Price it right

Tudor style houseThe real estate market is ever changing but some things never change. Houses for sale get the most attention when they first hit the market. Homeowners often believe that if they ask for more money for their house they will get more money for it.

It doesn’t work that way. When a house is priced just a tad too high it sits on the market with no offers. The longer it is on the market the lower any offers on it will be. Sure the owner can always come down in price but if the goal is to get the most amount of money for the house it needs to be priced right from day one.

If a home is correctly priced in most cases it will get multiple offers which means it may sell for more than the asking price rather than less than the asking price.

I like to tell my clients who are buying a house that there are not many bargains on the market these days but if they want to pay less for a house find one that has been on the market for a couple of months and offer less than the asking price.

The best way to get the most for your home is to price it right so that it sells quickly. Right now in St. Paul homes are getting acceptable offers in 18 days or less.  If your house has been on the market longer it might be time to drop the price.

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.

Is this a good time to sell?

wooden houses

I get asked this question all the time. “is this a good time to sell my house?” The answer is yes.  Homes are selling despite the high-interest rates (over 6.5%). We are seeing cash buyers and buyers who are using home loans.

Houses are selling at a brisk pace in St. Paul. On average sellers are getting more than the asking price and multiple offers are common. Houses are on the market for an average of 10 to 12 days on market.

The question that is harder to answer is: “Is this a good time to buy a house?”  For people who like to pay interest and don’t mind the debt, I would say it is a no-brainer.

If the alternative is renting, on the one hand, rents are high, on the other hand, renters have more flexibility.

Not my department

I went into a store yesterday and found an item that did not have a price on it. I asked the young man stocking the display for a price. He looked at the item and verified that it did not have a price on it and said “not my department”

I asked if he could get the price. He told me that it wasn’t his department.

Sometimes I experience this on the job with real estate teams. If we ask one team member a question there is a good chance we will be sent to another team member for an answer. Information is not shared across real estate teams.

If one member of a real estate team can not make it to an appointment another team member will not fill in for them.

When a team member locks the door in between the house and garage and the homeowner is locked out no matter how large the team is or how large the office or real estate company is there isn’t anyone available to help.


Large teams kind of remind me of large companies. There is often a lot of bureaucracy, little communication, and responsibility for customers or clients is diffused to the point where no one cares.

Real estate teams also tend to cause more work for other agents. They have systems and procedures that make more work for the rest of us. These systems are needed for internal team communication.

There are some real estate teams that do a fantastic job.

Clients should not assume that agents who are part of a team will provide better service. Sometimes the opposite is true.

Don’t forget the flowers

If your house 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.

The flowers add a splash of color and they show that someone cares about the property.

Flowers inside the house are a good idea too. They look great in pictures. Heck, they make any room look better.


Use AI to write “love letters”

We advise against accepting “love letters” when selling a house. Accepting the best offer with the best terms is the way to go. Sometimes buyers write letters thatVictorian house include too much information about them, their family status, and more.

Sellers who accept one offer over another based on personal information about the buyers may be in violation of fair housing laws.

However, we all know that love letters work and it is possible to submit a letter that is all about the house and not about the buyers.

I have been experimenting with ChatGPT and love letters. Here is one for a Victorian-style house:

Dear Homeowner,

I am writing to express my admiration for your beautiful Victorian home. From the moment I saw it, I knew it was the one for me. The natural woodwork and new paint job are absolutely stunning and truly capture the essence of the Victorian era.

As I walked through the house, I was struck by the attention to detail and the thoughtful design that went into every aspect of the home. The two-story layout is both spacious and cozy, and the natural light that floods the rooms is simply breathtaking.

One of my favorite things about the home is the way it seamlessly blends old-world charm with modern amenities. From the updated kitchen to the modern bathroom fixtures, it’s clear that the home has been meticulously maintained and cared for over the years.

I can envision myself spending countless happy hours in the charming backyard, enjoying the peace and tranquility of the surrounding neighborhood.

As a prospective buyer, I can assure you that I would cherish this home and treat it with the utmost care and respect. I understand the value of a home like yours and I am willing to make a fair offer that reflects the beauty and uniqueness of the property.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my interest in your home. I hope to have the opportunity to make it mine and continue to appreciate its timeless beauty for years to come.


[Your Name]

Not bad! It has the right tone of flattering the homeowner and at the same time, I can’t see anything in it about who the buyer is.