Rice County, MN Real Estate News

By Jim Barta, www.JimBartaRealEstate.com
Let’s discuss buyer representation! When searching for a home, consider working with a Realtor whom you trust to represent all of your interests. Shoppers don’t have an obligation to contact the name that appears on the ‘For Sale’ sign in front of the home. In fact, hiring a Realtor will give you distinct advantages in negotiating, and more importantly, instant access to new listings (provided your Realtor is “on the ball”). Dual agency is the term when you purchase a home from the listing agent’s company. Defined, “dual agency occurs when one broker or salesperson represents both parties to a transaction, or when two salespersons licensed to the same broker each represent a party to the transaction.” (Credit extended to Northstar MLS for the definition). In summary, do what feels most ...
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By Homes For Heroes
(Affiliates nationwide for Hero Rewards)
  Steve Mikula is a licensed real estate agent and certified appraiser located in Northfield, Minnesota. He and his wife Kristy have made Northfield their home since 2003. In addition to traditional real estate, Steve is an REO specialist as well as an expert on real estate valuation. Steve thrives on helping buyers and sellers with their real estate needs. By using the experience and knowledge he has earned over the past 20 years in real estate, appraisal, foreclosures, and mortgage, Steve is in a unique position to provide excellent service to buyers and sellers with a wide array of real estate needs. Steve will be there to guide and assist you through the entire transaction. Steve also participates in the Homes for Heroes program, offering large discounts for firefighters, EMT, milit...
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By Mike Carlier, More opinions than you want to hear about.
One of the privileges of living in this country is being able to enjoy at close range the greatest spectator event in the world.  If one can resist getting too caught up in the heat of the stagnation, watching government do nothing can be very amusing and entertaining.  Many of us understand that there are 535 (some would argue 537) do-nothings occupying space in our capital.  The term do-nothing may be a little harsh since they have actually done two things recently.  First, they created thousands of additional do-nothings by allowing a large portion of the government to shut down.  Second, they stopped their war dance long enough to agree to pay the newly ordained do-nothings, but not right now.  Then they took the rest of the weekend off. As amusing as the circus is, it's kind of con...
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By Mike Carlier, More opinions than you want to hear about.
According to data provided by the Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota, Rice County has 387 active home listings with 566 closed sales so far this year.  There are 85 accepted offers awaiting closing, which suggests that, with another two and a half months left, 2011 could be a fairly good year.  Total homes sold should easily exceed the 2010 total of 642. Like much of the rest of the country over the last few years, Rice County has experienced a decrease in number of homes sold.  The steep price drops over that period seem to have slowed.  Although there is no reason to believe that home values will return to the levels of five years ago, it's comforting to see some stability to current levels.  As the overall economy improves, the housing market should do likewise.  This is ...
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By Mike Carlier, More opinions than you want to hear about.
For 2011, Northfield sold home totals have already exceeded homes sold for all of 2010.  According to data provided by the Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota, Inc., there were 198 homes sold in 2010, and the year to date sales are 203.  With another 23 sales under contract pending final closing, and two and a half months before the end of the year, it's possible that this could be the best year in the last five in terms of total units sold.   It's good to see signs of increased home buying activity in Northfield, and it should encourage folks who have felt that their residential mobility has been stalled.  There are still many instances where listed homes have failed to sell (141 cancelled or expired so far this year), and that can be frustrating to someone who would like to...
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By Mike Carlier, More opinions than you want to hear about.
People who claim to be home buyers are sometimes not really sold on the idea of leaving the Land of the Bland, the world of temporary housing, the rental world.  At some point in their journey to a better lifestyle, they are slapped by the harsh reality that they are contemplating making the biggest financial commitment in their lives.   Or, are they??? Many of my first time buying clients are limited in their buying power by their previous and ongoing commitments.  The first time buying couple typically have two late model car or truck loans to pay.  The original amount of the two loans is usually somewhere between a third and half the principal of their expected mortgage.  Their two vehicles are worth around half of what they paid, and they owe considerably more than that.  Most of th...
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By Mike Carlier, More opinions than you want to hear about.
Independent School District 659 classes start in just a couple weeks.  The day after Labor Day, or the day after the State Fair ends, will once again mark the beginning of the countdown to June 1, 2012, the last day of classes.  The entire school calendar is posted online at the District 659 website.  Check it out here:  school calendar.  The school year is 174 days long for the students who are counting, and there are only three months, February, April and May, with more than nineteen days of classes. Plan your getaway weekends now.  The teacher convention break will be Thursday and Friday, October 20-21.  If you are planning a fall weekend, you are probably not the only one.  Be sure to make any desired reservations now.  Likewise for the Thanksgiving, winter (including the federal de...
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By Mike Carlier, More opinions than you want to hear about.
February 2 marked the beginning of the Minnesota house hunting season, and it looks like buyers have responded well in Northfield.  According to Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota, there are 194 homes for sale in Northfield priced at or below $200,000.  Since February 2, there have been twelve accepted offers on homes in that price range.  That's about one in ten homes no longer available to buyers who have not yet started house hunting, and it's probably the best of them. There are still a lot of homes on the market, and some of them are almost as nice as the ones you missed.  If you have any interest in firing your landlord this year, now is the time to take action.  Call me today for a free and fun house hunting strategy session. It will help prepare you for the challenge...
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By Mike Carlier, More opinions than you want to hear about.
Minnesota's official house hunting season is about to complete its third week.  If you want to fire your landlord, now is the time to get serious.  The best deals are always gone in the first couple weeks, and the competition for what's left is getting stronger every day.  Need some motivation?  Ask the landlord how much the rent is going up when the lease renews this spring.  I bet you won't like his answer.  You should have seen it coming, but now you know. The good news for procrastinators is that at least two days of this three day weekend are not going to see many house hunters on the street.  Most folks agree that it's just no fun touring homes for sale in thundersnow.  It's just too hard to keep removing those snowshoes every time you walk through another home.  Your delayed entr...
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By Mike Carlier, More opinions than you want to hear about.
We are rapidly closing down on the official Minnesota House Hunting Opener which, of course coincides with Groundhog Day, February 2.  Ten days from today the masses of homebuyers will wake up, fail to see their shadows, and hit the streets to find a place to buy before the lease expires in May.  There will be some left behind in the rush.  Some folks who are tethered to their landlords will approach the  mandatory declaration of independence deadline prior to lease expiration and sign an extension in a moment of panic.  Why?  Why would anyone want to extend their apartment incarceration for another year?  The main reason is that they didn't plan adequately for the House Hunting Opener.  They may not be sure what to do, and in what order to do it.  They're scared and unprepared. Now is ...
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By Mike Carlier, More opinions than you want to hear about.
If you're considering buying a home in Northfield, demand that the agent assisting you advocate exclusively on your behalf. If the agent does not put his/her commitment in writing, you are being short-changed. A buyer agency agreement binds agents to put your interests ahead of theirs. They must advocate on your behalf to help you find the best property, they are pledged to do all possible to determine the value of your chosen property, and they are committed to do everything possible to negotiate the best possible price and terms. Without the buyer agency agreement, a licensed agent is just somebody who unlocks doors for you and shows you where the basement is located. You, the consumer, deserve more. Call me for a Northfield home buying strategy and orientation session. We'll discuss ...
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By Bob Kuyper, Northfield MN Short Sale Pro
(RE/MAX Results (Specializing in Short Sales))
Please don't be offended by anything I say, I owe you the truth. Sometimes the truth is painful. But I have always found that it is better to know the truth and to be able to make a fully informed decision based on fact rather than guessing based upon a pretty fairy tale. I can easily tell you that it is a beautiful sunny day, but if you look outside and see the downpour, not only have I wasted both of our time but I have also insulted your intelligence. I keep this philosophy when pricing a home too. It will not do either of us any good to over price your home and have it sit on the market and then request price reduction after price reduction in order to get it sold. In the last few years I have had to tell many clients (and some potential clients) "Please don't be offended by anythin...
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By Mike Carlier, More opinions than you want to hear about.
We are way past the part of the season when we complain that the retailers are rushing us.  The complaints about Christmas promotions coming too early are mostly forgotten.  It's just about panic mode.  The good stuff is gone and the sales we were waiting for have not materialized.   A month or so ago was a great time to shop, but we waited.  Now, the most sought after gift items are hard to find and overpriced.  There is plenty of less desirable stuff, but it's no bargain either. OK, enough about real estate.  It's not March yet, and we still have a chance to shop early.  If you want to settle for something that's not exactly what you want, or if you want to pay too much for your dream home, just wait.  Wait like you did to start your Christmas shopping.  Wait until spring, and then wa...
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By Mike Carlier, More opinions than you want to hear about.
There's nothing wrong with renting if you love your landlord and enjoy being treated like a child.  Well, nothing but the lack of privacy and that obnoxious other tenant who can't seem to keep the noise down and loves the odor of burning grease.  The rent's probably going up next year, but you're saving money on dog food since you can't have a dog. If you're renting and running out of patience, now is the time to start preparing for a spring move.  Most leases end in either May or June, and you need to indicate your intention to renew 30 - 60 days before their end date.  Just like Christmas shopping, most buyers put off shopping for a new home until it's too late to thoroughly research the market and develop a well-planned buying strategy.  Don't wait until the tulips pop up before star...
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By Bob Kuyper, Northfield MN Short Sale Pro
(RE/MAX Results (Specializing in Short Sales))
Are you familiar with HAFA? If you are falling behind on your mortgage payments or know someone who is, then you need to know about HAFA. Below is a short video that will give you a general understanding of some of your options. Do not let your home go into foreclosure, watch the video and then please give me a call. I am here to help.
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By Bob Kuyper, Northfield MN Short Sale Pro
(RE/MAX Results (Specializing in Short Sales))
Are you on the edge? or is someone you know?    Is anyone you know struggling to make mortgage payments? With millions facing foreclosure today, chances are someone you know is in this situation, maybe even you. As an agent with the Certified Distressed Property Expert designation, I am extensively trained to help homeowners on the edge of losing their home find ways to minimize the financial impact of their situation. I can provide a lifeline of information to help you regain control of your situation. To learn more, I've put together a report to explain 10 options to foreclosure, which can be downloaded on my website: http://bobhelpshomeowners.com/ Feel free to share this resource today with anyone you believe will find it to be a help. Together, we can take immediate action to rescue...
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By Mike Carlier, More opinions than you want to hear about.
There are a lot of homes on the market, and there are a lot of homes that were listed and failed to sell.  Many homeowners have listed their Northfield  homes for months with nothing to show for the effort but an expired listing contract and a pile of buyer agent business cards.  Lots of showings and no action, sound familiar?  When you sell real estate, you need all the help and information you can get to gain advantage over other sellers.  You're not only competing with your neighbors who want to sell their homes, you're also competing with foreclosures and short sales. According to MLS data, there are over 500 homes actively listed for sale in Rice County.  If they sell at the same rate as they are currently selling, it will take over a year for the inventory to be sold.  Some will s...
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By Mike Carlier, More opinions than you want to hear about.
If you're looking to purchase a home and don't think you have enough cash to make it happen, there may be help available. There is a division of the Department of Agriculture called Rural Development which now has funds to provide loans at low interest rates with zero down payment and no monthly mortgage insurance. There are some fairly liberal qualification requirements, but most of the folks who have contacted me can easily qualify. Just because it's the Department of Agriculture, don't think you have to buy a farm. Most residences in Rice and southern Dakota and Scott Counties qualify for this easy to obtain financing.  If you're planning on making a buying decision sometime before next June, now is the time to begin the preliminary planning.  Call for a free no obligation buyer orie...
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By Mike Carlier, More opinions than you want to hear about.
It will soon be possible for home buyers to again get zero down financing with the help of the USDA. H.R. 4899 will be signed into law by the President soon, and funding will again be available for rural development loans. This type of loan is available for real estate located in all areas of Rice County. There are some very reasonable and easy to comply with requirements that are explained on the USDA website. Contact me for additional assistance and information. Call 612-916-3033.
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By Bob Elliot, 20+ Yrs Industry Experience
(eXp Realty)
DESCRIPTION AND FEATURES Affordable living 2 br 1 ba 1 garage condo next to St Olaf College! Appliances included* Bedrooms:2Bathrooms:1Square Feet:874Year Built:1971MLS #:3811820 LOCATION Click to view map: 1103 Highland Ave Northfield MN 55057 LINKS Affordable 2Br Condo Next to St Olaf!
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