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Solus Real Estate Group Blog

Solus Real Estate Group


Displaying blog entries 151-160 of 163

Good Monday Morning!

by The Houses By Harlan Team

Sunday was another Spring like day with the temperatures rising to the 40's for most of the week, we will lose a lot of our snow.  Watch peoples attitudes and health improve!

South Dakota made the national news again!  Nationally home sales dropped 21% from October through December.  South Dakota was the only state where sales rose at an impressive 8.9%.  Congratulations. we live in a great place!

What does this mean to us, if you have been waiting for prices to drop here, wait no longer.  We normally start having strong sales in March and with the good rates, the good press and  good weather  we look for sales to really start popping. 

Call us now if you have any plans to sell or buy!

Have a fantastic week!

Harlan & Mark


Ice Dams

by The Houses By Harlan Team

So what do you know about

Ice Dams?

 At least one of our clients called us and asked about a problem they were having with their house. The situation as they described it to us seemed to indicate they might have an “Ice Dam” on their roof.


Ice dams can cause damage to the roof, gutters, walls, ceilings, insulation and other areas.  They form at the edge of the roof and gutters and prevent snow melt from draining properly. In severe circumstances, the ice will even begin to back up under the shingles. It can become quite a serious situation!


We’ve found an article on ice dams on the University of Minnesota Extension web site. Check the attached link if you would like read more about this issue.

We referred our client to a handyman and he was able to take care of the problem. Should you need a referral, give us a call and we’ll provide you with contact details for people we’ve used successfully.


We hope you’ll find this information is beneficial! If you have other questions regarding your home, let us know. We would appreciate the opportunity to be of service.



Good Monday Morning Everyone!

by The Houses By Harlan Team

Hopefully everyone is taking the slow and cautious route as we head back to jobs or school today. These late winter storms always seem to catch a few of us unawares and a little under prepared for the reality of driving in wintry South Dakota. Slow down and be safe!

I guess those same words could apply to our real estate market too. As we have talked about on this page a number of times, the slow and steady approach has seemed to serve our Sioux Falls market fairly well. Some of the national publications and news services have even picked up our numbers. We may not grow and appreciate as fast as some other areas but the slump isn’t hitting us as hard either. It doesn’t mean that it’s perfect here but we don’t appear to be in survival mode. Open house traffic over the weekend was brisk. Hard to tell if that was a sign of the beautiful sunshine or it’s the first sign of spring!

One sure sign of spring however is the Sioux Empire Home Show. It’s the 49th Annual  show and starts this Thursday (2/28) at 5:00 and runs through Sunday (3/2) at 5:00. Check the Home Builders Association website for details. Here is their address: . It’s always a great place to look for ideas, the latest in materials and accents for your home or to check on the market rates.  Look forward to seeing you there!



Monday Morning Coffee

by The Houses By Harlan Team

Wow, are we lucky to live in Sioux Falls and South Dakota or What?


I was thrilled to see the front page headlines on Friday! So much so that if you missed it I want to give you the link so you can read it for yourself and forward to all your friends and family so they can see how great living in Sioux Falls really is.


Here is the link to the article in the Argus Leader:


Seriously, Let’s enjoy what we have and be so very thankful that we live where and when we do right here!


I guess the moral of this story is if you are looking to buy or sell here in Sioux Falls, the prices are probably not going to go down much from where we are. The other side to seriously look at is that mortgage interest rates are starting to go back up. They are still great so now is the time to move. Come on along, we are in for a great ride in real estate here in Sioux Falls, SD.

Harlan & Mark


Foreclosure: What It Means and How It Works

by The Houses By Harlan Team

Foreclosure is the process through which a lender can sell or repossess (take ownership of) a property in order to recover the amount owed on a defaulted loan secured by the property. Anyone worried about missing their home payments--or those thinking about purchasing a foreclosure property--should understand how foreclosures work.

State laws govern the foreclosure process, and they vary from state to state. You'll want to check with your own state to learn the details, including whether a judicial procedure is required (see box below).

Following is a broad-brush summary of the three stages of foreclosure, assuming the homeowner fails to satisfy the repayment obligation along the way.

Pre-foreclosure. This stage begins when the homeowner falls behind on home-loan payments (or sometimes other terms of the loan). Lenders may wait for a second, third or even fourth missed payment before sending the homeowner a "default" notice--which becomes public record. The homeowner then has a given period of time to respond to the notice and/or come up with the outstanding payments and fees--often by selling the home. (If a judicial procedure is required, it occurs after the default notice is given.)

  1. Foreclosure. At this stage, the former homeowner may or may not have been evicted (depending on state law) when the lender puts the home up for public auction (after a judgment of foreclosure in those states requiring judicial procedure). If the home sells at auction, money from the sale is used to pay off the costs of the foreclosure, tax and other prior liens, service charges and advances, interest and principal on the mortgage, late charges or fees, and liens recorded after the first mortgage. Any amount left over is paid to the borrower (former homeowner). Often, however, proceeds of the sale are less than the various amounts owed, in which case the lender may be able to hold the borrower responsible for the difference.

  2. "Real Estate Owned." A foreclosed property that does not sell at auction--either because no one bid on it or bids were too low to cover the outstanding loan--becomes the property of the lender (or government agency that guaranteed the loan--HUD, VA, etc.). Most lenders prefer to list their "real estate owned (REO)" homes for sale through real estate brokers, rather than keeping them or managing the sale of REOs themselves.

  Avoid Getting Hooked By A Foreclosure-Related Scam

There are lots of people out there willing to victimize people in financial difficulty--especially when their troubles become part of public record. Beware of offers involving signing over your deed to someone else who promises to sell your home for you--whether they do or not, you'll still be responsible for the mortgage.

Also, investigate people who offer to buy your property so you can avoid foreclosure. They may be legitimate but, to be on the safe side, check them out by contacting your state Attorney General, the state Real Estate Commission, or the local District Attorney's consumer fraud unit.

Finally, consider carefully any "counseling agencies" that offer foreclosure-mitigation services for a fee. In many cases, they offer services you can perform yourself, such as negotiating a workout plan with your lender.

If you decide to conduct a pre-foreclosure sale, give us a call. We'll work with you to make sure your interests are protected in the transaction.

Keep in mind that if you have a loan ensured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers a toll-free number you can call to find a HUD-approved housing counseling agency: (800) 569-4287. For more information about foreclosures provided by HUD, go online to:

Foreclosure Fact

The type of foreclosure procedure followed in a state depends on whether real property is purchased there using mortgages or deeds of trust. (Some states use both.) In general, states that use mortgages require a judicial procedure through which the lender must get court approval to initiate foreclosure. Where a deed of trust containing a "power of sale" clause is used to purchase property, the lender can initiate a foreclosure sale without going to court.



Buying a foreclosure can be a lucrative investment.  Your goal is to buy property far below market value so your investment already has substantial equity on the day you close.

Understanding the foreclosure the process gives you some insight into locating foreclosures at their earliest stages and avoiding some of the pitfalls.

When you are ready to purchase a foreclosed home remember you're cashing in on a home someone was no longer able to pay for.
A foreclosure means that because a home owner has become unable to pay the mortgage and the lender is forced to take back the property. The legal steps involved differ from state to state, so make sure you do your homework or have a real estate agent guide you through the process.
When you are ready to embark on the foreclosure experience make sure you find an agent experienced in foreclosures. And, be aware that some sellers won't accept offers from unrepresented buyers.
Search for foreclosure Listings by visiting Samia's USHUD website to find properties in the area you are interested in.  Click here to visit
Here are a few tips when looking into purchasing a foreclosure:
  • Tour the property and inspect it as closely as possible. Some foreclosures--unlike fixer-uppers--are in fairly good shape, but others may require some maintenance.
  • Have your agent check nearby or comparable homes to see if the asking price for a foreclosed home is, in fact, a good price.
  • Order a copy of your credit report and correct any defaults or outdated information.
  • Then meet with a mortgage company to become prequalified for the mortgage.
  • Check to see if the foreclosed home has any liens on it, such as unpaid property taxes, then find out who is liable for those costs.
  • Have the home inspected if the seller allows. Some sellers include this as part of the sales agreement, but the buyer still pays for it.
  • Be prepared to deal with more paperwork with a foreclosure than you would with a conventional purchase, particularly when a government agency is involved.
  • Make sure to ask your agent questions and become educated in the foreclosure process.

I can assist you with the foreclosure process, so if this is an area you are interested in, please let me know.  I will be happy to offer you my knowledge and expertise.

Good Afternoon

by The Houses By Harlan Team

Isn’t perspective a wonderful thing? If you hail from New York/ New Jersey, life probably looks pretty good. If you call Boston/ Foxboro home, maybe not so good. Regardless, it was a game worth watching as the football season comes to a close. Time to switch seasons and get ready for March madness!

Back to this matter of perspective. We continue to hear the negatives regarding values and mortgages on the national scene and its information that is hard to ignore. It’s a view that probably makes many of us wonder what is in store for us. Fortunately, we don’t operate in the national scene! Here in Sioux Falls the picture really is much less dire. Mortgage rates are still low, almost historically so. The inventory of homes is not what we could really use for a city of our size. We do have room for more of us to put our houses on the market. If you are trying to decide whether now is the time to sell or refurbish and refinance, give us a call! We would love to stop by and give you professional assistance with that decision.

Have an Awesome Week!

Not Ready to Buy Right Now... Is This You?

by The Houses By Harlan Team

A Real Estate Agents prospective client said he was not ready to buy right
now...    Is this you?
Provided by Jeff Sislow (Minneapolis) & John Riggins (Hawaii)

Aloha David, 
Thank you for your email. 
You did not mention why you are not in a position to buy at this time. Would you tell me why? 
If it's because you don't think you can afford to buy now, I must advise you that it's less expensive to buy today than it was  3 years ago. Home prices have gone through a market correction after the highs of 2005. Interest rates are at 44 year lows. This past week the 30 year fixed mortgage interest rates ranged between 4.75% and 5.25%. And thirdly, there is an excellent selection which gives you more choices of properties available. 

 There is an old saying, "buy when everyone is selling and sell when everyone is buying." This could not be more true than today.  If it's the news media and what it is saying that is keeping you from buying, when was the last time you saw a reporter who was rich? 

 The following are just a few of the many quotes from the news media over the years: 
"The prices of houses seem to have reached a plateau, and  there is reasonable expectancy that prices will decline." -Time  Magazine, 1947. 
" Houses cost too much for the mass market. Today's average  prices is around $8,000-out of the reach for two-thirds of all  buyers."-Science Digest, 1948. 
"The goal of owning a home seems to be getting beyond the  reach of more and more Americans. The typical new house today costs  about $28,000."-Business Week, 1969. 
"You might well be suspicious of 'common wisdom' that tells  you, 'Don't wait, buy now'...continuing inflation will force home  prices and rents higher and higher."-NEA Journal, 1970. 
"The median price of a home today is approaching  $50,000...Housing experts predict price rises in the future won't be  that great."-Nations Business, 1977. 
"The era of easy profits in real estate may be drawing to a  close."-Money Magazine, 981. 
"The golden-age of risk-free run-ups in home prices is gone."  -Money Magazine, 1985. 
"Most economists agree...{a home} will become little more than  a roof and a tax eduction, certainly not the lucrative investment it  was through much of the 1980's."-Money Magazine, 1986. 
Financial planners agree that houses will continue to be a  poor investment."-Kipplinger's Personal Financial Magazine, 1993. 
"A home is where the bad investment is." -San Francisco  Examiner, 1996. 
"Home prices experience historic drop."-CNN, 2007. 

 Each and every negative prediction by the Media was  short-lived. At the time such predictions were made it appeared real  estate would never go up again in value-similar to the way it feels  for many now. The good news is found below. This time is no  different than times past! 
If you want to be independently wealthy, you have to do what  the rich do. 
"There is an excellent selection of properties in a down market...You can deal with sellers...There is a window of opportunity  only for a limited period of time...The market always comes back and I  have made tons of money from buying in down arkets..."Donald Trump,  2008. 
FACT: National real estate values have appreciated. 
* 88% since 1996 
* 340% since 1977 
* 685% since 1969 
* 2650% since 1948 
More wealth has been made through real estate than any  other investment. There are significant tax advantages to buying  real estate vs other investments. Besides owning your own home and  the pride of ownership, you can greatly reduce your tax burden by 
writing off the interest and real property taxes from your income.  When become a landlord, you can write off the interest, real property  taxes, depreciation, maintenance fees, repairs and management fees  from your income while having the tenant pay off your mortgage. 
Appreciation is significant. Over the past 40 years, Oahu  residential real estate has appreciated an average of 6.5 percent per  year. Based upon past history, it's anticipated that a property  purchased for $200,000 would appreciate to over $1 million in 30 
years, be debt free and produce a significant retirement income (Ask  to see my Wealth Accumulation Chart). 
*NOW is the best time to BUY! 
Having worked daily in residential sales for the past 31  years, I am an expert at creativity finding ways to finance real  estate. You do not want to miss this window of opportunity to buy  real estate. You do not want to have regrets down the road. If you  are sincerely interested in accumulating wealth, give me a call at  808.674.1111 or cell: 808.371.3930. 
Best wishes, 

John Riggins

John Riggins Real Estate
91-210 Oaniani Place
Kapolei, HI 96707


Sioux Falls Market

by The Houses By Harlan Team

Hopefully, it was a productive and enjoyable weekend for each of you. I know sunshine and a break from the frigid weather does wonders for both body and soul. It’s that glimmer of hope that keeps us moving on through the bleak mid-winter! Enjoy it for now…..

We continue to see daily activity on the national scene with news coming at us regarding home values, rate changes, company consolidations and federal legislative proposals. It doesn’t appear that it will change in the near future either. But regardless of all that, the Sioux Falls market continues to move forward. It isn’t that we live on the Isle of Perfect Real Estate, but we do have a supportive blend of industry, city and state organizations that all serve to give us a steady base that keeps our home values from the drastic falls seen elsewhere.

Tax relief for both individuals and employers is being discussed. How these discussions will finally work out is probably still not quite on the horizon but we all appreciate the efforts being put forth. It will be interesting to see how increases in loan limits will help the average home purchase or refinance in the coming months also. Lenders are telling us about the increase in loan applications for refinancing those loans taken out over the preceding year or two. Rates like we see today are very real attraction for many of us. But if the market is causing you to consider the refinance option, we would also suggest that a move-up purchase may be equally beneficial. We would enjoy the opportunity to visit with you and provide you a professional opinion on your home’s value. Feel free to contact us by either e-mail or phone!

Have a terrific week and we’ll talk to you after Super Bowl Sunday!

Flood Insurance Information

by The Houses By Harlan Team

Click on this link for information about the new flood insurance areas in Sioux Falls.

Check Your Furnace!!

by The Houses By Harlan Team

Please Get Your Furnace Checked and Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors


A testimonial and a family’s experience from a Christmas email I received this year from our next door neighbor that I would like to share with you.  Please read.


Yesterday we had a very frightening thing happen to us here.  Kim and I got up at 6 am to KNWC (our usual.)  The two us started to share as getting ready that neither of us felt very good-strong headaches, dizzy and nauseated.  Kim so much so that we decided he couldn't drive to work until he felt better.  Heidi got up to say goodbye to us before we left, since she was headed back to Orange City later in the day.  She was feeling worse than we were.

 I called the gas company to see if they could come and check the carbon monoxide levels in the house.  We turned off the furnace, opened windows, etc.  Kim stayed at the house and I went on to work.  I thought I would just feel better over a little time.  I continued to feel poorly and even shaky and confused.  I was just telling some nurses at work about how I was feeling when Kim called and said the gas company found a problem with the furnace and the house had fatal levels of carbon monoxide in some of the rooms.  Another hour or two without opening the windows and we would be dead.  Two nurses drove me back home.

 Nate became our designated driver since he seemed to have no effects.  We went to the emergency room where they took our blood levels and treated us with oxygen.  Our blood levels were 15-20 times normal.  After 3 to 4 hours on O2 most the the symptoms disappear. 

 We went back to a cold home, but very grateful.  Over the next few hours the headaches gradually decreased.  Heidi did make it back for her classes today.  Lambert put us and our dog up in a hotel for the night so the furnace can go in today.  The noises coming from the basement, as my cold fingers write this, make promises of heat by tonight.

We have two carbon monoxide detectors here today!


Go to our web site for a person to check your furnace or Lamberts Heating and A/C 338-1231 who Kim and Yvonne used.


Displaying blog entries 151-160 of 163




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
Fax: (605) 336-7749

Solus Real Estate Group Specializes in

Selling and Buying Homes and other Real Estate or

Property in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota Region.