Local Market Conditions & home prices
I just love numbers but have been so busy these past few weeks I almost forgot to publish the numbers for April 2016. Traditionally we see the greatest number of home sales in April. The number of homes on the market is starting to climb a little which does make things a little easier for buyers. The median list price was only $100 dollars more than the median sale price which I think it kind of interesting and a little unusual.
The numbers use to make the table were gently extracted from the Northstar MLS which is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. I use this data because around 90% of homes sold in St. Paul are listed in the MLS (multiple listing service). Data from our MLS is fed to numerous other web sites that people use to find homes for sale. The data I extracted is for the Month of April 2016 and includes all homes that were listed or sold in the city of St. Paul. Rental and commercial properties are not included.
April 2016 home sales
Even though there are now more homes on the market than the numbers we have seen in prior months it is very much a sellers market. Multiple offer situations are common. Come back tomorrow for more numbers.
For more local real estate numbers please see Local market conditions & home prices
Kelllogg Plaza – downtown St. Paul
Often it seems like condo buyers don’t understand the math behind assoication dues. It is important to add up everything that they cover before deciding they are too high. Assoication dues often cover insurance. I’ll be paying my insurance this week and if I divide it out it comes to more than $100 a month.
In some buildings the association dues pay for heating and cooling. The last time I was on a budget helper type plan for heating and cooling it came out to around $200 a month.
The money that goes into the association usually comes from everyone’s monthly dues. That means that a condo owner is paying for a new roof just like a single family home owner has to pay for their own roof. Some assoication are able to set aside money each month for repairs and emergencies and even for large improvement projects. Others will need to collect money from owners to cover improvements or deferred maintenance that becomes an emergency.
Even if the association covers exterior maintenance it isn’t free. It is about several pooling their money and sharing costs and expenses. Sometimes owners agree to share cleaning, maintenance, snow shoveling or lawn care so that they can keep monthly dues low. Sometimes buyers are attracted to units with low monthly dues only to find out that they will need to take a turn shoveling the snow or cleaning the laundry room.
Usually when I do the math and figure out how much services, insurance, trash removal, water and heat would cost a single homeowner the condo owner comes out ahead with lower monthly expenses.
It is also important to remember that the association isn’t a “they” or a “them” it is you. you are the association.
I just love empty rooms. To me they are full of possibilities. The room in the picture is just about perfect with fresh paint and shiny hardwood floors. There isn’t any dust or clutter and I don’t have any problem imagining it with my own furniture. I feel like I could be very happy in such a room.
It is a widely held belief that empty houses are harder to sell than houses that are fully furnished. I haven’t had any trouble selling empty houses.
Here are some advantages in selling an empty house:
1. The rooms look bigger when they are empty.
2. Pets don’t have to be removed or sequestered for showings.
3. There is no cleaning to do before each showing.
4. The home can be shown at any time without notice.
I think it is true that buyers will linger longer in a home with furniture but I am not sure there is a relationship between time spent in the home and the likely hood that the buyer will make an offer. I totally understand why home builders furnish model homes. Those models serve as gathering and meeting places for buyers and sales people and they often hold sales offices and marketing materials. Builders want buyers to linger and feel at home.
Even though it is a widely held belief that homes are easier to sell if they are fully furnished I have not seen any actual data to back up that theory. There is furniture and decor that can help sell a home and furniture and decor that makes a home harder to sell.
For the heck of it
Minnesota is really all about the lakes and the fishing. Fishing openers are a bit complicated but the Minnesota DNR has it all spelled out. Getting a fishing license is easier than ever because you can order it online. They cost $22 for the whole season or $35 for a husband wife combo license and people who are under 16 or 0ver 90 do not need a license.
It is Friday and Fridays are for fun . . and for work too. I have been using Samsung Pay for a few months now and I have to say it works most of the time which is impressive. It is an app on my phone that stores credit, debit and gift cards and it works with most any cash register that has a card reader. Most merchants don’t understand it at all and tell me that it won’t work. Sometimes I ask them if they mind if I try it, other times I use it before they can stop me.
They tell me to put my phone over the part of the terminal that works with Apple pay instead of placing it near the card reader where all the magic happens. They almost always tell me I am doing it wrong.
In some stores I am told “we don’t accept Apple pay”. I usually respond with O.K. and use my phone to pay for my purchase, which isn’t at all the same as using Apple pay. Often persons operating the cash registers tell me that the cash registers are not set up to work with phones. I use it anyway and it works. Using my phone makes spending money faster and easier than ever before and I am kind of used to being told it won’t work, and I don’t even look up or listen when they tell me where to put my phone.
When it doesn’t work I am not really sure why but I have my suspicions. I even used Samsung pay at a vending machine at a rest stop in Iowa and it worked. I remember way back when not every store accepted credit cards and I had to carry a check book with me. Maybe as the technology becomes more accepted I won’t have to carry my wallet with me anymore.
For Home buyers
Home sellers have options when it comes to how they will handle multiple offers:
They can approve the disclosure of multiple offers to buyers agents and their clients.
They can disapprove of the disclosure to buyers and their agents that there are other offers.
Home sellers can give their agent permission to disclose that there are multiple offers only if the agent is asked.
Home sellers can defer the decision to their agent and sometimes they do.
It is important that home buyers understand that sometimes there are multiple offers but the listing agent is not allowed to disclose that there are other offers. Often when buyers find out there are other offers they want to know what is in those offers. Listing agents can not share that information.
Some sellers choose not to disclose that there are other offers. This strategy can work in situations where potential buyers may not want to write offers if they know they will have to out bid other buyers. Most home sellers choose the option to disclose that there are offers on the property and encourage us to contact all interested parties and give them a chance to make an offer.
If you are a buyer and you have lost out in a multiple offer situation you are in good company. In some price ranges and neighborhoods buyers loose out on a couple of houses before they bag one. We never know what other parties might be offering. The strongest offers have large down payments, conventional financing or cash and few contingencies. Buyers who ask for help from the sellers with closing costs or who have to make the offer contingent on the sale of their current home are at a disadvantage in today’s market.
Once an offer has been accepted by the seller they can not accept any other offers even if those offers are better than the one they accepted. Any offer that isn’t signed by both parties is not a fully executed contract.
In the highest price ranges we don’t see multiple offers or any offers at all.
Spring is green