Friday, May 19, 2017

Spring Home Selling Tip: Stage the Exterior!




Selling your home this spring? Don't forget to stage the exterior! With a bit of thought you can make your Minneapolis/St Paul home standout on all those real estate websites. Homes with great staging sell quickly and for top dollar. Sunny warm weather has many buyers searching for their dream home. And they are not just on the looking online. Buyers drive by homes to check out the neighborhood and to see what each home's exterior looks like in person. During the winter a fresh blanket of snow and shoveled the sidewalk are enough to jazz up the exterior of a Minnesota home. But in May and June, Minnesotan's can really make their home's curb appeal POP! Here are a few quick ideas:

  • CUT the GRASS If you home is on the market you have to make sure the lawn is manicured to perfection at all times. In fact, it is a very good idea to make sure all trees and shrubs are trimmed to show of the home too.
  • PAINT the FRONT DOOR There are no excuses for having a dirty, scuffed up front entry with peeling paint. If you want to sell to an FHA buyer, you need to address the peeling paint issue anyway so why not make a great first impression with a freshly painted front door and entry?
  • ADD POPS of COLOR Even if you don't have a green thumb, invest in some bright colorful hanging baskets full of annuals for your front porch. Or put some planters with assorted plants on your front stoop. However, if you think you will be too busy to water the plants, it might be best to get a colorful flag or entry wreath instead. Dead plants in the doorway will be noticed too.
  •  SEAL COAT the ASPHALT If the driveway is looking more gray than black, a fresh coat of sealant can make a world of difference.
  • JAZZ UP the "SHE" SHED! Have a garden storage shed in your backyard? "She" sheds are IN! It is a beautified "makeover" of a basic shed with bright paint, fun planters, lights and decor that breathes new life into a boring, old shed. 
 
Have more questions about your selling your Anoka County home? Ask Me! I Can Help!
 
Need More Ideas Home Selling Tips? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.
 

Copyright 2017 terieckholm.com

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Bridge



The Bridge is a short film (5 minutes) that follows an excited young woman's first civic project to convert a useless old bridge into something that benefits her community. As Realtors many of us strive to find ways to enhance the communities we serve in a similar way to the lead character's mission.

The video was written, directed and produced by my son, Matt and his collegues as a contest entry in the #ladannyelfmanproject for the LA Film Festival. It features Danny Elfman music as the soundtrack.

The Indi video site does not upload to the blog so you will have to use this link http://indi.com/8xcz2

Check it out...likes and share on the Indi site will help their work get noticed.

Copyright terieckholm.com 2017

Friday, April 28, 2017

What is a Lowball Offer in a Hot Real Estate Market?


It is a very hot real estate market with extremely low inventory. So a savvy buyer wants to impress, not insult the seller of their dream home. So what initial offer can insulting to a home seller? 10% less than asking? 5% less? A full priced offer with 3% of buyer's closing costs paid by the seller?

When housing inventory is as tight as it right now across the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, what is considered a "lowball offer" might be less than you think.

 
As a REALTOR
® in the north and east Twin Cities metro, I have seen my share of sellers who were insulted by a buyer’s offer over the years. There are times when anything less than a full priced offer is insulting. But should a buyer be afraid to request a few thousand toward closing costs with a fear that the seller will balk and accept the next offer in line?
 

The answer to that question really depends on the price and specific location. In some neighborhoods, it could be insulting to offer less than full price especially if it is a home priced under $250,000. There are an abundance of first time buyers out there looking for affordable, move-in ready homes. In fact, there are so many buyers that a well prepared and priced property can get an offer (or 2, 3 or more) in a matter of hours and be in pending in a matter of days. There are many neighborhoods and communities throughout Anoka, Washington, Ramsey and Chisago Counties where I work daily with a very small number of homes for sale. Well priced homes do not stay on the market long.  It is very stressful being a home buyer with a limited budget in this seller's market.

In many situations, buyers will feel frustrated and that they might never get a home. They get well-meaning advice from friends and relatives to not pay full price. "Sellers always negotiate", they say. But in reality, many sellers will not negotiate significantly, if at all. And a perceived offensive or  "lowball" offer could put the buyers’ dream home purchase in jeopardy.

How to Coming up with an Acceptable Starting Point:

    • Request that your REALTOR® to do a market analysis. When representing a buyer, I will look up the recent comparable homes sold in the neighborhood before the "what to offer" discussion begins. In this low inventory market, a seller that lists at market value but could still be in a multiple offer situation due to demand. If the home is properly priced and in high-demand area, anything that is not close to full price could mean that the seller will wait for another offer. By looking at the neighborhood comparables, my buyers better understand what offer will be considered reasonable.

    • Consider the original list price. If a seller started off too high and adjusted the price of the home it could be priced right now. If a market analysis shows the current price of the home is fair, offering 5-10% less could be considered insulting. When a buyer has found "THE: house and fallen in love with it, it might make sense to make an offer closer to the asking price rather than haggle and risk losing it.

    • The Overpriced Home. If the market analysis shows the home to be significantly overpriced and the offer will be more than 10% less than current the current asking price, it may be helpful to provide the comparables to the seller and his/her agent. Sometimes when the offer is accompanied by documentation to back up the offer, the seller is less offended.But be careful not to overlook good comps to justify your offer. This strategy can be worse that not providing documentation at all.

    • Buyer’s Plans to Remodel and Update. Some buyers think sending a long list of planned updates complete with associated estimates is a good strategy to negotiate for a price reduction. Often these lists include changes that reflect cosmetic and personal taste. Most sellers are not impressed when a buyer’s offer indicates that they are offering tens of thousands less due to paint, carpet and other cosmetic changes. If the updates are necessary due to age or wear, make note of the fact. But slamming a well maintained and updated home to justify a low offer is insulting and make continued negotiations difficult if not impossible.

  • Avoid Considering Price Paid for Home. I have come across a few buyers who research tax records to determine the price the seller paid for the property. They assume if someone purchased a home at a very low price, they have a ton of equity. This can be true but not always. Some sellers have taken the equity out of their home for improvements or for other reasons. And well sellers do have equity, they usually don't intend to give it away either. Keep the negotiations focused on the fair market value of the home.

Right now, sellers are in excitedly anticipating a non-contingent, pre-approved home buyer to write an offer on their home. In most cases, they understand the market and have worked hard to prepare their properties to entice a written purchase agreement (or several). But buyers must think through their offers; the perfect starting point for negotiations must contemplated thoroughly. Discussions can go south very quickly between buyer and seller when the initial offer is deemed rude.

Need help coming up with that perfect starting point for your home offer? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2017 terieckholm.com

Ten Reasons Historic STILLWATER, MN is the Perfect Place to call HOME!




The name, Stillwater just sounds tranquil and inviting, doesn’t it? The city, Stillwater Minnesota was named for the still waters of the St. Croix River that separates the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin. This vibrant area has roots deep in Minnesota history. In fact, Stillwater is often referred to as the birth place of Minnesota.  Those deep roots are just one of the things that drawn over 18,000 people to life in this historic community.

Here is a top ten list of reasons why Stillwater is such a great place to live:


#10-Eclectic Shopping. An afternoon stroll down Stillwater’s Main Street is full of eye candy! With dozens of shops with unique and antique wares, it is like visiting a museum or history center but with an opportunity to buy! 


#9-Local Police and Fire. The city is proud to have its own police force as well as a professional fire department with full time firefighters on staff providing protection to over 60 square miles of the greater Stillwater community.


#8-Community Schools. Go Ponies! Being #1 means much more in Stillwater School District #834. The very first Minnesota school was constructed in Stillwater in 1848; one year before Minnesota became a territory.  And just two years later, Stillwater was the very first school district too. Today the district has expanded to 10 community based elementary schools, 2 junior highs and one high school.  It encompasses 150 square miles and serves 18 communities along the St. Croix River.


#7-Parks, Playgrounds and Trails. "Where can I play?" With 37 playgrounds, parks and trails located throughout the community, this is hardly ever an issue for residents in Stillwater.  The adorable Teddy Bear Park is a favorite summer spot for the 7 and under crowd.  There is a skateboard park and dog park too. No one is left out, young or old.  


#6-St. Croix River and Ariel Lift Bridge. Stillwater, MN made Forbes magazine as one of the “Top 10 Prettiest Towns in America” and residents agree. The St. Croix River, Lowell Park and the historic Ariel Lift Bridge is a wonderful view from shore walking or biking or a relaxing riverboat ride. While the adventurous might try a jump on a paddle board, kayak, Segway or hot air balloon to explore the sites.


#5-Historic Caves. Step back into the 1800’s on a walking tour of the Joseph Wolf Brewery /Sandstone Caves. The tour is full of history and a little mystery located right downtown at the Luna Rossa Trattoria and Wine Bar.


#4-Local Hospital. Most suburban residents have a bit of a drive when there is a medical emergency but not the residents of Stillwater. Lakeview Hospital , located in the heart of the city, is a full service hospital with 24/7 urgent and/or emergency care.


#3-Conveniently Located.
Just off Hwy 36 and east of the St. Croix River, it is a short commute to either downtown Minneapolis or St. Paul.


#2-Eclectic Options for Living. Whether you want the convenience of a low-maintenance condo with a river view, a historic Victorian up on the hill or a single family home in a newer development, there is a plethora of options in Stillwater.


#1-Friendly People.
The number one reason for living in Stillwater is the welcoming community atmosphere. Isn't that what most people search for in a place to call home?



FEATURED STILLWATER LISTING:


3072 Lowell Ct Stillwater MN 55082


READY to Make YOUR Move? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2017 terieckholm.com

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Trimming Your Anoka County Oak Trees Now Could Cost Thousands!

Spring has sprung a wee bit early in Minnesota which is causing many plants and trees to bud. Mature trees can add a tremendous value homes especially on Anoka County acreage. But trees do require maintenance too. Not only do they need their leaves raked in the fall, often a professional pruning can preserve and enhance the foliage for generations to come. However, trimming oaks is not something to be done without thought given to timing. Oak trees are best trimmed in winter months.

Sadly, in many counties of Minnesota, oak wilt is spreading. It is a nasty disease that can kill a mighty oak quickly and without warning. Keeping the fungus at bay takes forethought when doing spring and summer yard work.

Ignoring oak wilt only causes the disease to spread. Since it can take decades to grow a beautiful oak shade tree, shouldn't they be protected? A wooded landscape has a direct affect on a property's value. The loss of mature oaks can cost a homeowner thousands of dollars in potential value when it comes time to sell.


What is Oak Wilt?


Oak wilt is a disease caused by a fungus that destroys the entire central system of the tree from its  roots to the tips of its leaves. The tree will try to block the fungus, but in doing so it blocks all water and nutrients to the branches and leaves. Eventually, the tree's leaves will begin to wilt then dry up and the tree will die.

Oak wilt spreads in two ways. It will either be attacked through the root systems of near by trees or by fungus beetles that carry the oak wilt spores from tree to tree. For additional information on oak wilt from the University of MN Extension Service.


Here are a few important reminders to prevent the spread of Oak Wilt:
  •     To prevent the spread of devastating disease, it is imperative to follow the guidelines for oak wilt prevention. Do not prune, damage or cut down oak trees during the spring and summer growing season from April through the end of September. With our early warm temperatures this year, it might be best to wait until fall now.
  •     During the spring and early summer months of May and June, oaks are at especially high risk to this highly contagious disease.
  •     Any wood or branches taken down over the winter that is infected with oak wilt needs to remain covered under black plastic and completely sealed until after July 1.
  •     During the summer if you sustain storm damage and lose a limb from an oak on your property, immediately paint the wound with black tree paint to seal the wound and prevent exposure to the oak wilt fungus.

How to Protect Your Trees

  • The fungus beetles infect trees that have been recently injured or trimmed. These beetles are very active in the spring and summer months. Oaks should be protected from damage and not trimmed from April through July.
  • If an oak tree is damaged during a spring or summer storm, apply tree paint immediately to any wounds that accidentally occur.
  • If an oak is infected a nearby neighboring property, your trees could be at risk through their intertwined root system. Oak roots travel up to 50 feet out. The fungus can pass underground from tree to tree. Roots can be cut using a trencher or vibratory plow to prevent the spread of oak wilt. The process uses a five foot blade that severs the roots to protect neighboring trees. Root cutting should be done prior to tree removal. 


Have a Minnesota Real Estate Question? Ask Me! I Can Help!

READY to Make YOUR Move? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2017 terieckholm.com

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

What Anoka County Homesellers NEED to Know about Septic Systems


Are you planning to sell your Anoka County acreage home this spring? If you live on acreage and are not in a community with city sewer, you have a private sewer system to get rid of sewage. Homeowners with septic systems are required to complete an additional disclosure about the condition and use of the system. Some Anoka County communities require a compliance test for private sewer systems. If you do not understand these requirements, be certain the REALTOR® you choose, does.

Surprisingly, not all Minnesota real estate agents are familiar with septic systems and consequently not able to educate their sellers on how to properly complete the disclosures that are required to sell a home with a private sewer.  A lack of this knowledge can be costly to a seller and create time consuming delays in the sales process. I have lived in a community where private wells and sewers are the norm. This allowed me the opportunity to work with acreage homes on a daily basis.  I put my private well and septic knowledge to good use when assisting Anoka County sellers and buyers which can reduce headaches and surprises down the road in the sales process.

Not all communities in Anoka County have point of sale inspection requirements. For example, Columbus requires a compliance test on all septic systems prior to sale while Ham Lake does not. East Bethel only requires lake shore homes to have point of sale compliance tests. Some communities allow any licensed inspector to do the test while other cities require their own inspectors to perform the inspection. This means homeowners (or their agent) must contact city hall to find out what the specific rules are regarding compliance testing on the septic.

Even if a property is located in a community without a point of sale requirement, it can be advantageous for a seller to consider having the test done prior to listing. Why? Because most buyers will make offers contingent on the inspection of the septic system.  If a seller has pre-inspected the system to ascertain it is in compliance, this information can be provided to potential buyers thus avoiding an additional contingency being attached to the offer.

In the event the system is found to be non-compliant, it might be best to update the system prior to the closing. If non-compliance is determined prior to listing, the seller might be able to list a bit higher due to the brand new septic system. If the homeowner waits until the buyer requests the test, the buyer will have agreed to the price. Most buyers do not want to pay more than they agreed to pay, even if the seller must pay thousands for a new septic. The buyers expected that the system was in good working order when they placed their offer and see no additional benefit this late in the negotiations. But if a seller pre-inspects and it is determined an upgrade is required, the home can often be marketed at a higher price point due to the new private sewage system.  

Have more questions about your selling your Anoka County home? 

Ask Me! I Can Help!

READY to Make YOUR Move? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2017 terieckholm.com

Monday, March 20, 2017

Snapshot of Home Sales Statistics in Stillwater, MN January/February 2017





All real estate is locale and that is very evident in the 2017 Stillwater housing market. In the eastern Washington County community of Stillwater, MN there is an abundance of housing options available. This is quite a contrast to many parts of the metro where there are few homes available for sale. New listings are up a whopping 70% compared to January/February 2016. And the supply of inventory is also up considerably. The over 3 month supply of home is up nearly 39%.  The average sales price of a home sold is also up a bit, coming in at $312,963 compared to $295,331 in early 2016. Homes are currently bringing in an average price per square foot of $137 which is down quite a bit from the $147/sq ft that homes in Stillwater commanding last year at this time. Like most other north and east metro suburbs, sellers are getting roughly 95% of their asking price; this statistic is also down a bit from 2016 but not significantly. However, the average time on the market to sell a home did drop dramatically from 136 to 118 days on the market in a year to year comparison.


 
 


Many of these statistics in the Stillwater market are skewed by the new construction boom. This does drive up the average price as new homes tend to cost more per square foot than existing construction. New homes time on the market can also skew the time on the market. Many new homes are not listed by the builder until under contract so will show up as sold with zero or one day market time. In a community where 30-50% of the homes sold are new construction, this has a dramatic effect on the time on the market.

For Stillwater home sellers, it is important to use these numbers as a guideline but realize it might take a bit longer to sell your home than these averages. Pricing must be on point when selling in an area where you compete with new construction.

Stillwater home buyers might have more negotiating advantages than in other parts of the Twin Cities metro due to the higher amount of housing inventory in this area. However, many of the new homes being constructed are at the higher end of the market. Homes under $200K are still very few and far between so will often sell quickly, even if the statistics show there is considerable homes for sale.


Featured Listing in Millbrook of Stillwater:
  3072 Lowell Court 
5BR/4BA/3 Car on South Twin Lake

Need more info on buying or selling a Stillwater home?

 If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2017 terieckholm.com

Friday, February 3, 2017

Ask the Minnesota Lakeshore Realtor: What is a Channel Shoreline?


What is a Channel Shoreline? Shorelines of lakes follow the geography of the land defined by the flow of water and water table. On many lakes there are inlets and channels that will lead to other bodies of water. In Minnesota, this can mean another lake, pond, wetland or marsh.

Owning property with shoreline along a channel can be an affordable option for home buyers who want an affordable option with access to a full recreational lake. Many large lakes will have channels or narrow extensions that lead to other lakes or ponds. Quite often channel shoreline is not the ideal, sand bottom, swimming beach but does allow a short dock or slip for a boat and access to the main lake. Many of these properties offer a view of homes on the opposite shore of the channel rather than a lakeshore sunset. But if the goal is affordable use of a full recreational lake, this is can be a great alternative.

NEED MORE LAKESHORE INFO? 
Check out my Minnesota Lakeshore Webpage

Have a Minnesota Real Estate Question? Ask Me! I Can Help!

READY to Make YOUR Move? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2017 terieckholm.com