We get attached to the places where we live. Whether it’s the bricks and mortar of the home or the people that surround us – moving on is sometimes hard to do!
It’s an easy-to-understand human emotion. Almost everyone who has ever moved away from a family home has experienced a sense of loss or sadness. But that’s only one of the emotional connections that come into play where real estate is involved.
As agents, sometimes we’re guilty thinking of such important decisions – like buying and selling Saint Paul real estate – in more hard-headed terms, when the reality is a host of complicated human factors can play an important role.
One of them is becoming more prominent—and is likely to grow more so as we advance into Saint Paul’s peak spring and summer real estate selling season. It’s the hard-to-pin-down factor of general well-being: the nebulous—but real—sense of optimism or pessimism that is shared by the public at large.
It’s undeniable that when people feel good about the way things are going, they’re also more likely to feel confident in what the future will bring. Confidence breeds courage, security, self-assurance. When things seem to be going our way, we’re more likely to strike out in new directions.
The key word is “confident.” Social scientists do their best to get a handle on this murky shared human phenomenon by measuring “consumer confidence”—which seems to be an economic measure, but which has to be also aligned with the “right direction/wrong direction” polling that politicos track. In any event, when confidence rises, we’d expect that Saint Paul real estate prospects will improve along with it.
The idea that emotion is a measurable part of real estate is confirmed by the quasi-governmental statisticians at Fannie Mae, who have institutionalized the idea with their Home Purchase Sentiment Index. (If “sentiment” isn’t an emotional measurement, what is?). And it’s up—way up! Last February, the share of Americans who think it’s a good time to buy a house rose 11% to 40%—its highest point ever. And by the end of March, Bloomberg was reporting “consumer confidence” at its highest since 2000. The University of Michigan agreed, placing their “Current Economic Conditions” component at its highest since the same year.
As one who deals in the Saint Paul real estate market every day, I can verify that when the general outlook turns positive, both buyers and sellers perk up—it’s palpable. It’s also true that the emotional component of real estate is a lot wider than consumer poll numbers measure. For example, there’s the feeling I get when I’m there to watch a client turn the front door key of their new Saint Paul home!
I hope you’ll call as soon as your own Saint Paul real estate plans begin to take shape. The market is heating up and I’m easy to reach at email@example.com or (651) 251-4898!
As we roll through the Holiday season, most if us in the housing industry are planning for 2018, and a home buying and selling season that seems to start earlier and earlier every year. Already I’m meeting with buyer-clients anxious to get their search underway, and have a list of homes that will hit the market after the first of the year. With that in mind, now is a great time to scour the latest “Top Ten” lists of cost-conscious ways to increase the value of your home.
Some make more sense than others. Upgrading bathroom vanity cabinets appears on some of the house value lists, for instance—but those lists were probably thrown together in a hurry since the return on investment is admitted to be 66%. When an investment returns two-thirds of its cost, it’s hardly competitive. For Saint Paul homeowners preparing to sell, vanity cabinets don’t belong on the action list.
The best idea lists are those which show ROI: the return on investment. Here’s a new compilation, offered purely as food for thought (since the “return” number for any individual case can’t actually be verified)—
- Yard improvement, AKA Landscaping. Return on investment registers at a hefty 303% according to the NAR® (and even 400%, per This Old House). And it’s true that a weedy, dried-up lawn is not the way to woo any but the most bargain-thirsty buyers. We can assume that the investment figure the NAR points to does not include the homeowner’s time, but even so, a shipshape yard definitely provides a house value gain. Looking out my window, this one would seem a little tough to accomplish now BUT if you’re thinking of a sale that coincides with the end of the school year – maybe you could start planning for green grass!
- Repair (electrical, plumbing, what-have-you). Return: 299%. This is for sure: Saint Paul houses with unaddressed mechanical defects are handicapped in the marketplace—in the end, it’s just too costly.
- Clean and Declutter. Return: 403%. With an average cost estimated at about $400, there’s no argument that it will be easily returned multiple times. When you can rely on truly professional help, the boost is invaluable…or you can give (or throw) some of your accumulated “stuff” away!
- Carpet. The return on investment for an average outlay ($671) is calculated by the HomeGain website at 160%. I might add a caveat to this one: a truly threadbare or uncleanable carpet surely rates replacement—but if existing carpet is presentable, that cost might be better directed elsewhere.
- Staging. With a return of 196%, it’s hard to disagree—especially since Saint Paul’s professional stagers can often save by directing attention away from areas that might be overly expensive to renew.
- Lighten and brighten. This includes everything from “clean windows” or “repainting dark-colored rooms” to boosting the wattage of living room lamps. As a result, the “return” numbers are all over the map: but they’re all positive.
- Upgrade appliances. Full kitchen remodels are usually too expensive to fully reclaim their cost, although when necessary, minor kitchen remodels reclaim 79%. As an alternative, replacing seriously outmoded kitchen appliances is much more likely to add enough value to make it a canny move.
- Declutter and Clean. (I know—but if anything is worth repeating, this is it)!
Your Saint Paul house’s value is what the market proves it to be—but it’s also the shelter your family calls home. If it’s filled with happy memories, that value is probably the one that winds up counting the most. But as for the other kind, when it’s time to shift gears and cost-conscious ways to increase the value of your home, I hope you’ll give me a call at (651) 251-4898 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
New house and new car…off the top of your head, can you name two more impactful purchases? Two big ticket items, often lumped together. New house and new car, two big ticket items that couldn’t be more different.
The rationale for buying a new car is clear: a new car looks cool.
Ok, maybe that’s just me and the real reasons are more like this: automotive technology advances nearly every model year, improving fuel economy and safety.
And then you get that intoxicating new car smell, and the car (or truck) looks really cool and the whole thing is a done deal pretty quickly.
Similarly, when the question is put to a cross-section of typical Americans, new homes get the nod over existing ones. The percentage of those who “strongly” or “somewhat” prefer buying a newly built home weighs in at 41%. That’s a 2-to-1 margin over those who say they favor existing homes.
With such pronounced popularity, you might think it means that Saint Paul new homes should sell twice as rapidly as those previously owned—but that’s not the case. It isn’t just that there’s no intoxicating new house smell. It’s all about the cost factor.
The preference numbers come from the latest survey run by Trulia, which also reported the major reasons given. “Modern features” were cited, along with the “ability to customize the home.” The first reason is perhaps more sensible than the second since the survey’s definition of “new home” included newly-built homes that were fully completed. An existing property can usually be customized (remodeled) as readily as a finished new home.
In any case, the popular leaning toward new homes is tempered in practice when it comes to dollars and cents. Among those who strongly prefer a new home, only 46% are willing to pay for the privilege when it comes to actually writing the check. Since the national average is for new homes to be priced at a 20% premium over existing properties with similar features, that original “strong” preference often takes a backseat to a slightly stronger one—working within the family budget.
So why – then – would “new” be so much more desirable to consumers? It’s pretty easy to see once you take a walk through the properties. They’re energy efficient, clean, designed to accommodate the desires of today’s home buyer, and you won’t be writing checks for repairs anytime soon (certainly during the course of the new home’s warranty). Low maintenance, high efficiency, and thoughtfully laid out….for many people that premium they pay is worth every penny!
Fortunately for those who do become Saint Paul new home owners, the long-term outcome differs from what new car buyers experience. Whereas the joy of driving a new model automobile off the dealer’s lot is tempered by an instantaneous drop in its resale value, nothing similar happens when you take ownership of a new Saint Paul home. Home values have risen steadily over the last 5 years and if that trend continues there should always be value in the walls and roof that surround you.
Some terrific Saint Paul new and existing homes are out there awaiting new owners. Give me a call at (651) 251-4898 or drop me an email at email@example.com whenever you’d like to take a look!
In the meantime – as I’m quite content in my home – I’ll spend the afternoon dreaming of my new truck purchase (that may not come anytime soon but a fella can dare to dream!).
Today’s Twin Cities’ asking prices fall into a wide range—although current market conditions are making it tough to find a great bargain. Last week came news of one that clearly defined the term “deal” (at least regarding the asking price). This was found in Montclair, New Jersey. CBS interviewed the selling agent and Fortune Magazine wrote it up.
Photos made the offering all the more interesting since the asking price was so low—yet the pictures were not, as any well-schooled real estate watcher would have expected, fuzzy images of some run down dump. The shots all showed a pristine historical (1904) 4-bedroom, 2-bath beauty, seemingly presiding in stately repose over well-manicured grounds. It looked like, well—a mansion.
The asking price is $10.
For those budget-minded Twin Cities home shoppers always looking to find a great bargain, in this instance you might make an exception (although I would be tempted to bargain based on what you’re about to find out). Since the current asking price has already been reduced from $1,400,000, you have to expect that the owner will probably not be willing to come down much further. The $10 is probably a take-it-or-leave-it number – but home sellers say that all time time.
Lest any Saint Paul house hunters think about packing their bags for the trip to Montclair for a tour of the property, it’s only fair to elaborate on what anyone would already be assuming: namely, that there must be a few problems.
Local house hunters will appreciate the first problem, which is location. The house not only isn’t in Saint Paul, but it’s also currently sited on land that has been sold to a developer. It has to be moved. Moving a three-story 3,912 sq. ft. structure of this size is an expensive undertaking. Although the current owner is offering to contribute $10,000 toward solving that problem, anyone who has ever overseen this kind of house-moving project knows that the details (digging up the foundation, wedging in all the I-beams, jacking up the structure, getting it up on the trailer beds, etc.) comprise a pricey, open-ended proposition.
Local house hunters would encounter another problem, which is that, as a historically significant local landmark, the powers-that-be in Montclair have made it clear that the mansion won’t be allowed to be moved beyond the city limits. So transplanting it to anywhere in Saint Paul isn’t a possibility. Another problem: having been designated an historical monument, the home will have to be treated tenderly by its new owner. “Handle with care” might be the watchword. That could prove as tricky as you’re trucking it off to its new Montclair destination.
Fortunately, the current batch of area listings offers buyers Twin Cities asking prices that may be slightly steeper (like I said, it’s tough to find a great bargain), but represent opportunities with significantly fewer complications. The negotiating savvy of a good agent can offset some of pricing we see in this market, so if you see a home that looks like it fits your criteria – and can remain in it’s current location – give me a call at (651) 251-4898 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Home buying is not a contest! Not everyone who is looking at the homes for sale in Saint Paul needs to come up with a winner right away. Last week I showed a handful of homes to a new client….first time home buyers that had read the headlines and were feeling the pressure of getting into a home ASAP in order to avoid the drawn out search that is so common these days.
I told them two stories of past clients. One who wrote an offer on the first home they saw and lived happily ever after. The other wrote an offer on the 75th home they saw….and lived happily ever after.
The point being there is no formula for home buying success when it comes to the search and discovery process. You’ll find the home of your dreams when you find it, what is important is being prepared to make a competitive offer and have it accepted when you do find it!
With that in mind, some basic truths about home buying that apply to all buyers. Remember that when you finally do find just the right home at just the right price, all of a sudden you could find yourself in competition with others who see the same thing: the house they’ve been looking for!
The takeaway is that, if your interest in today’s homes for sale is strictly low-key – or if your ready to make a move yesterday – it’s prudent to prepare yourself as if yours is more of a front-burner quest. In other words, when you find the Saint Paul house of your dreams, you want to be the one to land it!
Here are some checklist items that will position you to make the most of any Saint Paul house hunt:
- Budget seriously. Without doubt, the place to start is by doing some financial homework. If you don’t know what you can comfortably afford, you can’t know which of the homes for sale in Saint Paul should be competing for your attention.
- Get pre-approved. Unless you plan to be a cash buyer, having a mortgage lender on your team is well worth the effort. Keep in mind that being “pre-qualified” isn’t the same thing as being “pre-approved”—the more rigorous (and real) process. It spells out the precise size of the home loan you can expect to receive. It’s no surprise that sellers tilt toward prospective buyers who have bothered to get real!
- Widen the field. Once you have narrowed the field in terms of the price range you will be considering, you can improve the chances of finding a singularly appealing property by widening your search parameters. This can mean considering homes for sale in areas you hadn’t really paid attention to—or opening your imagination to include properties with features or architectural styles you hadn’t previously thought about. Especially in an active market with tight inventories, the open-minded approach is often the one that yields pay dirt.
Today’s low home loan rates are allowing surprisingly affordable monthly payments—numbers which can transform even the least motivated prospects into active house hunters. But the with the inventory of homes for sale at historic lows – that just makes the competition fiercer!
To see what that means in terms of the actual current crop of Saint Paul homes for sale, give me a call at (651) 251-4898 or email me at email@example.com!