Taking on water

If you recently bought a house you may be surprised to find water in the basement or a leaking roof. We had record amounts of snow all at once and then the rains came.

Sometimes homes with previously dry basement will take on water under a unique set of circumstances like when a couple of feet of snow melts in a few days.

Last weeks rain melted a lot of snow all at once. There are a lot of wet basements in St. Paul as a result. I am sure there will be delayed closings on home sales because of wet basements.

It is going to warm up this week which will likely cause more flooding. Removing snow from around the foundation can help prevent water from leaking in.

At this point, the ground is still mostly frozen which is likely to cause more flooding. There will be flooding along the Mississippi river too as snowmelt from Northern Minnesota and from the Minnesota river start flowing down river.

March 2010 flood – Mississippi River, St. Paul, MN


St. Patrick’s day parade 2019

St. Patrick’s day is tomorrow but the drinking and debauchery shall commence today. The annual St. Patrick’s Day parade starts at noon on March 16th  in downtown St. Paul. The route begins at Wacouta and 5th St. E and moves westbound along 5th St., to Washington St., to 4th Street, dispersing for the finale between St. Peter and Wabasha streets. Spectators can space themselves anywhere along the route. Chairs and blankets are welcomed to reserve your spots.

The temperature for this annual event can be below zero or  70 above zero. This year we should have partly cloudy skies and temperatures slightly below freezing. I recommend standing in the sun along the parade route if possible.

After the parade, there will be a lot of beer along West 7th street and food too. If you are new to St. Paul I want to tell you that St. Patrick’s day is a very big deal here.

st. patrick's day prade
2018 St. Patrick’s day parade

Snow and fun?

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. I am questioning myself as I write this. I am not so sure that fun and snow go together. Last weekends snow storm was beautiful and it was warm enough to go outside once the storm passed.

Here are a few on the pictures I took last Sunday. You may have missed the beauty of it all as you struggled to shovel or to dig your car out.

I hope these pictures are the last of the 2018 – 2019 winter weather. Next up I’ll have some flood pictures.

Irvine Park - snow
Irvine Park
Snow removal
city street and snow covered cars
City Street & Snow covered cars

Priced out of new construction

New construction housing in and around St. Paul is rare and expensive. Builders who want to make a profit build them large and expensive.  The limited number of homes for sale continues to drive up housing prices. Normally we could build our way to a more affordable housing market. The supply of homes for sale could be increased by building more houses.

According to the non-profit Housing affordability Institute 

A third of the cost of a new home in the Twin Cities comes from regulation and local policy.

Even without the added cost of all those regulations the price for new construction is unaffordable for most.

New construction costs source: https://www.housingaffordabilityinstitute.org/ Report “Priced Out”

The study also concluded that “The Metropolitan Council’s growth boundary is unique to the region and has resulted in significantly higher land prices inside the established line. In concert with municipal land decisions, a land shortage has emerged which has a rationing effect in key areas, driving up prices. Land inside the Metropolitan Council’s growth boundary can be 3.8-12.8 times more expensive than comparable land outside of the boundary. In cities around the country that do not have urban growth boundaries, we do not see these kinds of price discrepancies.”

“State-level regulations, including the administration of federal rules, also affects affordability. Recently enacted state-level regulations in Minnesota have added more than $13,000 in costs per home.”

Regulatory costs make building permits more expensive. There are a lot of fees bundled into the permit.



Social media do’s and don’ts for home buyers

Victorian homes
turrets – Dayton’s Bluff

Social media has been around awhile and there are people who use it to ask their friends for advice on every subject including how to buy a house.

This is going to come as a shock to many out there but your friends don’t have the answers. Maybe they bought one house once. They have an experience which isn’t the same as experience and their advice isn’t going to help.

There are a lot of real estate agents on social media and they will also offer advice. So will people who have opinions on how to buy a house but no experience or experience from 20 years ago.

Sometimes home buyers post about the process step by step on Facebook. They want to keep their Facebook friends in the loop.

One of the first things I do when I get an offer on one of my listings is I look for the buyer on Facebook, Linked-in, Twitter, and Instagram.

First I am looking to verify their identity and I am looking for insight into how important the purchase is to them. Are they struggling to afford it? Do they love it so much that they will pay full price or more? I gather any and all information I think may help me advise my clients and negotiate the very best terms for them.

The only “do” I can think of is to limit who sees your posts on social media. If you must share with “friends” make sure they are people that you actually know and are friends.

I once walked away from the opportunity to work with a home buyer because she shared every little detail on Facebook and I didn’t want my name or reputation dragged into the drama. Everything in her life has been a huge struggle. The drama continued after the home purchase as there were numerous problems with the house.

There are no secrets on social media or on the internet for that matter.

Also, see:

Use social media with care

Contingent offer, what could go wrong?

There are all sorts of contingencies that can be put on an offer to buy real estate. The two most common are inspection contingencies and contingent on financing.

Buyers can also make an offer contingent on the sale of their home. It happens all the time but those contingencies get complicated.  Usually offers that are contingent on the sale of real estate can be bumped by non-contingent offers from other buyers.

Here are a few things that can and do go wrong:

  1. A non-contingent offer comes along and the seller accepts it and the contingent buyer’s offer gets canceled because they do not get an offer on their home fast enough.
  2. The contingent offer isn’t accepted because there are several other offers that are non-contingent.
  3. The seller asks that the contingency is removed within 48 hours because they can and they got cold feet and you all agreed to the 48 hours.
  4. The buyer gets an offer on their property but it is a contingent offer, which means it can not be used to remove the sale contingency.
  5. The buyer gets an offer but the financing on that offer falls through and offerer is unable to perform.

Sometimes there is a chain of 3 or more home sales that depend upon that first home sale in the chain closing.

When selling your home is contingent on the sale of someone else’s home it will cause a lot of extra stress if your purchase is also contingent on a sale.

I have been through chains of sales with multiple contingencies and they often work out. I have learned to go into these situations believing that everything will work out and I encourage my clients to do the same.

In a strong seller’s market is especially important for home sellers to have a plan and know where they are going to live after their home is sold.