Home Selling Tips and Tricks

The Ten Commandments of Home Selling

The Ultimate Guide to Selling Your Home in 2024

In today's ever-evolving real estate market, selling your home requires more than just putting a "For Sale" sign in your yard. As we step into 2024, the dynamics of real estate have transformed, making it essential to employ strategic, innovative approaches to attract buyers and secure the best deal. Joe Houghton and the Minnesota Property Group of Remax Results bring you the latest insights and strategies to navigate the housing market successfully.

Expert Insights from Joe Houghton and the Minnesota Property Group of Remax Results

1. Understanding the Current Market:

Market Trends: Begin with an analysis of the current real estate market trends in your area. Highlight the importance of understanding local demand, pricing strategies, and how seasonality affects sales. Use data-driven insights to advise on the best times to sell.

Pricing Your Home Right: Emphasize the importance of setting a competitive price that reflects the current market conditions. Discuss how overpricing can deter potential buyers and how underpricing might lead to a bidding war, potentially increasing the final sale price.

2. Preparing Your Home for Sale:

Staging and Repairs: Outline the significance of staging your home to appeal to buyers and conducting necessary repairs. Offer advice on decluttering, depersonalizing, and highlighting the home's best features.

High-Quality Photography: Stress the importance of professional photography to make a compelling first impression online, where most buyers start their search.

3. Leveraging Digital Marketing:

Online Listings: Discuss how to create compelling online listings, emphasizing the role of SEO in real estate to ensure your listing is visible to potential buyers.

Social Media and Virtual Tours: Highlight the power of social media platforms and virtual tours in reaching a wider audience. Encourage sellers to...

MN Home Selling Tips

MN Home Selling Tips

When your home is for sale, the most significant challenge is keeping it ready for people who want to drop in on the 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.

The Goal - Ready to Show at All Times

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, clean, and show-ready until you find a buyer. That is the one request your agent will make while your home is on the market. I know you have kids. You work. You have a dog who thinks it’s his job to leave copious piles of fur on every surface he touches. It’s not easy. I know too well. But, I also know it is not forever and can be done.

First Engage the Entire Family

Don’t, I repeat, do not attempt to keep your house in tip-top viewing condition without the help and cooperation of your entire family minus the pooch. He was born to shed, and you know it. Discuss the importance of Project Clean and Ready with your husband/wife/partner and kiddos. Make it a team sport.

Keeping tabs on each other will help everyone to be focused. Get everyone to own up to their messes, grownups, and kids alike,...

MN Home Selling and Short Notice Showings

MN Home Selling and Short Notice Showings

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 you will sometimes 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 four active young boys and a dog, I know families' challenges 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.

First Impressions Matter - A Lot

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 simple checklist.

√ Pick Up Clutter in Every Room

Get those size 12 Air Jordan’s off the floor and into the closet. Dirty laundry should go straight into the washer. Get the kiddo's toys into the storage bin and forget about newspapers and magazines. Any stray dishes or glasses hanging around should go directly to the dishwasher.

√ Make the Beds

If one thing goes a long way towards pulling your bedroom together, it is a well-made bed. Be particular and smooth out the comforter or bedspread, and don’t forget to fluff the decorator pillows and throw if you use one. 

√ Tidy the Bathrooms

Put away any bottles or jars cluttering the countertop or bath area. Quick spray and clean the shower doors, mirror, vanity top, sink, and faucet. Pick up any used linens and put them in the washer. Straighten...

MN Realtor on Home Staging

MN Realtor on the Importance of Home Staging

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 and selling a house 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. I will 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

What I am about to share can be considered the foundation of staging a home. Whether the seller has a small or large budget, these are five rules that everyone will incorporate into the staging plan. Those with a generous budget will spend money instead of time, and those with fewer funds will sacrifice their time.

Home Staging Tip #1 – Remove Your Clutter

Those of you who have read some of my other posts will probably sigh and say, “Joe, I have heard you suggest this many times before.” That is true because no matter how many times I say start with decluttering when you want to sell your home, many people don’t do it. The fact is you are going to do it when you move, so why not get a head start on packing and get it done before you put your home on the market? It makes sense, right?

Clean out your closets, cabinets, drawers, basement, and attic, or anywhere you store your “stuff.” If it’s...

Why Your MN Home Won't Sell

Real Estate Agent On Why Your Home Won't Sell

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 disagree and insist their home is worth more. There are often factors that the seller didn’t consider that affect the value. To neutralize the adverse effect of imperfections, a price adjustment is necessary. The price of a home should align with its condition.

Buyers today are savvy, and most of them are working with agents who also do a market analysis to determine home values. This helps buyers arrive at a fair price to offer a seller based on both the market and the condition of the house they want to buy. 

Online Photos are Poor Quality

The first introduction a prospective buyer has of your home is the photos they see online. If they are not professional quality, they are not doing you justice as a seller. Online images that are dark, blurry, turned sideways, or upside down is not acceptable.

Inadequate Marketing

If you thought all agents were the same, this is where you find out that is not true. How and where your realtor markets your home can make a difference in how fast you sell...

Selling a Home With Pets

Selling a Home With Pets

According to the American Pet Products Association survey 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 raise 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 home free of fur
  • maintaining cleanliness in pet areas
  • Make sure pets with aggressive behavior are confined or removed during buyer tours
  • ensuring that both pet and buyer safety is paramount

Pet Odors Must Go or Buyers Will

If you don’t’ get rid of funky animal smells, it will be difficult to get buyers to stay, much less make an offer to purchase. Now I know what you are going to say because I’ve heard it a hundred times, "my pets and my house do not smell.” 

Trust me, unless you are scrupulous, vacuuming daily and washing your pets weekly, you have funky pet smells. What’s more, you may not smell them, but people not living in your home will.

Getting Rid of Pet Odors

Start at the source. Time to give Miss Rosebud or Mr. Stinky a bath. Wash all of your pet’s bedding as well. Next, thoroughly vacuum your home, floors, and upholstered furniture also....

Use Hygge to Sell Your House

Use Hygge to Sell Your House

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 the world’s happiest people. Since you want buyers to be the most satisfied people when they tour your home, let’s hit them with some hygge.

Soft, Warm, Snug Cozy

Hygge decorating is about texture. Soft materials that provide warmth and comfort are essential. Aspects of this decorating style that you can pull together in staging your home for winter are knits, fur or velvet pillows, soft fuzzy throws of soft merino wool or cashmere, and fluffy rugs. Hygge is about color too. Whites and soft greys are perfect wall colors. White woodwork or natural light woods are perfect compliments. The color scheme should be neutral and mix grays, browns, white, and black. Warm wood furnishings fit in perfectly with this décor style as well. Other aspects of...

Outstanding Curb Appeal Can Sell Your Home

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. 

Clean Up

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 be cleaned up. Organize the garage. Power wash your siding. Clean the gutters. Wash the windows, so the sunshine sparkles off the surface of the glass. Wash all the light fixtures on your house and garage.  Don’t overlook the door knockers and knobs. Polish them up!  

Refresh, Repair or Replace

As you go through the cleanup process, make a note of any items that need attention. Decide if all that is required is a facelift, some rehabilitation or the situation is hopeless and you need to invest in a replacement. Here are some common areas to evaluate and issues you want to address.

  • Check the roof for loose or broken shingles
  • Make sure the flashing isn’t bent, shows gaps or other issues that might lead to leaks
  • Repair or replace torn screens or cracked panes of glass
  • Look for any broken shingles...

Stage Your Home to Impress Buyers

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.

Staging Choices 

You have a few options when you stage a home. If the house is empty, hiring a professional stager is plan A. This is the best and easiest way to get your home looking its beautiful and stylish best. All the photos in this post are from a staged home we sold in St. Louis Park. See what I mean?

If plan A and your budget are not on the same playing field, go to plan B and rent furnishings. Rental companies can provide everything you need to stage your home and deliver them as well.

It is not necessary to buy or rent new furniture either. You can use what you have now to stage your home. Your listing agent can give you some suggestions or recommend someone to help. Many professional stagers will tour your home and guide you for a consulting fee of about $250-$300. You can also connect with your old friend Google and research DIY home staging tips, like this article for instance.

Staging Tips

If you decide to stage...

Sell Your Home Like a Boss

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 they sell a home. Some seek recommendations from family and friends. That is one way to do it, but that doesn’t always work out to be the best method alone. Listen to recommendations by all means then go online and research those agents.

See if they have a robust online presence. Hopefully, the agent will have a website and an active blog with well-written informative information for both home buyers and sellers. The online posts will often also tell you how well they know the area, especially the community where you live. Check out their experience, their credentials,...