Minnesotan, moonlight, Sahara...Are you wondering what these 3 words have in common? Kay Nelson that’s what or is it who? Anyway, my intrepid friend Kay crossed another trip off her bucket list last year when she journeyed to the Dark Continent and visited Morocco. It was the experience of a lifetime for Kay, who is kindly sharing her adventure with those of us who will not get the opportunity to experience it for ourselves. And….take it away Kay!
It must have been the 10 cent movies at the Farrow Theater in Parkers Prairie during the ‘50’s what whetted my appetite for a trip to sleep out on the Sahara Desert in Morocco. Well, it took until 2014 to do this, but I am at the “now or never” stage of my life. So, on September 30, 2014, Joining a group of 13 under the leadership of Overseas Adventure Travels (OAT), I flew to Casablanca to begin my adventure!
The Sights and Sounds of Morocco
Morocco was an assault on the senses! The sounds of the call to prayer 4-5 times a day, the flute of the snake charmer, roaring motorcycles, and bleating sheep were just some of the sounds. For the eyeballs, it was a riot of color. The souks, the mosaics, the caramel color of the sand on the Sahara . . . the smell of donkey and horse poop blended with spices, the exhaust...
When the time comes to sell your home, you may be tempted to forego hiring a Realtor and do it alone. After all, DIY is the hot trend these days and who doesn't like to save a few dollars? Being a great fan of saving money with DIY projects, I totally understand. But, before you pound a “For Sale” sign in your front yard and start counting the money you’ll save on a Realtor’s commission, there are a few facts you should consider because this may be a DIY project that ends up costing you money rather than saving you money over the long run.
To buy and sell a house is no simple task. In fact, national statistics show that only 9% of all “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) efforts are successful. Only one out of every twelve people who attempt to sell their own home actually end up with a closed deal and approximately 24% of those transactions involved a sale to a friend or relative, 15% involved a buyer directly contacting a seller, and 1% when the owner was a licensed agent.
When DIY sellers were surveyed by The National Association of Realtors, the most difficult aspects of going FSBO were cited as follows:
- Understanding and performing paperwork: 18%
- Getting the right price: 13%
- Preparing/fixing up home for sale: 12%
- Helping buyer obtain financing:...
Orono, Minnesota is a commanding presence on the north Shore of Lake Minnetonka. Named after a city in Maine by settlers who emigrated from there, the city is 24 square miles in area, boasting 8 square miles of that area in water. Population based on the 2010 census is 7,437, median home value as of January 2015 is 633,800 according to Zillow.
Orono is a friendly and warm community with small town charm yet convenient access to downtown Minneapolis. WIth a nationally recognized school system and great access to recreation, it's a great place to live and raise children. Here are 7 reasons I think Orono is an outstanding city!
1. Easy Access to the Big City from Orono
Want to attend the symphony, watch a play, visit a museum, or plan a special evening of dining in Minneapolis? Hop on the expressway, head east and in 16 miles you can be in the heart of downtown. If you work in the Metro easy access to 394 east and west or 494 north and south makes for a good commute. If you prefer public transportation to downtown, a Metro Transit bus service runs every 28 minutes. .
2. Local Shopping and Restaurants
Do you want to buy a home but don't have enough saved for a down payment? For some, saving equals sacrifice. Granted, to save you need to spend less but there are ways you can cut expenditures in the short term that you won’t miss and over the long term can help you realize your dream of home ownership. So whether you are a veteran saver or just getting your down payment fund off the ground, consider my 5 painless, no-anesthesia-necessary ways you can start saving today.
1. The Double Play - Improve Your Credit Score
The health of your FICA or Vantage Score has a direct effect on your interest rates. The higher your score, the lower the rate of interest you will pay to borrow money. Individuals with good scores can often negotiate lower rates on credit cards and generally also pay lower auto insurance rates. As an additional incentive, if you are thinking of buying a home, an excellent credit score will not only save you thousands over the life of your mortgage but make it easier to be approved for a loan when the time comes. So in terms of buying your dream home, this is a double play!
2. Evaluate Your Auto Insurance Coverage
Speaking of auto insurance, if you have not reviewed your policy recently, now is a great time. One way to save on monthly premiums is to raise the deductible limits. If your car is older and...