What Home Buyers Want
For most people, their home is not only the roof over their heads; it is the most valuable financial asset they possess. As such, sellers should expect to make the most profit possible from its sale. With this goal in mind, if you are a seller preparing to put your house on the market, it is essential to consider what features buyers view most favorably.
In the process of getting your home in tip-top shape for the market, you may plan to do some upgrades. That’s a good idea, providing you do not go overboard on improvements. To spend your money wisely, it pays to know what features make a buyer’s heart beat faster when they are looking at homes.
Here are some of the features that turn lookers into buyers.
Color me surprised, but a separate laundry room has become a game-changer with homebuyers in recent years. A dedicated laundry room was the number one feature in a National Association of Home Builders survey, with 91 percent of buyers saying, “I need one!” If you have the washer and dryer in the basement as many people do, consider kicking the space up a notch with some cabinetry, shelving and a folding table.
If you are planning to sell your home in the spring, now is an excellent time to begin the process. I know what you are thinking. Now? Really? Spring is seven months in the future? I wasn’t planning to even think about the logistics of putting my home on the market until after the winter holidays. Has Joe lost his mind!
Believe me when I say my sanity is not at risk. There is logic at the heart of what appears to be madness. For those organized, pulled together people who prefer to plan for major events, this is going to resonate with you. For others who feel they perform best under pressure, I’m hoping to convert you. Here are several reasons that make the argument for getting a head start on the spring competition.
Give Yourself the Gift of Time
Selling a home, even facing the best of circumstances, is a life-altering, stressful experience. The luxury of time goes a long way to reducing the pressure of working against the clock when there may be many more demands on your time. Starting the process sooner provides you the grace to prioritize work and family responsibilities over home-selling tasks when necessary. This alone is a huge stress reducer and worth its weight in bitcoin!
Get a Headstart on the Spring Competition
In the Twin Cities, ...
Curb Appeal Works Magic on Buyers
If your curb appeal is missing that certain something that takes it from so-so to wow, I dedicate this post to you. If you are selling your home, you should already know how critical making that positive first impression is to potential buyers. You want to hit them with your best before they walk in the front door.
Even if you are not selling your home, boosting your curb appeal adds value to your property. You will also win the admiration of your neighbors and become the most popular house on the block. After you finish my list of suggestions, it will amaze you that such a small investment of money, time, and creativity will result in such a noticeable uptick of curb appeal.
Here are my best, inexpensive tips for upping your curb appeal game. So put on your sunscreen and let’s get outside!
1. Up Your Front Door Mojo
True story. Several years ago, I was having difficulty selling my home in Rhode Island. It was a newer home, a colonial replica in an association of like homes. Great location and landscaping but not getting the attention from buyers my agent and I anticipated.
I decided to paint the two yellow front doors, turquoise over the objections of my realtor, who was reminding me that my choice wasn’t a traditional colonial era color. A few days later, we had several showings and an offer. I’m...
The Best Advice - Listen to the Expert
Listen to your agent is probably the #1 best piece of home selling advice you will ever hear. Consider the reasons you hired him in the first place. You were impressed with his years of experience. Over his career, he has sold thousands of homes, and he knows what works and what does not. When a house doesn’t sell, he can tell you why and what to do to fix it. He can also tell you what not to do from the beginning.
Here are some great pieces of advice that you should hear from your agent when you list your home. Please take it seriously. The sale of a home is a stressful process, but a few easy steps can lead to a smooth and seamless experience. Listen to your agent. He wants what’s best for you.
To put you on the inside track, here are three examples of home selling advice that are universally true.
Price Your Home to the Market
During your listing presentation, the agent should include a market analysis on your home. The evaluation should have...
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 following my...
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, ...
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 adjustment...
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
- keeping the...
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
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.
Success-driven Home Selling
Most people have two primary goals when they sell their home. These are to sell quickly at the best price possible. Both are attainable and if your location is TheTwin Cities metro and your home value is under $500,000, the market favors you in a big way.
However, please do not think that you will achieve these goals if you ignore the basic rules of how to prepare to sell your home. If you want multiple offers and you want them in the first few days of listing you need to accept the fact that preparation is necessary. If your home’s list price is in the higher tiers, it becomes even more critical.
Convinced? Fabulous! Here are my ten commandments of home selling. Follow these, and you will present your home at its finest.
Clutter is not aesthetically appealing. It makes your home look messy and lacking in storage space. The goal is to go through every closet, cabinet, drawer and storage space from basement to attic. Don’t forget the garage and any outbuildings as well. Everything you decide you do not need should be for sale, consignment, donation or disposal.
For some, this step is no big deal, and for others, this is the most difficult....
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Make That Home Sale with Curb Appeal
When you sell, curb appeal is the first impression your home will make on a buyer. Do it right, and you could end up with an offer, just like that! Do it wrong, and a potential buyer may decide not to walk through your front door. So when evaluating your curb appeal as you prepare to sell your home, be critical because I promise you that buyers will be.
Pretend you are a buyer. Take a look around the outside of your house and yard. Now ask yourself, if you were buying today would the exterior of your home inspire you to take a look inside? If the answer is anything less than, “I can’t wait to see the inside of this house” then you have a bit of work to do. Here are a few steps that will send your curb appeal rating meter over the top.
Just as you do inside your home, you should “pick up” in the front and backyard, porch and deck. You want it clean and tidy. Remove any remaining dead leaves, branches, and other debris from the previous season. Oil stains on the driveway or garage should...
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The Argument for Staging
Once you have organized your home and removed its clutter, it’s time to talk about staging. In a 2017 study conducted by NAR, the National Association of Realtors, 58% of agents surveyed said staging increases the selling price of the home as much as 20%. In this same profile, we find that 39% of agents believe staged properties sell significantly faster than those not staged. Additionally, 77% of buyers found it easier to visualize a staged property as their new home.
Keep in mind that the objective of sellers is to prepare their home so buyers will envision themselves living there. If a buyer cannot make a personal and emotional attachment to your property, they are not going to make an offer. You want your buyers to fall in love with your house. Staging can go a long way towards making that happen.
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Tips to Control Stress When Selling Your Home
When you sell a home, the experience has the inherent potential to be stressful. Not only is the rhythm of your daily life at the mercy of showings, but your home has to look tip-top for potential buyers. Your privacy is held hostage to strangers opening closets and drawers as they snoop into your nooks and crannies. Yikes! That is enough to get the calmest nerves twitching.
There are many moving parts to the sale of a house. There are many individuals involved in that sale. Any of these or a combination of several can become the stress source for the homeowner. These are factors the seller has no control over, zip, zero, none! However, there are many aspects of the home-selling process where the property owner can have power over the outcome. Making better decisions at the beginning of the process increases the likelihood of having a superior selling experience.
Since I have sat in the seller seat myself on a few occasions, I have gathered some morsels of wisdom on the subject. Since I love to share, as one seller to another, here are my best tips for a successful home sale.
Hire A Great Real Estate Agent
There are a few different ways people go about finding a real estate agent when...
Sell Your Home When The Time Is Right For You
It’s no surprise that many people advocate that the best time to sell a home is in the Spring. Part of the reason this theory has evolved is that families want to be established in their new homes by the beginning of the school year in September. While this does make sense for families with children, when it comes to when to put your home on the market there are no one-size fits all scenarios.
Even though Spring may be considered prime time for home sales by many in the industry, there is no perfect time for everyone. Every situation is different, and when you are personally ready to sell, that becomes the best season for you. However, there is one piece of home-selling wisdom that is always true no matter what time of year you sell.
Can you guess that one sliver of home-selling wisdom? It’s the preparation of your home to look its best in winter, spring, summer or fall. Making an outstanding first impression on buyers will determine how quickly you sell and how high a price you obtain. A home that is move-in ready will face a cleaner offer with fewer if any contingencies. Even in this strong seller’s market, we find ourselves in right now, the condition and appearance of your home do matter.
It makes the most sense to take the time to get your home in tip-top shape for the fussiest of fussy buyers. If you think your house is nearly market ready and only needs...
Spring – The Best Time to Sell Your Home!
It’s officially Spring! Birds are chirping, flowers blooming, and “Home for Sale” signs as plentiful as dandelions on your lawn after a rain shower. Wait! What? The calendar says Spring but that is apparently fake news since I am looking out the window at 18 inches of snow we were just gifted and shaking my head.
The truth is the only Robin I saw was wearing a parka and snow boots. Not a single crocus is shoving a brightly hued head out of the earth. Even the forsythia has yet to bloom. And Home For Sale signs are not so plentiful at all with inventory levels of available homes at an all-time low in the Twin Cities.
However, what I have witnessed is an army of serious home buyers out in the marketplace. Yes, a plethora of buyers whose pockets are bulging with pre-approval letters, down payments and closing costs. Isn’t that great? It depends. It’s outstanding if you are a seller.
The Twin Cities Housing Theme is Short on Supply, Big on Demand
Right now there is an extraordinary imbalance...
Twin Cities Buyers Know What They Don't Want
The one thing most sellers have in common is that they are unable to look at their property with a dispassionate and critical eye. The longer they have lived in their home, the more emotionally attached they become. Many simply cannot understand that the cracked tile in the foyer they have lived with for 10 years, should be of concern to a buyer. Or the magenta bedroom walls they adore would be another person’s decor nightmare.
After being a realtor in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro for 16 years and closing on close to 1000 properties, I have shown my share of homes that made buyers run for the exit shouting, “next please”! I have been the listing agent challenged with marketing the lime green home with hot pink trim. So over the years, I have probably not heard it all, but enough to tell you what makes a buyer look like he just sucked a lemon. Sellers can and should take matters into their own hands before they put their home up for sale to avoid having their home sit on the market for a long time and sell for less money.
Big Ticket Replacement Items
A house with a roof that is at the end of its lifespan or siding that needs to be updated is a major red flag for buyers. The same holds true for old electrical systems...
Selling Your Twin Cities Home
Although the spring and summer months are traditionally considered the optimum time to buy and sell a home, did you know that the second-best season to Sell your Twin Cities home is the fall? Historically, if we assume normal market conditions, like the air on a crisp fall day, both prices and buyer activity tend to cool off. But as we know by now, this is not a balanced housing market but rather a red-hot housing situation that favors sellers in a big way. Inventory of homes for sale and days on the market continue their downward descent while on the other side of the coin median sale prices continue their climb to new heights.
Let’s explore the current market conditions which support a strong fall housing market for the Twin Cities which make a good argument for selling now.
Twin Cities Real Estate Data
According to the Minneapolis Association of Realtors, the week ending September 9th found inventory decreased 16.5% to 12,587 units for sale with new listings down 3.1% as well. However, pending sales were higher than the same ...
Preparing your home to sell
It is critical that you choose a Realtor that will tell you all of things you should do to prepare your home to sell. If you hire a good real estate agent and follow their advice, tips and tricks, you will sell your home for top dollar. Before you put your house up for sale, you need to deep clean, de-clutter and depersonalize it. When you are getting your home ready to sell, these are the basics and the best place to start. We want to make your property look as much like a new house as possible. Our goal is to project a warm and inviting environment, as clean, spacious, and impersonal as we can so that potential buyers can visualize your house as their home, with their furniture in the living room, their art on the walls and their car in the garage.
Home selling preparation step 1
This can often be the most difficult step for some sellers because often they have an emotional attachment to everything in their house. However, you really need to get rid of the clutter because one thing I know for sure, a buyer's dream house does not include your clutter! It will help you to look at this process objectively and realize that your beloved napkin collection filling up a shelf of the linen closet is clutter from a buyer's perspective. Remember, the buyer is purchasing your house not your stuff, and you want him or her to visualize where they can put their stuff!