Should You Buy a House?  5 Things to Consider.

June 8, 2017

As June is National Homeownership Month, we are doing a series of blog posts relating to home ownership.  Each will have a different perspective, so stay tuned for more.

First, full disclosure.  I teach our homebuyer education course.  I have my real estate license.  Even though my license is inactive, I am still involved in our local real estate association.  I even teach the classes required to get your real estate license.  Am I invested in that world?  Yes.

I’ve been both a renter and home-owner.  I currently own my own home and would have it no other way.

I am a big fan of home ownership.  It is no secret.

I’ll also be the first one to tell you that home ownership is NOT for everyone. Read the rest of this entry »

What to Spend on Your New Home

April 20, 2017


Tired of renting?  Tired of the landlord?  Tired of the crazy neighbors doing who knows what and all kinds of hours?  Tired of nothing but white walls in your living space?  Tired of someone else parking in your parking space?  Tired of paying every month and getting nothing (except maybe part of your deposit) back when you move?  Perhaps it’s time to move out of your parents’ house…..

OK, so this probably isn’t your parents’ house anymore.  But it may still be time to move on.  Perhaps it’s time to look at buying your own home.  As our clients consider a home purchase, one of the most frightening issues they face is determining exactly how much they should spend on a home. Read the rest of this entry »

7 Checks to Make Your Home Ready for Winter

November 30, 2016


After a beautiful fall, I thinks it’s safe to say that winter might actually be here now, even if not officially.  While it was little more than a week ago that I was working outside in just a t-shirt, now my wife simply can’t get warm inside, under a blanket, with a hoodie on (she’s naturally cold, I’m not that cheap with the thermostat).  While I happen to enjoy most of winter, there are a few things that could really ruin it.  Conversely, there a few things that can make it a lot more bearable as well.

While winter is what we get to deal with for living here, there are a few ways that you can make sure your home is ready for winter.  Even if you rent rather than own your home, you can still take care of most of these items and discuss the rest with your landlord.  In short, do it now before you hit a crisis or it’s simply too cold to take care of. Read the rest of this entry »

Flying the Coop Without Landing in Poop

April 29, 2016

It’s graduation season.  Whether it is seniors in high school orcomputer on couch college, there is about to be a whole flock of newly graduated individuals looking to fly the coop and seek out their independence.  They want to be adults (or at least closer to adults) and be on their own.  They want to get out of rules and curfews and putting up with a shared bathroom.  Without some forethought and education, leaping from the coop could leave them feeling like they ended up under the coop rather than winging across the skies of freedom. Read the rest of this entry »

Falling Leaves and the Housing Market

October 16, 2015

Back in the day when I was a Realtor, there was a certain mantra about the fall season that was preached time and time again. “When the leaves fall, so do the home prices.” I don’t think it’s any secret that the housing market, at least here in the upper Midwest, is slowing down. But it is slowing at a rate that doesn’t seem to be alarming anyone either. It is simply our seasonal slowdown. It happens every year.

Why does this happen? What does it mean for anyone looking to buy or sell? Read on and I’ll give you some insight. Read the rest of this entry »

The Work of Welcoming: Jami, Americorps Case Aide

June 12, 2015

Imagine you fled your home due to violence and have been living in exile in a refugee camp for over ten years.  Now, your life is about to change again.  After many months of interviews and screenings…and more months of waiting, you have received notice that you and your family are to be resettled to the United States…to a place called, Sioux Falls.

Who will be there to welcome you?

Who will walk alongside, helping to navigate this foreign culture and journey with you towards integration? 

Who will empower and equip you for a life of self-sufficiency and independence?

Jami, is an Americorps volunteer at the Center for New Americans who has been contributing as a Case Aide since October 2014.  In her role, she mainly works in finding newly arrived refugees affordable housing, making sure the home is equipped with furniture and basic living supplies, and providing orientation on the use of appliances, fire safety, and abiding by the terms of lease agreements.

Below is a reflection Jami wrote entitled “Forget they are Refugees: The Life of a Caseworker.” Read the rest of this entry »

Does Home Ownership Make You American?

March 13, 2015

I recently had the opportunity to attend a week of training in Los Angeles. With something like 1800 people attending different classes, I knew I was going to meet some interesting people. Our respective homes stretched from Florida to California. I actually had a classmate from western South Dakota in my class as well as someone from Guam. How’s that for diversity? Talk about a lot of different perspectives!

Half way through the week I went to lunch with Victoria and Tamy and have since spent days processing through our conversation. Victoria immigrated to the US from Ecuador as an adult and now lives in Tampa. Tamy immigrated to the US at the age of 23. She and her family were refugees from Viet Nam after her father spent 10 years in prison for working with the US military. Tamy now lives in California. I quickly realized that I have lived a very ‘normal’, quiet life. Read the rest of this entry »

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