Dennis Kuchenmeister
(651) 503-6992

Licensed in MN (Agent)
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Dennis Kuchenmeister

(651) 503-6992


July 2016


Round numbers for the win: How one tiny pricing difference can sell your home 18 percent faster

In the retail world, pricing an item at $2.99 — rather than $3— will boost its sales. However, if you’re a seller using the same tactic when pricing your home, you may want to reconsider. When it comes to real estate, pricing at certain price points hold a clear advantage. Let’s dig into a recent study to see how and why.

The round number advantage

After hearing from agents that homes priced at certain round number price points tend to sell faster than homes priced slightly below, Edina Realty decided to dig into the data. The Regional Multiple Listing Service, Inc. provided sales data for:

  • Single family homes
  • Sold between 2005-2015
  • Within the 13-county Twin Cities metro area

The results were clear. When a home is priced at preferred round number price points — say, $250,000 or $400,000 — it sells 18 percent faster, on average, than a home listed slightly below like $249,000 or $399,000.

Title: Homes priced at preferred round number price points sell 18 percent faster

 on average 18 percent faster - infographic

Why do homes priced at certain round number price points sell faster?

The next logical question is, why do preferred round number price points make such a distinct difference? In retail, the “discounted” price draws attention even in the most cluttered, frenetic stores. If homes were still listed in newspaper ads, similarly priced homes may have the same effect.

But today’s real estate buyers start online, and they search and filter oftentimes based on pre-defined price parameters. By pricing your home at $249,000, you may draw attention from buyers with a budget limit of $250,000. But what about the buyer whose budget starts at $250,000? You’ll miss them completely.

Our research agrees. We looked at millions of page views for homes listed on edinarealty.com from 2005-2015 and found that:

  • Using preferred round number price points delivers 58 percent more search results than “discounted” pricing
  • How you price a home can greatly affect how often it’s returned in search results, and how many buyers view the home online

Title: Your home appears in search results 58 percent more frequently when listing at a preferred round number price point.

average search results per day - infographic

The lesson?

The lesson here is clear. When pricing your home, don’t replicate the sales tactics of big box stores. To get the most views online and in person, we’ll work together to find a listing price that is competitive, fair and priced strategically. You’ll thank us when you’re at the closing table weeks before your odd (priced) neighbor!

Ready to sell?

Selling your home is a big decision, and it helps to work with an expert. To get in touch with a local specialist who can help you prep and price your home using insights like these, call, email or chat today.call, email or chat today.

For more tips on selling your home, follow #SellerInsights on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


What to do when hail or storm damage affect your house

When summer storms roll through, you may end up struggling to clean up the aftermath of storm damage to your home and neighborhood. Here are insights you can use to determine when to make a claim, and what to do if you’re a home seller with major storm damage.

Homeowner’s insurance basics

After the storm passes and it’s safe to go outside, check out your home’s exterior, yard and any above-the-ground power lines to assess the total damage. Most homeowner’s insurance policies cover storm damage from:

  • Hail
  • Tornado
  • Wind

If you live in a flood zone, you likely already know that flooding is not covered under a general homeowner’s insurance policy; flood insurance is a separate policy. Fallen trees are typically only covered if they damage a structure. Read up on how to handle fallen trees or branches that land “free and clear” in your yard, a neighbor’s yard or in your street.

Once you assess the damage, call your homeowner’s insurance company if you want to file a claim. Keep in mind that after large storms, it may take more than an hour to get on the line with a customer service agent. Be patient — and safe — as you wait it out.

Clean up and neighborhood resources

Once you’ve gotten over the initial shock and assessment, join forces with your neighbors to restore your neighborhood and share costs that arise.


  • Getting a group rate on tree or branch removal services
  • Sharing the cost of a large dumpster to haul away damaged items like outdoor furniture or sports equipment
  • Going door-to-door to check on neighbors you haven’t seen yet

What sellers should do after a storm

If your home is listed for sale but not yet under contract, it’s important to get your home assessed immediately by an inspector. They can check to ensure the storm didn’t cause any new damage to your roof, foundation, siding or exterior, or to your home’s systems and appliances.

If your home passes inspection but the property (or surrounding neighborhood) isn’t in peak condition, be sure to:

  • Have your REALTOR® press “pause” on all open houses and showings
  • Work to restore your home’s exterior and your neighborhood
  • Talk with your agent to see if lowering the price of the home is necessary

Interested in talking to somebody about homeowner’s insurance? Reach out today to an Edina Realty Insurance representative.

Looking for more seller tips?

Follow #SellerInsights on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to see how everyday sellers are taking advantage of today’s market. If you’re considering selling, get a no-obligation assessment of your home’s current value.

Interested in talking to somebody about homeowner’s insurance? Reach out today to an Edina Realty Insurance representative.


Four questions to ask when buying a condo

Whether you’re a first-time buyer hoping to buy a starter home, or a downsizer looking for a fresh start, a condo could be just what you need. Here are four questions you can ask as you tour condos.

1. What are the HOA fees? How is the budget spent?

Homeowners associations (HOA) can be a plus for condo owners who don’t want to arrange for trash pick-up or worry about cleaning the carpet in communal hallways. But it’s important to remember that HOA fees are technically a part of your housing cost, and they should be considered when you are determining your budget.

When inquiring about your HOA fees, be sure to ask how the budget is allocated and who controls the purse strings. If the building is 10 to 20 years old, for example, experts recommend that 25 to 30 percent of the incoming fees be earmarked for future major repairs.

2. What are the HOA rules and regulations, and the perks or community resources?

Every homeowners association is different, so be sure to ask if the condo:

  • Allows pets
  • Has regulations about upkeep of private property (including balconies)
  • Requires that your unit be owner occupied
  • Charges fines — and what fines are most common

On the other hand, condos can have plenty of perks. Ask if your condo has:

  • A pool, Jacuzzi or sauna
  • Tennis courts or a community gym
  • Indoor or outdoor party rooms
  • A community-gardening area

3. Has the unit been sound-proofed?

This may seem silly, but it seems the no. 1 complaint of condo owners is that they can hear their neighbors’ comings, goings and everything in between. Be sure to inquire about any sound-proofing that has been done to the space and ask to speak with other owners about their experiences. You may even find it’s worth your while to ask neighbors to turn on their TVs at a regular volume, or the upstairs neighbors to walk across their property, to see if the transmitting sound would be too much to handle.

4. Is there parking and storage available?

While almost all condos (especially complexes) offer parking, it’s important to ask if you get a complimentary parking spot or if you’ll have to pay for parking. Be sure to check out the parking in person. The difference between covered parking and underground parking may not seem like much in May, but it’ll be a game-changer when winter rolls around. Plus, a separate building may mean additional property taxes.

Last, consider any larger items you have, like bicycles, skis, luggage, camping equipment and more. Ask if the condo comes with a private storage space (they are often located in the parking garage or a basement) and be sure to check out the storage in person to see if it matches your needs.

Ready for a condo?

The questions above are just a few of the important factors you should consider when buying a condo. Reach out todayReach out today to get put in touch with a condo expert who can help you on the path to homeownership.

For even more buyer tips, follow #BuyerInsights on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


Buying? Learn how to calculate your debt-to-income ratio

When a lender calculates how much of your total income will be spent paying off monthly debts, the final calculation is called a debt-to-income ratio. This ratio can affect your loan’s terms and interest rate, so it’s important to keep it as low as possible. Here’s how you can calculate your debt-to-income ratio.

1. Front-end debt-to-income ratio

Your front-end debt-to-income ratio calculates how much of your monthly income will be spent on monthly housing costs.

To get your front-end ratio, add up:

  • Monthly mortgage payment (interest + principal)
  • Monthly property taxes and insurance

Now divide that number by your monthly income before taxes. While every loan and lender is different, most mortgage loan officers look for a front-end ratio between 28 to 33 percent when reviewing a mortgage application.

2. Back-end debt-to-income ratio

Next, lenders will assess your total debt, including that which isn’t related to housing. This calculation is called your back-end ratio.

To get your back-end ratio, add up monthly debt, including:

  • All housing costs: Monthly mortgage principal and interest, taxes and insurance
  • Car loans
  • Credit card payments
  • Student loans
  • Child support

Then, divide that number by your monthly income — again, before taxes — to get your back-end debt-to-income ratio. While loan applications vary, mortgage experts typically recommend a back-end ratio of between 36 to 42 percent.

What if my debt-to-income ratios are too high?

For most people, reducing their debt is easier than increasing their income substantially. To reduce debt, start by reviewing your monthly spending to see if you can minimize or remove non-necessities, including:

  • Dining out
  • Fast food, including coffee shops
  • Entertainment, including cable subscriptions or online streaming services
  • Vacations or trips

Plus, avoid taking on more debt. Use your credit card only when you can pay it off immediately, and continue to drive your car after you’ve paid it off. Whether your new monthly savings is $20 or $200, put it towards paying down your overall debt. Slowly but surely, you can lower your debt-to-income ratio.

Need help getting started?

Ready to review your debt-to-income ratio, or hope to apply for a mortgage now? We can help. Reach out todayReach out today to get in touch with a home buying expert in your area.

For tips on buying a home or getting a mortgage, follow #BuyerInsights on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


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