West Metro Minnesota Real Estate Blog

Feb. 22, 2021

Move or Remodel? How one Family Tackled Indecision

A first person account of Blake and Becky, two clients of  Zachary Adams and Associates 


Move or remodel?  In 2020 my wife and I found ourselves facing that age old question. Again.

I say age old because it was a question we’d been asking since 2016. A timeline that went something like this:

  • Sept. 2016- we asked agent Zach Adams to evaluate our existing home, discern the expected value and build an automated search for us to review new home options
  • Mar. 2017- armed with this info, we made a definitive choice—we’d remodel
  • Sept. 2017 - fed up with our contractor dragging his feet, we reconsidered our choice
  • Nov. 2018- we asked Zach to tweak our search criteria and start over with a new search


A year and a half passed and nothing meeting our needs surfaced. During this time a pandemic launched and the housing market changed-- so too did our financial position. One thing didn’t change—our current home didn’t fit. In fact in a pandemic, it fit even less.

So we engaged Zach again. And while the rational response to that 2020 email to should have probably been “maybe you could benefit from a different agent”. To his credit, he did the opposite. He came back out, updated the valuation on our current home, refined our search for us and discussed our options.

Zach recommended that due to an incredibly competitive market, if we were serious we should be ready to walk through homes, possibly on short notice. He added that we must be ready to write offers built with carefully constructed contingencies as protections. He also recommended prepping our current home for sale in case we found a new one we loved.

A dozen showings and three failed offers later, we finally landed on our dream home. We’d seen enough homes to know the market and this was a home run. We wrote a great offer and tried to stay optimistic.

Despite the positivity, our offer was promptly rejected.


We had finished second and were heartbroken. While we knew savvy homebuyers try not to get emotional, it still felt like failure. This was our house, and it was going to someone else.


Until it wasn’t.


It turns out the previous buyer had to move to California and the home was relisted a week and a half later. We got a rare real estate do-over but with a caveat. We had to write an offer attractive enough to win, while not overvaluing the home.


Zach went to work to determine the right number. We put in an offer and our purchase agreement was accepted. The appraisal soon came in for $30k over the agreed upon sale price. Everything suddenly began to fall in place. In September we closed on the new home and sold our existing home. After over four years of effort our home search finally bore fruit.


New Home

Is the takeaway from all of this that my wife and I are awful clients?


Perhaps, but that misses the larger point. We worked with an agent who was patient, available and engaged. He knew we’d be ready when we were ready and was willing to work, not only for us but with us. If he’s ever fired a client, he had to be close with us. Yet he was the same in 2020 that he was in 2016.


It is worth noting that the purchase of the new home wasn’t smooth, nor was the sale of our old house. None of the issues are attributable to Zach, but what I can tell you is that Zach was an indispensable resource throughout both. We worked through every issue and still hit every deadline. We are now ecstatic with the new place as are our teenage daughters.


The truth is that an emotional thing like a move requires an objective third party to act as a thermostat, not a thermometer. Your agent shouldn’t reflect the emotion of the moment, but regulate it.  When we were frustrated or upset, Zach helped us see the big picture. When we were over-eager and walking into a bad choice, he remained cool-headed and rational. That is the value of Zach.


You have many options for agents to hire. A real estate license isn’t hard to get. But what matters is experience. That means experience with 100s of transactions in the past, experience with current market conditions and experience with your target search area.


If you are looking in the West Metro, Zach is your guy. I’m sure others would do fine, but we didn’t need fine. We needed exceptional. Zach was exactly that-- a patient advocate who explained every facet and served as a resource throughout. 


It took a while, but we landed exactly where we wanted and that is directly attributable to Zach.

Posted in Buying, Move-up Buyers
Jan. 11, 2021

Ask a Pro: A Winning Home Search Strategy for 2021

January 2021 Real Estate Q & A 

Will the overheated housing market of 2020 carry over into 2021? I’d like to find a new home, but am unsure if it is even worth it to look
--Kevin, Plymouth

Happy New Year Kevin! Thank you for your question.

First off, know that you are not alone!  After an active 2020 featuring low inventory and rising prices, 2021 finds many buyers in the same boat. These families may be seeking to begin or continue a home search but share your concerns about timing, the market, and their likelihood of success.

To your first question on market trends, the short answer is that in the near term similar conditions are likely to persist. In at least the first quarter of 2021, inventory and rates will likely remain low leading to continued competition for homes under $750k in the west metro of the Twin Cities.

However, this is no reason to sit on the sidelines. In fact for many it will serve as a call to action to redouble efforts. Things have changed from even a year ago, but by considering seasonal and market specific guidelines, you can still persevere to find that new home. A few tips can help.

Focus on Preparation

It’s no secret that the housing market gets busiest as the spring thaw hits the twin cities. This means many home seekers wait for warmer weather to begin a search. Subsequently, these buyers get a late start and miss out on opportunities. Being ready to strike sooner can help you stand out, ‘beat the rush’ and subsequently increase your buying power. 

  • Obtain a mortgage preapproved to understand your price point so you can move fast
  • Build an automated search to help easily identify properties that fit your criteria
  • Schedule showings of new listings promptly and be prepared to act quickly while protecting your interests by writing contingencies into every offer

Reassess your Search Criteria and Adapt

If your initial search reveals few options or seems to be pricing you out of homes, consider adapting your wish list. We all have non-negotiables, by knowing yours and being flexibility with the ‘nice to haves’, you can still find potential homes:

  • Lead with lifestyle. The pandemic has changed everything, adapt your list to reflect this. A home full of zooming students and parents working from home may have reordered priorities in home style and makeup
  • Consider adding flexibility in location, a variable that may matter less with remote work and decreased commuting
  • Be sure to factor in all aspects of a home including outdoor space, access to trails and others with an impact to lifestyle

Professional Guidance can Help

The best advice is to find an advocate who understands the market and process and is willing to work with you to increase your confidence. A strong agent is an ally who can bring insight to every property you consider.

  • An overheated market can drive poor buyer behavior, an agent can offer an objective voice in the process to ensure you are managing risk and considering all angles
  • The neighborhood-level knowledge of an experienced agent can uncover hidden gems or areas you may not have considered
  • Preapprovals and carefully constructed offers are crucial. Agents can handle all of this, helping you stand out to sellers while offering protections for your family

With these tips you can be first in line, ready to act and confident in your decision-making.

Finally a note of encouragement, Kevin. Frustration with inventory is understandable in today’s market. This should not paralyze you with fear or lead to inactivity. New homes come onto the market every day and there are options for nearly every family at a variety of price points. The key is to be ready, recognize opportunity and take things one step at a time.

If your search includes the west metro of the Twin Cities I’d love to connect with you and discuss optimizing all aspects of your search. You don’t say if you are also selling a home, but if so, I’d be happy to offer pricing advice on your current home as well as referrals to other professionals for help with financing.

Knowledge is power and in today’s market prep is everything. I welcome the opportunity to be a resource to help you understand your options and secure a new home for your family.  Good luck with your search!

Posted in Ask a Pro Mailbag
June 15, 2020

Save Money by Increasing Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

Adapting your home to be more environmentally responsible can be easier than you think, and deliver cost savings to your bottom line

The state of Minnesota has been a leader in evolving residential building codes that integrate environmental concerns with safety requirements. This has led to more efficient, better built homes that have helped the state consistently finish in the top 10 of energy efficiency nationally. The net result is that homes built even a decade ago are markedly different than those built today.


For homes that are a bit older, the responsibility largely falls to individual homeowners to capture these efficiencies. Thankfully technology and retrofit solutions have made incremental and even monumental changes easier to implement than ever before.

A few tips can help you get started:

Work with an Expert

Both Xcel and Centerpoint Energy have programs to not only assess your home’s energy efficiency, but also define a path forward with recommended changes. Depending on which company is your home’s gas service provider, a good first step may be to arrange an audit.

These services will provide an action list and consultation, but the good news is that neither company stops there. Each also offers rebates for clients who take steps to increase efficiency via insulation, appliance upgrades, window replacement and others. So while the long term investment is likely to make sense, there is some near-term cost relief available as well.

Consider Technology Solutions

While a virtual hub running all the major systems of a home is increasingly becoming the norm in higher end new construction, many of the features or a Smart Home can also be implemented as one-offs.

A few of the more common features include:

  • Thermostats
    While some smart thermostats are a win due to flexibility in programming times and zones, higher-end models are now equipped with Artificial Intelligence in order to simply program themselves.
  • Lighting
    Motion sensor and timed exterior lights can provide added security in an energy responsible way. In addition, hallway lights now have programmable features to automatically activate in a dimmed state when motion is detected.
  • Irrigation Systems
    Lawn irrigation systems are now wired to be easier to configure and responsive to rain so you’ll no longer have to babysit your schedule.


Seal and Insulate

One easy way to assess the efficiency of your home is through a blower door test. A technician will seal your door with a fan and use monitors to document how your home holds air. This will give you an idea of the impact a fresh round of insulation and sealing will have on utility costs. A posttest completed following any upgrades can also help you quantify the difference.

Replace Windows

While replacement windows can make a large difference, sticker-shock following a contractor bid is almost assured. The good news is that new windows offer more than solely a green play.


New windows can improve aesthetics, reduce maintenance and prove much easier to clean. New windows also increase the value of your home so the expense isn’t without a return. If you are on a budget, it may make sense to replace a few problem windows, install solar shades or tinting on others and build a plan to upgrade more over time.

Implement Lower Cost Solutions

Perhaps the best news when looking to “go green” is that most solutions pay for themselves over time. By tackling a few smaller and more cost-conscious solutions now, you can see a reduction in energy costs almost immediately:

  • As light bulbs burn out, swap them out with LEDs
  • Clean or replace all filters in your home regularly-- dirty filters make appliances work harder
  • In summer use blinds, and drapes on the sunny side of your home to reduce strain on your AC
  • Consider sealing windows in winter, but open shades to leverage passive solar heat during the day
  • Monitor your thermostat as experts say that a one degree change can impact energy usage up to 8%
  • Consider recycling your second refrigerator, most providers offer a rebate for old appliances

The Bottom Line

We are all stewards of the environment in which we live. One place we can deliver better outcomes for our planet is through our homes. Thankfully science and technology has made it easier than ever to get started. A few simple changes can really move the needle over time reducing utility costs and overall waste.


If you are interested in making an even bigger change than your current residence allows, there are many options out there. At Zachary Adams and Associates we are here to serve you in finding a home that meets the diverse needs of your family-- be that a downsized residence, an environmentally optimized home or a space nearer work to cut your commute.


Your needs drive every conversation and we are ready to meet you where you are in your search. Contact Zach today to get started.

Posted in Home Improvement
April 22, 2020

Keys to Selling Your House Virtually

Keys to Selling Your House Virtually | MyKCM

In a recent survey by realtor.com, people thinking about selling their homes indicated they’re generally willing to allow their agent and some potential buyers inside if done under the right conditions. They’re less comfortable, however, hosting an open house. This is understandable, given the health concerns associated with social contact these days. The question is, if you need to sell your house now, what virtual practices should you use to make sure you, your family, and potential buyers stay safe in the process?

In today’s rapidly changing market, it’s more important than ever to make sure you have a digital game plan and an effective online marketing strategy when selling your house. One of the ways Zachary Adams & Associates can help with this is to make sure your listing photos and virtual tours stand out from the crowd, truly giving buyers a detailed and thorough view of your home.

So, if you’re ready to move forward, virtual practices may help you win big when you’re ready to sell. While abiding by state and local regulations is a top priority, Zachary Adams & Associates can help make your sale happen. We know exactly what today’s buyers need, and how to put the necessary digital steps in place. For example, according to the same survey, when asked to select what technology would be most helpful when deciding on a new home, here’s what today’s homebuyers said, in order of preference:

  • Virtual tour of the home
  • Accurate and detailed listing information
  • Detailed neighborhood information
  • High-quality listing photos
  • Agent-led video chat

After leveraging technology, if you have serious buyers who still want to see your house in person, keep in mind that according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), there are ways to proceed safely. Here are a few of the guidelines, understanding that the top priority should always be to obey state and local restrictions first:

  • Limit in-person activity
  • Require guests to wash their hands or use an alcohol-based sanitizer
  • Remove shoes or cover with booties
  • Follow CDC guidance on social distancing and wearing face coverings

Getting comfortable with us as your agent – we want to be a true trusted advisor – taking these steps under the new safety standards might be your best plan. This is especially important if you’re in a position where you need to sell your house sooner rather than later.

Nate Johnson, CMO at realtor.com ® notes:

"As real estate agents and consumers seek out ways to safely complete these transactions, we believe that technology will become an even more imperative part of how we search for, buy and sell homes moving forward."

It sounds like some of these new practices might be here to stay.

Bottom Line

In a new era of life, things are shifting quickly, and virtual strategies for sellers may be a great option. Opening your doors up to digital approaches may be game-changing when it comes to selling your house. Let’s connect so you have a trusted real estate professional to help you safely and effectively navigate through all that’s new when it comes to making your next move.

Posted in Selling
April 9, 2020

Ask a Pro: Wait things out or time to buy?

April/May 2020 Real Estate Q & A 

Zachary Adams is a residential real estate expert with 100s of transaction in the west metro of Minneapolis. To submit a question for Ask a Pro click here.

Is it time to put my house hunting plans on hold or time to take action?–Jon L., Plymouth

Thanks for your question, Jon. This is one I’ve heard a lot lately and the answer depends greatly on your individual situation. Sitting down with an agent can help yours come into focus, but a few general guidelines can also help:


The first consideration in uncertain times like these is economics. Before making a major financial decision it is always important to assess your cash available, job security and other factors. Many of these are unknowns for people in the current environment. This has led many buyers to put things on hold. Interestingly enough, this reduction in buyers has been accompanied by a less aggressive reduction in sellers.

With basic supply and demand at play, you can probably see where this headed. Less competition means a better environment for buyers willing to jump in. So if economic factors line up favorably for you, now may be a great time to buy a new home.

On top of decreased competition, mortgage rates are incredibly favorable. This means you may be able to buy more house with the same payment you may have qualified for just a few months ago. So depending on economics and your timeline for staying in your new home, now may be a good time to buy.


But all of this begs an obvious follow-up question: Why are sellers less inclined to push the pause button?

This is because the risk to a seller is lower than to buyers in this environment. Listing a house doesn’t cost anything in and of itself to the homeowner. If your home sells and the sale can proceed, all is good. If you list and it doesn’t sell, the seller is not out any money. Add to this that amid fears about the virus, listing your home is even easier than it used to be. Open houses have been halted and nearly all visits are virtual. This means fewer showings and less stress overall. It also means folks listing homes need to ensure their agent is aggressive about marketing.

No longer is simply getting listed the largest goal.  Today photos, video tours, staging and engaging a well-connected local agent are all factors that have moved from important to crucial.


Having said all of the above, the biggest factor with real estate right now is the same as it is for everything else—safety. Here the industry has been proactive in taking steps to keep everyone as safe as possible. These include the aforementioned halt on open houses, a focus on technology and a major reduction in interactions. And of course we’re prepared and ready with the inevitable hand sanitizer and other on-site considerations.

A Modified Approach

All in all it is not business as usual for real estate, but rather an adapted reality that lines up well for some and leads to delays for others. Knowing which makes sense for your family begins with a virtual consultation with an agent.

At Zachary Adams and Associates we are open for business and actively engaged in adapting practices to keep you safe while meeting your needs. If now is the time, we’d love a chance to walk you through our amended processes and help you understand the timeline, finances and specifics of your situation.

Whether you are listing, buying or both, we’ve got a plan to help mitigate risks and keep you on track and working toward a bright future. Contact us today to get started.




Posted in Ask a Pro Mailbag
Jan. 31, 2020

Interior Design Trends for 2020

Three macro trends are driving home design into 2020. Understanding them has implications for buyers and remodelers alike.

The New Year brings with it a fresh batch of “what’s hot” lists for homeowners looking to upgrade. While considering individual products can be helpful, a focus on the trends behind changes in home styles can be even more valuable.

Three of these macro trends appear to be driving upticks for 2020 and beyond:



Perhaps the largest trend expected to crescendo in 2020 is the rise of individualism. As strange as it sounds, home features that buck the trends will officially be “on trend”.

Experts say the most obvious of these is well underway as the all-white kitchen has become cliché. Instead designers have shifted the focus to softer hues. These can ensure all the brightness of white but also be tailored to individual style with light blues and soft grays.

This individualism streak is expected to impact much more than cabinets and wall color as appliances in varying colors are also getting in on the game. No word yet if avocado green will be making a resurgence as anything but retro, but we certainly hope not.

Bringing the Outside In

Whether it is butcher block countertops or accent walls incorporating wood, a key trend for 2020 is bringing the outside inside. While granite and rock will continue to shine in this space, use of next generation wood products that appear untreated and natural are booming. Particularly hot in this space is the accent wall filled with narrow vertical slats.


This love of all things natural is even leading some to experiment with indoor gardens as a modern alternatives to house plants.


Counteroffer Negotiation


Ecological concerns promise to continue to drive buying and design choices in 2020. This is expected to go beyond smart home enabled features cutting your energy usage to instead encompass the efficient use of space.


In an effort to reduce the footprint of new homes, homebuilders are keyed in on using every inch of interior space to its full potential. Builders are finding that most buyers are unwilling to surrender precious kitchen and bedroom space, so this quest for efficiency is having the largest impact on storage areas like mudrooms. The result is upticks in organizational features, cubbies and other amenities. Anything that can ensure that limited space is still highly functional is on the table.


Another spot where the efficiency play is on display is the resurrection of the fireplace. Inline fireplaces continue to be popular as they offer efficient supplemental heat, a modern aesthetic and a focal point. Many are also able to split multiple rooms to tie spaces together seamlessly.



The Bottom Line

While trends come and go, the evolution of the modern home is anything but a trend--rather it’s a slow and steady march forward. Remodeling can bring many of these features to an older home, but if a home no longer fits your family, updates may not be enough.


If you’ve reached the point where you’d like to explore your options, we’d love to sit down for a conversation. At Zachary Adams and Associates our goal is to find the home that fits your lifestyle. A free consultation including a complimentary valuation of your current home is just a few clicks away.


Contact us today to get started.


May 21, 2019

Home Seller Basics: Five Tips When Making a Counteroffer

You’ve received your first offer! Now comes the crucial step of negotiating favorable terms. With a few key tips, you can be ready to counteroffer like a pro.


Selling your home can be a roller coaster of emotions, none quite as unsettling as awaiting purchase offers. You’ve put a ton of work into prepping your home for sale, setting a proper price and staging, and finally you are about to see the fruits of your labors. It is time for the beginning of the end!

Being ready to respond promptly to any and all offers requires a bit of preparation, but it can make all the difference.

A few tips can help:

Check Your Ego


While you may find an initial offer insulting on some level (most commonly price), do your best to avoid taking it all personally. You have someone interested in your home, that’s a good thing! It’s possible they are just fishing with a below-market bid. That’s OK, you can always reject an offer outright, or use your counter to level-set. Either way, this is just business, so managing emotions is important. No one is trying to put anything over on you, they are just negotiating the other side with distinct and differing goals.

Remember Sales Price Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story

While sale price is the likely the most contentious issue that arises from an offer, it is far from the only issue you should be tracking. Offers you receive will also spell out which appliances and personal property are included, closing date, contingencies and other important information.


Be sure to read the offer completely, and ask your agent to summarize the pertinent information beyond sales price, noting anything unusual. Any counter you send back to the buyer will have to address every issue, and all are negotiable-- including the ever-important sales price.


More information about contingencies is available here


Counteroffer Negotiation

Know Your Buyers

Understanding the motivations of your potential buyers can help greatly in writing a strong counter. Your agent can prove invaluable in this process by having frank discussions with the buyer’s agent to define who is buying your home and help you address what matters to them.


Like with any negotiation, information about your audience can ensure your counteroffer factors in items they value and respects their intentions. A little empathy and understanding in this realm could be the key to making it all work.

Let Your Non-negotiables Drive (but not define) Your Counter

If you find any of the offer terms unacceptable, you’ll want to counter. When crafting your counteroffer it is important to know your absolute bottom line. The minimum you’ll accept for your home, and the terms that you cannot live without. While knowing these is important, your counteroffer shouldn’t necessarily include those as the terms. This is a negotiation, so make sure your counter is directionally better, but you may appreciate some additional wiggle-room later in the process. It is important to secure favorable terms in the offer phase because your work doesn’t end when it does.

Realize this Isn’t the End

Most offers will be written contingent on an inspection and prior to an appraisal. The results of both can move the goalposts on the negotiation and potentially lead to some additional work (and possibly expense) for the seller. By keeping this in mind when writing your counter, you can ensure that you are ready to address any issues.


To manage risks related to a buyer's inspection, some sellers opt to complete their own home inspection prior to listing their homes.  In this manner they are able to identify any work they can anticipate prior to closing and price accordingly.

The Bottom Line

A formal offer is the beginning of the final phase of selling your home. Being prepared to promptly and effectively act on every offer is crucial to obtaining a favorable outcome. Keep in mind that you are not alone in this process. Your agent likely has years of experience and has reviewed 100s of offers. He or she will be able to provide guidance and support to help you determine if you should accept the terms, reject the offer outright or counteroffer.


Zach Adams has experience in the offer process that is unmatched in the west metro of the twin cities. He’s been on both sides of negotiations just like these and has the unique skillset you need to find common ground with a buyer and sell your home. Perhaps his best ability however, is his availability. He’s always reachable, engaged and ready to help sellers just like you.


To learn more about this process or any other component of residential real estate, Zach would love to hear from you. He can be reached directly at 612.656.9647


Posted in Move-up Buyers, Selling
April 16, 2019

Home Seller Basics: Prepping Your Home for Sale

Preparing your home for sale can go well beyond fresh paint and carpet. To wow a buyer in a competitive market requires attention to detail. A few tips can help.


Buyer perception is the key component to putting your home on the bullet train from listed to sold. While many of the steps along the way are intuitive, others may be less so.

What steps can you take beyond a fresh coat of paint, some landscaping attention and a major deep clean?

Here are five things to consider to help your home give potential buyers the “WOW!” moment they covet.

Hook 'em Early

Prepped Entryway

You likely already know that curb appeal can go a long way toward a positive first impression, making landscaping and exterior considerations imperative. However, just as important as that first impression on the outside, is a buyer’s initial emotional reaction to the interior of your home.

To get it right means to honestly assess your home from the entry with fresh eyes.

What do you notice?
Do you have a bright clean and inviting entryway?

If not, it is likely that clutter, space issues and disorganization are the culprits. This presents an obvious starting point for any work on your home.

  • A front door in a bold accent color with shiny new hardware can add visual interest
  • Colorful rugs create a warm and inviting feel
  • Touch-up paint can hide the scuffs and dings of everyday use in high traffic areas
  • Organized and neat applies to the entry, but also closets and storage areas


In general, most people simply have too much furniture to showcase the space potential of their home. For this reason you may want to consider renting a storage unit and removing roughly half of your furniture. While this may sound extreme, the line between well-staged and nearly vacant can be tighter than you think. The sweet spot is just enough décor and color to show the potential of the space.


When in doubt, tune in to a home improvement show just in time for the reveal and note the general lack of furniture and what is (and isn’t) on display in each room.

  • Remove everyday items from every space
  • Countertops should be empty with a simple and colorful centerpiece on the kitchen table
  • Even unseen areas like cupboards and your refrigerator should be cleaned, organized and Spartan in appearance

Prep for Sale


Family pictures do a great job of making your home your own, but buyers need to visualize it as their home. This means removing anything that destroys that myth. Whether that means simply removing pictures or painting over the mural in your son’s room, anything you can to do to perpetuate that feeling can help.


The key is to be appealing but non-specific. They know someone lives here currently, but they need to envision the future when they do.

  • Collectibles should be placed in storage, pet supplies stowed
  • Consider carefully if your bold accent wall is neutral enough to make the cut
  • Books and knickknacks can be too personal and add clutter
  • Don't forget that jewelry, valuables and medication should also be removed

Focus on Lighting

Clean and bright is inherently appealing. Optimally every showing will be during the day with natural light streaming in from every window. While that may not be feasible, you should strive to approximate the effect.

  • Swap out heavy window treatments and clean those windows!
  • Consider installing new light fixtures to deliver a brighter, more updated look
  • Supplement natural light with strategic lamp placement
  • Replace lightbulbs with an increased wattage

Give every space purpose

Dreaming requires a nudge at times and a space must be defined before you can make it your own. While your spare bedroom may serve as scrapbooking headquarters today, your buyer needs to see it differently. Help them along by adding a bed.


Visual cues can be more subtle, but they are important. If buyers are confused by the nuances of your floor-plan, they may be less apt to appreciate the possibilities of all of this space. 

  • A lamp and chair can strategically subdivide a large undefined space into a reading nook
  • A large open living room may work better as two conversation areas
  • Consider hiding or removing your TV so you no longer have to engineer seating around it
  • Convert that unused basement room into an office or workout center


The Bottom Line

While interior design and detail work may not be your forte, it is undoubtedly in the skillset of your real estate agent. The best advice to define where to spend energy in preparing your home for sale is to ask. Engage an experienced local pro, trust their wisdom and heed their advice. They walk through literally thousands of homes a year and they are savvy enough to know what works and what doesn’t. Lean into this expertise to make your home shine in a crowded marketplace.


If you are interested in a free consultation to define how to showcase your home, Zach Adams has the experience to ensure your home tells the right story to buyers. He has over two decades of experience and 100s of transactions in the west metro of Minneapolis.


A walkthrough of your home is always complimentary, and a great first step. You’ll receive a free valuation, competitive market analysis and advice for next steps. Contact Zach today at 612.656.9647 to get started.

March 21, 2019

Home Seller Basics: What is the Value of my Home?

The value of your home is a function of many variables, many of which may be outside of your control. This makes understanding and managing those that are within your control crucial to maximizing your sale price.

Many factors are included when buyers are considering writing an offer. As a seller, your job is to identify and manage those with a direct impact to your bottom line. While it is true that the sales price of any home is largely driven by location, features and the current competitive landscape, it is even more accurate to add “as perceived by the buyer” to the end of the statement.

Therefore the best course of action when selling involves focusing on anything that will afford a large number of buyers the opportunity to view and consider your home in a positive light.

Said simply -- a polished product seen by many potential buyers is easier to sell.

A simple three step process can help:

Begin with a Comparative Market Analysis

Selling a Home Contingent

Consulting an expert and assessing your starting point is wise before you begin any journey. When selling a home this means engaging an experienced local agent to walk through your home and provide expert analysis. They’ll take notes, document specs and fully assess every aspect of your property, noting positives as well as opportunities.

Armed with this information a strong agent can layer in a comparable listing report and the supporting detail to explain the analysis in detail. Perhaps most valuable, this analysis will provide a clear bottom line-- their best guess at a fair listing price. It will be driven by a deep understanding of the marketplace and how your home might fair versus others that are similar. It will also clearly identify which key differentiators will impact price.

Address Key Concerns and Mitigate Risks

Armed with your Comparative Market Analysis, you will be able to sit down with your agent and discuss which factors uncovered in the analysis are worthwhile to address prior to listing. This will include problem areas to consider fixing and key attributes to feature. For many sellers this may simply mean fresh paint and carpet, for others much more.


This is a nuanced discussion that often includes strategic investments and some sweat equity. An experienced realtor will discuss recommendations and can give you a clear understanding of which tweaks will provide an out-sized impact to sale price. In many instances a few key expenditures can make a world of difference. Once you’ve determined an action plan and discussed strategic pricing, it is time to talk marketing.


Contingent Sale Home

Focus on Marketing

In a competitive marketplace it is important to stand out. It is also a virtual certainty that the buyer of your home will first view it online. Open houses have their place, but they generally serve as the two of a one-two punch. This means every detail of your home’s online profile must be carefully scrutinized.  Your summary should be well-written, photography professionally done and the staging optimized. Attention spans are short in the digital age and capitalizing in this realm requires you to put your best virtual foot forward. Here that experienced agent will also prove their mettle, creating interest visually and via that all-important description.


In addition to optimizing your listing, you should also task your agent with explaining additional components of their marketing plan. Virtual tours, social media blasts and direct buyers’ agent engagement are absolutely crucial. Online listings can age quickly and “splash” marketing strategies (along with competitive pricing) can ensure early activity.


The Bottom Line

It is no secret that the through line to every component of selling your home is engaging the right sales agent. There is no substitute for the wisdom of experience, but perhaps even more important is where that experience was gleaned. The most effective agents have a neighborhood-level understanding of the nuances of the local market.


When buying or selling the west metro, that agent is Zach Adams. Zach has helped clients buy and sell 100s of homes in the west metro over the past two decades. He has assembled a world-class team and would love to understand your unique situation and how he can help drive success for your family. A free consultation is a great first step. Contact Zach today to get started at 612.656.9647 or find him online at westmetrohomesearch.com.

Posted in Move-up Buyers, Selling
Feb. 12, 2019

Home Seller Basics: Finding the Right Real Estate Agent

When selling your home, engaging the right agent can make all of the difference. By focusing on three key factors before the hire, you can help ensure you get it right.


Closing Date SetFinding a real estate agent to sell your home is simple.

Radio ads are flush with Twin Cities “experts” touting success while issuing guarantees and promises. Google can spit out 100s of names in fractions of a second.

Yet a recent study conducted by the National Association of Realtors noted that while 91% of sellers worked with a real estate agent, only 64% say they were “very satisfied” with the process.

Why the disconnect?

Because while finding an agent may be easy, finding the right agent takes a little effort. Luckily, agents that deliver satisfaction frequently share three common characteristics.

Local Experience

The Twin Cities metro area includes seven counties and over three million people. This makes “Twin Cities Real Estate Expert” a true misnomer. Aspiring home sellers should not seek Twin Cities resources, but a depth of experience within their own region, city and neighborhood. Values are variable, geographically specific, change frequently and are influenced by many factors. By selecting an agent with local expertise (backed by a transaction history there) you can help ensure your home is not only priced properly, but also marketed aggressively.

When vetting suitors ask them:

  • How long have you been selling homes?
  • What is your geographic sweet spot?
  • How many homes have you sold in my community in the past year?
  • Can you provide examples and referrals? 

Your New Home

Comprehensive Services

When selling a home, you are paying a fee (typically a percentage of the sale price) and it is important to ensure you know what you will get for this fee.

Service levels vary greatly among agents as relates to promotion, marketing and even the preparation of your home. While it is intuitive to understand precisely what you are buying, many home sellers fail to ask before hiring an agent and are ultimately underwhelmed.

A few basics that you should mandate:

  • Detailed listing on the local real estate listing service(we can't say the 3 letter acronym as it is copyrighted)
  • Professional photography, no iphone pictures.  True pros use lighting, multiple angles, drones, etc
  • Comparative Market Analysis showing how your home stacks up with current offerings
  • Recommendations for upgrades including the impact to list price
  • A virtual tour
  • Post-showing feedback reports, it is imperitive to get feedback from agents and buyers that view the home
  • Email blast of your home’s details to top performing local agents
  • Social media posts about your home
  • Broker previews to highlight your property to selling agents
  • Staging advice
  • Open House plans
  • Periodic market updates on local market changes and positioning

Strong Communication Skills

While listing your home begins with a valuation and ends with a hassle-free close, there are many important steps between the two. The success of these additional components hinges greatly on communication between you and your agent. A strong agent will be available, engaged and work hard to demystify the process. This begins with a thorough explanation on the front end. Once engaged, there should be a regular cadence of updates to keep you appraised of what’s now, what’s next and how things are progressing.

When meeting with prospective agents be sure to ask for a process overview. Note the touch points that are built into the process. Share your goals for the sale, taking note if the agent appears to listen well, asks follow-up questions and if you ultimately felt heard. If the answer is no, this is a major red flag.

If a prospective agent passes the initial communication screening ask them:

  • If I engage you as my agent, how often can I expect to hear from you?
  • Will I be working directly with you or delegated to staff?
  • How prompt a response can I expect to phone, email and text inquires?

The Bottom Line

Finding the right agent is integral to success when selling your home. While this step is important, it need not feel overwhelming. By focusing on local expertise, services provided and communication, you can make an effective hire.

Zachary Adams prides himself on a depth of experience in the west metro of the Twin Cities that is unmatched. He couples that experience with an aggressive list of services and a laser focus on communication that truly sets him apart.

If you have a home to sell in the west metro and value honesty, integrity and results, Zach would love to sit down and earn your trust. Contact Zach today to get started at 612.656.9647.


Posted in Move-up Buyers, Selling