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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

What Type of Mortgage Lender is Right For You?

Before you choose a lender, you may want to know what type of loan products are available.  Reviewing these before you talk to lenders will make the conversation less intimidating and you will be more aware of the options you may be looking for... or missing out on.

What Mortgage Lender is Right For Me?
 A qualified residential mortgage company can suggest several ways to ensure you get the home of your dreams and provide advice regarding strategies such as pre-qualification, pre-approval, rate locks, and work with good real estate agents, home inspections and insurance providers.

  Residential mortgage companies should NOT be evaluated solely on their rates but consider that larger mortgage firms are able to leverage national operations to provide the best financing for their customers. Like any other field, economies-of-scale make a difference for lenders and borrowers alike.

Top residential mortgage companies evaluate applications on a case-by-case basis taking into account factors such as extenuating circumstances, long-term stability, community reputation and other variables.  Mortgage companies evaluate changes in circumstances such as income or just passage of time as well as good-faith efforts prior to foreclosure. People who have been cheated by unscrupulous lenders with adjustable rate mortgages may find little-to-no future penalty. These are the best companies to consult regarding residential mortgages. The test of quality is a often a test of time.

The residential mortgage market offers several unique structural, legal and procedural opportunities and restrictions. A company specializing in residential mortgages should always be preferred.

 So, which one is right for you? Let's take a look at the options.

 Mortgage banks 

A mortgage bank is a direct lender; that is, bank employees alone review your application and make the decision to lend you money. Typically, the bank will sell your loan on the secondary market. Benefits of a mortgage bank:
 Reliability: You probably know and trust your local mortgage bank. It is regulated by state and federal agencies and likely has strong ties with your community.
One-stop shopping: You deal directly with the source of your loan.
Savings: As the loan originator, a bank may save you money in the loan process and/or offer you better terms based on your total assets on deposit with the bank.
Speed: A bank also may process your loan faster than other providers.
Risks of a mortgage bank: 
Limited choice: Mortgage bankers only offer their own programs. To comparison shop, you will need to speak with several lenders.

Mortgage brokers 

A mortgage broker is a middleman who may represent the mortgage loan products of hundreds of different lenders. The broker's goal is to match you with the loan product that best meets your needs at the best price. Once your loan is approved, you will usually deal directly with the loan originator or their mortgage service provider.
 Benefits of a mortgage broker: 
Variety: By shopping across a range of different programs and lenders, a mortgage broker may find you a better fit than a mortgage bank.
Qualifying: A mortgage broker can best steer you to the national or regional lenders that are most likely to accept your application based on your financial and personal information.
Savings: You may get a more favorable loan rate.
Speed: A broker saves you time shopping for a loan.
Risks of a mortgage broker: 
Hidden costs: Some mortgage brokers attempt to increase their profit by writing hidden costs into your loan.
Best hedge: know the loan process and ask questions.
Professional oversight: Unlike mortgage bankers, mortgage brokers are not subject to licensing and regulation in all states.

Your Local Bank or Credit Union

Most financial institutions offer a limited menu of loan products, just as mortgage banks do. They typically hold mortgages in their portfolios or sell them on the secondary market.

Home builders and real estate agencies 

Many large home builders and real estate agencies now own an in-house mortgage company to make it easier to buy their properties. These affiliated companies may operate as a mortgage banker or broker.

 Internet lenders 

Mortgage lenders have proliferated on the Internet in recent years, offering fast, easy loans at competitive rates. Some are online channels of brick-and-mortar financial institutions or mortgage brokers, others are Internet-based banks or brokers. Which lender is right for you? Depending on your credit history and circumstances, you may benefit by using one source of mortgage loans over another.

What kind of borrower are you?

Excellent credit, easy access to financial documents, longtime employee of one company.
Best source to shop: Internet lender, bank or mortgage bank.

Self-employed borrower, don't want to share data about income or assets with mortgage provider.
Best source to shop: Mortgage broker.

Repeat home shopper, rate-and-term refinance customer, financially savvy.
Best source to shop: Internet lender.

ARM shopper, relationship customer with many accounts at one institution.
Best source to shop: Bank, thrift.

Convenience shopper, wants easiest loan to get even if it costs more.
Best source to shop: Home builder or real estate agency lender.

Need more mortgage information?  Send me a message today or call me for answers.
Additional Home Buying Tips


Monday, December 29, 2014

Collateral Underwriting: Will It Affect Your Home Sale or Purchase in 2015?

Collateral Underwriting: Will It Affect Your Home Sale or Purchase in 2015?

Collateral Underwriter by Fannie Mae
Collateral Underwriter is Fannie Mae’s (and Freddie MAC) new proprietary ‘risk management’ software tool they are releasing to lenders and their business partners, Appraisal Management Companies (AMCs), on January 26, 2015. Fannie Mae claims it is NOT an AVM (Automated Valuation Model) because it does not produce a proscribed value (like other mostly inaccurate online valuation tools do).

The bottom line is that this new program could hold prices down... or even bring them down.  Plus, buyers may get stuck footing the bill for the extra work the appraiser has to do. :-(


Monday, December 8, 2014

What is Your Twin Cities Home Worth Today? More or Less Than Last Year?

How much is my Twin Cities home worth?

Are you curious about how much your home is worth?  Get your free online valuation instantly! 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Will You Support the Salvation Army Programs This Year?

Salvation Army Realtor Ring Day 12/5/14

The Twin Cities Salvation Army assists residents across Minneapolis, St. Paul and the greater metro area. They extend a helping hand to those in crisis through programs and services, serving anyone in need without discrimination. Additionally, they operate Salvation Army Stores across the metro and their disaster team responds to emergencies across the state.

The dollars raised at each kettle stay in the local community. Kettle donations also fund additional Salvation Army programs such as food, rehabilitation and youth activities.

REALTOR® Ring Day, which debuted in 2010, is a day when real estate professionals across the country unite to ring bells at Salvation Army kettles in their local communities. The event gives real estate professionals an opportunity to support a cause that is dear to them – housing. 

Come see me (and my girls) ring the bell at Festival Foods in Hugo on December 5th, 2014 from 4pm - 6pm and make a donation!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What Does it REALLY Cost to Own that Home? [VIDEO]

Consumers Want Data

Consumers have been flocking to public sites like and Trulia for loads of data for some time now. The accuracy of that data is often disputable and the one thing they haven't really offered is a way to calculate the true cost own own a home and there was no real "tool" for agents to use with their clients either. Until now.

 Local REALTORS®, such as myself, can now show buyers the "true costs" of homeownership, using powerful new technology provided by NorthstarMLS (the MLS). NorthstarMLS® (NOT TO BE CONFUSED with MLSOnline, a real estate brokerage) is the "database" that agents in the Twin Cities area use to distribute their listings to other agents. Public websites then get "feeds" of this information.

 By working with me to find your new home, will be able to search and compare the TLC or "True Lifestyle Cost" to own a home among more than 35,000 single-family homes listed for sale today on NorthstarMLS®. This new information resource shows that sometimes homes priced the same, but located in different towns, can have significantly different total costs of ownership. Moreover, sometimes more expensive home options yield lower total costs of homeownership.

What is the TRUE Cost of Home Ownership?

The cost of homeownership is much more than just the mortgage. Commuting expenses, different auto insurance rates, utility bills, daycare costs, family size and so much more factor in to your monthly expenses. With the new integration of TLCengine into NorthstarMLS, I can help consumers factor over 31 unique variables and show all the 'hidden costs' of homeownership including local property taxes, commute costs, utility costs, and much more using data from a mix of public and private sources including national, state, and local level data. Many of the data fields are in real-time such as the cost of fuel and Annual Percentage Rates (APR) feeds.


TLC in the News:

See more at:

VIDEO 3180 Midland Avenue, White Bear Lake, MN Presented by Sarah Marrinan.

Immediate Availability!

Contact info:
Sarah Marrinan | Keller Williams Premier Realty | 651-964-0289

3180 Midland Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55110

Year Built: 1965
Sq Footage: 2618 sqft.
Bedrooms: 5 Beds
Bathrooms: 2.5 Baths
Parking: 3 Garage
Laundry: In Unit
Lot Size: 0.26 Acres
Property Type: Single Family House


All bedrooms on MAIN level , 3 Bathrooms, living room with gas fireplace, 3 CAR GARAGE, ON DEAD END STREET! Master suite W/Gas Fireplace, walk-in closet & private bath with sunken tub and sep shower. Office nook,family room, large laundry room with storage! Patio, fenced yard, a shed. Updated Kitchen and Furnace/AC < 5 years old! EASY ACCESS TO SHOPPING & 694/494


  • Living room
  • Dining room
  • Walk-in closet
  • Master bath
  • Family room
  • Storage space
  • Office
  • Basement
  • Recreation room
  • Sun room
  • Range / Oven
  • Refrigerator
  • Dishwasher
  • Balcony, Deck, or Patio
  • Yard
  • Fenced yard
  • Lawn
  • Heat: forced air
  • Central A/C
  • Air conditioning
  • Granite countertop
  • Fireplace
  • Jetted tub
  • Garage - Attached

  • White Bear Lake Schools


  • Website:


All bedrooms on MAIN level , 3 Bathrooms, living room with gas fireplace, 3 CAR GARAGE, ON DEAD END STREET! Master suite W/Gas Fireplace, walk-in closet & private bath with sunken tub and sep shower. Office nook,family room, large laundry room with storage! Patio, fenced yard, a shed. Updated Kitchen and Furnace/AC < 5 years old! EASY ACCESS TO SHOPPING & 694/494


Photo-3180 Midland Ave - DECK

Photo - 3180 Midland Ave - Kitchen-Dining Room - Living room

Photo - 3180 Midland Ave - family room

Photo 3180 Midland Ave - Updated Kitchen

Photo 3180 Midland Ave - Fireplace

photo: 3180 Midland Ave - HUGE SUN ROOM - new windows in 2010

photo: 3180 Midland Ave - backyard with fence and firepit

photo: 3180 Midland Ave - patio and privacy

Contact info:
Sarah Marrinan
Keller Williams Premier Realty

Friday, November 14, 2014

5 Bedroom Homes in White Bear Lake!

Are you looking for a 5 bedroom home in White Bear Lake? Click here to start your search of homes currently listed.

Looking for something not listed yet check out this home coming up for sale before Thanksgiving!

3180 Midland Ave

3180 Midland Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55110

Year Built: 1965
Sq Footage: 2618 sqft.
Bedrooms: 5 Beds. On main level!
Bathrooms: 2.5 Baths
Parking: 3 car Garage
Laundry: lower level
Lot Size: 0.26 Acres
Property Type: Single Family House


5 bedrooms on MAIN level , 3BA, living room with had fireplace, 3CAR GARAGE, ON DEAD END STREET! Master suite W/Gas Fireplace, walk-in closet & private bath with sunken tub and sep shower, patio, fenced yard, a shed. EASY ACCESS TO SHOPPING & 694/494


  • Living room
  • Walk-in closet
  • Master bath
  • Family room
  • Basement
  • Range / Oven
  • Refrigerator
  • Dishwasher
  • Balcony, Deck, or Patio
  • Fenced yard
  • Heat: forced air
  • Central A/C
  • Fireplace
  • Jetted tub

Call Listing Agent for Details

Contact info:
Sarah Marrinan
Keller Williams Premier Realty

Tags: pocket listing, coming soon, off MLS, non-MLS, secret listing, hidden listings

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Process of Buying Your First Home

Buying Your First Home

Or maybe you are ready to MOVE UP to your next home!  Buying and selling at the same time takes a little more skill by both the agent and the home owners.  Call me and maximize your resources!

See also: Selling your starter home and buying a move up home   

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Home Improvement Ideas Under $200

Home Improvement Ideas Under $200

Not all ideas are created equal.  For example, shutters are the best option for every home but this will help get you thinking! (More tips below!)

Want more ideas?  Different Ideas? Click Here:  Home Improvement
Also check out: Sell My Home for Top Dollar
Want to see INSIDE the neighbor's' homes for sale?  Get my app  and click the Nearby Homes button for photos!
Getting ready to sell? Call me!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hugo and Lino Lakes Market Report for October 2014

Hugo MN Real Estate Stats
October 2014


According to Trulia, the median sales price for homes in Hugo, MN for Jul 14, 2014 to Oct 14, 2014 was $183,603. This represents a decline of 3.4%, or $6,397, compared to the prior quarter and a decrease of 19.1% compared to the prior year.

  • Sales prices have appreciated 19.6% over the last 5 years in Hugo. 
  • The average listing price for Hugo homes for sale on Trulia was $302,115 for the week ending Oct 22, which represents an increase of 2.6%, or $7,568, compared to the prior week and an increase of 2.1%, or $6,218, compared to the week ending Oct 01. 
  • Average price per square foot for Hugo MN was $154, an increase of 6.9% compared to the same period last year.

Lino Lakes MN Real Estate Stats
October 2014

The average listing price for Lino Lakes homes for sale on Trulia was $300,095 for the week ending Oct 22, which represents a decline of 1.3%, or $3,970, compared to the prior week and a decline of 5.4%, or $17,185, compared to the week ending Oct 01.

  • Sales prices have appreciated from $263,675 to $276,900 over the last 5 years in Hugo. 
  • The average price per square foot is similar to the pricing we saw in 2003.
  • Average price per square foot for Lino Lakes, MN has maintained around $162 for the last year.

So what does the market FEEL like to an active local agent?  

Prices have gotten a bit "soft" in the last few months and buyers seem less active; particularly in homes over $300k.
Demand still feeling particularly high for entry level homes under $125k but these buyers aren't looking for an investment or remodeling project, they are looking for something liveable (and financeable).

The REALTOR association finally reported (on a national level) what I have been feeling locally for a few months: "price appreciation is slowing as foreclosures dry up and investors retreat"
 and this is evident in the number from our local MLS.

  • The "Months Supply" of inventory for 55038 and 55014, the indicator of Buyer's vs Seller's market, hit 5 months in August  (we say the market tips in the buyer's favor at 3 months supply) so we definitely tipped back into the buyer's favor this fall.
  • In 2013, these areas saw 815 home sales with a media price of $195,000. So far in 2014, we have seen 552 sales with a median price of $207,450.
  • In 2013, we saw 24 homes sell over $500k. So far in 2014 we have seen 12 homes sell over $500k.
  • In 2013, we saw 62 homes sell under $100k. So far in 2014 we have seen 11 homes sell under $100k.
  • In 2013, we saw 15 homes sell over 4,000 sq ft at a media price of $483,150. So far in 2014 we have seen 8 homes sell over 4000 sq ft at a median price of $456,250.
  • In 2013, homes listed between $350k and $450k sold in an average of 21 days. So far in 2014 homes listed between $350k and $450k sold in an average of 45 days.

So I ask: What is influencing your willingness to buy or sell a home in the coming months?

Click for Hugo or Lino Lakes Home Values
Ready to get your Hugo or Lino Lakes home values?

Search for Homes in Hugo or Lino Lakes 

Looking for a home in Hugo or Lino Lakes?

Do You Need Help with Your Down Payment?

Find out NOW if you can get help
with your down payment on a
Twin Cities home!

Down Payment Money Is Available!

Looking for some help with your down payment for help on a home purchase in the Twin Cities area?  Down Payment Resource maybe be your answer!

Whether you are just beginning your home search or you are struggling to find a home you can afford, it's worth a look to check out the DPR website and find out what programs you may qualify to use.

Need help navigating the changing Twin Cities Real Estate Market? Contact Me!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

VIDEO 1271 Choke Cherry Rd, Lino Lakes, MN Presented by Sarah Marrinan.

1271 Choke Cherry Rd, Lino Lakes, MN


Executive walkout rambler perfect for entertaining! This wonderful home has been lovingly cared for, and no expense has been spared in recent remodel, granite, stainless &amp; natural wood. Gas fireplace in Master with Xlrg lower level bedrooms. A must see!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Major Considerations About Your Next Home

Home ownership is an American Dream so many people start thinking about buying a home early on in life. First homes, move-up homes, downsizing... some people start planning their purchases as little as 3 months in advance or as long as five years before making a move. No matter where you fall on the time frame, you should give consideration to the following home buying decisions.

How are you going to pay for your home?

Cash? Great! Skip to Now Ask Yourself These Questions below.

Financing? OK, let's briefly talk about paying for the home using a mortgage. What do financial institutions look at when they issue your loan approval?
  • Your Credit History: Are there any late payments or delinquencies? Are you working on paying down your debt? Essentially, when banks give you a mortgage they are taking a gamble that you’ll pay them back. If you can’t pay off smaller loans, it’s unlikely that they will take that chance.
  • Your Income: Do you make the same amount every month or does it vary? A consistent income is preferable since it is indicative of your ability to pay the mortgage each month.
  • Your Debt: Do you have student loans, a car payment, multiple credit card balances? While most places expect that you will have some amount of debt, too much is a red flag.
  • Your Employment History: Have you had a stable job for a while or are you always changing jobs? Are you self-employed? Banks prefer that buyers have at least two years with the same company but there are some industry exceptions.
  • Your Savings: The ability to make a down payment is essential to buying a home. Ideally, you’ll want to put down 20% of the purchase price however there are loan programs with as little as 3.5% down. Plus, you should have money to cover any additional closing costs and inspections as well as other moving expenses. 

It's OK if you need to take some time to save up more down payment, pay off debt or create record of a stable job history. You're not alone. It's OK to dream in the mean time. Your dreams will help you to know more confidently when you do find the right home.

 OK, so let's say you have that part covered, you've talked to a lender (or saved up cash) and know your home purchase budget.

 Now Ask Yourself These Questions:

  • What is your moving time frame?
  • What are the additional expenses of homeownership?
  • Who will live with you? 
  • Whose names will go on the Deed? More about Title Insurance.
  • What do you intend to do with the property? 
  • Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten Years?
  • Are you looking for a move in ready home? A home you can put your personal touches on? One that needs complete overhaul? Read more about remodeling.
  • Are you considering foreclosed homes of short sales?
  • What are your MUST HAVE features? 
  • What additional features are on your WISH LIST? 
  • Are there any features or characteristics you'd like to avoid?
  • LOCATION: City or Country? Commute Time? Nearby Schools? Nearby Amenities? 
  • How much maintenance can you handle? 
  • Single Family, Townhouse or Condo? Association? 
  • Who will have influence in my purchase decision?

Have questions about these questions?
Call me.  A little professional help can go a long way in reaching your dreams!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Meet Sarah Marrinan, REALTOR®

Meet Sarah Marrinan, REALTOR®

 Check out this short intro video to learn more about Sarah Marrinan and why you should Call Sarah First for all your real estate needs!

I look forward to meeting you!

If you are looking for a real estate agent in the Twin Cities, your search is over!  Check out my recommendations from past clients!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Buying a Foreclosure: Don't say I Didn't Tell You!

Do you know the facts about buying a foreclosed home?

I have written about Foreclosures a lot.  I have helped a lot of buyers purchase foreclosed homes and I personally have purchased a foreclosure.  Buying a foreclosure is not like buying a home that is owner occupied.

Check out these articles about purchasing a foreclosed home:
Three Things To Consider About Buying a Foreclosure

Is a foreclosure worth it? Issues and upfront costs...

Are foreclosures worth the headache? Problems with the Property

The "Hidden Costs" of Purchasing Bank-Owned Properties

Empty Foreclosed Homes: What should I know?

I also wrote A LOT of other Home Buying Tips.

Buying a house isn't like car shopping.  In addition to all the paperwork and all the laws and regulations, there are a lot of different scenarios that require specific knowledge and experience. Please protect yourself and seek professional advice from a FULL TIME, experienced REALTOR.

Even if you don't choose to work with me, I can refer you to the right agent for you.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Free Calculator: How much house can you afford?

Home Affordability Calculator
Thinking about buying a new home?  Upgrading to a bigger home? Downsizing to a smaller home?
It's time to do the math!  How much house can you afford?

Affordability Calculator

Need help getting your search started? Call Sarah today!

Come find me!

Coming Soon and Hot New Listings