Stillwater Area Real Estate Blog
Expert insight into the real estate marketplace in the Stillwater Minnesota Area.
King of Diamonds owner Larry Kladek is trying to unload his massive 16,875 sq.ft. estate featuring 8-bedrooms and 13-baths on nearly 78 private acres. Other key amenities include:
- Tennis/basketball court
- Wine cellar
- Two level 10+ car garage
- Indoor pool
- 15' tall 500 glallon cylinder aquarium inside a spiral staircase
- 9 seat theatre
- 3 built-in outdoor grills
1401 70th Street E, Inver Grove Heights is currently listed with Lakes Sotheby's International for a mere $12 million. The entire property is completely fenced in and has a 7+ acre private lake stocked with sunfish and largemouth bass.
No word on how many stripper poles the mansion has.
Many people think that the best place to get a mortgage is the bank where you have your savings or checking account because:
- You've banked there for years so it'll be easy to get a loan
- The bank already has your financial info, which makes things easier
Wrong! Wells Fargo, TCF or US Bank don't care about your "relationship" with them. Banks are in business to make money. Plus they usually end up with loan, meaning you have to qualify for one of their programs. Think of the Golden Rule - those with the gold make all the rules. If you don't meet the guidelines to one of the few programs they offer then you're out of luck.
The best way to get a mortgage is finding a great local and independent loan officer. They work with many lenders and know about special offers that may be availbe in each city. I highly recommend Prime Mortgage - they will get you the best rate and terms. But most important, you'll get into a new home.
Admit it - if you're thinking about buying a home you've probably looked at a website like realtor.com. But there are many reasons why this isn't your best option:
- realtor.com doesn't have ALL the listings - Some homes don't show up online. For example, today the Stillwater area has 230 active listings but realtor.com only shows 204. Hope your dream home isn't missing.
- Search functions are limited on realtor.com - Do you have a strange obsession about living in a dome home? You won't find that search option. Luckily we can send the exact listings you want to see.
- realtor.com only lists partial information - It doesn't include property taxes or association dues - two very important things to know before making an offer.
- No room locations are shown - Do you want 3 bedrooms on the same level? Realtor.com only lists the number of bedrooms, so one could be upstairs while the others are in the basement.
If you want a better, completely custom way of looking at homes automatically emailed to you then contact us and we’ll hook you up.
Buying a home has changed over the last few years. Now home buyers don't a huge mansion that they can sell in a few years for profit (those days are long gone). Buyers would rather have a place to raise a family for years to come. Scaling back, energy efficiency and quality construction play a bigger role when it comes to a good family home.
Homes are usually priced too high, but this one is different. At $109,500 below tax assessed value it will definitely sell fast. It has a large lot and frontage on lake McKusick. Yes there is some work to be done - mostly minor cosmetic issues. But it will still be sold in under 30 days.
One of our favorite things about Stillwater is all the old houses – gorgeous century homes oozing with character. We used to live in a house built in 1885, so we definitely know what it’s like to own an old Stillwater home.
If you’re considering buying an old Stillwater house, here’s what you need to know:
Closets: People that lived in the early 1900′s must have had 2 outfits - a work uniform and their Sunday best. Because they definitely didn't have the closet space that new homes today have. So be aware that you might have to get a wardrobe from Ikea, which I believe is called the Bjergen Kjargen made by Kneurgen in the Joergen Fjords.
Knob & tube wiring: Many old Stillwater houses have electrical wiring that wasn’t designed for today’s electronics. While old wiring isn't necessarily bad, sometimes it has been poorly altered. A home inspector can help to identify knob and tube wiring, but you can be sure that it is probably there if the original lathe and plaster walls are still in place. It might also be tough to get insurance on a home with knob and tube wiring.
Insulation: Some homes don't have much (if any) insulation, it is actually a fairly new technology. In these old Stillwater homes, air pockets in the wall cavities were used to help seal a home but it doesn't work too well in the cold winter months. You can add insulation to your home with access to the attic, but it can be expensive.
Basements: Old Stillwater basements weren’t intended to be living spaces - some are only 6 feet high or have dirt floors. And don’t even get us started about how many basements are damp and have leaks.
Building codes: First-time home buyers are often surprised to find out their old Stillwater house isn’t “up to code.” The building codes constantly change and homes aren't required to comply retroactively. They only need to comply at the time the house was built or renovated. Be careful - many houses are renovated without permits, which means they might not comply to the new codes!
Bats/mice/other creatures: Nobody likes critters - a lot of old Stillwater homes are living with them. Old stone foundations tend to have a lot of cracks - the perfect entry for rodents. And bats - we have a long story about that situation. Let's just say that we had many tennis rackets stashed around the house.
Lead pipes and supply lines: Many old houses have lead pipes, which could mean lead in your drinking water. Click this link from the EPA to read more about lead pipes.
Sloping floors: Every house settles over time, so most 100+ year old homes have sloping floors. They can be fixed, usually at a costly price. Your home inspector can help determine if sloping floors are a result of settling or if there are bigger structural problems.
Scared yet? If you’re thinking of buying an old Stillwater house there are a lot of things to look for. A good Realtor and home inspector can help protect you. And really…who wants to live in a soul-less box of a house anyway?
Since the real estate market started to tumble in 2007, foreclosures have become more common. Many rumors and myths have surfaced as people try to understand how the process works. Some false ideas have come and gone, while a few still remain.
You can buy a fireclosure directly from the bank
You want to contact the bank to get a deal before the house goes on the market and beat the competition. It seems logical, but that's not how the system works. First the home is offered for sale on the courthouse steps where the bank almost always gets it back. Then the bank assigns it to a real estate agent to sell along with many other homes. So if you want a bank owned home you have to pay cash at the courthouse or get in line like everybody else.
You can lowball the bank and get a sweet deal
This rumor STILL isn't dead. Here’s the truth: banks want their listings sold in under 30 days. So they'll usually hit the market slightly below comparable properties. If it doesn’t sell fast the bank will lower the price, usually every 2-4 weeks. So lowball offers on a house that just hit the market are ignored and are really just a waste of everyone's time. You might get a deal by offering less on a foreclosure that has been on the market for over 90 days. Just remember that there are probably good reasons it hasn't sold yet.
Numerous foreclosures will hit the market soon
The myth surfaces every year but it still hasn't happened. The robo-signing scandal has been settled and people think the REO floodgates will soon open. Here's why it won't happen: banks regulate the flow of foreclosures to control market prices. Saturating the market is only in their worst interest, since it will negatively affect current homeowners and cause even more hardship.
Appraisers can't use foreclosures as comparables
In some markets, up to 95% of recent sales are foreclosures or short sales. Its nearly impossible to NOT use distressed properties as comparables.
Foreclosures only affect low priced homes
For the most part, this is still true. However, the number of foreclosures in Washington County over $300,000 has actually increased about 5% in the last two years. Just remember that the inventory in this price range is rather small so the competition can be fierce.
Both Stillwater Area High School and St. Croix Prep Academy were at the top of the US News and Word Report's best high schools in Minnesota.
Stillwater Area High School and St. Croix Prep were in the top 2% of the nearly 22,000 schools evaluated nationwide.
See the complete list of best high schools in Minnesota
YES! Minnesota statutes require every single family home and every unit in a multi-family home to have an approved and operational carbon monoxide installed.
Where do you put it?
A carbon monoxide alarm must be placed within 10 feet of each room lawfully used for sleeping purposes.
Who inforces this law?
The honest truth is that nobody enforces this law. Minneapolis, St. Paul and a few other cities enforce the requirement through their truth-in-housing programs. But there are no cities in Washington County that have this type of program.
What does "installed" mean?
This means the alarm must be either hard-wired into the electrical system, directly plugged into an outlet without a switch or attached to the wall if it is battery powered.
How long do they last?
Most carbon monoxide detectors are made by Kidde or First Alert and have a life expectancy of 5 years. Kidde now has a model with a 7 year warranty. They may need to be replaced sooner depending on household conditions, so make sure to check the alarm often.