The predictions for 2019 were wrong

Yesterday I went back and looked at some of the predictions for the housing market for 2019. Many of the articles I saw were written in December of

Maple leaf
Maple leaf

2019 and most of them were about the national housing market.

Several experts predicted that there wouldn’t be as many buyers and that the housing market would start to become more of a buyers market and that would the increase in prices.

Real estate really is local. We have not been seeing any kind of slow down in demand or housing. Buyers are still buying and prices are still rising. The one thing the predictions did get right is that the year will end with fewer home sales. it isn’t because no one is buying it is because fewer are selling.

I’ll go out on a limb and predict that home sales in 2020 will be down from 2o20 as compared with 2019 and that prices will rise. Interest rates will remain very low because well you know it is a presidential election year.

People used to live in the same house an average of 7 or 8 years. As of this year, that number has gone up to 13.3 years. People are moving less and spending more money on renovations. The trend seems to be local and national.

As for the housing market as long as the population continues to grow and as long as the current trend of not building affordable housing continues the seller’s market will remain strong. It is unlikely that baby boomers, especially those who are not wealthy will sell because there really isn’t anywhere for them to go. There isn’t enough affordable housing for seniors or for anyone else.

If you live in the Twin Cities metro area the local newspapers and blogs like mine are a better source of information than the coastal media.

Taking security seriously

ibox
ibox

You may have seen the blue box hanging on the doorknob of a home for sale. They are electronic lockboxes that usually hold keys. Local real estate agents can open them using the ekey app that works on smartphones.

The app has to be reauthorized every day so that unauthorized persons can not use it.  Each time the box is opened the owner of the box can be notified and can get the identity of the person who opened it and the time it was opened.

The boxes can also be opened with an electronic key for those agents who do not want to use a smartphone app. The key is only available to members of REALTOR associations.

We can also program the boxes so that they can not be opened during certain hours like after 8:00 PM and before 8:00 AM. Homeowners can go to sleep at night knowing that no one can open the lockbox and get into the house.

If my home were on the market I wouldn’t want one of those combination lockboxes on it. I would want the security of an electronic lockbox.

 

 

 

Home improvement projects with ROI

Here is an infographic from the national association of Realtors that shows the impact of remodeling projects from a home buyer’s point of view. There are two categories, “joy” and “return on investment”.  The projects with high “Joy” scores attract buyers.

Painting the front door in a primary color will also increase joy assuming it doesn’t clash with the rest of the house. A new backsplash in the kitchen falls into that category as well. Door locks that have keypads or that can be controlled by apps on a smartphone definitely spark joy.

If you plan to sell your house I always recommend cleaning, decluttering and painting as the obvious least expensive ways to increase salability.

infographic - remodeling
Remodeling projects impact

 

 

 

Winter projects

I live in an old house. This time of year I create a “to do” list for the winter.  I have more free time in the winter, business is a little slower and there are a few days when I won’t leave the house unless I have to.

Last winter I spent some time getting rid of stuff and reorganizing what we have and I did some work on the woodwork in the dining room. The winter before that I repainted the kitchen and replaced the hardware on the cupboards.

My plans for this winter include cleaning out and painting and upstairs closet. I want to kind of redesign it and make it more efficient. Right now I am rounding up my materials and supplies so they are ready. I’ll also be painting and patching a wall that was damaged during the great ice dam melt of early 2019. Lucky for us the damage was minimal. I’ll need some paint to match what is already on the walls and I’ll use the leftovers for the closet project.

For me, the secret to actually getting the projects done is having everything I need ready so that when I am snowed in or when I have some extra time I can get to work right away. Each trip to the hardware store can mean a serious delay especially.

If you have winter projects to do around the house start planning now.

snow
Winter Wonderland St. Paul, MN 2019

 

TV and misleading ads

There is no truth to the rumor that a Realtor will require that you get home ready to sell. You can sell your house without making any repairs. Some companies specialize in buying homes that need work. Most if not all real estate agents can sell your home just like it is. I write this same article at least twice a year because they myth persists.

living room

Often sellers agree to some repairs because they can get more money for their home. First time home buyers will want to pay $1000 less for a home if it needs $200 dollars in repairs.

For some selling a home “as is” means not replacing the old carpeting or worrying about the cost of replacing those ancient kitchen appliances. As long as the home is priced accordingly nothing has to be replaced or upgraded. If the house is in poor shape there are people who will buy it and fix it up, just don’t expect top dollar for it.

Homeowners who would like to make improvements or repairs for a better resale value should consider less expensive repairs and upgrades like cleaning, painting and putting in a backsplash in the kitchen and maybe some new light fixtures and window treatments. Go ahead and paint, repair or replace that front door and add a doorbell. Put a nice big pot of flowers by the front door, weather permitting.

Sometimes it costs so much money to get a house in good shape that it is more cost-effective to sell it the way it is. Just understand that there are no requirements for the condition of a house. The city of St. Paul and many other local municipalities have some requirements but they can be assumed by the buyer rather.

. . and don’t get too excited about those programs that promise to buy your house, at least not if you live in St. Paul. Most if not all of the companies require that the house be built in the 1970’s or later.

Housing counseling for seniors

As of October 1, 2011, all Minnesotans interested in entering a registered housing with services setting, such as assisted living, must be offered a long-term care consultation before signing a lease.

The consultation is free through the Senior linkage line. I have had their logo and a link on the right sidebar of this site for several years. The Senior Linkage line and the Minnesota Board on Aging are some of the best senior resources that most have never heard of.

They also have a program where they help seniors who are in nursing homes move back into the community. The initiative expanded in 2018 because most seniors do not want to live in nursing homes. It would be hard to find someone who wants to be in a nursing home.

Moving into assisted living isn’t for everyone and it is very expensive. There are other options for those who need help at home, like in-home care. I have read a few articles that suggest middle-income seniors will not be able to afford any kind of assisted living in 2029 an beyond.

Last year I had a problem regarding my mother’s medical assistance that I was unable to resolve without help. I called the senior linkage line and they got on the phone with me as I talked to a third party.

They along with me advocated for my mother and the problem was quickly resolved. They knew what to say, how to say it and who to say it to.