• Boardman Realty
  • I can not give financial advice


    Real estate brokers and agents are often encouraged to give their clients all sorts of advice as a way to add value to the services they provide. Legally I can not give financial advice, legal advice or tax advice. I can find the cost of owning a particular home or even the approximate value of a piece of real estate. I have access to a lot of data and I am what you might call a “power” user when it comes to spreadsheets.

    There are people who believe that a “good” real estate agent should be able to give financial advice. That is not true and if your agent isn’t giving you financial advice it could be because they don’t have the licensure to do so.  My licenses restrict my activity to some very specific areas and the same is true for most real estate agents.

  • For Boomers
  • Buyer’s agent Vs. Home owner

    Turret – Queen anne

    I have had some interesting experiences with home owners who do not want to be represented by an agent but have decided to pay a real estate agent to put their home in our MLS. In doing so they have also agreed to work with buyers agents and pay them a commission after a successful closing.

    On the surface to the home seller it seems like a great way to save at least half of the cost of commissions. Yet there are times when a buyer’s agent who has been involved in a few hundred real estate transactions can negotiate better terms for the buyer because the agent is negotiating against home owners who may be armed with data and information, and may have impeccable negotiation skills but have very little or no experience selling a home and are blissfully unaware of common business practices and expectations.

    Some of these home sellers are totally alright with inspection contingencies and amendments that ask for repairs that are really upgrades or other terms where they end up with less money than they could have gotten had they known better. The buyers more or less end up in charge of the transaction and sometimes the seller ends up spending a lot more to sell the home than they would have spent on a sellers agent commission.

    Usually the home owner doesn’t even know what they gave away that they could have kept so I guess it all works out. Sometimes it is about the experience of doing it yourself rather than getting the highest price and best terms for your real estate.

    There is more to selling a home than getting an offer on it. We are in a sellers market. Getting the sale closed is another matter.

    While the internet has made it easier to market homes for sale and easier for buyers to find homes for sale it has done little if anything to make buying or selling real estate less complicated. There are more rules and forms than ever before and there are rule changes every single year.

  • For Boomers
  • I wrote this ten years ago

    This was written on July 20th 2006 before the great recession and the housing market crash. Back when many of us never imagined that houses would decrease in value they way they did in 2007 -2011:

    I am a baby boomer.  Born toward the end of the boom and not one of the 7,918 people a day who are turning 60.

    Twenty years ago would have been a great time to start planning for retirement.  At the time we were just too busy raising our family to get excited about our golden years.  Much of what I have been reading about boomers and retirement indicates that most of us may not have saved enough money to retire at say 65, and live the same way we do now.

    Owning a home will help.  I mean actually owning a home free and clear.  The idea of really owning a home seems to be a concept that my generation has not embraced.   The biggest advantage will be not having to make house payments or pay rent.

    Read why a house is not a piggy bank to tap into for retirement.


    We made our last house payment in 2014 . . . I hope and the house is worth almost as much as it was worth 10 years ago, and much more than we paid for it.

  • For Boomers
  • Remove old carpeting

    Home buyers usually prefer hardwood floors. The National Association of REALTORS® found that 54% of home buyers were willing to pay more for a home with hardwood flooring, but I could have told them that.

    I am not suggesting that people who want to sell their homes run out and replace the carpeting with hardwood floors. Sometimes the carpeting needs to be replaced and there is hardwood flooring under it. Even hardwood floors that needs a little work are better than old carpeting and usually better than new carpeting.

    From experience I know that there are certain types of homes that people expect to see hardwood flooring in. People expect older homes to have hardwood floors. That doesn’t mean that hardwood is preferred in bedrooms, kitchens and baths or that every room in the house has to have hardwood floors.

    It should also be noted that a buyer’s willingness to pay more for a home with hardwood doesn’t mean that they will be willing to pay enough to cover the cost of the hardwood floors. There is quite a price range for the flooring and it doesn’t always have to be oak.

    Nothing is really all that black and white when it comes to making improvements that will have a positive impact on resale value. There are shades of gray but it is good to know that home buyers will pay more for homes with hardwood floors.

    Unit 605
    Unit 605
  • For Boomers
  • Un-permitted work

    hammerSometimes it is hard to get work done on a St. Paul home because of our strictly enforced building codes and laws. The cost of simple repairs can be very expensive if they are done correctly and the permits are pulled.

    It is tempting to have work done without pulling permits. There are licensed plumbers and electricians who do not like working on St. Paul homes because of all the rules and will do the work without pulling a permit. There are homeowners who do work without pulling permits and sometimes they just don’t know any better and other times they don’t want to work through all of the approvals when the work is finished.

    Since the city made a bunch of changes to the city web site I am finding more open permits and “pending” permits which are not really “pending” according to the city but are some kind of a file they need for future follow up. None of this makes any sense to any of us.

    My advice is before you put your home on the market look it up on the property look-up section on the city of St. Paul web site.  If you home is like most older homes in Saint Paul there will be open permits, closed permits, “finaled” permits and maybe if you are lucky like I am there will even be permits that are “closed without approval”.  red-duct-tape-clip-art

    Technically real estate in Saint Paul can not change hands if there are open permits. Home buyers might also want to check the house that they plan on buying because occasionally houses with open permits do sell and the sale closes and when the new owner needs to have some work done they may have to have some old permits “finaled” before they can get work done.

    On a couple occasions I have had contractors in my home who were not as familiar with some of our weird little rules in St. Paul as I am and I have had to ask them to do things a certain way so that the work could be approved by the city on the first attempt.

  • For Boomers
  • July 4th is early this year

    Over the weekend I had a hard time finding a real estate agent who could help with an out of town home buyer. Agents told me that it was a holiday. Actually I completely understand. People often have time off over the July 4th holiday and they want to use it to do a little house hunting. Some of the folks who call me seem to have just figured out that they are going to buy a home in St. Paul or maybe they just got in the car and it took them here and while they are here they want to explore the possibility of buying a home here.

    I work with a few people who are relocating every year. Some of them have a plan ahead of time and interview real estate agents and make appointments to tour homes months in advance, which allows me to clear my calendar and give them the undivided attention they need and deserve as we tour 10 to 20 houses in a day or two.

    Often those who come into town and don’t plan ahead end up working with the junior real estate agent who doesn’t yet have any business. That agent will end up paying a referral fee for a the “lead”. They may not actually know what they are doing but they need to start some place.

    If you are looking for a great agent to work with over the 4th of July weekend this year you are already way to late but it isn’t too late to start looking for an agent to work with over the Labor day weekend or during the winter holidays.

    July 4th in St. Paul
    July 4th in St. Paul