As a real estate agent I deal with the good neighborhood bad neighborhood all the time. I have lived in a couple of St. Paul neighborhoods myself. I remember being kind of upset when I was working with a client and she did not want to leave her car parked in my neighborhood because she didn’t think it would be safe. She didn’t know that I lived a couple of blocks away and I just didn’t mention it.
Home buyers are afraid to buy a home in this neighborhood or that one and there are Federal laws which prevent me from even commenting on a neighborhood which is a great disappointment to those who want to work with a good real estate agent who will help them find a nice home in a decent neighborhood. The word “decent” is often used to describe neighborhoods and so is “good”.
As a resident of St. Paul this sometimes grates on me. There are neighborhoods with higher and with lower crime rates but crime can happen anywhere like the time my son had his car stolen when it was parked in the neighborhood that has the most expensive houses.
What I personally have a hard time understanding is the idea that neighborhoods are what they are and that crime happens around us and it is because of the neighborhood and nothing to do with us.
Where there are people there will be crime. There isn’t any way to live in a place where there is no crime. There are ways to get involved. Knowing your neighbors as is getting involved in your district council to help insure that each Saint Paul neighborhood good and decent.
For those who want to buy a home that is a good investment it won’t necessarily be the perfect home in the “best” neighborhood. It will be a home that needs some work in an up and coming neighborhood that might look a little scary to those who are afraid and are looking for a safe corner of the city to hide in.
Please don’t ask me to help you find a house in a decent neighborhood. All neighborhoods have positive and negative attributes and my idea or what it decent or good and your idea might not be the same.
It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. It is almost the end of March and what I like to call second winter is here and almost over. Second winter usually starts sometime in early or late spring after we have had some warm weather. Second winter has a way of taking away all hope that it will ever be warm enough to go outside again so I am posting this picture of Rice Park in downtown Saint Paul that I took in early April of 2012. April starts next week.
Rice Park – April 7, 2012
Some years we get third winter which comes after second winter but before Summer. I have a picture of the Niceride bikes covered with snow in late April during third winter but I won’t post that today because it might not happen.
Number of showings
The chart shows how many appointments are made to see homes throughout the metro area. Activity really increases this time of year. The weather kind of slowed things down in January and February of 2014 and that shows up on the chart.
One reason the number of showings go up in the spring is because there are usually more homes on the market for buyers to visit.
If you have a home and no one is coming to look at it that is a clear sign that something is wrong. Either your home isn’t being marketed and advertised or it is priced too high.
Sometimes a home will get a lot of showings but no offers. That usually means that the price is too high or maybe the house needs a little work and that is scaring buyers away. Generally sellers who are interested in selling will need to change something in order to get an offer.
After about 10 showings with no offers I like to do an analysis of other homes on the market in the area. Have similar homes gotten offers recently?
What are the people who are looking at your house saying about it? Is there something in the feedback that really stands out?
First Time Home Buyers
There are all sorts of things that can scare home buyers, especially first time home buyers. As a real estate agent I am never going to say it is all OK even if it is. I encourage all homebuyers to get a complete home inspection conducted by an expert.
For people who are interested in accurate and in depth information about home health hazards I like to send them to the Minnesota Department of Health web site. Where they can go to the healthy homes section where they can get information about mold and formaldehyde and radon and air quality.
The Minnesota Health Department is a great free resource if you want to know if you should be worried about the mold in the basement or if it is just mold in the basement. Most of the health hazards found in homes can be remediated.
Knowledge really is power.
First Time Home Buyers
I write about this every year. If you are buying or selling a house be careful about what you post about it on Facebook, twitter or any other social media site. Sometimes I find information that helps me negotiate on behalf of my buyers or sellers. My clients also find information that can help with a negotiating strategy.
First time home buyers in particular will ask their friends, family and co-workers for advice. Sometimes they put it all out there on Facebook or even on a blog that anyone can read. It isn’t hard to get five different opinions on a real estate related issue. Almost everyone is an expert especially if they have purchased a home and most people are willing to give advice.
Sometimes buyers or sellers will say something unkind about the other party in a transaction on social media. It is much easier to negotiate if we leave personal feelings and drama out of the equation.
Sometimes buyers will let everyone know that they desperately want to buy the home which will weaken their negotiating position if the seller finds out or at the very least sellers will know they have the upper hand.
While negotiating with buyers or sellers it isn’t a good idea to share too much with friends and family until it is over.
Also when getting advice on buying or selling a home keep in mind that real estate is local. Rules, laws and business practices from other parts of the country may be meaningless in the local real estate market. People who are local but have not purchased a home in the last decade may be unfamiliar with current contracts and law.
On Friday my daughter got married right in downtown St. Paul.
The short ceremony was held at the Union Depot and then we had a lovely dinner and some wine at Christo’s also in the Union Depot, and then went across the street to Bedlam for drinks and dancing. The bride and groom spent their wedding night at the Saint Paul Hotel. Our downtown has several gorgeous places to have a weddings. The Union depot is well lit and immaculately clean. In my humble opinion it doesn’t need any decorations, but we could have included them.
Saint Paul Union Depot