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Rochester Minnesota Homes for Sale
Rochester Minnesota Homes for Sale

Seller's Guide 101

Dave Birka REALTOR® Rochester MN

David understands that your home is your single most important investment. Let his background and experience ensure that you will net the best possible price for your home, in the shortest amount of time, and with a minimum of inconvenience to you.

"I work hard to make sure that my marketing is well executed, and that my sellers are well informed of the status of their listing, and the current market conditions and trends. I have a sincere commitment to my clients."

Dave Birka

"...we want you to know what a huge blessing you have been to our family. Selling our first home in such a professional and fast manor, then helping us get through the building process was a GREAT experience..."    Jeff and Heather

The following topics identify important activities when selling your home in Rochester Minnesota:

What Will Dave Do For You?
The First Steps Taken During the Home Buying Process
Market Analysis
Pricing Strategy
Immediate Action Plan
Showing Your Home
The Offer
Closing Process
Title Matters
Moving On

What will Dave Do for You?

Most home owners feel that it is best to entrust the sale of their biggest investment to a professional. There are a number of complexities in modern Real Estate transactions that should be considered. As a Rochester native, Dave can share the latest local market conditions, trends and MLS information with his clients to present a picture of the market. This comprehensive Competitive Market Analysis will help you to determine the value of your property. Dave and his associates have the experience and resources to develop an effective marketing campaign to ensure success.

This web site offers your potential home buyer an edge to keep in front of the competition. Buyers will experience a full suite of features including, the MLS Search, Automated Emails of Buyer Matches and Price Adjustments, Virtual tours, Full Color Brochures, and More!

As a Graduate of the REALTOR® Institute, GRI, David has gained the knowledge, expertise and skill set necessary to make selling your home a success.

"Your professional and organized selling style really was my guiding light through the apprehensive time!"    Nancy

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The First Steps Taken During the Home Buying Process
National Association of Realtors

  All Buyers First-time Buyers Repeat Buyers
Looked online for properties for sale 41% 35% 45%
Contacted a real estate agent 18% 14% 20%
Looked online for information about the home buying process 11% 17% 8%
Drove-by homes/neighborhoods 8% 5% 9%
Talked with a friend or relative about home buying process 6% 11% 3%
Contacted a bank or mortgage lender 6% 9% 4%
Visited open houses 3% 3% 4%
Looked in newspapers, magazines, or home buying guides 1% 1% 2%
Contacted builder/visited builder models 1% 1% 1%
Contacted home seller directly 1% 1% 2%
Attended a home buying seminar 1% 2% *
Looked up information about different neighborhoods or area schools, local lifestyle/ nightlife, parks, public transportation 1% 1% 1%
Read book or guides about the home buying process * 1% *
Other 1% 1% 1%

* less than 1%

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Market Analysis

A good marketing strategy is based on solid data. A market analysis is used to assist you in determining the market value of your home. Homes that are similar to yours in the same area that have recently sold, pending sale, and active are used. "We will also need to develop an understanding of what your home will offer to a prospective buyer. Your input will be important as no one knows your home better than you."

Dave has the experience in your neighborhood needed to prepare a free, no obligation Competitive Market Analysis (CMA).

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Pricing Strategy

Today's buyer is well informed and price sensitive. A property that is priced over the market can often deter buyers who are serious about finding a property. If the property is under-priced, it will most likely sell quickly impacting your net proceeds. Care and research should be taken when establishing the original listing price.

There are many factors that will affect the selling price. The following should help you determine the price you can expect to receive:

  • Direct Competition
  • Condition
  • Seasonal Fluctuations
  • Buyer vs. Seller Market
  • House Size, Layout
  • Location
  • Amenities
  • Timeline
  • Terms

The Golden Rule of Real Estate
Price, terms and condition and marketing can all be changed. Location will remain the same.

"He epitomizes the ideal realtor; Dave is an expert on Rochester, an organized manager, a tasteful decorator, and most importantly, a trusted friend."    Helena and Erik

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Immediate Action Plan:

Activate your listing — SE MN Association of REALTOR® Multiple Listing Service (SE MN Region)
Activate your listing — Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota (Twin Cities Region)
Benefit — Advertises your property to professional real estate agents who are REALTOR® members of the Multiple Listing Service in a large geographic area

Virtual Tour — Take quality photos and virtual photo tour with descriptive text to paint a vivid picture of the home and showcase the features that make your home special
Benefit — Properties are viewed in seconds on the computer. A good photo with capture the attention of the viewer, and invite them in to see more

Install Electronic Lock Box — Records showing activity and reports feedback
Benefit — Releases seller from being present, and limits access to set hours and qualified agents

Internet Marketing — 2008 National Association of REALTOR® reports over 87% of home buyers use the internet in their search for real estate
Benefit — Gets your listing exposed to a mass audience

Marketing Brochures — Presents a visual picture and contains the descriptive information of your property
Benefit — Keeps your home in the Buyer's mind

"For Sale" Sign — Source of buyer inquiries, can be enhanced with marketing brochures for a "24-hour open house"
Benefit — An effective way to attract buyers; neighbors can tell friends, family, and work associates of the home

Office Tour — Exposes property to listing office REALTOR® members representing several qualified buyers
Benefit — Tour evaluations provide seller feed back on pricing and condition of property

Open House — An event to show your home to buyers interested in the neighborhood and your home
Benefit — Opportunity for buyers that wish to shop anonymously to view your home

Newspaper Advertising — Despite the studies that show the effectiveness of newspaper advertising in real estate is declining, newspaper can still enhance the overall campaign
Benefit — Captures a generation that uses newspaper for news and information

Email Alerts — Set up automated notifications to you and buyers with new listings and price changes based on a custom profile
Benefit — You can actively view the changes occurring in the market

Pre-inspection — A professional perspective on the condition of the home
Benefit — Offers a pro active approach to curing problems in the transaction

Home Warranty — A service contract that covers the repair or replacement of common breakdowns
Benefit — Provides buyers and seller peace of mind

Target Mailing — Send post cards to prospective buyers in the area
Benefit — Provides exposure to a concentrated market segment

Property Information Book — A central location for all home information, manuals, plat maps and other valuable information
Benefit — On the spot information resource for REALTOR® and prospective buyers

Feedback — Showing information, realtor feedback, market news and information will be shared on a weekly basis
Benefit — Provides on going communication to keep the marketing process on track

"We would not hesitate to recommend Dave to anyone considering buying or selling their home, and we have already done so with many of our friends."    Ed and Linda

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Showing Your Home

Most of the time you will be given at least a couple of hours notice before a REALTOR® shows your home. Before you show your home add these small but important finishing touches. Remember, the first few minutes of the showing are important to capture a buyer's interest.

Light and Bright — whether day or night, a lit house gives a "welcome home" impression. So turn on all the lights, indoor and outdoor. Open all curtains and drapes to let in maximum light. Your home looks more cheerful and it also prevents harsh shadows.

Out of Sight — prospective buyers may feel like intruders if you are home during a showing. Allow the Realtor the opportunity to speak freely with buyers and emphasis your home's best features. If possible, take a walk, visit the library, go shopping or take the kids to the park. If you cannot leave, try to remain out of sight and do not accompany the buyers from room to room.

The Scent of Success — Scented sprays are too obvious and may be found offensive. For a pleasing fragrance, add a few drops of vanilla extract on a stove burner or boil water and add some cinnamon. Refrigerator cookies are quick and easy to bake, as well as lighting a scented candle prior to a showing. Both will make your home more attractive.

Waste Not — Empty the trash in the kitchen and any other waste baskets before a showing. Garbage does not send a positive message, even in small amounts.

Comfort Counts — Make sure the thermostat is set such that the house is at a comfortable temperature. Turn off the television and turn soft, melodious music on.

Pets — It is best to try and take your pets with you while your home is being shown. If that is not possible, at least keep them outside. Animals under foot will put a damper on a showing.

Also see Home Staging — Getting Your Home Ready To Sell

"From the initial viewing and through the sale and closing of our two houses, your measured guidance and wise counsel have been invaluable."    Barbara and Joel

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The Offer

Congratulations you have an offer!

Here are some tips for you to use when you review an offer.

The bid price — Is it within 3 to 5 percent of your asking price? If so, most real estate agents will tell you it's a good offer and urge you to consider accepting it — unless you have a hot prospect you think will bid higher.

Ability to pay — A buyer or real estate agent should present you with a lender qualification letter that shows the buyer is qualified to pay for the home.

Contingencies — Is a buyer making an offer contingent on selling his or her home, the results of an inspection, or something in your house being fixed? It's up to you to decide if the buyer is asking too much. Weigh the contingencies against the bid price.

As a seller, you many want to add contingencies, too. Here are a couple to consider:

Loan Approval — Purchase agreements can be made contingent on the buyer being approved for a loan within a specified period of time, usually 30 days or less. If you are going to help finance the home, put the exact terms of your contract in writing, too.

Property — Both the buyer and seller benefit from putting all agreements about the property in writing. For example, if the buyer will buy the property only if the roof is repaired or the washer and dryer come with the home, include this in the agreement. Be sure to include in the purchase agreement the maximum price you've agreed to pay for repairs.

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Once an offer is made, if you intend to accept the offer, or make a counter-offer, do it as soon as possible. Realize that at any time prior to accepting or countering, a buyer can withdraw their offer.

When you make changes to an offer, they require written approval of all parties for the contract to be enforceable. Know that even minor changes facilitate the opportunity for either the seller or buyer to change their mind.

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Closing Process

To put it simply the last part of the home selling process is closing. It is the time between signing the purchase contract and the day the deed is actually recorded transferring title. Once everything is signed, then escrow closes and your home is sold.

All the paperwork to sell your home must be done by the closing date. If you can't close the sale on time, you may have to cancel the movers, and possibly pay for two homes at once.

The closing is the day you, real estate agents, and the closers and/or attorneys involved get together to make sure all the terms of the purchase agreement have been met. The seller signs the deed and a few other papers, such as the Settlement Statement required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which lists all the closing costs. The buyer will meet with their closers and/or attorneys to sign stacks of papers. It also involves a lot of money for both parties!

When Should You Schedule The Closing?

When you sign the purchase agreement with the buyer, you'll agree on a closing date. Make sure the date is a minimum of six weeks from the time you make the purchase agreement to allow both parties to follow up on their end of the purchase agreement. That way you and the buyer will have plenty of time to get all the paperwork in order. Most closings are scheduled at the end of the month to avoid having the buyer pay additional interest on the loan. Don't close on the last day of the month; instead allow yourself a few extra days in case there is a problem. Although the closing date is negotiable, it is often dictated by the type of loan the buyer obtains.

Do You Need A Closing Agent?

In some communities, sellers aren't represented at closing by a closing agent. In other communities, they are. This is a simple matter of traditional industry practice in different areas. You may need to hire either a closing agent or a real estate attorney to prepare your deed and a few other closing documents. If so, shop around for one with a good reputation and a reasonable price. Ask friends who they used, or ask a real estate agent or a real estate attorney to recommend a closing agent.

What Will You Pay To Close?

"Wait a minute. You mean I have to pay closing fees when I'm selling my home?" Yes, it's true. While buyers cover most of the closing costs, you owe some, too.

Check your settlement statement for a list of all fees you owe. Check the math, too. Mistakes can cost you money. Request that your closer furnish this list of costs to you one business day before the closing.

Following is a list of closing costs that sellers in Minnesota typically pay:

Brokerage Fee — Any sales fees you've agreed to pay the real estate broker.

Abstract or Title Search — The cost to update your abstract and check the title

Recording Fees — The cost to file proper documents with the county satisfying your mortgage and clearing up any other title problems.

Real Estate Taxes & Assessments — You may owe property taxes, or if you've already paid them for all or part of the year, your buyer may need to reimburse you.

State Deed Tax — In Minnesota you must currently pay the treasurer's office $3.30 in taxes for every $1000 of the price of your property.

Conservation Fee — Some counties collect between $5 and $20 for a mortgage registration fee and a deed transfer fee. This money is used, in part, to fund Minnesota's wildlife fund.

Closing Fee — Real Estate Attorney or Closing Company Fee

"Dave was the consummate professional. Very patent & willing to go "above and beyond" to assist me and support me..."    Carole

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Title Matters

In Minnesota, real estate records are kept in county courthouses for abstract property and for Torrens or registered property. Abstract property records trace back to the U.S. Government Survey in the mid-19th century. An owner of abstract property usually has an abstract of title, which is a thick compilation of all entries in the tract index regarding the property. Torrens or registered property is the modern system that relies upon a certificate of title maintained at the courthouse for each piece of property. If you own abstract property, the purchase agreement requires you to furnish the buyer or the buyer's title company with your abstract of title.

Real estate attorney to take care of the closing details and tackle common problems

Unpaid Mortgage Loan — An abstract sometimes shows payment due on a mortgage loan by a former owner. If a lender didn't let the closer know when the loan had been paid, the record may simply need updating.

Lien by Spouse — If you are divorced or in the process of getting divorced, your spouse or ex-spouse may put a lien on your property. Perhaps you owe him or her part of the equity from the house sale, or perhaps you owe other payments, such as child support. You may check with his or her lawyer to clarify the terms for releasing the lien. You must disclose the results of these agreements.

Truth-In-Housing Report — Some Minnesota cities require a seller to provide the buyer with a Truth-In-Housing Report, which may also be called a code compliance report. Check your city to see if you must provide such a report. An inspector checks your home for obvious defects. These can include problems with plumbing, heating or cooling systems; dampness in the basement; or an unstable foundation. You must disclose the results of these inspections.

Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement — Real estate agents can provide you with this form for recording the condition of your home. You aren't required by law to supply this to a buyer, but most buyers will ask for it. It supplements statements about the condition of your home made in the purchase agreement.

The report may repeat many of the same items listed in the Truth-In-Housing Report. But you don't have to fix these problems — just report them. Be aware that you may be required to fix problems you know about, yet don't reveal to a buyer.

Well Disclosure Statement — According to Minnesota law, you must disclose information about any wells on your property. This includes the location of wells and whether or not they're in use or sealed.

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Moving On

Find a reputable moving company by asking friends and co-workers for recommendations. Make sure the company is bonded and insured. Or consider asking friends to be your moving company!

Expect the unexpected — with the neighbors stopping by to say good-bye, the cat accidentally escaping through an open door and all that stuff to haul down from the attic; it will probably take twice as long as you planned for packing.

Schedule final meter readings and billing dates with utility companies. Don't cancel your homeowner's insurance policy until after the closing. If the home is significantly damaged before the closing, the buyer may elect to cancel the purchase agreement.

Vacuum, sweep, dust, polish and mow or shovel, cleaning up your empty home is the most important thing you'll do to welcome the new owners.

Whew! Now you can finally think about settling into your new home. A move is an exciting change.

Take a break to celebrate.


Rochester MN REALTOR®
David Birka, GRI, ABR
Residential, Short Sales
and New Construction
Coldwell Banker Realtor, Rochester Minnesota Rochester Minnesota Homes for Sale Rochester Minnesota Homes for Sale Rochester Minnesota Homes for Sale Rochester Minnesota Homes for Sale Rochester Minnesota Homes for Sale

David Birka      Coldwell Banker AYS      2510 Superior Drive NW      Rochester, MN 55901      507-250-1000      site map

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