Your no-nonsense real estate guide
You’ve probably heard that it’s a seller’s market. What does that mean exactly? In a seller’s market, the number of homes for sale in the market is low and buyers demand is high. This means you may have a greater chance of receiving multiple offers.
For a seller, multiple offers are a good thing. A multiple offer puts you in the driver’s seat and increases the odds that you’ll sell your home for the price you want.
Let’s take a look at a few key things you can do to make sure you’re prepared for a multiple offer situation.
Heating and cooling can be the most expensive factor of your monthly utility bills, especially in the summer. Here are some tips that will help cut your summer energy costs while still keeping your home cool.
First, plug up holes and seal cracks using foam, caulking and extra insulation. Leaks and holes allow cool air to escape, so you’ll have to run your system longer to make your home comfortable.
Natural light is wonderful, but the heat from the sun will also keep your home from cooling down. Keep your shades closed when you’re not using the room to prevent the sun from neutralizing the air conditioner’s efforts.
Next, clean your air filters around once a month or replace them as needed for optimal savings on your energy bill. To clean them, simply run them under water and air dry before placing them back inside the unit.
Consider purchasing a programmable thermostat, which is a relatively inexpensive investment. This device works on a schedule, adjusting the temperature according to your preferences, the time of day and the day of the week. By allowing the temperature to increase when you're away, you can expect to save up to 30 percent on your energy bills annually.
Adding energy efficiency to your home can go a long way when it comes time to sell. Learn about other home improvements that help sell a home.
There’s more good news in the Twin Cities metro real estate market! Homes continue to sell for more money in less time, according to data from the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS® (MAAR).
The median sales price in April is at its highest level since September 2008 at $182,312, and homes are now selling in an average of 98 days, down 27.4 percent from last April. According to available data, homes have not sold this quickly in more than seven years!
Fueling the quicker sales and rising prices is the lack of inventory of homes for sale. Overall inventory levels were down 29.3 percent from last year and were nearly level with the previous three months, which are usually experiencing greater “spring market” increases.
With so few homes to choose from, buyers are competing over properties, and many homes are ending up with multiple offers, some within days of going on the market. See the video above for ways to handle multiple offer situations as a seller. If you're buying, learn how to stand out in a buyer's competition.
If you have been thinking about selling, but have been relying on your tax assessed value to determine feasibility, you should know that tax assessments do not take into account rapid shifts in the market, and in many current cases, they are lower than the real value of a property. Contact your REALTOR® for a no-obligation market analysis to find out how much your home could be worth in today’s market.
If you are thinking about buying, the outlook is still bright. Mortgage rates remain near record lows and prices are still well below their peak. All in all, it’s a great time in real estate.
A new study shows what buyers are really looking for
It’s a question asked frequently by sellers. What do buyers really want? Fresh paint – or the smell of freshly baked cookies? Granite countertops? A three-car garage?
Well yes, they probably want all that. But new research shows that when it comes to drawing in a buyer, it’s still all about curb appeal. Online curb appeal, that is.
A recent study reported that when the eye movements of online home searchers were tracked, more than 95 percent of buyers looked at the first photo (usually the exterior shot of the home) for over 20 seconds. After that, a researcher from the Institute for Behavioral and Experimental Real Estate reported, “their eyes tended to flit all over the screen. Without an eye-catching photo, the battle is over before it begins.”
So, what would potential buyers see in your exterior photo? An updated home with new windows, a well-cared-for lawn, all in a shot framed by mature trees? Fabulous – your home will be the envy of hungry buyers.
However, if your photos would show chipped paint or paneling, a cracked driveway and a yard still recovering from a long winter, it may be time to consider some budget-friendly curb appeal updates.
The ultimate selling don’t? Don’t doctor your real estate photos to promote your listing in a disingenuous way. Editing out a gray sky is one thing, but adding trees or an elaborate vegetable garden to your photos is not advised. Remember, there is no long-term advantage of luring buyers to a home that they don’t recognize – or like – in person.
After a rough winter with plenty of snowstorms, your yard might need some extra love this spring. Follow these easy steps to greener pastures.
Stimulate growth by raking the lawn lightly. This will remove excess debris and aerate the soil. Target areas that were damaged over the winter by salt spray and critter activity. Also pay special attention to the borders of your lawn that line the street.
Layer your new growth like a sandwich. Spread lawn seed in needed areas. Follow that with a light raking to make contact between seed and soil. Be careful about over-watering, you simply want to dampen the topsoil. A thin layer of straw on top will seal in the moisture needed for the seeds to mature.
If spring rains fail to keep the newly seeded areas moist, sprinkle lightly each week until the seeds sprout.
Aerate the entire surface a total of three times once new grass begins appearing.
A flooded lawn may take more time to repair. Excess silt clogs the lawn’s ability to regenerate itself and may require fall re-sodding or reseeding.