This house isn’t in your price range

While working with a home buyer we found a home listed in his price range. The home was listed for an amount that the buyer could have afforded but, to beat out the other offers he would have had to go over his limit.

I see this all the time with houses that are “priced to sell”. Buyers who want to buy a home for less than $150,000 are hit the hardest as they end up competing against investors.

Those investors pay cash or put a significant amount down which make their offers more attractive than the first time home buyers FHA with less than 5% down.

The bargain priced houses that seem so affordable or too good to be true are often out of reach for first time home buyers.

Home prices have gone up and at a much faster rate than wages. This is good for home owners but not so great for people who would like to become home owners.


We get to vote today

Don’t forget to vote in today’s primary. There are several important races. We will be voting for a new Governor, a


Senator to fill Al Franken’s seat and a new attorney general.

Minnesota Public Radio had an election guide for those who need to learn more before they vote.

Minnesota has had 43 Governors. Each one of them has been a man. Your vote could help make history . . . but you have to vote in November too, on November 6th which is just one day after my birthday.

Vote today. Find your polling place and go there.

New home, new locks

When you buy a house there is no way of knowing who might have a key to the front door. Maybe the babysitter has one and the next door neighbor too.

Right after the closing is a great time to have the locks changed. Not only will the home be more secure but lock technology has changed. In general, locks are better and easier to use than they were in the 1940’s.

Also, consider smart locks with keyless and blue tooth options. Unlock doors with your phone or with a code. If you think you forgot to lock the door you can lock it from a remote location.

Locks are complicated. Do some research before you buy.

door lock

Time to take advantage of back to school sales


There are a lot of “back to school” sales this time of year making it a great time to buy office supplies, computers, small electronics, bedding and other household items.

A couple of years ago I took advantage of the “college” section in one store and bought a toaster and a new crockpot. Both were on sale. August seems to be the best time for sales on items that might be used in a dorm room.

Microwave ovens, laundry baskets, bedding, towels and other items can be found discounted at back to school sales. Kind of like Christmas during the summer.

This year I bought a new laptop on sale $200 dollars off the original price. I am considering a new sheet feed scanner and looking for sales.

August and September the months that I buy all of my office supplies. My business is fairly paperless but I do use some office supplies and this is the time of year that I stock up for the whole year. I’ll buy paper, pens, notebooks, folders, glue, markers and art supplies.

My own offspring are beyond school age . . which means I have more money that I can use to buy school supplies to be donated to children who need them.

This summer is going way to fast.

It has been a great year for gardening

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. For me, one of the greatest joys of home ownership has been gardening. In fact, I am already planning next years garden.

This year has been better for gardening than last year was. We had that kind of cold snap last August and the tomatoes did not like it.

butterfly on a Zinna
Butterfly on a cosmos
Cherry tomatoes

Beware of the senior specialist

My parents are 90 years old each apiece. I have dealt with numerous “senior services” over the years. This is from the Minnesota Attorney Generals web site:

Beware of “Senior Specialists.” Fraudsters may imply a certain level of training on issues important to people 55 and older to give you a false sense of security, however, this “training” may be nothing more than a sales tactic. “

There is some truth to this especially when it comes to senior housing.

There are housing advisors who are paid by the companies that have properties to lease.

There are also people like me who make money when we sell real estate and can earn a “Senior Real Estate Specialist” (SRES) designation.

The program is through the national association of Realtors. I am a sales person and there isn’t anything wrong with that unless I pretend to be something else.

I do have actual experience working with seniors and I like to be able to use that experience to help others but the help I can provide is limited to all the details involved in buying or selling real estate.

There is one thing that isn’t taught in the Senior specialist’s classes and that is about Senior LinkAge Line.  It is free and is part of the Minnesota Board on Aging They are not salespeople and do not make money when someone moves.

Seniors who are trying to decide if they want to move to senior housing or sell their home or buy a home should start with a call to Senior Linkage line rather than consulting a real estate agent or a lawyer first.

Sometimes seniors and people of all ages ask for advice on the internet and give away a lot of personal information about themselves and their property to total strangers. It would be much better to call Senior LinkAge Line.

Regular readers may even have noticed that contact information for Senior LinkAge Line is prominently displayed in my right sidebar and has been there for years.