Median home prices up in St. Paul

Median home prices have gone up everywhere but compared with the entire Twin Cities metro area home prices in St. Paul increased by a greater percentage. The median price increased by an average of 7.1% in the metro area and 10.3% for St. Paul.

For the last few months, the number of homes on the market has been slowly rising but demand is so strong that there is less than a two month supply of homes on the market.

Twin cities median home values

Artificial deadlines for offers

greek revival
Greek Revival style

Everyone who is buying or selling a home knows that they go pretty fast and some homes sell with multiple offers. In the last couple of days, I have encountered a couple of situations where real estate agents have set a deadline for offers but there were no offers.

If you are a real estate agent or a home seller you need to know that there is a huge difference between someone saying he/she is going to make an offer and actually getting an offer.

Let me repeat it. There is a huge difference between someone saying he/she is going to make an offer and actually getting an offer.

Generally, there is no deadline for making an offer on a home that is on the market. If someone makes an offer and there are other interested parties then there is a reason to create a deadline.  Deadlines are needed when there is an offer on the table or the offerer may decide to withdraw it.

Creating an artificial multiple offer situation can result in no offers because some buyers do not want to compete in multiple offer situations.

Let me repeat this. There are buyers who will not make an offer on a home if others are also making offers.

An agent recently called me to tell me that one of my buyers may be interested in his listing but he has an offer but if my client can look at it right away and make an offer they will extend the deadline for highest and best offer. Nice!

Home sellers can only accept one offer and if it is a good offer they might want to accept it before the offer gets away.

Make sure you list your house with an agent who knows how to handle multiple offers. It could mean the difference between getting multiple offers or not.

City sidewalks what could possibly go wrong?

Bird Scooter

I walk a lot. At least three miles a day, often closer to five or more miles a day. Many of those miles are in the downtown St. Paul area. I can tell you the sidewalks in St. Paul are a challenge. There are a lot of cement heaves caused by tree roots and actual potholes in many locations. I have tripped more than once and gotten injured more than once.

People walk down the street in downtown St. Paul without ever taking their eyes off of their phones.  Usually, they are moving slow enough so that I can stay out of their way.

In the downtown area, there are places where it is impossible to ride a bike in the street so people ride the green Nice Ride bikes up on the sidewalk.

There are other obstacles too like entire restaurants on the sidewalk leaving a thin walking path right next to the pothole-filled street with no bike lane.

Crossing a street at an intersection is a challenge. I end up yelling and pounding on car hoods to get them to see me. I have been thinking about getting some kind of a flag I can wave.

Now there are electric scooters on the sidewalk. I am told that it isn’t safe to ride them in the streets downtown so they ride on the sidewalk. Apparently, the train tracks and potholes are just too much for them.

What could possibly go wrong with scooters on the same bumpy broken sidewalks where people dine, walk, look at their phones and ride bikes?

Walking can be a good source of exercise. We should be able to safely walk on city sidewalks. How walkable a neighborhood has an impact on property values.

The inspection period explained

Ten-day inspection periods are common. The buyer makes an inspection contingent offer on a home. The inspection period starts the day after the final acceptance date on the purchase agreement.  If there is no final acceptance date then I guess the ten-day period could start anytime.

During that ten-day period a few things need to happen:

  1. The buyer has inspections and tests done at his or her expense.
  2. The buyer decides if they will ask for repairs or not.
  3. If the buyer asks for repairs the seller reviews the repairs and responds with a yes, or a no, or a counter of some sort.
  4. Both parties agree in writing to the repairs.

That is why it is important to get the inspection done as soon as possible or ask for a longer than 10 day inspection period. If the ten days run out before there is an inspection then technically the buyer just bought a home.

I do everything I can to make sure no one is buying a home without an inspection no matter which party I am representing.  However, I don’t make up the rules or the laws and it is up to my clients how they want to handle all of this. I can only advise them.

Sometimes the inspection is all done but one part or the other needs to research the repairs and get a price. As I have mentioned before sellers should not commit without knowing if they can get the work done or how much they will cost. Negotiations will need to go beyond the stated inspection period.

If extra days are needed for research the inspection period can be extended if both parties agree and sign an amendment.

Occasionally sellers just won’t respond. In that case, rather than letting the inspection period expire buyers may want to cancel the contract while they can still do so without penalty.

Inspection periods used to be separated. Buyers had X number of days to have the inspection, sellers had X number of days to respond and both parties had X number of days for negotiation. Many of us prefer the old system but it wasn’t perfect either as parties would disagree over which day or period was which and when they started or ended.

Occasionally for houses that are going to sell with multiple offers, the buyer will have an inspection done before making an offer or waive the inspection. I am not a fan of waiving a complete home inspection for any reason. Third party inspections protect buyers, sellers, and real estate agents.

It should be noted that even if the contract states that the sellers can continue to show the house the showings will slow down or stop once the seller has accepted an inspection contingent offer. Sellers can only sell to one party but can collect offers during the inspection period as backup offers.

Screen print of contract with Inspection contingency

Ghosting is a daily occurance

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. If you have never heard of “ghosting” it is a thing. The word was invented to describe what can happen in dating relationships.  One person in the relationship suddenly stops responding to text messages, email, Facebook and phone calls. There is no warning. The silent party is “ghosting”.

It can be quite demoralizing to have someone you were in a relationship with just shut you out and vanish. Ghosting is the ultimate silent treatment.

Ghosting happens to me all the time.  It happens when real estate agents stop answering my questions and ignore all of my messages. It happened at least 4 times this week. I try not to let it slow me down. If there is a way around the ghost I will find it.

Management companies that work for homeowners associations are great at ghosting so is the St. Paul mayors office.

Sometimes I even know for sure someone is getting my messages and reading them but has chosen not to respond. It all seems kind of junior high to me.

Occasionally clients do it too. They decide that they really did not want to see the house that they asked to see and that I made an appointment and changed my schedule to accommodate.  Sometimes these ghosts resurface hours or months later. I hope they don’t take it personally when I ghost them.

Home sellers occasionally start ghosting and we have to hunt them down. I that sounds ominous because it is. You don’t want to make me knock on your door or show up at your office.

I am so used to ghosting that when someone responds quickly or actually answers the phone I am stunned. Tongue tied even.

Ghosting is a thing. . . but I never take it personally.

What is a real estate broker?

I rarely introduce myself as a real estate broker. I usually say I am a real estate agent or a Realtor®. Most people do not know what a real estate broker is or does but they do understand what a real estate agent does.

Being a broker means that I have a brokers license which in Minnesota requires that I first have a real estate license for a few years and that I get additional training and pass a test. My license is also more expensive and costs more to renew.

Real estate agents need to work under a broker if they want to sell real estate. We say that a real estate licensee’s license is held by a broker. If the broker loses his or her license then the real estate agent is unlicensed until they find another broker.

There are real estate companies that just have a broker and no agents.

A license is not required to buy or sell real estate for yourself. A license is required to represent another for a fee when they are buying or selling real estate.

Some brokers sell real estate and others have are more like managers. Associate brokers have a brokers license but are not “The Broker”. Each real estate company must have one broker of record who is responsible for all of the transactions of his or her licensees.

In some of the bigger companies, there is one broker of record and each office has a manager who often has a broker license. The manager supervises the agents and checks the paperwork. In some offices, it is an unlicensed administrative person who checks all of the paperwork.

Even though real estate agents are independent contractors brokers are required to provide supervision which is really more like oversite. Every home buyer or seller who is being represented by a real estate agent is doing so through a broker.

When there is a problem with an agent some brokers are reluctant to confront the agent because it is the agents who bring in the money. The more agents a company has the more real estate they sell and the more money they make.

Some real estate companies are run owned by huge corporations. They spend a lot of time recruiting and training agents and giving them fancy offices so that the agent will work under their brand.

Being a broker and having my own company is a good job especially for those who do not mind paying for their own health insurance and never getting a paid vacation. There are a lot of risks involved but it is mostly worth it. I have some control over my hours and a lot of control over who I work with.

Also, see:

Counting Minnesota Realtors

The Truth about Real Estate Companies

How to get a Minnesota Real estate license

Real estate teams are not always what you think they are