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

Online home searches in 2021

We have come a long way. When w bought our first home there wasn’t any way to search the internet and look at pictures of houses for sale. Today I can put in the address of

queen anne house
Queen anne

any home that is for sale and it will show up on a zillion websites in a few seconds.  The searches are free too because in most cases real estate agents are paying for them.

Homebuyers will notice that on the major sites they can find the name of the listing agent if they search for it but usually the links for asking questions, setting up a showing or for more information about the home go to the agent who is paying for the link.

On real estate company websites, the links go to the real estate company or to a particular agent from that company.

If I test my own listings I end up with agents who don’t know anything about the property and sometimes they don’t even work in the area. Sometimes no one responds to my inquiry.

Agents buy any zip code or area that they can. Real estate agents spend millions of dollars a year for leads and those leads come from homes for sale listed by other agents.

Real estate is cut-throat and competitive, especially now when there are more real estate agents than there are houses on the market. People who click on the link are likely to end up in someone’s drip email campaign and may experience a lot of “follow-up” and contact by phone and email.

For people who do not wish to become a lead choosing a real estate agent and asking that agent any questions about homes for sale is the way to do it. Your agent will work on your behalf for many months if needed and won’t charge you a dime, or send you spam or unwanted phone calls or text messages. Choose an agent with a lot of experience helping people buy and sell houses and choose someone who works in the area where you live or want to live.

When using the internet to search for houses that are for sale choose the site that you find the easiest to use. Ask your agent to set up some searches from the local MLS too.

Also see open houses


You can pay too much

No one else is going to tell you this so I am going to have to do it. It is quite possible to pay too much for a house. Both by paying more than the house is worth and more than you can afford to pay for housing.

First-time homebuyers who pay too much for their first house may have to wait longer to “move-up” to larger houses. Sometimes people believe they will stay in the same house forever but plans can change because of a job, marriage, death, or divorce.

Home prices are still climbing but many of us remember the great recession. Prices stalled and then went down.  People had a hard time coming up with the money they needed to fill the gap between the money they got for the sale of their house and the amount they owed on the mortgage.

Going over budget on a home purchase can also lead to trouble. There are people who are house poor. They don’t have much disposable income because of their large house payments.

Just keep in mind that owning a home is a long-term commitment and it will have an impact on your life and maybe on the lives of others if you have a family.

There is a good chance that neither your lender nor your real estate agent will try and talk you out of spending too much. It is up to you.

Don’t wait for the weekend

Now that the days are a little longer it is easier to view houses in the early evening. If you are interested in buying a house that


is on the market it might not be on the market when the weekend rolls around.  Don’t wait for the open house. The vast majority of homes that are on the market are never held open.

Houses can often be shown during the week, after work, before work, or during lunch hour. People who have jobs that don’t have rigid hours have an advantage.

Consider asking your employer for some flexibility if you are house-hunting this spring.

If interested don’t wait for an open house

Putting your best offer forward