Who pays for the photography?

When selling a home photography is more important than ever before because homebuyers and their agents shop for homes on the internet.

Amazing photography is rarely free. Someone has to pay for it. Often the real estate agent listing the home will pay for the photography. Many of us consider it an essential part of marketing a home and provide professional photography for each home we market.

Some agents ask the homeowner to pay for photography. Either way works. If your home is on the market and your agent used his/her iPhone to photograph it. Ask for professional photography. If you have to pay for it yourself it is worth every penny . . . assuming the pictures are commercial quality.


craftsman style dining room
Dining room with built ins

People do not move as often as they used to

Moving isn’t as popular as it used to be.  I know that older people are less likely to move than younger people are and our population is aging. Younger people are not moving as often either mostly because not as many are moving for jobs.

I’ll admit I haven’t moved in almost 30 years.  I haven’t had a reason to move. We usually move because of some life event like getting married, or divorced or having children, becoming empty nesters, retiring, the death of a spouse or old age.

When I started in real estate I was told that on average people move once every seven years. Now it is once every ten years.

According to the U.S. census bureau moving is at a historic low.

Moving in America[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

July 2018 home sales by neighborhood

July is over. We had a busy month with new listings and new buyer clients too. It is all a blur to me. The numbers show that there are more homes on the market than there were at the beginning of July. In many most neighborhoods and in the city as a whole the average sale price in July was higher than the average listing price.

The average days on market were less than 25 in July without a lot of variation between lower priced homes and higher priced homes.

Prices, the number of new listings and the number of pending listings were lower in July than in June. Traditionally July prices and new listings are lower than they are in June so I’ll call it a seasonal variation.

Home sales and prices by St. Paul neighborhood

The numbers used to make the chart above were extracted from the Northstar MLS and imported into an MS Excel spreadsheet where it is gently sorted and never stirred. The data is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. There are few guarantees in life and a lot of broken promises too.

If you would like to sell your home please contact me. I do have buyers looking for small homes and larger homes and condos too.

When do I need to get an appraisal?

I am surprised at how often homeowners ask me if they need to get an appraisal before they put their home on the market. The answer is no. If the buyer borrows money to pay for the home the lender will order an appraisal.

The purpose of the appraisal is to make sure that the amount being borrowed does not exceed the value of the home. The house will be used as collateral.

Houses do not always appraise for the offer amount. Sometimes buyers offer an amount that is significantly over the asking price with a small downpayment. If the house doesn’t appraise for enough the buyers may have to come up with more cash or the sellers will have to reduce the sale price.

As a home seller, I would want to see something in the offer that is for more than the asking price stating that the buyer will buy the home anyway and that the buyer has the cash to make up the difference.

If not it might make more sense to accept a lower offer because it is more likely to work out. In most cases people who have to put their home back on the market because an offer fell through end up getting less for it.

Most of the time I have an idea of what a home will appraise for. That helps with negotiations when there are multiple offers.

The way the appraisal process works is that an appraiser visits the property and looks it over. The price he/she (they are mostly men) comes up with is based on the actual sale price of three similar properties in the immediate area that have sold in the last year.

There are houses that are hard to appraise because it is hard to find comps. Appraisers can compare to properties and make adjustments. It isn’t an exact science.

On average for the Month of May 2018 St. Paul home sellers got more than 100% of the asking price. That does not mean that all homeowners got more than the asking price. If the property is overpriced sellers may get offers for less than the asking price or no offers at all.

The lender will not use a recent appraisal that the owner had done. They will always get a new appraisal and the borrower will have to pay for it. With cash sales, anything goes.

Snow and cold in April isn’t unusual

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. Winter is headed our way again. Plan on wearing boots and a parka this weekend. Winter in April isn’t that unusual but where are the Nice Ride bikes? I went to their website looking for information and it looks like prices have gone up and there will be some new bikes but . . where are the bikes? Here are pictures of bikes in April of 2013 . . . . we had a looooong ass winter that year.

April 10th 2013
April 20th, 2013

Do you see bikes? I don’t.

April 12th, 2018

Oh and happy Friday the 13th.

Happy Mothers Day!

An old family photo

I miss my mom. She is still alive and as I see who she is now I also remember who she was. A school teacher, an accomplished writer and an artist.

She  doesn’t talk anymore but will sometimes surprise us with a word or two. Just as she taught me how to read and how to tie my shoes she is now teaching me about how devastating Alzheimer’s disease is.

Alzheimer’s is not curable or reversible and is fatal 100% of the time. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. More than 5 million people in the U.S. Alzheimer’s is also the only disease in the top ten killers that there is no cure or treatment for.

While deaths from heart disease continue to go down deaths from Alzheimer’s continue to rise. The disease affects women more than men as we are more likely to have it and more likely to be the caregiver for someone with the disease.

Learn more about Alzheimer’s