• First Time Home Buyers
  • Local real estate market making history


    I keep writing about this but we are again at an all time low for the number of homes on the market in St. Paul. The graph goes until the end of November when we have 45 homes on the market. Today we have fewer than 500 homes for sale and when the homes with contingent offers are subtracted the number is closer to 400.

    There are a combination of reasons having to do with the lack of new construction, home owners who are still underwater, and demographics. Younger people tend to move more often than older people so yes we can as always blame baby boomers.

    When homes go on the market they sell fairly quickly because there is strong buyer demand.

    I have clients who want to sell but they are holding off because right now they can not find a suitable home to buy.

    The number of homes on the market is always the lowest in December. It is only a few more days until January.

  • First Time Home Buyers
  • Sellers Disclose – Buyers inspect


    Minnesota home sellers have a choice. They can use a property disclosure and disclose everything they know about the home they are selling or they can use a non-disclosure and disclose nothing. Home sellers also have the option of having an inspection done by a third party.

    In St. Paul all homes are required to have a truth in housing inspection. These inspections cover some of the basics like leaks, moisture intrusion and some plumbing and electrical issues. To learn more go to StPaul.gov and search “truth in housing”. I would provide a link but things get moved around on the site often and I would just end up with another dead link.

    As a real estate broker and agent if I know something about a property I have to disclose it even if the seller won’t, unless it is something that I can not disclose because the seller doesn’t have to or want to.

    If I know that the roof is leaking I have to disclose it. If I know that the boiler isn’t working I have to disclose it, but I am not an inspector and am not responsible for finding defects.

    Sometimes there is something wrong with a home and the sellers do not disclose it and the agent doesn’t know about it either. Maybe there is a pipe with a slow leak that the homeowner has not yet noticed or the furnace isn’t working properly and the C02 levels are too high. It is possible to live in a home with radon and never know it.

    It is so important for buyers to have a complete home inspection before committing to purchase a home. Offers should be inspection contingent and I always recommend a radon test.

  • First Time Home Buyers
  • House Diary


    If you bought a house this year you might want to start a house diary. It is a way of keeping records electronic or on paper that list improvements and repairs you have made.  The longer you own the home the more valuable the diary.

    Note when a room was painted and jot down the name of the paint and where it was purchased.

    Record the price of appliances and when they were purchased. When you need to sell the house you will know the age and cost of various improvements.

    You Evernote or a spiral bound notebook or a mole skin journal. Most anything will work even a diary.

  • First Time Home Buyers
  • Sellers are getting their asking price

    % of final asking price
    % of asking price

    Knowing how much to offer on a home for sale can be tough. Some homes are over priced and buyers do not want to pay the asking price. We are in a strong sellers market which means sellers are expecting a quick sale and they expect to get an amount that is close to or even above their asking price.

    Since March of 2016 St. Paul sellers have been getting 99% or more of their final asking price. In October sellers got an average of 99.3% of their final asking price.

    This information isn’t too useful to buyers because we don’t know when the asking price is the final asking price. Pricing a house is not an exact science and neither is knowing how much to pay for one.

  • First Time Home Buyers
  • homeownership can help build wealth

    After the crash of the housing market homeownership kind of got a bad rap which makes sense because there were so many people who had negative equity. Things are better today. More people have equity and home values are rising. There are risks to homeownership and it isn’t for everyone but for many it is a good investment.

    Home ownership is down nationwide from what it was at the peak in 2005 but looks to be as strong as it was in the 1990’s. In the long run owning a home is still a great way to accumulate wealth. People who have their home paid off when they retire spend less on housing and have more money for food and health care. I guess some even have money for fun and travel. 🙂

    Here is a looks at net worth and home ownership from a presentation given  by Lawrence Yun, Ph.D., NAR Chief Economist Ph.D., NAR Chief Economist, to the Residential Real Estate Forum at the 2014 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in New Orleans, LA on November 7, 2014.