Barker and Hedges Real Estate Blog

Twin Cities Lake Water Quality

It’s springtime again!  That means the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District’s (MCWD) lake monitoring program has resumed.  This program measures water quality in district lakes, then summarizes the data with a grade for each the lake.  A recent press release from MCWD announces that 2007’s lake water grades have been made public. Even though rainfall was below normal last year between the months of April and July, the water quality grades held steady for the most part with some minor changes in water quality from 2006 to 2007.  Usually, hot, dry weather leads to an increase in algae growth.  The unprecedented rainfall during the months of August and September may have balanced overall water quality.

During the 2008 season, MCWD’s water quality staff will continue collecting water quality data for 34 lakes and 12 streams in the watershed.  There will also be water depth measurements at 10 stream monitoring sites.  Additionally,...

School's Out: Keep Sane While Selling

Having your kids at home while selling does not need to drive you crazy. Sellers can retain their sanity by getting their children involved with the selling and staging process.

Once your house has been initially staged, it is necessary to retain your staging standards for last minute showings. A daily checklist can be used to keep your house in peek condition. By using a list, your staging chores will be structured and time will be used efficiently.

To further ease your daily duties, make a separate checklist for your children to follow. Little ones as young as two years old can learn about personal responsibility by cleaning up their own toys. The children's chore list should be easy to follow and age appropriate.

Although seemingly impossible, keep a positive attitude during the selling process. Children easily sense when their parents are stressed. If you stay calm and remain positive your children will reflect that behavior....

Community Events This Weekend

This weekend, there are two great Twin Cities events occurring.  The Edina Arts Fair begins on Friday and ends on Sunday.  Grand Old Day, which takes place in St. Paul, will occur on Sunday.

Edina Art Fair

In Edina MN, the summer can’t officially start until the Edina Art Fair is held!  Now in its 42nd year, this event occurs this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!  Located at 50th and France, 70,000 visitors are expected to attend the second-largest art fair in the state.  This year’s Edina Art Fair will feature 400 artists from around the country.  There won’t just be a vast selection of fine paintings, watercolors, photographs, engravings, wood carvings, jewelry, and glasswork.  There will also be music, entertainment, games, and plenty of food!

The Edina Art Fair will run Friday May 30 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday May 31 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday...

Minneapolis’ Powderhorn Community Highlights

The Powderhorn community of Minneapolis is just south of the Phillips community. Because the community has a strange L-shape, its borders are confusing and vary, but a map of Powderhorn can be found here. The area takes its name from Powderhorn Lake, a small lake shaped like a powder horn at the heart of the community. The lake, and the surrounding Powderhorn Park, is a central feature. At 65 acres, it is Minneapolis’ largest neighborhood park. It features a bandstand, ball fields, basketball courts, fishing dock, ice rink, walking paths, picnic areas with grills, horseshoe pits, and a community center with teen center. Powderhorn Park is also a name of one of Powerhorn’s neighborhoods. More about the neighborhood later. The population of Powderhorn is diverse, including residents of African-American, Asian, European, Latino, Somali, Tibetan and Scandinavian decent. Powderhorn community is within easy walking or bussing distance...

The Starter Home Has Returned

Just a few years ago the choices for entry-level home buyers in the Twin Cities were so meager that many put off buying a house until they could afford it. With the turn of the market in the last two years, the home-buying dreams of renters are more likely to come true. According to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors, this month more than 2,600 houses were on the market at less than $120,000 -- a 608 percent increase over the same period in 2005. The inventory for all price ranges increased 62 percent over 2005.

The return of the starter house is the upside of the down housing market. And home buyers are taking notice. The only segment of the market which has shown any sign of growth are home sales in the sub-$120,000 price range. Though sales across the board fell 34 percent, sales of homes below $120,000 rose 79 percent during the past three years. Many of the bargains are foreclosures and condominium conversions...

Twin Cities Fitness Challenge? Hit The Park!

Oh boy, there is a fitness challenge happening in the Twin Cities metro area right now. The Hennepin County Public Health Promotions is sponsoring its first annual Step To It Community Challenge. It’s a competition pitting five metro suburbs against each other to see whose residents can accumulate the most steps taken in a four-week period. Other forms of exercise, like jogging or biking, can also be converted to step equivalents to be counted in the final tally.

The reason for this is because of a troubling trend. From 1998 to 2006, Hennepin County records showed that the percentage of adult residents classified as overweight or obese had increased from 48 to 54. The HCPHP is hoping the competition will spur more residents to seek a more active lifestyle. The idea was to get people doing an activity nearly everyone can do: walking.

The challenge began last Friday in the cities of Brooklyn Park, Crystal, Golden Valley, Robbinsdale...

Spring Cleaning, Spring Maintenance

This is the time of year when most homeowners deep clean the house. This tradition is even more important as homeowners prepare for the spring home selling season. When you’re performing your regular cleaning this spring, it’s also time to complete routine maintenance, either doing it yourself or by hiring help. Having your home in the best shape and condition possible will also help to attract potential buyers. Let’s start with the relatively easy task of spring cleaning. Walk around the inside and the outside of your home, taking note of the following items. Then, it is time to get cleaning.
  • Interior carpets. A professional carpet cleaning every 12 to 18 months is recommended. The sooner you schedule an appointment, the sooner the carpet cleaners can be there to clean that coffee stain out of the carpet from last November.
  • Gutters. Every spring and fall, you should check your gutters and clear any debris which may...

Minneapolis' Camden Community Highlights

Camden is a community in Minneapolis, covering the upper western half of the north side. Its boundaries are 53rd Avenue North to the north, the Mississippi River to the east, Lowry Avenue North to the south, and Xerxes Avenue North to the west. The community is composed of seven smaller neighborhoods. It also contains the Camden Industrial Area and the Humboldt Industrial Area, neither of which are assigned to an official neighborhood.

Cleveland - The Cleveland neighborhood can be found on the very edge of the city of Minneapolis. Its boarders extend from Dowling Avenue North to Lowry Avenue in the south and from Penn Avenue in the east to Xerxes Avenue to the west. The neighborhood is named after Grover Cleveland, who was born in 1837 and was president of the United States two times.

The Cleveland neighborhood has a suburban feel to it, despite its location in the city. The residences which can be found here...

Check Your Deck

As many people have probably heard by now, a major deck collapse happened at a Little Canada apartment building on Friday.  An investigation is currently underway to determine what caused a third-story deck at Montreal Courts to fall to the ground without notice, injuring four people.  A previous visual inspection did not indicate anything was wrong with the structure.  Representatives of Goldmark Property Management in Bloomington, which manages the complex, have instructed the renters of 280 units with balconies not to use them until an independent structural engineer can inspect them. 

Ironically enough, May is Deck Safety Month, according to the North American Deck and Railing Association.  It is a good idea to check decks for problems before they become dangerous like in this situation.  Regular inspection and proper maintenance can prevent many such tragedies from happening.  In an effort to prevent injuries and save lives,...

10 Common Mistakes First Time Home Buyers Make

The Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors, have provided in the consumer section on their website a list of the five most common mistakes first-time home buyers often make.  If you’ve been considering purchasing a home for the very first time, you should know that there are plenty of costly errors which can be made!  Fear not, you can avoid the common mistakes that first-time homebuyers tend to make if you are aware of the pitfalls. 

1. They don’t ask enough questions of their lender and miss out on the best deal.

Making the right choice when finally signing your name to your first home mortgage can mean a difference of thousands of dollars in interest paid over the long haul.  For many, this 15 to 30 year mortgage commitment is the most important financial decision they’ll ever make.  When you think about it that way, it makes sense to collect as much information about the financing of...