• First Time Home Buyers
  • Please read the disclosures

    house

    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.

  • For Home buyers
  • Sundays are for open houses

    Dining room
    1741 Ashland Ave

    It is above zero today and the high will be in the 20’s. It is safe to go outside and there may even be some open houses. Here are a few open house tips:

    1.  Take off your shoes when you enter.

    2.  Sign in and give the nice real estate agent your contact information. He or she will follow up with you after the open.

    3.  If you are interested in the house be careful what you say in front of the agent and other potential buyers. You don’t want to say anything that may weaken your negotiating power later on.

    4.  Please remember that the agent holding the open house is representing the seller not you.

    5.  The agent holding the open may not be the listing agent and may not know much about the house.

    6.  There are questions that agents generally won’t or shouldn’t answer, like why the owner is selling and other information about the current owner or if the seller will take a  lower priced offer.

    Open houses are a great way to get into some homes and tour them. People who are serious about actually buying a home should understand that only a small percentage of homes that are for sale are open on a particular Sunday. The whole point of an open house isn’t to sell the house but it is a way that real estate agents can meet potential home buyers and sellers too.

    The neighbor’s like to come to open houses too. Sometimes it is curiosity other times it helps them decide how they want to stage and price their own home.

    Home buyers should not wait for an open house to see a home that is for sale.  There are many homes that are for sale that are never held open. While you are waiting another buyer is scheduling a private showing and making an offer.

  • For Home buyers
  • Getting a bargain

    house
    Brick House

    There are not as many bargain homes on the market as there were during the great recession but that doesn’t mean buyers should over pay.

    Home buyers often do it backwards. They make a lower than full price offer on a home that just came on the market and end up missing out when another buyer offers full price or more. Home buyers should look for the houses that have been on the market for a few weeks or months. Those houses are over priced and if the seller truly wants to sell he/she/they will accept an offer that is less than full price.

    In most cases over priced homes end up selling for less than full value which is why I recommend taking a closer look at them.

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

    infosparks

    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.

  • For Home buyers
  • Disappearing houses

    winterskate
    Winter skate - St. Paul - Landmark Center

    Each day the number of homes on the market gets a little smaller. There are actually less than 500 homes on the market in St. Paul right now that are for sale but do not have offers on them. There are also about 80 homes that are for sale but are “Temporarily not available to show”(TNAS)

    The TNAS status homes are for sale but the owner wants to take a few days off or maybe even a few weeks off from allowing people to see them.  Most of those homes will not show up on the popular web sites that show homes for sale. Under our special Realtor rules homes that are in the TNAS status can not be marketed. Even a for sale sign is considered marketing.

    If you have been wanting to buy a home and have been watching them disappear many will re-appear on January 2nd. Watch for it.  Local real estate agents who continue to advertise homes that are in our MLS in the “temporarily not available to show” status may actually have to pay a fine if they get caught advertising.

    Home owners who have their homes for sale and who would like a little peace and quiet on holidays can just ask to have the status of their home changed to “TNAS”.

  • For Home buyers
  • Cold weather house hunting and selling

    Let it snow

    It is a good thing that people still buy and sell homes even when it is cold out. There are always people who want to sell their home and always some who want to buy a home, even in the winter. As the temperatures drop here are some tips:

    Here are some winter home selling tips:

    1.  Leave some lights on so we can open the lock box and unlock the door.

    2.  Remove the snow and ice from the walk way.

    3.  Place a walk off mat near the front door that is big enough for four pairs of shoes.  This small act of kindness will keep my feet dry because I won’t end up standing in a puddle made by my clients and it will keep your floor dry and your home cleaner.

    4.  If your home is vacant please have it winterized, that means that you have the water turned off so the pipes don’t freeze if the furnace/boiler quits.

    5.  Light in a home is a good thing, especially in the winter.  You want to make it look warm and inviting.   If you normally live like cave people with every blind drawn and every shade pulled consider making some changes so that your home will sell quicker and so you will get more money for it.

    6.  If your home is occupied and you have a bunch of burglar alarms and maybe some barbed wire and a guard dog consider easing up on the orange alert status.  (this has nothing to do with the weather . . I was on a roll)

    Here are some tips for buyers:

    1.  Wear shoes or boots that are easy to slip on and off. I like to wear super thick socks.

    2.  Go to the restroom before you begin house hunting.  Homes that are winterized have no running water.  I wish . .  . . . oh don’t get me started.

    3.  If you are interested in a home that you saw in the dark please schedule an appointment to see it when it is light out before you make an offer.

    4.  Most agents carry a flash light but it is a great idea to bring your own, your cell phone alone may not provide enough light.