Here to help you buy a home!

With 20+ years in Real Estate and additional experience with Relocation clients, I am gifted in helping people save money while getting into a property they love at the best possible price with savings in all categories from choosing the right lender, choosing the right inspector, and closer, as well as the right options to help when fixing up your new home.  Reach out with your questions and I will be happy to help you get started.

Super Real Estate Agent 2015 – 2020

When is the Best Time to Buy a Home?

Home buyers are always asking me, when is the best time to buy a home?  Maybe the better question to ask is, what factors determine a good time for me to buy?

Is your lease about to terminate or come up for renewal?  Are there other market factors such as mortgage rates remaining low that drive your search?  Also, do you know much do you need for a down payment and how much can you afford?

Several factors go into determining when is your best time, such as: what is your credit score, debt to income ratio, your savings on hand, and do your future life plans include remaining in your current market?  These factors also help determine if buying sooner rather than later is in your best interest.

Questions your Exclusive Buyer Agent can help you with are:

  • Do you have 2 years or more work history in the same field?
  • Do your Future career plans include remaining in the same market area?
  • Do you need to enroll children in a school district before school starts in the Fall?
  • Do you need to be concerned about a commute or can you telecommute? Is that likely to change?
  • Do you have enough savings for purchasing now, or, do you have high enough income and credit score to use down payment assistance to get into that first home?

These are questions that will help you determine what is your best time to enter the current or future market.

Your personal or joint income and lifestyle will also help you decide what type of housing will work best.  Is a single-family house right for you and your future lifestyle plans, or is it more in line with buying a condo or townhome?

Current market conditions can also affect your home-buying decision.  Historically, buying in the later months of the year have resulted in some savings over purchasing in the Spring-Summer market, however, does that historical factor remain consistent in a Seller’s Market when inventory is low?

Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors Association annual report indicates that Closed Sales were up 7.7% in 2020 over the previous year, while inventory is still remaining lower than average year of year.  And, Pending sales were up 9.7% over 2019.

No matter your age or buying power, we can help you get all your questions answered quickly, because we are actively helping other buyers so we are current with today’s market conditions.

With this knowledge we can help you strategize a plan to negotiate a great deal for a new home in any market, because we have phenomenal lenders, inspectors, closers and other help you get you into the home of your dreams and start building equity in any month of the year.

Depending on the area in which you wish to live, how long you wish to live there, and other market trends, you can start creating equity with home ownership in the short term.

We can help you make your dreams come true while protecting your best interests, no matter your age or home-buyer status.

Six ways to make better use of your patio

Summer is here and you want to spend it outside. We all do, especially in Minnesota when our time outside is dictated by the weather. Or at least the activities we can do outside are dictated by the weather. Realtor.com has a few suggestions to make the most of your summer with some backyard additions:

  1. Sectional furniture – can be easy to build or buy
  2. Get a fire pit – they come in a wide range of styles and prices
  3. Bench swing – imaging sipping a lemonade while you swing
  4. Picnic table with built in cooler – ready for guests any time
  5. Backyard Tiki bar – make this the exotic summer to remember
  6. Deck planters – a great way to try out a green thumb

Looking for a home mortgage? Best to go with someone you know and we know the right lender for you

If you have been shopping for homes online, you have likely seen the online lender ads, they are everywhere.  Most online lenders are looking to funnel as many potential buyers or refinancers through their pipeline as possible so they use lots of gimmicky advertising to get you to apply with them. They don’t know you and they aren’t likely to get to know you.

Also, is that the best possible mortgage option for you?  You may be surprised at how little you mean to them once you do sign up with them.  You are just part of their pipeline and they don’t expect to have a future relationship with you.  Often, because of this, customer service goes out the window.

An exclusive buyer agent (EBA) is different from a traditional buyer agent in how we approach your relationship with a lender. We want to know you and we want to understand your needs so we can advocate for you throughout your home purchase including what lenders you meet so you can learn what makes the best sense for your needs in a mortgage.

Our brokerage does not refer you to any affiliated lenders as some larger brokers might do. They may have an in-house lender and title company from whom the broker typically benefits because so much business is automatically funneled through their doors.  Most buyers are so overwhelmed with details they are willing to accept an agent’s recommendation, even if they could be saving money elsewhere.

Take a few minutes to talk to us and let us show you how we truly have your best interests at heart. We can help you cut through the lights and whistles of online and other lender marketing ploys. For example, online lenders don’t disclose their loan origination fees online and most Buyers don’t think to ask because their focus is typically on interest rate and monthly house payment.  They may not offer a wide enough array of loan product.

Also, we have cultivated relationships with lenders who have successfully closed many loans for our previous clients.  We know several excellent lenders; those who are great for first time homebuyers, experienced lenders who work with relocating buyers and those who can get creative if you are stretching into a new market.

We’ll help you find the lender who meets your personal needs and who will share with you the options available to you based on credit score, income and any factors that influence your buying power.  Did you know you can tailor your mortgage by buying down interest rate, prepaying mortgage insurance and managing your down payment amount?  Do you know you can save money on loan origination fees with the right lender?

 

We are looking to build relationships – and that means finding you the lender, home and mortgage that meet your unique needs and your wish list!  You can rest assured that a referral from a seasoned EBA has decades of successful lending experiences behind it and honed our preferences to lenders who perform well above the average lender.

We want to help you throughout all your buying experiences and be your future point of contact when questions arise.

How to Avoid Air Pollution in the HOME

 Most homeowners and homebuyers would like to avoid the use of chemical compounds, which can be found in most housing components, and, are referred to as VOC’s or Volatile Organic Compounds.  They can be in almost any building products, soft furnishings and certain paints that can off-gas, or evaporate, in the home at room temperature.   It is likely your home has some, no matter when it was built, so, consider choosing low VOC products as you replace furnishings or components or remodel in future and check to see which ones have the lowest VOC rating.

The off-gassing of VOC’s can happen from installing new paint, kitchen or other cabinets and flooring which can go on for years and expose your family to potential issues such as headaches, eye & nose irritation, certain respiratory issues can be exacerbated, fatigue and lower ability to concentrate or allergic reactions.  These are just some of the experiences homeowners have had, and, prolonged exposure, for some, has the potential to develop into more serious issues, especially those sensitive to toxins.

As awareness has grown, many manufacturers developed products with lower toxic emissions, allowing buyers and homeowners to choose from healthier options when furnishing or remodeling their home.  Lower VOC options come in flooring, starting with carpeting which is typically loaded with flame and stain retardants and potentially has anti-microbial treatment as well.  Avoid treated synthetic carpeting and consider wool or natural fiber carpet free of chemical treatments, along with a non-synthetic  natural backing, and look for low VOC padding underneath when installing.

Some laminate and other floating floors use formaldehyde in the gluing process which can cause off-gassing.  Solid lumber flooring sealed with a water-based polyurethane labeled as low VOC should help if you can go that route.  Look for low VOC options in other vinyl products, especially ones that don’t require adhesives to install.  Consider using natural fiber rugs where needed to avoid the issues synthetic or treated fibers might cause.

Today’s kitchen cabinets are often made from a timber composite product referred to as MDF. (medium density fiberboard) MDF is typically bound with a resin containing formaldehyde and other chemicals.  When looking to install new cabinetry consider using a real wood product or look for a safer EO MDF with less formaldehyde in the manufacturing process.

Paint is another culprit and the basic wall covering of most homes, so looking for a a water-based acrylic  versus solvent based paint, and paints with lighter tints, will help to keep the VOC levels down in your home as well.

Furniture is also a big consideration when dealing with VOC issues, as, many soft furnishings are treated or made from MDF product, so, looking for quality furnishings from hard wood construction, especially in the nursery, will help to lower the potential for off-gassing and ensure a healthier home environment.  Sometimes, used furnishing, especially older ones, may have finished off-gassing, so, antique and vintage finds might actually be a smart choice in some situations.  If they look a bit dated, you might sand furnishings and use zero-VOC paint to refinish, or reupholster with low VOC natural fibers.

Many houseplants can actually filter out toxic chemicals from the home environment and are easy to care for.

Using air purifiers, non-toxic natural cleaners such as vinegar and baking soda or other home-made cleaners can help keep your environment low in toxins.  Also, plants are known to cleanse the air and the Peace Lily among other plants are known to filter the highest levels of Benzene from indoor air.  

Congrats to Jenny L! Enjoy the new home in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis

Working with Claire Bastien, Jenny L was able to find the perfect home for her in Longfellow.

Longfellow is a neighborhood in South Minneapolis bordered by the Mississippi River and the Light Rail. It’s a pretty quiet neighborhood with a city feel. It’s not far from so many amenities – some stemming from proximity to the light rail. But generally in walking distance there are restaurants, bars, a couple of small art galleries and shops to get what you need.

Longfellow is home to the Minnehaha Falls and the surrounding park. In the summer the area is bustling with picnickers, runners, biker and walkers. In the winter, the sturdy come daily to see the Falls slowly freeze.