This house isn’t in your price range

While working with a home buyer we found a home listed in his price range. The home was listed for an amount that the buyer could have afforded but, to beat out the other offers he would have had to go over his limit.

I see this all the time with houses that are “priced to sell”. Buyers who want to buy a home for less than $150,000 are hit the hardest as they end up competing against investors.

Those investors pay cash or put a significant amount down which make their offers more attractive than the first time home buyers FHA with less than 5% down.

The bargain priced houses that seem so affordable or too good to be true are often out of reach for first time home buyers.

Home prices have gone up and at a much faster rate than wages. This is good for home owners but not so great for people who would like to become home owners.


New home, new locks

When you buy a house there is no way of knowing who might have a key to the front door. Maybe the babysitter has one and the next door neighbor too.

Right after the closing is a great time to have the locks changed. Not only will the home be more secure but lock technology has changed. In general, locks are better and easier to use than they were in the 1940’s.

Also, consider smart locks with keyless and blue tooth options. Unlock doors with your phone or with a code. If you think you forgot to lock the door you can lock it from a remote location.

Locks are complicated. Do some research before you buy.

door lock

July real estate market

On average St. Paul home sellers got 100.7% of their asking price in July 2018 which is slightly more than the 99.9% average for the Twin Cities region. In the West 7th neighborhood of St. Paul the average was even higher at 101.2%.

Asking price Vs. sale price

When the average sale price is higher than the average listing price that generally means prices are going up. It looks like prices are going up the most in the Thomas Dale neighborhood where homeowners got almost 102% of their asking price on average.

Condo sellers got an average of slightly less than 100% of the asking price for their units with downtown St. Paul condos selling for 98.7% of the asking price.

Home buyers should not use these numbers as a guide when making an offer.

real estate really is local


Real estate is local. That doesn’t mean that what is happening in other cities won’t happen here.

Over the weekend there were news stories about the housing market slowing. It was about parts of the country where the rise in home prices has slowed considerably and the number of homes on the market is growing.

Here is St. Paul we have more houses on the market than we had a month ago. Yet if our inventory of homes for sale grew by 300% we would still have a shortage of homes for sale.

We are still seeing multiple offers for more than the asking price especially for homes priced under $250,000.

There is a little evidence that home prices are softening. There have been more price reductions lately.

Housing prices are ridiculous in parts of the country and in parts of St. Paul too. I think increases in home values will start to slow down especially as interest rates slowly rise.

I have seen national headlines that suggest we are in for the biggest slow down ever in the housing market. That sounds ominous yet if you look at how hot the real estate market has been it does seem like something needs to give.

I’ll have some local real estate numbers next week. Here are the numbers for June 2018

No I can’t let you in

Sometimes when I am showing houses in the city people will come in off the street and try to tour the house with me.

They do not seem to understand that if I am showing a buyer a home that is for sale I can not give anyone else access to the house.

When I tour a house with a buyer that is because the seller has given me permission to do so. That permission does not extend to anyone who walks in off the street.

Newer agents do not always understand this and neither do people who see homes for sale and are curious about them.

The best way to see homes for sale is to call your real estate agent and set up a private showing or attend an open house if there is an open house.

In some neighborhoods, if the buyer waits for an open house it may be too late as the house may already have an offer on it.

A for sale sign is not the same thing as an open house sign.

I have had people try to follow me into the house and I have had neighbors knock on the door while I was showing a home.



Secret agent

The Minnesota Department of Commerce requires that real estate agents identify themselves as real estate agents and identify the real estate company they are with, in all advertising.

That includes advertising on social media, or in the newspaper or on a flyer and applies to all agent advertising.

When an agent posts on Facebook that a house is coming on the market soon and provides pictures of the house she is advertising it.

That means she has to identify herself as a real estate agent and identify the company she is with. She can’t just put “text me with any questions” and leave her phone number.

Agents who do not comply with this particular rule usually end up with a fine if they get caught.

As far as laws go this one isn’t as big of a deal as robbing a bank but you have to kind of wonder. Is the agent breaking other laws? Is she aware of what the laws are?

Is her broker providing any supervision or guidance? The broker is responsible for the agent’s actions and can be sanctioned by the department of commerce if one of his/her agents fails to provide the name of the real estate company in the advertisement.

Potential home buyers who are asking questions in the Facebook group do not understand that they are talking to a real estate agent who is representing the sellers.

Real estate agents are required by state law to give consumers an agency disclosure at first substantive contact.

There are home buyers and sellers who love the facebook groups for getting and giving inside information. I think they are a great place to violate fair housing laws and get around state laws too.

Technically there are no secret agents in real estate.

It is alright for homeowners to advertise their own home for sale and answer questions about it.