There just are not enough homes for sale. We read about “low inventories” across the country. The graph shows what that looks like.
Inventory of homes for sale
Yes homes do sell during the fall and winter. The homes that sell the fastest are the smaller less expensive starter homes that first time home buyers are looking for. The demand for housing is strong and that is driving prices up but prices are still lower than they were in 2005 and 2006.
First Time Home Buyers
I usually reserve these bits of wisdom for my children and my nieces but there are some fairly easy ways to save money. One way is to keep an older car instead of buying a news one. Cars are very expensive . . . even inexpensive cars are expensive. I know one young couple that decided not to replace one of their cars when it died of old age and instead they take advantage of the little Car2Go cars parked out on the streets.
Just driving a car that is paid for can save a lot of money. Living closer to work, or taking public transportation, biking, walking or carpooling to work can also save a bundle.
Recently I looked into renting a car because mine needed to be in the shop for some repairs and I discovered that I could rent a nice car for a day for about $55.
I have not made any car payments yet this century. I like to buy cars that are one or two years old and pay cash for them and keep them for a long time. Most of my business is close to home as is my office. It is part of a lifestyle I have chosen.
Midway – Minnesota state fair 2011
It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. Yes it is true the Minnesota State Fair starts next week, on Thursday the 27th to be exact. Our state fair is kind of like a blizzard in that while it is in session there is no other news. There are no droughts, wildfires, presidential campaigns, deleted emails, ISIS or economic disasters in foreign countries. Local TV news shows will move to the State Fair where they will sit on a different stage and giggle and talk to each other.
If you have never been to the fair you need to go. The Minnesota State Fair is the second biggest fair in the U.S. after the Texas State Fair.
For Home buyers
If you are looking for a rambler or a split level home with a two car attached garage I would not bother looking in the downtown area but you might find some in the western park of Highland Park. If you like Tudor style homes look along Summit avenue or in Merriam Park or in the Cherokee heights neighborhoods because those are the areas with the biggest concentrations of them.
When choosing a neighborhood consider the housing style and when choosing a housing style consider the neighborhood. When you find the right combination you may find that you can not afford the style of home that you want in your favorite neighborhood. Home buyers end up compromising on one or the other. With today’s smaller inventory of homes on the market buyers should allow extra time for finding a good fit and should be prepared to move on it when they find it.
In recent years people have been buying houses in their favorite neighborhood, tearing them down and building the kind of home that they want which is of a completely different size and style than what is usually found in the neighborhood. Thankfully that isn’t an option for everyone.
Tudor style house – Merriam Park
For Home buyers
I am currently working on a cash purchase with a home buyer. She made the offer about a week ago and wants to close today. Usually closings occur at least 30 days after we have an accepted offer because that is how long it takes to get the home loan fully approved.
When a buyer pays cash there is no approval process but we still have a bunch of hoops to jump through. For instance because the home being sold is on St. Paul the seller needs to provide a truth in housing inspection. As for last night it wasn’t done and may delay the closing.
The property is also a condo which means the buyer has ten days to review condo documents and rescind the offer if he/she doesn’t like the rules, financials or most anything about the condo association. The buyer will need to waive that right because there were not 10 days between the time the documents were received and the closing.
The closing is all scheduled and there is a list of closing costs for the buyer. Yes there are closing costs even when the offer. Like title insurance and prorated taxes, association dues and filing fees and taxes.
Personally I am not a fan of less than two weeks between the offer and the closing because it just isn’t enough time especially when buying a condo to really understand the property and the purchase unless the property is being purchased by a business or an investor.
General Real Estate News
I actually do own a couple of printers and there is a ream of paper in my office which I used half of last year. Writing an offer on a home and getting it signed without ever printing any of it it very easy to do. I offer my clients printed copies but most prefer the electronic files. Life without paper is just easier.
As a broker I am required to keep my files for six years. I keep them electronically by year and then by property address. They are stored a computer and backed up in the cloud. Even if my office burns down my files are safe and accessible and when they are no longer needed they can be deleted rather than shredded and disposed of.
Last week I discovered that those paperless offers are printed by the office administrators in the large real estate companies. Honestly I had no idea until someone told me they had a problem printing one of the contracts and I had to resend it. The simplest offers on a home are 20 pages long once we get all the addendums, amendments and receipts and that is before we add in a dozen pages of disclosures.
Printing those contracts must really add to the overhead in those offices because not only do they need printers and paper but they probably also need file folders, file cabinets and somewhere to put the file cabinets. I could say more but I won’t.
My overhead costs are lower than some of the other real estate companies in town because I use more technology and less paper, ink, file cabinets and office space. I pass that savings along to my clients in the form of lower fees and I like that my business makes a smaller carbon footprint.
Most of my “paperwork” can be done on my iPad or even on my phone. I can of course accommodate clients who prefer paper and when someone hands me a pile of paper I can scan it for electronic storage before shredding and recycling the paper.