Six questions to ask before selling your home


Key insights:

  • Understand the difference and benefit of partnering with a REALTOR® — and not just a real estate agent.
  • Work with your Realtor to discuss how a strategic listing price can result in a successful and profitable home sale.
  • Consider what you’re looking for in your next home before selling your current property — what comes next for you?

Whether you’re hoping to sell your current home and merge households or downsize — or move into a new property that you’ve set your sights on, use these six questions to guide you as you move forward in selling your home.

1. Who can help me sell my home?

When it comes to selling your home, you have a few options. You can list your home for sale by owner (FSBO), you can consider using an iBuyer, or you can choose to work with a REALTOR®.

A Realtor is educated, trained, and committed to helping facilitate all aspects of buying and selling a home. In order to become a Realtor, a licensed real estate agent must pledge to follow a code of ethics from the National Association of REALTORS®.

While it may just sound like an easy task to check off, the Realtor’s pledge is a key credential that sets Realtors apart from other real estate agents. The pledge is a strict commitment to put the needs of the client above the financial or personal interests of the Realtor, which is extremely important when selling your home.

The right Realtor will understand the local market area and be able to help you stand out in a crowd of for-sale houses — and get the best offer on your home. Edina Realty takes pride in requiring all its agents to be Realtors and to work according to the Code of Ethics.

2. How much is my home worth?

There are a number of factors that go into determining your home’s market value, which will inform how to price your home for sale. You don’t want to price your home too high, as this might discourage buyers and increase your home’s time on the market. And, you don’t want to list your property too low and risk leaving money on the table.

To get an idea of your home’s general price range, you can visit and view comparable homes that have sold in your area–simply select “Sold” under status in your search. You can also consider your home’s tax-assessed value, but keep in mind that this is often not reflective of a property’s current market value. Ultimately, your Realtor will help you determine the price by providing a comparative market analysis, or CMA.

3. What repairs or upgrades should I make to my house?

You may want to complete some interior and exterior home projects prior to listing your home for sale. Although investing money in your home before selling may seem counterintuitive, there are notable advantages to listing your home after completing necessary repairs or upgrades, especially when you complete home improvements with a higher return on your investment:

  • Addition of partial stone veneers to your exterior
  • Garage door replacement
  • Steel entry door replacement
  • Window replacement (vinyl)
  • Minor, mid-range kitchen remodel

Or, take note of these simple, yet impressive home projects to win buyers over:

  • Installing a new ceiling fan
  • Creating a dedicated laundry space
  • Adding custom garage storage

These low-cost updates will earn back the most money at resale:

  • Refinishing hardwood floors
  • Installing new wood flooring
  • Upgrading your home’s insulation

When selling, you’ll also want to pay attention to the details in your yard in order to create curb appeal.

4. How much will it cost to sell my home?

Between necessary repairs, closing costs, hiring a Realtor, and staging your home for sale, it can cost you money to sell your home.

But, keep in mind that these costs may also help you earn more at closing. For example, staging a home can encourage more buyer activity and help potential buyers visualize themselves in the home.

5. Should I sell first, then buy?

There is no set answer to the common seller question, “Should I sell first, then buy?” or vice versa. Instead, when determining whether it’s best to buy or sell your home first, you must think about your unique situation. Then, determine the order of operations that will work best for you and your family.

For example, selling your home first may be a smart option if you have a “plan B” housing arrangement, like living with family or renting a nearby apartment until you find your next property. Or, you might unexpectedly come across the home of your dreams and choose to buy a new house, then sell your existing home.

If this is the case, you have a few options on how to proceed. You can:

  • Include language in your offer stating that the home purchase is contingent on the sale of your existing property.
  • Contact a mortgage consultant about bridge loan options.
  • aside extra money to pay for both mortgages until you’re able to sell your former property.

6. Where will I move next?

Currently, we are in a market that favors sellers — especially those with homes in good condition. It’s important to be prepared in the event that your home sells quickly by having a place in mind for where you want to go next. Whether you’re interested in a condo, upsizing to a new construction, dreaming of a lake home, or downsizing, now is the time to do your research on your desired property style and location.

Do you have more questions about selling?

For nearly 70 years, Edina Realty has been a one-stop shop for home sellers and buyers, offering expertise throughout the home selling process to help you move forward.

If you have more questions about selling your house, reach out anytime!

How long does it take to paint a room? 4 key factors


Key insights:

  • Painting a room is one of the most cost-effective ways to add value to your home, or simply to change the mood.
  • It’s important to consider all the factors that will affect the length of the project, and plan accordingly.
  • While you may wish to be efficient in your painting, make sure to take your time to do as thorough a job as possible.

Bland, boring walls can be such an eyesore, but how long does it take to paint a room? We’re here to walk you through how to minimize the disruption of what can feel like a major project, and add life to your walls in the most painless way possible.

The result will be a room that adds exactly the vibe you’re looking for in your home, be it vibrancy and color or more of a cool, peaceful feeling. And whether you’re selling soon or plan to stay put for the long haul, the value you add by increasing the appeal of your home is sure to pay off.

Factors in how long it takes to paint a room

One of the first things to understand about painting any room in your house is that you’re going to have to look at the work you’ve done every day for a long time to come, so fully commit to the project! It’s important to do the absolute best, most thorough and careful work you possibly can. This won’t be a one-layer-and-done-situation.

If you’re trying to figure out just how long the job is going to take, consider these factors:

  • The size of the room
  • The number of areas being painted
  • Preparation and clean-up
  • How much experience you have painting walls

Size of room

Different room sizes will demand different amounts of your time, but also different amounts of supplies like paint, tape, drop cloths and rollers. Larger rooms are likely to have more tight surfaces, where you may have to have specialized equipment or apply more tape, and of course the act of painting the walls themselves will vary depending on the size of the room. Smaller rooms such as bathrooms can be painted much more quickly.

How long does it take to paint a bedroom?

The typical 12-foot-by-12-foot bedroom, if the ceilings are at 8 feet, will have about 384 total square feet of wall area in need of paint. Most experts estimate somewhere between four to six hours as the average time to paint a room of this size, when you account for the amount of preparation, the painting itself, and the cleanup. And don’t forget to buy the right amount of paint! For this many square feet, for instance, two gallons would be necessary.

How long does it take to paint a living room?

Living rooms tend to be larger than bedrooms and will typically take longer to paint. A 12-by-18 living room would also have significantly more wall surface to paint and may require more paint than your bedroom, and many living rooms are even larger than that. So how much time should you set aside for the work? Most experts say anywhere from five to 10 hours.

Number of areas being painted

Of course, it’s important to plan for how many rooms you will paint. Are you just painting one part of your home, or is this a larger project? The more rooms you’re looking at, the more time you should set aside. The same can be said for the number of helpers you’ll have, and don’t forget that paint will need to dry for a four to six hours between coats!

Prep and clean-up

No work is without its preparation and clean-up time. Just like you wouldn’t walk into the room with a brush and start painting, you wouldn’t leave everything on the walls and resume life as normal! Give yourself time to properly tape off corners, trim and windows with painter’s tape, and thoroughly lay your drop cloths to avoid dripping paint on your floor. The more obstructions and obstacles on your walls, the longer you should plan to take. And give yourself anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes to get everything picked up and put away once your paint is dry.

Experience in painting

Being a well-practiced home painter will make the entire process go much faster. Whether it’s because you know more about the techniques you’ll use to paint, are an expert at room preparation or will need fewer breaks to review your favorite how-to articles, the more experience you have, the faster your job will be finished. Hired professionals may even be able to save several hours off a typical painting project, and should be considered if you have walls in especially poor condition.

Can you paint a room in one day?

It’s absolutely possible! Many rooms are small enough that the process from set-up to clean-up could take your typical work day or less, but that should never be your priority. Remember: These walls are going to surround you (or the next owner of the house) for a long time to come, so you’ll want to make sure you do a thorough job you can be proud of. And if you can’t tear everything down and be finished after one day, don’t worry! Doing good work is certainly worth the extra time and effort.

5 reasons to paint a room

As you can tell, the decision to paint a room brings on quite a bit of work and can disrupt your normal routine for a day or two. So it’s important to be sure you really want the change before you get started. It’s also important to consider whether other decorating choices might be preferable. Some great reasons to bring a new color to your home’s walls might include:

  • To change the mood
    • Whether you want to make a room more relaxing by painting your walls a cooler color, or add a vibrant twist, paint is one of the fastest ways to make your home feel different.
  • Protect your home from damage
    • The materials in your walls soak up moisture over time. However, many paints are designed to seal off moisture and help prevent wear and tear for longer.
  • Cover up past mistakes
    • Maybe your toddler took a Sharpie to the wall. Maybe your last color didn’t turn out as expected. Either way, a new coat of paint can cover up mistakes and start you with a clean slate!
  • Improve the air quality
    • The science behind paint is only getting better. Newer blends come with fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs). New paint can also help reduce dust in the air.

Get the most out of selling your newly painted home with Edina Realty

You have to look at your walls every day you’re in your home, shouldn’t you like what you see? With the right amount of careful planning and hard work, you can make your walls into your greatest masterpiece. And if you’re planning to sell, reach out for help with everything from painting to choosing which renovation projects to tackle.

What does active contingent mean in real estate?


Key Insights

  • A contingent home is under contract with another buyer, but the final sale is dependent (contingent) on a specific set of criteria.
  • There are several different types of contingencies.
  • You can exclude “active contingent” properties from your search results on

If you’re a homebuyer searching for homes online, you may find yourself falling for properties that are labeled “Active contingent,” but do you know what that means?

In short, a contingent property is under contract with another buyer, but the final sale of the home is dependent (contingent) on a specific set of criteria that must be met. If the contingencies are not satisfied, the buyer or seller may be able to cancel the purchase agreement.

Pending status

After some of a sale’s contingencies have been removed, the home will be listed as “pending.” A pending property status means that the sale is more imminent and both the buyers and sellers are marching toward the closing table. Those transactions are usually subject only to a financing contingency, a sign-off on the title, and a final walk-through of the property.

Common contingencies

There are many different types of contingencies, but here are some of the most common scenarios.

Contingent, subject to inspection: The buyer and seller have signed a purchase agreement (contract), but the buyer is allowed to cancel the deal if the buyer does not like the results of the home inspection. Usually, these inspections take place a few days after the purchase agreement is signed.

Contingent, sale of another property: The buyer and seller have signed a purchase agreement, but the buyer is allowed to cancel if the buyer's own home does not sell. This may be critical for the buyer, who is protected against having to buy before they have sold their current home. But the seller may call the contingency — which happens, often if the seller receives another offer — and the buyer may lose the deal if they cannot get their home sold within a short period of time. Likewise, a seller may list their home for sale contingent upon finding a new home.

Contingent, subject to third-party approval: The buyer and seller have signed a purchase agreement, but the seller's lender must approve the sale because the sale proceeds will not be sufficient to pay off the seller's mortgage loan.

Contingent, subject to statutory right of rescission: The buyer and seller have signed a purchase agreement, but the buyer has a limited period of time to cancel the contract under a state law that provides a rescission period for the purchase of condos, townhomes, or cooperatives.

There are also other contingencies, including those related to financing, that fit into a different category. Ask your REALTOR® for insights about these types of contingencies and how they could affect your home purchase or sale.

Can I tour a home that’s listed as contingent?

Technically, yes. But not all sellers will be interested in having buyers in their home after they’ve accepted a purchase agreement.

Your Realtor can help you weigh the pros and cons of touring a contingent house; they can also help you set up the desired tours.

I’m tired of falling for houses that are contingent. How can I exclude them from my search?

In that case, you’ll want to limit your search to homes with a “For Sale” or “Coming Soon” listing status. When searching on or our mobile app, you can filter by status to include or exclude listings that are:

  • For Sale
  • Active contingent
  • Pending
  • Sold
  • Coming Soon

Why would a buyer want to include a contingency in their offer?

Contingencies protect buyers from varying circumstances that are beyond their control and that can cause financial strain.

Buyers who worry about purchasing a “money pit” can feel reassured by an inspection that shows the house is free of major defects and doesn’t require immediate repairs.

Buyers who are submitting an offer contingent on their home sale don’t have to worry that they will be stuck with two mortgages if their current property lags on the market.

If contingencies are advantageous to buyers, why are some homes sold free and clear of them?

In a low-inventory market, sellers hold the advantage, and buyers often compete over a shortage of homes listed for sale. Some buyers choose to make offers that are free and clear of all contingencies as a way to stand out from a crowded field. This is not without risk, and your Realtor can help you determine if it is the right strategy for you.

Sellers who wish to move may be eager to nix the inspection and all other contingencies, and head straight to closing.

Does a buyer’s contingency ever benefit a seller?

The main benefit of accepting a contingent offer is that it indicates that a sale is in process. Cancellations can be due to contingencies, financing, the buyer losing a job, and more.

In most cases, the accepted offer leads to a closed and final sale — the ultimate goal for any home seller.

How can sellers prevent a contingency from tanking their sale?

To prevent a situation where the contingency tanks the sale, sellers can also entertain “backup offers.” A backup offer is exactly what it sounds like — it means the seller can have a second prospective buyer on the hook if the first accepted offer does not go through.

Sellers who wish to go down this path can work with their Realtor to accept a backup offer that ensures the secondary offer is legally binding and effective immediately, should the initial buyer back out, but also allowing the seller to cancel the back-up offer if the first transaction is going to close.

Have more questions about buying and searching on

There are a lot of real estate terms to learn. Reach out anytime to get help as you move forward in your home search and purchase.

Note: The property search on uses listing data that is provided by several local Multiple Listing Services (MLSs). Some MLSs do not offer an Active Contingent status. As a result, it is possible to exclude Active contingent properties from a search and still get results that might include properties that are under contract.

Why you should use a REALTOR to sell your home instead of FSBO


Key insights:

  • Realtors can take an objective look at your home to set the right price and promote its best features.
  • The median price of a home sold by a Realtor is $120,000 higher than the median price of a home sold “For Sale By Owner” or FSBO.
  • Realtors have a selling strategy and can offer step-by-step guidance to help you achieve your goals.

Using a Realtor to sell your home can make a big difference when it comes to accomplishing your goals and selling for top dollar. Here are some of the ways Realtors help sellers successfully navigate their home sales and come out ahead of FSBO or “For Sale By Owner” sales.

The emotions of selling

Preparing your home for sale can be an emotional experience, especially if you’re downsizing. It can be difficult to see your home objectively and take into account its true condition rather than its personal value to you. A Realtor can offer objective feedback and help you emotionally detach from your home. They are able to see a home’s imperfections and help you address them while drawing out its best features with staging and marketing.

Oftentimes, a FSBO seller is too close to the home to see its flaws, and they may be unable to separate themselves from what they spent on a custom update that simply doesn’t appeal to a buyer.

Pricing your home

In our local market, we’ve seen steady price growth over the last few years, with month-over-month increases that make it difficult to accurately price your property without the guidance of a professional. Most homeowners simply don't know what their home is worth (or what the market is willing to pay for it), and they don’t understand the strategy behind pricing it accurately from the beginning–and how that can have a big impact on your final sales price.

To determine the listing price of a home, a Realtor takes into consideration everything from the tax-assessed value of your home, to how your home compares to recently sold properties nearby. This process is called a comparative market analysis, and Edina Realty Realtors are well-practiced in it.

Attaining in-person and online exposure

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that 86% of homebuyers purchased their home through a real estate agent in 2022. For a number of reasons, including safety, professionalism, and access, some real estate agents are unwilling to show homes that are not listed by another agent. This can significantly reduce a FSBO seller’s ability to attract buyers.

Furthermore, 96% of buyers searched for homes online, making an online presence critical to getting your home sold quickly. When you list your home with an Edina Realty agent, your property will be prominently featured on as well as competitor sites and national sites like Zillow and

Most FSBO sellers simply do not have the access or connections a professional Realtor does when it comes to marketing their property.

Paying for expertise

Across the country, 10% of home sellers sold FSBO in 2022, and 50% of them already knew the buyer.

The primary motivation of FSBO sellers is to avoid paying a commission fee. According to data from The National Association of Realtors 2022 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, FSBO homes sold at a median of $225,000 while agent-assisted homes sold at a median of $345,000 last year.

However, sellers get a lot more from a Realtor than just a higher median sales price. Read on for more.

Focusing on the first two weeks

Realtors know that the first two weeks are the most critical time for a home and that buyers become wary of homes that remain on the market for an extended period of time—even if there is nothing seemingly wrong with them. That’s why they take steps to stage a home, improve curb appeal, price it right, and market the home for showings and open houses during those first critical weeks.

If a FSBO seller is not in a rush to sell their home, they may not make the same preparations and will inadvertently be sending the wrong message to potential buyers (and ultimately attracting a lower sales price).

Screening buyers

When you work with a Realtor, they make sure to check a buyer's mortgage pre-approval to ensure you aren’t wasting your time on unqualified buyers. FSBO sellers have to review a potential buyer’s mortgage paperwork before letting them in the front door.

Negotiating offers

In a seller’s market like the one currently, a well-priced home in good condition may attract multiple offers at once. It can be difficult to determine which offer is the best one because winning offers often are not dictated by price alone. For example, one offer may include a more flexible closing timeline while another offers a higher price but asks the seller to pay closing costs. Another offer may stand out from all, yet the buyer may not actually be pre-approved and qualified to buy the home. This is where a Realtor can offer insights, and even help you determine a counter-offer that is more favorable to you and your goals.

Dealing with the paperwork and process

Even after an offer is placed, there are a number of next steps when selling. A professional Realtor is skilled at navigating the next steps, making connections with the appropriate parties, and facilitating a successful transaction to its close.

In the case of a FSBO, here are some routine steps and paperwork that homeowners have to tackle on their own:

  • Approving any contingencies in the offer or the inspection
  • Hiring an inspector in an allotted time for any seller-required inspections
  • Communicating with the buyer’s lender to ensure a timely closing
  • Dealing with the buyer’s earnest money deposit
  • Working with the title company to address any issues with the title for the property
  • Addressing issues that arise when the buyer conducts their final walk-through prior to closing

Plus, if anything unexpected comes back after the buyer's inspection, the FSBO owner must negotiate with the buyer and their agent to determine a proper solution. This can be difficult when the buyer has retained an expert who negotiates contracts on a regular basis.

Moving forward with your home sale

When selling your biggest asset, you need an advocate who knows the ins and outs of the process and can help you sell for top dollar. Reach out today for a free market analysis of your home.

The Do’s and Don’ts of buying a lakeshore home


Key insights

  • Research is key, and lake home or lake cabin buyers should keep in mind that setting parameters early in the process will help them find the right property.
  • Private lake homes can be expensive, so buyers on a budget may consider a home with lake access to save money while getting a larger property in cabin country.
  • Keep your lakeside hobby in mind as you search. The right lake for a water skier could vary from the perfect fishing or canoeing lake.

Ready to dive into owning a lake home in Minnesota or western Wisconsin? As the local lakeshore experts, we can advise you on the elements you’ll want to research and prioritize as you buy a waterfront property.

lakeshore infographic

The location

Do consider distance. It's easy to say, "Any lake home will do!" but it's smart to create parameters for where you'd like to end up. As you list the requirements you’re seeking in a lake home, whether it’s only for weekends or part of your everyday life, consider how far away from everything you’ll have to travel.

If it’s your weekend or vacation home, two to three hours is ideal. If you’ll still need to commute to work from your lake home, make sure it’s a distance you can handle. And don’t forget to consider how far you are from family, friends or key amenities like grocery stores! And set up saved searches on so you can track new properties as they become available.

Don’t forget about traffic. As you begin searching in your chosen area, do a test run of the commute on a Friday evening and Sunday afternoon. Those "up north" two-lane highways can jam up quickly, so it's important to prepare yourself for the typical traffic you'll experience as you head to your weekend oasis. Pro tip: The Edina Realty mobile app allows you to search according to commute times!

Do check out the local area. Whether you’re moving in full-time or looking for a weekend or summer getaway, you’ll want to know as much as you can about your neighbors and the closest municipality. What are the local restaurants like? Is there a summer festival you should plan to attend? Ask the locals what the best features of their hometown are, and plan to soak them all in!

The financing

Do set your budget. You’ll need to follow the same steps as buying a traditional home, so take the time to carefully calculate your maximum mortgage payment, including insurance. If you won’t be living in the lake home full-time, consider whether you’ll make the property available for rentals, or talk to friends or family about co-ownership.

Don't forget added costs. Like any home, your lake property will include expenses outside of a mortgage, including everything from winterization services to homeowners association dues. Be careful to include each of these bills in your budget as you plan for your home. And if this will be your second home, you should expect to spend some cash on the furniture, appliances, and recreational items you’ll need to enjoy it!

Access to the water

Do think about the type of lake home you’d prefer. Many lake home buyers are committed to purchasing a private waterfront home with a dock and a private boat slip. If you can't live without a nightly boat cruise, a home on the water is the right choice.

Don’t count out lake access homes. If you prefer relaxation and quiet over the steady hum of boats on nearby water, you may want to consider a property with close access to a beach or public boat slip. Most lakes have access via community docks, beaches, and boat drops so you can get on the water when the time is right. The other upside to lake access homes? They are usually less expensive than homes located directly on the water, and they typically have lower taxes.

Life at the lake

Do consider what kinds of recreation you love. Different lakes in Minnesota or Wisconsin can be better or worse for different types of activities. If you’re an avid fisher, research what can be caught on the lake and what’s permitted. If kayaking or canoeing is more your speed, make sure the lake’s usual conditions are ideal.

Don’t forget the dock. Some sellers may prefer to take their dock with them, so make sure you understand whether the existing dock is included in the sale. If it is, ask about how to install or remove the dock as the seasons change. If it’s not included, plan for the expense of purchasing and installing the new dock where you’ll access the lake.

Do research the boat you want. If you live to waterski or fish, you're likely itching to purchase the boat of your dreams. It's a great idea to begin researching the type of boat you'll want — in fact, it may help you steer your decision toward a specific lake or region.

Don’t buy it yet. However, lakes have different boat and motor size limitations, so it's critical that you don't buy a vessel that ends up restricting your lake options too much. If you have a boat size in mind, mention that to your REALTOR®, who can help customize your search to lakes that match your needs.

Don’t forget about what’s under the water. Just like every lake is different in terms of recreation, every lakeshore is different as well. Is your lakeshore rocky, mucky, weedy, or sandy? Get a detailed accounting of those first few feet between the shore and the middle of the lake, and be sure it meets your expectations.

Hiring a Realtor

Do hire a lake home expert. Agents who specialize in lake homes and cabins offer an incredible wealth of local knowledge around Minnesota and Wisconsin lakes. Reach out if you’re ready to start your lake home search.

Seven repairs all homeowners should know how to fix


Key Insights

  • Learn how to complete home repairs with these tips and tutorials!
  • Keep essential supplies like WD-40 and white vinegar in your home to make simple fixes even more convenient.
  • Maintain your property so it’s more livable for you – and to help get a better return on investment when you do sell.

Why shell out unnecessary money when you can learn to complete simple home fixes yourself? If you’re hoping to lower your home expenses, it’s time to pick up your toolkit. Here are seven common home fixes that every homeowner should be able to do on their own – and the tips and tricks to succeed.

1. Troublesome doors

Creaky and sticky doors are more annoying than they are functional. Luckily, a little door maintenance can go a long way to make your doors open smoothly. Before calling for a repair, try the following:

  • Tighten all screws.
  • Replace old hinges.
  • Add lubricant (like WD-40) to your doors.

While you’re at it, inspect all the features of your door. It may be time to replace your door hardware if they’re showing signs of aging, such as worn-down locks, old knobs or deteriorating metal.

2. Cracked tile

Broken bathroom tile is a little more complicated task to fix, but it can be easily achieved if you have extra matching tiles on hand. If your bathroom tiles are breaking, gather these tools to complete your replacement:

  • Grout saw
  • Hammer
  • Chisel

Before you get started, follow this basic tutorial outlining how to replace a cracked tile.

3. Deteriorating showerheads

Mineral deposits and sediment can accumulate on your showerhead over time, causing blocked or impaired water flow. If you’re noticing that your shower head is deteriorating, try the following:

  • First, remove any offending buildup by spraying and scrubbing your showerhead with distilled white vinegar.
  • If your shower head is still giving you problems, head to your hardware store for specific replacement parts.
  • You may also find that replacing the entire showerhead is the best option, if yours is beyond repair. This tutorial walks you through that process.

4. Outdated light fixtures

A modern light fixture can spruce up any room. Rather than calling a contractor to replace your previous fixture with an updated version, homeowners can complete this repair themselves at a fraction of the cost. Watch this video tutorial on replacing outdated light fixtures to learn how. To complete this repair safely, you’ll want to:

  • Gather a screwdriver, circuit tester and pliers.
  • Turn off the power from the circuit box prior to disconnecting any wires.
  • Brush up on the color-pairing of wires.
  • Recruit a second set of hands to help.

5. Furnace filter replacements

Replacing furnace filters may seem like a daunting task. But when it comes down to it, changing the furnace filter is nothing to worry about. Plus, each unit requires routine furnace maintenance in order to function properly.

Check your owner’s manual for specific directions on replacing the filters on your exact furnace unit. This video provides an easy-to-follow overview on furnace filter replacement, too.

6. Leaky faucets

A dripping faucet can run up your water bill and lead to other major plumbing issues. Tighten up your faucet with this simple how-to guide and the following tools:

  • Drain plug
  • Wrench
  • Screwdriver

When fixing your leaky faucet, remember to keep track of your tools and faucet parts. You’ll want to be careful not to lose anything important down the drain.

7. Damaged walls

Wall dings, scratches and small holes are easy do-it-yourself fixes. Plus, spackling a hole will make you feel like you have superpowers! Here’s how to complete the task:

  • Fill the damaged area with spackle.
  • Sand until the spackled area is smooth with the wall.
  • Paint the fix to match the rest of the wall.

Grab your tools!

Whether you’re moving forward, with a fixer-upper property or repairing minor dings in your home, be sure to keep these tips in your back pocket. With this knowledge and the right tools, you’ll be well on your way to completing any simple home repair.

Reach out today for extra guidance, homeowner tips and help sprucing up your home for a planned sale!

What should I do if a buyer gives me a “property love letter” when I’m selling my home?


Homeownership can be complicated, but we also think it’s one of the most rewarding ventures out there. In our series, Ask an Edina Realty Lawyer, we are hoping to demystify some of the trickier aspects of buying, selling, and owning a home.

You may have heard stories recently about the competitive real estate market. In this edition, our lawyers answer some questions about a popular buyer tactic in the current real estate market and the risks it poses for sellers.

Dear Edina Realty Legal,

I’m selling my home and a potential buyer sent me a letter with their offer talking about themselves and explaining what they like about the home. Is it okay for me to read it?

A buyer love letter

This type of letter is often called a “buyer love letter” and it’s a common buyer strategy to include it in an offer to persuade a seller to sell to them. While it is not illegal for you to read it, it does pose potential pitfalls, especially if it provides certain personal information about the buyer.

How “protected classes” may come into play

The Fair Housing Act, as well as the Minnesota Human Rights Act and the Wisconsin Fair Housing Law, prohibits discrimination in housing based on various “protected classes.” Both federal law, as well as state-specific laws, offer the same types of protections.

The identifiers that are covered by these laws include someone’s race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, receipt of public assistance or any other lawful source of income, sexual orientation, gender identity, familial status, ancestry, age, and status as a victim of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking.

While the exact definition of what is considered a “protected class” differs slightly between states and may be subject to more specific or different restrictions in certain cities or for certain properties (like senior living communities), it is a good idea to be mindful of all these protected classes no matter where you may be located.

Accepting or rejecting an offer based on the buyer’s personal details could be illegal, even if you aren’t doing so with any intention to discriminate. Unconscious or implicit bias is no less harmful than overt racism or other types of discrimination, and either can result in fair housing law violation.

Get your Realtor’s advice

You should accept an offer based on objective offer terms, like price or closing date, not what “type” of person makes the offer. Basing your decision on any information related to any of the protected classes listed above is illegal.

It’s up to you to decide whether you want to review these types of letters with offers on your property or direct your agent to not provide them to you. You should talk with your agent about your decision on this before the offer process begins.

Whatever you decide, you need to be consistent. If you decide you want to consider this type of information, it’s important to be careful that you are not making any decisions based on any protected class characteristics of the buyers.

The Edina Realty Legal Department serves as in-house counsel for Edina Realty and does not represent private clients. This Insight is not intended to provide legal advice.

In a tight market, how can you determine the best time to sell?


Key Insights

  • Sellers currently have an advantage, but every sale is personal.
  • Look to housing logistics, like determining your next residence, to help navigate your selling timeline.
  • Ask your REALTOR® about how a home seller net sheet could help you understand your post-sale finances.

The 2023 housing market continues to favor sellers, and inventory has been tight for years. Some homeowners are wondering… if sellers have had the advantage for nearly a decade, why should I sell my home now?

Here are expert tips to help you figure out the actual best time to list your property for sale.

Selling a home is personal

In almost every case, selling a home is a personal decision. It may have been a long time coming: Barb and Diego, set to retire in September, are finally having more concrete discussions about downsizing and decide it’s time to call their Realtor. It may be a decision that happens more quickly — like the Hylden family realizing in May that they cannot spend another winter cooped up in a too-small house… so it’s time to start looking for a move-up home.

These cues are personal to each homeowner, but they have one thing in common – they are the signals that now might be the ideal time to move.

A property sale should be logical

Known as “home selling season,” spring tends to hold some of the best months to sell a house. Sellers may choose to list their home during this time of year so they can appeal to a higher number of buyers, especially those who may wish to get into a home before the new school year starts in the fall.

Similarly, lakeshore homeowners may wish to list their home in early spring so that they can wrap up the sale prior to Memorial Day weekend. Lake home buyers are interested in enjoying the next summer on the water, so many will be timing their purchase accordingly. Conversely, those interested in hunting shacks will likely begin searching by mid-summer at the latest, so they can have their property set up by the fall.

Keep the selling logistics in mind

Many homes listed in today’s market are selling quickly, so you’ll need to consider where your next place of residence will be. Whether you have another residence lined up to purchase or transitional housing where you can stay or rent, your next living solution may help guide the timeline of selling your current home.

The stress of coordinating a simultaneous home sale and purchase or organizing a Plan B residence is enough to halt some sellers who may actually be ready to list their homes for sale. If you’re stalling because you know change will be hard, a Realtor can help.

Home sellers can benefit from working with a Realtor by:

  • Working together to find the right next steps or residence options.
  • Having someone to talk to about housing nerves – and getting thoughtful advice from a licensed expert.
  • Ensuring the best offer is accepted for the value of your for-sale home.
  • Receiving comprehensive market insights to strategically plan the property listing.

Use finances to guide your home selling timeline

If finances are leaving you unsettled, there are ways to estimate what your wallet could look like post-sale. By speaking with your Realtor, you can request a draft of a home seller net sheet. This document will help you understand the financial impact and outcome of your future home sale.

To calculate your specific results, the home seller net sheet will assume a projected sale price for your property (that is, of course, subject to change). Additionally, the document will estimate the cost of selling your home, including:

  • Seller-related closing costs
  • Agent fees
  • Taxes to be paid at closing
  • Payoff of mortgages or other liens against the property

Finally, this home seller net sheet will provide an expected amount that you’ll receive upon closing. Be sure to ask your Realtor about this, and remember all figures are conditional.

List your home for sale with Edina Realty

There are many reasons you may be on the fence about a home sale. A good real estate specialist will help you navigate the next chapter on your terms.

If you’re ready to take advantage of the current seller’s market, now is the time to reach out. We can discuss your situation to help you reach your home goals.

Pros and cons of buying a fixer-upper


Key Insights

  • Fixer-upper properties may require attention, but you get to choose how to renovate the home to best suit your style and function.
  • If you’re buying a fixer-upper, you may want to consider a renovation loan.
  • Pay extra attention to your budget with buying a fixer-upper; repair costs can add up.

As the current housing market continues to face tight inventory and a shortage of lower-priced “starter homes,” buyers might consider purchasing a fixer-upper. A turnkey home is preferable for some owners, but a fixer-upper offers more flexibility and potentially lower up-front costs.

Here are the pros and cons buyers can consider as they search for a fixer-upper home in their desired neighborhood.

Comparing the cost of a fixer-upper

Pro: Fixer-upper homes tend to be priced lower than homes that are updated and move-in ready.

Additionally, a home in need of repair may not generate as much buyer interest. If you choose one of these homes, you may be less likely to experience intense bidding wars and buyer competition.

Con: Although a fixer-upper home may initially save you money at closing, you will end up spending money on home repairs and other improvements after you purchase the property. However, you can determine the pace of those repairs and save up for them over time.

Customizing the home to your needs

Pro: When you’re fixing up the space, you can make it entirely yours. Although fully renovated houses seem great upon move-in, you may wish the space were different over time. With a fixer-upper, you can control the design and make decisions that benefit your needs, such as:

  • Ensuring that the remodeled kitchen matches your design and lifestyle preferences.
  • Creating a small bathroom and laundry room on the main floor, instead of having an oversized mudroom.
  • Turning an extra bedroom into a home office complete with built-in storage solutions and soundproofing.

Con: Remember that some of your favorite add-on features may not be at the top of the next buyer’s list. If you’re not planning on staying in your fixer-upper for a long time, or if you plan to invest in major projects, be sure to weigh both your desires and the home renovation projects with the best ROI.

Using a renovation loan for a fixer-upper

Pro: Renovation loans may be an option for you if you choose to purchase a fixer-upper. A renovation loan bundles your mortgage with the cost of needed repairs. This allows buyers the opportunities to:

  • Pay for repairs over time, rather than out of pocket.
  • Purchase an as-is or fixer-upper property with more peace of mind.
  • Make a clear plan for renovating and budgeting in advance.

Con: When approving a renovation loan, lenders require the borrower to lay out very specific project plans with set deadlines for selecting contractors and completing the work. It can feel stressful to apply for a renovation loan while working to secure a contractor who agrees to the work. If you go this route, you’ll want to be prepared for the stipulations that can come from renovation loans, and be committed to a fast renovation plan.

Making the most of your mortgage budget

Pro: A smaller budget may be able to stretch further when purchasing a fixer-upper home. Some buyers find that by purchasing a house with “good bones,” they’re able to put the money they saved on the listing price into the renovations they desire most. With thoughtful consideration and planning, you can stretch your budget to get meaningful results.

Con: If you’re purchasing a house with good bones and funding future updates with a renovation loan, your lender may limit the amount you can spend on updates. Keep a realistic budget in mind when creating your to-do list of home improvements, and remember:

  • Your lender will likely cap your home renovations to take up a certain percent of your total loan limit.
  • Home renovations seen on reality TV shows — where the buyer pays $100,000 for the house and then puts in $200,000 worth of updates — may not be realistic and often do not factor in labor costs.

Moving forward with a fixer-upper

Carefully consider your personal preferences before committing to a fixer-upper home. A fixer-upper may better fit within your budget and your desire for a customized space, but you’ll likely have to invest time and money into renovations.

If you’re ready to move forward with a home search in your area, reach out for help finding the home of your dreams – whether it’s a fixer-upper house or an already pristine property.

Tax prep documents for buyers and sellers


Key Insights

  • Homebuyers and sellers need to fill out specific forms for their taxes.
  • When in doubt, don’t throw it out! Keep a file of receipts from your home transaction.
  • Your REALTOR® can help guide you in the right direction regarding tax documents.

Buying or selling a home is likely one of the largest financial transactions you’ll make in your lifetime. While it’s easy to get swept up in the emotions and excitement of a move, you’ll also want to consider the logistical components of your move. The paperwork you sign will become especially important around tax time.

If you bought or sold a home last year, you’ll need specific documents for tax preparation. Here, we’ll dive into the details of each of these home-related tax documents:

  • Form 1098
  • Form 1040
  • Form 1099-S
  • Closing disclosure

Keep in mind that this is general advice and you should work with a tax or accounting expert to ensure you accurately fill out any tax forms and otherwise prepare your taxes.

What tax documents do homebuyers need?

If you’re a new homebuyer, look out for Form 1098. This document, also called the Mortgage Interest Statement, will be sent to you if you’ve paid mortgage interest totaling $600 or more in the last tax year.

This form helps new homeowners identify the total amount of interest they’ve paid over the course of the year, which can then be used to calculate potential mortgage interest deductions. Keep in mind, there are requirements in order to qualify for mortgage interest deductions on your annual tax return. The general eligibility requirements for the deduction include:

  • You’ve paid mortgage interest totaling $600 or more in the last year.
  • You are the primary borrower on the home loan.
  • You are actively contributing payments to the loan.

If, however, you’ve contributed less than $600 to home mortgage interest taxes, you will not get Form 1098 in the mail from your lender. Instead, you might opt to itemize deductions on Form 1040. To do so, you’ll need to fill out the optional Schedule A attachment accompanying Form 1040.

What tax documents do home sellers need?

If you’ve sold a piece of real estate that netted a significant profit, you should receive and report Form 1099-S, also known as the Proceeds from Real Estate Transactions form. This document indicates that you’ve sold a home and that you need to pay capital gains tax.

The 1099-S document will be provided to you at the time you sign your documents if you’re required to report your sale. The 1099-S is used to report the gross proceeds from the sale of real estate. It is generally required for an individual with gross proceeds exceeding $250,000 or $500,000 for a married couple.

Everyone should save these papers for taxes

At the time of closing, buyers and sellers will each receive a Closing Disclosure form or an ALTA Settlement Statement, which documents the closing costs associated with the home transaction. It’s important to keep track of this form in the event that you can deduct itemized closing costs from your taxes. Here is an example of what the form will look like and include.

In general, whether you’re buying or selling a home, it’s best to save all documents related to your homeownership. These will come in handy should you need them for tax purposes, or if you ever happen to be audited.

Here are some papers you’ll want to keep track of:

  • Records from your home sale
  • Any mortgage or insurance documents
  • Documents proving your home is your primary residence (voter registration, tax returns, bank statements, utility bills, etc.)
  • Receipts from home improvement projects

Moving forward with your taxes

Taxes can feel daunting, especially the year after you’ve bought or sold a home. When you work with Edina Realty, you can easily access your home documents online. Reach out for help.

And for more information on tax documents, or to download these forms, check out the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) webpage.

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.

Coming soon: Properties which will be on the market soon and are not available for showings.

Contingent and Pending statuses may not be available for all listings