Contractor – red flags

Unfortunately, not all home improvement companies are ethical. Here are some of the red flags I have encountered while searching for a roofing contractor:

  1. The salesperson who asks if I am married and then insisted that the spouse be present for his presentation. They do this because they use high-pressure sales tactics and they don’t want the homeowner to delay making a decision to discuss it with a spouse.
  2. The company says that they will be in the neighborhood next week and pushes to schedule an appointment. It is true they will be in the neighborhood if you schedule an appointment.
  3. Promises of a big discount if you sign up right now. They will tell you the can only offer you the discount right now.
  4. Asking various questions to determine the age of the homeowners. This is done so that the salesperson knows ahead of time to use techniques designed to scare, bully or intimidate the homeowners.
  5. The roofing company says that while they are looking at the roof they will inspect the attic for mold. I call that the old mold in the attic routine. Since mold is everywhere on the planet there is a 100% chance mold will be found in your attic. Please hire a specialist if you are concerned about mold, not a roofing salesperson.

There is more. In the past couple of weeks, we have seen a few invoices for some outrageous charges our clients have paid to plumbers and electricians.

Often the plumbers or electricians are found online and they have a lot of reviews and most are favorable yet the prices they charge appear to be at a minimum twice as high as others pay for the same services.

Try to do a little research to find out what average cost for various types of work is.  The biggest company isn’t always the best choice neither are the franchises and the company with the best online appointment system may not give the best service when it comes to doing the repair.

what is wrong with that house?

Lately, we have been seeing houses go off the market because the seller accepted an offer but the house goes back on the market a short time later. It happens and it isn’t always about the house. Sometimes the buyers change their minds and we are seeing more of that these days.

Homebuyers compete for houses and have to make decisions quickly because houses do not stay on the market long. It is easy to get swept up in the process and sometimes the drama. Once buyers have a chance to think about it or look the property over again they regret making that over the asking price offer.

The house ultimately ends up back on the market and sometimes it will go on and off more than once before the offer sticks.

Sometimes offers do fall through because of the house and sometimes they fall through because of the buyer and sometimes it is a combination of the two. Do not reject a house because it had an offer on it that fell through. At least give it a look.



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