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The Houses By Harlan Team


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 122

Sioux Falls is a Great Place to Find a Job!

by Wallet Hub

We again are featured in National News, Sioux Falls is ranked as # 4  best place to find work from over 150  of the most popular cities. The analysis looked at 16 key indicators and also ranked by job market, where Sioux Falls was no 12. 

Sioux Falls ranked #1 for the lowest unemployment rate for people with a bachelors degree or higher. Check out this article: 

Please post your comments and feedback! 

October Stats & Erika's Kelo News Video

by The Houses By Harlan Team

Good Day! Hope you are having a good day! We have a celebrity in our Midst! Erika was featured on KELO News this week. Take a look and give her a call if you have questions about it!

The October Statistics are in so we can share them with you!


Oct  2013

Oct  2014

% Difference

YTD 2013

YTD 2014

% Difference

New Listings







Closed Sales







Pending Sales







Days on Market Until Sale







Median Sales Price







% of Original List Price Received







Inventory of Homes for Sale







Month’s Supply of Homes for Sale











 We had a very marked increase in the sale pending for this month, however when you look at the year to date on the sale pending, they have actually decreased slightly. Closed sales are more stable compared to last year. The short  summary is this has been a good year as a whole but down slightly from last year which was a record year.

 Have a Fantastic Week.

Sioux Falls is Ranked #44 city to live in by USA Today

by The Houses By Harlan Team

This is a wonderful article about our fair city making national news! We were ranked #44 out of 50 of the cities that they reviewed. Take a look at the facts on the bottom of the article about Sioux Falls, they show us as having only 1 hospital? I also would question some of the other areas that they ranked us on so in our opinion we should have ranked even higher! Now look at this carefully, 44 might not sound that good, however they looked at 550 cities that had population of 65,000 or more. # 44 out of 550 is very good!! Check out the article and come back her and tell me if you agree with me that they should have looked at our city a little more carefully? 

August Statistics

by The Houses By Harlan Team

Good Morning to you all! Have you had a good week? We have! Both in business and our personal lives!

It is time to review statistics from August:


Aug 2013

Aug  2014

% Change

YTD 2013

YTD 2014

% Change

New Listings







Pending Sales







Closed Sales







Median Sales Price







% of Original List Price Received







Inventory of Homes for Sale







Month’s Supply of Inventory

4.5 Months

5.5 Months



All Price Ranges. Contact us to see what your price range is doing.

Interesting to look at the numbers this month. New Listings are continuing to increase but the big change was the number of sale pending increase for the month of August. However when you look at the year to date column you have different news. Both the closed and pending sales for the year to date are down from 2013. It also appears that the inventory of homes for sale is continuing to increase and the month’s supply of Inventory. This would hold true to our experience also, several homes that 60 days ago would have had multiple offers on them have either taken longer to sell or have not yet sold.

We are optimistic about the market as a whole, Interest rates are still very good, however the Fed meets very soon and that has some of the investors for mortgage bonds a little skittish so we will see if they change their philosophy or if they will keep things status quo for a while longer. The other part of that equation is the international unrest and what does that do for sales and mortgage rates. We will see how September progresses.


Tips for Purchase of Your First Home.

by The Houses By Harlan Team

We hope you are having a Good Week.

 A large percentage of home sales today are to first time home buyers.  The current market of low mortgage interest rates has given first time buyers an excellent opportunity to become home buyers.  The following is an article from Realty Times that offers some great tips for anyone considering the purchase of their first home.

Before you start seriously shopping for a home, there's some groundwork you should do to put yourself in the best position to buy a home.

Start early, a couple of months before you talk to a lender or hire a real estate professional.

Check and repair your credit

The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires the three nationwide consumer credit report companies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, to provide you with a free copy of your credit report and FICO scores upon request once a year. You can order the reports by visiting, or call 1-877-322-8228.

Each credit report company has its own criteria for scoring your credit report. A lender will usually use the middle FICO score. All three scores need to be as high as possible for you to receive the best interest rates.

If you can, order the reports at least three months before applying for your home loan. If you find a mistake you need to correct, or you want to improve your score by paying down an account, you'll need at least two months before the credit score improves.

You can dispute an inaccurate item on the report by contacting the consumer reporting company and the information provider in writing. Be sure to include copies of your proof.

Don't accidentally raise your credit amounts or limits.

Lenders not only look at how much credit you're using, they consider how much credit you have available. However, now is not the time to be opening any new accounts or closing existing accounts.

Don't purchase furniture or a new car or any other big ticket item before buying a home. Lenders are very careful about the amount of debt you have and how much you pay down every month on the debt payments you have.

Get Loan Pre-approval

Don't start house hunting without knowing how much home you can buy. To find out, you have to apply for a loan, which means you're sharing financial information with the lender such as income and work history, student loans, child support or alimony, and credit card balances.

Contact your lender for a preapproval letter. The letter shows that the lender has taken a 1003 loan application, studied your debt ratios to your income, and helped you select a loan program such as fixed rate, ARMs (adjustable rate mortgages), FHA or VA government-backed loans, etc.

Your lender will confirm your down payment source, interest rate, type of loan that's best for your circumstances, and the terms of your loan. The lender will give you a loan commitment based on your qualifications. The home you select must meet appraisal, and the underwriting department must approve the loan.

A preapproval letter will open doors for you, pardon the pun. Sellers will be impressed because you're prepared to buy and that a lender has agreed to process your loan. Your real estate agent will have to know the terms of your loan in order to write your offer.

Find out about federal, state, and local government incentives

Get help with your loan rate, closing costs and/or down payments through federal and state housing authority programs. For example, there are also incentives for workforce personnel – police, fire fighters/emergency services personnel and teachers.

Each community is different, so click on HUD's Housing Authorities to find out what's being offered in your community. Sioux Falls Community Development does offer tax incentives to revitalize a designated public improvement area.

Narrow the choices

Think about how you want to live. One story or two? Low-maintenance condo or big yard for the kids? New or older home?

Drive through the neighborhoods you're interested in and look at homes. Visit a few open houses in the neighborhoods you will consider. They will usually be listed in your local newspaper with the hours hosted. Be sure to tell the real estate professional hosting the open house that you are already working with a buyer's agent.

With Google maps, video, virtual tours, multiple photos, school reports, neighborhood reports and more available online or on phone apps, you can get a good idea of what neighborhoods, home styles, and home prices are like where you want to live.

Find an Experienced Real Estate Broker or Agent

Buying a first home is a complex process. An experienced real estate broker or agent will assist you all through the process: the home search, comparable homes sold, making an offer, inspection, repairs, and the appraisal, as well as help you find the best value, neighborhood, and quality home for your budget and requirements.

The seller's real estate broker pays your broker or agent out of your loan proceeds. If you don't use your own agent, the seller's broker keeps the commission, so you might as well avail yourself of professional advice. Your real estate broker or agent works in your best interest.

Don't expect perfection

There's no perfect home. You may want all the latest amenities of a new home, but even new homes come at a price, including longer commutes, higher community fees, and bigger price tags.

Homes that need updating are priced below homes that are up to the minute and move-in ready. That could be to your financial advantage, so try to look beyond outdated fixtures and focus instead on the floor plan and dimensions. Ignore the seller's tastes and imagine each room clean and clear of clutter and with your own things in them.

Most cosmetic changes are relatively inexpensive, and you can even pay for them with your mortgage loan, in some cases. Talk to your lender.

Think long-term investment

Buying a home can be a wise financial investment, if you buy right and hold your home for long-term gain. Because of closing and moving costs, it's nearly impossible to buy a home and sell it immediately for a large gain, but it is possible to sell after a couple of years with no capital gains tax should you make a profit.

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, home equity growth beats inflation by about one to two percent annually, not to mention government subsidies for home ownership in the form of tax relief and other incentives.

However, if you look at owning a home strictly as an investment, you'll miss many pleasures. Look at your home as a home, rather than part of your portfolio. Buying a home allows you to live in the neighborhood you want for as long as you want, without having to worry that the landlord is going to sell out from under you. Your stake in a home makes you part of the community, committed to making it a better place to live.

Good News About Mortgage Rates!

by The Houses By Harlan Team

Good news about mortgage rates! Home Loan Rates are near 12 month lows.

Quoting Kevin Unzen on mortgage rates: When you see these Bond prices moving higher, it means home loan rates are improving—and when they are moving lower, home loan rates are getting worse.

To go one step further—a red "candle" means that MBS worsened during the day, while a green "candle" means MBS improved during the day. Depending on how dramatic the changes were on any given day, this can cause rate changes throughout the day, as well as on the rate sheets we start with each morning.

As you can see in the chart below, Mortgage Bonds improved in the latter part of the week despite the positive housing data. Home loan rates remain near some of their best levels of the year and I'll continue to monitor them closely.

Japanese Candlestick Chart

We are getting some great new Listings, Check them out on our web site under the Featured Listings tab. Mark put an acreage by Garretson last week and he already has 2 offers on it.

Remember if you want to see Listings, including the new listings, come to you by email go into our Search Listings tab.  It will be very low key, we will send follow up emails but we do not call you unless you want us to.

If you have not already read the Monday Morning Coffee column, today’s talks about the difference of reputation versus character.

We want you to have a Fantastic week!


Tips for the Sale of Your Home!

by The Houses By Harlan Team

If you are considering the sale of your home? If so, there are certain things that you can do that will enhance the appearance of your home and get buyers excited.  The result of your efforts can mean a shorter time on the market and more money in your pocket.  Here is a recent article from Real Estate Today that addresses this.

As a seller, you have a lot more control in pleasing buyers than you think. If you start the selling process by learning what buyers really want, you can prepare your home to come as close to their dreams as possible.

Here are the five biggest turn-on for home buyers and what you can do to please buyers.

Curb Appeal

You only get one chance to make a first impression. Your home should sell to the buyer from the curb. That's how important Curb Appeal is. Your buyer should be so impressed, so charmed, so delighted that they want to leap out of the car and run inside.

How do you create curb appeal? Show attention to detail. Your home has to be prettier, cleaner and in better condition than its neighbors.

Start with sweeping the drive, walkway, and porch or entry of dirt and debris. Get rid of leggy bushes, wilted flowers and broken tree limbs. Plant fresh flowers in the front garden or in containers at the entry.

Power-wash the exterior and hand-wash the windows. Touch up paint around the windows, if needed. Paint the front door a fresh, modern color. Replace the door hardware and porch sconces.


The number one reason why people buy homes is to have more room. Whether they're moving from an apartment or moving up from the home they have, they want to have plenty of space to do the things they enjoy.

If you have a large home, you're golden, but that doesn't mean you've got it made. You can ruin a buyer's first impression with too much clutter, so make sure to keep your home picked up so your buyer can see your home's features clearly and easily.

What if you don't have a lot of space? Plan to do some storing and staging. Rent a storage unit and put away all out of season clothes, toys, and home decorations and accessories. Clean off all tables and countertops so you have only the minimum of things your need to operate your home. Empty closets of anything that is "stored" and move it to the storage unit. The small expense you'll pay in storage fees you'll more than make back from your buyer's offer.


There's a reason why first-time buyers and singles tend to buy older homes - they're more affordable than buying new. So unless your buyer is a building contractor, chances are they want a home that's as updated as possible.

You may not be interested in putting in a new kitchen in order to sell your home, but you can do a few things to make buyers happy. Replace the most dated features - countertops, cabinet pulls, or appliances.

Bathrooms are so personal that they can easily turn buyers off. Invest in new towels, bath mats and a shower curtain. Throw out slimy soaps and limp ragged bath sponges. Replace with liquid shower and bath products. You can take all the new stuff with you to the next home.

Painting is expected by buyers, but don't repaint the same colors that you chose 10 years ago. Pick an updated neutral like a warm grey instead of beige. Be sure to choose a color that will complement the architecture and flooring in your home.

Keep in mind that the typical home purchased in 2013 was 1,860 square feet and built in 1996, so home buyers aren't expecting your home to be a mansion, nor do they expect it to be new, but they do expect to see pride of ownership. The more tweaks, updates and repairs that you perform, the more confident your buyers will be that they're choosing the right home.

Hiring A Home Inspector

by The Houses By Harlan Team

If you're hiring someone to inspect the home you want to buy, or you're a seller trying to find out if there are any hidden problems that need fixing before you put your home on the market, here are five things you need to know:

1.   You can choose your home inspector

Your real estate professional can recommend an inspector, or you can find one on your own. Members of the National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc. (NAHI), must complete an approved home inspector training program, demonstrate experience and competence as a home inspector, complete a written exam, and adhere to the NAHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.

2. Home inspections are intended to point out adverse conditions, not cosmetic flaws.

You should attend the inspection and follow the inspector throughout the inspection so you can learn what's important and what's not. No house is perfect and an inspection on any home is bound to uncover faults. A home inspector will point out conditions that need repair and/or potential safety-related concerns relating to the home. They won't comment on cosmetic items if they don't impair the integrity of the home. They also do not do destructive testing.

3. Home inspection reports include only the basics.

A home inspector considers hundreds of items during an average inspection. The home inspection should include the home's exterior, steps, porches, decks, chimneys, roof, windows, and doors. Inside, they will look at attics, electrical components, plumbing, central heating and air conditioning, basement/crawlspaces, and garages.

They report on the working order of items such as faucets to see if they leak, or garage doors to see if they close properly. Inspectors may point out termite damage and suggest that you get a separate pest inspection. The final written report should be concise and easy to understand.

4. Home inspectors work for the party who is paying the fee.

The NAHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics clearly state that members act as an unbiased third party to the real estate transaction and "will discharge the Inspector's duties with integrity and fidelity to the client." A reputable home inspector will not conduct a home inspection or prepare a home inspection report if his or her fee is contingent on untruthful conclusions.

The inspector should maintain client confidentiality and keep all report findings private, unless required by court order. That means it is your choice whether or not to share the report with others. If you're a seller, you don't have to disclose the report to buyers, but you must disclose any failure in the systems or integrity of your home.

5. Inspectors are not responsible for the condition of the home.

Inspectors don't go behind walls or under flooring, so it's possible that a serious problem can be overlooked. Keep in mind that inspectors are not party to the sales transaction, so if you buy a home where an expensive problem surfaces after the sale, you won't be able to make the inspector liable or get the inspector to pay for the damage. In fact, you may not be entitled to any compensation beyond the cost of the inspection.

As a buyer, you need the home inspection to decide if the home is in condition that you can tolerate. You can use the report to show the seller the need for a certain repair or negotiate a better price. You can also take the report to a contractor and use it to make repairs or to remodel a section of the home.

One thing you should not do when buying a home is skip having the home inspected because of cost or undue pressure by the seller. A home inspection is reasonable, it can save you money in the long run, and it's required by many lenders, particularly for FHA loans. There's a reason why buyers should beware, and a home inspection gives you the information you need to make a sound buying decision.



Right Time to Purchase a Home?

by The Houses By Harlan Team

Is this the right time to purchase a home?  Here are some compelling reasons that will say yes.  In fact you may never find a better time to purchase than right now.  Just when we thought the mortgage interest rates would start going back up and home price would begin soaring, just the opposite has taken place.  With current low interest rates and affordable home prices, right now is when you need to take action.  Here is an article from Realty Times that gives you some great reasons for purchasing a home now!

The nature of market bottoms is that it's hard to tell one's occurred until prices and sales volume start to rise again. That's why the best time to buy is when market conditions suggest a bottom.

That means there's still some risk for home buyers, since no one has a crystal ball that predicts the future. To take advantage of low mortgage interest rates and home prices still well below previous records, you may have to take a risk, such as riding out another short-term dip in property values.

But the rewards may be well worth it. Here are five reasons to buy a home right now.

1.   More jobs are available Total non farm payrolls rose by 217,000 in May, and the unemployment rate is 6.3 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment increased in professional and business services, health care and social assistance, food services and drinking places, and transportation and warehousing.

2. Houses are a great hedge against inflation The Labor Department also says the May Computer Price Index is up 2.13 percent year-over-year. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.3 percent in May, its largest increase since August 2011.The CPI excludes volatile food and energy, so you can bet that the accelerating cost of things, otherwise known as inflation, also includes housing. You may be paying more for goods and services, but if you're a homeowner, you're better off financially. A major asset such as a home, purchased at a fixed cost, becomes more valuable when prices inflate.

3. Housing price increases are slowing The median existing-home price was $213,400, over 5 percent above May 2013. Considering that the national median existing-home price was $158,800 in January 2011. That's when the PMI Insurance Company said home prices relative to income are below market fundamentals in more than half of U.S. states. Prices over corrected during the recession, and then they soared by the double-digits in 2013.Now housing is correcting once again from an over correction. Now's the time to take advantage of better home buying conditions.

4. Mortgage interest rates are still low During the recession, mortgage interest rates for a benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate loan, averaged 4.32 percent. Now they're close to that and there's no recession. That means mortgage rates have nowhere to go but up.

5. Pent-up demand ready to release

Since the recession, household formation fell dramatically to one percent of the national population. But considering that the leading age of the largest generation ever - 81 million Echo Boomers -- is now over 30, the numbers should be closer to the 2.3% annual growth of the 1970's, when 78 million Baby Boomers reached adulthood.The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) said about 2.1 million households delayed formation due to the recession which allegedly ended in 2011. Now there's pent-up demand for housing that should continue to drive home prices higher.

The takeaway A housing recovery doesn't occur in a straight line. There are surges and dips. Buyers could wait for better conditions, but the present alignment of falling mortgage interest rates, slower home prices, and larger selection is highly unlikely to reoccur.

 This may not be the bottom, but it's close enough.

May Sales Statistics!

by The Houses By Harlan Team

Good Monday Morning to you all!

Have you had enough of the rain & storms? A recent client asked how to check their house for hail damage besides getting up on their roof and looking at the shingles. We are not insurance adjusters or your insurance agent. We are going to suggest your agent can answer this best. Policies are different with different companies, some companies will not rate you differently if you inquire or file a claim but do not have a loss, some might. Your best bet is to talk to your agent directly. I will suggest that you should walk around your house, look closely at your decks and windows as they can take hail damage. That is at least one area you can check on your own.

On the real estate sales side of the news, we do have our May sales statistics so we can give you that update today:


May 2013

May 2014

% Change

YTD 2013

YTD 2014

% Change

New Listings







Closed Sales







Median Sales Price







% of Original List Price Received







Inventory of Homes for Sale







Month’s Supply of Homes for Sale

4.5 Months

5.1 Months





Pending Sales







I added the pending home sales for this month’s report because they showed a very significant increase of +35% for the month over the previous year month. I looked back and the month’s supply of Homes for sale has slowly risen since January when it was a 4.1 month’s supply to today it is the 5.1 month’s supply. Thus we have continued mixed numbers in our market. I do believe that the pending home sales numbers and the median sales price increases are good reason to have continued hope for our market. We are seeing an increase of multiple offers on some properties also especially on the ones below $250,000.

Our team is staying very busy and for that we are very thankful to you and all our clients and friends for referring people to us. Thank You!

Have a Fantastic Week!


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 122




Contact Information

Photo of Solus Real Estate Group Real Estate
Solus Real Estate Group
Ameri/Star Real Estate
5900 S Western Ave
Sioux Falls SD 57108
(605) 274-7273
Fax: (605) 336-7749

Solus Real Estate Group Specializes in Selling or

Buying Homes and other Real Estate or Property in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota Region.