Why aren’t my rates published?


Why aren’t my “rates” published? Good question and I have heard it a few times. I usually charge a commission that is payable after a successful closing. My rates are always negotiable and I don’t charge the same in every situation.

Usually, my commission is based upon the sale price of the real estate I am selling. I do sometimes charge an hourly rate for my services.

I don’t charge the same amount in every situation. I generally give discounts to past clients.

The only time I get paid is after a successful closing. That means I can do my job and if a home loan falls through I don’t get paid.

Most people would rather have a job with a steady paycheck and benefits than wake up every morning unemployed like I do.

Some homeowners believe that there is a kind of standard rate that we all charge. Brokers are not allowed to discuss commissions with each other or set prices. I don’t have any way of finding out what the average commission is.

The people who “know” how much we all charge usually end up paying more. They kind of tell me how much I charge and I just go along with it. Why not?

If someone wants to negotiate a rate that I think is too low, I just say no. Sometimes the customer will offer more and other times I move on.

There is a kind of standard negotiating tactic that real estate agents are taught to use where they more or less say that if they accept a lower commission they are not good enough negotiators to get the best price for the house.

I don’t use that argument because it is the homeowners who decide how much they will accept and it is my job to help them get it. When I agree to a lower commission I still work just as hard to do my job.

There isn’t any law that says that a company has to publish a price list. It isn’t illegal to buy or sell real estate without the help of a real estate agent either, which is one of the many reasons why I consider it a privilege to work with my clients and I thank them for choosing me.

What is the MLS

There is a company called “MLS on line” but it isn’t the MLS. MLS stands for Multiple Listing Service. Those local listings that might be found on Zillow or any real estate website or Realtor dot com probably got there via a data feed from the Northstar MLS.

I often explain the MLS to my clients. There are a lot of rules about the data because accuracy is very important. A 1.5 story house can not be listed as a two-story house. If the home has two bedrooms we can’t just call it a three-bedroom. Inaccuracies are quickly reported and changes are made to keep it accurate.

Homes can not be put in the MLS unless there is a listing contract between the real estate broker and the property owner.

I found this nifty little info-graphic that explains the MLS . . well at least kind of. I like to think of it as a real estate market place. Those who wish to avoid it can sell their own home without listing it with a real estate company.

When listing with a REALTOR homeowners can give authorization to keep their home off the MLS. It is rarely if ever in the homeowner’s best interests to keep their home off the MLS.

The MLS is also part of the reason home buyers can search for free and real estate agents do not have to pay to have a home for sale show up on multiple websites.

The MLS in action

Also see Broker Reciprocity

Oh and MLS also stands for Major League Soccer, and NAR stands for National Association of Realtors or National Association of Rocketry.

Vacation counties in Minnesota

NAR (National Association of Realtors)  identified a county as a vacation home county if the vacant housing for seasonal, recreational, or occasional use made up 20 percent or more of the county’s total housing stock.1 6.6% of 3,141 counties were vacation home counties in 2017. Three Minnesota counties are on the list of top 26 vacation home counties: Atkin, Itaska and Cass counties. 38.2% of the properties in these counties are seasonal recreational properties.

Number one on the list was Nantucket MA. There were 4 Wisconsin counties in the top 26: Vilas, Lincoln, Langlade, Forest and Oneida counties all with 42.8% vacation properties.

Vacation Counties – NAR study

My favorite Minnesota counties to vacation in are St. Louis, Lake and Cook Counties. There are many lovely places in Minnesota to vacation and Minnesotan’s just love to own cabins in Wisconsin. The demand for vacation property is strong partly due to the increase in the number of wealthy people. The demand for tents that can be used as housing is also strong because of the increase in poverty.

lake superior
Lake Superior – lake county Minnesota near Beaver Bay MN




Vote yes, or vote no, please vote


Please get out and vote. There are elections for city council seats and for the school board. There will be a vote on one of the most important issues of our time. Trash collection.

If you don’t know where to go to vote find out by using the poll finder.

If you are not sure who or what to vote for educate yourself before you get to the poll, view this sample ballot

Dispose of unused prescription drugs today.


Today is national prescription drug take-back day. Please dispose of leftover prescription drugs responsibly.  Find drop off locations on the DEA website.

The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.2 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs.

The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.

The DEA’s Take Back Day events provide an opportunity for Americans to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths.

Don’t rake those leaves

Maple leaf
Maple leaf

You don’t need to rake all of those pretty leaves. There are a few reasons not to.  The leaves provide shelter and even food for animals like chipmunks, box turtles, and earthworms. Butterfly pupae use the layers for protection as they grow over the chilly months.

As the leaves decompose (no, they won’t litter your lawn forever), they form a natural mulch and help fertilize the soil. They can be mulched with the lawnmower next spring.

Leaves do not belong in the trash. If you must rake take them to one of them to a compost site. Personally, I like to photograph them. Have you ever photographed a leaf using a macro lens?