Thursday, December 10, 2015

Three Of the Best Suburbs in the Minneapolis Area

With nearly a 4 million residents, Minneapolis is considered one of the largest and busiest metropolitan areas in the United States. On the outskirts of the metropolis, however, lies a wide range of residential communities known as suburbs.
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Compared to inner-city neighborhoods, suburbs are typically much denser, peaceful, and spacious. On its list of the “50 Best Suburbs in America,” Business Insider ranks the following as three of the best suburbs in the Minneapolis area:

Arden Hills, Minnesota. Situated eight miles north of the Twin Cities, Arden Hills is one of best suburban places for workers. In 2014, Arden Hills was listed among the top employers in the area with an average median household income of $79,208.

Edina, Minnesota. Edina residents earn a median household income of $84,251. Average commute time to Minneapolis is 20.4 minutes. The suburb, which is recognized for its tight-knit community, is home to 40 award-winning public parks, which incorporate amenities such as basketball and tennis courts.

Eden Prairie, Minnesota. The bedroom suburb, which sits 12 miles southwest of downtown Minneapolis, is one of best places to work, providing residents a median annual household income of $93,828. The place is home to many large lakes and ponds.
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For those who plan to live near the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area, these suburbs are highly recommended.

Steve Liefschultz is the chairman and chief executive officer of Equity Bank, a Minnesota-based finance company that specializes in investment lines of credit and real estate loans. Follow this Twitter account for more updates about the company.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Minnesotan Taxation Structure on personal Income, Sales, Excise, and Real Estate

Almost all states impose tax depending on the business income derived from the state. How this income from a specific business is taxed will be determined in part by the business’ legal background. In most states, corporations are subject to a corporate income tax, while income from “pass-through entities” such as S corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), partnerships, and sole proprietorships is subject to a state’s tax on personal income. Sales tax can also be imposed, but some states do not levy on items like clothing, some services, or food items for home consumption. Tax rates among states vary widely for both corporate income and personal income.

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 In Minnesota, taxation is slightly progressive. One could conclude that the state’s business-tax climate compares favorably with other states—even with South Dakota. Minnesota also ranks 4th highest among states levying an individual income tax at 9.8 percent. While there are state-wide tax laws that must be followed, the state legislature has made some exceptions and allowed municipalities to institute local sales taxes and special local taxes, such as the 0.5 percent supplemental sales tax in Minneapolis. The cities of St. Paul, Rochester, Duluth, and St. Cloud have same taxes. Excise taxes, meanwhile, are levied on alcohol, tobacco, motor fuel, and items purchased elsewhere but used within Minnesota.

Minnesota has two major taxes that apply to business entities: (1) a corporation income tax that applies to traditional (C-type) corporations and (2) a tax called the “minimum fee” that applies to traditional corporations, S corporations, LLCs, and partnerships.

Minnesotan property owners pay real estate tax to their county, municipality, school district, and special taxing districts. The overall state and local tax burden is calculated to average 11.9 percent in 2006, ranking 4th highest in the country.

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Banking and finance pundit Steve Liefschultz offers clients a diverse array of options on how they could maximize the value of their money. He is the CEO of Minnetonka, Minnesota-based Equity Bank. More on his credentials can be read here.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Expensive home developments draw concern from residents in North Minneapolis

Amid a developer’s plan to build homes that would sell for up to $300,000 in North Minneapolis, residents of Lind-Bohanon—a northern neighborhood within the Camden community in Minneapolis—voiced out their concern over the project, stating that the price of the planned residential properties is far from the $110,000 median price of homes in the neighborhood.

According to the residents, if the plan pushes through, the houses will remain unsold considering that no one in the area has the capacity to purchase pricey homes.

“I don’t know how you expect people to go spend $300,000 even for a kick-ass house,” an anonymous community member explained.

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 To voice out their concern, residents of the area even penned a letter to the City Hall stating that the residential properties are nearly three times the neighborhood’s median single-family home value. Even with median values of $102,500, the new development project signifies a 19 percent annual jump to home prices, which is equivalent to 10 years’ worth of home value increase in the Lind-Bohanon neighbourhood.

The city officials, however, were quick to respond stating that the new real estate development plan is part of the city’s long-term goals for the area. The city’s development agency listed creating “high value, high quality housing” first among its greenway development goals.


Furthermore, city officials emphasized that the greenway project stayed on hold until the area’s market sufficiently recovered this year, giving real estate developers the opportunity to expand their projects in the area. They also revealed that recent sales in the North Minneapolis have strengthened.

Steve Liefschultz is the chairman and CEO of Equity Bank, a locally owned and managed finance company that specializes in investment lines of credit and real estate loans in Claremont and Minnetonka, Minnesota. For the latest news in real estate, follow this Twitter account.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Exciting Times Ahead For Minneapolis' Housing Market

The city of Minneapolis is no stranger to real estate tumbles.  In late 2010, for instance, the city saw 60 percent of the homes in the market foreclosed.  It took about three years before the housing market started to show signs of recovery.  This year, however, Minneapolis real estate is expected to return to its former glory., in fact, included the city in its list of “10 hottest housing markets for 2015.”  Boosting this rosy outlook are the city’s extremely low unemployment rate, a healthy economy, and relatively affordable homes.  Even its household income of $83,000 (compared to the $64,000 national average) is attracting home buyers, especially young professionals.  In fact, Minneapolis is reported to be the second-largest market in the country for home-owning millennials.


Things are indeed looking up for Minneapolis's housing market.  The most recent data collected by the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors show new listings growing 23.2 percent in February, the largest year-on-year increase since July 2013.  Pending sales also jumped by 21.8 percent, registering the biggest pending sales figures since February 2005. 

There couldn’t be a better time for the city to execute an impressive housing market turnaround.  As The Atlantic has feverishly declared in this article, there exists “The Miracle of Minneapolis,” a city that mixes home affordability, employment opportunity, and wealth so well.


For the latest news in real estate, follow this Twitter account for Steve Liefschultz,Equity Bank chairman and CEO.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Applying for a bank loan even with bad credit

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Applying for a bank loan even with bad credit is one of the frequent search engine inquiries. Financial and banking experts are also asked for tips and suggestions to expedite the application process.

Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast rule on getting a bank loan approved with bad credit. It must be understood that several factors come into play in the entire approval process. The most important to consider is how bad credit is determined in the first place. A person’s credit history is determined by several factors, including how often he or she pays his or her bills, whether they are paid on time, the amount of funds in an account for a certain amount of time, and other factors that determine how reliable that individual is as a bank client.

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Financial institutions differ in one or two of these factors, but in general, credit history is dependent on how well an individual keeps tabs on his or her finances. These factors are plugged in a general system which produces a score. It is this number that is fed across the national channel and determines a client’s credit value.

To speed up the application, the borrower should pinpoint the factor that dragged down the score. If for example, the bad credit is the result of a bill that remained unpaid for four months, the borrower should pay off this bill before applying for a bank loan. This does not necessarily guarantee an approval, but does improve the chances.

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Steve Liefschultz gives financial and banking advice to interested individuals. Learn more about banking and finance by following this Twitter account.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Make a move: Three reasons to sell your home

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There is always competition when it comes to selling a house, no matter what time of the year it is. Some house owners, particularly those who have lived in the same house for many years, might not understand this specific market behavior. However, there are many circumstances that can justify the sale of the house:

Property upgrade or downgrade

Space matters to the people who purchase a home. Growing families might need to relocate to a larger house to live comfortably. On the other hand, couples with children who have moved out have to buy a smaller home, as they won’t have any use for all the space.

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Career change

A person’s job can sometimes require him or her to relocate to a different neighborhood, state, or sometimes a different country. Moving closer to the workplace can cut down transportation costs and travel time.

Lifestyle change

As people mature, they start to feel the urge to travel, pursue a hobby, or throw excess caution to the wind. They give in to the desire to explore and see the world. Meanwhile, health issues are also compelling reasons. Physical injuries or ailments like back and joint pains may make it difficult for some people to move around their current house. v Deciding to sell a home is a big decision, which shouldn’t be taken lightly. Whatever the reason, it is best to consult with a qualified real estate professional who can assist in crunching the numbers, so that the sale will be a good one.

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Equity Bank CEO Steve Liefschultz is a banking and real estate expert with over 30 years of experience in the industry. Read more about real estate topics by visiting this blog.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Amid spike elsewhere in US, Minneapolis rental prices going down

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Recent data from real estate company Zillow show that while rental rates have been rising at a steady rate for most of the US, the Twin Cities metro was one of the two major markets that saw decreases in rental rates. The other city that had a decrease in rental rate was Chicago. In January, rental prices increased a seasonally adjusted 3.3 percent compared to the same period a year ago.

The Great Recession had left many Americans with low incomes and difficulty in saving for down payment, and therefore unprepared for homeownership. Others, meanwhile, are just struggling with expensive housing. At the end of 2014, homeownership rate went down to 64 percent, which was the lowest level it has been at in 20 years.

With the job market improving, more millennials are expected to rent apartments. Developers, meanwhile, have started to respond to the increased demand and there has been a 24.5 percent increase in groundbreakings for apartment complexes.

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While rental prices increased for most of the country, the median price in Minneapolis went down 0.3 percent to about $1,500. Renters are reported to have been taking advantage of the fact that Minneapolis has deviated from the nationwide rental pricing trend. With the decrease in rental prices, people looking to rent can expect to find a robust market with several choices available.

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Steve Liefschultz is a banker, a real estate investor, and the owner of a real estate development and management company in Minnesota. For more news and updates on the Minnesota real estate market, follow this Facebook page.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Understanding Minneapolis’ business ecosystem

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For people with entrepreneurial dreams, the city of Minneapolis may just be one of the best places to start a business.

Minneapolis is known for its world-class urban assets. Its economic base is peppered with both big and small companies, and not to mention, a healthy workforce that can help startups achieve long-term growth in the industry.

However, despite foreseen advantages, the “Mill City” has some unique qualities that may affect the operation of a business. As a guide, below are some relevant facts to understand the city’s business climate better:

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Small businesses thrive in the city. According to Minneapolis’ Department of Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED), 19 Fortune 500 companies and several startups in the Russell 2000 Index are located in the lake city. The city, which is hailed as the new capital of the North, sees more than 70 companies launched every week.

High taxes are critical drivers in the city and the state’s current economic progress. Minnesota’s high government spending and high taxes are geared toward the diversification of the local economy. In effect, Minnesota has become the fifth fastest growing state economy and the 9th best state for business, according to Forbes.

Reliable workforce. Among the largest metros in the U.S., Minneapolis ranks as the fourth best city in the country with the most educated and experienced workers. In addition, the metro tops the lists of the “smartest people” (Travel + Leisure Magazine 2009 survey) and “America’s most literate cities (Central Connecticut State University 2013 study).

Boasting a healthy economy for various industries, Minneapolis is one of the best places for entrepreneurship. With proper guidance and strategy, it technically is an excellent ground for business opportunities.

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Steve Liefschultz, Equity Bank chairman and CEO, is a Minnesota-based banker and real estate expert. Like this Facebbok page for more business insights in the city of Minneapolis.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Real estate: Is it still a good investment choice for retirees?

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Some retirees dream of a home on a sunny part of the beach, while some want a multifamily building for investment purposes.

Unlike younger investors, retirees don't have time to waste in turning around a failed investment. Maintenance and repair of properties and unforeseen incidents like fires and hurricanes mean money out of pocket for retirees, as do unexpected vacancies and delinquent renters. In addition, real estate cannot be easily liquidated.

However, real estate investments provide monthly income from rent and dividends and can help retirees fund their lifestyles. Rents increase over time and offer tax advantages that can be a proportionate source of relief to the property owner.

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Real estate as an asset class is a good diversifier that effectively mitigates risk in well-rounded investment portfolios. Compared to company stocks that lose their value if the company files for bankruptcy, a property or real estate investment is a safer choice and has the potential to generate higher returns than the stock market.

When looking for a property to invest in, retirees should choose one that is likely to retain or increase its value, provide reliable income, and function as a good hedge against inflation.

Retirement isn't the time to actively seek get-rich schemes, so real estate investors at this age should tread carefully. Retirees interested in investing in real estate should research thoroughly and consult a financial advisor before making a commitment.

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Steve Liefschultz of Equity Bank is a seasoned real estate investor and banker. For related articles, subscribe to this blog.