Sunday, May 19, 2013

Make a Move to Forest Lake Minnesota--Enjoy FREE Summer Concerts


What's there to do in Forest Lake MN for entertainment in the summer? When considering a move this "lake-sentric" community in the north metro Minneapolis/St Paul area some might wonder, what is there to do besides hanging out on the lake. 

Is there any FREE entertainment in Forest Lake, MN?  In a word, YES!

While the community of Forest Lake is well known for its full recreational chain of lakes, there are abundant options for land-lovers too. There is a strong tradition of music in the community and this year's line up for Arts in the Park was recently finalized. Arts in the Park, is a tradition that keeps Forest Lake families and visitors entertained all summer long.
These FREE concerts are held Tuesday evenings at the Lakeside Park Gazebo (located just east of the Broadway/Hwy 61 round-about. Special Kids Nights are on June 19, July 16 and August 16.

Note the very special HOLIDAY concerts scheduled for Friday May 31 and  Thursday July 4!

Arts in the Parks 2013 Schedule:

  • May 31 The Rockin' Hollywoods(7:00 p.m.)
  • June 11 North Shore Trail/The Ashworths (7:00 p.m.)
  • June 18 - Kids Night with Wonderful World of Woody(6:00 p.m.)
  • June 18 Aces & 88s - Dueling Pianos (7:00 p.m.)
  • June 25 - Lehto & Wright(7:00 p.m.)
  • July 2 - The Andrew Walesch Trio(7:00 p.m.)
  • July 4 -Shake Down (5:30 p.m.) AND  Charlie O  (8:00 p.m.)
  • July 9 - Bavarian Musikmeisters(7:00 p.m.)
  • July 16 - Kids Night with the Teddy Bear Band(6:00 p.m.)
  • July 16 - Rich and the Resisters - 7:00 p.m.
  • July 23 - Savanna Blue (7:00 p.m.)
  • July 30 - Dan Perry & Ice Cream(7:00 p.m.)
  • August 6 - Croix Daddy(7:00 p.m.)
  • August 13 - Kids Night with AlphaBits (6:00 p.m.)
  • August 13 -  The Wax Tones(7:00 p.m.)
  • August 20 - Jeff Brooks - 7:00 p.m.
  • August 27 - Fresh Squeezed Country - 7:00 p.m.

Copyright 2013 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

When We Move to a New House, Can We Get a Pony?

Horse and animal restrictions on Minnesota acreage properties


Last year, during a final walkthrough of an acreage home my buyers were purchasing in Anoka County, one of their daughters ran up to me giggling and said, “Joe thinks you are buying him a pony.”

“Oh…really?” was all I could think to respond.

Mom nodded that yes it was a fact, Joe had it in his three-year-old head that I was going to drop off a four-hoofed pet on move-in day. While I have been known to give a closing gift to my clients, I have never offered a pet as a present…especially a pony!

This particular precocious toddler must have mixed up some of the conversations during our home search outings. As we searched for the perfect Minnesota acreage home throughout Anoka, Chisago and Washington Counties, there was quite a bit of discussion of horses. The reason this city-dwelling-but-soon-to-be-country family was relocating to a more rural property complete with a polebarn, was so his older sisters could get horses.

But acreage alone does not make a horse property. The fact is, many potential acreage homebuyers are surprised to find out that there restrictions on animals in the country. Though leash laws and licenses are expected in most urban environments, many people don’t realize that rural communities also have rules, ordinances, covenants and restrictions regarding animals.

So if you are planning a move to a more rural environment and want to have a horse, raise chickens or just have a couple of dogs and cats, it is important to check the restrictions  before writing an offer to purchase a home.

Each county, city and even specific development will have rules, restrictions and covenants in regard to animal ownership. The current code for the City of Ham Lake, where I live has a number of specific rules for pet ownership. For instance, owners of more than two dogs must obtain a private kennel license. You can raise chickens or pigeons with a temporary conditional use permit. Horses, or other animals with hooves like a pony, can be kept if a permit is obtained from the city prior to obtaining the animal and land is designated R-A or residential agricultural.

Now, a few miles away in the City of Columbus, a homeowner can keep up to four dogs before being required to get a kennel license. And in the City of Wyoming, horses are allowed on properties that are larger than five acres but no more than 1 horse per 2 acres. There can also be restrictions on grazing acres versus wetland or unusable acres. One time I came across a development with 10 acre parcels that had covenants restricting the land use to exclude horses. Bottom line: There is no hard and fast rule regarding whether rural properties will allows animals. Each home must be researched to verify any restrictions.

So what should a home buyer who has promised the kids a pony do?

Work with a REALTOR® that specializes in acreage and knows how to find homes with a place for your pets. Be flexible on areas/communities you want to relocate to. If pets are a priority, write any offer contingent upon being able to have the number of horses, dogs or chickens that will be part of your family household. Make it a practice to call the city and/or county regarding any pet or animal ownership restrictions. Check with the seller regarding all covenants that would restrict pet ownership. So if your move to acreage requires a place for a pony, make sure it is allowed!



Copyright 2012 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Thursday, March 1, 2012

First Time Home Buyer Statistical Snapshot of Wyoming MN Home Sales

First Time Homebuyer Real Estate Wyoming MN

Wyoming, MN is an excellent place for a first time homebuyers to start a home search in the northeast Minneapolis/St Paul area. There are a variety of choices ranging from single family split level homes to affordable detached townhomes. As in most neighborhoods, the best priced homes go fast!  First time homebuyers looking for a Wyoming MN home in 2012 will be able to take advantage of the extremely low interest rates hovering around 4%. Being ready with your mortgage pre-approval before an offer or risk disappointment as several homes have sold in days or with multiple offers in Wyoming, MN recently.

The number of new listings was up for 2011 in Wyoming, Minnesota which is a bit different than the surrounding areas to this southern Chisago County community. Most surrounding communities saw a drop in new listings in 2011 but Wyoming had almost a 10% increase. This is an area where there are many newer starter and town home developments that were hit hard by the foreclosure crisis. There could be many foreclosures and short sales still working their way out of the system in 2011 in Wyoming. The average sales price of a home dropped again this past year by almost 8% and is coming in just over $156K while the price per square foot is running $83/sq ft. This is one of the lowest average per square footage prices in the northeast metro area. A high point to the year is that homes are selling; over 21% more homes sold in Wyoming, Minnesota compared to last year. Sellers appear to be getting just over 92% of their asking price which is in line with several other north east metro communities. It is taking a bit longer to sell a Wyoming home this year as the average days on the market went from 131 in 2010 to 142 in 2011. If you are considering buying a Wyoming home in 2012, this might be a good time look as their still might be a bit more inventory than in other areas to the south.
For additional details on the inventory levels in Wyoming MN at the end of 2011, Click HERE.


Copyright 2012 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

First Time Home Buyer Statistical Snapshot of White Bear Lake MN Home Sales

First Time Homebuyer Real Estate White Bear Lake MN


First time homebuyers love exploring the opportunities in the White Bear Lake area. There are a good number of options from single family starter homes to townhomes but the best homes do sell quickly. First time homebuyers looking for a White Bear Lake home in 2012 and wanting to take advantage of the low interest rates need to be preapproved for their mortgage. Being ready to write their offer before stepping over the threshold of a potential first home in White Bear Lake is necessary to avoid disappointment.

White Bear Lake saw a huge drop in the amount of new homes listed on the market in 2011 compared to 2010 and closed sales shot up by over 22%. In this northern Ramsey County city, inventory is down. Prices didn’t rise though due to the lack of inventory, as the average price of a home sold in the city of White Bear Lake was home sales dropped by 16%. The price per square foot also dropped this past year from $110/sq ft to $98/sq ft. This is still higher than in other parts of the north and east metro area which is good. Most likely the cause of the drop in average sales price is the lack of high end buyers and abundance of short sales/foreclosures. The average days-on-the-market statistic is up substantially in 2011 from 132 days on the market to 173 days to sell on average. Sellers are negotiating a bit more as the percent to original price ratio did decrease by over 2% in 2011. Like last year any homeowner considering a move up in the White Bear area will continue to see opportunities as there is a demand for good starter homes listing and an abundance of higher valued homes to select from.

For additional details on the inventory levels in White Bear Lake MN at the end of 2011, Click HERE.

Are YOU ready to buy a home in White Bear Lake, MN?
If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of RE/MAX Specialists, a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet or Homebuyers Success Packet. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.


 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

First Time Home Buyer Statistical Snapshot of Stillwater MN Home Sales

First Time Homebuyer Real Estate Stillwater MN 


Stillwater, Minnesota and surrounding communities like Oak Grove Heights and Bayport do have opportunities for the first time homebuyer. Well priced single family homes and townhomes can be found throughout the area. With home prices averaging $116/square foot compared to $90/sq foot in other eastern metro communities, it may take some searching. But deals can be found for first time homebuyers who are diligent in their home search.


In the eastern Washington County community of Stillwater, MN new listings and average sales price were the only real estate indicators with a significant year to year change from 2010 to 2011. New listings were down nearly 21% from 662 in 2010 to 518 in 2011, while closed sales were up by less than 1%. The average sales priced dropped just over 5% to $246,480, down from $260,161 in 2010. Homes are bringing in an average price per square foot of $116 which is much better than other communities in the northeast Minneapolis/St. Paul area but still down a bit from $120/sq ft that homes in Stillwater were getting on average in 2010.  Like most other north and east metro suburbs, sellers are getting just over 90% of their asking price; also down from 91% in 2010 but the change isn’t significant The average time on the market to sell a home was pretty flat dropping from 173 in 2010 to 172 in 2011. Again this statistic is comparable to other surrounding neighborhoods. These end-of-year average statistics are just a snapshot of the Stillwater real estate market as it continues to move toward becoming balanced.


If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of RE/MAX Specialists, a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet or Homebuyers Success Packet. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

First Time Home Buyer Statistical Snapshot of Maplewood MN Home Sales

First Time Homebuyer Real Estate Maplewood MN


Maplewood Minnesota has many affordable opportunities for the first time homebuyer. A first home could be a single family 1950’s bungalow or rambler or a newer townhome. Affordable homes are located in the north section of the city near Maplewood Mall or farther south near the 3M complex.Whether a foreclosed home or a traditional seller with the home priced to sell, first time buyers have many options right now in Maplewood.

In the eastern Ramsey County community of Maplewood, MN real estate sales statistics were similar to many other communities in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro. New Listings were down, closed sales up and average price sold down from the similar time period in 2010. New listings were down nearly 15% from 801 in 2010 to 684 in 2011, while closed sales were up by nearly 8%. The average sales priced dropped by a whopping 14% to $146,957, down from $170,959 in 2010. Homes are bringing in an average price per square foot of $82 which is similar to other communities in the northeast Minneapolis/St. Paul area but still down a bit from $95/sq ft that homes in Maplewood were getting on average in 2010.  Like most other north and east metro suburbs, sellers are getting around 90% of their asking price; but at 88.8% this average is a bit less than in other areas. The average time on the market to sell a home rose quite a bit from 140 days on the market in 2010 to 164 in 2011. Again the DOM statistic is comparable to other surrounding neighborhoods. While these changes look alarming, it is really just a correction as the foreclosures and other lender mediated homes continue to work their way out of the Maplewood real estate market. It is an important step in toward the market becoming balanced.


If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of RE/MAX Specialists, a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet or Homebuyers Success Packet. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Buying a Home? Check out my HOME BUYER'S BLOG!

Attention Homebuyers! Awesome Acreage Foreclosure Opportunities in Anoka County


Looking for an Anoka County foreclosure, bank-owned or short sale but need to be able to live in the home immediately after closing?

Good news is that foreclosures are not always destroyed homes requiring major rehab. Some of today's foreclosures can be MOVE IN READY! This economy has forced builders and responsible homeowners alike to let amazing properties go back to the bank. Many are still in pristine condition. Some still may require a bit of cleanup or a few cosmetic changes but there are many in move in condition too.

Here are a few of the treasures I noted on the Twin Cities MLS in Anoka County:

  • Andover 5BR/3BA on 2.5 Wooded Acres. New septic, appliances,& carpet. Sold for $380K in 2007, bank asking $249,900.
  • Starter home in Columbus on 9 Acres. Move in condition 3BR/1BA/2 Car. $169,900.
  • Ham Lake 4BR/3BA/2 Car 1994 Stone front Rambler on 4+ Acre Lot  New Appliances, carpet & septic. Bank offering at $207.5K.
  • 10 Acre Executive Estate in Ham Lake with 12 Stall Garage! 3BR/5BA w/Granite, New Stainless appliances, HWD, whirlpool mstr suite& sauna. Sold in 2008 for $1.1 Million, bank list $495K.
  • Linwood 6BR/4BA 2Story w/3 Stall Garage+Pole Barn on 3 Acres 4500+ Finished +Unfinished Basement. Four fireplaces, new carpeting offered by the bank for $339.9K.
  • 4BR/2BA on 43 Acres backing to Golf Course in Oak Grove with 1100+ finished sq ft and 2 stall garage bank list price $194,900!
If you are in the market for a great deal on a foreclosed home, time to get organized because the rules to buy are a bit different than when working with a traditional seller.


Seven Tips for homebuyers considering a foreclosed home:
  1. Banks LOVE clean offers. Buyers MUST be preapproved with credit checked and employment and funds verified. Documentation must accompany the offer or it won't be considered.
  2. Banks reject lowball offers...no negotiation. They are a business and know the value of the asset they are selling.
  3. Well priced foreclosed homes get multiple offers. Serious buyers put in their best bid first.
  4. Banks sell homes AS-IS. What you see is what you get. Repairs will not be made.
  5. Banks will not pay for inspections in most cases. This includes the septic system and/or well. Be prepared as all inspections could end up being the buyer's responsibility. If you chose to inspect the septic or the county requires a septic compliance test, expect to pay $400-$500 for this inspection. A well test will run around $150. A whole house inspection is $350-$500.
  6. Personal property is not included as part of the sale. So if the appliances are at the home when you close, they are a bonus. The bank will not remove. But they don't guarantee will remain at the home or that they are in working order. This means if someone breaks in the home prior to the closing and takes them, the bank will not replace.
  7. Having your own REALTOR® to represent your interests is essential. The listing agent is under contract to represent the bank. In many cases, the bank will not allow a dual agency so if a buyer contacts the listing agent to write the offer, the buyer does not have representation. This means all of your information goes to the bank...the listing agent is required to tell the bank everything that you say about your financing and the amount you are able or willing to pay. But the agent is not required to tell you anything in return. The agent works only for the bank.
Are YOU ready to get a great deal on a foreclosed home? Let me be your professional REALTOR®! If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of RE/MAX Specialists, a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet or Homebuyers Success Packet. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.


Friday, February 24, 2012

First Time Homebuyer’s Real Estate Word for Today is Short Sale

First Time Homebuyer Word of the Day Short Sale


Understanding real estate terms can be frustrating for the first time homebuyer. In fact, many people buying real estate struggle to understand some of the words used most often used by REALTORS®. No term seems more used and misunderstood than short sale.
 
As a Minnesota REALTOR®, I have receive calls from excited first time homebuyers (and their helpful parents) as they begin a search for a first house. A lot has changed since the parents bought their first home over a decade ago so many questions arise.

A few days ago a call came from an excited first time homebuyer who has been reviewing listings online trying to find a dream home at an awesome price. He called wanting to set up some showings for the homes he  found. He emailed a list of a half dozen homes and I bring up an array of possibilities. Five of the six properties, are listed as short sales. When I pass on the information on to my eager potential homebuyer, I hear a puzzled silence.

What exactly is a Short Sale?
Even after the abundant media coverage of the mortgage crisis over the past few years, many people still do not understand exactly what a short sale is....And more importantly, how it affects the home buying process. In a nutshell, a short sale is when the seller owes more on the home than it can be sold for in today’s market. In order to sell the home and avoid a possible foreclosure, the homeowner must ask the bank to take a loss on the sale by approving the purchase at the lower value. It is also know as a pre-foreclosure home and can be a way for a homeowner to avoid being foreclosed upon if they can no longer pay their mortgage.

Why should a homebuyer care if a home is in short sale? When a homebuyer writes and offer on a short sale home, the offer is submitted with earnest money to the property owner selling the home just as in any other real estate transaction. The sales price and terms are negotiated and agreed upon by the homeseller who then signs the purchase agreement. But the agreement is contingent upon the bank who holds their home mortgage agreeing to accept less money than is owed on the market to clear the title for sale. Some larger banks have hundreds, if not thousands, of these files waiting for short sale approval. It is normal to wait 12-16 weeks for an answer from the bank.  Adding to the problem, many sellers will have more than one mortgage on their home and therefore more than one bank will be involved in the approval process. In some cases, the purchase price might cover enough for the first bank to receive most of its money back so it will be willing to approve the sale. But the second bank, who is in a subordinate position, will get nothing and not approve the deal. It can be frustrating for a home buyer to wait for a closing to be scheduled when there is no guarantee as to  when the bank (or banks) will respond.

How does a short sale compare to a foreclosure? In a foreclosure, the bank has taken back the home from the owner. The seller is now the bank and homebuyers along with their agents, deal directly with the bank when an offer is written. A bank representative did not reside at the home so cannot fill out a disclosure with information about the condition of the home. While negotiations are easier and much faster, buyers must accept the risk and purchase the home in as-is condition. While it is always recommended to have a home inspected, it becomes extremely important to be diligent and inspect everything thoroughly when buying a bank owned property. 



If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of RE/MAX Specialists, a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet or Homebuyers Success Packet. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

First Time Home Buyer Statistical Snapshot of Shoreview MN Home Sales

First Time Homebuyer Real Estate Shoreview MN




Shoreview, Minnesota is an attractive community for first time homebuyers to consider in 2012. Its central location to both downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis combined with abundant parks, lakes and community activities make it a great community to consider for a first home. Eclectic housing options at various price points allow a first time buyer to consider a small single family residence or townhome as a first home. With average price per square foot down significantly, Shoreview might have opportunities that wouldn’t have been available to the first time home buyer a few years ago.

In the centrally located Ramsey County community of Shoreview, MN new listings were down in 2011 along with almost every other real estate indicator except for days on the market. New listings were down nearly 14% while closed sales down by roughly 8%. Likewise the average sales priced dropped considerably to just over $200,000, down from $233,000 in 2010. Homes are bringing in an average price per square foot of $102 which is comparable with other communities in the northeast Minneapolis/St. Paul area but still down considerably from $114/sq ft that homes in Shoreview were getting on average in 2010.  It is apparent that distressed properties are continuing to work their way out of this community. Sellers are getting just over 90% of their asking price; also down from nearly 92% in 2010 but also comparable to other neighboring communities. The average time on the market to sell a home, rose just a bit from 136 to 142 days on the Shoreview market. Again this statistic is comparable to other surrounding neighborhoods. These end-of-year average statistics are just a snapshot of the Shoreview real estate market as it continues to move toward becoming balanced.



Are YOU ready to buy a home in Shoreview, MN?
If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of RE/MAX Specialists, a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet or Homebuyers Success Packet. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

First Time Home Buyer Statistical Snapshot of Oakdale, MN Home Sales

First Time Homebuyer Real Estate Oakdale MN



Opportunities abound for the First Time Homebuyer in Oakdale, Minnesota. The expansion of smaller split level single family homes and townhomes built in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s make this community one of the best opportunities for the first time homebuyer in the east Twin Cities metro. With a price per square foot in a very reasonable $80-90/sq ft, homes are very affordable in this Washington County area.

Closed sales held steady in Oakdale in 2011 but the amount of new homes listed dropped by a staggering 23%. The average closed sales price was down 13% and the average price per square footage at $83/sq ft, is one of the lowest in the north and east suburban area. This is another area where there were an abundance of lender mediated and foreclosures. The market reflects these properties working their way out of this central Washington County suburb just east of St. Paul. Market time is pretty stable taking 128 days to sell on average over 127 in 2010. This is not all bad news as with new listings way down and sales continuing at a steady pace, prices could begin to stabilize in 2012 as the market becomes more balanced between buyers and sellers. Buyers looking to take advantage of the lower prices and great affordability of Oakdale homes will need to make decisions quickly as the supply of listings could be limited especially in the lower level price ranges.

 
Are YOU ready to buy a home in Oakdale MN? 
If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of RE/MAX Specialists, a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet or Homebuyers Success Packet. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.