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Aaron Dickinson
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(612) 605-2252
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Aaron Dickinson

(612) 605-2252

AaronDickinson@edinarealty.com

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Get advice

Your no-nonsense real estate guide

Jan. 2013

Preventing ice dams 

As we enter the coldest months of the year, you may be wondering how you can prevent ice dams, and what you can do to get rid of them once they appear. Popular Mechanics has come up with a few ways to avoid the build-up of ice this winter.

Ice dams occur when water builds up behind a blockage of ice in your gutters or eaves; the water then leaks into your home, damaging walls, ceiling and insulation.

Contrary to what you may believe, Popular Mechanics advises against heating the roof in any way. When heat moves from the attic through the roof, the snow melts rapidly, but once it hits the cold eaves, the melted snow freezes rapidly, causing an ice dam. If possible, keep the area underneath the roof deck below 30 degrees Fahrenheit and make sure your home is properly insulated and free of gaps that allow warm air to seep out. Additionally, your attic should be well-ventilated so that cold air goes in and warm air is released at a fast pace.

If your home's attic has a furnace, you may not be able to prevent the formation of ice dams. However, additional insulation may be helpful.

If your home already has an ice dam on the roof, you should look for shadow lines in your ceiling. Trusses are exposed to the cold temperatures in the winter and can be home to pockets of condensation. This may lead to future problems with mildew, so Popular Mechanics suggests thoroughly cleaning these areas and performing the preventative improvements as soon as possible.

The benefits of hiring a REALTOR® 

Buying a home should be an exciting time - for many, this is the most expensive and rewarding investment they will make in their lifetime. While it’s possible to buy a home alone, completing this major transaction with my help will provide a professional, smooth experience.

One major benefit of using an agent is our access to a larger inventory of properties. As licensed REALTORS®, all Edina Realty agents have access to the Multiple Listing Service. The Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, allows us to access properties that have been listed by Edina Realty as well as our competitors. Additionally, Edina Realty agents have access to homes not yet on the market through our exclusive Network One tool. By working with Edina Realty, you could see your perfect home before everyone else does.

In addition to listing access, agents also have experience and valuable knowledge about our current housing market. Seven years ago, the housing bubble burst and the market has been inching toward recovery over the last two years. What does this have to do with you? Plenty! Your mortgage rate and total loan amount will depend partially on your credit and finances, and partially on the housing market. As an Edina Realty agent, I can help explain the nuances of market conditions, home prices and mortgage rates so you feel confident you are getting the best home for your money.

While you may find it awkward to ask a seller a question about their home, Realtors have no problem requesting necessary repairs or negotiating prices. Additionally, you will have a better idea of which repairs or negotiations are worth requesting, and which should be “let go” to avoid losing the home. 

Even in the technology era, buying a home requires a lot of paperwork.  As your real estate agent, I can provide peace of mind as you weed through forms and jargon that can be confusing even to the most educated homebuyer. Additionally, I will work to smooth out any issues that could arise during closing – leaving you calm and able to enjoy your first minutes of homeownership!

What is "serial refinancing?" 

As loan rates hold strong at historically low rates, a new trend among homeowners is to refinance more than one time; homeowners who refinance more than once multiple times are sometimes called "serial refinancers."

Refinancing provides homeowners with a lower interest rate and, thereby, a lower monthly mortgage payment. If they do so wisely, homeowners who “serial refinance” can reap the greatest financial benefits by taking advantage of the market at the right time – several times in a row. As loan rates have remained low during the market correction, The Wall Street Journal reports that nearly 2.2 million homeowners have refinanced their mortgage loan twice since 2009.

In the past, the cost to refinance often outweighed the overall financial benefit. During the housing boom, homeowners faced steep closing costs and additional penalties when refinancing, so loan rates had to decrease by nearly two percent in some cases for homeowners to benefit long-term. These days, lenders are waiving or reducing the closing cost fees and raising interest rates slightly to make up for that loss of payment. The result is a mutually beneficial relationship - homeowners are refinancing in droves, and they’re still seeing significant cuts in their mortgage payments due to today’s extremely low rates.

Wondering if it’s time for you to refinance? First, ensure your financial situation is under control and that your credit score has either improved or stayed the same since your last refinance. This not only provides you the best rates, but lenders may offer better terms for those who have a good payment history. If you owe more on your home than it is currently worth, try qualifying with the government’s Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)

Three easy ways to update your home before selling 

After deciding to put your home on the market, you may be wondering what improvements will help make your home stand out in today's market. FrontDoor.com has come up with a list of updates you may want to implement before selling your home.

First, painting your home is an inexpensive update that will make a great difference when selling. When painting the inside of your home, stay away from stark white and veer towards warm, neutral colors. If your home is smaller, using the same color across multiple rooms may open it up a bit. If you already have a spacious home, varying the colors from room to room can be chic.

To brighten areas of your home where natural light isn't available, update your lighting fixtures in the main areas of the home including bathrooms, hallways and the kitchen. Invest in brushed nickel or stainless steel lighting fixtures, which buyers prefer.

Last, consider the first impression your home gives off to potential buyers. Be sure to trim treebranches and outlining shrubbery to give your home an instant boost in curb appeal. You may consider painting your front door so it stands out, or updating the door's knocker and fixtures. If you'd rather keep the exterior updates minimal, consider swapping out the address numerals. 

Understanding walkability 

While location and price are the first consideration of every buyer, many buyers are increasingly interested in purchasing a home in walkable communities.

Areas that are walkable have amenities that support pedestrian right-of-ways, including bike lanes and sidewalks. Highly walkable areas include a mix of residential and business areas, which lends to an accessible and functional community. Many buildings in these areas are used for multiple purposes – often, the bottom floors are dedicated to retail and businesses while the upper levels are dedicated to condos and apartments.

Highly walkable communities have centrally located schools, and designated crosswalks and paths for walking schoolchildren. Communities that lack easy access to safe sidewalks are not considered walkable.

Other community staples, including grocery stores, banks and post offices are also simple commutes by foot in walkable neighborhoods. While this may not seem like a necessity for families who own vehicles and can afford the ever-changing price of gas, buying a home with walkability means better economic development and  the possibility for improved public health.

So, who determines which areas are truly “walkable?” On edinarealty.com, we employ “Walkscore” – a trusted partner that calculates the walkability of any address. Simply click on the “Walk Score” tab on any property on our site to see its official “walkability.”

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