Friday, December 28, 2012

Stay or Go? Repair or Renovate?

Repair What Needs to be Fixed!

The renovations that will yield the most value for your home are repairs. Focus on fixing the areas of your house that are in desperate need of attention from a contractor or handyman. According to an article released by, you will be more likely to get the best value from handling repairs than any other renovation.

Whether you are planning to sell or stay in your home, handling repairs is most certainly worth the effort. Examples of repairs that go a long way include fixing a leaking roof, replacing broken kitchen tile and having an electrician rewire a faulty outlet. Even the smallest of repairs can increase your home value and prevent issue with selling your house.

Need help evaluating what needs repair?  We can help.  We can walk through the home with you or better yet, refer you to reputable home inspectors.

Let me know what I can do to help!

Friday, December 21, 2012

More than 50% of the way to housing recovery!

This just in from the Trulia blog!

Halfway Home: Housing Recovery Crosses 50%

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist, December 21, 2012

Each month, Trulia’s Housing Barometer charts how quickly the housing market is moving back to “normal.”  They summarize three key housing market indicators: construction starts (Census), existing home sales (NAR), and the delinquency-plus-foreclosure rate (LPS First Look). For each indicator, They compare this month’s data to (1) how bad the numbers got at their worst and (2) their pre-bubble “normal” levels.

In November 2012, home sales saw strong increases, and the delinquency + foreclosure rate held steady–both signs of market improvement. However, new construction starts declined.

Hurricane Sandy appears to have lowered construction (and sales, to a lesser extent) in the Northeast. Average monthly construction starts were 14% higher nationally in October and November – the months affected by Sandy – than in the previous four months, but 5% lower in the Northeast. Average monthly home sales were 7% higher nationally in October and November than in the previous four months, but just 3% higher in the Northeast.

  • Construction starts dipped in November but remain strong. Starts in November were at an 861,000 annualized rate, down 3% month-over-month and up 22% year-over-year. For the past three months, construction starts have remained solidly above 800,000–the highest level since September 2008. Nationally, construction starts are 37% of the way back to normal.
  • Existing home sales rose once again in November. After climbing in October, existing home sales rose 6% month-over-month to 5.04 million in November–the highest level since November 2009. Sales are 73% back to normal. Even better, “distressed” sales (foreclosures and short sales) represent a declining share of overall sales, making way for more “conventional” home sales.
  • The delinquency + foreclosure rate maintained a new post-crisis low. In November, 10.63% of mortgages were delinquent or in foreclosure, down a hair from 10.64% in October. The combined delinquency + foreclosure rate is at its lowest level in four years and is 41% back to normal.

Averaging these three back-to-normal percentages together, the housing market is now 51% of the way back to normal, compared with 28% in November 2011. Trulia’s Housing Barometer has jumped five points in each of the last two months. Does halfway back to normal mean the glass is half-full or half-empty? The half-empty view is that our three housing measures hit bottom (on average) in 2009, so it’s taken the market a long time–three years–to get to the halfway mark. But the half-full view is that halfway back to normal is better than anyone –myself included–predicted for 2012 at the start of this year.

Contact me for help with all your real estate buying and selling needs! 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Is now a good time to buy a house?

Though no economists agree completely, the general consensus is ABSOLUTELY buy a house now if you can afford one.

 This week in an article from CNN Money:
"Barclays Capital put out a report recently forecasting that home prices, which fell by more than a third after the housing bubble burst in 2007, could be back to peak levels as soon as 2015.
"In our view, the housing market had undergone a dramatic over-correction during the prior five years, resulting in pent-up demand for housing purchases that would spark a rapid rise in housing starts," said Stephen Kim, an analyst with Barclays, in a note to clients.
In addition to what Kim sees as a big rebound in building, he's bullish on home prices, expecting rises of 5% to 7.5% a year."

Now, 7.5% for 3 years won't get the market value all the way back up to what we paid for our house in 2005 by the year 2015 but it would be close.

So if you are a first time home buyer, grab onto to a record low interest rate and rush to your favorite agent!

If you need to sell your house to buy another one and you would like to wait for a bit of recovery, just remember, it won't just be your house increasing.  You can afford much more house now than you will be able to in 3 years and these interest rates can't last forever!

Sarah Marrinan
The Goerss Home Team - Keller Williams Premier Realty
Direct: 651-964-0289

Monday, December 17, 2012

Is that home priced right?

Negotiating the price of a home that is fair to both the buyer and seller can be challenging.

There's no question that significantly overpricing your home will turn off potential buyers.  Getting no offers at your price and even worse, no showings will force you to reduce the price of your house in just a week on the market (or sit on the market and become stale, outdated inventory that will return you a most likey evn lower sale price).  

Likewise, making an offer that's far lower than the asking price is practically guaranteed to alienate the sellers. They may push back hard or not respond to your offer at all.

Asking and offering prices should be based on recent sales prices of comparable homes.

What is the easiest way to compare sales and come to an agreement?
Call Sarah for help!  651-964-0289

Search "A Price To Good to be True" for more about home prices!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dry hair? Oily hair? Dandruf? Try these natural conditioners!

Why make an expensive trip to the salon for a most likely "chemical solution" to your hair woes when you could do it at home for less?
Make these hair masks to moisturize and revitalize your hair using all-natural ingredients you probably have sitting in your refrigerator or cupboard right now!

DRY hair –Olive Oil and Egg
In need of some major TLC?? Combine three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with two eggs and apply the mixture to your hair and let the mixture sit for 20 minutes before rinsing in the shower.
The olive oil will help hydrate brittle locks, while the protein in the eggs will promote healthy hair growth.

ALL HAIR TYPES — Avocado and Honey
Mask a ripened avocado and mix in a tablespoon of organic honey and allow it to sit for 20 minutes before rinsing it off in the shower.
Avocados are rich in a variety of vitamins and nutrients, including vitamin E and protein, both of which your hair needs to remain soft and healthy. Meanwhile, honey is a natural antibacterial agent.

OILY hair — Apple Cider Vinegar and Lemon
Combine 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar with the grated peel of an entire lemon and allow it to set for 15 minutes to absorb the excess oil from your scalp, and then rinse in the shower.
Apple cider vinegar will remove build up from styling products and conditioners and strengthen the hair shaft, leaving you with soft, shiny strands. It will also balance hair’s pH level, kill bacteria, and is a cure for dandruff.

DRY, flaky scalp hair — Banana, Honey and Almond
Mash together 1/2 a ripe banana and add two tablespoons of honey and a few drops of almond oil and allow it to set with a shower cap on for 20 minutes before rinsing.
Bananas can increase the moisture of your hair, smooth frizz and soothe your itchy scalp.

I can't claim to have come up with these, nor do I know who did.  They were sent to me in one of those "spam" emails that someone forwarded to EVERYONE in their email address box. LOL
Do you have a "hair solution" that you are willing to share?  Comment here or email me!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Luxury Home Sales Increase!

Are you looking to sell a luxury home in MN?  

The time is NOW!  Call Today!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I am Thankful for...

It's that time of year when we are reminded to be thankful... and the Christmas holiday season gets into full swing!  But I want to take a minute to focus on being thankful as the holiday was intended before I let the season overwhelm me and my frustrations hold me back.  I suppose you would benefit from doing so too! :)

I Am Thankful For...
For kids jumping on their beds, because it means they are healthy and happy.
For the taxes I pay, because it means that I am employed.
For the mess to clean after a party, because it means that I have been surrounded by friends.
For the clothes that fit a little too snug, because it means I have enough to eat.
For my shadow that watches me work, because it means I am out in the sunshine.
For all the complaining I hear about the government, because it means that we have freedom of speech.
For the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot, because it means I am capable of walking, and that I have been blessed with transportation.
For shoveling the driveway this winter and paying the heating bills, because it means I have a home.
For the lady behind me in my place of worship when she sings off key, because it means that I can hear.
For the pile of laundry, because it means I have clothes to wear.
For difficult people in my life, because it reminds me how not to be.
For weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day, because it means I have been capable of working hard.
For the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours, because it means that I am alive.
And finally....

For too much e-mail and too many texts because it means I have clients and friends who are thinking of me.... 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Easy low fat Tuna Casserole

I'm really not a fan of tuna but my family is sohere's a simple and healthy recipe for  tuna noodle casserole.

  • 103/4 ozs reduced fat cream of mushroom soup (condensed)
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 cup frozen peas (whole)
  • 12 ozs tuna (canned-packed in water, drained)
  • 2 cups no-yolk egg noodles (cooked)
  • 1 cup Corn Flakes (optional)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.Mix all ingredients except the corn flakes in a bowl. Spray a casserole dish with a nonstick cooking spray and pour in the mixture.Spread evenly and sprinkle corn flakes over the top.Bake for 15 minutes or longer until heated thoroughly.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Make Your Own Mini "Hot Pockets"!

Mini Hot Pockets Recipe
Makes 30 mini hot pockets... customized to your personal taste!  This is great as a party appetizer, kids cooking project, family dinner... any time!

  • 3 cans Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuits (10 per can),
  • 1.5 lb COOKED meat (optional)
  • 1 16oz block cheese
  • 1 beaten egg (optional - melted butter could be substituted)
  • 1 jar pizza sauce
  • Chopped veggies (optional)
  • Parmesan, Pizza (Italian) seasoning, Garlic powder
Cut the block of cheese into 30 chunks/slices. 
Flatten a biscuit out and place 1tsp meat, chunk of cheese cheese and veggies on top.
Gather up the edges of the biscuit.
Line up the balls in a greased 9x13 in pan.
Brush with beaten egg/butter.
Sprinkle with parmesan, Italian seasoning and Garlic powder to your taste. 
Bake at 425°F for 18-20 minutes.
Use the pizza sauce for dipping.
You can make your own variations of this... Don't have biscuits, try cresent rolls.  Try using spinach and chicken filling and dipping in alfredo sauce... or tomato, basil and feta cheese filling... buffalo chicken and blue cheese filling... using cresents with cream cheese filling and cinamon and sugar topping is a great desert alternative... the options are endless!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Home Search Woes: Why Can't You Find the Right House?

Some people find the right home the first time they go out on showings... but some people look for months and just don't see the right one.  This can happen for a couple reasons.

  1. Inventory is Low: There is just not a large number of homes to choose from. This can be seasonal or due to the market climate... sometimes specific to an area that doesn't have much turn over.
  2. It Doesn't Match Up: Sometimes, the style/price and area you are looking don't match up making it nearly impossible to find a home you desire.For example, some cities or neighborhood primarily comprise of homes built in a certain era.  If you are not interested in a home of that age/style but you are set on that area, you may have a very hard time finding a home that you are interested in.

How can we get past this?
Give me a call and we will go over your criteria and compare it to the recent sales, inventory levels and home demographics for that area and see if we need to make any adjustments to your search.

Monday, November 5, 2012

KCF Chicken Secret Recipe?

I was told this is the KFC recipe... since I recently found out my kids LOVE that chicken I figured I better look into it.  No way this will be tagged "healthy" but I guess you could make your own adjustments.  ;)

Here is what I found:

1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
3 beaten eggs
4 tablespoons oil - if you don't have a deep fryer

For the coating
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons paprika
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon tarragon
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/2 teaspoon celery salt

1. Sift together all the coating ingredients and place in a clean plastic bag. Coat each chicken piece first with the beaten egg, then with the flour mixture in the bag. Make sure you coat each piece completely with the flour.
2. Of course this is where you drop that chicken in your deep fryer but if you don't have one, this is the plan.  Heat the 4 tbs of oil in a skillet. Brown the chicken in oil slowly, uncovered. Once browned, cover the skillet and keeping frying on a very gentle heat until the chicken is fully cooked. Place on paper towels to drain out the excess oil.

Let me know what you think. Does this taste like KFC?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Cinnamon and Honey Can Cure What?

I recently read....

"Facts on Honey and Cinnamon: It is found that a mixture of honey and Cinnamon cures most diseases. Honey is produced in most of the countries of the world. Scientists of today also accept honey as a 'Ram Ban' (very effective) medicine for all kinds of diseases. Honey can be used without side effects for any kind of diseases.

Today's science says that even though honey is sweet, when it is taken in the right dosage as a medicine, it does not harm even diabetic patients. Researched by western scientists:

HEART DISEASES: Make a paste of honey and cinnamon powder, apply it on bread instead of jelly and jam and eat it regularly for breakfast. It reduces the cholesterol in the arteries and saves the patient from heart attack. Also, those who have already had an attack, when they do this process daily, they are kept miles away from the next attack. Regular use of the above process relieves loss of breath and strengthens the heart beat. In America and Canada, various nursing homes have treated patients successfully and have found that as one ages the arteries and veins lose their flexibility and get clogged; honey and cinnamon revitalize the arteries and the veins.

ARTHRITIS: Arthritis patients may take daily (morning and night) one cup of hot water with two tablespoons of honey and one small teaspoon of cinnamon powder. When taken regularly even chronic arthritis can be cured. In a recent research conducted at the Copenhagen University, it was found that when the doctors treated their patients with a mixture of one tablespoon Honey and half teaspoon Cinnamon powder before breakfast, they found that within a week (out of the 200 people so treated) practically 73 patients were totally relieved of pain -- and within a month, most all the patients who could not walk or move around because of arthritis now started walking without pain.

BLADDER INFECTIONS: Take two tablespoons of cinnamon powder and one teaspoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water and drink it. It destroys the germs in the bladder.

CHOLESTEROL: Two tablespoons of honey and three teaspoons of Cinnamon Powder mixed in 16 ounces of tea water given to a cholesterol patient was found to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood by 10 percent within two hours. As mentioned for arthritic patients, when taken three times a day, any chronic cholesterol is cured. According to information received in the said Journal, pure honey taken with food daily relieves complaints of cholesterol.

COLDS: Those suffering from common or severe colds should take one tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 spoon cinnamon powder daily for three days. This process will cure most chronic cough, cold, and, clear the sinuses.

UPSET STOMACH: Honey taken with cinnamon powder cures stomach ache and also clears stomach ulcers from its root.
GAS: According to the studies done in India and Japan, it is revealed that when Honey is taken with cinnamon powder the stomach is relieved of gas.

IMMUNE SYSTEM: Daily use of honey and cinnamon powder strengthens the immune system and protects the body from bacterial and viral attacks. Scientists have found that honey has various vitamins and iron in large amounts. Constant use of Honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles (where DNA is contained) to fight bacterial and viral diseases.

INDIGESTION: Cinnamon powder sprinkled on two tablespoons of honey taken before food is eaten relieves acidity and digests the heaviest of meals

INFLUENZA: A scientist in Spain has proved that honey contains a natural 'Ingredient' which kills the influenza germs and saves the patient from flu.

LONGEVITY: Tea made with honey and cinnamon powder, when taken regularly, arrests the ravages of old age. Use four teaspoons of honey, one teaspoon of cinnamon powder, and three cups of boiling water to make a tea. Drink 1/4 cup, three to four times a day. It keeps the skin fresh and soft and arrests old age. Life spans increase and even a 100 year old will start performing the chores of a 20-year-old.

RASPY OR SORE THROAT: When throat has a tickle or is raspy, take one tablespoon of honey and sip until gone. Repeat every three hours until throat is without symptoms.

PIMPLES: Three tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon powder paste. Apply this paste on the pimples before sleeping and wash it off the next morning with warm water. When done daily for two weeks, it removes all pimples from the root.

SKIN INFECTIONS:Applying honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts on the affected parts cures eczema, ringworm and all types of skin Infections.

WEIGHT LOSS:Daily in the morning one half hour before
breakfast and on an empty stomach, and at night before sleeping, drink honey and cinnamon powder boiled in one cup of water. When taken regularly, it reduces the weight of even the most obese person. Also, drinking this mixture regularly does not allow the fat to accumulate in the body even though the person may eat a high calorie diet.

CANCER: Recent research in Japan and Australia has revealed that advanced cancer of the stomach and bones have been cured successfully. Patients suffering from these kinds of cancer should daily take one tablespoon of honey with one teaspoon of cinnamon powder three times a day for one month.

FATIGUE: Recent studies have shown that the sugar content of honey is more helpful rather than being detrimental to the strength of the body. Senior citizens who take honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts are more alert and flexible. Dr. Milton, who has done research, says that a half tablespoon of honey taken in a glass of water and sprinkled with cinnamon powder, even when the vitality of the body starts to decrease, when taken daily after brushing and in the afternoon at about 3:00 P.M., the vitality of the body increases within a week.

BAD BREATH: People of South America, gargle with one teaspoon of honey and cinnamon powder mixed in hot water first thing in the morning so their breath stays fresh throughout the day.

HEARING LOSS: Daily morning and night honey and cinnamon powder, taken in equal parts restores hearing. Remember when we were kids? We had toast with real butter and cinnamon sprinkled on it!"* you use any homeopatic medicine?  What have your results been?  What do you suggest?
*Disclaimer:  Someone posted this on Facebook without crediting the source.  When/if I find the source, I will update the post to credit!

Friday, September 7, 2012

The best window cleaning products!

With fall around the corner, it's a good time to get some cleaning done.  We have fewer hours of daylight in the winter and we want to make sure we let every bit we can into our homes!  Clean windows will help you capture as much as possible. Since I have never heard anyone say "I love cleaning windows" let's eliminate some frustration and talk about the best cleaning products for the job.

The best window cleaning products

At the cleaning supplies place you can spend a lot of money on all kinds of special window cleaning detergents. And as expected, some work better than others.

Some people recommend vinegar in warm water. It's safe and cost effective but the biggest problem with vinegar: no bubbles. Suds make it easier to see any water marks that need wiping off. They also help to show areas that need more scrubbing because the bubbles separate more where there is a finger mark or some other dirt.  When using a squeegee, the suds are important to lubricate the rubber as it passes over the glass, making it a lot easier to turn the squeegee.

So what is the secret product of the professionals? It might just be under your kitchen sink, Palmolive.  In addition to the suds factor explained above, it's easy on the hands.

Now you know!  Grab your bucket of Palmolive suds, a few lint free cloths and squeegee and make those windows sparkle!

cleaning, spring cleaning, spruce up your home, window cleaning, cleaning secrets

Monday, September 3, 2012

Do you wash your hands correctly?

Flu season is upon us!  Please remember to WASH YOUR HANDS!

Face it. You touch A LOT of stuff!  Your hands are gross. Then you shake somebody's hand and pass those germs along.  Or worse yet for you, you reach into that bag of potato chips for a snack... and you lick your fingers.

Maybe someone taught you to sing a song (like the Alphabet song) when you were young to ensure you washed your hands long enough... but how you wash your hands matters too!

To really get rid of germs so please follow these 8 easy steps...
Then turn the water off with your elbow or a paper towel.  
Also use your paper towel to open the bathroom door.  No towels - just "sanitary" hand driers? Use your shirt to open the door or wait for someone else to open the door.

OK - so some of you are hand sanitizer freaks.  That is good in a pinch and all... but nothing beats a good scrubbing under the finger nails to get your hands truly clean.  I mean really, would you want your surgeon to just grab a squirt of hand sanitizer before doing your operation?

Be healthy everyone!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Do I really need a home inspection?

Get a Home Inspection in Minnesota
Find a MN Home Inspector!

A professional home inspection costs money, do you really need to pay for one?

There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a home to purchase and everyone if hoping to find the perfect home.
Once you do choose a home, your REALTOR should go over the inspection contingency option in your contract. Simply stated, it’s a clause in the contract that your offer is contingent upon a home inspection, and you have a certain amount of time to get the home inspected. It allows you to have an unbiased professional look beneath the cosmetic items into the complex working components of a home. It also allows you to either renegotiate your offer based on the inspection, or at the very least know what lies ahead of you if you do decide to purchase the home. A seller’s disclosure statement is nice and most seller’s are honest, but don’t even realize that problems exist in their home.

So, YES, it is always best to get a home inspection!

Ask your realtor for a list of home inspectors in your area.  You could also pull some brochures from the realtors lobby, try the phone directory or the internet. Most inspectors these days have a website where you can read about the services they offer. Take the time and call a few from the list to form your own opinion. Some realtors will offer to hire an inspector for you on your behalf. (Be sure your realtor has your best interests in mind if you go this route.) This is your money and your lifetime investment you’re talking about.
You will more than likely not get the chance to meet your inspector before the inspection, so asking these important questions will help make your decision easier. When you call a home inspection company, here are a few important questions to ask:

1. Are you licensed by the state? If the answer is no, say thank you and politely hang up the phone. All home inspectors are required to be licensed in the State of Minnesota (which involves classes, field training and passing the licensing test), and to keep their license are required to attend 20 hours of continuing education every two years.

2. Are you affiliated with any organizations? Most good home inspectors are associated with a National organization like NACHI (National Association of Certified Home Inspectors) NAHI (National Association of Home Inspectors) or ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) and/or a local organization.
Each organization has is pro’s and con’s and like any organization, are suited to that inspectors specific needs. Most importantly however, these organizations have strict guidelines to a code of ethics and continuing education.

3. What is your experience and background? Most home inspectors started out with a construction-based background. This is very useful in home inspections. Attending a University with emphasis on construction, or attending a Home Inspection School is almost a necessity in this trade. If an inspector tells you he was in retail (for an example) this may be a time to look elsewhere, or ask a follow-up question as to why he went into the profession and what he has to offer that others inspectors don’t.

4. How long will your inspection take? A thorough home inspection should take between 2 1/2-4 hours or longer depending on the size, age and condition of the home. In some cases a smaller home (1000sft or less) can be inspected in 2 hours. If the inspector says he can do it in less time, think about how thorough the inspection is going to be.

5. What type of report do you use? Some inspectors use computer generated onsite reporting, some use a handwritten checklist, some do computer generated reporting and send you the report after they’ve had time to look it over twice before sending it out. Each has their pros and cons. Computer generated onsite reporting is nice and you get your report right away. The downside is the inspector doesn’t have time to look any items up that may be in question or be very descriptive in their report. A hand written checklist in my opinion is the most incomplete type of report. You do get your report right away, but it is usually something like: Kitchen countertop: poor. This doesn’t give you much of a description of the defect, like what exactly is wrong with it. The computer generated report is in my opinion the best style. You get a neat, professional looking report, the inspector has had time to be descriptive and to look up any items that he may have had questions on (no, we don’t know everything and if we say we do, take that as a sign). The downside is you don’t get your report for a day or so, but the report can get to you quickly if he/she emails it to you.
All inspectors should be able to provide you with photo’s of the problem areas in their reports. A picture is worth a thousand words. If they don’t include photos in their report (digital or otherwise) you may want to find an inspector that does.
Ask for a sample report. Most good inspectors will be happy to send you a copy.

6. How much do you charge and what's included? This is a very important question. The question you really should be asking yourself “how much are you willing to spend on the most important investment you’re ever going to make?” Think about this. Do you really want to price shop on something this important? Yes, you don’t want to pay too much, but you don’t want to scrimp either. You’re paying $100,000+ for your home and now is not the time to go with the lowest price. Inspectors have overhead costs like any company; Insurance, vehicle, gas, equipment training, professional organization dues, a home, etc.
An average inspection is between $250 and $450 or more depending on the size, age and condition of the home. Some inspectors base their fees from the listing price. Some inspectors offer add-on services like Radon testing.
Based on what is uncovered in the inspection, you will probably be able to save that much and maybe more. For example: A new water heater will cost you in the neighborhood of $800, and if the inspector finds that the one in the home is nearing the end of its useful life, the inspection just paid for itself and then some. Its money spent wisely.

Most good home inspectors encourage you to follow them on the inspection or go over it with you at the home when they are done, and I highly recommend it. It will give you a chance to see what he sees, and ask questions. Be sure to ask questions! The inspector will usually to be happy to answer them for you or if he doesn’t know the answer right then, he should offer to look it up and call you with the answer. This is also a time to find out where key components like shut-off valves or the breaker panel is located in case of an emergency, or get tips on routine maintenance items.
A home inspection is a visual, non-destructive examination of a home. It is not technically exhaustive. Inspectors cannot see defects behind a wall, ceiling or furniture.
He or she will just use their knowledge and experience in their visual examination. If a component doesn’t work by normal means of operation the inspector won’t try to get it operating by any other means. He/she will only open those panels that are normally used to service a piece of equipment. If a danger exists to the inspector, he/she will not inspect that piece of equipment. They will just defer to a professional more experienced in that type of application. They do not move furniture to inspect, so having the home ready for the inspector prior to the inspection will not only speed the process, but give you a more thorough inspection.

Having the home inspected is the best thing you can do to have a more informed decision on the purchase or sale of your home. After all, this is probably the biggest investment you will ever make!

Read More:
Would you like to learn about Home Warranties or Home Maintenance?  Or need Home Buying Tips?  I am here to help!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

MN Best Places to Live 2012 (CNN Money)

Can you guess which five metro area cities made Money's list of America's best small cities?

And the winners are...
#3 Eden Prarie
#14 Eagan
#19 Lakeville
#22 Maple Grove

Thinking about moving to one of these cities?  Call me today!


Friday, August 17, 2012

The entryway battle...

They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression — and your entryway, be it a grand foyer or a humble alcove, is the first impression buyers will get of your home. It's also the first place you'll land when coming home after a day at work or a long weekend away, and a sort of waystation for all the random accumulated stuff of life. So get inspired to get organized, declutter and welcome people in!

Hooks, rugs and more.... First, ditch the "and more"! If you don't have a closet, well you'll need a few hooks. But these hooks aren't for your jacket (well at least not when expecting guests). And it's always nice to have a place to wipe your feet but keep your rug just for that... Again, the rug is not a place to store YOUR shoes when guests are expected.

Yes, that closet is called the coat closet but not for ALL your coats (and shoes and gloves and hats and...). Think seasonally. If its not in season, it's in storage (again this is the coat closet not the storage closet). Wouldn't it be nice to open the door and only see items appropriate for the weather? Buyers think so too! But maybe you are a collector of sorts and you have a winter coat for every possible event. If you are selling your house, now is the to "make do with two" and store the rest.

If your entry is grand, you have the space for a bit of tasteful decor. A table with a vase of flowers or sculpture; maybe a painting; or a bench to sit.

Do you have a great entryway?  Please share with us!

getting the best price for a home, Organizing your home, remodeling your house, sell my house, Staging

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Front Yard Landscaping Design Principals

Sometimes, too much information is overwhelming and it's time to go back to basics.
Follow the good garden and landscape basic design principles below and you’ll have a front yard garden and entry that will be fresh, comfortable and welcoming.

- Balance the design – use symmetry or asymmetry
- Keep the focus on the front door and welcoming guests
- Repeat color, shapes and textures
- Keep design elements simple
- Don't do more than you have time to maintain
- When in doubt, natural settings are classic – use boulders, native plants and bushes, small trees

Please note: Before making any major changes, it’s recommended that you check with your association, town or city zoning committee and building codes to make sure you’re not breaking any neighborhood rules or regulations.

basic landscaping ideas, curb appeal, front yard, landscaping, landscaping design, landscaping rules,

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Yes, there is a compromise!

Most people expect to negotiate the price of the house they are planning to buy or sell.  Some come with fire in their bellies, invigorated by the challenge.  Others quiver at the thought of having to put their emotions aside and work through the potential back and forth they may face.
Rather than approaching negotiations from an adversarial winner-take-all perspective, focus on your top priorities and don't let your emotions overrule your better judgment.

"Win-win" does not mean both the buyer and the seller will get everything they want. It means both sides will get some and give some.

And some of you will feel better knowing that not every real estate deal requires a lot of compromise or negotiating. (See Is that home priced right?)

Be prepared to compromise and you will come out feeling like a winner!

Get professional necotiating help!

Visit: or call Sarah at 651-964-0289

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Oh no! The Appraisal is Low!

Congratulations! Your offer was accepted on a home! ....But your lender ordered the appraisal and it's less that what you offered for the home...

Is the value hanging in the balance? 
So your appraisal was low... now what?
Get a copy of the appraisal from the lender and open up a discussion with the seller. If it's an FHA appraisal, the appraised value will stick with the home for six months or maybe longer, even if the contract is terminated and another buyer comes in who agrees to the listed price.

Then what?
You have some choices. Some are in the buyer's favor and some are in the seller's favor.  This is where having an agent good at negotiating can really help!
  • Have your agent review the comparable properties selected and the facts, such as number of rooms, age of the property, square footage, etc, in the appraisal for errors.  If justifiable errors are found, the appraiser may adjust the value.
  • Ask the seller to reduce the purchase price to the appraised price. Since almost every buyer needs mortgage funding to purchase a home, it's highly unlikely that the seller will be able to find a buyer who won't be negatively affected by a low appraisal. The worst the seller can say is no.
  • Pay the difference in cash. If you were planning to put a large amount down, you may be able to reduce the amount you were going to put down and still qualify for the loan. Keep in mind that a higher loan-to-value ratio will result in a higher interest rate and higher payments. In addition, if putting less money down brings your loan value to more than 80 percent of the appraised value, you'll have to pay mortgage insurance.
  • Decide on a compromise with the seller if neither of you can afford to drop the price completely or pay the difference in cash. As long as you still want the house, it's better for both of you than walking away from the deal.
  • See if the seller and your lender will allow for the seller to hold a privately held second mortgage. Some lenders will not allow for a total mortgage amount over a certain percent, but others might allow it if your credit is good enough, you're putting enough money down and the lender feels it's an acceptable risk.
  • Get a second appraisal. You may have to change lenders to do this, and there's no guarantee that another appraisal would be higher (it may even be lower). FHA appraisals require the appraiser to register his appraisal to the property, so a second appraisal is not an option in those cases.
A good Realtor® will help you navigate rocky waters such as these.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Can you keep the family photos up or must they come down?

I’m in a lot of homes every week as I consult with buyers and sellers and I do see many beautiful and stylish photo displays on the wall. Wall Words are very popular right now as well as frames with meaningful sayings that celebrate the family displayed and what is important to them. I see gorgeous photography of families, children and pets. And let’s not forget those baby shots that just melt your heart!

When you are SELLING…as stunning as these pictures and wall displays are, they are DISTRACTING to your potential buyers.

So…now the BIG question….What do we do with these beautiful photo displays on the walls?

Do we take them all down, patch the wall/re-paint and stare at a blank boring wall?
Do we add a piece of artwork instead?
What if we have A LOT of walls with photos?

Don’t despair! There is a STAGING TECHNIQUE that works quite well.

One of the easiest and inexpensive ways to NEUTRALIZE those family and pet photos is to just replace the photos inside.

Here’s how in 3 Easy Steps:

Take inventory of all the personal photos you need to cover; note orientation and frame sizes.

Seek out your vacation photos of landscape or visit a photo sharing site and do a search for black and white nature/trees/flowers/landscapes... or even architectural photos. Whatever you prefer or will work for the room and style of house. (It can be in color if that works best in that particular space.)
Once you find the ones your looking for, print them off in the appropriate size either at home if you have a photo printer or online to pick up at the local box store. This works best for 4×6, 5×7 and 8x 10. (Any bigger than that, it gets a little more difficult.)
Put it over the existing photo in the frame and TA DAH!… have a nice, neutral photo to display temporarily.

Remember that there is also a balance that needs to be achieved throughout the house when it comes to all those personal photos. To achieve balance, follow these guidelines:

There may be some walls that everything will just need to come down and you’ll patch and repaint.

There may be a wall that will need a piece of artwork in place of the photos.
Be sure that all the frames in your display are the same. This creates a nice, clean simplistic presentation that does not distract from the selling features of the room. If you have a display of photos with all different types of frames, they definitely need to come down. Please do not attempt to replace the photos with the neutral photos suggested above using all those different frames. It just won’t work.

What about those collage frames that hold 4-10 pictures? Gone. Again, please do not attempt to replace the photos with the neutral photos suggested above using all those different frames. It just won’t work.

Yes, there can be people in your staging photos BUT they should be silhouettes or distance shots.

Are you feeling sentimental about taking down the photos of your loved ones? I promise you'll appreciate them more after they've been gone for just a bit.

So, are you going to swap out those pictures so people look at the house or are you going to keep your personal life on display?

Call me if you need help!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Do This, Don't Do That

When it comes to buying a house, a list of do's and don'ts can help you get off on the right foot especially if you plan to apply for a mortgage.  Here are some basic dos and don'ts to help you stay on track with your home ownership plans.

Do This

Do Pay Old Debts – The less debt you have, the easier it’s going to be to get a great mortgage. Paying down your debt as this is another area that a lender will look at if you don’t have a lot of capital to put down as collateral.
Do Pay Off Early – If possible, don't ever make minimum payments. Adding a little extra every month to debt payments is a really good help when trying to get a mortgage in the future. This applies to existing mortgages as well. The quicker you can pay it off, the better.
Do Show Evidence of Down Payment Savings – Though some loans will allow you to receive "gift funds" from a family member for your down payment, it is best to show you have acculated your own down-payment savings

Don't Do That

Don’t Miss Payments – If you currently have a mortgage or any other type of loan, make sure you always make the payments on time. Car payments, credit card payments, school loan payments... it doesn't matter what type of loan it is, you need to pay on time every time.
Don’t Overextend – Many people like to live beyond their means – i.e. spend more than they make – but this can quickly lead to problems. When getting ready to apply for a mortgage, make a household budget and practice sticking to it for six months before you apply. Use a "cash-only" system so you are not buying anything on credit.   By not overextending yourself financially, you can increase your chances of mortgage approval.

Want more mortgage advice?  I have have a handful of trusted mortgage professionals that would be happy to discuss your options and create a plan to get you the best possible loan terms for your situation.  Contact me now!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Are you qualified to buy that house?

Get pre-approved for a mortgage in the Twin Cities
Did you know most sellers will only entertain offers that are accompanied by a pre-qualification or pre-approval letter from a lender (or proof of funds)?  Many sellers also require that buyers be pre-qualified before even booking a showing for their home.

Have you found a lender yet to get pre-qualified? If not, send me a message or give me a call and I can refer a couple.

Call Sarah! 651-964-0289

Are you ready to buy or sell?  Need help determining if you are ready?  I can help!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Tips from the Red Cross to Beat the Heat!

It's summer. No doubt that means some HOT days so take a look at these tips from the Red Cross and be safe!

Heat Index

Prepare for the heat:

•Listen to local weather forecasts and stay aware of upcoming temperature changes.
•Know what a Heat Index Is: The heat index is the temperature the body feels when the effects of heat and humidity are combined. Exposure to direct sunlight can increase the heat index by as much as 15° F.
•Discuss heat safety precautions with members of your household. Have a plan for wherever you spend time—
•home, work and school—and prepare for the possibility of power outages.
•Check the contents of your emergency preparedness kit in case a power outage occurs.
•Know those in your neighborhood who are elderly, young, sick or overweight. They are more likely to become victims of excessive heat and may need help.
•If you do not have air conditioning, choose places you could go to for relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day (schools, libraries, theaters, malls).
•Ensure that your animals’ needs for water and shade are met.

Safety during a heat wave:

•Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles.
•Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty.
•Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
•Eat small meals and eat more often.
•Avoid extreme temperature changes.
•Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
•Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
•Postpone outdoor games and activities.
•Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat.
•Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors.
Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
•Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.

Know the signs of heat related emergencies:

•Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms that usually occur in the legs or abdomen caused by exposure to high heat and humidity and loss of fluids and electrolytes. Heat cramps are often an early sign that the body is having trouble with the heat.
•Heat exhaustion typically involves the loss of body fluids through heavy sweating during strenuous exercise or physical labor in high heat and humidity.
•Signs of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea; dizziness; weakness; and exhaustion.
•Move the person to a cooler place. Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If the person is conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition.
•Heat stroke (also known as sunstroke) is a life-threatening condition in which a person’s temperature control system stops working and the body is unable to cool itself.
•Signs of heat stroke include hot, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting; and high body temperature.
Heat stroke is life-threatening. Call 9-1-1

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sunday Tour of Homes, June 3rd, 2012

Join me this Sunday for a Sunday Tour of Homes!

1:30 PM 26300 Freeport Avenue Wyoming, MLS#4147190
2:15 PM 11883 Marigold Way Lindstrom, MLS#4135779
2:45 PM 32470 Nottingham Court Lindstrom, MLS#4137163
3:30 PM 38125 Pine Avenue Center City, MLS#4113917
4:00 PM 38610 Pine Avenue Center City, MLS#4102486
4:45 PM 8227 Iris Avenue North Branch, MLS#4081194

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Get detached! Take a vacation!


Repeat after me: It's not my home
When you list your house for sale, it goes from being your home to being a product. What would you do if trying to sell your car? Get your stuff out, clean it up, fix the major issues and show it to everyone able to buy it. Same goes for your house!

Repeat after me: I am living in a hotel on a wanna-be vacation
Think of all this de-cluttering  and cleaning as the start of an extended wanna-be vacation. Most vacations are not spent at the hotel so if you have your house stripped to the bare essentials like a hotel, it will be easier to keep in check and available for short-notice showings.
Use this as an opportunity to spend time away from home. Check out the area you are moving to. Visit the library, drive the neighborhood, check out the park and get acquainted with your NEW home and neighborhood.
If your new place is too far away, use this time to visit local friends, visit the zoo, eat at your favorite restaurants and other activities you may not have available at the new house... Anything that will keep you (and your kids) occupied away from the house.

Just think, if you do this upfront and your home sells fast, it's a very small sacrifice to make for a short period of time. :)

getting the best price for a home, home organizing tips, Showings, Staging, Tips to sell my house

Friday, May 18, 2012

Top 10 house landscaping tips for before a sale

Let's be honest, one of the most stressful parts about selling a house for many people is getting it "showing ready" and keeping it that way.

The outside of your house is the first thing people see when I drive up so let's start there.

Here are 10 tips to enhance your curb appeal without breaking the bank or eating (all) your time.

1. Don't waste your money on a big project. Your house is for sale and you won't recoup the money.
2. Remove all weeds.  A buyer will think that if you don't care enough about your house to remove the weeds, what else did you neglect. Consider your budget and time and decide if you need to hire a professional or do it yourself.
3. Cut the lawn every week. Maybe twice if your lawn grows quickly. again you may need to hire a service if you can't do this yourself.
4. Trim bushes. A buyer should be able to see your house; the windows shouldn't be covered up by overgrown bushes.
5. Trim the trees. Get rid of all those little saplings at the base of the tree and trim any low branches. Climb up on the roof, trim any branches that touch and remove any sticks that fell on it. This also eliminates any issues with the inspection later. While you're up there, clean out the gutters, too.
6. Clean your front door. Wipe it down so it's free of dust and grine and remove cobwebs. Replace the welcome mat or remove it all together.
7. Freshen up the mulch in flower beds and clean debris from rock gardens. Remove any dead or dying plants. No need for planting anything new. Let the buyer see the "potential".
8. Group potted plants at the front door if you have the space. Remember if your house is for sale, the landscaping at your front door area should be welcoming. Keep it simple.
9. Whether you have a deck, patio, porch or lanai think about this area when you are landscaping your house for a sale. Think of it as another room in your house -declutter and keep it clean. Simple patio furniture with room to move around is all you need to show off the space.
10. Stay on top of seasonal landscaping duties. Shovel the snow. Rake the leaves. Keep the lawn watered. Buyers are not going to trudge through the snow to see your house. In fact, they probably won't even get out of the car.

Though it's not in the top 10, if you have a blacktop driveway consider a fresh seal coating.
Now that wasn't so bad was it? Most of these items are part of your normal maintenance routine already but give them just a little extra attention because you're selling.

Home Renovation  |  Curb Appeal  |  Home Selling Tips

Come find me!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

10 Non-Toxic Cleaning Recipes

Would you like to be a greener cleaner? Try these can non toxic cleaning recipes!
Doesn't it feel good to be a
"Greener Cleaner"?

Soft scrub - 

Add enough dishwashing liquid (dye-free, fragrance-free if possible) to ½ cup baking soda. Stir until it forms a paste. Perfect for tubs, tiles and toilets.

Fabric softener - 

Pour ¼ cup white vinegar into the final rinse cycle. Caution: Do not use vinegar if you use bleach.

Glass cleaner - 

Add ¼ teaspoon of natural dishwashing liquid and 3 tablespoons white vinegar to 2 cups water in a spray bottle. Just shake, spray and dry. Recycle old newspapers to dry for a streak-free shine. Caution: Wear gloves when using newspaper so you do not stain your hands.
All-purpose spray cleaner - Combine ½ teaspoon washing soda, a dab of liquid soap and 2 cups hot water in a spray bottle, then shake.

Furniture polish - 

Mix ½ teaspoon oil, such as olive or jojoba, with ¼ cup white vinegar or lemon juice in a glass jar. Dab solution with a cloth and wipe wood surfaces.

Air fresheners – 

Open the window ;)

Disinfectant - 

Add 1 teaspoon of essential oil, such as clove or tea tree, to 2 cups of water in a spray bottle; or add 20 drops of grapefruit seed extract to 1 quart water.

Oven Cleaner- 

Sprinkle baking soda over the bottom of the oven. Spray with water. Let sit for 8 hours. Next, scrub and rinse clean.

Drain cleaner - 

To open clogs, pour ½ cup baking soda down drain, then pour ½ cup white vinegar and cover the drain. Caution: Do not use this method after trying a commercial drain opener.

Silver Polish – 

Use a natural toothpaste; preferably one without baking soda so it will not scratch your silver. Just rub, rinse and dry!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

It's just the laundry room! (Or is it?)

I must admit…I’ve got a thing about nice laundry rooms

 The kitchen may be the heart of the home but many hours are spent each week in the laundry room. And THAT makes this room a very important space to feature when selling your home.

Many times when I am consulting with sellers and we get to the laundry area, they’ll ask if I want to see it because after all, it’s only the laundry room. In their minds, it’s that space that’s a catch-all for dirty clothes, cases of water bottles, dog food, cat litter, the vacuum and old paint cans... But I ABSOLUTELY want to see what’s behind that door.

The Laundry Room needs some attention and staging too. This is one space you don’t want to overlook when selling. The biggest issue is getting rid of everything that is not needed so the room can breath and look spacious. Yes, that means you have to bring all that "stuff" you were storing there to the thrift store or storage and the 40lb. dog food bag has to go and you’re going to have to store all that water neatly in the garage.

Here’s a few Staging Tips that can help you transform your laundry room into a fabulous space that buyer’s will love:

DE-CLUTTER: Get everything out that you don’t need (as mentioned above). The only thing that should be in there is the stuff you need to do laundry (detergent, softener, etc.). Now is not the time to buy the HUGE bulk size bottles of detergent.

CLEAN LIKE CRAZY: Wipe down that washer and dryer from top to bottom. Push it back against the wall if needed. I’ve seen a lot of washer and dryers pushed out with all those hoses showing. Tuck the hoses in while you’re at it. Wash out the laundry tub and put away the scrub brushes. Think ORGANIZED.

PAINT: Most laundry rooms need a fresh coat of paint and a different color. For some reason, I see a lot of sponge painting in these spaces. Probably because it was a safe room to try your hand at the technique years ago. I’m speaking from personal experience here -I picked good colors but it still looked just dreadful because it was way too busy for that small room. Trust me, a fresh coat of neutral paint goes a long way.

STAGE: Matching bins and Baskets make a HUGE DIFFERENCE visually when used to store all those detergents on the shelves above the washer and dryer. Buyers do not want to see all those bottles that look like clutter and they don't need to focus on the brand you use. It looks so much more organized and fresh staged with these pretty bins and baskets. This is why you don’t want to hit Cosco for the jumbo size detergents....easier to hide!

KEEP UP THE LAUNDRY: Not letting the laundry get out of hand during selling can be a challenge. We lead busy lives. Doing a load a day keeps you on top of the process. Buyers should NEVER see dirty clothes in piles, in a basket, anywhere. EVER. The same goes for clean laundry. It should not be sitting out on the counter or top of the dryer waiting to be put away or hanging around. Buyers want to see the space. Show them an organized room they can emotionally connect to….NOT how much work laundry can be. If you have a last minute showing or you are just behind, make sure you get it out of sight and HIDE those baskets. Is it just one load? Put it in the washer but do NOT start the washer! Many loads behind? Maybe this is your opportunity to throw them in your car and take them to the laundry mat and get caught up during the showing. :)

HANGERS, DRYING RACKS AND CLOTHES BASKETS: Yes…we need them to do the laundry but during showings, they should not be anywhere in sight. Storing all those extra hangers on the clothes rack/shelving is not an option either. Throw them in one of the bins or baskets or if you are lucky to have a closet in your laundry room, store them there.

Does your laundry room need a facelift?  Get inspired HERE.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Asian Chicken Salad

This came to me in an email newsletter so I can take no credit for it but it is yummy!
Asian Chicken Salad
Serves: 4
The fruit that tops this salad packs this already healthy dish with even more vitamins. Reprinted with permission by Public Health - Seattle & King County.
INGREDIENTS 2 cups cooked chicken, skin removed, cut into bite-size pieces 4 cups cabbage, shredded 1 cup mushrooms, sliced 1 cup carrots, grated 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped 1 cucumber, thinly sliced 3 green onions, thinly sliced 1 mandarin orange or tangerine, divided into sections 1/2 cup nonfat Asian-style salad dressing black pepper
DIRECTIONS 1. In a large bowl, combine chicken, cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, cilantro, cucumber, and dressing. Toss well. 2. Top with green onions and tangerine sections. Pepper to taste.
NUTRITION INFO Calories: 125.5 Fat: 0.9 g Carbohydrates: 19.5 g Protein: 10.9 g

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Price To Good to be True?

Every buyer is looking for the "perfect house" or "killer deal" and they have likely read something somewhere or heard somebody say they can get a "great deal on a foreclosure" or "offer low becasue it's a buyers market".

But what makes a home a good deal?  If the price looks "cheap" you should probably be asking why.  Is it the condition?  The neighborhood? The amount of time it has been sitting empty? Are they trying to generate a bidding war?

Houses marketed by a reputable real estate agent will most often be priced in line with properties of comparable condition, lot size, location, etc.

When you do find that home that looks "perfect" for you, be sure to get a sane-day showing and do a little research with a good agent.  Chances are you aren't the only one who thinks it's great and you will want to beat those other buyers out!

Bottom Line: If the price looks too good to be true, you might be missing something. Jump on "the deal" but make sure you do your research!

Need more help determining which houses are priced right?
Call Sarah! 651-964-0289

Sunday, April 29, 2012

21 Things I Wish I Was Told When I Started Real Estate

Your suggestions wanted!

What would you like more information on?  Email me or comment  below! I'd love to be as helpful as possible!

Everyday Information from

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Homeowners Insurance

Homeowner's insurance exists because a home is a huge investment, often one of the largest purchases many people make in their lifetimes. Naturally, people want to protect the value of their precious property. Homeowners insurance is a contract between a homeowner and an insurance company. As long as the owner pays the required premiums and meets the other policy requirements, the insurance company guarantees to reimburse the owner for any losses incurred due to natural disasters or human-caused damage.

What Does It Cover?
A basic homeowner’s insurance policy protects the owner against any property damage that results from things like fire, lightning, wind or hail storms. It will also provide for motel and food costs if you are forced to leave your home while such damages are repaired.
A typical policy, however, does not cover flood or earthquake damage. Because these issues are usually specific to certain regions of the country and can cause extreme damage, these can be purchased as separate policies. If you live in a flood zone or near an earthquake fault line you may be required by your mortgage company to carry these protections.
A basic policy will also cover homeowners against loss from theft or vandalism as well as reimbursement for personal property destroyed in natural disasters. It will also provide for something that many people may not normally associate with home protection – liability coverage for lawsuits brought against the owner by people who were injured on the property. This includes the cost of legal defense up to the allowed policy limit. Additionally, most policies will have a provision that will cover the basic medical expenses for the parties.

Is It Required?
Homeowners insurance is almost universally required by mortgage companies with the purchase of a home. This is because the investment is almost as big for them as it is for you. They want to make sure the property is protected from major damages so that if you are ever unable to keep up with your payments, the lender can then reclaim ownership and be able to sell it fairly easily. And even if you own your home outright, a good insurance policy is still the best way to protect the value of your home in the face of the unexpected.

Is homeowner's insurance required?, What does homeowner's insurance cover?, What is Homeowner's insurance?