view from a River Park Loft
Technology makes it easier than ever to work with out of town sellers. Sometimes I never meet get to meet the owners of the properties I sell in person.
It is easy to stay in touch and to let the owners know how often buyers are viewing the property and what they are saying about it.
A couple of years ago I sold a home for someone who was living in Sweden. As long as we were both mindful of that we were a few time zones apart it worked out pretty well. We were able to get some repairs made to the home and I was able to sell it in just a few weeks.
With electronic forms and signatures it is very easy for me to get contracts signed and when the seller has an offer we can go over it and it can be signed without ever being printed.
Sellers don’t have to be present for the closing. The money can be wired to the sellers bank account.
No you don’t have to live in Minnesota to sell your Minnesota property. You just need a great Minnesota Realtor® like me.
For Home buyers
Many local agent and real estate companies use a system called BookAShowing so that agents can make appointments to see and take their buyers through homes that are for sale. Last year activity peaked in May. We got off to a cold start. This year it has been warmer and I’ll predict we will see the peak in showings and in sales in the month of April which is pretty typical. Homes that are being shown in April will likely be closed says in May and June. Home sales are seasonal here in St. Paul, Minnesota. Cold weather usually results in fewer home sales. An early spring doesn’t mean more home sales but instead it usually means an earlier peak. It is of course possible that the peak was in March.
For more local numbers please see Local market Conditions & home prices.
Pie chart of visits
I use Google analytics to monitor this site. I did some checking earlier this week because Google announced that they made some changes to the Google search that will favor websites that can easily be viewed on a phone or tablet. I had the design of this site changes to a “responsive” design a couple of years ago so that it can be read from most any size screen. I thought it would be fun to see what kind of devices the visitors to this site are using. I found that .003% of viewers are using a blackberry or a Windows phone. More than 35% of all viewers are using mobile devices or some sort. The usage of assorted iPhones, iPods and iPads is fairly high at 24%.
Some experts . . or maybe it is just the news media is calling the new Google algorithm “mobilegeddon” because some web sites will be punished and sent down lower in the search results because they are not easy to access from mobile devices. Small businesses and big businesses will be hurt. It will be interesting to see what happens to the IRS web site and to other local and national websites.
I often use my phone to look things up on the internet and it can be frustrating to search some sites. If I am looking for a phone number sometimes I have to copy and paste it into my dialer. I like to be able to click and dial. You can tap on the phone numbers on this site from a mobile device and the number will to to the dailer.
My web site is about providing information about real estate so I don’t often write about what it is like to be a web master. This site is almost ten years old but it is an active site with new content all the time as opposed to just being a ten year old site. It is self hosted. I am my own web master. I hire help when I get into trouble.
Google has made many changes over the years and my site has bounced up and down in the search results. There are many search strings that will take someone from Google to my site and in some of those searches I have been on the top of the page for organic results for years even though certain big companies spend more on SEO in a month than I make in a year.
Whether you are using computer or a Blackberry thanks for stopping by. I will be making some more improvements. If you see anything that is broken other than my spell checker please let me know.
It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. For me the Saint Paul Art Crawl is a must. it starts today April 24, and goes through the 26th. The hours are – Friday 6–10 PM Saturday 12–8 PM Sunday 12–5 PM. We have this event every spring and fall and there isn’t anything like it. I enjoy the variety of art and artists and I like seeing artists in their homes and work spaces.
Much of the Art Crawl is in the lowertown neighborhood of downtown St. Paul. Some of it will be at the Schmidt Artists lofts on West 7th street too. Rumor has it the new ballpark in Lowertown will be open for tours during the crawl.
See the Art Crawl web site for details.
Here are pictures of some of the local artists as they appear on the buildings in lowertown:
Some of the artists of Lowertown
Most homes on the market have a lock box on the front door or in the case of downtown condos somewhere nearby with keys in them. There are some super inexpensive lock boxes that a lot of local real estate agents seem to prefer. There are several problems with these boxes:
1. They are too small to hold keys on a keyring but agents put keys on keyrings in anyway.
2. They jam up very easily.
3. The little buttons wear out when the springs break.
4. They don’t provide much in the way of security because once someone knows the combination they can get the keys anytime they wish even if they are not a real estate agent.
When a lockbox on an active listing gets jammed up potential buyers may not be able to see the listing because their agent can not get them in. I recently helped an agent who was many miles away when his lockbox jammed because I knew that no one from his office would even know where downtown St. Paul is let alone find his lockbox.
The best lock boxes are the Supra iBox. They can only be opened with an ekey or the ekey app on a smartphone using bluetooth to transmit a secret code that every local Realtor® has. The only people who can get the software to open the box are current members of the local boards of Realtors®. The box records when it was opened and who opened it and the box can be set so that no one can open it during certain times. I like to set mine so no one can open them after 9:00 PM or before 8:30 AM so that my sellers can sleep tight. The iBox isn’t cheap.
Personally I think their use should be required on occupied residential real estate. The push button boxes should not be used by professionals.
There are times when a combination box that can be opened by anyone can be handy to have. I sometimes use the box on the left. It is much sturdier and more expensive than the cheap push button model and it can easily hold a few keys. There is a shield to protect the dials against the elements and the combination is easy to change. I change the combination after each use if I am using it on a home.
If you are living in your home while it is on the market and your home is in the metro area you should ask your agent to supply an iBox.
Lockboxes that work
I am old enough to remember the very first Earth Day which was on April 22, 1970. . . I wasn’t very old then but I do remember it well. Back then Earth Day was kind of a hippie thing and people who were interested in Earth Day were called “tree huggers” and the phrase not spoken with love. It seems like Earth Day was mostly ignored during the 1980’s and most of the 1990’s but has become popular again. Maybe it has to do with water shortages and the number of warmer days or maybe people just care because they do.
In honor of Earth day this year I am going to leave my car at home today and bike, walk or take public transportation. I can do that because I live in the city and I have some really great shoes and am not in bad shape considering I am old enough to have celebrated the first Earth Day.
NiceRide at 6th and St. Peter