Who we really are

When I look at pictures of Realtors in advertising I most often see pictures of young men and young women. They are dressed in suits and if there are more than two in the picture, there is a young man and a young woman with darker skin.

Who we really are is a group of the is 66% woman and typically around 56 years of age and probably white. You would never guess that there are more women Realtors than male Realtors.

Most real estate agents are independent contractors which means they control their own schedule and where they work ad even how many hours they work. Since women are also responsible for the majority of unpaid work being an independent contractor is a bonus.

In real estate sales positions there are no glass ceilings.  There is some age discrimination but it isn’t as bad on the job as it is in other aspects of life. Real estate sales positions have always attracted an older demographic because there are no benefits, like vacation pay or health insurance.

During times of high unemployment, we see an increase in the number of Realtors. Membership also increases during times when home sales are up as they have been during the last two years. Real estate companies are always “hiring”. Real estate agents should interview a few brokers and choose wisely.

 

realtor profile 2022
Realtor profile 2022

 

August brings changes to real estate forms

Every year changes are made to the Minnesota real estate forms that most Realtors use. For 2022 there is an addition to the purchase agreements:

“Discriminatory restrictive covenants (e.g. 312. provisions against conveyance of property to any person of a specified religious faith, creed, national origin, race, or 313. color) are illegal and unenforceable. An owner of real property may permanently remove such restrictive covenants 314. from the title by recording a statutory form in the office of the county recorder of any county where the property is located”

In 2020 I was a volunteer for the deed mapping project. I read Ramey County deeds and flagged those that have race-based restrictive covenants.

In some neighborhoods, developers put restrictions on deeds so that homes could only be sold to white people. Here is an example:

“ E. No persons of any race other than the Aryan race shall use or occupy any building or any lot, except that this covenant shall not prevent occupancy by domestic servants of a different race domiciled with an owner or tenant.” 

The restrictions were put in place during the first part of the 20th century and might be part of the reason why our neighborhoods are still segregated.

The deed restrictions or restrictive covenants can not be enforced but they still exist on some deeds and can now be legally removed. I like to point out that even though there isn’t a racially based deed restriction on the deed to my house I am relatively sure that the land that it sits on was stolen from the native people most likely Anishinabe.

Even though I did not personally take the land and it happened before I was born I have benefited from owning it.

Realtors played a role in helping to enforce discriminatory restrictive covenants as did the local and federal governments and banks. The National Association of Realtors did issue a formal apology a few years ago.

We can always count on change

The housing market is always changing but during good times, bad times, and the worst times people buy and sell houses.

Higher interest rates and higher home prices will start to have an impact on the housing market. Demand will likely stay high but houses may stay on the market longer and get fewer offers.  There is only about a month’s supply of houses on the market.

When the pandemic came and we were all told to stay home a buyer got laid off from her job in the hospitality industry and we had to put a house back on the market. It sold three days later for slightly more than the previous buyer had offered.

For a couple of days, I wondered if home values would go down. Values went up and rose during the pandemic as people started moving around.

When there was civil unrest in the Twin Cities home sales came to a screeching halt for a few days but then rebounded to a new high, partly due to low-interest rates.

I sold houses during the great recession and the housing market crash. I sold them when interest rates were over 7%. I sold them during buyer’s markets and seller’s markets.

If there is a recession this year or next houses will be bought and sold, rented, and rehabbed too.

Selling a house is a project that needs to be managed. The best strategies for managing it changes with the market.

I feel fortunate to have had experience with every type of housing market.  The housing market is kind of like Minnesota weather. We can count on change and variety.

 

From 2012 to 2022


We can call this throwback Thursday. In May of 2012 homes sold for an average of 166 thousand in St. Paul with a median sale price of $125,000. In May 0f 2022 the median sale price for a house in St. Paul was 286K and the average was 325K.

If you bought a house in 2012 it may have doubled in value or maybe not but you probably have a lot of equity. Mortgage interest rates were at 3.8% by the end of May 2012.

2012 was a good year with the recession and the housing market crash behind us and home prices starting to rise back to what they were in 2006 when median home prices were 200K and the average sale price was 238K.

 

 

Homeownership is still good

I have met many people during my twenty-year career in real estate. I occasionally meet people who do not want to be homeowners but it is fairly rare. I

The house I grew up in

sometimes find articles written by people who regret purchasing a house. Usually, it is because they purchased the wrong house or bought at the wrong time.

The wrong house is usually a house that is too expensive and the wrong time is usually at a time in a person’s life when they can benefit from being able to easily move.

Homeownership can be expensive but so is renting. In the long run, owning real estate builds wealth.

According to the National Association of Realtors, in a recent survey: 

“Nearly 75% of Americans say that owning a home is a more significant measure of achievement than having a successful career or even raising a family, according to a survey from Bankrate.com of about 2,500 adults.

Seventy-four percent of survey respondents rated homeownership as the highest gauge of prosperity. It topped being able to retire (66%); having a successful career (60%); owning a car, truck, or other automobile (50%); having children (40%), and earning a college degree (35%).

Older adults are more likely to rate homeownership highest, the survey finds. Eighty-five percent of baby boomers and 78% of Gen X selected homeownership over other items compared to 59% of Gen Z and 65% of millennials, the survey shows.”

Don’t wait for the price to go down

coins
spare change

More homeowners are decreasing their asking price. That isn’t something we have seen very often. It is still a seller’s market. My advice to buyers is the same as it has always been.

If a home has been on the market for a couple of weeks don’t wait for the sellers to drop the price because when they do there will be multiple offers. Go ahead and make an offer for less than the asking price and be prepared to negotiate. The sellers might say no but they could say yes.

For houses that were just listed buyers can offer less than the asking price but most sellers will not accept less than the asking price right after they put the house on the market. Most would rather wait for a better offer.

In general housing prices are still rising but they won’t rise by much this year due to higher interest rates . . . . or at least that is my current theory.

Waiting for the price to go down rarely works but miracles can happen.