Art Crawl Weekend

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. There isn’t anything more fun that the Saint Paul Art Crawl. An opportunity to see and buy local art.  See the art crawl site for a map and times.

art crawl


For Home Sellers

What are buyers saying about your home?


Home sellers just love to get feedback from the buyers who tour their homes but it doesn’t always happen.  I don’t always get feedback from the agents who showed my listings and sometimes I give little or no feedback after I show home to a buyer. 

real estate agents who show a home for sale are generally representing the buyer.  They do not  have a contract with the seller or really any obligation to the seller other than to turn off the lights and lock the doors when they are done.  When I give provide feedback to the seller I will never say anything that will weaken my buyers position. Usually it isn’t in my own best interest to comment on the price of to give a price opinion.

When I represent home sellers I never guarantee the seller that there will be feedback from each showing because that isn’t something I can control.  I instead tell the sellers that I have a system for collecting feedback and I follow through and ask agents for it but I can not guarantee that I will get it. Much of the feedback collected is useless but sometimes we learn from the feedback and can make changes that help sell the house.

Sellers need to understand that if buyers love the house and want to buy it or are thinking of buying it the agent will generally give feedback or contact your agent and chat. If there is no feedback generally the agent and buyer have moved onto the next house.

Lofts, Condos & Townhouses

Don’t ask why ask what

coinPeople often ask why home owners association dues are so high when they should be asking what the dues cover. Here is a list of things that can make condo or townhouse association dues high.

1. Condo/townhouse is in a historic building. Older buildings need more maintenance.

2. The dues pay for heating, cooling and electricity.

3. Instead of putting huge assessments on each unit for special projects the association raises dues so they have the money needed for a project.

The best way to decide if the dues are too high is to list everything they cover and then figure out how much each of those items would cost for a detached home or a similar size. Some condo association dues include cable television and high speed interent which can easily cost $100 a month.

Exterior maintenance is usually covered by dues. Roofs and siding are expensive. Lawn mowing and snow removal generally are not too expensive but not having to worry about either is priceless.

Before buying any home buyers should be aware that there are more costs associated with home ownership than a mortgage, taxes and home owners insurance. In fact we spent an extra $1400 this month to have some leaky faucets replaced. Last year we spent several thousand on a new furnace and currently we are in the process of buying some new exterior doors. Home maintenance and repair is on going and when it is deferred it gets even more expensive.

For Home buyers

Where is the money?

IMG_4169wWhen I get an offer on a home I have listed for sale the first thing I do is look at the pre-approval letter from the bank. The process used to be fairly easy. There would be the name of a loan officer along with a phone number and an email address on the pre-approval letter.

This year I am getting letters with 1-800 numbers and having a hard time finding anyone who knows anything about the pre-approval or the buyer. If I were to get two offers that were similar and one lender was easy to contact and the other was not I would be inclined to recommend the offer with the loan officer I can easily contact.

It seems like banks, especially the bigger banks have cut back on staff and the days of answering a phone call or responding to an email from a real estate agent are gone. I keep a list of the worst lenders to deal with and advise the home buyers that I am working with if their lender is on my list. I am sure there are other agents who do the same thing and we do talk amongst ourselves.  There are banks most of us really hate to work with.

Good service isn’t about offering a voice mail system or about making customers fill out surveys or about checking in with them. Great customer service is about being there to answer questions and to respond promptly when there is a problem. If I can not reach the loan officer for verification I can not recommend the offer to my clients.

Home buyers should try the contact numbers and email addresses on the pre-approval letter they get from a lender to make sure they are accurate and that someone responds.

Local Market Conditions & home prices

The last seven days

market watch

Market watch screen print

The image is a screen shot from a report I look at every day in the Northstar MLS for home sales in St. Paul. Not all of the homes that get put on the market sell the first time around. Of the 44 listings that were cancelled many had been on the market for a long time but a few just came on the market leading me to believe that the owner changed his or her mind about selling right now.

The 17 that are back on the market were off the market for a day or more. Sometimes they come back on the market after the owner switches real estate agents. The biggest number is the 137 price changes. in most cases the prices were lowered. Price reductions are very common this time of year.

Most of the 56 homes that are in the pending status will end up in the closed status within the next 30 to 60 days and most of the 92 home sales that closed were homes that were on the market a month ago or more.

I would describe the housing market in St. Paul as a healthy market with steady activity.  If I do the math more homes went off of the market than on the market. The number of homes on the market generally starts to go down during the last quarter of the year and then goes up again during the first quarter.

The amount of activity in the last seven days in not all that significant but I can click on the statistics and see the properties that make up the numbers and that can be useful information.


Welcome to Medtronic Marathon Weekend

Hard to believe it is already marathon weekend but that is what will be going on all weekend. The main event is on Sunday morning. The race starts in Minneapolis and ends in St. Paul at the state capital building.  For course details see the map on the marathon web page [course information] The Medtronic marathon is billed as the most beautiful marathon in the country as it winds and weaves around lakes and along the river and on Summit avenue.

Good luck to all and have happy marathon.

marathon crowd



Teresa Boardman
Realtor®, MN,
Licensed Broker
Saint Paul Home Realty
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