What is Arbitration?

Should I Sign the Arbitration Addendum?

The National Center for Dispute Settlement (NCDS) offers real property disclosure dispute resolution services to eligible consumers and is endorsed by the Minnesota National Association of Realtors. You have the right to decide whether to have any disputes about disclosure, affecting the use or enjoyment of the property you are buying or selling, decided by binding arbitration or by a court of law.

By agreeing to arbitration, you give up your right to go to court. The Arbitration Agreement is NOT part of the Purchase and your Purchase Agreement will still be valid whether or not you sign the Arbitration Agreement. In deciding whether to sign the arbitration addendum, whether you are a buyer or seller, you should consider what factors are important to you.

All parties – all buyers, all sellers, and their real estate agents must sign the Arbitration Agreement in order for it to be enforceable. The only exception is if both agents are from the same brokerage.

Deb Newel, of Newel Law Firm, has practiced real estate law since 2004. She has created a publication that shlould answer any questions you may have about arbitration.

Arbitration-Agreement-Brochure-Jan-2018-Newel-Law Arbitration for Residential Real Estate Transactions by Deb Newel

For additional information, you can refer to the website of the National Center for Dispute Settlement, the organization that administers the Residential Real Property Arbitration System.

Once at www.ncdsusa.org, hover over “Consumer” in the navigation menu and click “Rules/Procedures”. At the bottom of the webpage, under the Minnesota National Association of Realtors subheading, you will find links to:
Rules and Procedures for Minnesota Real Property Disclosure Disputes
Fee Schedule for Minnesota Real Property Disclosure Disputes

Sellers: Some Final Items to Take Care of Before You Move/Close

Sellers - Stopping or Transferring Utilities and Services

If you are closing on the sale of your home, you will want to stop or transfer your utilities and services. PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU TELL THEM TO END THE UTILITIES THE DAY OF CLOSING AND NOT BEFORE! You will also want to forward your mail and establish utilities and any desired services at your new home. We will send you a separate email and link for establishing these utilities and services in the city that you are purchasing a home in.

Pre-Moving Items

Mail Forwarding

You can forward your mail at USPS.com.

Utilities & Services

  • Cancel/transfer gas & electricity
  • Cancel/transfer water & sewer services
  • Cancel/transfer phone, cable, internet, & other services.

Moving Checklist

I have attached a link (below) to another moving checklist in case you need it. You might want to double check it to make sure that you aren’t forgetting to take care of any last-minute items.


Pre-Closing Items

Items Required for Closing

When it gets closer to closing, the title company will send you a list of what items you need to bring to the closing. If you don’t receive this list within 7-10 days of the closing date, please inquire with them.

The Buyer’s Final Walk-Through

The buyers and their agent will be doing a final walk-through of the home prior to closing. This is typically scheduled either right before the closing or the day before. Treat this like a normal showing – the buyers will just want to make sure the house is still what they expected and any repairs or requests have been taken care of.


If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

Printable Moving Checklist

Planning and Preparation is the Key to a Stress-free Move.

Moving dolly with moving boxes

Moving is an exciting adventure, but let’s be honest, it can be a daunting task. Moving has the potential of being very stressful; however, with proper planning and a timeline to follow, you can stay organized and prevent important tasks from falling through the cracks.

This printable moving checklist will help make the entire moving process smooth and almost stress-free.

Happy moving!

View or print the Moving Checklist

This list will save you time and frustration during your move.


We use Cloudup for hosting our printable checklists. Cloudup is a file storage and synchronization service created by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com. It allows users to store files in the cloud, synchronize files across devices, and instantly and securely share anything, without waiting for uploads or downloads. The greatest thing about Cloudup is that it allows us to update our content in ONE PLACE while keeping it automatically updated/synced on all platforms that we have shared it on. This ensures that you always have access to the most up-to-date content.


“A goal is a dream with a deadline.”
– Napoleon Hill


“A goal without a plan is only a wish.”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Let us know what you think about this list. This (and all) resources are for YOU, our valued client! Does anything need to be added, changed, or eliminated? Please let us know in the contact form below!

↓ We appreciate and value your feedback! ↓


The Process of Buying Your Home

Step Number 5: Making an Offer to Purchase a Home

Deciding on the Details of the Offer

Once you have found the “right home”, it’s time to make an offer. Ryan will help you decide on the price, terms, and contingencies. You can’t rely solely on the list price of the home. Ryan will use data available on the MLS to look at homes in the area that are active, sold, and expired as well as those with similar features to determine what the home is worth. Keep in mind, if the home is under priced to encourage multiple offers, or if there is a lot of competition for the home, you may need to offer more than the listed price for your offer to be accepted. Ryan will guide you in this decision.

Making the Offer

Once we have prepared the offer paperwork and you have signed it, Ryan will present your offer to the listing agent. The listing agent will then present your offer to the seller. You will need to include a copy of the earnest money check with the offer.

Earnest Money

Earnest money is a deposit that is made on a property. It shows that you are serious about purchasing the property. The earnest money is held in a trust account until the closing date when it is then applied toward your down payment. If your transaction cancels/falls through, it is possible that you, the buyer, could lose the earnest money deposit. Typically, the party not responsible for cancelling the offer will be awarded the deposit. This is one of those times when having an experienced agent/team can really make a difference. We watch the contingency deadlines closely so that if the contract needs to be cancelled, it is done before the appropriate deadline resulting in a refund to you, the buyer.

Possible Counteroffer

The seller may accept the offer as written or come back with a counteroffer. The counteroffer may change the price and/or terms. Ryan has extensive knowledge and experience in negotiating offers and will negotiate your terms (on your behalf) with the listing agent (on the seller’s behalf).

Accepted Offer/Legally Binding Contract/Purchase Agreement

The offer becomes a legally binding contract/purchase agreement on the date and time that the last party signs the offer (when either the seller accepts/signs the offer or both you and the seller have accepted/signed the last/final counteroffer) and then delivers the signed contract to the other party. This is known as the Final Acceptance Date.

Delivery of Earnest Money

Once you are under contract, you will need to mail/deliver the earnest money to the listing agent.

We Coordinate Your Transaction Until It Closes

Once you are under contract, we will begin coordinating your entire contract-to-close process. We facilitate and coordinate the work of all the professionals involved in your purchase including the listing agent, lender, inspectors, appraiser, contractors/builders, and title companies. It is important to stay in contact with your lender and furnish them with all requested items in a timely manner. We will take care of the paperwork and deadlines, solve problems that arise, and let you know when something is needed from you. This results in a smooth, hassle-free transaction for you, our “Platinum” client.

New Listings in the Past 12 Months

A count of the properties that have been newly listed on the market in a given month.

Courtesy of SPAAR – St. Paul Area Association of REALTORS

Monthly Market Indicators for the Twin Cities 11-2017

The Process of Buying Your Home

Step Number 1: Choose a REALTOR® and Analyze Your Needs and Wants

Buying Real Estate Is Not a Do-It-Yourself Project

It is important to find a REALTOR® to act as an advocate for you, the buyer, and your best interests. The commissions paid to the Buyer’s Agent are FREE to the buyer; so, it only makes sense to enlist an agent to work for you, on your behalf. The commissions for both the buyer’s and seller’s agents are paid by the seller from the proceeds of the sale. An agent that has a particular home listed for sale (name is on the for-sale sign on the property) is working for the seller and is representing the best interests of the seller.

Ask Questions

When choosing a real estate agent, it is important to ask questions that will help you find a qualified, experienced and effective agent. One of the most important questions to ask is if this is the agent’s full-time career or part-time job and how many homes they sold last year (buyer purchase or seller sale). According to the National Association of Realtors, the average agent sells 3.8 homes each year. An active, full-time agent is more likely to be up-to-date on the market and the law and to be trained and experienced in all aspects (see agent’s role) of being an effective real estate agent.

  • Why should I work with you?
  • What sets you apart or what do you do better than other real estate agents?
  • What process will you use to help me find the right home for my particular wants and needs?
  • Are you a full-time agent? The average real estate agent lacks experience – sells only 3 homes each year!
  • What are the most common things that go wrong in a transaction and how would you handle them?
  • What are some mistakes that you think buyers make when buying their first home?
  • What systems do you have in place to ensure a smooth, hassle-free transaction?
  • Do you guarantee my satisfaction?
  • Can you provide me with references and/or testimonials from past clients?

Your Real Estate Agent’s Role

  • Educate you about your market.
  • Educate you about the buying process.
  • Learn and analyze your wants and needs.
  • Guide you to homes that meet your criteria.
  • Negotiate the price and terms on your behalf.
  • Coordinate the work of other needed professionals.
  • Check and double-check paperwork and deadlines.
  • Solve any problems that may arise.
  • Ensure an easy, hassle-free experience through closing.

The typical real estate transaction involves at least two dozen individuals: mortgage brokers and underwriters, inspectors, appraisers, escrow officers, buyer’s agents, seller’s agents, bankers, title researchers, insurance assessors, and a number of other individuals whose actions and decisions have to be coordinated in order to perform in harmony and get a home sale closed. It is the responsibility of your real estate agent to expertly coordinate all the professionals involved in your home purchase and to act as the advocate for you and your interests throughout the transaction.

Analyzing Your Needs and Wants

What does your “perfect home” look like? Your REALTOR® will help you analyze your needs and wants by Creating Your Home “Wish List”. Revealing your true priorities to yourself will save you endless time and frustration during your home search. The results will also help your agent guide you in finding your “right” home, the home that meets all of your needs and as many of your wants as possible.


ebook-The-Home-Buying-Process-10-Steps       Photo of home with arrow to right to advance to next page - step 2

Spreadsheet for Comparing Homes During Your Home Search

This spreadsheet, for rating homes, compares three homes (1-3).

This Home Comparison Spreadsheet includes formulas and drop-downs (Excel download) if you would like your computer or mobile device to do the calculations. If not, you can print the PDF version and take it with to showings and write your notes directly on it. It’s purpose is to help you remember the features and flaws of each home and help you rate, prioritize, eliminate, and choose homes.

Happy searching!

Print the PDF Version!

Home Comparison Worksheet PDF for Comparing Homes to Buy

Download the Home Comparison Worksheet (with formulas)!

Before you embark on your search for your new home, you need to know what it looks like. If you haven’t already Create Your Home Wish List to reveal your true priorities to yourself. This will save you endless time and frustration during your home search.


We use Cloudup for hosting our printable worksheets. Cloudup is a file storage and synchronization service created by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com. It allows users to store files in the cloud, synchronize files across devices, and instantly and securely share anything, without waiting for uploads or downloads. The greatest thing about Cloudup – you can update your content in ONE PLACE and it will automatically be updated on all platforms that you have shared it on.

Let us know what you think. This (and all) pages are for YOU! Does anything need to be added, changed, or eliminated?

What Does Your Future Home Look Like?

Before you embark on your search for your new home, you need to know what it looks like.

Many home buyers make the mistake of misinterpreting a WANT as a NEED; and, as a result, they often dismiss homes that perfectly fit their needs in search for one that has their wants. It is important that you make a realistic “Wish List” in an attempt to narrow your choices. Revealing your true priorities to yourself will save you endless time and frustration during your home search. Hunting for a home can be a time-consuming process so it is important to have a realistic picture of what you want and need in a home and what your budget allows.

Please complete this “Wish List” by determining which features and benefits are needs or wants. This will help you prioritize and expedite your search and will also help us serve your needs better during your home search.

Download or Print the PDF!

Photo of Creating Your Home Wish List PDF Page 1 and 2

Creating Your Home Wish List

Financial Needs Wants
Price of home
Monthly payment
Location Needs Wants
What city/town?
Urban, suburban or rural?
School District?
Distance to work? Commute time?
Distance to school/family/friends?
Type of Neighborhood?
Proximity to airport, retail, parks,…?
Access to freeways, public transp,…?
Waterfront, views, power lines, RR…?
Quiet street, cul-de-sac,…?
Walking neighborhood, to retail,…?
Style and Structure Needs Wants
Style/stories: ranch, 2-story, split entry…?
Single-family, condo, townhome,…?
Age: historic, new, range of years built?
Basement: Y/N, walkout, finished?
Garage: attached? # stalls/cars/doors?
Floor Plan Needs Wants
Number of bedrooms?
Number of bathrooms?
Total square feet?
Finished square feet?
Traditional or open floor plan?
Ceiling height?
Formal/informal dining room?
Kitchen size? Eat-in kitchen?
Appliances: dishwasher, disposal…?
Updated kitchen, granite, SS appliances?
Living room and family room?
Master suite/bath?
Interior Features & Amenities Needs Wants
Flooring: hardwood, tile, carpet…?
Playroom? Rec room?
Exercise room? Sauna?
Walk-in closets?
Storage room/space?
Whirlpool bath?
Laundry room/location: main floor?
Porch: 3 or 4-season, sunroom?
Security system?
In-law suite?
Handicap accessible?
Heating & A/C Needs Wants
Energy efficient?
Forced air heating?
Central air conditioning?
Fireplace: wood, gas?
Exterior Features & Amenities Needs Wants
Lot size?
Type of lot: wooded…?
Extra parking?
Landscaping, garden?
Sprinkler system?
Patio, sidewalk?
Deck, porch?
Pool: in-ground/above ground?
Hot tub?
Shed, pole barn?
Fenced-in yard?
Association maintained?
Other Needs Wants

Print PDF version!

According to the National Association of Realtors:
In 2016, buyers typically searched for 10 weeks and looked at a median of 10 homes.

“My job is not to show you every house on the market. My job is to show you the right house.”

Ryan Bretzel
Keller Williams Premier Realty

Trash Providers in the Twin Cites Area – Minnesota

Some cities contract with only one or a few trash haulers and do not allow other trash haulers to service their community. This is in an effort to prevent the traffic and noise that results from having trash haulers continually on neighborhood streets. Check with your city/county/community to see if you are free to choose any trash hauler.

Twin Cities Trash Service Providers
Company Phone
Ace Solid Waste 763-427-3110
Advanced Disposal 651-487-8546
Allied Waste Services 651-455-8634
Aspen Waste 1-800-895-4999
Curbside Waste, Inc 763-504-2872
GarbageMan 763-269-8182
Available in: Apple Valley, Bloomington, Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Burnsville, Chanhassen, Chaska, Crystal, Edina, Golden Valley, Lakeville, Maple Grove, Minnetonka, New Hope, Plymouth, Rochester, Savage, St Paul, & Victoria
Highland Sanitation 651-458-0043
Maroney’s Sanitation 763-509-5906
Republic Services 651-455-8634
Walter’s Recycling & Refuse 763-780-8464
Waste Management 952-890-1100

Utility, Entertainment & Technology Service Providers and Resident Info
in the Twin Cities, Eastern Suburbs, & Western, WI

You will want to set up/transfer your utilities, entertainment and technology services and have your mail forwarded before you move. You will find links to cities and communities in the Twin Cities and Eastern Suburbs in Minnesota and also in Western WI. If the city that you are moving to is not on this list, a page will be created for you and a link will be sent to you prior to your closing.

Each page includes a link to USPS.com to forward your mail and any resident guides and info that are available. You will also find the websites and contact information for services in the city/area that you are moving to such as the electric and gas companies, water and sewer services, garbage and recycling services, cable, satellite, internet, & phone.

Baldwin, WI – Utilities, Services & Resident Info

Frogtown, St Paul – Resident Info & Utilities & Services

Hudson, WI – Resident Info & Utilities & Services

Inver Grove Heights Utilities & Services

Lake Elmo, MN – Resident Info & Utilities & Services

Lakeland Utilities & Services

Little Canada, MN – Resident Info & Utilities & Services

Utilities, Services & Resident Info in Maple Grove, MN

Richfield Utility & Service Providers

Rush River, WI – Utilities, Services & Resident Info

Trash Services in the Twin Cities Area

What does “Conditional Approval” and “Clear to Close” Mean?

A Conditional Approval is like a promissory note from the mortgage lender that they will approve the loan/issue a Clear-to-Close if the borrower/buyer can clear all of the conditions that the mortgage underwriter is requesting. The Conditional Approval guarantees the loan will be cleared to close only if the conditions are met. Common conditions include providing updated copies of bank statements, verifying employment, and providing proof of mortgage and/or homeowners insurance.


A Clear to Close is the “Final Approval” and is issued when the mortgage loan has been completely approved and the mortgage lender is ready to fund the loan.