Selling a Vacant Property During a MN Winter

Selling a property in the winter months in Minnesota can be complicated, especially if the property is vacant. While selling a vacant home has advantages, such as being able to be viewed at the convenience of the agent and potential buyer, the combination of colder weather and an uninhabited home presents some interesting challenges. Here are several items to consider when you’re living in a different location from the property you’re selling.

Dipping Temperatures

Our current cold temperatures can bring an excess of troubles to a home, including broken water pipes, frozen plumbing, or even problems with ice dams and roof damage. Some of these issues can cause extensive deterioration to a home that may not necessarily be covered by your homeowners policy. You may want to consider appointing a property manager to watch over the home.

Home Showings

Before your home is shown to a potential buyer, you will want to ensure any mail or newspapers are cleaned up. Make sure sidewalks are shoveled and an appearance is given that the home is being lived in. Prior to the showing, set the heat to a comfortable level (70 degrees is comfy) to make your home inviting and cozy when buyers enter. Place a mat close to the door, with a sign requesting “shoe removal” before entering further into the home.

Security

Homes that are visibly vacant can be a draw for thieves or vandals. Make sure you have an installed security system and motion lights. If you have the budget to install cameras, you’ll be able to peer in on your home whenever you’d like.

In addition to the above, consider these tips:

  • Check the home weekly (or more often during these sub-zero days).
  • Check locks, both on doors and windows to ensure the property is secure.
  • Think about installing a security system with a freeze warning alert, so if the temps get to a dangerous level, problems can be addressed immediately.
  • Leave the light on (No, not just the tagline for Motel 6) – leaving a light on both the interior and exterior can deter thieves.
  • When on social media, never mention that your home is unoccupied.

Taking a few planned, preventive steps can ensure your property stays safe and sound. If you have questions about selling your home, please don’t hesitate to call Ryan DeRoode at (651) 503-4158.

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Want to Buy a Home? Do This First!

It’s exciting to leave behind apartment living and settle your roots into home ownership. This time in your life may also feel a little overwhelming, and perhaps you’re not sure of where to even begin with your new home search. There are some important factors to keep in mind, before you even begin to browse online real estate listings. We’ll help you out in this article!

Check Your Credit Scores

Without a credit history, and actually a solid credit history, your search for home ownership may stop, before you even get out of the gate. Before even looking for a home, it’s good to know where you stand in this aspect of your financial status. This helps determine interest rates as well as the type of loans best suit your needs. Ryan DeRoode, owner and founder of Twin Cities MN Realtor, will listen to your needs and help point you in the right direction, so you can be comfortable in making a smart, financially responsible decision.

How much do you have saved for a down payment?

It’s easy to use an online mortgage calculator and figure out what type of payment you may “fit into”, however, the payment itself is only part of the equation. Depending on your lender, your down payment requirements may be anywhere from 0-20% of the purchase price. If you’re able to make a down payment greater than 20%, you may be able to get a lower interest rate on your desired home. Our real estate team will be able to help you navigate the language of down payments, PMI, and any additional concerns you may have, when you are ready to make an offer on a home.

Pre-approval is an Asset to a Home Buyer in this Market

Having pre-approval, before you even begin visiting potential homes, gives you multiple advantages. First, if you fall in love with the home, you’re immediately ready to make an offer, without having to do preliminary paperwork that many people competing for the same home may need to do. Time is everything in this market. Pre-approval also helps provide you razor focus on the price-range of home that you’d qualify for. You can feel comfortable making an offer, without getting swept up in emotion of a home you may love, but may be a financial detriment to you over the long term.

Hire a Reputable, Knowledgeable Real Estate Agent

With fluctuating interest rates, this is not a time to try to “go it on your own”. Read a prospective realtor’s reviews and learn more about them, and how they’ve handled previous transactions, both as a seller’s or buyer’s agent. Look to see how long they’ve been established within the area you are looking to move to – they will have inside information on the community you may be a part of. They will be able to provide expert advice on the just-right fit for you!

Congratulations if you’re ready to embark on the journey of home ownership! This exciting time may also bring moments of tension, but the end result will be worth it. As your realtor, we’ll help inform you each step of the way through the buying process. To get started, please fill out this Buyer Questionnaire, and we will get back to you soon to help you kick off your new home adventure!

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Winter Landscaping – Tips to Make Your Home a Wonderland

It’s true, for as much as we may complain in Minnesota about the temperatures, there’s really no place else we’d rather be. This season offers its own beauty, and while the demands of caring for your winter yard may be less (minus the shoveling!), they can be simply stunning and rival our spring, summer and fall landscapes. Try these simple winter hacks to transform your white outdoor space, into a winter paradise worthy of a potential buyer’s interest!

Transform Your Summer Planters

You already have them strategically placed around the perimeter of your home…with a few evergreens, some dazzling red berries and a little creative flair, you’ll instantly go from drab to striking! Not only does decorating these planters prepare your home for the holiday festivities, but the ornamentation has lasting presence throughout the upcoming winter months.

Estimated cost: $15-20

Did We Say Evergreen?

Not only can evergreens spruce up (see what we did there) your planters, consider planting a variety of this MN-hardy perennial for year round beauty. Although the cost may be a bit pricey, and the care required to properly shape them may necessitate a few hours over the summer, the end result will be brilliantly perfect. As Minnesotans, this is a part of who we are….there’s a significant amount of nostalgia that accompanies a view of snow covered evergreens as you peek out your window.

Estimated cost: $100-500

Lighting

Before we go further into this tip, we’re not referring to December’s seasonal lights, which may be lingering and remain until February/March. Rather, lighting along a walkway, alerting visitors to ice or other winter hazards. A patio with a few subtle white lights, can provide elegant contrast against new fallen snow. Not only do the lights brighten the view, but they provide a warming glow to counter the harshest of wind chills and blowing snow.

Estimated cost: Varies – solar lights $50 each and up.

Ornamental Grasses

Low maintenance ornamental grasses bring beautiful texture to a yard, whether summer or winter. In the summer, their color presents a variant against green, and in winter, their vibrant color of red strikes a warm note against the white snow. Blue Heaven™ is an ornamental grass (developed by the University of MN), and has proven staying power through our harsh winters.

Estimated cost: $15-20 each

Whether you’re buying a new home, and seeking potential in the new prospective yard, or are a seller looking to optimize the presence and curb appeal of your home, consider how the above tips can help contribute to the feeling of your very own “winter wonderland”!

Sources:

“Choosing Evergreens for Your Landscape.” Extension at the University of Minnesota, extension.umn.edu/trees-and-shrubs/choosing-evergreens-your-landscape.
mart1794. “Ornamental Grasses.” Minnesota Hardy, 24 Feb. 2015, mnhardy.umn.edu/varieties/grasses/ornamental-grasses.

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