Friday, December 30, 2011

Mendota Heights Has a New City Administrator

Justin Miller (no relation to me) began his new position as city administrator in Mendota Heights, MN on December 28, 2011.  He was selected in October to fill the position vacated by David McKnight over the summer when he left to become city administrator in his hometown in Farmington.

Back in October, Mayor Sandra Krebsbach said the decision was unanimous among the five council members. She said Miller’s strong leadership skills, current data management experience and technology skills will be an asset to the city. In addition, she said he will be instrumental in developing the city’s industrial park.

“For the residents, he will provide excellent service. He will be accessible, effective and I think the residents will enjoy and benefit from him being our city (administrator),” Krebsbach said.

Justin Miller received a bachelor’s degree in political science and business administration from Austin College of Sherman, TX and a masters of public administration degree from the University of Kansas.  He has served as city administrator in Falcon Heights since 2006. Prior to that he has been employed with the cities of Chanhassen and Des Moines, IA, according to a statement released by the city.

Here is a question and answer interview with Justin Miller on his first day at work in Mendota Heights City Hall by Mendota Heights Patch editor.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Endangered Asian Wild Dogs Exhibit Opens At Minnesota Zoo

Looking for something new to do or see while the kids are on winter break?

No matter how many times you've been to the Minnesota Zoo, starting Friday you and your family can see a new exhibit of Asian wild dogs, called dholes (pronounced "dohlz").

The zoo is the third in the U.S. to exhibit the animals, according to a news release.

The endangered dhole is found in China, India, Russia and Thailand; about 2,500 are left in the wild, the release says. The growth of Asia's human population contributes to their endangered status, causing habitat loss and lack of prey, as well as disease.

The Minnesota Zoo is open normal hours throughout the new year's holiday and into 2012—9 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Is It A Good Time To Buy?

Buyers often ask when is a good time to buy, and one thing I always tell them to look at is housing affordability. This housing affordability index measures housing affordability for the Twin Cities region.  An index of 120 means the median household income was 120% of what is necessary to qualify for the median-priced home under prevailing interest rates. A higher number means greater affordability. The past months housing affordability index was 256, which increased 10.3% from the previous month. That means the median household income has 256% of what it takes to qualify for their next dream home. Of course, every buyer has different circumstances. It may be time to sit down with a professional to determine if now is the right time for you to buy!

District 196 Magnet School and K-Plus Applications for 2012-2013

Is your family applying for enrollment in District 196 elementary magnet schools or K-Plus programs for the 2012-2013 school year? Elementary students in District 196 can apply to any of the district's  three elementary magnet schools, Cedar Park Elementary Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) School in Apple Valley, Diamond Path Elementary School of International Studies in Apple Valley and Glacier Hills Elementary School of Arts and Science in EaganOne-hour tours will be given at the three magnet schools at 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on January 10th and 11th.  Enrollment is determined by lottery and there are space restrictions at each school and each grade level.  

Kindergarten Plus (K-Plus) is District 196's optional, fee-based, full-day program that complements the district's half-day kindergarten program. Morning and afternoon sessions are taught by a licensed kindergarten teacher, resulting in a cohesive, all-day experience for students.  Information nights for  K-Plus are being held at  6:30-8 p.m.; January 3rd at Red Pine Elementary and January 5th at Echo Park Elementary.

Application forms for both programs are available at all elementary schools, the district website and District Office.  Applications are due by January 20th at 4 p.m.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

$1 Million in Grants From the Met Council to Apple Valley, MN

The Metropolitan Council awarded $9 million in grants in 2011 from the Livable Communities Act Grant Program. The city of Apple Valley, MN received more than $1 million of these grants for development projects including pedestrian trails to the Apple Valley Transit Station, park improvements and 30 affordable senior housing units.  The nearby community of Rosemount, MN also received a grant for the Steeple Center development project. Here is more information on the projects. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Free Family Event Now Celebrating It's 20th Season!

Once again it's time to bundle up the kids, pick up the grandparents and head to the Target Holidazzle Parade. Every year since 1992, when the first parade marched down Nicollet Mall, over 300,000 spectators converge on downtown Minneapolis to join the sparkling fun.
Thrilling the crowds on Nicollet Mall from 12th Street to 4th Street, Target Holidazzle continues Thursdays through Sundays until December 18 at 6:30 pm. Brave the wind chill and watch streetside, or keep warm in the "Hot Seats" or downtown skyways.
Find the complete parade schedule here.
Find directions here.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Our Favorite Lunch Spots In Apple Valley, MN

Here are a few videos we made at our favorite lunch spots in the Apple Valley, MN/Eagan area.  We are not professional video-graphers but these should give you a quick look at our recommended restaurants.  If you are interested in other information about the Apple Valley, MN area we are always adding new videos to the Around Town section on our YouTube channel.

Valley Diner

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Listing Your Home During The Holidays: Do or Don't?

As we enter this holiday season, I thought I would address the debatable act of listing/keeping a home on the market during this oh so important time. Many consumers, and real estate professionals alike, may agree that listing your home during the holiday season can be a mistake. Sellers are extremely busy during this time, and having your home on the market will certainly not make you any less busy. Some may also think that since sellers are so busy, buyers must be too, therefore why add to all your already mounting stress by listing your home, when it may not even attract any buyers!

Well that's one viewpoint, and here's mine (along with many of the top agents throughout the country):

  • So what if there are less buyers searching around the holiday time! If everyone agreed with the above message, there would also be less listings. This means that there are fewer options for buyers and lower competition rates for your home. Quite a few individuals have vacation time they need to use up toward the end of the year, and save it for time around the holidays. Extended time off definitely gives buyers plenty of time to view homes, especially the serious buyers. Did I mention, buyers searching around this time, tend to be more serious, rather than buyers just starting to look? These serious buyers give you a much better chance of getting a deal on your home closed!
  • People relocate from all over the country, all year long. If they have to relocate from Orland to Minneapolis, they don't get to say, "I'd like to wait until next spring to move." They go where they're told, when they're told, and they'll need a new home when they do. That home will not be yours, if it isn't on the market.
  • I do understand keeping your home show ready during this time could be a hassle (especially with little ones around; see previous post). Not a problem. You would most likely be cleaning your home to have company over any way right? Well there is something you can check off your list! Clean your house once, and make it a habit to keep it nice and tidy after that, which should include help from everyone living in the home. Now your all ready for showings, and your guests! Never be afraid to ask your agent for help as well. After all, it is their job to get the highest possible return for your home, and that can only come when your home is showing at it's best, and it's cleanest. Worried about showings at inconvenient times? You can have your agent set up customized showing instructions, around the dates and times you choose you would like to allow or not allow showings.
  • Now you sold your home (oh no...), and you don't want to move around the holidays! Not to worry. One of your terms in the purchase agreement, can be the closing date. This tends to be flexible, and one would assume that the buyers wouldn't like to move around holiday time either.

There are always two sides to a story, and definitely different view points. But let me ask you this: If you want to sell your house, how would you expect to do that by keeping it, or taking it off the market?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Its Been One Year - Here's What I Have Learned!

Today is my daughter's first birthday. It has been an incredible year of learning, laughter and adjustments for me. My daughter is truly the most amazing gift. In honor of her, I thought I would take this opportunity to share what I have learned over the last year as it pertains to real estate.

First of all, sellers with children have my highest admiration. I pride myself on being a good housekeeper but my home could not be shown to a prospective buyer on anything less than a full day of scrubbing, organizing, catching up on laundry and dishes. I have no idea how sellers contain the "stuff" that comes with having one tiny extra person in the home!

As far as desired features in a property, I have definitely changed my tune. Open floor plans are no longer on the top of my list. What I wouldn't give right now for doors to close off space that can't be entirely child proofed and to have smaller rooms that can contain a very curious child. An entire level of hardwood floors may look great but I now envision the many falls and tears of a newly walking baby when I see them. Stainless steel appliances are no longer a sleek and stylish amenity but a display fingerprints that appear faster than I can wipe them off. I am already dreading the day she discovers that the loft provides a perfect opportunity to play her favorite game of dropping things and watching them fall.

This first year was definitely an eye opener and I look forward to the adventures ahead!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Looking for Activities To Enjoy With Your Baby?

I feel fortunate to live in an area that offers some good programs for families. I have tried three programs for me and my infant daughter through School District 196 Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) and intend to continue to participate. Their Aquatics program offers swim lessons for ages 6 months to 36 months. I liked being able to swim with my daughter and help her get comfortable in the water for a reasonable cost. We took eight 30 minute lessons for $54 at the indoor pool at Scott Highlands Middle School in Apple Valley. It was a small group of parents with their babies and a very friendly instructor. My little girl was 9 months old at the time and only cried when we had to get out of the pool to give you any indication of how much fun she had at the classes.
We also attended the baby shower sponsored by ECFE. All parents with children born in the last year were invited to attend at no cost with their baby. I received an overview of the early education program, played a few games and even received a gift bag with presents for the baby including a rattle, blanket, PJs and a book. It was so good to meet other parents with a baby around the same age and to see everyone interact with their child.
Last week I took my daughter to the family playtime. She enjoyed "playing" (she is now 11 months old and mostly walked around delivering toys to the other parents and trying to kiss the babies). There is a wide array of toys, costumes, books and activities. I really liked meeting the other parents in an informal setting. The teachers seem to enjoy what they do. I think I'll try one of their classes next.
If you want to check out these activities or any other ones offered by ECFE, here is the 2011/12 winter catalog .

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Energy Efficient Upgrades

Apple Valley offers financing for Energy Efficient Upgrades!

Is your home in need of upgrades before the winter chill hits? The city of Apple Valley is offering 3% financing for qualified homeowners to upgrade their home. Eligible upgrades include insulation, high efficiency heating, air sealing and more. Ice dams are caused by insufficient insulation, so if you found yourself calling for help at 10pm, its time to insulate and be proactive!

Interested in the program? More information can be found on the City of Apple Valley Website:

Halloween Fun!

Looking for something to do this Halloween weekend? There are plenty of themed events in the south metro area, and close to you! Here are a few of my personal favorites:
Follow any of the links above for more information!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Live On Youtube!

Over 5 million people have found and subscribed to a friend's channel on Youtube. 5 million? Wow! Now, does that statistic include you? Youtube is the second most visited site on the web, making it a beacon for literally any topic your heart desires. The JAM Team at RE/MAX Results has taken note of that statistic. We have created a Youtube channel that is both informational, and fun! Looking for our listings? You'll find them! Looking for information about your area? You'll find that too! Looking to throw a rocking halloween party? Why you will find everything you need to make that happen! Personally, I would just like some simple decorating ideas that I can easily complete myself, so I've made that information accessible to all as well. Subscribe to our channel today, and keep up to date about what the JAM Team has to offer!

Follow the link below:

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fall Harvest

Fall is our favorite time of year at JAM Realty. Wells Fargo and the MN Zoo have paired up to offer family friendly activities every weekend in October.

Each weekend they will feature a live band and have crafts, face painting and fall themed demonstrations (spinner and apple press demonstrations). There is also an animal themed scarecrow alley, a hay maze and milking demonstration. The activities are free after you pay your admission into the zoo. Hours and times for the events can be found here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Around Town"

Are you looking to learn more about an area in the south metro? The JAM Team at RE/MAX Results in Apple Valley, MN is looking to help! We are starting to produce short video segments highlighting different areas of the south metro in Minnesota. Our video segments will highlight different places to eat, host family gatherings, different entertainment venues & events, wildlife areas and more! We have just finished our first clip promoting Kelley Park in Apple Valley!

Check it out! Visit our YouTube channel today!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fall Clean Up!

Fall Clean Up!

Attention Apple Valley Residents! Fall clean up day is upon us again. Common household goods can be disposed of at a nominal fee. You can bring your goods to the Central Maintenance Facility (6442 140th Street, West Apple Valley) on September 24th from 8am-1pm.

A list of accepted materials:

-Car tires: $5 ea., semi tires $10 ea., tractor tires $25 ea. -Furniture: Recliner, sofa, love seat $10 ea.

Hide-a-bed $20 ea., wooden chairs $5 ea. -Scrap metal: $7 minimum - small items (bikes, propane tanks)

$10 minimum -lg items (lawnmowers, grills, snow blowers) -Home remodeling debris: Volume based ($40-45/pickup load)* -Carpet and padding: $1/sq. yd. (provide approx. dimensions) -Mattresses and boxsprings: $10 ea.; Baby mattresses: $5 ea. -Miscellaneous: Volume based ($25-30/car load; $40-45/pickup load)*

*Price varies depending on volume/weight

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Parade of Homes

Whether your chasing after the dream of owning your own home, or you are seeking tips and ideas about trends, products, and decor to add to a home you already own, this fall's Parade of Homes may be just the place for you! With 278 new homes (including two highly exquisite "dream homes"), spread over more than 60 cities, you will be sure to find what you are looking for. Don't want to visit all 278? You don't have to! Parade of Homes even has an online Tour Planner to help guide you to only the homes you would like to visit! The Parade of Homes ends October 2ND, so plan your tour today!

Parade of Homes Tour Planner

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Free Flu Shots

Kohl’s department store and Children’s Hospitals and Clinics will offer free flu vaccines this weekend at the Apple Valley Kohl’s store. Kohl’s awarded Children’s with a grant to create the Kohl’s and Children’s Influenza Prevention Project, which includes giving flu vaccines, and offering educational assemblies in schools.

The vaccines will be available this weekend in Apple Valley and other cities around the metro including Roseville, Owatonna, Blaine and Maplewood. Head to the Apple Valley Kohl’s on Friday September 9th from 4 to 8pm and Saturday September 10th from 11am -4pm for your free vaccine.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Business Owners Go Green!

Are you interested in going green but are not sure where to start?

A workshop sponsored by Dakota Valley Recycling might be just what you need! This FREE workshop will focus on how to implement green initiatives that will improve the overall efficiency of your business. A panel of businesses who have already implemented energy saving and environmentally friendly initiatives will be available for questions and answers. The workshop takes place Tuesday September13th from 8:30-10:30am at the Eagan Community Center. This workshop is open to all owners, managers, and employees in the Eagan, Burnsville, and Apple Valley area. Pre-registration is required by September 6th, and can be done by calling 952-895-4511 or online at

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thank You!

I am excited to share the results of the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Home Seller/Buyer Studysm. RE/MAX is the proud recipient of these awards . The JAM Team loves being a part of the RE/MAX Results family.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

First Time Home Buyer Seminar

Do you have questions about buying a home? What loans are available? How much do you have to put down? What is a short sale? Should I buy a foreclosure? How long will the process take? Should I do a home inspection? What is buyer representation and how much does it cost? Is it a good time to buy?

There is so much conflicting information about real estate on the internet and in the news. Come to a free informational seminar to get these questions answered and more. You are invited to join us on Saturday, May 14th to learn about the real estate market in the Twin Cities metro area. This seminar was developed to give you the information you need by industry professionals in a relaxed setting.

Saturday, May 14th 2011 10:00 AM
Klein Bank
3000 County Road 42 West
Burnsville, MN 55337


Jacqueline Knauf, RE/MAX Results

4254 Boulder Ridge Point in Eagan

I wanted to introduce a new listing in Eagan. It offers three bedroom and 2 and 1/2 bathroom and over 1900 finished square feet for $174,900. For an idea of what the payments on this home could look like, comment below and I will send you an estimate.

This property is truly the best of both worlds- it lives like a single family home with two stories above ground and a full basement that walks out to the backyard but has an association that has done an outstanding job of maintaining the exterior of the home and the grounds. Check out the tour of the home and let me know if you are interested in seeing the home in person. I promise, it won't disappoint you!

Jacqueline Knauf, RE/MAX Results

Monday, April 11, 2011

Multiple Offers- Strategies for Success in Homebuying

So you have found the ONE- the home you can see yourself living in, where you will entertain your friends and family, where you will labor over improvement projects and celebrate holidays. Wait! Someone else has found it too. Even though it is a buyer's market in many respects, some areas and price ranges are seeing multiple offers on homes.

If you are going to be searching in a high demand area or price range, you need to take a few key steps before you look at homes to give yourself the highest chance for success. First, get pre-approved for a mortgage. By pre-approved I don't mean that you have just ran some numbers on an on-line calculator or talked to a relative who is in the banking industry. You will want to choose a reputable lender and do a mortgage loan application. To identify homes to consider, you need to know what your price range is and what loan programs you are qualified for; some properties are not eligible for all loan types. By figuring out the financing first, you to be ready to act quickly if you find a home and another party is interested.

make sure you are working with an experienced Realtor that is familiar with your area and price range; you will be relying on their expertise to write a competitive offer. Buyers often do not take this step seriously enough. Buying a home is usually one of the largest financial transactions of your life. Take the time to find a trusted professional to assist you.

If you have viewed a number of homes and find one that really stands out in price, location, quality or features chances are someone else will notice too. You may have pictured yourself negotiating the deal of the century on the home but if another party is interested, you will need to adopt another strategy if you want to make it yours.

Typically if there is more than one interested party in a home in Minnesota, the listing agent will set a deadline for buyers to submit their "highest and best" offers. "Highest" is obviously referring to the highest price you are willing to pay for the home. Think this over carefully. While no one wants to pay more for a house than what it is worth, each buyer may have a different sense of the home's value. Your best bet is to consider comparable sales and decide what you are willing to pay. Homes that sell in multiple offers may be priced lower than the competing homes to ensure a quick sale. They very often sell above the listing price. You may have no idea what the other parties are offering which is frustrating to many buyers. Remember, the other parties are in the same situation. Submit an offer for the most you are willing to pay; another way to look at it is the amount that if another party is willing to pay any more than you, you can accept losing the home and continuing your search.

In writing your "highest and best" offer, "best" refers to the terms of your offer. To compete with another offer you want to have terms that would be desirable to a seller. For example, if the home is vacant, the sellers might prefer a quick closing date. Other areas the seller will compare between offers are seller concessions, contingencies, financing and earnest money. Your Realtor will be able to advise you on presenting the best possible offer.

Remember, you are searching for a place to call home. Don't get discouraged if you end up competing with other buyers for the right place. That just means you have good taste in homes!

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Better Point of View

My sister and two nieces were over on Sunday and I suggested one of my favorite hobbies - touring some models on the Parade of Homes. I have been going to the Parade of Homes for the last twelve years but this was my favorite experience- more on that in a bit. My daughter had just ate so we had a three hour window before she would want more to eat. This would be her second time touring homes with me so at four months old, she is already an experienced home shopper. Bringing the baby also allowed me to multi-task; I got a pretty good work-out in carrying her around as we house shopped. I enjoyed her company on my previous outing but she is more of a silent observer and seems to prefer napping. I am told to enjoy this phase while it lasts!

We headed out and I quickly realized that bringing my six and eight year old nieces added an interesting element to the tour. Their insight had me looking at the homes in a totally different light. For instance, the first home had a living room with an oak railing overlooking the main level. My niece informed me that the room was perfect for playing "jail." I don't know what this "jail" game involves but it was definitely a good selling point for the home in her opinion.

Next, we went to the Cobblestone Lake neighborhood in Apple Valley. The advertising proclaims that "Cobblestone Lake offers the nostalgia and stability of old-fashioned traditional neighborhoods" and is "reminiscent of yesteryear." As my sister and I commented how the area does look like grand older neighborhoods, my younger niece pointed out that "the houses can't look old because they are new." Good point! The kids agreed that Cobblestone gets both of their votes because the houses had pretty colors, there is a neighborhood pool and it is close to a HUUUGE Target store.

The girls also were quick to point out flaws that I overlooked. A beautiful tiered front yard seemed like great curb appeal to me. They informed me that the yard "might be good for floods but is bad for babies." They definitely had safety one their minds again when they told me that a sliding door opening up to a not-yet-built deck was a "terrible idea." Bedrooms painted pink and chalk board paint were big hits as were oversized amusement rooms where you could practice gymnastics. The models that served treats were also high on their list.

We made it through seven homes before it was time for my baby's next meal. Overall, it was definitely my most memorable Parade of Homes tour. I just have to apologize to my sister since she had to hear her kids beg her to build a new house the whole way home.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

2011 Home & Garden Expo- Apple Valley

Saturday, April 2nd is the annual Home & Garden Expo at the Dakota County Western Service Center in Apple Valley. Check it out between 9 AM and 3 PM; there is free admission and parking. With over 100 local vendors on hand, seminars to attend and activities for kids, it is a fun family event. You can find out more from the Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce. Jacqueline Knauf, RE/MAX Results

Friday, March 25, 2011

Twin Cities Real Estate Outlook

In a report out from The Minneapolis Association of Realtors covering the Twin Cities 13 county metro area, February figures appear dismal but is the market as dire as the numbers indicate? Pending sales were down 12% and the median sales price was down $17,000 from February 2010. It is important to note that last February buyers were driven by the tax credit so the comparison is not really an "apples to apples" comparison. I see the increase of 8.6% in pending sales from January 2011 to February 2011 as a positive sign. The commentary in the report also points out short sale inventory with offers on it are not counted in the pending sales statistics. It will be interesting to see how March numbers play out. For detailed information about your area and price range, contact me.

Jacqueline A. Knauf, RE/MAX Results

Friday, March 18, 2011

Interested in Free Admission to the Minnesota Zoo?

Recycle your old cell phone and receive free admission to the Minnesota Zoo! The zoo is holding this promotion now until the end of March to support Recycle for Rainforests. Make sure to visit the new Russia's Grizzly Coast exhibit to see the brown bears while you are there. If you have little legs with you, I recommend the monorail for a birds-eye view of many animal exhibits and the conductors typically give a very informative commentary.

The Minnesota Zoo is located in Apple Valley and is about 10 minutes south of the Mall of America. Look for scenes of my visit to the zoo in my video blog tour of Apple Valley coming this spring.

Jacqueline Knauf, RE/MAX Results

Thursday, March 17, 2011

City of Apple Valley Tree Sale

Are you a resident of Apple Valley and looking to do some landscaping this spring? The city is accepting orders for the 2011 Tree and Shrub Sale. Several varieites of shrubs are available for $6 each and trees range from $20 to $29 each. Here is the order form; orders are due by April 15th. Take advantage of this opportunity to increase your home's curb appeal!

Jacqueline Knauf, RE/MAX Results

Monday, March 14, 2011

Casting for Sweat Equity on the DIY Network

The show Sweat Equity on DIY Network is casting for homeowners in Minneapolis/St Paul area for their new season. I love this show! The host, Amy Matthews, is a Minnesota native and she really knows renovation. I enjoy seeing the homeowners on the show go through the renovation process and see how much value they add to their home by doing as much of the work as possible themselves.

Here are the details if you want to apply and get help on your next renovation. If you haven't watched the show, check out full episodes on-line.

-Jacqueline Knauf, RE/MAX Results

Monthly Skinny: February 2011

Spring Update From Jacqueline

Since there is still a good 10 inches on snow on the ground, it is hard to believe it is the middle of March already. The Spring Parade of Homes is underway offering 340 new homes to tour throughout the Twin Cities through April 3rd. It is going to warm up this week and is the perfect time to get out and about. If you like Million Dollar Listing on BRAVO, you might want to check out one of Minnesota's million dollar homes by touring this Dream Home in Edina.

I have been going to the Parade of Homes every year for the past twelve years. I am excited to see that energy efficiency is a focus of many of the builders this year across all price ranges. I will give you my reviews after my tour.

Jacqueline Knauf, RE/MAX Results