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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Looking for nominations for families that have fallen on tough times

Are you looking to share in the upcoming holiday spirit?

Best Christmas Ever is a local, non­-profit organization seeking volunteer help and support this holiday season. In 2011, a group of friends formed the organization to give families in need an unforgettable Christmas experience.

Best Christmas Ever’s purpose is to make a long­-lasting impact on families that have come upon hard times, for whatever reason, and truly change their lives for the better.
To see how Best Christmas Ever touches the lives of families, watch the short video posted on the organization's web site at

Families are nominated by people in the community, often by friends, relatives, or co­workers. The families are then sponsored by either a business or a group of community volunteers supporting the Best Christmas Ever organization.

Best Christmas Ever is a 100% volunteer and 100% funded by private individuals and business sponsors.

Each year Best Christmas Ever challenges volunteer teams and communities to double the amount of families who receive assistance. With the partnerships of sponsors, volunteers, donations, businesses, friends and family, Best Christmas Ever is able to provide deserving families with an unforgettable Christmas.

Past and current business sponsors include Downtown Resource Group, QA1 Precision Products Inc, Thrivent Financial, Smith Leasing Inc., Halvor Lines Inc, August Shell’s Brewing Company, Sue Vinje Trucking, Crossfit Minneapolis, Reliable Insurance Agency, Home Depot of Burnsville, Designed for health Inc, Hire a Host, Vision Pro Optical, Finishline Chiropractic, Walmart just to name a few supporters.

This year, Best Christmas Ever is seeking to provide a worry­ free Christmas for ten families all across MN and one in Superior, WI.

Best Christmas Ever is accepting nominations until December 1 to identify the deserving families within Minnesota and the Superior, Wisconsin area. 

To begin the nomination process, please see the web site at

If you would like to contribute to the movement by volunteering or are interested in assisting a family with a donation, please see the web site at

For more information and to directly contact Luke Hansmeyer please call, 2182607722 or via email to

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Why Do I Need A Pre-Approval Letter?

There are many reasons as to why you should have a pre-approval letter before you start looking for a property. Here is a few of the main reasons why you need to have one:

1.   You will know how much money you ACTUALLY qualify to borrow.Most people have an amount that they feel is a comfortable budget for them to pay for their monthly mortgage payments. But when looking to buy a home there is no sure fire way to translate that monthly payment into a specific maximum mortgage amount because other things like -- down payment percentage, mortgage insurance, property taxes, adjustable interest rate and such are all a determining factor in what the monthly payment will be . Plus you may not be qualified to borrow as much as you think due to credit scores, past due accounts, current financial obligations and most of all your income. 

2.   Your real estate agent will work harder on your behalf. Let's face it no one likes to waste their time. Having a pre-approval letter tells your agent that you are serious and well qualified to buy a new property. The likelihood of a closed sale and a commission will naturally motivate your agent to devote more time and energy to you and your property search. Just an FYI some agents won't even show properties to buyers who don't have a pre-approval letter.

3.   You'll have more leverage in negotiations with the seller. Sellers are more likely to consider negotiating with buyers that have been pre-approved because then they know that they are NOT wasting their time and energy.

Just a few key notes:
  • Pre-approval letters aren't binding on the lender,
  • They are subject to an appraisal of the home you want to purchase, 
  • They are time-sensitive,
  • A pre-approval letter is more reliable than a pre-qualification letter, 
  • If your financial situation changes (e.g., you lose your job, lease a car or run up credit-card bills, interest rates rise or a specified expiration date passes) the lender will then have to review your situation and recalculate your maximum mortgage amount accordingly. 

There is nothing worse then finding the home of your dreams and then finding out that you can't qualify to purchase it. It happens ALL to often. So before you start looking for your new dream home please consider talking to your lender about obtaining a pre-approval letter so that your prepared for the next step to home ownership!

Your Realtor,

Luke Hansmeyer, Real Estate Professional
Real Living Messina & Associates, INC.
1512 E Superior St, Duluth

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

5 Ways to Get Your House to Sell Faster & For More

5 Ways to Get Your House to Sell Faster & For More!

1.)   Consider your curb appeal: Change out the front door or the garage door, maybe give them a fresh coat of paint to brighten them up at bit.Bring in some fresh mulch in the flower beds. Add some shrubs or plants to give some color to the yard. All of these things will help to draw buyers eyes to your property.

2.)   Make your home as move in ready as possible: Fresh neutral paint colors through out the home, changing out those outdated fixtures, making sure all the little things are taken care of before buyers look at your property all make it feel move in ready. Buyers are looking to move right in without hassle and projects before they walk in the door.

3.)   Consider expanding your home to the outside:  Adding a deck or patio is a valuable investment. It gives the buyer an alternative living space to enjoy. If you already have a deck or patio then stage it appropriately to make it feel like an outdoor living room. This makes them feel like they're getting more home for their money.

4.)   Take advantage of unfinished spaces: Turn a little nook under the stairs into a storage space complete with shelves or a closet organizer. Finish the empty attic space or basement to create another room for added possibilities.

5.)  The BEST return on your investment is ALWAYS going to be the kitchen: You don't always have to install new cabinets to update the kitchen. Put in new counter tops, an updated sink with a new faucet, and change the hardware on the cabinets to completely transform the look of a kitchen. New updated lighting and flooring will always catch the buyers eye.

Remember when updating or renovating your property to sell DON'T over do it. Installing extremely high end items in an average neighborhood will NEVER get you a good return on your investment. Always keep it simple and neutral so that you add value and appeal to everyone that will be looking to purchase your property. If you would like assistance in determining what improvements would be best for you and your home please give me a call or send me an email. I would love to help you in any way I possibly can.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

8 Mistakes to Avoid When Purchasing a Home

Today we wanted to talk about the buyer market and 8 mistakes you need to avoid when purchasing a home. We will be counting backwards from 8, so try to keep up with us if you can.

8. Waiting to Pull the Trigger: So, you found a great home in the right price range - but you get cold feet and wait a day or two. The current market in Duluth does not allow you to be indecisive. At the Messina & Associates, we will make sure that your offer has the best chance of acceptance.

7. Poor Financing Knowledge: Do you understand the different types of mortgages? Do you know the difference between a fixed mortgage and an ARM mortgage? You're probably not going to understand everything in the paperwork for a home. However, our team works with American Financial Network to guide you through this process and ensure you an affordable loan.
6. NOT doing your Homework on the Area: or NOT being Aware of the Home's Surroundings: You need to know about the neighborhood that you're moving into. Learn about the school districts, call the police department, or find information online in order to form a clearer picture of where you might be living and if that type of environment would be suitable to you.  When you view a home, be sure to look around. Are there train tracks nearby? Do planes fly overhead? Is there a landfill or garbage dump a block away? Our team will ensure that you avoid these pitfalls.

5. NOT Thinking Ahead: If you buy a home that you know you will be selling in the future, consult with us on how to maintain your home's long-term marketability. It is our job to tell you whether or not we believe you're making a good investment - so just ask!

4. Taking Advice from Everyone You Know: Nothing upsets a Realtor more than hearing about all the great advice you got from relatives, neighbors, etc. Listening to people who are not experts on your situation will only add anxiety and confusion. Please leave these things to the professionals. This is what we do for a living, and we're very good at it!

3. Calling ALL the Listing Agents for Homes You're Interested In: When you use the Luke Hansmeyer Home Buying system, you're getting the help of a professional marketing and negotiating firm that does all the work for you. We are very good at communicating with other agents. So once again, just leave this job to the professionals.
2. NOT Having a Home Inspection: We don't care if the home is new or if your brother-in-law who is a contractor said it was fine. With The Hansmeyer Group, we also suggest you have a professional home inspector to come out and take a look at your property. This professional is a certified home inspector and not just a plumber or an electrician. It's important to understand what you're purchasing.
1. Buying More than You Can Afford: The last thing we want you to do is to buy a home that leverages you to the bone. We do not want you to go broke right after closing. We want you to be able to take your kids to the movies, buy new furniture and continue to make your car insurance payments. We would never advise you to purchase more than you can comfortably afford. We will set a budget and and help you stick to it.

This is all we have for you today and we hope that it's been helpful to you. As always, if you know anyone looking to buy, sell or invest in Duluth real estate, then please send an email to me at

Your Realtor,


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Is Now a Good Time to Put Your House on the Market?

Hi there, 

Here is another question I always get in the spring:

"Should I Sell my Home Now or Wait till Summer?" 

 You need to consider that Spring comes very late in Duluth due to our wonderful climate. Which means there is plenty of pent up demand with lots of eager buyers out there, whereas in other parts of the country they'd have been already out house shopping over a month ago.   

This is probably a question that has been nagging at a lot of people's minds recently. There are three reasons why now is a great time to put your home on the market.

Low Supply + High Demand + Slight Rise in Rates = Steady appreciation of 3-6% in 2014


  1. Inventory is at an all-time low right now:  Supply and demand play a big part of real estate prices and right now supply is extremely low. Currently, there are only 522 homes and condos available for sale in Duluth.  And 207 of those listings are Pending (Messina & Associates Represents the buyer or seller in 113 out of these 207 deals!)  I expect inventory to double once we approach "Summer" in July, so now is a great time to beat the rush and get your home listed.
  2. Time Your Listing Well: What I mean by this is that you must put your home on the market when buyer activity is peaking. If you take a look at this map from Trulia, search activity for homes peaks during May and June, not during the summer as most people would believe. Missing this peak could prevent you from getting the best price on your property.
  3. Interest Rates Will Rise: What this means for you is that waiting will cost you money. The National Mortgage Bankers Association expects rates to rise from 4.5% to 5.4%.  There is no reason not to take advantage of these low interest rates. Right now is a great time to sell due to the low interest rates for Buyers. We know for a fact that rates will increase over time so holding out for a better rate is the equivalent of rolling the dice in Vegas. Not a highly predictable strategy. 

These three trends are all indicating that you should sell your home as soon as possible to get the best possible price for it. If you have considered putting your home on the market and would like any more information on timing the market right, please contact me!  

Keep the questions coming.

I love answering your real estate questions!

Your Realtor, 


Luke Hansmeyer, Real Estate Professional
Real Living Messina & Associates, INC.
1512 E Superior St, Duluth
Office - (218) 728 - 4436
Direct - (218) 260 - 7722

Check out my website to view all of the areas listings!!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

How do Interest Rates Effect Your Buying Power?

Hi there,

As we all know, as time goes on the cost of just about everything rises with inflation.   Bread, Gas, Milk and of course the average cost of a home have all risen in the past 20 years! 

However the cost of "Purchasing" a home has not gone up, due to historically low interest rates.

With a lot of industry leaders saying interest rates are due to rise soon, one of the questions buyers have now are; "is now the right time to purchase a new home?"

Interest rates are currently only at 4.5%.  If you were to take that 4.5% interest rate and wanted to spend a little over $2,000 a month on your mortgage payment, you would be able to purchase a $400,000 home.   If you wait until 2015 when interest rates are expected to be (5 - 5.5%), that same $2,044 a month payment will only get you a $360,000 home.   In other words, you will lose $40,000 in buying power if you wait until rates go up, which they inevitably will. 

If you have any questions about buying power and how this will effect your buying power - please contact me, I would love to answer any questions you may have, thanks!

Talk soon, 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Can I Trust the Zillow Home Price Estimate?

Today, I’m going to answer the question: “Can I trust the Zillow home price estimate?”

Zillow has become a favorite for home owners when trying to evaluate the price of their home.  The online tool to get a quick estimated value of home values.  With so many users, so many millions of homes, and having those homes spread across the entire United States, is it possible that the site could have inaccurate estimates? We’ll take a look at the 4 different types of home values and what they mean to you.

1. The first is the assessed value. This is the county's assessed value of your home and your land.  they go off of this value when determining how much you pay in property taxes.

2. The second is the appraised value. An Appraised value is used by banks and lending institutions to determine how much money they will lend on a specific property.  It could be for a new purchase or a re finance. Just because your house appraises at a certain amount doesn't mean you’ll be able to sell it for that price.

3. The third is online estimating tools like: The “Zestimate”, or just about any other FREE online home value estimate, have emerged as another tool. Zillow, and these other systems, are what is called an “automated valuation” that takes neighborhood statistics and tax data to determine the value of your home.  And because they lack that actual sold data, it’s highly likely that using Zillow as your guide will cause you to either: 

  • Overprice your home and sit for months, or..
  • Underprice your home and leave money on the table…yikes!  

4. The fourth is the market value. A Market Analysis will determine the market value of your home.  The Market value is what a Buyer is actually willing to pay for your property. A market analysis uses current sales data, along with recent sold history and current market conditions to determine the true market value of your home.

If you are looking for an accurate assessment of your home, I encourage you to get a free market analysis. Give us a call at (218) 260-7722 or email us at  to answer any and all of your questions.