Do you know what your real estate agent is doing?

lowertown buildings
Downtown St. Paul

I have been writing about the seller’s market and lack of homes for sale for a few years now. It has changed the dynamics from the days when we used to “woo” buyers.

Yesterday I sent an email with a question a buyer has about a home that is being listed by a big real estate team. I got an immediate reply from an autoresponder thanking me for my offer.

I am still trying to reach the team. I think they will get offers and they don’t care about the question.

Some listings have information about which days they will look at offers and present them to sellers. I contact my home seller clients as soon as I receive an offer.  I work around my clients schedule not my own.

The real estate buying process has changed a lot. There are rules, deadlines, and ultimatums being set by sellers agents. If these agents can spend less time and money on each listing they can make more money.

Real estate agents represent their clients. Often the buyer is ticked off and even distrustful of the seller and frustrated with the process before the seller even gets the offer.

I know several successful real estate agents who treat everyone fairly and with kindness. No one has to hire a jerk to get their real estate sold.

There isn’t any advantage to home sellers in having an agent who is a jerk. I can not see any business reason for treating other agents or their clients any differently than we treat our own clients.

We have OLD houses in St. Paul

If you own a home in St. Paul don’t get too excited about the “instant offer” programs out there. They are often not available in St. Paul zip codes. It is because our houses are old. The median age is around 80 years.  I mention this because Zillow instant offers just came to Minnesota.

When the promise of an instant no hassle offer has fine print that says: “restrictions apply”,  age of the house is sometimes a restriction.

There are companies that buy old houses for cash.  They have been around for decades but were almost invisible during the housing market crash.

Right now it is fairly easy to sell a house and it is up to the seller if they want to clean, paint and or have open houses. Houses that need repairs can be sold. Offers are not instant but it doesn’t take long and in most cases, the seller can call the shots when it comes to terms like the closing date.

People with newer houses in the suburbs will have an easier time with some of the new internet-based programs for buying and selling residential real estate.

old house
Old house

 

 

Closed sales are down

The number of home sales is down in Minnesota and certainly in the metro area. It isn’t because homes are not selling it is because fewer people are putting their homes on the market. Some of it has to do with an aging population. Older people own a lot of real estate and are less likely to move.

The population is growing and fewer houses are being built.

Minnesota Association of REALTORS

 

REALTOR isn’t a job title

REALTOR isn’t an occupation. A REALTOR is someone who belongs to the National Association of Realtors. We are misunderstood but I don’t think anyone has time to read the thousands of words I could write on that topic. Here are some statistics:

REALTOR® Demographics
65% percent of REALTORS® are licensed as sales agents, 21% hold broker licenses, and 15% hold broker associate licenses.
The typical REALTOR® was a 54-year-old white female who attended college and was a homeowner.

67% of all REALTORS® were female, up from 63% last year.

The majority of REALTORS®—84%—owned their primary residence and 38% owned a secondary property.

54% of REALTORS® were affiliated with an independent company.

Nearly 9 in 10 members were independent contractors at their firms.

The median tenure for REALTORS® with their current firm was four years again in 2017.

9% of REALTORS® worked for a firm that was bought or merged in the past two years.

In 2017, 36% of REALTORS® were compensated under a fixed commission split (under 100%), followed by 23%with a graduated commission split (increases with productivity).

REALTORS® with 16 years or more experience had a median gross income of $71,000 compared to REALTORS® with 2 years or less experience that had a median gross income of $9,300.

The largest expense category for most REALTORS® was vehicle expenses, similar to last year, which was $1,370.

[SOURCE National Association of REALTORS]

Members of NAR are held to a code of ethics and standards of practice.

There are generally more REALTORS than there are home sales and even more real estate licensees. It is hard to survive in real estate sales in the Metro area without being a member of NAR. Most of the local real estate companies make joining NAR mandatory.

A couple of the numbers that stand out is the 67% female up 5% from last year and that the median age went up from 53 to 54. The entire population is aging but the median age of REALTORS was going down.

The paradox of the Lime Scooter

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. We don’t have shared bikes in St. Paul but we do have electric scooters. I often see scooters on the sidewalks in and around downtown where it is just about impossible to ride anything but a car, bus or train in the street.

There is a sticker on the scooters that states that they should not be ridden on the sidewalks yet there is no place to ride them in the street. The streets either have light rail tracks, deep potholes, or are high traffic with narrow lanes and cars parked on both sides.

Some of the streets have all of the conditions I listed above and a bunch of lime scooters parked on the sidewalk. The sidewalks are not in very good shape either but are somewhat safer than the street. Safer for scooters but not for walkers.

Lime scooter
Lime scooters

I have also noticed that people like to ride the scooters to the bar. What could possibly go wrong?