• General
  • Keep the dream alive

    Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2016, Monday, Jan. 16,  honors the slain civil rights icon near what would have been his 88th birthday.

    I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

    – Martin Luther King, Jr 1963

    Let’s keep the dream alive and the hope that one day even a black man can drive a car with a burned out tail light and live to tell about it.

    The Twin Cities  are  home to some of the worst racial disparities in the country. In metrics across the board—household income, unemployment rates, poverty rates and education attainment—the gap between white people and people of color is significantly larger in Minnesota than it is most everywhere else. There is also a large gap in home ownership between people who are white and people of color. Homeowners have a significantly higher net worth than renters have.

     

    Dr. Martin Luther King Speaking at the University of Minnesota
    Dr. Martin Luther King Speaking at the University of Minnesota –

    Photograph from the Minnesota Historical Society collection

  • For Home buyers
  • Sundays are for open houses

    Dining room
    1741 Ashland Ave

    It is above zero today and the high will be in the 20’s. It is safe to go outside and there may even be some open houses. Here are a few open house tips:

    1.  Take off your shoes when you enter.

    2.  Sign in and give the nice real estate agent your contact information. He or she will follow up with you after the open.

    3.  If you are interested in the house be careful what you say in front of the agent and other potential buyers. You don’t want to say anything that may weaken your negotiating power later on.

    4.  Please remember that the agent holding the open house is representing the seller not you.

    5.  The agent holding the open may not be the listing agent and may not know much about the house.

    6.  There are questions that agents generally won’t or shouldn’t answer, like why the owner is selling and other information about the current owner or if the seller will take a  lower priced offer.

    Open houses are a great way to get into some homes and tour them. People who are serious about actually buying a home should understand that only a small percentage of homes that are for sale are open on a particular Sunday. The whole point of an open house isn’t to sell the house but it is a way that real estate agents can meet potential home buyers and sellers too.

    The neighbor’s like to come to open houses too. Sometimes it is curiosity other times it helps them decide how they want to stage and price their own home.

    Home buyers should not wait for an open house to see a home that is for sale.  There are many homes that are for sale that are never held open. While you are waiting another buyer is scheduling a private showing and making an offer.

  • Friday fun
  • MUCH less expensive and MUCH better

    It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. It has been a scary week especially for those of us who pay  our own health insurance and instead of belonging to a group that pays less we get to pay extra. The insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies call all the shots (no pun intended) and buy the laws. My health insurance is obscenely expensive and because it is a crappy bronze plan I pay extra for health care but even that is better than being uninsured.

    I hope the new president honors his tweets. If you can not trust a billionaire who can you trust?

    obmacare

     

  • Local Market Conditions & home prices
  • Where the houses go

    Market watch
    Market watch

    The graph above is one of the first things I look at each morning. Today there is one more house on the market than there was yesterday but we are still at an all time low for the number of homes for sale and just when I think we have reached bottom we go down further. Right now there are fewer than 500 homes for sale the our fair city.

    In the last three days there have been 27 new listings but there have also been 27 homes that got offers that were accepted by the seller. (pending status) Ten listed homes were cancelled but 7 homes came back on the market.

    People like to wait until spring to put their homes on the market. The spring real estate market usually starts in January. Usually we see the highest home prices in April and May. Those numbers represent home sales that closed during those months and those homes were put on the market during the winter.

  • General Real Estate News
  • Supply down but sales are up

    pink
    January 2017 - in the pink

    In 2016 we hit some all time lows for the number of homes for sale in St. Paul and in the region but there were more homes sold in 2016 then have been sold during any year in the past decade. The number of homes for sale remains low because homes are selling quickly in St. Paul and in the entire region.

    In 2006 during much of the year there were three times the number of homes on the market during any given month than there were on the market during the same months is 2016 yet about 300 more homes were sold in 2016 in St. Paul than were sold in 2006.

    Median home prices are about $16,000 lower in St. Paul in 2016 than they were in 2006.

    Home values will likely go up in 2017 because of short supply. We are also facing a housing affordability crisis as rents and home prices increase faster than earnings.