The weather has never been better

We get the best weather this time of year. It is cooler and dryer but not cold and right now the air isn’t smokey. The air conditioner is on but it does run much if at all and the furnace isn’t needed yet.

It is a great time for indoor and outdoor painting and landscaping projects and window washing too. Also great for walking, biking, and just being outside.

It is also a wonderful time to go house hunting. The number of houses on the market is up slightly.

If you are a homeowner planning to sell in the next year take some fall pictures of your house as the leaves start to turn.

Enjoy the weather any way that you can. We all know what comes next.

Maple Leaf
Maple leaf


It isn’t over until it is over


Nearly 60,000 home purchase agreements were canceled in August, which is equal to 15.7% of homes that went under contract that month.

According to new data from Redfin, August’s percentage of canceled deals is up from 14.3% one year ago, and it is also the highest percentage since October 2022.

These cancellations are likely due to the fact that mortgage interest rates rose to more than 7%.

Yet, I think it is important for homeowners to understand that there is always the chance that a home buyer will back out due to a job loss or an accident or yes even cold feet.

We do our best to weed out the offers that have the most red flags but things happen that are beyond our control, or beyond anyone’s control. There were a few home purchases that were canceled in the early days of the pandemic as some homebuyers were laid off.

The home is sold after the closing and not before.

August 2023 home sales in Minnesota

Sales continued to soften in August, but home prices showed their largest year-over-year gain in over 12 months. Many would-be sellers are choosing to stay put for now. Most sellers are also buyers, and higher mortgage rates combined with higher prices have truly harmed affordability.

MNR President Emily Green said, “We’re seeing people stay in their homes longer, particularly if they have an attractive mortgage rate. Some call this the ‘lock-in effect’ and it’s preventing needed inventory from hitting the market.”

August Year-Over-Year Summary of Key Market Indicators: 

  • Closed sales: 7,412 (down 11.8%)
  • Median sales price: $349,650 (up 5.5%)
  • Average sales price: $408,107 (up 6.3%)
  • New listings: 9,124 (down 0.4%)
  • Pending sales: 6,806 (down 10.6%)
  • Days on the market: 31 (up 6.9%)
  • Homes for sale: 13,493 (down 4.7%)

In September the number of homes on the market is higher in the metro area than it was in August but still very low.

August home sales in Minnesota
August 2023 home sales in Minnesota

Apple season is here

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. Earlier this week I bought 3/4 of a bushel of apples at the Saint Paul Farmer’s market. There is a grower who sells a 1/4 peck bag of apples for cooking. They are a mix of sweet and tart apples. With the help of my daughter, we made and canned 26 pints of sauce.

I’ll be making some apple pie this weekend and some apple crisp to put in the freezer. If you look around you will notice that apples are less expensive this time of year than at any other time.

Going to the orchard is always fun too.


There is staging and there is staging

chairI believe that houses should be staged before they go on the market. I am finding that “staging” doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. To me, it starts with cleaning decluttering, and, removing excess stuff as needed.

It means taking the magnets off the front of the fridge and I really encourage people to pack up the Hummel collection and the snow babies too. Sometimes rooms can be staged by rearranging the furniture, removing a piece or two, and adding fresh flowers.

I like to add green plants too but it is important to not overdo it. Plants take up space and they can make the home look cluttered.

Some houses need fresh paint. Choose neutral colors and keep it light. Do not paint every room’s walls and ceiling the same color. There isn’t any one color that everyone likes which is why neutrals work the best.

I often end up recommending that throw rugs be removed. It really depends on how many rugs and where they are. The whole idea is to de-personalize the home a bit so that buyers can imagine it as their own.

Loading a house up with rented furniture usually isn’t necessary but if the homeowners want to go that route I ask them to pay the rental fees.

All too often I see “staged” homes that have too much in them. It is as if every square inch of the place needs to look like it has a special purpose. I have seen some bad staging over the years.

Sometimes less is more as it allows the buyers to imagine the house with their own furnishings.