Settling around the foundation of the home

Years ago when I was working on the construction site building homes I remember a general contractor stopped me and said “I really love to see this.”   I looked at what he was pointing at, it was the dirt settling around the foundation.   I was pretty young at the time and didn’t quite understand why he was excited to see something that seemed so simple yet not very pretty.

After years around the job sites and selling homes and seeing the wide range of problems that can plague homes, I began to really appreciate that comment.  Today at my open house at the Model Home – I walked up to what will look like a disaster to potential buyers but I stopped and looked and smiled with almost a sigh of relief to see this:


foundation 5


The large cracks of soil indicate where the soil was excavated and backfilled.


foundation settling 1 foundation settling 2


foundation settling 3

You can see where the ground was excavated to bring in the water and sewer line.  This is right where the sidewalk will go.  Now that all this good settling has taken place, the sidewalk and driveway can be safely put in with no fear of future settling breaking the sidewalk or driveway apart.


foundation settling 4

Sometimes it the simple things that mean the most.  This home will not have issues with future settling.




Historical 30 Year Mortgage Interest Rates

Guest Post by Jim Krantz, Tradition Mortgage

30 year fixed rate mortgage

The past seven years have been an economic anomaly. We had the greatest run-up of housing prices in history from 2001 to 2008, followed by a massive home price crash that took the economy with it.  The Federal Reserve pumped trillions of  dollars into the system starting in late 2008. That kept rates low for a long time.

World Events Could Shape 2015 Rates

Historically, nothing has been safer than US bonds. While returns are low, at least the investment is safe. When U.S. investors pulled out, international investors jumped in. If the world looks safer in 2015, money could  bow out of US bonds and into international ventures that would yield higher returns.

What Happens if Safe-Haven Buying Diminshes?

The average 30-year xed interest rate over this time period is 8.48% (more than double the level of current rates).  If we employ the theory that the past reveals possibilities about the future, we would say it is not a matter of IF but WHEN rates will rise. And the rise could be substantial.  Rates have a lot of potential to go up, but not very much room to drop. History is on the side of rising rates, especially compared to 2014 levels near 4%. Rates in the 5-6% are a real possibility in 2015 and are more in line with historical standards than rates at 7-8%.

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Delano, The Small Town Charm

I have been selling New Construction Homes in Delano for Golden Home Builders the last 4 or 5 years now.  Consistently the home buyers that we build for a young families wanting to move into the Delano School District.  There is something that seems so American to me  about young couples buying their new home to place their kids in the best school district.

Then this morning I stumbled onto an article that covers more of the small-town charm and lifestyle living in Delano offers.  It tied everything together for me.  The American Dream of owning your home and giving your kids more opportunity and better future is alive and well in Delano.

I thought this was a great article and though I should share it.

Experience The Small Town Charm Of Delano, Minnesota


Minneapolis / St Paul Single Family Housing Starts for March 2015

Single Family housing starts for Minneapolis / St Paul Metro increased in March over February.   That is great news, however- if you look at the chart below you can see we are still well below the 1980’s – 2000’s starts.

March 2015 posted 456 single family housing starts, down 37 houses compared to March 2014 which posted 493 starts.  This slight dip year over year could be due to increased costs of building or shortage of available land, or both.

I expect housing starts to be a gradual climb up for several reasons:

  • Developers have not been bringing many developments to the market for the last 7 years – so we are running into a shortage of build-able lots at the right prices to keep with market demand.  (land shortages and price spikes)
  • Large increase in costs with the new building codes implemented in January and February which added between $10,000 and $15,000  to the cost of building a new home (depending on the size of home) – that doesn’t even take into account the Sprinkler Mandate, which could add another $12,000.
  • Building materials and labor shortages and labor cost increases are other factors forcing the pricing of new homes higher.

These price increases may be far outpacing the increase in home values.  Builders may have to wait out the market a bit longer for values to catch up to construction costs.  So I expect a gradual increase over time in starts and no large spikes.  Mainly because of the difficulty to bring the product to market at the right price, some product will get there – but not in large quantities.


MINN427BP1FH 4 30 2015


Minnesota Property Tax per Capita

The Minnesota Property Tax data from the US Bureau of Census was updated today.  It continues to climb, which is no surprise to most property owners.  I started looking around at some of the ways the data could be represented and I noticed it could be scaled to dollars per Capita.   As you can see below, it does become a little bit alarming at the steady climb up per capita.

Mn Tax per capita dollar

I was then thinking that this doesn’t tell us much because some are commercial property taxes vs residential property taxes…  then clarity hit, it doesn’t matter – this is “per capita”.  Commercial property taxes passes the expense off to the consumer.   The only other justification I could see for this escalation is perhaps inflation.  But wait, the Fed says we don’t have inflation…

US. Bureau of the Census, State Government Tax Collections, Property Taxes in Minnesota [MNPROPTAX], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, April 21, 2015.


Friends need your support after Home fire


A tragic fire happened in Otsego earlier this week.  3 homes were burned to the ground in less than 12 minutes.

One of these homes was owner occupied by friends.  Fortunately no one was home, but sadly their 2 dogs were home in the kennel.

There is a GoFundMe page set up to help the family out as they begin to rebuild and replace all their possessions.


or their Facebook Page:


A friend has set up another fund to help the daughter replace their 2 dogs that were like family to them.  You can donate there as well:

I would like to raise enough money to replace two dogs, get her some flowers, and ice cream, as well as any excess funds that would go to replace her material stuff she lost in the fire.  Any additional money raised will probably go into a college fund or something.  Click Here

Please keep the family in your prayers this Easter weekend, and we are all thankful that no one was killed.