• For Boomers
  • Paying the property taxes

    Urban bird house

    Many homeowners do not pay their property taxes directly. The property taxes are paid by the mortgage company twice a year, with money added onto the monthly mortgage payment. That more or less protects the lender from losing the home to the county if property taxes are not paid.

    When there is no mortgage or when the amount owed is low enough home owners pay their own property taxes. A statement shows up in the mail once a year and the taxes are payable to the county the property is located in on May 15th and October 15th each year. (Applies to Minnesota real estate).

    People who inherit real estate need to make sure the property taxes are paid. It is easy to look up property by mailing address or by property I.D. (PID) on the county web site and see if taxes are due or if they have been paid and how much the taxes are.

    Home buyers might want to look up tax information and look up St. Paul homes on the city web site to check for assessments that are pending or that have been levied by the city.

    If you have inherited real estate make sure the property taxes are being paid.

  • For Boomers
  • How soon is soon?

    Beautiful Saint Paul brownstone and brick condo building.

    I have written about this before, I am not of fan of putting a sign in front of a house indicating that it will “soon” be for sale. We are in a strong sellers market. Many of my peers believe that “coming soon” is a wonderful marketing strategy that benefits the homeowners. I view it as a strategy the benefits real estate agents, increases the likely hood for dual agency, and generally ticks off the home buyers who are ready to buy today. We have a lot of homebuyers who are ready to buy right now.

    When is soon? There is one house that has had a coming soon sign in front of it for at least a month. Are they really interested in selling? Coming soon is kind of vague but it would help to have some kind of a time limit. My own home will probably be for sale at some point after the year 2020. Should I put the “coming soon” sign out now, or should I wait?

    We have had a few listings that have been sold in the first day or three that they were on the market with multiple offers even. The “coming soon” strategy would have stretched it all out for a few days but would not have increased the value of the homes and would not have made the sell any faster.

    Pre-listed and coming soon

  • Boardman Realty
  • Selling “as is”

    living room

    Homeowners often ask if they can sell their home “as is”. Most any home can be sold as it is. Buyers should always have a complete home inspection so that they know what they are buying. Sellers do not have to make repairs.

    Often sellers agree to some repairs because they can get more money for their home. First time home buyers will want to pay $1000 less for a home if it needs $200 dollars in repairs.

    For some selling a home “as is” means not replacing the old carpeting or worrying about the cost of replacing those ancient kitchen appliances. As long as the home is priced accordingly nothing has to be replaced or upgraded. If the house is in poor shape there are people who will buy it and fix it up, just don’t expect top dollar for it.

    Home owners who would like to make improvements or repairs for a better resale value should consider less expensive repairs and upgrades like cleaning, painting and putting in a backsplash in the kitchen and maybe some new light fixtures and window treatments. Go ahead and paint, repair or replace that front door and add a door bell. Put a nice big pot of flowers by the front door, weather permitting.

  • For Boomers
  • Aging population impacts home sales

    This chart shows the increase in the percent of the population 60 and older from 6 percent in 1900 to 16 percent in 2000 and projected to be 25 percent in 2030 and 26 percent in 2050. (U.S. Census Bureau)

    Total population by age

    An aging population has an impact on housing. There is all sorts of speculation about baby boomers. Will people move? Will they age in place? Will there be a great sell off in 2020? Right now there are more home buyers than sellers. Will that turn around in the next couple of years? Will the great sell off create a buyers market?

    How will lack of affordable health care affect the housing market going forward? The aging trend isn’t just about aging baby boomers. We all live longer and have fewer children which is causing permanent changes.

    Is there the right type of housing for all generations or will we all need to adapt to what is available and how will those adaptations affect our life styles?

    Pretty heavy stuff I know but I spend a lot of time at a nursing home and that gives me time to ponder aging and it’s impact on the housing market.

    Currently we have set yet another record low for the number of homes for sale in St. Paul. I think one of the reasons for the shortage of homes for sale is baby boomers who are staying put.

  • For Boomers
  • What we don’t know about home owners insurance

    An actual house fire in St. Paul last spring

    Most of us pay into our homeowners insurance policy and never collect. We have a high deductible plan which is fine. If the place burns to the ground we can rebuild.

    Generally homeowners insurance will cover the replacement cost of a home which isn’t quite the same as the resale value. If a home is totaled the owner has a lot to rebuild on. How much will it cost to build the same home? I don’t have a clue to be honest. Construction costs have gone way up since we purchased our home. We don’t know at this point if we have enough insurance but are going to find out.

    Home owners insurance isn’t like car insurance. There isn’t any law that says a person has to have homeowners insurance but if there is a mortgage the lender will require it.

    Most people don’t realize that many homeowners policies do not cover vacant homes. If your home is going to be vacant call your insurance company and ask if you will need to have something added to your plan for full coverage.

    Renters should always get insurance. As hard as it is to imagine landlords are not always insured and even if they are tenants belongings may not be covered.

    People do not always read their insurance policies. They are pretty boring but worth a read.

  • For Boomers
  • The best time to put you home on the market

    The Zillow group did a study and concluded that the best time to put your Saint Paul home on the market is on a Friday between May 16th and May 31st. This year that will be Friday the 19th or Friday the 26th. Homes listed on those days will take 6 days less to sell and will sell for an average of 1.4% more or an average of $3200 more than homes that were listed on other dates.

    Real estate is local. In many markets Saturday is the magic day and early may is the best time. I think Thursday is usually the best day of the week to list a home but will go along with Friday. Homes listed at the end of the week are noticed right when buyers and their agents are looking for homes to tour on the weekend.

    The numbers in this post are averages and past performance does not guarantee future results.

    spring wildflowers