Stay or Go?

Home Improvement Ideas Worth Your Time Whether You’re Packing Up or Staying Put.

For those out there that love ALL of the seasons of Minnesota the colder months are the perfect time for do-it-yourself or affordable interior improvement projects that can give an older home new life. BUT – for those of you that are considering a move, the following list works for you, too–particularly if you’re looking for projects that can freshen up a space as you’re prepping to put it on the market.

Lighting
Replacing an ancient light fixture with a new design is an afternoon project that can have dramatic results. A new multi-bulb chandelier can turn a dark, forgotten space into one that is bright and renewed. Make sure to add a dimmer switch for maximum ambience control.

Paint
While changing wall colors might be an obvious cold weather project, keep in mind those old bookshelves, the fireplace, and even your kitchen cabinets which might be deserving of a new coat of paint. Hiding tired wood stains and adding dramatic color can completely transform the feel of a space. Make sure you sand previously-stained woods to make sure the paint sticks!

Plumbing
Those who love to work on puzzles in the colder months might also enjoy updating your fixtures in your kitchen or bath. Switching your kitchen sink faucet to a new, retractable model (or even a no-touch model) can make your kitchen work and look better. In a bath, a new faucet fixture combined with a new mirror or paint can breath new life into an old space.

Looking for more ideas? Try THIS ARTICLE from Netflix’ Bobby Berk. It’s got some great inspiration for updates that can help convert a house into a dream home. Need help with the work? LET US KNOW – we can recommend trusted contractors who can lend a hand.

 


As the leaves fall and colder weather moves in, many experienced homeowners ask themselves that annual question “Is this Minnesota winter really for me?” We’ve had many recent conversations with people going through this decision-making process. If we move, do we sell first or buy? Should we downsize to a condo or smaller home? Should we get the heck out of here and head to warmer climate? When’s the best time to put our home on the market?

The Kim Pease Team can help ask the right questions that will assist you in navigating your next move, whether that be, to a smaller home, a condo, or a move to another state.

Contact us if you or someone you know might need some guidance.

They’re All Associated

If your kids now have kids of their own, and your home and all that comes with it (yard, maintenance – and SHOVELING) is becoming too much, it might be time to consider a move to a condo, townhome or villa, where the costs and chores of home ownership can be shared – or even ignored, altogether! While these downsized “homes” and the idea of “shared ownership” might all seem similar, there are some differences worth noting.

Condo
Typically, in a condominium, what you own is really only the “air” inside the unit and your belongings. Your home is one of many in a building that is maintained through your association fees. You share walls with your neighbors and don’t actually “own” common areas and amenities, but have access to them. Significant updates to your unit, beyond paint, might require association approval. Overall property upkeep is handled by management – so you can sell that lawnmower!

Townhome
Unlike a condo, owners of a townhome typically own both the inside and the outside of their unit. While you may share a wall with a neighbor, a townhome may allow more autonomy in how you update the structure – and you might also be responsible for some upkeep of your yard – or costs will be included in your association fees. Every owners’ association is different. Make sure you’re clear on your responsibilities.

Villa
While it might just be a more romantic name for a townhome, the term “villa” usually describes a unit in a retirement or warmer-climate vacation setting. One-level floorplans, patios – and even space for that golf cart – are common. Some villa communities specifically cater to retirees with community leisure programming and care assistance available.

Looking for more information? THIS ARTICLE does a great job of explaining the differences in these property types.

 


As the leaves fall and colder weather moves in, many experienced homeowners ask themselves that annual question “Is this Minnesota winter really for me?” We’ve had many recent conversations with people going through this decision-making process. If we move, do we sell first or buy? Should we downsize to a condo or smaller home? Should we get the heck out of here and head to warmer climate? When’s the best time to put our home on the market?

The Kim Pease Team can help ask the right questions that will assist you in navigating your next move, whether that be, to a smaller home, a condo, or a move to another state.

Contact us if you or someone you know might need some guidance.

Where Do Minnesotans Retire?

Most Stay Right Here in Minnesota

(It’s kind of a trick question.)

According to census data reviewed by Minnesota Public Radio earlier in 2019, more than 25,000 Minnesotans over the age of 50 have moved to Arizona in the past decade. 15,000 have moved to Florida. But, considering Minnesota’s fast-growing population of seniors, the vast majority of Minnesota retirees seem to stay right here in Minnesota – with Duluth being a favorite spot.

Considering a move to warmer climes, but not quite sure where to start? We’d be happy to sit down to talk through your potential move, how and when you should put your house on the market, and provide some guidance about the housing markets in other areas. We know many other realtors we trust in other parts of the country that we’d be happy to refer you to. SEND US AN EMAIL and we’ll be in touch.

Read more:

Why Arizona is a Top Choice for Ex-Minnesotans

Arizona is Tops for Snowbirds

Here’s another interesting article you might enjoy:

The Best Cities to Retire to in each State


As the leaves fall and colder weather moves in, many experienced homeowners ask themselves that annual question “Is this Minnesota winter really for me?” We’ve had many recent conversations with people going through this decision-making process. If we move, do we sell first or buy? Should we downsize to a condo or smaller home? Should we get the heck out of here and head to warmer climate? When’s the best time to put our home on the market?

The Kim Pease Team can help ask the right questions that will assist you in navigating your next move, whether that be, to a smaller home, a condo, or a move to another state.

Contact us if you or someone you know might need some guidance.

Twin Cities Real Estate Insights for 2019

Kim touches on some of the key insights in the Twin Cities real estate market as we get rolling into 2019.

If you or someone you know is considering a move and needs some guidance, email us!

What’s Your Forecast for 2019?

The 2019 housing forecast according to realtor.com is pretty interesting. Here are some key insights that stuck out to us:

OVERALL

HOME PRICES will still rise, but at a much slower rate than we’ve been accustomed to… 2.2% nationally.

HOME INVENTORY will also increase… but less than an expected 7%, it is higher bracket homes that will see the largest inventory growth (these are $1M+)

HOUSING FOR FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYERS will still be tight around the Twin Cities, however homebuyers will have more negotiating power, and sellers will need to make more compromise.

LISTING STRATEGICALLY for the Twin Cities marketplace will be necessary even when the coming year will sway toward a ‘sellers-market’. This is because believing that one can get their home put on for TOP price, and sell VERY quickly, will be surprising when a prompt sale doesn’t occur if it is not priced to sell.

LENDING

RATES for mortgages are expected hit 5.5% by the end of 2019

MORTGAGE MARKET – Millennials will account for 45% of mortgages, with 37% going to Gen Xers, and 17% to Baby Boomers in 2019.

BE PREPARED

Using a licensed Realtor who knows the market inside and out, will be more important than ever, if you want to move your home quickly – your home must be priced to sell.

 

Contact us if you or someone you know might need some guidance regarding the best time of year to go to market.

The Truth About Selling in the Winter

If you’re thinking homes don’t sell in the winter, think again.

 

  

Winter Buyers are Motivated.

In 2017, more homes sold in November and December than in July & August. People that are looking to buy a home during this time are motivated. They might have a pressing matter that is pushing them to want to close on a house quickly such as relocation or a major life change forcing them to move.

Less Competition & Faster Sales.

Overall, winter inventory is lower. That can mean quicker sales. In 2017, homes sold faster in November and December than in July & August.

 


Contact us if you or someone you know might need some guidance regarding the best time of year to go to market.


*Source: InfoSparks

4th Quarter Outlook

Here’s a quick snapshot look what we’re seeing in the local Twin Cities market as we get deeper into Fall.

Contact us if you or someone you know might need some guidance regarding the best time of year to go to market.

Strategies for Multiple Offers

When a listing receives multiple offers the biggest offer is always tempting, but multiple offer scenarios need to be approached carefully by both the seller and the buyer. Sellers should be careful to review all details in every offer as the highest price is not always the sure bet. Same for buyers: make sure your big offer is smartly positioned and avoid some red flags that might scare off the seller.

Here’s a quick checklist:

Closing Cost Padding – The big offer price on page one may look high, but if the seller is asked to pay part of the closing costs that may go against the buyer for two reasons. 1) it reduces the overall net to the seller; and 2) with the inflated price a seller may get concerned about the house appraising and choose a buyer with a similar “net” price who has not padded the price with closing costs.

Financing Terms – Not all terms are equal. In order of preference: cash, more than 20% down, 20% down, 15% and so on. Better terms typically result in a smoother close.

Letters to Sellers – Be careful on this one. Before you provide a heart-felt letter about your beautiful family with two kids make sure you know the sellers’ situation. If they are divorcing, for instance, this letter may not have the effect you hoped for!

Inspections – Most buyers today still include an inspection on a home, but in any deal – particularly one with multiple offers – an offer that waives the inspection can be more enticing to a seller. Despite how common inspections are, even in older homes that might typically warrant an inspection, in a multiple offer situation the phrase “contingent on inspection” can send message of hesitance to the seller. A buyer can cancel during the inspection period for any reason, including “2nd thoughts,” and sellers know this. That said, before you consider removing an inspection to win a house, make sure you are confident in what you are buying, and have some dollars set aside for surprises that may come up. Or better yet, if you can, bring a contractor or an inspector with you to a showing – before you make the offer.

Waive the Radon Test and Do it After Closing – Radon tests are almost always included now during buyers’ inspections. A good listing agent will prepare a seller for the cost to mitigate upfront which can run from anywhere from $1,200-2,000. If a house shows up with radon this is almost always an automatic that goes back to the seller to put in a system. As a buyer, if you are willing to take care of radon testing after the closing, you could put your offer at a significant advantage, with it potentially not costing you anything since there is a chance that the radon levels are fine.

Ask Questions – We make sure to find out any information we can that can give our clients an advantage: What’s the seller’s situation? Is there a closing date that is preferable? Are there any other concerns of the seller? (i.e..they may not want to move the pool table, include it, so the seller doesn’t have one more thing on their list they have to worry about.

When market inventory is low, multiple offers are common. The guidance of an experienced team can be the difference that leads to a successful bid and smooth close. Contact us if you or someone you know might need some guidance.

Kicking Off the Spring Season

With the Super Bowl buzz worn off for folks in Minnesota many have shifting their thoughts to spring – with some considering putting their homes on the market to lure spring buyers. But, when exactly, is the best time to list?

The Super Bowl – Across America, Super Bowl Sunday is seen as the start of the spring housing season. Statistics show that listings and deals skyrocket in many markets in February. Spring is, indeed, our busiest season in Minnesota. But, like our gardens, our market heats up a little later. And, boy, has been HOT recently. Houses are being gobbled up in record time. In 2017, median days on the market in the Twin Cities was right around 30 days.

Go now – One strategy is to get your house ready in the cold of the winter and list as soon as you can to be included in the early spring momentum. As you are reading this, if you are wondering if now is THE time to make a move, connect with us and we can determine if an early spring timeline is smart. But don’t worry…

Waiting a bit is okay – When the local market gets flooded with listings in March, being one of many may not be the best opportunity for your home to grab the spotlight. If you’re still deciding, holding off on listing for a month or even 90 days may be wise as your home will likely be positioned more prominently as a “new listing” among the homes still remaining in the MLS from the initial spring push. Plus you’ll have more time to work through any improvements or staging items you’re considering.

Ultimately, the circumstances for each home owner are unique, and the decision if/when to list typically requires some significant planning to maximize the opportunity. We’re here to help work through the details! Contact us if you or someone you know might need some guidance through a possible spring sale.

Inspection Insights – Fireplaces, Radon and Sewer Lines

Buyers are increasingly adding more items to the inspection process. Sewer line and fireplace inspections have been added now along with testing for radon. A savvy seller might have these items looked at and mitigated before they go to market to help speed the process.

Fireplaces

In older homes, fireplaces and their chimneys tend to raise red flags in inspections – and can lead to insurance issues if problems are not remedied. Particularly if your home was built prior to the 1960’s, having your fireplace inspected in advance of beginning the selling process is important. Weather-proofing, cleaning, sealing and securing existing brickwork are basic necessities for safety. If an old fireplace is meant to be used again for burning wood – or to one day be converted with a natural gas burning insert – installation of a flexible chimney lining may be the solution that leads to the least negotiation during the selling process.

Radon

Radon is a naturally-occurring, odorless, radioactive gas that can’t be seen and may lead to lung cancer over prolonged exposure. Minnesota and other northern states are often recorded to have high levels of naturally-occurring radon in soil around homes. Conducting a radon test is the only way to determine its presence. Do-it-yourself test kits are available as well as professional services who may monitor the air quality in your basement over a number of days. If your tests indicate your radon levels are above recommended levels (4 pCi/L) and you hope to sell your home, preparing your home by undergoing mitigation efforts may help to speed your selling process. Solutions may include sealing any openings in old foundations or installing a fan that pulls air from your soil around your foundation and pushes it outside. Read more at Radon.com.

Sewer Lines

Sewer lines are a part of a home that are just expected to work and are often overlooked. In older neighborhoods–and particularly those with large trees and roots that may interfere with sewer lines–inspecting in advance of selling may identify the age of the line and the need for cleaning or even replacement in worst case scenarios. Many plumbers have remote cameras that can be used for the inspection. Cleaning a clogged or partially obstructed sewer line is a fairly easy remedy. Replacing a failing or crumbling sewer line is more serious, but new “trenchless” methods can be employed in some circumstances where new sewer lines are pulled through the old line rather than digging up the entire yard.

If you are thinking of selling, being proactive and identifying and remedying possible red flags before getting too far in the process can lead to a quicker sale with fewer surprises.

Contact us if you’d like to chat through any of these ideas or would like a referral to a service who can assist.