Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tis the Season!

        I woke up today and looked outside and there was a pretty, thin layer of white.  I had to go out early to turn my car on so it could heat up and still had to scrape off my car (because I was too lazy to move it into the garage last night).  All that being said, this is still one of my favorite times of the year.  As soon as Halloween is out of the way, all I start to think about is first Thanksgiving and then Christmas.  I think of all the traditions that I get to start with my daughter and all of the things that made the holidays special to me. 

                There is such a combination of things that get me into the holiday spirit including the music, cheesy movies, weather (it might get me in the spirit but I didn’t say I necessarily liked it), and decorations.  Lately I have been on a decoration kick! We are now in a new house and this will be our first Christmas in it.  I don’t have that many decorations for this house and I am on a budget so trying to figure out how I am going to decorate it cheaply has been interesting.  I have recently become a very big fan of pinterest.  I know some people will read this and completely agree with me and others will be rolling their eyes thinking “she’s one of thooose people”.  Well I will tell you that if you take the time to actually use some of the ideas on their, it can be a very helpful tool!  I have found several different ideas for ways to decorate my house on a budget and tried one of them this last weekend.

                Someone had posted a picture of a really pretty glittery gold glass jar.  I thought that would be a great idea to put some spruce tips in them and use them either as a centerpiece for the table or to decorate the fireplace mantle with.  I already have several glass jars laying around so I didn’t have to worry about buying any of those (if you have any condiment jars this is a great way to recycle them!).  I went to Jo-Anne Fabric for the other supplies (you could go to a Michael’s or any other craft store).  Here I bought a can of spray adhesive (between $6 and $11 depending on the size of can) and 4 different colors of glitter for $5 each.  I also bought some ribbon that I will be using on another project as well although that is optional.

                Once I got home I laid some old newspaper out on the table, got my glass jars, glitter, spray adhesive, ribbon, and scissors.  All you need to do it spray the adhesive inside the jar and then pour a liberal amount of glitter inside.  Shake it so the glitter gets evenly distributed and then pour the rest back into the glitter container (it doesn’t take much glitter).  For the darker colors you might need to repeat the process. This whole process only takes a couple minutes, so it is quick, easy, and cheap!

Written by Melissa Bye

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Annual Pumpkin Giveaway

We had another great turnout for our Annual Pumpkin giveaway! It turned out to be a beautiful fall day, cool and crisp; a perfect day for pumpkins, cider, and seeing great people!  We had it at Cal’s market in Savage and were again happy with the service they have provided for us.  They are always friendly and helpful and do anything they can to make our event go well.  They provided the petting zoo with baby goats and calves; apparently goats eat pumpkins,J as well as the haunted house maze which the kids all seemed to enjoy. 

We were so happy to see all the people who came and hope those who couldn’t make it will be able to join us all again next year.  We had a lot of fun prizes not only for the kids, but some cash prizes for the adults as well. Between the food, prizes, and free pumpkins we hope everyone was able to enjoy it as much as we did!

Come and checkout all of the fun we had by checking out the pictures at our Facebook.com/jamrealty page! It was a great time for everyone to catch up and an inexpensive way to get out of the house and enjoy the beautiful fall that Minnesota offersJ

We want to thank everyone who came for coming and we hope you will all join us again next year!

Written By: Melissa Bye

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fall Fun

When the air starts getting that cool crisp feeling to it and you start smelling fires burning in the fireplace, you know it is once again fall in Minnesota.  Every year I go back and forth trying to figure out whether spring or fall is my favorite season.  In the spring, I always say spring, and in the fall, I always say fall.  Well this year seems to be no different. I love having fires in the fireplace, driving down the MN roads seeing all the beautiful colors, and bringing out all the decorations of fall:) 

My daughter is now 2 and a half years old and I am trying to start new traditions with her that will hopefully last into adulthood.  One of those traditions is finding a great apple orchard to take her to where we can pick our own apples, go on a tractor ride, and just have a great family experience.  We went to one a couple years ago (I will not name names) and we found it lacking.  It was so commercialized it didn't even feel like you were at an apple orchard, so this year when Jenna told me about Parley Lake Winery we decided to give it a shot. We were not disappointed!

Parley Lake Winery is located in Waconia, which for some might be a bit of a drive (it was about an hour drive for us, but we are in more of the southeast metro) but it was well worth it! Plan on going there and making an afternoon of it if you can.  You can bring lunch and make it a picnic or you can get a pizza that they make outside in the fire truck where they converted the back end into a pizza oven (So cool!).  They also have an area where you can see and pet a variety of animals.  When you get there you can go into the large barn where they have an assortment of jams, butters, etc... to buy, apple tastings so you can decide which apples you would like to pick, and apples already in bags if you don't have the time to go and pick yourselves.  If you go up to the counter you can purchase a bag to take with you on your picking expedition.  Then you can either go out and wait for a tractor to take you to the trees that are in season, or you can make the walk out yourself (its a beautiful trail no matter which way you chose to enjoy it).  My daughter LOVES tractors, so of course we took the tractor ride:)

When we got back from the apple picking we decided to do some wine sampling! It was $5 for 4 tastings or $10 for 8 and you get to keep the glass.  The wine was great and my daughter loved the little crackers they gave you. 

The overall experience here was fantastic.  We had such a good time and there were things to do for both children and adults!  There is also a lot to be said about the overall picture the winery presents.  They have it decorated and ready for fall and the old barns they house the store, bar, and samplings in is simply charming. 

If you decide you want to visit an orchard and start your own traditions, I would highly suggest the Parley Lake Winery.  If you need any suggestions for what to do with your apples once you have them, the I would highly suggest this Carmel Apple Crisp recipe.  I found it on pinterest and it is incredibly easy to make and tastes like something you got at a restaurant!

Written by Melissa Bye

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fall Bucket List

Last night was the first night in quite some time I went to sleep leaving the windows open throughout my apartment. I woke up feeling so refreshed with the crisp fall air pouring in. It was nothing short of magical. I promptly brewed a cup of caramel drizzle coffee, lit a pumpkin spice candle, and pulled out some of my fall d├ęcor that has been hiding in the closet for a year. I don't think there is a season us Minnesotans appreciate more than fall. Though I can't quite admit I'm ready for summer to be over, I do love fall more than anything.

Since summer flew by faster than I had expected, I started thinking about all the things I wanted to do but never quite got to because there just weren't enough weekends. This prompted me to think about all the things I want to do this fall, and I quickly started a new note on my iPhone so I wouldn't forget about them. After all, since this season is just kicking off I actually have time to get to everything on my list!

Here's a few of the activities on my list:

  1. Visit Parley Lake Winery - Some of my girlfriends and I visited this winery/apple orchard last fall, and I can honestly say that day was one of the highlights of my year. Is there anything better than a perfect fall day, your girlfriends, and wine? We loved it so much, we've actually planned to go back next Saturday, and I couldn't be more excited!
  2. Have a BBQ - I can't host one myself, but I've got plenty of friends who can. 
  3. Go to the Minneapolis Farmers Market - This is something I failed to do this summer, and it maybe actually be more enjoyable with the cooler weather. I am some what of a health fanatic, and loading up on fresh produce excites me. Plus, I live less than two miles from the Lyndale Ave market, so there are no reasons for me not to make at least one stop on a Saturday morning.
  4. Walk around the Chain of Lakes - This is something I do on a regular basis regardless, since Cedar Lake, Lake of the Isles, and Lake Calhoun are all less than a mile from me. I'd like to do it even more, so I can soak up as much fresh air as possible before I hibernate for the winter months. Especially once the leaves start to change.
  5. Sit by the fire -  I'm not really sure where I could check this off the list other than back at my parents house, so good thing I'm headed there this weekend. I know my dad will be more than willing to have some drinks, roast some marshmallows, and relax by the fire on Saturday night.
  6. Get ice cream from Sebastian Joe's - Whether its the Linden Hills or Franklin Ave location, I've got to get one last cold treat before it's too cold.
  7. Dinner on the patio - Dinner, drinks, coffee, lunch, etc. There are countless patios to enjoy in Minneapolis, and again, I'd like to get to as many as possible before it's too cold.

What's on your fall bucket list?
Written by Jenna Maxfield

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Parade of Homes

Parade of Homes

It’s that time of year again! Parade of Homes books are out and it starts September 7th and goes through September 29th.  The homes will be on display Thursday through Sunday noon to 6pm.  Whether you are looking for a new home to buy or just want to have a fun day of looking at million dollar listings, this is something free and fun to do! You can pick up a Parade of Homes book from your local Holiday for free.

 You can also visit their Dream Homes.  These are listings that are typically over $1 million and have some sort of unique features.  They cost $5 to get in but it is a tax-deductible admission that helps the BATC Foundation continue their work building and remodeling homes for deserving families, so you can be happy knowing it is going towards a good cause! (The rest of the homes are free to get in) The three Dream Homes are located in Chaska, Wayzata, and Afton. 

You can visit www.paradeofhomes.org for more information.
Written by Melissa Bye

Monday, August 19, 2013

Looking for a house?

Looking for a home and not having any luck on the public websites?  We offer a great feature at our website that updates every few minutes with any changes, new listings, etc...  Click on our website www.jamrealty.com and you will see a map at the top of the page.  All you have to do is create an account or login, and then select to the right of the screen what criteria is important to you, whether it is the number of bedrooms and baths, the sq footage, price, or all of them!

One great feature that you won't find on the other websites is the lifestyle feature.  If you want to find a place that is within a certain distance to lets say your church, you can enter your church and it will give you the listings within whatever geographical distance away you enter.  You can also enter things such as coffee shops, restaurants, golf courses, etc...  Not only can you look for a place within a certain city, but this way you can see what is available in the neighborhoods you are looking in without even going out of your house!

If you find a place you would like to see, all you have to do is click on the "Schedule Showing" and we will get a showing set up for you!

There is also a feature for those of you looking to sell a house and would like to know how much your house could be listed for.  If you select the green value icon on the right side of the screen, you can enter your address and request a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA).  We would then be able to get back to you with the comparable's in the area and an idea of what your house would most likely be able to sell for.  

Whether you are a buyer or a seller this website can help you find the right house in the right location or help aid you in your decision to sell. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Money magazines 50 Best Places to Live

Money magazine has come out with their 50 top places to live in 2013.  3 towns in Minnesota made the list and the results may surprise you!  Chanhassen made number 4, no real surprise there, however, Apple Valley made number 17 and Savage made number 21! If you want to read the reasons behind these towns making the list just go ahead and visit Money Magazines website.  You can also check out what other towns around the country made the list.

Written by Melissa Bye

Friday, August 9, 2013

HGTV Local Casting!

Ever see those shows on HGTV and wonder how you can be a part of it?  Well now is your chance! They are going to be taking applications for their next season if you want to give it a shot.  They are now casting for a couple different shows, including "Renovation Raiders", "I hate my kitchen", and "I hate my bath". 

If you haven't seen these shows "Renovation Raiders" is a show that basically gives you a whole new makeover for a room in your house (kitchen, living room, etc...). In one night while you and your spouse or loved one are out for dinner, a team comes in and completely remodels whichever room was chosen while your spouse/loved one knows nothing about it.  Sneaky sneaky! Lots of fun to watch!
"I hate my kitchen" and "I hate my bath" are basically just shows where they come in and give you a full kitchen or bath makeover.  They have their own designer come up with a design and then a crew comes in and does the whole remodel for you! You might have to contribute financially depending on the scope of the design.

If you think this is something you would be interested in, go to this website and find out what the requirements are and if this is something that would work for you! www.magneticproductions.com/casting/ Good Luck!

Written by Melissa Bye

Monday, August 5, 2013

Dakota County Fair

Hey everyone, its that time of year again! The Dakota County Fair is going on all week this week starting today Monday Aug.5th and ending Sunday Aug. 11th.  The fair hours are going to be Monday 4pm-10pm, Tues.-Sat. 7:00am-10pm, and Sunday 7:00am-5pm.  There will be many fun things to watch and see while you are out there including shows at the grandstand every night, Heritage Village, and of course the Carnival!

The Carnival tickets cost $1.25 per ticket or you can get 18 tickets for $20.  They also have the Passport to Fun which gives you unlimited rides for the entire 7 days of the fair for $60.  Most of the rides vary between 2 to 4 tickets depending on the ride.

Heritage Village is another fun one to check out.  You can see how rural life was like back in the early 1900's with interpreters dressed up in period costume and many activities for everyone to participate in. There are 22 buildings to check out including a blacksmith shop, newspaper shop, and schoolhouse. The hours for the buildings will be Mon. 4pm-9pm, Tues.-Sat. 10am-9pm, and Sun. 10am-6pm.

The Grandstand will have fun things to see everyday of the fair.
    Monday 5th- Donkey Races
    Tuesday 6th- Tractor Pull
    Wednesday 7th- Bulls and Barrels
    Thursday 8th- Love and Theft/ Craig Campbell Concert!
    Friday 9th-Sunday 11th- Demolition Derby

A few other things to note: Tuesday is Kids day- any kids between the ages of 6 and 12 get in for only $1 (any kids 5 and under are free).  Wednesday is Military Day- as a thank you for serving our country, any military member and their family who presents a military ID gets in for free as well as gets free parking. Thursday is Senior Day where anyone 60 or over gets in for free as well as gets free parking.

There are many other fun activities to keep you busy and entertained! If you want to know more just visit www.dakotacountyfair.org

Written by Melissa Bye

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Cheap DIY Kitchen Counter-tops

My husband and I recently bought a house.  The house was a foreclosure built in 1959 and was in dire need of some updates.  Unfortunately it also needed all new plumbing, electrical, windows, floors, etc.  I was hoping we would have enough money left over from fixing those previously mentioned items to get a new kitchen- boy was that naive.  We barely had enough to get those things done let alone a whole kitchen remodel, which as most people know can get up into the tens of thousands of dollars.  Yet I still HAD to do something about this kitchen! I figured I could at least paint the cabinets and put some new hardware on the doors and drawers for relatively cheap, but what can you do for counter-tops?  It was the most hideous laminate counter-tops and I could not leave them that way.  After doing some research online, I found a product that I was willing to try.  At this point I figured even if it looked terrible and didn't work, they couldn't be any worse than they were. 

The product I ended up going with was called Rustoleum Counter-top Transformations.  It's a do-it-yourself way to change your counter-tops that's relatively inexpensive. Each kit contains enough product to cover 20 linear feet or 50 square feet.  I have quite a bit of counter space so it took me two kits, but even then it is much cheaper than getting a new counter-top.  I was able to get 1 kit for around $150 at Home Depot.  The kits come in 5 different colors: onyx, charcoal, Java Stone, Desert Sand, and Pebbled Ivory.  I used Charcoal and was very happy with the results.  The kit comes with a diamond sanding block that you use to scuff up the counter-tops.  Then you roll on the paint color and immediately cover it with the "flecks" they give you.  You let that dry for about a day or two then come back and vacuum up the leftover "flecks".  After that you sand down the top to smooth it out and then put on a clear coat.  It is ready for "light" use in about 48 hours, but takes about 7 days to fully cure. 

I loved the end result, however, if I were giving any suggestions to anyone who wanted to do this, I would tell them to do it with a second person (especially if it is covering a large area), and that it does take a couple days to go through the whole process(just because of the dry time). I would also warn you that this gets MESSY.  Mostly just with the flecks.  Make sure you put some sort of tarp on the floor for easy clean up and TAPE the edges of the counter-tops so you don't get it on the appliances or walls.

Written by Melissa Bye

Monday, June 17, 2013

Tour de Luce

What is Tour de Luce? Tour de Luce is a free-form bike ride between all Twin Cities Pizza Luce locations. You can begin and end at ny location you choose and you can visit as many of the 6 Twin Cities locations as you'd like. For each check-in and a Pizza Luce location you will be entered into a prize drawing not to mention you will gain the honor and prestige of getting a stamp in your Tour de Luce passport. To make your tour more convenient they have created a "suggested" route between each location.

The Tour de Luce is scheduled between the hours of 8am to 4pm, the same day as Open Streets Lyndale Ave in Minneapolis (Sunday, June 23rd). Lyndale avenue will be closed to motorized traffic between the hours of 10am and 4pm.

The cost to enter Tour de Luce is $10 per adult and $5 per child 12 years of age and younger.

Register for the Tour de Luce today

Monday, June 10, 2013

Apple Valley Looks For Transit-Fueled Development

Apple Valley officials are banking that the soon-to-be-launched bus rapid transit line can jump-start development in Central Village, a partially completed mixed-use project that stalled during the recession.

Last year saw a significant step forward with the city’s approval of plans for Parkside Village, a 332-unit upscale apartment complex that’s part of the Central Village development area. It’s the biggest multi- family project to be built in Apple Valley in more than 10 years. The developer hopes to begin work on the project in August.

Planned by the city in the early 2000s, Central Village is a 60-acre project that already has townhouses, senior housing, affordable/workforce apartments, a hotel, a small office building, shops and restaurants. The economic downturn slowed progress of filling in vacant portions of the project, with some parcels being taken back by lenders. About half of the 60 acres is yet to be developed.

The city now is eyeing six vacant, tax-forfeited properties west of the new apartment development, in an area near 152nd between Galaxie and Garrett avenues.

An office building — one with a large employer as an anchor tenant — is high on the city’s priority list for filling some of the empty space. Nordquist said the city would like to see up to 100,000 square feet of office space, a total that likely would require an anchor tenant taking about 50,000 square feet. The addition of bus rapid transit could help Apple Valley attract this employer.

Apple Valley’s reach for a large corporate presence fell short about a year ago, when tech-support company Stream Global Services considered relocating its headquarters from suburban Boston to Apple Valley but later said it could not find adequate space and instead opted for Eagan. The company has said its new headquarters would have 40 to 50 employees, with hundreds more workers in a neighboring call center.

Apple Valley had planned to use an $866,000 grant from the Metropolitan Council to help redevelop an older two-building office complex for Stream Global. The city recently got Met Council approval to use the funds instead to acquire three of the tax-forfeited parcels in Central Village for the office building. The property is about one-half mile from the Apple Valley Transit Station on Cedar Avenue that will be the southernmost stop for the new bus rapid transit line.

The city believes the location could be attractive for an office project, because it’s bordered by a post office and the Grandstay Hotel & Conference Center.

Mass transit is another key ingredient. Initiated by the Dakota County Board almost 10 years ago, the bus rapid transit line is envisioned as the county’s connection to the metro area’s transit network.

Buses every 15 minutes will carry riders along Cedar from Apple Valley to the Mall of America, connecting to light rail that runs to the airport and downtown Minneapolis.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Jumbo Loans and Luxury Homes

Expensive homes come with expensive mortgages. Lenders have developed large specialized loans known as "jumbo loans" that allow borrowers to borrow more. The luxury home market is continuing to rise, so naturally, the jumbo loan market is following. According to the National Association of Realtors, sales of homes worth between $750,000 and $1 million are up 38.7% since last year. Homes selling for over $1 million has gone up 25.7%

Interest rates of these jumbo loans have been creeping closer and closer to the rates of ordinary loans, some jumbo's interest rates have been just as good as the average priced loans. This is one of the main reasons we are seeing a boom in jumbo's. The rates have been able to decrease because only the most qualified buyers are being approved for such a large amount of borrowed money.

Written by: Brad Novy

Monday, April 1, 2013

Companies Do Not Fool Around On April Fools Day!

Many large corporations aren't fooling around this April 1st of 2013. Google came out with a few new apps, one being the smell search feature called Google Nose. Google also dropped a new version of Maps called Treasure mode. Among the other jokers, Sony revealed its new "Animalia" electronics line. It features cat friendly headphones, dog paw friendly TV remotes, and a hamster wheel with its own home theater system! Click here for an extended list of April fools spoofs!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Cafe Ena Restaurant Review

Cafe Ena is locally owned and operated by restaurateur Hector Ruiz who also recently opened Rincon 38, a small Tapas bar and restaurant on Grand Avenue S. Cafe Ena offers a culinary fusion of Latin American flavors with plenty of Delicious choices on the menu. The service was excellent and the food was even better! Our table started with a Ceviche appetizer, a traditional South American ceviche of fish, shrimp, calamari, and scallops in a cilantro-Aji sauce, topped with pickled red onions.

Our main courses consisted of a South American style curry dish, a goat cheese omelet, and a plate of shrimp sauteed in a delicious sauce I can not pronounce. All plates were cleaned and we were all very satisfied! At the end of our meal, Chef Hector sat with us and we shared a few laughs. We were lucky enough to get a short business lesson from such a successful entrepreneur! If you are in South Minneapolis and feeling hungry, Cafe Ena is a must try! http://www.cafeena.net/

Written by: Brad Novy

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bidding With Multiple Offers: The Smart Way

Most real estate markets are picking up and the Minneapolis market is no exception. The housing affordability index is high and home buyers have been waiting to jump into action. With the shortage of good inventory however, there are more buyers than suitable properties, and we are seeing some multiple offer situations.

Multiple offer situations can cause buyers to make hasty and sometimes irrational decisions. The first piece of advice for buyers is to relax, take a deep breathe, and don't worry too much about the other offers. There will be some competition for the house, don't let it pressure you into making an offer, especially if you're not ready. You might find that you will have to write an offer sooner than you thought. If you are comfortable with the house and the situation, move forward.

Only pay what the house is worth to you, and only pay what you are comfortable paying. You don't know what the other offer or offers may be, they could all be "low ball" offers! There are many different scenarios that could happen and you may be the most attractive offer for many different reasons. Focus on the negotiation of your offer, don't worry about the other buyers, you aren't working with them, you are working with the selling agent. If you are serious about the house, put your best foot forward with your earnest money deposit. It shows the buyers you mean business!

Final piece of advice. If you finally find the house you have been looking for and you have to compete with other buyers, you don't want to have any regrets. Would you like to find out that you missed by $500 dollars? would you have paid $1000 more to get it? If you don't end up with the house, at least you know that you gave it your best effort.

Written by: Brad Novy

Friday, March 22, 2013

Price Gains Lift Homes Above Water

Rising home prices helped lift 1.7 million homes above water in 2012 according to a report released by real estate data and technology firm CoreLogic. As of December 31st, one in every five homes were still underwater. CoreLogic believes that another 5% increase in home values would lift an additional 1.8 million homes into positive equity. Home owners who were thinking about selling held off because of their negative equity positions, this forced our inventory to minuscule levels, and in turn helped home prices rise. Now that we are seeing the prices go up, we should see an upswing in inventory, as previously underwater home owners are more prone to sell.

Written by: Brad Novy

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Attitudes, Seafood and the Cupid Shuffle

I had an experience a couple of weekend ago I wanted to share.  My husband saw a commercial for a steampot of seafood.  As soon as our daughter woke up from her nap, we were off to Joe's Crab Shack.  We hadn't eaten there before but obviously the commercial had done its job and we arrived hungry for a big bucket of seafood.  We made our order, put our bibs on and were eagerly awaiting our meal when a couple arrived.  They were seated in the adjacent booth much to the interest of our two year old; she used her booster seat to stand up and peer over at them.  The friendly server stopped by but before she could greaat them, the customer loudly announced, "I do not like seafood!"  My husband and I locked eyes and stifled our laughs.  I am sure the server was thinking, "Lady, you walked into the wrong place," but instead she politely pointed out the Out of Water and Shore to Please sections of the menu.  Ok, crisis adverted... or so we thought.  When her ribeye was delivered, she promptly complained and the server had to call in the manager for reinforcements. 

As this scenario played out, I realized how expectations and attitudes affect our experiences. This place is fairly transaparent by using the words Crab and Shack in the name.  If you desire a bucket of seafood like we did, you have found the place.  Fitting for a place touting itself as a shack, they use a roll of brown paper towels as napkins; this is not a fine dining experience but they do offer live dancing by the servers for your entertainment. 

This customer walked in hating seafood and nothing the server could do would make this lady's experience enjoyable.  There is an Olive Garden across the parking lot and many other restaurants within the immediate area.  She not only made the choice to walk in the crab shack but she actively made her next hour miserable and ruined the time for her dinner guest, the server and anyone within ear shot.

I hope more people choose to accept each situation for what it is and approach experiences with a good attitude.  Its amazing how much fun you can have with melted butter dripping off your chin watching your daughter clap along to the waitresses doing the Cupid Shuffle.  Even if you aren't willing to have a good time, remember everything you do affects other people and at any time some little eyes may be peering over at you.   This is a good lesson for me to keep in mind- maybe a good attitude can make my spring cleaning fun!

Monday, March 18, 2013

New Business in Apple Valley!

Dog owners in Apple Valley will soon have a place to bring them to be professionally bathed and groomed! Wishbone Pet Parlor is finishing up construction and expects to open in early April! Wishbone Pet Parlor will be located at 14722 Pennock Avenue next to the ACE Hardware store.

Darla St. Martin, a partner in the business, says the salon will offer a variety of dog-grooming services for walk-in clients and scheduled appointments. One of Wishbone's unique services is to provide a space for dog owners to bathe their own pets without having the mess in their home. They have four wash stations for customers, they also provide brushes and combs.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

When Will Spring Come!?

Does this Minnesota winter seem longer than normal? Well that's because it has been! The average temperature for this time of year in Minneapolis is in the mid fifties! This drawn out cold weather is not slowing down home buyers though! Spring is one of the busiest times of the year for home buying activity, the low inventory levels are driving some competition in the marketplace! If you are buying a house, you might find yourself in a multiple offer situation!

The weather forecasts another snow fall this weekend, but it may be mother nature's last hurrah for winter. Everyday it seems that the snow is melting away, soon we will see the brown grass turn green, leaves forming on the trees, and the ice melting on the lakes.

Before you buy or sell a house, make sure you have done your research, and have consulted with a professional. This Spring will be very busy and it's important that you are prepared to move fast in today's market!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

If I Didn't Sell Homes, I Would......

 Anyone that talks to me knows that I love my job but growing up I had a few dream occupations that may surprise you.  I actually still possess a little book from my school years that had a picture of me from each grade and a place where I could fill in information like the names of my friends and activities.  Some of the plans that I carefully wrote in the book for my future occupation included being the President, a ballerina, ballet teacher, detective (like Nancy Drew) and a flight attendant.

Having a daughter that is quickly growing up before my eyes really leads me to reflect on things like what I dreamed of as a child.  My daughter has her whole life ahead of her and her own dreams to fulfill.  Overall, I feel like all of the dream  jobs I selected as a schoolgirl  are a part of my who I am now.  I no longer have any political aspirations but I enjoy my role leading my team at RE/MAX.  I dedicated many years dancing and am now satisfied dancing with Aurelia around the house.  I still love books filled with mysteries and detectives.  Being able to travel and see new places was the draw to be a flight attendant and I hope to continue to explore the world throughout my life. 

 As an adult, I secretly wish I were a comedian.  I love listening to comedy on Pandora while I drive and my perfect night out is going to a live comedy show.  I don't think anyone would describe me as being particularly funny but luckily my daughter thinks I am hilarious.  Nothing is better than hearing her sparkling belly laugh and seeing her face crunch up while she laughs at me.  You may never see me on stage doing live comedy but to at least one person, I am a comedian!


Attention Apple Valley Area Residents!

There will be a Home and Garden show on Saturday, April 6th! This event will feature over 100 vendors from the area, representing many different companies and proffessions. Also, there will be animals from the MN Zoo, plenty of activities for the kids, free ice cream, and free seminars! Come to this Home and Garden show for free, no addmission charge! For more information about this event click here.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Parade Of Homes!

Have you ever been to the Parade Of Homes? If you have, you are probably just as excited as I am right now! If you have never participated in the parade of homes, you are missing out, and you need to mark a day on your calendar and go to the parade!

The Parade Of Homes is an event that spans from March 2nd to the 24th. During this time, home builders throughout the Twin Cities will have their model homes open to view! All newly built model homes are open Thursday - Sunday from noon to 6pm. The Parade Of Homes also features remodeled homes. These will be open on Friday from 1pm - 7pm and Sat/Sun from noon to 6pm.

Look at different types of homes made by all of the different builders. Shop for your next home! Check out the different areas of the metro. Discover trending styles and decor. Make it a cheap date!

Ready to get started? Grab a directory for the parade, you can find them at any Holiday Stationstore! What are you waiting for!? Get out there and check out some homes! More info here

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Robots In Real Estate?

The world is constantly being changed by technology, the iPad is becoming a must for real estate agents. Could robots be the next must? A recent article from inman news showcased five ways that robots could change the real estate business.

The first showcased robot is a telepresence robot made by Double Robotics. This robot basically allows you to be in two places at one time! It requires two iPads, one mounted to the robot, and the other in your hands. It features a remotely adjustable neck height so you can remain at eye level when having conversations. This model is available for just $1,999!

Next, we have Romo. Romo can be an extra hand around the office, and it can help take photos!

Another Robot will enable Realtors to take pictures from up above without the use of a ladder. The AR.Drone 2.0 is a flying drone that can record video and take pictures, all while being controlled using your mobile device! Check out the article here.

What do you think about these devices? Could you see them being frequently used in the near future?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Low Inventory Levels Means High Prices.

The number of new listings was down in 143 of 146 metro areas this January. The listings inventory fell to a six-year low according to a monthly report from Realtor.com. Supply is low, and with the economy coming back strong, home buyers who have been patiently waiting to buy, are now ready. Supply of homes is dropping, and the demand for homes is rising. That means one thing, higher prices!

 Inventory is probably close to as low as it will go. With home prices going higher, we will start to see more listings as home owners are looking to sell and move up, that is good news for both home buyers and home sellers!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Home and Leisure Show!

March 15th and 16th marks the 14th annual Home and Leisure Show hosted by the Eagan Civic Arena! The show hours are Friday from 3-7 P.M. and Saturday 9A.M. to 3P.M. Over 80 Vendors will be there to showcase their products and services! Admission is free! So if you are looking for your next home related purchase, or you just want to get a feel for the latest trends, this is your event! for more details click here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Apple Valley Market Update!

Changes in the real estate market are happening, and the recovery of the market is becoming more publicly known. Since last January, the inventory of available homes in the twin cities has gone down 32.2%! The recovering economy and low interest rates means more people are looking to buy houses, therefore, demand is rising. If you aren't sure why this is significant, it means that prices are rising! The median sales prices of homes in the twin cities has risen 14.3% since last January.

The Apple Valley real estate market is booming! The median sales price has risen 30.2% to $185,000 in the last year! Home owners are finding relief and peace of mind in this market turnaround. The average time on the market for a sale is under 100 days. This is all good news for people who are looking to sell their house. It is also good news for buyers, knowing that the market will more than likely put them in a good position for a quick gain in equity. Click here for a more detailed look into the Twin Cities market.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Everything you need to learn the Twin Cities real estate market.

The Minneapolis Association of Realtors website offers a very unique tool to help people learn about the real estate market of the twin cities. This tool is great for everyone from home buyers and home sellers, to real estate investors, to individuals who just want to learn more about the market. This tool is appropriately called, "The Thing".

"The Thing" lets you search for information on any part of the metro area you wish. It really has every metric you could think of. Click here to learn more about the real estate market using "The Thing"

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Summer is Just Around the Corner!

An early spring means an early summer! That means it's time to start thinking about the water again! District 196 Community Education is offering swimming lessons and competitive swimming classes for all ages. They offer caring and dedicated Red-Cross trained instructors in order to offer you and your children the best possible service in a friendly environment. Click here for more information about District 196 Community Education swimming lessons.

District 196 also offers open swim events scheduled until the end of march! These open swim events are going to be located either at Scott Highlands Middle School or Black Hawk Middle School. For more information and specific times click here.

Are you an advanced swimmer? District 196 has a class for that as well! They offer training for grades 3 and up who are interested in competitive swimming. Adult fitness classes are available as well triathlon training! If you would like more information on competitive swimming click here.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

HomeFinder.com joins Re/Max's vendor network.

RE/MAX has included HomeFinder.com into it's approved supplier program, which gives all of its 90,000 agents access to the vendor's marketing platform. HomeFinder.com has been a very successful real estate listing and marketing company for quite some time, and RE/MAX knows that this is a good move. Around 90 percent of home buyers start their search online, so this partnership will give RE/MAX's associates a greater web presence, which in turn will help them provide a higher level of customer service.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Are the mortgage rates as low as they will go?

Mortgage rates have risen very slightly for three out of the past four weeks. It has been two months since we have seen the lowest recorded rates of 3.31 percent for the average 30-year fixed-rate loan.

Frank Nothaft, (Chief Economist for Freddie Mac) seems to think that the all- time low rates may be behind us. Nothaft foresees the rates to climb up to 3.75 percent by years end, and move to above 4 percent the next year.

The rates will still be very favorable for new home buyers for a while, however, home owners exploring the option of a re-finance shouldn't wait around too much longer if they want to lock in with these historically low rates. As the economy shapes up, rising rates are a natural occurrence. They will fluctuate a little, but the days of 3.31 percent may be gone.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Valentine's Day Party!

Valentine's Day is just two weeks away! Do you have any plans yet? Take your pre-schooler to ECFE's Valentine's Day party on February 9th, from 10A.M. to 12P.M. The cost is $5 per child ($15 cap). Some of the activities will include arts and crafts, face painting, and temporary tattoos! Refreshments will be available. This is a great opportunity to spend some quality time with your child, and get to know other parents within the school system. Click here to register.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Attention Apple Valley Homeowners

The City of Apple Valley, in partnership with the Dakota County Community Development Agency (CDA) and the Dakota Area Resources and Transportation for Seniors (DARTS), is offering a variety of home maintenance and improvement programs for seniors and residents. They include:

DARTS Outdoor Chore Service Program 
This program provides assistance to older residents with heavy chores and outdoor yard work such as raking leaves, snow shoveling, lawn mowing, cleaning gutters, touch-up painting, weeding gardens, packing boxes, and cleaning garages and basements. The Chore Service workers will perform work from a stepladder (6-foot ladder or smaller; no extension ladders). They will not use power equipment while on the ladder. Chore workers are not available to apply chemical treatment to lawns or gardens. The cost for this service program is based upon your income and type of work you request. Contact DARTS at 651-455-1560.

CDA Home Improvement Loan Program

The Home Improvement Loan program assists low and moderate income homeowners with making repairs and improvements to their homes. Funds are commonly used for furnace replacement, electrical and plumbing repairs, adding insulation, exterior upgrades and special needs improvements (such as ramps, bathroom and kitchen modifications).

Features of the program include 0% interest and no monthly payments. The loans are not forgiven and become payable when ownership changes or you move from the property. You may have to repay the loan if you refinance your home, or take out a home equity loan. The minimum loan amount is $15,000, and the maximum is $25,000.

Eligible applicants must own their home, have sufficient equity in the property, a satisfactory credit history and a gross annual income within the program income limits. The income limits start at $45,000 (for a one-person household) and range up to $85,000 (for an 8+ person household).
Additional information on the Home Improvement Loan program and applications can be found at "www.dakotacda.org". To obtain additional information, or to request an application by mail, please call Mark Hanson at 651-675-4469.

Energy Assistance Program  
This program is administered by the Scott-Carver-Dakota CAP Agency, which provides grants to help income qualified homeowners pay their heating bills. For information or to request an application for the Energy Assistance Program, please contact the CAP Agency at 651-322-3500.

Weatherization Assistance Program    
This program is administered as a joint effort between the CAP Agency and the CDA, and provides income qualified homeowners a grant to help make their home more energy efficient. Grant funds are used to insulate attics or walls or to upgrade furnaces. Households who have applied to and are eligible for the Energy Assistance Program are automatically referred to the Weatherization Program. The income limits are $22,340 (for a one-person household) and up to &77,780 (for an 8+ person household).

If you qualify for the Weatherization Assistance Program, the CDA's Energy Specialist will conduct an energy audit on your home to determine solutions to improve your home's energy efficiency. The CDA will assist you in selecting a qualified contractor to complete the work. Payment is made directly to the contractor on you behalf when the work is completed and after the CDA has inspected the work. For information about the Weatherization Assistance Program, call 651-675-4554.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year

Happy New Year! There are a lot of exiting things to come in 2013. We are very happy to announce that we have a new member on the JAM Team! Brad Novy is working with us and will be attaining his real estate license by early February. He just received his Bachelors from St. Cloud State University in December of 2012. Brad will be a great fit with our team and will help our growing business. Brad specializes in working with lake homes and relocating buyers that are new to the Twin Cities area.  We are happy to have such a motivated, kind and diligent new agent share his talents with the team and our clients. 

The real estate market really took a turn in 2012. In the next few weeks we will have the Twin Cities Housing Market Annual Report available. Please let us know if you would like a copy.  Remember, we are happy to be resource to you for any housing related information.

RE/MAX is celebrating its 40th anniversary and Jacqueline is attending the RE/MAX R4 Convention in February.  We look forward to sharing what we learned about the direction of real estate industry from some of the top minds in the world. 

Concert Series at the new Valleywood Clubhouse!

Valleywood Golf Course in Apple Valley is hosting a free concert series to promote their new Clubhouse! There will be three evenings of concerts, each on the first Saturday of January, February, and March from 6:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. The featured bands are some of Minnesota's best! Some food will be provided, restaurant and full bar service will also be available. If you are looking for something to do, go check out the new Clubhouse and listen to some great music! Click here for more information.