Realtor Jon Ness offers tips for home buyers and sellers.

A Fall Primer of Tips for Home Buyers and Sellers from Jon Ness, Realtor and Partner

This month, Jon Ness, Realtor and Partner, follows up on last month’s blog post with Barry Berg, Realtor and Partner. Barry explained “why” now is the time to get ready to buy or sell your home and Jon offers “what” you can do in the upcoming weeks if you’re thinking about buying or selling your home.

Autumn is sharing its full splendor these days. There are weekend trips up North to enjoy the outdoors and tailgating parties to cheer on your favorite teams. It’s also the season of prep work if you’re thinking about buying or selling a home in the spring.

Sure, it seems like there is plenty of time, right? However, Berg Larsen Group partner Jon Ness says, “The Spring market is sooner than you think; for home buyers and sellers in the Twin Cities, the Spring market starts in February, and gains momentum in March. That means getting ready now.”

With a history in construction and real estate, it’s no wonder Jon offers a punch list of what to complete before the holidays. This advance work ensures you are ready to sell your home and for a successful real estate transaction in the Spring. See our detailed checklist at the end of the blog.

Exterior Enhancements

The exterior of your home is a buyer’s first impression. There is still time for essential touch-ups like paint or stain. This will help you be ready for those all-important photos.

Jon points out that the first showing usually takes place on a person’s smartphone. “The photos have to entice a buyer to schedule a showing.”

Give your landscaping some TLC as well. Trim trees. Remove dead branches. These are things you can’t do in the winter and will look unsightly come spring.

Add fall-friendly flowers to your planters. Brush away cobwebs (after Halloween, of course!).

Maintenance Matters for Home Buyers and Sellers

A clean, well-maintained home makes the best impression and provides greater confidence that everything is up to date. Think about the visible things, like the front door, and things that are less visible, like the HVAC system.

Jon encourages a deep cleaning inside that will make it easier to maintain in the months ahead. At the front door, you can add a few decorative items, such as a new welcome mat and seasonal planters.

For peace of mind, check the HVAC system and keep a log of service dates to show prospective buyers. Jon also suggests using a wet wipe to get rid of the caked-on dust that has settled on the furnaces or the top of the water heater.

Another item for the list: Winterize your irrigation systems and water features.

When you take care of crucial maintenance tasks in the Fall, this ensures you’re in good shape when buyers are actively looking at houses after the holidays. Put yourself in their shoes to consider what you’d expect when looking at houses.

Insider Tips for Interiors

Fall is an excellent time for a few pre-staging updates. It starts with decluttering, but Jon quickly says, “This doesn’t mean depersonalizing your home. A few family photos provide personality and warmth – just don’t have a whole wall full.” The same is true for collections and knickknacks.

If your flooring needs an update or a refresh, schedule it now because vendors are exceptionally busy in the Spring. You are better off refinishing wood floors or installing new carpeting before the holidays. One of the most timeless options is medium brown oak, says Jon. “It goes with everything.”

Jon also touts the benefits of painting. “Paint has tremendous impact.” But, forgo bold or stand-out colors. Instead, choose colors that blend and show off the house instead of your personal taste. “Lately, we’re seeing less gray and more white along with neutrals like light tans and greiges.”

Other things you can do now include updating kitchen appliances. Some manufacturers have waiting lists of up to a year, so place orders sooner rather than later.

The key to paint and flooring is to select options that appeal to the most people so they can envision themselves living in the space.

What is the ROI?

The ideas that Jon and the Berg Larsen Group team recommend are not about spending money for the sake of spending money. He says they prioritize tasks that will get back dollar for dollar. For example, if you’re replacing an outdated chandelier, he recommends spending in the hundreds, not the thousands.

For more than 40 years, home buyers and sellers in the Twin Cities have trusted the Berg Larsen Group to help them get the best value based on spending wisely.


For home Buyers:

Take Care of Financial Matters Now, Not Later

Preparation is also the theme for financial tasks. For example, go ahead and get pre-approved for a Spring purchase, so you’re ready to make an offer when the right home becomes available.

When possible, Jon recommends working with a local lender. “A local lender/loan originator vs. an out of state or online one is always strongest, has the greatest familiarity with the area, and provides sellers with great confidence.”

He also says buyers and sellers should do their taxes early as you will need a current tax return for loan approvals.

Get Out and About

Where do you want to live/call home? When you’re thinking about your next home, take time to visit the neighborhoods that interest you. And, don’t just drive through them; park your car, walk around and spend some time getting a feel for the area. Consider your commute, access to highways, errands, schools and other daily activities.

Enjoy the Upcoming Holidays

As you check these items off the list, you can enjoy your current home before looking for a new one or preparing for a sale. “Spring comes earlier than you think – at least the home-selling and -buying season, so make the most of the Fall, enjoy the Winter, and be ready come February and March,” encourages Jon.

Buyers and Sellers Welcome

For sellers and buyers, the Spring market is mutually beneficial. Jon reminds us, “As professional Realtors, we’re here to share our expertise, experience and sources.”


Fall Maintenance Checklist: 

A autumn checklist of things to do to prepare your home for sale.

Posted by Jon Ness on


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