What Expenses are included in Sellers Closing Cost?

 There are closing cost associated with closing a real estate transaction that are traditionally identified as a Sellers Expense or a Buyers Expense. 

Sellers closing cost typically include real estate commission, attorney/title company fees associated with preparing documents required by the county and state to transfer the property to the new owner(s), real estate property taxes prorated as per agreed to between the parties as stipulated in the purchase agreement, state deed tax, and recording fees as applicable.

Buyers will have their own closing expenses associated with title work, loan processing, and closing attorney/title company fees

In the event there are questions or discrepancies regarding the property lines a survey may be required and this is typically a seller’s expense.  It is reasonable to expect an owner of a property to know where the property line is located to avoid future issues with neighbors. In some situations it maybe reasonable for  the buyer  to pay or portion of the expense.

When selling rural properties dependent on a private water and septic system, the property will be valued with the condition of the well and septic in working order and meeting state and county requirements unless otherwise noted.  

Wells are typically a simple water test for bacteria and nitrates. IF bacteria is present chlorination by a professional will be required.  IF e coli bacteria is present and does not clear up after a couple chlorination’s the well maybe contaminated from a failing septic system or other neighboring fecal matter.  Nitrate levels of under 10 ppm are desired in the state of Minnesota. IF unable to clear up with chlorination, water filtration systems may be effective to provide clean filtered water. 

In rural areas that require a private septic subsurface system the local county and state requirements must be met to transfer a property and record the sale. You must have a septic inspection providing a system that  fails to meet current code requirements the septic will need to be brought up to date, typically as a sellers expense and done prior to closing. IF unable to the county will allow the sale to transfer when funds are held in escrow with the closer to provide payment the septic once completed with unused money remaining being refunded to the seller.  In a few situations the buyer and seller may negotiate for the buyer to take over the escrow and possibly even pay for the septic.  Typically, this will be reflected in the purchase price paid to seller.

NOTE: Because wells and septic systems are costly improvements lenders require both the well and septic be in compliance as required by local and state ordinances  or funds are escrowed out of the closing proceeds to cover the expenses and ensure issues are addressed to protect the property taken as collateral for the loan.

There may be some other expenses that related to your property specifically outside of these traditional expenses, such as probate or other estate and trust situations, these expenses will vary and are personalized to the transaction.

Have questions? Feel free to contact us for all your real estate needs! 

Roxanne Johnson, Broker, ABR, CRS,GRI

Posted by Roxanne Johnson on March 18th, 2023 5:44 PM

When considering buying a home and making a move an important part of the move is connecting with lender and getting pre-approved. So, what is the best type of loan for you? Loans are not one size fits all.   The best loan for you is the one that fits your personal financial need. The following is a brief snapshot of the different loan types.

Conventional Mortgages

  1. Conventional mortgages are the most common type of mortgage.
  2. Down payment requirements start at 3% to down.
  3. Down payments at 20% down or more do not require private mortgage insurance (PMI)
  4. Minimum credit score of at least 620 to qualify.
  5. The overall borrowing cost after fees and interest tends to be lower than other loan types.
  6. Appraisal guidelines are typically more forgiving on repair items.
  7. Interest rate options of Fixed-Rate or Adjustable-Rate are offered on Conventional Mortgages

Government-Backed Loans

The Government Backed Loans are simply loan programs insured by government agencies and offered by lenders that offer an option to the buyers with less down payment requirements. three types of loans: FHA, VA and USDA loans.  The government insures these loans reducing the risk for the lender.   You may qualify for a government-backed loan if you can’t get a conventional loan. Buyers who don’t qualify for conventional loans or have limited cash savings may benefit from FHA, USDA, or VA loan

FHA Loans

  1. Down payment of 3.5%, you may pay more down.
  2. Credit score as low as 580, mor forgiving for buyers with credit issues from such life events as

Divorce, bankruptcy and medical expenses.

  1. Are insured by the Federal Housing Administration for the lender.
  2. Appraisal guidelines will require the home and property to be in good repair.

USDA Loans

  1. Allow you to buy a home with no money down
  2. USDA loans have lower mortgage insurance requirements than FHA loans.
  3. You must meet income requirements and have relatively good credit.
  4. Home must be in a suburban or rural area to qualify for a USDA loan.
  5. Are insured by the United States Department of Agriculture.
  6. Appraisal guidelines will require the home to be in good repair.

VA Loans

  1. Allow you to buy a home with $0 down.
  2. Lower interest rates than most other types
  3. Are insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs loans for the lender.
  4. Appraisal guidelines are not as restrictive as FHA or USDA loan types.
  5. You must meet service requirements in the Armed Forces or National Guard to qualify for a VA loan. 

First step is to schedule a  Buyers Consultation with the Realtor that you would to guide you through the home buying process.  We will listen to your needs, answer your questions, and define a checklist for your new home.  This will be extremely helpful when meeting with a mortgage lender.  IF you do not have a lender, we have a list of professionals for you to select from.  

Our goal is to help you define the best home option for you and surround you with trusted professionals for a seamless experience as you make your move to your new home! We welcome the opportunity to be your Realtors for all your real estate needs!


Roxanne Johnson

Broker, ABR, CRS, GRI

Posted by Roxanne Johnson on March 12th, 2023 11:12 AM


If you’ve ever bought or sold a home before, you are probably familiar with the standard practice of a home inspection contingency when making an offer. The home inspection provides a closer look at the home from the roof to the foundation, including mechanicals, listing items that need attention. The buyers have three options once they have reviewed the report; 1) accept and move forward 2) request the seller correct the issues or ask for a price adjustment, OR 3) cancel the offer with a refund of the earnest money.

 When preparing to list your home, and addressing the “laundry list” of items such as clearing, cleaning, and trying to decide which projects to tackle, why not seriously consider a Pre-Sale Home Inspection before listing?  A Pre-Sale Home Inspection will help identify items and help focus time and resources. The big benefit is getting a home inspection in advance might be able to cut down on these types of negotiations, as well as help you close the deal at or above listing price. Buyers are impressed by a property that is well maintained.



Address repairs in advance.   Gives the seller options to research options, select the professionals to do the repairs, and obtain bids to control costs without paying a rush fee to make closing date.

You might be able to close faster. By getting a jump start on repairs you will have more time to complete the repairs by closing, With an Inspection Contingency an extra 7-10 days is needed for the inspection time.

Obtain a better price for your home. Homes that are well maintained typically sell for more than a home that is not maintained, as buyers tend to discount the price by far more than the actual cost of the repair.  Addressing issues can make your home a lot more attractive to buyers, and possibly result in a multiple offer situation.

Provide a copy of the Home Inspection Report for buyer’s review.  The home inspection is your private report, IF you elect to share it with buyers you will want to make notes in the report of items addressed and include copies of the repair statement from professionals if there were any.   


All Sellers are required by law to disclose material facts that impact the buyers use and enjoyment of the property.  IF an defect is discovered during an inspection you will have the opportunity to consult with professionals and determine what that best way to address the issue.

The buyer may still opt for doing their own home inspection.  Buyers may want to do have the experience of going through the property with the same inspector you had or hiring their own.  

When homes are well maintained and pre-inspected, there is less negotiating, and it opens the opportunity for offers at or above list price when multiple buyers are interested.   The home inspection report provides a peace of mind to the buyer to make an offer.


Roxanne Johnson, Broker, ABR, CRS, GRI

Posted by Roxanne Johnson on March 12th, 2023 11:12 AM

You may have found yourself here because you have been thinking about selling your property. Which means you have been watching the market to see how quickly or not so quickly homes have been selling. You have heard others talk about homes receiving multiple offers, while others are on the market for a month.  And you’re wondering, what’s is going on!? Buyers are always comparison shopping, they watch the market like hawks, which makes it all that more important to position your property correctly in the current market against other competing properties. Over the past 25 years I have experienced many changes in the market and have successfully implemented incentives to match the seller’s situation when needed.  

Seller Incentives are simply tools used to satisfy concerns that may be holding a buyer back from making an offer.  Incentives can be implemented at various times during the selling period Whether you have been on the market or are preparing to list your property here are some options for you to consider.

  1. Update Paint, Lighting, & Flooring – Giving your home an updated look is very attractive to buyers that are overwhelmed with all the moving expenses and do not have extra money to address those items once moved in.  
  2. One Year Home Warranty Plan - Alleviates worries by providing the buyer with a repair or replacement warranty on mechanicals, appliances, and other components for 1 year after closing.  Plus, as a Seller you may elect coverage for you from list date to closing date. The fee is paid upon closing, out of your seller proceeds.
  3. Pre-Sale Home Inspection – Gives Sellers the opportunity to address any repair items prior to marketing the property.  The Inspection report is then made available for buyers review when viewing the property.  Usually, buyers will then waive the Home Inspection Contingency when offering eliminating the inspection time period when accepting an offer.
  4. Price Reduction- Reducing the price is a useful tool to revive the listing on internet sites and opens potential to a new pool of buyers that may be admiring the property, but too shy to make an offer lower than list price for fear of insulting the seller.
  5. Closing Cost Allowance – IS paid out of the sale proceeds upon date of closing towards the buyers closing costs for loan processing and closing of the transaction.  Closing Cost Allowances are regulated and capped by loan requirements.   Many times, buyers have good credit but are short of cash to make the down payment plus all of the closing costs, prepaids, and escrow requirements.  This can be a great tool to assist the buyer without lowering the price.
  6. Rate Buy Down- Sellers may offer to buy down the buyer’s interest rate as an incentive. This is typically a set dollar amount that would lower the rate for a the first 2 to 3 years of the loan.

It gives the buyer the opportunity to purchase a home with an affordable payment hoping to refinance to a lower rate at some point.  The Buyer must be qualified to make the payment at the current interest rate. This is a viable option for Buyers that are in a short-term home and/or believe the rates will readjust lower within the next few years.

Our goal is to attractively market your property implementing incentives when needed that will invite buyers to view your property and make an offer that works for both of you. Let’s explore these options and how best they can work to sell your home faster and for the price that makes your move happen!

Roxanne Johnson, Broker, ABR, CRS, GRI

Posted by Roxanne Johnson on March 12th, 2023 9:51 AM
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Getting Pre-Approved for a Loan is a Must!

Looking for a new home can be excited and stressful at the same time, to make the experience less daunting. We like to start with a meet and greet to simply listen to your needs & wants to better educate us on how we can best assist you with your home search.  Next, we will connect you with an experienced lender to help dial in the home loan best for your needs, an get you pre-approved.

What does it mean to be “pre-approved”? 

A mortgage pre-approval is a statement from a lender that says you are qualified to borrow up to a certain amount. Lenders take into consideration the same factors they would consider for a traditional mortgage approval, including your debt-to-income ratio and your credit score. The better your financial situation looks, the more you’ll be pre-approved to borrow. Ideally lenders would like to have a few days at minimum to gather your information and to consult with you regarding loan types, interest rates, payments, and closing costs. 

Why is this piece of paper so key?

Let’s start with saving time and possibly even saving money! When you know how much you can qualify to borrow it translates into how much you can spend, giving you a price range for shopping for a home.  As a result, you won't waste time (and endure unnecessary heartbreak) by shopping in the wrong price range. 

It Makes You a More Attractive Buyer to a seller, as the pre-approval letter is typically required in our area when submitting an offer on a property.  It lets the sellers know you are a serious buyer, as sellers are attracted to an offer with less risk of falling through.  Which in the event of a home inspection that results in requesting repairs or improvement, sellers are more comfortable spending money to address items needing to be repaired. 

Multiple Offers- We continue to experience multiple offer situation on desirable properties, having the Pre-Approval letter is a must and your lender will need a few days to gather and process information. Without the letter it is unlikely your bid would be on the top of the list for a seller.

The Pre-Approval letter lets you know whom you are working with and gives you a handle on the not only the monthly payment based on your offer but also closing costs expense that you can expect. It’s a great comfort to have an experience Realtor and lender to guide you through the home buying process and personalizing the service to meet your needs.  

There is so much to consider when you’re looking to purchase a new home, from location,  to need & wants, to end up with the best home for you and your family. When making one of the most important decisions in your life, we are here to get you off on the right path to homeownership. 

 Roxanne Johnson, Broker, ABR, CRS, GRI

Posted by Roxanne Johnson on February 8th, 2023 12:50 PM

To Paint or Not to Paint?

You will realize a higher sale price with the least amount of time on the market Investing by painting and staging your home for that ultimate first impression. According to KINDHOME SOLUTIONS 2022 most homeowners can expect 107% ROI for when painting the interior of their home.  

The Benefits of Painting.

  1. Provides a fresh and clean appearance.
  2. Shows the house is well maintained to buyers.
  3. Can highlight features of the house & offers an inviting appeal. 
  4. Offers a move in ready appeal.
  5. This will lead to more competitive offers.

Selecting Paint Colors.

  1. Identify areas of high traffic, wear & tear, and need some repair. 
  2. Select neutral colors that look good in your lighting.
  3. Avoid bright and bold colors when painting. 
  4. To get a visual of what a room will look like when painted with ColorSnap® Visualizer – upload a photo of your room and virtually paint it to preview paint options.

Consider what the color does for the room. Does it look larger or smaller, brighter, or darker, and enclosed?  Is it inviting for the space?

DYI or hire a contractor?   Establish a time frame to have the painting completed. Consider hiring a professional painter if you are unable to do it yourself or reach out to friends & family to share their talents (Don’t forget to offer to pay or treat them to a fancy dinner!)  When tackling the task take time to prepare to paint.

  1. Measure your rooms to figure out how much paint to purchase.
  2. Purchase supplies: paint roller or paint pads, paint tray and liners, trimming brush, painter’s tape, paint cleaners for brushes, drop cloths, or plastic, and rags, and ladder.
  3. Pay particular attention to clean edges when painting. IF you are not experienced at trimming use the painters tape to keep from getting the wall color paint on  base boards, door frames or ceilings as an example. Drop clothes or plastic is used to protect the floors and more.

Generally, going with neutral colors are more appealing offering buyers the creative freedom to add their personal touches.  You will create the WOW factor  inviting  the buyers to fall in love with your house as their  new HOME!

Reach out to schedule a personal home consultation to prepare your home for sale including recommendations on paint selections and staging.

Roxanne Johnson, Broker, ABR, CRS, GRI

Posted by Roxanne Johnson on January 22nd, 2023 9:04 AM

Many times, searching for a home starts out exciting and fun, then turns confusing and stressful as things get complicated quickly with so many big decisions to make when making one of the most important investments of your lifetime.  

Over the past 28 years, our team has helped hundreds of people find the right home based on their needs and interests.   In our free no obligation Buyer Consultation we work with you to start off on the right path with your home search.  The following are 4 basic steps included in the Buyer Consultation.

  1. The Home Search: You will develop your home search checklist (the “must haves”), and any items that are on your wish list, articulating your preferences up-front will save time and money in the long run. Once we have defined your search criteria, we’ll use the latest digital technology to bring properties to your attention as soon as they hit the market, coming soon, and for sale by owners. Plus give you tips on how to best search for homes online saving you from receiving uninvited solicitations.
  2. Letter of Credit/ Pre-Approval:  Being comfortable with your financial options before beginning your search will not only establish a price range for your home search, but it will also give you a comfort zoning when offering on a home. We work with some of the best lenders in the industry and can refer you to a seasoned professional.  Lenders will provide loan options best suited for you along with estimates of  monthly payments and cash needed for closing cost.  
  3. Best Practices for Our Clients. We keep our fingers on the pulse of the market by monitoring recent sales activity and provide you with an educated view of the market. We will keep you informed as new listings become available, gather information and historic data for the properties, plus schedule times to view properties with you.  We will advise you as we draft an inviting offer to the seller and advise you on all negotiation on your behalf. We will put our years of experience to work for you from searching, looking, and offering on properties.
  4. Identifying A Timeline:   Before we visit properties together, we’ll listen to your requirements, discuss the type of home, community, price range, and the timeline for your search. Its important for us to know what your goals are for making your move.


Whether you’re just starting to think about buying or are ready to actively search for a home, a Buyer Consultation will provide the knowledge you need to take the next steps and educate us on how best to meet your needs. After meeting, you will have a better understanding of the home purchase process and the actions you’ll need to take. Starting out on the right step will help relieve stress and make your home buying process more enjoyable


As a team of locally focused Realtors and marketing professionals we are committed to making the process seamless, stress-free, and enjoyable for our clients!

Roxanne Johnson

Broker, ABR, CRS, GRI

Posted by Roxanne Johnson on January 12th, 2023 9:31 AM

One of the most important pieces of information homeowners need when considering buying or building a new home, is knowing the value of their current home. A Comparative Market Analysis otherwise referred to as a CMA is a report prepared using properties that have recently sold that fall within an acceptable range as a comparable to the seller’s property.  Factors to consider when comparing properties will include many factors such as square footage of the home and the land, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, amenities, upgrades, effective age of overall mechanicals, improvements made to the property to name a few. Other influences requirements for zoning requirements, loan guidelines, and of course supply and demand. A CMA is different from an appraisal as an appraiser looks back in time to support value as of the date of the appraisal given historical data. A Comparative Market Analysis is based on similar information including recorded sales plus as your Realtor our professional experience gives consideration to current market conditions, supply and demand, interest rates, loan products, and more looking forward determining an accepted value range to expect your property to sell within.

A CMA is a very helpful to you as a seller and to your lender when prequalifying you for a loan and estimating the cash proceeds from your sale that may be used for the purchase of your new home.

IF you are interested in a Comparative Market Analysis report for your home, simply reach out and we will schedule a visit with you and gather information about your property.   Once prepare we will visit with you review the CMA with you, answering questions you may have about the selling process.

Roxanne Johnson

Broker, ABR, CRS, GRI

Posted by Roxanne Johnson on December 8th, 2022 12:35 PM

Your home mortgage is a monthly payment based typically on principal and interest.  When you pay less than 20 % down on the purchase price of your new home, you are required to have the real estate taxes and homeowners’ insurance included in your monthly payment.

The amount for the real estate taxes and homeowners’ insurance is put in a separate account with your lender called an escrow account.  Therefore, we refer to your taxes and insurance being escrowed. 

The lender maintains the account and is required to pay your real estate taxes and homeowners’ insurance as it comes due. Your monthly payment may be adjusted annually based on your property tax and homeowners’ insurance rate change.  

When you payoff your mortgage or sell the property, the lender is required to credit you for unused portions and typically the credit is reflected in your payoff amount.

Many homeowners elect to escrow the property taxes and insurance including it in their monthly payment as it eliminates large expenditures every six months and is easier to work into a monthly budget.


Roxanne Johnson

Broker, ABR, CRS, GRI

Posted by Roxanne Johnson on November 30th, 2022 4:43 PM

When making an offer on a property Buyers may have contingencies that need to be considered when making a purchase. These contingencies are conditions that need to be addressed to not only meet lending requirements but also to give the Buyer a sense of safety nets while taking each step in the process of purchasing.

Here are the four common contingencies that every Buyer typically addresses when making an offer to purchase a home and what protection they provide to Buyers.

Home inspection contingency – This is a Buyers Continency and provides the opportunity for the Buyer to bring in a home inspector of their selection to provide an in depth look at the property overall condition including mechanicals, radon, moisture testing and more.

  1. This is at the buyer’s expense, and a buyer’s contingency.
  2. Has a stated time frame to perform all inspections and to accept, negotiate, or cancel.
  3. If accepting or amending the purchase agreement by mutual agreement the buyer and seller will move forward with the purchase agreement.
  4. IF the buyer elects to cancel within the stated time, earnest money is refunded to the buyer.
  5. A home inspection does not provide or imply a home warranty by the seller or the home inspector for future condition. It is simply an inspection on that given day providing an overall property condition report.
  6. The sellers may leave their home on the market for back up offers only subject to the first offer being cancelled and not miss marketing time.
  7. Allowing the Buyers to inspect the property to their satisfaction also provides an additional record to the Sellers Property Disclosure as to the condition of the property.

Financing contingency -This is a Buyer Continency that states the purchase is subject to loan approval by the Buyers lender for the loan type and conditions stated in the purchase agreement.  This information is provided by the lender with a pre-approval letter and an estimate of monthly payments and cash needed to close, if any.

  1. The Lender typically requires an application with information from the buyer regarding credit, employment, and current payments  and information regarding the property  such as an appraisal, clear title, and  plat drawing are typical.
  2. A pre-approval letter should be provided to your realtor when writing an offer to purchase.
  3. If the loan does not get approved, earnest money will be refunded to the buyer when specified in the purchase agreement.  

Appraisal contingency – An appraisal is typically required by the lender when financing the purchase of the property and is not typically wrote in as it is by default falls under the Financing Contingency. However, IF you have financial capabilities to purchase regardless of the appraisal you may want this clause added to your offer.  I recommend you talk to both your lender and realtor about the appraisal continency.

  1. This is the Buyers expense as part of your lender fees
  2. It provides the lender and buyer with confirmation the property’s value is supported   by the sale of other like kind properties
  3. If the property does not appraise at value the Buyer has the option to pay the difference in value, negotiate with the seller for the lower value, or cancel the offer and receive a full refund of earnest money paid

Home sale contingency – This contingency gives the option for a Buyer to make an offer to purchase a home subject to their current home selling within a given time frame. This acts a safety net for the Buyer not to get caught owning two homes with two mortgage payments.

  1. This contingency requires the buyer to list their home within a specified time frame.
  2. There is also a time frame implied for a Buyer to sell their current home and perform by the date of closing on the purchase agreement.
  3. This contingency will allow the Seller to continue to market their home and the option of accepting an offer as a backup offers and at any time may request you to remove the home sale contingency or cancel with in the specified time frame that is stated in your accepted offer.
  4. IF you are unable to sell your home during  in the time period stated the  earnest money will be refunded to you and you will sign a Cancellation with the seller, which will allow the seller to move forward with the backup offer.
  5. This contingency allows the seller to accept an offer and not miss marketing time.

Well & Septic Inspection Contingencies – This contingency is added to a purchase agreement when the seller is waiting on the inspections for their well and septic tests.   Most buyers are wanting to ensure the well water test meet the Minnesota Drinking Water standards and the septic complies with the County and State requirements for selling a property.   IF the well or septic do not meet the requirements the buyer and seller may come to a mutual agreement or cancel if they do not come to a mutual agreement.  

Home Purchase Contingency- This is a sellers contingency that may be used when a seller knows they need to find a home where they are moving to. There is not a specific form for this continency in the state of Minnesota but a clause maybe added to the purchase agreement much like the contingency to sell a home.  This provides the seller the opportunity to offer their home for sale subject to finding suitable housing of their choice within a time frame. When accepting an offer and moving forwards a seller must be mindful of the buyers’ contingencies in the offer. IF they do not find a home typically the earnest money paid by the buyer would be refunded to the buyer.

Other Contingencies – Other conditions may be a concern to a buyer that need to happen to make their move.  For example, subject to accepting a new position of employment, identifying property boundaries, property survey, shared well agreements, and easements are some of the additional conditions that maybe applicable.  These contingencies be added and personalized to your situation, keep in mind the contingencies should be reasonable to both parties, have a deadline, and outline what the buyer and seller can expect and who gets the earnest money if it doesn’t work out.

Contingencies offer a sort of “safety net”. Contingencies are conditions that need to be met to satisfy a concern by one or both parties.  We offer free consultation for buyer and sellers, if you are considering making a move, reach out and let us know what questions you may have specific to your situation.

Roxanne Johnson, Broker, ABR, CRS, GRI

Posted by Roxanne Johnson on November 28th, 2022 10:55 AM

Deciding to make a move begins with why you are moving and identifying what you truly want in your next home. The following steps will get you off to a good start and give you experienced professionals to guide you along the way.

  1. Make a list of things you are needing in your next home, such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, garage, living space, and outdoor space.  
  2. Outline the perimeter of the geographic area you are willing to consider living in, giving consideration to commute time for work, shopping, and community attributes you may enjoy.
  3. Identify your budget and how much you feel comfortable paying monthly for a home payment. 
  4. Start saving. Most loans require a down payment plus there are moving expenses, utility deposits and home inspections that will need to be paid. 
  5. Check your credit score, there are a few free ways to check without affecting your credit score.
  6. DO NOT open new credit cards or make large purchases, If you do need to trade vehicles make sure you run it by your lender first.
  7. Online mortgage calculators are easy to use as a quick reference when starting your home search but they do not replace an experienced lender. 
  8. Get pre-approved for a loan, if you do not have a lender, we can recommend an experience professional.
  9. Give us a call and schedule a free Home Buyers Consultation. Start out right with a personalized home buying plan designed for your needs. 
  10.  We will schedule home showings that work for your busy schedule and guide you with experience and professional care every step of the way. 


For many buyers making a move is based on a change in lifestyle whether you are buying your first home, making a move to your dream home, buying a second home, or retiring, this move is important.  We are honored to have the opportunity to guide you are you venture ahead!


Roxanne Johnson, Broker, ABR, CRS, GRI

Posted by Roxanne Johnson on November 7th, 2022 11:27 AM

A recent survey from the International Association of Home Staging Professionals shows that staged homes sell three times faster and for a sales price of 5 to 20% more on average than competing nonstaged home. These 10 Steps will help prepare your home for photos, showings, and impress buyers to obtain the best price possible when selling your home.

1) Declutter - Start the packing process by sorting items into pack, pitch, sell, or donate. Choose one space in your home or garage to store boxes and totes. The goal is to clear walkways, open floor and wall space allowing buyers to view the home, not your belongings.

2) Depersonalize - Remove trophies, knick-knacks, posters, most family photos, collections, and don’t forget the refrigerator magnets. Depersonalizing allows prospective buyers the ability to picture themselves in the home by removing distractions.

3) Pack up Seasonal Items – Off season clothing, décor, tools, and things that you will not use for the next 4 to 6 months. This will clear closets and storage spaces, allowing buyers to appreciate the storage the home has to offer. 4) Clean - After you have decluttered, depersonalized, and packed unused items, its time to focus on detailed cleaning. Start with lighting, wall switches, outlets, baseboards, trim, windows, and doors, working your way to the floor. Using a painter’s tape to mark areas to come back to for touch up paint or fix is an easier reminder.

5) Lighting - Clean your fixtures inside and outside your home. Remove dust and bugs, along with replacing missing or non-working bulbs, covers, & globes. Check that your lights are all the same color glow such as a bright white. Electrical is a safety concern and an appraisal issue. Good lighting is important as it is inviting and brightens up walkways and small rooms feel larger.

6) Floors – When cleaning your hard surface floors, check over grout areas and corners, carpets should be vacuumed weekly. Consider a professional cleaning and use a recommended product for pet and household stains. Cleaning up spills and mess right away will help keep you ready for showings on a short-term notice.

7) Painting - Paint color is one of the most inexpensive updates to a home selecting neutral colors such as a beige or gray, will give your home a fresh look and impress buyers. Make sure to choose the right type of paint for the area you are painting, your local paint expert can help you decide on flat versus satin vs eggshell, latex, or enamel.

8) Windows – Clean the glass and the windowsills, painting or staining areas that needs attention. Broken glass and screens can usually be repaired by the local hardware store or a glass company. Well maintained windows impress buyers.

9) Window Treatments - Curtains, drapes, along with the rods and blinds are all considered to be attached to a property and included in the sale. Cleaning the window treatments and ensuring they are in working order is helpful in preventing a surprise later. Removing window treatments not included, dated, or worn is recommended prior to photographing the property.

10) Curb Appeal - House numbers should be easy to read with well-lit entries clear of clutter and clean swept. Store away equipment like rakes, sprinklers, and outdoor toys. Keep up seasonal needs such as mowing, maintaining landscaping, and removing ice and snow.

First Impressions Are Important When Selling Your Home!

Roxanne Johnson, Broker/Owner

Posted by Roxanne Johnson on October 28th, 2022 3:49 PM

We may wish we had a crystal ball to tell the future when making one of the most important financial decisions in our lifetime. Making real estate decisions can be much easier when you have our experience with the market to guide you through the steps of buying and selling.

You probably have a few “what if” scenarios running through your mind which can be stressful. With over 25 years as a Real Estate Broker, I have developed a step-by-step guide to buying and selling with RE/MAX Select Properties. This guide is here to help you and answer your “what if’s”. 

Our first step is to meet with you so we can listen and learn how we can best assist you with your move. This will allow us to make recommendations personalized to you. While we follow industry procedures for our clients, we go a step above to ensure each situation is a personalized to you.  We can recommend local professionals to assist with home inspections, lending, and closing on your new property.

When planning your move, we will take into consideration your current living situation; are you renting? Do you need to sell to buy? Are you comfortable owning two homes?  

Buying and Selling at the same time leads to many more good questions.

  1. How do I sell my current home and buy my new home without owning two homes? 
  2. I am afraid of selling and not finding a house, what do I do?

The answer to both questions is to use a “contingency” that protects you. The appropriate wording and legal forms need to be included as part of the purchase agreement to safeguard you from owning two homes at once or ending up without a home at all. This “contingency” is essentially a safety net that will spell out the terms of the contingency.  It may seem complicated to you, but we have successfully assisted hundreds of clients make their move pulling it all together to meet your needs and manage risk. 

We understand the concerns and are here to guide you as your local Realtors. Simply reach out via phone or email to set up an appointment for a free consultation with us that fits your schedule.  Whether you are buying or selling we are here to guide you and provide you with resources along the way when making a move.

Do not let fear of the unknown stop you from the opportunity to love where you live or make a change that opens a new chapter for you.  We may not have a crystal ball, but we have something more valuable, it’s Experience You Can Count On!

Roxanne Johnson, Broker, ABR, CRS, GRI      

Kelsey Bergey, Realtor

Posted by Roxanne Johnson on October 21st, 2022 11:09 AM

6 Tips to Get Your Home Cold Weather Ready

October is one of my favorite months! I love everything from the colorful mums and pumpkins to the falling leaves and crisp clean air! It’s easy to be caught up in visiting corn mazes and haunted houses and forget the cold weather moves in and we will soon be scraping frost from your car windows.

Here are 6 tips to help prepare your home for winter and save on your heating expense.


  1. Disconnect your exterior water hose and drain the hose. If your faucet is not a drain back style you may need to shut it off, then drain the line in the basement to prevent the hose bib from freezing and cracking the water line.
  2. Check the exterior of your home and garage for loose or missing caulk around windows, doors, AC unit piping, and other openings. Apply caulk wherever you see cracks, gaps, or holes to prevent cold air, insects, and rodents from getting in.
  3. If your basement windows are not double paned add a 1-inch insulation board on the inside. Remove debris from exterior basement window well and cover with a hard plastic window well covers. This will keep snow and rain out of the window wells and help prevent leaking.
  4. Hire a professional to inspect your heating system annually to ensure it is operating properly and efficiently. Change the furnace filter monthly for efficiency, this is also helpful to reduce dust and allergens in your home.  SAFTEY TIP: for gas mechanicals and appliances ensure your CO2 detectors are in your home to the state guidelines.
  5. Clean the rain gutters, removing leaves and debris before winter as this will help snow thawing and rains come spring while maintaining the integrity of your gutters. Make sure your downspouts are clean and in place directing water 3 to 6 feet from your foundation.
  6. Check the Insulation level in your attic to prevent heat loss and ice dams. Insulate the rim joist in your basement which will prevent heat loss and drafts.  This will save on your heating costs and keep your warm your toes!


Tips for Fall Showings


                What a fun time to decorate your home inside and out! While preparing your house for fall showing keep in mind, we are on the countdown to cold temperatures. Pack away items such as outdoor furniture and lawn art to ensure its not frozen in when it comes time to move!  

                Curb appeal is important all year round. During the autumn months keep up on mowing, trimming trees and shrubs plus raking leaves and cleaning up the landscaping.  We recommend placing a few mums and pumpkins for color and creating a festive and inviting feel for buyers.

                Indoors, keep the house cozy and well-lit. Make sure your windows sills and glass are clean and maintained, many buyers like to check over windows and doors considering colder weather is on the way. Take care of the little To- Do List as a well-maintained home is a great first impression.

 If you really want to make every effort to impress, bake. There is nothing more inviting to a potential home buyer in the fall than the aroma of a freshly baked apple pie, breads, and cookies for your guests.  Supper in the crock pot is always a welcoming aroma for potential buyers and is a great way to have supper ready when you get home!

Posted by Roxanne Johnson on October 17th, 2022 10:14 AM

Preston is an easy town to “Get hooked on.” Known for their Trout Days celebration, Preston sets beautifully on the Root Rivers as the county seat of Fillmore Count. Preston offers various job opportunities and community attractions, and a hometown feel to the community.

Preston’s community boasts numerous businesses available to you, to fit your lifestyle and daily needs. Active Businesses in Preston include:

  1. Grocery Store, Hardware Store, Dollar Store
  2. Clinic, Pharmacy, Ambulance, Fire Department, Senior Housing
  3. Floral & Gift Shop, Antique Store
  4. Restaurants, Liquor Store, Bowling Alley
  5. Automotive Repair, Gas Stations, Body Shop
  6. Bank, Attorneys Office, Accountant, Insurance
  7. Library, Parks, Bike Trail, Golf Course, Bait Shop, Fishing, Kayaking, Canoeing, Tubing, National Trout Center, Tennis Court, Historic Forestville, Mystery Cave, Forestville  State Park (Hiking, Horseback riding, and camping), Tack Store
  8. Hotel & Motel Lodging, Camping  
  9. Childcare Center & Elementary School
  10. State Veterans Cemetery, Serviceman’s Club & Veteran’s Home to Come

Preston is home to many community organizations for all ages with community events and celebrations; as well as various organizations for a variety of interests including several recreational activities, an active community foundation, churches, and volunteer EMS.

Take one visit to Preston and you will “get hooked on” the lifestyle Preston has to offer. Their Economic Development Board welcomes businesses. While the small town offers several necessities and businesses to support, it is an easy drive to Rochester MN or La Crosse WI. Preston is a Telecommuter-Friendly city, a designation given to communities that have committed to coordinating with broadband providers, realtors, employers, and others to promote the availably of telecommuting options. Love where you live, work where you live, keep it simple!


Here’s why people of the Preston community love where they live...

“Easy access to the Root River for fishing, and the trail for walking.”

“Working locally saves me so much time, no commute!” 

“Supporting my friends in their business adventures.” 

“The simplicity of it, less distractions. The further off the map the better.” 

“People know, care and support each other.”

“Tight knit community support.”



Posted by Roxanne Johnson on July 1st, 2021 1:08 PM

Harmony is known as “The Biggest Little Town in Southern Minnesota”, Harmony offers the perfect balance of community and convenience. The Harmony community is inviting and vibrant.

While Harmony supports all your daily needs it is also ideally location between larger towns including Rochester MN, La Crosse WI, and Decorah IA. With many employment opportunities as well as a progressive minded Economic Development Authority Board who offers a free service to entrepreneurs and can be supportive to you in starting your own business locally to support your lifestyle. Harmony has several active businesses from daily living needs to dining and entertainment. If you are unfamiliar with our small town here is a summary of businesses it has to offer, if you don’t see what you are looking for maybe there’s an opportunity waiting for you!

  1. Grocery Store, Mercantile
  2. Clinic, Drugstore, Senior Housing, Ambulance, Fire Department, and Helipad
  3. Floral Shop & Greenhouse, Home Décor & Retail, Clothing, Salon
  4. Restaurants, Liquor Store, Bar & Grill
  5. Automotive Repair, Gas Stations, Body Shop
  6. Bank, Attorneys Office, Post Office, Accountant, Investments, Insurance
  7. Movie Theatre, Library, Parks, Golf Course, Bike Trail, Niagara Cave, Splash Pad Coming Soon
  8. Kids Learning Center/Daycare, High School, Football & Baseball Fields

Harmony has something for everyone, regardless of age, as it is home to many community organizations for young and old alike with community events and celebrations; as well as various organizations for different interests such as garden club, historical society, a community foundation that has given over $400,000 back to the community, churches, trap club, and volunteer EMS. You are sure to find yourself at home in Harmony.

As “The biggest Little Town in Southern Minnesota” Harmony is known for its welcoming community spirit, where the quality of life never goes out of style. Southeast Minnesota is known for its freshwater stocked trout streams, miles of trails, as well as many recreational activities; Historic Bluff Country is an outdoor and nature lover’s paradise.


Here’s why people of the Harmony community love where they live...

“I enjoy walking down the street and seeing faces I know.”                            “Love the parks.”

“I love supporting people I know via small business.”                                       “The pace of life.” 

“Close community feel! Everyone supports each other!”                                  “Love having dining options.” 

“Community feel. People care about one another.”                                           “Great walking community.” 

“We enjoy the nice golf course & trails.”                                                             “Healthy lifestyle.” 

Posted by Roxanne Johnson on July 1st, 2021 1:08 PM

Should I list my property this winter? This year the season is quite different as the pandemic has limited social gatherings and events.  We find ourselves reassessing our living space and our day-to-day lifestyle. With a shortage of homes and pent-up demand, buyers are watching the market for new listings and are ready to make an offer when the property fits their lifestyle.  Wooded and Ag land are also in demand, as it has become a bit of a challenge for buyers to find a place to hunt, camp, or build their dream home.   You may have an ideal parcel to sell or split off that could give you the cash make improvements to your property, purchase a second home, or invest in other ways.

In November, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit 30,000 and the interest rates hit another low, home prices have risen 15% and selling in an average of 45 days, according the SE Minnesota Association of Realtors MLS reporting.  The economic indicators support a positive market moving forward for sellers.  We find buyers are looking to take advantage of the low interest rates.   We are happy to visit with you about selling options available, the selling process, and guide you step by step along the way.   Call today for your free confidential consultation and put our experience to work for you!


Roxanne & Kelsey, RE/MAX Select Properties


Posted in:selling and tagged: selling
Posted by Roxanne Johnson on January 12th, 2021 1:40 PM

Do you want or need to move but you are struggling with the prices in today’s market? We understand there may be a bit of sticker shock for some, especially if you are comparing to certain years in the past. The real estate market is ever changing.

If you have sticker shock, we want to remind you of the historically low interest rates. If you currently own a home, buying a move up home can still be within your budget because of the low rates. Before you fixate on the asking price, look at the monthly payment. How does the payment with the low interest rate compare to the payment you have now?

For example...

Purchase Price



Mortgage Years



Interest Rate



Monthly Principle & Interest




Give us a call today to schedule a free buyers consultation, virtually or in person!

Roxanne & Kelsey


RE/MAX Select Properties            




These calculations were made using a mortgage calculator on SEMNrealestate.com, the information is not guaranteed, specific individual situations and lenders will vary.


These calculations were made using a mortgage calculator on SEMNrealestate.com, the information is not guaranteed, specific individual situations and lenders will vary.

Posted in:buying and tagged: buying
Posted by Roxanne Johnson on November 24th, 2020 4:44 PM

While we completely understand selling during COVID may feel like a big undertaking and you may be nervous about people coming and going from your home, we would like to ease some of your concerns.   We realize buyers may be concerned about entering homes and the precautions that need to be taken. We take the health and wellbeing of our clients seriously, and although navigating COVID has posed challenges for many of us, we have found ways to successfully assist our clients in making their move.

We discuss with our sellers their health concerns and implement safety precautions as we want you to be comfortable with buyers entering your home.  To minimize the transfer of germs we recommend a seller to have all the lights on, if possible, so there is no need for agents or buyers to touch your switches.  

We have successfully implemented the use of technology for many years and have increased virtual showings and the usage of electronic signing throughout this pandemic. Photos are available on several real estate websites and videos of our listings can be found on our Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/SEMNrealestate). We are more than happy to conduct a Virtual Showing (real time or recorded) for you, as virtual showings have been an important tool.

We of course conduct in person showings, implementing the safety guidelines and maintaining social distancing guidelines.  Most importantly before bringing buyers into your home we have asked them questions related to possible exposure to COVID-19.  We have a supply of masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer in our vehicles for client use.

We feel it is important to take precautions and be practical during this time in respect of our clients and our own families.  If you have been thinking of making a move, we welcome the opportunity to visit with you about your concerns and assist you in making your move happen!

Roxanne & Kelsey

RE/MAX Select Properties



Posted in:buyingPosted in:sellingPosted in:covid and tagged: buyingsellingreal estatecovidpandemic
Posted by Roxanne Johnson on November 17th, 2020 10:01 AM

Roxanne Johnson, Broker, ABR, CRS, GRII. Licensed since 1994 and franchise owner of RE/MAX Select Properties.

AWARDS:  RE/MAX 100% Club, RE/MAX Platinum Club, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Award, Multi-Million Dollar Producer

In 25 years as a leader in Southeast Minnesota, Roxanne Johnson is dedicated to providing professional service to her clients, assisting hundreds of buyers and sellers make their move, putting their best interest as a top priority. Roxanne provides buyers and sellers with expert advice to guide them through the process for a successful closing and enjoyable process in the move. As a woman in business owning a boutique franchise office in a small town, Roxanne takes pride in providing personalized service and excellent exposure as a boutique franchise with one of the top leaders in the industry RE/MAX International. 

Roxanne grew up just south of the MN boarder near Decorah Iowa and moved to Harmony Minnesota marrying her high school sweetheart Bill Johnson. Bill and Roxanne raised their two children on the family farm in Harmony where Bill manages an All-Natural beef cow/calf operation with rotational crops taking pride in sustainable farming practices Roxanne enjoys time on the farmwalking the bike trial, time with children & grandchildren, photography and traveling. She serves as President of Harmony Area Community Foundation (non-profit), an organization that has been very instrumental in improving Harmony and creating resources for the residents. 

Roxanne & Kelsey have been recognized as one of the top 5% of RE/MAX agents in the state of Minnesota and top 50 team for transactions closed.  

Put their experience to work for you as the local experts you want on your side!

Posted by Roxanne Johnson on November 16th, 2020 9:41 AM

Kelsey Bergey- Realtor, GRI, - Licensed Real Estate Assistant and Transaction CoordinatorJoined RE/MAX Select Properties in 2011.

Kelsey joined the team in 2011 while attending Upper Iowa University, starting first as an assistant and quickly receiving her Minnesota Real Estate license allowing her to assist with everything from showing homes to closing the deal. Kelsey’s top priority is our clients, starting with the day a seller invites us into their home and the day a buyer decides it's time to start the search.   Kelsey coordinates showings, home inspections, appraisers, and closings and is a major asset to our team bringing her organization and communication skills to the table for smooth transactions and successful closings for our buyers and sellers.  

Kelsey is Harmony native, growing up on the family farm, where her family still farms today.  Kelsey married her high school sweetheart Josh Bergey who is employed at Preston Protein Products.  Kelsey and Josh keep busy with their little boy and enjoying experiences the area has to offer.  In her down time, Kelsey enjoys sipping a latte, having lunch with friends, and reading. 

Roxanne & Kelsey have been recognized as one of the top 5% of RE/MAX agents in the state of Minnesota and top 50 team for transactions closed.  

Put their experience to work for you as the local experts you want on your side!

Posted by Roxanne Johnson on November 16th, 2020 9:37 AM

Remember it’s time for a checkup when starting your homes heating. Having a professional clean and service your furnace is good practice for safety and efficiency. And lastly, remember to change your filter once a month. 

Roxanne & Kelsey, RE/MAX Select Properties 

Posted by Roxanne Johnson on January 27th, 2020 2:57 PM

A simple trip can spoil your day….

GFCI outlets are used to safeguard and trip off the electrical. GFCI is integrated in the outlet itself. When you plug in an appliance, such as a hair dryer, the GFCI outlet monitors the amount of power going to the device. If you accidentally drop the appliance into sink full of water, the GFCI detects the interruption in current and cuts the power...and possibly saves your life.

Do Not plug in your refrigerator or deep freeze to a GFCI outlet, should it trip the electrical current will be cut and power off your appliance, not only spoiling your day, but spoiling your food if not caught in time.

Roxanne & Kelsey, RE/MAX Select Properties

Posted by Roxanne Johnson on January 27th, 2020 2:55 PM

Are you thinking about selling your home? Here are 10 things to consider when preparing to sell your home.

  1. Updated to neutral paint colors - Yes a buyer will appreciate this!
  2. Update flooring that is worn and outdated.
  3. Clean woodwork & cabinets, touching up marks as needed. 
  4. Update hardware on cabinets.
  5. updated light fixtures as needed.
  6. Change lighting to LED white light to brighten your home. 
  7. Replace broken blinds and remove dated window coverings.
  8. Replace broken switch plats & outlet covers. 
  9. Clean sweep your basement and garage - Buyers want to see your storage space looking neat!
  10. Make your entry inviting inside and out. 

Of course some things are clean, retro and add a charming style to perhaps that is part of the appeal. We offer a free staging consultation in preparing to market your home for sale, helping you save money and time while addressing the items that matter.

Roxanne & Kelsey, RE/MAX Select Properties

Call us whether you're buying or selling, "Because Every Move Matters!"

Posted in:Seller and tagged: Seller
Posted by Roxanne Johnson on January 27th, 2020 2:45 PM

RE/MAX Select Properties

"Outstanding Agents, Outstanding Results!"

25 W. Center Street PO Box 425
Harmony, MN 55939