Please leave some lights on

House for sale

I went to show some clients a house at 6:30 one evening last week. There wasn’t a for sale sign on the property which isn’t terribly unusual. None of the street lights in the area were on if there were any.

The house was pitch black but I could kind of make out the shape of a house. I used my trusty flashlight to verify the address and waited for my clients.

When they came I used my flashlight to light the way to the door. One of my clients held the light while I worked the combination. As soon as I got into the house I started turning on lights. Some rooms did not have over headlights. I would have gone out to my car to get more flashlights but my clients didn’t seem to like the house at all.

After the showing, and while I was locking up the house one of my clients stepped into a hole in the front lawn and twisted an ankle. There is no sidewalk or walkway in front of the house.

With the short days, it is hard for people who have full-time jobs to look at homes for sale during daylight hours. It is a good idea to leave a light on if your home is for sale.

Homeowners can put light on timers. Go one step further and use a timer that can be controlled via wifi, turn it on before showings and off when they are over for the day.

The predictions for 2019 were wrong

Yesterday I went back and looked at some of the predictions for the housing market for 2019. Many of the articles I saw were written in December of

Maple leaf
Maple leaf

2019 and most of them were about the national housing market.

Several experts predicted that there wouldn’t be as many buyers and that the housing market would start to become more of a buyers market and that would the increase in prices.

Real estate really is local. We have not been seeing any kind of slow down in demand or housing. Buyers are still buying and prices are still rising. The one thing the predictions did get right is that the year will end with fewer home sales. it isn’t because no one is buying it is because fewer are selling.

I’ll go out on a limb and predict that home sales in 2020 will be down from 2o20 as compared with 2019 and that prices will rise. Interest rates will remain very low because well you know it is a presidential election year.

People used to live in the same house an average of 7 or 8 years. As of this year, that number has gone up to 13.3 years. People are moving less and spending more money on renovations. The trend seems to be local and national.

As for the housing market as long as the population continues to grow and as long as the current trend of not building affordable housing continues the seller’s market will remain strong. It is unlikely that baby boomers, especially those who are not wealthy will sell because there really isn’t anywhere for them to go. There isn’t enough affordable housing for seniors or for anyone else.

If you live in the Twin Cities metro area the local newspapers and blogs like mine are a better source of information than the coastal media.

Yes you can sell a house in November

The housing market has changed. It is no longer difficult to sell a house in November. Right now homes are selling quickly in St. Paul. Over the weekend there were multiple offers on homes that had just been listed. Last week one of our listings sold the first weekend it was on the market.

Houses that are overpriced still linger on the market for a few weeks. Buyers should be brave and offer the sellers less than the asking price before the price is reduced and there are multiple offers.

Right now the inventory of homes on the market in St. Paul is low. There is a shortage of homes for sale. Affordable new construction would help but there isn’t any.

If you have a home you want to sell you can sell it during the winter and even during the holidays. The demand is strong and interest rates are low.

Understanding clutter

I write this a couple of years ago and it has been a popular article. Real estate professionals often talk about “decluttering” a home before it is put on the market but what is clutter? Here are some examples:

We always advise home sellers to clean and declutter before putting a home on the market, but what is clutter? We don’t all define clutter the same way. I define it as “stuff” that distracts potential home buyers.

The stuff keeps potential buyers from seeing the beauty of the home. Here are a few items that become clutter once the home is for sale:

  1. Family photos.

    Antique Teapot
  2. Wall calendars.
  3. Refrigerator magnets.
  4. Too many house plants, real or fake.
  5. Too many books
  6. Doilies
  7. Throw rugs
  8.  Extra dining room chairs
  9. Large ottomans
  10. Large coffee tables
  11. Extra end tables
  12. Collections of almost anything

The important thing to remember is that it is alright to use our homes anyway we see fit but when it comes to selling a home it is all about marketing. Women, in particular, react negatively to “clutter”. Less really is more and when in doubt, leave it out. The general idea is to make the space look larger and a bit more generic.

My list is only partial and has the most common items that I ask homeowners to remove from rooms. Homes that are not decluttered sell too. The list is aimed at the homeowners that want to go that extra mile and put some effort into getting the most money for their home in the least amount of time.

The longer people have lived in a home the harder it is for them to de-clutter. As a service to my clients, I go through their homes before they put them on the market and make suggestions.

Taking security seriously

ibox
ibox

You may have seen the blue box hanging on the doorknob of a home for sale. They are electronic lockboxes that usually hold keys. Local real estate agents can open them using the ekey app that works on smartphones.

The app has to be reauthorized every day so that unauthorized persons can not use it.  Each time the box is opened the owner of the box can be notified and can get the identity of the person who opened it and the time it was opened.

The boxes can also be opened with an electronic key for those agents who do not want to use a smartphone app. The key is only available to members of REALTOR associations.

We can also program the boxes so that they can not be opened during certain hours like after 8:00 PM and before 8:00 AM. Homeowners can go to sleep at night knowing that no one can open the lockbox and get into the house.

If my home were on the market I wouldn’t want one of those combination lockboxes on it. I would want the security of an electronic lockbox.

 

 

 

Help selling your house

I’ll never understand why people contact me to help them sell their house when it is listed with a Realtor®. I will work with anyone

House
House

who hires me. I can’t afford to spend time helping someone else’s clients. I have to put my own clients first.

I use my experience and expertise to make a living. Sure I give free advice on this blog but it is so people can see why they should hire me it isn’t so people can have a free resource so that when their house doesn’t sell they can get advice.

No, I won’t help you sell our house unless we have a contract. Feel free to contact me and we can get the process started.