For Home Sellers


pig copyWe call it the “hogger” when a real estate agent sells a house and represents both the seller and the buyer.  Some real estate agents will go to great lengths to get both sides of the sale because if there is no buyers agent then the listing agent makes almost twice as much money.

We call it dual agency and I have written about it a few times and I am not fan.

last spring there was a home on the market and I had a cash buyer who was interested in looking at it. The home was put in a temporarily not available to show status the day after it was listed so I sent the agent an email asking when I could show it to my buyer.

I also left a voice mail message. The agent got back to me a week later and told me the home was sold.

I looked it up after it sold and found that it was on the market for two days and that the seller did not get the asking price and has to pay some of the buyers closing costs. I also saw that the listing agent represented the buyer. In other words the listing agent “hogged” the sale and my buyer never got a shot at it.

Did the seller come out ahead? I don’t think so. My buyer probably would have paid the asking price and since he was paying cash he would not have been asking anyone to pay his closing costs either. The listing agent would have made a lot less money if the seller had accepted my buyers cash offer.

I don’t think it is a good idea for sellers to accept a less than full price offer on their home if it has only been on the market for one day and if the listing agent is also representing the buyer. Wait another day and insist that more people see the property before an offer is accepted. Sometimes the first offer is the best and only offer but it is still best to give more than one person the opportunity to write an offer.

On the other hand home sellers who want their agent to come our ahead should let the agent prevent other agents from showing the property or writing offers in it. I guess it depends upon what the sellers true goal is.







For Home buyers

Mortgage lenders

2012-02-15_1329319103I wish all Mortgage lenders were the same but they are not. Right now I have some clients working with a lender at USBank. The loan program is wonderful but the individual handling it is not. He told the borrowers how much money they would need for closing costs and then doubled the dollar amount the day before the closing.

This same individual tells home buyers that they have to use certain home inspectors because they understand the home loan. What they really understand is how to write an inspection report that will make it past the loan underwriters and that isn’t even the point of a buyers inspection.

If I see this lenders name on a pre-approval letter again I’ll ask the buyers to find another lender because the loans he works with don’t close on time either.

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union used to be a great place to get a home loan but they changed their “process” several months ago and my advice as a real estate agent is to stay away from them because the loan may not close on time and the new process is very stressful. The emphasis is on the process, which doesn’t seem to work to well rather than on the home loan. Like any really bad company Affinity manages to completely ignore any kind of complaint.

They seem to be understaffed and if that one underwriter goes on vacation or calls in sick nothing gets done. It is hard to get a phone call returned from the lenders and after making phone making many phone calls I discovered that Affinity isn’t like most companies in that there isn’t anyone in charge or anyone who can help if there is a problem with the loan process. From what I have heard in all other areas Affinity offers excellent service.

Before choosing a lender ask your friends and ask your Realtor® for advice. If you call or email a lender for information and they don’t return your call or email promptly move on. Poor communication, slow responses and no communication make the home buying experience a miserable experience.


water runs with the property

faucetIn Minnesota water bills belong to the property. If you sell your home and there is an unpaid water bill the new owner will be responsible for paying it.  Usually when we close the seller signs a document agreeing to pay the final water bill.  They can be expensive and Saint Paul Water always gets their money and can turn the water off if they don’t get it.

Electricity, cable and old school telephone bills belong to the person who signed up for the service. If someone moves without paying the electric bill the bill will follow that person and the electric company will hunt them down.


For Home Sellers

Staging is important

The home owners I work with are sold on the idea of staging but the idea can be taken to a ridiculous level. I am going to be honest and just say that I don’t know if your home will sell faster and for more money if your couch is against the wall or pulled away from the wall.

chairWhen I work with home buyers they don’t reject a home or offer less because the dining room table is set with dishes they don’t like yet sometimes homeowners will agonize over the choices.

In general your home should go on the market clean and in good repair without a lot of clutter or colors that are hard to work with.

Neutral colors on the wall are best so that perspective home buyers can picture the home with their own belongings in it.

Moving a rug or a couple of pieces of furniture may make your home look more appealing to perspective buyers but staging is not an exact science there is more than one staging solution for each room. It is more of an art.

Home sellers who have had their homes on the market for a couple of months should not expect it to sell this week just because they re-staged a room.

In my experience the home owners who are the most concerned with staging sell their homes the fastest probably because they are motivated and usually cooperate with the sales process and are willing to do most anything that will help them sell.

For Home buyers

Waiting for a better offer

doorIt doesn’t matter if we are in a sellers market or a buyers market, sellers always wonder when they accept an offer if they should have held out for more or waited for a better offer.  They want to know what is behind door number 2 and sometimes there isn’t a door number 2 for a long, long time.

If your home is on the market and a buyer makes an offer, work with that buyer even if your home has only been on the market for a few days.  The first offer could be the best offer especially if it comes the first week the home is on the market.  Home sellers never really know what is around the corner or when that first offer will come.

Many get anxious during the first few days even though some types of homes take a few months to sell. I had one seller who wanted to give up after 3 days because there were showings but no offers. The offer came on the 4th day and it was a good one. Most homes do not get any offers that very first weekend on the market. The average number of days the St. Paul homes that are currently on the market have been for sale is about 58 days.

Friday fun

Up North

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. I have worked all summer and am not having any fun but I did take this picture of the buffalo up in front of Eichten’s Cheese and Bison farm near Center City Minnesota on US 8.  Taking the photo is the most fun I have had all summer other than that one night when I had the really strong drink while dining with my husband right here in good old St. Paul.


For those of us who live in the Cities going up North is always fun even if it is just for a little while to shoot a buffalo. For the people who live up north coming down to the cities on the weekend is fun.

Have a great weekend!


Teresa Boardman
Realtor®, MN,
Licensed Broker
Saint Paul Home Realty
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