Friday, December 28, 2007

What's a Foreclosure

While browsing real estate blogs I came across a post with this same title. It pointed out how banks are bad neighbors and all foreclosures are dumps.

Well, I'd agree I don't want a foreclosure next door, but I thought the post could have provided a little more information.

The blogger talked about how bad foreclosures are, and in many ways I agree. Every foreclosure has a story of someone's misfortune behind it.

But I would like to help home buyers. This is about real estate and I want to point out a few things in my experience that may be a little different than what that blogger had to say.

Many times the reason we see bank owned homes sitting with little activity, as if the bank doesn't care, is that Minnesota has a six month redemption period. Usually, the bank is not allowed to sell a foreclosed property for six months after the foreclosure. Frequently the property sits vacant through the redemption period without a for sale sign.

Once they get through the redemption period banks are quite anxious to see the home sold. The foreclosures I am familiar with are listed on the multiple listing right along with other homes. They are marketed by Realtors who make a living selling your home or your neighbor's home.

Banks are not always the disinterested seller. Some banks will counter an offer within twenty four hours of submission. The banks I have seen, clean out the home and do some fix up and repairs and sometimes purchase appliances to make the home more attractive.

When a bank sells a home they sell it "as is". This means what you see is what you get, it means you have the "right and duty" to inspect the property before you buy it. This is the most logical way to sell a property if you are an absentee owner like a bank, perhaps in another state and you never seen it.
Always look at the property more than once, always get an inspection, try to talk with a neighbor about the property history. Consider contacting the police to find out if it has a history of police calls to the property.

Bank owned properties can be dumps, but they can also be nice and sometimes they are a very good buy.

Here is an example of a bank owned home that is in good shape with an impressive price. The photo above is of the front entry.
Here is an example of a bank owned property in a nice neighborhood priced way below market value, in nice shape and at least as good as many of the homes around it.
While the current foreclosure situation is a disaster for some, it could be an opportunity for you.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

We made it from scratch

This blog is made to go with our web page,, which has been pretty popular with folks in the Red Wing area. As the above title implies, the web site was made from scratch and totally unique. If you are a current user of, I would enjoy your feedback on the site. I am always trying to improve it.

Currently we have about 80 visitors per day who mostly use the site to look at homes in the Red Wing area. But the web site contains information on homes all over Minnesota and Wisconsin. For fun, I'd like to see if we can increase our audience to include folks from outside the Red Wing area.

You won't find another web site that looks like ours - its probably not pretty enough. I originally designed the site myself with the goal of making it possible for a user to find the property they are interested in with two or three mouse clicks. I wanted it to be fast loading, even for people with dial up connections. I'm sticking with those ideals.

You can post any question or comment about Minnesota Real Estate or the website here and I'll do my best to respond.

Here are a couple of ways to get started with our web site.

Click here to use the searches

Zip code search is the easiest, but you can also search by any part of an address, town name or multiple listing number. If you want to display more than one zip code or MLS number seperate them with commas.

Scroll a little lower and you'll find a box to search by river or lake name. You can enter any part of the name and get quick results.

We also have some pages that try to anticipate what you might be looking for.

Saint Paul and Minneapolis:

There are pages for each town with links to neighborhood listings:
Minneapolis Homes for Sale

Saint Paul Homes for Sale

Out State:
There is a page that lists links to listings in Many Minnesota towns:

Any of these links will display a simple, fast loading page with address's and prices but no photos. You can easily narrow your search or do a new search without leaving the page by using the buttons at the top of the page.

If you click the photos link the page will reload in a shorter version with small photos. Listings that appear with blue in front of them have water front or a view of water. Properties with green in front of the listing have acreage. Darker green means more acreage. Listings with brown highlighting behind the listing near the number count have at least one fireplace.

That's it for now.