5 ways to hide the clutter while selling your home.

An important part of the home-selling process is showing it to prospective buyers. Unfortunately, that means tidying up even more frequently than you normally would, so buyers can focus on the house’s features rather than your household items. While it may not be possible to keep your home completely mess-free when you have children, below are some tips for keeping the chaos to a minimum:

Under-bed storage.If there’s enough space under their beds, encourage kids to keep their rooms tidy with rolling plastic or rattan storage bins. Then, use an oversized comforter or quilt—or strategically placed blankets—to hide the bins from sight.

Built-in storage.It may be impossible to keep things from leaving kids’ rooms and entering the living room. Utilize furniture with built-in storage, such as ottomans, or clear a drawer in the entertainment center specifically to tuck awayany roaming toys, games and other items.

Baskets and trunks.If you don’t have much built-in storage or discreet space to take advantage of, consider buying decorative trunks or baskets with lids that you can place around your home. 

Suitcases.If you need to store toys in the back of a closet, put them in suitcases that you can easily roll and move rather than bulky plastic bins. Suitcases are also a more discreet storage option than bins when buyers glance inside the closet to gauge how much space is available.

Donation.While your kids may feel attached to every toy, stuffed animal or plaything they own, it might be time to downsize the collection. Suggest that they start a donation pile, so that their unused items can bring joy to other kids instead.

This article is brought to you by Jean Hedren, a Certified Residential Specialist

These 9 easy home improvements add value to your home

1. Improve energy efficiency Boosting the attic insulation from R11 to R49 can lower heating and cooling costs up to $600 per year (according to Houselogic.com). If the existing insulation comes up just to the tops of the joists, then you may need to add insulation. If you can’t see the joists and the insulation is well above the tops of the joists, you’re probably okay.

2. Spruce up the exterior  You only get one chance to make a good first impression. Projects that enhance curb appeal can offer the best bang for the buck. Basic efforts like power washing the home’s exterior, painting the front door, or adding landscaping improvements can be small investments that enhance curb appeal when selling a home. 

3. Low-maintenance lawn care: Overgrown lawns and bushes will cause your home to stand out—in a bad way. For a few hundred dollars, hire a landscaping service to tidy up. Adding plants and trees native to your region will also help boost the home’s curb appeal.

4. Budget-friendly kitchen remodelsIf your budget allows only one room renovation, go for the kitchen. Most studies have shown as many as 80% of homebuyers list the kitchen as their favorite room. Buyers may be more forgiving of other outdated areas with a newly updated kitchen. A minor kitchen face-lift could include painting cabinets or getting new cabinet doors, new appliances, upgrading countertops, or new cabinet hardware. 

5. Bathroom remodelUpdating bathrooms can make a big impact. Studies have shown a minor bathroom remodel can provide a 102% return on investment, and you don’t have to spend a fortune to make big upgrades. Re-grouting tile, replace caulk around the shower, tub, and toilet areas, replace the toilet, mirrors and fixtures can go a long way to improve the look of the bathroom.

6. Deep house cleaning: Make sure your home says “clean” to potential buyers when they walk in the door. Even if you clean your home regularly, hire a cleaning service for a thorough top-to-bottom scrubbing.

7. A coat of paint Painting the home interior is one of the most inexpensive updates you can make. New paint lightens rooms, hides visual defects, and simply makes a room feel fresh and clean.

8. Fix the flooring New flooring can instantly brighten up the home, and makes a huge difference in how your house is perceived by buyers.

9. Make your home feel bigger. You can’t change the square-footage of your home, but you can make each room in your house feel larger. A sunny room feels more open—replace heavy drapes with vertical blinds or shutters. Also, clear the clutter. Add shelving or storage space to help organize.

Thinking of selling? Call Jean Hedren, Edina Realty NW Wisconsin Realtor, 218-590-6634 for a free comprehensive market analysis of your property. 

Does For Sale By Owner save you money? 4 Reasons why FSBOs end up hiring a Realtor.

I am a Realtor. I sell real estate. I can certainly understand a home seller’s reasons for wanting to save a commission expense. We all like to save money.

While commission rates are negotiable, in NW Wisconsin you are likely to pay 6-7% commission on the sale of your property. On a $200,000 home a 6% commission is $12,000. That’s a chunk of change.

Selling a for sale by owner (FSBO) is not a simple task and that is why most home owners hire a Realtor to get the job done. Nationally the success rate of a FSBO is very low. More than 80% of all FSBOs end up hiring a Realtor after unsuccessfully trying to sell on their own.

There are many reasons why selling For Sale by Owner (FSBO) is a difficult task to pull off.

#1 – The wrong listing price

Whether selling FSBO or with a Realtor, pricing is the first and most critical factor. If your home is not priced correctly you are not likely to sell for the highest possible price. More than 75% of marketing a home is about the price. Overpricing a home makes it almost impossible to sell.

Choosing the right price involves thorough research of similar properties that have recently sold in the local area and using the data to correctly set the selling price. The data may not be easy to find in more rural geographic areas.

Sometimes owners may have made recent improvements to their home, and therefore feel justified in setting a higher price. Unfortunately, most home improvement projects do not have a high return. Even improvements like replacing a roof or a septic system will not have much of a payback on the investment.

#2 – Lack of online exposure

Many for sale by owners only put up a handmade “for sale by owner” sign in the front lawn and expect that to do the job.

Others think that including their listing in one of the for sale by owner online sites like Isoldmyhome.com, forsalebyowner.com, or buyowner.com is going to bring lots of buyers.

Unfortunately that’s not the case. The for sale by owner real estate websites do not generate much buyer traffic in comparison to the sites that web savvy Realtors use to market listings.

Google a local search with real estate keywords a buyer would typically use as an online search, and you’ll see the results. Using my local town as an example, a buyer would use keywords like Gordon Wisconsin homes for sale or Gordon WI real estate. The top search results are sites that show listings by Realtors and Real Estate agents individual websites. You can check out your own town or city.

A web savvy Realtor will also use social media to market a home. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, blogs, and other social media help drive traffic to a listing. For sale by owners generally do not have the expertise to market with social media.

#3 – Buyers want your commission savings

One very important consideration that most people who try to sell on their own don’t realize is that buyers understand you are not paying a Realtor to sell the home. These buyers tend to be bargain hunters and since the seller is not paying a commission will feel justified in offering less for the home.

Lots of for sale by owners end up receiving low ball offers. Even if the home is priced right, the seller can end up with a lower number on the bottom line.

#4 – Buyer qualifications and showing the home

One important detail that for sale by owners may forget is that buyers can view a home at just about any time of day or day of the week. A buyer will likely lose patience if the seller cannot accommodate their schedule. The seller will need to find the time to let a buyer have access to the home which can be a challenge if the seller is working full time or does not live on the property. It’s difficult to sell if the buyer can’t get in and see it. A Realtor’s job can make that part of the selling process easy.

Sellers also need to be aware of how to qualify potential buyers. If the buyer cannot get financing, there is no point in showing the home. A Realtor’s job is to make sure a buyer has the ability to purchase. Most buyers looking at homes today are pre-approved.

Sellers may not be aware of the closing costs associated with the selling side and procedures to bring a sale to the closing table. A Realtor will have the experience to handle the closing procedures, and to smooth out any bumps during the final closing procedures.

If you are thinking of selling your home, I will be happy to provide a free, no obligation comparative market analysis for your local area.

Related article by Bill Gassett, Remax Executive Realty Massachusetts. Home Selling Myths That are Completely False

Buying and selling a house — how do I time it perfectly?

Need to sell your current home and buy another? You may be wondering how to time it just right, so the sales align — or if you should be buying or selling your home first.

Here are the pros and cons of each decision with insights you can use when determining whether to buy or sell your home first.

Selling a home first

You sold your house! Now what? Here’s the inside scoop on the pros and cons of selling your home first.

  • Upside: By selling first, you’ll likely feel more financially secure as you begin searching for homes to buy. It can be helpful to know what kind of money you’ll walk away with at closing so you can set a responsible budget for house #2 and feel confident that you can get approved for your next mortgage loan.
  • Downside: There’s more to think about than just the money you’d acquire from a sale, though. Consider this: The inventory of homes for sale is low (though new listings are starting to rise) and it may take longer than you think to find your next home.

Some homebuyers are comfortable with the idea of finding a “Plan B” home as a temporary option while they search for the perfect place to after they sell their house.

Plan B options for temporary housing include:

  • Renting a house or townhome for the short-term
  • Renting an apartment month-to-month
  • Moving in with generous family or friends during the interim
  • Booking an “extended stay” hotel or inn, which tend to have a usable kitchen area

If you’re in the process of selling your home, and you’re concerned that you might close on your sale before finding your new home, you’re not without options. Together, we can discuss the possibility of negotiating for a later closing date when accepting a buyer’s offer. This will help you gain more time to find your next property.

Buying a home first

It’s also possible to buy a home before you’ve placed your existing home on the market.

  • Upside: By buying a new home before you sell your current home, you can search on your own terms and put an offer on the home of your dreams — rather than being tied to a timeline.
  • Downside: If you buy a new home before selling your current property, you’ll have to have enough cash on hand to cover the down payment for house #2, and you may end up paying two mortgages until your first home sells.

If you choose to buy first, be sure to save up as much money as possible in order get approved for a second mortgage and have peace of mind as you commit to paying two mortgages for the short-term (or possibly longer). You’ll also want to work with a real estate agent who is committed to helping you sell quickly.

Adding a contingency when buying

If you want to buy first, but avoid two mortgage payments, you can try to add a buyer’s home sale contingency in the purchase agreement of your new home. This contingency states that the transaction for the new house is dependent on the sale of your current property.

A seller may perceive a contingent offer as weaker than a non-contingent offer. In a sellers’ market, you may have a more difficult time getting the seller to accept a contingent deal.

Should I buy and sell a home at the same time?

This is a pretty common scenario, especially for homeowners who don’t have a “backup plan” — like the option to move in with family or friends for a few weeks or months.

At first, this may seem like the best-case scenario. Here are a couple of things you might not have considered about coordinating a new home purchase and a property sale.

  • Upside: You can time your moves to coincide. This will allow for a seamless transition from one house to the next — packing up a van and relocating a few miles away is about as easy as a move can get.
  • Downside: It can be a challenge to stage your for-sale home and keep it clean for showings, all while touring other homes, making offers and negotiating coinciding closings.

So, what’s the best plan?

Unfortunately, there’s no cookie-cutter answer to this question. All homeowners are different, with unique finances, timelines and other logistical factors (like school and work schedules, family trips, short-term living options, etc.) that can impact what’s smartest for them.

And, homes are different, too! In an area without many homes for sale, sellers can accept an offer on a home in just a few days or even hours — while sellers in a higher-inventory market, or who price their homes too high, may wait months for just one offer.

All in all, the perfect option for one seller might not work for a different seller, even if they live on the same block. No matter what, we can weigh all your personal and financial factors to determine if you should sell your home first, buy a home first, or buy and sell at the same time.

Next steps

Ready to get a move on buying or selling a home — or both? Call Jean Hedren, Edina Realty NW Wisconsin, 218-590-6634.

Think safety while you’re away…

The holidays are an exciting time, especially if you plan on traveling. Whether you’re visiting family or going somewhere warm for the winter, it’s important to take security precautions when leaving your home unattended. The following are steps you can take to deter potential burglars from making your home a target this season:

Consider an upgrade.Locking your doors and windows is a good start, but if you don’t yet have a home security system, consider getting one. There are a variety of smart options out there now, from comprehensive systems to individual features, such as the Ring Video Doorbell, which detects motion and provides a view of your front door on your smartphone.

Put lights on a timer.A house that is constantly dark is a good sign to burglars that no one is home. Set indoor and patio lights on automatic timers. There are timers and smart light bulbs you can control via your smartphone, like the Philips Hue.

Combat the elements.If you live in an area where it snows during the winter months, hire someone to shovel and clear the sidewalks while you’re gone. This will keep snow from piling up if any falls while you’re away, which can fool potential thieves and make shoveling a less daunting task when you return.

Hold your mail.Another obvious sign that no one is home is when newspapers, packages and other mail pile up in your mailbox or at the front door. Put a hold on your mail or ask a neighbor to pick it up and keep it until you return from vacation. If you expect large packages to be delivered while you’re gone, consider having them sent to the store or an Amazon Locker.

Put social media on pause.You may want to post about your vacation plans or photos on social media, but wait until you’re back home. Letting everyone know before or during your travels is also letting them know that your house is empty.

Fall is a great time to sell in NW Wisconsin

Even as some sellers are winterizing their homes for the winter and heading south to snow bird land, serious, purposeful buyers are still on the hunt. At this very moment they’re getting pre-approved, researching lakes, and looking at potential properties.

Thinking of selling?  When you list with me you’ll enjoy these important benefits:

  • Strategic pricing that’s based on a thorough, local area market analysis. I help sellers make a sound, rational pricing decision that’s based on the best available information.  Here’s why:  If our price is too low, we leave money on the table.  If our price is too high, we leave your home on the market unsold.  But…  If we price your home correctly right from the very beginning, it’s more likely to get noticed and sell more quickly for the best possible sale price.  
  • Professional Magazine Quality Real Estate Photography. Buyers have lots of options; it can be tough to decide on a short list of homes they feel are worth seeing in person.  Great photos increase the odds that your home will make the cut.  Check out my listings for examples of the professional photography that will help your property stand out from the crowd.  To learn more, and to see a few examples right now, check out my Great Photos page.
  • We’re also providing stunning aerial photos and video. Although aerial photos and video still have novelty value, it’s no longer enough to send up a drone and press a button.This is a job for a skilled real estate photographer who uses a camera that happens to be mounted on a flying tripod. Just as with terrestrial photography, there’s more to this than just buying a camera and clicking a button. That’s why we’re willing to fly the extra mile for our clients.
  • The Power of Social Media and Internet Marketing. Today’s buyers are more connected than ever, and 95% of them begin their real estate shopping online.  I know how to leverage social media and market effectively on the internet, today’s #1 marketing tool.  You can find me and my listings at the Edina Realty website; on all three of our region’s MLSs; at my own personal real estate website and blog www.JeanHedrenRealtor.com, on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter; at consumer sites like Zillow and Realtor.com; and more.
  • My Three MLSs and the Reach of Edina Realty. To ensure your listing will be seen by as many buyers as possible—and also by as many Realtors as possible—I belong to all three of our region’s MLS systems. What’s more, I’m proud to be associated with Edina Realty.  We’re a brand buyers know and trust. When you list with me you’ll benefit from the traffic there, at my own Edina Realty page www.JeanHedren.com, and at my own personal www.JeanHedrenRealtor.comwebsite and blog that you’re visiting right now. While you’re here, take a moment to explore. You’ll find lots of great information about up-north real estate, and also about northwest Wisconsin communities, our northern lakes and rivers, fishing and hunting information, little-known paddling spots, favorite NW WI biking and hiking routes, and more. While you’re at it, don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. 

Thinking of selling? Want more potential buyers to see your home or cabin? Want to make sure it looks its absolute best when they do? Give me a call at 218-590-6634. Or, you can reach me at jeanhedren@edinarealty.com.

Your Home Newsletter – Residential Real Estate Council

July/August 2018 issue of Your Home newsletter. Tips and trends for homeowners, buyers, and sellers. This issue includes:

  • Kitchen Confidential
  • Dog Day Deals
  • Forgotten Chores

Click link below for the full issue. Brought to you by Jean Hedren, Your NW Wisconsin Realtor and member of the Residential Real Estate Council If this is your year to buy or sell real estate, call Jean Hedren at 218-590-6634. Or, email: jeanhedren@edinarealty.com

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