New Shakopee School District Boundaries

Now with the new elementary school opening in Shakopee this upcoming Fall, close to one third of the student population will be assigned a new school. My wife who taught at Pearson will be moving to the new Jackson Elementary School, as Pearson will become a sixth grade center for the Shakopee School District. Other significant changes within Shakopee Schools and throughout the Shakopee School District include a new principal at the Shakopee High School and a new superintendant. 

The Shakopee School board took many things into consideration that would be used in developing the proposed attendance areas include walking distance, transportation efficiency and the balancing the demographics of free and reduced lunch students and English Language Learner students. Previously most free and reduced lunch students remained in the Sweeney and Pearson Elementary schools. 

According to the ISD 720 website, Pearson Elementary may also be used as overflow for kindergarten and other programs in addition to the sixth grade center use starting in 2011.

Shakopee will now have the Shakopee High School, Shakopee Junior High, Shakopee Middle School, 6th Grade center and five elementary schools listed below:

-Red Oak Elementary

-Eagle Creek Elementary

-Sweeney Elementary

-Jackson Elementary

-Sun Path Elementary

Requests for having a child attend a school outside of his/her attendance area may be considered by the board after the proposed attendance areas have received final approval. Requests may be accepted starting approximately April 15.

New Shakopee School District Boundaries

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Minnesota ranks #2 with Healthiest Housing Market

In a recent article I read provided by CNBC and Yahoo real estate about local housing market accross the nation Minnesota real estate market ranked #2. It’s obvious the Minnesota real estate market has taken it’s lumps like all other markets accross the nation however Minnesota seem to be primed to be one of the first to bounce back when the housing market recovers and starts to take off.

LendingTree analyzed numbers in all fifity states to find which market were ready to bounce back and which were least likely to bounce back or take a long time to recover. To Analyze the Minnesota real estate market and other market around the nation the looked at five pieces of criteria: Debt to income ratio, loan to value ratio, negative equity, home ownership, and unemployment.

The top five areas where:

1) North Dakota

2) Minnesota

3) New Hampshire

4) Maine

5) Iowa

The Minnesota real estate market has a low rate of unemployment comparative to the rest of the country and that is what stands out most. We have many great national and international employers. Minnesota’s debt to income ratio was at 17%, the unemployment rate at 6.7%, homeownership at 72.6%, loan to value ratio at 65.6%, homeowners with negative equity 22.2% and the avergae sales price $224,000.

I think this is GREAT news for the Minnesota real estate market, however I would be cautious as I have seen some higher numbers at least in the Shakopee real estate market. Currently as of April 22nd, 2011 we are sitting with 293 homes currently active on the MLS. Of those 293 homes, 84 are short sale homes and 53 are foreclosures. I think this shows the further out from the Twin Cities area, typically those homes were built during the boom period, and less people have equity in their home.

Ryland Homes Shakopee- Glacier Estates

Ryland homes a local builder in Minnesota purchased what looks to be 30 home sites in the Glacier Estate neighborhood in Shakopee, MN. According to their website prices are to be determined, but if I had to put a guess on it, I would assume they will be in the starting range of $250,000-$270,000 for their smallest model, but I will update this post once I find out. There will be five floor plans to choose from ranging in square footage from 2185-3200 sqft on the upper two floors with unfinished lower levels. Ryland Homes model, The Edgewood floor plan, looks to have their grand opening May 21st of 2011. Typically I see the model home being the best seller in communities because people can visualize the home better and this one looks to be a favorite. It is a 2756 sqft home on the upper two levels with an unfinished lower level. According to the Ryland Homes website the Edgewood model is a 4 bedroom 2.5 bath floor plan with a two car garage. I hope they decide to include a three car plan for their model because having a two story with only a two car garage tends to hurt resale. This is MUCH cheaper to do up front then say, “we will add it later”. Often times I see builders typically ask for an additional $7,500-$10,000 to put on a third stall which would ballpark to around $40-55 per month.

Glacier Estates in a nice neighborhood conveniently nestled between Eagle Creek blvd, County Road 18 and the new highway 21 with easy access to highway 169. Close to the Southbridge neighborhood in Shakopee Glacier Estates has plenty of shopping nearby. Ryland homes plucked a great area with access to large big box stores like Best Buy, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Pier One Michael’s and Home Depot. Smaller store like Petland, Sprint, Gamestop and Once Upon a Child are nearby as well, along with plenty of fast food choices and restaurants. Chipotle, Caribou Coffee, Panera Bread and Dairy Queen are some of my favorite stops. Make sure to stop by and try WineStyles, a great wine store that also has some premium beers. The owner Jason is a great guy and runs a nice business there.

Glacier Estates is such a great location because you have very easy freeway access and at the same time are close to great communities like Prior Lake and Savage. You have Prior Lake within a stones throw and Savage has SO much shopping as well. If you do not like shopping at Walmart’s grocery department Rainbow Foods and Cub Food are within probably 2 miles and easy to get to as well as the Super Target in Savage.

Glacier Estates will be within the Shakopee school district and the elementary school will be Shakopee’s newest elementary school, Eagle Creek with the exception of Jackson Elementary opening Fall 2011 on the west side of town. My wife is a fifth grade teacher within the district and I can attest for the schools if you have any questions. I think there are great teacher in the area and support them to the fullest as we live in Shakopee as well.

If you are thinking of this neighborhood make sure to contact me for any information, I do know Ryland Homes are offering incentives currently. On another note, if you are still keeping your options open for builder their is a solid local Shakopee builder to consider, F & B Construction. Some of the things I like about them is they are a local builder who still is in the area. They use quality materials like custom cabinets with full extension drawers, full stone fireplaces instead of the typical fireplace with tile surround and also they use top quality Marvin Integrity windows. The owners, The Mendens, stand behind their homes and have been in the concrete business for decades. They always include concrete driveway and build a solid foundation for your new home. The little details they pay attention to in their home show. They can build on any available lot within the Twin Cities and unlike most builders can literally sit down and custom design a home you will enjoy forever. They build homes that last, don’t cut corners and are very energy efficient. To get to Glacier Estates:

Directions from Highway 169:
Take Hwy 169 South to County Road 18 exit and continue south. Take a right on Eagle Creek Blvd (County Road 16). Then take first right on Portage Lane until Moraine Circle. Turn left on Moraine Circle. The model home will be on the right.
Directions from I-35W:
Take I-35W North to the County Road 42/Egan Drive exit and go West. Turn right on Hwy 13 N to McColl Drive. Turn left on McColl Drive to Couty Road 18. Turn right on County Road 18 to Eagle Creek Blvd (County Road 16. Turn left on Eagle Creek Blvd (County Road 16). Take first right on Portage Lane to Moraine Cirvle. Turn left on Moraine Circle and the Model home will be on the right.

If you are looking to stay in a bit lower price point, but like the general area Dan Patch Trail in Savage may be a great alternative for your home search. Ryland Homes offer 7 floor plan choices in the development with prices ranging from $222,990-$277,990. There is a good mix of two story homes and ramblers in Dan Patch Trail. To get to the development:

Directions from Highway 169:
Take Hwy 169 to MN-13/Savage exit. Continue towards Savage and merge onto Highway 13 North. Continue on Highway 13 North to Lynn Avenue. Turn right at Lynn Avenue and models will be on the left.
Directions from I-35W:
Take I-35W South to MN-13 South towards Shakopee. Merge onto MN-13 South to Lynn Avenue. Turn left onto Lynn Avenue and the models will be on the left.

If you are a first time buyer or if this is another home purchase I always feel it is best to have someone represent your interests as a buyer. Realtors are also ther to help you identify what may be best for potential resale in the future. Real estate commission is often times paid by the seller, so why not have someone advise you? Also if you are curious what your current home may sell for, I can put together a 24 hour market analysis and have that emailed directly to you so you know where you will stand.

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New Shakopee High School Principal Hired

Shakopee recently hired a new principal for the high school, Kim Swift. Kim came from Dubuque, Iowa and was the principal there since 2005. She replaces previous principal Jim Murphy and brings 30 years of education experience with her. She has also held teaching positions and guidance counselor positions in addition to her most recent position as principal. She graduated from Drake University School of Eduction then went on the receive her Master Degree from the University of Wisconsin, Platteville  in guidance and counseling, and also has a bachelor of science degree from the University of  Wisconsin.

The high school in Iowa will be a lateral move in regards to size at about 1,500 students. Swift did come from a city which had two high schools and she may be able to shed light on a debated topic if Shakopee realistically will open a second high school in the upcoming years.

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Shakopee Short Sales Changes

As many of you have likely heard, there is widespread concerns in the lending community that title may not be clear on closings during the redemption period.  This is causing some lenders to not approve buyer’s mortgage for properties closing in the redemption period for short sale homes.  The concerns of FNMA, Freddie Mac, and HUD are that seller may still have redemption rights through the end of the redemption period regardless of the sale.  According to a law firm in Maple Grove, this does not apply in MN due to the fact that seller must obtain certificate of redemption (done by seller’s title company) in order to close during the redemption period.  Therefore, in MN, because seller has already “redeemed” as a result of the closed sale, they no longer have redemption rights and the title is clear.

Many mortgage brokerages have their attorneys communicating with FNMA, Freddie, and HUD right now clarifying the redemption issue according to MN law.  However, in the meantime, some lenders are refusing to fund buyer’s mortgages in this situation.  Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is one that has taken the lead on not funding these mortgages as corporate policy and others are following suit. Many other may follow suit so make sure you address this if there is a concern.

Therefore, if any of your short sales are in the redemption period, Real Estate agents or Realtors MUST now contact the buyer’s loan officer, inform them that this property is in the redemption period and ask them to verify that the buyer’s approval letter is still sound and that their company can fund the buyer’s mortgage when short sale approval is received.  If the loan officer cannot confirm that, require that they consult their superiors or the mortgage underwriter for confirmation.

If their answer is that they cannot, the buyer will need to either quickly find a mortgage company who will fund the new mortgage or sign a cancellation of the purchase agreement.

The law firm in Maple Grove  is in the process of gathering contact information for lenders that still have investors that will take these loans.  We will have a list available for you soon.   If your own favorite loan officer can still fund these loans, forward their contact information to me and I will add them to the list.  If one of your current buyers can no longer obtain the mortgage from their current lender, you can then provide them with referrals to lenders who can perform.

For short sale redemption period listings if you are selling your home without current offers, make sure potential buyer’s loan officer is aware that the property is in redemption period and that their approval letter is valid in that circumstance. For the time being and until this is straightened out with FNMA, Freddie, and HUD, your disclosure of redemption period issues is critical to obtaining the right buyer and not costing your seller unnecessary foreclosure by working with buyer that cannot get financing from their preferred lender.  The law firm will be discussing this issue with sellers as well and informing them of their rights to postpone the sheriff sale themselves according to MN statute if seller’s lender will not postpone the sheriff sale for them.

Protect Your Home From Water

I know a few solid American Family Insurance agents who are local, Bob Loonan and Nikki O’Brien.  In a recent newsletter I received, Bob mentioned springtime floods are not uncommon in many areas. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 2009, 405 flood insurance claims were filed in Minnesota alone and the average claim was almost $18,000!

When spring arrives the temperatures follow melting all our unwanted and long overdue snow. With that being said it also adds to the rivers and streams. When those bodies of water start to overflow their banks they can cause a lot of damage to surrounding homes that stand in their path. For those within the flood plain insurance is a must or you could be leaving yourself with a huge liability on your hand if your basement or home were to flood. Flood insurance is mandoatory if you live in a high risk location and many lenders will require you to purchase the insurance prior to close. What I found interesting in the article was that about 25% of all claims came in locations that were considered moderate to low risk area.

If you do not have flood insurance or are unsure about your coverage make sure to contact one of these quality insurance agents who will be able to sit down and discuss what is the best option for you and your home.  American Family Insurance offers flood insurance but there is a 30 day waiting period so make sure you are contacting your agent within a reasonable time, not when you see the levy getting close to spilling over the edge! While flood insurance won’t protect against keeping your basement dry, it will make recouping costs easier and give you peace of mind.

One way to protect your basement against water is having your basement draintiled in which the tile leads to a sump basket. The sump pump within the basket pumps the water outside your home to keep your basement and interior possessions dry. Make sure to test your sump pump every spring to ensure it is in working order. Also make sure the hose does not expell next to the foundation. Have a long extention hose drain water away from your home and your neighbors hosue out of respect. Ifyou want to be extra cautious look into having a licensed plumber install a backup sump pump for under $400 in case your power ever goes out.

Below I put the contact information for Bob, Nikki and a great local plumber I know:

Bob Loonan- American Family Insurance


Nikki O’Brien- American Family Insurance


Tom Dewitz- Plumber


Lack of Real Estate Inventory

Yes, you heard me correct, but what I should state is that there is a lack of GOOD inventory. Sure there are plenty of homes currently on the market, but many are short sale which can take months to complete, beat up foreclosures that could take thousands of dollars to make livable and many overpriced sellers still stuck in 2004 prices and thinking the market will turn around in the next year. Unfortunately for sellers I think it will take a lot longer for the current real estate market to rebound. Many agents state they can not wait for a “normal” real estate market to return, but I think this will be normal for the next few years. If you are buying now you are buying for a number of reasons, foremost, you need some stability and somewhere to live. You are also buying because housing prices have declined and you will be obtaining an interest rate only dreamed of even at the height of the market in 2004-2006.

If you are looking from new construction in Shakopee orare looking at purchasing aShakopee townhome you may be getting frustrated. I have had many buyers looking for all different kinds of homes and townhomes that I have worked with for the past few months that just are not finding that “perfect house”. I can’t blame them because I think I have stated to not buy a houses fivetimes more than I encourage my clients to go forth an purchase.  Regardless of Shakopee townhomes, single family , acreage or one level living we need more solid inventory. That is good new if you are a seller. Sellers with home priced well that show well are selling quickly and usually netting close to asking or in some case even above asking price.

 It seems the few homes out there worth buying sell in multiple offers because banks are trying to move homes quickly to move through their inventory and reduce their liabilities.  I do feel though that as we progress this spring we will see a flood of homes that will be coming to the market in what previously was known as “shadow inventory”that banks were holding on to. Fannie Mae will be releasing homepath properties later this year that buyers will only need to being 3% rather than the minimum 3.5% down payment and those home will also have waived appraisal saving buyer $425 in appraisal costs as well as no mortgage insurance saving buyers hundreds of dollars per month. For more information about those properties make sure you talk to a qualified Shakopee Realtor or Loan officer. Be patient and you will find the perfect home for you and your family. Do not let a pushy saleperson force you into something you are uncomfortable with, ultimately you will be the one living there and making the payments!