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Minnesota Insider Information

November 18th, 2013 10:00 pm

If you are planning on traveling or moving to the state of Minnesota, here are some points you should keep in mind:

Most of Minnesota’s population lives in the Twin Cities area of Minneapolis and St Paul, and this is where a large part of the tourism to the area is also based. However, the rest of the state is worth exploring and has some stunning landscapes including prairies and forests. It’s hard to believe that in the northwest of the state, the Red River Valley was once covered with tall prairie grass and roamed by herds of buffalo. Today, State Parks are needed to preserve the way the countryside once stood naturally. The best ones to visit are Buffalo River State Park and Bluestem Prairie Preserve.

Minneapolis’s attractions won’t disappoint. The minute you step off your Minneapolis flight shopping, museums, restaurants and theatres await you. While there, don’t miss a visit to Minnehaha Park and the Walker Art Center. Minnehaha Park contains the creek and the Minnehaha Falls, a 53 foot waterfall. There is a statue in the park of Hiawatha carrying Minnehaha, based on Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha. The Walker Art Centre also contains sculptures in its 11-acre sculpture garden, though of a slightly different nature. A symbol of the city is one of the most impressive sculptures by Claes Oldenberg and Coosje van Bruggen; it’s a giant spoon with a cherry on the top. A fountain flows out of the tip and downtown Minneapolis is the backdrop.

The capital of the state, St Paul, is a more historic city than adjacent Minneapolis. Cultural attractions are plentiful, including a tour of the Capitol Building. Those visiting with children can’t miss the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, where resident animals include camels, reindeer, giraffes, penguins, cougars, lions and gorillas.

Duluth, the third-largest city of the state, sits at the top of Lake Superior. The town is focused around the waterfront and harbour. Visit Canal Park for a bird’s eye view of activity on the waterfront. Here an aerial lift bridge connects Canal Park with Minnesota Point, a seven-mile sandbar. From the top of the bridge the views are breathtaking.

Moving to Minnesota – How to Evaluate an Agent

September 10th, 2013 2:17 am

Moving from one location to another is generally considered to be rather nerve-racking. Nevertheless, if you know that you have combined the professional services of a really good moving company in Minnesota with one hundred percent secure and effective results, there you are. You do not need to feel hassled anymore. In fact, there are some really good companies out there, so naturally, you need to pick and choose from the list to select the best movers, Minnesota. So, here are some points which you need to check, before choosing the right movers.

How do you determine that someone has some valuable skills? Let’s start from the following list:

Project management – It is critical that someone is managing the details of your transaction. How smooth the process will depend in large measure on the skill of the person managing these details for you. Ask the question. “Do you have an assistant taking care of the details?” If they don’t, then they are the assistant. That doesn’t match well with the requirement to be out on the street gaining continual market knowledge.

Listening and communication skills – Your every conversation with an agent should confirm your evaluation of their listening and communication skills.

Negotiating skills – This is harder to evaluate. But to simplify: the proof is in the pudding. If the agent you are considering is doing 5 or 10 times what the average agent is doing in terms of numbers of houses sold, then you can conclude that they are a good negotiator. By-the-way, the average agent does 6-8 deals a year! A nice part time job, but not one that will develop solid market knowledge and competent negotiating skills!

Knowledge – This is the critical one and the hardest to determine prior to hiring. Remember this: unlike your other service providers, from plumbers to doctors, who went to school from 3-10 years to become skilled at their professions, real estate agents have a few weekends in a licensing class to help them learn about compliance with laws. So, how is market knowledge, housing knowledge neighborhood knowledge developed? Strictly in the school of experience! It takes years of experience (10+) for the average agent to have seen enough property, dealt with enough transactions and been through enough market changes to understand the cycle of the market. However, while experience is a necessary condition, for a good agent, it is not a sufficient condition.

In sum, here are the questions to ask when interviewing – and don’t forget to ask for proof.

1. How long have you been in the business? 10+ years is the preferred answer

2. How many deals do you do each year? At least 50 is what you want to hear. An agent needs to do 30+ deals to make it worth their while to hire an assistant.

3. What percentage of your business is based on referrals? At least 60% is what you need to hear. As the numbers of deals go up this number could go down for some reasons unrelated to service, but you can bet if 30+ people every year tell others about an agent, that agent is doing something right.

4. What areas of the metro do you work in? A skilled real estate practioner will not take you outside of their area of expertise, but an effective top producing agent will make it their business to familiarize themselves with multiple areas of the metro. If you want to look in the city neighborhoods of Minneapolis & St. Paul, it is critical to have an agent who has extensive experience in the city neighborhoods.