Sales down prices up

FernHere are the latest national housing numbers from the National Association of Realtors:

Single-family home sales sat at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 3.94 million in April, down 16.9% from 4.74 million in March, and down 15.5% from one year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $288,700 in April, up 7.3% from April 2019.

Minnesota gets lumped in with the Midwest as part of a housing region:

Existing-home sales decreased 12.0% in the Midwest to an annual rate of 1.10 million, down 8.3% from a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $229,200, a 9.3% increase from April 2019.

Homes are still selling quickly in the metro area.

Homebuyers are waiting for prices to go down. They are likely to continue to rise this year due to high demand and low supply. Next week I’ll have some numbers for home sales in St. Paul.

April Home Sales by neighborhood  in St. Paul 

What is a clean house?

Clean often becomes an issue for home buyers. They want to move into a clean house but when they do the final walkthrough they discover the house isn’t clean.

The word clean doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. During our current pandemic clean has taken on a whole new meaning. REALTORS do not agree on the meaning of clean.

At the very least belongings should be removed from the home and the floors swept for the new owners. The refrigerator, stove, and microwave should be cleaned inside and out. Toilets, tubs, sinks, and showers should be cleaned too.

We often assume that because someone owns a home that they know how to clean it. I haven’t found that to be true.

Sometimes the sellers say they cleaned the house and the buyer says they didn’t and they are both right.

Buyers can ask for a specific level of cleaning in the purchase agreement. They can ask to have carpets shampooed and can ask to have a professional cleaning service to perform a “move out cleaning”.

That doesn’t mean that the house will be clean enough. Your best bet is to ask to have it cleaned and then plan on having the home professionally cleaned before you move in or plan on cleaning it yourself.

I have never moved into a house or apartment without cleaning it first.

If I were to sell my home I would clean it or have it cleaned. I know from experience that if a home is clean buyers are less likely to want to go to court if there is a problem with the house shortly have they move in.


The great get together cancelled

Minnesota State Fair -2019 opening day.

The Minnesota State Fair is officially canceled. That hasn’t happened since the polio outbreak in 1946. The first fair was held in 1859. This will be the sixth time the fair has been canceled. It was canceled four times because of wars, and this will be the second time because of disease.

As I think back to last year when I attended the fair and how crowded it was I know that I would not have the courage to go this year. It is sad to see it canceled. I think we will all remembered 2020 for a long time and 2019 will be remembered as the time before.


Two wheels instead of four

It is Friday ad Fridays are for fun. I think Memorial Day is going to be a lot like Easter was. It will be warmer outside but that is the only difference I can think of.

Bike sales are way up. I am not at all surprised. Biking has been growing in popularity for several years. It is a wonderful way to get some exercise and enjoy nature while staying at least six feet away from the hoards of others who are doing the same thing.

My weekend plans include biking. I have been out a few times this year on the days when it has been warm enough to go outside and days without rain or gale-force winds. My bike is my favorite way to get to the Saint Paul Farmer’s market which is a wonderful place to buy food and support local farmers.

As the weather started to get warmer I noticed that the parks by my house got crowded. Biking seems safer right now especially on the city streets where there isn’t much traffic.

I took the picture year on Labor Day on the bike trail that goes past Pickeral lake in Lilydale Regional Park.

Bike trail
Bike trail – Pickeral lake

Have a wonderful weekend, stay safe, and enjoy the outside any way you can.

Open houses are back

open houseDuring the Governors “Stay at home” order open houses were not allowed. There were a few open houses here and there but not many. Under the new “Stay Safe” order open houses are allowed.

Houses that are for sale often sell in a couple of days or hours without any kind of an open house. Open houses are a great opportunity for real estate agents to prospect and for homebuyers to do a little shopping. They are also an opportunity for neighbors and people who like to see houses.

The agents who are having open houses must do so in a safe way by limiting the number of people who can go in the house and requiring masks and keeping people at least six feet apart. Anything that people touch needs to be sanitized before, after, and during the open house.

If you have a home to sell you can say no to open houses. If you do not want anyone touring the house you can say no to showings. Homebuyers will make offers based on the pictures subject to inspection. During the inspection period, the buyer can tour the home with the inspector.

I have been out touring with home buyers. I have masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer for them. We can stay six feet apart. On some level touring homes for sale is safer than going to the grocery store. It took me weeks to accumulate enough PPE work with clients.

For now, selling real estate is fairly easy. The demand is high and the prices are not going down. We anticipate finishing the year with home prices up slightly from 2019. Open houses are not a not an essential part of the home sales process.