When Buying & Selling Homes, Here’s What You Need to Do First

Ryan Platzke


Buying and selling a property can be a complicated process, and it often happens at the same time. Navigating both transactions alone can create added stress, more mistakes, and a longer process, which is why it’s best to work with a professional. Buyers should be sure about the buying process and research the area they’re interested in, while sellers should take steps to prepare a property for the best showing. When buying and selling homes, consider the tips below.

Buyers and sellers

There are a couple of steps that help those buying and selling homes equally. Partnering with an agent can help keep buyers and sellers on track, while understating the local market in the area can result in a speedier sale and more negotiation power.

Partner with an agent

The first step to take as a buyer or seller is partnering with an agent that’s local to the area. For buyers, an agent can provide valuable insight into the properties in the city, as well as in-depth information about certain neighborhood and community atmospheres and amenities. They can help buyers spot potential red flags in properties, as well as provide resources a buyer may need, such as local lenders, home inspectors, and more.

An agent is equally as valuable to a seller as they’ll help a seller prepare their properties to list. An agent will know what buyers in the area are interested in and can recommend repairs and staging advice to get their client’s home in shape. Additionally, they’ll have connections to buyers’ agents in the area to find interested buyers, as well as contacts with other service providers like home contractors, professional photographers, and more.

Research the local market

Another integral step for buying and selling homes is to research the local market. Sellers planning out their home listing should research for sellers’ market conditions or when there isn’t enough housing supply to meet buyer demand. This results in higher prices, more competition, and a quicker sale. Buyers should look for buyers’ market conditions or when there’s more than enough housing supply to meet buyer demand. This results in less competition, more offers, and more negotiating power.

Minnesota is currently experiencing a cooling market, as closed sales are down 18.2%, and the month's supply of inventory is up 17.6% compared to last year. Buyers will benefit from these conditions, as well as the increasing days on market until sale, which is 18.5% longer than last year. However, sellers can take advantage of the overall low supply, which is down to two months, as well as increasing median sales prices across the state.

Buyer tips

When starting the home transaction process as a buyer, be sure you’re ready to commit to a new home purchase. Additionally, research the area you’re interested in to make sure it aligns with your lifestyle needs, then get pre-approved before starting your search.

Decide if you’re ready

Buyers should be sure they’re prepared for the financial commitment that comes with being a homeowner, which includes monthly mortgage payments, utilities, homeowners’ insurance, surprise maintenance, and more. Then, a buyer should consider if they’re personally ready to settle down for a long period of time. If you see yourself moving within the next five years for work, or are interested in traveling, then it may be better to wait to buy.  

Explore the area

Next, explore the area online and in person. Narrow down where you want to live, whether that be popular Minnesota cities and areas like Minneapolis, St. Paul, South Metro, or somewhere else. Factor in a commute to spots like a job, schools, and grocery stores, as well as essential services like hospitals and doctors. Then, consider nearby amenities like outdoor recreation areas, shopping centers, restaurants, and other entertainment spots. Lastly, consider a neighborhood’s energy and community.

Get pre-approved

Before narrowing down what type of property you’re interested in, get pre-approved for a mortgage. Those who finance with a mortgage will have a better understanding of what homes to look for with pre-approval, ensuring they don’t fall in love with a property they can’t buy. Additionally, having pre-approval strengthens buyers’ offer letters to sellers.

Seller tips

Sellers should complete a few steps before listing their properties. A pre-sale inspection is valuable in revealing any issues that would compromise a sale, while preparing the home offers a clean slate for potential buyers. Then, stage to capture the largest range of buyer interest.

Get a pre-sale inspection

Getting a pre-sale inspection provides sellers the information necessary to decide if any major repairs need to be completed to the home. Large repairs can become deal breakers to buyers in offers, as well as negatively impact a property’s value. To avoid any surprises, get a pre-sale inspection; then complete any minor repairs needed like replacing broken bulbs or filling holes in the walls.

Prepare your home

When essential repairs are completed, begin cleaning and decluttering the property. Mess creates a negative impression on buyers and can hint to larger maintenance neglect elsewhere in the property. Hire professional cleaners, or deep clean yourself. Then, declutter to help rooms look as spacious as possible, which appeals to buyers. Sort through and donate belongings or rent a storage unit to keep areas open.

Stage your home

Staging a property can have serious positive effects for sellers listing their properties, as buyers looking at a staged home can better imagine how they might decorate or live in each room. To stage, depersonalize areas by taking down family photos and personal items, then redecorate in light, neutral colors. Be sure outdoor areas like a front or backyard are cleaned and maintained, while interior spaces are bright with natural and artificial light.

Ready to buy and sell your property?

By following these steps when buying and selling homes, the home transaction process is sure to be smooth. If you need help searching for or listing a property, contact experienced local agent Ryan Platzke to guide you through the process.


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