It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. On the last two Saturdays I have been attending tree lightings. I have to say I am thankful for the warm weather. By warm I mean above zero without sub zero wind chills.
Here are a couple of pictures from the tree lighting at the Union Depot last Saturday.
Thanks to the person who decided to have the street lights turned off so that I could get some decent shots. The tree is still lit so go downtown and take a couple of pictures of your own and then go to Rice Park and take some more.
Selling a home for less doesn’t seem like a worthy goal but homeowners do things to sabotage the sale of their home. The most common way to get less is to price the home too high. Homes that are overpriced tend to stay on the market longer and as a result the sellers get less money for them.
Choose an agent who uses poor photography. If the photographs do not attract buyers the home will stay on the market longer and the longer it stays on the market the less likely it is that the sellers will get an offer that is close to the asking price. I just watched this play out with a beautiful home in Highland park that looks like a fixer upper because of the way the agent handles the pictures. I estimate that the seller got 30K less than she would have gotten for the home with better photography.
There are many ways you can sell for less. Severely restricting the hours of access so that it is hard for agents to show it will help and so will having a dirty cluttered house. Having your friend who has never sold a home before or who works in a different town listing your home works too.
First Time Home Buyers
There may be some new mortgage products that only require a 3% downpayment. If you are a first time homebuyer ask your lender.
There are almost always special programs available for first time homebuyers. They are ever changing and your real estate agent usually isn’t up to date on all of the programs but most of us know mortgage lenders who are.
With an FHA loan a 3.5% down payment is required and with a conventional loan buyers need to have at least 5% of the loan amount as a down payment. A 5% downpayment means coming up with about $8,500 dollars to buy a median priced house of about $166K in St. Paul, whereas 3% down is closer to $5000.
There are some down payment assistance programs but most home buyers will need some cash to buy a home. People who already own a home often use the proceeds from the sale of that home for a down payment.
For those who are planning on buying that first home in 2015 now is a great time to start shopping for a mortgage.
Also see Resources for links to information about mortgages and Home ownership is still important.
Local Market Conditions & home prices
This chart says it all. Home sales are down from last year but prices are up. Part of the reason that home sales are down is because there are far fewer low priced foreclosures on the market which is also part of the reason why median home prices are up from last year. However we still have some homeowners who would like to sell but who do not have enough equity and credit is a little tight making it harder for home buyers to get financing.
2015 could be a very good year for both buyers and sellers as more sellers have equity and more buyers have jobs, money and maybe if we are lucky the banks will make it a little easier to get a loan.
For the most part the housing market like the job market has not yet recovered fully from the great recession but is still in recovery.
Home sales and prices
The chart was created from numbers in the NorthstarMLS which is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. The charts are so pretty I use skitch and make a screen prints of them rather than making my own charts.
Local Market Conditions & home prices
I just love numbers and I can’t think of a better day to publish numbers then on a Monday. November home sale prices in St. Paul were almost identical to what they were in June of this year. The inventory of homes on the market and the number of home sales continues to decline as we approach the end of the year as expected.
The number of homes that were put on the market in November is pretty close to the number that got offers on them in November. The market seems fairly stable and predictable.
The numbers used to make the table were taken from our Northstar MLS which is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. The numbers are imported into a spreadsheet where they are gently and carefully sorted and subtotalled. I got straight A’s in statistics in college and have been using MS Excel since the 1.0 version was introduced the the early 1990’s. You could say I am an expert on this stuff.
November numbers – St. Paul, MN
For more local real estate numbers please see Local Market Conditions & Home Prices
St. Paul MN
There events are my top picks for today and they are uniquely St. Paul. One is the annual Grand Meander. There will be fire truck rides, soup tasting, carolers and much more. Events are along Grand Avenue in St. Paul.
If you get tired of meandering try the holiday bake sale and tree lighting at the union Depot in downtown St. Paul. The event is from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM and is all indoors in the beautiful Union Depot waiting room. Also lets not forget the North Pole Express train. I don’t think it goes anywhere but Santa Claus will be on board and the Express is a working steam locomotive pulling vintage train cars.
St. Paul Union Depot
It is a great day to be in St. Paul.