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  • August 1st, not a good day to make an offer

    August first is the day that new laws take effect in Minnesota and every August changes made to our real estate contracts take effect. It isn’t the best day to make an offer on a home for sale. Real estate agents do not get to see the forms/contracts until August 1st but we do get some information about changes.

    This year it looks like one of the forms was simplified and a few have new options added to them. In general over the years more pages are added to our contracts to accommodate more paragraphs. Some of the changes are made to reflect new laws and some of the changes are made to head off problems and misunderstandings that arise from the wording of our existing contracts.

    The Minnesota association of Realtors is responsible for the forms we use. There is a by appointment only committee of members who suggest changes to the forms.

    Happy August!

    sun flowers
    Urban flowers
  • For Boomers
  • July 4th is early this year

    Over the weekend I had a hard time finding a real estate agent who could help with an out of town home buyer. Agents told me that it was a holiday. Actually I completely understand. People often have time off over the July 4th holiday and they want to use it to do a little house hunting. Some of the folks who call me seem to have just figured out that they are going to buy a home in St. Paul or maybe they just got in the car and it took them here and while they are here they want to explore the possibility of buying a home here.

    I work with a few people who are relocating every year. Some of them have a plan ahead of time and interview real estate agents and make appointments to tour homes months in advance, which allows me to clear my calendar and give them the undivided attention they need and deserve as we tour 10 to 20 houses in a day or two.

    Often those who come into town and don’t plan ahead end up working with the junior real estate agent who doesn’t yet have any business. That agent will end up paying a referral fee for a the “lead”. They may not actually know what they are doing but they need to start some place.

    If you are looking for a great agent to work with over the 4th of July weekend this year you are already way to late but it isn’t too late to start looking for an agent to work with over the Labor day weekend or during the winter holidays.

    July 4th in St. Paul
    July 4th in St. Paul
  • Uncategorized
  • What will the generations do?

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    Turret

    The real estate industry is obsessed with the millennial generation. I work with people of all ages including first time home buyers and people in older generations who are also buy and sell homes.  We are also obsessed with older generations because they currently control most of this countries wealth and real estate.

    “The decisions the nation’s baby boomers and other older home owners make will have an enormous impact on the demand for housing and new mortgage credit for the foreseeable future,” says Dave Lowman, executive vice president of Single-Family Business at Freddie Mac. “Whether they buy new homes or decide to refinance and renovate their current ones, the size of this generation and the fact that they hold close to two-thirds, approximately $8 trillion, of the nation’s home equity makes it very important that we watch what they do.

    The baby boom and millennial generations are both huge, partly because they both include a couple of decades of births. Baby boomer births span 18 years and millennial generation births span 20 years. I feel pretty confident pointing out that the needs of someone born in 1964 and the needs of someone born in 1946 who will be turning 70 this year are not the same. It is also very possible that the people who were born in 1946 may follow different trends than those who were born 18 years later.

    With the millennial generation I don’t think we really know what the housing preferences of the youngest millennials who are still in high school will be, where as we are starting to see multiple trends among the oldest millennials. Trends toward living in urban areas and in the suburbs and owning homes or not owning homes or even living in their parents basements.

    Any trend that spans the entire millennial generation or the entire baby boomer generation is going to have a huge impact on our housing market and economy but I seriously doubt there will ever be a time when people who are twenty years apart in age will all be doing the same things. I can’t see my entire generation making a decision that is going to work for 70 year olds and for 52 year olds.

  • Uncategorized
  • Public home buying

    There are people who like to share everything online and I mean everything. A couple of years ago I watched a drama play out on Facebook as a friend of mine who is a Realtor® worked with a client who posted just about every aspect of the home search on Facebook. The buyers friends and real estate agents from everywhere gave the buyer loads of advice every step of the way as some friends will do.

    While other agents compete to get the business when someone on Facebook announces that they are looking for a real estate agent I tend to back away. Everyone knows a real estate agent and I suspect that just about everyone has a neighbor, friend or relative who is a real estate agent. There are at least three agents that I know of within three blocks of where I live.

    Everyone knows about a home that is going to be for sale or that is for sale that they can recommend. It usually isn’t insider information and can be found on all over the internet but it is nice to have the information come from a friend.

    People who like to crowd source their home purchase or sale through Facebook can be very hard to work with as clients. In fact sometimes they will take bad advice from a well meaning friend over the advice of an experienced real estate agent and everything that happens during the transaction if made public. There have been times when I have found information in Facebook posts that I have shared with my clients. A home buyer shared that she wanted a house so badly that he would pay more for it and so I let the sellers know and because of that she did pay more.

    I’ll generally avoid working with real estate clients who like to share it all on Facebook. I don’t believe that the details of buying or selling a home is something that should be shared with too many people.

    home
    Home

     

  • Uncategorized
  • Know where the snakes are

    Snake

    Some people are terrified of snakes, even the harmless garter snakes that live in St. Paul.

    The garter snake is common in Minnesota in both rural and urban areas.  They don’t have teeth, and don’t attack people, they eat insects and slither away when people come close.

    Garter snakes live in my garden, in the rhubarb.  They like heat and need it to aid the digestion of food.  On a warm fall day it is not unusual to see them sunning them selves along the foundation of my home or on the walk ways.  On occasion I have seen them come out of hibernation during the winter to catch a few rays.

    Every couple of years a snake gets inside the house.  We get them out before the cat figures it out.  They do not live in the house and since they can not climb in they usually get in through an open window in the basement.  They prefer to live in the ground and are fond of compost heaps and wood piles and are plentiful along the river bluff in St. Paul in the residential areas.  The soil on the bluff is warmer because of all the lime stone close to the surface.

    Home shoppers should let their REALTORS know if they are afraid of snakes.  Sellers are not required to disclose the presence of snakes outside the house.  They are not required to disclose the existence of bees, bats or any other kind of wild life found out doors in most urban areas.  For some home buyers their ability to enjoy their property is greatly diminished by the presence of these creatures.  Read about ophidiphobia, fear of snakes.

    Learn more about garter snakes from the University of Minnesota extension service web site.