Pick a room…any room…the room that is the focal point of your home. The one room that sees the most traffic and draws friends, family and visitors in like flies to a bug light on a hot summer night.
Master bedroom? I hope not. Laundry room? Not in my house? I would be willing to wager that your answer is the same as mine – the kitchen.
So when I see a feature with a title like “X Ways to Make Your Kitchen Feel Bigger”, it’s hard to pass a read. Making any kitchen feel bigger would be a definite plus for any Saint Paul home sale. On the scale of honorable pursuits, it would be right there next to cleanliness and baking cookies right before a showing.
Increasingly, today’s Saint Paul homebuyers think of the kitchen as the center of family entertaining—the center of gravity where everyone hangs out more than anywhere else. It’s true that if another room features a giant TV entertainment center or a tasty buffet, that might be serious competition for the family’s attention….but that buffet has to start somewhere. But although it might be a place that will occupy goodly chunks of everyone’s time, it’s in the kitchen where family and friends wind up interacting the most and which gets the most scrutiny when it comes to a home sale.
There’s no debate that in today’s Saint Paul market, a claustrophobic our outdated kitchen can slow an otherwise appealing home’s sale. It’s an easy fix right? Hiring an architect and/or contractor, pulling permits, trashing your home for months (starting with a Mt. St. Helens sized dust cloud during demo), etc. to physically expand a kitchen is a major undertaking that will cost more than it returns. So finding ways to make your kitchen feel bigger without blowing out walls and tearing up the property for months on end, well—that’s definitely worth looking into.
To cut to the chase, most of the Feel Bigger Solutions aren’t magical: they turn out to be design ideas that maximize storage efficiency. To achieve positive home sale results, the idea is to systematically substitute suffocating kitchen clutter with eye-pleasing open space.
One clear tactic is to make the most of any existing counter space and it’s “support”. The space beneath your granite, silestone, or formica (my house) is ideal for “smart” storage solutions. Googling smart storage yields 1,000,000+ results (not to mention the ads), comprising a ready-made resource for maxing out the cubic feet that are ready to use right there on the perimeter of the kitchen.
On the opposing side of the “feel bigger” agenda is the suggestion to abandon one of Saint Paul most popular design ideas of bygone eras: the overhead cupboard. When you remove those overheads, a whole lot of claustrophobia goes with them. Unfortunately, a good deal of storage space goes with them.
That brings up two other tried-and-true alternatives. First, placing shelving on unused wall space can solve some of the storage dilemma—most pleasingly, when it’s some variety of open shelving. Kitchen design publications are filled with examples of appealing open and glass-windowed shelving – none of which are easy to clean, nor can you reach the items you need on the top shelf….but I’m not forming an opinion.
Second is what could be the most useful, least expensive, and easily adopted insight for making your Saint Paul kitchen fell bigger: just get rid of excess kitchen stuff! It’s simple but true. Removing unused utensils, pots & pans and kitchenware can work miracles. For the gourmet-pleasing cooks who can’t get by without a lot of exotic cookery aids, the solution is an off-site storage solution in the garage or dedicated closet. The minor inconvenience will be worth it if a quicker home sale results—besides, the extra going back and forth is healthy exercise, right – and it’s the time of year when we all get some healthy exercise (on our way to the refrigerator for a snack)?
So the kitchen is a really big deal – the focal point of your home – for you and your potential home buyer. Think long and hard about updates and renovations, especially if you’re planning to sell them home in the near future. There are easy and inexpensive ways to make that most important room in the home more appealing and functional before you start writing big checks and tearing out walls.
If you’re planning to list your Saint Paul home – sooner or later – a good place to start is with a no-obligation consultation about your home and kitchen and today’s Saint Paul real estate market. Call me at (651) 251-4898 or email me at email@example.com.
The cool mornings and beautiful leaves leave no doubt that Fall has arrived. Normally we would see a slowdown in the housing market as winter approaches, but that hasn’t been the case in 2017. Listings continue to appear on the MLS, and with them come photos taken to give home buyers a look into their prospective purchase. Those Saint Paul listing photos will become the definitive beauty shots—the equivalent of the glamorous depictions that grace product packaging…and it’s easy to tell which agents are snapping their own pics (usually with their phones) and who’s investing in the work of a pro. All it takes is casual look to understand that a picture can be worth thousands of dollars!
Manufacturers know very well the import of how their product looks on the carton, jar or bag. It’s why top commercial photographers rely on “product stylists” (they’re the experts who sort through 100 bags of potato chips to come up with the two or three that will photograph perfectly). I don’t know many agents that go to that extreme – speaking from experience the photogs I work with are pretty good at getting the right shots.
Saint Paul listing photos no longer have anything to do with 20th-century cameras or film. But it’s not just the move to digital that’s responsible for creating a higher quality Saint Paul listing photos. To guarantee you maximize the quality of your own Saint Paul home’s listing photos, it remains a team effort…and you’re on the team. Four elements are called for:
- Equipment. Even now, the technology behind photo equipment is advancing rapidly. What used to require compliments of hot lamps, stands, and even a reflector or two can now be accomplished with a single travel case of lightweight equipment. Still vital: the “eye”
of the knowledgeable pro behind the lens.
- Patience. For the critical exterior shot, Mother Nature controls most of the timing. The photographers creating the best Saint Paul listing photos don’t just take weather into account—they factor in the house’s orientation and the time of day that will show it to its best advantage, and plan accordingly.
- Home prep. This NAR®’s real estate photo tutorial emphasizes how important preparation can be on the big day because “little
things can make—or break—listing photos.” Examples are paying special attention to blinds, bedspreads and shower curtains (making sure they are smooth)—as well as removing any and all unnecessary knick-knacks.
- The digital finale. It used to be that fine photo correcting was a time-consuming art practiced mainly in the production studios of national publications. That’s no longer the case. Digital images can be quickly refined via
ubiquitous photo processing software that makes retouching and image enhancing part of the professional’s everyday bag of tricks.
If you’re looking for some examples of truly awful real estate photography – look no further than this website – terriblerealestatephotos.com.
I’ve been scrolling through this one regularly, and thankfully have yet to run across one of my listing photos.
The listing photos are so important – every home buyer gives them a thorough look before deciding whether or not to visit a home. A bad first impression often means there won’t be a second look, and that means no sale! So the bottom line is a picture can be worth thousands of dollars!
When it’s your time to list, I hope you’ll allow me to demonstrate the personal care that makes selling your Saint Paul home a low-stress experience! I’m always available via phone at (651) 251-4898 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s Twin Cities’ asking prices fall into a wide range—although current market conditions are making it tough to find a great bargain. Last week came news of one that clearly defined the term “deal” (at least regarding the asking price). This was found in Montclair, New Jersey. CBS interviewed the selling agent and Fortune Magazine wrote it up.
Photos made the offering all the more interesting since the asking price was so low—yet the pictures were not, as any well-schooled real estate watcher would have expected, fuzzy images of some run down dump. The shots all showed a pristine historical (1904) 4-bedroom, 2-bath beauty, seemingly presiding in stately repose over well-manicured grounds. It looked like, well—a mansion.
The asking price is $10.
For those budget-minded Twin Cities home shoppers always looking to find a great bargain, in this instance you might make an exception (although I would be tempted to bargain based on what you’re about to find out). Since the current asking price has already been reduced from $1,400,000, you have to expect that the owner will probably not be willing to come down much further. The $10 is probably a take-it-or-leave-it number – but home sellers say that all time time.
Lest any Saint Paul house hunters think about packing their bags for the trip to Montclair for a tour of the property, it’s only fair to elaborate on what anyone would already be assuming: namely, that there must be a few problems.
Local house hunters will appreciate the first problem, which is location. The house not only isn’t in Saint Paul, but it’s also currently sited on land that has been sold to a developer. It has to be moved. Moving a three-story 3,912 sq. ft. structure of this size is an expensive undertaking. Although the current owner is offering to contribute $10,000 toward solving that problem, anyone who has ever overseen this kind of house-moving project knows that the details (digging up the foundation, wedging in all the I-beams, jacking up the structure, getting it up on the trailer beds, etc.) comprise a pricey, open-ended proposition.
Local house hunters would encounter another problem, which is that, as a historically significant local landmark, the powers-that-be in Montclair have made it clear that the mansion won’t be allowed to be moved beyond the city limits. So transplanting it to anywhere in Saint Paul isn’t a possibility. Another problem: having been designated an historical monument, the home will have to be treated tenderly by its new owner. “Handle with care” might be the watchword. That could prove as tricky as you’re trucking it off to its new Montclair destination.
Fortunately, the current batch of area listings offers buyers Twin Cities asking prices that may be slightly steeper (like I said, it’s tough to find a great bargain), but represent opportunities with significantly fewer complications. The negotiating savvy of a good agent can offset some of pricing we see in this market, so if you see a home that looks like it fits your criteria – and can remain in it’s current location – give me a call at (651) 251-4898 or email me at email@example.com!
Figuring out the perfect pricing for any Saint Paul home for sale would be easier if there were a way to confirm past instances that hit that mark precisely.
It’s the nature of the beast: it’s simply not possible. Even if a comparable Saint Paul home’s asking price resulted in being sold immediately at that exact amount, it only could have been priced perfectly. We can’t know that it wasn’t priced too low or even priced too high (although a good appraiser will keep a home from selling for TOO MUCH).
Even if the pricing on some Saint Paul home was quickly met and even exceeded—IOW, it resulted in a bidding war —that might be evidence that it had been originally priced too low. Even that isn’t certain because the supposed underpricing resulted in a sale that was higher than expected, which is a perfect result. So perhaps that was the perfect pricing.
You see the ambiguity, and despite my head spinning through the different combinations and permutations – I do too.
So if you can’t ever determine what constitutes perfection in pricing—even after the books are closed on a given sale—then there is no way to guarantee a number will result in the maximum outcome. That’s why the whole issue of pricing any Saint Paul home is forever going to be an art – with as much science thrown in as possible, and getting the “science” part right is pretty important.
When it comes to pricing Saint Paul homes, it stands to reason that the mortgage lending industry would have put maximum effort into determining the most predictive residential real estate values: in other words, any Saint Paul home’s most realistic pricing. A week ago, one of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders offered their advice to homeowners. They acknowledged that while “we’re on an upward swing” in property values in general, it’s still important to get “a very accurate estimate of home value” to attract multiple buyers and avoid surprises during the sale process.
Their three steps to discovering that
- Online search. Using the massive amount of data is a starting point for establishing a baseline.
- Knowing the Market. It’s vital to measure your own house against those that are most similar to yours and on the market now. Visits to nearby open houses will offer the best opportunities to observe how similar homes are priced and marketed.
- Calling in the pros. Get yourself the assistance of a real estate professional—and the opinion of other pros like lenders and appraisers. All of the above will dig deep into current and historical comparable sales figures as well as years of experience and neighborhood knowledge.
Perfection in pricing might not be attainable, but that’s ok. Success in selling is the most important goal in making a move. Maximizing your home’s value through effective marketing and networking, helping to negotiate the best possible deal, and seeing the process through from the listing to closing – those are all a part of what I can offer a potential home seller in St. Paul and the rest of the Metro!
To learn more about your home’s value, the process of listing and selling, and how a smart agent can help you make a great deal – give me a call at (651) 251-4898 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
In my neighborhood, August is the summer month that – for most – opens up to opportunities to travel and relax. The baseball/softball/lacrosse seasons have ended and families find themselves searching for ways to entertain the kids before they head off to school. With that in mind, many families pack the car and hit the road for some exploration. It’s vacation time! And vacation time can be a dangerous time for your home.
An overstuffed curbside mailbox, blazing porch light at noon, or a pile of newspapers out there by your front door all indicate a couple of things Saint Paul homeowners would do well to avoid. For burglars and housebreakers of all stripes, these are like lighted billboards announcing:
- This Saint Paul homeowner is off somewhere enjoying a nice summer vacation; and
- This afternoon and/or evening, there’s nobody home!
Every Saint Paul homeowner deserves an extended break now and then, but it’s also high season for break-and-enter artists (or just ‘enter’ artists, since 34% of burglars walk in through the front door). As long as we’re discussing the percentages, the common assumption that break-ins are midnight outings doesn’t hold water. Sixty-five percent of burglaries happen in broad daylight; most between 10am-3pm.
For vacation-bound locals, a few precautionary steps will do much to avoid a miserable discovery on your return home. If your home is currently listed, I think it’s a good idea to notify your agent to add a “Do Not Disturb Occupants” rider under the “For Sale” sign (whether it’s occupied or not!). In general, here are another six good vacation safety tips:
- Recruit some trusted neighborly help to keep an eye on the place and gather any mail and newspaper overflow. Most Saint Paulites are delighted to help—and you should offer to reciprocate. Better yet, put your newspaper and mail on a vacation hold.
- DON’T POST VACATION PIX on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media haunt until you get back. High among leading vacation safety no-no’s are tweets like, “Off to Maui!” If you must brag (who doesn’t?) wait until you return.
- Think like a thief (that is, take a few minutes to case the joint). You’ll find yourself securing little-used doors and windows that are usually unlocked.
- Either unplug automatic garage doors that can be triggered by remote control frequency scanner or install a deadbolt lock.
- Do a better job of hiding the spare key. Thieves know all the common places. A spare key can be a vacation safety backstop if you need to phone someone to help get into the house in an emergency, but a spare key under the flowerpot is asking for trouble. Best hiding place: inside an envelope you entrust to your neighbor or get yourself a lockbox and dole out the code sparingly.
- Cancel deliveries. An Amazon Prime carton beside the front gate is a commonplace—but when one or more remain uncollected for more than 24 hours, it’s a virtual invitation to the unscrupulous.
Even for Saint Paul neighborhoods that are safer than most, vacation time burglaries can happen anywhere and anytime that basic vacation safety precautions aren’t observed. A few minutes of prevention should yield added peace of mind while you’re on the road as well as a pleasant return to a safely secured home. I’ll be standing by to help when you start planning the more extended kind of outing: to your next Saint Paul home!
Home buying is not a contest! Not everyone who is looking at the homes for sale in Saint Paul needs to come up with a winner right away. Last week I showed a handful of homes to a new client….first time home buyers that had read the headlines and were feeling the pressure of getting into a home ASAP in order to avoid the drawn out search that is so common these days.
I told them two stories of past clients. One who wrote an offer on the first home they saw and lived happily ever after. The other wrote an offer on the 75th home they saw….and lived happily ever after.
The point being there is no formula for home buying success when it comes to the search and discovery process. You’ll find the home of your dreams when you find it, what is important is being prepared to make a competitive offer and have it accepted when you do find it!
With that in mind, some basic truths about home buying that apply to all buyers. Remember that when you finally do find just the right home at just the right price, all of a sudden you could find yourself in competition with others who see the same thing: the house they’ve been looking for!
The takeaway is that, if your interest in today’s homes for sale is strictly low-key – or if your ready to make a move yesterday – it’s prudent to prepare yourself as if yours is more of a front-burner quest. In other words, when you find the Saint Paul house of your dreams, you want to be the one to land it!
Here are some checklist items that will position you to make the most of any Saint Paul house hunt:
- Budget seriously. Without doubt, the place to start is by doing some financial homework. If you don’t know what you can comfortably afford, you can’t know which of the homes for sale in Saint Paul should be competing for your attention.
- Get pre-approved. Unless you plan to be a cash buyer, having a mortgage lender on your team is well worth the effort. Keep in mind that being “pre-qualified” isn’t the same thing as being “pre-approved”—the more rigorous (and real) process. It spells out the precise size of the home loan you can expect to receive. It’s no surprise that sellers tilt toward prospective buyers who have bothered to get real!
- Widen the field. Once you have narrowed the field in terms of the price range you will be considering, you can improve the chances of finding a singularly appealing property by widening your search parameters. This can mean considering homes for sale in areas you hadn’t really paid attention to—or opening your imagination to include properties with features or architectural styles you hadn’t previously thought about. Especially in an active market with tight inventories, the open-minded approach is often the one that yields pay dirt.
Today’s low home loan rates are allowing surprisingly affordable monthly payments—numbers which can transform even the least motivated prospects into active house hunters. But the with the inventory of homes for sale at historic lows – that just makes the competition fiercer!
To see what that means in terms of the actual current crop of Saint Paul homes for sale, give me a call at (651) 251-4898 or email me at email@example.com!