Vintage everything

I love some of the things I see in older homes that have not been updated in decades. If I bought such a home I would probably make some changes.  There is a difference between vintage and old. We call it vintage if we like it and old if we don’t. I myself am vintage, not old.

Vintantage wallpaper and countertop



Holiday Decorations – Less is best

We are just a few weeks away from the holiday season. If your home is on the market or is going to be on the market during the holidays and you like to decorate for the holidays go ahead and decorate.

Keep your decorations simple. If you have collections and villages and multiple trees pack them up and get them ready for the big move.

If you celebrate Christmas there isn’t anything wrong with getting a tree and decorating it. Lights are a good thing during the short days of December.

If your home is small keep the decorations small and if necessary remove other items from the room to make more room for decorations.  Even holiday decorations can look like clutter is there are too many, and they can make a home look small if they are too large.

Also, consider asking to have your home put in a “temporarily not available to show” status for a few days or a week if you want to have a quiet holiday celebration. Your house will still be for sale, it is like putting it on hold and stopping the clock.

Younger buyers, smarter homes

App to control heating, cooling and monitor home temperature

Research suggests that younger home buyer’s like smarter homes. The good news is that even old homes can be retrofitted to be “smart”.

My own home was build in the 1850’s and it has a smart thermostat, cameras with motion detectors, an Amazon Echo and several electrical outlets and some lights that can be controlled with phone apps or by voice.

The internet of things just keeps growing and the possibilities are almost endless.  Doesn’t everyone want to control their slow cooker via wifi?

Home buyers should keep this in mind when they go to buy a home. Technology is ever changing and what is really hot today might not even exist in ten years. Technology changes all the time but a good house can last for centuries.

When we bought our home there was no such thing as Wifi or smartphones. We had wiring for landline phones and cable TV.

Built-in intercom systems used to be all the rage, now there are wifi versions that can be added to any home.

When our home was built it did not have central heating, electricity or indoor plumbing. All of those amenities were added as they became available and affordable for home owners.

Homeowners who want to make their homes more attractive to younger buyers can upgrade their thermostats and add some electrical outlets and light switches that can be controlled through WiFi.

Add an intercom and a doorbell that has voice and video. Smart locks can be added so that doors can be locked or unlocked by voice or with an app from anywhere.

People of all ages use and appreciate smart home technology.

October 15th is an important day

snow on grass
October 14th snowstorm

It seems strange calling it a snowstorm. Maybe we can just think of it as a reminder. It snowed yesterday.

Beginning Oct. 15 and running through April 15, utility companies must provide residential customers with payment plans if they can not pay their utility bills.

Low-income Minnesotans may also be eligible for energy assistance programs from the state, utilities or charities that offer discounted heat or other help during colder months.

For more information, the cold weather rule visit the Minnesota Utilities Commission Website.  . . and yes your utilities can be turned off for non-payment.

I usually turn off the water to my outdoor spigots in Mid-October and get the furnace tuned. Getting a flu shot is also a good idea.

You accepted an offer. Now what?


Accepting a buyers offer is one more step in the home selling process. The process doesn’t end until the sale closes.

Please leave the for sale sign up and the lockbox on the front door. If the offer is inspection contingent the buyer and inspector will need to get into the house.

After the inspection has been completed the seller may need to make some repairs or maybe the buyer will decide not to proceed or maybe the process will move to the next stage.

The listing agent will change the status of the property to “pending”. Once in the pending stage, the house will no longer appear as a home for sale when buyers search the internet.

Pending means that a sale is pending. Usually pending sales close but not always. Yes, sometimes things go wrong. Maybe the appraisal comes out too low or a buyer becomes unemployed.

Unless the buyer is purchasing the home with cash the next step will be the appraisal. The appraiser will make an appointment and look at the property and prepare a report.

If the appraisal comes out to an amount that is as much or more than the amount the buyer is buying the process will proceed to the next stage.

At this point, the process is in the hands of the lender and the title company. The loan process is a mystery to most of us. We don’t know what they do all day. Underwriters ask for stuff and we get it to them.

A “Sold” sign can be added to the for sale sign after contingencies have been removed. Usually, the for sale sign is left on the property until after the closing but if the homeowner wants it removed sooner they can ask.

Shortly before the closing the buyer’s may want to do a final walk through. I certainly recommend this as it protects both parties. The purpose of the walkthrough is to make sure the property is still in good condition or the same condition it was in when the offer was made.

The lockbox is usually removed during the final walkthrough or after the closing.  I like to order for sale sign removal the day of the closing which is a common practice. The sign is usually gone a few days after the closing.

Information about the actual sale price of a home is not released until after the sale has closed.

This is kind of an outline of what happens, there are more details but my intent is to explain that accepting an offer does not mean the home is sold.

Real estate is local. Business practices and rules may be different outside of Minnesota.

One to buy and two to sell


What does “one to buy and two to sell” really mean?

I was contacted by a homeowner who wants to sell his primary residence. He bought the home before he was married. His wife travels often for business. He had assumed he could sell without his wife having to sign anything.

It doesn’t work that way. Once they got married both spouses have a legal claim to the property.

The good news is that it is not at all hard to sell real estate in Minnesota while traveling especially if you are working with someone like me. There are also ways to close without having to go to the closing.

Either spouse can buy real estate at any time without the other spouse assuming they are financially qualified without the spouse’s income. There are families where one spouse works outside the home and the other spouse works in the home and does not have an income.

If you are buying a house and your spouse is not contributing financially your spouse’s name will not be on the purchase agreement. When you close on the purchase and take the title joint tenants the property will belong equally to both spouses. If the buyer dies his/her spouse will inherit the property.

Also, see Marriage and homeownership

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