First Impressions Matter - A Lot
Anyone that has sold a home before will tell you that it can be an intense and stressful experience. Strangers coming through and looking in your closets, judging your décor and housekeeping habits is an invasion of privacy. Not to mention that at times you will get those requests that fly in the face of that 24-hour notice you want.
Both as a Realtor and a former home seller myself believe me I feel your pain. With 4 active young boys and a dog, I am aware of the personal challenges families face to keep their homes ready to show when on the market. But when that short notice request from an out-of-towner pops up, it’s hard to take a pass because you know an eager buyer when you see one.
Because you get one shot at making an excellent first impression, I put together this list of quick, easy pre-showing tips for sellers. These tips have proven successful personally and for many of my clients over the years. Make your home shine and put a gleam in the eye of the most critical buyer by...
14201 Brandbury Walk, Minnetonka, MN 55345
5 Bedrooms, 4 Baths, Offered at $599,900
Do you dream of a home that is a peaceful suburban oasis yet near a vibrant urban center? You can have it all when you purchase this outstanding 4000 square foot two-story Minnetonka home nestled into idyllic landscaped surroundings.
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A Minnetonka Home for All Seasons
During the summer enjoy the backyard sanctuary and luxury of your heated pool. Relax on one of two decks and enjoy dining al fresco.
In the evening or the high...
The Goal - Ready to Show at All Times
When your home is for sale, the most significant challenge is keeping it ready for people who want to drop in on short notice. I’m not talking about a neighbor that might pop over unexpectedly to borrow a cup of flour. She won’t think twice about the dirty dishes in the sink and your unfolded laundry occupying prime real estate in the living room.
But those other people will care. They will look in all your corners, open all your cabinets, peer into your closets and they will judge. They are picky and often quick to find fault and not shy about voicing their opinions about the condition of your home or your housekeeping habits. They are called buyers.
Before you listed your home, you developed a plan for preparing for this event with your Realtor. You got rid of clutter, you organized, and you cleaned. You repaired, refurbished and recycled. You gave up a month of precious weekends, your book club night, and Netflix to get it done and never hardly ever did a complaint escape your lips.
Now you have to do one thing. Keep it tidy, ...
Minneapolis-St Paul Housing Overview
As we move ever closer to spring, it looks like the prime season for housing is going to be hot. Buyers in the lower pricing tiers are currently getting a sneak peek in the challenges they will face in their quest to become homeowners.
When we compare new listings for February 2018 to this past month, we see a decrease of 14% which is not good news for buyers. However, I would be remiss not to point out that weatherwise, February was a month characterized by lots of snowfall and bitter cold, which tends to put a damper on real estate activity.
What’s Rising and What’s Falling
As we compare February of this year to 2018, we see that closed sales were up 4.0 percent, the percentage of list price received down 0.3, and the median sale price of $265,500 up 6.2 percent. Meanwhile, pending sales, the predictor of upcoming closed sales was down 7.4 percent.
The February Supply Story
We find new listings in February were down 14.3 percent from last year, and inventory levels were lower by 5.9 percent putting the month's supply at 1.6. Days spent on the market were flat.
The condo segment was the property type that saw the most price gains with a 10 percent increase — homes...
It Isn’t a Race – Take Your Time
The decision to buy your first home is a major, life-changing event and should never be taken lightly or made quickly. Not only is it the most significant financial purchase you will likely ever make, but it’s also a commitment to your lifestyle and personal sense of well-being.
Certainly, a home is a valuable asset, but it is much more than a number we see on a financial spreadsheet. It’s our haven. It’s where we plan to raise our children. It’s where we will dream about our future. It’s where we will celebrate our victories and cope with the setbacks of life. There is the whole story of homeownership.
Yes, buying real estate is a big deal, and I won’t lie to you, it can be a stressful and intimidating process, especially for a first-time buyer. However, it isn’t written in stone that it will be this way for everyone. It can and should be an exciting and joy-filled process. Being financially ready is critical in making it work in your favor.
Let’s look at five positive signs that say you may be in the financial position to become a homeowner.
1. Your Finances Are Solid
Home Staging is Now Mainstream
Just a few years ago staging a home for sale was rare. It was also generally for homes on the higher end of the pricing scale, new homes or empty homes. Today the story of home staging is entirely different.
The National Association of Realtors study conducted in 2017 found that 58% of real estate professionals said that when you stage the sale price can increase as much as 20%. This same study found that 39% said staged homes sell much faster. The message of staging a house and selling it quickly and for more money resonates with today’s home sellers at all price points and for all types of housing options.
Even sellers with starter homes or small condos with a limited budget can stage their property to make it more desirable to buyers. I’m going to share some great tips that I guarantee will make your home more marketable and cost very little as long as you are prepared to invest some time into the project.
The Five Basic Building Blocks of Home Staging...
9 Reasons Your Home is Not Selling in a Hot Market
When your home is not getting offers in a seller’s market, it is no surprise that you are not in your happy place. It’s not how you expected things to go. You thought it would sell quickly. Now you are asking your realtor why other properties are selling while your listing is growing moss.
Taking more time to sell a home happens all too often. As an agent who has been in the business for 16 years, I have been in this scenario. Here are what I’ve found to be the seven most common reasons a home isn’t selling.
The Price is Too High
The most common reason a home is not moving even in a market favorable to sellers is incorrect pricing. At the listing time, your realtor should do a market analysis of properties comparable to yours that recently sold. The price comparison is the best method to determine the asking price.
There are times sellers don’t agree and insist their home is worth more. There are often factors that the seller didn’t take into consideration that affect the value. To neutralize the adverse effect of imperfections a price...
One thing I know for sure is the passage of time always brings change in its wake. Fashion, food, hairstyles, home décor, and lifestyles have become extremely sensitive to trends. Some embrace change and others fight it. Whichever the case, a constant we can depend on is trends are going to come and go regardless.
Sifting Through The Mount Everest of Home Buyers Advice
Along with changes in style, there is an incredible amount of advice available about what we should hold on to and what we should let go. Real estate is no different, and it is essential that we weed through all the bits and pieces of information and discover what is still meaningful and what no longer serves us when we decide to put a roof over our heads.
Purchasing a house is the most expensive buy of a lifetime for most of us. It is predominately a joyful experience, but a certain amount of stress is inherent in the process, especially for first-time homebuyers. We want to make the right choices, so we look for advice from family, friends and the internet. But with so many tips out there, how do we know which are keepers and which we should ignore? Here are several pieces of home buying advice that have not met the test of time.
You Will Always Be Better Off Owning Than Renting
The Ups and Downs of the 2018 Housing Market
The 2018 housing market has sure been a wild ride. The year began with rapidly rising home prices and low mortgage interest rates. Bidding wars were the norm for highly desirable homes. It was not unusual for sellers to find a buyer in the first few days after putting their house up for sale, generally at full asking price or even above. Sellers were riding high while buyers struggled to close a deal on a home.
But in the last few months of the year, we begin to see a shift in the market. Prices are finally stabilizing or increasing at a slower pace. Interest rates reach 5.2 percent, an 8-year high. Though now rates have fallen back to 4.59 as a benchmark for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. The market still favors sellers but to a lesser degree.
2017 compared to 2018
- new listings down -0.3%
- pending sales down -3.6%
- closed sales down -3.4%
- overall median...
Minneapolis-St Paul Housing Data
As we say adios to 2018 and move into the new year, expectations include some long-awaited changes. The last half of the year we saw increases in new listings, decreases in sales, and median sales prices on homes rise more slowly.
The increases we are experiencing in no way is enough to balance the market at the lower pricing tiers. However, first-time buyers and downsizing boomers will begin to find more home buying options in the coming year. That fact alone will make buyers smile.
A Look at December Housing Numbers
Looking at a comparison of December 2018 to the same time last year, we see new listings up 3.5 percent, closed sales down 9.9 percent, list price received down 0.2 percent, and the median sale price of $258,000 up 4 percent. Pending sales showed a decline of 3.3 percent, while the month’s supply of inventory rose 13.3 percent. Days on the market decreased by 6.6 percent.
What story do these numbers tell us about the housing market in Minneapolis and Saint Paul? Pretty good news. We are finally starting to see more housing choices at lower pricing levels. Sellers are more flexible when they receive less than full price offers. This situation takes some pressure off of buyers.
Sellers also have reason to smile. Property values continue to rise with median sales prices up 4% over December of 2017. Additionally, sales of homes are still brisk as we see days on the market drop to 57 from...
According to the American Pet Products Association survey taken in 2018, 68% of households have at least one pet. People love their pets. That same APPA survey found that those millions of pet owners spent billions of dollars to prove it, $72.13 billion give or take a couple of mils. That’s a lot of puppy chow and catnip!
Many pet owners consider their fuzzy wards children, and often refer to them as “fur babies.” Being a dog owner, I understand completely. Our Doodle is an integral part of our family, and we all love him. However, when the time arrives to sell your home, beloved pets can present logistic problems. As much as I hate to have to say it, there are times that pets can present issues that sellers must resolve before listing the property.
The Challenges of Selling a Home with Pets
Some of the issues sellers faces when they have pets include:
- funky smells and odors
- what to do with pets during showings
Did you know that Sperling’s Best Places named Minneapolis the third best city for hygge in America? Now you do. Don’t get me wrong; we are not turning our nose up at the third place award to Seattle #1 and Portland #2. However, some of us think with more people of Scandinavian heritage in the Twin Cities and colder winters we should be #1 when it comes to getting our hygge mojo working.
What does hygge even mean and how do you pronounce it?
By now, you have probably at least heard the term hygge. It is a Danish concept that has created a considerable buzz in the home décor market. But it is not just about decorating; it’s a lifestyle.
It is a concept of embracing simple pleasures. The Danes, being awesome people, created hygge in the 18 century and it remains an integral part of their culture today.
The word is pronounced “hue-gah.” Frequently defined as coziness, and in the Oxford English Dictionary as “to keep or make oneself snug.” So hygge also reflects a feeling of safeness and warmth.
The critical thing to note is that even with long winters and limited hours of daylight, Danes are considered to be the world’s happiest people. Since you want buyers to be the happiest people when they tour your home, let’s hit them with some hygge.
Soft, Warm, Snug Cozy
Another New Year celebration is over. As our planet begins another journey around the sun, so we start our quest for perfection vis a vis New Year’s Resolutions! While most of us are on board with improving our personal and professional life, resolutions may not be the best way to achieve our goals.
Studies show that only 9.2 percent of us complete new year resolutions. What’s even worse is that 80% fail by February. Why are failure rates so stunningly high and what can we do to improve our chances for success?
Why our resolutions fail.
There are several reasons why so many of us crash and burn when it comes to the promises we made in the final days of the outgoing year. We are swept up in those moments when we feel buoyant and inspired about all the glorious opportunities we anticipate in the upcoming twelve thirtyish day blocks of time on the calendar. We feel invincible and as if there is nothing we can’t accomplish. We see traits of Mario Batali, Mary Barra and Marie Kondo in ourselves. And so we launch another year with too many expectations and unrealistic goals, setting ourselves up for another epic fail.
Typically it may look something like this: after work rush to gym...
Can You Recognize a Super Real Estate Agent When You Meet One? Take This Quiz!
You have finally made the big decision to buy a home, and you’re ready to dive headlong into the real estate market! Congratulations! Given today’s market and the great opportunities that abound in the Twin Cities Metro for home ownership, I applaud your decision. But, (and yes there is always a “but,”) before you take the plunge, just like every great athlete needs a coach, or every talented artist needs an agent, you need a Realtor© by your side, advocating for you.
“Why can’t I just advocate for myself?” you say. Great question and I am so glad you asked. An honest and ethical real estate agent will steer you in the right direction, so you don’t waste time spinning your wheels. He will offer expert advice when called for, even if it might not be what you want to hear, and will put your best interest at the forefront of any transaction. Not only will he protect your interests, but also limit your liabilities and even save you money.
“Wow,” you say, “having an agent will give me an edge! I want one, but, with all those agents out there,...
Minneapolis-St Paul Housing Overview
As we approach years’ end, we see some subtle changes in the Twin Cities Metro housing market. The increase in inventory of homes for sale was10.5 percent over last month giving home buyers something to rejoice. This inventory boost by is by no means enough to bring the market into balance but does bring us closer. For consumers who have been trying to buy a home for several months, it was welcome news.
What’s Up and What’s Down
As we compare November of this year to November 2017, we find new listings up 12.6 percent, closed sales down 0.9 percent, the percentage of list price received down 0.1, and the median sale price of $265,150 up 8.2 percent. Meanwhile, pending sales were down 5.2 percent, inventory levels rose 2.3 percent with months supply up 10.5 percent. Days on the market fell 7.1 percent.
So while inventory is increasing and sales are decreasing, we are seeing more price reductions and fewer deals closing for full price offers. Although housing prices are still higher than last year, they appear to be slowing down. Properties for sale are still spending less time on the market than last year, an indication that demand is still robust, and buyers are scooping up homes quickly....
Best End of Year Advice for Real Estate Agents
In just a couple of weeks, the New Year will be upon us. It was a fast twelve months, wasn’t it? It feels like I was talking to you about fall home maintenance only a couple of weeks ago when it was actually in early October. Many trees were still stubbornly holding on to a few leaves, there was no snow on the ground, and we had not even had a hard frost. Now here we are decking the halls and talking about closing out the year and getting ready for 2019.
Admittedly I approach the new year with excitement and optimism tinged with a dash of trepidation and uncertainty. The new year is, after all, filled with mystery! What new clients will I meet? Which buyers and sellers will I reconnect with in the coming year? What changes in the market will surprise me? Which of my predictions will be proven correct? Am I ready for what lies ahead and if not what do I need to do so I don’t fall short of my expectations?
As the days and weeks of the next year unfold, I plan to be ready. One of the ways I prepare is by starting the year without the clutter of the last twelve months. It starts now. Here are some tasks we can take care of before January is on the doorstep because ready or not, soon 2019 will be knocking on the front door!
Staging for The Holidays
Let’s face it, selling your home over the Christmas Holiday can be a challenge. It goes over, and above the usual inconveniences you must endure and the compromises to the rhythm of your family’s routine you must make when you sell. For most, it happens to be the busiest time of the year regarding shopping, family activities, and entertaining. A string of strangers looking in all your nooks and crannies is not at the top of your wish list.
Many sellers temporarily take their home off the market in December while others wait until January to list. However, there are buyers out there, and most of them that are house shopping in December are serious buyers. So for those sellers with a high level of motivation, the holidays can provide a unique opportunity for your home to shine. You can also get a step ahead of the competition who decide to fast forward to January.
Once you decide to market your home when bells on bobtails ring, the next question is should you decorate and if so what are the rules? Here, the basic rules of staging your home for any season apply. Keep everything clean, eliminate clutter and avoid the personal items in your choice of holiday decorations.
The Minneapolis-St Paul Housing Market Overview
As we look at the Twin Cities Housing Market Statistics for the first month of the final quarter of 2018 the one thing that hasn’t changed for months is the shortage of properties for sale in the lower end of the market. With so few homes that fit their budget, coupled with rising home prices and interest rates, would-be buyers continue to struggle with fulfilling their dream of ownership. Homes at this price range are still selling quickly, but we are finally starting to see that shift we have been talking about, in market conditions overall as we look at narrowing gaps in year over year data for sales, inventory, and price.
What’s Up Doc?
As we compare October of this year to October 2017, we find new listings up 9.2 percent, closed sales rose 3.4 percent, the percentage of list price received up 0.2, and the median sale price of $265,000 up 8.6 percent. Meanwhile, pending sales were down 1.7 percent, inventory levels dropped 2.2 percent, days on the market fell 7.7 percent. In summary, in the Twin Cities 16 county metro at least, we are still experiencing fewer homes on the market taking less time to sell with prices even on an upward trajectory.
What About the Economy?
Our local economy remains strong. The ...
Ready or Not, Winter is Here
If you have been in denial that winter is right around the corner, it’s a reasonable assumption that you are probably not ready to welcome it. That small dusting of snow on the ground should be a hint. It's winter's way of saying, "Ready or not, I'll be visiting you soon!"
Getting caught off guard happens to the best of us. Take heart. Until we get hit with single digit temperatures or significant snowfall you still have time to get ready for the season. More good news, a warming trend is expected to move in this week.
For those of us who meant well but never quite got around to tackling the fall home checklist, Mother Nature is giving
Joe Houghton us a second chance. She is nice that way sometimes. Here are the fundamental ways to prepare for the worse that winter can throw at you.
The Minneapolis-St Paul Housing Market
Some say there are indications in the September housing stats that the market might be starting a shift towards balance. New listings increased 5.9 percent compared to September of last year. However, when we look at months supply of inventory that was down 3.4 percent. So what does this mean?
Let’s keep in mind that although we see balance in the market pricing tier for $500,000 and above, inventory levels in all other price segments are not even close to approaching balance which is a five to six month level of homes for sale. If you are one of those hoping to break into the housing market, your choices are limited with desirable properties selling like lightning going through butter.
Probing into the data, we see that median sales prices are still higher than last year by 6.5 percent when we look at month to month and 7.7 percent over last year when we compare the year over year data. Closed sales are down 5.8 percent and pending down 1.8 percent with properties spending 16 percent less time to sell.
Interest rates are bobbing around the 5 percent rate for mortgages which, combined with higher prices of homes may be sidelining some buyers and forcing others to rethink their home buying strategies. These numbers tell me demand is still strong....