prepare your home to sell

10 Steps to Great Home Curb Appeal

  • Maximize Home Sale Price in 2024: 10 Essential Exterior Enhancements

  • Modern Minneapolis Home with amazing curb appeal

    As you gear up to list your home for sale in 2024, it's crucial to focus not just on sprucing up the interior but also on enhancing the exterior to maximize your property's appeal. The significance of curb appeal cannot be overstated—it forms the critical first impression that can make or break a potential sale. An inviting exterior can draw in buyers, making them eager to see more, regardless of the home's interior. Here's how to ensure your home stands out positively from the moment potential buyers lay eyes on it.

    1. Enhance Your Landscaping

    Keep your yard manicured by trimming shrubs and trees, replacing any dead plants, and adding colorful annuals to brighten your space. Shrubs are cost-effective and enhance the look immediately compared to the long growth period for trees.

    2. Lawn Care

    A lush, green lawn is essential. Regularly mow, edge, and water your grass to keep it vibrant. Remove weeds and clear away any yard debris to present a well-maintained appearance.

    3. Vibrant Flower Beds

    Clear out any dead foliage and replenish mulch to give your flower beds a fresh look. Plant mature annuals for instant color and appeal.

    4. Backyard Appeal

    Ensure the backyard is clean, organized, and inviting. If you have a pool or water feature, maintain it meticulously. Consider decluttering to make the space look larger and more welcoming.

    5. Walkways and Paths

    Keep all paths clean and well-maintained. Repair any damage to concrete areas and consider adding solar lighting to enhance the pathway to your front door.

    6. Front Door and Porch

    A welcoming front...

Preparing Your Home to Sell - The Deep Clean

Preparing Your Twin Cities Home for Sale in 2024

Preparing Your Twin Cities Home for Sale in 2024: The Ultimate Cleanliness Guide for Top Real Estate Agents

clean modern home

As we move into 2024, the real estate market in the Twin Cities continues to evolve, and so do the expectations of home buyers. To stand out in this competitive market, it's crucial to present your home in its best possible light. A spotless, immaculate home not only showcases pride of ownership but also signals to potential buyers that the property has been meticulously maintained. Here's your comprehensive guide to preparing your Twin Cities home for sale, ensuring it shines above the rest.

Deep Cleaning: Beyond the Basics

Start with a thorough decluttering and depersonalization of your space. Once that's achieved, dive into deep cleaning. Aim for a level of cleanliness that makes your home gleam with sunlight streaming through windows, reflecting off polished surfaces, and capturing the admiration of every visitor.

Addressing Unpleasant Odors

Odors can be a significant deterrent for potential buyers, often unbeknownst to homeowners accustomed to their surroundings. Common culprits include pet odors, mold, mildew, and smoke. Tackle these head-on by cleaning or replacing affected items and avoiding masking smells with deodorizers, which can exacerbate the problem. For persistent odors, consider professional cleaning services to ensure a fresh and welcoming environment.

A Room-by-Room Cleaning Checklist

Walls and Ceilings:

Vacuum the edges of ceilings and apply a fresh coat of white paint if needed. Clean and repaint marked or dingy walls...

The 5 Day Plan To Turn Closet Chaos into Organized Bliss

The 5 Day Plan to Prepare you Home for Sale

With April just around the corner, our thoughts turn to spring. For many, spring not only signals the onset of warm weather, flowers, and birdsong but heralds the time to sweep out the winter detritus from hearth and home, otherwise known as Spring Cleaning. The first logical step in the process is removing all that stuff you really don’t want, don’t need, or never use, your clutter.

For those of you preparing to sell your home this spring, an absolute must for you is to take your cluttered chaos and turn it into organized harmony , but even if you are staying put, what better way to start the new season than with a home free of extra stuff to get in the way of your feng shui. Now that you are sold on the idea of paring down and organizing, there are a couple ways to approach the process of organizing your home.

  • the intense weekend (or two) decluttering boot camp
  • the series of multiple shorter de-junking sessions

Personally, since I am not a fan of pain and suffering, I prefer the “take-it-in-smaller-bites” process. Keep in mind, regardless of whether you opt for the intense program or the low impact version, you still need to perform the same tasks which are:

  • throwing out what is broken, expired, or otherwise useless
  • donating or selling what is in good, workable condition but is no longer wanted, needed or loved
  • organizing what is left in a clean space


How to get my home ready for inspection

10 Tips to Prepare for Your Home Inspection

When a seller and a buyer meet the minds, the result is a signed purchase offer. The contract is contingent on having a professional home inspection most of the time. The after-the-offer phase of a home sale is the step that can most likely sink the deal and create a great deal of anxiety for sellers and buyers alike.

Getting ahead of potential inspection items

As a seller, you want your home to pass inspection with as few callouts as possible. Hopefully, while preparing your home for sale, you looked at your house with a buyer’s critical eye and made repairs where necessary. Better yet, you had a pre-listing home inspection and took care of all the callouts on the list.

However, if you did neither of those, you should still make preparations to facilitate the inspection process. You should do so even if you had an evaluation previously, which will be evident as you read through my list.

1.  Keep up appearances in and around your home.

In other words, keep your home clean and neat. Although you don’t get points for that on the inspection, it leaves a positive impression. You want the inspector to see that your home has been cared for and maintained. So even after you have an offer in hand, don’t let things go. 

2. Make sure there is easy access to areas that will be inspected.

The inspector will check the basement, crawl space, and attic. She will look in the cabinets under the sinks to check for leaks. Remove any clutter that is in the way of getting to these areas. Is your attic access pull-down stairs in a closet?  Emptying it is probably a good idea. If a space is not accessible, that will throw up warning signs you don’t want.

3. Remove and replace blown-out light bulbs.

Replace any burned-out light bulbs both in and outside the house. A burned-out light bulb will require that the inspector check to make sure...

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...

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...

Prepare Now To Sell Later

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 some decluttering and a deep cleaning that’s great.  If on the other hand, you are a homeowner that knows your family nest could use some feathering, here is a quick list to get you started on your project.

The Kitchen – Deal Maker or Deal Breaker

Updated kitchens are right at the top of the list for potential home buyers. A new kitchen can make your home irresistible. If you have an older kitchen, does that mean you should forge ahead and replace it with a $40,000 renovation?  It depends...

The Biggest Turn-offs for Buyers

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 with fuse boxes and ancient plumbing. If an Octopus furnace, the monster in the basement also known as a gravity furnace, with asbestos wrapping around the ducts lives in the basement that will generally have buyers looking for the door quickly. 

It would be in the seller’s best interest to address major issues such as these beforehand, but if the circumstances make that impossible, there can always be a credit back to the buyer at closing to take care of the replacements, although that solution may end up costing the seller more in the long run.

Location Challenges

Here is that location,...

Preparing Your Home to Sell

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!

Preparing your home to sell step 2 

The best way to tackle the task of purging is to separate everything into 3 categories, toss, donate, and keep. Go room to room, basement to attic and toss all items that are broken, no longer working, or in a condition too poor to donate.  Next, items in good condition but you no longer want or need you can donate.  What is left is all that you want to keep.  At this point, whatever you don’t need for day to day living or will not be used to stage your home you can pack ready for when you move to your...

10 Ways To Grab Buyers at Hello

That All Important First Impression

It’s well established that a first introduction is vitally important. That initial handshake can either lead to a meeting of the minds, or to no deal. “I hope I make a bad first impression,” said no one ever!  In real estate, we see this play out again and again.

When you are selling, the first personal impression when a buyer tours your home is like the handshake. If they don’t like what they see pulling up to the curb, walking into the lobby, or opening the front door, the cash register is going to ring up “no sale”.

Although a good first impression of your home may not always end up in making a deal, it is always the first step into getting to that important offer to purchase.  Here are 10 ways to make a great first impression on prospective buyers.

1. Get Buyers To See Your Home

Today, most real estate transactions are born on the internet. The first interaction a prospective buyer has with your house is online. If there is no connection with them in those first photos, it’s extremely unlikely to go to the next step with a private showing. Make sure you have an agent that takes quality photos of your property, preferably professional ones. 

2. Remove Clutter, Organize and Depersonalize

Removing Clutter and organizing is critically important. A well-organized home without clutter and disarray allows buyers to see there is enough room for themselves and all their stuff. One reason people look for a new home is they have outgrown the one they currently reside in so if they think for even one second your home is not spacious enough or lacks storage they will move on. Remove personal photos and memorabilia as well. You want your prospective buyer to think of this as their home, not yours so please remove that urn containing Rover’s ashes off the mantel.

3. Clean Until...

Preparing Your Home to Sell - It's a Journey!

Refresh, Refurbish, Repair or Replace - Oh My!

After you de-clutter and depersonalize, it's time to review your house room by room and neutralize, repair, replace and refresh.  Since you are selling your home, we do not want to invest in expensive repairs or mammoth remodels so our goal is to look for ways to make your house appealing to buyers at minimal cost to you, the seller. Keeping that objective in mind, we want you to Invest your time and money in easy fixes that will pay off by bringing you top dollar for your home!

However, and it cannot be overstated, you may love every color and accept every imperfection, but to a potential buyer, these will be reasons not to purchase your property, make you a low offer, and believe me they will be looking for explanations. We do not want to provide them with any, so let's begin in the home's interior, starting with the kitchen, which can often make or break a sale.

The Yellow Brick Road Leads to the Kitchen 

When it comes to selling your house, the kitchen is the most crucial room to potential buyers, so you want your kitchen to make a good impression.  We want them to envision whipping up their favorite gourmet delights here. So it follows that the kitchen is first and foremost when it comes to getting a good return on your refurbishing investment.  A dated kitchen will probably translate into several thousand dollars less on a buyer's offer.  If this describes your kitchen, we want to update it as economically as possible.

If you have a relatively new kitchen and the cabinets are in good condition, freshen them up with a coat of wax.  If they are old and dated, painting them is an inexpensive option and will go a long way in modernizing the look and feel of the space.  As a bonus, painted cabinets are very trendy right now!  Another great idea is to remove some of the upper...