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The Surprising Reality of Resilience

As summer begins and the busy season is in full swing, you may already be feeling the signs of burnout begin. Long hours, numerous calls and unending emails start taking a toll on that balance you’ve tried to build into your life. Instead of focusing on preventing burnout, we’re taking the positive approach! We chatted with Maria Anundson, Performance Specialist at Insperity, to get her expert insight into how we can grow and nurture our resilience.

What exactly is resilience?

A lot of us probably think of resilience as the ability to take on stress, to handle problems, to absorb trial or trauma and keep coming back for more. In reality, resilience can be thought of as the opposite of stress.

“It’s the ability to bounce back; the ability to find contentment in chaos and gratitude in challenge. It’s being able to curb overwhelm and “be” in the moment. Be where you are.” says Anundson.

Obviously, we’ll all go through surprising difficulties or disappointments, and even small rubs that catch us off guard. In some cases, we’ll experience actual physical, spiritual or emotional trauma or deep hurt.

“Resilience is your ability to handle these moments with grace,” Anundson explains. She goes on to explain that resilience is actually a very physical, neurological response. Abundant resilience comes when we consistently build better pathways into our brain well ahead of time—before the stress, the disappointment or the trauma. These pathways are created by our own practices of self-care, thought patterns and beliefs.

So, what actually makes someone resilient?

Resilient people have created neuropathways that lead them back to healthy mental spaces of positivity and gratitude. They have the ability to ‘bounce back’ because of the self-work they’ve done ahead of time.

“When you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.”

We’ve all heard something similar to this before, but it applies to more than just our physical thirst. Our minds also need rest, periods of rejuvenation and healthy thought patterns. When we’re desperate for a massage, longing for the weekend or have tunnel vision for vacation, it’s probably already too late.  Other signs of burnout can be: consistently unprepared, overly irritated or blunt, overwhelmed, reoccurring decision fatigue, or no margin in your life.

Resilience is always a work in progress, and now is the perfect time to restart, rebuild practices and carve out space in your life for resiliency to flourish.

Building our resiliency muscles.

Now that we know a bit more about resiliency and that it’s something that only we can create for ourselves, the question becomes, how do we do that?

Here are a few starting points for building resiliency that you can begin with today and develop over time!

Ignore your screens for the first 30 minutes of the day! This might feel tricky and might take some intentionality, but it will pay dividends as your day goes on. Mornings set the tone for the day, and taking time to be present and think positively about your day is a great way to ‘hydrate’ your mind ahead of time.

Practice gratitude. Write down 3 specific things you’re grateful for each day. This can trickle into the next day and be something you rest on in your half hour of “screen free” time.  

Take a daily walk—not too fast, not too slow—just ticking up your heartrate enough to release endorphins, building physical and mental strength.

Before meetings, draw a rectangle and write down the things inside of that rectangle already on your mind. This is a way to help yourself set them aside for later and focus on the present!

Practice mindfulness (there are apps for this!)

Find a therapist, coach or use company telehealth resources.

Build healthy routines into your life: rest, exercise, prayer or reflection, social time or something that brings you joy are all great resilient building ideas.

Remember structure is good, but your brain enjoys some novelty too!

As we now know, resilience is more of a practice than an ability we’re born with. It’s a state of mind we can all achieve with practice and intentionality! We’d love to hear from you on what you’re doing to build resilience in your own life.

Title Topics: Common Title Questions, Scenarios and Issues

Especially when it comes to first time homeowners, there is not a lot of common knowledge about title insurance. As their trusted real estate professional, this is your chance to educate and guide them, and this blog post contains some good information to start that dialogue.

Two of our own experts, Tami Finch and Lisa Sheflet, have some helpful insights you can reference in your conversations about this topic and as always, you can also reach out to Trademark Title with any other questions you might have.

Common Misconceptions About Title Insurance

It’s not really necessary

“People tend to think that because we conduct a title search and clear the issues we know about, that title insurance isn’t needed,” says Tami. “What they don’t realize is that title insurance protects them against matters not disclosed in the public records, which we have no knowledge of.”

It’s too expensive

“In reality, title insurance is one of the most affordable coverages you will find, as it is a one time fee based on the purchase price, for as long as you own the property,” says Tami. Considering that most other insurance involves ongoing payments, emphasizing the one-time-fee may help people move past this idea.

You can do that right?

“Customers or clients tend to think we can draft many documents that should be done by an attorney.” says Lisa. She advises having an attorney involved if a trust or estate is part of the transaction.

Issues to Look Out For

Fraudulent activities

“There is an increase in fraudulent transactions, such as vacant land being sold by people posing to be the seller, to which we are taking additional steps on all vacant land transactions where we represent the buyer to prevent such fraud,” says Tami.

In this case, a good title company will be in the know and keep their agents updated accordingly if a transaction is at risk of fraud.

Judgments or liens

“When title insurance is being issued, a search is done on all named parties, and can disclose liens or judgments that may be against the individual(s), yet not recorded against the property,” says Tami.

She goes on to say that buyers and sellers may not disclose this to their agents and it could take significant time to resolve. 

Divorce, estates or trusts

“Make certain you are aware if a property is part of a divorce, estate or trust,” says Lisa. Once again, other parties may need to be involved and extra time needed to rectify.

Surveys or splits

“If there is a survey or a split of the land to be done or that is in process, let your closer know and provide the survey ahead of time to prevent delays in closing,” says Lisa.

Solving Problems and Finding Solutions

One of the biggest ways you can be an advocate to both your client and a partner to the title company, is to keep lines of communication open and ask lots of questions.

“Many title matters require the seller to be involved in fixing the issue,” says Tami. “As much as we don’t want to bother the seller, title companies don’t have access to old mortgage accounts, for instance.”

Communicate with your title professionals…they are your partners to get your transaction closed but we cannot do it without clear communication from agents and their clients.

MN vs WI: What to Know

With Minnesota and Wisconsin being so close in proximity, it may be easy to assume there’s lots of overlap in the world of real estate, and in a few ways, there is. Many people who live in MN have cabins in WI or perhaps plan to retire there or vice versa. Certainly, there are many family members who inherit real estate across state borders and are now in the position to sell one of these properties.

However, the overlap mostly stops there. There are numerous differences to keep in mind when helping a client buy or sell a home across these state borders. We chatted with Kate Marlin and Barb Gilmore, Underwriting Counsel for WI and MN respectively, from Old Republic National Title Insurance Company to get their expertise on what real estate professionals should know in these transactions.

Minnesota Title Standards

Minnesota has extensive Title Standards adopted by the State Bar Association.  When a new real estate transaction is in the works, a title professional has to review what is known as the “White Pages” that will tell them exactly which documents they need to record to make a legal, official transaction and establish marketable title for the buyer. If errors are made or documents are omitted, the documents can be rejected by the county recorder’s office.

Wisconsin, on the other hand, has only a few state title standards so title insurance examiners and underwriters determine the documents required for closing based on Wisconsin law, prior court decisions and common business practices.

New Build Differences

In Wisconsin, the mortgage priority goes to the lender so long as the construction mortgage in favor of an institutional lender is recorded prior to any filed mechanic’s lien. Essentially, this makes it easier to obtain title insurance on a new build in WI versus MN. In MN, the construction mortgage must be recorded prior to the commencement of any construction on the property, or any mechanic’s liens filed later will likely have priority over the construction mortgage. Not having all of this in order can definitely slow down the closing process, so if you happen to be a WI real estate professional working on a new build in MN, be sure to educate yourself on MN mechanics lien law and have all your ducks in a row.

Never make assumptions

Despite the proximity of our states, the most important thing a real estate professional can do is stay open-minded and willing to learn about the differences across state lines.

“Don’t assume that everything is parallel because it’s probably not,” says Marlin.

And of course, read the schedule B-I requirements in the title insurance commitment issued by the title company involved. “If you’re not reading the commitment until the day before closing, you might not be able to close,” she says. Work with your trusted title company to understand the required documentation, in advance, so that you’re able to refer a client to an outside resource if needed. Lastly, keep open lines of communication with your buyer/seller and other professionals across state lines. Stay in the know about what you need to obtain to make the client’s process as smooth as possible no matter the circumstance.

Your New Construction Cheat Sheet

New builds are a big part of the emerging real estate landscape. In fact, more than one third of single-family homes for sale right now are considered new construction, according to Redfin real estate firm. This is why our blog post this month aims to give you the facts and insights you need to understand what’s happening and what it means for you and your clients.

We consulted with Kathy Austen of Fidelity National Financial, and her team, to learn more about how real estate professionals can help their clients navigate the new construction world.

Starting with Stats
  • As of the fourth quarter of 2021, inventory of existing homes fell 14.2% from the prior year and there was a record low of only 1.8 months’ supply
  • However, for new homes there was a 6-month supply and inventory was up 34.8%
  • Additionally, in that fourth quarter, nearly 40% of homes for sale in Minneapolis were new builds*
  • Last year, homebuilding reached a 16-year high and material costs for these homes hit a record increase with the median price to build a home at $466,900.00

Helping a client who is considering new construction

While the housing shortage remains, new builds may seem like the solution to a client looking to sell their current home. However, builders are facing their own issues in catching up to the demand. There are delays in shipping materials and price increases (up 15% in 2021). On top of that there are supply chain issues, labor shortages, lot shortages and regulatory requirements to overcome.

Be sure to educate your client, advocate on their behalf and get the honest answers they need from the builder. If your client ultimately decides to build, take the time to truly understand and educate them on M.S.A. chapter 514, their rights and the contractors/sub-contractors rights. For more information, visit the website of the MN attorney general on home building and remodeling.

In addition, some excited clients may want to get started on construction right away, but be sure to let your client know that they should not start any improvements on the land or lot before their new construction loan mortgage is recorded. Signs that mark that definition of construction commencing, includes items you would not think of like tree and brush removal.

“If we find any visible improvements on the land, a separate process is triggered which will require extensive additional documentation and could cause delays for the client,” says Austen.

What this all means

There’s a lot of predictions out there about what could happen in the housing market, but what we do know for sure is that this current climate of shortages and high building costs is making it difficult for first time-buyers.

“Higher mortgage interest rates and construction costs will cause a decline in housing affordability which will affect the home building market throughout 2022,” says Austen. “Given the limited supply and strong demand in both new and resale of existing homes, along with increasing home prices and mortgage interest rates, the entry-level buyer will continue to struggle to purchase a home.”

Your biggest challenge as a real estate professional right now, might just be to help that first-time buyer understand the current climate, so they can overcome the obstacles to get into their first home.

**insights via:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/brendarichardson/2022/02/01/one-third-of-houses-for-sale-are-new-construction-an-all-time-high/?sh=3ff7d33d242c

What it takes to be a sales leader

with Brent Widman

There are probably a thousand different paths that people take to becoming a ‘leader’ in their industry. Yet, without a doubt, these paths all have common denominators. We chatted with Brent Widman, sales coach with Southwestern Consulting (and sales leader himself) to get his take on what it means to be top sales leader today.

Top Sales Tips and Techniques

When coaching, Brent uses each person’s unique goals and responsibilities to guide them in moving forward. However, he identified three techniques that could help any sales professional refresh their goals and up their game.

Consistency

Stay consistent in your processes and activities—whether that’s emails, phone calls, newsletters, texts, follow-ups— Brent says, “You have to show up and do it every day.” When creating these habits and processes, think about which ones you can carry on, which habits that will truly last.

Ask for help

“So many of us have an ego that keeps us from asking for help. We’re afraid to look dumb,” he says. Yet there’s people all around us that are doing really well and would actually love to share in their wisdom. Finding those people and asking for input can be a huge game-changer for your own journey.

Prioritize wisely

Knowing when to say yes and when to say no starts with establishing what you want to prioritize in life. “We can’t manage time (it just keeps on ticking), but we can manage ourselves,” Brent says.

What it ‘takes’ to be a sales leader (and what to leave behind)

Acceptance

People who look at this role as just a job will likely not be the ones leading in their industry. Brent says “Accept it. Accept who you are and what you do.” Leave behind the stigma (or perceived stigma) and fully embrace your strengths, abilities and calling.

Implement > input

“People will go to trainings, get coaches and mentors, read books, and on and on but they will fail to implement what they learn, to put it into action.” Yes, be a student of the game, but be sure to implement at least some of what you’re learning, or what is it but a giant time suck?

Get past excuses

We all have them, but we can move past them. We can take action when we don’t feel like it. We can stretch our motivation muscles and establish consistency in our processes.

Establish processes that work!

“Any top producer is only as good as their process.” So, if it’s not working, get a new process! Get a system that works for you and try on new systems until you find one that fits. Our time and our business are only as strong as the process and habit we have created.

What’s your why?

Brent shares the story of a trip to the carnival with his six-year-old son, before he started with Southwestern. His son wanted to play a game that cost $5, but it just wasn’t possible.

“I was broke…all I had to my name was $23. That night I went home and wrote on a post-it-note how does it feel? I realized I was preventing my son from making memories. It was time to dig in my heels and listen to the people who believed in me because I never wanted to go back to that feeling.”

He found his motivation to do the work and do it with excellence. Without knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing, your motivation and drive can easily slip away. If anything, before you leave this post, take a moment to reflect on why you do what you do… and believe again that you’re capable of becoming the sales leader you want to be.

Staying in the Know About Cyber Phishing Schemes

In our blog this month, we are focusing on how we can stay aware and prepared for any cyber phishing attacks. While these types of fraudulent schemes are not new, they remain relevant as they continue to be pervasive in our daily lives and have evolved since their inception. We asked Brittany Tacquard, Insurance Communications Manager at Stewart Insurance, to give us some insights into these schemes and how to avoid them.

Q. How do you define cyber phishing?

A. There are numerous methods cyber criminals use to breach a device, or break into an organization’s network. “Phishing” is one of those ways and the most common. It is when you receive an email that contains a link or attachment that typically leads to malware being installed on your device, allowing the criminals access to your information.

Q. What are some tactics used by the criminals behind these emails?

A. Phishing emails are not always easily spotted. They can be very specific and appear to be from someone you know. Many times, they use urgency as a way to get you to act fast.

Fast Fact:
75% of organizations around the world experienced
some kind of phishing attack in 2020

Q. What risks do phishing emails pose?

A. Infiltration of your device or various systems you use, breach of non-public information you have access to, gathering of information such as current client transactions to use to their advantage at a later time, and work stoppages [are all risks posed by phishing emails].

Q. What (specifically) should real estate professionals be cautious and aware of?

A. Know that you work in an industry that is rich with data and monetary transactions. You, your business partners, and your clients are being targeted daily.

Fast Fact:
$150 is the average cost per compromised record;
$3.92 million is the average cost of a data breach!

Q. What can we do to safeguard our information and our clients’ information?

A. Be mindful of emails with links and attachments. Increase email security. Speak with an IT professional with secure email gateways and multifactor authentication on your email accounts.

Verify with the email sender via phone using trusted contact information before opening attachments or acting on instructions.

Your Next Step

Acknowledge that phishing and other cybercrime tactics are ongoing threats that require your awareness daily and that they are not going away. Slowing down to assess what you have received or been asked to do in a communication, is critical. In addition, these fraudsters can gather your data or infiltrate your connections not just in their phishing attempts, but over the phone or over social connections, as well. A few other key ideas: Avoid access to open Wi-Fi. Be aware of what you share over the phone or on social media sites, as these cyber criminals can be listening, watching and waiting to learn something about you that makes you a target.

Let us know what ways you will protect yourself and others, as you maneuver through the cyber threat landscape and protect yourself from those cyber schemes?

*fast facts via Must-Know Phishing Statistics: Updated 2021

A Secure Home for the Holidays

As we get ready for the holidays, many of us are considering traveling to celebrate the holidays with family and friends or planning get-aways to warmer states.

Though it’s hard to admit, criminals know that this is a season of travel as well. So, with this in mind, there’s no better time to revisit some best practices for home security. We hope you’ll take a moment to read up on what insiders in the security field say, and share this post with your home-owner clients as well.  

Burglary is one of the biggest problems

Pew research shows that in 2019, burglary was the second highest form of crime after larceny/theft. In order to remove ourselves from this list of potential victims, there’s several things we can do to deter criminal activity.

Lights

Lights may seem like one of the most basic forms of home security, yet they can be an inexpensive and effective way to deter crime.

“Motion sensor lights are a simple idea, yet so effective – the last thing a trespasser or burglar wants is a spotlight on them, so don’t make darkness their friend,” says Jonathan Wall, GM for SimpliSafe.

Landscaping

This one seems surprising, but when it comes down to it, landscaping can be the difference between a criminal finding a place to hide or being completely exposed.

“Many homeowners love to have plants up against their home,” says Gene Petrino of Survival Response LLC. “These tend to become overgrown and provide hiding spots that allow criminals a concealed environment to break in undetected.”

He recommends keeping hedges below two feet in height and tree canopies over 6 feet in height to prevent any potential hiding places.

Locked doors, day and night

Once again, it’s surprising to learn that the majority of burglaries occur during the day, when criminals suspect homeowners to be gone at work or school. Experts agree that keeping all doors locked and secured, even during the day, is simple but extremely important.

Additionally, be sure to examine your entry point doors to ensure they are sturdy and unable to be removed from the outside hinges. Petrino also recommends reinforcing doors with 3 in. screws to make them nearly impossible to kick in.

Surveillance & security systems

Of course, home security systems are always a great option for deterring crime and there are many different packages and price points.  

“Sensors have also gotten incredibly smart,” says Wall.  “You can connect sensors that detect the unique frequency of shattering glass, sensors that just detect motion from humans and entry sensors that can help protect windows and doors, alerting you and sounding the alarm if any are triggered.”

If a full-blown security system is not in your budget, look into smart cameras and apps. Be sure to make cameras visible to the naked eye, to once again, act as a criminal deterrent.

Some might surprise you…

Finally, reformed criminals have said that sounds from within the home like barking dogs, the sounds of a radio playing, or hearing the TV on have also deterred them from burglarizing a home. Simple, but apparently effective.

Make home security, using simple or complex methods to keep you safe, a priority. Keep your homes secure this holiday season, and everyday!

Creating a Culture of Gratitude and Giving

Tis the season! With holidays just around the corner, bell ringers in the stores, and Christmas gifts already selling out online, the hustle and bustle is all too real. It can feel impossible to squeak out some time to actually focus on gratitude or schedule a time to volunteer and give back.

So maybe we are doing it wrong. We’re trying to squeeze all of our good will into one season that is already bursting with activity. It’s time to consider how creating a culture of gratitude and giving can be an all-year, all-the-time kind of culture.

Three Ways to Create a Culture of Giving

The idea of giving of time, talents and treasures is not just reserved for a select few, but it can apply to almost any organization, company, team or individual. We all have something to give, even if we’re strapped on cash or don’t have disposable income. We can think about giving as something that is within reach and then watch our impact go far beyond our own four walls.

Your Time

Time is the one commodity we all share equal amounts of every day. No one gets more than 24 hours, and we all decide how to use it. Time is indeed precious, and giving your time is a precious gift to whoever receives it. Whether it is mentoring a new rep, volunteering once a month, or donating time to a client who could use the help, it is all giving back and a great way to start creating a culture of giving.

Your Talents

We all have them! They make us unique and valuable and we can use them to give back.  Maybe you have a knack for construction and could help with Habitat for Humanity. Perhaps you’re a semi-professional behind the camera and could help a friend trying to get started in their business. Think outside the box on how your unique strength could benefit someone else. Nothing feels better and makes a bigger impact than when we’re using our unique strengths to accomplish a goal for good!

Your Treasures

At Trademark, our mission is all about multiplying our impact. We want to go above and beyond, exceeding the expectations of our clients and partners and seeing the ripple effect of our work. Giving back is a big part of how we make that vision come to life. The opportunity we have to see our impact spread beyond our own spheres, starts with the gratitude to see what we have and how we can share it. Our Caring4Community initiative is that chance to make a broader impact by engaging those we serve and inspiring the direction of giving! This initiative provides our customers the opportunity to select one of four charity options, and then we donate a portion of our closing fee to that selection. To date, we have donated $78,620!


Starting Somewhere

I hope that this post is a jumping off point. You can start small and see where it goes! You can ask around for who needs help, offer up a unique talent, or click a button to donate.

Imagine your company, team, or even yourself in a culture of giving. What a great place to be – part of something that is having an impact far beyond what you can even see.

Helping Your Client Understand the Benefits of Homesteading

When you hear the word homestead, it may conjure images of chickens and goats, gardens and fields. However, homesteading is less about what the homeowner does with their property and more about how the property is classified. Helping a homeowner apply for and understand a homestead classification may be a way to set yourself apart as a real estate professional and help your client achieve the best use of their property.

We asked Steven Little, with SRL Law, to share his expertise on homesteads and the laws surrounding them. Read what he has to say about the benefits of homesteading and how/when someone can benefit from this status.


 Three Major Benefits of Homesteading

The three major categories are reducing the property tax burden; (potentially) receiving a homestead credit refund; and protection of the property from creditors.

First off, the homeowners must apply for a homestead classification. In order to do so, they must:

  • Own the property
  • Occupy the property as sole/primary residence
  • Be a Minnesota resident

1.) Taxes

The tax benefit of homesteading a property is the Homestead Market Value Exclusion under the Minnesota Property Tax Code. This includes gardens, garages and outbuildings on the property.

Relatives that qualify for both residential and occupied agricultural homestead include; parents, grandparents, siblings, children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews of the owner or spouse of the owner.

Properties held under a trust may also qualify for homestead status, if occupied by a grantor or qualifying relative of the grantor of the trust.

2.) Homestead Credit Refund

The Minnesota Homestead Credit Refund can also help provide some relief to homeowners on their property taxes. In order to qualify for this, once again, the property must be classified as a homestead and the owners must have a valid Social Security number. Lastly, they must have already (or arranged) to pay their property taxes.

Homesteaders may qualify with regular or special circumstances for benefits. See below for the requirements to claim them.

2021 Requirements to Claim the Refund

Regular

  • You owned and lived in your home on January 2, 2021
  • Your household income for 2020 was less than $116,180

Special

  • You owned and lived in the same home on January 2, 2020, and on January 2, 2021
  • Your home’s net property tax increased by more than 12% from 2020 to 2021
  • The net property tax increase was at least $100
  • The increase was not because of improvements you made to the property

Subtractions

  • You had dependents
  • You or your spouse were age 65 or older on or before January 1, 2021
  • You contributed to a retirement account
  • You or your spouse had a permanent and total disability on or before December 31, 2020

Homestead Credit Refund Program (state.mn.us) Minnesota Department of Revenue March 1, 2021

3.) Protection From Creditors

Finally, homesteading a property can protect up to $450,000 in value from judgment liens and foreclosures. This does not include mortgage foreclosures and IRS tax liens. See below for the details involving this protection.

According to Minn. Stat 510.01 (2021)

“The house owned and occupied by a debtor as the debtor’s dwelling place, together with the land upon which it is situated to the amount of area and value hereinafter limited and defined, shall constitute the homestead of such debtor and the debtor’s family, and be exempt from seizure or sale under legal process on account of any debt not lawfully charged thereon in writing, except such as are incurred for work or materials furnished in the construction, repair, or improvement of such homestead, or for services performed by laborers or servants and as is provided in section 550.175.”

The homestead may include any quantity of land not exceeding 160 acres. The exemption per homestead, whether the exemption is claimed by one or more debtors, may not exceed $450,000 or, if the homestead is used for agricultural purposes, $1,125,000, exclusive of the limitations set forth in section 510.05.” Minn. Stat. § 510.02, subd. 1 (2021).

We hope this article is an introduction to the benefits of homesteading and a way for you to help your clients save money and benefit from their property.

Keep On Learning!

Learning from Minnesota’s Settlement History

For the last few centuries, Minnesota, along with the rest of our great nation, has been an ever-changing landscape of culture and ethnicity. To better understand our history and learn from it, Trademark interviewed Michael Brennan, an instructor at MN Realty School. We hope through his knowledge and insights, you gain a better understanding of our state’s settlement history and an empathy for each clients’ unique journey moving forward.

A brief history

Before diving in, it’s important to recognize the different ways in which people groups come to live in a specific city, state or country. “Settlers” refers to a group of people who move with others to live in a certain region. “Immigrant” refers to a person who chooses to live in permanence in a foreign country. “Refugee” refers to a person who is displaced by war, persecution, natural disaster or forces beyond their control. “Indigenous” refers to those native to a particular region.

Minnesota, like other states, includes people and their ancestors who fit into all these categories. Check out this brief history from Michael Brennan.

Prior to the settlement of Minnesota by Europeans, the Dakota and Ojibwe resided in Minnesota for centuries. By treaty and conflicts, the Dakota and Ojibwe were restricted to reservations and settlers began the creation of towns, villages and cities.

In the 1850s, settler-colonists with British roots had already ventured west to Minnesota Territory. Immigrants from Sweden, Norway, and Germany followed them throughout the 1860s and 1870s. In 1896, official voting instructions were offered in nine different languages: Czech, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, and Swedish.  Free land was the incentive to move west!

Jewish people from multiple countries came to Minnesota too—first to St. Paul and Duluth and later to Eveleth, Virginia, Hibbing, and Chisholm primarily as merchants. The first documented Chinese immigrants to Minnesota arrived in 1876. The St. Paul Resettlement Committee formed in October of 1942 to assist with the relocation of Japanese Americans from the concentration camps established by the US government in March of 1942. It was one of thirty-five such committees that operated across the country during World War II.

Latinx people have made Minnesota their home since the early 1900s. In Minnesota, Latinx men, women, and children worked hard in the sugar-beet fields of the western part of the state. In the 1920s they began to settle in neighborhoods in St. Paul and Minneapolis

In the 1970’s Minnesota began to take in refugees as the Vietnam conflict was ending. The collapse of American-supported governments in Cambodia, Laos, and South Vietnam in 1975 led to a mass exodus of refugees fleeing from repressive regimes. This included Hmong and Lao people who had fought against communist forces in Laos on behalf of the US Central Intelligence Agency.

Somalis started arriving in Minnesota in 1992. Some came as refugees, while others arrived as immigrants through the sponsorship of family members or relocation to Minnesota from other parts of the United States. Refugee resettlement agencies include the International Institute of Minnesota and World Relief Minnesota, non-profit faith-based service organizations like Lutheran Social Services and Catholic Charities.

Moving forward in sensitivity

While we reflect on our state’s history, it can seem like ethnicities and cultures are all lumped into one, making movements and choices in mass. Not so. It’s so important to remember as an agent, that each and every family and individual has their own needs, desires, and influences when choosing their home.  Making assumptions is the way of the past, not the future.

“While there may be large concentrations of ethnicities at the beginning of a migration (whether settlers, immigrants, refugees or indigenous), eventually, everyone identifies their personal preference,” says Brennan.

If you would like more training on this topic, the MN Realty School teaches a class entitled “Customs and Cultures, which encourages agents to C.U.R.E. (Communicate, Understanding, Respect, Empathy).

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