Real Estate News & More

When is the best time to buy or sell a house in Minnesota?

blog man (Small)I hear this question a lot: What is the best time to sell my home or to buy a different one? Let’s take a look at the retail world of clothing. Consumers get the best deal on summer clothes after July 4th or later, just as they get the best deal on winter clothes at the end of winter. So does this trend hold true for the purchase and sale of homes? Not really. There are some considerations a buyer or seller should think about that could have an impact on the transaction.

What time of the year is a better time for buyers to buy?

First off, you can’t ever time a home purchase. It is not like going out to buy a car or a cell phone. Buying a home is a journey done in your own time and after you have done the research, looked at homes and have your finances in order. At any time there are buyers coming into the market and there are other buyers who have done their research and are serious buyers. No one gets to control this ever-changing flow. What is important to remember is that the inventory of homes fluctuates by the season. In spring (March-May in Minnesota), there is an increase of homes on the market and more homes means more options for buyers. It also means more buyers are looking, which means more competition to get that perfect home. While there are fewer homes listed from October-December, buyers may find the best buys during those slower selling months of the year.

When should sellers sell then?

Conventional sellers most likely would not list their home before the holidays or in the dead of winter for obvious reasons (snow and cold….brrrr). But serious buyers really don’t care about the season or timing. They are motivated when they are ready to buy. After the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s festivities are done, buyers start to think about resuming their home search or entering the marketplace as a new buyer. So what are the pros and cons to listing then? Listing January-June/July, sellers will have more competition, however there will be more buyers in the marketplace looking for homes then. If you list in the “off season” (August-December), you may be ahead because there will still be serious buyers out there and they will have fewer homes to choose from.

So as buyers and sellers strategize about when is the “BEST” time, the reality is – it is never easy, and it truly depends on your situation, what you have to buy or sell, and the market in general. Major retailers like Target can control inventory and monitor competitive activity. In real estate, there is not one buyer or seller – they are all unrelated and disconnected and there are all types of homes at all price ranges making it nearly impossible to pick the “perfect” time to buy or sell. I would be happy to help you figure out what time of the year is best for you to start your home search or put your home on the market.

Contact me at 651-341-6020 or wendy@wendycarson.com to start your real estate adventure.

How to hire the right contractor for your remodel

househammer (Small)Remodeling projects for your home can be as intimidating as they are rewarding. Having the right team to get the job done can make a huge difference. The first thing to do is to determine what kind of professionals you’ll need for your particular project. Small jobs may only require trade specialists such as a plumbing contractor, while larger projects may necessitate architects, design-build companies, interior designers, or all of the above. Whatever help your remodel needs, selecting the companies or individuals that fit you and your project is important. Here are five ways to screen prospective contractors:

#1: Check their experience

How long have they been in business? How much work have they done on projects similar to yours?

#2: Get references

Call references and ask questions about quality of workmanship, communication and dependability.

#3: Check their credentials

Most areas require that contractors be licensed and insured. A good contractor won’t hesitate to provide such documentation.

#4: See their work

Look at pictures, but also visit recent and older projects to view the craftsmanship and durability of work done.

#5: Establish trust

A contractor with a detailed, specific plan is important, but you should also feel in your “gutt” that you could trust someone with a project of this magnitude. Being comfortable with your contractor is very important.

Fire safety: a priority for everyone

October is Fire Prevention Month. Each year, fires kill more Americans than any other natural disaster. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 80% of fire deaths occur in residences. While no home can ever be completely fireproof, there are many steps you can take to reduce the risk of fire for your family and your home:

  • Smoke detectors are the most important part of your home fire safety! Make sure your home has smoke detectors at least in every fire safetybedroom, and test them frequently.
  • Use appliances wisely. Overheating, unusual smells, shorts and sparks are all warning signs that an appliance needs to be shut off and either repaired or replaced. Unplug appliances when not in use.
  • Never overload circuits or extension cords. Don’t place cords or wires under rugs, over nails, or in high traffic areas.
  • Portable heaters need at least three feet of space from any combustible materials.
  • Fireplaces should be used with fire screens, and chimneys should have annual cleanings.
  • Have at least two fire extinguishers in your home, with one in a designated place in the kitchen. Cooking fires are the leading cause of both home fires and home fire injuries in the U.S.
  • Extinguish candles before going to bed or when leaving a room.
  • If smoking indoors, always use an ashtray and exercise caution. Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in the U.S.
  • Properly inspect and maintain your home’s heating system. Poorly maintained heating systems cause many fires.
  • Have a plan to get out of your home if it catches on fire and have a common meeting place outside. Practice your escape so everyone knows what to do!

These are just a few ways that you can make your home a safer place from fire. More information can be found on the U.S. Fire Administration’s website, http://www.usfa.fema.gov/, or by contacting your local fire department.

Maple Grove, Eagan and Woodbury among Money Magazine’s Best Places to Live 2014!

Eagan%201914%20Historic%20Town%20Hall%20Museum-smAsk any of the Money Magazine’s reporters who worked on selecting the best places to live in 2014 and they will tell you – it’s not easy.  You start with a pool of 781 small cities with populations between 50,000 and 300,000.  Then you dive in and do detailed research using data from Onboard Informatics and other sources to look at everything from the local economy and housing market to schools and healthcare.   The list is narrowed down to 35 and then they sent reporters to visit each of the towns looking for the intangibles, such as a sense of community, life style and so on.

Minnesota has 3 cities in the metro area that placed in the top 15.  Maple Grove placed number 2, with Eagan coming in at number 11 and Woodbury at number 12.  What makes them so special?  I know if you ask anyone who lives in these cities they can tell you why!  What does Money Magazine think about our towns?  Follow this link to find out!

http://time.com/money/collection/best-places-to-live/