If life has thrown you a curveball and you need to sell your Rochester, Minnesota home fast, don’t panic. You’re in a great city to pull off a fast sale.
According to Livability’s 2020 Top 100 Best Places to Live list, Rochester ranked #5 among the best places to live in 2020. Minnesota’s third-largest city boasts a booming economy, vibrant music scene, and neighborly ambiance. Not surprising, given that the Mayo Clinic provides the Rochester community with 39,300 jobs, bringing a steady flow of people to the city — and homebuyers to its housing market.
To help you sell your Rochester home fast and for a top sale price, we’ve put together seven pro-tips from local experts.
1. Sell your Rochester house to med students in the spring
Rochester homes sell fastest in the spring when medical students rotate in and out of the Mayo Clinic’s residency programs. Throughout the U.S., medical student applicants are “matched” to a residency training program on the third Friday of March (Match Day). Mayo Clinic residency starts in June or July, depending on the program, which makes April and May the best months to list your Rochester home.
Med students and hospital employees are looking for low-maintenance homes within walking distance to St. Mary’s or near the bus route. If your home is in a prime location, or if your condo is maintained by a property manager, market those perks to incoming students.
Don’t stress if you need to sell before or after the resident turnover. The Mayo Clinic brings in many other homebuyers, including staff and patients, throughout the year.
2. Contact a top Rochester real estate agent now
Regardless of your timing, you can sell your home fast with the help of a top real estate agent. Jonah Gehrt, top Rochester real estate agent with Rochester’s Enclave Team, who sells properties 60% quicker than the average agent, advises sellers: “Don’t wait!”
Many sellers get preparation paralysis and wait too long to contact a real estate agent to kick off the selling process. Most agents recommend that sellers reach out three months before their ideal listing date. An experienced real estate agent will help you lightly remodel and stage your home, set a competitive listing price, and devise a marketing strategy to get buyers in the door ASAP.
There are over 600 real estate agents in Rochester to choose from — but don’t just pick any agent. You’ll sell your home faster and for more money with the help of a top real estate agent who has a reputation for selling homes quickly. Our data reveals that the top 3% of Rochester real estate agents sell homes in 59 days on average, compared to the 116 days it takes most local agents.
To find a top agent for your home sale, plug your home details into our Agent Finder. We’ll crunch agent transaction stats like average days on market, list to sale price ratio, and client reviews to match you with the three best real estate agents for your selling objectives. From there, we recommend that you interview your candidates to get a better feel for their experience and personality.
3. Clean your windows and declutter your closets
After you’ve contacted a real estate agent, cleaning and decluttering your home is your next priority. Consider hiring a professional to deep clean your home for around $300.
Regardless of whether you hire-out or DIY, tick off this essential cleaning and decluttering checklist:
- Declutter cabinets and closets. Buyers view stuffed closets as a sign your home lacks adequate storage space. Instead of packing these spaces to the brim, rent a low-cost storage unit (at approximately $75 per month) to store anything you can afford to live without while your home is on the market.
- Declutter and organize your garage. Buyers in Rochester want to know the garage has enough room to store their cars in the winter, so maintain a tidy space.
- Clean the windows until they’re spotless. Gehrt shares that clean windows are crucial in Rochester. A dirty window looks similar to a window with a broken weather seal. Damaged windows are a red flag for buyers who desire quality windows to keep the cold out during Rochester’s extreme winters.
- Remove water spots and build-up in the kitchen and bathrooms. According to Rochester Public Utilities (RPU), the city’s water is “very hard” due to limestone in the soil, contributing to the 17 grains of hardness in the water supply. Scrub away hard water build-up on your faucets, toilets, and your shower walls and doors with a product like Bring It On Hard Water Stain Remover. And don’t forget to decalcify your dishwasher by running a cycle with 2 cups of white vinegar on the bottom rack.
- Deep clean appliances. Speaking of appliances, most sellers in Rochester include kitchen appliances in the sale of their homes. Clean and remove fingerprints from any stainless steel appliances with a soft rag and a stainless steel cleaner.
4. Stage your home with neutral paint and LVP
Staging is essential for a fast sale, especially if your home isn’t located in one of Rochester’s most desirable neighborhoods.
“It’s 100% about staging,” Gehrt claims. Not only does a staged home sell faster, but it sells for more. Research by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) suggests that staged homes receive offers 1% to 5% higher than similar unstaged homes on the market.
Some real estate agents include staging in their commission, while others direct clients to reputable stagers who charge independently for their services.
To sell your Rochester home fast, we recommend the following staging strategy:
- Paint your home in neutral colors. Gehrt recommends striving for a Chip and Joanna Gaines aesthetic: ash grey walls, white trim, and white cabinets.
- Replace old flooring with luxury vinyl plank (LVP). Buyers particularly care about flooring in the kitchen, living room, and basement. Gehrt advises that LVP is a Rochester homeowners’ preferred flooring material since it’s stylish, functional, water-resistant, low-maintenance, and easy to replace if necessary.
- Stage a secondary bedroom, bonus room, or nook as a home office. A dedicated home office or study space is an attractive feature for med students and remote workers.
5. Get a head start with a pre-inspection
The home inspection process can be a lengthy, stressful period for the seller and the buyer. Unless your contract states otherwise, Minnesota allows a 10-day inspection contingency period during which the inspection, report, and negotiation occur. If an inspection reveals an issue with your home, the homebuyer may reduce or even rescind the offer.
You can accelerate this process with a pre-inspection, an inspection that the seller pays for before listing their home. Tom Berge, owner/operator of Home Inspections Plus, estimates that nearly 50% of the inspections he does in Rochester are pre-inspections.
“It shows good faith and is a great bargaining chip,” says Berge, commenting on the growing trend to tackle the inspection up front.
Inspectors follow the same criteria whether the buyer or the seller hires them. You’ll receive a detailed report just like the one a buyer would receive.
“Keep your repair receipts with your inspection,” Berge advises. “Like me, many reputable inspectors stand behind their inspections for 90 days or longer.” Share these receipts and the inspection report with your prospective buyers. That way, they can verify that your home is in sound condition and skip paying for a second inspection.
Some of the most common repairs required in the Rochester area include:
- Corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST): CSST is the flexible yellow gas line on gas ranges, dryers, and furnaces. The Minnesota fuel gas code requires a CSST. If you own an older home (pre-1990) or have recently added any gas lines, ensure your lines are up to code.
- Aging HVAC units: In 2020, Berge failed 22 HVAC systems during home inspections. A failing heating element is hazardous because it can cause an undetectable and toxic carbon monoxide leak.
- Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors: Along the same lines, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are fairly cheap and easy for homeowners to install. “It’s surprising how many homes on the market just don’t have them,” Berge points out.
- Anti-tip brackets on an oven: Oddly enough, the absence of anti-tip brackets on an oven is a common finding in Rochester home inspections. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an anti-tip bracket is a required safety feature for freestanding ranges (ranges that slide between cabinets and don’t require cabinetry to work). Improper installation is a safety concern and may lead to a finding on your inspection.
Other areas to pay close attention to:
- Electrical wiring: According to Berge, homes built pre-1990 are most likely to have GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupters) findings. Brandon Paxton, owner and operator of Paxton Electric in Rochester, has installed many GFCI outlets for sellers since the electrical code recently changed. He shares that GFCI outlets are required in wet areas like bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, basements, garages, and outdoors.
- Roof and foundation: In Minnesota, an aging roof or a foundation that isn’t watertight will turn away prospective home buyers, warns Gehrt. Berge agrees. More so for the older homes downtown and near the hospital. Have your roof and foundation inspected and make any necessary repairs.
- Radon: Radon is a problem in Minnesota, so tack on a radon test to your home inspection for an average cost of $225. If necessary, take recommended steps to mitigate or remove radon.
6. Up your home’s marketability with a HERS rating
Once you’ve completed necessary repairs, you can up your home selling game with a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rating. Rochester buyers want to see low energy bills, so Gehrt advises sellers to highlight their home’s energy efficiency as much as possible.
Homes in Minnesota have some of the lowest HERS Index scores in the nation — the lower the score, the more energy-efficient the home. The national average HERS Index for a lived-in home is 130. According to Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), Minnesota homes scored an average of 50 on the 2019 HERS Index.
If you want to compete with energy-efficient properties in Rochester, contact a certified home energy rater to score your home (at an approximate cost of $400) and tell you where you can improve.
Here are a few easy ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency:
- Update an old HVAC unit with an energy-efficient system. Heating is the largest home energy cost — especially in Minnesota’s cold climate. Gehrt suggests an aging HVAC system can be a deal-breaker in Rochester. Replacing your ailing HVAC unit will not only help you sell your Rochester home faster; according to NAR, a new HVAC unit yields an 85% return on investment. If you don’t have the budget to replace an old HVAC unit, contact an HVAC professional for service. An HVAC technician can replace an outdated thermostat with a programmable one, inspect and service your HVAC system, and clean and repair leaky ducts, so your system runs more efficiently.
- Improve your windows. Check your windows and doors for leaks and add weather stripping or caulking.
- Replace outdated ceiling fans with energy-efficient LED ceiling fans. While replacing a ceiling fan is an easy DIY project, Paxton recommends you hire a licensed electrician so they can also replace the dimmer switch with one specifically for LED lighting. Not doing so can result in a flickering or failing light.
- Upgrade to Energy-Star appliances. If your kitchen appliances have seen better days, replace them with Energy-Star rated appliances. Choose stainless steel appliances to appeal to a wide range of buyers. According to top real estate agents, you’ll spend approximately $4,200 on new appliances with a 42% return.
- Update fuse boxes. Paxton recommends upgrading an old fuse box to a circuit breaker panel. “To be even more competitive,” he says, “install an energy load calculator, which analyzes how much energy each appliance is consuming and may reduce utility charges.”
7. Skip the hassle with a cash sale or trade-in
What if you need to sell immediately and you don’t have the time or patience to hassle with staging and showing your home? You may benefit from selling your house for cash to a direct buyer.
HomeLight’s Simple Sale matches sellers with pre-vetted buyers offering cash in your area. A cash sale is “as-is” which means you can skip the staging, showing, and repairs. You’ll also avoid buyer contingencies that often delay the home sale timeline.
Simple Sale guarantees a fast cash sale. Upon your acceptance of an offer, HomeLight deposits funds into your account within seven days. On the flip side, you’ll likely sell your house for less than you would with the help of a top agent. To help you make an educated decision, we’ll show your cash offer side by side with what you could sell your home for with a top agent.
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