Get Your Backpack Ready…It’s Time for School

Back to Scho

Late August in Minnesota is a special time of year. The weather pretends like it’s getting ready for the arrival of Fall. Apple orchards are just about ready for picking. And perhaps one of the most exciting events takes place – the back-to-school frenzy. The excitement of a new school year isn’t just enjoyed by the kids. Adults get their backpacks ready too! The Fall semester ranks as the busiest time for college admissions staff. The second busiest enrollment period is the first semester of a new year after people are inspired by their New Year resolutions. Adults face some of the same challenges that younger students deal with but also have a few unique to adult students. Here are few tips to help you have a successful start to your new adventures in education.

Don’t Worry about Picking a Major

The first question most people are asked when they enroll in college level coursework is, “what is your major?” Maybe you’re one of the many adults who’ve been out of school for an extended period of time and you really aren’t sure what you want to do now that you’ve grown-up. Don’t feel pressured to pick a major immediately. Instead, take a few general education courses first to help you acclimate to the college environment. You’re required to take those courses anyway and it gives you time to explore your career options.

Talk to Your Employer

Many companies offer education benefits to employees, so make sure you’re aware of what benefits are available to you. Benefits could include tuition reimbursement, scholarships, and in some cases, internships if your coursework is industry related. Most employers like to promote from within and enjoy supporting team members who further their education. It’s always a good idea to talk with your manager and let them know you’re taking classes. You need all the support you can get.

Schedule Study Time

Adult students have the unique challenge of fitting school in with work and family. While it’s a challenge, it’s not impossible. You may need to get up earlier than usual or stay up a little later at night. Instead of going to lunch with co-workers you might spend your lunch hour working on assignments. It doesn’t matter when you study. What matters is that you keep those appointments – no cancellations. The time you sacrifice for school work will pay off at graduation.

Learn How to Enjoy Learning

Adults go back to school for a variety of reasons. For some it’s about learning new job skills. Others need the degree or certificate to get a promotion. Don’t get so wrapped up in getting the diploma that you forget to enjoy the process of learning. The pressure is off now that you’re not answering to parents for grades. You don’t have to worry about peer pressure either. It’s just you and your goals. Why not make a point to have fun learning? If you’re taking an art course, go on a family outing to an art museum. Go outside and look at the stars – then talk about what you’re studying in your astronomy class. Let your excitement rub off on your kids, or vice versa.

Remember, it’s never too late to go back to school. Whether your goal is to be able to get a promotion, purchase a home, or be an inspiration to someone else, you’ll never be sorry you furthered your education. Time to hit the books!

Published in: on August 28, 2018 at 12:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Kolacky Days – Celebrate Summer in Minnesota

Photo Courtesy of Kolacky Days

If you don’t have anything planned for the upcoming weekend, be sure to include Kolacky Days in Montgomery, MN. Not far from the Twin Cities, Montgomery captures what visitors and long-time residents love about small towns in Minnesota. Kolacky Days takes place July 27-29,2018. Don’t miss out on this fun and tasty celebration of Czech history in Minnesota. Whether you’re a new resident or are getting ready to relocate to the Twin Cities, you may not realize what a rich cultural history is enjoyed by people who live in and visit our state. Summer welcomes all kinds of events and festivals, so whether you’re an avid fishing fanatic or a dedicated foodie, Minnesota has something interesting to do just about every weekend.

Kolacky What?

If you’ve never experienced kolacky, it’s never too late to wander down to Montgomery and visit Franke’s Bakery. The bakery has been in business for 99 years and is a popular spot to eat kolacky. Kolacky is a Czech specialty made of sweet dough wrapped around a sweet filling. Popular fillings are prune, poppy-seed, apricot, apple, and raspberry. Montgomery just happens to be known as the Kolacky Capital of the World. It doesn’t matter that the town created the moniker for itself, it’s the quaintest place to enjoy the world-famous kolacky.

Isn’t Montgomery in Alabama?

Montgomery, AL is a beautiful city to visit, but don’t put it in your GPS or you’ll be way too far south to eat kolacky. This is Montgomery, Minnesota, a small town of around 3000 located 55 miles southwest of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. If you love visiting and exploring small towns, Montgomery is one you won’t want to miss. The town has a deep Czech heritage but is also representative of rural and patriotic America. The downtown area includes historic buildings with flags lining part of the main thoroughfare. Developers are building new subdivisions but there are plenty of homes that have been in Montgomery for over 60 years. If your job requires you to live near the Twin Cities, Montgomery may be a quieter alternative to living in the middle of the hustle of a big city. If you just enjoy a ride through Minnesota farm country, it’s a wonderful place to visit for a day.

Kolacky Days
Photo Courtesy of Kolacky Days

Don’t Miss Kolacky Days!

The signature Minnesota event to celebrate Czech heritage is Kolacky Days. For 2018, the celebration takes place July 27-29. The weekend will be packed full of fun including a coronation of the Kolacky Queen, a prune spitting contest, tractor pulls, music and entertainment of all kinds, cultural displays, and of course, plenty of opportunity to sample kolacky. Now, it’s possible to find kolacky in certain bakeries in the Twin Cities, but you won’t find any as authentic or delicious as those in Montgomery. You might love the town and its pastries so much you’ll decide to relocate to Montgomery. If you do, you’ll have a warm welcome!
Whether you’re looking for a new home or contemplating a relocation to the Twin Cities and surrounding area, you will find a welcome committee that includes some of the top real estate services in the country. You’ll find answers to everything from finding a lender to things related to your real estate closing. Welcome to Minnesota!

Published in: on July 23, 2018 at 4:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Do you really need a Title Company?

Congratulations! You’ve fallen in love with a home and are on the way to packing and scheduling movers. Over the next month or so, you’ll provide more information than you ever thought possible, and sign what feels like reams of documents. In between you’ll get various communications from people who play a variety of roles in this production called real estate. One of those communications will be from a person who works for the title company. If you’re not sure what a title company has to do with you buying a home, read more to find out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about title companies and real estate. Well, at least everything that can fit in a few short paragraphs – if you have more questions you can always call your real estate agent, or the person who sent you the email in the first place.

Why Am I Getting a Message from the Title Company?

Shortly after signing the real estate purchase contract, you’ll get an email or phone call from the title company regarding your preliminary closing date. The title company plays a critical role in getting you from purchase contract to receiving the keys to your new home. Their role is very much behind the scenes but without the work of title officers and examiners, there is no closing date. You may get more than one message from your title company. Always read those communications carefully. Ignoring an email from your title company could delay closing!

Why Do I Need a Title Company?

Imagine for a moment the beautiful home you’ve chosen. Can you see yourself relaxing on the pretty tiled patio? Or pulling into the roomy garage – the one with enough space for 2.5 cars? Over the years, previous owners also loved your home, putting their own personal touch in the yard and on the walls. Sometimes a previous owner leaves more than just their decorating style. Maybe they never paid a contractor or owe back taxes to the IRS. They could have left you a lien on the home, which is a big problem. A previous owner also might have left behind an heir who has a claim on the home. The title company employs specialists who comb public records looking for any information that might prevent, or at the least, delay you getting those front door keys. Of course, the title company also gathers the information about easements, leases, or other restrictions on the property. If you’re still not convinced, just ask your mortgage company. They won’t approve your loan without a clear title.

Someone Said I Have to Buy Title Insurance

Talk to your lender. Most mortgage companies require the buyer to purchase title insurance that covers the amount being borrowed. Maybe you’re a cash buyer. In that case, it’s optional unless your state has its own requirements. Check with your title company – see, one more reason you need them. If you’re feeling a little resistant to being told you need yet another insurance policy, don’t stop reading now. Just like homeowner’s insurance protects you, title insurance is also designed with your best interest in mind. Title insurance protects you from any possibility that any previous owner did not have free and clear ownership of your property. Now, it’s a remote possibility, but are you willing to risk losing everything you’ve put into this home you’re buying if in a few years, some forgotten owner pops up and tries to lay claim to your investment? Didn’t think so. Borrowers typically don’t have a choice, but if you’re paying cash, just get the policy and hope you never need to use it. Are you wondering what this has to do with everything you want to know about title companies? Title companies issue the title insurance policies. They really are essential players, aren’t they?

It’s Closing Day!

Bet you thought you’d never get to closing day, but here you are, sitting at a big table with your realtor waiting anxiously for the moment when someone hands you the keys. The title company is here too! Say, “hello” to your closer.  This person sits at the head of the closing table. You and your realtor sit on one side, and the seller and their realtor sit on the other. The closer explains each process and collects the required signatures on the large pile of documents. Your closer does more than supervise signatures. If you haven’t realized it yet, buying a home is a complicated process. You won’t see most of the process because so much of it is taken care of behind the scenes. The closer ensures that all funds, including closing costs and down payments, are taken care of properly.

One final job that your title company does for you is to get all those papers you’ve just spent the last hour signing legally recorded. This includes the deed to your new home. You’re free to go home now and pick out paint colors, and garden plants. Welcome home!


Published in: on May 24, 2018 at 2:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Still waiting to close…..

Title work comes in for a file that is set to close in two weeks.  It shows that there is an old mortgage on the property that should have been satisfied previously.  Good, we have two weeks, not two days!  I hate it when these come up a few days before closing.  I begin work on trying to determine where it closed when that mortgage was paid off.  This is generally the best route to take because we can then get them to issue us a letter of indemnity which is just a letter accepting liability for that extra mortgage instead of leaving that liability with us.  After some searching for the title company I discover that a title company was not used.   The mortgage company that did the refinance sent a signing company instead so we now have no one who can indemnify us.  On to the next challenge- locating the mortgage company and trying to get a satisfaction of mortgage to file against the property.    Title shows the mortgage is held by MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc.) which is basically just a holding company.  I am able to go online and find out who the last servicer of record is but of course they are no longer in business.  After a lot of calling and google searching I think we have tracked down the company who took over for this mortgage company.  I then find that they have ceased their North American operations and only have offices in South America.   I proceed to call and try to get someone to understand exactly what it is we need but it is difficult.  At this point I have spoke with someone who seems to know what we need and faxed everything over to her.  This whole process has exceeded the two weeks and the closing has not happened yet.  The South American mortgage company representative needs a few days to do some research so I will hopefully hear something soon.  Whether or not they will be able to help us at all is questionable and if so, how long it will take is a concern.

Please read my first blog on title score and you will now see why a property “checkup”  is so highly recommended.  If we are unable to get anything from this company, the next step is for the sellers to obtain a real estate attorney to do a quiet title action on the property- get a judge to remove the mortgage- and the cost and time of that will probably kill the whole deal.  Not a good thing for the agents who have put so much time into the transaction and especially not a good thing for the sellers and buyers!  Call your local title company and have them check out your title..

Crap Happens!

A while back Network Title completed a remodeling project in our Shoreview office that gave us new countertops and a receptionist desk, carpet, paint and wall coverings—it was beautiful! Shortly after the project was completed, we were to do a closing for some VIP’s that were new in town; we were very excited to meet them. They arrived with their daughters, 2 year old Nina, and 7 year old Cici in tow. At one point during the closing, Nina indicated that she needed to use the restroom. So Mom took off her diaper and sent her to restroom under the guidance of Big Sister, Cici. We continued signing until there was a knock at the door. It was Carla, one of our closers, coming to inform Mom that Nina was apparently not feeling well, and nodded toward the lobby. The look on Carla’s face had us all gravely concerned, so all we trailed out of the closing—to find Nina in the middle of the lobby, perched proudly next to the biggest pile of foamy, green, stinking… well, you get the idea: Nina had never made it to the rest room! The closing exploded into instant chaos as Mom, embarrassed by her daughter’s accident, began scrubbing furiously at the putrid stain (in her turquoise silk suit), and Dad tried to clean up Nina, while Cici paced around lecturing Nina. The rest of us tried to pitch in and clean up the stain, all the while assuring our customers that everything would be fine. We then hurriedly finished up the closing and they left. To our amazement, they came back to refinance with us two years later, daughters again in tow. This time however, Nina was not allowed to leave the stroller, and we all had a good laugh. Despite repeated cleanings, the stain never did come completely out of that brand new carpet, but it was a fun reminder that closings do sometimes stink J

Published in: on February 8, 2011 at 5:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Have you received your title score?

Millions of documents have been filed against property titles over the last decade.  The sheer volume of documents leaves a trail of misfiled documents, filed documents with errors and fraudulent documents.  Add to that the tens of thousands of defunct title agents who didn’t file documents and the likelihood of title defects on your property is high.  We are all urged to check our life insurance policies and vehicle titles as well as our credit reports and credit scores, but do we ever check the title to our property?  We generally don’t do this until we are going to refinance or sell our property.    In most cases, these title defects can be straightened out, but with so many banks and title companies no longer in business, tracking down satisfactions or other releases has become difficult and can delay the closing.

Here are some of  the title issues that can cause problems and hinder a potential sale or refinance:

Unreleased mortgages – even though you have paid your mortgage off in full, a lien release must be filed at the county to remove the lien from your property title.  These releases are sometimes sent directly to the county, sometimes to the title company that paid it off and sometimes directly to the homeowner who has no idea how to get it recorded or even that they need to do it.  Attempting to get the release years later is difficult at best and impossible at times.

Liens can be placed on your property by a variety of sources such as contractors, ex-spouses, business partners, attorneys, creditors and government entities such as the Department of Revenue, IRS or County Human Services for child support

Incorrect liens can be filed against your property due to an error in a legal description. Your neighbor’s $300,000.00 mortgage can be filed on your property by the simple mistyping of Lot 1 instead of Lot 2.  We have dealt with this situation far more often than you would think.

Family changes such as death or divorce need to be dealt with also.  Certified copies of probate documents and divorce decrees need to examined and filed and waiting to do this at closing time can cause delays and may even require amended documents due to incorrect legals or other clerical errors.

These are just some of the common defects that can be discovered by a simple property search.  An ownership report can save you invaluable time and stress when done now rather than when you are anxious to make it to the closing table.  You get your credit score, why not your title score?  Your investment is huge, why jeopardize it?

Published in: on January 13, 2011 at 11:22 am  Comments (1)  
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Published in: on January 12, 2011 at 4:34 pm  Comments (1)