Not all houses get offers the first day on the market

screen print from the NorthstarMLS - all current active listings

Home buyers are getting a bit frustrated. A home they are interested in comes on the market and before they can even go to see it the home is sold, yet there are homes on the market for a month or longer that are just as desirable. Often they go unnoticed because they are priced a little high or they need a little work.

The house that already had three offers on it might not be the best buy.

There are a couple of strategies home buyers can use in what continues to be the strongest buyer’s market we have ever seen.

  1. Look at houses that have been on the market for 10 days or more.

The reason for looking at homes that have been on the market for awhile is because the owners might be willing to accept the asking price or less.

2. Look in a price range that is slightly lower than what you can afford.

Buyers who look in a slightly lower price range are able to outbid buyers who are stretched to the limit as buyers often are in multiple offer situations.

Another tip is to continue looking in the late summer through the end of the year. There are fewer homes on the market during that time but there are also fewer buyers out making offers.

The graphic is a screen print form the MLS.

DOM = days on market

PDOM = days since price change

CDON = cumulative days on market and counts the days on market each time the home is listed in a 12 month period.


Home is for gardening


One of the joys of homeownership is gardening. I planted the Crocus on the south side of house many years ago so I can enjoy them every year. They always come up and each year there are a few more than there were the year before.

Most summer flowers, fruit and vegetables like full sun. Home buyers who are serious about gardening will look for a house on a lot with few trees.  Sometimes things change and gardens have to be moved but that only happens to people like me who stay in one place for a long time.

The daffodils will come up next, followed by tulips, and then peonies. After that I have lilies and roses too. Spring is my busiest time of the year so I have to keep it simple. I struggle to get my vegetable garden in and to keep it all weeded. Each year I simplify it a little more. I have to at least have flowers, herbs, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.

Rents are up

Multi family home prices and sales

Rents are up. The average rental price for a one bedroom apartment in St. Paul is over $900 dollars a month and I don’t know if that includes utilities.  Two bedroom apartments rent for an average of 1100 a month.

The supply of multi family homes on the market is low and the prices have been rising. Right now there are  38 multi family home on the market and 14 of them have offers on them. The average asking price is $268K. It isn’t at all unusual for people who can not qualify for a mortgage to pay more to rent each month than they would pay to own a home.

Home ownership isn’t right for everyone. Home ownership is at 62.9% which is the lowest rate since 1965.

The numbers on the chart are from the NorthstarMLS which is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Also see Home ownership still important

Who decides how much a house is worth?

Victorian homes
The turrets of Dayton's bluff

This is the time of year people call and ask me to figure out how much their home is worth, or really what they want to know is how much it will sell for. I look at how much similar homes have sold for recently near the home being priced and I do some number crunching and throw in some experience and come up wth a number that is usually pretty close to what a home will actually sell for.

The process of predicting the sale price is an art and a science. Some of the sellers I represent take my advice on pricing and others choose a price based on how much they need for a down payment on another home or on how much they paid for the house or even how much they think the house owes them.

Ultimately it is the buyer who decides how much a home is worth and the buyers lender either goes along with it or decides the home is worth more or less than what the buyer wants to pay.

Asking more for a house than buyers think it is worth results in more days on market and that ultimately results in a lower sale price because buyers will offer less for a house that has been on the market for awhile than they will for one that was just listed today.

also see What is a free CMA? and How not to price a home and The art of home selling

January Real Estate Trends

I must sound like a broken record. The news has been the same every day this year. We have a low number of homes for sale across the metro area. In St. Paul the number of homes for sale has stopped going down but has stayed below 445 which is about a third fewer than we would normally see in January.

Each week the number of homes that are sold is close to the number listed that week. Which keeps inventory low and at the same time the number of home sales remains strong. I wish I had some alternative facts but I don’t. 🙂

My advice to buyers is to make an offer if you find a home you like. If it is over priced make an offer than is less than the asking price.

For sellers who have a home to move into now might be the perfect time to put your home on the market.

As for the fire hydrant, I like to photograph them. This one is in downtown St. Paul.

Please read the disclosures

A truth in housing report is required for all homes being sold in St. Paul. It doesn’t matter if the home is being sold directly by the owner or by a real estate agent. The reports are created through a program administered by the City of St. Paul. Truth in housing reports are available to the public.

Many Minnesota home sellers provide a sellers disclosure. There are numerous questions pertaining to the condition of the property. ” Material facts that could adversely and significantly affect an ordinary buyer’s use and enjoyment of the property or any intended use of the property of which the seller is aware should be disclosed”

It is possible for a seller to be unaware of an issue. Maybe there is a leak that has not been discovered or a problem that can not be seen with the naked eye like a furnace that doesn’t work right. That is why it is so important to get a complete home inspection.

Buyers need to read all of the disclosures and ask questions. Buyers need to ask about sections of the disclosure that are left  blank. On the Minnesota sellers disclosure there are many questions that are answered with a yes or a no, if the questions are not answered the buyer should ask about them.

It doesn’t do buyers any good to have the disclosures if they do not read and understand them.