Let’s Build The Vikings Stadium in Shakopee!

With the contracts of many key players expiring, and Brett Favre filing retirement papers, the Vikings have one of their most important contracts expiring, their home field at Mall of America Field.  Mall of America  Field deflated this winter as fast as the Vikings Playoffs hopes had, and many in Minnesota feared they might be moving to Los Angeles as stadium talks seem to be at a standstill. Four or five proposal have been reached, but I want them to come back to previous talks about building a Stadium on some prime Shakopee real estate!

 I have seen the North Stars leave the state and move to Dallas only to win the Stanley Cup shortly thereafter. All fans could do in the final season was protest and chirp up with our incessant, “Norm sucks” chat, belittling the former owner of the North Stars and showing our disdain. Furthermore the Minneapolis Lakers left town and went on to win many more NBA Championships. The North Stars were not located in the heart of Minneapolis, but in Bloomington.

We are amidst a looming state budget deficit over $1 billion and face many cuts and Minnesotans don’t want to talk about public subsidies toward a new stadium.  However like the North Stars and Minneapolis Lakers, Minnesota professional sports always return. The first step in a team returning is building a new stadium. The Vikings owners did announce they would be willing to pay one-third of the cost of an open-air stadium, but if the state wants a retractable roof for a multipurpose stadium, the cost would be on the state.

Building a new stadium could be an ideal answer in a slow economy to put thousands of unemployed construction workers to work for a few years. Other benefits would be local Shakopee businesses could see a surge in patronage and  Shakopee real estate could potentially see values increase. If the Vikings were to build in Shakopee, the Dean’s Lake Business Park could also see many more businesses relocate to the area.  With more business, Shakopee real estate taxes would be generated which would alleviate stress on the city budget.  Shakopee real estate foreclosures and short sales also plague the market and many of those bargains on homes in Shakopee could be snapped up by relocating workers.

 Like it or not, a new stadium will be built, and one proposal that has been proposed in the past and one I would strongly support would be a Racino at Canterbury Park in Shakopee.  Obviously as a Shakopee realtor and resident of Shakopee I think it  would be fun to see our area grow.

Let me know if you are for or against this topic, I would love to hear your thoughts . Please share this article with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Shakopee Short Sale Market Update

I just baffled myself this afternoon when putting together my market update of the Shakopee short sale homes currently on the market. Seriously I was shocked when I learned of the 305 homes currently shown as active on the market 85 of those homes are listed as a Shakopee short sale. Short sales in Shakopee are becoming more prevalent from hardships such as job loss, divorce and too much debt. We are definately seeing more and more owners qualifying for a short sale.  Outside of those home listed in Shakopee as a short sale 5 other homes did not disclosure their status and 50 more homes were listed as Shakopee Foreclosures. With that said, Shakopee short sales and foreclosure homes as of 2/24/11 dictate a whopping 44% of all homes on the market!

Now 44% of all homes on the market being Shakopee foreclosure and short sale listings may seem high, but that number realistically is probably even a low percentage estimate. I have seen many cases where Shakopee real estate agents do not even disclose if the home is a short sale or foreclosure. When a home in Shakopee is listed an agent has three choices when filling out the Minnesota MLS input sheet. They can answer YES, NO or NOT DISCLOSED to two questions 1) Is this home a potential short sale? and 2) Is this home lender owned?

I can see Realtors reasons for not disclosing the short sale status of a home, but Shakopee foreclosures are pretty obvious, is your seller a bank? If yes, well then it’s lender owned, answer the question correctly please Shakopee Realtors! Now many Shakopee short sales listed might not be listed as a short sale because they are not short sales, yet. Sure you may have a home priced at $224,900 that is not a short sale, but at $220,000 will it be one? How about $210,000? I commonly see many overpriced homes in Shakopee that have NO CHANCE of selling. The Shakopee townhome market is notorious with many homes cancelling in frustration or expiring their listing contracts. I just saw a Shakopee townhome listed for close to $150,00 when the previous week I showed two homes in the SAME DEVELOPMENT for $98,000 and $109,900 respectively. Now sure the home may not be a labeled as a short sale in Shakopee, but will it sell? Doubtful. Another reason I hear Shakopee Realtors not wanting to label  homes as a short sale is because they feel no one with show the listing because buyers don’t want to wait to hear back from the bank. I find that discouraging as an agent and very frustrating for a buyer because we take the time out of our day to show the home it is a complete waste of time. Some buyers may have ample time to look for a short sale home, but others have a strick timeline and need to purchase with 45 days or less. That does not leave a lot of time to search for a Shakopee Home.


Homes in Shakopee that are currently sold and waiting to close escrow represent an even higher percentage of short sale and foreclosure homes. Of the 63 homes pending in Shakopee, 27 homes are forclosures and 7 are short sale listings representing close to 54% of the total homes pending. Again this does not include the nondisclosure I previously spoke about. Being a curious Realtor, I decided to look at the homes pending being there are not nearly the numbers to go through like active homes on the market in Shakopee. Of the 29 homes not tagged by Realtors as a Shakopee short sale or foreclosure, 5 showed in either the exclusive agent remarks or tax records as being bank owned. Another interesting fact that jumped out at me was 7 of the 29 homes in Shakopee pending were new construction. Again out of curiosity I went back and reviewed active homes listing in Shakopee to find of the 170 homes not tagged as shorts sale or foreclosures 31 of those were new construction homes in Shakopee.

Are you PreApproved or Pre Qualified?

There is a huge difference between being pre qualified or being pre approved. There is a lot of confusion I hear from buyer so I would like to take a moment to clarify.

If you are just starting your Shakopee home search you may have been told by friends or your Realtor to first talk to a loan officer. Discussing your options with a loan office before you begin to look for a new home should be one of your first priorities. Many mistakes buyers, especially first time buyers make is looking too early and then either looking at too high of a price range, too low of a price range or unfortunately they may not even qualify to buy at all for the time being. I recommend to clients to sit down with a good local Shakopee loan officer with a reputable company. If you can, try to meet them in person rather than doing everything over the phone.  I think talking to the loan officer leads you into more questions you may have than if  it were just a phone conversation. I also think you can read the loan officer a bit better to see your level of comfortability.


I hate hearing from buyers when they tell me their loan officer should have them approved within the next few weeks. A good loan officer should be able to give you some general numbers the same day or at least within 24-48  hours max. Loan Officers also should be able to be pretty accurate pending the information you give them is current. Getting pre qualified is one of the first steps in the home buying process. It’s easy, quick and painless. Typically the loan officer in Shakopee will ask for your income and ask about any debts you may have. After evaluating this information, the loan officer can give you an idea of the mortgage amount and monthly payment for which you qualify.

During your first meeting with the loan officer, they are going to gauge where you are also comfortable with payments. Make sure you stick to those numbers! A loan officer may tell you to qualify for a $1,000,000 home, but if you would like your payments to be $1,500…not going to happen, unless you have a gigantic down payment. They also may discuss various mortgage options and recommend the type of mortgage that might be best fit your situation.For example comparing a 5% conventional loan to a FHA loan or a 203k loan.

Remember, the loan officer has not pulled credit at this point and based their analysis only on the information you provided to them. Being told you are pre-qualified is not a sure thing the underwriters with give you a loan, it just give you a basis to start your search. For this reason, a pre-qualified buyer doesn’t carry the same weight as a pre-approved buyer who has been more thoroughly investigated and through the underwriting process. This is not a commitment to lend a buyer money.


Now obtaining a pre approval letter carries more weight and gives you more negotiating power and will put you in a better position as a buyer. Realtors feel much more comfortable presenting an offer if it has solid backing from a good loan officer and bank. I have seen lately even if you do have a pre approval letter from a bank, foreclosed homes are requesting buyers to get an approval letter also from their requested bank. Don’t be alarmed, you do not need to commit to them or anything, but they have seen a lot of transactions fall apart over the course of the past few years and are trying to protect their interests.

Pre Approval letters typically state the terms, loan amount and address, but do not need to include everything. Again some banks will request exactly what they prefer to be on the approval letter on occasion.

Getting pre approved involves completing a mortgage application, many companies have this online. From that point lenders need to get a hold of W-2’s and bank statements. One of the most important steps to the process is pulling your credit report. Many institutions now highly regard credit scores and tie that score to your interest rates more than ever. Insurance companies and even employers now lok at scores. It used to be if you had a pulse, you could buy a home and I am SO happy those days are gone. Not everyone is financially responible to buy a home. I have seen many hardships where I truely sypathize with the owner, but I have also seen many more where they are doing a short sale or geting foreclosured and it’s flat screen after flat screen, new cars isitting in the driveway because their garage is full with the boat, motorcycle, snowmobile and fourwheeler….sell your stuff! Okay, I went on a tangent and off course there, sorry. Again, take this as a reminder to stick to your budget and don’t get carried away with purchasing a home. Buying a home can be a very emotional experience so make sure you are also making a sounds financial and logical one as well. The biggest reason credit scores ar so important is because it can dicate who will lend to you, what programs you qualify for and what your interest rate and some fees may be.

Once the application process is complete you will receive a pre-approval letter indicating the amount your lender is willing to lend you for your home. Although a pre-approval letter lets you, the Realtors invloved and the seller know you are a solid purchasor,  it is subject to the appraisal of the home and often cases other conditions pending case by case. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage also enables you to move quickly when you find the perfect place.

If your financial situation changes for some reason such a job loss your Realtor should be able to protect you per the financing addendum of the real estate contract, or if interest rates rise. I

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Valley Creek Crossing Shakopee- Lennar Homes

I stopped by the model home in Valley Creek Crossing, a nice single family development in Shakopee just south of highway 169 about 1 mile. The home was a gorgeous two story with about 2,850 sqft on the upper two floors and the home had a large unfinished walkout basement ready for anyone’s finishing touches.

Lennar purchased all of the remaining lots that Cuddigan,one of the original builders in the development, owned in Valley Creek Crossing. Lennar is currently is offering six different models with varying front elevations to choose from. Their price point according to their website is $322,990-$371,990 with sqft on the upper two levels ranging from 2,701-3,075 sqft. Lenner did not skip on minimum square footage requirements per the covenants like some cheaper builder do. They really are putting out a quality product with great curb appeal.

What I like about the Valley Creek Crossing development is that it’s not in the middle of a farm field where they plopped down lot after and all the homes look the same. There are probably close to twelve builders within the development and there was an artitechual committee to help keep up the standards and look of the neighborhood. Some of these artitechual standards include have a natural material on the front of the house such as brick, stone, or hardiplank. So many of the homes in the development look different and there is a good mix of ramblers, two story homes, modified two stories and probably less than five multi-level split homes throughout the development.

The Valley Creek Crossing neighborhood has a park with multiple sets of equipment for kids of all ages, sidewalks to help keep the kiddos safe and there is even a creek that runs through the neighborhood. The original farmstead in which the land that was used to build out the development still resides by the Marschall family, long time Shakopee residents who can be seen walking on occasion.  A larger park with hockey rink and basketball court is a short distance away and you can take the sidewalk all the way there.

Shopping is very close as Target, Cub Food and many other store are within 1.5 miles. Centrally localated, Valley Creek Crossing in Shakopee is close to almost any school and currently is in the Pearson Elementary school district, however new school lines will be drawn for the 2011-12 school year with the new addition of an elementary school this fall.

If you are considering the Valley Creek Crossing development in Shakopee or any other area, be sure to contact a local Shakopee real estate agent who knows the area, the market and can help you make the best decision for you and your family.

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Attorney Help for a Shakopee Short Sale

Thinking of doing a Short Sale in Shakopee? I bet your first thought is to talk to an expereinced short sale realtor in the Shakopee area. We are seeing more and more short sale homes in Shakopee, MN, but not many real estate agent know they should not be doing some negotiations as they are actually practicing law and not real estate.

A Realtors job is to market and sell your home, then negotiate the sale between you, the seller, and the buyer. It is not their job to negotiate terms of forgiven debt between you and the bank or lenders involved.


  • Consult with the seller regarding legal issues of doing a short sale.
  • Order title work on the home as soon as the seller signs a retainer agreement.
  • Review title work to make sure the transaction can close if the short sale is appoved by the bank(s).
  • Advise the Shakopee Realtor as to any title issues preventing a timely closing.
  • Collect all financial documents from the seller and real estate agent necessary for short sale review by the bank(s).
  • Prepare a preliminary HUD (closing cost estimate) statement for the lender
  • Submit the short sale proposal to the bank(s)
  • Keep the listing agent up to date as to progress with the bank(s)
  • Negotiate short sale offer with banks, terms and costs for the short sale approval.
  • Provide all documentation to government agencies or authorities to obtain tax lein releases when necessary to clear title for the short sale.
  • Review terms of the short sale approval letter and consult with the seller.
  • Provide all documents necessary for closing to seller, Realtor and title company.

I have started working with a law firm in Minnesota on my Shakopee short sale listings and in many cases there is no cost to the seller doing the short sale if they have a hardship. The law firm I work with do provide my client a FREE consultation which I highly recommend so they know thier options and potential benefits and/or consquences of doing a short sale in Shakopee.


  • Initial meeting with an attorney at no cost
  • Max cost to seller of $995 (strategic short sales), but as low as $0 for sellers with hardships
  • Referrals to tax specialists or bankruptcy attorney when applicable
  • Legal counseling regarding financial information provided to the lender
  • Updates throughout the short sale process
  • Negotiations.Having the bank hear from an attorney can be more authoritative.
  • Legal guidance regarding financial terms of the short sale.
  • Advise on potential occurances that could arise after closing

If you are curious if you qualify for a short sale in Shakopee because of a hardship you may have endured such as job loss, divorce, job transfer feel free to call Tom Scott of Re/Max Advantage Plus in Shakopee at 612-384-2178 or TomScott@Remax.net.

Seller Paid Closing Costs

Seller paid closing costs or seller paid loan costs as often termed, are simply that; closing costs that the seller pays. Although the seller has their own closing costs, the largest of those paying a real estate fee, the seller may often be willing to pay in full, or partially contribute to paying the buyers fees as well.


Closing costs fees range, maximum limits are generally 3% on conventional loans and up to 6% of FHA loans. Most FHA buyers I work with generally ask for 3.5-4.5% of the sales price for their closing costs and that generally covers everything. With that FHA up front mortgage insurance premieums are included in the loan amount as they can not be paid by the seller.


This is probably one of the most fielded questions I receive from sellers irronically, not buyers. It does take a little explaining, but in most cases the seller does agree some instances may require contribution. Given the target market of your buyer, many buyers may need the costs paid by the seller. If you have a first time buyer scrambling to come up with their downpayment to equal the minimum down of 3.5%, any extra costs associated potentially could make it so they do not have their downpayment. Any buyer can ask for costs no matter if you are trying to come up with your 3.5% down payment, 5%, 10% or even if you are tyring to get to 20% down in order to avoid mortgage insurance.

When a buyer makes an offer on a home, the Realtor will do a net sheet so that the seller knows what their final check at closing will be, or in today’s market sometime how much money they will need to bring to closing. This is a general estimate based on title fees, real estate fees, state and county fees, and pending all payoffs the seller has for any mortgages, tax leins or judgements. If the seller is going to pay for the buyers closing costs this will be looked at on the net sheet and accounted for. If the seller is presented with two offers at the same time, a buyer may want to go above list price of the home if they are going to include closing costs. An example below depicts two offers and although the offer price of Option B is lower, the net price when closing costs are included still is higher and the seller would potentially lean toward that offer.

Option A
Sales Price $150,000
Buyer’s Closing Costs Paid $5,000
Net to Seller $145,000

Option B
Sales Price $148,000
Buyer’s Closing Costs Paid $0
Net to Seller $148,000


Buyers almost assume ANY seller will pay all their fees when in fact some banks will limit the closing costs paid to 3-3.5% of the sales price. I have not had any issues with a bank not willing to pay at least some costs.

Remember, Ultimaltely YOU Are Paying The Costs!

They are called seller paid loan costs, however they are essentially rolled into your mortgage or financed over the term of the loan. I tell my buyers when negotiating that it is nice to have the seller pay the loan costs, but that is money they are paying when it comes time to sell a home.

Remember, if you purchased a home for $200,000 and the seller paid $7,000 in seller paid loan costs, they probably woud have taken a similar offer at $193,000 with NO loan costs being paid by the seller. When you go to resell, those “seller paid loan costs” magically reappear and hurt your bottom line, not to mention the extra interest you paid over the course of time you lived in the home. For example, with a 6% interest rate, if you lived in your home for 5 years and financed $7,000 of loan costs, your payments would be around $35 more per month X 60 months. That would total $2,100! Makes you think if there is a way to come up paying your own closing cost, TRY.

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Shakopee Short Sale Help


One needs a thorough understanding of complex issues in today’s Shakopee real estatemarekt and the knowledge of foreclosure avoidance options available to homeowners. Being a CDPE has provided me and my clients a solutions for homeowners facing market hardships primarily short sales.

Homeowners regularly proceed without guidance of any kind through the often financially and emotionally devastating prospect of foreclosure. Setting up an appointment with a well-informed, licensed Shakopee real estate agent is the best course of action for a homeowner in distress.

There are thousands of licensed Realtors in the state of Minnesota and many Shakopee Realtors, but few decided to focus their efforts in helping those in need of assistance to avoid foreclosure. Through comprehensive training and experience, CDPEs have the tools to help homeowners find the best solutions for their unique situations and to avoid foreclosure through the efficient execution of a short sale.

Living through financial difficulties poses a challenge for any family, so why make the process of finding a qualified real estate professional difficult too? Select an agent with the CDPE Designation or Short Sale Foreclosure Specialist to ensure you have a trained professional to address your specific needs.

I have also teamed with an attorney to help answer any questions one may have tht goes beyond my real estate expertise.

Bank Owned Homes (Shadow Inventory)

It looks like we will be having quite a few more foreclosures coming on the market over the next few years in the Shakopee real estate market. What banks and MN realtors are calling “shadow inventory” of bank owned properties are those homes that are in the midst of foreclosure and are at some point of the foreclosure process. With the amount of current homeowners currently late on payments and in default it will take nearly three years to clear at the current sales rate, according to a report from the credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s.

It has been said more and more lenders are trying to mitigate the amount of foreclosed properties by taking on more short sale scenarios and loan modification, however i have not seen that process get much better and from what I hear 2011 will be the biggest year of foreclosures to date. At the end of March it sounds as though there will be an influx of Fannie Mae owned properties coming on the market that will be eligible for the “Home Path” financing in which buyer can purchase with a lower downpayment, 3% vs the 3.5% FHA minimum downpayment and these homes will also require no appraisal saving buyers an additional $350-500.

As for the total amount of homes in the “shadow inventory”, an article from housing wire states that Amherst Securities places the total at 7m. The Royal Bank of Scotland found 2.7m, and First American CoreLogic counted 1.7m. Those are some HUGE numbers nationwide! The Shakopee real estate market along with other homes for sale in Minnesot are a sure to see more inventory coming to the market.

Do I Need a Shakopee Realtor to Buy a Home?

Simple answer NO.

Surprised a Realtor told you that you do NOT need their services? I know this may seem odd and a bit confusing a real estate agent in Shakopee said you may not need a Shakopee realtor, but you as a buyer do have a choice to use someone or not.

Obviously I as a Shakopee realtor I do find it advantagous to use a real estate agent, but I do so for the following reasons:

1) Commission is Paid by the Seller. Typically the majority of the real estate commission is paid by the seller. In the state of Minnesota often times the total commission is split between both Realtors. Typically 55% of the total real estate commission going to the Realtor who has the home listed, and then 45% of the total real estate commission going to the Realtor who represents the buyer. Often the only real estate commission that is paid by the buyer is a broker administrative commission. That commission is part of the closing costs and generally around $375. It is a fee you can have the seller pay as part of seller paid loan costs.

2) Market Knowledge. I beleive if you select a good real estate agent they will have the knowledge of the area. I see this often with buyers and sellers. You can tell when a Realtor who is not familiar with the Shakopee real estate market. They come in  price homes incridibly high and those homes will sit on the market. Make sure when you have a free market analysis the agent does not just give you a price you want to hear, but backs that price up with homes that have sold recently,within the last 4 months. That also goes if you think they are pricing the home low, make them show you the comparable sales. A Shakopee realtor should be able to give you a value within 24 hours and may not even need to go to your home to give you a ballpark idea on price if they know the area well enough.

3) Contracts, contracts, contracts. No, a real estate contract is not the hardest document to disect, but having a Realtor who knows how to structure the contract to present your offer in the best light can be very helpful. Knowing the contingencies, how they are structured, timelines, how to negotie them can be very valuable.

4) Negotiations. I think many Realtors try to play the we offer A, you counter with C, and then we will meet in the middle at B. All negotiations do not have to go this way, otherwise you could easier do it yourself.  One reason in my opinion to have a Realtor is to take out the emotion of  buying a Shakopee home. Sure buying a house is one of the biggest decisin you can make and emtions run high, especially in multiple offers. We are seeing many mutltiple offer senarios with bank owned homes in Shakopee and knowing what banks are looking for and how to structure your offer can be crucial. I just heard of one accepted offer an agent in our office had that was only $200 higher than the offer that was accepted. Really $200? That was the difference between getting a home that sold over $125,000 more only a few years ago! Make sure you have a real estate agent in Shakopee who can structure your offer optimally.

5) Prelist Inventory. I can literally find out information on hundreds of homes for sale in Shakopee with networking with agents in my local office. Re/Max Advantage Plus is one of the top listing brokers in the state for bank owned homes.

6) Do You Want Representation? In my opinion this is the biggest reason to hire your own Shakopee Realtor. If you are going from open house to open house or call the agent on the signs, those agent represent the best interests of the seller. That’s right; those agent priming you for data are representing the seller and will use that infomation against you if you are trying to negotiate on the home they are standing in. If they ultimaely decide to represent you too, then you are in a dual agency representation senario in which the realtor almost needs to stay neutral.

Hopefully you found this information helpful and if you want any information on a Shakopee Realtor, I do not require my clients to sign buyer contracts with me until you are either comfortable or we eventually write an offer. I look at the process as I would, and if I were to buy a home I would not sign anything with anyone until i knew how they worked and if I knew they were going to do a great job.