Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas LOLCat




The morning of Christmas eve, Muffin decided it would be a great time to sit on the new dining room table. It had been up for a couple of weeks and he never put a paw on it but there he was. So I removed him with a thump...Moments later he returned with a very smug look. He was mocking me...So I bought him a gift...Merry Christmas!



Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

December 2009 Twin Cities Real Estate Market Video Update—Continuing Signs of Recovery!

In the December Monthly Skinny from the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS® provides a snapshot of the Twin Cities real estate market as we wrap up 2009.
Though there still are challenges in the upper brackets of the housing market, there has been a continued trend of recovery. Though we did still see a 3% month-to-month drop in median home prices, from $175,000 to $170,000, this is lowest drop in two years. Strong home sales added to shrinking supply equates to a stabilizing home market. This month's Skinny notes that our Twin Cities was affected by the $8000 tax credit as part of this recovery. There is hope that the extended and expanded tax credit will continue to stabilize the Twin Cites home marketing into 2010 but only time will tell. Also predictions for the 2010 national market by Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of REALTORS® were shared in this month’s report.
Enjoy the last video update for the Twin Cities real estate market for 2009.



If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet , Homebuyers Success Packet or sign up for Listingbook Twin Cities Home Search. 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.



Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Winter Acreage Home Bargains in the Twin Cities North Metro… Deals are TOO Good to last until Spring!




Looking for a bargain on an acreage home in the Twin Cities north Metro?

Think all the good deals are gone or won’t hit the market until next spring?

Think again! Here are 10 BEAUTIES that JUST LISTED in Anoka County, Northern Washington County or Northern Ramsey County.


Some of these deals are on foreclosures or bank-owned homes. Some are short sales which will take a bit longer to negotiate with the seller and the bank. But many are being offered for sale by traditional sellers and are still awesome deals!

Winter can be a great time to buy a MINNESOTA home and with the Homebuyers Tax Credit of 2009/2010, it makes more sense than ever to get your home search started as soon as possible.

Keep in mind that foreclosures are no longer trashed, fixer-uppers. Today's foreclosures can be simply AWESOME! 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 TEN OPPORTUNITIES that listed since December 1st that I noted while perusing the Twin Cities MLS today:
  • 4BR/2BA Lino Lakes Short Sale. 1967 rambler with a one car garage on just over an acre for less than $130K

  • 5BR/3BA/2Car on 1.5 Acres in North Oaks!! Almost 3000 sq ft finished, with custom woodwork throughout. Asking over $150K less that assessed value at $330K.

  • 2.7 Acres and 4 Car Garage in Ham Lake! 4BR/2BA built in 1981 backs up to Carlos Avery game preserve. Listed under assessed value at $250K.

  • 4BR/3BA/6Car One Story in Ham Lake. New construction in 2007, bank-owned home on just over an acre. Some handicap accessible features. Builder listed at $429K …Bank asking $280K.

  • 2 Story with 3 Pole Barns on 40 Ham Lake Acres! 3BR/3BA completely remodeled in&out. Traditional seller asking $500K.

  • 3BR/4BA/3Car New Construction in Forest Lake. BANK-OWNED built in 2005 home on 1.6 acres with city water and sewer. Full Master suite. Builder price $489,900…Bank asking price $175K LESS at $315K.

  • 5BR/4BA Brick 2 Story on Forest Lake. 1+ Acre lot. 100 ft shoreline on First Lake. 5200 square ft executive home built in 2000. Originally listed at 1.5 Million….now bargain priced at $850K.

  • 8.7 Acres Split Level in East Bethel! 2BR/2BA built in 1993. Third bedroom and family room just need carpet. Bank-owned fixer-upper price $138K.

  • 1 Acre Rambler with view of Coon Lake. 3BR/2BA/3Car Quiet East Bethel community. Traditional seller listed at $199,900.

  • 2.5 Acres in Andover Spectacular Short Sale! 4BR/4BA/3Car 2 story built in 2006. All the bells and whistles included. Sold for $505K three short years ago…now listed at $385K.
If you are in the market for a great deal on a foreclosed, short sale or traditionally sold home, it is 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. (Note: Traditional sellers rarely look at offers without proof of funding either.)
  2. Banks reject lowball offers...often with 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. Buyers must be prepared to make all necessary repairs out of their own pocket after closing.
  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.


FEATURED Acreage Listing in Oak Grove. Minnesota


Oak Grove 9+Acre estate being offered by a traditional seller for $259,900! Bring the horses and ATV’s! Contemporary 1-1/2 story 4 Bedroom home with 5+ Mechanics Dream Garage.



Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Friday, December 18, 2009

Are YOU a Veteran? 7 Steps to Buying a Home with a VA Loan

If you can answer yes, the VA loan program is designed exclusively to help you buy a home. It is a GREAT option for financing your piece of the American Dream! And, it is one of the only ZERO down programs still available.

As a REALTOR® who works throughout Anoka, Chisago and Washington Counties, I have sold many homes using the DVA program. I have worked with sellers in Forest Lake, Wyoming and Coon Rapids who accepted offers from Veterans using the DVA financing program to purchase the home. I assisted Veteran home buyers to locate and purchase homes in Ham Lake, Lino Lakes, Blaine and Hugo using their DVA eligibility option. All of the sales went off without a hitch. It is a wonderful program.

Additionally, I know and work closely with loan officers and mortgage brokers who have extensive experience working with VA loans. We work together as a team to get veterans into the homes of their dreams!

Earlier this year I attended a seminar given by the Department of Veterans Affairs on the home assistance program that is available for those who have served or are actively serving in the military. What a great benefit to our brave men and women who have sacrificed for our country. Low and no money down home loan programs are almost unheard of for today’s homebuyers. But the DVA has offered this option to eligible veterans since 1944 and continues the program today.
So, are you a veteran homebuyer?
There are many ways to take advantage of the DVA program. Whether you are buying a single family home, condo, townhome or even a duplex or four-plex, as long as you plan to live in the home, this is a benefit you have earned and should consider when buying or refinancing a home.

Seven Simple Steps to Buying a Home with a VA Loan:


  1. Apply for your Certificate of Eligibility (COE). Or ask your loan officer to request online using the webLGY application.

  2. Work with a REALTOR® to find your perfect home with a home seller that will accept DVA financing.

  3. Present the COE to your loan officer at the time of loan application.

  4. Loan officer will work with VA to order appraisal of home. A Notice of Value is issued.

  5. The lender bank will review all documentation and approve your loan if the established property value and your credit and income are acceptable.

  6. Attend the closing on your new home where the closer will go over all the loan terms and requirements as you sign the documents for your mortgage.

  7. The lender applies to the VA for evidence of guaranty.
On the surface, many of these steps are similar to applying for a regular loan but the benefits of coming in with a very low or maybe even no down payment are not. Veterans should note that you are not alone in the process; you will have professional assistance in every step of the way. Why wouldn’t you want to check out this unique opportunity that is only available to those who have served our great country?


Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Monday, December 14, 2009

7 Tips for Holiday Homesellers—House On or Off the Market at Christmas?


It is that time of year again. The holidays are upon us but the house hasn’t sold. What should a seller do?

At first inclination most sellers opt to withdraw their home from the market believing that the preoccupation with the holiday season puts few buyers in the market. While there is truth to this belief, sellers can be ignoring another more important truth: Those buyers looking at houses during the holidays are very serious buyers. That
extended tax credit has expanded to include those who have owned homes previously so this year there are more winter buyers than ever before. There are not many tire-kickers running around with a REALTOR® when there are presents to buy and gifts to wrap. December and January showings are a seller’s opportunity as most homes that buyers visit at this time of the year are vacant. A buyer’s choices are down to model homes, empty relocation properties and foreclosures. A welcome home filled with the colorful sights, delightful sounds and wonderful aromas of the season give a unique opportunity for those wanting to sell.

Tips for Showing and Selling During the Holidays
  1. Decorate! Tastefully of course. This might not be the year that you do the Griswold display of lights as in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, but a decorated tree, candles and wreaths can add a special touch.
  2. Bake and leave out Christmas Cookies. Why should Santa have all of the extra calories?
  3. Make sure the fireplace is burning bright, warm and welcoming!
  4. Play holiday music. Leave out the barking version of Jingle Bells and go for instrumentals or uniquely Minnesota regional artists like The Blenders.
  5. Shovel and salt the driveway if necessary. No one wants to spend the holidays in the emergency room with a twisted ankle.
  6. Turn the heat up for showings…Let them know the furnace really works. It is such a treat after visiting vacant foreclosed homes!
  7. Leave the front light on! Don’t forget it is dark out during those early evening showings. Make certain buyers and their agents are able to see their way to your front door and lockbox.


Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Saturday, December 12, 2009

November 2009 Twin Cities Real Estate Market Video Update—Affects of the $8000 Tax Credit!

As we cruise into the cold of winter, we can take a few minutes to review how the fall market energized the Twin Cities real estate market as we view the November Monthly Skinny from the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS®.

This month's Skinny examines how the Twin Cities was affected by the $8000 tax credit in the month of October. The announcement of the extension and expansion came late enough into the month that many buyers did not want to risk missing the original November 30th deadline. Almost 4700 purchase agreements were signed in the month of October. The affects of the first time buyer credits were most noteable on homes under $200,000. Also the inventory of foreclosure homes is down considerably now while homes in a short sale position are not selling so quickly. The obvious reason for this is that the approval of the purchase for a lender-owned home is within days while a home in a short sale position will take weeks or even months to obtain all of the approvals required for a closing. As noted in the video it will be interesting to see how the extended and expanded tax credit will affect the real estate market during the next few months. Most first time buyers that wanted to buy may have already purchased a home to meet the original deadline but the expansion for previous homeowners does create a new wild card.


Enjoy the video and lets hope these positive signs for Twin Cities real estate continue into 2010.



If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet , Homebuyers Success Packet or sign up for Listingbook Twin Cities Home Search. 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.




Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Friday, November 20, 2009

Could this be the WINTER to Move Up to a Bigger House? YES!!


So, your family has lived and loved your cute and cozy 1960’s rambler for a few years now. It was perfect for a young, just married couple when you bought it. The bedrooms were on the small side but there was room to grow and it worked perfectly when there were just two of you. Then came the puppy who grew into a huge licking Labrador. And later one baby, then two. Now suddenly 1500 square feet is overrun with chew toys, Little Tikes and Duplos. That cozy little starter home is now cramping your lifestyle. But with the flux in the real estate market, can you afford to move? In many cases, YES!
If the scenario above describes your situation, listen up. You could now be ELIGIBLE for the HOMEBUYERS TAX CREDIT. Yep it is not just for first time buyers anymore! Additionally, you can benefit from the situation that the first time buyer credit has created. The first time buyer tax credit has affected the starter home market in a very positive way. In the north metro areas including Lino Lakes, Blaine, Ham Lake, White Bear and Forest Lake, people are scrambling to find good starter homes for first time buyers prior to the expiration of the first time home credit. Many well priced, single family homes are seeing multiple offers within days of hitting the Twin Cities MLS. The demand for single family homes under $150K is the highest it has been in the past few years.
And better still, there is an amazing selection of homes in the move up category to select from. Historically, if a single family home was sold, that owner had to buy another home creating a chain effect into all different price points. But today’s real estate market offers a unique opportunity as many of the homes being purchased are bank-owned. No one is buying home on the other end. So there move up buyers are seeing a better selection of inventory in the higher price points at great prices.

So why move now? To take advantage of the tax credit, buyers must write up an offer for their new home by April 30, 2010. When the incentive is over, the demand for homes could level off a bit. So listing your home THIS winter could make sense as there is a significant demand for starter homes NOW while the deadline for the expiring tax credit is on the horizon.

Are you ready to take advantage of this perfect opportunity to purchase a larger home for your growing family? As a local north metro real estate specialist I can help you assess your current situation and see if is the right time for your family to make a move up!

Note: A special thank you to author and illustrator Elizabeth O. Dulemba
for allowing me to use her copyrighted family coloring page as art for my post. If you would like to see more of her coloring pages or her full color art for the children’s books she writes and illustrates, visit her website and blog at www.dulemba.com

Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Foreclosure Inventory Down; House Prices Up—Are there Still Good Deals on Acreage and Lakeshore in Anoka County?



Absolutely! There are still GREAT deals on many acreage and lakeshore home throughout Anoka County (and Washington County too)!

The
$8000 tax credit caused a flurry of activity at the end of the summer. With the original end of November deadline looming, people rushed to snatch up deals on acreage and lakeshore homes throughout Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties. But now with the extension and expansion of the tax credit, many first time homebuyers and previous owners alike are excited that they too can STILL get a credit but wonder if they missed out on all the good deals. Not a chance. There are still deals to be found throughout the Twin Cities north and east metro!
Looking for a 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 no longer always trashed, fixer-uppers. Today's foreclosures can be simply AWESOME! 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.
But not ALL deals are foreclosures!
Many homes priced to sell are people who have to sell do to a lifestyle change that is not financial. Whether relocating for a new job, getting married or having twins, people have to find new places to live. If a seller is motivated, they are pricing to compete with the foreclosure market. So don’t think the only deals are lender mediated or you could miss out on a beauty!
Here are a few of the treasures I noted while perusing the Twin Cities MLS in Anoka and Washington County today:
  • New Construction on 2+Acres in Ham Lake. Wooded backyard. Walkout basement. Custom built two story 4BR/3BA/3Car home with over 2500 square feet of finished living space. Down $30K Offered at $361,900

  • Like NEW Rambler on Egg Lake in Hugo. Beautiful views in awesome 2005 Built executive rambler w/granite, mstr suite and more. Awesome 4BR/3BA/3Car home with walkout and over 3000 square feet of finished living space. Sold for $539K in 2006 now offered at $399,900

  • Almost NEW Coon Lake Treasure Lakeshore PLUS Acreage !! 2005 built 5BR/3BA on almost 3 wooded acres and 200ft on Coon. Home has 1700+ sq ft finished w/lower level sheetrocked and wired for 1700 more. Priced under $380K.

  • 6200+Sq ft Ham Lake 2Sty on 3.5 Acres! 6BR/6BA/4 car built in 2005 with picture perfect landscaping, oak floors and huge master suite. Originally listed at $825K but short sale priced at $545K!

  • BRAND NEW 2BR/1BA/3Car Linwood Rambler on 2.5 Acres Main flr laundry, hickory cabinets, landscaped yard and framed for 2 BR and bath in lower level! Originally listed at $249K now $235K!

  • Amazing value on 100 Ft of Forest Lake shoreline. 1988 built 3BR/3BA/2Car remodeled inside and out with breathtaking views of Forest Lake available due to relocation. Tax valued at $530K and NOT a short sale but down $150K being offered at $374,900

  • 3BR/2BA/3CAR on 7 ACRES in Linwood! Built in 2006 custom built rambler in almost new condition. 3 BR on main, private master with whirlpool, front porch. Original asking price $349K but priced short at $249K.
If you are in the market for a great deal on a lakeshore or acreage home, time to get organized because the rules to buy are a bit different in this changed market. Many times you can be submitting your offer to a bank rather than a traditional seller and how they assess your purchase agreement is all business and less heart.
Eight Tips for homebuyers in this CHANGED real estate market:
  1. Don’t wait until after the holidays! Homes are being listed every day…even in November and December. If you wait until January 1st to contact a REALTOR and loan officer for preapproval, you will miss out on a deal or two. Many people choose to wait out until after the holidays…smart buyers will be ready to write an offer even if the home is listed a few days before Santa arrives!

  2. Banks LOVE clean offers. Heck…traditional sellers love them too! Buyers MUST be preapproved with credit checked and employment and funds verified. Documentation must accompany the offer or it won't be considered.

  3. Banks reject lowball offers...often without negotiation. They are a business and know the value of the asset they are selling. Traditional sellers often will be offended by an unreasonable offer and less likely to negotiate. Make sure your agent provides comparable sales to review before writing your offer on the purchase agreement so it makes good sense to both you as a buyer and the seller.

  4. Well priced homes get multiple offers. Serious buyers put in their best bid first.

  5. Banks sell homes AS-IS. Homes held in an estate or owned by a relocation company will also routinely require AS-IS agreements.What you see is what you get. Buyers must be prepared to make all necessary repairs out of their own pocket after closing.

  6. 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. Conversely, traditional sellers and relocation companies will often negotiate to determine who will pay for some types of the inspections. A basic home inspection is usually paid for by the homebuyer.

  7. Personal property is not included as part of the sale when a lender owns the home. 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. This is not the case with a traditional sale. Make certain every appliance, as well as any other personal property, is listed in the purchase agreement if the home is sold by a traditional seller.

  8. Having your own REALTOR® to represent your interests is essential. The listing agent is under contract to represent the bank or seller of the property. In many cases, banks do 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 seller...the listing agent is required to tell the seller and their representatives everything that you say about your financing and the amount you are able or willing to pay. But the listing agent is not required to tell you anything in return. The listing agent works only for the seller of the property. Having your own REALTOR® to represent your interests in the transaction usually does not cost anything…It is paid for by the seller.


Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Almost Speechless Sunday--Gobble, Gobble on Anoka County Acreage!


Though I live on Minnesota Acreage, I have never been a hunter. But owning a few home with a few acres in Anoka County does present the perfect hunting opportunity now and then.

Living in slightly rural setting, we see observe deer run through the yard, eating crabapples and acorns off the lawn, or in darting front of our car now and then...And once in awhile there is an opportunity that is nothing short of GOLDEN!!


Just a few days ago, I heard quite a commotion in my backyard. It is only weeks prior to Thanksgiving and we have the good fortune to have a rafter of TURKEYS make a visit. We counted at least 40 of them.

Quite an opportunity to take a shot or two...with my camera! Enjoy!

FYI--A rafter is the correct term for a group or flock of turkeys.


Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Expanded Tax Credit Might Make Moving in a MN Winter Worth the Effort


Everyone knows that S word associated with a Minnesota Winter: SNOW! The dreaded elements of the season that scare many "sunshine and warmth" lovers out of our great state do present problems when it comes to moving and selling a home.

But this year if you wait until spring, you could lose out big time.
The expanded and extended tax credit for homebuyers will expire in April 2010 just as the warm winds of spring make a comeback. If you are considering a move in the next 6-12 months, listing your home now could definitely be to your advantage.

Here are a few reasons…besides the $6500 tax creditthat might convince you to put your home on the market now:


  1. Buyers who look at homes in the winter months in Minnesota are serious about purchasing a house. There are less “snow” tire-kickers when you have to navigate to showings along icy roads.

  2. Not all first time buyers could find that perfect foreclosure home this summer. Many would prefer to work with a traditional seller who can provide a history of the home on a disclosure.

  3. Buyers like viewing homes where the utilities have not been disconnected, and this is true especially in the winter. As a traditional seller your home isn’t winterized and disconnected like vacant, foreclosed properties. Buyers will definitely feel a warm glow any home with the lights and heat on!

  4. Snow can cover landscaping flaws. If fido has left dead spots in the grass, now one will notice.

  5. Homes look very festive during the holidays! Of course don’t go overboard with the lights…This means NO Griswold decorating! But tasteful holiday décor will make a house feel more like home.


Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Friday, November 6, 2009

It Passed! Details on the Extended and Expanded Tax Credit for Homebuyers


Did you hear it? That big woosh of air was all of those buyers, sellers, REALTORS, loan officers and title representatives that had a purchase agreement with a November 30, 2009 closing date breathing out a collective sigh of relief. An extension for the tax credit for first time homebuyers was approved by both the house and senate and is scheduled to be signed by the president today. Professionals in the industry were worried about the potential bottleneck of all the closings trying to happen before the original deadline because we all know, S*** Happens on the way to the closing table from time to time. (Yep that stands for STUF…wink, wink!) Most closings will go off without a hitch but occasionally there can be delayed a day or so. However, not closing on time could have cost some first time buyers big bucks had the extension not passed.

But, as many buyers, sellers and real estate professionals had hoped, the Homebuyer Tax Credit was not only extended but expanded to include homebuyers who have owned homes in the past. Specifically someone who has owned a home and lived in it for five consecutive years of the last eight, you could qualify for the up to a $6500 tax credit. There are guidelines and limitations so understanding the program is essential.

Here are a few key details of the plan:

  1. First time buyers qualify for up to $8000.

  2. Current Homeowners qualify for up to $6500.

  3. Purchase agreements must be written by April 30, 2010.

  4. Closing must be finalized by July 1, 2010.

  5. Income Limits are $125,000 for a single person or $225,000 for married couples.

  6. Home must not cost more than $800,000


Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pohlad Grant Deadline Looming~Now FHA Approved!

The deadline is looming! Not just for the tax credit for first time homebuyer. Anyone interested in buying a home in the 55106 Dayton’s Bluff area, needs to pay attention to the December 31st deadline for this program too!

It’s been a few weeks since I had checked the Dayton’s Bluff website for information on the Pohlad Homebuyer Assistance Incentive Program. This is the program that caused so much excitement for buyer’s in the 55106 zip code earlier this year. But this morning when I clicked over I got a very pleasant surprise! The funds are now approved for FHA financing!


If you haven’t heard about it yet, this is a great program for homebuyers looking to buy in St. Paul’s 55106 zip code and available through the
Pohlad Family Giving Foundation. However, they are not just giving away money here. The funds are distributed at the time of the purchase of the home as a forgivable loan. So it is not as simple as a homebuyer purchasing a house and walking in to the Dayton's Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services of St. Paul to collect an $8000 check. That said, this is still an awesome opportunity if you want to live on the east side of St. Paul!



Here are some of the program's highlights:



*The funds up to $8000 are distributed in the form of a 7 year forgivable deferred loan.



*The loan will have an interest rate of 0%.



*Homebuyers must occupy the property as their principle residence for 7 years.



*Single family homes and duplexes purchases are eligible.



*The funds will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.



*It is only available in the 55106 zip code in St. Paul or 55411 zip code in Minneapolis.



* The funds can be used for down payment and/or closing costs including prepaids.



*First time homebuyers will have to take an approved homebuyer education class.



*Successful, prior homeowners will not have to take a homebuyer class.



*Funds are available to both first time homebuyers and previous homeowners alike.



*There is no maximum household income for the program.



*All homes must close prior to December 31, 2009.



If you are a home buyer interested in buying a home in the Dayton’s Bluff area and want to take advantage of this program, you NEED to be working with a REALTOR® and loan officer that understand the details of how the funding will best work for you. Must of the application process is supplemented by information provided from the mortgage lender or loan officer. Be certain that the people you select to work with really understand how the program works so you don’t miss out on this opportunity.




Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Saturday, October 31, 2009

October 2009 Twin Cities Real Estate Market Video Update—Not a Total Comeback but Still Moving Forward!

Althought it is the last day of October, there is still time to share this month's update from the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS®.

The October Monthly Skinny points out that even in the cooler September temperatures, theTwin Cities real estate market was hotter than average for early fall. The Twin Cities area saw a 23.5% increase in pending sales in September 2009 as compared to September 2008. Many of these purchase agreements were for homes in the very affordable under $120,000 price range. No doubt due this surge in sales contracts were due to the soon to expire tax credit for first time home buyers. That credit has been such a boon to the lower priced homes that it has really worked down the amount of bank owned properties and there is considerably less inventory in that category going forward. Short sale properties did not see nearly the same amount of action as there is often timeframe issues when placing an offer on a home that is in a short sale position. With the tax credit deadline looming few first time buyers want to take a chance on a short sale not closing prior to the November 30, 2009 expiration date of the credit as it stands today. Yes, the credit could be extended but it is obvious from the numbers that few buyers wanted to take that chance.

So how does this compare to the real estate market is that for single family homes in Anoka County, Ham Lake, Forest Lake and throughout the Twin Cities north metro? The north metro market has had a similar pattern to the rest of the metro area. We are still dealing with a stagnant townhomes and condo market and single family homes in the higher price points. In both of these catagories, there continues to be some amazing opportunities for buyers as compared to just a few years ago. Move up buyers and downsizers can benefit in this market if they own a home valued under $200,000, the price-point where most first time buyers are looking. Seniors who are down sizing from a reasonably sized/priced home can sell to first time buyers and obtain a condo at a steal of a price. Young families who have overgrown their starter home can move up to a larger home in the $250,000-$300,000 price range and have quite a selection to choose from.

Enjoy the video and remember that positive trends don't equate a comeback as there are still many challenges facing the Twin Cities real estate market. But we are moving forward.



If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me a call or visit my website for a
FREE Relocation Packet , Homebuyers Success Packet or sign up for Listingbook Twin Cities Home Search. 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.



Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Lino Lakes, MN Real Estate Market Statistics Third Quarter 2009


Looking for a good deal on lakeshore or acreage in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area north metro? Lino Lakes, MN in Anoka County might be just the ticket. 2009 had seen an abundance of sales in the lower price points with bank owned and lender mediated properties impacting the market. Traditional homes had longer market times and by the end of the 3rd quarter properties were starting to move in even the higher price points.

Lino Lakes has a good mixture of lakeshore, acreage and townhome residences but is more known for having a bit of space between the houses. It conveniently located near the junction of the 35E and 35W split, just north of the Twin Cities, Lino Lakes is a 33 square miles treasure. With 13 lakes and acres of beautiful protected wetland, the community is served by three school districts;
Centennial District #12, Forest Lake District #831, and White Bear Lake District #624. The gem attraction is the pristine 2,700-acre Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Regional Park Reserve is situated within the heart of the city. Lino Lakes is committed to maintain this treasure and its natural settings and wildlife habitats for years to come.

Like other communities in the Twin Cities, Lino Lakes homes priced under $300,000 are selling while those priced over $300,000 are lingering on the market. Inventory is way down in the under $200,000 single family home category and sales are strong up in the $200,000 to $300,000 categories for both single family and townhomes. The third quarter cumulative days on market (CDOM) statistic is much lower than for the average CDOM first quarter of 2009 (142 versus 192). It is also better than the CDOM for all of 2008 (142 versus 160). Looking at current inventory levels and the rate of sales for single family homes priced under $200,000, there is about 3-4 months of inventory. And a bit higher with 7-8 months of inventory at the $200K-$300K price point. Surprisingly even the inventory levels in the $300K-$400K range of Lino Lakes single family homes has made quite a bit of progress this summer. This category also is under a year’s worth of inventory as it has about 10-11 months worth. Hopefully this will be a trend we see continue as we end 2009 and one that will continue into the new year.

Townhomes continue to struggle even with the
$8000 tax credit for first time buyersthat helped make so much difference in the single family home market. In every price category, there continues to be significant inventory and this doesn’t include all of the non-MLS listed new construction townhomes in the area either. Motivated sellers will have to be very aggressive with their pricing if they need to sell a townhome in Lino Lakes. Buyers considering townhomes in the Twin Cities north metro have quite an opportunity to make a deal in the Lino Lakes area.

1st Quarter Lino Lakes residential real estate statistics for single family homes:

Under $200,000~ 11 Active Listings, 10 Pending Listings, 8 Sold Listings, 164 CDOM
$200,000-$300,000 ~ 42 Active Listings, 9 Pending Listings, 16 Sold Listings, 146 CDOM
$300,000-$400,000 ~ 28 Active Listings, 4 Pending Listings, 9 Sold Listings, 101 CDOM
$400,000-$500,000 ~ 20 Active Listings, 1 Pending Listings, 1 Sold Listings, 91 CDOM
$500,000 and Up~ 10 Active Listings, 0 Pending Listings, 0 Sold Listings

1st Quarter Lino Lakes residential real estate statistics for townhomes and condos:


Under $200,000~ 26 Active Listings, 1 Pending Listings, 4 Sold Listings, 162 CDOM
$200,000-$300,000 ~ 11 Active Listings, 4 Pending Listings, 0 Sold Listings
$300,000-$400,000 ~5 Active Listings, 0 Pending Listings, 0 Sold Listings

Lakeshore available in Lino Lakes as of 10/11/2009

6 Active Listings

Lino Lakes lakeshore price range: $342,900-$1,118,000

1 Home on Amelia Lake
1 Home on Otter Lake
4 Homes on Reshanau Lake
Acreage properties available in Lino Lakes as of 10/11/2009
15 properties listed on 1-2 Acres priced between $149,900-$619,000.
5 properties listed on 2.1-5 Acres priced between $180,000-$349,900
5 properties listed on 5.1-10 Acres priced between $349,000-$1,118,000
1 property listed on 10.96 Acres priced at $595,000
1 property listed on 29.52 Acres priced at $749,000
1 property listed on 80 Acres priced at $6,000,000



For additional information on any current Lino Lakes real estate listing or for additional information on buying a home in Lino Lakes contact Teri Eckholm directly at 651-336-7073.

**All Statistical information sold based on information from the REGIONAL MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE of MINNESOTA, INC. for the period of 7/1/09 through 9/30/09.


Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ham Lake, MN Real Estate Market Statistics for 3rd Quarter 2009


It will probably not come as a surprise that the unique Ham Lake name wasn't the first choice by the settler's to the area. After all, not many towns would chose to be named after a cut of pork (but the lake really does look like a ham hock from an aerial view). Incorporated in 1974, Ham Lake became a city after over a hundred years of humble but steady growth. The area was first settled in 1855 by a group of Scottish men on the southwest side of Ham Lake. The original name of the community was Glen Carey, which is the Scottish translation of "beautiful valley". Following a prairie fire in 1857, the first settlers moved but the community was resettled again. The new Scandinavian settlers had a hard time with the pronunciation of Glen Carey and soon the fledging community was known as Ham Lake...most probably because the lake in the area has a unique "ham-hock" shape. Anoka County officially was recognized Ham Lake as a township in 1871. In the early 1900's Central Avenue (Highway 65) was a slow commute as it was a wagon trail through the sand and swampland. And we think going through stop light after stop light slows traffic. Though it was graveled and paved at some point, it 1954 before was expanded to four lanes.
There are still four lanes on Highway 65 but traffic is traveling at a brisk 65 mph round the clock now as more people commute to the north. There are many people who look to the Ham Lake area for acreage, executive, luxury and lakeshore homes. However, lately the real estate market has been quite sluggish throughout Anoka County. Ham Lake, MN is seeing homes sell in 2009. There are bright spots across the board with homes selling in all price categories under $400,000, but the bulk of sales is found in the under $300,000 price categories.
New construction sales are not just stagnant; they have completely stopped with only one builder owned new construction home sold since the first of the year. The average Cumulative Days-on-Market (CDOM) is bouncing around in this Anoka County town…down a bit from first quarter in Ham Lake at 202 days, to 158 in the 2nd quarter and back up to 175 for the 3rd quarter.
Inventory is down in Ham Lake from the levels seen in 2008. There are currently 122 homes listed as active on the Twin Cities MLS but a good portion of those homes are in high price categories that are not seeing much activity. Homes over $500K continue to linger on the market for month after month. Homeowners considering selling a home in the Ham Lake area must consider the average time to sell a home in the Twin Cities north metro is approximately 6-8 months but high priced homes are selling in 2-3 years! Right now average inventory levels indicate there is about 15-16 months of inventory in Ham Lake. Having a good price strategy for your home and being prepared for showings will be essential if planning to sell a home in this Anoka County community in 2009.
3rd Quarter 2009 Ham Lake residential real estate statistics for single family homes:
Under $200,000~ 25 Active Listings, 6 Pending Listings, 10 Sold Listings, CDOM 202 (All existing homes)
$200,000-300,000~ 33 Active Listings, 2 Pending Listings, 10 Sold Listings, CDOM 120 (New Construction Subgroup ~ 2 Active, 0 Pending, 0 Sold)
$300,000-400,000~ 36 Active Listings, 5 Pending Listings, 3 Sold Listings, CDOM 295 (New Construction Subgroup ~ 8 Active, 1 Pending, 0 Sold)
$400,000-$500,000~ 9 Active Listings, 1 Pending Listings, 1 Sold Listings, CDOM 130 (New Construction Subgroup ~ 2 Active, 0 Pending, 0 Sold)
$500,000 and Up~ 19 Active Listings, 1 Pending Listings, 0 Sold Listings, (New Construction Subgroup ~ 2 Active, 0 Pending, 0 Sold)
Lakeshore available in the City of Ham Lake
6 Active Listings
Ham Lake lakeshore price range: $185,000-$950,000
7 Homes on Coon Lake
1 Home on Lake Netta
1 Home on Ham Lake
2 Homes on Little Coon Lake

**All Statistical information based on information from the REGIONAL MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE of MINNESOTA, INC. for the period of 7/1/09 through 9/30/09.

Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Forest Lake MN Real Estate Market Statistics 3rd Quarter 2009


Forest Lake, Minnesota is well known throughout the Twin Cities area. It was a favorite summer vacation spot, an annual ice fishing tournament tradition or as a destination when going for a Sunday a drive in the country in days gone by. Today, the lakeside cabins have been replaced with year round residences, the fishing tourney is but a memory and the farms are few and far between in this third ring St. Paul suburb.
Real estate in Forest Lake, MN in north Washington County and east Anoka County has seen homes priced under $200,000 continue to sell in the 3rd quarter which is consistent with most of the Twin Cities area. A total of 24 single family homes priced under $200K were sold in Forest Lake and Forest Lake Township during this time period. This is a 50% increase in unit sales from the previous quarter. The Cumulative Days on Market (CDOM) Statistic was again slightly lower than the previous quarter with 126 CDOM compared to 129 CDOM in the 2nd quarter. This is quite a bit better than what was seen in the first half of 2008 when the CDOM ranged from 211-286. This surge in home sales in the lower price points is almost certainly a result of the $8000 first time homebuyer tax credit.
It appears the high end homes will continue to struggle into 2009 with only 2 homes sold over $400,000. Obviously, there weren’t too many first time buyers looking at homes in THIS price range. And as most of the homes sold in the lower price points were foreclosures or vacant homes, there wasn’t the “move-up” activity seen in a normal market. When the lower value home sold in the past, a family generally moved to a larger more valuable home. Not the case in this market…and the statistics in Forest Lake back this scenario up. Forest Lake continues to have about 5-6 YEARS of lakeshore and executive home inventory…much of it on the very desirable Forest Lake's picturesque First Lake.
With this abundance of inventory, some sellers have aggressively priced their home to sell. Facing another winter with an empty home is not an option many home sellers want to consider so it is now a great time for buyers to get deals. There are a few beautiful homes are currently on the market in Forest Lake at amazing prices; many are lakeshore and acreage properties. With this much inventory, motivated sellers will need to be flexible on pricing.
There are 45 active lakeshore homes for sale in the Forest Lake area and some are at attractive and affordable price points. Many have been on the market for several months; some over a year. With the amazing low interest rates and few high-end buyers, it could be a great time to negotiate a deal on your piece of Forest Lake Minnesota shoreline!
3rd Quarter 2009 Forest Lake real estate statistics for single family homes:
Under $200,000~ 34 Active Listings, 10 Pending Listings, 24 Sold Listings, 126 CDOM (Lakeshore Subgroup ~ 0 Active, 1 Pending, 2 Sold)
$200,000-$300,000 ~ 56 Active Listings, 8 Pending Listings, 9 Sold Listings, 207 CDOM (Lakeshore Subgroup ~ 7 Active, 1 Pending, 0 Sold)
$300,000-$400,000 ~ 32 Active Listings, 4 Pending Listings, 4 Sold Listings, 87 CDOM (Lakeshore Subgroup ~ 4 Active, 2 Pending, 0 Sold)
$400,000-$500,000 ~ 13 Active Listings, 0 Pending Listings, 3 Sold Listing, 306 CDOM (Lakeshore Subgroup ~ 8 Active, 0 Pending, 1 Sold)
$500,000 and Up~ 38 Active Listings, 0 Pending Listings, 1 Sold Listings, 306 CDOM (Lakeshore Subgroup ~ 26 Active, 0 Pending, 1 Sold)
Lakeshore available in the Forest Lake area:
45 Active Listings, 4 Pending Listings, 4 Sold Listings
Forest Lake lakeshore price range:
$259,000-$2,600,000
41 Homes on Forest Lake
1 Homes on Clear Lake
2 Home on Comfort Lake
1 Home on Shields Lake
**All Statistical information based on information from the REGIONAL MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE of MINNESOTA, INC. for the period of 7 /1/09 through 9/30/09.


Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Sunday, September 27, 2009

North St. Paul, MN—A Perfect Place to Call Home


People love living in North St Paul. And I am not talking about living on the north side of Minnesota’s capital city; I am referring to the City of North St Paul, located just EAST of St. Paul Minnesota along Highway 36. It is a quaint little town with a rich history that was founded in 1870 by Henry Castle on the banks of Silver Lake. He named the town’s main streets after his children, Henry, Helen, Margaret and Charles. When it incorporated in 1887, 221 people called the Village of North St. Paul home. From those humble beginnings, the town has grown considerably. As of 2008, nearly 12,000 people call the City of North St. Paul, Minnesota home.

Here is a top ten list of reasons why this community is such a great place to live.

#10—Water and Electric. Most cities provide the basic utilities of water and electricity to its residents. But few communities can boast water from five wells drilled deep into the earth for a pure, natural source of drinking water and their own power grid like North St. Paul can!

#9—Local Police and Fire. The City of North St. Paul is proud to have its own
police department and volunteer fire department.

#8—Cowern Elementary, Richardson Elementary and North St Paul High School. Go Polars! North St. Paul has two K-5 grade schools and a high school within its borders. Cowern Elementary is located on the south side of 36 at Margaret St and South Ave. While both Richardson Elementary and North High School are located on the north side of 36. Richardson bisects 16th Avenue and North is located along 11th Avenue. All three schools are an integral part of the North St. Paul/Maplewood/Oakdale School District #622.

#7—Silver Lake Park, Beach and Fishing Pier. Many North St. Paul children have learned to swim on brisk summer mornings in the water of
Silver Lake , a tradition that continues into today! And few resident can say they have never dropped by the annual Historical Society summer Ice Cream Social for a vanilla cone scooped by a neighbor. Although there are several other parks and playgrounds scattered throughout North St. Paul, Silver Lake is one of the most often visited.

#6—Unique taste treats! Homemade French fries at
Village Pizza, Broasted Chicken from Pizza Factory and award winning homemade ice cream from the HomeTown Creamery ice cream shop are just a few of the delectable treats served daily in North St. Paul.

#5—Booya! The fall tradition of the
North St. Paul fireman’s booya is an experience that no resident of North St Paul can resist! After a night of cooking up a ‘secret recipe’stew in giant pots, the volunteer fire department serves up their brew for all. Whether purchased by the bowl or pot, it is a fall tradition enjoyed by community residents for nearly a century!

#4— Friday Night History Cruz. Love classic cars? Spend a Friday evening in North St. Paul for the
History Cruz. Hundreds of car enthusiasts invade the main street of downtown North St. Paul, 7th Avenue, to show off their prized vehicles and see the shiny chrome fenders of yesteryear.

#3—The Snowman. The snowman has been greeting the residents of North St. Paul since it was constructed in the 1970’s. It was originally downtown behind what is now K&J Catering, but later moved to a park at the corner of Hwy 36 and Margaret Street. For those keeping statistics, the snowman is 44 feet tall and weighs about 20 tons!

#2—Eclectic Options for Living. Whether you want the convenience of a low-maintenance townhome, a historical turn of the century treasure, a 1950’s rambler or bungalow, or a recently constructed, modified two story, you can find an affordable option to rent or purchase in North St Paul.

#1—Friendly People. The number one reason for living in North St Paul is the welcoming community atmosphere. Isn’t that what most people search for in a place to call home?







Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Shoveling in September in Anoka County MN? It’s NUTS!


Literally! Nuts…Acorns to be specific. It’s a banner year for the oak trees in our yard! Unfortunately several of the branches that provide shade on our Ham Lake driveway in the summer, drop hundreds…no thousands of acorns onto our driveway. We thought that collecting them and bringing bushels of our red and bir acorns to the DNR was a novel idea, but a 3 hour drive to Bemidji for a possible $40 a bushel is not going to happen.

So we elected to shovel the nuts after they ping like hail stones onto our vehicles. We have blown them off the driveway in the past but it doesn’t get all the acorn-butter bits that our tires have ground in during the week. Believe me, shoveling is easier than sweeping. After they are dumped onto the edge of our property, the squirrel and white-tailed deer get a one-stop smorgasbord as usually we have a few crabapples in the mix.

What fun it is to live on
Minnesota acreage!


Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Saturday, September 19, 2009

September 2009 Twin Cities Real Estate Market Video Update—Real Estate Statistical Crystal Ball Fuzzy after Tax Credit Expires

In the September Monthly Skinny produced by the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS®, it appears there are indications of a continued improving market. We have now experienced fourteen consecutive months of increased pending sales as compared to the same month the year before. Of these sales, 40% were still lender mediated (bank owned, foreclosures and short sales) but traditional sellers are starting to see more action. This is especially true for those with homes priced under $150,000. As most of this activity has been generated by the soon to expire, first time buyer tax credit, the crystal ball is fuzzy going forward as to whether the momentum of the 2009 market will continue into 2010.

My take on the market is that this report is spot-on for single family homes in Anoka County, Ham Lake, Forest Lake and throughout the Twin Cities north metro. What it doesn't mention is that townhomes and condos still have stagnant sales as have homes in the higher price points. In both of these catagories, there continues to be some amazing price opportunities as compared to the previous few years. Move up buyers and downsizers can benefit in this market if they own a home valued under $200,000, the price-point where most first time buyers are looking. Seniors who are down sizing from a reasonably sized/priced home can sell to first time buyers and obtain a condo at a steal of a price. Young families who have overgrown their starter home can move up to a larger home in the $250,000-$300,000 price range and have quite a selection to choose from.

Enjoy the video and lets hope when the crystal ball clears for 2010, the real estate statistical news remains just as positive as it has been this past year!




Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lakeshore, Acreage and New Construction Foreclosures that are Move-In Ready for Washington County Homebuyers!



Looking for a 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 no longer always trashed, fixer-uppers. Today's foreclosures can be simply AWESOME! 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 while perusing theTwin Cities MLS in Washington County today:


  • 4+Acres in Lake Elmo. Beautiful acreage 2002 built two story 4BR/4BA/3Car home with over 3800 square feet of finished living space. Tax value $699K; bank priced $200K less
  • Lakeshore Beauty!! Almost 4700 sq ft finished, 6BR, 2 story with bank of windows to view Forest Lake. Previously listed at 700K, bank listed for under $460K.
  • Brick Rambler on 5 Acres Near Afton Alps! 5BR/3BA/3 car built in 2003 with picture perfect oak floors and huge master suite. 4000+ finished. Originally listed at $624K but foreclosure priced at $349K!
  • BRAND NEW 4BR/3BA townhome with vaulted ceilings in Forest Lake. Stainless appliances, cherry cabinets, master suite and more! Tax valued at for $262K…Bank asking $200K.
  • 2Story Oakdale New Construction Beauty! 5BR/4BA with 3 car built in 2007 with granite, stainless, 4 BR on one level and more. Builder asking price $600K but bank asking $424K.


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...often with 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. Buyers must be prepared to make all necessary repairs out of their own pocket after closing.

  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.


Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Almost Wordless Wednesday--Appletime in Anoka County Minnesota!


The apples are ready to pick and eat in Minnesota! I took this shot before we started picking all the apples off this tree. The white-tailed deer are the tip off that they are ready...When we saw the doe and fawn munching our apples off the tree last week, we knew we'd better get picking fast.

The local wildlife are not after the crab apples or golden delicious trees in our Ham Lake backyard yet. Guess we need a few more cool nights in Ham Lake to bring out the sweetness in those varieties. (We don't eat the crabapples but hear they make great jelly!)



Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Monday, August 31, 2009

Unexpectedly Amazing Bank-Owned Homes on Lakeshore, Acreage and throughout Anoka County!



Looking for a 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 no longer always trashed, fixer-uppers. Today's foreclosures can be simply AWESOME! This economy has forced builders and responsible homeowners alike to let amazing properties go back to the bank. Many are still in very good condition. Some still may require a bit of cleanup or a few cosmetic changes but there are many homes that you can move right into too!


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

  • New Construction Foreclosure on Coon Lake! 60ft of shoreline and brandnew 4BR/2BA on north side of Coon Lake in East Bethel. Builder listed at $600K;bank priced ½ off at $299K.

  • East Bethel Acreage with underground sprinklers, master suite and 4BR on one level. 4BR/3BA with 3 car built in 2001 and EXTRA garage sold for $393K just listed this weekend by bank for $222K!

  • Bank-owned New Construction 5BR/4BA Rambler in Ham Lake. Executive home with 5 car attached garage. Tax valued at $589K bank asking $499K includes heated garage, wet bar, landscaping!

  • 3BR/2BA/3Car 2004 built splitlevel on 3 acres in Burns Township. Just listed this weekend for $139K. Originally sold in 2004 for $265K.

  • Modified 2 story 3BR/2BA/3 Car on 1/4 ac in St. Francis. Just listed this weekend for $169,900 by bank. Anoka County tax value $219K--$50,000 higher than asking!

  • Brand NEW Andover One-Story Twin Home! 2BR/2BA/3Car with master suite. Builder priced at $265K...Bank asking $150,000!
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...often with 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. Buyers must be prepared to make all necessary repairs out of their own pocket after closing.

  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.

Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

The Sumac is Starting to Turn---10 Fall Maintenance Tips for Minnesota Homeowners!


I could hardly believe it when I saw it…The sumac is starting to turn in Anoka County and all over the north metro. Combine that with an over night temperature in the mid-40’s and we know that summer is almost over. Okay sumac is the first to turn colors and on most trees the leaves are still green but fall will be upon us soon. In a few more weeks we will need to wrap up all those summer projects and get the house ready for the winter season.

As I walk around my Ham Lake backyard and see the few leaves that have just begun their transformation from vibrant green to brilliant red I wonder where the summer went. It was the usual blur of activity baseball, summer classes, weekend excursions, trips to
Bunker Beach and Valleyfair with an occasional evening on the patio enjoying family time around a blazing fire in the firepit. All good things eventually come to an end...I realize it is time begin the autumn chores to protect our investment from the winter ahead.

As a REALTOR® in the Twin Cities metro, I know how important it is to maintain a home in throughout the year. Winters can be mild or brutal in Minnesota. Despite what the
Old Farmer’s Almanac might predict there is no guarantee which type of weather will come our way this year. Getting your home ready in the fall can prevent winter damage and costly repairs in the spring. And for any homeowner thinking the spring of 2010 will be the time to make a move, taking late summer and fall photos is a great asset to a winter listing to show how beautiful your landscaping is all year round!

Here are TEN essential tips and reminders of repairs and preventive maintenance all homeowners should consider in the fall:


  1. Clear Gutters of leaves and other debris that might clog the drainage. A blocked gutter can cause an ice dam when the snow flies.

  2. Winterize the lawn tractor or mower and get that snowblower tuned. If you have a plow service, make contact and update your contract prior to the first snowfall.

  3. Change security lightbulbs in hard to reach outlets. It would hazardous to climb ladders to reach the tip of a garage over an icy driveway.

  4. Unhook, coil and remove hoses from water spigots. Turn off and winterize sprinkling systems. Turn off water to outside spigots if not frost-free to prevent burst pipes in subzero temperatures.

  5. Schedule the annual furnace cleaning and tune-up to be ready for those first cold evenings. Remember to change the furnace filter every month for best efficiency…even if the packaging says “6-month filter”. QUICK TIP: Change filter when you make your monthly mortgage payment so you don’t forget.

  6. Check all windows and doors to see if new caulk or weather-striping is needed.

  7. Fall is the perfect time to paint with the low humidity and crisp breeze. Check deck, siding and trim for peeling paint.

  8. Fall is the last chance to seal the asphalt driveway prior to winter freezing. Fill cracks and topcoat if necessary.

  9. Inspect the roof for missing or damaged shingles. Verify that the flashings are sealed from rain and snow.

  10. Snap a few fall photos while the mums and trees are vibrant with color! Golden yellow oak leaves and vivid red sumacs will look awesome in the Twin Cities MLS if you decide to sell your home over the winter. Beautiful, green photos are a refreshing change when you consider that all of your competition will be snow covered!


Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/