Make Minot Home Real Estate Blog

Dec. 5, 2018

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

 

Winters in North Dakota are unlike anything that I had ever experienced growing up. It is not unusual for temperatures to fall well below zero, even without the wind chill factor [1]. The very first winter that I was exposed to in North Dakota, 20 out of 31 days were in negative degree weather [2]. I found myself in disbelief and could not understand how anyone would subject themselves to living in a place where temperatures dropped that low. I cannot say that I have become accustom to the weather since then, but I have however found ways to adapt.

There are several instances where winter will decide that the weather has been too “decent” and greet us with a winter storm. On numerous occasions my wife and I have found ourselves either not wanting to, or simply unable to leave our home. Here are some helpful recommendations [3] when preparing for winter in North Dakota and the inevitable storms that come along with it:

1.     If you do not have a wood burning fireplace in your home, obtain an alternate source for emergency heat. Many storms have the potential to leave you without power for a short or substantial period. You will want to ensure that you have an adequate supply of fuel (wood; coal; kerosene; propane; etc.). 

2.     Have an emergency food supply on hand, just make sure that it is something that you and your family will eat. It is suggested that you have at least a three-day supply of non-perishable foods [4]. Some items that would work well for your emergency supply would be peanut butter, cereal or granola, fruit bars, canned juices, etc. For me, nothing is worse than being cold except for being cold AND hungry. 

3.     Have an emergency medical supply or first aid kit on hand. Just as you may not be able to leave your home due to weather, help from emergency services may not be immediately available during a winter storm. 

4.     Have battery-operated equipment readily accessible. I learned this the hard way as I was fumbling around searching for a flashlight in the dark during a power outage one year. In my opinion, having a plethora of flashlights accompanied with additional and backup batteries, is significantly safer than burning candles especially if you have small children. Although my wife is an avid candle collector, she has reluctantly agreed with me on this after our little started crawling and climbing on everything. In addition to having flashlights, you will want to make sure that you have a radio or some other source to obtain weather updates and information.

 

5.     Have some board games or card games available. Being stuck inside can be difficult enough and if you are without power having fun things to do will help to pass the time. It is also a great opportunity to spend time together enjoying one another’s company.

Snowman


For more winter information and helpful suggestions, www.minotnd.org/189/Winter-Weather is a fantastic resource.

If you find yourself isolated and confined to your home at any point this winter (and still having power), make sure that you have plenty of good movies, blankets, and some hot chocolate; enjoy your complimentary North Dakota “snow day”!  


 Jordan Douglas

Article by Jordan Douglas, www.makeminothome.com

 

 

 

Posted in Home Ownership
Nov. 8, 2018

Moving Tips – Before, During, & After

 

If you are anything like me, or many others, the sheer thought of moving is exhausting. Moving day can be an enormous undertaking and can be extremely stressful. Having had the opportunity to embark on this joyous endeavor on more than one occasion, I have become well acquainted with the process. Here are some of the lessons I have learned over the years that hopefully will assist you when moving day comes for you.

1.       Plan Ahead 

More likely than not, we are aware of when and where we are going to be moving. Granted there are some occasions where moving is short notice and there is not much time to prepare but most likely this is not the case. Leaving things for the last minute ultimately causes undue, unnecessary and avoidable stress. If you take the time to pack a little at a time each day or even each week, you will find that as the official moving day arrives, the process becomes significantly easier. 

Additionally, you will want to notify “The Crew” of when you will be moving to ensure that they can plan appropriately. Make sure that you follow-up with them as the moving day approaches to confirm their availability and willingness to help. Nothing is worse than counting on people to assist you with moving and ending up rolling your antique dresser down the stairs on your own. Food is a great motivator and so I have found that enticing participation through nourishment is a powerful strategy that has not failed me yet.

2.      Organize and Purge

Probably one of my favorite things about moving, other than the arriving at my new location, is the ability to, regrettably, let my wife know that her favorite pair of shoes that she has worn twice in the last 6 years must have gotten “lost” during our move. Packing for a move forces you to go through all of the unnecessary and useless items that have accumulated over the years. It is the perfect opportunity to rid yourself of that awful sweater your mother sent you that you took one photo in to prove that you loved and appreciated her gift. De-cluttering and purging your items while you are packing assists on both ends of the moving process. On the front-side, you don’t have to pack as much and if you are smart about it, you may be able to accumulate some petty cash for your move by hosting a garage sale before moving day. You could also donate your gently used items. On the backside, there is less to unpack when you arrive at your destination, you don’t have to find a place to stash the items you don’t need or use anymore, and you have a new clean slate to accumulate new “stuff”.

Organization is paramount when you are moving, at least to me it is. Packing a bowl with your dress shoes and the grill accessories simply doesn’t make any sense. It creates chaos that can easily be avoided if you take the time to organize and label while you pack. Put like items together, or at the very least, items that belong to the same room and label them appropriately and as descriptively as you can. If you are going to use cardboard boxes during your move, you can write directly on the box or in the area that many boxes have specifically for labeling. If you are going to use plastic containers for your move, do NOT write on the box itself with a permanent marker. Doing this renders the box incapable of being utilized for anything other than what you wrote on the box (my wife may argue this point, but I simply would not be able to use it again). Instead you could create a home-made label to affix to the container that could easily be removed after the items have been unpacked.

3.      The “Unpack First Box”

Over the years I have learned that when I am have finally arrived at my new location, I found myself searching for a variety of items like garbage bags, a screw driver, or that allen wrench that was specifically designed for that one piece of furniture. It can be extremely frustrating and time consuming trying to track down items that you need immediately once you are moved in and ready to unpack.

To avoid this situation occurring to you, I have implemented the “pack last” or “unpack first” box. You will want to have the essential items that you will need immediately, or shortly upon arriving to your new location. Things to include in this box would be: toilet paper; garbage bags; cleaning supplies; light bulbs; batteries; a screw driver; and any other item(s) that you may need.

4.      Essential Services and Deliveries

You should not plan your move around the time of any major sporting event, or your favorite television series season finale. If you do however, you will want to make sure that you have scheduled for the cable company to have your services available for when you are moved in. now that the necessities are taken care of, you will want to ensure you know how your utility bills are going to transfer and who your new water, electric, gas, etc. service provider is going to be. This can easily slip to the way side during the packing and moving process but make a note to schedule for these things to be taken care of well in advance before moving day is upon you.

Lastly, I definitely forgot this the last time I moved, you will want to get a change of address form from your post office so that you can make sure you will be receiving mail at your new location. Additionally, if you have done any online shopping or made any purchases that will be delivered, make sure that you have the appropriate address or that you schedule the delivery for after you have moved in.

5.     Make Friends

The last bit of advice I can give is to get to know your neighbors. Take some baked goods around the neighborhood and get to know the people that you will be seeing on a more regular basis. Moving can be stressful and if you are relocating to a new city or even state, you may not know anyone at all. Getting to know your neighbors will help with the adjustment of being in a new place but it will also allow you to build relationships with the people that will be looking over your residence when you decide to take that much needed vacation.


Article by Jordan Douglas, www.makeminothome.com

 

Posted in Buying A Home
Sept. 19, 2018

Why You Need a Real Estate Agent On Your Team

If you are in the market of buying or selling your home, you inevitably will ask yourself whether you should enlist the services of a real estate agent or not. Although doing the work on your own has the potential to save you money, it also could be very costly in the long run. Buying or selling a home is a major life decision and although exciting, it can also be extremely stressful if trying to navigate the process on your own. Below you will find three reasons why teaming up with a real estate professional is in your best interest when starting your journey of buying or selling.

 

1.      Exposure & Access

 

The foundational responsibility of any real estate agent is to provide home buyers to home sellers and conversely, home sellers with potential home buyers. Whether from their own library of listings or those from another brokerage, realtors have access to all properties that are available on the market. How this is beneficial to you? Let’s say for example that you are a home buyer and you made the decision to hire a real estate agent. The real estate agent is able to locate all of the homes that meet your specified standards (square footage; number of bedrooms; location; open concept; price range etc.), contact the listing agents, schedule showings and then relay that information to you. If you did not have real estate agent working for you, you would be doing all the work on your own. You would end up spending countless hours perusing various websites to identify which homes look appeasing to your tastes. Then you would spend more of your time trying to get ahold of the listing agent and fitting into their schedule of when you could view the home only to find out that pictures online can be deceiving.

 

 

Home For Sale 

 

On the other hand, say you are selling your home, the real estate agent will provide their services of photographing your one-of-a-kind home and ensuring that everyone in town sees what they could be missing out on. Because real estate professionals work with one another on nearly a daily basis, your agent is able to make a personal phone call to his or her agent friend who has the perfect buyer and schedules a time to view your home. If you made the mistake of not hiring a real estate agent to assist with selling your home you again would have to do all of the work yourself. Your voicemail would be full (possibly) from potential buyers and you would have to make time in your busy schedule to show the home yourself. How frustrating to have a buyer not show up after you moved your schedule around to accommodate them.

 

2.      Negotiation Ninjas

 

Everyone likes to get a “good deal” on anything that they purchase. My wife is a triple-mega-master blackbelt in negotiating and I could use to learn a few things from her. In a perfect world, a buyer and seller would agree on the price and both parties would walk away feeling accomplished, however, negotiations in real estate can be difficult.

 

Contracts

 

If you are handling buying a home without a real estate agent, telling the seller that their taste in neon-painted walls is repulsive probably wouldn’t be beneficial to your relationship. If however, you had an agent on your team, you could freely discuss what you did and did not particularly care about a home that you saw and not offend the seller. Your agent can then portray the concerns you have to the seller or the seller’s agent, and collectively find a resolution to continue working towards a deal.

 

3.      Paperwork

 

Trying to learn a new language is difficult, can be frustrating, takes time, repetition and practice. This is also true with the paperwork involved with a real estate transaction, whether you are buying or selling. A real estate agent deals with different contracts and unique conditions daily. They are educated in these different documents. They are professionally licensed to understand, work with, and utilize them. Without utilizing a real estate agent who is trained and well versed in all the various contracts, stipulations, and contingencies you could find yourself not only losing money but also in a bit of legal trouble if unable to perform your duties on a contract. Having a real estate agent on your team protects you in the long run, that is, after all, part of their job.

 

Article by Jordan Douglas, makeminothome.com

Posted in Real Estate Agent
Sept. 13, 2018

You’re a Homeowner Now. What Do You Need to Know Next?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buying a new home is an extremely exciting process. You are able to get out of that apartment you and your family have outgrown; you have found that forever home you have been looking for; you have found that home that, with a little sweat equity, you can make into your own; or any number of different reasons that you have decided to take the leap into homeownership. Regardless of what brought you to this point, you are finally here!

 

After you’ve moved all the furniture in, after you’ve hung your décor, family photos, and found your new “junk drawer”, it’s time to kick back, relax and enjoy your new home, right? Yes and no. Invite the neighbors over, invite friends and family, of course you need to show off your new place with a house warming party. But after that excitement of homeownership wears off, you may quickly realize, like most first-time buyers, that you may lack the knowledge, skills or even tools to take care of your new home. Fret not, there is hope! 

 

Every homeowner should have a basic set of tools for performing routine maintenance and upkeep in and around their home. Being able to maintain your home can help you save money and be more knowledgeable about what you should be doing to keep your home in top shape. The following is a list of some of the essential tools I would recommend that homeowners should invest in:

 

·       Battery Powered Drill (at least 18v)

·       Channellock Pliers

·       Circular Saw or Handsaw

·       Drill Bits

·       Flashlight

·       Hammer

·       Level

·       Measuring Tape (at least 25’)

·       Phillips & Flathead Screwdriver

·       Speed Square

·       Utility Knife 

 

Although this may seem like a large list and you may be telling yourself, “I just spent all this money on a buying a house, why would I want to spend more money on tools?” but, you could very easily acquire your basic homeowner tool starter set for under $250 (obvious variables of brand; sales; store of purchase; etc. will dictate actual expense). Having these tools readily available will be very useful, and you’ll be thankful, when the time comes for you to put them to use.

 

Having the right tools is a great start but what if you are like some of the people I know (some of my family members actually) and right up there next to performing surgery on their “Things I Do NOT Want To Do” list, is the idea fixing a leaky faucet? Education and training is the answer. The first step, after getting your tool starter set of course, is becoming comfortable with using those tools. There is a plethora of ways to become more knowledgeable on home maintenance: books; magazines; do-it-yourself shows; your new neighbor that just happens to be a carpenter; etc.). There are even classes that you can attend to become more knowledgeable. The local Minot Home Depot offers a variety of classes to assist with homeowners seeking to become better equipped for maintaining their home. At the time of this article’s publication, the upcoming classes for Minot are: 

 

·       Installing a Faucet

o   Saturday, September 15 – 10:00 am – 11:30 am

 

·       Installing Wall Tile

o   Saturday, September 22 – 10:00 am – 11:30 am

 

·       Installing Smoke/CO Alarms

o   Saturday, October 13 – 10:00 am – 11:30 am 

 

NOTE: visit the Home Depot website to verify times/class www.homedepot.com/workshops

 

Smoke Detector Test

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most people are uncomfortable or even intimidated to use different tools, but educating yourself by whichever means suits you best, be it reading, watching or taking a hands-on class, will give you the confidence to tackle the home repair projects that arise. You should always keep a reserve of money to pay for home repairs, that is of course part of being a homeowner, but being able to make basic repairs to your newly purchased home could save you thousands of dollars per year. 

 

As one final note, you should always stay within your comfortability level when planning to make basic repairs to your home. Educate yourself with how to properly and safely use the tools that you have.  If you are not confident or if it is something that seems outside your current knowledge base, consult a professional, hire someone licensed to perform the work, or practice, as I have often done, at the in-laws’ house.

 

Article written by Jordan Douglasmakeminothome.com

 

Posted in Home Ownership
Oct. 7, 2017

More Americans Say Now is a Good Time to Sell!

Is Now The Time To Sell Your Home?
More Americans Say Now is a Good Time to Sell! | MyKCM

Recently published data from Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey showed that rising house prices were the catalyst behind an eight-point increase in the net percentage of respondents who say now is a good time to sell. The index is now 21 points higher than it was this time last year.

Overall, 62% of Americans studied said that now is a good time to sell (up from 58%), while 26% of respondents said that now is not a good time to sell (down from 30%). The remaining score is the contrast between the two percentages, or 36%.

According to CoreLogic, house prices are now up 6.7% over last year and 78.8% of homeowners with a mortgage in the US now have significant equity (defined as 20% or more).

As home prices have risen, more and more homeowners have realized that now is a good time to sell their homes in order to take advantage of the extra equity they now have.

At the same time, though, increasing prices have had the exact opposite impact on the good-time-to-buy scale as many customers are nervous that they will not be able to afford a home; the net score decreased 5 points to 18%.

Doug Duncan, Vice President & Chief Economist at Fannie Mae, had this to say,

“In the early stages of the economic expansion, home selling sentiment trailed home buying sentiment by a significant margin. The reverse is true today.

The net good time to sell share is now double the net good time to buy share, with record high percentages of consumers citing home prices as the primary reason for both perceptions. Such a sizable gap between selling and buying sentiment, if it persists, could weigh on the housing market through the rest of the year.”

Buyer demand continues to outpace the number of homes for sale, which has pushed prices up across the US. Until the supply starts to adequately match demand, there will be a gap between the opinions surrounding buying and selling.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of listing your home for sale this year, now is the time!

Considering selling your home, get a no-obligation home value estimate by simply clicking here.

Posted in Sell My House
Oct. 7, 2017

How to Get the Most Money from the Sale of Your Home

Maximize your home savings

Every homeowner wants to ensure they maximize their financial prize when selling their home. But how can you guarantee you get maximum value for your house? Here are two keys to make sure that you get the best price possible.

1. Price it just a little LOW

This may appear counterintuitive. However, let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners believe pricing their home a little OVER market worth will leave them area for negotiation. In actuality, this just significantly lessens the demand for your house (see chart below).

Maximize your property value

Rather than the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it to ensure that demand for the house is maximized. Using this method, the seller will never be fighting with a buyer over the purchase price, but will instead have multiple purchasers fighting with one another over the house.

 

Realtor.com gives this advice:

 

“Aim to price your premises at or just slightly below the going price. Today’s buyers are highly educated, so if they sense they’re obtaining a deal, they’re more likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, specifically in areas with low inventory.”

 

2. Use a genuine Estate Professional

 

This, too, may appear counterintuitive. Owner may think they would make more money if they didn’t have to pay a real estate commission. With this getting said, studies have proven that homes typically sell for additional money when handled by a genuine estate professional. A new research by Collateral Analytics, reveals that FSBOs don’t actually save hardly any money, and in some cases could be costing themselves more, by not listing with an agent. In the analysis, they analyzed home product sales in a variety of markets in 2016 and the first half of 2017. The info showed that: “FSBOs tend to sell for decrease prices than comparable home sales, and perhaps below the average differential represented by the prevailing commission rate.” The results of the study showed that the differential in selling prices for FSBOs when compared to MLS sales of comparable properties is about 5.5%. Sales in 2017 recommend the average cost was near 6% lower for FSBO sales of very similar properties.

 

Bottom Line

 

Price your home at or somewhat below the current market value and hire a specialist. This will guarantee that you maximize the price you get for your home.

 

To get your no obligation home value estimate Click Here

Posted in Sell My House
March 25, 2010

What To Look For In Your Real Estate Agent

How do you choose the team who are going to help you make your vision of owning a home a reality? What should you be looking for? How do you know if you’ve picked the right Realtor©?

The most important trait that you should be looking for in your Realtor© is a person who is going to take the time and effort to really educate you on the options available to you in today’s real estate market.

As Dave Ramsey, the famous financial adviser, suggests:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Do your research. 

Ask your family and friends for recommendations of agents whom they have used before and have had great buying experiences with. Look for a Realtor© who will be honest and dependable, and someone you can rely on; after all, you will be trusting them with helping you make one of the largest monetary decisions of your lifeWhether this is your 1st or 5th time purchasing a house, you want to make certain that you have an agent who is going to have the difficult discussions with you, not just the easy ones. If your offer isn’t accepted by the real estate seller, or they believe that there may be something wrong with the house that you’ve fallen in love with, you would rather know what they think than make an expensive mistake.

According to a Zillow Consumer Housing Trends Report, millennials have now started to favor a more hands-on approach to their real estate experience:

“While older generations rely on real estate agents for information and expertise, millennials expect real estate agents to become trusted advisers and strategic partners.”Watch for a Realtor© to invest in your family’s future with you. You want a Realtor© who isn’t focused on the transaction but is rather focused on helping you learn the process while helping you find your dream place.

Bottom Line

In this world of Google online searches, where it seems like all the solutions are just a mouse-click away, you need a Realtor© who is going to teach you and share the knowledge that you need to know before you even know you need it. To learn more about Betsy Edwards, and Make Minot Home Real Estate click here.

 

 

Posted in Buying A Home