I know there is still a need for many people to purchase and sell homes during this time, even during this COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic that is affecting us all. Your safety is a top concern and we are taking several precautions as we continue to provide the highest level of service possible during this unprecedented time.
I would like you to know the steps we are taking to help prevent the spread of the virus and changes you may notice while working with us. Here are some key points:
We remain open for business, but our offices have temporarily closed. Edina Realty Home Services agents and employees continue working remotely to assist you. Simply reach out at any time for help with your home buying, selling, mortgage, title, insurance and warranty needs.
At this time, all in-person Edina Realty open houses are suspended until safety recommendations are lifted. Agents will be conducting virtual open houses, video tours and careful private showings.
Meetings are being held via teleconferencing, video conference and with various technologies to avoid the need for in-person group gatherings.
At this time, we will continue to perform closings and have several precautionary measures in place to limit interactions and ensure the safety of everyone involved.
Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns regarding your housing needs during this time. Please be safe, stay informed, don’t panic, and refer to the CDC’s website for up-to-date information and recommendations.
Before you put your home up for sale, understand how the right comparable sales help you and your agent find the perfect price.
How much can you sell your home for? Probably about as much as the neighbors got, as long as the neighbors sold their house in recent memory and their home was just like your home.
Knowing how much homes similar to yours, called comparable sales (or in real estate lingo, comps), sold for gives you the best idea of the current estimated value of your home. The trick is finding sales that closely match yours.
What makes a good comparable sale?
Your best comparable sale is the same model as your house in the same subdivision—and it closed escrow last week. If you can’t find that, here are other factors that count:
Location: The closer to your house the better, but don’t just use any comparable sale within a mile radius. A good comparable sale is a house in your neighborhood, your subdivision, on the same type of street as your house, and in your school district.
Home type: Try to find comparable sales that are like your home in style, construction material, square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, basement (having one and whether it’s finished), finishes, and yard size.
Amenities and upgrades: Is the kitchen new? Does the comparable sale house have full A/C? Is there crown molding, a deck, or a pool? Does your community have the same amenities (pool, workout room, walking trails, etc.) and homeowners association fees?
Date of sale: You may want to use a comparable sale from two years ago when the market was high, but that won’t fly. Most buyers use government-guaranteed mortgages, and those lending programs say comparable sales can be no older than 90 days.
Sales sweeteners: Did the comparable-sale sellers give the buyers downpayment assistance, closing costs, or a free television? You have to reduce the value of any comparable sale to account for any deal sweeteners.
Agents can help adjust price based on insider insights
Even if you live in a subdivision, your home will always be different from your neighbors’. Evaluating those differences—like the fact that your home has one more bedroom than the comparables or a basement office—is one of the ways real estate agents add value.
An active agent has been inside a lot of homes in your neighborhood and knows all sorts of details about comparable sales. She has read the comments the selling agent put into the MLS, seen the ugly wallpaper, and heard what other REALTORS®, lenders, closing agents, and appraisers said about the comparable sale.
More ways to pick a home listing price
If you’re still having trouble picking out a listing price for your home, look at the current competition. Ask your real estate agent to be honest about your home and the other homes on the market (and then listen to her without taking the criticism personally).
Next, put your comparable sales into two piles: more expensive and less expensive. What makes your home more valuable than the cheaper comparable sales and less valuable than the pricier comparable sales?
Are foreclosures and short sales comparables?
If one or more of your comparable sales was a foreclosed home or a short sale (a home that sold for less money than the owners owed on the mortgage), ask your real estate agent how to treat those comps.
A foreclosed home is usually in poor condition because owners who can’t pay their mortgage can’t afford to pay for upkeep. Your home is in great shape, so the foreclosure should be priced lower than your home.
Short sales are typically in good condition, although they are still distressed sales. The owners usually have to sell because they’re divorcing, or their employer is moving them to Kansas.
How much short sales are discounted from their market value varies among local markets. The average short-sale home in Omaha in recent years was discounted by 8.5%, according to a University of Nebraska at Omaha study. In suburban Washington, D.C., sellers typically discount short-sale homes by 3% to 5% to get them quickly sold, real estate agents report. In other markets, sellers price short sales the same as other homes in the neighborhood.
So you have to rely on your real estate agent’s knowledge of the local market to use a short sale as a comparable sale.
I’m happy to giveaway a limited number of tickets to this upcoming show where you can review home-related products and services, experience stunning project displays, connect with industry experts and enjoy informative presentations from renowned home professionals that can help you conceptualize your next home project.
Hurry, you can request up to four free tickets (up to a $36.00 value) to the St. Paul Home and Patio Show at Saint Paul’s RiverCentre on February 14th through the 16th. Just fill in the information on the form below to submit your request for tickets. To ensure your tickets arrive before the event I suggest you submit your request no later than Monday, February 10, 2020.
Please note there is absolutely no obligation whatsoever, and I will not share your information with any third parties. Just enjoy the show and have fun!
Buying stuff can be stressful. Cheap out, and you could regret it. Overspend, and you’ll cut into your budget. Knowing the best time of year to buy appliances and other household items can lessen the anxiety.
Here’s a list of the best time of year for sales — or download the one-page calendar here.
Furniture: January and July
You could save 30% to 60% buying furniture in January and July, as stores try to clear out inventory and make way for new pieces, which manufacturers introduce in February and August.
Floor samples especially often sell for a song, so don’t hesitate to ask.
Storage Essentials: January and August
In August, retailers slash prices and offer free shipping on shelving, organizing systems, baskets, and storage bins, baiting parents who are packing kids off to college or getting organized for a new school year. (No offspring? No problem. Proof of parenthood is not required to qualify for deals.)
It happens again in January, when stores roll out more sales — and selection — to help you find a home for all those holiday gifts and meet your organizing goals for the New Year.
Linens and Towels: January
Department store “white sales” — launched in 1878 — are still a favorite marketing tactic and make January the best time to binge on high-quality bedding and towels. If the exact color or style you’re seeking is out of stock, ask in-store for a rain check, so you can get exactly what you want at the price that can’t be beat.
Major Appliances: January, September, October, and the Holidays
The prices on this year’s appliances bottom out when they suddenly become last year’s models. With the exception of refrigerators (more on that below), you can pick up last year’s models for way less in September, October, and January, when stores are making room for new inventory.
For good deals on this year’s models, wait for Black Friday and the holidays. The season rivals inventory clear-out bargains as the best time of year for sales on appliances. And if you’ve got more than one appliance on the fritz, holidays are often the time to find incentives for buying multiple items.
Mattresses: February and May
Even the most obscure holiday seems to inspire mattress sale commercials. Annoying, yes, but also a reminder that you should never pay full price for a mattress. The best time of year for sales is February (courtesy of Presidents Day) and May (Memorial Day).
Many department stores offer coupons for additional savings on the sale price, while specialty chains — which have the biggest markups — can drop prices 50% or more. But don’t waste your time price shopping: Manufacturers have exclusive deals with retailers for each model, so the only way to find a lower price is to snuggle up to a different mattress.
Unlike other big-ticket appliances, new fridges are released in May. Combine the need for retail turnover with Memorial Day sales, and you get epic savings nearly all month long, making it the best time of year to buy a new refrigerator.
Snow Blowers: March and April
The best time to pick up a low-cost snow blower is exactly when you DON’T need it: in March and April. That time of year, no store wants them taking precious floor space away from spring merch like patio furniture and grills.
Vacuums: April and May
New vacs debut in June, so last year’s models go on sale in April and May — just in time for spring cleaning.
For the lowest price on materials, buy in May.
But if you’re paying a pro to install a new roof, contractor rates begin their climb April 1 and stay high through fall. So if weather allows for wintertime installation, you could save big.
Gas Grills: July and August
Come July 5, there’s still smoke in the air from Fourth of July fireworks, but stores are already moving on to Halloween, with Christmas not far behind. So, they’ll cook up juicy savings on grills and other summer staples in July and August. Sales peak by Labor Day, so you could pick up a new grill and still have time to host one final summer hurrah.
Lawn Mowers: August, September, and May
August and September are the perfect time to retire an ailing mower. You’ll find the lowest prices of the year (but also the slimmest selection) as stores replace mowers with snow blowers. Retailers also kick off the season with sales every April. You generally won’t save quite as much, but you’ll have more choices.
Unlike non-perishable goods, there’s not much retailers can do with last season’s perennials, so September brings savings of 30% to 50% and two-for-one offers on plants like hostas, daylilies, and peonies. And note that independent gardening stores can typically offer deeper discounts than big chains.
Cooler weather also makes this a great time of year to plant. How’s that for a win-win? If you prefer planting in the spring, many nurseries offer 10% to 20% off when you pre-order in February or March.
Power Tools: June and December
Power tools are a favorite go-to gift for Father’s Day and the holidays, so June and December are the best time to buy tools like cordless drills.
Paint: January, May, July, November, and December
Prices for interior and exterior paint bottom out when the mercury (and demand) falls — in November, December, and January, but also when it rises back up, in May and July.
HVAC equipment: March, April, October, and November
Like snow blowers, the best time to buy furnaces and whole-house air conditioning systems is when you don’t need them. Prices are lowest during months with moderate temperatures — generally March and April, then October and November.
Many installers also run promotions during these slow seasons to help load their books. They also may be more willing to negotiate a lower price or throw in a free upgrade like a fancy thermostat.
Flooring: December and January
From mid-December and into January, homeowners tend to take a break from major remodeling projects because of the holidays. Flooring retailers and installers are looking for business, so that gorgeous wide-plank flooring or luscious carpet can be yours for an even more scrumptious price. Happy Holidays to you.
Why does the oven go kaput on a holiday? No worries. Here’s how to go on the offense now.
Imagine you’re preparing to host your annual holiday party, and you’re past the point of no return. The veggies and meats have been bought. Guests are already braving busy airports and crowded highways to get to your home — and then your oven won’t turn on. Your home-cooked meal has quickly turned into a microwave dinner.
That’s just one of many hosting nightmares that can end your holiday party before it even begins. Thankfully, some of the most damaging mishaps easily can be avoided. We collected five of the most prevalent issues and give you preventative tips to keep your holiday party on track.
For any holiday occasion, the oven is the most important appliance in your house. If it fails to work, the centerpiece of your meal could go from roasted beef, ham, duck, or Turkey to Peking Duck from the local Chinese takeout joint.
How to avoid:
There are any number of reasons a stove can break, but one common cause of disaster is easy to prevent. Don’t self-clean your oven until AFTER the holidays. You risk blowing a fuse or a thermostat, and tracking down an oven technician around the holidays can be tough.
Problem: The Kitchen Sink Clogs
The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest of the year for plumbers. The prime cause of this clog-a-thon is the mistreatment of drains when cooking holiday feasts. We hope your Thanksgiving went well, and that you avoid clog-a-thons for the rest of the holidays.
How to avoid:
Fats and cooking oils can solidify in your pipes, so never dispose of them in your kitchen sink.
If you have a garbage disposal, make sure it’s running before anything goes in it, and never feed it any stringy, fibrous, or starchy foods like poultry skins or potato peels.
To fix, don’t rely on chemical drain-clearing products that can harm your pipes. Use a snake instead, available for $15 at your local hardware store. Best to keep one on hand.
Problem: The Heat Goes Out
As the party’s host, you’re supposed to hang guests’ coats — not apologize to them for having to keep them on. A lack of heat can stop a holiday party dead in its tracks.
How to avoid:
The key to avoiding freezing your party to a standstill is regular maintenance of your HVAC. Every 90 days, a new one-inch pleated furnace filter should be installed. If you haven’t done it in a while, now’s a good time to replace it.
Also inspect insulation on refrigerant lines that are leading into your house. Replace them if they’re missing or damaged.
Toilets have a way of clogging up at the worst times, such as during parties and when you have overnight guests. This is especially true if you have a low-flow toilet from the early 1990s.
How to avoid:
Don’t flush anything other than sewage and toilet paper down the toilet. And there’s nothing wrong with putting up a polite note to remind your guests to do the same.
Problem: The Fridge Doesn’t Cool
Without a properly functioning refrigerator, your meat could get contaminated, your dairy-based treats could go sour, and you may not be able to save your yummy leftovers. To avoid discovering a warm fridge after it’s too late, take these simple precautions.
How to avoid:
Get a thermometer for your refrigerator to make sure each shelf stays below 40 degrees and you can be aware of any temperature changes.
Also make sure the condenser coils located on the back of the unit or beneath it are free to breathe. Coils blocked from circulating air by cereal boxes atop the fridge, or dirtied by dust or pet hair can prevent a fridge from keeping cool.
You might be tempted to spend more on exotic veneer and hardware (saving you less).
What are Your Refacing Options?
Your choices for the finished look of your cabinets are virtually limitless. Veneers are available in a wide variety of colors, patterns, textures, grains, and more, which you can mix or match to get a relatively low-cost kitchen facelift.
Rigid thermofoil (RTF) doors, which feature a durable plastic
coating over fiberboard, are an affordable alternative to wood or
Plastic laminates come in hundreds of colors and patterns, are
durable and moisture-resistant, and are reasonably priced. You can pick
matching or contrasting laminates for your doors and drawer fronts.
Real wood veneers include many standard species, such as oak,
cherry, and maple, and you also can choose from an array of stain
colors. Wood veneers are the most expensive option. Wood must be
carefully sealed to protect against moisture.
A professional cabinet refacing for a typical 10-foot-by-12-foot
kitchen starts at around $1,000 to $3,000 for laminate. Expect to pay
$2,500 to $6,000 for real wood veneer. Costs can rise to $7,000 to
$9,000 or more for a large project with high-quality wood veneer.
the project with new hardware (pulls, knobs, hinges) runs $2 to $4 per
piece, up to $20 to $50 each for high-end hardware.
comparison, completely replacing old kitchen cabinets with new cabinets
starts at $4,000 to $5,000 and up for stock cabinets; $8,000 to $10,000
for semi-custom cabinets; $16,000 to $20,000 and up for custom-made
How Do I Know If My Cabinets are Good For Refacing?
Refacing is feasible if your existing cabinet boxes are structurally sound and in good condition. Cabinets with water damage, warping, and broken frames are poor candidates. Particleboard cabinetry sometimes requires fasteners, in addition to adhesives, to ensure that the veneer is secure.
How are They Installed?
A professional installer will come to your house to measure your
cabinets and determine the amount of veneer required, the correct sizes
and quantities for door and drawer fronts, and how much hardware is
needed. Newly ordered doors and drawer fronts may take one to two weeks
When all the materials are in hand, your installer
removes old cabinet door and drawer fronts, and prepares the surface of
the cabinet boxes by washing the exteriors with a degreaser and lightly
sanding the finish. Any significant flaws in the surface are repaired or
filled to ensure a smooth, secure fit for the new veneer.
installer applies veneer to the cabinet faces and any exposed cabinet
ends, then mounts the new doors, drawer fronts, and hardware. The
process typically takes two to four days.
The outstanding feature of this property is that as the owner of this home, you will join a neighborhood Lake Association that has deeded access to a lake shore lot on Turtle Lake in Shoreview Minnesota. Turtle Lake is a very popular recreational and large mouth bass fishing lake in Ramsey county. You will enjoy a private boat launch, dock, swimming beach and playground in the warmer months and opportunities abound for ice skating and ice fishing in the winter! The home, which is only about 600 feet from the access, has 3 bedrooms on the main level plus a large living room all with beautiful hardwood floors. Read more…
UPDATE: I have some exciting news for our pumpkin event. We will have pony rides and goats and bunnies for the kids to play with. So, there will be goats, bunnies, ponies and a balloon artist. It should be a good time. If you would like to take home a free pumpkin, as supplies are limited, please RSVP by calling Brian Bernard at (651) 225-3920 or emailing me at BrianBernard@edinarealty.com. Hope to see you there!
I would like you to have this free guide for buying a home. It’s got some very helpful hints for buying your first (or next) home. There are some great tips about the home buying process including how to determine your budget and buying power, finding your dream home, making the offer, and closing, and much more. Just click on the link below to download the PDF file. If you have any questions or need help as you consider entering the home buying market now or in the future, please feel free to contact me.
I would like you to have this free guide to selling your home. It’s full of great information about the home selling process including pricing and listing a home in today’s market. The guide also contains some insider secrets to attract top dollar offers, plus everything you need to know as you sell your home. If you have any questions or need help as you consider selling your home now or in the future please contact me.