Twin Cities Real Estate Blog

Loan Program for Doctors

Loan Program for Doctors

If you are a medical doctor or even a resident or intern, there is a great mortgage loan program that might work for you!  Traditional mortgage loans require 20% down payment if you want to avoid paying mortgage insurance, but this special loan program for Doctors allows qualifying applicants to avoid paying mortgage insurance even with a down payment as low as 5%.  The even better news is that this program extends to loan amounts up to $1,000,000 and even as high as $1,500,000 with a 10% down payment.

Here is a great place to find more information about the Preferred Doctor Program.


Thanksgiving Day Activities


Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season. That day and those following are always filled with events to check out around the Twin Cities. While Thanksgiving is usually about family, food and football, the day can feature less traditional activities. Most are closed on Thanksgiving, but the Twin Cities offers plenty to do on the busy day.

The Depot in Minneapolis has a gorgeous ice skating rink that will host guests on Turkey Day. The rink opens November 23rd if you can't wait that long.

The Mall of America hosts a 5k Walk to End Hunger Thursday morning, before any lavish turkey dinner. The annual Life Time Fitness Turkey Day 5k kicks off from downtown Minneapolis in the morning as well. So, you can't do both, you'd have to pick one marathon or the other.

Phalen Park in St. Paul has over a million Christmas lights and lively displays from November 23rd until January 1st. Thanksgiving Day could finish perfectly, segueing nicely into Christmas.

And of course, you could spend the waning hours of Thanksgiving in line waiting for deals on merchandise early morning Black Friday. Bundle up!




Eden Prairie Ranked Third Best Place to Live in the United States

Each year CNN Money compiles a list of the Top 100 places to live in the U.S. In 2012, Eden Prairie, MN ranked third on the prestigious list. The city is no stranger to the Top 100, having ranked number one overall back in 2010. Suffice to say, the city is a great place to live.

The list is generated by a number of factors including, but not limited to, median household income, average home prices, job opportunities, number of restaurants, number of parks and facilities, the quality of schools, and even average Summer/Winter temperature. Considering all those factors, Eden Prairie, along with many other Minnesota cities like Chanhassen, Savage, and Owatonna, have been ranking high on this list yearly. 

To check out properties in the area, check out our Eden Prairie section on Barker & Hedges



Twin Cities Housing Market Heats UP!

The Homes of Minnesota Team is happy to report that the Twin Cities real estate market is still trending UP! But don’t just take our word for it; let’s look at the facts that point toward good things ahead.


Twin Cities Median Sale Price October 2012


Like stocks and bonds, the price for local housing is directly correlated to its supply and demand. For the past six years we have watched as the supply of housing, meaning the number of houses for sale, increased week over week and month over month. The ballooning supply of homes, coupled with increased unemployment and lower consumer confidence, created a lower than normal demand for homes. This is why we experienced consistent drops in median and average sale prices. This trend continued for over five years as the median price for homes plummeted from its peak of $231,435 to a low of around $150,000. 


Twin Cities Days on Market October 2012


Gradually, things changed. In early 2011, the supply of homes began to fall, reaching a milestone low in January 2012 when the available inventory of homes was 22,246. This was a milestone for our market because the last time there were so few homes available was in July 2005, which was also the time when the housing market was hitting its peak as the supply of homes available for sale was less than the demand by buyers seeking to purchase homes. Since the market reached the new “historic” low in January 2012, the inventory level of available homes has continued to drop each month throughout this year. As a result, homes are selling faster and home sellers are able to sell their homes...

Thinking about buying your first home? The first steps for first time home buyers to get started.


Buying your very first home can be exciting and rewarding. It is one of the biggest purchases you will ever make and a big milestone in most people's lifetime. So it is important to feel educated and ready to purchase a home before making the plunge in becoming a homeowner.

A common inquiry I get when working with first time home buyers is, "What is my first step I need to take on my journey to purchasing my first home?" Some may think the first step is to schedule showing appointments for some houses they found interesting online and get started in finding a home they like and dream of owning.

But, in fact, there are several crucial first steps to take when beginning your home search that HGTV's "House Hunters" completely skips over and is not going to show or tell you. One of the very first things first time home buyers want to think about and prepare for is saving up money for a down payment and other upfront costs that can come with purchasing your first home. The minimum down payment you need when purchasing a home is 3.5% of the purchase price. So you will want to make sure you have that and any other extra money for some closing costs you may or may not have depending on how negotiations with the sellers pan out. 

 The next step is finding and getting to know a realtor you can trust and can help you thoroughly understand and navigate the home buying process process. In addition to finding a good realtor, it is equally as important to find a reputable loan officer at the same time that is knowledgeable and can help you understand the different home buyer programs that may be available to you and give you an estimate of monthly payments and help you understand a comfortable price range before you begin scheduling showings. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is necessary before scheduling showings with your realtor because you'll know exactly what you have to work with and your house hunt will be more focused....

Otsego- A Growing River City for Young Families

Otsego is a former agricultural city that has grown into a thriving area for young families in mind just 25 miles northwest of Minneapolis. It is uniquely situated along the Mississppi River bordering the north and east banks of the river. It's easy acess to I-94 and State Highway 10 allows for a quick commute to both Minneapolis and St. Cloud. Otsego conveys a country atmosphere while still having the benefits of a suburban lifestyle.

Otsego is a young city as it was only incorporated from a township to a city just a short 21 years ago in 1990. When Otsego officially became a city back in 1990, the population was 5,218 and there were 1,558 households within the community. The recent 2010 U.S. Census has reflected significant growth since 1990 with a population of 13,571 made up of 4,736 households. The average household size has decreased from 3.27 persons per household in 1990 to 2.86 in 2010, reflecting the overall national trend with a change from agricultural areas to growing communities with young families.

Otsego offers a multitude of affordable housing options throughout its' city limits. Many of the housing subdivisions have been carefully designed with young families in mind. There are many townhomes, twin homes, and single family homes throughout each subdivision that have close proximity to city parks, schools, shopping, golfing, and other recreational amenities. Otsego is also part of the excellent Elk River School District. And the popular Riverwood National Golf Course is one of Otsego's newest courses.

Martin Farms is one of the largest and most unique subdivisions with a community owned swimming pool, basketball court, gazebo, soccer fields, bike/walking trails, playground and picnic area. The development offers several different builders to choose from and the homes are built in harmony to blend with the natural surroundings of the wetlands and woodlands.

For more information on Otsego real estate, please contact ...

City of Delano a Great Place to Call Home


When purchasing a home, not only do you look for a home that fits your needs and wants, but you're also looking for a neighborhood and community you can enjoy and sustain a great quality of life. The residents in Delano feel they have found just that in a recent 2010 survey conducted by Delano city officials.

In fact, in the recent 2010 survey, 66% of residents feel the "quality of life" in Delano is good and another 25% feel it is excellent. When surveyed what residents "perception of community" is for Delano, 85% call it home while only 9% call it just a place to live. And 77% feel the city is "heading in the right direction" with their award winning school district, park systems, and steady growth.  Another positive to living in Delano is that 54% feel property taxes are about average in comparison to other cities in the area.

Whether you are a first time home buyer, an empty nester looking to down size, or any buyer in between, Delano has housing options for every type of home buyer.Neighborhoods such as Woods Creek, Clover Springs, and West Ridge have a great mix of single family home options for both the first time home buyer and move up buyer. The 55+ townhome community is strategically located adjacent to the pharmacy, clinic, and grocery store in Delano for easy proximity and convenience. And for the buyer who is looking for a more urban feel, the downtown area of Delano boast contemporary styled condos that are within walking distance of local bars, restuarants, and a coffee shop.

Delano is located 25 miles west of downtown Minneapolis just off Highway 12 (394) making it an easy commute into the city while still maintaining the small town feel. If you'd like more information about Delano and the surrounding area please contact The Homes of Minnesota Team.



Forbes Ranks Minneapolis/ St. Paul #1 as America's "Most Relaxed City"


Feeling stressed all the time? It may be because you are living in the wrong city. Cities with high unemployment, snarling traffic, and long working hours can have a major impact on your physical health and well being. Stressful environments can take its toll on your health causing everything from headaches, back pain, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

So where can you escape from stress and live in a more relaxed environment? A recent Forbes study suggests the Minneapolis/ St. Paul metro area. This metro area of roughly 3.2 Million people boasts lower unemployment at 7% compared to the current national unemployment average of 9.6%. Less than 5% of commuters spend their morning in traffic and 84% of the population reported recent exercise- the best workout rate of any city surveyed. The Twin Cities also ranks high with access to quality health care.

So are you ready to break free from stress and move to a more relaxed, healthy environment? Contact Shannon Sand with the Homes of Minnesota team to help you relocate to America's "Most Relaxed" metro area.





Zero Down Payment option for Minneapolis and St Paul First Time Home Buyers

Affordable Advantage - Zero Down Payment Loan 

Can’t Save the 3.5% for an FHA Loan?  Can You Save ZERO? 

It’s back and in style, the true Minneapolis and St Paul MN zero down payment program.  For a few years now, the most minimum down payment you can do is 3.5% with FHA.  And FHA has had its fair share of hurdles, from appraisal issues to a pretty major upfront mortgage insurance premium that you finance over the term of your loan.  I am not bashing FHA.  It’s a great program.  I am here to say that there just may be a better one now!

Thanks to MN Housing putting their collective brains together with US Bank, we have Affordable Advantage ! CONVENTIONAL alternative to FHA and one that will benefit you way more!  It is true; minimum down is available on a conventional loan which is 3% down.  Big downside – private mortgage insurance is WAY higher than a FHA loan which would normally make FHA a better option for most.  Now it doesn’t have to be that way.  Check out the difference between FHA and the new zero-down conventional financing in this scenario



Okay, so the difference isn’t eye-popping, BUT, your payment IS lower, out-of-pocket for down payment IS lower and you could actually bump up your buying power by about $4000.  And yes, this WILL make a difference.  So what’s the skinny on this new, better-than-sliced-bread program?  See below!

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