Where do St. Paulites work?

Here is a break down of which industries people in St. Paul work in. The biggest employer in the State of Minnesota is the Mayo clinic and the second biggest is the State of Minnesota. Many of those state jobs are located right here in the capital city. There are also 61 jobs in the mining industry. The current unemployment rate in St. Paul is 3.3%, as of April 2017 and that is down from 3.5% in December.  The national unemployment rate was reported as 4.5% last may by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I am seeing help wanted signs in stores and restaurants around town. Now might be a good time to change jobs or to find a job.

Occupational categories for St. paul MN

It was the worst of times for homeowners

Twin cities foreclosures
Foreclosures sold

The graph shows foreclosed homes that were sold. It doesn’t represent all of the foreclosures in the Twin cites, just the tens of thousands that were listed on the MLS by local Realtors. Currently foreclosures are at about the same level they were at before the big crash. The percentage of home owners who have equity in their homes continues to increase. During the crash homes were losing value quickly and owners who wanted to sell could not afford to.

Could this happen again?

How much does a CMA usually cost?

I see advertisements for “free CMA”. What is a CMA and how much does it usually cost? sometimes is a “comparative market analysis”  and sometimes it the letters stand for “competitive market analysis”.  A market analysis is how real estate agents determine how much a house will sell for. The CMA compares homes that are similar to the subject home and are in the same area and have sold in the last year.

Most real estate agents will do a CMA to determine how much a property might sell for so that it can be priced right.

To date I have never found a real estate agent who charges home owners for a CMA, yet many advertise that they will provide a free CMA. Agents and real estate companies sometimes charge banks for a BPO, which is a “broker price opinion”, which is pretty much the same as a CMA but it isn’t free.

The free CMA should not be confused with the appraisal which is done by and appraiser and costs a few hundred dollars. They use the same methodology that is used for the CMA but the appraisal is more detailed. The “zestimate” on Zillow is more similar to a CMA but not as accurate because the zestimate is an “auto valuation” done with software using data which may or may not be accurate.  The CMA is  more accurate than the zestimate.

Is a free CMA a goof value? I guess it depends upon who is doing it.

Click here for a free CMA

Victorian homes
turrets – Dayton’s Bluff

Open house dos and don’ts

open_houseOpen houses are a great opportunity for buyers to just look at houses.  Here are some tips about how to do it right and even though lists should always be in multiples of 2 or 5 I decided to break the rules.

1. Take your shoes off. Wear shoes that are easy to get on and off.

2. If asked to sign in do so, you are in someone else’s house and they make the rules. If you do not want to leave an email address don’t.

3. If you are working with an agent let the agent at the open house know even if he or she doesn’t ask. Give the agent at the open house the name of your agent.

4. Keep an eye on your children do not let them run around the house unaccompanied.

5. Be careful what you say. Giving a the real estate agent too much information can hurt later on if you want to buy the house or another that the agent has listed. However it can be fun to listen to what other buyers are saying. 🙂

6. The agent at the open house may be very nice to you but they do represent the seller and are supposed to act in the sellers best interest.

7. The main reason an agent has an open house is to meet potential clients and that is why they may recommend other houses if you don’t like the one that is open.

8. The agent at the open may not be the listing agent. Sometimes it is another agent in the same office. That agent may or may not know the house.

9. If at all possible if you decide to buy the home you saw at the open get assistance from a buyers agent to avoid dual agency.

Keep in mind that only a very small percentage of the homes for sale have open houses. It is important to search for homes for sale on the internet and to view as many as possible on line.  Make appointments for private showings to see the homes that are the best fit. Don’t wait for an open house because there might not be one and some houses sell the day they go on the market of sooner.

Let it go

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. It has been awhile since I have written about this but my basement still has stuff in it from four generations of family. I have less stuff now than I had a couple of years go but I still have too much.

I learned something important from my children that I would like to pass onto parents everywhere. My kids don’t want my stuff and they don’t want my parents stuff. If you are saving some special piece of furniture for your kids spare yourself the space and get rid of it now.

The thought of buying anything that won’t be consumed today or this week almost makes me break into a cold sweat. It is hard to get rid of stuff and it takes time to figure out how to dispose of it responsibly. Some items can be given away, others can be recycled or sold and what is left goes into the trash unless it has to be taken to a dump or hazardous disposal site.

No one wants my text books. Once they are more than 15 years old no one wants them and they can not be recycled. Don’t tell me about some charity that takes them because I have tried them all. Yes I still have college text books and some will end up in a landfill.

I would be thrilled if on my birthday my children would stop by and take a storage tote with their stuff in it home, or if they would grab a stack of books and do something with them, or adopt a piece of furniture or borrow some baking dishes or cupcake pans. I would like to start a new family tradition where people stop giving gifts and start taking things.