previous sale price, good to know

blue house
small house

It is wonderful that there is so much information out there for home buyers. it is easy to find out who owns a home when they bought it and how much they paid for it.

Knowing how much someone paid for a home is interesting but what someone paid for a house in the past does not impact the current value. The owners may have gotten the house at a bargain basement price or they may have paid too much for it. Maybe they bought it for a song and then made a bund of improvements.

If the house is in St. Paul it is easy to look it up on the city of St.Paul website property look-up and see if there were permits for work on the house. Maybe there is a permit to put on a roof and a few for plumbing and for a new heating plant. Each permit will list an approximate dollar value.

Determining the current value of a house is not an exact science. The best way to come up with a number is to compare the home to three houses in the immediate area that were sold in the last year. Location, condition, and size determine the value of a house.

Buyers who are working with a REALTOR® should ask for a comparative market analysis before making an offer. Home sellers should do the same before setting the asking price.

Cats kill 500 million birds a year

House cat – in the house

Cats roam free in my neighborhood and they make little cats too. There are people who believe that it is alright to let their cat roam free and that it is a cat’s right to roam free.

The house cat has long been listed among the 100 most dangerous invasive species. They kill millions of birds and other small animals each year to the point of extinction. A cat is a pet when kept inside but once when outside it is a heartless killer.

“If we extrapolate the results of this study across the country and include feral cats, we find that cats are killing more than 4 billion animals per year, including at least 500 million birds. Cat predation is one of the reasons why one in three American bird species are in decline,” said Dr. George Fenwick, President of American Bird Conservancy [wildlife management institute]

There was a study that shows that they only bring home about 25% of what they kill. They eat some of what they kill but they leave a lot of it where they killed it.

Being a free-range cat in St. Paul is not good for the cat either. Here are some statistics:

200 cats are killed annually in traffic

Life expectancy of a cat allowed to roam is only three to four years

Confined cats can live beyond 14 years

Over 1,200 cats are picked up each year by animal control

Roaming cats may be a nuisance by urinating and defecating in sandboxes and gardens

Outdoor cats are susceptible to injury or death from other predatory animals

Outdoor cats are predators to wildlife such as birds

Be a good neighbor and keep your cat inside.

Downhill ice racing

crashed ice
Saint Paul Cathedral – Crashed ice 2018

I cheated and took this shot the day before the event. Normally the venue would be packed with people but I have found that it is easier to get the shot before the event and before the security guards start guarding.

Once the jumbotron and the big spotlights are turned on it gets harder to photograph the venue.

Downhill ice racing is a thing and it draws huge crowds. Those crowds drink lots and lots of beer in crashed ice village along West 7th street.

The Saint Paul Winter Carnival starts this week and then it is on to the Super Bowl. It all helps take the long and boring out of Winter. 🙂


The bank taketh away

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. Earlier this week I got an overdraft notice from Wells Fargo for a huge amount of money. It seems that there was a glitch and they honored the same check twice and it was a large check.

There isn’t any money to pay other bills this month and of course, to add insult to injury they went ahead and charged an overdraft fee.

It is possible that there are thousands of people who had their bills paid twice by Wells Fargo and are now flat broke.

I was told that it takes 10 days for Wells Fargo to investigate and take action. They made me swear that I didn’t steal the money but refused to swear that they did not steal the money.

At the very least Wells Fargo should pay me an overdraft fee for every day until the money they accidentally removed from my account is restored.

I am fortunate in that I don’t need to make a payment on a credit card bill or pay rent or a mortgage from that account.  Condolences to all who lost all of their money and who still have bills to pay and to those who wrote checks or made payments that bounced.

Even though Wells Fargo is considered too big to fail, I give them an epic fail.


New lower than ever low

Dash board grpahic
MLS dashboard

Fresh from the NorthstarMLS this morning. This is a snapshot of real estate activity in St. Paul. In the last week only 32 homes have come on the market but in that same time 45, have gone into the pending status which means the sellers have accepted offers. Homes are selling faster than they are being listed for sale. As a result that Record-breaking new low

that I wrote about on January 3rd is no longer a record. There are only 315 homes on the market in St. Paul right now and about 100 of those have contingent offers on them.

The real estate market has contracted. This is not a healthy market but a strong seller’s market. Now would be a good time to build some new homes and rehab some of those vacant houses instead of turning them into vacant lots.

I am a huge fan of sustainable, affordable tiny houses.

Home buyers will need to be patient and explore new listings as they come on the market.

know when to reduce the price

downtown st. paul
Downtown St. Paul

Even in a hot seller’s market homes can be overpriced. 66% of the homes that sold last year had at least one price reduction while they were on the market. On average 2017 home sellers got 99.6% of their asking price.

Most of the homes that were sold without a price reduction sold quickly but there were some exceptions like the home that was on the market for a year before it sold.

Properly pricing a house is more of an art than a science. Ultimately it is the buyer who sets the price.

Knowing when to reduce the price if the home is priced too high is priceless.