Confusion Over Contingent Offers

Confusion Over Contingent Offers

 Buyers and sellers differ on their view of offers that are contingent on the sale of the buyer’s home. Currently in Chisago County there are only 3 listings that are sold contingent on the sale of the buyer’s home. No doubt there have been many more offers submitted that have been rejected by the sellers.

 One buyer that I worked with wanted to find the perfect house before putting her home on the market as she didn’t want to sell her home until she knew she had a place to move. She was not qualified to purchase another property until she sold her home. I explained the risk involved with a contingent offer, as if the sellers accept her offer they will continue to market the property to try to find a non-contingent offer. If the sellers do receive another offer, they can bump her offer and accept the other one.

 Once a contingent offer is accepted, the listing status on the MLS is changed to reflect the contingent offer. This draws the attention to savvy buyers that it is a good property which they can bump, or it can cause confusion to buyers that think the property is sold so they don’t go see it.

 In order for the buyer to remove the contingency for the sale of her home, she would need an accepted purchase agreement on her home, by a pre-approved buyer, that is not contingent on anything other than financing.  This could take at least two weeks to get through an inspection contingency, even if her home sells right away. This allows plenty of time for another buyer to bump her.

 Knowing all of this, the buyer still wanted to submit an offer contingent on the sale of her home. The offer was for full price, as it was the first day on the market. The seller did not accept the offer because they had several other showings on the first day, and they feared if the listing was marked sold on a contingency the showings would slow down.

 My advice was to put her home on the market right away, price it competitively, and hope that the home she wanted to buy would be available when her home sold. After two weeks the buyer’s home sold and she submitted a new offer for $25,000 less than her original offer.

 In hindsight the seller would have been better off accepting the contingent offer as it was for full price and the buyer had a good home, that was priced to sell quickly.

 An experienced agent can provide you with the best advice on contingent offers for your home.

Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to ckempenich@cbburnet.com. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.

When is the best time to sell your home?

When is the best time to sell your home?

Properties sell all year round but the real estate market is very cyclical in Minnesota, and greatly revolves around the school calendar, football, holidays, and the weather. Sometimes events happen in life and you don’t have the opportunity to strategize the best time to sell your home, but if you do have the time; consider these factors:

  1. There are less buyers out when the Vikings or Packers are playing well. If we get a lot of snow or if it is below zero, they tend to stay home as well. If we are having beautiful weather in the summer, a lot of buyers head to the lake.
  2. Buyers typically go out of town or spend time with family over the holidays, so it usually makes more sense to list your home after a holiday.
  3. Families with school children try not to disrupt the school year and typically buy in the spring, so they can move over the summer.
  4. If you are selling a home with a pool or waterfront it is important to start taking photos the summer before you sell. Buyers are most serious once the ice is out, and the properties don’t show their best until June or July. The peak time to sell these properties is April -August.
  5. If you are selling a condo, townhome, or acreage the market is pretty consistent; other than the holiday slow down.
  6. Keep in mind, that if the buyer is getting financing for the purchase of your home, it typically takes 45-60 days from the time a purchase agreement is accepted until closing, when ownership is transferred and you get paid. If the buyer is paying cash, the closing can take place as soon as all contingencies are removed and the title work is complete. This can be done in as little as 10 days.
  7. In Chisago County in 2015, the months with the highest average sale prices were May and April. The months with the lowest average sale prices were January and February.

If you are thinking of selling in the near future, now is the time to talk with an experienced real estate agent for advice on the best time to sell your home faster and for the best possible price.

Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to ckempenich@cbburnet.com. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.

Spring Tips to Get Top Dollar for Your Home

Sellers are always asking for advice to prepare their home to get top dollar. Here is some advice that I recommend to my sellers:
Start packing everything you can live without; like photos, books, collections, and miscellaneous clutter.
Organize the closets and cupboards and remove items from countertops. .
Remove anything attached to the house that you want to take with you, as attachments are normally transferred to the buyer. If you are taking something, like a light fixture, you will need to replace it with a new one.
Remove excess furniture so you have at least a 3’ walk way through-out the house. You want your rooms to feel inviting and as large as possible. Arrange your furniture to take advantage of any focal point like a fireplace or nice view. Remove or replace old rugs and add colorful throw pillows.
Paint and repair any damaged items, replace the furnace filter and old light bulbs. You want your home to be neutral and bright. If you have a well and/or septic system, you should have a current water test, and septic inspection, as you will need to be compliant to close
Clean everything, inside and out, including the windows, appliances and flooring so buyers feel your home is move in ready. Replace the shower curtain and buy new white towels for the bathrooms.
Hide any trash or recycling cans that are sitting out and find a place for the pet food and kitty litter that isn’t visible as you walk through the house.
Check your curb appeal. Hide the trash and recycling, pick up the toys and tools, plant some flowers, kill the weeds, trim trees, mow the lawn, paint the front door, fix broken steps or railings.
Make sure your home smells fresh. Before showings take out the trash, look for pet accidents, hide the dirty laundry, vacuum, open a window-weather permitting, use air-freshener if it is not overpowering. Fresh flowers are a wonderful touch.
Walk through the house one more time, as if you were a buyer and see if there’s anything you missed.
An experienced Real Estate Agent can provide specific tips to help you get top dollar for your home.
Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to ckempenich@cbburnet.com. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.

There’s Still Time to Sell Your Waterfront Home!

There’s Still Time to Sell Your Waterfront Home!

 According to the Multiple Listing Service, in July there were 18 new waterfront listings in Chisago County, 13 sales that are pending or closed, and 6 more under contract with a contingency. The median marketing time was 20 days and many waterfront homes sold in multiple offers. There is very little inventory for buyers to choose from and sales are down from last year due to the lack of new listings/inventory.

 The highest number of new waterfront listings for 2017 was in March with 20 new listings, but there were only 8 waterfront sales. April had 16 new waterfront listings and 21 sales. June had 12 new waterfront listings and 11 sales.

 The best 3 months so far, this year selling water front homes were April, June, & July. August looks to be another good month. The median price for the Chisago County Waterfront homes was $312,450 with 47 days on the market.

 The highest priced waterfront property that has closed this year was on Chisago Lake for $535,000, but there is one pending sale on Green Lake for more. The lowest priced waterfront house, was the only sale on South Lindstrom Lake this year for $138,500. There were 2 condo sales on North Lindstrom Lake for $51,000 and $72,750.

 Green Lake had the highest median sale price of the Chisago County lakes/river at $415,000 with 11 sales. North Lindstrom has the lowest median sale price 3 sales and a median price of $197,750 excluding the 2 condo sales mentioned above.

 There were 10 homes sold along the Sunrise River with a median price of $238,500. Chisago Lake had 4 waterfront sales with a median price of $350,000, North Center Lake; 6 sales with a median price of $307,500. South Center; 6 sales with median price of $310,000. For this article, I focused on waterfront with at least 3 sales, but Kroon Lake gets an honorable mention with 2 sales and a median price of $441,750. The marketing time for those 2 sales averaged 429 days.  

 If you are thinking about selling your waterfront home, contact an experienced waterfront agent to get a personal home evaluation today.

Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to ckempenich@cbburnet.com. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.

Open Houses Are a Success!

Open Houses Are a Success!

 There are very few open houses in July as many agents as well as buyers are vacationing. Last weekend there were only two open houses listed on the MLS in zip code 55013 and both were mine. I thought I must be the only crazy agent in town until I sold both to visitors of the open house. The previous weekend, I had the same success at another open house.

There are many differing opinions when it comes to the value of an open house to sell your home. Most sellers don’t like them and fear that that nosey neighbors will want to check out their home and they feel an invasion of privacy. The upper bracket home owners have additional fears that non-qualified buyers will come to the open house and they may also have security concerns over valuable art or other collections.

 Some real estate agents love open houses and some refuse to do them as they see them as a waste of time. Some sellers and real estate agents don’t see the value in an open house to sell the home but rather see it as an opportunity for the agent to attract new buyers to work with that are not interested in purchasing the home being held open.

 According to the National Association of Realtors, 87% of today’s buyers their home searching on the internet as they like to educate themselves on the real estate market before they look at homes with a real estate agent. Once they find homes of interest on the internet they drive by homes to check the curb appeal, the neighborhoods, and home values. They love the opportunity to visit open houses to help determine what they want to buy and sometimes they purchase the home being held open.

 The benefits of an open house are: internet exposure as many of the major real estate websites color code the listings that have an upcoming open house bringing added attention to the listing, the listing shows up on open house lists, buyers tend to go farther on their own than they would with their own agent, the listing agent knows more about the property and the neighborhood than the buyer’s agent so we have an opportunity to sell features and benefits that the buyer may not notice with their own agent, we get valuable feedback directly from the buyers, open house signs bring more attention to the listing and neighbors may call someone that may be interested. Even if buyers don’t show up to the open house we see a bump in internet activity on the listing and showings typically increase after the open house.

 Every home requires a unique marketing plan and an experienced real estate agent will provide the best plan for you.

Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to ckempenich@cbburnet.com. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.

Should I Remodel Before I Sell?

Should I Remodel Before I Sell?

 The best advice is to remodel for yourself and not a potential buyer. Try to keep up with maintenance issues as they arise, instead of pushing them off until it is time sell. If you wait, you will miss out on enjoying the improvements that you have to pay for. If you don’t make the improvements, you will most likely be paying for them anyway, in the form of a price reduction when you sell.

 The simpler, lower-cost projects usually have a greater return. Focus on the buyer’s first impression as they arrive at your home, starting with your landscaping, and exterior. Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report states that a new front door ranks highest on the payback scale, followed by a new garage door. Midrange window replacements and a minor kitchen remodel have an average pay back of about 80% of the cost. So don’t expect to make money on most remodeling projects.

 I advise my sellers to clean everything from top to bottom, pack up everything you can live without, clean or replace old carpet, and then paint where needed. It is amazing the impact a freshly painted basement has on buyers. Take care of leaky plumbing fixtures, old light fixtures, and appliances that don’t work. You don’t need to purchase high end replacement items, just make sure they match your décor.

 If your furnace, air-conditioner, or water heater haven’t been cleaned or inspected in a few years, I recommend having that done before the buyer’s inspection. If you have a well or septic system, the buyer will most likely ask for you to pay for those inspections, so you might as well do it upfront to reduce the amount of time needed for the inspection contingency.

 If your roof is at the end of its life expectancy, or if you have peeling paint, or safety issues, a buyer may not be able to get financing, which can limit your buyer pool, and that typically means a lower selling price.

 Every situation is different, and not all sellers can afford to make improvements, so sometimes we need to sell your home “as is”. If you are thinking of selling in the near future, now is the time to talk with an experienced real estate agent for advice on repairs or updates that will help you get the highest price.

Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to ckempenich@cbburnet.com. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.