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Change of Seasons Coming

September 14th, 2017 · Comments Off

Date 9-13-17

As I write this we’ve had a nice stretch of late summer weather with temps approaching the upper 80s.  I’m fine with that since August was so cool.  Plus showing homes are a lot easier than dealing with the cold and snow.  Now that I brought that up my mind was wondering today looking out my window at work enjoying the creatures running around in the woods.  I’m seeing something that makes me happy and sad.  The leaves are turning and we’re losing more precious daylight!  Such a beautiful time of year though with the fall colors and harvest time begins.  It pains me to say that Old Man winter will showing his head soon and another long winter season will be upon us.  SO…with that said, this great stretch of nice weather will give you time to start doing those big and little things before he shows up.  Preventative maintenance for your home is crucial and will save you money in the long run.  I’m going to list a few things that you might want to start working on to stay ahead of the curve.

1) After the leaves fall, pick them up so they won’t be an issue in the spring, especially in your gutters.  Also, disconnect all garden hoses and get that final winter fertilizer in so the grass has plenty of nutrients for the spring.

2) Check your windows and doors for leaks.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average household spends more than $1,000 on heating and cooling costs annually. One way to lower your energy bills is to ensure that your heat doesn’t leak out as cool temperatures arrive.

3) Add insulation and close off the attic.  Still not sold on the benefit of attic insulation? Consider this: When hot air escapes from your attic, you put your home at risk for ice dams, which can be costly and nearly impossible to fix.

4) Upgrade to a smart thermostat. These devices can learn when it’s safe to lower the temperature and when to boost the thermostat because everyone is at home after a long day.  Also, have your furnace cleaned and inspected and be sure CO detectors are no older than 5 years

I know some of this sounds pretty common for us Minnesotans, but in our crazy busy lives these simple things can really add up dollar wise.  Your home is THE biggest investment you will ever make.  So take great care of it.  Now back to enjoying this great weather.

 

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Clients – Lasting friendships

August 13th, 2017 · Comments Off

Last night I hosted my annual client appreciation night on the Honkers patio. I always love this event because it’s a time when we’re not talking business, but we’re sharing stories of kids growing up, new babies (I love those!), vacations and even job changes. The atmosphere was full of joy and lots of laughs as the the boys of summer played their hearts out right down to the last out. While taking in all the food, smiles and great conversations I took some time out to pause and realize how truly thankful I am for all these people in my life. The perfect evening ended with the the best fireworks display yet to celebrate the end of summer.

Over the last 14 years I’ve had so many loyal clients become great friends. Selling a home is stressful and I understand this and I empathize with my clients because of the emotional attachment. Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases people will make and is truly an exciting time. I honestly love guiding buyers and sellers through what sometimes can feel like a maze of paperwork, decisions and questions. Through all of this, I grow close to my clients and they become friends. Getting together like we did last night, outside of business I hope I am able to convey to these wonderful friends just how much I truly cherish and appreciate them. I’m honored that they think of me when their friends and family ask them for a Realtor as it truly is my honor to serve them.

Thank you all for trusting me with something so important in your life and in the lives of your families. You’re all a blessing to me.

We’ll do it all again next year! In the mean time I’d love to see you for coffee, a round of golf, or just meet to catch up.

See you next year!

Sylvia

5371

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Why You Need Pre-Approval Before Home Shopping

July 29th, 2013 · No Comments

 Mortgage Application Approved Stamp Shows Home Loan Agreed

I get a number of calls each week from potential buyers wanting to see homes. One of the first things I ask is, “Have you talked to a lender?” Many times the buyer tells me they are waiting to find the house they like before they meet with the lenders. They may feel confident that the price range they want to see is what they can comfortably afford. With so many online mortgage calculators that is understandable that they feel that way. But, what if you don’t check your credit score every few months and what if you have had a recent job change or divorce? Just one situation can drastically change your ability to buy. On the other hand, with rates at historic lows you may qualify for more than you think!

So what does a lender do to get you pre-approved? Well, first the lender will ask you to bring them any documents that they ask for, such as a pay stub. Then, she will verify your income and assets and check your credit score. Once that is complete she will talk with you about how much you can afford for a mortgage payment and give you a pre-approval letter to share with your Realtor.  I always tell my buyers that I don’t care how much they can afford, I care about how much they are comfortable paying each month. There is a significant difference!

Once you find a house and have an accepted offer, the Realtor will give the lender a copy of the purchase agreement and you can start discussing interest rates. At that time the lender will order title work and an appraisal. They will also clear any conditions- for example they would verify the source of a large deposit in your checking. Was it a gift from a parent that wasn’t disclosed or a loan paid back?

You will lock in on your interest rate to make sure it doesn’t go up. Within 72 hours of doing that your lender will give you a Good Faith Estimate. That will tell you how much you need to close and what your monthly payments will be. Right before closing the lender will go through the final closing numbers with you. If the closing date has changed your taxes will change as well as they are prorated to the date of closing.

On the date of closing you will come to the Title office to sign the paperwork. Your lender and your Realtor will accompany you. The lender will have already told you that you need to bring a cashiers check for the amount they specify. From there you sign the paperwork and the Realtor hands you your keys! Always feel free to contact your lender or your Realtor any time after closing with questions. A good Realtor and Lender will always be willing to help.

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Get your house ready for spring!

March 4th, 2013 · No Comments

Spring Blog Pic

Even though we are in the midst of another snowstorm here in Southern Minnesota, spring will be here before we know it.  Spring will bring the melting of the snow, and everything will green up and blossom once again. Spring also means spring cleaning!

Here are some tips for getting your house ready this spring. Taking care of these small tasks will have a big impact in giving your house a face-lift:

Change Outdoor Light Bulbs

Clean out your light fixtures, and replace your burnt-out bulbs with energy-saving bulbs.

Upgrade your front door

Make your door look new again by polishing the hinges and knobs. Paint or stain the door with a color that stands out, but also complements the trim and siding. Put out a clean, new welcome mat…and make sure the doorbell works too.

Fix your front sidewalk

Snow and cold can really mess up your sidewalk. With warmer weather approaching, take this time to patch cracks and replace loose bricks. Rent a power washer or purchase a chemical treatment to clean up stains in concrete, stone or asphalt.

Plants

Strategically placed plants can conceal those undesired aspects of your house or yard. Place large pots or hanging baskets around your porch. Bushes or hedges can hide air-conditioners and flower beds and window boxes will add style.

Prune and Mulch

Prune those dead branches, trim back overgrown shrubbery and remove any plantings that are in the way. Spread mulch or bark around trees and flowers for a well-kept look.

Freshen Up Outdoor Furniture

Put a fresh coat of paint on furniture and replace the cushions. Fill up those empty spots on the porch with a bench or porch swing.  And get your yard ready for summer!

Keep It Clean

Sweep your sidewalk and clear away cobwebs. Also repaint your posts.

Clear Out Gutters

Inspect your downspouts and gutters to be sure they’re clear of leaves, tree limbs and other debris that might cause problems later on. Clogging usually occurs at the elbow in a drainage system, where the downspout connects to the gutter. Take off this elbow and inspect for any clogging.

 

 

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Fall 2012 Checklist

November 10th, 2012 · No Comments

 

  • Drain the gas from your lawn equipment before storing it for the off season to ward off the harmful effects that spoiled gas can have on engines and other parts. Make sure to refer to your owner’s manual for instructions and safety measures when draining any fluids.   Make sure you dispose the the fluids carefully.

 

  • Turn off all exterior faucets to avoid freezing and damage to pipes during those chilly winter days…Minnesota isnt the warmest place to live!

 

  • Schedule an inspection for your heating system with a local professional. You should make certain your furnace is in top-notch shape and that all of your ducts and air filters are clean before frigid temperatures set in. The last thing you want is a problem on a day with a record low temperature. By doing this you can make sure your furnace is in good shape to run and save you money!

 

  • Inspect all windows and doors for leaks. Replace any damaged weatherstripping and caulk leaky areas to keep the cold out and heat in.

 

  • Make sure gutters are clean of any debris as they tend to get clogged with falling leaves and branches during fall months.

 

  • Just as in spring, now is a good opportunity to check the batteries in all of your fire and carbon monoxide detectors to make certain they are in working order.

 

  • Check around the outside of your home and cover up or fill in any holes you discover to protect against rodents. Mice can squeeze into holes less than one inch, so play it safe and plug up any holes you find.  They want to stay warm too!!

 

  • Prune trees and shrubs that are growing near your home, roof, deck or patio to avoid damage to the exterior. 

  • Have your fireplace inspected… Make sure it is ready to go for those cold nights. Along with the furnace! 

  • Make sure you get the snow blower, shovels, boots, mittens, and hats ready! Before long you will be using them daily! 


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Fall 2012

November 10th, 2012 · No Comments

I hope you all are keeping up with your housekeeping inside and out!

You may have some unexpected company this month, and we’re not talking about crazy Uncle Harry and Aunt Prudence. We’re talking, gulp, mice and rats who will be looking for home in your garage and house. Seal holes in the foundation-especially those around pipes and wires- and look for places where they might sneak in. An easy way is to plug holes with steel wool. Make sure doors fit at the bottom. Have your fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned before lighting fires. Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and replace batteries. Clean your gutters, trims the shrubs, and mow that lawn for one last time. Have yourself ready for the first sign of our friend here in southeast Minnesota Mr. Snow!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!!!

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Cool air is here… Leaves are turning!

September 18th, 2012 · No Comments

Hi all,

I hope you enjoyed your HOT summer.  Now its onto another season here in Southeast Minnesota.  I encourage each of you to get out and go on the nice trails around the area take your family and enjoy the views.  Southeast Minnesota offers some breath taking views.  Schools are back in full swing and football is back on TV!! Go Packers!! (:

Make sure you are maintaing your home this fall so you don’t have as much to do when the snow hits.  A few things you can get started on is putting away the garden hose and shutting off the valves.  Bagging your leaves and getting your grass ready for all the white stuff.  Cleaning out the gutters, sealing cracks.  Don’t forget to put the lawn mower away and get out the snow blower and shovels!!

Look back next week for a whole fall cleaning checklist!

SJR

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Golf Course Grass

August 27th, 2012 · No Comments

Pamper Your LAWN!!

As a home owner you  can’t successfully contain the tightly trimmed golf-course look because you don’t have a golf course’s budget (If you do- you probably have someone that takes care of your lawn!!) and a bunch of college kids working on your lawn all summer to make sure that it looks GREAT.   The next best thing you can do to achieve a good-looking lawn is to mow frequently and keep the blades high.  If you mow frequently and at the highest height it discourages weeds and trains the grass to grow in THICK!

We all know in Southeast Minnesota our weather can vary from day to day even hour tohour.  Maintaining a beautiful lawn is hard work but hopefully with these tips you can have your lawn looking like hole 9 on your favorite golf course.

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BIG Mistakes Home Buyers Make

July 19th, 2012 · No Comments

5 Biggest Mistakes Home Buyers Make

1. Trying to fix credit scores before buying a home.

2. Not considering the future enough in their purchase.

3. Failing to research financing enough.

4. Making the assumption that the Good Faith Estimate is always what you pay at closing.

5. Failing to budget for home expenses.

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10 Steps to get ready for warm weather!

May 31st, 2012 · No Comments

The sun is peeking out and the plants are starting to blossom, so it must be about time for spring chores again. Here is a small checklist to help you get moving! Make sure they are all in working order and in great summer shape!!!

1. Roofing repairs.  

2. Check gutters and downspouts.

3. Fences and gates.

4. Clear yard debris.

5. Fans and air conditioners.

6. Check and adjust sprinklers.

7.  Check vent blocks and faucet covers.

8. Prepare yard tools.

9. Change furnace filters.

10. Check smoke detectors.

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