Sweet Home Sioux Falls

Providing knowledge about real estate and all things Sioux Falls.

Home Warranties What Are They Good For?!

I love collaborating with other businesses in Sioux Falls and sharing them on my Facebook. Keep reading for a guest blog post by Sarah Callahan and why a home warranty could help you with your next home purchase!



Buying a home is a lot like becoming a parent. None of us actually know what we are doing! We just keep faking it until we get it. I have bought 4 homes, and only in my last purchase did I even learn about home warranties. How is this even a service?! We all know about life insurance, but it’s really only good for those you love and after you die. It doesn’t help you in the day-to- day ins and out of life. However this crazy “insurance” can help you when things don’t work anymore. Since I just found out about this, I know other people won’t know about it either. I have a self-made mission to inform people about home warranty coverage. It’s great for the sellers and even better for the buyers!


A home warranty is an insurance policy on things in your home like your refrigerator, oven, stove, microwave, dishwasher, washer, dryer, air conditioner and furnace. You can even add on other items like your pool, spa, or irrigation system. Many of us today have some basic ‘know how’, like we can change light bulbs. We tend to Google how to do something if we have never done it before.


But what if you are a crazy busy momprenuer (like myself), running a business, doing consulting, chasing a toddler, do you have time to sit and watch a 20 minute video on YouTube on how to clean out your air vents on your ac unit?! NOPE! If you do have 3 minutes to yourself you might spend it sneaking a candy bar in the closet to avoiding sharing it with your tiny tyrant.


Having a home warranty is kind of like having a handyman in your back pocket. When something stops working in your home, you don’t have to scour the world wide webs for who is the best plumber or electrician. Your home warranty service provider already has the connections. You don’t have to worry about what the service call will cost, because you already know the service will be covered by your home warranty. It can help ease your mind about how in the world you are going to get this fixed, to just finding the time to meet the service person.


It was worth it within the first year of owning our home. The cost is about $35 a month, giver or take. I woke up one morning, pre-toddler, and was going to jump in the shower before work, but EEK! There was no hot water! I found my handy home warranty refrigerator magnet on the fridge with the number and called right away. They sadly couldn’t get anyone in that day, but the very next day a service person was out and saw that our water heater had broken. He knew we had a home warranty and put the call into our provider. It was all covered! We got our new water heater installed and going right away. Best part is, we only had to pay for the initial service call of $75. TOTALLY WORTH IT!



Having owned 4 different homes, I have had my share of mishaps in and around my home. It will take forever to get them all out in the blog. Check out my blog following me in my life of having and not having the home warranty coverage when it was needed. Hopefully it’s an interesting way to learn about something boring… insurance.



Sarah Callahan


Best Realtor Blog Awards 2017


Summer Break

It has been fall for officially one week and we are just now feeling the cool in the air, seeing pumpkins on doorsteps and accepting that summer 2017 is in the past. It’s a bittersweet time of year for me because you cannot deny the beautiful changing colors, but I will forever be a summer girl at heart.

My ‘summer break’ from blogging has come to a close but I wanted to show you what I’ve been up to while taking a break from (some) technology.


[My cousins from Florida were here for a couple weeks so we spent time at Oakwood Lakes and the new Wagon Wheel restaurant! If your family camps, ask me about the great state park. ]


[The epitome of summer fun, working on my swivel ski tricks.]


[My clients moved in to a beautiful new home. I’m especially proud of first-time home buyers.]


[I tagged along to Vegas for my first buying trip for Halberstadt’s Men’s Clothiers. Fun to see my husband and father-in-law in action, and also get in some pool time.] 


[With help from my mom and grandma, I sent out another mass mailing of personalized letters. If I don’t have your address and you like FUN snail mail, message me!]


[We finally met our niece Marla when my sister-in-law and brother-in-law met us at the family cabin in Battle Lake, MN, for Labor Day weekend. We are loving our new role as aunt and uncle.]



This summer was mixed with just the right amount of work and play. Thank you for your support in allowing me to continue in this career, my life has been more full and whole ever since. I wish us all a fun and successful new season!


Instagram for Business – 7 Facts

After some thought and comparison, I find myself favoring Instagram over Facebook. I love the simplicity of Instagram and that it focuses on images. Facebook has more text which leads to more bragging, longer explanations of how great this or that cleanse is, and drawn out political debates. While that is my opinion for my personal page, I know it is imperative to engage in both when promoting a business. Instagram has a younger generation [side note: Does it blow anyone else’s mind how many ‘likes’ photos by 15-20-year-olds get?? I hope to prepare myself to tap in to that market when they get a little older].

A lot of my followers are on both Facebook and Instagram, but some are not, so it is important to reach as many potential clients as possible. Social media is the way of the world, and the more impressions you have out there the better.


[Follow @sweethomesiouxfalls on Instagram for posts about my real estate career and all things Sioux Falls.]



  1. Over half of all 18- to 29-year-olds in the U.S. are on Instagram.
  2.  Adult users in the U.S. have doubled since 2012.
  3. 31 percent of female internet users are on Instagram, compared to 21 percent of male internet users.
  4.  56 percent of Instagram users make $50,000/year or more.
  5. Instagram has about 400 million active daily users and 700 million active monthly users. 
  6. In 2017, top brands are posting 4.9 times per week on Instagram. This is a 50 percent increase from 2015.
  7. 48.8 percent of brands are on Instagram. This number is expected to rise to 70.7% by the end of 2017.


[Engaging with other businesses will give your page credibility and visibility.]


This post only scratched the surface about Instagram and has one simple take-away. IF YOU HAVE A BUSINESS AND WANT TO REACH THE UNDER THIRTY DEMOGRAPHIC, GET INSTAGRAM. I am not claiming to be an expert, but I believe I have a pretty good handle on social media and if you would like ideas for content, hashtags ect. I would LOVE to help. Let’s meet for coffee and talk about growing our businesses! Otherwise, stay tuned for a future post delving in to more specifics of Instagram!


Happy posting!

Zumba Fitness with Dawn Szymik

I know most people can relate that the gym is not their favorite place to be. If you are looking for an alternative to get your heart rate up outside of the gym, or need a class to get back in the groove of exercise, I can not recommend Zumba Fitness with Dawn Szymik enough. I have been to other Zumba classes but they fail in comparison to her energy and spunk. You can truly feel she cares about her students before, during and after class.

I started going to Zumba Fitness with Dawn Szymik in 2012  shortly after college and I had an unexpected move back home. I was feeling lost and the routine of this class and the regular endorphins helped me find happiness in that time of transition. I will always have a special place in my heart for Zumba. Read about Dawn and her classes below!


[Dawn came to my wedding to instruct 3 songs during the dance. Fun surprise for my guests!]


What led you to becoming a Zumba instructor?

I was in a severe car accident in 2005 and was unable to function very well after that physically or mentally. I pretty much had given up hope of feeling normal ever again. Until one day I was encouraged to see a chiropractor (which I had seen a ton) and he said to just give him a chance. What’s the worst that could happen, not get better? Long story short he gave me my life back!! Zumba had come to Avera McKennen Fitness center and once cleared, I was determined to take a class. I had loved dance growing up so I new I would like it. Once cleared I took my first class and my life was forever changed!! I was a student for awhile then became an instructor and I never looked back!


[Dawn doing what she does best. Photo by The Photography Shoppe]


How is Zumba different than going to the gym?

Zumba is different than going to a gym because its not your basic treadmill or elliptical machine. Who really gets excited about jumping on one? lol Zumba is WAY more FUN and you don’t even realize how hard you are working because its so fun! But not only that its like taking a happy pill, it mentally changes you as well! You meet amazing people in a zumba class. You feel free when we are done.


What is your favorite part about teaching?

My favorite part about teaching is watching my students let themselves go! Their smiles, laughter, yells! I cherish leading my students to feel the music and be happy! Hoping that after every class I could make someone feel free of worry and stress.


When and where are classes held?

My classes are taught at Kosama Sioux Falls and Wacko’s Comedy Club.

Monday’s 6-7pm @ Wacko’s Comedy Club 
Tuesday’s 6:45-7:45 Strong by Zumba @ Kosama
Saturday’s 10:30-11:30am Zumba
Sunday’s 3:00-4pm Strong by Zumba

Coming in the fall Thursday night Zumba 6:45-7:45pm @ Kosama



What is your favorite part about living in Sioux Falls?

My favorite part about living in Sioux Falls is my family and my student.



If any of those times work for you, let me know and we’ll go to a class! First one is on me. 😉


GO Camp On Aqua! 1,2,3, Let’s Go Ski!

I am finally feeling refreshed after directing a week-long summer camp for 8-13 year olds at Catfishbay last week. Even though the combination of heat, sun, 96 children and supervising an overnight can have you a little delirious after day five, it is one of my favorite weeks of the year and I find myself wondering what my campers are doing each day since the camp has ended.

Camp on Aqua has been teaching kids to waterski since 2000. In recent years the camp has sold out by early spring, prompting changes to allow a record number of campers to get up on the water. There are always one or two kids that are too afraid to try skiing, despite our best efforts, but this year every child that tried skiing either got up on the boom (see below for pictures) or behind the boat. In my opinion, I want to say this was the most successful skiing year yet. Kids also enjoyed fishing, tubing at Wall Lake, canoeing, a water safety class and more. To see everything the camp has to offer, click here.


[The founders of Catfishbay and Camp on Aqua, Michelle and Jim Bruns posing for a picture at the beginning of the week. The volunteer opportunities, fun times for kids and second family these two have created deserve all the recognition in the world and are blessings to our Sioux Falls community.]  


[Billy Bruns, an experienced skier, running the ski board on “the boom”. The skis are attached to each other and also attached to the boom by rope. This ensures the skis are always facing forward and more stable than free standing skis.]


[Once the child is stable, Billy can let go of the skis and control how tight they are held to the boom.]


[Catfishbay’s invention ‘the ski bar’ being used by skiers Tanner and Tony. This eliminates the hassle and time of tangled ropes.]


[Two side-skiers accompanying a camper. Each group of kids had two 2 1/2 hour session of skiing during the week.]


[Kids enjoying the water mat while skiing is going on in the background. With 8 groups of kids, multiple activities were always going on at once.]


CatfishBay, the Greatest Show on H2O, started shows on Memorial Day and will continue every Friday night at 7 p.m. through Labor Day. For more information about the show, click here. 

If you or your child would like to learn how to waterski, find me on Facebook or shoot me a text [261.8396].  I would LOVE to share my passion with you and see you having fun on the water. Catfishbay is a special and unique place in Sioux Falls. If you would like to know how to get involved or discount tickets, please contact me.


This post is dedicated to the mother of Catfishbay, Eloa Bruns, who passed away during camp week. I hope I treated the campers with half the love and care she gave to all of us skiers over the years.  <3

Mom’s Garden Bed Tutorial

In South Dakota, you can expect the unexpected when it comes to weather. Many plants and vegetables did not make it through the May cold spell and gardeners were forced to replant. Below is a short tutorial of my mom re-planting the okra in one of her three garden beds. She also has vegetables growing along side the house, the fence and in pots. For a standard sized back yard in the city limits of Sioux Falls, she has an impressive inventory.

Mom’s Garden

  • Potatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Okra
  • Zucchini
  • Green Pepper
  • Eggplant
  • Peas
  • Beets
  • Wax Beans
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Herbs



Tips for the Beginning Gardener

  1. Space young plants and seedlings so they have room to grow.
  2. Have a nice pair of gardening gloves.
  3. Work in the morning and early evening to avoid the sun and heat of the day. 



[Last year’s basil crop]



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[Garden beds will soon look like this again]


After spending two summers in the Lewis Drug garden shop, I have learned a lot about vegetables and taking care of plants, but I don’t hold a candle to the knowledge and experience my mom has in the garden. If you have questions about anything green, shoot them my way. I have endless resources to help keep your garden healthy and happy this summer!


Remembering Tom Ellwein

Thirty years ago today my grandfather passed away from cancer. Two years and ten days before I was born. Even though I did not have the chance to meet Tom Ellwein, he comes up in conversation and I feel like I know the type of man he was. A caring teacher, family man and friend, he was on the quiet side with a calm temperament, but also had a great sense of humor.  And as you can see from the pictures, he was very easy on the eyes.

Talent is another quality my grandpa possessed and shared with the world. Soon after graduating high school, he and my grandma moved to Washington DC so he could play trombone with the marine band, also known as the president’s band. They played for inaugurations and other events at the white house, and also went on tour. What an honor and incredible life experience. After 20 years with the band, my grandparents moved home to Sioux Falls with their two children, my mom and uncle. He continued his passion for music by teaching lessons, and helped his kids with their instrument of choice, trombone and piano. He even made my mom practice with a broken wrist!

[A man in uniform]

[August 1940 in Bridgewater, South Dakota & wedding day November 6th, 1944]


While my talent with a musical instrument was mediocre ( I played the flute for 8 years), I loved being a part of the Lincoln High School Marching Band as a “flag girl” because music has been an important part of our family for generations. A good thing, because I met my own dreamy brass player of a husband while in the band.

When Jaime and my mom played an impromtu duet of a few Christmas songs this last year, I felt close to the man I never had the opportunity to meet, imagining when he and my mom would play duets together years ago. His memory will always live on through music.

[Jaime on trumpet, mom on piano playing The Christmas Song]


I hope everyone had a relaxing Memorial  Day weekend with family and friends and remembered those that have served our country in every capacity, and especially those that gave the ultimate sacrifice. May we serve those around us with the same giving and grateful heart.



La Nostra Casa in Italia

Last week I returned home from my first time to Europe. I would say this was a trip of a lifetime, but it is more like the first of a lifetime. Traveling has been a love of mine for a long time and I am blessed to have been as many places as I have. I love hearing the history of an area while experiencing it first hand. I learned a lot on this trip, ate an obscene amount of carbs and saw beautiful sites, but I am going to focus on sharing the home we rented in Tuscany, Italy, for 5 days as a family. This is a real estate blog after all. I would love to share more about my trip over coffee…. or pasta!

The home we rented is owned by IT and computer guru Bruno, and staffed with the most genuine couple, Marinela and Rafeal. The house is over 800 years old with tons of character and is tucked away from most civilization in the countryside of Tuscany. I took great video on my iphone but it did not transfer to my computer clearly, so I leave you with pictures!


[Front of the house. Enter to the left through a small courtyard to the front door.]


[Entry way. Kitchen to the right, living room to the left, upstairs via the back left]


[In the kitchen with Marinela and Rafeal right before dinner]


[Dining room where we enjoyed dinner and a fire every night.]


[Oldest room in the house. Once used as storage shed. Check out the ceiling!]


[One of the bedrooms upstairs. Cozy.]


[Master Bedroom]


[Porch area leading in to the kitchen.]


[Taking in some sunshine on east side of the house.]


[Back of the house from the garden area.]


[Stunning view down the road from our house]



If you are in the market for a villa in Tuscany, I hear he might be ready to sell.  😉


Grazie per aver letto!

Sioux Falls 2040

It sounds strange to even say 2040, let alone think about what life will be like in Sioux Falls 23 years from now, but that is Urban Planner Albert Schmidt’s job on a daily basis. He makes sure that land is being used in the right way, and the correct infrastructures are being put in place that make sense for the future and flow of growing Sioux Falls.

My real estate team, 605 Advantage Real Estate Group with Keller Williams Realty Sioux Falls, took a field trip this week to city hall to learn more about urban planning with Albert. I have to say I was a bit overwhelmed with all the information, but I know that Albert is an expert at what he does and is a wealth of knowledge for when I have questions.


[Listening to Albert’s presentation]


If you are interested in information about planning and building in Sioux Falls, click here. If you want to listen in on city council meetings to learn more about the progress of projects, click here.  A hot topic right now that Albert also knows the in’s and out’s of, is the floodplain issue. If you have questions if your home or potential home is in a floodplain, please reach out and I will get the correct information for you!


[Looking at the Sioux Falls 2040 map]


While a ton of man power goes in to planning the growth of a city,  most of it is tentative plans. Things can change quickly, so be sure you are getting the most up to date information if you have questions about zoning, flood plains or long term plans. I am always available for questions and to research all kinds of information, so please contact me by call or text at 605.261.8396.

By 2040 the Sioux Falls population is expected to be between 250,000 and 280,000 people.  How exciting to live in such a thriving city!

What Do The Numbers Say?

Unless you don’t check Facebook often, or read the occasional news story, you know that Sioux Falls is experiencing low inventory. It is a seller’s market with high demand and low supply (see previous post). But exactly how low are we talking? Here are the main points when looking at the Sioux Falls Market Statistics for the first quarter of 2017, or better known as Sadie’s 5 minute math lesson.


[I will make it as painless as possible for all of you that struggle with math]


In the last three months, there were 37 houses under $100,000 sold in Sioux Falls, which means there was on average 12.3 closings per month. This 12.3 is also known as the absorption rate.  There are currently 17 houses under $100,000 on the market today, which tells us we have 1.38 months of inventory (Active homes (17) divided by absorption rate (12.3) = 1.38). If not one more house came on the market, it would take 1.38 months to sell all 17. To put it in perspective, a balanced market has 5-8 months of inventory. Sioux Falls isn’t seeing those numbers until we reach the $300k-$400k range!

For the $100k-$200k price point, there were 238 homes sold in the last three months.

238(homes sold)/3 months = 79.33 homes sold per month = ABSORPTION RATE.

There are currently 51 homes on the market in Sioux Falls between $100k-$200k. If we take the absorption rate (79.33) divided by current homes on market (51), we get .64. That means we have less than one month of inventory for this price range. UNHEARD OF!


If you are thinking about being a move-up buyer, now is the time to get the most return from your first home and the best deal on a more expensive home. If you are looking at the under $200k range and thinking waiting will be better, I tell you that finding affordable homes in growing Sioux Falls will be a difficult task for the forseeable future. I will work diligently and fast so you are one of the first people to view those desirable homes. It’s going to be a rough one out there this year, but I’m up for the challenge.


[For more information about market stats in Sioux Falls or to view homes that are currently on the market, contact me through Facebook or at 605.261.8396!]

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