New lower than ever low

Dash board grpahic
MLS dashboard

Fresh from the NorthstarMLS this morning. This is a snapshot of real estate activity in St. Paul. In the last week only 32 homes have come on the market but in that same time 45, have gone into the pending status which means the sellers have accepted offers. Homes are selling faster than they are being listed for sale. As a result that Record-breaking new low

that I wrote about on January 3rd is no longer a record. There are only 315 homes on the market in St. Paul right now and about 100 of those have contingent offers on them.

The real estate market has contracted. This is not a healthy market but a strong seller’s market. Now would be a good time to build some new homes and rehab some of those vacant houses instead of turning them into vacant lots.

I am a huge fan of sustainable, affordable tiny houses.

Home buyers will need to be patient and explore new listings as they come on the market.

know when to reduce the price

downtown st. paul
Downtown St. Paul

Even in a hot seller’s market homes can be overpriced. 66% of the homes that sold last year had at least one price reduction while they were on the market. On average 2017 home sellers got 99.6% of their asking price.

Most of the homes that were sold without a price reduction sold quickly but there were some exceptions like the home that was on the market for a year before it sold.

Properly pricing a house is more of an art than a science. Ultimately it is the buyer who sets the price.

Knowing when to reduce the price if the home is priced too high is priceless.

Apparently we are not getting any younger

The population of the twin cities isn’t getting any younger. We are getting older.

FACT: 60,000 Minnesotans turn 65 this year, next year and every year through 2030. Soon 25% of our adult population will be 65+ [Facing aging MN]

The counties with the lowest average age in Minnesota are the counties that make up the metro area.

the number 25 is important to remember because, by 2025, 25% of the population of Ramsey County will be 65 or older.  That is exactly like one in 4. In just two years 22% of the population of Ramsey County will be 65+ years of age.

It is easy to blame baby boomers for this but I would be more inclined to blame the parents of baby boomers if someone needs to be blamed. What were they thinking?

It is also important to understand that people who are over 50 move far less often than those who are under 50. I believe that part of the reason for the shortage of homes for sale has to do with a population that has aged past the prime moving years.

My own parents will both turn 90 this year. The 90 to 94-year-old age group is the fastest growing age group.

Aging in Ramsey county
Ramsey County & aging – source “Face aging MN


Together we can keep the dream alive

Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2018, Monday, Jan. 15,  honors the slain civil rights icon on what would have been his 89th birthday.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr 1963

Let’s keep the dream alive and the hope that one day even a black man can drive a car with a burned out tail light and live to tell about it.

The Twin Cities are home to some of the worst racial disparities in the country. In metrics across the board—household income, unemployment rates, poverty rates and educational attainment—the gap between white people and people of color is significantly larger in Minnesota than it is most everywhere else. There is also a large gap in homeownership between people who are white and people of color. Homeowners have a significantly higher net worth than renters have.


Dr. Martin Luther King Speaking at the University of Minnesota
Dr. Martin Luther King Speaking at the University of Minnesota –

Photograph from the Minnesota Historical Society collection

What to put in gift baskets for compeditors

Empty gift basket
Empty gift basket

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. In the past six months, two real estate companies have opened offices in the area. One is located a few blocks from my home and another is located just around the corner from my downtown office.

Neither location is new. They are in the oldest parts of the city but are being advertised as great new locations.

Both companies have been sending or sent “grand opening” notices. I feel as though I need to do something special, like a gift basket to welcome each to the neighborhood. For the downtown office, I think a map with the names and locations of condo buildings should be put in the basket.

Few agents seem to really know downtown. Information about parking might also be helpful. Real estate agents resist going downtown because they don’t know where to park. So far the perceived lack of parking and the complexity of our little downtown has kept real estate companies away. real estate agents are afraid of getting lost, being run over by a train or going the wrong way down a one-way street.

The other new office is close to the bars and restaurants on West 7th street that sprung up and expanded because of the Xcel center. When there isn’t an event tumbleweed can be seen rolling down the street unless there is a blizzard.

When there is an event there isn’t any parking. There is always gallons and gallons of craft beer nearby. West 7th street is all about beer, burgers, pizza, and brats. Wine and popcorn might be a good gift to hold them over until they find Candy Land downtown and the new wine bar opens on Grand and Leech.

Both real estate offices are part of large national franchises and are less than a mile apart.  My company is small independent and woman-owned and operated and there isn’t any other like it in the area and I got here first.

Staging can be done wrong

Almost everyone has heard of “staging”. The idea is to go through the home and make it look like a place that we might see in a magazine. The right amount of furniture is put in the right places to make the home look inviting and livable.

It isn’t about cramming the place full of furniture, lamps, books, and rugs. Staging is more about cleaning, decluttering and making needed repairs or upgrades. Most of the houses I sell have too much furniture and furniture needs to be removed not added.

Effective home staging for an occupied home can include removing pieces of furniture and family photos from the walls. Clearing horizontal surfaces and re-arranging shelves and artwork. There is no need to over think it. Moving a chair from one place to another isn’t going to cause a home to sell for more or less.

I am not convinced that a vacant house always needs to have furniture put in it to help it sell. I love the look of clean empty rooms. To me, there isn’t any room that is more pleasing than one that is empty. I don’t have any problem seeing the possibilities or imagining it with my own stuff in it.

If furniture is used to stage a vacant home it should be kept to a minimum. Limit the number of rugs and huge ottomans and artfully draped throws. Small furniture should be used in small rooms.

Home sellers who have a home professionally staged should also have it professionally photographed. Chances are anyone who wants to see the home will see it on the internet first.

If the house needs a little work and a good cleaning filling it with a stagers furniture isn’t going to help. Bad staging can actually hurt as rooms may look smaller with too much stuff in them and decorations can become distractions.