Local Market Conditions & home prices
Minnesota isn’t at all like California. The first picture is of trees in California and the second is of trees in Minnesota, St. Paul in fact. Sure they are all green and they grow in dirt but they are not the same and do not grow in the same climate.
It isn’t just the trees that are different from one part of the country to another. The laws are different too. Real estate is regulated on the local level. Laws, business practices, prices and even architectural styles vary by location.
Getting help buying or selling real estate in Minnesota from a California web site may not be the best way to proceed. Don’tcha know.
For Home buyers
I love numbers. In our MLS (multiple listing service or database of homes for sale) we can see how many days a home has been on the market and we can see the cumulative days on market which includes a total of days the home has been on the market. If a home is put on the market and then taken off the cumulative total adds it all up so we know how long the home has been for sale.
Recently the MLS added PDOM which is a measure of how many days a home has been on the market since the last price change. We could always look this information up but now it is right on the MLS sheet for every home for sale and is useful information when we look at individual homes for sale. If a buyer wants to make an offer that is significantly lower than the asking price it is helpful to know if the sellers just lowered the price or if the home has been at the same price for six months. It also helps us determine how long it will take to sell a particular home.
Here is an example from a home that was listed last spring. The sellers got cancelled the contract with their agent after 75 days or so and hired another agent because the first agent did not “sell”the house. They dropped the price several times. Ultimately it will sell for about 30K less than the current price and they will probably take the home off the market during the holidays and re-list it with yet another agent.
The median days on market in St. Paul right now is 53. The median cumulative days is 75 and the median days since there was a price change is 26. these numbers are for active homes. For more local numbers please see Local market conditions & home prices
DOM = Days on market CDOM = cumulative days on market PDOM = days on market since the last price change
For Home Sellers
If you have ever sold a condominium you know that there are certain documents that the home buyer is entitled to. There is a financial statement and the rules and more. Most associations charge for these documents and occasionally the fees are obscene. In this case I ordered the basic documents that the association should have on file electronically and be able to email quickly.
Not only did I get charged an outrageous amount for electronic documents but I also had to pay an extra $100 to get it in a couple of days, I don’t even want to know how long it would have taken if I had paid a mere $210. Thee was an extra fee for using a credit card too and I think that was my only payment option.
To make matters worse an additional document was required by the lender above and beyond what I had already paid for. The lender asked for the document one day after the closing was supposed to have happened because all too often life hands us crappy mortgage/banks that don’t do “service”.
The document costs $75 but in this case they added and extra $50 for filling out the document that the lender provided instead of simply sending the generic form. I’ll do the math for you. The total comes to $230 if we add the rush and convenience fees. The questionnaire is a simple form the most condo owners could fill out themselves but of course lenders require that it be filled out by a management company or someone on the board of directors for the association. I suppose if I had filed it out myself I would have made up the answers because I can.
The fees are being charged by a professional management company that was hired by the homeowners association. Professional management of association is fairly common. The money does not go to the association but to the management company. Sure they have to make a profit but they should find some way to provide services that are worthy of their obscene fees instead of charging for PDF documents that cost almost nothing to store and to email.
For those who belong to condo associations or are on the boards of condo associations it might be a good idea to check into the fees for documents. I can tell you for sure that the rates charged in the example above are higher than average and from what I have observed the management company isn’t worth it. Homeowners get pretty upset when they see these fees on top of their association dues. Most of the resale documents do not change all that often. The information on the resale certificate has to be updated but it is with information that a condo association has and is responsible for keeping up-to-date.
A few years ago these documents used to be printed and sometimes had to be mailed. Management company employees had to use staplers and they had to collate and put the correct postage on the envelope. They needed to be able to operate copy machines. I can see why they had to charge for all of that.
I recently worked with a self managed association where we were charged $125 for the documents and they were emailed before I mailed a check. We are in a digital age. Documents can be stored in the cloud, kept up to date and can easily be sent to those who need them.
If there are any associations out there who would like me to show them how they can handle these documents efficiently and cheaply just send me an email or call me. I’ll charge a one time consulting fee which can be paid by credit card with no extra fee.
For Home Sellers
Some home owners think their home is worth more than it would appraise for and others think it is worth less. Right now your home may be worth more than you think at least according to a study by Quicken Loans where home owner perception of price is compared with appraiser opinions. They call it the HPPI. On average appraisers opinions are running higher than homeowner opinions.
As a real estate agent I am always interested in home values and pricing. One of the hardest parts of my job is helping home owners decide what price to list their home for.
Quicken Loans HPPI
First Time Home Buyers
Open houses are a great opportunity for buyers to just look at houses. Here are some tips about how to do it right and even though lists should always be in multiples of 2 or 5 I decided to break the rules.
1. Take your shoes off. Wear shoes that are easy to get on and off.
2. If asked to sign in do so, you are in someone else’s house and they make the rules. If you do not want to leave an email address don’t.
3. If you are working with an agent let the agent at the open house know even if he or she doesn’t ask. Give the agent at the open house the name of your agent.
4. Keep an eye on your children do not let them run around the house unaccompanied.
5. Be careful what you say. Giving a the real estate agent too much information can hurt later on if you want to buy the house or another that the agent has listed. However it can be fun to listen to what other buyers are saying.
6. The agent at the open house may be very nice to you but they do represent the seller and are supposed to act in the sellers best interest.
7. The main reason an agent has an open house is to meet potential clients and that is why they may recommend other houses if you don’t like the one that is open.
8. The agent at the open may not be the listing agent. Sometimes it is another agent in the same office. That agent may or may not know the house.
9. If at all possible if you decide to buy the home you saw at the open get assistance from a buyers agent to avoid dual agency.
Keep in mind that only a very small percentage of the homes for sale have open houses. It is important to search for homes for sale on the internet and to view as many as possible on line. Make appointments for private showings to see the homes that are the best fit. Don’t wait for an open house because there might not be one.
It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. I am really looking forward to the 5th annual Minnesota bloggers conference tomorrow, which will be held on the campus of my alma mater, St. Catherine University in St. Paul. I have volunteered and spoken or both at each of these events. What makes the bloggers conference unique is it is about blogging with an emphasis on content instead of on the technology used to publish the content.
This blog has been around since 2005. There are a few real estate blogs that are as old but for the most part the original authors have moved on or they just don’t publish content on a regular basis anymore. I generally don’t write about my blog or about blogging probably because when I started this little project everyone was writing blog posts about blogging and it got pretty boring and I decided that I wasn’t going to be that blogger.
I enjoy writing and taking photographs and have met a lot of wonderful and interesting people because of this site including many of my real estate clients. It wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without readers so thanks for reading.