• 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.

  • For Boomers
  • I am predicting a new low

    Homes for sale

    During the last few years the inventory of homes on the market has been low while demand has been high. We are in a strong sellers market. We may hit another record low this winter. I am not talking about the weather but about the low number of homes on the market.

    Many home owners do not understand the sellers market. The way we sell houses has changed. The challenges are in buyer financing and getting the sale to close. Pricing and using professional photography are still very important if the goal is to sell quickly and for top dollar.


  • 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.

  • For Home buyers
  • Yes you can vote

    Polling Place in Ramsey County

    Please vote. I voted a couple of weeks ago. I have met a few people who say they have moved since the last time they voted and they didn’t think they could vote on Tuesday November 8th which is election day no matter what various candidates say. Yes you can vote and you can register at the polls, it doesn’t matter if you have moved:

    You’re only required to show an ID when you vote if you’re registering to vote when you vote in person, or if your registration is not current and active

    To register when you vote in person, bring one of the following:

    • A Minnesota driver’s license, learner’s permit, ID, or receipt for any of these that has your current name and address
    • A tribal ID with your name, address, photo, and signature

    If you don’t have any of these, bring a combination of photo ID and another document that shows your current name and address

    • Accepted photo IDs include an out-of-state driver’s license or ID, US passport, US military or veteran ID, Tribal ID with name, signature and photo, Minnesota university, college, technical college, or high school ID
    • Accepted documents to prove your residence include a current residential lease, current student fee statement, or a utility bill or bank statement with a date less than 30 days old

    If you don’t have any of the IDs listed above, you may bring with you a voter who is registered in the same precinct as yours to “vouch” for your identity. This registered voter will need to sign a form under oath confirming that he or she knows that you live at your listed address. The voter may only “vouch” for up to 8 persons.

    Maybe you don’t know where to vote? 

    Please use the Minnesota poll finder (If you do not live in Minnesota, kindly disregard and search for polling places in your own state) If you would like to move to Minnesota please contact me.

    It is very important that we all vote. Daylight savings ends this weekend so we have an extra hour just to work on the logistics of voting.

    Oh and the day I voted I also got my flue shot. Flue shots are important too. Thanks for reading.

  • For Home buyers
  • Your best friend and the play set

    greek revival
    Greek Revival style

    What you are about to read is roughly based on a true story and anyone who reads this site on a regular basis knows that I rarely use names.

    Once upon a time a guy decided to buy a house but before he committed he had his friend come along and have a look. There was a swing set and a nice sandbox in the backyard. The buyer asked his friend if he knew if the swing set and sandbox would be sold with the house. The friend said yes.

    I am not totally making this up. People ask friends or relatives all sorts of questions they should be asking their real estate agent and that agent should be asking the sellers directly.

    Friends can be quick to show case their knowledge especially if they just bought a house and maybe the swing set and sand box were included. In the case I am writing about they were not included but if the buyer had asked for them the seller may have left them behind.

    I heard a father tell his daughter that a particular repair is certainly taken care of by the home owners association but when I looked at the association documents I discovered that what the father said wasn’t true. Yes sometimes parents make mistakes.

    Bringing a friend along while house hunting is a great idea but if you have questions he or she might not be the best person to ask. In general we don’t like to make any assumptions about what is included in the sale or what a home owners association might cover. That should all be in writing.