National Vs. Local real estate news

I like to read real estate news. I don’t miss much. Last week I was reading an article about how home buyers will have more choices this spring than they had last spring because there are more homes on the market.

Real estate is local and here in St. Paul there are actually fewer homes on the market right now than there were in March of 2018. The number of homes on the market should increase as we head toward late Spring and early Summer. That increase happens every year and right now I am not seeing any evidence that there will be more homes on the market this year than there were last year.

There are also fewer houses on the market this March in Minneapolis than there were in March of 2018. It looks like there may have been more houses on the market in January of 2019 for both cities than there were in January of 2018 but no significant difference and January is so two months ago.

When looking for home buying or selling advice or tips try to tap into some local sources for news and advice.

homes for sale
Homes for sale in St. Paul

The chart was made from data in the NorthstarMLS which is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed.

For more, local real estate numbers see Local Home prices and sales

Moving into the dumpster

I can understand how it happens. People have to move in a hurry, or maybe they got evicted. For whatever reason, they decide not to move their stuff and throw it in the dumpster instead.

Towards the beginning of every month, I see dumpsters filled with furniture and household items. Those items won’t be recycled or re-used, they will end up in a landfill.

It costs money to move. Stuff costs money. Having space for stuff costs money.

There are many, many organizations that accept used household items. Some organizations will even come and pick up your reusable furniture. I have occasionally pulled furniture from the alley behind my house and donated it to the local thrift shop.

There has to be a better way. A more environmentally friendly way and a way to get these household items back to their owners or get them in the hands of someone who can use them.

Is Facebook your go to for advice?

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. About a week ago as an experiment I put this out on Facebook:

screenshot from facebook

It wasn’t long before there were 50 responses with advice.  None of it from people who have ever performed an appendectomy but a few had their appendix removed. People ask for all sorts of advice on social media and there are plenty of people who like to give advice even though they are not familiar with the subject matter.

I also learned that scalpels, scrubs, and hospital gowns can all be ordered online and that there are videos that show appendectomies being performed. A person could probably make a DIY appendix removal kit. What could possibly go wrong with a home appendectomy?

The post was a lot of fun and we all had a good laugh.

Maybe our Facebook friends only think they are the source of all knowledge and information and sometimes it is best to consult an expert outside of social media.

Enjoy the first weekend of spring with the spring-like weather.

Cats are invasive

House cat – in the house

I was so surprised when our veterinarian asked if our kitten was going to be an indoor cat or an outdoor cat. As if there is an option and it is alright for cats to roam free. Sure the cat wants to go outside but I keep her inside.

Cats roam free in my neighborhood and they make little cats too. There are people who believe that it is alright to let their cat roam as long as it has been spayed or neutered.

It isn’t illegal in St. Paul to let your cat roam free:

“You have the right to own a cat. In addition, your neighbor has the right to have a garden or sandbox. You are responsible for keeping your cat away from your neighbor’s property. City ordinances require that all cats must wear an anti-rabies tag when outdoors. Rabies vaccinations must be current. [From the St. Paul dot gov web site]

Just because something is legal doesn’t make it right.

The house cat has long been listed among the 100 most dangerous invasive species. They kill millions of birds and other small animals each year to the point of extinction. A cat is a pet when kept inside but once when outside it is a heartless killer.

“If we extrapolate the results of this study across the country and include feral cats, we find that cats are killing more than 4 billion animals per year, including at least 500 million birds. Cat predation is one of the reasons why one in three American bird species are in decline,” said Dr. George Fenwick, President of American Bird Conservancy [wildlife management institute]

There was a study that shows that they only bring home about 25% of what they kill. They eat some of what they kill but they leave a lot of it where they killed it.

Being a free-range cat in St. Paul is not good for the cat either. Here are some statistics:

200 cats are killed annually in traffic

Life expectancy of a cat allowed to roam is only three to four years

Confined cats can live beyond 14 years

Over 1,200 cats are picked up each year by St. Paul animal control

Roaming cats may be a nuisance by urinating and defecating in sandboxes and gardens

Outdoor cats are susceptible to injury or death from other predatory animals

Outdoor cats are predators to wildlife such as birds

Please be a good neighbor and keep your cat inside, or on a leash.

Real estate broker cooperation

It is common for an agent from one company to list a home for sale and an agent from another company brings in the buyer. It is called broker reciprocity. When your home is on the market and listed with a REALTOR thousands of local agents are competing with each other to find a buyer.

Broker reciprocity works because of the promise to pay the buyers agent. The agent who represents the seller charges a commission and shares it with the buyer’s agent who may end up getting paid more than the seller’s agent.

As far as I know, this type of arrangement is unique to real estate sales.

Often the agent who actually “sells” the house isn’t the agent who listed it and put the sign in front. The listing agent gets his or her name on the sign but the buyer’s agent does not.

People who are buying or selling a home are not required to use a real estate agent.

If you search for homes for sale on the internet usually the fine print on the bottom of the page will say that the listing is provided courtesy of XYZ company.

The days when only a real estate agent knew about homes for sale are long gone, yet we still add value to the process because an experienced agent has worked through many home sales. Finding a house that is for sale is one small part of the home buying process.

The home buying process should be more transparent than it is. If you are buying real estate and working with a buyers agent ask questions. Most people do not buy houses all that often.


Also, see Agency in real estate