Juicy Lucy verses Jucy Lucy: A Winner?

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The results are in.  Travel Channel's new show:  Food Wars debuted its Minneapolis episode last night.  The 5-8 Club's Juicy Lucy verses Matt's Bar's Jucy Lucy.  In a close contest, Ragnar cast the deciding vote for Matt's Bar's Jucy Lucy.  I don't think this national exposure and blind taste test will change the minds of any die hard fans, but I'm sure it will bring even more masses from around the cities to test for themselves. 

What's your favorite?  Why?

Better yet…when those not familiar with our neighborhood come to try the burgers, what other local must sees and must eats should they experience?

You know my vote:  A Baker's Wife.  Anyone else have any suggestions for those traveling to the area?

Market is Back Up and Running

First,  sorry Blog.  I moved this summer into a wonderful large home that needs lots of work.  So I've been distracted with all that work.  Plus I was crazy busy until the first weeks of November.

Yes last fall was crazy.  Buyers were motivated to take advantage of the first time home buyer tax credit, and I was involved in multiple offers on a weekly basis.  This all stopped when the government passed an extension for the credit.  The sense of urgency went away and everyone seemed to take a breather for the holidays.

Second, the holidays are over and the market is back up and running.  New listings are coming on at a fast pace and showings are up too.  My buyer clients had no choice but to take the holidays off as there were no new homes to see.  But now they are eager and ready to see all the new listings as they hit the market.

If you are considering selling in the near future, you might want to make that near future nearer.  Buyers are motivated to find a place before April 30th to claim their tax credit.  And if you've owned for more than 5 years, you can get your own tax credit if you sell and buy and new place.  $6500!  Not too shabby!  If you are asking, "Should I sell now or later?" The answer is:  NOW!

New Homebuyer Tax Credit Bill To Be Signed Today!

What are the specifics?  Well you'll be able to use the $8000 on contracts through April with some expanded income qualifications.  And you'll be able to qualify for up to $6500 even if you're NOT a first-time buyer.  You will have to have owned your current home for 5 years.  This leaves some people out who could really use the $6500, but hopefully it will lead to better inventory for all the first-time buyers.

Check out this news brief from the National Association of Realtors for a break down of changes from the old bill:  http://www.mnrealtor.com/AM/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm?ContentFileID=2950&MicrositeID=0&FusePreview=Yes

Minneapolis Parks Celebrate Halloween

For the kids – dare to visit a MPRB rec center and have a howling good time this Halloween…..HAVE FUN AND BE SAFE! 

Keewaydin Park, 3030E. 53rd St.
Saturday, Oct. 31, 6-8 p.m. – Haunting Fun welcomes ghosts, goblins, witches and every other haunter come for some tricks and treats, a coloring contest, crafts and more. Free; no pre-registration required. Call 612-370-4956 for more information.

McRae Park, 906 E. 47th St.

Saturday, Oct. 31, 6-8 p.m. – Spooky Fun at McRae Park features games, treat bags and more. Open to everyone, but especially the younger goblins. Free; no pre-registration required. Call 612-370-4909 for more information.

Minnehaha Falls Park, 4801 S. Minnehaha Park Dr.

Saturday, Oct. 31, 2-4 p.m. – Minne-ha-ha Falls of Fun Halloween is a family event with kid-friendly musical entertainment, hayrides, creepy crawly creatures to check out (courtesy of the Park Board Naturalist Program) fortune-telling, marshmallow roasting, and a trail full of costumed characters for trick-or-treat. $2 per person; pre-register online at any south Minneapolis park, at www.minneapolisparks.org, or pay the day of the event. Call 612-370-4923 for more information.

Pearl Park 414 E. Diamond Lake Rd.

Friday, October 30, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – Preschool Halloween Party featuring a western-style ghost town. Come dressed in costumes for a tour of the “I Spy” room, craft project, games and concessions (small fee), all set up like the Wild, Wild West. Join the costume parade at 12:15 p.m. $2 per person; pre-registration is required at www.minneapolisparks.org – Recreation Centers – Pearl Park. Call 612-370-4906 for more information.

Sibley Park, 1900 E. 40th St.

 Friday, Oct. 30, 4-5:30 p.m. – Rec Plus Halloween Party for 12-year-olds and under with plenty of tricks and treats. Free; no pre-registration required. Call 612-370-4954 for more information.

$8000 Tax Credit Helps Sellers Too!

Hurry!  Your time is almost up.  The $8000 tax credit is only for first-time home buyers who close before December 1st.  Do the math…  If it takes 45 days to close after finalizing negotiations on a purchase agreement, that means you need to be in a contract by October 16th.  That's just fine if you are actively looking, but if you are still procrastinating meeting with a lender…uh…hurry? 

Should everyone run out and do this?  Well, probably not.  Don't make long term decisions like buying a home just to get your $8000.  Don't buy a home that you will out grow in two years.  Don't buy a home that you can't afford.  Don't buy a home if you might be moving to Washington D.C.

However, if it makes sense for you to buy a home in the next year, then I'm talking to you.  HURRY UP!  You might not find a home.  You might decide not to buy after meeting with a lender or real estate agent (I know a good one by the way).  But if you want to have the option, ACT NOW, or the decision will be made for you.

And if you're a seller, the time-line is even tighter.  Do you want the buyers rushing to find a home before the deadline to have your home to choose from?  Or do you want to miss the boat? 

Not sure what your home is worth (who is anymore?)?  Not sure if your home is in the price range first time buyers are looking in?  Not sure if you should replace that shag carpet and flocked wallpaper?  It's time to figure it out.  Call your agent this week.  Did I mention I know a good one?

Three Cheers for 3 Tiers!

This would be the obvious headline.  But the jury is still out on 3 Tiers

I made a stop in the new East Nokomis bakery and bought a half dozen treats to share and try. The most impressive thing I had was a mini key-lime pie tart with three fresh raspberries on top.  Tasty combination.  The key lime was especially tart, and the raspberries were especially sweet.  The least impressive was the lemon bar.  It tasted like sugar more than lemon. 

I really want them to succeed and offer another treat for those of us in East Nokomis, and another reason for people to travel to this side of the lake.  The atmosphere was lovely.  Crisp, clean, minimalist.  The sharp edges on the perfect shaped cakes assured you that the decor was intentionally sparse, and not just "yet to be determined."  And there were many treats yet to try.  The sign reads, Cakes, Truffles, and Tortes, and I did not try any cakes or truffles.

Any one else have an experience to share?

Too Busy to Blog

Dear Blog,

I'm soooo sorry.  This Spring has been crazy busy, and you've paid the price.  Good homes in popular neighborhoods are being snapped up like it's 1999.  But really Blog, it's not my fault.  If more people with good starter homes would put their homes on the market at appropriate prices, then I could get my buyers into those homes and have more free time to spend with you.  We could blog about which businesses haves closed (Firefly, Isabel's, Re Gifts) and which have opened (Nokomis Yoga, Nokomis Pet Clinic, Pizza Joe's).  We could post pictures of the first blossoms of Spring.  But alas, more of my Nokomis and Longfellow neighbors will need to take advantage of this market first.

Housing Shortage?

What?  That's crazy!  Haven't you heard the news?  It's a buyers market, the market is flooded with foreclosures, and banks aren't lending money.

Well maybe not.  First, banks are lending money.  I've yet to have one qualified buyer turned down for a loan.  Underwriting is taking a little longer, and sometimes they are raising issues the day before closing, causing a delay, but they are still making loans.

Second, listings are down.  Plus a big portion of the listings that are out there are in foreclosure and in poor condition.  Because of changes in the lending industry, first time buyers are almost exclusively buying with FHA loans.  FHA has certain requirements for the condition of the homes it will back a mortgage on.  Most of the foreclosures don't qualify.  So the fanciable inventory is down even further.

Third, who wants $8000?  Any guesses?  Give up?  The answer:  everyone.  This means more buyers.

This is creating a situation where the number of qualified buyers is out growing the number of attractive fanciable well priced homes.  We are seeing homes sell in a week, in a day, in a few hours.  They are all well priced homes, so don't confuse this to mean that your home is actually going up in value.  Buyers still have high expectations for what they can get for the money.  But your chances of selling may be better than you thought.