Sales down prices up

FernHere are the latest national housing numbers from the National Association of Realtors:

Single-family home sales sat at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 3.94 million in April, down 16.9% from 4.74 million in March, and down 15.5% from one year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $288,700 in April, up 7.3% from April 2019.

Minnesota gets lumped in with the Midwest as part of a housing region:

Existing-home sales decreased 12.0% in the Midwest to an annual rate of 1.10 million, down 8.3% from a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $229,200, a 9.3% increase from April 2019.

Homes are still selling quickly in the metro area.

Homebuyers are waiting for prices to go down. They are likely to continue to rise this year due to high demand and low supply. Next week I’ll have some numbers for home sales in St. Paul.

April Home Sales by neighborhood  in St. Paul 

What is a clean house?

Clean often becomes an issue for home buyers. They want to move into a clean house but when they do the final walkthrough they discover the house isn’t clean.

The word clean doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. During our current pandemic clean has taken on a whole new meaning. REALTORS do not agree on the meaning of clean.

At the very least belongings should be removed from the home and the floors swept for the new owners. The refrigerator, stove, and microwave should be cleaned inside and out. Toilets, tubs, sinks, and showers should be cleaned too.

We often assume that because someone owns a home that they know how to clean it. I haven’t found that to be true.

Sometimes the sellers say they cleaned the house and the buyer says they didn’t and they are both right.

Buyers can ask for a specific level of cleaning in the purchase agreement. They can ask to have carpets shampooed and can ask to have a professional cleaning service to perform a “move out cleaning”.

That doesn’t mean that the house will be clean enough. Your best bet is to ask to have it cleaned and then plan on having the home professionally cleaned before you move in or plan on cleaning it yourself.

I have never moved into a house or apartment without cleaning it first.

If I were to sell my home I would clean it or have it cleaned. I know from experience that if a home is clean buyers are less likely to want to go to court if there is a problem with the house shortly have they move in.


Real Estate Hot Spot

Stay at home orders have been in effect in Minnesota for almost two months yet home sales have remained strong. Homes on the market are getting fewer private showings but they are still selling quickly and prices are still rising.

Median home sale prices have risen more in St. Paul than they have in the rest of the Twin Cities metro area. The data used in the graph is from the NorthstarMLS which is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.


Home improvement projects

There are a lot of DIY home improvement projects going on right now. Garden expansions are also popular.  More than 3 in 4


potential sellers – 77% – are preparing to sell their homes following the end of stay-at-home orders, with half completing do-it-yourself home improvement projects, according to a new survey from the National Association of Realtors®.

If you are planning to sell this year and are at home with a little extra time start with repairs, cleaning, decluttering, and painting. If the goal is to get the most for your home landscaping, kitchen backsplashes, storm doors, and neutral paint will give you the most bang for your buck.

Poorly done DIY home improvement projects can decrease the value of your home but tens of thousands of dollars. There are many contractors working right now who would be happy to have your business.

Every house looks better with flowers

If your home is on the market this spring don’t forget the flowers. Put them in planters or hanging baskets or window boxes or plant them in the ground. I recently put some “pandemic” pansies on my porches. My house isn’t for sale but the flowers make it look like someone cares. Soon it will be time for the geraniums, impatiens and petunias.