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The three phases of the home selling process

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home selling process

Key takeaways:

  • Selling your home is a three-phased process that includes preparing your home, accepting and negotiating offers and attending the final closing
  • Working with a REALTOR® can help ensure that you earn a fair, competitive price
  • The closing process involves the listing agent and buyer's agent, as well as partners from title and mortgage companies

Thinking of selling your home? Congrats! Below, we list the three phases of selling that you'll need to undergo as you list your home and move to a new abode.

Phase I: The pre-market phase

Prior to listing your home on the market, you'll need to complete a few tasks. Not every seller will go through these steps in the same order, but we do recommend hiring a REALTOR® early in the process so you always have a market expert on your side.

Price analysis: Start by requesting a home price evaluation. This will help you understand your home's likely price range. You can ask for several evaluations from different agents to get a range and full context of your home's value.

Hire an agent: After you review the evaluations, you can hire a Realtor to represent you. Here are five questions you can ask as you interview and select an agent.

Staging the home: Staging a home is how you make your home look appealing to buyers who are searching online and in person. You'll work with your Realtor to determine a staging strategy or you can follow our general staging tips.

Setting a price and seller strategy: Next, you'll set your list price and finalize marketing strategy that will draw in the most offers.

List the home: Once the home goes on the market, your property's photos and listing details will go live on the MLS to ensure that online buyers can search for and find your property.

Phase II: The in-market phase

Below are some of the main tactics used to get offers on a for-sale property.

Open houses and showings: To get an offer, agents hold the home open for individual showings or for larger open houses. Here are some open house tips for sellers that you can follow to ensure it's a success.

Adjust for buyer feedback: Buyers' agents may provide feedback if their clients don't enter a bid, and some sellers adjust their home's staging, price or other features accordingly. It's smart to be open to feedback and criticism, especially if your home stays on the market longer than anticipated.

Getting an offer: Your Realtor will inform you when a buyer has submitted an offer on the home. Together, you'll review the offer or multiple offers in full.

Negotiate: After reviewing the offer(s), you can determine if you'd like to negotiate with the potential buyer(s). Your Realtor will help you determine if you should ask for a higher offer, faster closing time, fewer contingencies or other common requests.

Accepting an offer: If negotiations are successful, you will accept an offer on your home. At this time, the buyer will sign a purchase agreement. This is a binding document, but there are still a few important steps before the closing is finalized.

Phase III: The path to closing

You're so close! Here are the steps that sellers go through after they have accepted an offer.

Begin mortgage and title process: During this step, the buyer will formally apply for a mortgage, and the title company will investigate the property's title to ensure that it can be legally transferred to the new buyer. Your Realtor will keep you informed as these steps are completed.

Inspection: Here are tips sellers can follow to help pass inspection. If any unforeseen issues arise at inspection, your Realtor will help you navigate how it may change the terms of the original offer.

Attend the closing: At closing, both parties will sign the final paperwork and the seller will receive payment. At this point, you'll hand over the keys, garage openers and any homeowner manuals to the new owner of your previous home.

Whether you plan to downsize to a local suburb or retire to a warmer climate, we can help you onto your next stage. Reach out today to get started.

You can also find more advice on selling by following #SellerInsights on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

What is the difference between my home's Estimated Market Value and its Taxable Market Value? Are either of these what my home is worth today?

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Key takeaways:

  • Both the Estimated Market Value and Taxable Market Value of your home are determined annually or every two years from county tax records
  • These values determine your annual property tax, but they may not represent your home's true market value
  • To determine the current market value of your home, you'll need to analyze local housing trends as well as your home's condition and location

Whether you're thinking of selling or just want to know your home's value, you may begin by looking at the property's Estimated Market Value or its Taxable Market Value. Here, we offer insights on how these assessments may differ from one another, and how to best determine the true value of your home in today's market.

Estimated Market Value vs. Taxable Market Value

Your home's Estimated Market Value comes directly from county tax records and is determined by the city or county assessor. These assessments can be up to two years old and are determined using historical sales data and mass appraisal techniques in order to establish the property tax for every property.

Meanwhile, your property's Taxable Market Value also comes directly from county tax records and is typically very similar, or even the same, as the Estimated Market Value. However, if the values vary, it is likely because the property in question qualifies for a tax exemption, deferral or value exclusion like a homestead.

When looking at homes for sale on edinarealty.com, you can find the Estimated Market Value and Taxable Market Value of a property in the Sales History & Tax Summary of a property's listing page.

How accurate are these calculations?

There are two main reasons that your Estimated Market Value (and Taxable Market Value) may not be fully representative of your property's true value in today's local market.

Since the Estimated Market Value is not the most current information on a property, it's considered a lagging indicator of market conditions and property values. For example, assessments for tax year 2015 (payable in 2016), were likely done between October of 2013 and September of 2014.

A quick peek into our local stats shows that the median home price in the 13-county metro area in October 2013 was $209,000. By April 2016, the exact same home segment showed a median home value of $240,000.* If a homeowner in the Twin Cities used only their most recent Estimated Market Value to determine their home's value when listing it for sale, they could be off by $30,000 or more.

Second, a property's Estimated Market Value is created by a county or city assessor via a mass appraisal. If your home stands out from the rest on the block due to its new roof, attic renovation or larger lot and three-car garage, it could be worth significantly more than the mass appraisal indicates.

How can I determine my home's true market value?

The truth about your home's value is relatively simple: Every property is worth what a buyer will pay for it at closing. To determine the correct market value (and listing price) for your home, it's important to work with a local expert who can evaluate your home's condition, local market prices and trends and more. To get a free, no obligation estimate of your home's value, reach out today.

You can also find more advice on selling by following #SellerInsights on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Are starter homes dying? How sellers can entice first-time buyers

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Key takeaways:

  • Three-quarters of millennials say they're waiting to buy a home, leading some to wonder if starter homes are "dying"
  • Our local trends show that buyers are eager for lower priced homes, but the inventory is low
  • By updating your starter home and using your space wisely, you can appeal to the starter home segment

A recent study shows that 76 percent of millennials (aged 18-35) are waiting to buy a home that will fulfill their future needs. The headlines across the real estate industry read: "Starter homes are dying!" but a closer look shows how economic and housing market conditions may explain why younger buyers are holding off.

If you're the owner of a "starter home," here are insights you can use to determine if and when you should sell, and how to best appeal to first-time buyers.

Are starter homes really dead?

Any time three-quarters of a population agrees on something, it can seem like a mandate. But when young, potential buyers say that they are holding off on homeownership, there are many factors at play.

The inventory question

In our local market, the demand for low-priced homes is extremely high and the inventory is extremely low. So, the "starter home" market in Minnesota and western Wisconsin isn't dead – it's actually so hot that first-time buyers may be priced out and unable to buy right now. Some would-be buyers may stick around despite the competition, but it stands to reason that others will exit and re-enter in a few years. And by then, their needs (and savings accounts) may be quite different and a larger home may make more sense.

Millennials and "delayed" decision-making

Next, it's important to remember that many older millennials graduated during the Great Recession, and have dealt with slow-growing career prospects and the onslaught of student loan debt. For this reason, and a variety of other factors, millennials are delaying everything from life stages like marriage and having children, to large "adult" purchases like cars and homes.

I own a starter home. Will I be able to sell?

In our market, homes priced at $250,000 or below are in extremely high demand; in September 2016, these homes sold for 98.5 percent of their list value.

So despite the scary headlines about "the death of starter homes," you'll likely find that there are plenty of local buyers who are waiting for homes just like yours to go on the market. Here are some more tips for selling your starter home quickly.

Economize your space: Buyers today care about how the space in a home is used, not its square footage. Consider opening up your kitchen and dining area to create a more engaging main living space, or add a bedroom to an unfinished basement. If you have a large bedroom where you've always stored an oversized chair or sofa, consider staging an office nook instead.

Modernize the home: Consider upgrading your appliances, roof or adding new windows so buyers can picture themselves moving in without renovations looming over their heads. Most starter home buyers don't plan to stay there for a decade or more, so it can be advantageous to have a move-in ready property.

Stage to sell: Don't underestimate the power of staging your home to appeal to buyers who are searching online or in person. Follow these basic fall staging tips to get ahead.

Ready to sell your starter home?

The best way to determine a winning seller strategy is to work with a true local expert. Reach out today to get a free market estimate of your home's value, or to discuss a selling strategy.

You can also find more advice on selling by following #SellerInsights on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

How to prep for the holidays as a first-time homeowner

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Key insights:

  • Be sure to check your main appliances, fixtures and plumbing if you plan to entertain for the first time this year
  • Work in advance to secure enough seating for everyone who will attend your holiday gathering. Borrowing or buying an inexpensive fold-up table is just fine for first-timers
  • Traveling this year? Be sure to lock down your house and alert a neighbor or friend to watch it on your behalf

Whether you're hosting a full house of relatives or leaving for an extended period of time, follow these tips to help you navigate the first holiday season as a homeowner.

For those entertaining

Repair and maintain

First, check appliances and fixtures to make sure nothing is leaking or on the verge of breaking. The last thing you want on your hands is a plumbing disaster as your guests arrive.

Deep clean

Three weeks before your celebration, start deep-cleaning room by room. Start with the rooms that have the least traffic, and save high-traffic areas (like the kitchen and main bathroom) for the days leading up to the big day. If you're leaving for the holidays, do this anyway. There's nothing better than coming home to a clean and welcoming home – especially when you have bags of gifts and new belongings in tow.

Consider guest accommodations

Dust off the guest bedroom or rearrange the office to allow for a comfortable home away from home for family and friends. While couches were fine in college, luxe air mattresses are now affordable and expected. For additional insights on creating a nice guest area, regardless of your space, check out these tips.

Check the kitchen

Do you have enough pots, pans, dishware and table space to host your holiday meal? If not, don't panic – borrow the kitchen items or invest in an inexpensive set that you can take out once a year. As for tables and chairs, it's perfectly acceptable to buy a fold-out table and cover it with a chic tablecloth. Just make sure to buy in advance – you're not the only one lacking table space this time of year!

Last, check your oven and garbage disposal to make sure they're in peak condition; they'll be getting more use than usual over the next few weeks.

For those traveling

Stop shopping

For food, that is. Make sure to eat your perishable items in the week leading up to your departure. Clear out your cupboards and fridge the night before your trash collector comes so you don't come home to a stinky situation.

Secure your stuff

Burglaries are more common this time of year, especially in homes where the owners are away. Be sure to alert a trusted neighbor or friend that you will be out of town, and ask them to pick up your mail and even turn on lights at night if they are able.

What should I do (and can I sell) if my house is haunted?

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Key takeaways:

  • Minnesota disclosure laws do not require sellers to disclose “perceived paranormal activity” to buyers
  • Carbon monoxide leaks and electricity shorts can cause spooky occurrences in your home
  • It can help to look into your home’s history to determine what is behind the slamming doors or drafty areas

Have you ever felt a draft that can’t be explained, or watched a door in your house slam shut when nobody was nearby? We sometimes hear about homeowners who believe their home is haunted and wanted to explore whether this “perceived paranormal activity” can affect the ability to sell a home.

Plus, we looked into the science of why homes can seem haunted and what to do when logic just doesn’t debunk the spooky goings on in your home.

Do I have to tell a buyer if my house is haunted?

Per Minnesota’s disclosure laws, sellers must state if there are any “material facts” that could affect the buyers’ use or enjoyment of the property. One exception to this law is that home sellers do not have to disclose “perceived paranormal activity” to any homebuyers. This law was put into effect after a homeowner in New York sued when they found out they were about to buy a “haunted” house.

The short answer, then, is that you do not have to disclose to buyers that you believe your house is haunted.

Boom! Crash! What’s really causing that noise?

There’s a longstanding feud between scientists who believe they can explain away most paranormal activities, and the so-called “ghost hunters” who spend their time communicating with the other side. While we’re a no judgment zone, we do know that some drafts, sounds and light flashes can be explained logically. Here are a few common causes for haunted house happenings:

Drafts: If your home has unexplained cold areas or the doors keep slamming shut, don’t immediately assume the ghost of Ella Hawkins is upset you replaced her vintage doorknocker. Check windows, doors and your chimney to ensure they are all properly sealed and see if Ella mysteriously disappears once the gaps are filled in.

Noises in the walls: Before you explain noises in your walls or attic away to paranormal activity, put out traps or hire a professional to check for rodents, bats and squirrels.

Flickering lights: Whether your lights flicker on and off or the bulbs burn out quickly without explanation, consider hiring an electrician to check for electricity shorts in your home.

Orbs of light in photos: If your photos tend to include orbs or flashes of light that don’t come from your interior lighting, make sure that your camera lens is clean of dust, debris and hair particles.

Visions: If you suddenly start to have persistent visions of paranormal figures or scenes inside your house, be sure to check carbon monoxide levels immediately. After prolonged exposure, the toxic gas can lead to hallucinations that are even more dangerous than they appear.

What else can I do?

If logical explanations fail, consider doing some research on your home’s history. The property’s location and past owners may be able to help clarify what you are seeing and hearing. If it would give you peace of mind, you can also hire a paranormal team to assess the home.

If you think it’s time to meet with a professional REALTOR about selling your home, call, email or chat with us today. We have experts in every neighborhood across Minnesota and western Wisconsin who can help whether your home is haunted by ghosts, too many belongings or you just want a fresh start.

Love all things spooky? Check out Minnesota’s most haunted houses.

 

Why do homes near cemeteries sell for more?

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Looking for a home with quiet neighbors and little chance for future development? It may be time to open up your search to include homes near a cemetery. But you shouldn’t expect a discount: a study by Redfin showed that homes closest to cemeteries actually have a higher price tag than those further away.

Pricing of homes near cemeteries

In the study* the site looked into data on homes less than 50 feet and up to 1,000 yards away from a cemetery. The company found that homes located within 50 feet of a cemetery were usually smaller, but had a higher price by square foot than those further away.

Days on market of homes near cemeteries

Unsurprisingly, the homes nearest to the cemetery stayed on the market the longest, at 48 days. Homes further out sold faster, but only by about 10 days — homes within 1,000 feet of a cemetery were only on the market for an average of 39 days.

Are homes near cemeteries haunted?

One reason buyers may take longer to bite on cemetery-adjacent homes? It’s possible they believe these homes are haunted. In a separate study** sixty-one percent of homebuyer respondents said that a house may be haunted if there is a cemetery on the home’s grounds. While this wouldn’t necessarily deter them from purchasing the home, the respondents did rate their exact haunted house deal-breakers:

  • 75 percent of buyers wouldn’t buy a home with reported levitating objects
  • 63 percent would be turned off by ghost sightings
  • 34 percent would go running if they felt unexplained warm or cold spots on the property

What does it all mean?

A home near a cemetery doesn’t seem to be a bad investment, as it can be worth more per square foot than other nearby homes. However, buyers should know that it may take their cemetery-adjacent home longer to sell — and they may be asked to field questions about the home’s paranormal activity from buyers or haunted house looky-loos once it comes time to sell.

In short, buying a home near a cemetery may seem like a grave mistake... but for the right owner, it can be a good investment.

Looking for a new home?

Whether you’re open to a house near a quiet cemetery or prefer to live in the middle of downtown Minneapolis, we can help. Our 2,300 REALTORS® have helped buyers find every type of property on the market, and they can help you too. Call, email or chat to get started.

You can also follow #BuyerInsights on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for more tips on buying a home.

*Homes near cemeteries study

**Haunted house survey

Exploring Minnesota's three most haunted houses

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When it comes to spooky moments alone in your house, what can you handle? If you can overlook creaking doors or flickering lights, you’re in good company. According to a realtor.com study, more than 60 percent of homebuyers said they would buy a house that is believed to be haunted. Unsurprisingly, the respondents said they would not bid on the home if there had been reports of levitating objects, ghost sightings or objects moving from one place to another.

If you’re a haunted house enthusiast, but don’t want to live in one year-round, you’re in luck! Below, we’ve rounded up the three most famous haunted houses across Minnesota. Visit them if you dare, and please report back if you spot anything spooky.

Gibbs Farmhouse | 2097 West Larpenteur Ave, St. Paul, MN

The farmhouse, now run by the Ramsey County Historical Society (RCHS), was once the scene of a tragic grass fire that took the life of a nine-year old boy in 1867. Visitors have reported seeing a rambunctious young boy on the site, causing mischief and disappearing into thin air. When the house was open for tours, morning workers would often find toys splayed out on a rug in the room, as though someone had been playing with them overnight.

Nowadays, you’re unlikely to see anything too spooky on the site. In fact, the RCHS is hosting a family-friendly Halloween event on October 29, where kids can trick-or-treat, create a pig cookie and navigate a hay bale maze.

 

The Warden's House | 602 North Main Street, Stillwater, MN

As the story goes, Warden Henry Wolfer's family is behind the strange goings on in this building. Wolfer's daughter, Gertrude, died of complications from childbirth in 1914, and the infant was sent to live with the warden. Gertrude has been seen by guests who report that she wanders from room to room looking for her son.

While the Warden’s House tour doesn’t usually discuss the ghost of Gertrude, the Washington County Historical Society is hosting two events for thrill-seekers this year. On October 20, they’ll offer free tours and play The Phantom of the Opera on the front lawn; on October 29, a paranormal group will be on hand to explore what it means for a house to be (or seem) haunted. Check out the details here.

 

Forepaugh's Restaurant | 276 South Exchange Street, St. Paul, MN

Local entrepreneur William Forepaugh built this St. Paul Victorian mansion as the primary home for his family in the 1870s. While beautiful, the home was far from happy; William and his mistress, a maid named Molly, both took their lives in the residence. William and Molly are both known to haunt the premise, which has been converted into a beautiful restaurant with period decor. Molly, ever the mischievous servant, has been known to re-light candles that waiters have previously put out. If you ask her politely to stop, she usually behaves.

Want to support the arts and take in some spooky Halloween happenings at Forepaugh’s? The restaurant is hosting its first-ever Halloween event this year. Tickets and information are available here.

 

Ready to buy a non-haunted house?

If you’re more interested in touring houses for sale than visiting Minnesota’s most famous haunted sites, reach out today. We have more than 2,300 local REALTORS® who can help you tour and purchase the right ghost-free abode for you and your family.

You can also follow #BuyerInsights on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for more tips on buying a home.

Subway tile and barn doors: When and where to use HGTV’s hottest trends

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Key takeaways:
  • Subway tile is an inexpensive way to refresh almost any kitchen or bathroom
  • Barn doors can provide an element of privacy to homes with open floor plans
  • When installing subway tile or barn doors, it’s important to match the design to your home’s original aesthetic

Whether you’re addicted to Fixer Upper on HGTV or have a Pinterest board full of remodeling ideas, you’ve likely come across the two biggest trends in home design: Subway tile and barn doors. These elements are popular for a reason – they can instantly transform a space without breaking the bank.

Below, we explore common ways to incorporate subway tile and barn doors into your home and insider insights you can use to get started.

Subway tile

You won’t be surprised to hear that subway tile was first used in the New York City subway system in the early 1900s; the subway designers created simple white three-by-six-inch tiles and staggered them to add visual appeal. The bright white tiles were held in place by light-colored grout, and the minimalist look has been popular in transit, residential and commercial design ever since.

Where to use subway tile

  • Kitchen backsplash
  • Bathroom walls
  • Bathroom shower or tub

Color options

  • Traditional: White tiles with light-colored grout
  • Gritty: White tiles with gray or black grout
  • Modern: Colored tiles with white grout

Design options

  • Staggered
  • Stacked
  • Herringbone
  • Broken up with glass mosaic tiles or matching four-by-four-inch tiles

Quick tip from the pros: If you’re planning to install subway tile yourself, be sure to tackle one small area at a time – by tiling a large area, you may not leave time to wipe off excess grout before it dries. Follow these tips to ensure you get the job done right.

Barn doors

Perhaps the most popular question on remodeling TV shows is, “Is this a load-bearing wall?” The desire for open floor plans has been rising for the last decade but some homeowners are finding that the lack of privacy they create can be a problem.

One common solution is to install a sliding interior door, commonly known as a barn door. In a recent study that analyzed the features that sell homes faster and for the best price, barn doors were the top feature that buyers desired. And unlike traditional swinging doors, barn doors can economize space, making them a perfect addition to smaller homes.

Where to use barn doors

  • Block off TV / entertainment rooms from main living space
  • Entry point to laundry room or mud room
  • Entry point to bedrooms from main living space

Design options

  • Rustic: Finished or unfinished wood; dark hardware
  • Modern: Brightly painted one color; stainless hardware
  • Wild: Mural-style painting; matching hardware

Quick tip from the pros: Be sure to match every element of your barn door – including the sliding hardware – to your home’s overall aesthetic. Here’s a great tutorial on the items needed for a modern barndoor, and some more rustic hardware options.

Prepping to sell?

If you’re upgrading your home because you hope to sell in the next few years, check out even more fast fixes that buyers love. To get in touch with one of our leading sales experts who can help you assess your property value with no strings attached, reach out today.

Hoping for more seller advice? Follow #SellerInsights on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Selling an outdated house? Five fast fixes buyers love

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Key takeaways:
  • Rather than upgrading whole rooms, select a few updates that buyers love
  • Heated floors and tankless water heaters will delight winter buyers
  • Top aesthetic updates include stainless steel appliances, barn doors and farmhouse sinks

Wondering if you need to remodel your whole kitchen, or if you can get away with just a few fast fixes? A recent study of listing descriptions (and their related sales data) has given us a clear indication of what buyers are looking for as they search online and in person. Below are insights you can use to fix up your home and delight today’s discerning buyers.

1. Tankless water heater

Winter approaches — and so does the threat of running out of hot water in the morning! Buyers love modern tankless water heaters because they never run out of hot water, take up less space and can even reduce energy bills.

In the recent survey, 4 percent of homes that were listed with a tankless water heater sold for above their expected value.

2. Heated floors

Imagine if your first steps out of bed – even in January – were onto a warm, heated floor instead of a cold bedroom floor and bathroom tiles. If you have old flooring that needs to be replaced, consider adding in heated floors.

Houses with heated floors were shown to sell 28 days faster than expected.

3. Barn doors

Open floor plans are all the rage, but “pocket doors” are no longer en vogue. The solution? Barn doors allow for open appeal and the option to make certain areas private when desired.

Buyers must agree because 13.4 percent of homes listed with barn doors sold for above their expected value.

4. Stainless steel appliances

Stainless appliances are a kitchen staple, but they still hold major appeal with today’s buyers. In recent years, darker stainless (or black stainless) has gained popularity because its finish minimizes the appearance of smudges and fingerprints.

The study showed that homes with stainless steel appliances sold 42 days faster than expected.

5. Farmhouse sink

Anyone who’s seen a kitchen renovation on HGTV knows that farmhouse sinks are fashionable. These sinks sit slightly in front of your cabinets, and the sides of the counter overhang the sink slightly. The design allows for water to wipe easily from the counter into the sink, and for water splashing out of the sink to land on the floor instead of running down your expensive cabinetry.

Perhaps most importantly, these sinks add a rustic charm to any kitchen and buyers love them. Homes with farmhouse sinks were found to sell 58 days faster than expected.

Prepping to sell?

Edina Realty’s 2,300 REALTORS® help homeowners sell their homes every day. Get a no-obligation home estimate today, or reach out to our customer care team to be paired with an agent who can help you make smart updates.

You can also find more advice on selling by following #SellerInsights on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

How to prep your home for fall and winter in Minnesota

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Key insights:
  • Don’t wait until the first snowfall to prepare your home for the winter
  • Focus on fixing issues that may be increasing your winter energy bills
  • Prep your lawn and clean gutters so you can benefit in the spring

The 2017 Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a winter with average snowfall – but they also project colder-than-typical temperatures in Minnesota and Wisconsin. While we may have learned how to get through those “polar vortexes,” our homes need special care to prepare for the elements.

Here are insights you can use to prepare your home for this year’s winter.

Clean your gutters early and often

It’s hard to know when the first snowfall will come, so be sure to keep your gutters free of debris as the autumn leaves fall.

Prep the lawn

Rake and bag your leaves at least once per week during the fall season. Be sure to rake briskly so you remove any moss or deeply-entrenched debris that could impede drainage over the winter. Spike holes in your lawn (using a garden fork) to aerate the lawn before the first snowfall and fill in any trouble areas with lawn repair mixture.

Check windows and doors for air leaks

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average household spends more than $1,000 on heating and cooling costs annually. One way to lower your energy bills is to ensure that your heat doesn’t leak out as cool temperatures arrive.

Check for leaks by holding a lit candle to your windows, door frames, baseboards and the vent leading outside from your dryer. If the candle flickers as you run it past the area, fill in the leak using caulk from the hardware store.

Add insulation and seal off attic

Many homeowners ignore their attics, especially if they are unfinished. Attic leaks are extremely common, so insulating your attic can immediately lead to lower energy bills. Attic insulation also has the highest return on investment of any local home improvement project, so you may even earn back more than you spend on this project over time.

Still not sold on the benefit of attic insulation? Consider this: When hot air escapes from your attic, you put your home at risk for ice dams, which can be costly and nearly impossible to fix.

Upgrade to a smart thermostat

If you’re still turning the thermostat down when you go to bed and up when you get home from work, consider upgrading to a smart thermostat. These devices can learn when it’s safe to lower the temperature and when to boost the thermostat because everyone is at home after a long day. Nest is the most popular smart thermostat, but there are plenty of other options on the market.

Hoping to sell this spring?

If your winter preparations are based on your desire to sell your home this spring, consider getting in touch with an agent who can talk you through the upgrades you’ll need to sell for top dollar. Call, email or chat today to be matched with a local selling expert.

Hoping for more seller advice? Follow #SellerInsights on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

 

Status Definitions

For Sale: Properties which are available for showings and purchase

Active Contingent: Properties which are available for showing but are under contract with another buyer

Pending: Properties which are under contract with a buyer and are no longer available for showings

Sold: Properties on which the sale has closed.

Contingent and Pending statuses may not be available for all listings