Saturday, January 11, 2020

Minneapolis, Don't Forget to Miss Me

North by Northside, signing off.

Ever since I began to be drawn to the move to Superior, this song "Don't Forget to Miss Me" has been my personal Twin Cities theme song.

She said she's gonna make it back, it could be any day
It's not so much the waiting as not knowing what to say
She said, oh always keep me close
Even 'cross the distant sea
One more thing, oh yeah, before I go
Don't you forget to miss me

Sometimes I would be singing it as if directed at a place that had been my home, hoping the contributions I made and whatever lessons I could teach would remain and be built upon.  (Minneapolis, don't you forget to miss me.)  Other times I envisioned Minneapolis singing it to me, reminding me to keep what I have learned and continue my service to a community in my new home.  (Minneapolis: Don't you forget to miss me.)  For a very long time, my relationship with wherever I happen to live has extended almost to a personal level of attachment.

Have you ever been in a long-term relationship with someone and then felt yourselves growing apart?  Have you ever woken up one morning, and turned your gaze to your loved one only to realize that because one or both of you have changed, now you don't love them the same way anymore?  What do you do when that happens, do you recommit yourselves to what essentially amounts to a new relationship, do you go through the motions and stay together even though things now feel hollow, or do you realize that it's now time to part ways?  What happens when you feel that way about your home?

I don't love Minneapolis anymore and I hadn't for a while even before I left.  Or at least I stopped loving it in the way I used to.  If I were to characterize my relationship with this city on a personal level...

Friday, January 10, 2020

First-Time Home Seller, Part III: The Move

Before you get your home ready to show prospective buyers, the most important thing to realize is that you have terrible taste.  Sure, you love the color scheme in the dining room and it was fashionable, but trust me, those particular shades of whatever paint you used look awful now and your buyers will hate it.  And if they don't like it then the first thing they'll do when they put an offer together is start to take money off the top.  "Well since we're going to redo almost every surface in there, let's drop our offer by maybe two grand.  I mean Jesus. Burnt orange and chartreuse?"  There is a scientific basis for this as well, in that people react differently to colors, but can more easily imagine their preferred color scheme on a neutral surface.

Lesson 10: Paint it white.  Go back and watch the business card scene from American Psycho, write down every "shade" of white that they describe, bring that list to a Sherwin Williams store, and tell them this is your new color palate.

"Look at that subtle off-white coloring..."

This is a good time to remember that all of your furniture is ugly too.  Sure you knew the couch you picked up in college from someone's alley and is now in the basement man-cave should be passed on to the next generation of kids getting their first apartment or possibly destroyed via exorcism.  But everything you bought since then is awful too.  The bench that looked so charming on the Wayfair website was exactly the wrong one, the klibbig och förfallen from Ikea wasn't put together right and it just so happens your prospective buyers are snobby Swedish furniture assemblers and they will notice such things, and let's not get started on those dining room chairs.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

First-Time Home Seller, Part II: The Finances

What is your plan financially?

When I teach classes for people on buying their first homes, one thing I would show was a chart for how much money you need and when you need it.  From the point of just thinking about buying (you may need $15-20 for your own credit report) to the costs of inspections, appraisals, earnest money, and the day of closing.  How long does that process go and when do you need money during those stages? Selling a home isn’t free either, and having the same kind of understanding will make navigating that far easier.

Many cities, Minneapolis included, have pre-sale inspection reports as a requirement.  The inspector may be either a city employee or just someone qualified to review your home for code issues.  In most cases, anything below code will then become the responsibility of the new buyer, sometimes to fix within a specified time period after taking ownership.  The idea is to have no items below that grade, which is another good reason to have a realtor who can help spot those before the inspection. The pre-sale inspections tend to cost between $200 and $500, and if you decide to do any repairs and have them reinspect for a cleaner report at the time of sale, plan on a small fee for a second visit.