Selling? How to prep for virtual open houses and safe in-home showings

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Key insights

  • Many sellers have questions about how to safely allow guests into their home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • We can work together to help establish smart virtual tours or open houses that minimize the number of in-person guests to your home.
  • It’s also important to reinforce safety standards for interested buyers who would like to tour your home in person.

If you’re hoping to sell your home in the coming months, you may have doubts about the safety of having buyers visit your property in person. Edina Realty Realtors and staff have been working for the last 7+ months to minimize COVID-19 spread, while still helping buyers and sellers facilitate home sales (which have been deemed essential to the economy).

We have developed guidelines that are in line with the CDC and other recommended public health protocols. Here are some considerations that sellers can keep in mind as they list their homes and prepare for virtual tours and open houses or in-person showings.

Best practices for virtual open houses or showings

While buyers will likely want to see your home in person before making an offer, they may be open to viewing the home via virtual tour as a first step. Alternatively, we can host a “virtual open house” that takes place on Facebook or another popular platform. Here are best practices for these virtual selling events.

1. Offer up a strong connection

A successful virtual open house or showing requires a strong and stable connection. We can work together to connect to your wifi well before the event, and do a test drive to ensure the connection is secure.

2. Minimize the glare

As you have likely seen on many Zoom meetings, glare from a window or light fixture can really ruin a virtual setting. We can test the lighting to ensure that your home looks as fantastic as it does in your listing photos. We may also have to play with the curtains, blinds, overhead lights and side lamps to get the right virtual vibe.

3. Help your agent make it extra-special

When buyers can’t control their own visit, they may miss out on elements that would intrigue or delight them in person. Before the virtual tour begins, we can discuss your favorite home features. Whether you’re most proud of your vintage brass door knocker, your laundry room’s custom cabinets or the USB ports you added to every room, we’ll be sure to highlight these special areas or elements to the audience once we’re live.

Hosting potential buyers in person? Here’s how to do it safely

If an interested buyer is ready to visit your home in person, there are ways to mitigate (though not fully eradicate) your risk. The first step is to communicate upfront. Together, we can determine guidelines that make you most comfortable. Then, as your Realtor, we will reinforce these guidelines with in-person buyers and their agents.

1. Provide PPE and sanitizer

Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer and masks. Leave a sign at the front entrance, asking buyers and their agents to wear the provided masks (or their own) and to apply hand sanitizer before entering your home. If any masks are left in your home, discard them after the showing or open house is over.

2. Request that visitors self-screen

You can also ask that each visitor self-screen by answering “No” to the following questions before entering.

  • In the last 48 hours, have you had any of the common symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, chills, cough, fatigue, headache, sore throat, runny nose? (The full symptom list is available here.)
  • Have you had contact with anyone that you know had COVID-19 or COVID-like symptoms in the last 14 days?
  • Have you had a positive COVID-19 test for active virus in the past 10 days?
  • Within the past 14 days, have you had to self-monitor, self-isolate, or self-quarantine because of concerns about COVID-19 infection?

3. Minimize surface touch

You can ask visitors not to touch any surfaces in your home, but you also want to give them the opportunity to see your entire home. Lower the need for guests to touch anything by:

  • Leaving lights on in every room (and in your garage, too)
  • Opening up kitchen cabinets and pantry
  • Leaving hall closets and bedroom closets slightly ajar
  • Opening interior doors that connect rooms or floor levels

You can also include hand sanitizer in each room to help guests reapply if they do end up touching a surface or door.

4. Be smart about numbers

Edina Realty has advised their Realtors to have a maximum of 10 guests at one time during an in-person open house (including the agent showing the home). If you prefer, we can also further limit the attendees or reinforce your preferred visiting guidelines. To ensure that guests don’t exceed the maximum, we can hang a sign on the front door, asking guests to wait until they have been greeted and invited in. Upon entry, guests will be asked to maintain at least six feet of social distance from other attendees.

safe, sell fast

For many homebuyers and homeowners, the COVID-19 pandemic has clarified their immediate living needs. And as a result, the market is continuing to move fast, with many desirable homes selling in a matter of days.

If you are hoping to sell in the coming months, but have concerns or questions about what to expect, we are here for you. Reach out any time for personal, respectful guidance.

Winter home projects: DIY and professional upgrades to tackle

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Key insights

  • Optimize time spent inside this winter by checking home projects off your to-do list.
  • Amp up your home’s light fixtures and features to create an instantly brighter mood, especially during the colder months.
  • Assess whether you have the ability and time to take on a DIY home project or if it’s best to call a professional.

During the chilly months, homeowners are likely to spend more time indoors. Take advantage of the time inside and make plans to update your property. Not only will a few fixer-upper projects help to increase the value of your home when it’s time to sell, but they will also create a space that is more livable for you now.

Whether you’re staying put or planning to move this winter, here’s what you can do to upgrade your home during this season.

The best DIY winter home projects for homeowners

1. Give your walls a fresh update. Make the choice to add in a new color, texture or pattern to your walls — and think about how permanent you want this new vibe to be.

Temporary wallpaper options, like these popular peel-and-stick brands, can add a pop of color to an accent wall or brighten up your guest bathroom. Removable wallpaper is the ideal option for property owners who love to keep up with design trends, but aren’t ready to commit to one aesthetic for years to come. If you plan to do permanent wallpaper, you may want to hire a professional.

Meanwhile, most people can handle painting their interior walls. If you opt to tackle an indoor painting project this winter, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Stick to painting smaller spaces that can be ventilated as the paint dries.
  • When possible, open windows to circulate clean air into the painted room.
  • Take fresh air breaks every few hours outside of the room you’re painting.
  • Steer clear of the freshly painted room or space for two to three days.

2. Update your bathroom, DIY-style. Give your bathroom a facelift by painting the vanity, replacing the knobs and buying new accessories — like a soap dish, toothbrush holder, towel rack and matching towels. Don’t forget to add some fancy candles and bubble bath to your shopping cart, so you have a reason to enjoy your new spa-like bathroom once the work is done!

3. Optimize existing light sources. Do you feel like your house is dim, especially during winter’s shorter days? Incorporate floor lamps and side table lights to every room in your home, which gives the impression of a brighter space. And, make it a practice to open the curtains each morning to let natural light in. Adding mirrors to your space will reflect and amplify natural light, too.

The winter home updates that (likely) need a professional

1. Install new carpet. Fresh carpet creates the foundation for a polished room, but replacing an aged carpet requires a lot of work and planning. Between accurate measurement, new installation and proper removal, it may be in your best interest to hire a professional for the job.

2. Finish or remodel your basement. Add more living space to your home by finishing your basement or refreshing an existing basement to suit your family’s needs. Maybe you’d benefit from a space dedicated to gaming, an area with desks for distance learning and studying or simply a separation between storage areas and living space. A professional can help bring these basement dreams to life.

3. Upgrade light fixtures. Add recessed lighting to your home office, kitchen or any room that gets extra dark and gloomy during the winter. You’ll be amazed at how much a little more light can freshen up your house and brighten up the dark winter months.

How to determine if you need a professional

Stuck between tackling a DIY home project yourself or calling a professional for the job? Don’t overthink it! The two main reasons to hire outside help for home updates are:

  • You don’t have the ability
  • You don’t have the time

The first point is typically simple to assess. It probably isn’t in your best interest to take on recessed lighting as a DIY project if you don’t have any experience with lighting and wiring.

The aspect of time, however, is often overlooked. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you actually have the time to. Life is busy, and projects — especially home improvement projects — tend to take a long time. Before you embark on a DIY project, write down the amount of time you think it will take to complete the job. Then check that estimate against your work and home schedule to determine if you have the bandwidth to do it yourself.

Ready for a home upgrade?

Whether you’re updating your living space for your family to enjoy now or preparing for a future sale, it’s important to make changes that add value to your home. If you’re ready to sell your renovated home, get in touch for help listing your home and finding your next property.

Holiday subscription gifts for every budget

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Hoping to offer a gift that keeps giving… literally? Whether you’re looking to treat yourself or someone special this holiday season, subscription boxes are a wonderful option.

Subscription boxes are filled with niche products and delivered multiple times throughout the year, typically monthly. We’ve created a list of interesting subscription boxes — and categorized them by price too. From wine to dog treats to family-friendly crafts, there’s a subscription box bound to lift anyone’s holiday spirit — and give them something to look forward to in the months ahead.

Cost-conscious subscriptions

Trying to stay on a budget, or just getting into the world of subscription gifts? For under $20 a month, you can sign up for these subscriptions. Most programs offer obligation-free cancellation policies too.

1. Succulent Studios is a lovely subscription option for renters or people with small spaces. The box is filled with succulents and delivered right to your door, so you can appreciate a bit of nature all year long.

  • $10 plus shipping
  • Ships every month

2. Vellabox Candles delivers carefully curated candles to your door. Each candle is hand-selected to coincide with the current season.

  • Starting at $10
  • Ships every month

3. Sipsby is a subscription box filled with personalized teas. Featuring teas from over 150 tea shops, you’re bound to be impressed by Sipsby’s selection.

  • $15
  • Ships every month

4. Universal Yums are perfect for those who miss traveling. This box is filled with special treats from all around the world, sent to you to enjoy.

  • $14
  • Ships every month

5. Mighty Fix has a mission to promote healthy, toxin-free products for every home and family, making this the perfect box for first-time homebuyers who are interested in green living.

  • $11
  • Ships every month

6. Book of the Month Club sends you a title every month, with the option to add on more if you’re interested. As they say, your shelf will thank you.

  • $15 on average
  • Ships every month

7. Scentbird is a monthly perfume and cologne subscription that provides boxes for both masculine and feminine fragrance preferences. Savor big-label scents at a fraction of the cost with this box.

  • $15
  • Ships every month

Midrange subscriptions

If you’re on the subscription train but not quite ready to invest in a more expensive box, this section is your go-to place. Ranging from $20-$40 per month, these subscriptions feature everything from yummy snacks to crafty activities.

1. SnackNation offers a Nourish Box that delivers wellness-based snacks straight to your doorstep. Plus, there’s an option to select the specific kind of snack box that you desire.

  • $25
  • Ships according to your preference

2. Peace Coffee is the ideal subscription for coffee lovers who want to support a local Minnesota coffee company.

  • $10 to $60
  • Ships according to your preference

3. Reading Bug Box is a fun box filled with books for kids of all different age groups, but personalized to you. As an added bonus, this subscription service is run by an independent, family-owned bookstore.

  • Starting at $27
  • Ships according to your preference

4. WeCraft Box is a creative subscription box geared toward children. Enjoy some screen-free playtime with the entire family. Plus, there’s an opportunity to save if you prepay for your boxes.

  • $30
  • Ships every month

5. Boka was created to provide mindful oral care. With each Boka box, you’ll receive toothbrushes, floss and more — all made with high-quality materials and ingredients.

  • Starting at $20
  • Ships every month

6. Lovevery is filled with stage-based play for little ones up to the age of three. These play kits are made for thoughtful learning and fun growth.

  • Starting at $36
  • Ships every 2–3 months

7. Gentleman’s Box delivers a selection of men’s fashion and lifestyle products straight to your doorstep. Opt to include special add-on products to customize your box too!

  • Starting at $29
  • Ships every month or quarterly

8. BarkBox is filled with themed toys and treats for your furry friend. Products are selected based on the size of your pooch and your selected treat preference.

  • Starting at $23
  • Ships every month

Luxury subscriptions

These subscriptions start around $40 a month and increase from there. Although this may seem like a steep cost, a subscription like this can be a great option for couples or families who usually travel but will be staying close to home this year. Similar to a vacation, a subscription is something you get to look forward to — and it continues throughout the year! In other words, the budget you might typically use toward an anticipated vacation could now be shifted to one of these exciting subscriptions.

1. MinnBox partners with makers all around the state to deliver you a box of carefully curated gifts from Minnesota brands. From candles to food to vintage clothes, you’ll always receive high-quality goods from MinnBox.

  • $55
  • Ships every 2 months

2. Hikewize sends quarterly boxes full of camping and hiking gear to prepare explorers for the wilderness. Additionally, Hikewize requires subscribers to fill out a quick survey, which ensures the outdoor essentials can cater to your needs.

  • Starting at $55
  • Ships every 3 months

3. Bright Cellars ships four wines from around the world directly to your door every month. Bright Cellars prides itself on sourcing delectable wines from small vineyards everywhere.

  • $80
  • Ships every month

4. FabFitFun boxes are filled with lifestyle, fitness and beauty products. Everything inside your FabFitFun box is premium and full-sized.

  • $50
  • Ships every 3 months

5. Little Global Citizens boxes allow kiddos to explore the world right from their doorstep. Each package encourages young ones to learn about cultures and countries around the world through books, crafts, recipes, language and more.

  • Starting at $40
  • Ships every 2 months

6. ButcherBox is a meal delivery subscription focusing on quality-sourced meats. With ButcherBox, you can cook with confidence and taste the difference.

    • Starting at $150
    • Ships every 4, 6 or 8 weeks

Media subscriptions

A media subscription is a wonderful gift option this year, as many individuals are spending more time at home. These subscriptions range from $6-$15 per month, with the option to add on additional features for an extra cost. If you’re interested in gifting a media subscription this holiday season, be sure to see if the service offers any deals. For example, you could save money on a family subscription rate for multiple users in the same household or a bundle price for two or more partnered services.

1. Spotify is a service that allows you to listen to ad-free music anywhere. Pick a playlist or curate your own to get started. Plus, with a Spotify account, you’ll have access to your favorite podcasts too.

      • Starting at $10
      • Renews every month

2. Audible provides listeners with access to spoken-word entertainment and audiobooks. Listening to your Audible subscription is a great way to upgrade your daily commute or workout.

      • $15
      • Renews every month

3. Netflix is a streaming platform with a library of movies, TV shows and more. You’re bound to be impressed by the number of award-winning films, documentaries, classic series and original content found here.

      • Starting at $9
      • Renews every month

4. Hulu contains a streaming library of over 80,000 television episodes and movies. Not to mention, a Hulu account allows users to watch some of their favorite shows as soon as the day after they air.

      • Starting at $6
      • Renews every month

5. Disney+ provides users with access to their most beloved Disney films and series. And, Disney+ has an interesting new feature called GroupWatch. GroupWatch allows users to host virtual movie nights together, even when they’re apart.

      • Starting at $7
      • Renews every month

Sign up for your monthly mortgage “subscription” today!

While subscriptions are fun, the most valuable monthly payment you can make is on a home mortgage. If you’re looking to buy a new property this holiday season, call or email today.

Ask an Edina Realty Lawyer: What should I do if I am experiencing problems with my new construction home?

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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.

In this edition, one of our lawyers discusses homeowner’s rights and responsibilities when addressing a defect in the construction of a new home.

Dear Edina Realty Legal,

I purchased a newly constructed home a few years ago. Recently, I discovered that I have water coming into the basement. Do I have any recourse to get this fixed?

When you purchase a new construction home, you know that the home has not experienced the wear and tear of a “used” home, some of which have been standing for more than a century. But new homes are not completely immune from issues. If the home was not constructed properly or if there are defective materials, you could run into an issue like this water intrusion problem.

Whether you have some recourse for the issue depends on a variety of factors, including the location of the property, the cause and extent of the issue, when the problem first arose and what you have done to try to resolve the issue. For our purposes, we’ll focus on the law for Edina Realty’s major market areas of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Minnesota’s statutory new construction warranties

In Minnesota, when builders sell new construction homes, a state law requires that the builder warrant that the home will be free from defects caused by faulty workmanship or defective materials. The law provides varying warranty periods depending on the type of issue:

  • For a period of one year (usually starting on the date of closing), the builder warrants that the home will be free from defects (as that term is defined by law) in general.
  • The plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling systems are warranted from defects for two years.
  • Finally, the builder must warrant that the home will be free from major structural defects for 10 years.

These warranties automatically come with the property and they will pass to future owners if there is still time remaining in the warranty periods.

If you experience a problem that you believe is covered by the warranty, there are a number of steps you must take in order to protect your rights, including:

  • You must notify the builder in writing within six months of when you discover (or should have reasonably discovered) the issue.
  • You must give the builder an opportunity to inspect the property and make an offer to repair the problem.
  • If the builder will not agree to make the repairs, you may need to engage in a dispute resolution process or wait for 60 days before commencing legal action. This process is administered by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry and can be helpful in resolving disputes.
  • If the builder has gone out of business, you may still be able to get compensation from a fund administered by the state.

Wisconsin new construction issues

Wisconsin does not have the same statutory warranty as Minnesota. But for custom-built homes, Wisconsin law implies a promise that the construction will be done in a workmanlike manner. Like in Minnesota, Wisconsin has specific requirements prior to commencing legal action for a construction defect.

  • You must give the builder written notice of the defect and an opportunity to inspect.
  • The builder may offer to resolve the issue, either by repair or monetary compensation or a combination of both.
  • If the offer is unacceptable, you must give notice to that effect along with your reasons for rejecting the offer.
  • The builder is entitled to make a supplemental offer. If that supplemental offer is not acceptable, you must provide written notice of your rejection.

All of these requirements have tight deadlines that must be met.

Other warranties and remedies

Builders can, and often do, provide their own warranties in lieu of the warranties mentioned above. In Minnesota, the warranty program offered by a builder must provide substantially the same protection as that found in the statutory warranty.

The builder’s warranty may have different notice requirements and other procedures that you will need to follow, so be sure to carefully review any material they provide. In addition to warranties, a homeowner dealing with a construction defect may have a claim for breach of contract, negligence or even misrepresentation.

As you can see, in both Minnesota and Wisconsin, the law surrounding construction defects is complicated. To ensure that you have properly preserved any claim, you would be well-served by consulting with your own attorney.

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.

Avoid these five first-time buyer mistakes

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According to the National Association of REALTORS®, first-time homebuyers made up one-third of all homebuyers in the United States in both 2018 and 2019. That means if you’re just diving into the market for the first time, you’re in good company!

As a first-time homebuyer, it’s important to be both educated and curious — and to find a trusted, local market expert to represent you. Of course, there are also missteps you should watch out for. Here are five mistakes that first-time buyers commonly make, and how to avoid them.

Mistake 1: Relying on online information only

It’s easy to assume that the internet knows all, and we understand the appeal of doing your own research. But the reality is that buying a home is likely the biggest purchase you’ll ever make... and it’s also an extremely personal one.

Many first-time buyers start out by researching homes online. This is a great introduction to the home-buying process, but it’s also important to have local experts by your side.

All agents who represent Edina Realty are professional Realtors, and we pride ourselves on offering a truly customized buying experience for each of our clients. Whether you’re just diving into the market or know exactly what you’re looking for, reach out for personal guidance, not just online calculators and forms.

Mistake 2: Not having the right paperwork

To stand out in this low-inventory market, it’s important to get pre-approved by a lender in advance. Once you’re pre-approved, you’ll have a lender-approved estimate of your buying power, and you’ll be able to confidently search for homes in your true budget. Sellers and their agents may also take you more seriously if they know that you can obtain the necessary funding to buy the home.

The pre-approval process is becoming more automated, but you may still be asked to submit financial records, including:

  • Pay stubs or income verification
  • Bank statements
  • Credit report
  • Past taxes and W-2s
  • Savings account or investment account records

In some cases, lenders may be able to offer better rates or terms to buyers with cleaner credit or other indicators of financial security — so it’s important to have these records handy when you are in the pre-approval process.

Worried about the paperwork or process? We’ll walk through each step if needed. Remember, when you work with a Realtor, you’re working with a home buying advocate.

Mistake 3: Focusing on the wrong financial indicators

While the down payment is an important part of getting a loan, your lender will also closely scrutinize your debts and how they impact your ability to pay for your mortgage and other home-related expenses. In some cases, the loan officer may require you to lower your debt obligations in order to secure a mortgage.

From there, you’ll work to pay off credit card bills, student loans, car loans, child support payments and other outstanding debt before you can re-apply for a loan. During this time frame, it’s also important that you avoid taking on new debt. Avoid purchasing a new car, large electronics or other expensive products when applying for a loan or buying a home.

Mistake 4: Moving too slowly

As prices grow and first-time buyers enter the market, low-priced listings (often called “starter homes”) can be scarce. Buyers are typically not advised to rush into the process, but today’s conditions do require a certain haste. So, what’s a buyer to do in this unique, low-inventory market?

This is when it will pay off for us to be working closely and communicating often. Together, we can identify the “must-have” features of your future home, then tour a few homes to get a feel for what is realistically available in your price range. When we know what’s most important to you, we’ll be able to quickly disqualify homes that aren’t right, and make a faster offer when you find the home you’ve been waiting for.

Mistake 5: Saving money by forgoing a home inspection

Many buyers start to get sticker shock as they calculate the cost of the closing, home insurance, taxes and future upgrades. While it can be appealing to nix some home-buying costs, it’s vital that buyers go through with a home inspection.

By hiring a professional to inspect the home, you can ensure that the systems and appliances are in working order and that the home is free of issues related to foundation, ventilation, roofing system, water damage and more. If issues are identified, we’ll negotiate with the seller to determine if they will handle repairs or replacements before the sale or provide you with a credit for the work at closing. In some cases, the seller may refuse to make the requested repairs and you will have to determine if you want to proceed with the sale.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development data shows that the average cost of a home inspection is between $300-500. While that may seem like a lot, most issues or defects identified in the inspection would cost much more than that to fix down the road.

Getting started

The market is hot for first-time buyers, but playing the game smart is the key to your home buying success. To get started on buying your first home, get in contact today. Together, we can make sure you avoid these common mistakes and stay on the path to buying your dream home.

Five safe ways to enjoy Halloween this year

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It’s spooky season! Although many 2020 events have been put on pause, there are still plenty of fall celebrations to look forward to. Get in the spirit of Halloween, and add these five Minnesota and western Wisconsin festivities to your fall calendar!

Note: Each of the following events or organizations have taken special precautions to support the well-being of event goers.

1. Sever’s Fall Festival

Join the fun at the 24th annual Sever’s Fall Festival. This event hosts the largest corn maze in Minnesota, along with an obstacle course, petting zoo, zip lines, and so much more.

Reserve your spot now via contactless ticketing, keeping in mind the event capacity will be limited due to COVID-19.

Date: Sept. 11-Nov. 1
Time: Fridays 1 p.m. – 8 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Sundays 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

2. Halloween Capital of the World

Anoka, Minnesota is celebrating their 100th anniversary as Halloween Capital of the World. This year, the city will host more than 20 safe events, including an outdoor movie night, a virtual Halloween gala and a pumpkin carving contest.

Time: See website for details

3. Deadly Drive-in Haunted House

The Rosedale Center is hosting a socially distant drive-in haunted house event to keep the spirit of Halloween alive. Experience the thrill of a haunted house from the safety of your car. To begin, each vehicle will receive a sanitized radio, then embark on a frightening ride. Note: This event is not recommended for kids under 14.

Date: Oct. 15-31
Time: Thursdays – Sundays from 6:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.

4. Hudson Rotary Halloween Day Parade

Dress up in your favorite costume to celebrate Halloween in a safe and exciting way at the Rotary Halloween Day Parade in Hudson, Wisconsin. This family-friendly event features games, prizes and a parade. Be sure to come with a food shelf donation!

Date: Oct. 31

5. Glensheen Mansion Tour

Tour the historic Glensheen Mansion for something to do this fall. While not a Halloween event, you learn about the impressive estate — and it's rumored that the property is haunted! Health is a careful consideration during each tour; all patrons are required to self-screen, keep physical distance and wear a mask.

Date: See website for details

Still in the planning stage?

Whether you’re organizing a masked neighborhood candy hunt or trying to determine what is smart and safe for your family, expert insights and guidelines are available. Check out the Guide for Safe Celebrations and Events from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Hail, storm or winter damage: How to determine if you need a new roof

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Key insights

  • Did your home sustain damage from a hail storm or another weather event? Your first step is to call a licensed roofing contractor.
  • Next, you’ll want to call your insurance company to file a claim.
  • Learn how claims are processed, and what standards may be required in order for your roofing claim to be approved.

After a hail storm or intense weather event, homeowners may worry that their roof has been damaged. “If a roof is in need of repair or replacement, some tell-tale signs are that shingles or granular debris are found in your gutters, yard or driveway,” said Scott Teece, vice president of sales for Edina Realty Insurance.

If you’re seeing debris and damage, you’ll want to see if the damage is covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy. Here are insights you can use to determine damage and file a claim.

What steps should I take when filing a claim for roof damage from a storm?

The process for filing a claim for roof damage from a hail storm or winter storm is fairly simple.

  1. First, call a contractor who will assess the damage and determine if it was caused by hail, snow damage or another covered event.
  2. If the contractor finds this level of roof damage, call your insurance company to file a claim. Have your policy number and the date of the hail storm ready when you call.
  3. The insurance company will send an adjuster to evaluate the damage and determine if repair or replacement is covered by your policy.

If the adjuster agrees that the damage needs to be fixed and will be covered by your homeowner’s policy, the roofer can begin the process of fixing up the roof.

What if the adjuster and contractor disagree on the damage?

This isn’t uncommon — and it doesn’t necessarily mean your claim will be denied, says Teece. “If the insurance adjuster and contractor aren’t in agreement on the cause or level of damage, the homeowner should request that they speak to one another and try to reach alignment. In some cases, they may reach a consensus that satisfies everyone.”

If the contractor and adjuster cannot reach consensus, Teece said, the homeowner can request a second opinion from a new adjuster.

When can the roofer get started?

Once the claim is approved by the insurance company, your roofer can begin repairs.

  1. Provide the roofer with the document showing the approved claim. In most cases, credible roofers will not begin repair until they see this documentation.
  2. The roofer will provide a timeline and plan for repairs, and begin to fix the damaged roof.
  3. Once the work is completed, the homeowner is responsible for sending proof of the project completion to their insurance company.
  4. The insurance company pays the homeowner, who then pays out the roofer.

Can’t my insurance company pay the roofer directly?

No, your insurance company will not work directly with the contractor. Because the insurance company insures your home, you are the only party who can receive payment for a covered claim. You may, however, be able to sign over the check from your insurance company to the roofer you select.

Why can’t I get a check for the repair before the work is done?

In most cases, your insurance company will send you two checks:

  1. One for the depreciated value of the damaged component
  2. One to cover the replacement or repairs of the damage

The check for the depreciated value may arrive before your roofer has begun or completed the work. But the larger amount — for the roof repair or replacement — will not be sent until your insurance company has received proof that the roofer has finished the job. This protocol is in place to protect the insurance company against fraud.

Roofers and contractors may request a deposit for their services, but they will usually understand that the bulk of the payment is received after the job is complete.

Other common questions about storms and roof damage

What are adjusters looking for when they assess damage?

In addition to looking for obvious signs of damage — like missing or chipped shingles and gutter damage — the adjuster will evaluate if there is enough damage to warrant repair or replacement.

Insurance companies have standardized damage metrics to ensure all clients receive equal coverage and protection. For example, your insurance company’s standard for hail damage may be 10 hail marks within a 10 square foot area. If a property meets the standard criteria, the adjuster would approve the claim.

Two of my neighbors were approved for new roofs. Why was my claim denied?

Storms, especially those that involve hail, are typically quite spotty — and the ensuing property damage is not usually uniform for the entire area of the storm.

“Even if properties in a three-mile radius are all under the same storm cloud or storm system, it doesn’t mean that every house will have the same damage… or be eligible for a new roof,” explains Teece. “I always compare it to a cornfield. If a storm races through farmland, some of the crops may be damaged, but it doesn’t usually wipe out the entire cornfield.”

In other words, your adjuster will not evaluate your damage in comparison to your neighbors’ damage; they will determine if your property is eligible based on the standard criteria of the company and your policy.

Why would only part of my roof be repaired?

Because storm damage can be concentrated and spotty, it’s possible that your insurance company would cover the replacement of one part of your roof, but not the entire thing. “If the slope of the roof was hit hard by the storm but the rest of your roof doesn’t show any damage, your insurance company may repair only the damaged slope,” said Teece.

There is one primary exception to this, and that occurs if the roofer cannot find shingles to match your current roof in color, size or material. “If your roof is unique and matching shingles aren’t available, you may receive approval for the entire house to be re-roofed,” said Teece.

Need more expert insights?

We know houses, and we know how to make them look their very best. Reach out any time to get customized advice on how to make your house shine — whether you're selling now or staying in it for years to come.

The ultimate moving checklist: tips and to-dos

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Do you imagine yourself entertaining guests on the screened porch of your next home, or can you envision yourself baking in your energy-efficient kitchen-to-be? Soon those dreams will become a reality.

Moving is an exciting time, but it can be stressful, too. Most movers find it helpful to be extraordinarily organized as they prepare for a smooth transition from one property to the next.

Not sure where to start? We put together a detailed moving checklist you can use to execute a successful move. This moving to-do list covers everything you need to know from two months pre-move to the actual moving day.

Two months before the move

It’s moving time — woohoo! Whether you’re moving down the block or across the state, now is the time to buckle down and start planning a move. From determining your new living situation to the transitional steps that will get you there, consult this guide for moving tips.

Although researching a new community and scheduling a move may feel intimidating at first, rest assured that by starting to plan two months in advance you’ll be well on your way to a successful move. Here are insights you can use to kickstart the moving process two months before the big day.

Do your research

During this stage of the move, it’s important to generally acquaint yourself with your new area. Not only will this give you a clear expectation of your new home, but it will also help ease any pre-move jitters. You’ll also want to begin keeping a moving checklist of questions and notes related to the move. Then, you can reference your papers later on in the moving process.

To complete your research on a new neighborhood, consider these moving tips:

  • Tour your new community
  • Look into top-rated schools
  • Find a roommate
  • Make a list of questions to ask movers
  • Consider your options for moving services
  • Identify costs for moving services vs. doing it yourself
  • Make a list of all expected expenses
  • Create a budget plan

Plan important dates

Certain services — like scheduling time off work for packing or moving day — need to be planned in advance. Take note of any necessary dates or mandatory meetings and pencil them in on your family’s calendar. Be sure to:

  • Give notice to your landlord of your leaving date
  • Book a garage sale
  • Ask friends and family to help with moving day
  • Request time off work for the move

You may want to mark these important dates on a shared Google Calendar (or another preferred scheduling app), so everyone involved in the move stays up-to-date on the process in real-time.

Six weeks before the move

At this stage in the move, your key priorities may begin to shift and include more concrete details and action items. Although it may feel like you don’t know what to do when moving, remember that six weeks is still plenty of time to complete everything on your moving checklist.

Not sure what to prioritize at this point in your moving journey? Begin by scheduling these services and completing the corresponding tasks on your moving to-do list.

Get estimates and order supplies

For a successful move, determine the way you want to move and execute it. Ultimately, you have control over what you move and how you move it. Whether you want to color-code your boxes individually, or you choose to hire a moving service, it’s necessary to schedule the required services and assemble supplies.

  • Get estimates from at least three moving companies
  • Book a moving truck rental
  • Reserve a storage unit
  • Schedule movers
  • Reserve airline, car or hotel
  • Order boxes, tape, paper and bubble wrap

Organize your stuff and start packing

Once you have boxes or other containers readily available, you can start packing up. If possible, don’t rush this step. By starting now, you’ll be able to ease into the process of clearing out your old space, which will give you time to sort through your items (to potentially donate things you’re no longer interested in) and consciously pack.

During this stage of planning a move, it may also be helpful to focus on packing up items that you won’t miss — and to keep an eye out for documents that may be easy to overlook or toss out. Here are some early packing tips you can follow:

  • Pack non-essential and seasonal items first.
  • Sentimental, decorative items can also be packed early.
  • Gather all warranty information and appliance manuals in one place — then separate them based on if they’ll stay with the home or go to your next residence.
  • Be sure to keep track of all tax-deductible expenses.

Notify others and request time off

Once you feel secure in your moving timeline, it’s time to include others in your plan. During this time, update essential contacts of your move, including:

  • Children’s school
  • Health insurance provider
  • Auto and home insurance agent
  • Housekeepers, landscapers and pool maintenance

You may even need to request time off from work in order to keep up with the move and to physically pack your belongings.

One month before the move

Moving day is just one month away! If you’re feeling bogged down by possessions or unconfirmed moving day details, you may begin experiencing pre-move jitters. Calm your nerves by preparing yourself and your home for the move at the one-month mark.

Use, sell or donate

Paring down your belongings to the most essential items is helpful during the moving process. Work to move fewer items, so your new space will only be filled with possessions that you truly want to keep.

When sorting through your household items, create categories of things to use, sell or donate. Here are some quick tips to get you started:

  • Use up perishables
  • Donate unwanted food and items
  • Host a garage sale
  • Sell gently-used items
  • Dispose of hazardous items

Transfer utilities and update addresses

For a seamless transition, you’ll want everything to rollover from one house to the next. Notifying your service providers of your new contact information will ensure that your amenities stay up-to-date.

Let these services know of your address change:

  • Gym or club memberships
  • Bank account and credit card
  • Post office (to forward your mail)
  • Social security and medicare
  • Health care providers (to forward billing information and medical records)
  • Pharmacy
  • Subscriptions

Finally, contact utility companies in your new area to ensure your new property is move-in ready. You’ll also want to notify the providers that serviced your previous house about the move. Common utilities include cable, internet, water, sewer, gas, electricity, security, trash and phone.

Confirm moving day plans

Stress less by hashing out the details of moving day before it arrives. Start by confirming times and dates with the moving company and car shipping service, if you opt to use one.

Additionally, you need to figure out where you and your essential belongings will stay during the move. At this time, figure out temporary housing needs, arrange for child or pet care on moving day, and decide what to do with your beloved house plants.

Two weeks before the move

The move is two weeks away! Time is ticking, but you still have buffer days to orchestrate the move. Everything leading up to this point has focused on the important logistics of the move. Now, have some fun and schedule home improvement services for your new property.

Schedule home improvement services

Whether you’re moving into a turnkey property or a fixer-upper, you want your new space to feel like home. Two weeks prior to the move, take a look at your new home’s blueprint. This will help you identify furniture and decor needs. If a mid-century modern sofa would pair perfectly in your living room, order it now! You may also book a painter or schedule an electrician during this stage.

One week before the move

It’s crunch time! Moving day is just one week out. Shift the focus to your current house to ensure everything is in tip-top shape and you’re ready to walk out and lock the door behind you when moving day arrives.

H3 Clean and inspect your former home

Thoroughly clean your house from top to bottom, including those hard to reach spots. Homeowners are expected to have everything in “broom clean” condition, whereas renters may be expected to scrub every surface, including the pantry and refrigerator — and have one last inspection with their landlord. Once everything is sparkly clean, take a picture of your former home as proof of its status.

Pack last-minute items

Last-minute items, like kitchenware and other essentials, may be packed at this time. Do a final sweep of your home, gathering items to pack, trash or recycle.

Keep room in your schedule for last-minute errands during this time. You may need to drop off nonperishable foods at a local food shelf, defrost your fridge and freezer, pick up prescriptions and schedule dry cleaning.

The day before the move

You have one night left in your old house before taking the next step in your home transition. Buckle down and pack everything you can so you can wake up and dive right into the moving process.

Pack essentials

Locate all essential items and pack them up. These may include:

  • Pajamas
  • Toiletries
  • Clothing
  • Shoes
  • Medications and prescriptions
  • Pet and baby necessities
  • Important documents and valuables

To stay extra-organized, consider putting everything you need in the coming days into a special moving day bag or box.

Say goodbye

Goodbyes can be challenging. Instead, cherish the memories you had in your home and consider this moment as a “see you later.” Before zooming away in your packed vehicle, stroll around your old neighborhood and take time to say goodbye to old neighbors.

Moving day

The day everyone has been waiting for is here! All of your hard work has led up to this moment and it’s time to move. Wondering what to do when moving? Get an early start. Not only will this give you wiggle room for any bumps in the moving process, but also it will allow you to move into your new place even sooner.

Stay hydrated and take inventory

During the move, keep water bottles on-hand for your family and movers. Staying hydrated will be extra important, given how strenuous moving can be.

In addition, keep inventory of your belongings and any noticeable damage that happens throughout the move.

Final sweep and key handoff

Carefully look in bathtubs, washers, dryers, cabinets and other easy-to-miss spots. Once you feel confident that all your belongings are out and you’ve said your final farewell to the home, it’s time to hit the road.

If you’re moving during the winter or need to travel through construction zones, check the status of the roads you’ll be traveling through before you start the trek to your next home.

Up to one month after moving

You did it! You successfully moved out of one property and into the next. This is such an accomplishment. Now that you’re in your new home, you’ll want to put careful consideration into how you clean, unpack and establish yourself in the new space with a relocation checklist. Here are thoughtful tips to get you through the new home transition.

Clean and unpack

Just like you cleaned and packed at your previous house, you’ll need to clean and unpack at your new property. With a fresh start and a blank canvas, you’ll be in a more comfortable position to organize your belongings in a new space. When cleaning, be sure to do the following:

  • Mop, vacuum, dust and wipe surfaces
  • Do renovations or paint
  • Baby-proof (or pet-proof) the new home

Next, unpack your things beginning with suitcases, kitchenware and other essential items. Then, start to unpack room-by-room. Identify trash pickup days so you can dispose of boxes and other moving day materials properly.

Test locks and alarms

Feeling safe in your new home is of high importance. Test locks, alarms and other home features so you feel confident in your space. Your moving into a new house checklist might include:

  • Changing the locks
  • Installing an additional deadbolt
  • Checking the security system and smoke alarms
  • Purchasing a carbon monoxide detector
  • Scheduling an electrician

Update voter registration and license

You’ll want to update your credentials and contact information on all important documents. As a resident of a new address, you’ll need to change your address on the following paperwork:

  • IRS address
  • Driver’s license
  • Insurance policies
  • Voter registration
  • Pet registration, if needed
  • Establishing state residency (if moving across state lines)

Finally, if you’re crossing state lines, you’ll need to establish domicile in your new state. Don’t miss this step — it’s important for tax purposes!

Ready for a stress-free move?

Moving from one property to the next is a large undertaking, but it’s possible to minimize stress by staying ultra-organized throughout. Set yourself up for success with this local moving checklist, and you’ll be well on your way to a smooth home transition. Through a partnership with Updater, Edina Realty Realtors offer free moving resources, including checklists, discounts and an online solution for changing your address--reach out for details.

20 affordable dream home office ideas to spark brilliance

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For many of us, this year has created a vital need for a home office space. Do you need an environment to hold teleconferences or to run your own business? What about a space for kids to focus on schoolwork or hunker down for distance learning? If so, transforming a dedicated area of your home into a comfortable work center may now be a top priority.

Home offices are a must-have for many buyers, too, as they look for flexible space in their first (or next) home. And it must be said… boring home offices are out. Today’s trends get creative with in-home work areas and explore everything from décor that inspires to organization that helps you focus.

Follow these insights to spark productivity and create the perfect home office setup for any space.

20 affordable home office ideas to spark brilliance

1. Organize your cords

Still don't have a fully wireless set-up? Minimize your cord chaos by purchasing a cord organizer for each desk in the house. A clutter-free environment may foster a more efficient work day.

2. Upgrade your chair

Invest in a chair that can be modified for proper ergonomic height. And while you're at it, choose a fun color, cool design or a swivel chair that can deliver the perfect modern vibe to your area.

3. Built-in UV sterilization

A monitor stand with a self-cleaning component? Score! This Flexispot monitor stand has a built-in UV light that cleans your keyboard overnight, so you won’t have to worry about bacteria or buildup over time.

4. Bike or walk as you work

To offset the number of hours spent sitting at work, consider buying an under-the-desk pedal cycle or treadmill loop. Who knows? Maybe getting your blood pumping before that big meeting will put you in the right mindset to crush your sales goals.

5. Get a full desk setup with monitor, keyboard and mouse

To build a fully ergonomic at-home office, purchase a large-screen monitor with an adjustable stand to keep your neck in proper alignment. Upgrade your keyboard and mouse, too. (The smaller-scale, built-in versions from your laptop can cause pain to your hands and wrists.)

6. Get smart about hydration

Whether you purchase an extra-large water bottle with timed markers on the side, an at-home water cooler or a fun carbonated water system, be sure that you’re taking in adequate fluid throughout the day.

7. Pick up a phone or tablet stand

Consider buying a phone or tablet stand to transform your mobile device into a backup option when needed. (Nothing says unprofessional like someone holding their iPhone unsteadily during that 3 p.m. Zoom meeting.)

8. Visualize your way to increased productivity

Need to boost productivity? Ditch the phone timer and try out a visual option like these hourglass timers, which come in 10, 20 and 30-minute increments. Challenge yourself to not check your email (or Instagram) until your timer is up.

9. Add a subtle whiteboard alternative

Need a whiteboard, but hate the look of them? Consider one that has the appearance of frosted glass, instead. Wipe the surface down at the end of the day and it’ll fade into the background.

10. Build a Kraft paper dispenser

A Kraft paper dispenser is the perfect solution for those of us who can’t move away from hand-written to-do lists. Pre-made options are available for purchase, or you can follow this easy tutorial to make your own.

11. Maximize a small space with shelving and wall storage

If you're making do with a small office nook, position shelves and extra storage above your desk. This setup provides an added bonus for parents; your files and paperwork will be out of reach from little hands.

12. Add a fold-down desk to nearly any room

A fold-down desk can be perfect for a kids’ room that needs to double as a classroom for distance learning. Adult versions exist too, if you need to add a floating desk option to a room that’s tight on space.

13. Delineate your office space with a rug

When you plop a new desk in a corner, it’s easy for it to feel out of place. Make your work area look more intentional by adding a small rug underneath your desk or work table.

14. Pick your audio vibe

Buy a speaker for your office and plan some productivity playlists that help you make it through each day. As the sole home office DJ, you can play Joan Jett and Johann Sebastian Bach back-to-back… and no one can stop you.

15. Invest in a pair of headphones

Of course, if your home is crowded with distance learners and fellow work-from-home comrades, it would be wise to invest in a pair of high-quality, noise cancelling headphones.

16. Create a magnetic visual display

Decorate your kids’ desk area with an easy-to-assemble gallery wall thanks to GoodHangups, a magnetic display system that was featured on Shark Tank. It’s a unique way to make at-home artwork feel special or to reward a good grade on an essay.

17. Save space with side-by-side desks

Consider a side-by-side desk to save space and maintain symmetry. If you have an extra-long wall, create your own dual setup by building a custom option. Select an extra-long tabletop and the legs of your choice, then delineate the two spaces with chairs or cabinets.

18. Create a mobile printer station

If several family members are sharing a printer this year, buy a mobile printer cart and place the printer in a communal area during the workday or schoolday. At the end of the work week, roll the cart into a closet and enjoy the weekend without thinking about work.

19. Foster good energy through bold color

Create a colorful office space that energizes you the moment you walk in each morning. Consider painting your desk a bright shade of red or pink, or add peel-and-stick wallpaper for an instant but temporary boost.

20. Buy an easy-to-stow storage solution

A rolling cabinet can be the perfect catch-all for paperwork you can't throw away or extra office supplies. At the end of the day, you can roll the cart underneath your desk — making it the perfect storage solution for a pop-up micro-office in the corner of a bedroom.

Need a more inspiring home office?

Whether you're a frequent work-from-home warrior or simply need an in-home office for check-ins and internet surfing, this type of dedicated space is in high demand. Homeowners and homebuyers alike are prioritizing residential office space as they redesign their homes and reconsider their long-term housing needs.

If your home feels a bit too small now, reach out any time to discuss your changing needs — today and in the long-term.

Tips to stage and sell your home this fall

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Key insights:

  • Fall curb appeal is important. Focus on creating a welcoming yard by raking leaves and planting seasonal flowers rather than over-decorating for autumn.
  • Ensure potential buyers have a warm experience during showings by staging your home with cozy blankets and fall-scented essential oils.
  • Don’t forget about lighting inside and out. Draw in fall’s natural light and turn on both table lamps and outdoor lights for extra glow.

Stage your home to sell this fall

Fall in Minnesota and western Wisconsin is upon us, and with it comes the fresh autumn air, colorful leaves — and a great opportunity to sell your home.

This year provides a unique window of opportunity for home sellers. Even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists, low interest rates and high buyer demand contribute to rising home market activity. With the housing market moving as fast as ever — especially in lower and mid-level price points — it’s important to get a leg up on the competition. By working together to stage your home this fall, we may even be able to attract multiple offers on your property.

Exterior tips for fall home staging

When staging your home to sell this fall, first focus on the curb appeal of your house. Keep your lawn freshly cut, and rake and bag leaves daily. Play up autumn by using potted plants and flowers such as mums, which come in gorgeous orange, red and yellow hues. You can also use pumpkins and gourds to give your front porch or steps extra curb appeal.

Steer clear of over-the-top seasonal decorations (think scarecrows, mummies, ghosts and goblins) that may turn buyers off and keep them from focusing on the attractive, foundational features of your home.

Interior tips for fall home staging

It’s important to keep your space cozy yet accessible while staging the interior of your home. Remove photos and personal mementos so potential buyers can easily picture themselves and their belongings in the space. To keep your home looking warm and inviting, add soft blankets and pillows to the couch and light the fireplace if you have one.

Autumn temperatures can be unpredictable, so pay attention to forecasts in order to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. The scents of fall — like apple, cider or pumpkin spice — can be a nice addition to a kitchen or living area as well.

Finally, little fixes here and there can have a big impact when selling. By completing small home projects like installing a ceiling fan or adding storage space to your garage, you may put yourself in a better position to attract potential homebuyers. For example, 91% of buyers want a dedicated laundry room. Knowing this, you might add open shelving, fresh paint color and simple decor pieces to your designated laundry space.

Lighting tips

Fall home staging includes thoughtful lighting that invokes a bright space without looking stark. During the day, keep your window treatments open to draw in fall’s natural light. At night, turn on side table lamps and overhead lights.

When it comes to evening showings, don’t forget to ensure potential buyers can easily view your home’s exterior and appreciate its appeal. Turn on outdoor lights and add pathway lights to make sure visitors are sure-footed.

Getting ready to sell your home this fall?

Now is the time to take action. Together, we can prepare and stage your home so that it can sell quickly and for top dollar. Reach out any time to get started!

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