You are being watched

The sign outside my office

When touring homes with buyers I always assume that someone is watching or listening or both. Houses have doorbells that can see and hear and some have smart speakers on the kitchen counter. There may be cameras throughout the house.

Sometimes homeowners will hold it against the buyer who comments on how ugly the couch is.

Sellers can get pretty worked up about what they see and hear.

If you are touring houses it is best to hold your comments until you get far enough away from the house so that the doorbell camera can’t hear you. On the other hand, if you have something to say that you want the sellers to hear and you believe they can hear you go for it!

 

2024 has arrived

Happy New Year
Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all. No, I didn’t stay awake and ring the new year in. Sleep is too precious, and I fight for every Z I can get.

With that said I’ll make a few predictions for 2024.

  1. Mortgage interest rates will go down.
  2. Mortgage interest rates will be too high.
  3. Home prices will continue to rise.
  4. There will be fewer home sales than there were in 2023. (This prediction is for the Twin Cities Metro area only)
  5. There will be more lawsuits against the National Association of Realtors and they will lose most if not all of them.
  6. We will see a new organization emerge from the ashes that the National Association of Realtors will be by November 2024.
  7. The new organization that replaces NAR will be run by men but they will be younger and more diverse.

If you have a house to sell in 2024 you can sell it. If you would like to buy a house in 2024 there will be fewer to choose from and they will be expensive. Please take advantage of downpayment assistance programs. 

If you have not purchased a home in the last three years ask your lender about first-time home buyer programs. If the lender can not help you with that choose another.

Also, home buyers should get their paperwork in order and file a tax return for 2023 early in the year.

No the house isn’t perfect

housesI recently read an article written by a first-time homebuyer. He writes about all of the unexpected repairs his new home needs.

Every buyer should get a complete home inspection. The seller does not have to make repairs but buyers can always ask. The whole point of inspection is knowing what repairs might be needed before committing to buy the house.

Homeowners do not always know what is broken or what is going to break in the next six months. Even with an inspection something unexpected can and probably will happen.

Some people would rather call the landlord than have to call for repairs and pay for them. Homeownership isn’t for everyone but if it is for you make your offer contingent on a complete home inspection and hire an experienced home inspector. Don’t forget the radon inspection and consider having a sewer line scope.

Keep in mind that repairs that are not needed today may be needed tomorrow and budget accordingly.

A poem for people who bought houses in 2023

wreath
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

AI is all the rage this year. Apparently, it is going to make real estate agents fabulously wealthy just like Facebook and Twitter did. I asked both BARD and ChatGPT to write a Christmas poem about home buyers. The poem that follows is the one I thought was the best:

No more carols sung in rented halls,
No more dreams confined by thin, shared walls.
This Christmastide, a joy most bright,
Your own brick haven bathed in winter’s light.

The stress of offers, papers piled high,
Fades in the glow of hearthfire’s sigh.
Keys jingle soft, a whispered chime,
Your first Yule log, burning bold and prime.

Stars peek through gables, frosted white,
As laughter dances through the halls at night.
Stocking stockings by the cozy fire,
Whispers of wishes rising ever higher.

Cinnamon scents and sugared plums,
Warmth seeping through every room.
Children’s eyes wide with Christmas cheer,
Building worlds on floors, year after year.

No landlord’s grumbles, no paint chipped thin,
This nest belongs to you, within, within.
From porch swing swaying in the frosted air,
To whispered secrets on the bedroom stair.

So raise a glass, let carols sound,
Cheers to your haven, newly found.
May every joy this season bring,
Fill your home with endless winter’s spring.

For this Christmas, wrapped in frosted bliss,
You’ve gifted yourself happiness.

Merry Christmas, new homeowners bold,
May your stories, like snowflakes, forever unfold.

It is kind of cute but there is no mention of the leaky pipe on Christmas eve. or the possibility that the furnace will go out on New Year’s day but I guess most home buyers find out about that soon enough.

Maybe next year . . .

Christmas wreath
Holiday decorations

I have been reading the predictions for the housing market for 2024. People who work in the real estate industry are predicting another marvelous year.  Those predictions are good for the moral of real estate agents everywhere.

Most experts are predicting that mortgage interest rates will go down which will make homes more affordable for many but they are still expensive and too expensive for some. Those who can buy are going to have some challenges because home owners who are locked into mortgages are not going to jump at the chance to sell and end up with a larger mortgage.

In other words next year probably isn’t going to be a great year for most home buyers. Will people buy houses? Absolutely.

For those who managed to bag a house this year before the holidays I have a poem that I wrote thith help from AI:

No more carols sung in rented halls,
No more dreams confined by thin, shared walls.
This Christmastide, a joy most bright,
Your own brick haven bathed in winter’s light.

The stress of offers, papers piled high,
Fades in the glow of hearthfire’s sigh.
Keys jingle soft, a whispered chime,
Your first Yule log, burning bold and prime.

Stars peek through gables, frosted white,
As laughter dances through the halls at night.
Stocking stockings by the cozy fire,
Whispers of wishes rising ever higher.

Cinnamon scents and sugared plums,
Warmth seeping through every room.
Children’s eyes wide with Christmas cheer,
Building worlds on floors, year after year.

No landlord’s grumbles, no paint chipped thin,
This nest belongs to you, within, within.
From porch swing swaying in the frosted air,
To whispered secrets on the bedroom stair.

So raise a glass, let carols sound,
Cheers to your haven, newly found.
May every joy this season bring,
Fill your home with endless winter’s spring.

For this Christmas, wrapped in frosted bliss,
You’ve gifted yourself happiness.

Merry Christmas, new homeowners bold,
May your stories, like snowflakes, forever unfold.

If homeownership is a goal for 2024 now is the time to get started. Talk to a lender today.

Holiday house hunting

Lights

It isn’t at all uncommon for people to do a little house hunting during the holidays. People come to town to visit relatives and decide that they want to work with a Realtor. Sometimes they reach out a couple of days before they are due to arrive.

I usually can not accommodate last-minute clients during the holidays. I can work with clients who are already under contract. I have shown houses on New Year’s and the day after Christmas. Christmas is a holiday and in my household, we often celebrate on Christmas Eve. I don’t work either day.

People who are planning on buying a house during the holidays in 2024 should contact a Realtor by November 1st, 2024.

Home buyers who are currently working with a Realtor should be able to show or buy a house during the holidays. Most of us work during December.

Houses are sold during the holidays too. Homeowners who have a plan in place by mid-October will be able to sell their house quickly during the holidays and for top dollar.

Buying or selling a house is like many other things in life in that it is best to plan ahead.