Barker and Hedges Real Estate Blog

Home Staging - Size Does Matter

Adding art requires more consideration than picking between a nail or a screw.  

When selling a home, proportion and placement of home accents are just as important as choosing the style.  Improper placement of an art piece will cause focal point confusion; furthermore, choosing decor that is out-of-scale with the space will leave buyers questioning the quality of the home.  Take a look at the examples below:

Many amatuer decorators are under the impression that art work needs to be hung at eye-level; the problem with that theory is that what is eye-level for you isn't necessarily eye-level for the buyer.

In the photo to the left, the art pieces (hung at eye-level) leave too much space between the pieces and the furniture. ...

10 Tips for First Time Sellers

Last week, I wrote a lot of content to help first time home buyers prepare to buy their first home.  I provided information about “hidden costs” of owning your own home, budgeting tips for first time home buyers, and information on how people with bad credit can still purchase a home.  But sellers are important, too.  More to the point, what if you’re a first time home seller?  With inexperience and a sluggish real estate market making headlines nationwide, I could understand why selling a home for the first time could seem daunting. Here are some tips especially for those who may be trying to sell a home for the first time.
  1. It Can Be Done. Some 5.25 million existing homes were sold in 2001. 5.65 million existing home were sold even in 2007, the fifth highest year on record, though that was 12.8% short of the 6.48 million sold in 2006.  Even in this down market,...

Bad Credit? You Can Still Own a Home

This week, I’ve been writing articles to help first time home buyers.  On Tuesday, I wrote about the hidden costs of ownership and yesterday, I wrote about budgeting tips to help you get into, and keep, that first home.  But what are you supposed to do if you have bad credit and you want to buy a home?  It would be great if every person in the U.S. who wanted to buy their first home could just be approved for a low-interest loan immediately. That’s not how it works though, as not every first time home buyer has good credit and a high score.

Don’t despair, though, there are still ways for people with bad credit to accomplish the American Dream of buying a home.  While having bad credit will mean that some first time home buyer programs will be unavailable, there are others which are still a good possibility.  Whether or not these programs are a good option for you will depend on the status...

10 Budgeting Tips for First Time Home Buyers

Yesterday, I wrote a post about the hidden costs of home ownership that first time home buyers might not have thought about.  It wasn’t meant as a discouraging article, it was meant to enlighten potential first time home buyers so they know what is in store for them.  Today, I’m going to give some budgeting tips to go along with those costs.  Following these tips could help first time home buyers reign in spending so they can buy the home they want and take good care of it.

Recognizing spending habits and making a budget is vital for first time home buyers.  The responsibility of owning a home requires good money management skills and control over impulsive spending.  For first time home buyers, creating a budget is the first step in saving money for a down payment before a home is bought and keeping ahead of finances after purchase.  Additionally, if a first time home buyer runs into financial...

The Hidden Costs of Home Ownership

I’m going to write a few posts about important things first time home buyers should know before they take the leap into buying a home.  If you are considering purchasing a home in the Twin Cities area, there are things to understand or do which can make transitioning into home ownership much easier.  Additionally, simply having as much helpful information as possible could help you keep your first home once you have it.

First, as the title of this post suggests, I’m going to talk about the hidden costs of home ownership which a first time home buyer may not   Owning a home has been touted as the American dream for generations.  Because dreams are supposed to be perfect, the liabilities of owning a home don’t tend to be talked about.  Though buying a home offers advantages like housing security, tax advantages, and ultimately, no more housing payments after it’s paid off, if you are...

Strange But True: Eat, Drink & Buy a House

I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for a while, as evidenced by my resource-article’s age of nearly one whole month!  That’s okay, as I recall there was another “Strange But True” around that time as well.  I didn’t want them to appear too closely to each other.  So, without much more delay, I’ll get to this Strange But True real estate related story.

As evidenced recently by our Minneapolis and St. Paul market analyses, the number of homes on the Twin Cities real estate has been pretty high in comparison to how many closed sales have been occurring.  Particularly, there have been an unusually high number of upper-bracket homes for sale out there.  Homes are also spending a lot longer on the...

Home Staging Tips for Fall

The transition from summer to fall signifies more than just back to school and football.  Individuals who are selling a house should use the changing of the seasons to re-evaluate the showing condition of their home. Home Staging Tips for Fall:
  • Curb Appeal:  Don't be too eager to winterize the lawn mower.  Even in cool weather, regular yard care should be exercised; a lush, manicured yard translates into a well-cared for home.  Be sure to cut back dead or dying perenials and replace with fall blooms such as mums.  Fallen leaves, sticks, and other yard debris should be gathered and moved to a compositing collection site.
  • Fall Decorations:  Both indoors and out, keep your fall decorations to a tasteful minimum.  Setting out too many (or too large) yard displays will not only decrease the visual size of your yard, but it will distract the buyers from what they really should be focusing on......

New Dog Park in the Twin Cities

South St. Paul opened its first off-leach dog park last month.  The 6.3 acre site along the Mississippi River used to be a demolition landfill. The dog park is the first in northern Dakota County.

The park itself is part of South St. Paul's long-term plan to transform the former 87-acre Port Crosby industrial landfill into a recreational area which has been named Kaposia Landing.  The city purchased the former landfill for $1 million in 1999 and secured $4.5 million from the Legislature between 2004 and 2006 to prepare the area. Cleanup involved clearing trees and brush and then covering all 70 acres with 526,000 cubic yards of fill dirt.

As a result, the park is wide open and ideal for dogs that need to run. The park is enclosed by a 4-foot fence and has two shelters and two disposal stations for dog waste.  Another $6 million would be needed to carry out South St. Paul's long-term vision for Kaposia Landing, which include plans for...

New State Law Regarding Carbon Monoxide Detectors

It's September and it’s getting colder outside.  Soon it will be fall, the time to seal up homes for the winter, prepare to start the furnace, and getting ready to use fireplaces.  This is the time of year when many carbon monoxide leaks are found.

On August 1st, a new law went into effect within the state of Minnesota which requires that ever new and existing single family home have a carbon monoxide detector installed within 10 feet of every room used for sleeping.  Multi-family homes and apartment buildings must comply by August 1, 2009.

According to the State Fire Marshall website:
  • Every single family dwelling and every multifamily dwelling unit shall be provided with a minimum of one approved and fully operational carbon monoxide alarm installed within ten (10) feet of each room lawfully used for sleeping purposes.
  • If bedrooms are located on separate floors additional carbon monoxide alarms would be necessary within ten...

Minneapolis Real Estate Market Analysis: August 2008

All through August of 2008, the number of new listings in Minneapolis decreased significantly this month when compared to last year’s statistics, according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors’ Market Update for 100 Twin Cities Communities.  During August, there were 876 new listings. In August 2007, there were 1,099 new listings, meaning that there was a drop of -20.3%. In August, the Phillips and Northeast communities experienced the greatest decrease in new listings during August, with about -40% fewer than last year.  Conversely, the Camden and North communities each saw increases of new listings that amount to about 7%.  Here is an inventory of August 2008 new listings in Minneapolis by community and the percentage of change that has occurred compared to August 2007 (To see a Barker & Hedges article about July 2008 Minneapolis Market Activity, please click here.)

Camden 155 (+6.9%)
Downtown Minneapolis 104 (-29.3%)
Longfellow 51 (-21.5%)