6 Spring Real Estate Photoshoot Strategies to Take MN Gray to YAY!

There’s no reason why gray weather should put a damper on a potential buyer’s reaction to your home. While you will read again and again that you should wait for a sunny day with clear blue skies to take photos for your listing, you may be waiting awhile. Minnesota springs can sometimes feel like living in Seattle. Luckily, there are workarounds and other tips that can turn gray photos into a buyer’s dream.

Listing photos are the first impression buyers will have of your home. Good pictures can be the difference between a showing or a no-show, so put your best photos forward with these tips to help photograph your house for a sale when it’s gray in Minnesota.

1. Use a Professional Photographer

Professional photographers know what they’re doing, and they offer high-quality photos. When sellers use a professional photographer, the listing averages twice as many views, and the home can sell 50% faster.

A professional can take the guesswork out of your photo shoot. Real estate photographers know what angles work best and what features to highlight. Professional photography is included with every listing we put on the market. It’s vital in today’s market!

2. Check the Weather

While blue skies are beautiful, gray skies can create striking photos. Avoid the rain though, and skip days that show puddles or standing water around your house.

Overcast skies can actually reduce distracting shadows or intense brightness that can highlight imperfections. In fact, often interior and exterior photos often look a lot better than blue-sky, noon-time photos.

3. Use a Sky Replacer

Some professional photographers can reimagine the weather and replace a gray sky with a bright blue one, helping buyers focus on the beauty of your home, rather than cloudy conditions. Many sellers choose this option. Why? Buyers are purchasing your house, not the weather. We include a blue sky guarantee with all our listings!

4. Avoid Anything that May Discourage a Showing

Powerlines are often a problem when photographing properties. You may not even notice them in person, but they could be a deterrent for some buyers. Get a shot as wide as you can to photograph the outside of your home. Avoid any potential eyesores, including your neighbor’s houses, so the focus remains on your property alone.

5. Highlight Unique Selling Features

Do you love the view of your backyard from your family room? Buyers will too! Including unique features in your listing gives viewers the feeling of what it’s really like to live in your home. Take photos of new light fixtures, high ceilings, custom cabinets, etc., to make your real estate listing stand out.

6. Give Buyers a Taste of Your Neighborhood

Because buyers look through pictures before reading a property’s description, use photos to highlight any surrounding amenities. Add a few images of places nearby that make your neighborhood amazing, including parks, restaurants, the library, and natural areas. Don’t go overboard, but if your area is known for one of these, don’t be shy about it.

7. Take Photos from Varying Angles and Give Yourself Options

Sometimes the best real estate photos require unique perspectives. Have fun, get low, then pull out the ladder. Walk to the road, or to the back of your property, and snap some shots from there.

Choosing the right photos can be trickier than taking them, and having options can make a huge difference. Don’t hesitate to push the button and release the shutter.

American photographer Berenice Abbot is quoted as saying, “Photography helps people to see,” and your potential buyers need to see themselves living in your house. Great photos set your listing apart from the rest and attract the right offer for your home. Embrace your inner photographer or hire a professional and let’s get to work selling your house in Minnesota this spring.


Image credit: marchello74 | iStock | Getty Images Plus

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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


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”!


“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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How to Choose a Real Estate Agent

First and foremost, this is not a “pick me, pick me” post. This is about finding a real estate agent who fits you and your needs. You’re about to embark on a two to six-month journey, with a trusted advisor, to help you buy and/or sell, in most cases, your most valuable material possession. Most of us research doctors, lawyers, financial advisors, personal trainers, etc…before signing up with any of them. You may want to do the same to find your real estate agent.

Buying or selling a home in Lakeville MN means you are in a transitional phase in your life. The transition itself is usually stressful enough on its own. It can be exciting (marriage, baby, promotion), or challenging (loss of a job, divorce, loss of a loved one), or both exciting AND challenging (empty nesters, down-sizing, combining families, job transfer, etc…). No matter what the situation, you should expect a level of empathy and understanding from your real estate agent. More importantly, count on them to navigate the transaction, to best suit your transitional needs, and help set up a support system along the way. It’s vital they remain your emotional rock and ensure emotions aren’t taking you (the client), off the path to your end goal.

real estate agent lakeville minnesotaDoes the real estate agent fit your style and personality? How do they communicate, and will they communicate on your terms (in person, phone only, text only, email only, all of the above)? Do they walk around 24/7 with a blue tooth in their ear, constantly telling you how busy they are? Maybe you sell blue tooth earbuds and enjoy this about your agent?  😉

The point: It’s always your choice. Choosing the right realtor for you should be based on a mix of “real feel” and “facts”. You can find lists all over the internet, so I won’t dwell on too many of the bullet points. Here are a few of the important ones, at least in my opinion.

Experience: How many homes have they sold? How long have they been in the business? Are they full or part-time? If they are new, do they have a strong mentor or team, to help them with the technical aspects? We were ALL new at some point, and I’ve worked with some amazing newer agents, so don’t let that necessarily be a deterrent, just make sure they have a strong support system.

Reviews: Do they have a variety of reviews from a variety of past clients? This will give you a pretty good idea of what they are like.

Non-negotiables: Professional photography and expansive online presencebad real estate photography realtor lakeville mn should be a staple in our industry by now. Unless the realtor is a professional photographer on the side, then I would expect this to be hired out. A majority of buyers will have viewed your property online, prior to even calling a buyer’s agent. Do not risk your home being passed on, simply due to poor photography. (…and yes, it does happen)

Accessibility: How quick is the realtor to return your calls, or available to show you a property. In our current market, the “good ones” are typically sold within a day. Make sure your agent has some back-up, if they’re out of town, or working with multiple clients.

Pressure: You should never feel pressured into buying. There is a big difference in advising the client on the urgency of a market, and pressuring a client into buying a home, just for the sake of getting one before it’s gone. If it doesn’t feel like home, you should never feel pressure to buy, in fear of nothing else coming on the market. There will always be more homes! Wait for the one that feels good to you! 😊

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Benefits of Buying or Selling in the Winter

buy and sell property in the minnesota wintertime I’m often asked, “Do homes sell in the winter? Do people actually buy homes in the winter?”

The answer is yes and yes, regardless of a hot or “cold” real estate market!

Fall and winter can actually be the best time of year to buy or sell your home, depending on your situation. Here are just a few reasons, we see year after year.

Benefits for buyers:

1. Fewer buyers out looking, means you are less likely to run into bidding wars. There is also a better chance of getting your new home at a lower price, with less competition from other buyers.
2. Speaking of price, sellers are more likely to price their home competitively. They have either been on the market for some time, or need to make a move for a job relocation, or financial reasons.
3. Some sellers want to move their homes for tax purposes, prior to year’s end.
4. Get a feel for how the home holds up in some our state’s more challenging climate! Windows, roof, furnace, insulation and a good garage suddenly become pretty popular this time of year!! 🙂
5. Your realtor is likely working with fewer clients, and has more time to focus on YOU!

Benefits for sellers:

1. Most Fall and Winter buyers are not out joyriding/window shopping. They are serious about finding a home, and ready to go!
2. Just as for buyers, sellers can also benefit from buyers relocating out of necessity (job, family, lifestyle changes).
3. Fewer homes on the market mean less competition from other sellers. This makes it easier to get your home to stand out!
4. Both parties tend to be more motivated, which can make negotiations less chaotic and rushed.
5. Depending on your home and décor, the holiday season can create emotional ties to a buyer and your home. No need to go Clark Griswold on it, but tasteful décor can be quite helpful!

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Interesting Eats at the 2017 Minnesota State Fair

Looking for some interesting eats at the 2017 Minnesota State Fair? Below you’ll find a roundup of the top 5. The fair runs from August 24 through September 4, 2017.

Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar

Yes, you can probably bake about 20 dozen for the price of one bucket but what would be the fun in that? These small, soft, gooey cookies are a right of passage at the Minnesota State Fair, and they go pretty well with a large glass of milk. Which, coincidentally you can get in the same booth.

1919 Rootbeer

The Postiglione family has been pouring 1919 draft root beer, made at the August Schell Brewery in New Ulm for over three decades. Make sure you grab one outside the Garden and Underwood.

Lulu’s Public House

If you’re thinking about heading over to the fair in the morning, you’ve got to stop at Lulu’s Public House which is located in the West End of the Market. Here you can try what’s called a Breakfast Buddy Bowl. It’s a waffle bowl filled with eggs, syrup, cheese, bacon, hash browns, with a biscuit and gravy on top. Guess you better go on an empty stomach?


Ready to try some deep fried avocado? Sounds like some fatty goodness right there yes? If the plain ones aren’t quite good enough, you can always pair them with chipotle sauce for dipping. Stop by O’Garas which is on the south-west corner of Dan Patch Avenue.

Oodles of Noodles

There’s always that one person in the group that has some pretty strict dietary needs; gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian or heck maybe all three? There’s a perfect solution to this over at Oodles of Noodles in the Food Building. Their newest dish this year is red curry rice cooked in coconut milk with an onslaught of authentic produce.

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