Spring has SPRUNG…(in the Real Estate World)

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Although the bitter cold and snowy days may deceive you, it’s true that the spring real estate market has begun!

And…spring is one of the busiest times for real estate. The market slows down through the holidays and winter months, and picks up heavily into February and March. There may be buyers on the market during the slow months, but there is also a lack of inventory to select from. Buyers in the spring are usually pretty SERIOUS buyers. If you are interested in getting the most money in the shortest amount of time possible, now is a great time to sell.

But, don’t be the homeowner who waits until the flowers bloom to put your house on the market.

You can start preparing today by doing a few things:

1. Get a home value analysis- Know how your home compares to the others in the market. There are many different sites that offer FREE home value analysis reports. Knowing how much money you can get for your home in its current condition is important. It is also smart to get an idea of your home’s value in the beginning. After receiving the report, you can make the necessary changes that you may need to increase your market value. We offer a free home value analysis: http://www.ericksonteamhomesearch.com/sell/ 

2. Start packing- This sounds crazy, right? Well, it actually can help get you more organized and create a home that is less cluttered. Sort through storage areas, the garage, or the basement that have not been touched all winter long. You can also start to pack away personalized items in your home that you should not have out when selling. Depersonalizing a home makes it easier for a potential buyer to see themselves living there. Packing up, can make your home look larger and neater, and will make the moving process much simpler in the end!

3. Make minor, but IMPORTANT repairs- You do not want to start renovating a kitchen or bathroom right now, but making minor repairs can go a long way. Freshening up some rooms with a fresh coat of neutral paint is always a good idea. Replace caulk and grout in the bathrooms and kitchen to leave a clean feeling. Update small fixtures throughout your home (lights, doorknobs, hardware, fixtures).

4. Start interviewing REALTORS®-  Having the right listing agent can save you a lot of stress and time. You will realize that having the right agent for your specific needs can be extremely important for your end profit goal. Interview multiple agents (you are hiring them)! Lastly, choose a REALTOR® who is familiar with the area, the style of your home and the price range you are in.

5. Start looking for a new home (if you will need one)- Do you need to sell before you buy? Can you afford to buy a new home, and empty out or stage the house you are selling? Just starting to look and becoming familiar with what else is out there in the market is a great idea. By knowing what you are looking for, it makes the buying process much easier when the timing is right. Having an educated agent is extremely important for buying as well as selling. Make sure you can find a REALTOR® who listens to you, and what YOU want and need.

So, if you are thinking of selling your home and making that move, but the market was not quite right, NOW is the time! If you are interested in talking with a professional real estate team, give us a call today! 651-269-3487 or Sandy@SandyErickson.com

Click below to visit our website:

www.ericksonteamhomesearch.com

Sandy Erickson Real Estate Team of Keller Williams Integrity Realty

 

Lake Phalen, an Unsolved Mystery, and a Featured Listing

Once in a while, we have a unique listing that we want to feature. The listing we chose to talk about today is located in Phalen Park in Saint Paul, MN. We chose this listing, because the house is large, the lot is large (unique for the city), and we thoroughly enjoy the history and location of this home!

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View from E Shore Dr and front of home overlooking Lake Phalen.

Lake Phalen is said to be named after an Irish Settler named Edward Phelan (different spellings), who was born around 1811. Edward was one of the first settlers in Saint Paul, and later convicted of the first murder in Saint Paul. Still remains an unsolved mystery today! Many different locations in Saint Paul, Minnesota are named after Phelan as a result of his early land claims.

Lake Phalen (which drains from the Mississippi River),is one of the largest lakes in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The lake is popular for fishing, swimming, canoeing and boating. Gas powered motors are not allowed on this lake. The park surrounding the lake today offers an array of activities and perks to the surrounding communities. There are numerous paved trails, a swimming beach, a golf clubhouse and banquet facilities!  Near the Lake, there are different activities such as sand volleyball, tennis courts, racquetball courts and barbecue grills for a fun summer picnics.

Our featured listing is located at 1478 E. Shore Drive on a beautiful 1-acre lot with subdivision possible! The home has been owned by one family, and has been up kept beautifully over the years. The home boasts over 4,200 square feet, and the floor plan allows for beautiful Lake Phalen sunset views. There are numerous custom and timeless features of the house that new homes just cannot offer!

Here are a few other features we love:

  • Numerous mature trees, and beautiful summer gardens
  • THREE beautiful and unique fireplaces
  • Vaulted ceilings throughout the home
  • Beautiful stonework and woodwork throughout the home
  • Many windows throughout the home for beautiful lake views
  • Spacious bedrooms and closets

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Huge wall of windows overlooking Lake Phalen.

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Beautiful landscaping with spring and summer gardens.

Truly, a home is location, location, location! This is just one listing that is too special to pass up. If you are interested in seeing this or any other home, please contact us to schedule a private home tour today! 651-269-3487 or Sandy@SandyErickson.com

Click here for more listing information:

http://www.ericksonteamhomesearch.com/listing/mlsid/152/propertyid/4447807/

Sandy Erickson Real Estate Team of Keller Williams Integrity Realty

Direct: 651-269-3487
Email: Sandy@SandyErickson.com
Website: www.ericksonteamhomesearch.com

 

Steps to Offering on Your First Home!

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Are you ready to buy your first home? There are many important steps to consider when looking to purchase your first home. Our team is here for you every step of the way!

Also feel free to visit our site and learn about our “First Time Homebuyer Program” -http://www.sandyerickson.com/atj/user/AdditionalGetAction.do?pageId=414991

Join our exclusive First Time Home Buyer’s Club to get access to these benefits:

-Instant Access to All New Homes on the Market
-Home Buying Education
-$0 Down Payment Options
-$0 Closing Costs Opportunity
-Never Overpay for Your Home Guarantee
-On Time Home Closing Guarantee

Below are steps we find important when looking to offer on your first home!

Step 1: Decide to BUY.

You may still live at home. You may be renting currently. You may be living with a friend. Whatever the case may be, the first step to home ownership is to make the decision to purchase. If you have a job, and a credit score in the high 600’s, it is likely that you can qualify for a home loan at very low interest rates.

Purchasing your first home is a MAJOR step in your life. But, you must make sure you are ready for the responsibility that comes along with home ownership. Purchasing a home is a great investment and provides many different advantages. Some of these include: tax benefits, equity build-up, value appreciation, etc… Consider renting vs. buying. Are you actually saving money renting? Is this a long-term decision and lifestyle, or will that be changing?

Step 2: Find out how MUCH you can Afford.

Your lender decides what you can BORROW, you decide how much you can AFFORD!

Factor in all of your expenses (gas, groceries, utility bills, health care, gym memberships, etc…). Your monthly cost determined by the lender includes: principle, interest, tax and homeowner’s insurance. You also need to consider your down payment and PMI or private mortgage insurance. Leave room for the unexpected.

Step 3: Find the RIGHT Agent.

Good agents put their clients first. Find someone who can:

1. Educate you on the current market.

2. Listen to your wants and needs.

3. Provide you with other partners: loan officers, movers, handymen, etc…

Step 4: Find YOUR Home.

This is the fun step. Although, it can be stressful too. This is where you want to make sure that you have a good agent. This is going to be one of the biggest investments that you will ever make, and you want to make sure you do things right. Think about these things:

1. What is my most important criteria?

2. Is location the most important, or are the home features the most important?

3. Where do you want to be located- anyone or anything you want to be close to?

4. Which features and amenities do I need?

5. Is this a starter home, or something I can grow into?

Many buyers in this generation and market start their search online. When actually looking for a home, having an agent can make your life a whole lot easier.

Step 5: Make Your Offer.

Making an offer on a house can be a long process. And be prepared to sign your name numerous times! And many more times when you actually close!

When determining what price to offer, your realtor can help a bit, but ultimately… it’s up to you. Figure out a fair price. Your realtor can provide you with comparable properties in the market. Something to keep in mind is that homes usually sell for a little less then asking price. There is always room for a counteroffer. However, go in too low… and the seller’s may turn you away completely!

The home buying process does not end after making an offer. Many times, you may not end up with the house you THOUGHT you were going to. When you do have an accepted offer in hand, there are inspections, walk-thru’s, and a closing! And, after the closed sale, there are still many different things to think about! Setting up cable and internet, switching over names to your utilities, cleaning up the home, and of course moving day. 

Sandy Erickson Real Estate Team of Keller Williams Realty

Direct: 651-269-3487
Email: Sandy@SandyErickson.com
Website: www.ericksonteamhomesearch.com
First Time Home Buyer Program:
http://www.sandyerickson.com/atj/user/AdditionalGetAction.do?pageId=414991

Painting Your Home to Prepare for Sale

Looking to sell your home? Or make the home you live in more cozy and inviting?

Here are some perfect tips for painting your home!

Painting a room or a whole house is not necessarily an easy task…but, it can add a LOT to any room, and is well worth the process. Personally, I have painted many different homes. My parents used to leave the house to run errands and they would come home with a painted living room! Many times, my dad had to touch up a few spots or clean a few carpet speckles…but, they still look back and laugh at it today. I have grown up painting my parents, and friends homes. I have also painted every home I have lived in. Whether it’s a large blank canvas, or cracked walls in my 1941 house, there are some simple things I have learned over the years.

The tips and tricks I provide may be a bit daunting, but don’t get overwhelmed. Painting a room is inexpensive, EASY, and a wonderful DIY project that anyone can tackle! And trust me, you’ll be glad you saved the money and accomplished something that makes your home look great.

TOOLS

  • Prep tools-bucket, rag, spackle, putty knife, sandpaper (fine grit)
  • Painting tools-paint, paint can opener (I use putty knife or straight edge tool), stir sticks (usually free at paint store), angled paint brushed, small bowl for work on a ladder, roll cover, roller tray, roller with extension pole for high areas, painters tape, drop cloth.

PAINT

  • Don’t skimp on your paint. Try and buy middle to top-of-the line paint. With a cheaper paint, you will find that it is watered down, and you may need an extra coat. Thick paint goes on the wall easier. Pretty much any paint store can match a color swatch you find.
  • Finish is important. Semi-gloss is usually good for kitchens or bathrooms where you may need to wipe the walls. It also works well for trim. Flat is good in almost any other room. It doesn’t shine, and it hides any imperfection.
  • Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paint is good if you are worried about fumes. A lot of people choose VOC paint when they are painting a nursery. Many different brands offer a low or no VOC option. Just ask!

PAINT COLOR

  • If you are planning to sell your home, go for a neutral paint color. Try to paint all of your walls a similar color or shade. Neutral is best for all buyers, and the safest bet.
  • Paint seems to always show up a little darker on the wall. If you are worried about it being too dark, choose the lighter version on the paint swatch.
  • If your ceiling is flat, try painting it too! The ceiling does not need to be white. Pick a color that is bit toned down from the wall color to add some definition to a room. Or, if you are painting the wall colors light, pick a dark ceiling color.
  • Decorate your room. Then paint. It is much easier to paint a room to match your décor. It is more difficult to match your paint to the smaller decoration pieces.
  • Get small paint samples and test it on your wall. Look at it for a few days, and see if it grows on you, or if you hate it!

PREP WORK

By far, my least favorite part. When you are sitting there with a can full of color ready to splash on the wall, the last thing I want to do is prep. However, this is also one of the most important parts.

  1. Use spackle to fill in any nail holes or imperfections. Wait for it to dry and then lightly sand the patches. I prefer the spackle that goes on pink and purple when wet, and dries white. That way, you can tell when you’re ready to sand. It dries pretty quick and makes the finished project look much better.
  2. Scrape away any peeling, ridges or cracked paint and sand down.
  3. Make sure you clean the walls prior to painting. 409 works great, if you add it to some hot water. It removes any greasy marks from the wall and creates a clean slate for painting. Best of all, it is not sticky and there is no leftover residue.
  4. Prime. Especially if you are painting over a dark color or tough stain.
  5. Stir away. Paint can settle and it needs to be fully mixed before you pour it to paint.
  6. Tape your woodwork. Baseboards, trim, crown molding, doorways, etc… Painter’s tape sticks well to woodwork and removes easily. It is usually pretty thick, and comes in blue or green. When applying to a long baseboard, you want to use short, overlapping strips. Make sure you press down firmly, or paint can seep down through the cracks.

PAINTING

  • Use an angle brush to paint along the trim, ceiling and doorways. They should be taped already. For the high up places, pour some paint into your small bowl. It is easier to hold and move around with. Painting straight from the paint can usually creates a mess.
  • Don’t dunk the entire paint brush into the can. Half-way is the MOST you should dunk your paint brush.
  •  Using a roller, use nice steady and even strokes. You don’t want too much paint on the roller, but you also don’t want too little. Some people try and spread out the paint by pressing harder on the roller. This will leave you with a patchy and blotchy paint job. And, you may end up with little paint speckles on your floor.
  • Long and continuous strokes are best.
  • Paint a second coat. If the paint is dark, you may need a third coat. It is worth the extra effort and time to do another coat. Waiting for the paint to fully dry in between coats is important.

CLEAN-UP

  1. Brushes and roller can be kept wet between coats by wrapping in plastic wrap. The paint can need the lid to be put on tightly between coats.
  2. Use a fresh roller for each paint job. You can clean them, but I prefer a new roller. They are inexpensive and worth it.
  3. Remove painter’s tape after the paint is fully dry.

Good luck, and happy painting!

Sandy Erickson Real Estate Team of Keller Williams Integrity Realty