Green weekend

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun but in this case, the fun starts tomorrow.

The 52nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held tomorrow starting at noon.  Because Saint Patrick’s day is tomorrow. 

It starts at Mears Park in downtown St. Paul and follows 5th street to Rice Park. It may even be warm enough so that you won’t need the bomber hat or the parka with the fur trimmed hood.

After the parade the drinking an debauchery will commence at local bars. There will be zillions of gallons of green beer and craft beer too.

Have a Happy Saint Patrick’s day and be careful out there. I’ll most likely attend the parade but will be wearing purple because I am an exception to the “everyone is a little Irish on Saint Patrick’s day” rule.

Here are some pictures from Saint Patrick’s days past:

You don’t have to look too closely to see that there is quite a temperature range. Remember to dress appropriately and make wise footwear choices.

bad advice on the internet

Like most people, I like to use Google to do a little research when I want to buy something or get a quick answer to a question.

I use it for recipes and for technical support and occasionally for medical type information. There are articles on most topics.

There are many articles on the internet about how to choose a real estate agent. Most of them are fluff pieces written by people who do not have any expertise in the area.

They do some research . . probably on the internet and use ideas from someone else’s fluff piece or maybe from several fluff pieces.

I disagree with most of the questions people are advised to ask agents.

Why would anyone want to know how many listings an agent has? The better question is to ask them what percentage of their listings get sold.

The real estate market is ever changing. If I am asked how long houses I list are on the market it wouldn’t be the same for one year to the next.

If I am asked what percentage of the asking price I get on average for homes that I list, that really isn’t a fair question unless I get to set the price.

If I did set the price in this market I would go low and consistently get more than the asking price for the home.

Real estate agents are salespeople and finding clients is most of what the job is all about.

Hiring the right real estate agent boils down to three simple questions:

  1. Does the agent have experience? 
  2. Is the agent someone I feel that I can trust and work with?
  3. Am I just a “deal” or will the agent give me the time and attention I deserve?

By experience, I mean at least 5 years and it should include working in your neighborhood or the neighborhood you wish to move to. Personally knowing what I know I wouldn’t work with anyone who has less than ten years of experience. Agents with no experience generally charge as much as agents who have decades of experience.

I have a bias toward full-time agents but I can honestly say I have known some part-time agents who do a better job than most full-time agents.

Trust is a big deal. If you don’t trust an agent do not work with him or her. Choosing someone who is easy to work with is also important. You will have to work closely with the agent that you choose.

Ask the agent if they have time to work with you. Are they going to hand you over to a junior team member? Do they sell zillions of houses? Will they care about your sale or purchase?

One of the best ways to find an amazing real estate agent is to ask friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers who they worked with and if they would recommend that person.

The only downside to that approach is people who have had only one experience buying or selling a home might not even realize their agent wasn’t up to par because he or she was so “nice”.

If you think choosing an agent is tough you should try choosing clients. When I mess up it can make my life miserable for weeks or months. I can end up spending money to market a home before I figure out that the owners are not committed to selling.

Also see: REALTOR is not an occupation

Builder beige now Builder gray

There has been a color shift in recent years. In the past when REALTORs and others recommended painting a home to get it ready to sell the preferred neutrals were shades of beige. It was called builder beige and REALTOR beige. Before that white was the preferred neutral.

In fact, one of the best ways to see the latest trends in home design and color is to tour some new construction . . . if you can find it.

For the last several years the most popular neutrals have been shades of gray. I’ll admit that at first, I did not like it. Maybe it is an acquired taste and I have acquired it.

Just like colors from the beige family or the white family, there are many other colors that work with gray. There are so many shades of gray that choosing one is almost overwhelming.

Here are a couple of homes with gray siding, white trim, and yellow on the front door. Primary colors work well as accents.

gray siding yellow doors
Yellow doors on dark gray siding and light gray siding.

Prices are up, everything else is down

table and graph of local home sales
Local market update for February 2018

The report is from the Minnesota Association of Realtors and it shows that in the 7 county metro area new listings and home sales are down. The length of time it takes to sell a house is down. Prices are up. On average sellers got 1.6% more than the asking price in February. That means that prices are rising.

Year to date sellers got an average of 1.4% of the asking price. This shows that prices are still going up.

Some buyers are making offers on houses without looking at them because houses sell so quickly.

Happy house hunting!

For more local real estate numbers please see Local Market Conditions & Home prices

How much is my one bedroom condo worth?

The value of real estate is affected by location, condition, and size. If I take the same one bedroom condo and place it in four different areas the price will be different. Not only will the price be different but appreciation also varies by area and property type.

The table shows the average price of a one bedroom condo in 2018. The percentage is the average amount a one bedroom condo in each of the areas has appreciated since 2013.

Blanket statements about appreciation or real estate values are just a guide. The location and number of bedrooms, size, and condition of the property have a significant impact on value and future value for that matter.

Average value and appreciation of one bedroom condos

We do the clock thing this weekend

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. I kind of wish we could just leave the clocks alone and change our schedules to take advantage of daylight in the evening.

Daylight savings time is a barbaric custom that started in our agrarian days and for some reason, it won’t go away.

There is a bright side though. Daylight savings time is a great excuse for marketing. Not that any of us need a reason to market but if we did we get one twice a year.

Here is my virtual daylight savings time reminder postcard and marketing piece. Feel free to share it with friends and family:

post card
Daylight Savings Time Reminder