The Rochester Report

Month: July 2016

Staging for an Open House Room by Room


Staging is often viewed as an “extra” step in the home selling process.  While it’s true that making repairs and major updates tend to be more important, this short list of staging tips will be a vital component to getting top dollar for your home, avoiding costly repairs mid-contract, and minimizing surprises during inspections.


The buyer’s first impression is most likely going to be a photo of the front elevation of your home.  Take a moment to cross the street and take a look at your property from a distance.  This will put into perspective what the buyers see when they take their first glance at your home.

  • Add some color to your landscape with bright flowering plants.
  • The buyers will enter using the front door so dress this up.  Pot some flowers to set on the stoop (if it’s large enough) and replace your old and dingy welcome mat.
  • Give your front door a fresh coat of paint.  Be careful with accent colors.
  • Replace your house numbers if they’re not engraved into stone or brick.
  • Rent a power washer and get that siding squeaky clean.  Ask your neighbors if they’d like to share in the cost and everyone’s house will look better for it and you’ll save a few bucks.  It’s a win-win.

Living Room

  • Remove any furniture that’s too large for the space.  Things to look for are blocked hallways, walkways, windows, or furniture that’s touching another piece.
  • Get your furniture floating.  Anchoring your furniture to the outer walls is one of the most common staging mistakes.  Make sure your furniture is anchored to an area rug and not the walls.
  • Do not buy new furniture just for staging purposes.  If your furniture isn’t in the greatest condition use a slip cover or really luxurious throw blanket to cover problem areas.


  • Liberate your fridge.  Remove all magnets, photos, takeout menus, etc.
  • Keep the counter tops clear aside from one or two everyday items.
  • Sprinkle in a few stylish accessories like: a tray with decorative soap, nice (unused) sponge, and a succulent.  Leaving a stylish cookbook propped up or some wooden cooking spoons in a white ceramic vase would to the trick as well.


Bedrooms are tricky because you want to emulate comfort but remove anything that’s too personal.

  1. Remove anything that isn’t traditionally in a bedroom, (i.e., extra beds, cribs, desks).
  2. Invest in a nice bedding set if yours is old and grungy. Stores like HomeGoods and Gordman’s are great for smaller staging items.  Your Realtor may even have a small inventory of items so don’t forget to ask them first.


  1. Your towels need to be new and fresh.  Stick with a hotel look and buy a set of white towels at one of the discount stores I mentioned above.
  2. Hide all products, tooth brushes, and medications.
  3. Add a candle or vase of fresh flowers.


Backyards sell a lot of homes.  Don’t underestimate how important this space is to buyers.  Your best bet is to stage this to emphasize the useable space. A conversation set would do the trick here.

Before you Leave the House

  1. Lock away any valuables and medications.
  2. Set the thermostat to a comfortable temperature.
  3. Set out a vase of fresh flowers.
  4. Make sure all lights are on and curtains are open.
  5. A plate of cookies is a really nice touch.

Above all else…

Leave!  Your Realtor will ensure all buyers have signed in and are monitored while touring your home.  But no buyer will be comfortable speaking openly about your home while you’re present.


Jenna Martindale | Realtor, Edina Realty | Lic Mn | Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Empty Nester Series: Downsizing Vs. Resizing

First off, lets get real about what kind of downsizing you’re trying to accomplish.  Some of my clients live on acreages that they no longer wish to maintain; others would like to decrease costs of ownership.  And still others just wish to live in a home with a more accommodating floor plan.
Those are three very different goals living under the same ‘downsizing’ umbrella.  I propose we enlist another term to better describe what the empty nesters are really looking for; that term being: resizing.  Let’s discuss a few tips for each goal that an empty nester might have.


Downsizing typically means reducing your costs of home ownership which will no doubt be a very difficult task.  In order to reduce your ownership costs you’ll most likely have to reduce the size of your home and/or property.  Not only that but you’ll have to reduce the amount of personal property you keep and you’ll most likely have to make some sacrifices in terms of location and/or amenities depending on your desired location.  When determining when the right time is for you and how to go about this transition, information is your ally here.
My biggest piece of advice is to move before you are unable to.  Next steps are as follows:
  •      Get a CMA done by a licensed Realtor
  •      As your Realtor how much you’ll net from the sale of your current home
  •      Set a budget for the new purchase
  •      Start searching for homes
  •      Keep an open mind and be prepared for changes

Tips for Resizing

If cost of ownership and square footage aren’t a sticking point for you in your current situation but your two story’s floor plan isn’t speaking to your joints anymore you’re in the resizing category.  Renovating your current home may be the best solution for you but most families find that this is costly and creates problems for resale down the line.
New construction is a common option for re-sizers because it solves most of the problems at the forefront for empty nesters.
  •      They can decide on their budget before hand.
  •      They can customize their home to fit their exact needs.
  •      The home is new so requires much less maintenance than their current home.
  •      The option to build within an association community provides daily maintenance assistance that is very much desired by empty nesters.


5 Renovation Ideas That Pay Off For Sellers

renovation ideas that pay off for sellers

Update Kitchen Cabinets.

Extending the life of your current cabinets or replacing them is a renovation that can add to your home’s value in a big way.  If your cabinets are a natural wood then giving them some TLC might be enough.  Some things to consider while giving your current cabinets a makeover:
  • Repaint or Re-finish them.  Check out some painted trends here.
  • Re-face them.  Just replacing the doors and keeping the boxes can save big money while completely changing the look of your kitchen.  You may even decide to keep the doors but pop out a few panels and add glass to give your existing doors a new, more high-end look.
  • Update the hardware.  When it comes to kitchen hardware, the finish you go with isn’t as important as the style.
If you’re planning on replacing all your cabinets consider a good quality, natural wood and don’t skimp on the small add ons like soft close drawers and dovetail joints.

Fix Problem Doorways.

If you have doors that hit one another when both are open it’s important to evaluate the space and consider installing a pocket door if your home’s layout allows.  This is a renovation project best left to a licensed contractor.

Update Your Floor Vents & Air Return Grills.

If you have wood floors consider having custom floor vent crafted in the same material.  It makes a huge difference in the look and flow of your space.  Shop around for vintage style return grills.  This brings thoughtful design to a space that was once only thought of as a utility.  Here are some great options under $50.

Upgrade Your Doors.

If the doors in your home are hollow it will come off as cheap to prospective buyers.  Considering replacing them with solid core doors in a wood that matches your trim and/or window casings.  This is an expensive project but brings lots of value to your home; plus they have a much longer life span than any other options of lesser value.

Don’t Jump to Replace Your Woodturning Fireplace.

A gas fireplace is obviously more convenient than it’s wood burning counterpart but don’t so quick to dump the added ambience your wood burning fireplace adds.  The best of both worlds comes in the form of a gas starter made specifically to make starting a wood burning fire much simpler than ever before.  Shop for a gas starter here.

The Scoop: June’s Real Estate Market Stats


June’s real estate market shows there is no slowing in site for home sales in Rochester, Minnesota.  Every quadrant in Rochester was in a dead heat for days on market, (how many days it takes a home to sell).

36 days is the longest, on average, it took a home to sell in Rochester last month.  That’s a staggering number.

Average list price and average sale price being the exact same number speaks volumes to the supply and demand teetering further towards the sellers’ benefit.  Keep in mind this particularly awesome scenario applies mostly to sellers in the $250,000 and under bracket.

The Northwest quadrant of Rochester edged out the competition in terms of quantity of homes sold as well as how fast they sold.  The average home in this area being in the most  demanded price range speaks to these numbers.

Homes in the SE quadrant were more popular than they’ve ever been mainly due to newer developments as well as average list price.

Overall, the market is so hot right now due to the classic supply and demand issue happening in Rochester real estate right now.



Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed.  Jenna Martindale | Realtor, Edina Realty | Lic Mn