Home Buying · home selling · market updates

Minneapolis Real Estate Market Update Feb 2022

A month goes by in a hurry it seems, so here we are! Did a month make a difference with the real estate market? YES. It is notably busier!

Click here to watch. ūüôā

I don’t think I’m telling you anything you don’t already know, but the real estate market is on fire.¬† Someone hit the gas pedal on the housing market in February and they have a lead foot. What does this mean specifically?¬† Let’s look at the twin cities housing market as of Feb 18 2022.¬†¬†

signages for real property selling
Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

If you are a seller – LIST NOW and you’ll be partying all the way to the bank.¬†

Just about every listing is getting multiple offers in the first couple of days. The supply of buyers is so great and the supply of homes is so low right now Р15% fewer listings on the market than last year at this point! 

Why are sellers hesitating? I assume that it’s because they are worried about finding THEIR next home.¬† As an agent that represents a lot of buyers, I can tell you that sellers can not only command great prices for their homes they¬†can still get a closing date that suits their needs. For example, if a seller is considering putting their home on the market, but are worried it will be gone in a blink, there is a great likelihood¬†that the seller can ask for and receive a 60 close, flexible closing, or recently I’ve seen them asking for a seller’s home purchase contingency or lastly a rent back situation after closing remembering that most conventional¬†loans require the transaction to close in 60 days on the buy side so no long term rentals this way! but this way the seller will have cash in hand and be able to buy while also have a roof over their heads while they wait for their next home to be available.¬†¬†

One of the things that I really like about real estate is that EVERYTHING is negotiable – as long as the parties work it out (within the law!) and get it in a signed contract, the parties can work together to find a solution that works for everyone. Do you have a creative way to structure a contract that lets everyone get what they need?  Bring it up and there may be a way to make it work out!

This past week we had offer acceptance rates at 15%, which means that sellers are receiving 6-7 offers on average. But the average for the month is hovering around 35% according to Home Free Transaction Coordinators. I’ll give you more info on what they see in a successful offer after I take you through current market conditions.¬†

Absorption rate

It’s a seller’s market, but to what degree? In the past I’ve explained that the way that we determine this is based on the absorption rate or how many months worth of housing inventory we have at a given time if nothing new were added to the market.¬† 5-6 months is considered balanced, more than that is a buyer’s market and less is a seller’s market. Obviously the more extreme the number the¬†more it favors one or the other. That obviously varies by housing type.¬†¬†

Single family homes have a .56 months (about 17 days) supply now as compared to one year ago when they were at .62 (about 19 days).  We have started this year off with available inventory down by 21% year over year. New listings this month are down by 15% from last year.  

I was looking for a bright spot and looked at new construction. Builders are responding to the need for houses and have started increasing their production too.

This image shows the big dip and now the increase starting in single family new builds between $400 & $600K. Its not dramatic, but any amount helps – if you have 50 more houses that’s 50 buyers that have found something.

If you have been thinking about selling and are curious about what your home is worth today, let me know. I’ll give you a free estimate of what your home is worth today – absolutely no obligation, just for your information if you want to know – just send me an email. We need homes and now is definitely the time to get the maximum amount of money out of your sale! mschumann@kw.com if you’re curious. I’m happy to do it.

Townhouse/ Condo properties are at .97 months (29 days) vs 1.13 a year ago (34 days). Prices on Townhouses are at a median of $267,000 which is UP 12.2%.  Average days on market for a townhouse is down 26% to 14. 

Condo prices are at a median of $195,000 up 6.6% from last year and are on the market for about 30 days. If you are a first time buyer or someone that likes condo living, this is the softest spot in the market today and your biggest opportunity. 

Single family homes in the 14 county metro area have a median price of $370,000, a gain of 12.1% year over year. They are on the market for NINE DAYS. Only about half of what we saw a year ago. And don’t fool yourself thinking you have 9 days to think about it, this is a listing going live on a Thursday, showing through the weekend, closing offers on Sunday and allowing a 5 day inspection period before heading to pending.¬†

The combined absorption rate (all property types) is at .67 months or 20 days of inventory as opposed to one year ago when we had a whopping .75 months or 22 days of inventory. 

What can you do if you’re a buyer?  

Here are my suggestions and strategies:

1.my office posts properties to agents internally that are off market and that sellers are willing to part with before going onto the MLS, so having that network available helps a lot!  

2. make sure you see what is available in “coming soon” and get in there quickly¬†

3. even better if you have the nerve-  offer “sight unseen” while in this status. if the seller will do it, you can usually negotiate an inspection this way and if there is something wrong with the property get out of the contract without losing your earnest money, this does require a good offer out the gate. It’s not a way to get a bargain, but is a way to quit losing in multiples.

4. make your offer more appealing are to offer appraisal gap coverage. This means that if you are financing you are stating that you have the ability to make a larger downpayment¬†in order to cover the gap between your offer and what the bank is willing to loan you, having cash is a very important piece of the puzzle in this environment.¬† You can offer any amount of appraisal gap coverage – it doesn’t have to be 100% of the difference!

5 Look at “wallflowers” these¬†are properties that have been on the market for longer than 4 days. This means they have made it through a weekend without getting an offer and may be more willing to negotiate or look at a reasonable but not extreme offer. These can be homes that a buyer got cold feet on, that their financing fell through or other scenarios.¬†

6. Don’t ignore properties that need work!  You can get a home loan that rolls a remodel into it. Not everyone can look past a dirty unfinished basement but it’s rarely a bad investment to add finished square footage to a house – especially in an in demand neighborhood. 

7. Do you have time? Offer on new construction. You eliminate multiple offers and choose your finishes.  Just be aware that contracts allow builders to cancel your contract if the price of materials goes up and you can’t cover the increase. Don’t get yourself in too deep. 

8. There aren’t a ton of these available but spec houses are a good option. They may be completed new builds OR they may be nearly completed with an estimated move in date already.  

9. my last option coming to¬†mind to look at loans that allow you to offer as if you’re offering CASH – without a financing contingency. This seems like a HUH??! moment, but in my video next week I’ll interview a lender with a program like this that may give you a leg up and I’ll post it here, of course!

Accepted offers

OK – lets look at what’s been going on with offers per HFTC: 

Buyers are waiving inspection 46% of the time, this is a lot, but that also means that 54% of the time they are getting an inspection. 

Off market sales are at 12% – this is the “private listing network” that I mentioned where agents that have upcoming listings market them internally first.

Sales Contingent on the sale of the buyer’s home is down to 5% of the time. 

Average sale to list price is 103.2%. I don’t know where these are happening because my buyers have been offering at 15% over and losing… We would be happy with 103%!

Cash is at 17% of offers, Conventional at 69%, FHA has ticked up to 5%, VA is at 0. 

Hey! I would love to hear from you in a comment or an email or a smoke signal … reach out if you have questions! 

home selling

Curb appeal for pennies.

You’ve heard that saying that “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”? It’s true. You’ve gotta get them in the front door! And you really don’t want buyers coming in with reservations about the house before they actually walk into your home!¬†


Today I’m going to give you easy and¬†inexpensive¬†(or FREE!!) ideas for making your house look super inviting and keeping buyers from making their showing a “drive by”.¬†

If you’re thinking of selling your home, download my “7 Tips to a Fast Sale” – It’s free in the description box below the video or you can email me and I’ll send you a copy. mschumann@kw.com

Here are some cheap and easy ways to make your curb appeal top notch!

Often when we live somewhere for a long time we stop seeing things that are minor and might need some spiffing up, but buyers won’t miss them, and may think that this reflects on the quality of the home overall and the PRICE.¬†

I spend a lot of time with buyers and I hear the things that come to their attention as they look at a home and how they perceive them Рlittle changes can go a LONG way toward making buyers excited about coming into your home and it will PAY OFF when offers come in. When people perceive the value to be high they WANT to win the bid.  Obviously curb appeal is just one aspect of that, and it is often a quick and inexpensive fix.

I’ll start with the most expensive of the things I’ll mention (and it’s not expensive!) – updating an exterior light fixture.¬† This isn’t something we spend a lot of time looking at on our own homes, but I think of them like the jewelry on a home.

LIGHT

Take a hard look at yours – are the light fixtures dated, faded, dirty and crusty looking? Maybe it just needs a good cleaning, or if you are great with spray paint and want to take it down and tape off everything and give it a fresh coat of paint to freshen up the metal, awesome! But if you think it could use an update and make your home appear more modern or current, you can get a new light and install it within an¬†hour¬†for less than $100.¬† No lie. I’ve installed MANY light fixtures over the years and if I’m still standing, it means you can do it too.¬†


Speaking of jewelry on the home – while you’re looking at the light fixture, check the house numbers. Our house had tiny squiggly super cheap house number when we bought it, I replaced them with larger, clean lined, fresh ones and was stunned at the difference.¬† So many times I’m out walking my dog through the neighborhood and I love looking at homes (of course) and one of the things I’ll notice is a great set of house numbers. Some of these can be quite expensive, but they don’t have to be! You can really show your attention to details with a set you pick up from the local Home Depot or another hardware store.¬†

Make it fresh and HAPPY

Photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash


Still focusing on the entryway (the place where the buyers will stand examining everything while they wait for the agent to get the door open!) look at your front door. Is it faded, dirty, scuffed up or the does the color lack punch? You should consider painting the front door.¬† It’s less than a quart of paint and an hour of your time to have a fresh clean happy looking entry way.¬† Maybe $15?¬† Then add a pretty wreath if you want – to me a wreath¬†says WELCOME. If you’re in a condo – this can be your curb appeal! easy.¬†


Now make the rest of the entry shine by making sure you’ve swept down any cobwebs, replace lightbulbs¬†so that the porch or entry has a bright welcome, and replace the welcome mat if it’s not new. Sweep the surface of the stairs, and if your sidewalk or steps aren’t looking very fresh, borrow a power washer and give them a good cleaning.¬† I know I’m not the only one that loves before and after videos of power washing… so satisfying! Also free and worth doing – clean any glass on the door or windows nearby. ūüôā¬†

Set the stage

Photo by Ian MacDonald on Unsplash


If you are lucky enough to have a porch, put out a chair with a bright pillow that picks up your door color, add a side table to¬†show that it’s a great place to sit with coffee, greet neighbors, or watch the kids play. People want to imagine how¬†they¬†would live in the spaces and making it inviting right from the moment people approach is important.¬†

Details… Look at your landscaping

Now focus on your landscaping a bit.  Make sure your grass has been mowed, and go the extra step and edge around sidewalks. This looks really sharp and gives the impression of care. 

Photo by I Do Nothing But Love on Unsplash


Make sure you pull weeds! I have seen more than one house with weeds coming up through entry steps or sidewalk cracks. I wince because details matter and this is EASY and FREE. 

Make sure to trim back bushes and trees so that they are easy to walk past, that they are not allowed to obscure the house, which is a double no no Рit makes the house look creepy and overgrown from the outside and often blocks a precious FREE resource INSIDE Рnatural light! Nearly everyone wants a home filled with natural light.  Especially if you live in the north! 
Add a fresh layer of mulch to garden beds and clip back or pull out anything that isn’t looking fresh.¬†

Adding fresh flowers to a pot or two as you approach the house really adds a welcoming touch but if you aren’t much of a gardener, you can find fake plants easily and for not a lot of money at home stores.¬† I honestly can’t believe the deals I’ve found on them lately when I’ve been out shopping for staging materials for my listings.

Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

If you’re selling in winter use evergreen branches as your “potted plants” to add life and warmth to the front of the home. I’ve picked up premade bundles from greenhouses and they last forever out in the cold and really make a good first impression.¬† This is not 100% curb appeal, but if you are selling in winter, do not neglect to keep your sidewalk absolutely clear of snow and ice. Falling on ice or wading through snow isn’t the best first impression.¬†

Let me know if you have questions, feel free to download or request those tips for selling, they address things to consider for the house as a whole. 

Neighborhood Tours

New Hope!

Another surprising community! Today I’ll show you around New Hope MN and give you all the reasons you may want to consider living there.


Lately I’ve been working with several first time buyers, and if you remember buying your first home you probably¬†didn’t have a massive pile of money for a down payment as many people who may have equity from a sale do, so you have to look for a starter house in a more affordable neighborhood.¬†

That’s where New Hope comes in!¬† A quick look at what is on the market right now illustrates my point – there are 30 active homes in New Hope ranging from a 1 bed 1 bath condo for $115,000 to only a few homes in the mid-upper $500’s with MOST homes being single family homes in the upper $200,000’s to mid $300,000’s.¬† The MEDIAN price in New Hope is at $309,000 whereas the Twin Cities Median is at $380,000.¬†

 
If you’re an investor and¬†want to rent out a residential property you must register the property with the city.¬†


In addition to single family homes and people just starting out in life, New Hope makes senior living a priority as well. They have 3 long term care facilities, some assisted living complexes and senior citizen apartment homes. 

elderly couple holding bouquet of flowers while holding hands
Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com


Let’s talk Property taxes… New Hope is in Hennepin County, the effective property tax rate in New Hope is 1.35%.¬† Hennepin County’s portion is 1.28%, the effective tax rate for the state of MN is 1.08%. Sales taxes since I looked this up as well – MN has a sales tax rate of 6.88% on everything except¬†¬†(I believe!) food, prescriptions and clothing, and the sales tax rate in New Hope is 7.13%.¬†

tax return form and notebooks on the table
Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on Pexels.com


The beauty of New Hope is not only the affordable home prices, but that New Hope is actually a really lovely community and it has a lot to offer.  


New Hope is an easy commute to downtown or the airport. It’s only about 20 minutes by car to downtown.¬† and Because I’m such a fan of our regional parks I also want to point out how close New Hope is to the beautiful Theodore Wirth Park. I touched on this park in my Golden Valley video (which you can watch next!) but Theodore Wirth really has it all. It’s just gorgeous, and can keep you busy outside no matter what season we’re in.¬†


If you are leaving town or going to fetch a visitor, it’s about 26 minutes to MSP airport and while you’re down there you can stop by the Mall of America and get your shopping done or amuse the kids on the roller coasters.¬† I was a major skeptic because I am not really a “mall person”, but I like “The Mall”!¬† It has so many great stores that you don’t see everywhere else, some nice food options and my kid and I had fun doing some of the rides the first time we stopped in.¬† Being close to it is nice because it can just be something you do for an hour or two and you don’t have to feel like you need to spend all day there since you can go back any time.¬† The Ikea is right next to the mall as well, so if you like. Swedish Meatballs and cryptic assembly instructions for affordable furniture that utilize allen wrenches¬† – you’ll be in heaven!


New Hope does NOT have it’s own school district, all schools in New Hope are part of the Robbinsdale Schools aka ISD 281.¬† It’s a pretty big district with 10 k-5 elementary schools, 2 middle and 2 high schools. I always recommend that you do your research and see if the school district that your home is in is one that you will be happy with. You can check out Niche.com or GreatSchools, but another option is to actually VISIT the schools and talk to the administration and see things for yourself.¬†¬†


Speaking of brain¬†food… New Hope residents have convenient use of 3 branches of the Hennepin County Library system.¬† They can easily access Brookdale Library in Brooklyn Center, Golden Valley’s adorable little library, or the Rockford Library in Crystal.¬†
One of my favorite topics when giving community profiles is the park systems. I just think green space improves the quality of life for everyone.  New Hope agrees! They are a small city (only about 21,000 residents) but they have 18 city parks and several other venues offering all kinds of recreational activities including: 

  • the new Hope aquatic center which is a community pool and water slide
  • 2 off leash dog parksa 9 hole public golf course
  • disc golf course
  • ball fields¬†
  • a skate park¬†
  • tennis / pickleball courts
  • Community gyms with basketball courts that can be rented out for the day
  • and 3 outdoor skating rinks that are open in season.¬†
sunflowers on rack with price tag near orange canopy tent
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com


The city hosts a Farmers Market on Saturdays from the middle of June through the middle of October at City Hall. 


Lastly – Pets & fencing. Everyone’s favorite topics!

winking black and brown puppy
Photo by Dominika Roseclay on Pexels.com


New Hope allows for a LOT of pets – 3 dogs, 3 cats and 3 “other” household pets, as well as 3 “fowl”, This is not restricted to actual chickens – if you want ducks instead – go crazy!
All dogs, cats and ferrets need to be licensed and vaccinated for rabies. 


Fencing – IS ALLOWED! ūüôā¬†


OK – that is ALL I HAVE on New Hope! It’s a lovely community that I feel lucky to have worked in lately. It offers a lot of great options to people that may be priced out of other areas of the city. It’s 100% worth considering if you’re wondering where to live in the twin cities metro.¬†
If you like this kind of content – I have an entire playlist of neighborhoods/suburbs on my YouTube Channel that you can look at to see what feels right for you.


Thanks for stopping by!

Living in Minneapolis · Uncategorized

The hard truth…

I did a video about winning as a buyer in a seller’s market last summer. I thought it was bad then. I was right, but I was wrong. I really didn’t conceive of how much harder things would get for buyers and I have all of my fingers and toes crossed hoping that it gets easier soon for buyers – I represent a LOT of them and it can be really hard to keep trying and not succeeding.

The only way that it will get easier is if more people decide to put their homes on the market. If you have been thinking about listing your home – now is the time! You may not even need to show it.

New construction is an option for people that want to buy, but at the same time demand for that is very high as well and they will be happy to take a contract now and begin to dig… in September, October or later.

Right now you have something like a 65% chance of NOT having your offer accepted right now. And that is if you’re in a GOOD position and well qualified and throw everything you have at it.

It’s come to this.

At our team meeting today we were talking about this subject and people are saying things like “37 offers”, “25 offers”, on a single listing in a couple of days. How can you possibly win in a situation like that? Sellers are looking at a spreadsheet of offers – what will make YOURS stand out in this crowd? List price isn’t going to do it.

Someone in my office said that one of the questions they now ask every buyer is “what can you bring to the table that no one else can? What will make YOU stand out?” At a certain point you can’t throw any more money at the problem and you have to get creative.

Examples that she gave of things that made sellers select their offer over others were tickets to a Packers game, a weekend at their cabin, etc.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

I know this ridiculous on some level, like … this should be about getting a fair price and good terms for a home. It should not be the Hunger Games. But it IS the Hunger Games. If you understand this going in, you may have a shot at winning instead of making offer after offer and NOT winning, growing discouraged and frustrated and possibly homeless in the process.

The seller holds all the cards.

Price

When you make an offer on a property there will be several things that you’ll have to decide on, and I’ll give you a list of the fundamentals but you have to go beyond that. In a balanced market or in a buyers market you would not have to throw absolutely everything at the wall to see what actually sticks, but we are in a market that is so firmly in the seller’s favor that you have to ask yourself “what am I NOT willing to do to get this property?”

In this market, the price is not the price. The price is the floor. If you find a magical property with no other offers you may be able to get away with list price. When I think I have found one of these I STILL encourage an escalation clause that will bump my buyer’s offer over the net price of the next highest offer in the event that one (or more) come in between when we submit it and when they evaluate the offer.

So understand what the maximum amount of money you are willing to pay for a property and then put that number in there and know that if you do not get the property you did AS MUCH as you could price-wise, and price is the number one consideration, but it isn’t everything!

Earnest money

In Minnesota, it is normal and typical to give 1% of purchase price for earnest money. In this market you want to demonstrate seriousness by giving MORE. You can pick a lump sum, or decide on a percentage. In normal circumstances this is refundable if the purchase agreement is cancelled because it doesn’t meet a contingency – inspection or financing or something else.

Some clients are designating an amount as NON-REFUNDABLE.

Financing

There is no offer without a pre-approval from a reputable bank. Not a pre-qualification – a pre-approval! Without some sort of statement that you can execute on the contract your offer will be placed directly into the trash bin.

The MOST desired form of financing is CONVENTIONAL. The reason for this is that there are no FHA or VA appraisers that may find inspection issues with a home. It’s one less potential hurdle to a successful closing.

Conventional financing has some misconceptions – many people think that means that you have to have 20% down. You do NOT have to have a 20% downpayment to get conventional financing. Talk to a loan officer about what your options are.

Speaking of downpayment, having a large one available is also a bonus. It shows financial health and stability and again gives the seller a feeling of comfort that the sale will actually close.

Not everyone can do it, but if you can, a cash deal carries weight! It’s one less contingency that has to be cleared before the transaction can close. If you do have the means, you will include proof of funds with your offer in the form of a statement or a screen shot of an account with the relevant account numbers removed from the image.

Close Date

Sometimes this is an important criteria for a seller, and if you have the flexibility to be able to meet that sate, it is certainly a factor.

Written statement

A purchase agreement has an option to indicate that the lender will supply a written statement to the seller that the loan is basically approved and ready to go. Having this in your offer is another thing that the listing agent will be looking for, not having that is a point of weakness.

Inspection

This is a biggie.

Inspection periods are being reduced to very short time periods – 3 to 5 days instead of what was typically 10 as recently as one year go.

Buyers are waiving inspection, OR putting in writing that they will not ask for any repairs under x$ in value. You’re taking that risk either mostly or entirely off the seller. I would be selective on the homes that I chose to do this on if it were me buying. Some homes give a relative sense of comfort, while others you walk into and just feel that there is work that probably needs to be done. If the surface isn’t good, the subsurface likely isn’t much better.

A question to ask yourself when considering inspections and their value to you as a home buyer is to think about what information they give you and what would make you walk away from the home?

Home inspections can give you a certain amount of information, but even they are not a guarantee that the home will be problem free. It’s a status check. Do the appliances work they way they should, do the mechanicals? How is the roof? Is there anything frightening about the electrical? The inspector is looking for health and safety concerns.

If the inspector found that the the electrical needed a $1000 fix, would you walk away or would it take more than that?

If they find that the dishwasher works but is on it’s last legs and needs replacing soon, would that be enough? (If so, you’re probably not buying the right property).

I’m saying this because if you waive inspection and find a $1000 or a $5000 fix after you move in, will you still be happy you bought the home or will you regret your purchase?

If it means that you will not get the home if you’re in competition with someone that removes this contingency are you ok with that?

Appraisal

Because list price is basically the floor right now, sellers are getting large sums of money over asking price and that raises questions about meeting appraisal value if the home is being financed.

In the past, buyers and sellers would either meet somewhere in the middle or the seller may reduce their price, that is no longer the case.

Now buyers need to give a guarantee that they can make up the difference in cash if the appraisal comes in low. This is one reason why a high down payment is important, if it comes down to it, the amount financed can be higher and that money can be used to make up the difference on the appraisal.

Many of my sales in the past year have had appraisals waived by the bank because they can see that the value of the home is there by looking at neighborhood statistics, but if the other sales don’t support this an appraisal will still happen.

On listings, I have provided appraisers with copies of back-up offers that support the price that the buyers are getting. We work together to make sure that important information is shared.

Common Interest Community Recision Period

In Minnesota, if you’re buying a into a neighborhood that has an HOA, you are entitled to a 10 day right of recision period from the point at which you have received the last HOA document. On a recent offer the agent came back and said that not only did they want inspection waived but they wanted it in writing that the right of recision on the docs would be reduced to 3 days instead of 10.

Closing Costs

In a BUYER’S market, we often ask for a seller to contribute to the buyer’s closing costs. That is a NO right now, the only way it could exist at all is to raise the offer price to cover that difference. In fact, on a listing that I had the BUYER paid the SELLER’S government closing fees. No one had ever heard of this before and now I’m seeing agents mention it all the time.

Home Warranty

This one… well, a home warranty is a 500-700 dollars, it’s not something that you’ll want to ask a seller for at this point. One thing you can do is purchase one of your own.

So! That is the hard truth about buying in this market. Are you ready to get in the mix? Or better yet – thinking of selling? Now is the time – YOU dictate the terms.

home selling · Uncategorized

Selling your home FAST during the holidays (or hey, how about just in WINTER!)

Believe it or not people here in these northern climes still buy and sell real estate even when Christmas is coming or we are in the depths of a bitterly cold winter. People have to move. I’m one of those people – 4 out of the last 5 moves that I have made have been in either the end of December or the beginning of January.

Summer sales have the benefit of showing your home at its lovely best – flowers in the pots, green grass, leafy trees, birds chirping… no ice, no black snow, no howling wind. But in the winter? Well, you have the benefit of less competition both on the sell and the buy side. People who are serious are looking and those who have a hobby of looking at homes without pulling the trigger may actually decide to stay home.

So how do you attract buyers to your home like a moth to a flame? Here are 6 strategies to use when you’re selling your home in what you might not think is the “ideal” time.

Make your online presence shine

Photo by Ryutaro Tsukata on Pexels.com

Most people shop online first! So the number one thing you can do to make sure that your home stands out is have a really beautiful online presence. Your realtor should be hiring a professional real estate photographer – NOT snapping pics on their iPhone, even if it’s the latest and greatest. Professional real estate photographers know how to make a home shine online.

Do the prep work to get the home “staged” before pictures too. You don’t have to hire someone to come in, and you can use your own things, but take a critical look at the quantity (less is more to a point) and then make it look cozy with appropriate art, accessories and pillows. You’re creating an ideal for someone. You want to make it look like a space that they can imagine themselves living in.

Play up the holidays!

Photo by Any Lane on Pexels.com

If you have a sweeping staircase or a mantel, put greenery and twinkle lights on them, set up some candles – faux are great because they don’t have a scent, no fire risk, and they can be on during open houses or showings. If you have a gas fireplace, have it lit for photos, or turn it on before showings if you’ll be right back. If you don’t need to worry about little ones, I would even say to have your table set as if you’re about to have a party.

But, keep it simple and understated, not over the top. You’re creating a mood, and you don’t want that mood to be “I just stepped into Santa’s workshop”.

Make sure that the home has every light on, and that none are burned out, it gets dark in MN at 4:30 in the winter, people want to feel like they are being welcomed into a comforting space. Lighting goes a long way.

Be flexible with showings.

We all have a lot going on during the holidays, people are visiting, they may be entertaining (or at least in normal times) and not want to have showings that interrupt. It probably won’t feel that convenient to be letting people in to see the home in the midst of this, but, try your best to have the home show ready at a moment’s notice. People need to see it to decide if they want to buy, the more open, available & flexible you can be the better.

Make Curb Appeal a TOP Priority!

Photo by Lina Kivaka on Pexels.com

People will literally slow their roll – and then speed it right back up again if the house looks less than appealing on the exterior.

Make sure gutters are clean, sidewalks are shoveled and ice free, paint on doors etc is in top shape – maybe a fresh coat to the front door to make it pop?

Hang a pretty wreath, put down a cute new welcome mat, put evergreen boughs in your planters and highlight features that get use year ’round like fire pits or hot tubs.

Incentives!

If homes in your market aren’t moving very quickly or if you have a home that has a negative feature that is a challenge to overcome, especially with good competition, think about offering an incentive. If there is an appliance that you can replace, a home warranty to offer, a TV, or some closing costs that could be picked up if an offer comes in by a certain date – consider that as a carrot to entice a buyer to get off the fence and get that bit of extra incentive.

Do a themed open house!

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Use the holiday to create a fun open house! Offer some holiday themed treats, have appropriate music, and make the buyers really envision spending their next holiday in the home.

Have questions about living in Minneapolis or the Twin Cities? Let me know!

home selling · Uncategorized

Selling your home? Do yourself a favor…

Right now – inventory is low, interest rates are low and it’s still a seller’s market, but that doesn’t mean you can be sloppy if you are selling your home. Houses get the most traffic in the first week or so, and right now most are under contract in that time. If yours sits there it will quickly raise suspicion – I think of it as having a “bad smell” to buyers – they wonder WHY it hasn’t gone and may avoid it. Don’t miss this golden window of opportunity by turning buyers off when they walk into your home. Especially because in this market they will likely be paying premium prices.

I also have a checklist that you can download (for FREE) of things to do to make sure your home gets sold QUICKLY and for the best possible price and did a video on this topic as well.

Click here! http://bit.ly/MSPMaryHomePrepChecklist

In this post I want to give you guys a list of 8 related things that you should take care of before you let the first buyer in the door.

ODOR

This one I can’t emphasize enough! Even as an agent previewing for someone, smells can drive me right back out the door. We’re talking about pets, moisture / mustiness, food odors like fried foods and strong spices, old food in the fridge, cigarettes (!!), and even air fresheners.

I’ve developed migraines in minutes when walking into a home that was hosed down with air freshener. Artificial scents can make people feel quite sick (even scented candles) and they also lead you to wonder what is being covered up?

Cigarette smoke is another one – I don’t see this all that often anymore, but I did go into a home that had obviously been owned by a heavy smoker. Even with all of the windows open it felt like we were in an ash tray. Depending on the severity of this, the walls should be painted with an oder killing primer and then paint, carpets & drapery removed etc. There isn’t a big market for homes that need to be remediated in order to live in them.

Check your fridge – people open refrigerators when they are looking at homes. We did and we regretted it. The seller had left fish in there for well past the time when it should have been cooked or thrown away and the smell nearly knocked us out. We didn’t make it past the kitchen.

Taxidermy

I don’t think this is just a MN thing… If you hunt or fish (and a LOT of people here do), take the dead animals off your wall when you go to sell. You can rehang them in your new home, but keep in mind that you are trying to appeal to the largest possible audience and you want to refrain from alienating people.

Actual Pets

I love dogs but not everyone does. Not everyone enjoys having a dog nose pushed into their nether regions, and many don’t enjoy “kisses” either. Your pet may also have some territorial feelings that surprise you and they may nip, bark or jump on people who are there to see the home.

Cats are usually easier – but they can be sneaky and slip out of an open door. NO ONE wants to be responsible for your pet escaping. If you have a cat, make sure that the litter box is sparkling clean. See “odors”. I’ve also looked at home with people that have kids who do not know what a litter box is… that’s fun when they think its a little sandbox! yuck.

Other animals – snakes, lizards, rodents etc. Remove them if you can, and if you can’t make sure the cage is secure and very clean.

Pests

Do you have an inkling that there might be a mouse? Seen a roach a time or two? Ants in the kitchen? Does Fido have fleas? Please make sure that ALL of these are handled before a potential buyer gets an unwelcome surprise.

Carpet

I’m going to say specifically in the BATHROOM. If you have carpet in the bathroom or the KITCHEN (I’ve seen it!), remove it and have a hard floor installed. That just screams DIRT. No one wants to buy someone else’s dirt. They don’t.

And if you have wall to wall carpet elsewhere, have it professionally cleaned before showing the home. This will help with any potential odors as well. (It’s a theme).

Ceilings

If you have acoustic tile ceilings in any room, it would be worth your while to have them replaced with drywall. This also applies to popcorn ceilings, people are very turned off by this. If the drywall underneath is good, it may be possible to just scrape this and paint.

Locked Rooms

Limited access to the building while you have a buyer looking at it will raise some questions. No one’s mind jumps to “that’s where they have their jewelry” – it’s usually more like “is that where they are keeping the bodies?”. Always lead with transparency and don’t introduce doubt or assume that someone will come back to take another look.

Mismatch

People don’t always replace all of their appliances at once, but if you’ve got avocado green & stainless steel it can be a glaring change and reinforce exactly how old the green appliance is. Some things (like refrigerators and dishwashers) can be inexpensively updated to match new ones with either a panel or appliance paint to give a cohesive look to a kitchen. It can be worth it to do this if the older items are in a good condition, if not, it is definitely a selling point to have new appliances in a home and knocks down an objection right off the bat.