Investing for the Sale: Preparing your home to get top dollar in a hot market (Interview with Realtor Cass Studor)

Sometimes, we do home improvement projects because we want to be more comfortable or make our home work better for our family and lifestyle. Sometimes, we invest to help make a sale. I wanted to know more about which projects make a difference in home sales, so I went right to the source and interviewed a local realtor.

Cass Studor is a realtor with Haller Realty. She works out of Haller’s Becker and Sauk Rapids locations. She also owns Snap Fitness gyms in Becker and Big Lake.

CL: My main question is what home improvement projects do the most to add equity or speed up the sale of a home?
CS: There are many updates one can do to help assist with the sale of their home. Some projects may be smaller in nature, while others a bit more of an undertaking. It is always good to look at what doing the upgrades/updates will do for the sale of your home.

Let’s start at the beginning. When a prospective buyer drives up to your house, what do they see? What does the entry of your home look like? You want to make sure that your front door is in good condition. I have viewed homes where there were cracks in the solid wood doors that gave buyers and uneasy feeling before even entering the home. Curb appeal is important as prospective buyers may drive by your home prior to requesting a showing, and you don’t want to lose out on someone viewing your home due to the front door/entry being in poor condition. Sometimes a new door and hardware are needed and others a fresh coat of paint will do the trick nicely. Also make sure if there are stairs leading into your home or a front porch that they are in good repair. Rotting steps or decking do not give a good first impression. Buyers will also look up when they first encounter your home. How does the roof of your home look? If a roof is in need of repair, it can be a turnoff for many buyers.

Another area that is always important is the kitchen, for some the most important area of a home. Buyers pay a great deal of attention to the condition of kitchens.

CL: Kitchens can be expensive projects.
CS: If doing an overhaul is not in your budget, there are less expensive ways to update the look of the kitchen if your cabinets are in good shape but outdated. You can refinish the existing cabinets or purchase new doors for them. Updating the hardware on the cabinets and on the kitchen sink is also good to do. New hardware can give the room a completely different feel. Next, after the kitchen, comes the bathroom. Bathrooms are a very essential part of the home. Kitchens and bathrooms can be the areas of a home that can be more expensive to update, but people do notice these areas.

CL: What are the small things a person can do to freshen up a home for listing?
CS: If your budget is smaller, you can always freshen your home up rather than some of the bigger remodel projects. Fresh paint and a good cleaning can go a long way to make a home more inviting. Now if budget allows, there are some fun projects that can make your home stand out against the competition.

CL: Anything else? What if you’re not sure where to begin?
CS: The list could go on and on for the updates that you could make to your home or things you could add, like a deck. You need to choose wisely for your individual home as to which areas need your care the most. If you are unsure which areas of your home could use some updating or TLC, make sure to talk to your realtor. They can help you decide which projects will help the most with increasing the value or curb appeal of your home.

Thank you, Cass, for taking the time to tell us about investing to prepare for real estate listing!

Cabin Season – Country Lumber Launch Center in Wahkon

According to the Department of Revenue, there are 124,000 cabins in Minnesota. Many of them are on the over 90,000 miles of lakeshore around the state. Heading “up north” for the weekend is a tradition in Minnesota, and the recreation, relaxation, and communion with nature is part of our high standard of living.

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The Launch Center, 407 Bennett St. Wahkon MN

Owning a cabin isn’t all fun and games. Just like your home, your cabin needs maintenance and updates. That’s why Country Lumber opened the Launch Center in Wahkon back in 2006.

The Launch Center is a Country Lumber showroom conveniently located in the heart of lake cabin country, on the south side of Mille Lacs Lake. Just like our Becker showroom, customers can shop for options in roofing, siding, windows, doors, millwork, and much more. There are no scheduled hours at the Launch Center, but Chip takes appointments with builders, buyers, and cabin owners who want to shop, and products are delivered from Becker.

The Launch Center can be your headquarters for fishing too. We have seasonal boat slips, guide service, a fish cleaning setup, restrooms with showers, and half/full day boat rental.

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Launch Center showroom

We invite you and/or your company to consider hosting employee seminars, workshops, conferences, family reunions, or employee gatherings for up to 30 people. Launch Center amenities include a large conference table, galley kitchen and a 60” big screen – perfect for presentations or watching sporting events and movies.

 

Contact Chip Frederickson at chipf@countrylumber.us or 612-221-6923 for Launch Center rental rates or to schedule a visit to the showroom.

Schlage

Schlage Electronic and Smart Locks are a perfect solution to keyless entry. Three lines are available in a keyless option: Schlage Sense, Schlage Connect, and Schlage Touch. All three lines offer an illuminated touch screen for easier visibility at night. They also allow for multiple access codes that can be programmed and deleted by the user. If you’ve got a contractor, cleaning person, etc. coming to your house and you’d prefer not to give them a key you can program a code specifically for them and delete it when you wish. No worries about someone having your key and gaining access to your home!

 

The Schlage Sense offers a Bluetooth feature to pair your lock with your phone.  If you’re not home and have friends or family members coming you can lock and unlock your door using the Schlage Sense app.  It also has a built-in alarm sensor that can issue you an alert when it senses someone trying to gain entry.  It pairs up with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant. It is available in 2 styles and 2 finishes: Camelot or Century style and Satin Nickel or Aged Bronze finish.

 

Schlage also offers another keyless line called the Schlage Connect. It has the ability to connect to some home security systems or Z-Wave system. This series can also pair with Amazon Alexa.  This series offers a big selection with 7 options featuring Century or Camelot trim. You can choose a handle set/deadbolt combo, a lever/deadbolt combo, or a deadbolt only.  Satin Chrome, Aged Bronze, Bright Brass, Satin Nickel, Bright Chrome, or the popular Matte Black color.

 

The Schlage Touch line offers a completely keyless option. There is no keyway on this lock to give it a clean look. This line doesn’t offer access via your phone or security system.  It still offers the convenience of programming multiple codes.  This line is available with a touch deadbolt or touch lever.  The deadbolt line offers a variety of options including handle sets and levers with several color options.  The touch lever is offered in several styles as well as colors.

Feel free to check these locks out online or visit our showroom!

Diamond Pier Footings

Diamond pier footings are the perfect alternative to poured concrete pier footings.

They install in minutes with a jack hammer. Just set the head and drive in the pins. This allows for low impact to your yard. No extra dirt to get rid of. No concrete to mix and no ready mix trucks. You can frame right away, no need for waiting for the concrete to dry. They have a cast in galvanized anchor bolt, so you can attach a post base directly to it. You can install them any where you can carry them. Perfect for remote locations.

They can be used for decks, porches, sheds, gazebos, or anywhere you need a pier footing. They come in three different sizes. DP50 w/ 50” pins, DP75 w/ 50” or 63” pins, & DP100 w/ 50”, 63”, or 84” pins. Their load carrying capacity ranges from 2700# to 6300# depending on size and soil type. They come with a life time of the structure warranty covering parts & labor. As you can see these innovative pier footings can be useful for the contractor or the do it yourselfer.

 

See more information at www.DiamondPiers.com or call us at Country Lumber.

Barn Doors

Barn Doors……..Still Popular!
Barn door hardware might be the biggest trend in building and remodeling we have seen in a while.
Farmers throughout the Midwest are puzzled because the brilliant-yet-practical use of a barn door hardware
is not news to them. It’s simple and utilitarian. It opens the barn doors….it closes the barn doors. Yawn…
So, why are we still infatuated with barn door hardware? Because ANY door can be hung on barn door
hardware. A curvy, carved, stained wood door…a painted white, leaded glass door…a flush birch, clear
coated door…and, (that’s right) ….even a rustic BARN door. The options are quite honestly, endless. All that
limits the style of a barn door is the finish of the hardware and how wide the opening is, i.e. how many
doors you’ll need to cover it!
In addition, a barn door can be an ideal solution when a pocket door won’t work. Let’s imagine a tricky
transition between hallway and laundry room. A pocket door won’t work simply due to HVAC, plumbing or
electrical in the wall and a door swinging into the hallway or into the laundry creates a foot traffic issue. A
barn door would quietly hide that laundry room and the pile of dirty clothes in it, quietly and beautifully!
Thank You!
Pam Robideau

Shiplap Siding

“Shiplap is a type of wooden board used commonly as exterior siding in the construction of residences, barns, sheds, and outbuildings. It is either rough-sawn 1″ or milled 3/4″ pine or similarly inexpensive wood between 3″ and 10″ wide with a 3/8″ – 1/2″ rabbet on opposite sides of each edge.”

Shiplap is one of the most commonly requested materials we quote for people here at Country Lumber.  With the Gaines (see what I did there?) it is making in the industry, we are seeing the popularity rise and the implementation grow to different applications, profiles, and species.

It is one of the most versatile products on the market today.   Used on fireplaces, accent walls, complete rooms, wainscot and ceilings.     The wooden panels are easy to install, create a good seal for water management and are popular both for modern and rustic appearances.

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a few things to consider when shopping for shiplap products…

Size- Shiplap is available in numerous dimensions.   Always verify the depth and reveal of the product you are researching.  Not all shiplap is the same.  Most common are the 8” or the 6” depths.   These have a board width but depending on the overlap may only be 5” reveal or 7” reveal or even less.  Take this into consideration when figuring your square footage required to complete your project.

Profile- Shiplap can be rough or smooth. Also the gap between boards could be tight fitting or a small space between the panels often referred to as a “nickel gap”.

Color- Shiplap is commonly painted or stained depending on your design.   With paint the entire color wheel is your option.  With stain certain products may not achieve the desired look depending on the species selected.  Your shiplap will be what you make of it- It couldn’t be easier to make your project inviting, and a perfectly customizable accent!

If you have ideas, questions or would like to get some samples. Please swing in to see us! Happy to help with you Shiplap project!

Siding Options for your home

 

LP SmartSide

If you have been through a hailstorm, you may have wondered if there is a better siding product out there. LP SmartSide may be a good option for you. LP SmartSide is a treated engineered wood siding made up of either wood strands for a wood grain surface or wood fibers for a smooth surface. That along with a mixture of waxes, zinc borate, a paper overlay, and some resins gives it their SmartGuard protection. This process gives LP SmartSide a 5/50 year warranty. Materials and labor are covered for the first 5 years and the material has a 50 year prorated warranty. LP SmartSide is offered in a full line of lap sidings, panel sidings, trim boards, shakes, and soffit panels, with many sizes offered. It comes either factory prefinished or with a primed finish that can be customized in the field.

The convenient 16’ lengths make for less seams and light weight along with a full line of accessories make it easy to install.

If you like the idea of a solid, durable, and resilient siding for your home or project, come into the Country Lumber showroom to see and touch it.

Thanks

Forever Barnwood

“New meets old”

When you hear the term “Barnwood”, you think of beautiful aged wood used for many different projects around your home. However, the traditional barnwood that is reclaimed to use in building projects comes with its down sides. Timely process to remove from barns and prepare for its end use makes it a quite costly solution, may contain hazards such as lead from the paint used years ago, formaldehyde, arsenic (from pesticides used years ago around the farm), amongst other natural things over many years of being exposed such as dirt, oil, mold, also hidden nails can be an issue when cutting on the jobsite. Read more

Aluminum AFCO Railings

“Carefree” is the goal of outdoor living space.  Aluminum AFCO-Rail can help you meet your “carefree” goal with a virtually maintenance-free product that comes with a limited lifetime structural warranty.

The robust Aluminum AFCO-Rail system is made of extruded aluminum that will never rust and exceeds IBC and IRC requirements to provide the structure you need.  With seven durable, AAMA-2604 power coat paint finishes available for all its unique series, Aluminum AFCO-Rail can give your space the style you want. Read more

The Value of Adding a Deck to YourHome

Everyone makes certain compromises when buying a new home. Perhaps your home had everything else on your checklist, minus your dream deck overlooking your beautiful, sprawling lawn. If you did need to leave building your deck until you earned more equity in your home or saved up for it in some other way, you are not alone. The North  American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) reports that, just last year, about 2.5 million new or replacement decks were built in the U.S.

Why Are Decks So Popular? Read more