• 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

  • Architecture
  • Bad remodels


    There are renovations that are beautiful but they can also be what I like to call home wreckers. For example take a small historic home, rip out a few walls and put in a gourmet kitchen with granite counter tops and of course those ubiquitous stainless steel appliances. The kitchen now takes up 1/3 of the first floor and is done in one style while the rest of the house is another style.

    The kitchen looks nice and so does the rest of the home but they don’t go together at all and I have seen a few remodels where the rest of the living space was reduced or moved to a lower level to make room for a larger kitchen. Yes it is true that the kitchen often sells the home but having fewer bedrooms and baths will hurt the salability of the large kitchen.

    I think it is alright to do most anything to our homes to accommodate our lifestyles and our tastes but expecting to make money or even recoup the cost of a some of the strange renovations I see isn’t realistic and sometimes what one owner thinks of as an improvement keeps a potential buyer from making an offer.

    There are two homes in my area that have been strangely and expensively upgraded. One took almost a year to sell and sold for 40K less than comparable homes and the other has been on and off the market for the last 18 months. They will need to drop the price another 20K if they want to sell it. The owners are trying to get the money they put into the upgrade back.


  • 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
  • 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 Home buyers
  • Basic question to ask real estate agents

    Real estate agents like to talk about how many homes they sell each year. If you are hiring an agent I think it is more important to know if they will sell your home. One of the most important questions to ask an agent is how much experience they have.  New agents will charge as much as experienced agents.

    New agents may not even know what it is they don’t know. It is a good idea to choose an agent who has been selling homes for at least a few years. It isn’t like there is a shortage of agents.

    Don’t assume that because an agent is with a big well known company that they have experience. In fact real estate companies don’t sell real estate at all and real estate agents are independent contractors.

    You might know you are working with an inexperienced agent if he or she can not answer basic questions about the home buying or selling process.


    Roof tops as seen from the Pointe in downtown St. Paul
  • 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