Tips, Tricks & Hacks

Home ownership tips, tricks and hacks to help you get the most out of your home ownership. 

Found 11 blog entries about Tips, Tricks & Hacks.

If you’re home hunting in a competitive market, you’ve probably had the heartbreaking experience of losing out on a place you thought you would make your own. It can be frustrating and demoralizing to find out your offer was rejected in favor of another buyer. How can you do your best to make sure it doesn’t happen again?

When a seller entertains multiple offers, it’s important to understand that many different factors are in play. If you’re an all-cash buyer you tend to have an advantage, as potential financing roadblocks are taken off the table. But if you’re like most people, paying cash for a house simply isn’t an option. What then?

First and foremost, make sure you have 100% of your financial house in order. This means pre-qualification for a

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Did you know it’s not uncommon for more than 20% of homes to have one unidentified water leak? Sometimes these leaks go on for years, completely unnoticed because homeowners inherit small leaks, assuming their water bill is normal. Other times, small water leaks are overlooked because owners assume the overall impact to their utilities is relatively small. But the truth is small leaks can add up hugely over time. Periodic inspection for leaks can help plug this problem at the source. Here are some ways to identify and address typical leaks:

1. Track your water bill over time. Most water bills will show your history for several months, if not year-over-year. While there are seasonal reasons for higher water use, especially if you water a lawn or garden,

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At times a close relative or confidant believes what is best for you is not quite aligned with your wants or needs.

While it is understood that they may have some valid fears or concerns, it’s important to understand that your agent has an obligation to represent your interests.

This includes identifying and recommending the best solutions available at the time in order to meet your needs as well as respecting your right to privacy.

Agents in Minnesota are contractually bound to their client, and not the client’s friends or relatives. It is an ethical and legal obligation that cannot be neglected or subverted.

If you are being unduly influenced by a close friend or family member I urge you to discuss any issues you have directly with them

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Baby Boomers all over are downsizing to properties where they can age in place. Often these buyers are well-qualified, meaning they
 have no problem getting a mortgage or they may not even need one. (An all-cash buyer can truly speed along the closing process!)

 So how do you make your listing more appealing to Boomer buyers? Here are some tips for giving your home an edge:

Baby Boomers in front of a house 1. Market the low-maintenance aspects of your home. Small yard? No yard? Stain-resistant countertops (like quartz)? The last thing your Boomer buyers want are long weekend to-do lists full of maintenance chores they would rather not hassle with or pay someone else to do. If there’s any way you can make your home easier to maintain, consider doing it as part of your curb appeal

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4 CHALLENGES FOR 2017: Inventory. Rates. Values. Websites. 

1st - CONSUMER WEBSITES

They can be very frustrating... Through the internet, you'll only have access to consumer websites like zillow, trulia, realtor(.)com, and brokerage websites like Coldwell Banker, etc. These are fine sites to get a flavor of what has been on the market for sale. However, those consumer sites have roughly 50% (or more) of the homes listed on them actually SOLD and unavailable. Unfortunately, that's VERY common. If you want to chat with me about helping you or someone you know full time I can tap buyers in to our local MLS database of homes for sale. This will give buyers access to the true inventory and will filter out homes that have already sold. I do not charge a

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Are you doing the math these days around renting versus buying a home? Trying to decide if you can afford to buy? If so, you’ve probably Googled one of the many “rent vs buy” calculators out there to help you get a handle on your budget.

True, they’re helpful, and they can also help clue you into things like insurance expenses and property taxes, but they overlook a number of key factors in the decision.

1. A mortgage is a surefire way to build wealth. Provided you don’t buy more home than you can truly afford, your mortgage is like a mandatory savings account. A portion of your payment each month is going straight into your equity in your home. With renting, it’s your landlord who is building equity, not you.

2. The tax situation has profound

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If you’ve been kicking around the idea of some home improvements, but aren’t sure which ones make the most financial sense,

don’t miss “The Renovations That Will Pay Off the Most for Your Home in 2017” published by Realtor.com.

While some renovations sound like they’re a home run for your home’s value, in actuality big-ticket projects recoup far less than some of their simpler counterparts.

For example, adding fiberglass insulation to your attic has an astonishing estimated return of 107.7% compared to a bathroom addition, which averages only a 53.9% return.

The report compares the average cost of the project to the expected value at the time of resale. Here are the top 10 projects and their ROI percentage:

1. Fiberglass attic

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What is it about a home that catches a buyer’s eye? Why is it when two homes are comparable to one another, buyers go with the one that just “feels right”? Sometimes the difference is so small, they don’t consciously notice. Little touches can give a home a major edge in the market.

In fact, here are five clever design upgrades which can provide your home with that indefinable feeling that it’s of higher quality than the competition:

Switch Plate1. Light switch plate upgrades. Homeowners always overlook their own dirty, chipped, or cheap-looking switch plates. If you spend a few bucks to swap out switch plates, any room in the house will seem a tiny bit fresher. Better yet: In the bathroom and kitchen, match the color of your new switch plates to the tile. Look

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Are you preparing for a move? You probably know to notify your friends and loved ones, but there turns out to be a surprising number of people and organizations who need to know about the address change. A recent article from Zillow included a comprehensive checklist which
covers pretty much everyone you will need to notify:

1. Family and friends
2. Current employer
3. Landlord
4. Postal services
5. Utilities
6. DMV
7. Government agencies
8. The IRS
9. Financial institutions
10. Insurance companies
11. Medical and educational facilities
12. Subscription services and clubs

While certain companies and institutions usual have formal processes for notification of an address change, it can be a good idea to go ahead and get some inexpensive postcards printed 

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House of cashHome buyers often do not realize how complex and competitive the lending process can be. For
many (especially first-time buyers) there’s only a hazy idea of “the bank” approving or denying
them a mortgage. So many don’t understand how to shop for a loan or that investing a little time
upfront can result in profound savings and a sense of satisfaction.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal recently revealed “in a recent survey, 21% of home
buyers regretted their choice of lender.” ( Source: http://www.wsj.com/articles/about-one-fifth-ofmortgage-borrowers-were-unhappy-with-their-lender-1481738583 

 Among first-time buyers, that figure crept up to 27%.

As the piece details, there are some good ways to avoid this disappointment. First and foremost,

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