Surveys and ratings

Porch

It is hard to find a real estate agent with ratings lower than five stars. I work with real estate agents and I am not buying it.

It is common these days for customers of any business to be hounded until they fill out a survey. One way to get five stars is to only send the surveys to people who are likely to give high ratings.

The surveys ask questions that don’t matter and few that do. Believe me, it is possible for someone to be responsive and still do a lousy job.

For most businesses, the survey isn’t about getting feedback. it is all about getting high ratings that will be noticed on the internet by persons searching for goods and services.

Try giving business honest feedback. Most of the time there isn’t a way to even communicate with anyone outside of the survey. Real estate brokers are responsible for the work of real estate agents. In most cases, it is impossible to find out who the broker is.

Some service providers will hound their clients to fill out a survey. When I hire people to work on my house I tell them up front that I won’t fill out the survey but if they would like some honest feedback I would be happy to send it to them.

One great way to choose a real estate agent is to ask friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers for recommendations and then interviewing the agent.

Keep in mind that one experience buying one house with the help of one agent doesn’t really make someone an expert that is why it is important to interview real estate agents.

Asking people that you know in person is much better than asking all of your Facebook friends to weigh in. The best recommendations come from people who have had recent experience buying or selling a house.

REALTORS are often older women

During the past couple of weeks, several people have been surprised when I mentioned that there are more female REALTORS than male REALTORS. We are on average older than the rest of the workforce too.

When the National Associaton of REALTORS advertises our services they tend to use pictures or videos of young men and young women but that doesn’t represent who most of us are.

NAR believes that they need to actively advertise to younger people. Even if younger members join they will one day become older members and there is never a shortage of REALTORS, in fact, there are more than are needed.

Traditionally younger people are not attracted to jobs as independent contractors working on a 100% commission basis with no benefits. Most REALTORS are independent contractors who work on a 100% commission basis and only get paid after a successful closing.

It is true there are far more buses, bus benches and build boards with pictures of male REALTORS on them but when you get down to it women sell more real estate.

REALTOR isn’t an occupation. A REALTOR is someone who belongs to the National Association of Realtors. We are misunderstood but I don’t think anyone has time to read the thousands of words I could write on that topic. Here are some statistics:

REALTOR® Demographics
65% percent of REALTORS® are licensed as sales agents, 21% hold broker licenses, and 15% hold broker associate licenses.
The typical REALTOR® was a 54-year-old white female who attended college and was a homeowner.

67% of all REALTORS® were female, up from 63% last year.

33% of REALTORS are over 60.

The majority of REALTORS®—84%—owned their primary residence and 38% owned a secondary property.

54% of REALTORS® were affiliated with an independent company. (Like Boardman Realty)

Nearly 9 in 10 members were independent contractors at their firms.

9% of REALTORS® worked for a firm that was bought or merged in the past two years.

REALTORS® with 16 years or more experience had a median gross income of $71,000 compared to REALTORS® with 2 years or less experience that had a median gross income of $9,300.

The largest expense category for most REALTORS® was vehicle expenses, similar to last year, which was $1,370.

[SOURCE National Association of REALTORS]

Members of NAR are held to a code of ethics and standards of practice.

It is hard to survive in real estate sales in the Metro area without being a member of NAR. Most of the local real estate companies make joining NAR mandatory.

Boardman Realty is a 100% woman-owned and operated company.

When I write about bathrooms people read

Bathroom
Bathrooms

This site gets some traffic, a few thousand readers stop by every month. When I look at my analytics I can see that some of the most popular articles I have written are about bathrooms.

Bathrooms can be confusing. Most people understand how to use a bathroom, it is how we define bathrooms that gets confusing. In the MLS we see a total number of bathrooms.

They are all counted the same. When we read the fine print we find that there is a full bath on the second floor and a 3/4 bath in the basement and a room with a sink and toilet on the main floor.  This is super useful information. The total number of baths doesn’t have any fractions.

A full bath has a tub, a shower, and a sink and toilet. A three-quarter bath has a shower or tub, sink, and toilet. A half bath has a sink and toilet. A quarter bath is just a toilet or sink or shower or tub.

I was in one house many years ago that had 3 baths each was a quarter or a half bath. There was a quarter bath on the second floor which consisted of one bathtub. On the main floor, there was a 1/2 bath that had a toilet and sink in it. In the basement, there was a shower stall.

When I look for houses for sale I pay close attention to the bath descriptions. Homebuyers looking for three bathrooms might not consider the home that has one bathtub, one shower, one toilet a match.

People have asked why a house is listed as having 2 bathrooms rather than 1.25, 1.5, or 1.75 baths. That is a question I can’t answer.

Pro-tip for real estate agents and photographers: Close the toilet lid before photographing the bathroom.

Thanks for reading.

It is still just a dream

Martin Luther King Jr. day 2020, a  federal holiday, which means most banks, the post office, and government offices are closed.  Public schools are closed today too. Consult Google for special events being held in the area today.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr 1963

Minnesota and the Twin Cities are home to some of the worst racial disparities in the country. In metrics across the board—household income, unemployment rates, poverty rates, and educational attainment—the wealth gap between white people and people of color is significantly larger in Minnesota than it is most everywhere else. There is also a large gap in homeownership between people who are white and people of color. Homeowners have a significantly higher net worth than renters have which is one of the reasons for the large wealth gap.

Dr. Martin Luther King Speaking at the University of Minnesota
Dr. Martin Luther King Speaking at the University of Minnesota –

Photograph from the Minnesota Historical Society collection

Important papers – keep or toss?

To his dying day, my dad was worried about what he called “important papers”. My parents kept a lot of paper that they did not need to keep and they worried about the safety and the documents.

Papers like birth certificates, social security cards, and marriage licenses should be kept but each can be replaced if needed. I like to know where my passport is and I keep it locked up with my social security card.

There isn’t any reason to keep old bills and “canceled checks” or tax records that are more than 7 years old.

Homeowners do not need any kind of paper to prove ownership. It is all filed with the county and when it is time to sell a title company will verify the records. Deeds and mortgages are registered with the county.

Abstracts of title should be kept but are not needed to prove ownership.

There are some records that do come in handy when selling a home. Maintenance records and repair records and even old invoices and receipts for home repairs, improvements or maintenance.

It is wonderful when we know how old the siding is or when the roof was put on. I actually keep a written journal too. I know how old the furnace and water heater are and can prove it.

Some “papers” take up a lot of space and have information on them that an identity thief would love. They can also be a fire hazard.

Using both of my paper shredders is took months to shred the documents my parents kept for decades.

I have a metal lockbox with the documents I kept. There are some birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, diplomas, baptismal certificates, and antique property deeds and a couple of antique mortgage records for real estate that no longer exists.

In all, I have 4 generations worth of “important papers”, in a box that holds about as much as two shoe boxes.

Maybe this is the year to get rid of some of the excess papers in your home so that your children don’t have to deal with them all one day. January is the perfect time to go through papers and do some purging.