• For Home buyers
  • The blizzard effect

    Few people look at homes for sale during snow storms and we get fewer offers on homes for sale. I like to call it the blizzard effect.

    The warm weather we had last week was good for local home sales.

    The spring home buying season starts shortly after the super bowl ends no matter what the weather is like.

    A snow storm is headed our way but we got this. We will get somewhere between 3 and 18 inches in the metro area and it will start this evening or tonight or early tomorrow or possibly this afternoon and should be over by sometime on Friday.

    Enjoy!

  • Boardman Realty
  • Pre-listed and coming soon

    We are in a sellers market which means that it isn’t hard to find a buyer for almost any home.

    There has been a shortage of homes on the market for a couple of years now.  Some homes are “pre-listed” which means they are for sale before they are listed for sale and are sometimes sold while they are still “coming soon”. People who drive by and see the sign have an advantage if they would like to buy the house which is why I want to give buyers this pro-tip.

    If you see a boulevard with a bunch of colorful flags on it that can mean a for sale sign will soon be delivered. The sign companies have the utilities marked before they dig . . hence the flags. There are other reasons why utilities are flagged it doesn’t always mean the home is coming on the market but it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on it because it might be for sale soon . . which isn’t like coming soon but it could be coming soon.

    If you are a home owner who is thinking about selling and you want hire a Realtor who is going to “pre-list” your home and “pre-market” it give me a call.We won’t play games or play with your home. We don’t need to pre-list we can skip all of that and just sell it for you.

  • For Home Sellers
  • condition and location

    Condition and location

    There are actually three factors that greatly influence the value of a piece of real estate and they are size, location and condition. There is nothing a home owner can do about location. Most home sellers can only change the condition of the property.

    I always recommend cleaning and decluttering first, minor repairs second and painting if needed. Small improvements can also raise the value. By small I mean a back splash in the kitchen, and some new light fixtures or maybe a new electrical outlet or two and smart thermostat. larger small improvements might include a new front door and some new flooring.

    New hardware and towel racks can transform a bathroom. Throw in a new shower curtain, coordinating towels, rugs and curtains and the home owner will want to stay. 🙂

    By small repairs I mean lose door knobs, anything that leaks, visible wires, and fixing windows that are hard to open of that don’t open. Replacing burned out light bulbs should be the first step in getting a home ready to sell.

    Cleaning is a tough one for some. I have a list that includes cleaning inside the oven and cleaning the windows.

    As a rule home buyers will want about $1000 dollars off the list price for every $100 in repairs that the buyer thinks are needed. Sometimes buyers ask for upgrades and call them repairs.

  • For Home buyers
  • Can you afford a house?

    The question is really about being able to get a mortgage. Most people can not pay cash for a home and need a mortgage and need a pre-approval stating that they are at least qualified for a mortgage.

    The easy but not exact rule of thumb is that if you add up all your monthly expenses and a mortgage and divide by your gross monthly income you need to come up with a number no higher than 36%.  Lenders are looking at an income to debt ratio. Debt is car payments and student loans and credit card payments and of course a monthly mortgage payment.

    There are mortgage calculators all over the internet which makes it easy to calculate how much a mortgage payment might be.

    Home buyers also need a down payment and the ability to pay closing costs. Down payments start at about 3% and typical closing costs will add up to about 3% of the loan amount. There are programs for downpayment assistance and sometimes sellers can help with the closing costs.

    We struggled to buy our first home but have never regretted it.

    Also see Housing for minimum wage earners

  • Downtown
  • High crime areas

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    Downtown Saint Paul

    I don’t write much about crime. No one wants to talk about it and it is bad for business.  Last week I was the victim of a robbery. A robbery is a bit different than a theft or a burglary and the difference is important. A robbery is an in person crime where force is used with the intent to take something and it is a felony.

    A young man followed me into the lobby of a downtown building, started talking to me and when I turned around to answer him he grabbed my purse and ran.

    Ultimately I got my belongings back. A total stranger heard me yell as I ran after the robber and was able to intercept the robber causing him to drop my purse and run away.

    That was the third or maybe the fourth time I have had a purse and wallet stolen in St. Paul but the prior occasions were thefts or burglaries and even a “smash and grab” but not robberies in broad daylight during the lunch hour in downtown St. Paul.

    The police arrived more than an hour after I called 911 to “take my statement” and by that time any witness who may have been in the area was long gone. As has always been my experience with the Saint Paul PD these two were about as indifferent as two people could be.

    There isn’t anything they can do after a crime happens but I always figure if I call them and report it maybe somehow the information will help someone.  The officers did not know the downtown area well or maybe not at all which made it hard to explain what happened, where it happened and where the thief went.

    The young man who robbed me did not need to be afraid of being caught and will likely have a lucrative career grabbing purses and wallets downtown during business hours as long as he stays on the streets.

    The streets around the Union Depot in downtown St. Paul, are eerily quiet during the noon hour. Maybe people are in the skyways. I was walking from my car which was parked on Wacouta Street to 4th street. As someone who likes to walk I know that the safest areas are the places where there are lots of people or even just more than three of four people.

    If you go downtown and venture outside please be careful. Put your phone in your pocket and avoid carrying anything that can be taken away from you.

    To learn more about crime in St. Paul go to the Saint Paul Police web site develop an awareness of what types of crimes happen and where they occur.

  • Friday fun
  • Above average

    It is Friday and Fridays are for fun and it is February and all we really care about today is the possibility of breaking the record high temperature for this day. The average high for the day is 29 and the average low is 13. The record low was -20 set in 1936 and we don’t care if that record is ever broken. The record high was 55 and that was set in 1981. That is the record we are going to try and break today.

    February 2011

    We can just think of the next few days as spring break and enjoy!