First Time Home Buyers

A broken promise

flyer box

flyer box

Even though we have an app for just about everything and homes for sale can easily be found on the internet on a zillion websites people still like old school paper brochures.

Home buyers and interested neighbors rely on for-sale brochures for information and some people even collect them, which is why the boxes end up empty.

Personally I think no brochure box at all is better than an empty box because an empty box is a broken promise.




Welcome to downtown St. Paul

The downtown St. Paul Condo market has recovered along with the rest of the city.  Currently, there is a 3.5 month supply of homes for sale in St. Paul and a 5 month supply of condos on the market downtown.

The Median sale price is higher downtown than it is in the rest of the city. Currently, $147K in the median for St. Paul and $162K is the Median for downtown.  Right now there are just 37 units on the market downtown and they range in price from  75,000 to 1.2 Million.

I love downtown and over the years I have gotten to know each condo building. They are like little neighborhoods or communities. There is a lot of excitement about the Greenline, the Union Depot, the new Lund’s store and of course the new ball park. Personally I love the parks and the Farmer’s market.

First Time Home Buyers

Don’t say it is for sale unless you mean it



One of my clients found the perfect home for sale on Zillow. It is was being sold by the owner, and the owner stated that he would work with real estate agents.   I called, I wrote I never got any response. The interested buyer drove by the home there wasn’t any for sale sign on it or any indication the home is for sale.

Sometimes people just kind of experiment with being for sale and with different prices and there are several websites that allow anyone to publish an advertisement for a home for sale even if it isn’t really for sale. No one is ever asked for proof.

Yesterday a home buyer found a home for sale on Zillow and she asked me if I knew anything about it. I looked it up and saw that the home is listed for sale on Zillow by a real estate agent, but the home isn’t on our MLS even though the real estate agent and the brokerage he works through are members. I called the agent only to find out that they are kind of taking names of interested parties, but the home is not yet on the market.

Why would a real estate agent advertise a home on Zillow that isn’t for sale? For one thing I am not even sure the rules allow us to do that but lets assume that they do. Real estate agents make more money when they represent both the buyer and the seller. Agents who keep a home that is for sale off of our MLS are more likely to be able to represent the buyer and the seller.

I like to market homes in such a way that any real estate agent can find a buyer. The way I figure it when I list a home in the MLS I get thousands of agents competing with each other to find a buyer and I may get multiple offers. I won’t make as much money that way as I would represent both the buyer but the seller may come out ahead which means I am doing my job and representing the seller.

Real estate web sites can be great sources if information but keep in mind their main purpose is “lead” generation and most are funded by real estate agents who advertise on them. Real estate listing draw traffic to websites and are used to advertise all sorts of products and services and sometimes the home itself is even for sale but not always.

When a home is sold it has to be taken off the third party sites and often there is a lag. Why would a real estate agent mark it as sold when we can leave it on the site and use it as bait?

Also see You might be a lead and Sellers Beware

St. Paul MN

It is almost green bike time


Green bikes – 6th street

I took this photo on April 20, 2013. Let’s hope this April is a little warmer. The Niceride bikes are due to hit the streets on April 1st.

Green Bikes

Green Bikes

Watch for them :)



Friday fun

Working in my bunny slippers

BunnieslippersIt is Friday and Fridays are for fun. I write this one a few years ago but it stiff applies today. People call me or send me email asking if they can come work with me and I am not making that up. Part of it is a desire to be self employed.

Some people don’t understand that REALTORS are independent contractors, as such we are  self employed.  With that said, let’s talk about bunny slippers.

When I had a traditional job I used to imagine how cool it would be if I were self employed, and how nice it would be to work from home in my bunny slippers.   I may be self employed but spend as much time in my car as in my office.  I have driven in my slippers but the ears get caught in the peddles.

My office is in my home and it is nice but it is not quite like I had imagined it would be.  It took several years to break my old work habits  from life in corporate America,  like getting dressed and actually leaving the house before noon.

For most of my work  life I was in  the office by 7:30 in the morning.  Now I start work between 4:30 and 5:30 AM, two or three hours earlier than I used to because of the 90 second commute, which I could do in 60 seconds if I didn’t stop at the coffee pot.  Since I can’t just walk past a coffee pot before 2:00 PM, I may never be able to beat my own personal best of 90 seconds.

This is where the bunny slippers come in.  When I had a traditional job I wore real shoes  and didn’t  have a problem with a meeting at 7:30 or 8:00 in the morning.   These days I get cranky when someone wants me to be somewhere earlier than 9:00, I prefer 10:00.  There are days when I get busy and don’t get dressed until 10:00 or even 11:00.  The phones ring and the email just keeps coming.  I don’t work in my bunny slippers because I want to,  I do it because I either can’t find my shoes or I am too busy to actually get dressed or both.

There are other little things about working from home that people don’t think about.  Like last week when I was on the phone and someone was pounding on my office door.  I answered the door, in my slippers,  and it was Excel energy just letting me know that they were going to turn off the power for two hours.

They said that they work on the residential lines during the middle of the day because it isn’t as disruptive.  Boo!   I wasn’t ready to go anywhere and had to find some shoes and appropriate attire. It was only 9:00 AM!

Family members and neighbors have interesting ideas about what self employment is like.  I have to make sure I am home for plumbers, furnace cleaners, roof repairers and all of the other support staff we have for our ancient house.  There are the other little problems that come up during the day that people with normal jobs miss out on.

The lost dog, the child with the skinned knee, the neighbor who needs a ride to the airport, or help shoveling out from a snow storm, or a cup of sugar.  This is St. Paul, we still knock on our neighbors doors when we need a cup of sugar.  I have one neighbor who borrows ice cubes.  I don’t get that one at all.   She works from home and sometimes comes over in her slippers.  I have another neighbor who just knocks on my door or walks in at random times.  The dog doesn’t seem to mind so it must be O.K.

I know I am not alone.  When I show houses to buyers I notice the home offices and can tell that they are real offices and that the owner probably runs a small business or works from home.  I see the slippers under the desk and even though it may be  2:00 in the afternoon I wonder if I messed up someones day.

Being self employed is the way to go especially for women.  This week it was in the news again about the income gap between men and woman.  The pay gap starts out at about 10% right out of college and widens to around 30%  as women progress in their careers.  Self employment may be the best way to achieve economic parity,  and have an engaging  career that allows for almost unlimited personal and  professional growth.  It is rewarding once we really understand the truth about the bunny slippers.

Have a great weekend.  It is supposed to me nice out, enjoy the weather and have fun.

For Home buyers

Sellers beware

diningrmI know I just wrote about multiple offers a week ago see: Multiple can mean more money . . but this week I saw three homes come on the market and they all got offers and went to the “pending” status the first day they were on the market.  In each case the broker representing the buyer and the seller were the same broker. We call that dual agency. In one case it was the same agent representing both the buyer and the seller, and in the other two the agents were from the same office.

If an offer comes the first day a home is on the market and there are other parties interested in seeing the home I always hold that first offer for a couple of days and give a deadline for all interested parties to submit their highest and best offer because I want my sellers to get multiple offers if at all possible.

Sellers should examine all offers and if the name of the brokerage is the same for the listing agent and the selling agent that is dual agency. Ask your agent to get some more offers. Homes should be exposed to the widest possible market not just “pre-marketed” in a single brokerage. Dual agency is very good for a brokerage.  If they can market and sell their listings internally they don’t have to compete with other agents and real estate companies. When we compete sellers and even buyers come out ahead.

Even though I am with a small brokerage I can compete with the huge brokerages because we all use the same internet and when I list a home there is almost no danger of getting into a dual agency situation and if I do represent a buyer and write an offer on one of my own listings I certainly make sure that no other agents have interested buyers because in a dual agency situation I can not represent the buyer or the seller but must become a facilitator and as such I have to make sure each party gets a fair shake and fair isn’t taking the first offer it is about getting the best offer.


Teresa Boardman
Realtor®, MN,
Licensed Broker
Saint Paul Home Realty
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Photos of St. Paul
Photos of St. Paul

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