You’re well into your home search and you come across the place that meets most of your needs.  

FinScreen Shot 2016-02-08 at 10.52.18 AMally!  Yes, home buying is a process. It probably even feels like a full time job!  Maybe it took a couple of weeks, maybe a couple of months or even longer to find “the one”.  Now it’s time to make an offer on the house of your dreams.

If you’re working with a good, seasoned Realtor, you’re already going to have an idea of what the home you’ve got your heart set on is worth.  Your Realtor probably has already shown you a list of “comps”-a list of similar homes in the same general area that have sold recently.  But unless you live in the middle of a city or a big town, these comps aren’t perfect.  Some will have more or fewer updates, or maybe a finished basement, a pool, etc, etc. etc.  

Now what?  You know you want to make an offer on the home but the values of the few comps you’ve got in front of you are all over the place!  How do you get the house at a price that feels like a “win”?   Continue reading ..

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 12.03.56 PMYou’ve taken the plunge, great job!  Putting your house up for sale is a big deal.  It takes a lot of courage and a bit of faith (in yourself and others) to make this decision.  Since you’re at the point where the for sale sign is in the yard and the house is plastered all over the internet, chances are you’ve already done the hard work of getting it ready to sell.

So now what?  Here’s where having a little faith comes into play.  I’ve often said that selling a house can be a much more frustrating process than buying one.  When you’re looking to buy you can always expand your horizons a bit if you’re not finding what you’re looking for.  In other words, you can look for a different type of house, maybe a little further from work or school.  You can even, in the worst case scenario, check what’s out there in the next higher price bracket if you aren’t seeing what meets your needs.  Either way, you feel like you can be proactive-you’re in charge!

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My wife Sheila and I at the Headwaters of the Mississippi River in Itasca State Park, Minnesota

I haven’t been able to post much over the last week.  I’ve been on vacation visiting my in-laws in northwestern Minnesota.  It’s some of the most beautiful country there is, at least in my opinion!

As you may know, I have five kids. The opportunity for them to visit with their grandparents and uncles and aunts we only see for a week or helps them build memories that we’ll all cherish for a lifetime. 

We were fortunate last year to come across a used motorhome that we bought from a wonderful family who bought it brand new in 1999, took great care of it and sold it to us.  So now we get to travel across the USA in style without hearing the standard “you’re too close to me!”.  At least too much anyway!

I hope your vacation plans this summer, wherever they take you, bring you as much joy and happiness as this year’s is bringing me!

See you next week! 

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Getting pre-approved for a mortgage…It’s something we all hear and talk about and it definitely seems like a good thing to do right?  But what is it?  How do you go about it?

In this day and age of home buying and selling, having a pre approval in your hand when you make an offer on a house is worth its weight in gold!  You might be thinking right now, “Well, everyone is pre-approved, so what’s the big deal?”

First, let’s try to clear up some misconceptions about getting pre-approved.  Many buyers think they are pre-approved but they aren’t.  There’s a big difference between being pre-approved and pre-qualified.     Continue reading ..

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 9.49.54 AMThis will be a short post today compared to the usual but it’s what I think is an important topic nonetheless.  It’s one I’ve come across many times over the years as well.

What do Realtors do?  This might seem like a silly question since it seems kind of obvious.  But is it?  There’s a lot more to what we do than just simply showing houses and talking on the phone!

First, some statistics…

Many people, especially prospective home sellers, question whether or not utilizing the services of a Realtor is worth the money.  Buyers also sometimes wonder whether or not it’s easier to buy a home on their own without the services of a Realtor, especially if they’re buying a home that is for sale by the owner (FSBO).  Continue reading ..

10066670595_34a5d50d38_oToday we finish the Top 10 Home First Time Homebuyer Questions series.  I really hope you have found this informative and helpful.  If not, or if you have more questions that haven’t been answered here, stay tuned!  I’ll be touching on many different topics regarding buying and selling over the coming weeks and months.  If you’re currently looking or are ready to roll now with a home search, feel free to contact me any time and I’ll be glad to meet up with you and go over all of this in much greater detail.

Up to this point we’ve covered all but the last two of the most common questions out there. They are:

  • Should I buy the first house I see if I like it?  How many houses should I look at?
  • How long will it take me to get the keys once I’ve found a house?


The first of these is one of those questions in real estate or in life that doesn’t have a single “right” answer.  People who are house hunting, and first time buyers in particular, are often getting advice from many different sources.  Parents, siblings, other relatives, neighbors, friends, the internet, Realtors, and so on are often all too willing to give wanted (and unwanted) advice.

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14455358864_320e68a907_oContinuing on with the Top 10 First Time Homebuyer Questions series, today the focus is on whether or not to work with a Buyer’s Agent to help you find a house.

You may or may not have ever heard of a Buyer’s Agent.  If not, it’s ok, buying a home isn’t something you do every day!  Before getting too far into it, let’s back up a step.  Most, if not all, Realtors belong to a Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  In a nutshell, the MLS is where the listings of homes for sale/rent get submitted in the format you’re used to seeing them on the internet.  I’m sure you’ve noticed that you don’t have to go to every single real estate office’s website out there to find all of the listings.  You may have even found that when you’re seraching varous real estate Continue reading ..

Digital Image by Sean Locke Digital Planet Design

Digital Image by Sean Locke
Digital Planet Design

After spending years making it the way you want it, making memories and quite possibly raising a family in it, you’ve decided that it’s time to find something new to match your current lifestyle and needs.  Of course I’m talking about your home!

Now what?  Often times just deciding that it’s time to make a move is the hardest part.  Now that you’ve made that tough decision, it’s time to take the next step. You have to get the house ready to sell, decide whether to sell it on your own or use a Realtor, and then which Realtor to pick if you’re not selling on your own.

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Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 6.25.29 PMContinuing on with our Top 10 Buyer Questions series, today the focus is Seller Assist.  The Seller Assist is one of the most misunderstood and confusing areas of buying or selling a home.  Hopefully after reading this you’ll have a better understanding of Seller Assist whether you’re planning on buying or selling a home in the near future!

Our last post focused on buying a home and what your “closing costs” will be as part of the total cash you need to get the keys.  Of course these “closing costs” aren’t all paid at closing, but you already knew that since you read the last post!  You probably also remember that these costs, not including the down payment, were around $9,000-11,000! Add in another 3-5% of the purchase price for the down payment and you’re up to a lot of money!

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In the first of the series of the Top 10 questions buyers have asked me over the years I covered mortgage payments.  Here’s a little recap of what we haven’t covered so far:

  • What are closing costs?
  • What’s a seller assist?  How does it work?
  • Should I do a home inspection?
  • What is a buyer’s agent? Do I have to pay for a buyer’s agent?
  • Can you show me all the houses for sale or do I have to call the number on the for sale sign to see each one?
  • Should I buy the first house I see if I like it?  How many houses should I look at?
  • How long will it take me to get the keys once I’ve found a house?

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