Sweet Home Sioux Falls

Providing knowledge about real estate and all things Sioux Falls.

Tag: midwest bloggers (page 2 of 5)

Steinberg Shares Strength

The majority of us created health goals at the beginning of the new year. Flash forward five weeks, it’s pretty easy to gradually fall off the bandwagon (I may or may not be talking from experience).

Jason Steinberg is a strength and conditioning specialist in Sioux Falls and is just the person to provide the motivation and guidance we all need to meet our goals. And he can help in the comfort of your own home! About 30% of his business is spent with in home clients. Lack of equipment can be a challenge with in home workouts, but with a couple hand weights, resistance band and/or just body weight, he can create a work out plan that produces real results.

5 Elements of a Healthy Lifestyle

  1. Exercise
  2. Diet
  3. Sleep
  4. Stress Management
  5. Supplements 

Jason can provide support and accountability for all 5 areas of a healthy lifestyle. He stopped by my own home and showed me some basic moves that can still provide a killer work out outside of the gym. Check out the pictures below!

 

[When working out at home it’s still important to stretch and warm up before activity]

 

[Resistance training will burn calories longer]

 

[No need to drive to get a work out in]

 

[Be more comfortable in your own home than a gym]

 

[Circuit work outs are best when trying to lose weight]

 

To learn more about Jason and the services he provides, visit his website siouxfallsfitnesstrainer.com. He loves helping people and creating unique plans for each individual he works with.

Are you ready to step up your home work outs with a personal gym in your home? Whether that means room for a treadmill or a whole room devoted to work out machines, I can help you find the home that supports a healthy lifestyle. Visit my Facebook page or give me a call/text at 605.261.8396 to chat about your goals!

 

 

 

The Groundhog Day House

Why in the world do we celebrate with this furry little weatherman named Phil every February 2nd? I wasn’t sure so I popped over to my friend Wikipedia and found the answer. “The celebration began as a Pennsylvania German custom in southeastern and central Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries. It has its origins in ancient European weather lore, in which a badger or a sacred bear is the prognosticator, as opposed to a groundhog. The first documented American reference to Groundhog Day can be found in a diary entry, dated February 4, 1841, by Morgantown, Pennsylvania, storekeeper James Morris.”

Since then, the holiday has become even more popular after the debut of the movie Groundhog Day in 1993. A couple years ago the bed & breakfast featured in the movie came up for sale, so I thought you would like to see inside. In 2015 this 7 bedroom, 8 bathroom home being used as a bed and breakfast came up for sale at $785,000. This unique property is 5,815 square feet, has three fire places and a library. Located in Woodstock, Illinois, the home is at the high end for its area, which makes it a little more difficult to sell, but I have hope this successful bed and breakfast will continue for years to come in this beautiful and now famous home.

 

[Entrance to 344 Freemont Street]

 

[One of seven bedrooms]

 

[Renovations over $500,000 were made after new ownership in 2008]

 

[The home still serves as a bed and breakfast]

 

[Built in 1894 for McHenry County judge C.P. Barnes, his wife and two children]

 

This home reminds me of some in the Cathedral district of Sioux Falls. I am excited to see that area improve and the historic homes located there come back to life. Are you interested in owning a historic home? I would love to help you find it! Let’s chat soon about your options.

And if you haven’t seen Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray, it’s a classic! And today seems like the perfect day to watch it. It will help us forget Phil saw his shadow this morning, meaning 6 more weeks of winter! Stay warm friends!

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!

That Kind Of Morning

With the frigid temps sweeping over the midwest this week, I thought it was a perfect morning to set up shop on the couch and do some research on other real estate blogs. How lucky am I that that is even an option? While working for yourself has its challenges, it certainly has its perks.

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[My view while writing this morning]

 

My goal was to find a couple other blogs to see what others were doing and to discover how I could improve both my blog and real estate skills. Below are a couple links to blogs that I found interesting and helpful for all businesses. Whether you are in sales, marketing, real estate or an entrepreneur, many of the skills are crossovers.

 

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Nothing will devalue a traditional phone call, but we all know texting is increasingly the preferred way of contact. Instead of ignore it, businesses should embrace it an learn to do it well. BoomTown, a real estate marketing company had a great blog post about lead generation that is worth a read.

 

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Keller Williams mission is “To build careers worth having, businesses worth owning, and lives worth living.” I love that this company encompasses our whole life in to it’s work. To piggy back on this idea, a blog from Afford Anything did an amazing job of breaking down 12 essential lessons you must learn about money and life. Most people don’t have time to read entire books on this subject, so finding shorter reads via blog are very helpful.

 

Other honorable mentions of blogs I found:

Bigger Pockets – “Leading source for the best articles on real estate investing, personal finance, marketing and being successful.”

85 Best Real Estate Blogs to Read in 2016 – A lot of content on this website, but you can find anything you wanted to know about marketing, investing and more.

 

Even though blogging is increasing in popularity, the midwest seems to be slower to catch on. If you know of a local blogger, no matter the subject, please send me a link! I would love to support other local bloggers and see what others are doing!

 

Giving Local

You’ve known me to preach “shop local”, and now that we’re in the heart of holiday season, I encourage you to give local. Local news stations, the Sioux Falls Business Journal, Huffington Post and USA Today have all attributed Sioux Falls as one of the best cities in the United States. Cost of living is low, unemployment is low, but that does not mean we don’t have our fair share of people struggling to make ends meet. Christmas is the most wonderful time of year, but it is also an expensive time of year. I hope you find it in your heart and budget to give to a local organization this holiday season.

 

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The Children’s Home Society is South Dakota’s oldest human services, nonprofit organization, and the organization my team  has chosen to collect donations for at our holiday party. The programs and way people are served through Children’s Home Society is all encompassing. A few of their biggest needs include paper products, snack items, gift cards and size 4 diapers.

 

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My childhood church, First Presbyterian, hosts an angel tree every year and delivers the gifts and food to the families themselves. I love participating in this every year because I am buying for a specific person versus a general donation. I envision their happiness Christmas morning with their new toy and how they will look in their new outfit. This is when the act of giving becomes a gift.

 

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As you could have guessed, the Sioux Falls Human Society is on my list. It is difficult to visit this place as I wish I could take them all home, but it is a joy to bring food and toys to the shelter so the animals can share in the Christmas spirit as well.

 

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If money is tight for your family, your time can be the greatest gift of all. On Tuesday I had the pleasure of serving at the west side Banquet. It was less than three hours of my night and you could feel the gratitude from the guests. Other organizations you can help by donating time included Habitat for Humanity, food banks or the VA hospital.

 

There are countless deserving organizations in the Sioux Empire. Are you passionate about a certain one? I would love to hear more about your organization and learn how to get involved. Please share in the comments!

 

Thanking Thanksgiving

I’m hoping your plan for the day is similar to mine. I plan to eat so much food I am in a blissful trance of fullness and happiness the rest of the weekend. Thanksgiving is the perfect day to wear stretchy pants and eat too much with the ones you love. It is also a great reminder to be thankful for all that we have before entering in to a season that can sometimes be the season of “want.” Thank you Thanksgiving, for the day off of work, for a day of not counting calories, and for the time to pause our busy lives and be thankful.

While I too am thankful for my family, friends and food on the table, I wanted to focus on what I am thankful for in my home. I am creeping up on my 4 year anniversary as a home owner, and I am so thankful every day for what homeownership brings to my life that living in an apartment could not.

 

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[Paisley and Orange Kitty sharing the love]

First and foremost, my home is complete with these two fur balls. There are no animal restrictions when living in a house, which means I look forward to adding more furry friends to my home in the years to come! There are so many animals at the Humane Society, I wish all rentals allowed pets, but unfortunately they do not, so that is one big perk to owning your own home. I hope I can love my future children as much as I love these kitties. #crazycatlady

 

garage

[Cars as snug as a bug in a rug]

The next perk some rentals may have, but with a house, there are no extra charges. I am SO thankful for my attached garage, especially during the painful winter months. With a push of a button I am able to pull in to a snow-free, slightly warmer space for the night. It is a simple luxury, but one that I appreciate daily.

 

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[Picture wall is still in progress]

If you know me, you know I love my pictures. Some rentals are particular about nail holes and may not allow any. While there are ways around that, I am happy my pictures are secure with nails and I don’t need to worry about them falling down. These are my walls and I can do what I need to to fit my style and family.

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[Saving money makes us happy]

A perk to owning versus renting that is not aesthetic is being able to pay yourself instead of a landlord. Every month I write a check to the bank which in turn builds my equity instead of going in to the pocket of someone else. You can’t see the benefits to this right away, but you will thank me later. Often times price to square foot is better in a home as well (double bonus!).

 

Owning a home takes work, but the benefits far out weigh the negatives. I am in charge of my surroundings, I am paying myself instead of a landlord, and I have a place to call home that is truly mine. I am beyond thankful that owning a home is feasible for me at this age. Especially in this market, you would be surprised what you are capable of. Let me connect you with a great mortgage banker to see what you qualify for!

 

Thank you thanksgiving for this designated time. And thank YOU for reading. I am blessed to share my passion for writing and helping others.

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! EAT ALL OF THE PIES!

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Last week my husband and I were fortunate to visit his sister and brother-in-law on the East Coast. Having lived in central Pennsylvania for nine years, being in this area of the country feels like home, and it was so wonderful to be back. Over the weekend we indulged in some shopping and enjoyed the beautiful fall foliage in Annapolis, MD, and Georgetown with Steff and Ben, and on Monday and Tuesday Jaime and I played tourists in DC.

I have yet to take a tour of the White House, but it is definitely on the list! If you’ve ever been to DC, you know there are a million things to do within a couple mile radius. This picture was taken about 12 hours before the election results were announced. Surprisingly, there was no “action” going on that day, and it was just a normal beautiful day in the city.

 

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Since it was election day, we decided one of the museums to visit this trip was the The National Museum of American History. My favorite display is the collection of First Lady dresses dating back to the 1800’s. Truly an impressive and fun piece of history to admire. I was also elated to find a display sponsored by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The house pictured below stood at 16 Elm Street in Ipswich, Massachusetts, about 30 miles north of Boston for nearly 200 years. The original home was build in 1710 with additions being made in 1760 and then again in the 1800’s. In 1963 it was taken down piece by piece and reconstructed at this museum.

 

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“The house and the exhibition that surrounds it tell the stories of five families who lived there over the years and made history in their kitchens and parlors, through everyday choices and personal acts of courage and sacrifice. Through their lives, the exhibition explores some of the important ways ordinary people have been part of the great changes and events in American history” (Smithsonian).

 

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Another fascinating keepsake I found at this museum is the dollhouse pictured below. It was constructed by the White House gardner around 1896 and given to the children of Grover Cleveland during his second term. The intricate details and large size made it one of my favorite pieces in the museum.

 

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Washington DC has countless fun and educational activities for all ages. If you have never been, I HIGHLY recommend it. And as always, if you’d like to talk travel, old houses, white houses or doll houses, give me a shout. I love them all!

 

Happy early Thanksgiving. Let’s all be thankful for this wonderful country we live in.

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