Real Estate Information Archive


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Simple Repairs to Help Your Home Show Better & Sell Faster

by Julie Sathers of JS Realty

Thinking of selling your home and want to protect your investment and make the most you possibly can?  Take care of these top 8 items to put your home in the best possible position for a quick and effortless sale.

1. First Impressions make all the difference!  Repaint or replace the front door, making sure it opens, closes and locks easily.  Remove dirt and cobwebs around light fixtures and the siding.  Trim up any landscaping.  Tighten up any loose handrails.

2. Clean and de-clutter.  If you don’t need it, donate it or toss it.   If you don’t know where to start, contact a home staging company.  Scrub the floors clean.  Repaint or touch up the walls.  If you have a small home, remove excess furniture to make the rooms feel spacious.  Keep it light and bright.  Open draperies.  Get rid of dated or broken window treatments.

3. The smell of your home can make or break a deal.  A clean home smells good. Don’t try to cover up smells with candles and plug in air fresheners…buyers instantly wonder what you are covering up.  A better solution is to let the fresh air in and clean your home.  Launder bedding and any pet beds.  Clean the carpets.

4. If it is broken, fix it.  Simple broken items like leaky faucets, broken window panes or windows that won’t open should be fixed.  

5. Floor coverings.  Clean, fresh floor coverings are best.  For hard surfaces, make sure they are clean. Make sure they are freshly vacuumed and cleaned – even if they are dated.

6. Windows.  Let the light in!  Clean the windows – inside and outside.  If there is peeling and chipping paint, scrap it, prime it and paint it.  Make sure all the windows are able to be opened. WD-40 can be used to loosen up hinges.

7. Paint.  Fresh paint cleans up many walls and makes the house smell clean. Keep your color choices neutral – whites, beiges and greys are best.

8. Staging.  Once you have gone through this list, consider hiring a stager or invite J.S. Realty over to walk through your home to recommend removal or addition of furniture and personal items to make rooms feel more appealing to buyers.

You only have one chance to make a first impression, whether that is pictures that are taken of your home or a buyer’s first walk through the door.  Plan ahead and put a little work into it to get your home ready to sell. You'll be pleased with the results and can thank us later!


What to Expect During a Closing

by JS Realty

The home closing or settlement is a very important day for home buyers and sellers alike. This is the day all money and documents are taken care of so the ownership and possession of the property can be transferred from seller to buyer. Your Agent at JS Realty is there to help walk you through the closing process and answer any questions you may have about your closing.

At this time, all previously agreed upon actions, such as work on the house or property need to be completed and all personal property needs to be removed. Payments to the contactors and all other parties involved with the transaction will be paid on closing day. Also on this day, if the seller has a mortgage, this will be paid in full.

A closing agent is typically hired as a neutral third party to handle all of the documents, money, and various other things needed for the closing. The closing agent is usually the title insurance company that is insuring the buyer’s title to the property and the closing will most likely take place in their office.

What to Bring to the Closing:

-Certified or cashier’s check made out to the closing company
-Insurance binder & paid receipt – be sure to check who the loss payee is by calling your loan officer
-Photo ID
-Apply for your utilities, electricity, city water, city sewer, and city gas

-Keys, garage door openers, etc. for the house
-Paid receipt from the garbage company
-Photo ID
-If in the city of Duluth, bring the I & I (sump pump) certificate
-Call to cancel utilities effective on the day of closing
-Call to cancel insurance, only after closing

The buyer will always have to attend to sign original loan documents but the seller may or may not need to attend as they may be able to pre-sign the deed and other documents. The proceeds from the sale may be wired directly to your bank or, in some situations, their new home purchase.

After the closing is complete, the buyer is in possession of the property and the seller must give them all keys, garage door openers, and any other devices related to controlling the home. The seller will have moved all of their possessions out of the house and the property should be clean. The buyer has a right to a final walk through just before signing all the final papers.

Make sure to keep copies of all documents as your tax preparer may want to see them when preparing your taxes for the year of sale. Also remember to give yourself more than an hour for the closing as you never know what could happen.

If you know what to expect from a closing beforehand, everything will be smoother and easier on the day of. Feel free to submit any questions or comments as we are always here to help.

What You Need to Know About Buying a Foreclosure

by JS Realty

When thinking about buying a foreclosure, you may have a lot of questions. Below is a list of the top things you will need to know when buying a foreclosure.

1. The seller (Bank) will not accept an offer that is contingent on selling your current home.

2. You must have your lender approval letter or verification of funds if you are paying cash when making an offer.

3. The seller (Bank) will typically not make any repairs to the property to assist in your financing or due to your property inspection.

4. Patience is a must.  No early move-ins.  Be flexible on the closing date.

5.  Foreclosures are typically lacking basic maintenance at a minimum and in Northern Minnesota, most have plumbing that has frozen. Financing is a huge challenge unless you have significant money to put down.  Expect the worst and be very happy when things are not broken that you expected would be.

6.  The sale is always as-is. The seller (Bank) contracts put everything in their favor and put the responsibility of everything on you. Buyer beware!

7.  Buyers should have a professional inspection done so they can get a good estimate on the cost of repairs the buyer would have to pay for after purchasing the property.

If you have any other questions about foreclosures or anything else related to buying or selling a home or property, please leave us a comment or call us at 218-729-9784.

The Buying Process

by Julie Sathers-JS Realty

Deciding to buy a home is a big decision. That's why at J.S. Realty, we work hard to inform you about the home buying process so you can feel comfortable with one of the biggest purchases of you life. We are there with you every step of the way!

One of the most valuable meetings you will have is the initial consultation with one of the agents at J.S. Realty. We realize you want to jump right into looking at homes but taking the time to review the process and help us learn what you are looking for can have a huge impact on not only looking at homes but what to do once you find the house you want. Once you find the house you would like, we are there with you through the entire process until you get the keys and move in.

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4

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Contact Information

Photo of J.S. Realty Real Estate
J.S. Realty
J.S. Realty, LLC
5112 Midway Rd
Duluth MN 55811
Office: (218)729-9784
Fax: (218) 729-5638