Real estate teams are not always what you think they are

There are teams in sports. On a baseball team, everyone has a position and each player is responsible for playing his position to help the team win.

In business, the word “team” is used to refer to a group of people who work for the same company, department or office. We like to use sports analogies in business because they are easier for men to understand.

A team is a group of people who work together to achieve a common goal.

In real estate the point of a team is so that team members can get “leads” and so that the team leader can make more money. The leader gets some of the agent’s commissions. For new agents, teams can be a great way to get some hands-on experience and training but to be honest that is what a broker is supposed to provide.

Sometimes the clients of real estate teams get this mental picture of several people working on selling their home or finding them a new one but it almost never works that way. One agent works on selling the house while the others work with other clients or on lead capture.

If I call a team and ask about a home for sale usually no one but the actual listing agent knows anything about the home. In fact, it seems like they don’t even talk to each other. They don’t actually help each other when problems arise and they do not tap into each others expertise. Homes do not sell faster because they are listed by a real estate team.

Some teams do work together. There are a couple of smaller teams where each person on the team knows what is going on. I can call one team member and ask another team members listing or offer. Often these teams are families or couples who work together.

Teams are popular among agents because they are a great way for experienced agents to make more money and a way for inexperienced agents to get some experience.

Large teams operate like a company within a company. Some team leaders end up starting their own real estate company, other teams act and operate like a separate company, within a company.

It gets complicated. In the end, working with a team may not help you achieve your goals.  Sometimes working with a team means that after the team lists your house the only person you will talk to is an assistant because the lead agent who sells the real estate spends his/her time getting new business.

Go, team!

I want to ride my bike

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. I’ll just say that I am tired of Winter. Spring really isn’t that far away so I started imagining some of the things I will be doing as soon as the snow melts. I know I can bike n the winter and many people do but I don’t. 🙂

Here are some pictures I have taken on bike rides. They are a break from snowstorms and cold and a reminder of what green looks like. Most were taken within or very near the city limits.

One of my favorite places to bike is Lilydale Regional Park. The park is along the river and pickerel lake where there is a lot of wildlife. I also enjoy the woods and the wildflowers.

I also like to use the bike for transportation. I take it to the grocery store and to the farmer’s market, the bank and to my Lowertown office.

Looking for homes to buy

Right now I have at least a half dozen home buyers who are pre-approved for a loan and well qualified to buy a home. There are so few houses on the market it is hard to find that perfect home for that wonderful home buyers.

Yesterday I started looking through some of the homes that were on the market last year but did not sell and were taken off the market. There are one or two homes that could work for my clients and I’ll be contacting those homeowners today to see if they still want to sell.

If you had your home on the market last year and it did not sell and if you still want to sell it now might be a good time to try it again. I found a couple of homes that were priced too high last fall but prices continue to go up.

A few of the homes that did not sell looked dark and dingy due to poor interior photographs. That is an easy problem to solve.

There are also several homes that had offers on them but it looks like buyer and seller were unable to agree on terms after the inspection. Getting through the inspection phase can be challenging but most of the time we can come to an agreement that works for both parties.

If you would like a free no obligation consultation about what it would take to sell your home please contact me.

Restored homes – Little Bohemia neighborhood

Everything in an old house can be made new

Gravity Furnace – isn’t she a beauty?

Just about everything on the inside or the outside of a house can be rebuilt or replaced. An old house can have a new roof and new windows too.

There are old houses and there are old houses. Sometimes home buyers are intimidated by the house that was built in the 1890’s when it is the house that was built in the 1980’s, or 1990’s.  that they should be concerned about.

Houses built in the late 1990’s may still have the original roof. Replacing a roof is expensive and some only last 20 years. A 20-year-old forced air furnace is a scary thing. Plumbing doesn’t wear out as quickly but I know from experience that plumbing for toilets and faucets and valves wear out and they can be expensive to replace.

Our home was renovated in the late 80’s and we have replaced almost every faucet and valve in the house and upgraded toilets and replaced a few sinks. The plumbing, in general, is in much better shape than what I find in houses that are almost a 100 years newer. The fixtures and plumbing in the kitchen are just a couple of months old.

Our furnace is now three years old and the water heater is about six years old.

I strongly encourage home buyers to have a complete home inspection before buying a home of any age. While house hunting pay close attention to the age of the systems inside and outside the house rather than the age of the whole house.

If a home as been newly renovated ask for warranties on the work, make sure permits were pulled and that they have been closed.  Local government entities that rehab and sell houses will sometimes refuse to provide any kind of warranty on the work making a complete home inspection even more important.

Most of the housing in St. Paul is old. There isn’t a lot of new construction and it is very expensive. Houses are definitely reusable and upgradable. The oldest houses in St. Paul were built without plumbing or electricity. That was all added later.

Also, see Younger buyers want technology  Homes can be retrofitted with smart home technology.

searching for a decent neighborhood

On the river bluff – Cherokee Heights neighborhood

Home buyers are out in full force looking for that perfect home in a “decent” neighborhood. I St. Paul we have seventeen neighborhoods to choose from. Within those 17 neighborhoods, there are more than 100 sub-neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has a district council. One way to learn about the neighborhoods is to visit the district council website for the neighborhood.

If a decent neighborhood is an area with a low crime rate the best place to learn about crime in St. Paul is from the Saint Paul Police Department’s website.

The idea of a decency in a neighborhood is vague and subjective, yet most home buyers are looking for a “decent” neighborhood. In addition, to “decent”, the neighborhood needs to be “safe”.

This year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the passage of the 1968 Federal Fair Housing Act.

As a real estate agent and broker, I can not recommend a neighborhood or even state that a neighborhood is decent or safe. I can not steer anyone into a particular neighborhood because that violates fair housing laws. Fair housing discrimination does not need to be intentional to be illegal. To learn more about fair housing rules and laws in Minnesota, visit the Fair housing basics web site.

For most people, it is the amount of money they have that will determine where they live. The most expensive homes are near the best schools. Great schools drive property values up. Higher property values mean property higher taxes which in turn means more money is spent on education.

There are private schools in St. Paul and public magnet schools. Parents have choices. To learn more about St. Paul Public Schools.

When choosing a neighborhood write a list of what is important and do some research. Drive through the neighborhood or walk through it when the weather is nice and people are outside again.

Fewer Registered Vacant houses

In St. Paul you can register your vacant building with the city. During the peak of the housing market crash and the great recession there were over 2000 registered vacant buildings in St. Paul and most of those were houses.

Today there are 645 registered vacant buildings in St. Paul and 586 of those are homes. I mention this because there are fewer than 300 homes for sale in our fair city at the moment. St. Paul appears to own at least 135 properties at least according to tax records. Apparently, some of these homes are going to be re-developed. Some of them were foreclosures.

This little house at 47 Douglas street has been on the vacant building list since the Fall of 2009 and has been owned by the City of St. Paul since 2010. I asked about it a few years back and was told that it needed a lot of work. I’ll bet one day it will be a vacant lot owned by the city rather than a vacant house.

vacant house
47 Douglas Street, St. Paul, MN 55102