RochMN Real Estate Blog 

"Good to know" stuff on buying or selling your Rochester Minnesota area home (with enough generic stuff to make it worth anyone's time)

Dec. 17, 2018

3 Common Home Seller Mistakes

3 Common Home Seller Mistakes -

Once you've decided to sell your home it's important to put your best efforts toward selling it in order to get top price and a quick sale. Here are 3 common mistakes home sellers make and how to avoid them.

#3 common home seller mistakes - ROchMNHomes.netOverpricing your home

You want to get the most for you home, after all it is the largest investment most of us make. There are many ways to prepare your home to get top dollar but if you over-price it, you are likely doomed to a long sales process, frustration and possibly even selling for less than it should.

Use your agent to determine what today's home buyer is willing to pay for homes similar to yours. Instant automated home valuation reports are available at Our agents can also prepare a more finely tuned Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) for you. Email:

3 Common Home Seller Mistakes - RochMNHomes.netClutter and Dirt

Buyers in retail stores often want a discount when a product is dirty or is less than perfect. This buyer attitude applies to housing as well. If your home isn't decluttered and clean buyers won't offer top price for it and may not offer at all. A first and easy step to decluttering is to pack everything you won't need in the next 6 months and place it in storage. After you declutter then clean like crazy! Aim for sparkle!

3 Common Mistakes Made By Home Sellers - RochMNHomes.netPoor or Dated Condition

Retail buyers aren't likely to pay top dollar for something in need of repair or old inventory. Home buyers behave the exact same way! Home buyers will often reject a home in need of repair and move onto the next house on their list. Dated decor can also hurt you.

Dated features such as older tile, kitchen cabinets, etc can often be given a fresh look by simply updating the paint, rugs, art work. My advice is to fix things that are broken, update the easy stuff and freshen the look as much as possible. 

Get Instant and free home valuation reports at

Get instant and free home valuation reports at

At we understand you want top dollar for your home and we're here to help you get it. We understand that you can't always clean, declutter, repair and update the way HGTV and articles like this make you think you can. We get it. That's why we will happily meet you where you are at, in your reality and then kindly guide you through entire home pricing and selling process.

Free Consultation - Get Ready to Sell

We provide a free home review for Rochester MN area home owners considering a sale. We'll take time to meet with you, discuss the home selling process and do a home walk-through. At the end of our visit you'll have a nice "To-Do" list designed to help you get the most money for your home when you decide to sell.  In Rochester, contact us at or call/text 507-398-3251.


Dec. 5, 2018

5 Smart Things to Do at the Open House

Written by Lois Marris, RE/MAX Results Open House To-Do List

If you're thinking about buying a home one of the best ways to start seeing what's available is to visit open houses. The listing agent is available to answer your questions about the house and the home buying experience. Plus, you'll be able to get a good idea of what you like, what styles and floor plans work best for you and what is available in your price range.

Make the most of your open house time with these 5 easy tips.

RochMNHomes.netCheck out the neighborhood

This is the perfect time to check out traffic flow, nearby parks, neighbors, etc. Does everyone park their car on the street or in the garage? Are neighbor's yards clean, well kept, free of junk? Are area homes in good repair?

Look for signs of a healthy and safe area such as people outside playing and walking. Better yet, walk around yourself and strike up a conversation with neighbors, they love to chat about their neighborhoods and will often spill the bad with the good.

RochMnHomes.netBring your Needs/Wants lists

Before house shopping, make a list of your absolute needs and another list of your wants. Check to make sure this home has all of the needs (4 beds, 3 baths, 2 car garage, etc). If it doesn't, move on. If it does, check to see if the home has the major things on your "want" list. Things to Do At An Open HouseCheck out the floor plan

This is one of the most important things. Look for good traffic flow, natural lighting and consider views from the windows. Try to imagine yourself in the home and visualize how the floor plan would work for your lifestyle.


Open House Etiquette

Getting Ready to Buy A Home Things To Do At An Open HouseCheck out the condition

Things are probably tidied up quite a bit and the home likely looks "show ready". Take a look past the showing stuff and look at the condition of the home. Focus on the spendy items such as roof, windows, flooring, furnace, A/C, etc. Things To Do At An Open HouseCheck for water intrusion in the basement

If you live in an area with basements, such as Minnesota, take a quick look for signs of water seepage in the basement. It is a common occurrence in our area so don't panic if you see signs of previous water intrusion, rather, find out when the water seepage happened, what was done to fix it and if it has happened since. agents of RE/MAX Results Are Ready To Help

This list will help you make the most of your open house experience. Of course there is much more to the home buying process and a good agent will help guide you through the entire process. If you are looking to purchase in the Rochester, MN area, call/text us for more free advise:, 507-398-3251.

Get direct access to the Southeast Minnesota Association of REALTORS Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and Rochester Area homes for sale at


Posted in Home Buyers
Dec. 4, 2018

November 2018 Real Estate Market Report for Rochester MN

City of Rochester, MN | Residential Housing | Source: Southeast Minnesota Association of REALTORS MLS November 2018 Real Estate Market Graphs November 2018 Real Estate Market Summary Report


Search for Rochester MN Homes for Sale  

Get Instant Rochester MN Home Valuation Reports November 2018 Real Estate Market Report November 2018 Real Estate Market Report

Posted in Market Report
Nov. 14, 2018

4 Things To Do As You Decide to Sell Your Home

When is the Right Time to Sell Your Home -

Something has you thinking about selling your home but how should you get started? There are a lot of things to take into consideration: finances, jobs, family, social life, economy, real estate market, etc.  Here are four smart things to do as you consider your next move.

Research Your Own Home - RochMNHomes.netResearch Your Own Home

Today’s home buyers are well informed with an abundance of information regarding home values, neighborhoods etc.  You should get that information too.

Visit local websites, such as , which provide free home valuation reports. Get other free reports as well and compare their data. At we use data from the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) and CoreLogic to provide home sellers with two extensive reports about their home’s estimated value and local market information.  There is no obligation for these reports so just email us at with your address and we’ll send the reports to you.

Any such report will give you an estimated listing price range and a suggest list price. None of these reports are spot on but all are good-to-know since home buyers can get the same information.

Watch Other Area Home for Sale - RochMNHomes.netWatch the Homes for Sale in Your Neighborhood

Now that you have some cold, hard data in hand regarding a suggested value for your home, it’s time to get a bit more detailed.

To pinpoint the best list price for your home, start to watch other home sales in your neighborhood. If your home is similar in size, age and amenities, it will likely sell for a similar price. 

Attend Area Open Houses - RochMNHomes.netAttend Open Houses of Similar Aged and Sized Homes

Nothing is more educational than visiting the competition in person. An open house is a great opportunity for you to see just how clean your home needs to be in order to make a great first impression. Check out the staging of the home, the condition, the amenities, the view, etc. After all, that’s what every home buyer is going to do: compare you to whatever else is on the market. You’ll begin to get a great idea of how your home fits in the price ranges your automated reports gave you.

Keep an Eye on Interest RatesCheck Out the Interest Rates

Finally, keep an eye on interest rates. If they are trending upward, you may want to act sooner than later. Higher interest rates impact you as a home buyer as your monthly payments and total interest paid over the life of the loan will increase. Higher interest rates will have that same impact on the potential buyers for your home as well. 


Posted in Home Sellers
Nov. 14, 2018

What you need to know about Debt-to-Income Ratio

Home Buying 101 Series

Home Buyers Beware - Know your Debt-to-Income Ratio


Why, oh why, would someone as fun-loving as you want to read a boring article about debt-to-income ratio? There’s absolutely nothing exhilarating about it (sorry CPAs and loan officers). But, if you’re considering the purchase of a home, your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is a “must know.” The good news is that your debt-to-income ratio is super easy to calculate on your own.

First Things First

What is a debt-to-income ratio? It’s your amount of debt compared to your income. If you earn $50,000 a year and have $12,000 a year in debt payments (think student loans, credit cards, car loans etc), then you have a 25% DTI, which is great!

Why Do I Need to Know My Debt-To-Income-Ratio?

Before a lender loans you tens of thousands of dollars toward a home purchase, they want to know how likely you are to pay the mortgage back to them. Studies have shown that borrowers with a low amount of debt compared to their income are more likely to make their monthly payments and those with high debt-to-income ratios often struggle. Everyone wants you to succeed and not struggle.

Why is my Debt-to-Income Ratio important? = ROCHMNHOMES.netWhat is a good Debt-to-Income Ratio?

Most lenders prefer a debt-to-income ratio around 35-36% or less. However, anywhere from 0% (no debt) up to 43% is considered good enough to borrow and still get a Qualified Mortgage according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Why such a range? Because the debt-to-income ratio isn’t the only thing being considered when applying for a loan, and each lender has their own guidelines.


How to Calculate your Debt-to-Income Ratio

To calculate your debt-to-income ratio, first add up all your monthly debt payments. Then, divide them by your gross monthly income. Your gross monthly income is the amount of money you earn before your taxes and other deductions are taken out. For example:

 How to Calculate Your Debt-to-Income Ratio --

18% DTI ratio is good! In the above example, the borrowers current rent payment is not considered as debt, however the lender will add an estimated monthly mortgage payment to determine a mortgage payment which you can afford and keep your total DTI  at an acceptable level.

Here’s another example. If you pay $1500 a month for your mortgage, another $100 a month for an auto loan, and $400 a month for the rest of your debts, your monthly debt payments are $2,000. ($1500 + $100 + $400 = $2,000.) If your gross monthly income is $6,000, then your debt-to-income ratio is 33 percent. ($2,000 is 33% of $6,000.)

There’s More Work to be Done

How about it? Is your DTI below the magic 36%? Congratulations! You are likely to qualify for a home mortgage. A quick visit to a lender will help you determine your affordable price range in homes.

Is your Debt-to-Income Ratio between 36-43%? Don’t panic, as there are still lenders willing to work with you. Meeting with a lender will give them the whole picture of your finances and help them determine the best loan package for you. For example, did you just finish your education in a high income field such as brain surgery? Trust me, the lenders want to chat with you despite your higher debt-to-income ratio.

Is your Debt-to-income ratio above 43%? There’s still no need to panic. While you may not qualify for a home loan today, you can do some work on lowering your debt or increasing your income. It takes time, but you can do it!

Baby Steps to Improving your Debt-to-Income RatioHow to Improve your Debt-to-Income Ratio -

There is an abundance of information available to help you with financial management. Most programs will start by creating a household budget. After that basic piece, the advice starts to vary quite a bit. Some programs are good, some are truly out to take your money with quick-fix plans so be careful not to get suckered. 

The program I’ve heard the most about and seen people succeed with is the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University. Their debt repayment program is simple: pay off the smallest debt first then use the amount you used to pay for the smallest debt and apply it to the next smallest debt. As you pay off debts, you get an emotional boost from knowing you are making progress AND you begin to make bigger and bigger payments toward the larger debts.

You Can Do It!

You’ve got this. If you manage your budget and get creative, I’m confident you can save money for a down payment, get your debt-to-income ratio into the proper range, and soon qualify for a home loan. As always, feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. If we can't answer them ourselves then we will point you in the right direction.


10 Easy Ways to Pay Off Debt – US News

Financial Peace University

Buying a house: Tools and resources for homebuyers

Common Questions About Debt-to-Income Ratios – Wells Fargo Bank


Written by Lois Marris | Edited Madison Bissonette


Nov. 13, 2018

October 2018 Real Estate Market Report for Rochester MN

City of Rochester, MN | Residential Housing | Source: Southeast Minnesota Association of REALTORS MLS November 2018 Real Estate Market Graphs November 2018 Real Estate Market Summary Report

Search for Rochester MN Homes for Sale  | Get Instant Home Valuation Reports November 2018 Real Estate Market Report

Posted in Market Report
Aug. 9, 2018

July 2018 Rochester MN Real Estate Market Report

July 2018 SOLD Listings - Rochester MNJuly 2018 Active Listings Rochester MN

Posted in Market Report
Aug. 8, 2018

Where Is It Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

Do you know where this art piece is located in Rochester, MN?

Where am I?

If you know where I am, share this blog with a friend so they can play too!

Click the link to view homes in the Rochester, MN area.

Aug. 1, 2018

Where Is It Wednesday, August 1st, 2018

Lois Marris | Remax Results | August 1, 2018

Do you know where this pillar is located in Rochester, MN? 

This pillar is located somewhere near downtown Rochester... but where? 

Where am I?

If you know where I am, share this blog with a friend so that they can play too!

Looking for homes in the Rochester, MN area? Click the following link to search for homes in the area. 



July 26, 2018

12 Week Count-down to Selling Your Home

Starting to think about selling your home? It’s a massive step. But you don’t have to rush around like a mad thing trying to get it all sorted at the last minute. There are plenty of things you can do well ahead of time to get your home in tip top shape, and pave the way for a bumper sale price.


Your 12 Week Countdown to selling your home starts NOW!


  • Interview real estate agent.
  • Access home exterior condition and make a list of needed updates/repairs.
  • Access Home interior condition and make a list of needed updates/repairs.

This first week is crucial. Accessing the condition of the exterior and interior first is going to give you that jump start to making sure your house is in top shape by the end of this 12 week plan. 


  • Select real estate agent.
  • Work with agent to determine updates/changes needed for a quick sale.
  • Purchase packing supplies (boxes, tape, markers).

Woohoo! You've made it through the first week. Once you select your real estate agent, you can work with them to determine what updates/changes are necessary to have a quick sale.


  • Schedule needed repairs (sanding hardwood floors, new carpet, interior/exterior paint).
  • Select staging scheme (hobo, classic, mid-century, cabin, farmhouse, etc).

Now that you and your agent know the must haves for your exterior/interior, you can start scheduling those needed repairs. 


  • Pack everything you won't need in the next 6 months.
  • Select an area for "sale/donate" items.

This is the perfect time to purge through those piles of clothes that you haven't worn for months. Start packing these items up and designate an area for the clothes/items you want to sell or donate.  


  • Organize Master bedroom, Master closet, Master Bathroom.
  • Organize Living Room.

Organizing the master bedroom, closet and bathroom can seem overwhelming, however, once you finish is when you realize all the stress and trouble was worth it when you see your beautifully organized master bedroom space.


  • Deep clean and organize bedrooms 2 and 3.
  • Deep clean and organize bathrooms 2 and 3.

Get those guest bedrooms/kids bedrooms cleaned out. Stick with a classic, simple decor so buyers won't be distracted by the bedroom clutter.


  • Deep clean and organize attic.
  • Deep clean and organize family room.

Go through your attic, pull down all of those family heirlooms, decide whats important and what you can toss, and organize into boxes so it will be easier to move in the next few weeks! Don't forget to spruce up your family room. Remember, less is more, when it comes to staging for the new buyers. You can check out my 4 Best Home Staging Secrets HERE


  • Deep clean and organize remaining bedrooms.
  • Deep clean and organize remaining bathroom.
  • Deep clean and organize front closet, linen closets, storage closets.

Yes, I said it, deep clean the bathrooms. I know it's not fun, but devote an afternoon to get it done without any distractions, strap on your cleaning gloves and go get it done. 


  • Meet with real estate agent in home for final improvement and staging tips.
  • Paint interior/exterior as planned.

You've made some improvements to your home, you've done the cleaning and staging the best that you can. Now, you can meet with your real estate agent in home to get an idea of the final improvement and staging tips.


  • New carpet or updated flooring installation,
  • Deep clean kitchen (pantry, dishwasher, under-sink storage, etc).

Ok, I'll be honest, my kitchen doesn't get the regular cleaning that it deserves. Pull out the toothbrush and let's scrub-a-dub-dub. You will be amazed at how 'going the extra mile' will benefit the look of your kitchen. 


  • Carpet Clean.
  • Final trips to donation centers or dump.
  • Select staging items (Art work, bedding, rugs, accessories, etc).
  • Buy new fluffy bed pillows for staging if needed.
  • Deep clean tile grout.
  • Deep clean oven/stove.
  • Deep clean fridge.
  • Deep clean Garage.

Use neutral colors that are going to compliment a variety of buyers. Try to stick to earth tones, neutrals, or warm shades of white. These colors are easy to throw in accent colors and helps the buyer to envision their own personal touches that they would put throughout the house.


  • Final Home Clean.
  • Final Staging.
  • Final Landscaping.
  • Professional Photos.
  • Professional Video Shoot.

You made it! 12 weeks of hard work and your house is ready to sell. Now, you can sit back, relax and focus on selling your home. Good Luck!