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.

Not your typical spring real estate market

There isn’t much on the market this spring. That was true last spring too as the homes that were for sale were quickly purchased.

This year fewer Twin Cities homeowners are selling. The houses that are on the market sell very quickly. There is a 1.5-month supply of houses on the market in the metro area.

New listings are down 21.29%.  Higher interest rates are largely to blame. Homeowners are staying put rather than moving and paying higher interest rates. We are seeing a lot of cash offers this spring too.

Graph showing new listings
New listings in the Twin Cities Metro area


Real estate buyers in mid 2020 through the end of 2021

Home prices are still going up in the Twin Cities Metro area. If you bought your house in the second half of 2020 or in 2021 it might not be worth quite as much as you paid for it even though the value has gone up.

Multiple offers on homes for sale were very common during that period and often the sale price was well over the asking price. It is quite possible that some home buyers overpaid. Some overpaid by tens of thousands of dollars.

Buying a house and selling it two years later is always an expensive proposition. It won’t take long for the house to be worth t but what was paid for it. Expect to own the home for at least five years, seven to ten years would be even better.

Buying a house is not the best short-term investment.

Asking for repairs this spring

turretI encourage home buyers to ask for a complete home inspection. For the last couple of years, buyers were skipping the inspections to make their offers more competitive.

This year buyers are asking for inspections and some are asking for repairs. Some of the repair requests are kind of silly and they seem to just irritate the homeowner. Especially in cases where the buyer knew about the need for repair when they made the offer.

Inexperienced real estate agents can mess things up by asking that a licensed professional adjust a door or caulk a window.

No licensure is needed for caulking or door repair or for many of the household tasks and repairs that buyers ask for.

A real estate agent is a licensed professional.

I something is leaking or not working asking for a repair makes sense. Some of the repairs that buyers ask for are upgrades, improvements, or home maintenance items that a well-meaning inspector is suggesting.

Sellers who wish to sell without making any repairs should put in writing that they will not be making repairs. The language can be put in the MLS so that buyers see it on the internet before they even see the house.

Home buyers should understand that sellers can say no to repairs and sometimes it really is easier and less expensive to put the house back on the market and sell it to someone else than it is to have the repairs made.