From the category archives:

Luxury Home Builders

Parade of Homes Fall 2013

Dream Home by Nor-Son, Inc in Chanhassen

If you have been wanting to get out of the house to see some really beautiful homes, then don’t waste anymore time. This is the final week of the Fall 2013 Parade of Homes, which runs until Sunday, September 29th. The Remodeler Showcase is also this week, running Friday through Sunday.

I stopped by one of the Dream Homes last week in Chanhassen, and it is definitely one I would recommend viewing. The interior design and decor might be more Northern Minnesota, but it was nice to see something different in the Twin Cities. The home owner obviously hunts, what with all the stuffed animals in the lower level, but they fit nicely with the theme of the home. Luxury radiates from the master suite, and the kitchen is stunning. My favorite space by far is the outdoor screened in patio. I could sit out there all night (and so could my husband) and enjoy the wood burning fire, sipping on some wine. Check it out…I’m sure you’ll love it too!

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Mendota Heights Luxury Home for Sale

614 Hidden Creek Trail, Mendota Heights, MN

 

It is hard to believe a home of this stature can be so close to Minneapolis and St. Paul, major Interstates, and the MSP International Airport, but feel like it resides outside the Metro area. The home owners combined two lots into one to create a 5+ acre nature retreat that is amazingly quiet, secluded, and pristine…not to mention frequented by deer, ducks, turkeys, many varieties of birds, and more! Christened as “Three Meadows” for the meadows stretching on and behind the property, a favorite part of the owner’s day is walking along a nature trail that winds through the trees and land for a “good mile”.

As soon as you step into this one of a kind home, you will instantly see the quality in craftsmanship. With over 13,000 heated square feet, no detail was overlooked in its design. Built over a period of 18 months, the home was crafted by Mihm Custom Homes and finished in 2005. The three level layout has 6 bedrooms, 7 baths, 2 half baths, a main floor laundry, and another small laundry in the lower level.

Luxury Home Theater 614 Hidden Creek Trail Mendota Heights
To view additional photos, documents, floorplans, please visit the property website at www.614HiddenCreekTrail.com

We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 4337196 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.

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In light of recent experiences I have encountered with local Twin Cities home builders, I make it a point to tell buyers that they should thouroghly research any builder they might contract to build their new home. Some builders are barely keeping their business above water, and others are slowly sinking, but if you spoke with these builders, most likely they would tell you they are doing” a lot” of business. Don’t believe them. Here are some tips to consider when building a new home:

  • Ask the builder how long they have been in business under the current company name.If it is a short period of time, ask them if they, or anyone involved with company, has been a builder/contractor under a different name. Believe it or not, there are some fairly sizable builders in the Twin Cities who have declared bankruptcy, gotten in trouble with the state, etc, and closed their doors, only to open up under a brand new entity name. Of course, they don’t disclose this to potential buyers.
  • Ask the builder if their company name is the same as their legal corporation name. Sometimes builders “Do Business As” (DBA) a different name. You can research both names with the Minnesota Secretary of State and find out if they are in good standing.
  • Ask for the Builder’s License Number. They should be able to give it to you on the spot. If they don’t, consider this a red flag. Once you have the number, research the builder with the Department of Labor and make sure their license number corresponds with what you were given. Believe it or not, some builders have been using another builders license number to pull permits, illegally of course.
  • Find out who owns the company. Go to the Judicial website and see if there are any active judgments against the owner and/or the company. Pending cases brought against the builder by clients or trade professions could be a red flag.
  • Ask for References. Don’t just get the good, but also ask to speak with someone who was not happy to see how the builder resolved the issue. It could give you a clue on how the builder professionally handles complaints.
  • Don’t just take the builder’s word for it. I can’t tell you how many times I have been lied to by a builder as an agent, and it just makes me more mad when I meet buyers who were lied to as well. If you have contracted with a builder, make sure all permits are pulled for the work being done. Once again, some builders are doing work without a permit, and when the city finds out, and the project shuts down, the buyer is the one left in limbo. Don’t be afraid to call the city and ask them if proper permits were pulled.
  • Find out who holds the escrow money. I don’t like the escrow money being held by the builder. If a builder cannot finance the permit on his own, then I question their financial standing. I have run into buyers who have had problems with builders and had to cancel the contract, only to find out the builder has spent the escrow money and doesn’t have the funds to pay the buyers back. It just turns into an awful mess. See if the money can be held by a title company.
  • Don’t go with a builder just because they have a great lot. The worst thing you can do is fall in love with a lot that is owned by a builder that you are not excited about. Trust me, it is the kiss of death! I know two buyers currently (not my clients) who went with a builder because of the lot and the homes are falling apart. They were warned about the builder, but they said they would take their chances because they were so blinded by the lot.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask everything you can think of, and don’t hold back even on the things that seem minor. 

These are just a few things to think about. “Google” the builder, too, and see what pops up. For instance, a  recent article in the Star Tribune highlights how some local builders have lost their license recently or been fined in the past few months.

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Selling Unfinished Luxury Mansions I was reading today about a Luxury Mansion in Florida being listed for sale at a staggering price of $75 Million. Problem is, the house is not entirely finished. In fact, it doesn’t go much past the studded walls. The unfinished 90,000 square foot home includes a roller rink in the basement, home theater, bolling alley…oh, the list goes on. Needless to say, but selling an “as-is” home is pretty difficult. Buyers have a hard time envisioning the final product, and many will discount the home even more.

The article got me wondering if there were any new construction homes listed in the Twin Cities MLS database that were priced above a million dollars and being sold “as-is”. I was able to find one on Long Lake with 5200 square feet of unfinished space that is for sale for $1.1 Million. It originally started out at $2.2 Million, but with the market crash, and the simple fact that it is not finished, I am not surprised it hasn’t sold yet. Once a potential buyer also looks at the $18,000 yearly property taxes, they might think twice about buying the home. Oh, and did I forget to mention that the home is now lender owned?

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If you’ve got some time over the next few weeks, make sure to check out the luxury home tour presented by Midwest Home Magazine. There are 15 new construction homes on the tour found from Stillwater, across the Twin Cities, to Lake Minnetonka. Estimated prices of the homes range from the low $1 Million to as high at $3.59 Million. Tickets can be purchased at Caribou Coffee locations.

Twin Cities Luxury Home Tour
June 12-14, 19-21, 26-28, 2009
Friday 1-7pm
Sat/Sun 12-6pm

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I have to say, if you get a chance to view any of the Parade of Homes this upcoming weekend, you simply have to visit home #310 in Plymouth. It is truly one of the best luxury homes on the entire tour. I visited the home last week, and I just have to apologize for the the cars in the photo…even on a Friday, the street was lined with 20 vehicles of other curious parties wanting the chance to view this amazing home.

Built by Hendel Homes, the home is located in Executive Woodlands at 14625 4th Ave N. The price tag on this home is listed at $3,850,000 Million. Just walking up to the front door alone is an experience, as homes in the French Provencal style are seldom built today (most easily identified by the Mansard roof).

With about 11,000 square feet, it feels like the home never ends. Some fantastic architectural features of the home include the gallery with its multiple groin vaults, the four foot gas torches, antique wood floors, custom iron railings, and a wonderful old world looking bar/wine room in the lower level.

The home is simply inspiring. At times it feels like you are in a castle, others in a fine hotel, and still in other parts of the home, walking through an old French estate not in America. Hats off to Hendel Homes for creating something special for the rest of us to dream about.

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