN!

Searching for the perfect house often requires time away from work or family activities, compromising with your spouse, and sacrificing to maintain your budget.  Accept these things and move on (pun intended).  You are not going to be buying a house very often and it truly can be a fun experience.  So enjoy taking a long lunch away from the office and dream of your future in each new property you view.  Your life will return to normal soon enough.

Calling All Art Aficionados!

art house

A new home has been listed in Northeast Minneapolis that may be a hit or miss among its curious visitors.  Previously featured in publications including HG-TV this single family home does not have a square inch of space to spare as it boasts decorative glass, stone, and wood.  The current owner/artist worked tirelessly to ensure this is one of the more interesting homes in the city.

Would you buy a house of art?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Want to see this unique property over the weekend? See the listing here.

MN Drought: Protect Your Home from Fire Dangers

It’s official. Minnesota is in a drought.  This means ugly lawns, reduced crops, and high risk of fires.  While we sit and wait for the rain, there are some steps we can all take to prevent our homes and neighborhoods from fire dangers.

Now may be the right time to Inspect Your Home.

  • Look in the attic and crawl spaces for wiring which may have been damaged by pests or insects hiding away over the winter.
  • Check your clothes dryer! Dryer fires account for over $100 million in losses every year. Clean the lint filter before or after every use and ensure the vent is clear from any obstructions. The American Household Appliance Manufacturers Association (AHAM) recommend you update any white vinyl hosing to safer rigid aluminum hoses.
  • Check the gas system in your home for loose fittings, leaking valves, faulty pilot lights, and debris or improperly stored flammable materials in areas near these appliances. Remember, a professional inspection for peace of mind (and safety!) is never money wasted.
  • Window air conditioners are not meant to run off of extension cords. These AC units do not bring the temperature inside a room low enough to the point of turning off regularly, so they run continuously without end. This continuous cycling causes heat to build up, the extension cord to burn out and a fire to start. If it’s August in MN and you are still weighing the benefits over the risks, use a commercial cord with at least a 10 gauge wire and use the shortest length possible to keep your home safe.
  •  Keep your stove, vent hood, and oven clean. Especially watching out for grease accumulation.
  • If you have a chimney, have it inspected and cleaned annually. Regardless of how long it’s been since your last fire, always remove ash and unburned wood into a metal container (not plastic) and place outside away from any buildings.

A professional inspection for your home is a great way to ensure the safety of your house, your family, and your neighborhood.  While this may not be possible for you each year, inspecting your own house for fire prevention is a necessary part of home ownership and could also be a great way to teach your kids something new.  Enjoy the beautiful sunshine, Minnesotans!

Minneapolis Ranks No. 1 On ‘America’s Top 10 Healthiest Cities’ List

Great news for Minneapolis! What are you doing to stay healthy this week?

WCCO | CBS Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis may be the 14th largest city in the United States, but it ranks first in health, according to a recent report from Livability.com.

The list highlighted the fact that Minneapolis’ park system — called the best in the country by several organizations — provides a plethora of outside activities for Minneapolis residents and visitors.

In addition to plenty of exercise opportunities, Livability says the city features “good food choices and strong support networks to help live healthy lives.”

Editors of the website also look at data compilations, including adult obesity rate, percent of residents with access to healthy food – as well as number of hospitals, ratio of doctors to residents and more.

“The link between cities and health is increasingly clear,” Livability Editor Matt Carmichael says. “It’s not enough to have a great hospital to take care of you when you’re sick. The city…

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Buying a Home with Student Loan Debt

20 years ago our parents’ generation knew that if they could hold down a steady job and pay their bills on time they would, more than likely, be able to buy a house. This was an expected right of passage into adulthood.

Now, the expectation of buying a house in your twenties is becoming more and more unattainable with the increasing need to finance college loans.

Minnesota ranks in the top 5 states of highest student debt, with averages above $30,000/person. This means that 70% of students that walk across that stage to receive their diplomas are also walking out with thousands of dollars in debt.

I don’t say this to scare you. I say this so you know you are not alone. College is still one of the best ways to make a sustainable living throughout your life. Though it may be delaying your options for buying a house or starting a family the way your parents may have done in their twenties. It is not impossible.

To buy a house with ugly student loan debt you must first determine what percentage of your income needs to go towards paying of the student loans each month. You are at a greater risk of being denied for a mortgage if over 30% of your income is required for paying off debts. Federal student loans offer different repayment options that include income-based plans so as to determine your payments based on how much money you earn now, instead of how much money you owe. If you have private loans make an attempt to communicate with your lender to create a mutually beneficial payment plan. You may be surprised by how much people are willing to help, you just have to be willing to call!

If you would like to learn more about buying a house while managing student loan debt please share & comment below.

Source: (http://ticas.org/posd/map-state-data#overlay=posd/state_data/2014/mn)

Entering the Minnesota Real Estate Market

This is my very first blog post, ever. The reason I am attempting this blogging endeavor is because I am joining forces with the real estate experts at Keller Williams Class Realty Northwest. With this blog, I hope to dig in to the inside of the Minnesota Market to get the answers you need whether you’re looking to buy your first or fifth home.

Let me back up a bit.  I was born and raised in Minnesota.  Both of my parents run their own local businesses here.  I danced my way through grade school and even spent a season dancing with the MN Timberwolves.  My husband has been a member of the MN National Guard for the past 9 years.  I graduated from the University of Minnesota with my Bachelors in psychology and began my professional career with Target headquarters in Minneapolis. Needless to say, my Minnesota roots run deep.

The big question: Why real estate?

I want to help people.  I want to be in a competitive industry where there is more than one right way to succeed.  I want to learn more and I want to earn more.  All of this, I believe, is possible within real estate.

As I begin, I will be posting about what is most interesting to me and hopefully what is most helpful for you.  I am hungry for feedback so let me know your thoughts. Thanks for reading!

start new