• For Home Sellers
  • Low Inventory continues


    The chart shows the number of homes on the market over a ten year period. At the same time the chart below shows that home sales are strong. I suspect that if there were more homes on the market home sales would be even stronger. The demand for homes is high.

    Home sales in St. Paul

    If you have been thinking about selling your home you don’t have to wait until spring. It is unlikely home prices will go down this fall and there is generally less competition with other homes for sale in the fall.

  • For Boomers
  • How to decide what price to put on your home?

    Laurel Avenue

    The home owner/seller gets to decide what the asking price will be. Most homes on the market are priced with the help of a real estate agent. We determine how much the home is likely to sell for based on the actual sale prices (not the same as the asking price) of homes in the immediate area that are similar to the home being priced and that have been sold recently. Size, condition and location determine value along with supply and demand.

    A similar home will probably be a home that was built around the same time and is the same or similar style and has the same number of beds, baths and garage stalls. That explanation is a bit simplistic. We actually use a kind of fuzzy logic based on experience and knowledge of the area. So far there isn’t any software of web site that can replicate what an experienced real estate agent can do.

    Most homes are going to get an appraisal too but that is done by the buyers lender after the seller has accepted the offer. The purpose of the appraisal is to help the lender decide if the value of the home is at least high enough so that it can be used as collateral to cover the loan. Appraisers and real estate agents can be wrong.

    Home owners have all sorts of ideas about how to price a home. Many believe that over pricing is better than underpricing and some people like to “try” it at a certain price. Sometimes home owners will contact a few agents and have each one determine a value and they will choose the highest value. Real estate agents are aware of this and will sometimes aim high to win the listing. Just like real estate agents and appraisers sellers can be wrong about value and so can buyers.

    Pricing a home isn’t an exact science. If it were my job wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.

    Also see:

    Asking price Vs. Sale Price

    Is your home priced higher than the zestimate?

    Because mine has bigger nails

    Finished square footage

  • For Home Sellers
  • Metrics for showings

    Number of buyer showings on St. Paul homes

    The graph reflects the average number of showings a home has before the status is changed to pending which roughly correlates to how many showings before there is an offer, which is about 23 showings.  I use 20 as a magic number. Assuming the home has been on the market for two months or less, if there has been 20 showings but no offers that might indicate that there is a problem.

    The price might need a little tweaking or maybe the home is being marketed as something that it is not and attracting the wrong crowd. Sometimes the photographs look better than the home itself which just means it will take more than the average number of showings before there is an offer.

  • For Home buyers
  • Does a half bath count as one bathroom?

    Yes a half bath counts as a bathroom at least in our local MLS. It kind of makes sense in that a room is either a bathroom or it isn’t.

    Bathrooms are so confusing. I recently talked with a buyer who wants a home with at least 1.5 bathrooms. In our MLS homes with a full bath and a half bath are listed as having 2 baths. There are no fractions.  A home with a full bath and a quarter bath is also a 2 bath home rather than a 1.25 bath home. A home with 2 full bathes or a full bath and a three quarter bath is also a 2 bath home.

    However with each listing we do show what kind of bathrooms the 2 bathrooms are. For instance it will state that there is one full bath on the first floor and a quarter bath in the basement.  A quarter bath can be a single toilet, or sink or shower. You won’t know what the bath consists of until you see it in person.

    The full bath is always a sink, tub and or shower and a toilet. If there is a tub and a separate shower stall it should be a 1.25  bath but it is still classified as a full bath. A three quarter bath is a shower, sink and toilet. one quarter is taken off because of the lack of bath tub. A half bath which is sometimes called a powder room, usually consists of a toilet and a sink but I have seen half baths where there is a shower and a toilet.

    The strangest configuration I have ever seen is a home with 2 baths. One was a half bath with a sink and toilet and the other was a quarter bath with just a tub. Yet generally if there is a bathtub we call it a full bath,


    Also see What is a bathroom?

  • For Home buyers
  • Where is your deed?


    If you buy a home in Minnesota you will leave the closing with a pile of papers. From that pile you may need the copy of the deed if you want to homestead the property but after that you will probably never look at it again.

    Some closing costs may be tax deductible. It is good to have a record of those closing costs and it might not be a bad idea to hang onto them for 6 or 7 years.

    If you lose every piece of paper you walk away from the closing with you will still own your home AND if you have a mortgage the payments will still be due each month. Real estate purchases and sales are recorded in the county the real estate is located in. Loss of paperwork will not result in the loss of your home.

    If copies of documents are needed they can be obtained from the county. If there is a question about ownership of a piece of real estate the county that the property is located in is a great place to start the search.

    There was a time when paper deeds were kind of interesting. I have a bunch of them and they go back to the mid 1880’s. As the first born, or the first born, of the first born, etc., I became the care taker of the “family papers” and some family members too.