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...
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...
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
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...
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 ...
The Minneapolis-St Paul Housing Market Overview
As we look at the end of the summer real estate season, things have not changed very much. We see new listings up 7.6 percent over August of last year, which is a bright spot. However, for first-time home buyers, the story is still one of the limited housing choices facing continued strong demand. The situation when we look at listings under $300,000 is still critical regarding supply. The higher we go up the price tiers, the more balance we see. Properties priced from $500,000 up to $1,000,000, offer a more balanced market in which buyers have more options compared to the over $1,000,000, strata, which is a buyers market.
Looking deeper into the data gives us some reason to be optimistic but cautiously so. Even though we saw an increase in new listings, inventory levels fell 8 percent from last year. Pending sales were down 2.9 percent and closed sales ticked slightly upward at 0.2 percent over the same time last year. Home values continue to move upward to the tune of 6.3 percent while spending less time on the market. Buyers at the lower price range are making full price offers or engage in bidding wars to close a deal.
New Construction in the Metro
June 2018 Snapshot – Twin Cities Housing
As we close out the second quarter of the year and head into summer nothing much has changed regarding the ups and downs of Minneapolis-Saint Paul housing stats. Anyone who has been following the housing market in the Twin Cities will not be surprised by the June data. Inventory of homes continues to decline, ditto closed sales, pending sales, and days on the market. What’s up? The median sale price continues to rise. The constraint on sales is a reflection of low supply alone while demand remains strong.
We are halfway into the year with a strong economy and a real estate market that is responding accordingly. Consumers continue to have confidence and a positive outlook for the future. With unemployment at all-time lows and wages rising, home buyers have a reason to be optimistic. Even with interest rates inching upward, demand for homes remains steady.
On the supply side, builders are shifting resources from rental units to single family new construction. Sellers are also considering this may be the best year to make their move and listings are expected to increase accordingly. Things are looking rosy, and we give a thumbs...
The Twin Cities Housing April 2018 Snapshot
I’m not going to lie to you; housing inventory is at a new all-time low. However, we do have a reason for optimism as new listing numbers are improving. Let’s also keep in mind that the early part of April felt more like January this year, with significant snowfall and low temperatures which may have held some potential sellers in winter hibernation mode. Still, sellers and builders are seeing a continued strong economy and are encouraged by a market poised to bestow significant financial gains.
For buyers, this market is still certainly challenging. Home values continue to rise while days on the market are fewer. The median sale price for April was $266,000 up 8.6 percent and days on the market fell 10.2 percent compared to April of last year which drives home the fact that buyers do not have the luxury of dawdling when it comes to offers. Additionally, buyers now have rising interest rates to contend with as well.
Twin Cities Economy and Housing Market is Strong
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...
The Twin Cities Housing Market Snapshot
Many consider March to be the kick-off month for the busiest Real Estate season, spring. The market experienced a slight cooling with pending and closed sales both down. Interest rates have climbed and been hovering around 4.5% which is the highest they have been since 2013. Buyers may be taking a breath, and holding back again to re-evaluate and rethink their strategy. They may be considering the options of paying more each month or settling for less house.
Still, days on the market continue to decline, homes are still being sold at asking price or above, and the median sale price up 9.8% over last year. Inventory of homes, however, continues to shrink. Inventory declined 26.1%. Sellers continue to play it coy with new listings also down 17.5%. These numbers seem to indicate that the slowdown in sales is more the result of low supply rather than a lack of enthusiasm on the demand side of the equation.
The good news is that April is looking...
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...
December Housing Inventory Took a Nosedive as Home Values Soared
The relentless story of happy sellers and frustrated buyers continues. This was especially true in December. Inventory levels plummeted 27.5% over last December and month’s supply dipped to 31.6%. With the ever-shrinking availability of homes to purchase under $500K, the dream of homeownership remains elusive for many first time buyers.
Although mortgage interest rates remained steady at about 4% in the last half of the year, the high demand coupled with low inventory situation caused median sales prices to rise higher. This forced some buyers to adjust their expectations of how much house they could afford.
While year-end market conditions were a nemesis for buyers, sellers had a lot of reasons to celebrate. Homes spent less time on the market with full price offers the norm. Bidding wars on very desirable homes brought in offers above ask price.
Our Favorite Blog Posts of 2017
It’s that time again. As we say goodbye to the old year and look ahead to 2018 with great expectations it is always worthwhile to reflect on the last 12 months and review the work accomplished with some satisfaction. On Our Twin Cities Home Blog, we try to bring you the best information we can find on everything real estate from buying and selling a home to living well in our vibrant and beautiful Twin Cities Metro.
As we look forward to more good work this year we’d like to share some of our favorite posts with you again. So without further ado, here is what we think deserves a second look before we close the books and begin the first chapter of the brand new year!
Has a year really passed since I wrote this one? It was one of my favorites because I am proud to work with Joe all 365 days of the year. He has a great real estate story and a great philosophy on how he approaches real estate so I felt it appropriate to tell it one more time.
Saving more money is a ...
November Twin Cities Hot Housing Market
The end of the year fast approaches and we are almost there. The theme of the story for 2017 has been one of a strong sellers’ market and relentless buyer demand especially in the first time home-buyers price range. It has remained constant through 11 months despite rising interest rates, political turbulence, and a tax overhaul whose effects on the housing market are still uncertain.
Even though the 30-year mortgage interest rate just surged to a five-month high for the last week of December at 3.99%, it is still lower than last year at the same time and a historic bargain. The Minneapolis-St. Paul business community continues to thrive economically and with the third lowest unemployment rate in the nation, an abundance of jobs consumer confidence remains high and continues to support a strong housing market.
Delving deeper into the numbers for November of this year vs. November 2016, find new listings 6.7% lower, inventories 24.1% lower with a months supply of inventory at 1.8. Still, buyers persisted and closed on 4595 homes this year for an increase of 3.8%...