Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

House Shopping with Children, by Steve Westmark

by Steve Westmark

Nine Reasons to Buy a Home in 2015, By Steve Westmark

by Steve Westmark

Buyer's Top 10 List, by Steve Westmark

by Steve Westmark

What Buyers are Looking for in 2013! By Steve Westmark

by Steve Westmark

STEVE:  Hi, this is Steve Westmark, Counselor Realty.  Thanks so much for watching my video blog this week.  In our marketplace, things happen to change over time, and many times the buyers as they come to the marketplace look at things differently than what they looked at five to ten years ago.  So I’m going to hit four or five things that may be of interest for you as a seller that you want to bring to the attention of myself as you go to market or a realtor in another area of the country that maybe would be selling your house. 

The first thing that’s a real big trend with buyers is storage.  They’re really looking for good storage space where they can put their things that also go along with it if you’ve done some organizational systems like California closets or putting different types of storage bins in your garage.  People are looking at ways to make their when they move into a property to have less clutter, putting more things away and having a house be more open and simple and easier to work with.

The next thing is buyers are looking very significantly in the areas of proximity.  Every property has something that might have a proximity that you might want to bring up.  For instance, if you have a neighborhood park that’s a block or two from your property, that’s a very, very important thing.  Or if you have a shopping center that is fairly close that you could walk or a trail system or a boat launching area.  Whatever there might be in proximity to their property, you want to hit the highlights of the ease and enjoyment of what that property is.

There’s a great thing on the Internet called Walk Score where you can type in the address of the property and it gives a walk score and many times we put that type of thing on our listings to show how strong a walk score a property has.  And people like the efficiency and the effectiveness that they have of being able to get to many things easily.  The next thing is senior-friendly features.  Now we have Baby Boomers.  I happen to be a Baby Boomer, and many times I’m finding as the Baby Boomers are beginning to age—not that I’m aging or anything.  I guess I am, but they’re looking for one-level living.  They’re looking for the interesting things that senior living might bring for their enjoyment as they’re aging and going through an aging process.

The next thing is areas of energy efficiency.  It’s become very, very important.  Just like in automobiles people look at how can we get greater mileage efficiency, people are looking in their properties to see how can I have lower utility cost whether it be gas or electric.  And what kind of appliances or what kind of furnaces or air conditioners or things that are out there that have lowered the cost of running that property.  And the last item I’m going to bring up is the area of where people talk about the green revolution where people are making their properties more green.  It may be even as simple as how they have organization of their garbage collection so that they can sort through the garbage or green things of dealing with their electricity bulbs.  All the different things that people are looking at for runoff of water on their property and do they have tanks that they can reuse the water with.

Finding those little things that maybe you have done to make your property more green and something that will fit today’s buyers that have great interests, which many times are the same interests that you have.  Well, thanks so much for watching my video this week, and make it a great day.  Thanks!

This is Steve Westmark, Counselor Realty.  Thanks so much for watching my video blog this week.  Today, I thought I would talk to you about evaluating what happens when you have a blip on your credit score or what changes your credit scores. And I’m going to give you a few illustrations and you’ll look from this chart what happens when you start with a credit of 680, 720, or 780. The higher the credit score, the better your credit is.

But I’m going to just stay with the consumer one at the 680. If you have a 30-day late on your mortgage payment or probably even a credit card payment, your credit score drops from 680 down to 600 to 620. If you have a 90-day late on your mortgage, it also is just the same. Kind of surprising I thought.

The next one to look at is where you have a short sale or a deed in lieu of foreclosure where you give a deed back to your mortgage company and just say I don’t want foreclosure or you settle with no deficiency on your mortgage, your credit score gets hit by 610 to 630, which is really pretty good compared to what some of these other 60- and 90-day lates are.

The ones where you really get hit is where you have a short sale with a deficiency. That’s where the bank agrees to a partial short sale but then wants you to pay something back or you have a foreclosure where you go into total foreclosure. That drops you down to a 575 to 595, and then the bottom one shows you what happens if you go through bankruptcy. That drops you down to a 530 to 550.


In a former video I had in a credit repair expert, and I’d encourage you to go to my website and look at how do you go through credit repair to improve your credit so you can go out and get a mortgage in the future.

Well, thanks so much for watching my video this week. I hope it was very informative for you and the very best to you. Make it a great day. Bye.

Hedberg Moving Company is ready to assist you!

by Steve Westmark

STEVE:  Hi, this is Steve Westmark, Counselor Realty. Thanks so much for watching my video blog this week. I brought in a mover today, Brandon Hedburg of Hedburg Moving Solutions. Welcome, Brandon, and we look forward to hearing some of the input you’re going to give us.


BRANDON: Thank you for having me today, Steve.


STEVE: Well, Brandon was really helpful in moving our office from Highway 101 down to Highway 7, very helpful in us learning how to efficiently and effectively and keep our cost down. So Brandon, as you help people in trying to move one house to another, how do you help them keep their costs down and direct them in those areas?


BRANDON: First, we try to start off with a pre-moving plan, and with that preplan, we try to talk to the customers about packing themselves, making sure their boxes are taped, making sure that there are no obstructions in the path of the movers once they get there so that they can lay out their flow protection, and just being ready for the move.


STEVE: Another big thing in moving is protecting of the house you’re in and also protecting the house that you’re moving into. How do you help people in the protection of these valuable assets?


BRANDON: Well, we start out by believing in protecting the wood floors. We lay pads on the floor, and then we lay cardboard on the pads to soak up any sand or any little rocks that you can’t see with the naked eye. And then what we do is for the stairs, if they’re carpet, we lay carpet shield up the stairs, and then on all our straightaways we have rug runners, which are neoprene softened so they can go on carpet or on wood.


STEVE: I think many times a big concern that a client has is will I get an estimate and if I get an estimate, will I then be surprised in the end. How do you help people through estimates and what’s the best way to do that?


BRANDON: Well, Steve, one of the things we believe in here is a free onsite estimate. Too many of the companies nowadays are doing everything over the phone based on a sheet by how big the house or the apartment is by how many rooms that are in it. And each house and each apartment are different sizes. The hallways are different. Elevators…so we believe in doing an onsite estimate to try to get it as accurate and in the right ballpark as we can.


STEVE: I know a lot of times people wonder is there such a thing as a full-service move if I don’t want to really do anything. Can you do all those things or what kind of menu of services can you give people?


BRANDON: Well, we start off with a free onsite estimate, and from that point we figure out exactly what you want. We can come in, do full packing. We can provide the packing, all the materials. We can move you from one place to the other, and then we also have companies from cleaning companies to flooring companies that can come and help do anything else that you may need for your move to be successful.


STEVE: Well, I can really commend Brandon and his company. He’s got great people, and Brandon’s onsite to help out as the move’s going on. Brandon, what’s the best way for people to get quotes and to contact you?


BRANDON: The best way if through our website, or they can always reach us as 763-434-6683.


STEVE: Thanks for coming in.


BRANDON: Thank you very much.

How Long Before You Can Purchase Again, by Steve Westmark

by Steve Westmark

Hi. This is Steve Westmark, Counselor Realty. Thanks so much for watching my video blog this week. Many people go through difficult times in their life, and hopefully you haven’t, but maybe you know of someone that has. I’m going to give you four different items that can happen in a person’s life. One is a foreclosure can happen where they lose their house through foreclosure.

Second is called a deed in lieu of foreclosure. That’s where you find you’re upside down on the house. You just give the deed back to the mortgage company and it’s called a deed in lieu. Third is the area of short sale where a person sells their house on a short sale because they’re upside down on it, but the work something out with the bank and the bank forgives the difference of what they owed.

And the last two areas are what are called bankruptcy. There’s a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. What I’ve done is I have this chart here that was given to me that shows how long you have to wait under these different circumstances to get different types of mortgages. So as you’ll see across the top, there is FHA, which is Federal Housing Administration, which is a 3.5% down type financing.

VA financing. That’s for our veterans who can go zero down in purchasing. The USDA is a another type of financing. Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac is another type of financing, which is conventional financing. And the last one is called jumbo mortgages, and that’s for basically mortgages in the Twin Cities area over $417,000. Now if any one of these things have happened to you in your life, there are different years to deal with it.

So for instance, if you had a foreclosure on your record and you lost your home through foreclosure, you can get an FHA mortgage within three years. You can get a VA mortgage within two years, but it takes you seven years to get a conventional or a jumbo type of mortgage if you have a foreclosure on your record. The positive things that happen in the area of short sales is that you can find that if there are some changes that happened that in the short sale under a conventional mortgage it can be shortened up to five years rather than seven years.

But the other things remain the same in the area of short sale, VA, and other types of financing. Under bankruptcy, the Chapter 7 is two to three years, as you’ll see on this chart, but still four years on a conventional and seven years on a jumbo. And on a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, one year for the first three, two years on the Fannie Mae, but still seven years on the jumbo. These are all very important things to keep aware of as you’re trying to make decisions if you’re going through the process on how you want to affect your credit, but also planning.

If you’ve had these things in your life, what are the types of financing that I can do as I’m moving through and trying to get past this difficult time we have in our economy. I hope you gained some insight on this. Make it a great day. Thanks so much for watching.




STEVE:  Hi.  This is Steve Westmark of Counselor Realty.  Thanks so much for watching my video blog this week.  This week, I’d like to talk to you about a designation called the accredited buyer representative or known as ABR.  There’s 168,000 of us out of a million in the United States that have gained this designation.  It’s specifically coursework that helps you in working with buyers and doing your best in representing a buyer in the transaction.

So there’s coursework that goes along with it, a minimum number of transactions that prove that you have worked with buyers and effectively helped them in the purchase and closing of their property.  So you as a buyer should look for an accredited buyer representative to help you in purchasing your home.  They will watch out for your best interest and will follow the guidelines and ethics that are required to make a positive transaction for you in real estate.

Thanks so much for watching today.  Make it a great day.  Bye.


Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9




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Photo of The Steve Westmark Team Real Estate
The Steve Westmark Team
RE/MAX Advantage Plus
14451 Highway 7 Suite 100
Minnetonka MN 55345
Fax: 952-241-1600