What you post on Facebook matters

One of the first things I do when I meet is search for them on social media. I always find it a little disturbing when I can not find someone on social media but some people just don’t use it.

If you are selling your house you might want to take care about posting anything that might weaken your negotiating power. Avoid posting anything about being in a hurry to sell.  Buyers will pick up on anything that sounds desperate and use it to their advantage.

It is best not to answer too many questions or post that the real reason you are selling is because you hate the house and the neighborhood.  Keep everything positive.

Home buyers should take care about what they post on Facebook recognizing that the sellers may see it. They will check you out every way they can before accepting your offer.

There are plenty of scams on social media too and it is a great place for the crooks to collect information they can use for fraud.

Posting that your house is on the market with a link to more information about it is usually a good idea. If you are not being represented by a real estate agent you may receive many messages and comments from local agents.

Personally, I don’t crowd-source advice about anything on Facebook. My friends are wonderful but they are rarely the best source of advice about money, home repairs, or health care.

Remember real estate is local. Advice from friends who have bought or sold real estate in other states may not apply to your situation.

Please be careful out there.

 

Does your Realtor need to be as smart as your house?

Washer
washer

My own home would qualify as a “smart house” using a common definition. Yes, our thermostat, Televisions, several lights, and electrical outlets are on the internet and can be controlled with a smart speaker or an app on my phone or tablet.

I love that my washing machine can be operated using my phone and it lets me know when the load is done. The dishwasher isn’t as smart but I can delay the wash cycle so that the dishes are washed at night and done before I get up in the morning.

There is smart home technology for monitoring moisture and for turning on the sprinklers. There are door cameras that allow homeowners to watch their packages being stolen. They won’t get the packages back but at least they get closure.

Some lights are set to go on at sunset, off at bedtime, and then on again in the morning and off at sunrise. There is more, mostly because I have always liked gadgets.

The National Association of Realtors encourages Realtors to be “smart home experts”. I think that is a bit out of the scope of a Realtor’s expertise. I believe we should recognize technology in the houses we sell and perhaps make sure the buyer is aware of all of the bells and whistles.

Most of us can spot a smart thermostat and we can tell if the refrigerator is online and even if it can talk to the pressure cooker.

I can not always tell if the light fixtures have smart bulbs in them. Light bulbs burn out. I am inclined to encourage the buyers to buy their own and the sellers to take the bulbs with them.

The best way to learn about smart home technology is to:

  1. Go to an electronic store like Best Buy and check it out.
  2. Read a book on the subject.
  3. Visit CNET or Wired on the Internet.
  4. Watch some videos on the subject on YouTube.

Technology changes much faster than the average person moves. If you bought a new mobile phone the same month you moved into your first home it would be obsolete long before you are ready to sell. In most cases deciding to buy a house because it has smart home technology in it may not even be smart.

I haven’t found a house yet that can not be retrofitted with new smart home technology. I am constantly adding to my own home. Next on my list are smart door locks, mainly so that I can check the doors without getting out of bed.

You are being watched

The sign outside my office

When touring homes with buyers I always assume that someone is watching or listening or both. Houses have doorbells that can see and hear and some have smart speakers on the kitchen counter. There may be cameras throughout the house.

Sometimes homeowners will hold it against the buyer who comments on how ugly the couch is.

Sellers can get pretty worked up about what they see and hear.

If you are touring houses it is best to hold your comments until you get far enough away from the house so that the doorbell camera can’t hear you. On the other hand, if you have something to say that you want the sellers to hear and you believe they can hear you go for it!

 

Happy Ground hogs day 2024

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. It doesn’t matter if the rodent sees his shadow or not. Here in Minnesota, we have 1o weeks of winter left no matter what,

apri blizzard
April 14 2018 – Inside looking out

and sometimes it snows in May. The picture was taken in mid-April and we had one heck of a storm 10 weeks after Groundhog Day.  This winter is so mild that I am not sure why we are even calling it winter but I think I wrote about that already.

 

Nation wide home sales December 2023 at a glance

Apparently home sales were up in December from November. There is already talk about having hit some kind of a “bottom” when it comes to the number of home sales. I’ll go out on a limb and say that the sale of existing homes may be slightly higher in 2024 than in 2023 but I expect home sales to go up as interest rates go down. Keep your eye on those rates. According to Freddie Mac rates were on average above 6.5% last week on a thirty-year conventional mortgage. When they get to 5.5% and below we will start to see more activity in the housing market.

Here is the reason why: “The Mortgage Bankers Association reported the national median payment applied for by purchase applicants decreased last month to $2,055 from $2,137 in November.”

Mortgage interest rates matter.

Home sales info graphic
Home sales December 2023

Without the MLS

fair housing logo

In real estate, MLS stands for Multiple Listing Service. When a Realtor lists your house it goes on the MLS and from there it gets fed to real estate portal sites on the internet. Zillow and Realtor dot com and Homes dot com are the largest real estate portals. The listings also get fed to real estate company websites like Edina Realty,

The MLS, NorthstarMLS in our region is the source of homes for sale. Without the service, we wouldn’t know about homes that are for sale. Kind of like in my neighborhood where many homes are sold by word of mouth.

There are people who know people, some have lived in the area since the 1970’s and now their children are adults and they carry on the tradition of helping friends find homes for sale.

The downside for home buyers is that they need to know someone if they want a shot at some of the best housing in the area.

Using the MLS is a great way to promote fair housing. We don’t have to know anyone to find homes for sale on the internet.