Instant offers for your house


Instant offer programs, sometimes called “guaranteed offers”  are gaining popularity. The way it works is a company buys your house. They turn around and sell it. Homeowners don’t have to make repairs and can close quickly or even on the exact day they want to close.

Generally, the homeowner gets less money than she would get in a traditional sale but it is fast and convenient and there is almost always a price for convenience. The guesswork is taken out of selling the home. No need to wonder when an offer will come or when it will close.

If you read the fine print you will learn that there are some restrictions and that the house must qualify. Houses in St. Paul rarely qualify because they are too old.  Usually, they have to have been built after 1969 and even that is too old for some of the instant buyers.

There is one company that will even buy old houses that need a lot of work and there are investors who will buy houses, fix them up and sell them.

You can sell any home quickly in St. Paul without ever having an open house and without making any repairs or upgrading anything.

Real estate has always been an asset that takes time to liquidate. Maybe that will change someday even for old houses.  Until then I would be happy to help sell any old house in St. Paul. I actually like old houses.




When the buyer backs out

This year we are noticing an uptick in home buyers making an offer on a home for sale and then backing out during the inspection phase. 

Often buyers do not have much of a chance to look at or think about their purchase. Houses sell quickly and often get multiple offers. Sometimes they make offers on a house and then as they have time to think about it get cold feet.

Usually, the house can be put right back on the market and if there were multiple offers the seller can accept another buyers offer. Home sellers can and should keep collecting offers until the sale closes.

I wish buyers wouldn’t back out and the best advice I can offer is if possible buyers should ask for a second showing to see the property again before actually making an offer. Most of the time when the buyer backs out there isn’t anything wrong with the house itself, the problem is with the buyer.

There really isn’t any way that home sellers can prevent a buyer from backing out. Even buyers who offer a lot of earnest money will occasionally back out but usually before their earnest money is at risk.

Sometimes home buyers will ask for a lot of repairs as a way to back out of a purchase. I had some buyers that did that a few years back. Instead of telling me that another home was on the market that they liked better they came up with a lengthy list of repairs and upgrades.  When the sellers said no they canceled the purchase and go their earnest money back.

Not enough space?

I see the inside of maybe 300 homes a year. Many if not most homes do not have enough storage space, possibly because the occupants have too much stuff. That is why rental storage spaces have become so popular.

Storage lockers can be very handy for home sellers who can remove excess furniture and possessions from their house and store them.

When I needed to move my parents I rented storage space because it gave us some flexibility and time to figure out what to do with excess stuff. I just couldn’t make decisions fast enough as I prepared their home for sale.

Rented storage space is also nice for people who move often.

Personally, I think having less is best but that isn’t always easy to achieve.

storage lockers


Other people’s clients looking for a second opinion

realtor_r_blueIt happens all the time. Home sellers and buyers who are under contract with a real estate agent want a second opinion so they call or email another agent. It is easy to second guess another agent but I won’t do it. I don’t know the whole story and I am not comfortable judging someone else. There are all sorts of situations where people want free advice . . . because it is free.

Sometimes people get their second opinions from friends and family via Facebook or other social media sites. That isn’t where I would ever go for a second opinion but for a lot of people when they need advice even medical advice that is where they go.  It is pretty easy to find a real estate agent who will give free advice to other people’s clients.

People who are having trouble with a real estate agent should talk to that agent. If the agent isn’t doing his or her job as outlined in the buyers or sellers contracts buyers or sellers can ask the agent to cancel the contract.

If that doesn’t work or isn’t an option the next step is to call the real estate company and ask to talk to the broker. Real estate agents work under real estate brokers and the broker is responsible for the agent’s actions. Most brokers will defend whatever their agent does because . . . that is what they do.

If the agent is a Realtor® (Member of the national association of Realtors) and has done something unethical consumers can file an ethics complaint through the Minnesota Association of Realtors. There is a code of ethics and the specific article that was violated needs to be stated in the complaint.

Humans are exposed to mold indoors and out

I drew this myself

There is a 100% chance that the home you live in and the one that you buy in the future has mold in it. Mold is everywhere.

This is what the Minnesota Department of Health has to say about mold testing:

Poor reason for testing #1 “To find out if there is mold”

A complex mixture of mold particles normally exists in all occupied indoor environments. If appropriate testing is done, it is expected that molds will be found. There is, however, an important distinction between the normal presence of mold particles, versus mold growth and accumulation indoors. Unfortunately, even when it is done well, testing may not be able to distinguish between “normal” and “problem” conditions and it may even give misleading results.”

To lessen mold growth in your home, seal up any leaks, dry everything out. Clean or remove moldy surfaces. The Minnesota Department of Health website has information about how to clean up mold using bleach and water. 

I know it was just last month that I wrote about Lead-Based Paint because it is safe to assume most St. Paul houses including my own contain lead-based paint.