Minnesota Summer Destinations You Can’t Miss

Make sure you get to visit a few of these top Minnesota attractions before the next snow fall. If you haven’t had a chance yet this summer to visit these awesome locations, make sure you get a chance!

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#1: The Walker Art Center & Minneapolis Sculpture Garden-

The Walker Art Center was the first public art gallery in the upper Midwest area and was established in 1927. Next to the center is the famous Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, which is one of the largest urban sculpture parks in the country. There are plenty of unique sculptures to view and take pictures of. There is also a fun mini-golf course! Some of the favorite sculptures are the Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen Spoonbridge and Cherry. For more information on attractions visit the website: Walker Art Center Website

#2: Minnehaha Falls Park- 

Minnehaha Falls Park has 193 acres of beautiful river outlooks, limestone bluffs and all kinds of nature. The park is halfway between the two downtown areas making it convenient to visit. It is also ranked one of the most popular parks in the area. There is a bike and pedestrian trail, areas to have a picnic or relax and watch the falls, and a bandstand for different concerts.

#3: Grand Avenue-

Grand Avenue is located in Saint Paul, and is always busy with activity and people. There are numerous fun boutiques, speciality shops, spas, and many locally owned restaurants along the strip. Grand Avenue is fairly large…running 30 blocks, and parts of the street are filled with beautiful old homes. The nearby University of St. Thomas and Macalester College add charm to the area. Some of our favorite places to stop along Grand Ave. are: Cafe Latte, Bread & Chocolate, Grand Ole Creamery & Pizzeria and the Wild Onion.

#4: Fort Snelling State Park-

Fort Snelling is conveniently located in the heart of the metro area near the airport and the Mall of America. The park offers great outdoor recreation and historical sites perfect to visit in the warm months of the year. Fort Snelling is located along the Mississippi and Minnesota RIvers, and offers a 18 mile hiking trail, 5 miles of biking trails and canoe rentals for Gun Club Lake. There is also a 9-hole golf course, and swimming available in Snelling Lake. There are numerous historic sites within the fort as well as cannon firing! For more information on pricing and attractions visit the website! Fort Snelling State Park

#5: Wheel Fun Rentals-

Wheel Fun Rentals is located in numerous locations throughout the Twin Cities! Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun, Lake Nokomis, Minnehaha Falls and the St. Paul Hotel are a few of the rental areas. If you want to sight see in any of these locations, you can rent bikes, special bikes, kayaks, pedal boats, canoes and surreys. (Different rentals at different locations). Wheel Fun Rentals Website

#6: Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway-

The Grand Round National Scenic Byway is a 50-mile route that loops through tree-lined neighborhoods past rivers, lakes, woods and waterfalls. The byway is part of Minneapolis parkland, and Minneapolis has more parkland acres per capita than any other major city in the United States! You’ll be sure to see something of interest in this route!

#7: The Minnesota Zoo-

The Minnesota Zoo is located in Apple Valley, Minnesota and has been around for over 35 years! This is a very large zoo with animals arranged by living environment, and six different themed areas. There are three different themed walking trails ranging from 1 to 2 miles in length. The zoo also features an IMAX theatre, and zoo passes range from Free-$18 per person. Visit the website for more detailed information on cost and attractions: Minnesota Zoo Website

#8: The Target Field-

If you haven’t had a chance to visit the newer Target Field yet, it’s a must! The ballpark is located in downtown Minneapolis, and is home to the Minnesota Twins, the state’s MLB franchise. The field was built specifically for the Twins back in 2010. There are lots of fun activities to join in on during the game, and there is plenty of great food and drinks. Visit their website for pricing, tickets, transportation information, and more! Target Field Website

Our team loves the Twin Cities area. For any questions about real estate around the Twin Cities, please contact us at 651-269-3487 or email us at Sandy@SandyErickson.com.

Website: www.ericksonteamhomesearch.com


Understanding the Closing Process


Buying a home is a big step in anyone’s life, so feeling confident on closing day that you understand the process can help ease some nerves. The more you know about the process, the more relaxed you will be, and the smoother the process will flow.

Your realtor and loan officer should provide you with a lot of information and tools to help prior to the day of closing. Your lender should provide you with a Good Faith Estimate so you know all of the costs associated with your loan (if you are obtaining a loan). If you offered on a home, and the offer was accepted, the earnest money deposit will most likely be deposited into an escrow account and the funds will be held until the time of closing.

The settlement agent will prepare you a HUD-1 Settlement Statement which will outline all of the costs for both the buyer and the seller associated with the closing. Here is an example of a HUD-1 Settlement Form: HUD-1 Settlement Form

Closing day is the time where all parties sign papers to seal the deal and ownership transfers from the seller to the buyer. Closing is also a time to make any changes to the transaction before its final (although you usually want this figured out before closing).

Coming to your closing prepared will help you to get those keys to your new home faster and leave all parties in the transaction stress free. Prior to closing (usually 24 hours in advance), you will have a walk-through of the property you are purchasing. This ensures that the seller moved out and everything stated in the sales contract is left in that condition. During your walk-through if you find any major problems, you are able to delay the closing, or ask for money for the repairs.

One of the main things you need to remember to bring to closing is all of your paperwork and photo identification. Here is a site that provides a list of buyer requirements for closings: What to Bring to Closing.

Make sure you know exactly what to bring to your closing to ensure the process isn’t delayed. Always ask questions if you have them, and know that your realtor, closing officer and loan officer are all great resources!

Closing day arrives, and now you need to be ready to sign a number of documents that the closer will be able to fully explain to you. Once the signing is done, the keys are handed over and the house is yours!

After closing, there is usually a behind-the-scenes process. The lender and the closer still work to make sure the funds are all placed properly, and they work on legally completing the purchase. You do not have to be involved in any of this behind-the-scenes work! Having a trusted realtor, closer and loan officer is key, to ensure a smooth process once you are out of the picture.

Network Title is our trusted partner for closings. Network Title, Inc. serves the greater Twin Cities metro area, with clients throughout both Minnesota and Wisconsin. This closing company handles all aspects of real estate closings, including:

  •  Standard Closings
  • Non-Standard Transactions
  • HUD Sales
  • Short Sale & REO Closing Specialists
  • Title Insurance & Other Title Products
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Mobile Closers & Multiple Closing Offices

Visit Network Title’s Website for important information, forms and client testimonials, and more: Network Title

Network Title, Inc.

Barb Rodriguez
371 Commerce Court
Vadnais Heights, MN 55127

Phone: 651.482.9514
Fax: 651.482.9519
E-mail: info@network-title.com

**Remember, for the most accurate information, it is always important to get the facts from your agent, closer and loan officer specific to your unique situation**

 Sandy Erickson Real Estate Team of Keller Williams Realty

Top Minnesota Suburbs


Minnesota is a great state, and a great place to call home. As of 2014, Minnesota’s population is just over 5 million people. The population has seen a grown of a little over 8% since the year of 2000.(http://www.bestplaces.net/state/minnesota).

The median home cost in Minnesota is around $175,000 and home appreciation has grown. The cost of living in the state of Minnesota is around 3% higher than the U.S. average. Overall, the state has seen the unemployment rate drop along with positive job growth (http://www.bestplaces.net/state/minnesota).

Some of the best Minnesota suburbs to live in near the Twin Cities are as follows: 

1. Apple Valley, MN

Zip Codes: 55068 & 55124
Estimated Median Home Value (2012): $203,037

Read more: http://www.city-data.com/city/Apple-Valley-Minnesota.html#ixzz37qK6eYJS

Apple Valley is in the Dakota County. The 2010 census shows a city population of around 50,000 people. One of its well-known neighboring cities is Eagan.

Homes for Sale in Apple Valley

2. Eagan, MN

Zip Codes: 55120, 55121, 55122, 55123
Estimated Median Home Value (2012): $225,517

Read more: http://www.city-data.com/city/Eagan-Minnesota.html#ixzz37qKtRMFD

Eagan is south of St. Paul and is part of Dakota County. The city lies on the bank of the Minnesota River. The 2010 census shows the population around 64,000 people.

Homes for Sale in Eagan

3. Eden Prairie, MN

Zip Codes: 55344 & 55347
Estimated Median Home Value (2012): $286,809

Read more: http://www.city-data.com/city/Eden-Prairie-Minnesota.html#ixzz37qLKz4gl

Eden Prairie is just 12 miles southwest of downtown Minneapolis and is located in Hennepin County. Eden Prairie is on the bank of the Minnesota River and the population of the city based on the 2010 census is around 61,000 people.

Homes for Sale in Eden Prairie

4. Shakopee, MN 

Zip Code: 55379
Estimated Median Home Value (2012): $204,634

Read more: http://www.city-data.com/city/Shakopee-Minnesota.html#ixzz37qLycG10

Shakopee is southwest of downtown Minneapolis and is part of Scott County. The 2010 Census shows a population around 37,000 people. Burnsville is a large neighboring city of Shakopee.

Homes for Sale in Shakopee

5. Woodbury, MN 

Zip Codes: 55125 & 55129
Estimated Median Home Value (2012): $252,707

Read more: http://www.city-data.com/city/Woodbury-Minnesota.html#ixzz37qMfGYN4

Woodbury is the largest city in Washington County. It is located along interstate 94. The 2010 census showed a population of around 62,000 people. Woodbury was also named one of the top 10 cities in the entire country to raise a family! Read More Here

Homes for Sale in Woodbury

Our real estate team works and lives in the suburbs surrounding the Twin Cities. We are available for any questions you have about the buying or selling process. 

Contact us directly at 651-269-3487 or Sandy@SandyErickson.com

Sandy Erickson Real Estate Team of Keller Williams Realty 

Website: http://www.ericksonteamhomesearch.com/


Reasons to Talk With a Lender Before Searching for Homes

Buying a home… especially your first home, can be an exciting and stressful experience! One of the most important aspects of home ownership is often neglected-finding the right lender and mortgage. The reality of house hunting, is that most people don’t see a lender before starting their home search. Seeing a lender should actually be the very first step you take as a potential home buyer. AND, there are multiple reasons why.

Your mortgage actually allows you to purchase the home. Without doing proper research on both a lender and the mortgage, you may not be getting the best deal you can. Furthermore, knowing what you can AFFORD versus what you THINK you can afford is a big difference. Finding this out first, will give you a more realistic picture of what you can afford.

Why is talking to a lender first important?

1. You set realistic expectations-

Can you even afford the dream house you just found? Getting an online quote is actually much different than being pre-approved with a lender. Some realtors may even require a pre-approval letter before they will show you homes. Most of the time, experienced realtors do.

2. Look better in the seller’s eyes-

When you have pre-approval from a lender, it proves that you are a serious and qualified buyer. Also, when you have this pre-approval letter prior to searching for homes, you can get your offer in sooner. Furthermore, there is less hassle for all parties, and it helps the process be free from other complications. Sellers like pre-qualified buyers!

3. There may be other costs involved-

Your closing costs can be greater than the official down payment. Often times, there are lender fees, mortgage insurance, title insurance and other costs. The seller usually steps in and helps pay some of the closing costs, but it is nice to verify with a loan officer what other fees you may run into. You need to know you have both the down payment and the other closing costs in your bank before purchasing a home.

4. Completing paperwork takes time-

In the real estate process as a whole, there is a lot of paperwork. Completing the loan also requires a lot of paperwork. You need to explain where your money comes from, and this process can take time. You want to have this all done before it comes time to close. It will help reduce stress, and the likelihood that the seller pulls out of the deal due to mortgage complications.


Our Featured Lending Specialist:

John Roehrich

We’ve worked with John for many years, and if you are looking for a Minnesota Lending Professional, he would be a great place to start. He is also licensed in Wisconsin. John strives to form lasting relationships with all of his clients and always provides excellent service for smooth and successful closings.

If you have any real estate questions regarding the buying or selling process, please feel free to contact our team at 651-269-3487 or Sandy@SandyErickson.com

Sandy Erickson Team of Keller Williams Realty


Free Home Search Tool, Home Value Analysis & More!

Have you checked out our website?


Free Home Search Tool:

Our home search tool offers you all of the listings on the market. You can also set up free listing alerts, and properties that match your selected criteria will be sent straight to your inbox the minute they come on the market!


Market Insider Tool:

The data on this page is consolidated from multiple sources so you do not have to go to numerous sites for information. We can help you find current listings, recent sales, neighborhood data, and more. Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, the knowledge you gain will help put you in control of your real estate transactions.


Free Home Value Analysis: 

For our sellers, we offer a free home value analysis. You will receive a custom evaluation of your home. We make sure to compare your home to other in your area that have sold, are for sale, or were taken off the market. This ensures you accurate information when you are preparing to list your home for sale.


Free App:

Follow this link to download our free home search app: http://www.ericksonteamhomesearch.com/cp/free-search-app/. We make it easy for you to search for homes on the go. Download to your smartphone, IPad or tablet!


If you have any other questions about our team and what we can offer you, please contact us at 651-269-3487 or email us at Sandy@SandyErickson.com!

Sandy Erickson Real Estate Team of Keller Williams Realty