There are terms and there are terms

If you are buying a house you need to know that a good offer is about more than money and in some situations other terms will win out over more money.

old brick building and new apartment building
Panama Flats and Irvine Exchange apartments

Here are some things to consider:

  1. Closing date – having the flexibility to choose a closing date that works well for the sellers.
  2. Down payment – Yes downpayment matters. It doesn’t have to be 205 but a higher downpayment makes an offer more attractive because the house is more likely to appraise for at least the loan amount.
  3. Agreeing to take on repairs.

Those are the top three but also consider offering to let the sellers leave anything behind that they don’t want.  Such an offer may be especially attractive to older homeowners who are downsizing or in situations where the house is part of an estate.

Ideally, buyers agents should ask what the sellers are looking for when it comes to the closing date and if there is anything else the buyers can do to make the offer appealing to the sellers.

Buyers should not expect sellers to pay their closing costs. In a multiple offer situation that is almost always a deal killer.

Please get it in writing

When buying or selling real estate the idea of getting everything in writing isn’t a new one. We certainly have a lot of forms that can help with that.

Verbal agreements are not enough. People who are as honest and as trustworthy as they claim to be won’t mind putting everything in writing.

Sure you trust that nice real estate agent and she says he has your best interests at heart and maybe he does but buying or selling real estate is business and everything should be in writing.

I can’t think of a situation where I would go back on my word, yet when it comes to working with my clients I put everything in writing. Everyone should have the protection of a legally binding contract.

Verbal agreements around repairs or what comes with the property or who owns the parking space are especially important.

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.

Pet friendly condos in St. Paul

There are condos and townhouses where pets are not allowed. I know of one condo building that won’t allow any pets except fish. Some associations have


height and weight and limit the number of cats and dogs. Maybe they allow cats but not dogs. I haven’t seen any that allow dogs but not cats.

I just want to make two points and that is that there are pet-friendly condos and townhouses and there are somewhere pets are not allowed. The rules are outlined in the association documents. Don’t take the seller’s word for it or a real estate agent’s word for it. Make sure it is all in writing from the condo association.

Pets are important to many of us. According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), 43% of households indicated they would be willing to move to better accommodate their pets, demonstrating that pets are a priority for many consumers as they look for homes.

Buyers agents during a sellers market

I recently talked to a home buyer who has worked with a couple of agents this year. When choosing the right buyer’s agent experience is very important but it is also important to choose an agent who has time for you.

Houses are on the market for a very short time. Your agent will need to show you homes on short notice. If that agent is already working with several buyers who have a similar timeline for when they want to buy a house it could end badly.

Your agent will need to work very hard for you. That agent will need to be able to help you make an offer within deadlines imposed by home sellers. Your agent should have experience with the type of housing you wish to buy and the area where you are looking.

In the current market working with home buyers is very challenging for home buyers and their agents. Choose your agent wisely, do not choose the busiest agent.

Ask the agent what his/her limit is on how many buyers they can work with at once and how many they are currently working with.

If the agent doesn’t have a limit that too should be a red flag.

Old vs. Vintage

To some people a house is old and to others it is vintage. There are houses that were built in the 1950s and 1960s that are almost untouched by time. They still have the original owners too. I call those houses vintage. Other than the wall-to-wall carpet in shades of gold, green, or orange some of these houses are move-in ready.

I have found 50+-year-old appliances and furnaces still working and kitchen cupboards still in good condition with the original hardware that is vintage. We can still get parts for some of the appliances and hardware for windows and cupboards.

Some of those little mid-century ramblers were remodeled in the 1980s. Those houses are more old than vintage. Sometimes remodeling them again makes more sense than trying to restore them.

Old tends to happen because of neglect or “trendy” remodels. Vintage never gets old if you like vintage.

The houses in St. Paul are mostly old, historic, really old, and vintage. Historic is old but old is not historic.

Vintage wallpaper and countertop