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Page 8 — Real

Estate Today October 2010 Change is in the air, and it is not just the season. Wondering if now is the time for you to buy? Call me, I will help you find the reason.

911 Valley

Cute home in great area close to park. Home has steel siding, newer windows, furnace & A/C plus double garage. Many updates, must see.

20975 794th Ave

NEW LISTING

Lakefront 2 bedroom, 2 garage, 404 Garden Rd. outbuilding on 3 acres close to Large Home in desirable location. town. 4 bed, 4 bath, large deck with a view, main floor and lower level family rooms. $199,900.

20975 794th Ave: Lakefront 2 bedroom, 2 garage, outbuilding on 3 acres close to town. 328 Clark St: NEW LISTING. Completely remodeled inside. New kitchen, bath, boiler system and more. 4 bedroms plus office, 2nd floor laundry. 13061 735th Ave: Beautiful newer home on 6 acres. Hunters paradise. NOW $174,900 27463 790th Ave: Newer executive home with 4 beds, 4 baths on 10 acres.

OCTOBER 2010

1623 Hammer Rd: Stylish home on close in acreage. $175,000 715 Alcove St: Affordable 3 bedroom home, new on market. ONLY $49,900 80083 265th St: 3 bedroom ranch on approx. 4.6 acres, 2 acres +/- pasture. $109,900 518 St Peter: Cheaper than rent 2 bedroom, newer siding, windows. ONLY $39,900 224 Main St, Alden: 4 bed, 2 car garage. MUST SEE. NOW ONLY $85,999

Properties

Low st re Inte tes Ra

Be Tax ne fit s

77281 170th St, Albert Lea

M For ore Y Mo our ney

ild Bu ity u Eq

412 E. William St. • Albert Lea, MN

Jay Waltman Realtor

®

383-1383

377-2752

www.remax.com

Properties

412 E. WILLIAM, ALBERT LEA, MN

507-377-2752

Heather Allen 318-0453

with JAN MATTSON Whether Buying or Selling...

you’ll enjoy working with me, an experienced, knowledgeable caring agent. I bring you 29 years of experience and am committed to giving you the finest service possible.

Happy Halloween from our family to yours!

FIND ME AT ONE OF THESE LOCATIONS: Office: 373-1473 or 800-439-1473 Cell: 383-4876 E-mail: jan.mattson@century21.com Web site: www.janmattson.com

O’Byrne Realty, Inc. 200 North Broadway Albert Lea, MN www.c21obyrne.com

Peace and quiet minutes from town! This 3 bedroom, turn of the century built home has original woodwork and sits on 2.77 acres. Double garage has workshop area w/6ft. garage door. MLS#4022417 Call Beckie Blecker 507-383-4844

Home Pictorial of Southern Minnesota In this issue:

www.bleckerrealty.com

143 W. Clark St Albert Lea

1106 1st Ave SW Austin (Lower level of the Home Federal Building)

379-9009

433-3536

• Blecker Realty, Inc. • RE/MAX Properties • Jan Mattson - Century 21 • Beckie Blecker - Blecker Realty, Inc. • The Lofts at Lea Center

• American Bank • Security Bank Minnesota • Minnesota Abstract & Title Co., Inc. • Col Greg Jensen Auctioneers • Northbridge Mall

143 W. Clark St, Albert Lea (lower level of the Home Federal Building)

379-9009

1106 1st Ave SW, Austin, MN

433-3536


Page 2 — Real

Estate Today October 2010

139 E. William St Albert Lea, MN 56007 Modern apartments reflecting yesterday’s charm

Add value and appeal with four simple home maintenance projects (ARA) - Regardless of whether you’re staying or thinking of selling, you want your home to look its best and be an asset to the neighborhood. Attractive homes accrue in value and help build strong, thriving communities. Plus, you’ll enjoy living in your house more if you’re happy to come home to it every night. Projects to improve the value and appeal of your home don’t have to cost a lot of money or take a lot of time to accomplish, according to Lou Manfredini, Ace Hardware’s home expert. “There are four easy and inex-

373-2727

Features & Amenities

• A variety of unique floor plans for one and two bedroom apartments • Central heating and cooling, controlled in each residence • Full kitchen including refrigerator, oven, dishwasher and microwave • Laundry room and trash chute on each floor • Community room and TV room • Second floor patio/deck area for all residents • Storage areas on each floor • Secured lobby entrance • On-site management office • Ample surface parking with 16 underground parking stalls available for rental CONVENIENT CENTRAL LOCATION The Lofts at Lea Center are an unequaled, affordably-priced apartment location within the Albert Lea area. Income restrictions apply

pensive projects that I recommend every homeowner undertake.”

Update your curb appeal

Curb appeal is, quite simply, what everyone sees first when their car pulls up to your house. “Your mother’s advice holds true here - nothing is more important than a good first impression,” says Manfredini. “Strong curb appeal will help set a positive tone for the rest of the house.” Walk out to your sidewalk and take a look at the front of your house, checking for anything that needs to be cared for. A good first step is to update your exterior hardware, including house numbers, which often become dirty and dated over time.

Create a luscious lawn

Green, lush lawns always receive a lot of attention. Help your lawn reach its full potential by providing it with the proper fertilizer and grass seed. Manfredini recommends making sure that your lawn receives between 1 and 1 1/2 inches of water per week, includ-

ing rainfall.

Groom your garden

Nothing compliments a great lawn more than a well-manicured garden. After the cold winter months, gardens and flowerbeds can be left looking unruly. Everyone wants outdoor spaces where they can enjoy spending time, so it’s important that you tidy up these areas. An easy way to do this is by spreading new mulch. Traditional mulch is a great option, but if you are looking for something that will last, consider Rubberific Rubber Mulch, which will last for 10 years. “Homeowners should also trim and prune shrubs and trees to create a refined look,” says Manfredini. “A ‘jungle theme’ makes your house look unkempt.” Electric hedge trimmers can make this project simple and easy. Finally, give your garden a pop of color by planting inexpensive annuals, such as marigolds and snapdragons.

Spruce up with paint

Now that the exterior of your home is looking great, spend some time on your interior. “Interior painting is one of the most inexpensive and simple projects that homeowners can do,” says Manfredini. “And, it makes a huge difference!” Choose neutral paint colors over bold ones. Equally important to the color is the type of paint you select. Ace Paint recently launched a new paint called Royal Finest, which is the first paint to combine ultimate stain resistance and environmental friendliness. Royal Finest is made with Scotchgard Protector from 3M, so stains and scuffmarks wipe right off. It is also lowodor, low VOC and GREEN WISE certified, so you know it’s eco-friendly. For more tips and advice on updating your home, visit www.acehardware. com or stop by your neighborhood Ace Hardware store.

Real Estate Today October 2010 — Page 7

Weighing the costs of walking away from an upside-down mortgage (ARA) - Owing more on your mortgage than your house is worth may seem like a bad investment. But the alternative - choosing to default on your mortgage even if you can afford the monthly payments - will take a significant toll on your credit rating. “Strategically defaulting - deciding to stop paying your mortgage regardless of your ability to actually carry the debt - will have a far-reaching, long-lasting impact on your ability to secure future credit,” says Maxine Sweet, vice president of public education for global information services company Experian, one of the three large credit reporting companies that receive and update consumer credit histories which are scored to help predict risk. “It’s by no means a move to be undertaken lightly.” About 355,000 borrowers strategically defaulted in the first half of 2009, according to research conducted as part of the Experian-Oliver Wyman Market Intelligence Reports. Interestingly, Experian and Oliver Wyman found that the homeowners most likely to strategically default were also those with the highest credit scores. While it may seem like a good move to simply stop paying and walk away from a bad investment, keep several factors in mind when you consider strategic default: * It’s very final. Strategic default will lead to foreclosure by the lender. Foreclosure will negatively impact your credit report and scores. In fact, only bankruptcy will affect your scores more adversely than foreclosure. For more information on just how severe the impact can be, VantageScore LLC recently completed a study that evaluates the effect that foreclosures, bankruptcies, short sales, and various mortgage pro-

grams have on consumers’ VantageScore credit scores. * The default will remain on your credit report for seven years. Since credit scores are based on information in your credit report, the foreclosure will greatly impact your credit scores during those seven years. Securing other credit at reasonable terms and rates will be very difficult, if not impossible, during that time. * Potential lenders aren’t the only ones looking at credit reports these days. Insurers, employers and even cell phone companies are considering the creditworthiness of those who want to do business with them. By impacting your credit report, a strategic default may affect your ability to get a job, secure insurance and enter into important service contracts. * Fannie Mae, the government-controlled mortgage giant, announced on June 23 policy changes that will make you ineligible for a new Fannie-Mae-backed

mortgage if you walk away from a current mortgage that you actually could afford to pay. The ineligibility will last for seven years from the date of foreclosure. * Finally, in some cases, the debt that foreclosure “erases” may be recorded as income, which means you will have to pay taxes on it. “Strategic default may seem like ‘walking away’ from a bad debt, but it’s really anything but,” Sweet says. “While you will no longer have to pay the actual debt, you’ll almost certainly ‘pay’ in other ways, in the form of lowered credit scores and a drastically curtailed ability to secure future credit for the next seven years. Higher interest rates and unfavorable terms could end up costing you more in the long run than continuing to pay on an upside-down mortgage.” To learn more about credit management, credit reports, credit scores and the factors that affect them, visit www.Experian.com.


The master material: Unexpected uses for ceramic tile in the master suite Page 6 — Real

Estate Today October 2010

(ARA) - Ceramic tile has held a hallowed place in bathroom renovations for generations. Durable, easy to clean, and available in a wide range of color, format and design, tile just makes sense in a bath. But some enterprising designers and homeowners are finding a new spot in the home where tile not only works well, but can take center stage - the master bedroom. Homeowners are choosing to incorporate ceramic tiles into master bedrooms for many of the same reasons the material has been popular in bathrooms and kitchens: * Tile is more durable than other materials, lasting up to four times longer than carpet or wood. Unlike wood, it will never need refinishing, restaining or sanding. It holds its luster better than vinyl, and requires no special chemical treatments, the way many natural stone products do. Because of this easy maintenance and durability, consumers can realize lower costs over the life of the product. * It’s naturally hypoallergenic and releases no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere. It doesn’t collect dust, dust mites, pet dander or other irritants and microbes. * Tile is readily available in a wide range of colors, sizes, shapes and design themes. In fact, you can now find ceramic tile that even mimics the look of other popular, more costly or less durable materials like wood, glass or even metal. So how can you use tile in your master bedroom? Tile of Spain branded manufacturers cite several trends in ceramic tile’s use in master bedrooms:

To create a headboard

Fabric, wood or metal headboards can make a powerful design statement, and solidify a bed’s stance as the centerpiece of a room. Ceramic tile, now available in large formats and in designs that mimic the look of other materials, is a sensible, cost-effective and healthier alternative to some popular headboard materials. Creating a fabric headboard, for example, can be a costly, time-consuming process, yet you can get virtually the same look with ceramic tile made to look like fabric. And this is fabric that won’t harbor germs and microbes.

Real Estate Today October 2010 — Page 3

www.bleckerrealty.com 143 W. Clark St Albert Lea

(lower level of the Home Federal Building)

General design touches

If you love the look of wainscoting, wood paneling or bead board, but prefer a more durable, hypoallergenic material, ceramic tile can offer the same look without the disadvantages of wood decorator touches. Several Tile of Spain branded manufacturers produce tiles that look like wood design elements.

“BETTER CALL BLECKER” Call one of our friendly agents to find your dream home today! 31319 600th Ave, Waltham

26653 570th Ave, Austin

Creating cohesion between rooms In master suites with large, open floor plans, using tile in the bedroom portion of the suite can help create a seamless transition between the sleeping and bathing areas. Or, it can help create cohesion between indoor and outdoor spaces - tile is one of the few interior design materials that can flow from inside to out.

Achieving a look with added durability

You may love the look of hardwood, but know that wood doesn’t hold up well in rooms where it’s exposed to a lot of moisture on a daily basis - such as in a bathroom - or to a lot of wear and tear, such as in a bedroom. While wood that’s exposed to water will eventually warp and wear, ceramic tile designed to look like prized hardwoods will stand up to moisture and water - even if the bathtub overflows. And ceramic tile that looks like wood will never develop the “worn path” appearance of wood that bears heavy foot traffic. When it comes to interior design, sometimes the unexpected makes perfect sense - such as finding creative ways to use ceramic tile in the master bedroom. You can learn more about ceramic tile and tile trends at www.spaintiles.info.

383-4844

10 acres/outbuildings 3 beroom home, Your talents will go far! MLS# 4023402 Call Beckie Blecker at 383-4844

108 California St S, Brownsdale

4 bed/2.5 bath ranch 7 acres w/ outbuildings MLS # 4023102 Call Beckie Blecker at 383-4844

433-3536

2006 3rd Ave SE, Austin

401 Ridge Rd, Albert Lea

MOTIVATED SELLER reducing price daily!!! Call to see what the PRICE IS TODAY!!! MLS # 4022140 Call Brian Blecker at 383-1780

403 4th St SW, Austin

Brian Blecker

Realtor®/Owner 383-1780

Robin Meyer

Broker Assoc. 438-8800

1106 1st Ave SW Austin Dave Thompson

Broker Assoc./Auctioneer

438-9646

Kathy Wencl Realtor® 438-3126

201 3rd St, Lyle

E PRIC ED C REDU

Extending the life of a paint job

Paint is one of the easiest things to change in a room and can be one of the most difficult to clean and preserve. One way to extend the life of a paint job is to tile walls to the level of the chair rail - the portion of the walls that gets the most exposure to unsightly dirt, dings and scuffs. While some paints may require special cleaning solvents to remove dirt without damaging the finish, tile requires nothing more than hot water and some elbow grease.

Beckie Blecker Broker®/Owner

379-9009

Dorothy Peterson

Broker Associate/GRI 456-0731

Kim Renville Realtor® 4469-1552

65425 250th St, Dexter NEW G N LISTI

3 bedroom, double detached garage, corner lot MLS # 4021107 Call Robin Meyer at 438-8800

411 13th St NE, Austin

Country Living, Private 3 Bed/1 Bath, 2 miles west of Dexter MLS # 4024028 Call Brian Blecker at 383-1780 911 2nd Ave NE, Austin

E PRIC ED C REDU

Totally updated interior, Bath on each level Egress window, Large lot MLS # 4023128 Call Kathy Wencl at 438-3126

Living room w/gas fireplace, two family rooms, corner lot in Shoreland Heights MLS # 4000431 Call Kathy Wencl at 438-3126

Updates & upgrades, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, NEW NEW NEW!

Lakeviews, 3 bedroom, 2 bath on corner lot, 3 car garage

MLS # 4021272 Call Brian Blecker at 383-1780

Call Brian Blecker at 383-1780

508 11th Ave SW, Austin

904 3rd Ave. NW, Austin

23963 610th Ave, Brownsdale

101 3rd Ave NE, Geneva

MLS # 4021610

E PRIC ED C REDU

Spacious! 3 BR, 2 Bath, 2 Story Home. MLS # 4023364 Call Dave Thompson at 438-9646

1913 1st Ave NW E PRIC ED C U D E R

1 bedroom/1 bath Convenient location, easy on utilities MLS# 4000937 Call Dorothy Peterson at 456-0731

3 bed/ 1.5 bath, Newer siding, windows, Newer furnace & CA Hardwood floors, fenced yard MLS # 4015343 Call Brian Blecker at 383-1780

5 acres, new kitchen, gas fireplace, double attached garage, pool, many nice outbuildings MLS# 4022210 Call Kathy Wencl at 438-3126

Clean, Spacious, & Ready To Move Into! Lots of living space on outskirts of Geneva, Fenced back yard with deck MLS # 4023231 Call Beckie Blecker at 383-4844

3 bd rambler on quiet street. Newer mechanics, Maintenance free exterior MLS# 4022306 Call Dave Thompson at 438-9646

1000 20th St NE, Austin

806 2nd Ave SW, Austin

380 Ebert Ave, Alden

28441 State Hwy 56, Brownsdale

412 5th St, Lyle

E PRIC ED C REDU

2 beds/ possible 3rd LL 2 decks 25 yr guarantee. Main floor laundry Drain & anchor system LL MLS # 4018751 Call Brian Blecker at 383-1780

NEW G N LISTI

Well cared for & It Shows! Newer bath & electrical MLS # 4024276 Call Beckie Blecker at 383-4844

Hardwood floors, ceramic tile New bathrooms, newer furnace MLS # 4024101 Call Kathy Wencl at 438-3126

Main floor laundry, master bath 24 x 24 Family room MLS # 4024231 Call Beckie Blecker at 383-4844

COMMERCIAL PROPERTIES

306 12th Ave SW, Austin NEW G N LISTI

NEW G N LISTI

409 Main St, Brownsdale IAL MERC COM PERTY O R P

Commercial lot with 34’ x 36’ building Building has 200 amp service MLS# 4012991 Call Dave Thompson at 438-9646

NEW G N LISTI

Great Location 5.52 Acres, Outbuildings MLS # 4023734 Call Brian Blecker at 383-1780

301 Fremont St E, Brownsdale

110 Mill St, Brownsdale

IAL MERC COM PERTY O R P

Step right into the Saw & Blade Sharpening business. Includes Building, equipment & established customer base. MLS # 4015429 Call Dave Thompson at 438-9646

Corner lot with mature trees Maintenance free exterior Split level home

MLS # 4023787

Call Beckie Blecker at 383-4844

Large Newer 36x45 Steel Shed 3+ BR 1 1/2 Story with Maintenance Free Siding. All on the Edge of Town. MLS # 4018149 Call Dave Thompson at 438-9646

LYLE LOTS

Different shapes and sizes to choose from. Priced from $15,500-$19,900


Page 4 — Real

Estate Today October 2010

Real Estate Today October 2010 — Page 5

Cut heating costs with simple home decor changes and home improvements (ARA) - Saving money never goes out of style, especially when it comes to home utility bills. With a scorching summer drawing to a close and last winter’s deep freeze looming in their minds, many Americans are already looking for ways to curtail energy costs this winter. In fact, more than 20 percent of Americans are concerned about heating and energy costs and half believe it’s already difficult to afford their utility bills, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. They may have reason to worry; heating oil costs are expected to rise nearly 30 percent this year, the Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy predicts. Heat transfer - warm air from inside your home escaping to the outdoors - is the main culprit that drives up winter energy bills. Fortunately, a few simple home improvements - and even some decor changes - can help reduce your home’s heating costs this winter. First, identify the biggest energy leeches in your home. Are the doors drafty? Do the windows rattle in a slight breeze? Is the insulation in your home’s attic less than adequate? Next, consider these minor home improvement projects to help reduce heat transfer and trim energy bills: * Windows and doors are prime points for heat to escape from your home. Before the weather turns cold, seal around doors, windows, electrical outlets and plumbing fixtures. Caulk, spray foam, weatherstripping and a free weekend are all you need to

accomplish this job, which can help you realize significant energy savings and create a more comfortable environment inside your home this winter. * Maximize your furnace’s energy efficiency by having the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system, including the ductwork, professionally cleaned. Be sure to change air filters regularly. * Install programmable thermostats if you don’t already have them. If your home is already equipped with programmable thermostats, be sure to program the temperature to be lower during periods when you’ll be out of the house or need less heat. For example, reduce the temperature during the day when everyone is out of the house at work or school, or overnight when everyone is tucked in bed under blankets and comforters. * Place door sweeps on exterior doors and on basement doors if you have an unfinished basement. These narrow strips of vinyl that attach to the base of a door can help reduce heat escape. Some home decor changes can also help reduce energy bills. Hardwood floors will feel warmer on bare feet when covered by accent rugs in the winter. And cozy throws draped over sofas and chairs make a design statement while helping your home’s occupants stay snug and warm. Installing the right kind of window shade is another tactic that can reap significant savings, especially if you opt for cellular shades. More energy efficient than regular shades, cellular shades help to insulate windows by forming a barrier that eliminates air

flow. Levolor’s Accordia Cellular shades can save as much as $180 a year on annual energy bills, based on U.S. Department of Energy and Energy Star standards. With an exclusive technology, Energy Shield, a clear, additional layer of insulation hidden inside of the cellular structure, Accordia is the most energy efficient cellular shade available and is the only one to increase energy efficiency on sheer and light filtering fabrics. Levolor estimates that a 2,000-square-foot home with 300 feet of double pane windows could realize significant heating and cooling cost reductions by installing Accordia shades. And you won’t have to sacrifice style to save money on energy costs; the shades are available in a wide range of colors and more than 200 fabrics, including exclusive textures like linen. Log on to www.levolor.com to learn more about cellular shades. Rearranging your furniture can also help insulate your home. Place large items that no one sits on such as bookcases or entertainment centers -against outside walls. Their extra bulk provides additional insulation against drafts and the cooler temperature of outside walls. Reserve inside walls for seating; they are slightly warmer and less likely to be drafty than outside walls. With a few simple improvements and decor changes, you can lower your home’s energy costs this winter without sacrificing warmth or style.

Assisting The Public In: • • • •

Abstracting Searches Title Insurance Disbursing

• Escrowing • Closing Property Sales and Refinancing • ALL TITLE SERVICES

Everyone is Considered A Valuable Customer 146 W. COLLEGE

Albert Lea

377-1399

FAX 377-8033

Planning The Right Auction Means Everything... Let us be your Auction Company! • Offering FREE Opinions Concerning Your Sale. • Specializing in Farmland, Real Estate & Personal Property Auctions.

Col. Greg Jensen #24-21

Courtesy of ARAcontent

79.6%

of Freeborn County has read/visited the Albert Lea Tribune or AlbertLeaTribune.com in the last 30 days*

*Pulse Research, Inc., Portland Oregon 97225

111 E. Clark Street Albert Lea, MN  56007 (507) 373-5660 www.colgregjensen.com www.landandfarmauction.com

Justin Oman Consumer Lender

For your next home loan call Julie or Justin today at 373-1481


Page 4 — Real

Estate Today October 2010

Real Estate Today October 2010 — Page 5

Cut heating costs with simple home decor changes and home improvements (ARA) - Saving money never goes out of style, especially when it comes to home utility bills. With a scorching summer drawing to a close and last winter’s deep freeze looming in their minds, many Americans are already looking for ways to curtail energy costs this winter. In fact, more than 20 percent of Americans are concerned about heating and energy costs and half believe it’s already difficult to afford their utility bills, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. They may have reason to worry; heating oil costs are expected to rise nearly 30 percent this year, the Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy predicts. Heat transfer - warm air from inside your home escaping to the outdoors - is the main culprit that drives up winter energy bills. Fortunately, a few simple home improvements - and even some decor changes - can help reduce your home’s heating costs this winter. First, identify the biggest energy leeches in your home. Are the doors drafty? Do the windows rattle in a slight breeze? Is the insulation in your home’s attic less than adequate? Next, consider these minor home improvement projects to help reduce heat transfer and trim energy bills: * Windows and doors are prime points for heat to escape from your home. Before the weather turns cold, seal around doors, windows, electrical outlets and plumbing fixtures. Caulk, spray foam, weatherstripping and a free weekend are all you need to

accomplish this job, which can help you realize significant energy savings and create a more comfortable environment inside your home this winter. * Maximize your furnace’s energy efficiency by having the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system, including the ductwork, professionally cleaned. Be sure to change air filters regularly. * Install programmable thermostats if you don’t already have them. If your home is already equipped with programmable thermostats, be sure to program the temperature to be lower during periods when you’ll be out of the house or need less heat. For example, reduce the temperature during the day when everyone is out of the house at work or school, or overnight when everyone is tucked in bed under blankets and comforters. * Place door sweeps on exterior doors and on basement doors if you have an unfinished basement. These narrow strips of vinyl that attach to the base of a door can help reduce heat escape. Some home decor changes can also help reduce energy bills. Hardwood floors will feel warmer on bare feet when covered by accent rugs in the winter. And cozy throws draped over sofas and chairs make a design statement while helping your home’s occupants stay snug and warm. Installing the right kind of window shade is another tactic that can reap significant savings, especially if you opt for cellular shades. More energy efficient than regular shades, cellular shades help to insulate windows by forming a barrier that eliminates air

flow. Levolor’s Accordia Cellular shades can save as much as $180 a year on annual energy bills, based on U.S. Department of Energy and Energy Star standards. With an exclusive technology, Energy Shield, a clear, additional layer of insulation hidden inside of the cellular structure, Accordia is the most energy efficient cellular shade available and is the only one to increase energy efficiency on sheer and light filtering fabrics. Levolor estimates that a 2,000-square-foot home with 300 feet of double pane windows could realize significant heating and cooling cost reductions by installing Accordia shades. And you won’t have to sacrifice style to save money on energy costs; the shades are available in a wide range of colors and more than 200 fabrics, including exclusive textures like linen. Log on to www.levolor.com to learn more about cellular shades. Rearranging your furniture can also help insulate your home. Place large items that no one sits on such as bookcases or entertainment centers -against outside walls. Their extra bulk provides additional insulation against drafts and the cooler temperature of outside walls. Reserve inside walls for seating; they are slightly warmer and less likely to be drafty than outside walls. With a few simple improvements and decor changes, you can lower your home’s energy costs this winter without sacrificing warmth or style.

Assisting The Public In: • • • •

Abstracting Searches Title Insurance Disbursing

• Escrowing • Closing Property Sales and Refinancing • ALL TITLE SERVICES

Everyone is Considered A Valuable Customer 146 W. COLLEGE

Albert Lea

377-1399

FAX 377-8033

Planning The Right Auction Means Everything... Let us be your Auction Company! • Offering FREE Opinions Concerning Your Sale. • Specializing in Farmland, Real Estate & Personal Property Auctions.

Col. Greg Jensen #24-21

Courtesy of ARAcontent

79.6%

of Freeborn County has read/visited the Albert Lea Tribune or AlbertLeaTribune.com in the last 30 days*

*Pulse Research, Inc., Portland Oregon 97225

111 E. Clark Street Albert Lea, MN  56007 (507) 373-5660 www.colgregjensen.com www.landandfarmauction.com

Justin Oman Consumer Lender

For your next home loan call Julie or Justin today at 373-1481


The master material: Unexpected uses for ceramic tile in the master suite Page 6 — Real

Estate Today October 2010

(ARA) - Ceramic tile has held a hallowed place in bathroom renovations for generations. Durable, easy to clean, and available in a wide range of color, format and design, tile just makes sense in a bath. But some enterprising designers and homeowners are finding a new spot in the home where tile not only works well, but can take center stage - the master bedroom. Homeowners are choosing to incorporate ceramic tiles into master bedrooms for many of the same reasons the material has been popular in bathrooms and kitchens: * Tile is more durable than other materials, lasting up to four times longer than carpet or wood. Unlike wood, it will never need refinishing, restaining or sanding. It holds its luster better than vinyl, and requires no special chemical treatments, the way many natural stone products do. Because of this easy maintenance and durability, consumers can realize lower costs over the life of the product. * It’s naturally hypoallergenic and releases no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere. It doesn’t collect dust, dust mites, pet dander or other irritants and microbes. * Tile is readily available in a wide range of colors, sizes, shapes and design themes. In fact, you can now find ceramic tile that even mimics the look of other popular, more costly or less durable materials like wood, glass or even metal. So how can you use tile in your master bedroom? Tile of Spain branded manufacturers cite several trends in ceramic tile’s use in master bedrooms:

To create a headboard

Fabric, wood or metal headboards can make a powerful design statement, and solidify a bed’s stance as the centerpiece of a room. Ceramic tile, now available in large formats and in designs that mimic the look of other materials, is a sensible, cost-effective and healthier alternative to some popular headboard materials. Creating a fabric headboard, for example, can be a costly, time-consuming process, yet you can get virtually the same look with ceramic tile made to look like fabric. And this is fabric that won’t harbor germs and microbes.

Real Estate Today October 2010 — Page 3

www.bleckerrealty.com 143 W. Clark St Albert Lea

(lower level of the Home Federal Building)

General design touches

If you love the look of wainscoting, wood paneling or bead board, but prefer a more durable, hypoallergenic material, ceramic tile can offer the same look without the disadvantages of wood decorator touches. Several Tile of Spain branded manufacturers produce tiles that look like wood design elements.

“BETTER CALL BLECKER” Call one of our friendly agents to find your dream home today! 31319 600th Ave, Waltham

26653 570th Ave, Austin

Creating cohesion between rooms In master suites with large, open floor plans, using tile in the bedroom portion of the suite can help create a seamless transition between the sleeping and bathing areas. Or, it can help create cohesion between indoor and outdoor spaces - tile is one of the few interior design materials that can flow from inside to out.

Achieving a look with added durability

You may love the look of hardwood, but know that wood doesn’t hold up well in rooms where it’s exposed to a lot of moisture on a daily basis - such as in a bathroom - or to a lot of wear and tear, such as in a bedroom. While wood that’s exposed to water will eventually warp and wear, ceramic tile designed to look like prized hardwoods will stand up to moisture and water - even if the bathtub overflows. And ceramic tile that looks like wood will never develop the “worn path” appearance of wood that bears heavy foot traffic. When it comes to interior design, sometimes the unexpected makes perfect sense - such as finding creative ways to use ceramic tile in the master bedroom. You can learn more about ceramic tile and tile trends at www.spaintiles.info.

383-4844

10 acres/outbuildings 3 beroom home, Your talents will go far! MLS# 4023402 Call Beckie Blecker at 383-4844

108 California St S, Brownsdale

4 bed/2.5 bath ranch 7 acres w/ outbuildings MLS # 4023102 Call Beckie Blecker at 383-4844

433-3536

2006 3rd Ave SE, Austin

401 Ridge Rd, Albert Lea

MOTIVATED SELLER reducing price daily!!! Call to see what the PRICE IS TODAY!!! MLS # 4022140 Call Brian Blecker at 383-1780

403 4th St SW, Austin

Brian Blecker

Realtor®/Owner 383-1780

Robin Meyer

Broker Assoc. 438-8800

1106 1st Ave SW Austin Dave Thompson

Broker Assoc./Auctioneer

438-9646

Kathy Wencl Realtor® 438-3126

201 3rd St, Lyle

E PRIC ED C REDU

Extending the life of a paint job

Paint is one of the easiest things to change in a room and can be one of the most difficult to clean and preserve. One way to extend the life of a paint job is to tile walls to the level of the chair rail - the portion of the walls that gets the most exposure to unsightly dirt, dings and scuffs. While some paints may require special cleaning solvents to remove dirt without damaging the finish, tile requires nothing more than hot water and some elbow grease.

Beckie Blecker Broker®/Owner

379-9009

Dorothy Peterson

Broker Associate/GRI 456-0731

Kim Renville Realtor® 4469-1552

65425 250th St, Dexter NEW G N LISTI

3 bedroom, double detached garage, corner lot MLS # 4021107 Call Robin Meyer at 438-8800

411 13th St NE, Austin

Country Living, Private 3 Bed/1 Bath, 2 miles west of Dexter MLS # 4024028 Call Brian Blecker at 383-1780 911 2nd Ave NE, Austin

E PRIC ED C REDU

Totally updated interior, Bath on each level Egress window, Large lot MLS # 4023128 Call Kathy Wencl at 438-3126

Living room w/gas fireplace, two family rooms, corner lot in Shoreland Heights MLS # 4000431 Call Kathy Wencl at 438-3126

Updates & upgrades, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, NEW NEW NEW!

Lakeviews, 3 bedroom, 2 bath on corner lot, 3 car garage

MLS # 4021272 Call Brian Blecker at 383-1780

Call Brian Blecker at 383-1780

508 11th Ave SW, Austin

904 3rd Ave. NW, Austin

23963 610th Ave, Brownsdale

101 3rd Ave NE, Geneva

MLS # 4021610

E PRIC ED C REDU

Spacious! 3 BR, 2 Bath, 2 Story Home. MLS # 4023364 Call Dave Thompson at 438-9646

1913 1st Ave NW E PRIC ED C U D E R

1 bedroom/1 bath Convenient location, easy on utilities MLS# 4000937 Call Dorothy Peterson at 456-0731

3 bed/ 1.5 bath, Newer siding, windows, Newer furnace & CA Hardwood floors, fenced yard MLS # 4015343 Call Brian Blecker at 383-1780

5 acres, new kitchen, gas fireplace, double attached garage, pool, many nice outbuildings MLS# 4022210 Call Kathy Wencl at 438-3126

Clean, Spacious, & Ready To Move Into! Lots of living space on outskirts of Geneva, Fenced back yard with deck MLS # 4023231 Call Beckie Blecker at 383-4844

3 bd rambler on quiet street. Newer mechanics, Maintenance free exterior MLS# 4022306 Call Dave Thompson at 438-9646

1000 20th St NE, Austin

806 2nd Ave SW, Austin

380 Ebert Ave, Alden

28441 State Hwy 56, Brownsdale

412 5th St, Lyle

E PRIC ED C REDU

2 beds/ possible 3rd LL 2 decks 25 yr guarantee. Main floor laundry Drain & anchor system LL MLS # 4018751 Call Brian Blecker at 383-1780

NEW G N LISTI

Well cared for & It Shows! Newer bath & electrical MLS # 4024276 Call Beckie Blecker at 383-4844

Hardwood floors, ceramic tile New bathrooms, newer furnace MLS # 4024101 Call Kathy Wencl at 438-3126

Main floor laundry, master bath 24 x 24 Family room MLS # 4024231 Call Beckie Blecker at 383-4844

COMMERCIAL PROPERTIES

306 12th Ave SW, Austin NEW G N LISTI

NEW G N LISTI

409 Main St, Brownsdale IAL MERC COM PERTY O R P

Commercial lot with 34’ x 36’ building Building has 200 amp service MLS# 4012991 Call Dave Thompson at 438-9646

NEW G N LISTI

Great Location 5.52 Acres, Outbuildings MLS # 4023734 Call Brian Blecker at 383-1780

301 Fremont St E, Brownsdale

110 Mill St, Brownsdale

IAL MERC COM PERTY O R P

Step right into the Saw & Blade Sharpening business. Includes Building, equipment & established customer base. MLS # 4015429 Call Dave Thompson at 438-9646

Corner lot with mature trees Maintenance free exterior Split level home

MLS # 4023787

Call Beckie Blecker at 383-4844

Large Newer 36x45 Steel Shed 3+ BR 1 1/2 Story with Maintenance Free Siding. All on the Edge of Town. MLS # 4018149 Call Dave Thompson at 438-9646

LYLE LOTS

Different shapes and sizes to choose from. Priced from $15,500-$19,900


Page 2 — Real

Estate Today October 2010

139 E. William St Albert Lea, MN 56007 Modern apartments reflecting yesterday’s charm

Add value and appeal with four simple home maintenance projects (ARA) - Regardless of whether you’re staying or thinking of selling, you want your home to look its best and be an asset to the neighborhood. Attractive homes accrue in value and help build strong, thriving communities. Plus, you’ll enjoy living in your house more if you’re happy to come home to it every night. Projects to improve the value and appeal of your home don’t have to cost a lot of money or take a lot of time to accomplish, according to Lou Manfredini, Ace Hardware’s home expert. “There are four easy and inex-

373-2727

Features & Amenities

• A variety of unique floor plans for one and two bedroom apartments • Central heating and cooling, controlled in each residence • Full kitchen including refrigerator, oven, dishwasher and microwave • Laundry room and trash chute on each floor • Community room and TV room • Second floor patio/deck area for all residents • Storage areas on each floor • Secured lobby entrance • On-site management office • Ample surface parking with 16 underground parking stalls available for rental CONVENIENT CENTRAL LOCATION The Lofts at Lea Center are an unequaled, affordably-priced apartment location within the Albert Lea area. Income restrictions apply

pensive projects that I recommend every homeowner undertake.”

Update your curb appeal

Curb appeal is, quite simply, what everyone sees first when their car pulls up to your house. “Your mother’s advice holds true here - nothing is more important than a good first impression,” says Manfredini. “Strong curb appeal will help set a positive tone for the rest of the house.” Walk out to your sidewalk and take a look at the front of your house, checking for anything that needs to be cared for. A good first step is to update your exterior hardware, including house numbers, which often become dirty and dated over time.

Create a luscious lawn

Green, lush lawns always receive a lot of attention. Help your lawn reach its full potential by providing it with the proper fertilizer and grass seed. Manfredini recommends making sure that your lawn receives between 1 and 1 1/2 inches of water per week, includ-

ing rainfall.

Groom your garden

Nothing compliments a great lawn more than a well-manicured garden. After the cold winter months, gardens and flowerbeds can be left looking unruly. Everyone wants outdoor spaces where they can enjoy spending time, so it’s important that you tidy up these areas. An easy way to do this is by spreading new mulch. Traditional mulch is a great option, but if you are looking for something that will last, consider Rubberific Rubber Mulch, which will last for 10 years. “Homeowners should also trim and prune shrubs and trees to create a refined look,” says Manfredini. “A ‘jungle theme’ makes your house look unkempt.” Electric hedge trimmers can make this project simple and easy. Finally, give your garden a pop of color by planting inexpensive annuals, such as marigolds and snapdragons.

Spruce up with paint

Now that the exterior of your home is looking great, spend some time on your interior. “Interior painting is one of the most inexpensive and simple projects that homeowners can do,” says Manfredini. “And, it makes a huge difference!” Choose neutral paint colors over bold ones. Equally important to the color is the type of paint you select. Ace Paint recently launched a new paint called Royal Finest, which is the first paint to combine ultimate stain resistance and environmental friendliness. Royal Finest is made with Scotchgard Protector from 3M, so stains and scuffmarks wipe right off. It is also lowodor, low VOC and GREEN WISE certified, so you know it’s eco-friendly. For more tips and advice on updating your home, visit www.acehardware. com or stop by your neighborhood Ace Hardware store.

Real Estate Today October 2010 — Page 7

Weighing the costs of walking away from an upside-down mortgage (ARA) - Owing more on your mortgage than your house is worth may seem like a bad investment. But the alternative - choosing to default on your mortgage even if you can afford the monthly payments - will take a significant toll on your credit rating. “Strategically defaulting - deciding to stop paying your mortgage regardless of your ability to actually carry the debt - will have a far-reaching, long-lasting impact on your ability to secure future credit,” says Maxine Sweet, vice president of public education for global information services company Experian, one of the three large credit reporting companies that receive and update consumer credit histories which are scored to help predict risk. “It’s by no means a move to be undertaken lightly.” About 355,000 borrowers strategically defaulted in the first half of 2009, according to research conducted as part of the Experian-Oliver Wyman Market Intelligence Reports. Interestingly, Experian and Oliver Wyman found that the homeowners most likely to strategically default were also those with the highest credit scores. While it may seem like a good move to simply stop paying and walk away from a bad investment, keep several factors in mind when you consider strategic default: * It’s very final. Strategic default will lead to foreclosure by the lender. Foreclosure will negatively impact your credit report and scores. In fact, only bankruptcy will affect your scores more adversely than foreclosure. For more information on just how severe the impact can be, VantageScore LLC recently completed a study that evaluates the effect that foreclosures, bankruptcies, short sales, and various mortgage pro-

grams have on consumers’ VantageScore credit scores. * The default will remain on your credit report for seven years. Since credit scores are based on information in your credit report, the foreclosure will greatly impact your credit scores during those seven years. Securing other credit at reasonable terms and rates will be very difficult, if not impossible, during that time. * Potential lenders aren’t the only ones looking at credit reports these days. Insurers, employers and even cell phone companies are considering the creditworthiness of those who want to do business with them. By impacting your credit report, a strategic default may affect your ability to get a job, secure insurance and enter into important service contracts. * Fannie Mae, the government-controlled mortgage giant, announced on June 23 policy changes that will make you ineligible for a new Fannie-Mae-backed

mortgage if you walk away from a current mortgage that you actually could afford to pay. The ineligibility will last for seven years from the date of foreclosure. * Finally, in some cases, the debt that foreclosure “erases” may be recorded as income, which means you will have to pay taxes on it. “Strategic default may seem like ‘walking away’ from a bad debt, but it’s really anything but,” Sweet says. “While you will no longer have to pay the actual debt, you’ll almost certainly ‘pay’ in other ways, in the form of lowered credit scores and a drastically curtailed ability to secure future credit for the next seven years. Higher interest rates and unfavorable terms could end up costing you more in the long run than continuing to pay on an upside-down mortgage.” To learn more about credit management, credit reports, credit scores and the factors that affect them, visit www.Experian.com.


Page 8 — Real

Estate Today October 2010 Change is in the air, and it is not just the season. Wondering if now is the time for you to buy? Call me, I will help you find the reason.

911 Valley

Cute home in great area close to park. Home has steel siding, newer windows, furnace & A/C plus double garage. Many updates, must see.

20975 794th Ave

NEW LISTING

Lakefront 2 bedroom, 2 garage, 404 Garden Rd. outbuilding on 3 acres close to Large Home in desirable location. town. 4 bed, 4 bath, large deck with a view, main floor and lower level family rooms. $199,900.

20975 794th Ave: Lakefront 2 bedroom, 2 garage, outbuilding on 3 acres close to town. 328 Clark St: NEW LISTING. Completely remodeled inside. New kitchen, bath, boiler system and more. 4 bedroms plus office, 2nd floor laundry. 13061 735th Ave: Beautiful newer home on 6 acres. Hunters paradise. NOW $174,900 27463 790th Ave: Newer executive home with 4 beds, 4 baths on 10 acres.

OCTOBER 2010

1623 Hammer Rd: Stylish home on close in acreage. $175,000 715 Alcove St: Affordable 3 bedroom home, new on market. ONLY $49,900 80083 265th St: 3 bedroom ranch on approx. 4.6 acres, 2 acres +/- pasture. $109,900 518 St Peter: Cheaper than rent 2 bedroom, newer siding, windows. ONLY $39,900 224 Main St, Alden: 4 bed, 2 car garage. MUST SEE. NOW ONLY $85,999

Properties

Low st re Inte tes Ra

Be Tax ne fit s

77281 170th St, Albert Lea

M For ore Y Mo our ney

ild Bu ity u Eq

412 E. William St. • Albert Lea, MN

Jay Waltman Realtor

®

383-1383

377-2752

www.remax.com

Properties

412 E. WILLIAM, ALBERT LEA, MN

507-377-2752

Heather Allen 318-0453

with JAN MATTSON Whether Buying or Selling...

you’ll enjoy working with me, an experienced, knowledgeable caring agent. I bring you 29 years of experience and am committed to giving you the finest service possible.

Happy Halloween from our family to yours!

FIND ME AT ONE OF THESE LOCATIONS: Office: 373-1473 or 800-439-1473 Cell: 383-4876 E-mail: jan.mattson@century21.com Web site: www.janmattson.com

O’Byrne Realty, Inc. 200 North Broadway Albert Lea, MN www.c21obyrne.com

Peace and quiet minutes from town! This 3 bedroom, turn of the century built home has original woodwork and sits on 2.77 acres. Double garage has workshop area w/6ft. garage door. MLS#4022417 Call Beckie Blecker 507-383-4844

Home Pictorial of Southern Minnesota In this issue:

www.bleckerrealty.com

143 W. Clark St Albert Lea

1106 1st Ave SW Austin (Lower level of the Home Federal Building)

379-9009

433-3536

• Blecker Realty, Inc. • RE/MAX Properties • Jan Mattson - Century 21 • Beckie Blecker - Blecker Realty, Inc. • The Lofts at Lea Center

• American Bank • Security Bank Minnesota • Minnesota Abstract & Title Co., Inc. • Col Greg Jensen Auctioneers • Northbridge Mall

143 W. Clark St, Albert Lea (lower level of the Home Federal Building)

379-9009

1106 1st Ave SW, Austin, MN

433-3536


Real Estate of Freeborn County