Local agents have aversion to page numbers

Screen print

The pages are supposed to be numbered on purchase agreements and on the first page there is even a space to put the total number of pages. “Page 1 of_______”.  As a broker I don’t accept purchase agreements without page numbers but apparently other brokers do. Our purchase agreements have some pretty specific instructions on how to number the contract pages.

The little things matter especially when creating legal documents like a purchase agreement.

Happy Valentines day.

Tax day coming soon

20160315_103828I went to the IRS web site and copied and pasted the answers to the most common and obvious questions home sellers ask about taxes. [Ten tax tips for individuals selling their home]

In general, you are eligible to exclude the gain from income if you have owned and used your home as your main home for two years out of the five years prior to the date of its sale.

If you have a gain from the sale of your main home, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of the gain from your income ($500,000 on a joint return in most cases).

You cannot deduct a loss from the sale of your main home.

If you bought a home in 2106 or own a home with a mortgage you may also have some tax deductions. [publication 530- main content]

There are some in the real estate industry who believe that people buy homes because of the mortgage interest tax deduction.

Supply down but sales are up

January 2017 - in the pink

In 2016 we hit some all time lows for the number of homes for sale in St. Paul and in the region but there were more homes sold in 2016 then have been sold during any year in the past decade. The number of homes for sale remains low because homes are selling quickly in St. Paul and in the entire region.

In 2006 during much of the year there were three times the number of homes on the market during any given month than there were on the market during the same months is 2016 yet about 300 more homes were sold in 2016 in St. Paul than were sold in 2006.

Median home prices are about $16,000 lower in St. Paul in 2016 than they were in 2006.

Home values will likely go up in 2017 because of short supply. We are also facing a housing affordability crisis as rents and home prices increase faster than earnings.

housing forcast for 2017


This infographic is hot off the press from the National Association of Realtors. I generally agree with it. Home prices will go up in 2017 but at a slower pace and yes interest rates will go up too. I have said it before but there are many times in the last few decades when rates below 5% would have triggered a national home buying spree. Yet if rates go as high as 4.6% in 2017 that may cause a slow down in new home loans.

The outlook also states that people who are under 44 and who have higher incomes are confident. I guess I can understand why they would be.  I’ll bet the top 1% are pretty confident too.

The new president may also have an impact on housing. Maybe even on the whole planet but it is unclear at this point how it will all affect the economy for the next four years.

Rhymes with pillow

Not for sale

There are not many homes on the market right now. I am working with some buyers who are ready to buy.

Sometimes we find homes for sale on Zillow that are not found for sale anywhere else. I have been contacting the home owners who list their homes on Zillow as being for sale.

One owner told me he will be selling in a few months. He just wanted to see if his home would generate any interest. It was over priced by about $30,000. I actually had a buyer who was interested but not at that price and he did not want to wait three months.

Another home owner told me he wasn’t really sure he wants to sell, he just put his home on Zillow. He did not tell me why he listed it as being for sale. The home is over priced by about 20%.

The homes we have listed on the MLS as being for sale really are for sale and we have rules against advertising homes that are not for sale and we have rules against stating that a home is larger than it really is.

Anyone can list a home for sale on Zillow. They don’t even have to own the home or be the seller. In fact you might want to check to see if your own home is being listed for sale.

The number of homes on the market continues to drop

The math is pretty simple. Here is a look at the real estate market in St. Paul over the last seven days.

There were +63 homes listed  and -58 homes got offers during the same 7 days and are off the market. So that would make a net gain of +5 homes for sale but –15 sellers cancelled listings and took their homes off of the market and –9 home sellers let their listing contract expire which means those homes are off the market too. Leaving us with –19 fewer homes on the market than there were 7 days ago.

I can tell you from experience that if my math is wrong a man will stop by and correct if for me in the comments. Thanks guys. 

It is always easier to sell a home that is listed for sale than it is to sell one that isn’t but people like to take them off during the holidays and put them back on after the first of the year. Last year I was fortunate to have a few listings during the holidays and they all sold before Christmas.

As I keep saying we are in a strong sellers market. People who are having trouble selling are probably priced too high or their home isn’t being marketed correctly or maybe it has some glaring defect like a road running through the living room.

I am currently working with home buyers who have kind of given up and one of them has a home to sell but doesn’t want to put it on the market because the right home to move to hasn’t come on the market yet.

Happy holidays!