An ending and a begining


butterflies on a zinnia
Monarch Butterflies on a Zinnia in my garden

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. Today is a special Friday because it is the last day of July 2020. So far this year each month has seemed like three or four months when I look back at all of the things that have happened.

The highlight of the month for me was the haircut I got last week. It is the little things but I guess getting a haircut is a big thing.

We had anniversaries and birthdays to celebrate in July and we ended up taking an imagination vacation and we are planning another for August.

My family informed me that Thanksgiving as we know it isn’t going to happen this year. I kind of knew that but didn’t want to say it or hear it.

I have some ideas for a virtual thanksgiving. I think the cooking is going to be real.

I have no expectations for August other than a shock or two and probably some hot weather.


Getting meaningful housing market news

Infographic from National Association of Realtors

Before I even launch into this I need to mention that real estate is local. There are always nationwide trends and they are important but base your decisions about buying or selling real estate mostly on the local numbers and market conditions.

Housing is in the news a lot lately and I think it is at least partly because during the last recession the housing market crashed. The pain is still fresh for many and they may be worried about the value of their real estate.

Fear not the value of your real estate in St. Paul and Minneapolis continues to rise.

I am seeing news about how nationally June pending home sales were up 16.6% from May pending home sales. (NAR)

I believe that activity slowed during the lockdowns and what we are seeing in those pending sales is activity from March and April postponed until May.

There will be fewer home sales in the metro area this year than there were last year.  Fewer homes for sale each year is part of a 7-year trend. Locally the pandemic has strengthened that trend.

Without the pandemic, I had predicted that the trend would continue until about 2025. Right now making predictions five years into the future is just silly. The future has been changed but will remain open in spite of COVID-19.

There is news about how the housing market is recovering. That implies that something bad happened that we needed to recover from. I don’t see it except for the fact that there are fewer homes on the market and they are more expensive than ever. We definitely have not recovered from that.

It is hard to determine what the long term effect of the pandemic will be on housing or even the full impact in 2020. I am not the first to say that we don’t have a similar event we can compare the pandemic to.

It is a good sign that after home sales fell during the “stay at home order” they rebounded again. I will need a few more months’ data before I am convinced that it is time for the happy dance.

Here are some recent statistics for the Twin Cities from the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors:

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending July 18:

• New Listings decreased 9.1% to 1,753

• Pending Sales increased 10.2% to 1,541

• Inventory decreased 27.2% to 9,339

For the month of June 2020:

• Median Sales Price increased by 5.2% to $304,995

• Days on Market increased by 2.4% to 42

• Percent of Original List Price Received decreased 0.4% to 99.6%

• Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased by 29.6% to 1.9

If you would like to sell your house or a house this year it is still an excellent year for selling houses quickly and for top dollar.

I’ll have July home sales numbers for St. Paul next week.

Moving isn’t always the best option

I haven’t met anyone who really likes to move. The process can be stressful and time-consuming. Sometimes there are less expensive alternatives.

If you need a space that looks nice on camera for work/business you might not have to move to create such a space. My home office is fine for most everything but looks a little too homey on camera.  When I need a classier location for a video meeting I go to what I call my “ZOOM room”. The set-up works for any kind of virtual video meeting, but I use ZOOM.

I  moved a small desk away from the wall and hung up a large piece of green fabric on the wall to create a green screen. I can choose from a variety of backgrounds so that it looks like I am in a large office, or on a beach or in a yurt because I really like yurts. If I lived in a warmer climate I would have a yurt for an office.

In the before time the room was used for overnight guests. Most any room works and it can be a total mess.

For business meetings, I use the photo at the top of this site for my background. I even have a few pictures of conference rooms that come in handy.

Conference room

If you would rather have more space or a room with a view than a virtual background I would be happy to help you buy/sell some real estate. We can meet via video if you like for an initial consultation or by phone or email if you prefer.

Also see My new Northern Office

Some REALTOR demographics

I write about this every summer. REALTOR isn’t an occupation it is what members of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) are called. As a member, I get to call myself a REALTOR.

Every year NAR publishes statistics about the membership. It looks like the median age went from 54 to 55 in the last year and the percentage of women REALTORS went from 67% to 64%. Most people don’t know that there are more women members than there are men.

The median age was 57 at one point and then along came the great recession and housing market crash. Some agents retired and the median age went down.

Here are this year’s numbers:

REALTOR® Demographics

  • 65% percent of REALTORS® are licensed as sales agents, 22% hold broker licenses, and 15% hold broker associate licenses.
  • The typical REALTOR® is a 55-year-old white female who attended college and is a homeowner.
  • 64% of all REALTORS® are female, and the median age of all REALTORS® is 55.
  • Real-estate experience of all REALTORS® (median): 9 years
  • Median tenure at the present firm (all REALTORS®): 4 years
  • Most REALTORS® worked 36 hours per week in 2019.
  • The median gross income of REALTORS® was $49,700 in 2019, an increase from $41,800 in 2018.
  • Median number of transaction sides in 2019:
    • Residential sides for all REALTORS®: 12
    • Residential sides for residential specialists only: 12
    • Residential sides for commercial specialists only: 3
    • Commercial sides for commercial specialists only: 6
  • Formal education of REALTORS®:
    • Some college: 28%
    • Bachelor’s degree: 32%
    • Graduate degree and above: 13%
    • Associate degree: 13%
    • Some graduate school: 6%
    • High-school graduate: 7%

I read one recent article indicating that the number of real estate licensees is rising again. So far the housing market is doing well during the pandemic and it is during times of high unemployment that people start businesses.

About ten years ago NAR was very concerned about the median age of its members being so high and ever since they have gone that extra mile to get younger members into leadership positions.

Boardman Realty is a woman-owned and operated real estate company.

People who are afraid of masks

There are some things I have to do to keep my business open. I have to wear a mask when I tour homes and I have to ask my clients to do the same. When I drive my car I have to wear a seat belt or get a ticket.

Over the weekend I went into a sandwich shop. The people working behind the counter were not wearing masks. I won’t be going back there again. There are numerous places we can get take out where the staff wear masks.

When I commented on the lack of masks I was told that masks are dangerous and that they make people sick. I was wearing one at the time. I was told that masks make it hard to breathe.

Some people order their sandwiches and have them delivered. They don’t know that their sandwich is being prepared by someone who isn’t wearing a mask. It is the only shop in the area that doesn’t have COVID-19 advisories on the door and in the store.

This wasn’t the first time I saw someone who wasn’t wearing a mask in that store making sandwiches. I submitted a complaint to the Minnesota Department of Health.

As of July 25, 2020, per the Governor’s Executive Order 20-81, people in Minnesota are required to wear a face-covering in all indoor businesses and public indoor spaces, unless alone.

We need to do everything we can to stop the spread of COVID-19 so that our children can go back to school.

Vote and be an election judge

Stickers handed out to people after they vote.
I voted sticker

Turn-out during the 2016 general election was pathetic.

  • Around 138 million Americans voted in the 2016 presidential election. – Business Insider.
  • However, those 138 million Americans only make up 58.1% of our voting-eligible population (those American citizens over 18). – United States Elections Project.
  • Our current president was elected by a little more than 25% of all registered voters.

We need to do better and it isn’t going to be easy during a pandemic. Please vote! You can get started today. Apply online for an absentee ballot. 

You may still be able to get a ballot for the August primary and send it back in time to be counted or can vote in that election now. It is a local election and every bit as important as the general election in November.

Early voting for the general election starts on September 18th. Absentee ballots should be mailed at least a week before election day or they may not make it back in time to be counted.  Learn how to get your absentee ballot from the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State.

There is a desperate need for election judges. 1500 election judges are needed in Ramsey county alone so that all of the polls can be open on election day. There is a shortage of judges for both the August 11th primary and an even greater shortage for the November 3rd general election.

Election judges make in-person voting possible. They take care of the process from making sure voters are in the right place to registering voters and passing out ballots to handing out those lovely “I voted” stickers.

Learn more about what election judges do, visit the Ramsey County Election site Learn about how the county has responded to COVID-19, and what they are doing to make the process for in-person voting as safe as possible.

Sign up to be a Ramsey County election judge today. These are paid positions