Washington County MN Real Estate Blog

Should I Sell my House As-Is?

Q: Dear Matt:
I’ve taken a job in Milwaukee and they needed me there “yesterday.” We’ll be renting a home until we can find one to buy but my question has to do with our current home in Woodbury. I hate to admit it but I’m not the best  maintenance guy and the home is showing some wear and tear and it needs some repairs. I just don’t have time to do them and I won’t be in town to supervise the work anyway so I’m wondering how you feel about selling it as-is?
Soren Anderson, Woodbury

A: Thanks for the question, Soren. Whether or not to sell a home as-is depends a great deal on what type of market we’re in. If it’s a buyers’ market (one where the buyer has lots of homes from which to choose) I would advise against it. In a sellers’ market, however, you have a bit more leeway on what you can get away with and still make a decent chunk of cash on the sale. There are other considerations aside from market conditions, however.

A study came out a year or two ago that found homebuyers, by and large, want homes that are in move-in condition and are willing to pay more for one that is. When a buyer is faced with a large selection of homes yours will need to have some pretty compelling features to beat the competition and get the buyer to pony up for a house that needs repairs.
The first consideration is price – depending on what’s wrong with the home, you may need to price it significantly lower than market value to make it an attractive purchase. If this is something your budget can
tolerate, you’ve passed this hurtle. But, there are others.

Buyers aren’t the only ones that want a home...

Summer Camps for Woodbury's Techy Kids

With only two months left before Woodbury schools let the kids go for the summer, it’s time to start thinking about how you’ll keep them busy for those almost-three months of “vacation.” Summer camp, if you can afford it, is one way to ensure your children are being cared for while they have some fun, learn something new or both.
One of the biggest trends in summer camping is the tech camp, where kids can learn everything from coding to game creation to animation. Sure, these camps aren’t for all children, but if your child has a passion for all things tech, or even just one thing, you can’t go wrong with some of the offerings in the Twin Cities.

You might be skeptical about sending your brood off to sit behind a computer for a week. Perhaps you shouldn’t be.
Even at a tech camp, the aims of summer camps remain unchanged. It’s still about discovering new talents, meeting new friends, and enjoying age-appropriate activities. Tech camps simply focus on different skills.
Tech is a broad field. There’s no way that children can learn it all in a week in the summer. Camps tend to
focus on one platform, skill or game – empowering children to learn as much as they can about a specific area.

Twin Cities’ tech camps offer children both day and overnight camps with kids and teen programs to provide age appropriate learning environments and lots of social activities with their peers. Just as you would expect, days include lessons, outdoor games, meals and extra fun nighttime activities for sleepover campers. Your children can choose from coding, game design, website development, apps, robotics, filmmaking and more....

4 Ways to Prepare Now to Sell Your Woodbury Home in Spring

Home Preparation TipsAh, spring – the time homebuyers binge on Woodbury real estate. Look at any graph over the last decade or two of monthly housing activity in the area and you’ll see a February slump and then a rapid rise in activity in March, lasting until the peak in June. Suffice it to say,  it’s no secret that spring is the ultimate homebuying season in Woodbury. If you’re one of the many Woodbury homeowners planning to sell this spring, the time to prepare is right now. You’ll have lots of competition once spring hits and anything you can do to smooth the way now will put you out in front of the rest of them. Here are some tips to help you hit the ground running in spring:

1. Get a head start packing

Packing now not only makes the job easier later on, but it also helps your house sell. How? By removing excess furniture, clothing, linens and kitchen items, you give the home a leaner, cleaner look. Start with personal items such as photos, book,magazine and DVD collections, trophies and all the other little mementos scattered throughout the home. Then, work your way up to clearing out closets, cupboards and even the pantry. You know better than to put all those packed boxes in the garage, right? Garages need to be staged the same as the interior of your home. Woodbury has no shortage of self-storage businesses, so rent a unit that is large enough to hold not only all of the boxes you’ll be moving while you pack, but furniture as well. You may find that you’ll need to remove some of your furniture when staging the home in spring.

2. Clean and repair

While winter is brutal on the exterior of a home it can be hard on the interior as well. We keep our homes...

Out'N About in Woodbury - March 2016

Spring 2016It’s a month full of spring fun in Woodbury and the rest of Twin Cities region. Get out your calendar and get ready to have some fun this month!

March 1-20

2016 Spring Parade of Homes

One of Barker and Hedges Team’s FAVORITE events! Organized by the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC), you’ll be able to tour more than 450 newly constructed homes throughout the Twin Cities Metro Region (22 of these homes are located right here in Woodbury). All the homes are free to tour (open noon to 6 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays) with the exception of the four Artisan Dream Homes. More than 300 of the homes on tour will be on the Green Path Energy Tour – find out the latest in green home technology and building to save you money on your energy bills!  Learn more online at ParadeofHomes.org or call the BATC at 651-697-7567.

March 4

Frozen Friday

Sure, let’s show the rest of the world just how truly nuts we are here in Minnesota; go jump in a hole cut into a frozen lake. Then, tell everyone how fun it is. Really, this event is a hoot (to watch, at least for me), so even if you don’t want to take the plunge, at least show up to cheer on those that do. Register online to plunge at reg.plungemn.org. To spectate, head to Thomas Beach at Lake Calhoun, 3700 Thomas Ave. S in Minneapolis.

There will be fireworks to wrap up the fun at 7 p.m. at Lake Calhoun.

March 5

Polar Plunge 5K

Polar Plunge weekend fun continues into Saturday,...

Visit Santa at Stillwater's Historic Courthouse

Stillwater's Historic CourthouseThe local shopping mall is not the only place to bring your kids to see Santa Claus this year. While this may be the easiest avenue, some may be looking for a more creative and festive way to bring their kids to Santa. There isn’t a whole lot of holiday spirit at the mall outside of encouraging people to buy, buy, buy.

The Historic Courthouse in Stillwater might be your alternative route to share Santa with your children. On Sunday, December 16th, the courthouse is celebrating Christmas by inviting Santa, a family holiday sing-a-long, and refreshments. All of this will be taking place at the beautifully decorated courthouse; if you can’t get into the holiday spirit while hanging out here, you may need to check your pulse.

Local entertainer Karen Hillman will be leading the family holiday sing-a-long with her guitar at 2:15 p.m. Don’t know the words to the traditional holiday songs? No problem. Song books will be passed out so you and your kids can follow along. After that, at 2:45 p.m., Santa will be making a visit to hear all of those "good" boys and girls' Christmas wishes. Photo opportunities will be available on Santa’s lap, but without the cost of the mall photographer charging to...

Stillwater Graduate to Be Appointed by Obama?

Denis McDonoughDenis McDonough, 43, a Stillwater, MN native, is being outright chosen by those ‘in the know’ to soon be appointed by President Barack Obama as the White House Chief of Staff. This Martin Luther King Day was also Obama’s inauguration after winning his second term this past November. With that victory comes the necessity to restock his cabinet for his new term.

Right now, McDonough currently works as Deputy National Security Advisor to Obama. He joined Obama’s Senate Staff in 2006 and was one of the President’s key advisors during his 2008 campaign for presidency. The Stillwater native has been with Obama and his team long enough to be trusted with such a key position.

McDonough graduated from Stillwater Area High School and also attended St. John’s University in Minnesota. After that, he achieved a master’s degree...

Woodbury Educator Nominated for Teacher of the Year

A Woodbury teacher is being recognized for her hard work. Kathy Romero teaches at Crosswinds Arts and Science School, a year-round 6-10 grade school, and was recently nominated for Minnesota Teacher of the Year by her principal Bryan Bass. Though her career as a teacher has been short, the 58 year-old has made a big impact on her students’ lives.

Romeo’s career as a teacher has been brief up to this point because education was not always her career choice. Romeo started her career in finance, working her way up from a savings and loan bank teller to a licensed stock broker.

She also raised two daughters in that time. But her dream in life was to be a teacher; so Romeo left her job and pursued an education to be a language arts teacher. The choice was a good one. She is now among 135 candidates up for the 2013 Teacher of the Year.

Romeo loves her job and strives to make learning easy and comfortable for all her...

Local Teenager Zach Sobiech Touches So Many Lives With His Inspirational Music

Zach SobiechIt’s hard to miss the name Zach Sobiech if you’ve been on social media the past weeks. He has become a local hero, his influence even expanding to an international level. The tragic aspect to Zach’s journey is that he passed away on Monday after a long battle with cancer; the inspirational part of the story comes from the way Zach lived his life and the way he touched the lives of all who heard of his struggles.

“Writing goodbye letters aren’t Zach’s style,” his mother Laura has said, “so he puts his heart into song lyrics.”

He wanted to be able to create lasting messages his loved ones could revisit once he was gone. But one of Zach’s songs, a track titled “Clouds” has become a sensation, both on YouTube and iTunes. On YouTube, Zach’s music video for “Clouds” is up to almost five million views.

On iTunes, this track has propelled to number one on their list, even ahead of current cultural icons like Macklemore and Pink. Yes, a local kid from Stillwater who wrote a song about his struggles with cancer is the number one purchased song on iTunes in the US. But the song has even jumped to number 24 in the UK as of yesterday; the song wasn’t even on the UK iTunes top 100 songs the day before.

Part of Zach’s posthumous stardom comes from random people learning about him and wanting to spread his story every way they can; but a lot of his influence is being spread by his close friends and those who knew him.

“The effort has mostly spread via Facebook and...

Premier Bleu Valley Estate to Hit Market

Behold, a once in a lifetime opportunity to own one of Minnesota’s premiere equestrian estates, located near Stillwater just minutes from the downtown and the St. Croix River Valley. The “Bleu Valley Estate” has been the residence of many stakes-winning thoroughbred racehorses over the past decades.

Bleu Valley Estate is over 70 acres and rests just alongside the Gateway Trail Extension, one of Minnesota’s most popular paved hiking/biking trails – it also has dirt trails for horseback riding, a perfect complement to the stables on the estate. Some of the surrounding properties to the estate are locked in a Land Trust, giving this location unrivaled privacy. On the property sits a magnificent log-sided home in perfect position to take in the majestic panoramic views of the Stillwater countryside.

In addition to the beautiful home - property features include: a T-shaped barn with two 36' X 84' sections, an attached 55' x 60' indoor arena, 75' x 100' outdoor area, 36' x 48' hay or equipment shed, 14' x 28' machine shed, 8 pastures featuring run-in livestock shelters and Miraco automatic livestock water dispensers. Other features include over 3,000 feet of underground water lines and 17,5000 feet of top-quality fencing. The front 20 acres of the property are primed for future development.

Owning this type of a property is a once in a lifetime opportunity – to learn more about the estate, visit www.bleuvalleyestate.com


Tips To Save Energy And Add Value

When it comes to energy efficiency, look for smart features and expertise to help you save energy and money and add value to your home.

1. Begin with a Right-Sized Home.

If the home you buy is simply too large for you or your family’s needs or plans, you stand a good chance of wasting energy through excessive heating and cooling costs. If it’s too small, you’ll feel cramped and uncomfortable. It’s a big investment, so seek balance and buy it “right” from the outset. 

2. Purchase Energy Star Appliances Such as Your TV, Dishwasher, Washer and Dryer, and Microwave.

And especially the refrigerator, as it alone contributes about 10 percent of the energy use in a home. Also, unplug electronics not in use or turn off power strips to avoid phantom charges. 

3. Install Efficient Lighting Such as Compact Fluorescent (CLF) or LED Bulbs in Every Fixture.

Lighting accounts for about 6 percent of an energy bill each year.

4. Get an Energy Audit and Have Tests Performed to Identify Ways of Improving Your Efficiency.

You can always upgrade your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system as well as your thermal envelope, which includes insulation, windows, and doors  and the seals or weather stripping around them. Visit energy.gov/energytips for more tips.


Sunsets in Woodbury is Refined, But Relaxed

Sunsets in WoodburyThis local restaurant has two locations in the Twin Cities, one in Wayzata and one in Woodbury. The latter has been one of the fixtures of Woodbury before it was the bustling commercial district it is now. Sunsets was there before most of Woodbury, opening its doors in 1997. The inside is modern and elegant giving off the appeal of high class. The restaurant must be experienced during the holidays - Sunsets' decorations not only give patrons a taste of more holiday spirit, but the Christmas lights and decorations perfectly set the mood for a classy dinner.

But really, Sunsets is still very casual, as reflected by the variety in their patrons and their reasonably priced menu. The menu features an array of exquisite dishes for all palettes, and from experience, they are all delicious. Sunsets is not just a local favorite, but appreciated by folks from all over. The restaurant is almost always busy, so make sure to call ahead to reserve a table.

For more information, head to ...