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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Finding 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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
Congratulations, you’ve navigated a home search, written an offer and are ready to close on your new home. While your work is nearly done, getting the details of the closing right is an important final step in the process.
Like so many steps along the way, an efficient and hassle-free closing is all about risk management. How you prep, what you bring and a few double-checks can save you delays and heartache. Here are a few tips for a successful close:
Trying to close on a home over a lunch hour is not recommended. Instead, we recommend finding a half day that you can clear. It likely won’t take all afternoon, but hiccups in the process do occur and many are out of your control. Pad your time accordingly. You won’t want to rush a process that involves so many important details.
The majority of issues that delay closing could have been addressed if buyers took the time to do their homework.
A few action items prior to closing:
Buying a home is likely to be the single most significant financial transaction you enter. As such it is incredibly formal and regulated. Regulators require much of home purchasers and you should be prepared to jump through all of the hoops.
This means bringing:
Closing represents the end of a long journey. While finishing strong requires some diligence, your real estate professional, mortgage lender and closer are all adept at navigating this sometimes confusing world. By finding the right partners you can help ensure you are successful.
At Zachary Adams and Associates we realize our buyers may be on a learning curve and that closing on a new home can be intimidating. Rest assured that we can help demystify the process, lay out the steps and work with your mortgage lender and closing company to deliver a hassle-free close.
The West Metro is the place to be in Twin Cities residential real estate
2018 saw five lakeside homes eclipse the $5 million mark
With the “sold search” function on westmetrohomesearch.com you can explore every sold home, as well understand the market for homes in your budget
This year's top five features a landmark mansion at #1 and also includes a bonus house that a notorious local businessman used to call home but now houses our state’s most famous hard-court athlete. Without further ado, your top five (+1)
Got $5 million and a love for turrets? Combine both with 360 feet of west facing shoreline on 'Tonka and this may be the place for you. The listing describes the home as a “Frank Forster-designed French Normandy home” sitting on a “sprawling estate”. It looks a lot like a castle. One that comes complete with a sunroom, greenhouse, fountain and two giant bronze lions to guard your driveway.
If you happen to find an extra $1.5 million in your couch cushions, you may want to upgrade from the run of the mill $5 million estates and consider this gem. Outbuildings galore include a pool house and boat house to accommodate even the largest posse. A wooded lot with gardens and trails provide even more ambience, enhanced (naturally) by the proper seasonal selection from your wine cellar.
West-facing shoreline is the name of the game in the best of the best and this home makes our list 3 for 3 on that front with 267 feet of it. This gem features a more modern remodel with stunning white throughout. It is the perfect spot for entertaining, complete with a theater and multiple dining areas.
Looking for a less updated home with a sprawling lot of nearly seven acres? Or perhaps you are an aspiring land developer looking to subdivide into three lots? Either way the “other” property on Bushaway Road may be the spot for you.
There really is nothing like spending $10 million on a teardown.
Number one on our list is the historic Pillsbury Mansion and the rare opportunity to own a piece of history. This home is classic and stunning, including a hot tub surrounded by hand-painted murals and other amenities you have to see to believe. The listing says that Mrs. Pillsbury is quoted as saying , "A house can be elegant without being ostentatious”-- you be the judge if she hit the mark.
BONUS HOME- 1492 Hunter Drive, Wayzata
Do these listings have you dreaming of a new home? We'd love to be a resource to help. It doesn’t take multi-millions to improve your quality of life in a new home for 2019-- it only takes action.
A free consultation is a great way to get started by defining a budget and exploring your options. Contact Zach today at 612.656.9647.
A home inspection is integral to managing risk when buying a home and should therefore be a written as a contingency in virtually every offer. It offers the buyer a chance to bring a licensed expert in to review a home in detail following acceptance of a contingent purchase agreement.
The home inspection will help document a home’s features, issues and general condition, breaking down items in need of immediate attention as well as maintenance items to be addressed later.
Your inspector should be licensed and can be found via referral or by using the Find a Home Inspector feature on the American Society of Home Inspectors website. Your home inspector will provide a sample report for you to review prior to engagement. Fees for an inspection typically range from $200 to $400+ based on the size of the home. The inspection itself generally takes two to three hours to complete.
Five best practices can help you make the most of your inspection:
Walking through your potential new home with a licensed inspector is crucial to understanding not only red flags, but maintenance you may have to address in the future.
Being fully engaged and asking questions can also help you discern which items are major and important versus those that are trivial and to be expected. You’ll receive a written report either way, but participating in the process can help allay any fears and ensure you understand your potential new home
2. Be Prepared for a Long List of Findings
Home inspectors are detailed people who are hired to find issues, therefore issues they will find. This detailed analysis can help you ferret out concerns and avoid surprises, but it can also be overwhelming for the uninitiated. Every home has nuances and items that an inspector will note (especially older homes). Do not be discouraged if the list grows long. Many will be small maintenance issues, or simply raise questions to ask of the sellers. The important part of the process is categorizing issues as outlined in best practice #3.
Your inspector can help you determine which items rise to the level of major, but the list includes items you might expect. Poor wiring, foundation issues, environmental concerns, mold and others represent significant concerns that should understood fully. Your seller’s disclosure should help you understand existing issues, but If something significant and unforeseen arises, you should consider carefully whether you may wish to void your purchase agreement.
An experienced real estate agent will have a depth of knowledge about the home inspection process and can help you digest the inspector’s findings. Be sure to engage yours following the inspection to review the list of items and help categorize them as trivial, actionable or deal breaking. Lean on their breadth of experience as an objective third party to help you determine the best course of action.
Following an inspection and review with your agent, you likely have three options:
By far the most common scenario listed is the first one. While inspection reports can be lengthy, they typically uncover a handful of items that need to be addressed to bring a property up to code or otherwise raise it to the level of acceptable for sale. Your agent can help you determine which items rise to this level and help walk you through resolving them.
The buyer’s inspection is one of the final steps in the purchasing process, but it is also a crucial one to protect your best interests. The key component throughout this process is the aid of an experienced real estate professional. An effective buyer’s agent is not a sales person trying to sell you a home, they are a partner for your buying journey, applying expertise and offering guidance along the way. This is true throughout the process, but pays particular dividends during the inspection phase.
That is why engaging the right agent is so important. Zach Adams take his responsibility as your advocate seriously and has hundreds of satisfied clients across decades of transactions in the west metro of Minneapolis. He can carefully and fully explain the inspection process or any of the other many components to buying and selling homes.
Buying a home can be challenging, but in partnership with Zach it need not be overwhelming. Contact Zach today at 612.845.789 to learn how he can help you at every step along the way.