Amy's Real Estate Blog

June 23, 2015

Summertime Fun

Summertime is filled with sunshine, warm weather, swimming pools and, sometimes, boredom! Thankfully, we live in a city that fills summertime with baseball, First Fridays, concert series’, block parties & so much more!

Here are a few of the more unique summer activities Sioux Falls has to offer:

The Storyland Children’s Theatre offers eight productions through the months of June and July at McKennan Park. The shows are free, welcome audience participation and range from Commedia Rapunzel to Sleeping Beauty to Goldilocks and Da Bears. 

Farmers markets are offered in three different locations in downtown Sioux Falls. What a great way to find fresh produce & locally grown items! 

The Summer Concert Series is a great way to spend your lunch break! Every Friday from noon to 1pm, the Old Courthouse Museum’s Reardon Plaza offers free music.

Moonlight Movies at Fawick Park are a weekly event that begins at dusk and includes popcorn, candy & soda for purchase. Bring a blanket, chair or picnic basket and enjoy a free family-oriented film!

Other fun activities include Hot Harley Nights, Automania, Sioux Falls Canaries games, Wild Water West, fishing at Family Park and the Sioux Empire Fair. No matter what your liking, there is always something exciting to do in this awesome city we call home.



Posted in Things To Do
June 1, 2015

Volunteering

 

Helping out and being a part of your community comes in many forms, but volunteering is a great way to meet new people, strengthen existing relationships and can be both fun and fulfilling! Often times people are wanting to get involved and find a way but are unsure as to where to start looking or what is out there for options.

Volunteering opportunities range from being a shopping aide for those unable to shop for groceries to delivering meals to those that need assistance with cooking to mentoring or tutoring young individuals. When considering helping out your community, thing about what your interests, hobbies, what you are good at and what you are looking to gain from volunteering in your community.   

Sioux Falls offers a few websites to where you can get started on your volunteering adventure:
     VolunteerMatch.Org

     HelplineForce.Com

 

These sites are a great start to finding what you are interested in and all the different ways you can help a variety of people from all ages in your community! 

Posted in Community
March 18, 2015

Home Loans

We are often asked about the different types of home loans. Below is a guest blog from local lender, Kyle Swiden, Mortgage Banker NMLS #776910 with Plains Commerce. 

Types of Home Loans

There are many different types of loans to choose from in the home buying process. Getting into the correct loan that fits your needs is a very important part of the process that can greatly affect your monthly budget. See below to learn more about the different programs offered.

FHA (Federal Housing Administration): Designed for lower credit and low-income households that don’t have much for a down payment. Required down payment is 3.5%, and  this option typically has lower interest rates than a conventional loan.

VA (Veterans Administration): Designed for veterans. With this program veterans do not need to have a down payment, and they also do not have monthly mortgage insurance. This is usually the best route if you are a veteran.

Conventional: Typically the most common mortgage. You need to have 5% down for the purchase of your home. The interest rate is determined by your credit score and how much money you put down.

Rural Development: Designed for smaller communities under 25,000 in population. It also has income limits to qualify as well, but is nice for lower rural development annual fee, and typically lower interest rate.

 

South Dakota Housing (FHA, VA, Conventional, Rural Development): Specifically designed for the first time homebuyer. All programs have a 3% down payment assistance that you can do for your down payment. Also must qualify for their income restrictions. 

Posted in Home Buying
Feb. 18, 2015

Preparing Your Home To Put On The Market

 

Thinking about putting your house on the market? Here is a sample of a few of the ‘MUST-DOs’, ‘Should-Dos’ and ‘Nice-to-Dos’ that we have put together for our clients.

The items that you must do before listing your home for sale include:
De-clutter. A fun way to de-clutter is to utilize the 10-10-10 game. Find 10 items to donate, 10 items to be returned to their proper place, and 10 items to throw away. What an easy way to
organize items in your home; the kids will even enjoy helping you de-clutter when it is turned
into a game!

Neutralize. This can almost be described as taking the ‘home’ out of your house. Create that clean, neutral background. Let the buyer imagine what it would be like to live there and let them
visualize the home as their own. Removing pictures, trophies and even painting the walls in neutral colors will increase the buyer pool for your home.

Eliminate Odors. It is easy for homes to accumulate odors whether it is from pets, cooking, trash or a musty basements. Just be careful to not use too strong of scents when eliminating these other odors.

Shampooing the carpet, spring cleaning, addressing pet stains and rearranging furniture items are a few other easy items to get your house ready to sell!

Some of the should-dos that we advise our clients include:
Focus on curb appeal.
In the hustle to get the inside of your home ready, don’t forget about the exterior! First impressions are important and making that lawn immaculate is the first step to that great first impression.
Replace bathroom mats, curtain & towels. Give a new & fresh look to all rooms, but don’t forget the bathrooms!

Some items that are nice to do, but not necessary include major repairs, organizing the garage, kitchen cabinets and basements. Updating doors & cabinets, replacing windows and servicing or repairing HVAC are all great ideas as well.

And, don’t forget that interviewing and finding a top-notch, professional real estate agent to market and sell your home is always important. Our team is filled with agents who are more than qualified to market your home!

 

 

 

Posted in Home Ideas & Tips
Jan. 29, 2015

Reducing Your Heating Costs

 

With these cold temps lately, who isn’t thinking about their heat bill and ways to cut their heating costs? Did you know that consumerreports.org states that for optimal efficiency, the temperature for occupied rooms should be at 68 degrees and overnight temperatures should be at 60 degrees? Keeping your house at these temperatures could save you hundreds of dollars a year!

Other ways to improve your home’s heating efficiency include:

§  Checking your insulation. It is recommended that there be at least 11 inches of fiberglass or rock wool insulation in your attic for proper heating.

§  Sealing your ducts. Just remember than an actual cleaning of your ducts (unless mold or dust are present) is unlikely to improve your home’s efficiency.

§  Change your air filter regularly. Energystar.gov recommends checking it every month during the winter and, at a minimum, changing it every three months.

 

Fireplaces, keeping your curtains shut at night, turning your thermostat down during the day and window insulation are a few other ways to help keep that heat bill down during these chilly winter months. 

Posted in Home Ideas & Tips
Jan. 15, 2015

Winter In Sioux Falls

Ice Skating

One of the benefits of living in the Midwest is that we get to experience all four seasons! Winter time can be a pain at times with the ice, snow, and cold temperatures, but there is so much to do in this great little city that we call home.  

Although the ice can make for tricky driving and cause a lot of headaches all the way around, it sure does wonders for the ice rinks! Sioux Falls just built a brand new iceplex located at the Sanford Sports Complex that hosts open skate various times throughout the week, including a cosmic open skate most Fridays! If you are a little more daring and the cold temps don’t bother you, there are SIX outdoor rinks scattered around Sioux Falls that each have a warming house (with loads of hot chocolate!), concession stand and skate rentals available. These parks include Campus Park, Frank Olson Park, Tuthill Park, McKennan Park, Sherman Park, and Memorial Park, with Sherman and Memorial also offering outdoor hockey rinks as well!  

When you get tired of shoveling the snow, why not go out and enjoy the snow by sledding, snowboarding or skiing? Great Bear Recreation Park offers all of these - you will find 14 different slopes suited for all levels of downhill skiing and snowboarding, as well as a terrain park that includes boxes, rails, tables, and wall rides. Snow tubing has never been easier with a lift that tows you up the hill and four 80 foot plus runs down! Other awesome sledding hills that have been around forever that can be found in Sioux Falls are Spellerberg and Tuthill Parks.  

Other fun ideas include walking around Falls Park and hiking. No matter the temperature, there is always something fun and entertaining to do in Sioux Falls!

Posted in Things To Do
Nov. 4, 2014

Let is Snow! Real Estate and Winter

Let it snow! Hard words to hear for those that love the warmth of summer and the brisk (but manageable) fall temps! When winter is in Sioux Falls, it arrives in style! SNOW! What do you do when you are selling your home and snow has arrived? How do you prepare for potential buyers? 

1. Scoop and scoop. If there is any snow, even a small amount, scoop the sidewalks, steps and the driveway. 

2. Look for gutters that need to be cleaned out, to assure when snow melts it doesn't run over and cause ice hazards. 

3. Put away garden hoses, patio furniture, kids play summer tools, anything that doesn't look like it belongs in a winter scene. 

4. Keep a good stock of ice-melt on supply. It works great for quick upkeep for slippery steps and sidewalks. 

5. Raise the temp inside. It might feel really warm but remember, potential buyers are coming in from a very cold outside. Let them walk in and feel the welcome warm air. 

6. If you have a fireplace, turn it on!

Selling your house in the winter isn't hard to do! It might be cold, but buyers are still out! Call The Amy Stockberger Team to schedule a showing today!  

Posted in Home Ideas & Tips
Oct. 6, 2014

Grab a Coffee and Let's House Shop!

Coffee on the go is great for busy home sellers and home buyers! It is also great to keep REALTORS® going! Sioux Falls is home to tasty locally owned coffee shops. According to Urbanspoon.com, Sioux Falls has a great list of highly respected coffee shops! Great local coffee shops also makes the list of reasons to live in Sioux Falls! Even better, the local coffee shops care about their product greatly

If you think Sioux Falls is to small to have the big brand coffee shops in town, think again! We are also home to numerous Starbucks and Caribou Coffee shops!

Coffee is a great way to enjoy a conversation with a one of our real estate professionals! Contact The Amy Stockberger Team if you are considering selling your home or if you are looking for a home! We know Sioux Falls wells and enjoy a great cup of coffee! 

Sept. 30, 2014

Sioux Falls Farmers Market

The Farmer's Market is open! Sioux Falls Farmers Market has been growing each year! Fresh produce, fresh flowers, and homemade yummies galore! The Sioux Falls Farmers Market opens in May and stays open through October; every Saturday from 8:00-1:00. 

This time of year is perfect for purchasing apples, pumpkins, blueberries, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, and more! You can also find wonderful products such as artisan whole-grain pasta, honey and floral arrangements. 

Being a homeowner in Sioux Falls is great! The houses here are a great value, but the community and city culture is unlike any other. Considering a new city to call home? We hope you pick Sioux Falls! Already a resident here, take a Saturday morning and enjoy the goodness of the Farmers Market

Sept. 24, 2014

Time to declutter!

Clutter! It happens so fast! A beautiful home turns into a full time storage unit for all sorts of things. Furniture, home decor, kids toys, clothes, books and personal memorabilia! If you are considering selling your home or you are simply tired of all the stuff, maybe it is time to declutter! 

So where do you begin? Start with the small stuff. If you have additional hangers in your closet from the dry cleaners or store purposes, toss them (or donate). If you have to small sweaters, donate. Shoes that hurt your toes, donate. Clothes with stains? Time to send them out the door. Cookbooks you never open? Dishes you never use? More kitchenware in storage? All unnecessary. 

Once you have really tackled the small stuff, you can build up declutter courage and tackle the big stuff. Taking a hard look at your furniture. Pieces no one sits on or uses? Have they turned into storage of items that are never used? Sell it! Donate it! Take it out and declutter! 

Decluttering can be truly rewarding, especially for those selling their home. Less is more, let the design of your home truly shine - not all the stuff. Looking for more decluttering tips? Head over to Pinterest!