Open houses are optional

open houseOpen houses have become somewhat controversial among Realtors®. There are safety concerns for those who do open houses. Open houses are not needed to sell a house. In fact, most houses that are for sale will never have an open house.

Sometimes homeowners do not want open houses but they believe they are needed to sell the house. Most homebuyers find their next home on the internet and or through a real estate agent, not at an open house.

Buyers who wait for an open house to tour a home are missing out. Only a small percentage of homes for sale are held open each week. With the low inventory of homes for sale, it is best to ask your real estate agent to set up a private showing.

Open houses are an opportunity for Realtors to prospect. It is a great opportunity to collect names, phone numbers, and email addresses which are the lifeblood of the real estate business.

Attending open houses is wonderful for neighbors and for people who may eventually buy a house. It is shopping and there are people who love to shop.

If you are a homeowner and do not want to have open houses just let your agent know. If you believe that open houses are necessary and an essential part of the sales process let your agent know that too.

Having a hard time finding a home you can afford?

From the National Association of Realtors:

“The U.S. housing market is missing about 320,000 home listings valued up to $256,000, the affordable price range for middle-income buyers (households earning up to $75,000).
Middle-income buyers can afford to buy less than a quarter (23%) of listings in the current market. Five years ago, this income group could afford to buy half of all available homes.
Among the 100 largest metro areas, El Paso, Texas; Boise, Idaho; and Spokane, Wash. have the fewest affordable homes available for middle-income buyers. Conversely, three Ohio metro areas – Youngstown, Akron, and Toledo – have the most.”

There are some programs that help make home-buying more affordable. Ask your lender about Down Payment Assitance programs or visit the downpayment assistance site.

There are first-time homebuyer programs, and first-generation home buyer programs too. Here are some programs through the City of St. Paul.

Also, check out the Home Ownership Center.  Did you know that there are resources for people who can not pay interest for religious reasons?  Go to Alternative Homebuyer Financing options.

If. you would like to buy a house but are not ready financially now is the time to get ready to buy in 2024 and beyond.

If you are not firm your home will provide storage for you family forever.

Storage If you just bought a house now is the time to remove any and all items you are storing at your parent’s house. If you are a parent your children will have every excuse there is for not removing their stuff from your basement. Don’t fall for any excuse,

Dear person in their twenties, thirties, or forties,

It is wonderful that you got that new job and were able to move out of your folk’s place a mere________ years after you graduated from college. I know it is a big scary world out there and it is hard to move away. Just think of it as a new beginning.

Your parents love you, we always have and we would do almost anything for you and we probably have and we are very proud of you.

There is one thing that you need to know. We are not being honest with you about something. We have kept a secret from you all these years, and it has nothing to do with Auntie Sue or that one incident a few years back at the water park. We know you did not do that on purpose.

We want to tell you that we are very tired of the boxes and storage bins in the basement and the bike, sports equipment, and rollerblades in the garage. We understand that you also regret having purchased that tacky piece of furniture that you bought the first time you moved out but left stored in the basement this last time you moved out. We hate it too, and yes you may move back in that is true, even though we had the locks changed and you know the secret about the back door, you will find a way, but I suspect you won’t want to use the furniture as you seem to hate it so.

Even though we love you and would do almost anything for you we don’t want to provide storage for your stuff anymore.  We would like to use our basements and garages and attics for something else now. We have our own stuff that needs to be stored and most of our closets are overflowing as we have not moved in years.

It would be heavenly to be able to walk to the washer without tripping over something and honestly, the furnace and water heater have always wanted a room of their own, they watch and wait silently as the stuff piles up around them.   The last time we had a repair man here he couldn’t even find the furnace, I guess he wasn’t much of a repair man.  I never saw him leave the house, he may still be down in the basement looking for the furnace, I guess we don’t know for sure, but hope not because they charge by the hour.

Please come over for dinner tonight.  We promise to cook something you really like and buy a couple of bottles of wine, or maybe you would enjoy a beer instead.   Bring a friend or significant other and a moving van. We will even front you the cash so that you can rent it. After dinner kindly remove your stuff. Don’t make me have to write this twice.  I may be old but I am still your mother and even though you are bigger than I am I can still kick your butt, or at the very least make you feel guilty.

Thanks, your loving mother.


About those walk scores

IcecreamI find walkability scores on many real estate websites. They can be kind of misleading or maybe they do not prioritize errands that we make frequently. For example, I found a house with a high walk score even though the closest grocery store is more than 4 miles away.

Using google maps and google street view is also a great way to determine walkability. It is easy to find nearby shops and to see if there are sidewalks or if there are busy intersections that are hard to cross on foot.

It doesn’t matter all that much if the businesses that are close by are businesses that you don’t use or need to walk to. For instance how often does a person walk to an insurance company or a tire shop?

Having ice cream within walking distance is a plus. In my neighborhood, there isn’t any ice cream but no one lives more than a block or two from a bar, brewery, or taproom.  I have been told that beer is sustainable but ice cream is not.

The suburbs are not about walkability they were designed around the automobile and all errands require a car.

Cash offers – getting it right

small houseEven with a cash offer there are closing costs. Those costs are much lower than the closing costs on a home loan.  When a home is being financed sometimes buyers will ask for cash back from the sellers to cover closing costs.

Before making a cash offer find out what the closing costs will be and adjust your offer as needed. If you will need more cash than you have for a full-priced offer and closing costs, offer less than the full price.  It is really pretty simple. I often ask a title company for help calculating closing costs on a cash sale.

Instead of a pre-approval letter for a loan a cash buyer needs to provide proof of funds, like a bank statement.

Cash offers are more common than they used to be. Last Fall about 31% of purchases were cash.

just assume you are being watched and listened to.

Privacy is rare and it should not be expected when touring homes for sale. I have had clients who hid the fact that they were watching and listening.

I was reminded that we were not alone when I was showing a client a house that is for sale and we had a conversation while standing in front of a camera that was somewhat hidden.

Buyers should be aware that anytime they are in someone’s house or even in their yard it is safe to assume there is a camera someplace and that it is recording or that you are being observed real-time.

Someone may be listening to your every word.

There are so many makes and models of cameras. I see them on the outside of houses when I walk by.  Doorbells with cameras are very popular too.

Just be aware that someone is watching you and listening too.