The Home Inspection

The home inspection it a very important part of todays home buying process,  the inspection will arm you with information you need to make an informed decision and plan for the future.  To ensure you get the opportunity to perform a home inspection an Inspection Contingency should be included in the purchase agreement.  Assuming the purchase agreement has been accepted you will then have a set number of days to complete your inspection(s). The number of days you get to complete your inspection was agreed to in the purchase agreement. In Minnesota it’s common to ask for 3-5 days to do the inspection(s).

A home inspection is done by a third party.  You can ask your Realtor, friend or family for a recommendation, the decision on who to use is entirely up to you. An inspector will spend between 3 to 5 hours in the home. They look at everything, including but not limited to the exterior; roof, gutters, grading, interior; walls, electrical, plumbing, mechanicals; furnace, ac and hot water heater. You have the option to set up as many inspections as you would like, you are responsible for the cost of these inspections.  And yes, you should attend the inspection, at the very least you should show up for the last hour so you can talk to the inspector.

After the inspector completes their inspection they will provide you with a written evaluation of the home. This evaluation will tell you about the current condition of the home, they can not and do not predict the future. At this time you can use this information (the evaluation) to make an informed decision about the home. Your choices are; to proceed with the purchase, negotiate with the seller to fix or pay for necessary repairs uncovered during the inspection or back out of the deal.

Staging Tip

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Potted plants are a simple update to any room.  Instead of flowers place a succulent in a colorful pot on the dining room table. They last longer than flowers and need very little attention.

Curb Appeal

If you’re listing your home in March or early April don’t forget to pay attention to your yard. I know it’s too cold for flowers in Minnesota but winter tends to leave behind a mess. So until the April showers arrive to clean and green things up you’re going to need to get out there and do a few things on your own.

  1. Sweep your sidewalk and the front steps. You’ll be surprised at how much cleaner it will feel without 5 pounds of salt and sand covering it.
  2. Remove the Christmas decorations, the dying wreath and pots of brown spruce tips have got to go!
  3. Replace your old doormat with something more colorful.
  4. Pick up the garbage that has somehow found it’s way in to your front yard.

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How many houses should I look at before buying?

This is a very common question and unfortunately it’s not one I’m able to answer.  So why did I bring this up? I’m so happy you asked. I bring it up because I think it’s important to talk about. A lot of buyers, especially first time home buyers put a lot of pressure on themselves to find the perfect home in the right amount of time. Such a tricky formula when you think about it. What is the right amount of time? The right amount for you may be the first night out (this does happen) the right amount of time for your friend may be their 10th time out or maybe it’s a year from now. (this happens too.) There is no right or wrong answer or an exact number of homes you need to see before you’re ready to buy. But trust me when I tell you that you’ll know it when you find it and that first house you see really may be the one.

The Home Appraisal

A few things you should know:

Appraisal: An expert estimate of the value of something.

Appraisers: Third-party certified or licensed contractors hired by the lender to provide their expert opinion on the price of the home.

Cost: Even though the lender requires the appraisal the cost will be passed on to you, the buyer. Appraisals typically costs around $500. You can pay this fee upfront or at closing.

Process:  The appraisers visits the home, takes pictures and does a lot of research, they take a look at recent sales, current market trends, home amenities, number of bathrooms, bedrooms square feet and condition of the home to determine the value.

Why: They are required by the lender, to protect the lenders investment. They want to make sure you are not borrowing more than the home is worth because the home serves as collateral for the mortgage you are taking out.

What if my home doesn’t appraise for the agreed to purchase price: At this point you have a few options. You can seek another opinion. You can renegotiate the price of the home. Or you can make up the difference by brining your own additional monies to closing.

 

The Spring Market

Now is the time to sell your home. Yes now. Winter may still have us feeling down but the Spring market has arrived. Buyers are outnumbering the amount of homes currently on the market. Fewer choices means less competition and higher prices for sellers. We have buyers in almost every price range who can’t find a house to buy. Seems crazy doesn’t it. But it’s true. With more buyers in the market if your house is marketed, properly priced and staged correctly you could find yourself in multiple offers.

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Kenny neighborhood

Kenny is one of nine neighborhoods that make up Southwest Minneapolis. Kenny is largely made up of single-family homes, the typical story and a half home dominates the neighborhood but there are also two-story homes in addition to a growing number of remodeled homes. Kenny residents are within walking distance to popular restaurants, coffee shops and grocery stores, schools, Kenny Elementary and Anthony Middle School, parks and the library.

The demographics of the Kenny community are changing, it used to be once you were ready to settle down and have children you left searching for a bigger house and better schools. That no longer seems to be the case, we’re experiencing it first hand, our schools are growing, some even have waiting lists and let’s not even talk about the restaurants.

Another indicator of it’s increasing popularity is evidenced by the number of homes for sale or lack thereof. According to the Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota as of today, 2/9/2016 there are currently only 7 homes for sale in the Kenny neighborhood of Minneapolis. 2 of the 7 homes currently have offers pending inspection.

As the spring market heats up there may be opportunities for those thinking about selling. Understanding the local market, specifically your neighborhood and how it differs from other local markets is more important than ever.

 

 

 

 

 

Paint colors that sell

A fresh coat of paint can go a long way in getting your home ready to sell. The colors that appeal to today’s buyers are soft, neutral grays and greiges (gray + beige).

I don’t think anyone would argue their popularity but finding the perfect gray or greige can be hard. Depending on the undertone, grays can quickly go too blue or too green, and beige can be so boring, anyone remember the days of real estate beige?

We found the colors below through our own trial and error, professional stagers, designers and friends and we’ve used them time and time again, they give every home a fresh, more current, updated look.

Understated by Behr 

Accessible Beige by Sherwin Williams

Backdrop by Sherwin Williams

Repose Gray by Sherwin Williams

Classic Gray by Benjamin Moore

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 The picture above provides a beautiful example of Repose Gray

Preparing your home for sale

People say to us all the time; We’re thinking of moving soon, what should we do to get our house ready?  The answer is simple but it’s not easy.

Clean your home. Not just surface clean your home, deep clean your home. Wash the windows, clean under the bed, couch, the big items you never move, the oven, the refrigerator, the storage room, I think you’re starting to get the point.

De-clutter. Go through your home, every room and every closet, don’t forget storage rooms and the laundry room. If you’re not planning to take it with you to the new house, it’s time to throw it away or donate it. Put the items in a box immediately, and take that box right to the car. Trust me doing it all at once will make it easier. Don’t delay, just do it!

Paint. Nothing freshens up a new home better than paint. Find a nice neutral color. Soft grays and greige (a combination between beige and gray) are very popular right now. If you need help with this, just ask!

Finish all unfinished projects. Yes, they need to be done. You can’t sell your home without completing them. End of story.

Get rid of all that ‘stuff”; old paint cans, cleaning supplies, things that were left by the previous owner and get rid of them. If you happen to live in Minneapolis it’s easy, they have hazardous waste drop off sites. You just need your drivers license and some time. Trust me when I say it’s easy, you don’t even have to get out of your car!

If you commit to doing this your home will be ready to go when you are.

New Years Goal; buying a home.

Is buying a home one of your 2016 New Years goals? Following these simple and easy steps will help you achieve your goal.

1. Get pre-approved for a home loan. This is important, it’s good to know exactly how much you can spend before you spend hours looking and falling in love with a home you may not be able to afford. You will also need this before you can make an offer. In a fast moving market like Minneapolis, if you don’t have a pre-approval letter the sellers won’t take your offer seriously.

2. Now that you know a little more about your finances, start saving! For your down payment, closing costs or the new furniture you’d like to buy after you move in!

3. Do a little research on where you want to live. Talk to friends, family and co-workers. What do they like /not like about their city or neighborhood? What’s the commute like? Who lives there? Ask about schools, even if you don’t have or plan to have children, ask how the homes near them are selling. Both are good indicators of how desirable the neighborhood is.

4. Contact the Matt Engen Group. It’s time to start the search. Having someone on your side who is familiar with the area, who understands the process and is an expert negotiator is critical. Buying a home is a major financial and emotional undertaking, having someone on your side will make this process more manageable and fun for you.

5. Start looking at houses. For most people this is the fun part!

6. Fall in love with a home and make an offer. There are many steps, decisions to make and forms to fill out to make this happen. Good thing you’ve decided to work with a REALTOR. Having someone on your side walking you through how to make an offer and what to include will make putting in an offer less stressful and more manageable.

7. And now the fun starts. Once the offer is accepted there are home inspections, appraisals, home owners insurance to buy and a variety of other tasks that need to be completed to get you to the closing table. The closing table is where the deed is actually transferred, you get keys and the house becomes yours. Look for more on this in our next blog post.