Sweet Home Sioux Falls

Providing knowledge about real estate and all things Sioux Falls.

Month: January 2017

Snow Day!

After a few stretches of bitter cold, we had days in the 30s. I could see spring at the end of the tunnel, or so I thought. Six plus inches later, Sioux Falls woke up to a winter wonderland this morning! While the positives of home ownership outweigh the negatives, snow removal is certainly not one of the highlights.

Here are a few tips for snow removal and living in this frozen tundra we call home.

 

[side note: It’s hard to smile when it’s snowing]

 

TIPS FOR HANDLING THE SNOW

  • Step in the direction you are throwing the snow when shoveling, instead of twisting at the waist.
  • Never leave your gas meters covered in snow or ice. A buildup of ice and snow on your meter can clog the vent and hinder the operation of the gas pressure regulator. This also prevents the flow of natural gas.
  • Make sure your tires have enough tread. Consider snow tires.
  • Make sure your furniture isn’t blocking your home’s heating vents.

 

Ticketing and Towing Policies and Procedures

“The fine for parking on an emergency snow route after two inches of snow has fallen, or parking in violation of Zone 1, 2, or 3 parking regulations during a snow alert, is $35 and increases to $70 if not paid after seven days without filing an appeal, or more than 48 hours after a hearing officer’s decision.”

 

DUTY TO REMOVE SNOW

According to a city ordinance, “the owner or person in possession of any property abutting on any sidewalk shall keep the sidewalk free from snow and ice and shall remove any snow or ice from the sidewalk within 48 hours after the termination of any snow fall, snow or ice accumulation.”

 

[Photo from the Argus Leader]

 

A big snowfall is always bittersweet for me. The inconvenience of a slower commute time and the absence of a snow blower at my home can be frustrating at times, but the beauty of the trees and the fun the kids and dogs have in it make it worth it. If you are in need of assistance with snow removal, reach out to me and I will get you in touch with a service.

Also, I read in the Argus this morning that “in 2016, the city spent $65,000 on curb repair, specifically from plow damage”. If you have damage you can visit the city’s web site or call public works at 605-367-8255. You will then be added to a list of repairs to be done over the summer.

 

Embrace the good and bad of this season and enjoy the SNOW day!

 

 

Dreams of a Second Home

Last week Jaime and I headed northeast with a full car of food, card games, and even the kitties for a few days away after a busy retail season. Battle Lake, Minnesota may not have a lot to offer from the outside, but it is the location of Jaime’s parents beautiful lake cabin. There have been many family gatherings there, but we enjoyed the experience of a winter wonderland weekend-get-away just the two of us this time. Chris Vinson, Executive Vice President of the Plains Commerce Bank mortgage department, helped finance this cabin and then answered a few questions for me about owning a second home. His paraphrased answers are below:

 

 

[Chris on the far left with his family at our 605 Advantage Group Holiday Party]

 

How is financing a second home different than financing a first?

Generally speaking, it is very similar to financing a first home. The advantage is you can use the current interest rate, which is low, instead of what you have on your first home. Other positives are that you can finance up to 90% of the home, having only 10% down. And you can use the equity from your first home, making owning a second a seamless and easier process than most people think.

 

[Beautiful view from the lakeside of the cabin]

What is the biggest misconception about owning a second home?

The biggest misconception of owning a vacation home is people thinking you can’t rent it out. You must occupy the home 25% of the time, but other than that, you can rent it out for a week or on the weekends when you don’t plan to be there. This can help offset the expenses of an additional home.

 

[Snow shoeing for the first time around Lake Clitherall]

What are the benefits of owning a second home?

A second home adds a whole new level to family vacations. You can invite extended family since you most likely have more than one bedroom like a hotel room, and you are creating a meeting place for guests from all over the country. Whether that be on a lake, in the mountains or near the beach. You are creating a home away from home since you get the benefit of leaving town and your routine, but while on this vacation you are still ‘home’. It is the best of both worlds.

 

[Fresh snow at the entrance to the cabin]

What advice would you give to someone on the fence about exploring a second home?

I would suggest renting in the area you are thinking about buying.  Then you can get a feel if that is the right location for you. Also, talk to your current lender. Whether you are looking to buy in South Dakota, Minnesota or Arizona, they can help you with financing regardless of the state you are purchasing in.

 

As Chris described, owning a second home does not have to be an unattainable dream. It may be closer to reality than you think! Chris and everyone at Plains Commerce Bank are extremely knowledgable, professional and fun to work with. If you are thinking about purchasing a second home, I would highly suggest giving them a call! And when you are ready to start exploring homes, give me a call at 605.261.8396 or shoot me a message on Facebook, I would be honored to help you discover the right style and location for your family’s second home.

Chris Vinson: 
E: cvinson@plainscommerce.com

P: 605.330.0133

F: facebook.com/plainscommerce 

Getting The Stamp Of Approval

Yesterday I celebrated my four year anniversary of closing on my first home. I didn’t expect to own a home at 23 years old, but I am beyond grateful the seed was planted in my head and I explored my options and ultimately  found out it WAS possible for me. Many people continue to rent or live with their parents not knowing the process of getting approved and in a home is easier than they think. I sat down with Fairway mortgage banker Michael Benton to ask some questions about getting in to your first home:

 

What is the biggest misconception about financing your first house?

There are many misconceptions regarding financing a home but the most common would be with the down payment. A majority of borrowers believe you have to have a 20% down payment in order to purchase a home. There are several loan options that require a substantially less down payment, and for first time home buyers most states offer mortgage programs that assist with down payment and/or closing costs.

What is the first step when purchasing a home?

The first step is to speak with your mortgage lender and determine how much you can afford. Nothing is worse then falling in love with a home that is out of your price range. Getting pre-approved prior to home searching will save you and your realtor a lot of time and effort. I might put in that you should do a family budget to determine what payment fits the best within the budget.

 

[Getting lots of valuable information from Michael Benton]

 

What kind of loan do most people receive?

The three common mortgage loans widely used are: Conventional, FHA, USDA. No one borrower is the same, and so these programs should be selected based on how well the loan products meets their overall financial goals. During the loan application process the loan officer will help determine what the best program would be based on each specific clients overall financial picture.

How much money do you need as a down payment?

Each mortgage program requires a certain percentage of the loan to come from the borrowers own pocket or a gift. Conventional loan requires as little as a 3% down payment for first time home buyers, but generally requires 5% for all other loan purposes. FHA requires a 3.5% down payment, and USDA requires “NO” down payment. Please consult your mortgage lender as your down payment could change depending on your mortgage loan purpose and qualifications.

What advice would you give to someone on the fence about continuing to rent versus buying?

I would say have a great understanding for your current financial situation and what your wanting to accomplish. The number of years you plan on staying in the area will help determine whether you should buy or continue paying rent versus paying a mortgage could be considerably less than you think. Also, consider the pros and cons of owning versus renting i.e upkeep, privacy, building equity etc.
Your lender should be able to provide you with a Buy vs. Rent analysis and a Cost of Waiting analysis to better help you make your decision.

 

[My first home in 2013]

Getting approved and moving in to my first house was one of the most fun and rewarding times of my life. I have now spent four years building equity rather than paying a landlord and getting nothing in return. Getting pre-approved doesn’t cost a penny and has no obligations, so why not call Michael and see where you stand today. Your dream home might not be as far away as you think!

 

Click here for Michael’s Facebook page!

Click here for Sadie’s Facebook page!

Taking Action in 2017

It’s the New Year! A time when we must sadly take the ornaments off the tree one by one and store them away with all our other Christmas decorations, and time to begrudgingly pull ourselves back in to routine after a wonderful holiday break. I’m not one for New Years resolutions because of the extra pressure it implies and the unrealistic expectations that most people set for themselves, but this could be a great time for you to slightly change up your routine and mindset for the next 12 months and beyond.

I simply challenge you to DO MORE this year. Whatever that means for you. I took a huge risk in 2016 quitting a job with a consistent paycheck to take a chance on a career that I knew could be fulfilling and great for my family. I wrestled with playing it safe and not taking action. But with this and every other choice in life (such as going to the gym!) I’m glad I talked myself in to the direction of DOING.

This quote below really spoke to me. I hope you can look at inaction in a different light and carry those thoughts with you through 2017.

If we try and fail, we see the cost. The number of hours and dollars spent on the project. We feel the pain when it doesn’t work. The embarrassment is acute.

This makes inaction tempting.

We don’t consider refusing to choose as a choice. We think we’re safe if we don’t expose ourselves to failure. We don’t appreciate the consequences of inaction because they are slow, chronic, and less obvious. That’s what makes them dangerous.

You don’t get to escape pain.

The pain that comes with action is acute, scars you, and makes you grow.

The pain that comes from inaction is low-grade, softens you, and decays your soul.

 

 

I wish you all nothing but health and a plethora of happy moments in 2017. And please keep me in mind this year for friends and family that are thinking about moving. We are all connected in each others success! Here’s to a HAPPY NEW YEAR!