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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Selling Your Home in Winter? These Tips Will Help!

If you’re planning on selling your home in the winter, then you should know there are a couple of design adjustments you should make, in order to make it more attractive to people searching for homes during this season. In this article, we’re going to list some excellent tips that will greatly increase your chances of making a sale during the winter months.

1. Photo album updates

Don’t just take pictures of your home in the winter. A home isn’t meant for just a single season, so you’ll want to take some pictures throughout the year to show people what your home looks like, and how it copes with both hot and cold seasons. Of course, you may have already missed the opportunity to take pictures of your home during the summer, but it might not be too late to take some clear sky and sun pictures. The more photos you take in various seasons, the more your potential buyers learn about your property.

2. Utilize Hygge

Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish term that is used to describe a mood of coziness and comfort. The idea is to make your home look very comfortable even during harsh cold temperatures. This means turning on the fireplace, displaying cozy throws, hanging up a few comfortable decorations, and using warm lighting, such as candles, to create a beautiful scene.

3. Minimal decorations

Yes, it’s Christmas soon, but you don’t want to clutter your home with decorations! Limited and tasteful decorating may be fine, but if you’re unsure how far you can push this, please do speak with Ryan and don’t be afraid to ask for advice on how little or much you should decorate! Remember that your potential buyers may celebrate the holiday season entirely differently than you, or have a different design style to greet the season.

4. Remove snow

You don’t want the first impression of your home to be just a winter home. Sure, having snow on your roof can look reminiscent of Norman Rockwell nostalgic paintings, but ultimately your buyers want to see what the quality of the roof actually looks like. Hire a snow removal service or do it yourself, so you can take clear pictures and show your buyers what the home really looks like underneath the snow. Clear sidewalks and ensure there’s no ice on your driveway – this will help with the aesthetics, as well as the safety of your potential buyers.

5. Easy on the scents

A wintry holiday scent can drastically change the mood in your home, but don’t go overboard with it. Go easy on the scents and try not to give the impression that you’re covering up nasty smells! “Is that cinnamon and pine blowing through the vents?” 🙂

6. Easy on the heating as well

Showing that the heating works well is a great idea, but don’t crank up the heating, just because your potential buyers have walked in from the cold outside. Keep the temperature comfortable (70 is a good), so the viewers can slowly warm up instead of feeling stuffy in your home.

Don’t play Christmas tunes on “full blast” , but do play a little light festive music with no lyrics and keep it low. This will help set the mood and put a smile on your buyer’s faces as they explore your home.

If you’re looking to sell your home this winter season, get in touch with Ryan. The winter season is a unique selling window because there’s less inventory and more opportunities, and with help from Ryan, you can make that sale far more likely.

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Relocating to Lakeville This Winter? Here’s What’s Happening!

Are you planning to relocate to Lakeville, Minnesota this winter? If so, then you’re in for a treat as the end of year is shaping up to become a wonderfully lively season. Despite the harsh winters, Minnesotans know how to celebrate in style, and here are just a couple of locations and attractions that you should look forward to, all within close driving distance from Lakeville, Apple Valley and Eagan!

Minnesota Zoo

There are plenty of good reasons to visit Minnesota Zoo during the winter. First, the Tropics Trail is humid and warm thanks to the climate-controlled environment, making it a fantastic place to take shelter now and then from the harsh cold. In fact, they even have a tropical beach party during the winter which is a perfect place to take your kids to.

Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve

If you love hilly terrain, glacial ridges and a lush forest, then the Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve is the perfect place to go hiking and exploring. It offers a popular mountain bike trail but is also a good place to take long and leisurely walks over some beautiful scenery. During the winter, Murphy-Hanrehan Park reserve becomes even more spectacular and is definitely a sight that you do not want to miss if you’re relocating to Lakeville.

Lebanon Hills Regional Park

Another beautiful park to explore with friends and family, or even to take your dog. There are some beautiful spots to view the lakes and it can even be a good place for a picnic. Whether you’re hiking, biking or even want to spot the wildlife, Lebanon Hills Regional Park is a wonderful area to visit during the winter.

Mall of America

A fantastic shopping mall that can feel overwhelming at first, but it’s a fun place to visit if you love shopping or just want to stroll around in a busy and lively area. There are also many places to eat around Mall of America and it’s a fantastic way to take shelter from the harsher winter weather days. During the Christmas season, the festive spirit is everywhere, with additional musical entertainment and lively, bright displays.

Holidazzle at Loring Park

Holidazzle is an annual premier holiday celebration that takes place in Minnesota. This year, it’s being held in Loring Park and there’s just so much to do that you don’t want to miss out. It runs from November 23rd all the way until December 23rd with various events and attractions going on throughout those dates. There’s lots of food, places to shop and plenty of sights to see.

Ryan DeRoode is a realtor that knows what it takes to be a real estate agent that puts clients first. He grew up in Minnesota and knows it inside out, providing him with strong links and networks that extend throughout the state. Ryan takes a holistic approach when it comes to real estate. He gets to know you, learns about your preferences, and uses that information to match you with the perfect home here in Minnesota. So if you’re ever considering relocating to Lakeville or the surrounding area, get in touch with Ryan DeRoode and you’ll experience what an experienced realtor can do for you.

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5 Real Estate Myths

The world of real estate can be complex – particularly for those with houseminimal experience of it. As a consequence, it’s easy to be fooled by common myths regarding the sale of your home. Today’s blog looks at the five biggest myths of selling your home, which with very few exceptions, simply aren’t true.

Quick offers mean I should raise my price

When you get loads of quick offers, it’s easy to assume that this must mean you priced your home for too low a price. So, you should raise it up to encourage bidders to offer more. Realistically, any Lakeville realtor can tell you that quick offers can mean many things. Your home could just be in a prime location that everyone is keen to move into. Or, you may be the only home on the market with a specific feature that people need. Raising the price could result in everyone backing out, appraisal issues, extended market time, and a much lower price down the road. If you priced it correctly in the first place, there’s no need to increase it when offers fly in.

My bright colored walls and family photos will help show our warm personalities

Nope. Family photos and whacky wall colors do one thing; scare buyers away from your home. It’s hard to imagine living somewhere, when the current residents are plastered on the walls. Plus, the crazy decor puts people off as it a) makes it hard for them to imagine living in that space, and b) means they have more work on their hands to re-decorate.
Automated Home Values are the most accurate way to price my home
Wrong. This is the quickest way to price your home, but automated home values are rarely as accurate as using genuine real estate experts. Work with an Apple Valley realtor, and they will properly analyze your home, and work with fellow experts to figure out the actual price, based on the wider market, features and amenities.

Skipping the use of a realtor will save me money

In theory, if you don’t use a realtor, then you don’t have to pay their fee. So, it’s clear why people think this equates to saving money. But, it’s not a simple as that. Working with an expert realtor like Ryan DeRoode, means you have someone that can provide many benefits during the sale. Pricing your home is vital, as well as marketing to qualified buyers, proper staging, photography, and negotiating the best possible price and terms. They can ensure you get the best price for your home, which means you actually make more money. Plus, realtors have access to other people in the industry – like home stagers, photographers, home inspectors, etc… – and can often provide discounted rates to clients for these services. So, all in all, you save money by using a realtor.

My home looks fine – potential buyers will see past its ‘warts.’

If your home has a bunch of little issues here and there that make it look “unattractive”, then this is an issue. Buyers won’t always see past them – in fact, it will be all they focus on! To them, your ‘warts’ represent money they’ll have to spend to fix your home. In reality, spending money upfront to fix these issues, will surely net you more money in the end.

Hopefully, this opens your eyes to the many real estate myths out there. If you need help selling your home and want expert knowledge from a realtor with genuine integrity, then contact Ryan DeRoode today.

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