Real Estate Information Archive


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Foreclosures & Short Sales

by The Steve Westmark Team

In our new housing market I have many people asking me questions about foreclosures and shortsales. I will try to answer a few questions about this subject and then give you a report from the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors of what is happening in todays market.

What is a foreclosed property? It a real estate property that had a financial lien on it that was defaulted on by the owner and the financial institution followed foreclosure proceeding to gain title to the property. Usaually the default by the property owner goes on for several months before the financial institution begins the foreclosure proceedings. It takes at least six months once the foreclosure proceeding have begun before the financial institution gains the title to the property.

What is a short sale? It is when the encumberances are more than what the property can sell for including costs of sale. If a property has a $200,000 mortgage on it and a buyer was interested in purchasing for $190,000 and the owner doesn't have the money to pay the difference, the owner could contact the financial institution to see if they would accept a payoff of less than the mortgage amount. It is a sale where the bank receives short of what the encumberance is. As a Realtor and training I have received I have helped many a seller in this situation.

Why would a bank consider a short sale? It has been shown that a house that is a foreclosure brings 10 to 20% less than a short sale. Some of the reasons why are that the owner is living in the property and maintaining it, it is not a stripped or damaged house, and it does not carry a foreclosure stigma with it. Also the costs that a bank must go through to cause a foreclosure is very expensive.

Why would an owner consider a short sale rather than foreclosure? A short sale is much better to have on your credit history than a foreclosure. Today banks understand they are better working along with an owner than to work against them in foreclosure. It is a problem solving solution rather than an us versus them solution.

I recently completed course work for my Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) designation. It is a great course work to help owners work with their bank to resolve situations where they are upside down in the property and work with the bank to keep their dignity and problem solve to a much better solution than foreclosure.

Enclosed is the most recent reporty on foreclosures and shortsales in the Twin Cities. Over 50% of current sales are in that catagory. Two years ago it was 6% of sales, one year ago it was 20% of sales that were in this group. It has be estimated by the CDPE Institute that we may have another 2 to 3 years more of this type of sales because of the predatory lending practices of the past 10 years.

Click here to view the report:

I am here to help those who are struggling with financial stresses that have been caused by the forces of this real estate and lending marketplace.

Open Houses for the public?

by The Steve Westmark Team

Do you ever wonder why open houses when most of the time the homes can be seen at anytime? Here are a few reasons for sellers and then a few reasons for buyers.


1. It can be a convenient way for many people to look in a short period of time at a house.

2. It is an exposure to people that are inquistive and want general information.

3. Sometimes people buy from an open house. (Though it is less than 5% of time how people find their new home.)


1. It is a way to window shop with little commitment.

2. It allows the buyers to look a large price ranges, areas and styles on a Saturday or Sunday.

3. Sometimes the agent holding the open house maybe able to answer specific questions better than an agent taking people from house to house.

I will be holding 4 opens this Sunday and maybe your looking to do some house shopping.

6560 Fox Path, Chanhassen 12 to 1PM $549,000

180- West Point Drive, Tonka Bay 1:30 to 2:30 PM  $325,000

3345 Crystal Bay Rd, Orono   3-4 PM    $899.000

6152 Ridgewood Rd, Mound   4:30-5:30 PM    $187,900

If you enjoy great values on great properties, please drop by. If you read this blog, say so and I will send you 2 FREE Twins Tickets for upcoming games.

1st Quarter Twin Cities Real Estate Statistics

by The Steve Westmark Team

There trends that show some stablizing of the Twin Cities real estate market but here are a few highlights from the enclosed report.

1. The median sales price had an increase for the 1st time in 9 months.

2. The average sales price is still on a decline to for the last 5 month.

3. The afforadablity index is 40% better than last year at this time with lower interest rates and house pricing lower.

4. Inventory on new listings is down 21.7% from two years ago. That is good, but we are still high in comparison to our inventory levels in 2004.

5. Pending sales are up 13.7% from a year ago though the increase in sales is under $150,000 with sales over $250,000 down by about 20%. Each Twin Cities market place varies so each needs a separate look.

6. Lender mediated sales peaked in February at 60%  and now is back in the mid 50% range. A hope of moving towards a more normal market.

7. The total sales volume for sales is down 16.8% from last year, showing that even though total sales are up the homes that are selling are in the lower value ranges. This maybe a reflection on the 1st time homebuyer $8000 tax credit.

Click below for the full report from The Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors:

There is great data available to share with you about your specific area of town. Give me a call if you want more specific information on your area, style of housing and price range.


Quotes from Great Quotable People

by The Steve Westmark Team

Do you run across a quote that touches your heart. Something you might memorize to say back to yourself in differing life stretches. These are some of the quotes that I have written down over the years that are "ahas" to me. I hope you enjoy them and might find one or two to add to your memorable quotes.

                          Some of Steve’s Favorite Quotes


·        "A pro is one who does his best work...when he feels the least like

Frank Lloyd Wright

* "I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career.  I have lost almost 300
games.  On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot,
and missed.  I have failed over and over again in my life...and that is why
I succeed."
- Michael Jordan-


·        " the preview of life's coming attractions."
- Larry Eisenberg


·        Long range planning is not about future decisions. It’ s about the future

results of present decisions.

-Peter F. Drucker-


·        "Ability is what you're capable of doing...Motivation determines what you
do...Attitude determines how well you do it."
- Lou Holtz / Football Coach


·        "Don't be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated...You can't cross
a chasm in two small jumps."
- David Lloyd George

·        "You can't build a reputation...on things you are going to do."
- Henry Ford


Listening to the Right Voices

Listen to God.

Listen to yourself.

Listen to trusted family and friends.

Ignore the crowd.

·        "The man who does not read good books...has no advantage over the man who
can't read them."
- Mark Twain


* "Keep away people who try to belittle your ambitions...small people always
do that...but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become
- Mark Twain


* "Imagination is more important than knowledge."
- Albert Einstein


·        "The secret of making your vocation your vacation."
- Mark Twain


·        "Great works are performed not by strength...but by perseverance."
- Samuel Johnson


The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” Michaelangelo

·        "If you want people to be glad to meet must be glad to meet
them - and show it."
- Johann von Goethe

·        * "I am an optimist...It does not seem too much use being anything else."
- Sir Winston Churchill

·        * "Discipline yourself to do the things you need to do when you need to do
them...and the day will come when you will be able to do the things you want
to do when you want to do them."
- Zig Ziglar

·        * "In spite of the cost of's still popular."
- Kathleen Norris

·        "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of
comfort....but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
- Martin Luther King Jr.

* "It's better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one...than to
have an opportunity and not be prepared."
- Les Brown

* "Until you value will not value your time; until you
value your will not do anything with it."
- M. Scott Peck, Author

* "A year from now you may wish you had started today."
- Karen Lamb

* "Imagination is more than important than knowledge."
- Albert Einstein

* Proactive people focus on what they can influence and don’t worry about what they can’t influence. In contrast, reactive people focus on the Circle of Concern, losing sight of those things they can truly influence.

* One today is worth two tomorrows. - Benjamin Franklin

* What is the use of running when we are not on the right road? – German Proverb

* Live each and every day as if it were your last- because one day you’ll be right. – Bob Moawad


“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Geniuses will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” -Calvin Coolidge 

1.Associate with people who are better at what you do than you are.
2.WIIFM – What's in it for me? - All your customers and clients care about.
3.Always just ask questions, you will avoid most of your business woes.
4.Passive income is far better than an old age home.
5.Having an ideal day and ideal week is the best way to maximize time management and increase efficiency.
6.What you are doing should be fun everyday, if it isn't do something else!
7.We are here on earth to learn lessons; challenges are opportunities for us to learn.
8.If more than 25% of your business is repeat and referral, you aren't growing your business enough.
9.The more detached you get from an outcome, the more attached it gets to you.
10.If you don't have a personal assistant, you are one.
11.Ask yourself often, “What am I supposed to learn from this experience?”

 "There is no traffic jam... on the extra mile."
- Business axiom

* "It's easy to have faith in yourself when you're a winner, when you're
number one...  When you've got to have is faith in yourself when you're not
a winner."
-Vince Lombardi



36 spiritual ways to reduce stress

An Angel says, "Never borrow from the future. If you worry about what may happens tomorrow and it doesn't happen, you have worried in vain. Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice."


2. Go to bed on time.

3. Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.

4. Say No to projects that won't fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.

5. Delegate tasks to capable others.

6. Simplify and unclutter your life.

7. Less is more.

8. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.

9. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don't lump the hard things all together.

10. Take one day at a time.

11. Separate worries from concerns. If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety. If you can't do anything about a situation, forget it.

12. Live within your budget; don't use credit cards for ordinary purchases.

13. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.

14. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.

15. Do something for the Kid in You everyday.

16. Carry spiritual readings with you to read while waiting in line.

17. Get enough rest.

18. Eat right.

19. Get organized so everything has its place.

20. Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life.

21. Write down thoughts and inspirations.

22. Every day, find time to be alone.

23. Having problems? Talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don't wait until it's time to go to bed to try and pray.

24. Make friends with Godly people.

25. Keep a folder of favorite scriptures on hand.

26. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good "Thank you, Lord."

27. Laugh.

28. Laugh some more!

29. Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all.

30. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can).

31. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most.

32. Sit on your ego.

33. Talk less; listen more.

34. Slow down.

35. Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe.

36 . Every night before bed, think of one thing you're grateful for that you've never been grateful for before.


"If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans8:31)

Action points for committed Dads

  • Notice and praise a job well done or progress in something your child is doing. Tell him in person—or on the phone or by e-mail, if necessary—"I'm proud to be your dad."
  • Say, "You can do it" or "I believe in you," as your child is facing a challenge.
  • Assign your child a challenging task and express trust that she can handle it.
  • Break out Battleship or another game to play with your child. If you're apart from your child, find a game you can play over the phone.
  • Ask God to give you opportunities to teach your children about Him. Plan to have a family devotion time sometime in the next six day

Psalm 23
                   This is an eye opener... Some probably never thought nor looked at this Psalm in this way... Even though they say it over and over again.
                     The Lord is my Shepherd
                     That's Relationship!                 
                      I shall not want

                      That's Supply!                    

                    He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.
                    That's Rest!
                    He leadeth me beside the still waters.
                    That's Refreshment!

                    He restoreth my soul
                    That's Healing!
                    He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness.
                    That's Guidance!
                    For His name sake
                   That's Purpose!
                    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
                    That's Testing! 

                    I will fear no evil.
                    That's Protection!
                    For Thou art with me
                    That's Faithfulness!
                    Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me,
                    That's Discipline!
                    Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
                    That's Hope!

                    Thou anointest my head with oil,
                    That's Consecration!
                    My cup runneth over.
                    That's Abundance!
                    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.
                    That's Blessing!
                    And I will dwell in the house of the Lord.
                    That's Security!                    
                    That's Eternity!                   
                    Face it, the Lord thinks you are special.  
                    What is most valuable, is not what we have in our lives;
                    But WHO we have in our lives.




Ever get that “burned out” feeling? You’re operating at maximum capacity and doing a darn good job of it, but the inspiration and the motivation start to wane. Don’t feel badly about it – after all, you can only really hit a slump when you’ve been experiencing a streak of success! Slumps do not happen to “losers,” because frankly, they’re always in a perpetual slump!

So what can be done when you hit a bump in the road? Dr. Robert H. Schuller once observed that “when you can’t solve the problem, manage it.” Maybe you can’t control whatever outside forces are weighing down on your ability to move forward. You can, however, take a break and take a step back to look at things you actually can control.



"As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."  (Galatians 6:10)

As Christians in the workplace, you and I have been set free of sin and have the awesome liberty to do good to employees, customers, suppliers, investors, and the general public.   Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can have so much fun doing good that we don't have the time or the inclination to do evil!  Isn't that a wonderful way to live?

  • You have the awesome opportunity to love your employer and your employees.  If you love them, you will pay them fairly and won't abuse them or take advantage of them.
  • You have the awesome opportunity to love your customers.  If you love them, you'll provide genuine added-value and will not deceive or manipulate them.
  • You have the awesome opportunity to love your suppliers.  If you love them, you'll let them make a profit and you'll pay your bills on time.
  • You have the awesome opportunity to love your investors.  If you love them, you will not take advantage of them, you will keep accurate books, and you will not begrudge them for expecting a reasonable return on their investment.
  • You have the opportunity to love the general public.  If you love them, you won't pollute and spoil their environment.  You'll invest time, talent, and treasure in the community.


God's Will is that each and every person you come into contact with would receive the gift of eternal life in heaven by trusting Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. 

Steve's Recommendations of Favorite Books

by The Steve Westmark Team

As I speak to groups and talk about books that have helped me, many ask can I have your book list. Well even though this is not a comprehensive list of books I love, these are books I consistently go back to for my values and moral compass.

Though my day starts with reading of Scripture, I have found many great ideas and thoughts to implement in my life. I hope you find this to be a good resource for you.

Steve Westmark’s Recommended Books


Time Management and Organization

            First Things First – Stephen Covey

            Is It Worth Dying For? – Dr. Eliot

            If you haven’t got the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it

                        Over? – Jeffrey Mayer

            The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey

            Eat That Frog! – Brian Tracy

            Managing Your Time – Ted Engstrom & Alec McMackenzie

            Half Time - Bob Buford

            Time Traps – Todd Duncan

            Overcoming Overload – Steve Farrar

            Life Strategies – Phillip McGraw

            Now, Discover Your Strengths – Marcus Buckingham

            Why You Do What You Do – Bobb Biehl

            The Difference Maker – John Maxwell



Business Growth

            Good to Great – Jim Collins

            Fish – Stephen Lundin, Harry Paul, John Christenson

            212 – the extra degree – S. I. Parker

            QBQ- The Question behind the Question – John Miller

            The Pursuit of WOW- Tom Peters

            17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork – John Maxwell

            The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding – Al Ries

            Who Moved My Cheese – Spenser Johnson

            Lateral Thinking – Edward DeBono

            The Psychology of Winning – Denis Waitley

            The E Myth Revisited – Michael Gerber

            Seeds of Greatness _ Denis Waitley

            Think & Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill

            The Magic of Thinking Big – David Schwartz

            Cashflow Quadrant – Robert Kiyosaki

            Raving Fans – Ken Blanchard

            Integrity – Henry Cloud

            Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands – Terri Morrison

            the 4-hour workweek  Timothy Ferriss

Hug your Customers..Jack Mitchell

Hug your People  Jack Mitchell

The Starbuck Experience..Joseph  A Michelli

Starbucked ..Taylor Clark

Monday Morning Choices..David Cottrell

Shift – Gary Keller & Dave Jenks

The New Rules of Marketing & PR – David Meerman Scott




            21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – John Maxwell

            Management: A Biblical Approach – Myron Rush        

            The 360 Degree Leader – John Maxwell          

            Leadership Secrets of Billy Graham – Harold Myra

            Courageous Leadership  - Bill Hybels                                                 

Leadership Gold – John Maxwell

            Strengths Based Leadership – Tom Rath



            The Millionaire Next Door – Thomas Stanley

            The Richest Man in Babylon – George Clason

            Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki

            Roaring 2000’s –Harry Dent

            The Platinum Rule – Art Fettig


CDs or DVDs

            Star of the Month                     Star Power

            Your Scripts for Success          Star Power

            Real Estate Live!                      David Knox

            The Mentor Series II                David Knox     

            17 Laws of Teamwork John Maxwell

            Trombone Player Wanted         Marcus Buckingham


Team Personality and Strengths

            Now, Discover Your                Marcus Buckingham & Donald Clifton


            DISC                              or


            Personality Assessment

            Personality Assessment


Christian Reading

            The Purpose Driven Life – Rick Warren

            As Iron Sharpens Iron – Howard Hendricks

            Experiencing God – Henry Blackaby

            Dying for Change – Leith Anderson

            Anchor Man – Steve Farrar

            Honest to God – Bill Hybels

            Making Life Work – Bill Hybels

            Ordering your Private World –Gordon MacDonald

            Rebuilding Your Broken World – Gordon MacDonald

            Lord of the Marketplace – Myron Rush

            Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do – Robert Schuller




            Raising of a Modern Day Knight – Robert Lewis

            The Blessing – Gary Smalley & John Trent

            His Needs, Her Needs – Willard Harley

            The Hidden Value of Man – Gary Smalley & Gary Trent

            The Tribute – Dennis Rainey    

            Real Family Values – Robert Lewis

            Love is a Decision – Gary Smalley

            The DNA of Relationships – Gary Smalley

            Love and Respect- Emerson Eggerichs

            Boundaries – Henry Cloud


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Contact Information

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