Tag Archives: Keller Williams Realty

Should you hire a Home Inspector?

House 45

Home inspections are an essential part of the home buying process. It allows you to get impartial information about the house you are about to buy so you can avoid potentially pricey pitfalls. When you make an offer on your home, you can request an inspection contingency. This will allow you to back out of your offer without penalty within a certain timeframe if you are dissatisfied with the home inspection and are unable to resolve any inspection issues with the sellers. It should be noted that most inspections are able to be negotiated successfully between the buyers and sellers.

A qualified home inspector will pinpoint health and safety problems and look for any conditions that need specialized attention. An inspection includes physical elements such as roof, walls, foundation, insulation, attic and basement. It includes heating and cooling systems, plumbing, electrical and even examination of appliances. A home inspector provides a comprehensive report that details any issues found in the inspected home.

There are 3 things to remember about home inspection reports:

  1. A home inspection is not a warranty. The report details the issues found on the day of the inspection and cannot predict issues that may arise in the future. No matter how skilled your home inspector is, he can’t see the future and predict when an aging system may fail.
  2. No home is perfect– Even newly constructed houses can have issues. Some home buyers make this mistake of not having their new house inspected by a professional.
  3. It’s not pass or fail–  The home inspection report gives you all the details you need to help you make a decision whether or not to proceed with the sale of the home, negotiate with the seller to have the issues fixed or to reduce the  purchase price.

The Bottom Line

The home inspections can reveal problems that you may negotiate with the sellers to fix before the closing or before you move in. It may cost you some money, but you’ll be glad you did it because, in the long run, every penny spent is worth it. Home inspection can give you peace of mind that the home you are about to move into is safe and in a good shape.


The Importance of Title Insurance

When you purchase a home you want to make sure that the people you’re buying it from have the full and legal title. As a buyer, you want a free and clean title of any loans, fees and liens that the previous owner had against it. Problems with the title can limit your enjoyment and use of the property and may bring you big financial loss down the line. This is where title search and title insurance plays a role.

A title search is when a title professional search public records to look for any problems with the home’s title, looking at deeds, trusts, and wills, tracing the history of the property back many years. Some buyers have lost their houses because of clouded ownership. One way of avoiding this is to buy title insurance, also known as an owner’s policy. This is a one-time upfront investment with rates based on the purchase price of your home. This policy is used to protect the purchaser’s interest in the property. Though this policy is not required, it is highly recommended. This policy is valid as long as the owners, or their heirs, have an interest in the property. When selling, this provides assurance to the buyer that the title company will back you up with legal defense if needed and will also monetarily cover title after purchasing a home.

As always, it is wise to consult with your Realtor, lender and Title Company to know your options and to determine what’s right for you.

Is 2015 the Year of the Homebuyer?

It is anticipated that year 2015 will be a big year for homebuyers. Here are just a few of the changes that are expected in 2015:

  • Rent will raise around 3.5% and home values will continue to appreciate
  • Builders will begin constructing more, less expensive new homes.
  • Millennials will overtake Generation X as the largest group of homebuyers.
  • Homebuyers will have more negotiating power.

In general, it is expected that buyers will get back more leverage in the market. As Dr. Stan Humphries, Zillow chief economist says, Since the recovery began in earnest in late 2012, buyers have really taken it on the chin, forced to contend with low inventory, tight credit, bidding wars and intense competition from investors and all-cash buyers. But next year we’ll start to see things really turn around. More inventory will continue to come on line, putting the competitive pressure on sellers for a change. This more balanced market will be smoother sailing for everyone, both for buyers in search of a competitive advantage, and for sellers who turn around and become buyers themselves.”

Next year looks to be a market that will balance out for both buyers and sellers—a benefit for everyone! But it is important to remember that no matter what the market does, the best time to buy or sell is when YOU are personally ready.

5 Things You Need to Get Pre-approved for a Home Loan


Looking for a house before getting pre-approved for a mortgage is like walking into a grocery store without a wallet. There’s nothing more disappointing than finding your dream house and then discovering you can’t afford it. To ensure that you have the best shot at getting the home you want, you need to obtain a mortgage pre-approval from a lender. It is a reasonable assurance you’ll be approved for a loan.
Here are the 5 things you’ll need to get pre-approved for a home loan:

  1. Proof of income. A record of employment income such as a paystub, T-4 slip or a personal income tax return (if you are self-employed, at least two years of Personal Income Tax Returns and Financial Statements) Proof of any additional income such as alimony or bonuses.
  2. Proof of assets. To prove that you have funds for the down payment and closing costs, you will need to present bank statements and investment account statements as well as cash reserves. Assets may include vehicles, retirement savings account, jewelry, collections and other real estate holdings.
  3. Your credit score. The loan officer will actually do this part for you! You’ll need to provide them with some key information so they can pull your credit. A “good” credit score depends on the scoring system used by your particular lender. Different scoring systems use different scales, and they each develop their own credit score range. Customers with a higher credit score will be able to get lower interest rates which will affect how much you can afford.
  4. Employment Verification. Not only will your loan officer want to see your pay stubs, but they are likely to call your employer to verify if you’re still employed and check on your salary. Today, lenders want to make sure that they are loaning money only to borrowers with stable employment. Borrowers who are self-employed still need to provide additional paperwork concerning their income and business.            
  5. Be ready to provide any additional paperwork requested by the loan officer as quickly as possible. The more cooperative you are, the smoother the transaction will be and the sooner you can find your new home.

The bottom line is by getting a pre-approval first before looking for a house can save a lot of disappointment and heartache later. By doing so, you also have an opportunity to discuss loan options and budgeting with a professional. If you’re interested in talking with a loan officer to learn about your credit score, you’re price point, or a home mortgage, Click here to contact our trusted loan officer John Roehrich.

5 Reasons Why You Should Sell Your House During the Winter Season

Winter is not traditionally regarded as being the best time to put a property on the market, so most sellers opt to wait until Spring arrives when they expect greater interest from buyers. But times have changed! Spring tends to be the busiest time for real estate overall, but that does not make it the best time to sell. Why?

  • With fewer listings to choose from in the winter, your home faces less competition then during the busy Spring season. This increases the chances that showings will turn into offers. You can expect a flood of new inventories in the first quarter of 2015 and as supply increases, the likelihood of you getting an offer at an acceptable price decreases.
  • Buyers have more time to look for homes when they are likely to have time off work
  • Some people are eager to buy before the end of the year for tax reasons
  • People who look for homes now are serious buyers! They won’t be dissuaded by the weather like “Spring shoppers” who are just curious, but not really looking to buy.
  • Buyer’s emotions tend to run high during this season as they look for a new home to celebrate the Holidays in. You can help garner these warm feelings by having a decorated home ready to show off just how welcoming your home really is.
  • Interest rates remain incredibly low this year. Savvy buyers will be taking advantage of this while it lasts. By Spring, the interest rates may be rising! Lower interest rates also allow buyers to afford a more expensive home than they could with high interest rates – a win-win for both buyers and sellers!

Winter is not the dead zone of real estate anymore! Call me today to learn what your home is worth! 651-269-3487 or fill out the form at: http://sandyerickson.com/atj/user/CMAFormGetAction.do Take advantage of the market this winter!

New Listing!

4872 Hillvale Avenue North
Oakdale, MN 55128


Check out this beautiful home in Oakdale! This home features spacious open floor plan with vaulted ceilings, hardwood floors, and fireplace with stone surround. Enjoy the great deck and patio for views of wildlife and quiet pond!


Virtual Tour: http://www.realestateshows.com/show.php?mls=strict&id=741996 

For more property information, visit this link:


For any questions regarding this property call us at 651-269-3487, or feel free to email us at Sandy@SandyErickson.com

How Much of a Down Payment Should I Have to Buy a Home?

When you think of purchasing a house, the number one challenge most potential homebuyers have to think about is their down payment. Homebuyers are typically required to contribute a down payment equal to 3-20% of the sales price of the home. Low down payment options are real and they represent a significant portion of today’s purchases. However, even if you can get a low down payment loan, is it a good idea? Not necessarily. Let’s see the difference between putting a 20% down payment to having a low down payment.

  • The larger your down payment, the less you have to borrow, and therefore, the lower your monthly payments. You pay less over the life of the loan.
  • If you have a very small down payment, you will be eligible for fewer types of mortgages and may be charged a higher interest rate.
  • For any down payments less than 20%, you will be asked to pay Private Mortgage Insurance. This insurance safeguards the lender should the borrower be unable to keep up the monthly mortgage payments, resulting in less of a financial loss to themselves.
  • The bigger the down payment builds an instant equity the property when you purchase it, which safeguards you if the market turns down temporarily.

So having presented with these, the down payment also acts as a reality check: if you haven’t been able to save for even a minimal 3% amount for down payment, you should ask whether you are financially ready to buy a house. Education is the key. Knowing more how down payments are determined and knowing all your options can save you from a lot of stress and debts in the future. Be sure you are ready and financially secure before you dive into purchasing a home.

Do you want to learn more about preparing your finances to purchase a home? Or do you want to know how much you would qualify for TODAY? We partner with a wonderful lender who can provide information to you in a no-pressure environment! Just send us an email or give us a call so we can introduce you!

Sandy Erickson Real Estate Team of Keller Williams Realty
Direct: 651-269-3487
Email: Sandy@SandyErickson.com
Website: http://www.ericksonteamhomesearch.com

Foreclosures & Short Sales in Lino Lakes & Circle Pines!

As a team part of our favorite cities to work in are Lino Lakes and Circle Pines in Minnesota. Both cities are located in Anoka County, and are located north of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Attached is a list of foreclosures and short sales in these two cities!


If you have any questions about any of these properties, please feel free to contact us:

Sandy Erickson of Keller Williams Realty
Direct: 651-269-3487


Top Twin Cities Farmers Markets

With only a few more months left before the snow falls, make sure to get out and visit some of Minnesota’s top farmers markets. We have some of the best markets in the country, and many of them are right here in the Twin Cities!


The Saint Paul Farmers Market (Saint Paul)

290 E. 5th St. St Paul, MN 55101

The Saint Paul Farmers Market is one of the largest markets in Minnesota. The market offers everything, from vegetables to fruits, fresh flowers to herbs and many different plants. The market also offers different artisan-made foods, seasonal items (pumpkins, wreaths & Christmas trees), honey, spreads and dips, soaps, and much more! 

Midtown Farmers Market (Minneapolis)

2225 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, MN 55407

This market is open through late October! Here, you can enjoy freshly prepared foods as well as an array of produce. The market offers different meats and cheeses from local farms, many different pieces of art from local artists, and entertainment for all ages! Every week, this market features some sort of live music, kid-friendly activity, a cooking or composting demonstration, and gardening advice!

Kingsfield Farmers Market (Minneapolis)

4310 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55409
(612) 207-7893

“Hip, local, green & gourmet”! This market runs through late October, and the tagline describes it perfectly. This market offers an array of fresh produce and prepared foods. Enjoy lots of local foods, homemade crafts and local music! 

Northeast Farmers Market (Minneapolis)

Parking lot of St. Boniface Church
Corner of University Ave. NE & 7th Ave. NE

This market was established in the year 2000, and focuses on the educational experience of quality food. The market offers a fun twist to other local markets… for example, blending smoothies using bicycle power! The market also offers many different homemade crafts from local artists!

Farmers Market Annex (Minneapolis)

200 East Lyndale Ave. N., Minneapolis, MN 55405

The Farmers Market Annex is a market that offers food and different items from local and non-local artists and farmers! This is also one of Minnesota’s largest markets, and offers lots of different produce, flowers, jewelry  plants and seasonal items. This market specializes in flowers, Christmas trees and also offers a beautiful event center!

Fulton’s Farmers Market (Minneapolis) 

4901 S. Chowen Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55410

This market is fun and unique! There are lots of different items… not just the regular fruits, veggies and plants. Fulton’s Farmers Market offers many speciality ready-to-eat foods, pizzas, crafts and garden art! The market offers advice and recipes to help promote sustainability and healthy diets. If you have children, this is also a great market to keep the little ones entertained- magic shows, puppet shows and book readings are just some of the kid-friendly activities!


Make sure you take time to get out there and support our local farmers and artists! These markets are just one of the reasons we love living and doing business in the Twin Cities! For any information about the local housing market or questions about a specific area, please contact us at 651-269-3487 or email us at Sandy@SandyErickson.com

Did we forget a market that you love? Add you ideas and comments below! 

Sandy Erickson Team of Keller Williams Realty
Our Website

Top Kitchen Design Trends

When working with our clients, we always see a great emphasis placed on the kitchen area in the home. If buyers find a home that is great in all areas, but lacking in the kitchen area, it usually poses a problem. If the kitchen is fabulous, but the rest of the home isn’t so great… buyers may still choose that home! The common theme? The heart of your home is undeniably the kitchen!


1. Gray is in-

Wall color and cabinetry… you got it! Gray is in. Gray is even in the running to beat white… the industry’s top cabinet color right now! Recently, my parent’s home went on  the market. The interior designer came through, and listed off some updates needed for their home! The kitchen wall colors were painted a gray-blue and the oak cabinetry was painted a gray/white!

2. Functionality & storage are a must-

If looking to purchase new cabinetry, consider functionality and storage. Many new cabinet doors and drawers have hydraulic and easy-to-close features. Automatic features are much more consumer friendly. Sensor-activated lights and hands-free faucets are some great features we love! If you are tight on space, consider drawers that double up with custom multi-tiered layers.  Also, think about adding a small pull-out cabinets for items like you spices and oils. We see a lot of these small cabinets next to the refrigerator! 

3. Colored sinks-

Neutral wall color and cabinetry is in right now, but it leaves some home owners without that splash of color they need! Consider a colorful apron-front sink. It is a simple way to add a small pop of color into a neutral kitchen, and also creates a great focal point. Furthermore, if you get sick of the color, you can change the sink out. It’s much easier to switch out a sink then it is to re-tile a backsplash or re-paint kitchen cabinets!

4. Choose bold fixtures- 

Speaking of color, that’s not the only way to create a focal point! Use oversized light fixtures with a fun fabric to create a wow factor! When thinking of bold, thing big. It may be bigger than you would expect for your space. Consider two large oversized light fixtures above your counter top. Lighting is a great way to create a dramatic look, and is also an easy fix for a new homeowner with a different style.

Always remember that if you change and update your kitchen, match the style of your home to your kitchen. You do not want to create an ultra-modern kitchen in a cottage-style home! 

Whether you’re living in the home, or planning to sell your home one day, you want your kitchen to look its best! Making a few updates here and there will eliminate the need for a total re-do down the line. Like most homeowners, you will probably need to sell one day. Many buyers don’t want to think about the cost and time needed for kitchen updates. Put your home above all the rest, with some of the top kitchen design trends!

Sandy Erickson Team of Keller Williams Realty 
Contact us direct at 651-269-3487 or email us at Sandy@SandyErickson.com
 Our Website