Realtor profile photo
Michele Skjei | |612-414-3213
Scott Skjei | |612-703-4100

a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate

Five ways to show your home love

/media/3874/show-your-home-love-february-2024.jpg

Key Insights

  • Pamper your home with a deep clean, declutter and purge.
  • Schedule yearly reviews and maintenance to keep everything in tip-top shape.
  • Make improvements that have the best ROI for resale and for you.
  • Keep a record of your home updates for easy reference later on.

If you love love, you’ve probably heard about the five love languages. But when was the last time you showed your home some affection? Considering the amount of time, money, energy and resources you spend on your abode, it’s probably a relationship that deserves some TLC. These five tasks will get your home in order, looking and operating better than ever and feeling the love.

1. Physical touch: Clean, declutter and purge

Give your home a “spa day” by deep cleaning your space. Get behind your appliances and sweep or vacuum up any crumbs and cobwebs that have gathered, dust your vents, wash your floors and take care of any other areas you might have been neglecting. Light some candles or run a diffuser to give that fresh scent and spa-like experience, but swap out the soothing music for something upbeat to stay motivated. Then, keep your home nice and tidy by following up with weekly cleaning tasks, and make notes in your calendar for monthly and quarterly tasks so you don’t forget and fall behind.

Declutter and free your home from chaos and unneeded items so your home can better function for you and your family. It will also help you save money, appreciate what you have and lessen your stress and anxiety.

Make sure you don’t forget to go through and purge any items that have passed their expiration date:

  • Personal items: Mouthwash, makeup, lotion, and medicine should all be reviewed. (Be sure to safely dispose of any medications.)
  • Home items: batteries, hydrogen peroxide, disinfectants and bug repellants all have expiration dates or lose their efficacy after being opened.
  • Food and beverages: Condiments and dressings, spices, baking soda and powder, bottled water, alcoholic beverages and pantry items all have a way of lingering in your fridge and cupboards without your notice.
  • While you’re at it, replace any items that may have become unhygienic: disposable razors (replace every 3-4 shaves), toothbrushes (replace every 3 months), loofahs (replace every 3 months), and kitchen sponges (every few weeks).

2. Acts of service: Schedule maintenance

The pitter-patter your heart feels when someone does a task for you is the same for your home. It’s not necessarily glamorous or a grand gesture, but it’s needed and appreciated, especially since yearly maintenance can prevent larger, more expensive issues from popping up. Here are a few tasks you should check off your list or schedule for the future:

  • Review and update your homeowner’s insurance policy
  • Inspect your HVAC unit and chimney
  • Clean gutters, exhaust fans, refrigerator coils, dryer exhaust
  • Check on items that may need updating/repair: foundation, roof, walkways, windows, trees and landscaping
  • Test and update safety features: fire and carbon dioxide alarms, fire extinguishers, safety kits and home security systems

3. Receiving gifts: Make improvements

Some new decor or a fresh coat of paint may be all you need to freshen up a room and make it more functional. Other home projects (DIY or other), are much more involved, take up a significant amount of time and can cost a pretty penny.

Before you pick up a sledgehammer or pick out tile, consider what your ROI will be. The most recent Cost vs. Value report lists out some common home projects and the percentage of cost recovered at sale. At the top of the list is:

  • HVAC conversion (electrification)
  • Garage door replacement
  • Manufactured stone veneer
  • Entry door replacement

Meanwhile, midrange bathroom and kitchen remodels rank at 66.7% and 41.8%. The data shows that in many cases, smaller updates pay off more than larger ones. For instance, replacing hardware versus doing a kitchen remodel.

Keep in mind that while it’s good to understand ROI trends, it’s all relative to your home. If your kitchen cabinets are falling off the hinges, your ROI will be higher regardless of what the stats say. You should also consider your personal ROI–how much will the improvements impact your life and increase your home happiness?

4. Words of affirmation: Keep a home record

Start recording all things related to your home for easy reference. A few items to add to the file are:

  • Renovations: Note what was done, when, for how much and any improvements that made an impact to your home’s amenities or features (more square footage, extra bathroom, etc.).
  • New appliances: Be sure to keep any warranties and instruction manuals.
  • Maintenance dates: Jot down when upkeep and tune-ups are done, who was called and any notes that may come in handy (for example, if a service person says your dishwasher will need to be replaced in the next few years).
  • Decor: Include identifying features such as the manufacturer, name and item number. Remember to add your paint brands and colors, as well.

Having this list will help you keep things straight when it comes to home upkeep and prevent you from doing rework or scratching your head when questions pop up or updates need to happen. This record will also be a huge asset if you decide to sell.

5. Quality time: Make your home work for you

Enjoy your time at home. Whether that’s having a morning coffee on your deck, hosting a game night or cooking up a four-course meal, your home is best loved when you’re making the most of its features. Consider what you can change to make your home work best for you. That might mean turning the garage into a fitness space or adding a dual vanity to the kids’ bathroom.

If your list of don’t-likes surpasses your list of loves when it comes to your house, now might be the best time to consider making a move to a place you can truly call home. Start by reaching out, and together we can begin searching for a home you’ll love.

Ask an Edina Realty Lawyer: How can buyers navigate today’s crowded and competitive market?

/media/3875/stand-out-buyer-february-2024.jpg

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 about the real estate market and lots of buyer competition for a limited number of properties for sale. While we expect to see an increase in inventory in 2024, we also anticipate continued competition among buyers. In this edition, our lawyers answer some questions that buyers are raising in the current real estate market.

Dear Edina Realty Legal,

I just made a full-price offer on a house, but the seller accepted a different offer. Doesn’t a seller have to accept my offer if I pay full price?

Despite your offer being full price, the seller is not required to accept it. When a seller lists a property, they are simply advertising it. An MLS listing is not an offer to sell the home that can be accepted by simply submitting a full-price purchase agreement. Typically, the buyer submits an offer, and the seller has nearly complete discretion in deciding whether to accept it.

The seller may have received an offer for over the list price and that was the reason your offer was not accepted. And as you likely realized when writing your offer in the first place, there are a lot of things, beyond the price, that you had to decide to include in your offer. Some of those items included whether to do an inspection, what type of financing to use or even whether to use financing at all.

Sellers need to evaluate all terms when deciding which offer is best for that seller. A seller might choose one offer over another because the closing date is sooner, the buyer is paying 100% cash, the buyer did not need to sell their home before purchasing the seller’s home or for various other reasons. While submitting a full-price offer is a good way to get a seller’s attention, it is only one aspect of the contract the seller is considering. Continue working with your real estate agent to come up with the most competitive offer you can make, and hopefully, a seller will accept your offer soon.

Should I forego having a home inspection as part of my offer?

The real estate contracts used in Minnesota and Wisconsin have provisions that allow a buyer to make their purchase contingent on a home inspection. Generally, if the buyer and seller agree to this contingency, the buyer will hire a professional home inspector to conduct a thorough inspection of the property and prepare a report with those findings. The buyer and seller can then negotiate possible repairs and the buyer may have the opportunity to cancel the contract if they are concerned about the condition of the home.

The home inspection contingency has obvious benefits for the buyer, and Edina Realty recommends a home inspection on every purchase. But in a seller-favorable market, we often see many different strategies intended to make an offer stand out from the rest of the crowd. One strategy is to not have the contract contingent on a home inspection. That’s certainly a strategy you can employ, but it comes with some risks.

Keep in mind that homes can have problems not apparent to the untrained eye. A good professional home inspector has the experience and training to see some of the issues the average person cannot. Your REALTOR® is not a professional home inspector and should not be relied upon in lieu of a professional. Even though a seller must disclose problems on the property, there are potential issues that even the seller may not be aware of. If you don’t elect to have a home inspection and later discover a problem with the property, that problem could be your responsibility as the new homeowner.

I’ve heard that I should include with my offer a letter about myself. But I’ve also heard that I shouldn’t do that. Which is correct?

It’s not uncommon for a buyer to include a letter to the seller with their offer. And in recent years, that practice has become somewhat more prevalent. Some agents are of the opinion that a good “love letter” can help sway the seller to choose your offer.

If you have heard that you shouldn’t provide a letter with your offer, that likely comes from concerns about the Fair Housing Act or state laws prohibiting discrimination. The Fair Housing Act prohibits a seller from making a decision on who they sell their home to based on protected classifications, like race, ethnicity, religion, familial status, gender and disability. Some state laws have similar protections that extend to classes beyond that of the Fair Housing Act—for example, Minnesota law protects against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

If a buyer letter contains information about the buyers’ race, religion or something else that might implicate a protected class, that can put the seller in a tricky position. In fact, many sellers specifically request that no letters be submitted with the offers. If you are going to submit a letter with your offer, we recommend that you focus on the home and what you love about it (which sellers love to hear) and stay away from comments that reflect these protected classes.

I made an offer on a house that was accepted. However, I just received the appraisal back, and it is less than the contract price. What can I do now? Can I still buy the house?

It can be disappointing when an appraisal comes in lower than the price you had agreed upon. But just because an appraisal comes back less than the contract price does not mean the deal is done or that the parties are required to renegotiate the price.

While it depends on your specific financial situation, in some cases, a low appraisal will not have any impact on your ability to move forward with the purchase. You may need to bring extra funds to closing, or your mortgage interest rate could be less advantageous, but moving forward with the purchase could still be possible.

Unfortunately, in other situations, a low appraisal may result in an inability to obtain financing for the purchase. Your real estate agent can work with you before submitting offers to discuss options for how to handle a low appraisal situation, including different terms to put into the contract to ensure you can move forward, or perhaps not move forward, with a purchase in a low appraisal situation. It is also a good idea to discuss appraisal issues with your lender to understand what impact a low appraisal could have on a potential purchase, given your specific financial situation.

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.

The ultimate guide to the 2024 Spring Parade of Homes

/media/3876/parade-of-homes-february-2024.jpg

Key insights:

  • Visit the Spring Parade of Homes from March 8 through April 7, 2024, and the Remodelers Showcase from April 5–7, 2024.
  • The Parade of Homes showcases hundreds of luxury, Green Path and new construction homes in the Twin Cities and throughout Minnesota.
  • Tours are free with a few exceptions. Dream Homes require admission, which supports the Housing First Minnesota Foundation.
  • Partnering with a REALTORⓇ when purchasing a new construction home means you have an advocate looking out for your best interests throughout the building process.

With limited inventory available, some buyers are turning to new construction as an option for owning and customizing their dream home. If you’re considering buying a home this year, be sure to check out the highly anticipated Parade of Homes and Remodelers Showcase events this spring.

Here are more details you can use as you plan to attend this one-of-a-kind home tour.

What is the Parade of Homes?

Showcasing some of the finest properties in Minnesota, the Parade of Homes inspires homeowners in and around the Twin Cities. This month-long event features hundreds of brand-new homes and remodeled homes which are free and open to the public, with a few paid exceptions; Dream Homes requires an admission fee that goes to support the Housing First Minnesota Foundation benefiting area families in need of housing.

While touring the Parade of Homes, expect to view the ultimate exhibition of luxury, green, high-tech and new-construction homes in Minnesota. This event is “where dream homes come true.”

When is the 2024 Spring Parade of Homes?

The 2024 Spring Parade of Homes spans an entire month, allowing viewers ample time to leisurely and carefully explore properties throughout Minnesota. The concluding days of the spring tour will highlight the area’s most beautifully renovated homes with a special Remodelers Showcase.

2024 Spring Parade of Homes:

  • March 8 through April 7, 2024
  • Weekly, Friday through Sunday
  • Noon–6 p.m.
  • Closed Easter Sunday, March 31.

2024 Spring Remodelers Showcase:

  • April 5–7, 2024
  • One-weekend event, Friday through Sunday
  • Noon–6 p.m.

Get more details on this spring’s Parade of Homes — including special events, free offerings, and other upcoming tours.

Looking for renovation ideas? Visit the Remodelers Showcase

Deepen your Parade of Homes experience by visiting the Remodelers Showcase. This three-day event offers a unique perspective of remodeled homes in the area, plus the opportunity to converse with local remodelers.

Contractors and architects have thoughtfully remodeled the featured homes to better align with modern living standards — while maintaining original features and honoring the character of the property. Gather insights from these experts, as you may find them beneficial while planning your own home improvements.

Can a Realtor help with the Parade of Homes tour?

Yes! It is to your advantage to work with a REALTOR as you tour the Parade of Homes or build a brand-new home. Your agent is an expert in the field and will be your best resource, advocating for you throughout your home search. REALTORS deeply understand the process of purchasing and building homes and can explain the steps and timeline, advise on key decisions and help with negotiations or other challenges that may arise.

When starting your Parade of Homes experience with your REALTOR, you can rest assured that you have an expert guiding you as you navigate the unique path of a new construction purchase. Even if you don’t bring your REALTOR with you on the Parade of Homes, you’ll still want to mention to potential developers that you are already working with an agent.

Are you ready to make your move?

If you’re feeling inspired by the 2024 Spring Parade of Homes, now is the time to move forward. Reach out to begin your home purchase journey today.

Five goals to set when you plan to sell your home

/media/3867/sell-my-home-declutter-january-2024-1.jpg

Key Insights

  • Breaking down the to-do list of getting your house market-ready makes it more manageable and less stressful.
  • Decluttering, organizing and cleaning your space are essential to selling.
  • Begin working on DIY projects and home updates to get your home ready to list.
  • Work with a licensed REALTOR® early on in the process to get the most out of their selling expertise.

If selling your house is on the to-do list this year, you may be overwhelmed when you think about all the work that goes into getting it ready for the market. By breaking down your to-do list into definitive goals, you can make the process more manageable and remove some of the stress that comes with selling a home. It can also help build momentum and space out your tasks so you’re not trying to take on too much all that once.

Make these goals part of your New Year’s resolutions to ensure your home is ready for showings, and turn making your home seller-ready into bite-size, manageable goals.

Goal 1: Declutter

Decluttering can benefit your life in a multitude of ways. It helps you get organized, improves mental health, removes chaos and allows you to appreciate what you have. Selling items no longer needed can add some extra cash to your bank account (did you add “start saving more” to your 2024 resolutions?). You could also donate items for an extra-good feeling of helping those in need.

There are plenty of different ways to tackle decluttering:

  • KonMari: Keeping only the things that bring you joy.
  • Swedish Death Cleaning: Simplifying your life by removing things you no longer need.
  • The Four Box method: Turing decluttering into four options for each item you own—should it be donated, trashed, relocated, or kept?
  • 12-12-12 challenge: Filling a quota by finding 12 things to donate, 12 to toss and 12 to put away.

It doesn’t really matter how you declutter; the most important thing is finding a method that works best for you and your family. It’s also a good step to take when estate planning and taking stock of assets.

Goal 2: Get organized

Now that you’ve removed all the “extras,” it’s time to get everything back in order. Not only will this make everyday living easier and keep your household running smoothly, but it will also be a huge benefit for when you move. Just like decluttering, there are plenty of ways to organize your home, and the most important part is finding what works for you.

This step might involve a small investment if you need to buy bins, containers or other storage solutions, but the good news is that there is a huge market with a variety of price points and aesthetic options out there to fit your needs.

Goal 3: Deep clean the house

There are probably a couple of spaces in your home that haven’t been given the once-over in a while (when was the last time you washed your washing machine or cleaned behind the fridge?). Take a weekend for a “spring” cleaning, or create a hit list to accomplish during the week and get those out-of-sight, out-of-mind areas spick and span. (Plus, if your New Year’s resolutions include being more active, you’ll be burning calories as you clean!) Keep your space fresh and clean by creating a weekly cleaning schedule and help prevent last-minute panic cleans in the future.

Then, mark your calendar to tackle those spots again every couple of months to keep them under control. While your calendar is out, consider scheduling some maintenance checks on your big-ticket home items like your furnace, HVAC system and water heater. If you have any concerns about your roof and windows or installation, now would be a good time to check them out to avoid costly surprises when the time comes to sell.

Goal 4: Tackle DIY projects

Every home has a few dings, scrapes or design flaws, but those small imperfections can appear more glaring to potential buyers. Make a list of all the little annoyances your home has and repair as many as you can. You’d be surprised how much of a difference minor updates like painting a room or updating your mudroom can make—not just in your resale value, but in how much you’ll enjoy your home while you’re still in it! Just keep in mind how any aesthetic changes can impact your home sale—while your favorite color might be pink, you might want to stick to a neutral paint color for staging and selling purposes.

For bigger projects, you may need to hire a contractor, plumber, electrician or other tradesperson. If you’re considering updating larger areas like your kitchen or bathroom, consider what your return on investment will be when you sell and if the work you’ll put in will pay off in the end.

Goal 5: Find a REALTOR®

Some things you know you need to do on your own, like replacing a stained carpet or cleaning out the garage. But there are going to be plenty of things you won’t necessarily know to do, or how to do them.

That’s where the expertise of a REALTOR comes in. They can guide you on practical matters like what plants will create the best curb appeal, as well as guide you through the home selling process and provide you with a comprehensive checklist for getting your home ready to sell.

If you wait to find an agent right when you want to sell, you’ll be missing out on all their guidance and pre-listing work they can provide to help improve your odds of getting a quicker close at a higher value.

Ready to start accomplishing these goals? Reach out today.

Using the 2024 Colors of the Year in your home

/media/3869/color-of-the-year-january-2024.jpg

Key Insights

  • Many major paint and decor companies announced hues of blue as their Color of the Year.
  • Consider whether you’re trying to appeal to a potential buyer — or just decorating for yourself — when deciding how best to incorporate them.
  • Bold colors can sometimes play a supporting role if you don’t want them to overtake a room.

Each year, the annual Color of the Year announcements attract the attention of designers, builders and homeowners everywhere! Many look to incorporate them and other trends into home designs to create fresh and exciting spaces that catch the imagination of potential buyers and attract the attention of online followers. This year, many major paint companies selected a similar hue, while the “Global Color Authority,” Pantone, selected something altogether different. Read on to see the picks, and consider how you might incorporate them into your home–and beyond.

The 2024 Colors of the Year

While shades of orange and pink were the pick in 2023, this year’s colors incorporate more blues. Collectively, the colors appear to be moving away from the cooler grays of years past, opting instead for more color, warmth, contentedness and softness. If blues aren’t your thing, take a look at the colors of the year declared by Pantone, Glidden and Behr for more options!

Now, let’s dive into each color and its meaning.

Pantone: Peach Fuzz

Warm and soft, Peach Fuzz is the cozy color dubbed Pantone’s 2024 Color of the Year. A calm and peaceful hue between pink and orange, Peach Fuzz is said by Pantone to bring a feeling of “kindness and tenderness, communicating a message of caring and sharing, community and collaboration.” This soft color has vintage vibes with a contemporary appeal.

Sherwin Williams: Upward

Said to be a “breezy, blissful blue,” Upward is a relaxed tone with hints of silver mixed with a calming blue. According to Sherwin Williams, it is meant to encourage relaxation while “brimming with positive energy, creative thinking and total contentment.”

Benjamin Moore: Blue Nova

Benjamin Moore declared Blue Nova — a blend of violet and blue — as its 2024 Color of the Year. When used in a well-lit room, Blue Nova lends itself to gray hues, with a richer blue-purple coming to life in more ambient lighting. According to Benjamin Moore, “violet and blue come together in this elevated, sumptuous hue.”

Glidden: Limitless

A warm, yellow tone, Limitless is Glidden’s 2024 Color of the Year. According to Glidden, “Limitless contains both the power of a primary color and the essence of a neutral to support both cool and warm tones.” Limitless offers a warm, honey-beige alternative to the cooler gray neutrals of late.

Behr: Cracked Pepper

The Behr 2024 Color of the Year, Cracked Pepper, is a soft black that hints at charcoal. Cracked Pepper is said to offer sophistication that is adaptable and organic. According to Behr, “Cracked Pepper evokes a sense of confidence and individuality.”

Every 2024 Color of the Year

Better Homes and Gardens did a complete round-up of the most popular colors of the year—including those we mentioned above and additional colors declared by C2, Dunn-Edwards, Krylon, Minwax, Valspar and Dutch Boy. The overall theme? Blues!

Decorating and staging your home with the 2024 Colors of the Year

When staging your home for sale, it’s best to provide a neutral canvas to help buyers visualize themselves in the space. That doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate the bold colors of the year into your space. However, rather than painting your entire room Blue Nova, consider bringing it in through accent pillows, textiles or furniture.

If you’re not making a move anytime soon, decorate your home with what brings you the most joy! That might mean you finally put up the incredible wallpaper you’ve had your eye on. Did someone say Cracked Pepper?

Adding color to your homeownership journey

A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for any home, especially if you’re prepping your house to sell this year. And if you’re buying, you may start to see the 2024 Colors of the Year as you tour homes or consider new construction! Need help? Reach out!

Transitional housing: How to survive and thrive

/media/3868/transition-home-january-2024.jpg

Key insights

  • Transitional housing can buy you extra time to search for your next property, and help you avoid rushing the home buying process.
  • Explore options like staying with family, renting a guest house or booking an extended stay Airbnb, VRBO or hotel.
  • Stay focused and patient as you enter transitional housing, recognizing that your short-term sacrifices will pay off in the long run.

When listing your home for sale, you may receive an offer before you secure your next property — especially in today’s competitive market. It’s common for home sellers to worry about what to do during the period of time between homes. However, it is possible to find an easy, convenient living arrangement for this transitional period.

Temporary or transitional housing options are out there. Here is everything you need to know when searching for and securing a short-term property.

What is transitional housing, and when do people use it?

Whether your current property sells before you find a new home, you need to relocate to a new city under short notice or your new construction build is taking longer than expected, it may be time to explore transitional housing. Transitional housing offers a temporary “Plan B” home for sellers while they wait for their next property to become available. It can also provide options for first-time buyers hoping to time it right with the end of a lease or rental agreement.

Many interim living arrangements exist, but it’s important to consider what would work best for you, your budget and your family.

Housing options for when you’re between homes

Stay with family or close friends

Depending on the length of your stay and the size of your family, living with relatives or friends can be a smart solution. Finishing out a school year or having an extended summer visit in a place that you’re already familiar with can be a low-stress way for families to handle this transitional period. Throughout your stay, just be sure to keep open lines of communication with the family that is hosting you.

Sign a short-term rental agreement

If family or friends aren’t an option, short-term rentals are plentiful. Locate traditional rentals, sublets and vacation rentals on websites such as Craigslist, Airbnb and VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner). The power of social media can also work in your favor. Ask trusted friends for recommendations, post to NextDoor or reach out to your neighborhood groups on Facebook.

Lease back your home

You may also be able to negotiate a lease-back agreement with the buyer of your home. Ask the buyer if you can lease back your home for 1-2 months as you search for a new property. Some buyers may resist this, while others may agree to a quicker closing and longer moving date.

Book an extended-stay hotel

Some hotels specialize in extended-stay lodging, offering amenities like kitchenettes, laundry services or machines, pet-friendly rooms and on-site household items you can borrow or buy. Best of all, these facilities may only require a few days of advance notice to make a reservation.

Benefits of using temporary housing

A transitional home allows you time to find your next property, and it can lessen your stress as you approach the closing date for your existing home sale. With the flexibility of a short-term residence, you’ll have the opportunity to take your time, do your research and find the perfect home for you and your budget.

Plus, if you haven’t yet purchased a new home and aren’t completely committed to a certain area, your short-term housing location can act as a trial run. Your transitional housing can help confirm what you like or dislike about a particular area — and give you insight on where to build or buy next.

Potential challenges of transitional housing

The cost and stress of storage

As you downsize to short-term housing, it will be beneficial to put most of your non-essential belongings into storage. However, dividing and storing items can be time-consuming and expensive. Get quotes from several storage companies before committing to any one provider. Don’t forget to ask for recommendations from friends and check out online reviews to help inform your decision.

Finding pet-friendly accommodations may be difficult

You’ll also need to ensure that you have a moving plan for your pets. Check to see if animals are allowed in whatever housing option you choose. If it isn’t possible to bring your pooch or kitten along with you, you may need to look into alternative housing for your pets, too.

Stay patient and focus on the future

It’s likely that you will sacrifice something as you enter transitional housing — whether it be money, privacy, space or other amenities. Focus first on the safety, cleanliness and location of your short-term residence, and let go of super-high expectations. The goal is to make it through this short-term blip and have these momentary sacrifices pay off in the long run.

Tips to prepare for a temporary move

Follow these basic steps to ensure a less stressful, more organized temporary move.

  • Create a moving checklist that keeps you organized and on track.
  • Declutter your home and offload excess belongings to help avoid high storage fees and moving costs.
  • Color code your moving boxes to help you visualize which boxes need to move to storage and which will come with you to your short-term space.
  • Forward your mail or set up a P.O. box to ensure you don’t miss any essential documents from doctors, banks, family or other senders.

Find your forever home

By working with your REALTOR® through both the selling and buying processes, you can assess your for-sale home’s current market value and find your next dream property on the best possible timeline. Plus, your Realtor will have your best interests in mind and can help you juggle the transition between houses.

Reach out to begin the process of selling and searching for your forever home.

The 2024 housing market: What buyers and sellers can expect

/media/3858/housing-market-forecast-december-2023.jpg

Key insights

  • The key expectations in the year ahead include stability and more typical seasonal activity.
  • Interest rates will be lower, but affordability remains a challenge, especially for first-time homebuyers.
  • More sellers will enter the market, and there will be an uptick in the supply of homes for sale.
  • Home prices will be stable with minimal increases.

Market predictions from Sharry Schmid, president, Edina Realty

As president of Edina Realty, Sharry Schmid provides guidance and direction to over 2,000 REALTORS®.

It’s that time of year when we get out our collective prognostication tools and try to predict where things are heading in the next year in real estate! First, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane and review 2023.

The 2023 year-in-review

There was no shortage of headlines this year about the lack of homes for sale as buyers competed over limited listings, driving up prices and reducing market times. By this time, you’re likely well-attuned to the outsized part interest rates played in 2023’s market as rising rates served to lock some buyers out of the market and kept some sellers in place and fully committed to hanging on to their historically low rates.

On the flip side, those sellers who did get in on the action enjoyed relatively quick sales, accepted offers at or near their listing prices more often than not, and had buyers competing for their homes. Overall, home prices in the 16-county metro were up about 2.4% at the end of October and will likely round out the year at about 2%.*

Moving forward: The 2024 outlook

I’m optimistic about 2024, and I don’t say that lightly! I suspect it will be more traditional in terms of seasonality, and much more stable without the high highs and steep declines of past years. To put it another way, I’m looking forward to a much more predictable and boring market!

When I talk about stability, David Arbit, director of research at the Minneapolis Area REALTORS®, puts it this way:

  • Lack of affordability and higher rates prevent prices from rising much
  • Shortage of supply prevents prices from falling much

In a nutshell, these two key factors serve as a floor and a ceiling for keeping things in check!

The economy

Uncertainty about the markets has kept interest rates artificially high, but recent metrics show some signs of improvement in the economy overall, which leads to more stability. To wit, we saw interest rates rise to 8% in October before coming down to just over 7%—a good sign.

Inflation appears to be leveling off, unemployment rates continue to be low (especially in our region), and consumer spending is flat and even up in some areas. These are encouraging metrics for consumer confidence, which influence how buyers and sellers feel about moving forward with a home sale or purchase.

Supply and demand

Experts everywhere are predicting a slow and steady increase in the supply of homes for sale in 2024. For the past few years, we’ve been solidly in a seller’s market, with more buyers out there than there are homes for sale, and that will likely continue, but the gap will close a bit as sellers gradually return to the market after delaying selling. Life events will be driving factors as some people finally decide to make the needed adjustments to their living situations.

When we talk about a seller’s market versus a buyer’s market, what we refer to is who has the advantage when it comes to the home sale or purchase. One key way this is determined is by tracking the month’s supply of homes for sale. Generally speaking, a balanced market that favors neither the seller nor the buyer lies somewhere between 5–6 months of inventory. That means, if no new homes came on the market, it would take approximately 5–6 months for all the homes currently listed to sell at the current pace of sales. Anywhere south of five months is a seller’s market; north of six is a buyer’s market.

While gains have been minimal, in recent months we’ve seen the supply creeping up a bit, and it’s come up quite a bit over the last couple of years. The supply of homes for sale from Jan. 2022–Oct. 2023 went from 0.9 months to 2.3 months, according to data from NorthstarMLS for the 16-county Twin Cities metro area. That’s an encouraging trend—one we expect to continue.

At least some of the inventory growth will be thanks to new construction homes. Over the last year, new construction inventory is up around 20% in our area, and nationally, it’s at its highest point in nearly two years.

Remember the rules of supply and demand: when supply outpaces demand, prices soften. We are nowhere near this happening as we continue to have a shortage of supply for the demand.

Interest rates

Mortgage interest rates will continue to factor into market activity. They are predicted to fall in 2024, likely ranging between 6–7% (closer to six by the end of 2024), which will improve affordability for buyers.

People are adjusting to this standard and will likely make plans to move and then refinance if rates go down. This will be one of the driving forces behind an increase in the inventory of homes for sale as current homeowners finally move off the sidelines and into the market.

If you’re a first-time homebuyer considering buying in the next year, there are several steps you can take to prepare, including learning what you can afford and getting pre-approved for a mortgage to improve your negotiating power.

Home prices and affordability

Home prices will be stable in our market. The slight increase in inventory will likely help offset some of the rise in demand, which will keep price increases in check—likely at 1–3%, making housing a good ongoing investment and wealth-builder.

With a median price of around $387,000, affordability will still be a challenge, especially for first-time homebuyers. As a result, sellers may get more requests to make financial concessions like paying for closing costs for buyers.

Real estate is local

Finally, I’ll reiterate the old maxim: real estate is local. What’s true for Minnetonka is not necessarily the case for Brainerd, Duluth, Woodbury—or the neighborhoods in each!

To get a clear picture of what’s happening in your local market, you should connect with a REALTOR. They have insights about market activity in your area, sales of nearby homes, market times, prices and so much more. Engage a REALTOR who knows your area and can do a personalized assessment of your home, perform a comparative market analysis and provide data and insights for the neighborhood. Your REALTOR can also make recommendations to help you determine which upgrades to make—and which ones to skip—as you get your home market-ready.

*Based on information from the Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota, Inc., for the 16-County Twin Cities metro area for the period from Jan. 2023 through Oct. 2023.

How winter sellers can prepare for snowy showings

/media/3857/preparing-your-home-for-winter-showing-december-2023.jpg

Key insights

  • Provide shoe covers or a boot drying rack so you can ensure snow and mud aren’t tracked through your home.
  • Institute a new routine to quickly dry out coats, mittens and other items after you return from school and work.
  • Pay close attention to your driveway and sidewalks to ensure they are free from snow and ice; add salt or sand to every walkway to ensure no one gets injured.

Selling your home any time of year can be stressful, but when you add snow and ice to the mix, everything gets a bit more complicated. Here are some tips and tricks to help you keep your home show-ready during these harsh winter months.

Focus on your floors

Whether you added lush new carpet or restored 90-year-old hardwood floors, you likely put a lot of work into your home’s flooring before you listed. Don’t waste your efforts by allowing your family members or incoming buyers to track in snow, ice or dirt. Protect your home by:

  • Requesting your family and friends enter the home through the garage when your home is up for sale.
  • Adding a boot rack or boot drying tray to your mudroom or your entrance from the garage.
  • Asking all potential buyers to take their shoes off upon entering your home (add another boot rack inside the front entrance).

If you have a dog, be sure to wipe Bella’s paws off every time you let her in from outside.

Create an outerwear plan

Our next tip focuses more on your family than potential buyers. Most families tend to rotate coats, mittens, jackets and scarves, but when you’re selling your home you have to be more aware of potential clutter. While your home is on the market, make sure that every member of your family sticks to just one heavy jacket, one hat, one scarf, one set of mittens or gloves and one pair of boots.

Then, institute this after-school or after-work routine:

  • Put all wet items (except boots and shoes) into the dryer immediately.
  • Set a timer for 30 minutes.
  • When the timer goes off, remove outerwear from the dryer and hang it in the mudroom or coat closet.

This may seem like overkill, but if a last-minute showing pops up, you’ll have warm and dry outerwear to put on—and buyers won’t be turned off by a musty smell or a wet entryway or mudroom.

Last, add a coat rack to your front entryway so buyers can take off their outerwear before entering the house for a showing.

Clear and light your walkways

Buyers who slip and trip up your driveway will be less likely to appreciate what your home has to offer, so be sure to shovel or plow your driveway and sidewalks every time it snows. If swinging temperatures have created icy walkways, be sure to salt or sand them before every showing. You may also want to salt or sand before you leave home each morning, in case of last-minute showing requests that pop up during the day.

Next, consider lighting. If you didn’t install path lighting before the ground froze, let’s talk about your options. At a minimum, keep your front door and garage lights on at night, rather than employing motion-sensor lights.

Keep a lookout for external issues

Homebuyers are going to be taking a close look at every nook and cranny of your home to see if it meets their needs and if there are any potential pitfalls. In the winter, this can include your roof and gutters to see if there are any indicators of ice dams or other signs of external damage.

There are ways to help prevent and fix ice dams, starting with cleaning your gutters properly. Still, it’s a good idea to watch the weather and keep your eyes peeled for melting snow and snow accumulations. That way, you can address issues as they come and prevent them from becoming problems.

Prepping to sell?

Buyers are out there, and they’re eager for new homes to go on the market. To discuss your options and the price you may be able to get at closing, reach out anytime.

The ultimate guide to moving during the winter

/media/3856/moving-during-winter-guide-december-2023.jpg

Key insights:

  • Check out your vehicle and road conditions before you begin packing and driving.
  • The way you pack your belongings is important. Think about color-coding boxes for a hassle-free move.
  • Don’t forget to savor the moment! Take a minute to appreciate your previous space and embrace your new home.

Whether you’re moving long-distance or down the street, moving during the winter presents a unique set of challenges and considerations. Be sure to follow these 12 tips as you pack up your home and prepare to move into a new property this winter.

Ultimate Guide to Movig in the Winter

1. Prep your vehicles

Start with your car or moving truck, making sure that the tires, brakes and battery are in good condition. You’ll also want to check and fill all fluids.

If you’re moving long-distance and don’t already have roadside assistance, consider purchasing it. This service will keep you covered should your vehicle break down on the trek to your new house. And, if you plan to drive the moving truck yourself, ask the rental company if they provide any kind of emergency assistance.

Finally, create an emergency car kit that includes bottled water, non-perishable snacks, blankets, a windshield scraper, a flashlight, sand or salt and some road flares to deploy if your car breaks down on the side of the road. Don’t skip this step! Not only is this kit perfect for a winter move, it’s also smart to keep in your car all winter long.

2. Flip the “on” switch at your new home

Before you hop in the car to drive to your new home, you’ll want to ensure that the property is ready for move-in. Transfer all utilities into your name in advance, so they are on and functioning a day or two before your move, if possible. The days are shorter, darker and colder during the winter, so it’s extra important that the lights and heat are working as you settle in.

3. Color-code your boxes

While packing for your new home, be intentional. Color-coding your move is a great way to stay organized. With color-coded boxes, you can be sure that everything ends up in the right place for unpacking, saving you time and frustration.

4. Bring extra clothes

If you’re moving or relocating to Minnesota or western Wisconsin, wear warm, climate-appropriate items. Dress yourself in layers and clothes that are easy to remove as you change temperatures throughout the day. If possible, avoid wearing hoodies or other clothing with strings, which may catch on doorways or the moving truck.

As for outerwear, wear a pair of boots with good traction to avoid slipping on icy or slushy ground. You’ll also want to keep a hat or earmuffs handy throughout the day and find gloves with gripping power so you don’t drop boxes or heavy furniture.

On the other hand, if you’re moving somewhere warmer, pack a spare set of clothes to change into when you arrive in your new climate.

5. Get care for your kids and pets

As much as you want to share this family moment, you may want to hire a babysitter for move-in day if you have younger children. With childcare, you can give your undivided attention to the moving process and minimize any accidents involving big boxes and small kiddos.

Moving with pets may pose a different challenge. While unloading boxes, the last thing you want to think about is if Rex is running across the road or tracking snow into your new home. To prevent this, think about sending your pets to a boarding service or a friend’s house for the duration of your move.

6. Assemble a moving team

Enlisting the help of a moving team — professional or not — will prove to be extremely helpful as you transfer your life from one property to the next.

To thank the group of people helping your family move, have water, soda, coffee or hot cocoa on hand. Then, once you arrive at your new home, order pizza from a highly-rated local place. Your first meal in your new home will be stress-free and delicious. (Mention you’re new to the area while placing your order and you may even get a discount!)

If you hire a professional moving crew, they may expect a tip instead of a pizza dinner. Consumer Affairs recommends a standard tip of $50 per person for an eight-hour day, or $20 per person for four hours. If the move is especially tricky, consider tipping 20%.

7. Check road conditions early and often

Be sure to visit and bookmark your state’s Department of Transportation website for travel advisories and updates on road conditions. Here are the sites for Minnesota and Wisconsin. If you’re moving outside our area, you can find your state’s DOT website here. Be prepared with a backup plan in case road conditions change suddenly or become unsafe.

8. Start early in the day

On moving day, leave early and be prepared to arrive late. Always allow for more time than you think you’ll need. If you’re moving locally, it’s smart to get started very early in the day so you don’t have to move in icy conditions after the sun has gone down. If you’re moving across state lines, be sure to add in an extra travel day in case you unexpectedly need to pull off and stay in a hotel overnight.

9. Keep sidewalks and driveway clear

Whatever you do, don’t pack away the shovels! As you move in and out of a new home you’ll need to keep your sidewalks and driveways clear so your moving crew can enter and exit safely. Even if you have a heated driveway, keep an extra bag of sand or salt handy and apply it liberally to any slippery walkways.

10. Maintain a clean and dry home

You can’t expect your moving crew to remove their heavy winter boots every time they come in and out, but you can protect your floors or carpet by lining your home with flat cardboard. If you’re moving to another wintry area, don’t forget to purchase cardboard (or a few extra moving boxes) for both ends of your move.

Keeping a handful of towels near the entry and exit doorways and in the moving truck will also help keep your home and items dry. You can use the towels to wipe down the dolly or wet boxes as they come in and out of the house.

Finally, cover items if it’s snowing or wet outside. Wrap anything from furniture to large TVs in plastic wrap to protect them from the harsh winter climate.

11. Create a system

As you leave your old residence, ask the crew to exit through the garage and enter through the front door. By designating this system for entrance and exit, you’ll minimize collisions and allow the outgoing furniture and boxes to stay covered in the garage if the moving truck is occupied with another set of helpers.

When moving into your new home, reverse this process. Movers should bring furniture or boxes in through the garage and exit through the front door. If any furniture is too wet to bring in, you can leave it in the garage for a few hours or longer to dry off before bringing it inside.

12. Savor the moment

Moving can be draining, so be sure to take a deep breath as you leave your old home for the new. While the day may have been snowy and stressful, you won’t regret taking a moment to say goodbye as you enter the next phase of your life. You may even want to snap a few photos to document the day (and your new home).

Are you ready to take the next step in your home move? Reach out for help.

The importance of estate planning

/media/3854/estate-planning-november-2023.jpg

Key Insights

  • Anyone who has assets they wish to pass on should consider estate planning.
  • Estate planning ensures your wishes are known and eases the burden on loved ones.
  • Estate planning is more than just a will: work with a lawyer to ensure all aspects of the estate are taken care of.
  • Talk with your loved ones about your end-of-life wishes, and know theirs.

Some may hear “estate planning” and think it applies only to the very wealthy, but the truth is that estate planning is something everyone should consider. Even if you don’t own real estate, estate planning allows you to let your wishes be known after you pass or in case you are incapacitated.

Estate planning lets your wishes be known

Estate planning is the act of legally establishing how your financials and assets will be managed, sustained and distributed in the event of your death or incapacitation. This includes who will pay your debts and settle your taxes, who will be in charge of your assets, and who your beneficiaries are. At its core, an estate plan allows your loved ones to know your intentions when you can no longer speak for yourself, and provides them with a roadmap on how to handle what you’ve left behind. It may also help you save on taxes, pass along more wealth to your beneficiaries, protect your assets and privacy, and help avoid your estate going into probate.

Estate plans help prevent probate and save loved ones stress

Probate is a process in which your beneficiaries have to go to court to get approval to handle your estate, and it could be a lengthy and stressful process. If you own real estate individually and it doesn’t pass immediately to someone else when you die, your heirs would have to go through the probate process. With estate planning, there are ways to transfer your property to someone by establishing a joint tenancy, trust, life estate or death deed that will help clearly and legally lay out your beneficiaries and, importantly, avoid probate.

Completing your estate planning early (and updating it as needed) helps protect your friends and family in case anything unexpected should happen to you. For instance, it would help lay out what to do if you suddenly passed away when selling your house. Always consult with a lawyer to ensure your planning is complete and properly filed.

Estate planning is more than just a will

A will is one aspect of estate planning, but it isn’t all of it. Creating a robust estate plan also includes establishing a power of attorney for healthcare and finances, setting up trusts, creating a living will (which documents your end-of-life preferences) and determining if you should set up a life insurance policy or annuity. Generally, the estate planning process includes:

  • Making an inventory of your assets: List out your property, valuables and bank accounts so you (and your loved ones) know all your possessions and what they’re worth.
  • Planning for what your family will need: If you have minor children or pets, think about who you’d like to take care of them, and consider getting life insurance to help them live comfortably.
  • Naming your beneficiaries: This includes family, friends and charities that you’d want to take care of after your death.
  • Determining inheritance: Divide your assets among your beneficiaries and clearly state who gets what.
  • Filing and storing all documentation: Work with a lawyer to ensure all paperwork is properly filed, and keep a copy of all documentation in a safe place like a fire-proof safe or safety deposit box. Make sure everyone who needs a copy receives one (your lawyer can help determine who), and that your loved ones know who to contact or where to retrieve your estate plan.
  • Updating your plan regularly: Make it a point to check your estate plan regularly to ensure it's still meeting your and your family’s needs. Marriages, divorces, births, deaths, inheritances, moves and large purchases could all necessitate updates to your estate plan.

Take charge of your planning, and make sure others do too

No one wants to think about their death, or what will happen in the wake of their passing, but it’s important to start planning early in case of unforeseen circumstances. This becomes all the more crucial when minors and dependents get involved, and as you age.

If you’re someone with aging parents, check in with them to make sure they have their estate planning well in hand. It also doesn’t hurt to take note of who their estate lawyer is or where they store their estate planning documentation, just in case. It can be an awkward subject to bring up, but understanding your parents' wishes and making sure all documentation is in order will be a big relief to you and them.

Move forward with estate planning

Whether you’re a longtime property owner who’s looking to downsize, or you’re expanding your family and your square footage, you should make a plan for your estate. Reach out for help taking the next step in your homeownership journey.

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