Barker and Hedges Real Estate Blog

Minneapolis Ranks in the Top 5 for Women's Health

This summer, Women’s Health magazine came up with their list of the five best cities for healthy, happy, and fit women. Women’s Health magazine, a national publication with a circulation of 1.5 million copies, ranks Minneapolis as the fifth best city in the U.S. for women to live. An editorial team researched cities based on health, fitness, and emotional well being to determine their results.

According to Women's Health:

With 929 lakes and 13 miles of paved shoreline paths in the Minneapolis St.Paul area, it's not surprising that Minneapolis has the fourth-highest number of female joggers as well as one of the lowest breast-cancer death rates.

"Preliminary research suggests that women who are physically active may have a 30 to 40 percent lower chance of developing breast cancer," says Jennifer Ligibel, M.D., an oncologist at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. "Regular workouts may help prevent the disease by lowering levels of estrogen and other hormones, which have been linked to the formation of breast tumors."

Aim for 45 minutes of exercise five days a week.

The other top 5 cities Women'sHealth ranks are:

San Jose, California, was listed at number one position because it has some of the lowest levels of depression in America and at least 30% of women there work out twice a week. Also, San Jose averages 300 sunny days a year, so residents soak up mood-boosting serotonin and vitamin D.

Madison, Wisconsin, came in second place. Women who live in Madison are living to ripe old ages. Part of that may have to do with the fact that it is also has one of the fittest populations in the nation.

Seattle, Washington, was listed in third place. Women in Seattle are the least likely to die from heart disease (the leading killer of women), and just 10 people per 100,000 die of heart attacks here each year. With easy...

Zero Down Payment Loans are back for Minnesota First Time Home Buyers

Minneapolis and St Paul Zero Down Payment Loans

No Down Payment Saved?  NO Problem!

The Affordable Advantage program has arrived to Minneapolis - St Paul!  We have been eagerly awaiting this zero down payment loan program for a few months.  If you’re like many Minnesota first time home buyers, saving down payment is tough with everything else you have to pay for.  We get it!  This couldn’t come at a better time – lower rates, super low home prices and it being a “buyer’s market.”   Who could ask for more?

So what about the issues some people have when using FHA financing?  Will this still be a problem?  All loans can have their issues, but this is NOT an FHA loan.  It is conventional financing so you have a better opportunity getting an offer accepted on a home that DOESN’T allow FHA financing – whatever that reason may be.

Here are the stats on the program:

• No monthly mortgage insurance
• No down payment
• One unit single family, townhome or condo
• Minimum credit score of 680
• You need $1000 of YOUR money, not a gift
• Must attend the Homestretch class
• Must be a first time buyer
• Maximum income for a household up to 4 is $83900
• Seller can pay up to 3% of the sale price toward your closing costs

Let’s hope this great program can be the one that makes you a homeowner in 2010!


New Owners for Van Dusen Mansion in Minneapolis

The Van Dusen mansion in downtown Minneapolis is getting reborn as an events center. The historic home was recently a multi-million dollar pawn in the Trevor Cook Ponzi scheme.

The mansion was purchased in April for $1.55 million by St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson, his son, Matt and daughter-in law, Jennifer, who have extensive food and beverage management experience. The Van Dusen Mansion, will specialize in weddings, social events and business meetings.

Jeff and his wife, Julie, have a keen interest in historic buildings and already own a bed and breakfast in Stillwater that's been renovated. They also completely renovated the downtown Saint Paul building that houses Jeff 's law offices.

The partnership between the elder and younger Andersons, called the Van Dusen Preservation Group, came together because the investors saw an opportunity to save the mansion from an uncertain fate.

"This was such a unique space for events," said Matt Anderson, who is researching the possibility that one of his grandmothers worked in the house as a maid. "We all sat down and said 'This makes a lot of sense.'"

The South Minneapolis mansion, a 12,000-square-foot pink granite home with castle-like turrets, was built in 1892 for George Washington Van Dusen, an entrepreneur who founded Minnesota's first and most prosperous grain processing and distribution firm in 1883. It was rescued in 1994 two weeks before it was scheduled to be demolished. After extensive renovations on the main house, carriage house and a more modern addition, the house was sold again and then...

Beautifying Brooklyn Center's Bass Lake Road

Brooklyn Center is undertaking a make-over for Bass Lake Road Streetscape and Regional Trail Project. The intention is to beautify Bass Lake Road from Brooklyn Boulevard to Highway 100.

Highlights of the project include building a pedestrian bridge and improving water quality by creating a nontraditional median design to filter and treat water that usually runs off into Shingle Creek, said Steve Lillehaug, Brooklyn Center's director of public works. There's an aesthetic element, as well. Planners want to snazz up the landscaping, install a pedestrian plaza and benches, paint the concrete, and improve the lighting. City officials hope the facelift will lead to other improvements in the area.

"There is certainly an appeal that if you build good things then other good things will come around it," Lillehaug said. "It's really to draw good developers to the city and to encourage existing property owners to keep up their properties. We definitely have vacant properties through that corridor."

Funds for the $4.2 million project came from a $2 million federal grant under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009. Hennepin County kicked in about $400,000. Three Rivers Park District contributed $350,000 toward the regional trail and a new pedestrian bridge over Shingle Creek. The city will pick up the rest of the tab.

The project, slated for completion in October, is one of many steps Brooklyn Center has taken in its quest to make itself desirable to visitors, developers, businesses, and residents.

"I see the city going forward," [Mayor Tim] Willson said. "There are a number of properties to work on. We're just waiting for the economy to improve."

Brooklyn Center MN real estate


What $229,900 Buys in Blaine

Check out MLS # 3882821


This single-family home at 12552 Quemoy Street NE in Blaine, MN, is a new construction rambler with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1,399-square-feet of space, and an additional 1,300-square-foot walk-out basement that could be finished.


This home features hardwood flooring, stone tile, hickory cabinets, granite counters and a gorgeous stone fireplace.

Located in the high-demand Legacy Creek development, this house could be yours for $229,900!

Browse more Blaine MN Real Estate.


ForbesWoman: Twin Cities Best Metro for Working Mothers

ForbesWoman has gathered the data and determined the U.S. cities that offer the most to working moms for the second year in a row. Minneapolis - St. Paul has unseated New York, last year's No. 1 ranked city for working mothers.

To calculate the list, ForbesWoman began with the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. Working under the assumption that "best" means different things to different women, safety, schools, and health care played a big part in the analysis. Quality of life, job opportunities, high earnings potential and a budget-friendly cost of living came into play as well.

The Twin Cities did exceptionally well with safety, health care and its number of local pediatricians. And based on expenditure per pupil and school systems, education standards helped land the top rank.

Cost of living is reasonable according to Forbes, which ranks high on the list of considerations. When it comes to employment, Minnesota's median household income is $57,000.

The report says that Minneapolis has the lowest violent crime rate of any major U.S. city. Also, the Twin Cities has the second-lowest unemployment rate at 6.4 percent.

Heidi Raschke, editor for, says her online readers often mention the value of great schools and great family-friendly recreational and entertainment options.

"We do have wonderful parks and lakes and cultural institutions here and I think that's one thing the working moms appreciate," said Raschke.

Washington, Boston, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore round out ForbesWoman's top 5 cities for working mothers. New York has dropped to No. 8. At the bottom of Forbes' list is Las Vegas.