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

I read and I read

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. I usually don’t write about reading but it is Friday. I have always enjoyed reading.  My happiest memories of summer as a child are the visits to the Saint Paul Public library downtown. I would check out three to five books and spend hours reading them.

These days most of the books I read are electronic books and I borrow many of them from the public library. When I buy an electronic book it is usually a bestseller that I don’t want to wait for.

Here are the most recent books I have read with the most recent listed first:

Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man
Mary L. Trump
Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century
Jessica Bruder
How To Be an Antiracist 
Ibram X. Kendi

I am currently reading:

After You
Jojo Moyes

Next in the Q:

Plague Ports: The Global Urban Impact of Bubonic Plague, 1894-1901
Myron Echenberg

I have 5 or 6 books on hold at two different libraries.  I hate it when I run out of books. I read at night, every night, for at least an hour. Sometimes on the weekend, I’ll read during the middle of the day. 🙂 I often read a couple of books at once because . . . I have no idea why I do that but I do.

The last three books I have read offer some stark contrasts on how humans in the US live. Nomadland turned out to be educational. Did you know that there are seniors who live in campers and vans who are part of Amazon’s “Camperforce”? They work in warehouses during the holiday rush. As one of the benefits, they get a campsite.

It is going to be hot this weekend. Stay indoors and read something.

Shortly after you buy a house something breaks

I see it all the time. A buyer has a house inspected and maybe asks the sellers for a repair or two. The day the buyers take possession or in the first week, they live in the house something breaks.

The buyer’s initial reaction is usually anger at the sellers. Usually what happens is that there was something wrong with the house that the seller was unaware of.

The new owners live differently and use the house differently than the previous owner did and as a result, something breaks. The most common types of problems new homeowners face are plumbing problems.

Clogged drains or sewers or a leaking pipe or spigot that is stuck or something really horrible like the sprayer at the kitchen sink doesn’t work.

Washing machines that won’t drain or that do drain and cause a flood in the basement or a shower drain that backs up because of a clog.

The previous homeowner isn’t responsible if something breaks. Sometimes things just break. Seriously they do. I have said it before and I’ll say it now there is always something broken in my house.

Most recently a couple of electrical outlets in the kitchen. There was no way to predict that they would fail and we have never had any problems with any electrical outlets in the house.

Everything breaks eventually. Having stuff break the month you move in is all too common.

My best advice to new homeowners is to make sure you have a small emergency fund available for unexpected repairs. That emergency fund is even more important for owners of old St. Paul houses.

If you really think that the seller left out some important details about the house you can always contact the seller or your agent and ask some questions.