Monday, November 14, 2011

Homestead Benefits Changed - So What Does it Mean?

I found this explanation on a county website in MN of how the homestead tax will be calculated in 2012. It's a fascinating change - instead of a "credit", if you homestead a property in MN, a formula is used to reduce your home's value for tax purposes.

The Hennepin County website is starting to post the value changes, so if you look up your property on the Hennepin County website, and click on Current Year Taxes, you should see the value for 2011 payable in 2012, and it will show you the "reduction" in the tax value is you are claiming the property as homestead.

It's a little confusing - but in the end, there are still benefits to homesteading your property. If you have questions, call your county's assessor's office for more information.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Live North Home Tour TODAY! Noon to 3 pm!

Stop by and see my cute listing at 4335 Humboldt Ave N and pick up a fresh copy of the Live North newsletter and a complete list of homes on tour.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

3826 Xerxes Ave N - SOLD!

Just sold this one on the Parkway - and it wasn't even on the market! Sometimes networking is the best way to get a property sold - had this listing last year and although it didn't sell last year, I kept it in mind and when another agent mentioned she had a buyer looking in the area - I made the introduction and completed the transaction non-MLS. Go KW!

Thanks Down Payment Resource!

Just realized Down Payment Resource (DPR) did a nice piece on my use of their technology. You can find it on their website at: or check out the text version below.


REALTOR® known for her expertise in homebuyer assistance programs used Down Payment Resource to learn about new programs.
Stephanie Gruver is known in her market as a buyer's agent. With her real estate license as well as experience working for a nonprofit housing developer, she knows her way around down payment assistance programs and it can directly benefit her clients. Stephanie takes the time to search for local programs she knows exists, looking for cash that her clients can bring to the table. But, Stephanie also admits that the information can be easy to miss -- new programs come along, specifications and funding may change, and it can be time consuming.

Stephanie learned about Down Payment Assistance (DPR) through NorthStar MLS bulletins. The new service prompted her to go looking for more money her clients could access. Using DPR, Stephanie searched for funds that her clients needed for the purchase of a foreclosure that needed significant work. Stephanie says that if she hadn't seen DPR, she's not sure she would have found the program as she thought it was already out of funds. Good news for the homebuyers—the program was still funded and both the home and the borrowers qualified. Stephanie also used DPR to check additional programs to be sure her clients had accessed every possible assistance program available. She felt confident that she had helped her clients find the best program for their needs.

The homebuyers were extremely pleased with the process. The down payment assistance allowed them to take on a house that needed a few more projects than usual. They purchased a two story, vintage, single family home and they are now in the process of renovating it.

Stephanie believes DPR is helping reinforce her strong reputation as a buyer's agent. As a result, she's also gaining new leadership opportunities. The Keller Williams Integrity Realty Lakes office asked Stephanie to teach a class on down payment assistance programs and DPR.

Her favorite part of the journey with her clients is going to their house warming parties, meeting their friends and family, and seeing what they've done to make the new place their home. She says her buyers today are incredibly savvy with their money. Many take home improvement classes, complete their own projects, and buy resale and consignment furniture. Searching for homebuyer assistance is another extension of the trend to invest and spend money wisely.

For Stephanie, using down payment assistance programs to get her clients into homes that they would have never imagined owning is motivation to continue to use DPR to find additional assistance options.

145 10th Street - SOLD!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Proper Use and Enjoyment of a Picture Rail

Many of my clients are just starting to become interested in restoring an old house and decorating their homes with vintage elements. From furniture to light fixtures, switch plates to door knobs, the majority of my clients really want to showcase the vintage aspects of their house.

All of the homes I've owned have had the "picture rail" around the top of the living room and dining rooms. These are great fun if you know how to use them and save a lot of wear and tear on plaster walls. Your artwork becomes very easy to relocate.

I found my first picture rail hooks at Home Depot in the display that sold all the other hooks, wire, and brackets for hanging pictures. This was a few years ago, and there were two hooks in a package for about $3.

I then found a bunch of vintage hooks at a flea market. I bought about half a dozen for $1 each - a bargain by anyone's standards. I wish I had bought all of them!

As I was researching more options for historic house hardware, I found a company online called Historic House Parts who sells a variety of these hooks for $2-$3.99 each - a little more if you want to get really fancy. And a trip to JoAnne's Fabrics netted me a supply of medium grade drapery cord to use for hanging the picture. I discovered a few tricks too. I make sure the picture has the usual eye hooks on each side, and I start by looping the cord through one side, and then the other - but I DON"T cut the cord until I have it hung on the wall and test it out with a simple not first. Then I adjust as needed, making sure I securely knot both sides, and then I leave a little extra incase I decide to move the picture to another location in the future.

It's a snap to do - so much so that I use it for my staging prints as well. The photo shown above is a print I use when I stage homes, and I've moved it from listing to listing with no problems.

One note of caution - make sure your picture rail is secured to the wall! Sometimes they come loose over time, and it's wise to make sure it's securely attached before placing any weight on the rail.

Here is a link to Historic House Parts' website. They are also running a sale on the drapery cord - at 99 cents a yard, it's a bargain!

Happy Decorating!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Next Get To NOMI Tour on September 17, 2011 - NOON to 3 PM

Stop by the Harvest Festival at Lowry and Penn Ave N on Saturday, September 17th and visit the Get to NOMI booth to pick up a tour guide for the Get to NOMI Home Tour taking place that same day from Noon to 3 pm.

I will have three listings featured on the tour:

4335 Humboldt Ave N - $89,900
3614 6th St N - $85,000
3211 Thomas Ave N - $89,900

All of these homes qualify for up to $5,000 of down payment assistance through the Live North down payment assistance program. Stop by, say hello, enjoy the Harvest Festival, and then visit some of the 20+ homes offered for sale in NOMI. It's a fun way to spend the day!


Thursday, July 28, 2011


Why not start your weekend with a Friday night of home touring? This Friday, July 29th, from 4 to 7 pm there will be 24 houses (yes - 1 sold before tour!) on tour in North Minneapolis. This is a self-guided tour - just stop by any open house or the Lowry Cafe to get a tour guide and a FREE restaurant discount card good at several participating local restaurants.

AND - there is ANOTHER down payment assistance program for owner occupants starting July 29th! Up to $5,000 of the buyer's own funds will be matched by a forgivable loan for buying a home in North Minneapolis - check out the details at

I will be at 3211 Thomas Ave N - watch for my open house sign on Lowry - stop by, say hello, and see a super cute house.

Go Live North!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Just had to post this video from the movie American Beauty- whoever wrote this script knew a real estate agent!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

NEW Live North Home Tour Scheduled for May 1st! And it's FREE!

A new Home Tour to feature homes for sale in North Minneapolis is being organized for Sunday, May 1st, from Noon to 3 pm called the Live North home tour. This is the same weekend as the Minneapolis/St Paul Home Tour.

As part of the event, the first details on a NEW down payment assistance program from the Pohlad Foundation for owner occupants will be distributed to participating homes the day of the event!

The tour will be limited to 25 houses, 1 listing per agent, and each house must be held open from Noon to 3 pm the day of the event. And it's FREE!

Here are the benefits of attending the tour:

Chance to win one of five, $100 gift cards for potential buyers who visit at least 7 open houses
Chance to win one of five, $100 gift cards for north residents who REFER potential buyers to open houses
First details will be distributed on a new private, limited, down-payment assistance product for buyers in North Minneapolis
Tour is FREE

So join in the fun and bring a friend to learn more about the great houses in North Minneapolis! And thank you to the Pohlad Foundation for sponsoring the tour.

Monday, April 11, 2011

NOMI Home Tour Success!

What a beautiful day April 10th turned out to be for a NOMI Home Tour! And buyers came out to see the houses and learn more about living in NOMI! Reports are still coming in, but agents indicated strong attendance - I had over 30 people through my listing at 4232 Emerson Ave N. Neighbors also stopped in, showing their support for their community.

Overall - a very successful tour! And thank you to the Star Tribune for helping us kick off our 2010 tours with a story in the Sunday edition! A link to the story is under NOMI Tours in the right hand column of this blog.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Signs are Up! NOMI Home Tour this Weekend!

The signs are up! Watch for them around NOMI - the NOMI Home Tour is this Sunday, April 10th! Over 30 homes will be open from Noon to 3 pm for buyers and neighbors to visit, with the official tour "meet and greet" from 11 am to 1 pm at 42nd Ave Station coffee shop at 42nd and Lyndale Ave N. Stop by the coffee shop and visit with prospective new NOMI neighbors! Go on tour and check out the great deals in the neighborhoods of NOMI! Learn more about down payment assistance programs and the availability of financing from multiple lenders!

I will be at 4232 Emerson Ave N from Noon to 3 pm - stop by and see what a great deal you can get for only $105,000!

Friday, March 25, 2011

PENDING SALE! 4711 Colfax Ave N - GO NOMI!

NEW Down Payment Assistance Program - Jordan Advantage

Just discovered this on the Inside Northside Facebook Page. Go NOMI!

Jordan Advantage Program


$7,500 maximum
Does not have to be repaid with continued
Ownership and Residency for 10 years


Funding provided by:
Jordan Area Community Counsel and NRP

For information call:
Neighborhood Housing Services of Minneapolis 612-521-3581

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thanks Keller Williams Integrity Realty Lakes!

I come from a family where working hard is a measure of your integrity. Right or wrong, sensible or insane - hard work is what a Gruver does. Vacations are unheard of in my family - being productive is the only way to be.

After years of corporate seminars on work-life-balance, I recognize being a work-a-holic has its downsides. And my husband occasionally forces me to take a Sunday afternoon and DO NOTHING - painful, but it is needed.

So when Perry Hurth, our Team Leader at our office said the next staff meeting was the 2010 Awards meeting - the last thing I thought was I'd be up for anything. And I had a home inspection to go on - so of course, I went to the home inspection.

By Noon I had a congratulatory note from my colleague Jeff Jasper on all the awards. Awards? What was he talking about?

Evidently the hard work I put in to my first year as a full time Realtor with KW was noticed. Although I had my license while working for Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation, 2010 was my first year as a full-time agent. And the results were noticed.

Keller Williams Integrity Realty Lakes office named me Rookie of the Year, Listing Agent of the Year (tied with Cotty Lowry - congrats Cotty!) and I made the Silver Circle for selling over $4 million of real estate.

Although the reward in my life has always been getting the job done, I will not deny having others recognize the work is a very nice bonus. Thank you, Keller Williams, and particularly my broker, John Butler, for the extra acknowledgement of what I intend to make the first of many amazing years to come in my real estate life.


Monday, January 17, 2011

1502 West Broadway - $15,000!

Bank owned laundromat in need of a new owner! Call for more photos and info!