Real Estate News & More

9 Minnesota Schools Make Newsweek Magazine’s Top 500

eastview logoNewsweek Magazine published its annual list of America’s top schools for 2014, and nine Minnesota schools made the list of 500.

Newsweek bases its school rankings on the institutions that do the best job of preparing their students for college. The data included a college readiness score, the percent of students that actually go onto school, the school’s graduation rate and the poverty percentage of the area the school is in.

In Minnesota, the nine schools that made the list of the top 500 are all in the Twin Cities metro. Of those nine, seven made the top half of the 500-school list.

The top Minnesota school on the list is the Twin Cities Academy in St. Paul, which came in at 42nd. The school had a college readiness score of 97.25 percent. The school also has a 99.8 percent of its students go to college, and 99.67 percent of students graduate.

Woodbury High School came in on the list at 45th overall. Their college readiness score was 97.06 percent, nearly 80 percent of students go onto college and they have a graduation rate of better than 94 percent. Orono High School was listed at 51st. They had a college readiness score of 96.66 percent with nearly 82 percent of students heading to college. They also graduate nearly 90 percent of students.

The other Minnesota schools to make the list included Mounds View (100),Mound Westonka (104), Mahtomedi (176), Wayzata (187), Minneapolis Southwest (412) and Eastview (422).

Eastview High School (196 School District), located in Apple Valley, MN, includes a 330,000 square foot facility and 200 acres of recreational facilities. It is home to over 2,000 students in grades 9-12.


WCCO, 9/8/14



The 66th Annual Fall Parade of Homes

parade (Small)The annual Fall Parade of Homes runs from September 6th through the 28th, with 392 new homes open Thursdays through Sundays from noon to 6:00 pm. You can pick up a comprehensive guidebook that provides complete information about the tour, including maps and photos or illustrations of all the homes at area Holiday Station stores.

Outdoor Living is the focus this year. For something fun, the KARE 11 Backyard, Parade Entry #11, will be open limited hours during the tour: every Saturday (September 13, 20 and 27) from noon to 4pm.

The tour will once again feature the Green Path Energy Tour, sponsored by Xcel Energy. Almost half (190) of the Parade Homes have been tested by an independent energy rater to earn a HERS (Home Energy Rating Score) and has its own Home Performance Report (HPR) that graphically explains the home’s HERS score. The HPR allows homebuyers to compare the expected energy use between homes.

All the homes are free to tour with the exception of four Dream Homes that each request a $5.00 donation to the BATC Foundation to enter. The four homes are #240 by Sustainable 9 Design + Build in Minneapolis (priced at $1,349,000); #243 by Stonewood LLC in Edina (priced at $2,450,000); #366 by Lecy Bros. Homes and Remodeling in Wayzata (priced at $2,375,000); and #367 by BohLand Homes, also in Wayzata and priced at $1,544,000.

The lowest priced home is #117, at $153,900. The two-bedroom split entry single family home is located in Isanti. The most expensive home, #243, located in Edina priced at $2,450,000. There are a total of 43 homes priced over $1,000,000 and 45 priced under $300,000. The total value of all homes on the tour is $228,336,701. The homes are located throughout the Twin Cities with Lakeville hosting 24!

Is now a good time to buy or sell?

mortgageMortgage rates have been at historical lows since 2008 following the financial crisis, but the consensus is that they will rise; it’s just a matter of how much and when.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has fluctuated between just above 4% and 4.5% for most of 2014. The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., (Freddie Mac), is predicting rates will rise to 5% in 2015.  Factors contributing to an anticipated rate increase include a strengthening economy and the unemployment rate is falling and is expected to continue to do so.  This fall is a great time to buy or sell as the mortgage rates are still low.


Get prequalified, or get preapproved?

If you’re considering the purchase of a new home, you may be concerned with the issue of finance. Attaining the right mortgage is a key step in the home bhands for testimonial (Small)uying process, but it doesn’t have to be a stress-inducing one. Most lenders offer prequalification, pre-approval or both to help you know where you stand. Let me explain the difference between prequalification and preapproval:

Prequalification: Prequalification is a preliminary estimate of how much you can afford to pay for a home based on information you provide. Because credit and employment information aren’t validated for prequalification, it can only be considered a rough idea of a monthly mortgage payment and loan size. This can be a useful guide as you begin the home buying process, however.

Preapproval: Preapproval is a written commitment from a lender to finance your home purchase up to a set amount. This indicates that the lender has taken a close look into your financial history and has agreed to lend you a specific amount of money, reliant on certain details like a finalized sales contract and professional inspection. Pre-approval indicates to sellers that you are a serious homebuyer.

I recommend you take both steps and you’ll be able to shop with much more confidence. Why wait until you find the perfect home to discover problems with obtaining a mortgage?