Common Real Estate FAQs


Q: What are the most profitable remodel projects?

A:  There is so much bad advice here... media, sound bites.    It's like asking what is the best shoe size?  It depends on so many factors, the rest or the home, age, resourced availability, planned property use, target markets, market timing, time till planned sale, owners skills.... Unfortunately this question needs an evaluation by a skilled Realtor with construction knowledge to answer properly.  Fortunately that service is available at no cost. Contact our office for a free consultation and get the right answers for you and your property.  Greenwell provides this as a community service.  It is not an uncomfortable sales presentation.

Q: What's the deal with Zillow and Zestimates?

A: uses as secret formula to try and estimate the value of every home in America.  We checked their math in Anoka County Zestimates and learned they are not very accurate.  See the results here.

Q: Mortgage pre-qualified vs pre-approved.  What is the difference?  

A: Years about pre-qualified meant a home buyer had talked to a mortgage loan officer and the loan officer determined the buyer could get a mortgage.  Pre-approved meant that the buyer was pre-qualified plus their credit, income, employment and asset information had been verified by the mortgage lender.  However in recent years the term pre-qualified is seldom used and pre-approved can mean anything answering 2 questions online to a full buyer approval.  Most pre-approval letters don't indicate their definition of pre-approval . This is why we recommend loan officers with stellar reputations for buyers and interview loan officers on nearly every sale involving a new mortgage. 

Q: How to select a Realtor.

A:  First, full disclosure, we are Realtor, we want your Minneapolis/St. Paul northern suburbs business. So the smart-ass answer is just "Call us, we are the best".   However you likely don't accept that answer at face value, or need an agent somewhere else.    So, here are the factors to consider.... location, experience, full time, online reviews, technology, no dual agency, what do you do for me?,  mega brokers vs small independent firms, listing cancellation policy, construction and finance competency,  marketing methods, market performance like this scorecard.  Deal breakers:  part time agents, out of area, new agents, rookies under experienced agent. 

Q:  I am planning to buy or sell in 1 - 2 years, when should I contact a Realtor?

A: Now - Why so soon? Several reasons -  Zillow corrections,  SEO building, we can help today.  Education, credit, sellers that are flexibe – today’s price , next years close.. You will not be wasting your agents time.  Professional agents appreciate the lead time, although you may not be in regular contact throughout the year, the few things you do now that need time can may your transaction smoother and more successful (read "more money in your pocket") when you are ready to move. 

Q: What is dual agency and should I care?

A: Dual agency is when one real estate company represents both the buyer and the seller on the same property at the same time.   It is a direct conflict of interest.  As our client we represent you and only you in your real estate transactions. Unlike most real estate companies, we will not advocate for both the seller and the buyer in the same transaction, we only represent you, our client.  See this Minnesota required agency disclosure for your representation options.

Q: What are admin fees?

A: Admin fees are customary fees that almost all Minnesota real estate firms charge their clients.  The buyer and the seller are typically charged $200-$700 each in admin fees, per transaction.  We do not charge admin fees, and we don't know what value the client receives for that fee.  Admin fees also go by compliance fee, storage fee, office fee, etc.

Q: What is staging?

A: Arranging a house to present it to buyers in the most positive light.  Listing your home on the market is like opening night for a theater show.