Friday, December 20, 2013

Does staging really help your home sell for more money?

Does staging really help your home sell for more money?
By +Sarah Marrinan - Keller Williams Premier Realty 

Heck yes!

Staging isn't just moving a little furniture around, it's helping a buyer picture themselves living there. This means taking YOUR personal touches out and creating a neutral, welcoming atmosphere that highlights the best features of the home.
Buying is triggered by the emotions of the buyer.  You might be attached to the photos of your dog and your favorite arm chair but the buyer can't see past it to imagine their cat and precious antiques there. The faster you can get a buyer "attached" to your house, the faster it will sell and the more money you will get for your house. So again, YES, staging will get you more money for your home!

Check out THESE before and after pics or THESE.
 Staging Before and After Photos
 It works, right? :)

Everyone wants to get the best price for their home. Let me help!

Since it is your stuff and your house, it's often hard to stage it yourself. Call me and I will help you get started.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sell Now or Wait?

Are you timing the market?
By +Sarah Marrinan

Generally, though agents don't like to admit it, the housing market slows at the beginning of winter, and doesn't pick back up until the spring market begins.

This year, experts believe that our local market might keep booming straight through the coldest months.


Mortgage rates are low

Last spring, as buyer demand soared, rates began to slide up. In September, the Federal Reserve committed to buy $85 billion a month in bonds – a move that should keep rates low for buyers in the near future.

Rents are rising

Despite a major boom in multi-family housing developments, rental prices in the Twin Cities continue to rise. Nationwide, vacancy rates are at an eleven-year low of 4.5 percent; in the Twin Cities, the vacancy rate is at 2.5 percent. As mortgage payments begin to rival monthly rental rates, frustrated renters are encouraged to look into their homeownership options.

Sellers are finally in a position to sell

Median sales prices were up 11 percent in October 2013 over the previous year, and days on the market decreased 27 percent. As more and more sellers come out from underwater and see buyers competing over quality listings, they are entering the market. New listings were up 15 percent in October, showing seller confidence is increasing, too.

Whether you’re buying, selling or considering both, let us help – no obligation and no expectation. Reach out today to talk about mortgage rates, your home value and more.

Connect with me and get more great content!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Your Home Maintenance Toolkit

Basic Home Maintenance Toolkit compliments of Sarah Marrinan
Your Home Maintenance Toolkit
By +Sarah Marrinan
Have you just purchased a new home?  Here is an excellent idea for your housewarming warming gift registry! Run through these lists to ensure that you have all the tools you need:

Basic Equipment

  • Bucket, 5-gallon
  • Caulking gun
  • Circular saw
  • Clamps
  • Claw hammer
  • Combination square or speed square
  • Drill, cordless, 3/8-inch variable-speed reversible
  • Drill bit set
  • Flashlight
  • Flat scraper or putty knife
  • Glue, wood and all-materials (not Super Glue)
  • Hand saw, small, multipurpose
  • Ladder, 6-foot fiberglass
  • Level, 36- or 48-inch aluminum
  • Pliers, standard (slip-joint), 
    • long-nose, 
    • Channellock, 
    • and wire-cutter (diagonal)
  • Prybar
  • Gloves, rubber gloves and leather
  • Safety goggles
  • Sandpaper and sanding block
  • Sawhorse
  • Scissors, utility
  • Screwdrivers, several sizes of both flathead and Phillips
  • Tape measure, 25-foot
  • Utility knife and extra blades
  • Wrenches, 
    • basic set of open-ended crescent wrenches, 
    • set of ratcheting socket wrenches, 
    • and set Allen wrenches
Now that you have all the tools, what do you do with them?  Check out this Basic Home Maintenance Checklist.

 Cleaning or Organizing supplies make great gift ideas for new home owners too!

Sarah Marrinan, Realtor, Keller Williams,

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

"Grandma's Goes Hawaiian" Recipe

jar of Grandma's Goes Hawaiian marinade and barbecue sauce
It's possible that if you've been in eastern Minnesota or western Wisconsin at a craft show or similar event you've seen the booth for Grandmas Favorite Recipes.

You probably sampled some of their sauces on hamburger meat, little Smokies, chicken or other meets. I did and they tasted good so I purchased some of the marinade and BBQ sauce they had for sale. The trouble didn't start until I was home...
I guess I assumed I could simply search the web and find the recipes using the sauces I bought. But it wasn't really that easy.

So I decided that I would simply start putting the marinade over things I had in the freezer.

So far, I have found that Grandma's Goes Hawaiian works great on chicken.

I'll post updates here as I continue to use some of the other marinades and barbecue sauce from Grandma's.

Happy cooking!

Monday, December 2, 2013

How To Save Money for Buying a Home

Unfortunately the down payment remains among the greatest obstacles to buying a home, so start planning for it... Along with closing costs, moving expenses, insurance and incidentals. 

The larger down payment remains the industry-underwriting staple. Lenders prefer to loan money to borrowers who share as much of the risk as possible. A larger down payment generally means better interest rates and less (or zero) mortgage insurance. Mortgage insurance is money you'll never get back...

Here are a few ways to save more money, faster.
  • Stop impulsive and compulsive spending habits. Skip the fancy drive-thru coffee and use a coffee maker at home. 
  • Cancel subscriptions to magazines, the gym (get a friend and a video and do it at home), reduce your cable television channels and cut back on other services you can buy for less.
  • Stream movies or grab a Red Box and microwave your popcorn at home or have a game night at home instead of going out every Friday night.
  • Bag your lunch, go generic at the supermarket, reduce data gigabytes from 10 to 5 on your smart phone and wait until you have with-fi to Tweet and share.
  • Plan to save. You won't know where you can cut costs if you don't know where your money goes. Make a budget to track your income and your expenditures.
  • Auto-Save. Transfer that money directly from your paycheck into a savings or other interest bearing account using an automatic program at your bank or credit union.
  • Bonus: The more you save, the more options you'll have to diversify savings into investments for a better return on your money.
  • Dump credit accounts. Stop the "emergencies only credit card" nonsense. If you are saving money, there's your emergency fund. Any kind of credit allows you to spend more than you have and then pay through the nose for high credit card interest rates.
  • Liquidate valuable hobby assets. What's more important? Buying a home or hockey gear? Something's got to give.
  • De-clutter your garage, attic and closets. Gain a little cash plus when you move, you'll have less stuff to move and a smaller mortgage to boot.
  • Get a(nother) job. A second job, maybe even a third. Finding additional sources of income can really help speed up that home buy.   Seasonal work, a home-based business, working half a night shift. If you're working you're not as likely to be spending. 
  • Stop loaning money to the federal government. A tax rebate is nothing more than a loan to Uncle Sam, until tax return filing time, but you get zero interest. Adjust your W-4 to match your true tax liability and save the difference.

Sarah Marrinan - Keller Williams -

See Also: Home Buying Tips  |  Homes for Sale