Moving to MN http://www.movingtominnesota.com Mon, 31 Jul 2017 19:47:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 What should I be doing now even if I’m not quite ready to sell? http://www.movingtominnesota.com/what-should-i-be-doing-now-even-if-im-not-quite-ready-to-sell/ http://www.movingtominnesota.com/what-should-i-be-doing-now-even-if-im-not-quite-ready-to-sell/#respond Fri, 04 Nov 2016 09:46:20 +0000 http://www.movingtominnesota.com/?p=2985 This is such an important question and one I wish I could broadcast out there for all potential sellers to see, even if they are still a couple years away ...

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This is such an important question and one I wish I could broadcast out there for all potential sellers to see, even if they are still a couple years away from selling! Here is why: when you call us to tell us you are ready to sell, most of the time the seller is ready to list their house NOW. Selling is such an emotional journey and when I have to come to your house and point out everything wrong with your house, give you a laundry list of items to fix before you can sell (for top dollar) and tell you that your house really isn’t ready to go on the market for at least another month, this is devastating to sellers and immediately creates a stressor.

Here is a list of things I would tell a seller to start doing at least 6 months prior feeling like its time to put their house on the market:

  1. Take lots of exterior pictures and at different times of the year. This is SO important! The spring market can start as early as February/March here in Minnesota which can be a very ugly time of the year. February/March pictures of houses are generally not that attractive – the snow, if there is any, looks dingy. If the snow is melted, your yard doesn’t look pretty and green and your landscaping looks drab. The trees have no leaves. The professional pictures just don’t do your house justice, no matter how awesome our photographer is. If you can email me a couple exterior photos of your house and yard from different times of the year (think gorgeous fall colors, summer patio shots, spring photos when the yard is lush and the flowers are in bloom!), you give me so many more options to showcase your home to potential buyers!
  2. Fix items in obvious disrepair. Even if you have to bribe a friend to come over and walk thru your house with you to point out things that look like they need attention, having a neutral 3rd party or an unbiased eye look at your house can help you start tackling the list of things to get done sooner rather than later. I’m happy to come over and do a walk thru with you as well so we can make a list of things that I think should be done before we start the listing process. The more you can get done now, the better off and less stressed you will be when it comes time to sell.
  3. Take care of your yard. I don’t expect you to be the lawn whisperer but if your flower beds are full of weeds and your yard is full of dead spots, try to do what you can to take care of these items before your house goes on the market. Buyers are judgmental. They are going to walk up to your house and be prepared to find things wrong. If they are greeted by dead grass and overgrown landscaping, they will have a negativity towards your home before they have even walked in your front door.
  4. Staging. I’m a huge proponent of professional staging but it is expensive and I realize not everyone can afford it. However, most stagers offer consultations and I cannot recommend this enough! Hire a stager to come over to your house and give you tips. Find out what color to paint your kitchen walls, have the stager give you recommendations on how to place your furniture to showcase your house the best, get their opinion on which decor items look good and which ones make your house look cluttered…everything! Money spent doing this is money saved for you when it comes time to list your house and by having the stager come out well in advance of listing your house, this will allow you to do a lot of the work (painting, hanging pictures, decluttering, etc) yourself, thus saving you money.
  5. Declutter. Have you ever walked into a house and just felt like the walls were closing in on you? I have and it is not a pleasant feeling. Decluttering is such an important part of the selling process and yet can also be one of the most overwhelming because it is a large task. However, starting the process early enough will give you time to get rid of or put away the items you do not need or that create that feeling of clutter so that when it comes time to list your house for sale, your house will feel well maintained, clean, and spacious and will allow a buyer to easily envision themselves living there.

There you have it, my top 5 things that sellers need to know when they are even THINKING about selling. Psst…pass this list along to anyone you know who might be tossing around the idea of selling so they can get working on these items now so come spring market, they are ready!

 

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Fall maintenance tips http://www.movingtominnesota.com/fall-maintenance-tips/ http://www.movingtominnesota.com/fall-maintenance-tips/#respond Mon, 24 Oct 2016 11:42:57 +0000 http://www.movingtominnesota.com/?p=2983 It’s that time of year again, time to get your house winter-ready! Here are some tips to help you get started: Clean your gutters and downspouts of debris and leaves. ...

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It’s that time of year again, time to get your house winter-ready! Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Clean your gutters and downspouts of debris and leaves.
  • If you have been holding out on an exterior paint job, now is the time to do it! Lower humidity and cooler temps

    make this the ideal time to get any exterior painting completed.

  • Turn off exterior valves and drain the water from them before freezing temps arrive to prevent pipes from bursting.
  • Have your woodburning replace inspected, cleaned and repaired to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • If you have a hot water boiler, fall is the perfect time to drain the expansion tank, check water pressure and bleed

    the radiators before the cold comes.

  • Check doors and windows for leaks or drafts.
  • Divide and/or move perennials.
  • Trim any dead branches from trees so heavy snowfall won’t cause them to fall and cause potential problems.
  • Clean or replace your furnace filters.
  • Inspect your roof for curling, buckling or cracked shingles. Replace them before the first snowfall if needed.
  • Change the direction of your ceiling fans to create and updraft and help redistribute warm air.

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Financial planners and the world of saving money http://www.movingtominnesota.com/financial-planners-and-the-world-of-saving-money/ http://www.movingtominnesota.com/financial-planners-and-the-world-of-saving-money/#respond Sun, 09 Oct 2016 03:40:31 +0000 http://www.movingtominnesota.com/?p=2981 Do you need one? Can you save regularly without? What do other people do? What constitutes enough for retirement? Of course the first thing to say is that there are ...

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Do you need one? Can you save regularly without? What do other people do? What constitutes enough for retirement?

Of course the first thing to say is that there are no right answers when it comes to saving money. However, the most useful piece of advice I have ever come across in regards to money is this (from a planner named Ruth Hayden): It doesn’t matter what you deserve, what you need or how you feel. Managing money is about simple addition and subtraction. It has to add up! In other words you have to downsize your present life so that saving money for retirement and having a healthy bank balance is possible. If that means you live in a tough neighborhood or a too small house, so be it.

The second most useful piece of information (that changed my perspective and thus became self advice) is from an NPR podcast that mentioned someone’s theory that the reason that Chinese people were better at saving money than Americans had to do with some linguistic reference to money which implied a time that expanded across a lifetime, not just what is there right now. It certainly made me think of retirement as part of today’s income stream.

The third item that has changed my view of savings is watching what others do and don’t do. While most of you don’t have the opportunity to know what all your friends are doing savings wise, I have the sort of occupation where I am regularly asking people how much money they make and how much money they have in the bank.

I have seen people who have zero savings or retirement and are living paycheck to paycheck with $200,000 of income for a family of 4 and people who are families of 4 living on $50,000 and are saving for retirement. Obviously one family is applying items one and two to their habits and the other is not.

Certainly this perspective breaks down when you are living in dire poverty, where the goal is to not be hungry each day. But, since most of you who are reading this are not in that category, it is worth taking the advice/perspective from above.

I occasionally get asked what is a normal amount for someone to pay for a house when they have x income. While this question implies an excess of income such that someone could spend more, the important point is if there is just you or your self and one other person, why do what everybody else is doing? However, to answer the question, mortgage companies will approve you for roughly 1/3 of your income. To answer the question directly, mortgage companies will approve you for roughly 1/3 of your gross monthly income. However, why let them make decisions for you? If there is just you and one other person, and you have a high income do you really want to take care of and furnish a giant house? Or, are you still at the stage of life where you really only need a small house or condo? My point is simply this, don’t let other people and or outside forces or common practice determined for you what you need

That brings us to the question of financial planners. The older I get the more I can see differences in do it yourself jobs and jobs done by people who know what they’re doing. While you might feel confident that you can manage your own investment portfolio, I believe in the notion of expertise, even though our do it yourself society says there is nothing to be known. My advice is to get a financial planner and get serious about saving money. Having someone that you can meet with her or speak to you helps you focus on your savings goals. Financial planners take a small percentage of the amount that you are saving from the mutual fund that they put your money into. Some financial planners work in what is called a fee for service model. That means that you pay them an hourly rate for their advice and direction.

Definitely something to think about and consider! I frequently get asked for the name of my financial planner. I can’t recommend him highly enough. His name is Chad Norling and he can be reached at 952-884-3326 or cnorling@advisornet.com.

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How does Zillow impact the way homes are bought and sold in the Twin Cities? http://www.movingtominnesota.com/how-does-zillow-impact-the-way-homes-are-bought-and-sold-in-the-twin-cities/ http://www.movingtominnesota.com/how-does-zillow-impact-the-way-homes-are-bought-and-sold-in-the-twin-cities/#respond Thu, 29 Sep 2016 04:38:53 +0000 http://www.movingtominnesota.com/?p=2979 Zillow Inc. is a large conglomerate that collects data about individual homes for sale or rent in the US. It is the largest and most popular of various companies that ...

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Zillow Inc. is a large conglomerate that collects data about individual homes for sale or rent in the US. It is the largest and most popular of various companies that take the information not only about FSBO property for sale, but also property for sale represented by real estate agents in the proprietary database, owned by the Boards of Realtors across the country, known as the multiple listing service or MLS and repackages the content on their widely advertised site.

As a result of a 2008 lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice against the National Association of Realtors, anyone can have access to the information in the MLS. Zillow, and others (Trulia, Hot Pads, Pad Mapper, etc. etc.), take that data and create a consumer friendly search platform which allows a consumer to know about the current inventory of homes for sale which had previously been information proprietary to real estate agents.

Zillow and its competitors allow consumers to do parallel searches with their Realtor as they look for a home. This is generally seento be a good thing as consumers can bring houses to their agents’ attention as well as vice versa. Real estate agents see it as a way to advertise directly to potential buyers in addition to advertising to other real estate agent.

Zillow Inc, in particular, has become well known for other options on their search platform. Their Zestimate purports to give an estimate on the value of houses based on nearby sales, County tax records, GIS mapping surveys and neighborhood data. Zillow’s CEO was recently in the news when his house sold for 40% less than Zillow’s Zestimate said it was worth. They also, along with Craigslist, are a primary choice for owners to place information about rentals, which are not covered by some MLS systems.

As with all corporations, following the money is an important activity. Zillow makes money from advertising, so a consumer would do well to understand that links to agents and other services are like other online advertising, someone is paying to be there. It doesn’t mean anything about connection, quality, experience, etc.

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Sellers: What do you need to disclose to potential buyers? http://www.movingtominnesota.com/sellers-what-do-you-need-to-disclose-to-potential-buyers/ http://www.movingtominnesota.com/sellers-what-do-you-need-to-disclose-to-potential-buyers/#respond Sun, 11 Sep 2016 10:27:46 +0000 http://www.movingtominnesota.com/?p=2977 Everything! No seriously, you should be letting buyers know about any defects, improvements, or issues you have had during your time at the home. Why am I so adamant about ...

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Everything! No seriously, you should be letting buyers know about any defects, improvements, or issues you have had during your time at the home. Why am I so adamant about this? Because being forthcoming and honest on the sellers property disclosure can protect you from future lawsuits.

Story time: Years ago a seller failed to mention that the attic has been damp during rainfall and they have seen evidence of mold at one time. The buyer had an inspection and unfortunately for that buyer, the year had been incredibly dry so the inspector did not note any issues with condensation or dampness in the attic. Fast forward to 3 months after the buyers moved in and numerous storms rolled through MN and the new homeowner discovered that the attic was wet…very wet and musty and stinky. The new homeowner pulled out a bunch of the sopping wet insulation only to discover mold hidden behind it. The new homeowner hired a mold specialist to come in who determined that this was a problem that had been occurring for years and years and had been hidden behind new insulation and plastic. What do you think happens now? The new homeowner is MAD and wants an explanation from the previous sellers as to why they did not tell them about the moisture issues and tried to hide it. After months and months of legal drama and lots of money, the previous homeowners were found to be at fault and were required to pay the new homeowners expenses for having the mold removed and the entire attic redone as well as other various fees they incurred as a result of their omission. The moral of the story is be honest. Even if you think the information is detrimental to the sale of your home, you are much better off (morally, financially and otherwise!) to be upfront and honest with any situation that has occurred at the home than to try to hide it and have to deal with the possibility of future trouble.

On another note, if you find yourself feeling like you are having to disclose too many negative things, it may be time to spend some money to correct these items so you can note on the disclosure that certain items were repaired…bonus points for you!

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What is the final walk thru? http://www.movingtominnesota.com/what-is-the-final-walk-thru/ http://www.movingtominnesota.com/what-is-the-final-walk-thru/#respond Tue, 30 Aug 2016 07:19:40 +0000 http://www.movingtominnesota.com/?p=2975 The final walk thru is the time for the buyer of a home to do a walk thru of the property to ensure that the condition has not changed and ...

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The final walk thru is the time for the buyer of a home to do a walk thru of the property to ensure that the condition has not changed and items expected to stay with the home have not been removed. Here is what the buyer is looking for at the final walk thru:

  1. Are all mechanicals and appliances in the same working order as when the purchase agreement was written?
  2. Are there any holes in the wall that were not there when the purchase agreement was written?
  3. Did the seller remove items from the house that should have stayed (i.e. bathroom mirrors, blinds, etc)
  4. Did the sellers remove all of their personal items from the home?

It is very important to buyers and sellers that the final walk thru be done prior to closing to ensure that neither party is not fulfilling their end of the agreement. Failing to follow the terms of the purchase agreement and/or neglecting to have a final walk thru can lead to major delays and financial responsibility to get house in proper condition. Always do your final walk thru!

 

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Nine things to consider when choosing your new neighborhood http://www.movingtominnesota.com/nine-things-to-consider-when-choosing-your-new-neighborhood/ http://www.movingtominnesota.com/nine-things-to-consider-when-choosing-your-new-neighborhood/#respond Thu, 25 Aug 2016 11:01:49 +0000 http://www.movingtominnesota.com/?p=2972 Every single buyer is different so therefore what each person finds most important while searching for their new neighborhood is different, however, after years of working with buyers and sellers ...

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Every single buyer is different so therefore what each person finds most important while searching for their new neighborhood is different, however, after years of working with buyers and sellers we have put together the list of the 9 most important things to take into consideration when choosing your new neighborhood:

  1. Schools. If you have children, this can be a huge factor in deciding whether or not a neighborhood is right for you. Be sure to do your research.
  2. Local businesses/shops. Are the local stores and businesses busy and well maintained or run down and/or vacant? The level of business and upkeep at stores in your potential neighborhood can be a good indicator as to whether or not a neighborhood is thriving or suffering.
  3. Convenience. To some people, having stores nearby is considered a convenience while others consider the proximity to a freeway a convenience. Determine what you find most desirable and look into how convenient these items are in your potential neighborhood.
  4. Public transportation. If public transportation is important to you, be sure to look into this. Find out where the nearest bus stop is, how often the buses stop, how much it will cost you to ride the bus from here, etc. If you rely on public transportation, the answers to these questions can have a huge impact on your choice.
  5. Rural or suburban or city? What is most important to you…green space? Bustling nightlife? Walkability? Know what you prefer when you start your home search and make sure that the neighborhoods you are considering fit that preference.
  6. Crime statistics. Do your research before you write an offer. Call the local police department, ask local business owners, question potential neighbors and search the internet to find out if you need to be concerned about any overly high crime rates. Don’t go into this blind!
  7. Taxes. Be sure to check into the tax rate history, find out if there are any assessments or planned improvements, and know what the current tax rates are for each specific area you are considering.
  8. The future. Whether you are going to stay in this neighborhood for 1 year or for the next 30, its important to know if there are any major future developments in the plans as these can affect the sale of your house in the future.
  9. Your gut. Spend some time in your desired neighborhood. Walk around, socialize, check out the local shops, neighbors and parks. This is the time to be judgmental! If your gut is telling you that something seems off, listen to that feeling and do your research before buying that home.

 

The neighborhood you choose to live in is just as important as the house you choose so do your due diligence and make sure to check out these 9 things before you make your final decision. Good luck!

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Should I sell my home before I buy a new one? http://www.movingtominnesota.com/should-i-sell-my-home-before-i-buy-a-new-one/ http://www.movingtominnesota.com/should-i-sell-my-home-before-i-buy-a-new-one/#respond Tue, 02 Aug 2016 12:46:16 +0000 http://www.movingtominnesota.com/?p=2970 There is no straight forward answer here. This all depends on you, your financial situation and your ability to handle the unknown. Do you need the money from the sale ...

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There is no straight forward answer here. This all depends on you, your financial situation and your ability to handle the unknown.

Do you need the money from the sale of your current home to buy your new home? Well then the answer is simple: get your house on the market, start looking online for houses and locations you like (but don’t fall in love with anything yet!), start searching for homes once you have a purchase agreement and then enter into a purchase agreement with the sellers of your new home. Sounds simple but this route has a lot of unknowns and can be very stressful, but if you are prepared for all the hurdles you face, it can be done. We help buyers/sellers do this every day!

Pros of selling before buying: 
* You will have the money you require to purchase your new house
* You will not get yourself in the situation of having to pay for two mortgages

Cons of selling before buying: 
* If you get a motivated buyer, you could potentially have to be out of your house in 30 days…not nearly enough time to find a new house, write an offer, have the inspection and get everything done regarding financing in time. There is a chance you will have to find a friends couch to crash on or an apartment to rent for a month or two while you wait for your new house to close. Don’t hesitate to ask about a rent-back option though if you find yourself in this situation!

What if you don’t need to sell your current house first? Then you have options!

Pros of buying before selling:
* You can wait for your dream home. You don’t have a specific timeline and don’t need to settle for something just to have something in time.
* You don’t have to deal with the stress of not having a place to live once your old house sells

Cons of buying before selling: 
* The market is unpredictable and no matter how great you think your house is, it may not sell in a timely manner. Are you prepared to face the possibility of having to make mortgage payments on two houses if your home doesn’t sell quickly? Keep in mind you can always try to rent out your house if the market won’t support the price you want to get for your house or if you just cannot sell it quickly enough.

 

No matter how you look at it, this is a choice you and your lender need to make together. Either way, prepare to make some big decisions!

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Should you search for a rent-to-own home? http://www.movingtominnesota.com/search-rent-home/ http://www.movingtominnesota.com/search-rent-home/#respond Sun, 03 Jul 2016 06:30:38 +0000 http://www.movingtominnesota.com/?p=2967 Short answer: Sure, if you don’t have great credit or can’t get a traditional mortgage, definitely look into it. Long answer: The probability of you being able to find a rent-to-own ...

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Short answer: Sure, if you don’t have great credit or can’t get a traditional mortgage, definitely look into it.

Long answer: The probability of you being able to find a rent-to-own home is already slim. The chance that you can find your dream home with a homeowner who is willing to take the financial risk without making you suffer is extremely unlikely. A majority of buyers who are looking for rent-to-own homes aren’t as well qualified for a home loan as a traditional buyer so the landlord is going to make the terms of the agreement more favorable for himself and less for the buyer. You will be expected to pay a much larger down payment and will be charged a higher interest rate than the bank would charge you just to compensate the owner for the financial risks they are taking. Also, keep in mind that homes that have been rentals are generally not maintained nearly as well as a traditional owner home.

Before you go down the road of looking at rent-to-own homes, visit with a lender to see if you and what you qualify for. I would recommend a traditional sale any day of the week over advising someone to get into a rent-to-own situation. If you have more questions about this or want more info, contact me at bethrichardson@movingtominnesota.com

If you need a lender referral, I cannot recommend Lisa Wells with Waterstone Mortgage enough! Visit her website here to get started on the pre-qualification process or contact her at 952.479.2854

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Suburban or City Living http://www.movingtominnesota.com/suburban-or-city-living/ http://www.movingtominnesota.com/suburban-or-city-living/#respond Mon, 20 Jun 2016 02:12:16 +0000 http://www.movingtominnesota.com/?p=2965 The eternal battle…which is better? I work with all sorts of buyers but it seems most people have a pretty good sense of what they prefer before we even set ...

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The eternal battle…which is better? I work with all sorts of buyers but it seems most people have a pretty good sense of what they prefer before we even set up our first showing. Rarely will someone be open to the idea of both city dwelling and suburban living. Why is that? What is it about the city or the suburbs that entices people to choose one over the other?

Personally, I think it has something to do with the homes and the green space that you get in each area. If you choose to live in the suburbs you are getting a newer home, a larger yard and more “big-box” conveniences. In return you are losing out on walkability, ease of access to public transportation, the charm and character of older City homes and the sense of bustling activity that always seems to occupy city neighborhoods. On the flip side, someone who chooses to live in the City is looking for convenience, charm, local business and walkability but chooses to give up a lot of green space and modern amenities you get in newer neighborhoods/homes. So what is it that drives someone to make the decision to choose one or the other? Is it the schools? The location and ease of commute to work? The size of your yard? The age of your home? I would love to hear from those of you out there who are set on city or suburban living – why did you choose to live where you do?

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