You get what we pay for

You get what we pay for is one of the open secrets among real estate agents. When you go house hunting and land on one of those websites that have homes for sale you might have the option of requesting a showing or more information or maybe you see the faces of real estate agents next to the homes for sale.

Often time the person you are contacting doesn’t know anything about the home in question. He or she or they have paid to be the contact person.  Sometimes these agents will respond to the inquiry and other times they won’t. Anyone who inquires about a home for sale becomes a “lead” which is just fine for homebuyers who want to become leads.

The reason the websites are free to consumers is because real estate agents pay to advertise on them.  The houses that you find on the websites are there because a real estate agent listed them and the information and pictures were fed from the multiple listing service.

People who want to work with real estate should choose an agent before selecting houses. Your agent will be able to get more information and will return your calls and answer your questions.  Your agent needs to respond quickly because the house you are interested in may only be on the market for a few hours.

I drew this myself

Happy house hunting.

What I learned about climate change last weekend

For those who were in the Twin Cities area last weekend, the air was unbreathable at times. Smoke from Canadian wildfires filled the air. It burned the eyes and throat and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said that it was “unhealthy” and “very unhealthy”.


MPCA warnings about air quality
Smoke from Canadian wildfires as viewed from the Mississippi River 

For part of last week, we didn’t see sunshine or the sky. Everything had a kind of yellowish orangish cast to it. Almost sepia. What we experienced isn’t “normal” and it is likely to happen again. Most of us have no idea how to plan for this or how to deal with it.

What I learned is that none of us are safe from wildfires and breathing in smoke-filled air does diminish the quality of life in any neighborhood.  Heck it even took my mind off the drought and the pandemic.

National night out 2021

Just a reminder that tonight is National Night Out. There is probably something going on in your neighborhood. If there isn’t go outside this evening and talk to your neighbors about organizing something for next year. Check out the Night Out city of St. Paul website for local events. Don’t miss the “best photo with a cop” contest or the “sidewalk art contest” Check your city for events.

Locally the housing supply isn’t increasing

Apparently, the supply of homes for sale is on the rise in some parts of the country. When I look at actual numbers I don’t see an increase in the Twin Cities Metro area. I am starting to notice that some homeowners are only getting a few offers instead of several but that is probably alright because they can only accept one.

Currently, there is a 1.3 month supply of housing in the metro area.  In several counties including Anoka and Dakota, it is more like a one-month supply. The number of all-cash offers is up.

There are people who planned on moving and who really want to move but can not because they are unable to find the right property to buy and even if they find it they will have to compete with several other buyers and some of those buyers are offering cash.

This trend will not last forever but could last for another 5 years or so unless something changes. Current trends did not start during the pandemic or because of it.

The tree we saved

ash tree

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. This summer reminds me of the summer of 1988 and we did survive. The tree in the picture was planted in the fall of 87. It is in front of the apartment we lived in. I am not sure how we survived the heat without air-conditioning but we did. We lived on the second floor and didn’t get much sleep that summer.

The summer of 88 was hot and dry and the tree wilted but survived because we watered it.  It is a beautiful tree and is also a variety of ash tree. I hope it survives the emerald ash borer but even if it doesn’t it was worth saving. The tree was one of many planted on the same block to replace the elm trees that were destroyed by Dutch elm disease.

Small businesses mean opportunity

water lily

In 2020, big businesses got bigger and small businesses died. … Small businesses owners have struggled during the pandemic, with the number of small businesses in the US dropping by 29% since January. [Business Insider]

Real estate companies are getting larger too. Homebuyers don’t really care if a home is listed by a large corporation or by a small women-owned real estate company like mine. They just want to buy the house.

The profits from my small business stay right here in St. Paul. I don’t pay a franchise fee or buy my marketing materials from the company store. Even this website is hosted through a local company and was designed by a local small business.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy: they create two-thirds of net new jobs and drive U.S. innovation and competitiveness. This was true before the pandemic.

Whenever I have a choice I choose to buy goods or services from small businesses. I strongly prefer small local minority-owned and or women-owned businesses and you should too.