The right REALTOR®

Tell someone you are buying a home and chances are they’ll have a story for you. This happened to so and so, so and so sold their house in less than a day,  you’re going to pay how much for that house? I could go on and on but I think you get the point, especially if you’ve purchased a home. I always say buying a home is like buying a car or applying for a job, everyone’s done it so they’re all experts.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to sound mean spirited, I know everyone’s just trying to help but all this well meaning advice can quickly get overwhelming especially if you’ve never done this before and are already stressed! That’s why it’s important to work with someone you trust. Having a good REALTOR® on your side is vital, a good REALTOR® will listen, they will make you feel supported, a good REALTOR® will gather all the facts and help you make the right decision for you, a good REALTOR® will put your needs before their own and a good REALTOR® knows the neighborhood and current market conditions. Things change and in this market things can change quickly, just because this is how it was for them does not mean this is how it’s going to be for you.

Everyone’s experience is unique and it’s important to remember that. The journey to your home may be full of multiple and lost offers or you may have found the one your first night out. It doesn’t matter how you got there what’s important is that you feel good once you’re there and you’ve enjoyed the company along the way.

 

4 things to do before starting your home search

Before you start your new home search be sure to do these 4 things to maximize your time and avoid frustration, and possible disappointment.

  1. Hone your search by doing a lot of research and I mean A LOT of research. Take a look at where you want to live, why do you want to live there? Do you know how long it will take you to get to work? Is public transportation an option? Check out the local schools, even if you don’t have kids, homes in good school districts tend to be easier to sell and eventually you will sell.  Take a look at neighborhood crime reports, don’t forget to check out surrounding neighborhoods.  Talk to the neighbors if possible. Visit a local establishment at night. I could go on, but I think you’re getting the point.
  2. Understand your finances, really understand them. Like what does it mean to my monthly mortgage payment, my down payment to up my search 10K.
  3. Commit to your search. It’s best to go out a few times a week and look at 4-5 houses at a time. Saving it all for Saturday and looking at 10 houses is not fun for anyone. Trust me when I tell you that they will all start to run together, by the time you get to the 10th house, you’ll be hangry (hungry and angry at the same time) and unable to think about anything else or make a decision.
  4. Be honest with yourself about what you want.  Just because everyone is telling you that you can survive with only 1 bathroom or a 1 car garage, they won’t be living there, you will.

#SundayFunday

We are so lucky to live where we live, we have a wonderful park system and so many lakes. But if you’re like me you often take it all for granted and forget to take advantage of it. So today I encourage you to get out and enjoy it, go for a bike ride, a boat ride if possible or simply relax and enjoy the view!
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5 things to do, after they accept the offer.

Congratulations, they accepted your offer. Now what?

  1. Get the home inspected. The time you have to do this is typically outlined in the purchase agreement and the clock starts ticking as soon as it is fully executed, meaning all parties have agreed and signed.
  2. Connect with your lender. Your Realtor should be in contact with your lender as well but you will want to make sure they have everything they need from you. They will also need to order the appraisal, they need this to verify the home you are purchasing is worth the loan amount.
  3. Select a title company, your Realtor can do this for you but if you know someone in the business you can absolutely use them. The title company is where you will go to sign all the documents and get the keys on closing day!
  4. You will be required to get a Home Owners insurance policy. Once you have that in place let your lender, Realtor and title company know.
  5. And finally turn on your utilities or have them transferred to your name.

 

Fresh Flowers

Staging your home with fresh flowers doesn’t have to be expensive, especially if you’re selling your home during prime peony season in Minnesota!

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You don’t need a huge bouquet to make an impact, a few peonies in a vase are welcoming and add a nice pop of color to any room of the home.

Multiple offers

The real estate market is moving quickly and because of that more and more buyers are finding themselves in multiple offers. If you’re a buyer, multiple offer situations are potentially more frustrating and can be more stressful depending on the timeframe and your previous, if any home buying experience. It’s hard to know exactly what to do considering only one offer will result in a sale. In most situations you will need to be prepared with a pre-approval letter, solid financing, earnest money and an offer that is at list or above. In addition it’s best to keep the offer clean, pay your own closing costs, remove any contingencies and/or reduce the amount of time for the contingencies you do keep without putting yourself at risk. Offer the best value you can comfortably afford, if you reach a number that doesn’t feel right stop. If you don’t get the house you can rest knowing it went for more than you wanted to pay.

 

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.