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Brian Trebelhorn

Brian Trebelhorn

Northfield, MN
Real Estate Agent
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How Real Estate Works Part 1

How Real Estate Works Part 2




So, you think you want to buy or sell a home, but you´re not quite sure how this process works.  Where do I start? What do I do? How will I find homes? How much is my home worth? These are just a few of the many questions you may have. I will try to answer some of your questions, or at least the ones that people ask about the most. This can be a complicated process and you should NOT have to do it alone. If you work with me, you will NOT be doing it alone, I´ll be with you every step of the way. 

Talk to any of my current and past clients and they´ll tell you that I will say all the time that this is as much a mental as it is a physical challenge. Emotions run high during this process and that is not only Ok, but it´s very normal. Next to getting married and having children, it´s probably the biggest decision you´ll ever have to make, and you won´t have to do it by yourself! So, let´s get going, try and answer some of those questions.


  1. I want to sell my home, where do I start?
  2. How will you market my home?
  3. What about the fees to sell a home, aren't they a little high?
  4. I found a cheap way to sell my home, should I do it?
  5. So you, as my agent, get all that money from your commission rate?
  6. What is the rate anyway?
  7. I think I should sell my home myself, then I won't have to pay you!
  8. What do I need to do to get my home ready to sell?
  9. Do you need anything from me?
  10. Ok, what about buying a home, can you help with that too?
  11. But you can only show me your listings, right?
  12. Can you show me listings besides homes?
  13. How much does it cost to have you help me buy a home?
  14. Closing cost? I don't have money for that. Now what?
  15. What about getting a loan?
  16. What about interest rates? Should I worry about them?
  17. What if I have to sell my home first?
  18. How do I find homes to buy, or that I qualify for?
  19. What if I see a home that I want to look at or learn more about, that you didn't see first?
  20. If you have the home listed, should I have a different Realtor help me buy it? Isn´t that a conflict of interest?


I want to sell my home, where do I start?

Call me, that´s where. I will come over to your home and take a look at it. From that point, I would try and look at some comparable sales, and try to determine a price to put your home on the market for. Or, if you think you have a pretty good idea what it might be worth, you can always let me know that as well. I am pretty open when it comes to listening to my Sellers´ suggestions. After all, nobody knows your home like you do!!  I´ll give you a range of what I think it´s worth, you tell me what you think and we´ll come to an agreement that YOU are comfortable with. We want to make sure you get what your home is worth, without overpricing it.

How will you market my home?

My advertising is extensive. I advertise in Northfield, Faribault, Burnsville, Minneapolis, Farmington and a host of other direct mail publications that pretty much blanket the southern portion of the Twin Cities metro. A great majority of the buyers come from that area so I like to make sure they know about my listings. In addition, I also advertise in a few local monthly publications that are specifically designed for real estate and people who are looking for homes. In addition to that, I also make sure a sign is up in your yard within a day or so, with a brochure box that will have brochures about your home, allowing people 24/7 access to the details of your home. There will also be a hotline number on the sign that people can call and receive a message about your home, again 24 hours, 7 days a week. My cell phone number is on the sign as well, and I have that with me all the time, nights and weekends included. On top of all that, I also participate in my own direct mail program that I would send out to the area. If all that´s not enough, I will also put you on my website; the one you´re on now. And finally, I will also hold open houses from time to time so people can come and see your home in person. I can assure you, I will work hard for you and take good care of you. People will know about your home!!

What about the fees to sell a home, aren't they a little high?

No. Actually, it´s a bargain. There are not too many professions out there that will take on a project, with NO money down, and spend a ton of money and time on you, and will only get paid when the job is done, to YOUR satisfaction. I dare to say there are none!! To the contrary, the commission charged is an investment, not an expense. That will get you all the advertising that I mentioned above. I will pay for all that, you pay for nothing. That commission is ONLY deducted when your home is sold, and it comes off of the  sale price, not the listed price. This is a situation where you truly pay nothing until the job is done, no ifs and or buts about it. I will pay for everything up front. I don´t think you´ll ever want to, but for any reason you should want to cancel, you can do so at any time, I will never ask you to pay for any of the expenses. You will find out that I will work hard for you and represent you well, but will never pressure you or make you feel uncomfortable about anything. I work for you, you don´t work for me. Best of all, when I win, you win so there is plenty of incentive for me to sell your home. There are way too many ways to make mistakes with this process, and you will want to make absolute sure that you are well represented, and that someone is watching out for you. That´s what I´ll do!

I found a cheap way to sell my home, should I do it?

You can do anything you want, but make no mistake about it, this business is like any other; you pay for what you get! Now, you may find some out there who may sell your home for less, but always remember that you pay for what you get. As you may already know, I have a pretty aggressive marketing campaign between my advertising and open houses and everything in between. Paying someone less simply does not allow for that kind of marketing to take place, and that is what it´s all about. My job is to find you a buyer, and that can be expensive sometimes. I have no problem spending money on you, but I also have to make a living, just like you do. You may run across those out there who play games and who will mess with you and deceive you by telling you they already have a buyer, or will list it for less, and then not give you the full service you deserve, or will have somehow lost the buyer they promised you. I am NOT one of those, never have been, never will be. I work very hard to find a buyer for my sellers' homes, and don't quit until it's sold. As a result of this, I have had a lot of success selling homes, as long as they are not over priced in the first place, which can happen. You wouldn´t negotiate with a doctor or mechanic how much they charge to fix you or your car, this is no different.

So you, as my agent, get all that money from your commission rate?

Not exactly. The commission that is charged to sell a home, the part I mentioned above, goes to both the selling agent AND the agent who brings in a buyer. It gets divided among the two, plus each gives some to their company they work for. It´s expensive running a business or company, and the companies we work for have to get their money too, they get it from us, their agents. So, although it may seem like a lot, it gets spread pretty thin by the time it's all done, especially when you throw in all the marketing expenses, like I have with my listings. 

What is the rate anyway?

Call or E-mail me for this. This is information that is between me and you!

I think I should sell my home myself, then I won't have to pay you!

Nope you won´t, you´re absolutely right about that. But, what you will have to pay for is some advertising in the local paper, that will not have near the exposure as my real estate ad will. You won´t get the exposure on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) that I will give you, and you won´t get any website exposure. You won´t get a nice big sign in your yard, you won´t get a 24-hour hotline number, you won´t get the office staff I have backing me up, seven days a week. You also won´t have access to the pool of buyers I have, or benefit from my ads, or my relocation certification, or even my open houses I frequently hold. But you will get phone calls from buyers trying to prey on you, knowing that you don´t know what we do. You will set yourself up for huge potential lawsuits. You will set yourself up to get a lower price for your home, and you will be in it for the long run! You will also be holding your own open houses and will automatically turn away buyers who will only work with agents.  Believe me, there are more out there than you can imagine. I am governed by the Department of Commerce and have a lot of education to help sell your home, with continuing education taken throughout the year.  In addition, I have the proper forms to fill out, to make absolute sure you are protected. With disclosure laws the way they are these days, you are asking for trouble, and I mean big trouble, if and when something goes wrong. I have a company backing me up that only works with real estate, and they do it well. You will not have access to any of that if you try it yourself. But go ahead, give it a shot. Just call me first when you are done going crazy, that´s all I ask.

What do I need to do to get my home ready to sell?

Don´t paint too much, unless it REALLY needs it. Just when you change the color of your lime green bedroom to a neutral egg shell white color, a buyer will come along and say, "if only the bedroom were lime green, I´d take it!" In other words, paint is not a deal breaker, the new owners will probably change it anyway. If it´s really bad, change it. Same goes with carpet. If it´s bad, at least get it cleaned. But we can also wait to see what the new buyers want. Maybe they´ll want to put hardwood floors in, you just wasted money, time and carpet. Sometimes you´re better off waiting to see what the buyers want, and we can all negotiate those things when an offer comes in. It´s Ok for your home to look lived in, you are living there after all. A first impression is huge, so make sure that it´s not a mess, de-clutter it as much as you can and make sure things are CLEAN! Try to eliminate any "strange" odors, they can kill a deal right away. In particular, smoke and pet smells can be tricky to overcome. Do the best you can, you don´t want to narrow down the pool of buyers to only people who can put up with a strange smell. The ultimate goal is to give people NO reason to either A) walk away and not make an offer, or B) make a poor offer!

Do you need anything from me?

A few things. I need to know:

  1. What you want to list your home for,
  2. Your abstract, if you have one
  3. All room dimensions, but NOT the bathrooms, closets or unfinished areas.  Measure wall to wall, but not inside the closets
  4. Lot dimensions or acreage
  5. Your home´s foundation dimensions; the outside of the home, minus the garage
  6. If your garage is detached, let me know those dimensions too, and
  7. A key to your home.

And that´s about it. Once we have it listed, I´ll come over the next day probably, and take some photos. I´ll take some exterior shots and then some interior shots as well. We´re allowed ten photos in all, and I use all ten! I´ll take a whole bunch and then use the best ten for brochures, the MLS and anything else we need. I may even take the exterior shot that same day, but will take the interior shots when you´re ready for me to take them. We´ll also need to know what your mortgage payoff amount is, but we can talk more about that when we have an offer on your home. We´ll need to let your bank know that your mortgage will be paid off, so we can get you qualified for your next home.  But we can talk about that when we need to!

Ok, what about buying a home, can you help with that too?

Absolutely! In fact, since I´m licensed in Minnesota and Wisconsin, I can help you sell or buy your new home from either state, anywhere in the state, from border to border! Since I´m also relocation certified, I can even help you purchase a home in another state, and even another country should you need to. We are networked all throughout the country and I can make sure that you´re put in touch with a reliable agent who will treat you as I do! I have contacts all over the world from my previous jobs, so if you´re looking at buying outside the country, let me know and I´ll see what I can do. 

But you can only show me your listings, right?

NO, NO and one more time NO! I can show you ANY listing out there no matter who has it listed, what company or agent. I am licensed in the STATES of Minnesota and Wisconsin, and therefore can show and help you purchase ANY home in either state. Even if you see a For Sale By Owner, call me and I´ll get a hold of them too. Bottom line is to just call me!  If I can´t help you, I´ll let you know. But chances are better than excellent that I´ll be able to help, so call me or E-Mail me!!

Can you show me listings besides homes?

Absolutely! ANYTHING to do with real estate, including homes, town homes, condos, commercial property, vacant land, lots, new construction, you name it! If it has anything to do with real estate, I can help. Again, if I can´t, I´ll let you know. But call me and we´ll get you taken care of!

How much does it cost to have you help me buy a home?

Not one dime! I do not charge one penny to help you find a home. I never have and I never will! Sure, there are government controlled and regulated closing costs that exist with any purchase of a home, but as far as paying me, no way! You are under no obligation and again, I will never ask you to pay me anything to help find a home. We´ll look until we find you one, no matter how long it takes or how many homes we need to look at! I´m with you to the end!

Closing cost? I don't have money for that. Now what?

No problem! If we make a strong enough offer on a home, we can ask the seller to pay your closing costs. There are guidelines that we will follow, but 99% of the time you can get ALL your closing costs covered by the seller, if your offer is strong enough. With the proper loan, you could get into a home with little or nothing down, depending on your credit scores. But don´t worry about closing costs, you can´t control or change them, they´re there for everyone. But we can get them paid for, so don´t worry.

What about getting a loan?

You´re in luck. As a part of my team, I work with several of the best lenders out there, in my opinion. I have hand picked these guys and they are very good! They can get you qualified and let you know what loan program will work best for you and your situation. A lot of that will have to do with your credit scores and credit history, but usually they can get answers for you pretty quick! Now, if you already are working with a mortgage company, no problem. I have no problem working with any loan officers out there. It is definitely easier and more convenient for you to work with one of mine, but you can work with whomever you´d like to, I have NO problems with that at all.  My job is to help you and look out for your best interest, and that is what I will do, period!

What about interest rates? Should I worry about them?

A few laymen's points about interest rates. Less is more. If you're new to investing or real estate and don't know the first thing about interest rates, here's a good tip: The higher the interest rate, the more expensive it's going to be. High interest rates mean you have to pay back more on the money you borrow. Another good rule of thumb is that affordability increases if you use an adjustable rate mortgage (it's easier to qualify this way). Of course, there will be a wide range of prices that you can choose from, depending on what kind of financing you choose.

Not even the Federal Government knows for sure. The government holds a considerable amount of power, but they can't control everything. Mortgage interest reates are affected by many unpredictable political, economic and social events. So there is no guarantee what direction interest rates will go, despite the forecasts of the experts. Therefore, make your financial decision based on where things are today including your budget, your needs, and your future plans. 

Locking in rates assures your lowest interest.  If you do decide you want to lock in at a certain interest rate, you will need to complete a loan application and send it to your lender as soon as possible. This must be done so that your commitment doesn't run out before your loan is approved. Follow up and be se sure that the lender is receiving all of the necessary documentation. Most important, don't obsess and miss a good real estate deal.  Although rising interest rates can create more problems for home buyers, waiting and hoping for low rates is not necessarily a smart move. You may end up paying a higher price. Also, refinancing is always an option in the event that interest rates come down.

Bottom line is to keep in close touch with your loan officer and together you can make the best decisions about this. It is always best to consult the necessary professional for the appropriate task at hand. That is, a Realtor to help buy or sell your home, a mortgage specialist to help finance it, a lawyer for legal advice, and so on.

What if I have to sell my home first?

No problem! We can make an offer contingent on the sale of your home. We can then get your home on the market right away and start the marketing program. If I´m the one selling your home, that always looks good to the seller of the home you´re buying, as they will know that the sale of your home is being handled correctly, and with lots of motivation to make all parties happy! We´ll do what is best for you, but we´ll do everything we can to then get your home sold and get you into the home you want. It´s always good to at least make a contingent offer, to sort of get your spot in line to buy the home. Your home sells, boom, the new one is yours. So, don´t let that stop you from looking for homes to buy.

How do I find homes to buy, or that I qualify for?

This is your lucky day!! I can E-mail or mail you a list of homes that you qualify for. Once we know what you´re qualified for, you can give me a set of criteria to use for our search. Let me know the number of bedrooms, bath, price, year built, whatever you want. I will plug that into the computer and conduct a search that will narrow it down to homes with that set criteria. This will save you a lot of time and effort in looking for homes that you don´t want. Once I have that generated, I can E-mail you a link or even mail them to you, you decide. Either way, it will be a list that YOU have chosen, and you will be able to look at them at your convenience. When you have decided which ones you want to look at, we´ll set up an appointment and go take a look at them.

What if I see a home that I want to look at or learn more about, that you didn't see first?

No problem. If you´re looking around on the internet, or in the newspaper, or even if you´re driving around and run across some homes that you think look interesting, call me. Just let me know the address or MLS number and I´ll take it from there. I´ll find out the answers to any questions you might have about the home, and will set up a time to go take a look at them. The main thing is to CALL ME! I can´t help you if you don´t let me know you need help. I mean it when I say I am a one-stop-shop. You truly will not have to call anyone else, I will help you with ANY home, ANY time you want.

If you have the home listed, should I have a different Realtor help me buy it? Isn´t that a conflict of interest?

No, it is not. The truth is that you need to work with whoever makes you feel the most comfortable, and whoever it is that is best for YOUR situation. If you are interested in a home that I have listed, you have my absolute word and commitment that I will represent you the same for this home as I would for any other, period! Yes, I am working for the Seller, but I am also working for you, the Buyer. I will tell you the same thing I tell all my Buyers, and that is to make your best offer!  I will do my best to sell it to the Seller, as I would with any listing, any Buyer. I will give the Seller the same reasons you give me for making the offer you did. By law, we cannot disclose to our clients private and confidential information about each party. In other words, I cannot tell them you´ll offer more if needed, and I can´t tell you, they´ll take less, if they have to. I don´t even ask my Sellers what they "need" to sell their home. The reality is that they know what they need, and you know what you can afford or want to pay. If we come to a conclusion and agree on a price, we have a deal. If we don´t, then I keep marketing the home and we look for another for you. It´s really that simple. I am not going to talk either of you into doing something you don´t want to do, even if I wanted to or my morals or ethics would let me. My job is not to talk you into anything anyway, it is to help you and educate you and assist in any way I can. Sometimes Sellers like it when we bring in the buyers for our listings, that way I know more about the Buyer, and can help. Sometimes it´s the little things that makes people do what they do. If they know a little more about each other, sometimes that´s all it takes to make a deal happen. Non private things, like number of children, things like that. That can make a difference. Don´t ever hesitate to call me about one of my listings, I´ll make sure you´re well represented, no matter what.


My job is to help you with your real estate transaction, whether buying or selling. My goal is to be your one-stop-shop for that, period. I promise to work hard for you and make sure you are properly represented, from start to finish. I have worked very hard getting trained and aligning myself with some of the best in the business. It is this team concept that allows for a seamless and effortless experience for you. At least that is my goal. I´m ok with you being frustrated with the process, the market being slow, or no decent homes on the market. But you should NEVER be unhappy with your Realtor, even if it´s me. I will give you absolute dedication and full service and promise you that you will not be unhappy with me. I pride myself in loyalty and commitment to my customers and that will never change. I truly mean it when I say you can contact me anytime. I work 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year. Even on vacation I have my phone with me. Just ask my family, they´ll confirm that!!  But it´s worth it to me to have you happy.

If you have any questions, concerns or comments, please let me know. I can only fix it if I know it´s broke. I work for you, not you for me, don´t ever forget that. It is my privilege and my honor to be working for you. I know you have a choice and my family and I truly thank you for choosing me and making me your Realtor! Remember, we are both working toward the same goal, whether buying or selling, so when I win you win, and when you win I win!! Doesn´t get much better than that!

I added this section to my website because they are the most commonly asked questions. I also believe in absolute disclosure to you, and that you deserve to know how things work, and right from the beginning. I believe in honesty and integrity and will do everything possible to earn your trust and loyalty as your Realtor!


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