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


Last year Vs. this year

Last year there was a shortage of homes for sale. This year there is more of a shortage of homes for sale.

Last year people were making offers that did not include inspection contingencies. For some, it gave their offer an advantage over the competition.

Last year people were making offers on houses without touring them in person. Mainly because of the pandemic but with rules about overlapping showings there are not enough hours in the day for all interested buyers to tour the home in person.

This year people are still making non-contingent offers and people are still making offers before they see the house. Homebuyers are also making offers on houses that are listed as “coming soon”.

Under our MLS rules, those houses can not be shown to buyers but sellers can accept offers anytime.

The idea behind “coming soon” is pre-marketing which works really well in a hot market where there are more buyers than sellers.

2021 is a great year to sell a house quickly and for top dollar. Buying a house is a little more difficult. There is a 1.6 month supply of homes for sale in the 7 county metro area and a 1.7 month supply in the region and in St. Paul.

The median number of days on market is around 16. This number often includes a 5 to 10 day inspection period but does not include a “coming soon” period of up to 21 days.

There are no secret conversations on Facebook

Sometimes people believe that what they discuss in Facebook groups doesn’t go any further. The other day some


neighbors were discussing their plans to buy or sell houses in the neighborhood.

None of them gave addresses but I was able to follow the conversation and use a property database to look up their addresses in seconds.

I don’t mean any harm it was kind of like a game. I challenged myself to find them all quickly.

There must have been some expectation of privacy because no one was publishing an address on Facebook but were offering to share it with individuals via direct message.

As a homeowner myself, I can’t see any advantage in selling the house to neighbors or friends of neighbors. Not during such a strong seller’s market.  I don’t see any advantage in offering it to a small group of people on Facebook either.

Potential home buyers were giving away a lot of personal information including pictures of their children.

Sometimes people share a lot of details about their home buying and selling experiences on Facebook and in doing so they unknowingly give information that other parties can use to their advantage.

When you are sharing information on social media especially in neighborhood groups just know that it isn’t confidential.

We have also seen situations where potential buyers have made negative remarks about a home on Facebook and the sellers have seen it.

Also, see Social media dos and don’ts for home buyers and sellers

Home buyers haven’t changed but house hunting has

The real estate industry has remained open during the pandemic but we have more rules. Back a year ago in-person showings

queen anne house
Queen Anne

were down and home buyers were using virtual tours and even making offers before they toured the house.

Here we are a year later with many more people infected with COVID-19 and homebuyers who want to tour as many homes as possible even before they are in a position to make an offer.

People like to see homes in person and they want the experience. It isn’t enough to shop online. The pandemic hasn’t changed the way people want to shop but has changed the way they can shop right now.

There are those in the real estate industry who are predicting that the pandemic will forever change how people shop for and buy houses. I am not seeing it.

This isn’t the best of times for homebuyers but things will get better as more people get vaccinated.

We can and do sell houses without allowing in-person showings.  Typically the buyers are allowed to see the house only after they have made an offer. They see it as they are having it inspected.