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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (651) 251-4898!
The cool mornings and beautiful leaves leave no doubt that Fall has arrived. Normally we would see a slowdown in the housing market as winter approaches, but that hasn’t been the case in 2017. Listings continue to appear on the MLS, and with them come photos taken to give home buyers a look into their prospective purchase. Those Saint Paul listing photos will become the definitive beauty shots—the equivalent of the glamorous depictions that grace product packaging…and it’s easy to tell which agents are snapping their own pics (usually with their phones) and who’s investing in the work of a pro. All it takes is casual look to understand that a picture can be worth thousands of dollars!
Manufacturers know very well the import of how their product looks on the carton, jar or bag. It’s why top commercial photographers rely on “product stylists” (they’re the experts who sort through 100 bags of potato chips to come up with the two or three that will photograph perfectly). I don’t know many agents that go to that extreme – speaking from experience the photogs I work with are pretty good at getting the right shots.
Saint Paul listing photos no longer have anything to do with 20th-century cameras or film. But it’s not just the move to digital that’s responsible for creating a higher quality Saint Paul listing photos. To guarantee you maximize the quality of your own Saint Paul home’s listing photos, it remains a team effort…and you’re on the team. Four elements are called for:
- Equipment. Even now, the technology behind photo equipment is advancing rapidly. What used to require compliments of hot lamps, stands, and even a reflector or two can now be accomplished with a single travel case of lightweight equipment. Still vital: the “eye”
of the knowledgeable pro behind the lens.
- Patience. For the critical exterior shot, Mother Nature controls most of the timing. The photographers creating the best Saint Paul listing photos don’t just take weather into account—they factor in the house’s orientation and the time of day that will show it to its best advantage, and plan accordingly.
- Home prep. This NAR®’s real estate photo tutorial emphasizes how important preparation can be on the big day because “little
things can make—or break—listing photos.” Examples are paying special attention to blinds, bedspreads and shower curtains (making sure they are smooth)—as well as removing any and all unnecessary knick-knacks.
- The digital finale. It used to be that fine photo correcting was a time-consuming art practiced mainly in the production studios of national publications. That’s no longer the case. Digital images can be quickly refined via
ubiquitous photo processing software that makes retouching and image enhancing part of the professional’s everyday bag of tricks.
If you’re looking for some examples of truly awful real estate photography – look no further than this website – terriblerealestatephotos.com.
I’ve been scrolling through this one regularly, and thankfully have yet to run across one of my listing photos.
The listing photos are so important – every home buyer gives them a thorough look before deciding whether or not to visit a home. A bad first impression often means there won’t be a second look, and that means no sale! So the bottom line is a picture can be worth thousands of dollars!
When it’s your time to list, I hope you’ll allow me to demonstrate the personal care that makes selling your Saint Paul home a low-stress experience! I’m always available via phone at (651) 251-4898 or email at email@example.com.
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!
Figuring out the perfect pricing for any Saint Paul home for sale would be easier if there were a way to confirm past instances that hit that mark precisely.
It’s the nature of the beast: it’s simply not possible. Even if a comparable Saint Paul home’s asking price resulted in being sold immediately at that exact amount, it only could have been priced perfectly. We can’t know that it wasn’t priced too low or even priced too high (although a good appraiser will keep a home from selling for TOO MUCH).
Even if the pricing on some Saint Paul home was quickly met and even exceeded—IOW, it resulted in a bidding war —that might be evidence that it had been originally priced too low. Even that isn’t certain because the supposed underpricing resulted in a sale that was higher than expected, which is a perfect result. So perhaps that was the perfect pricing.
You see the ambiguity, and despite my head spinning through the different combinations and permutations – I do too.
So if you can’t ever determine what constitutes perfection in pricing—even after the books are closed on a given sale—then there is no way to guarantee a number will result in the maximum outcome. That’s why the whole issue of pricing any Saint Paul home is forever going to be an art – with as much science thrown in as possible, and getting the “science” part right is pretty important.
When it comes to pricing Saint Paul homes, it stands to reason that the mortgage lending industry would have put maximum effort into determining the most predictive residential real estate values: in other words, any Saint Paul home’s most realistic pricing. A week ago, one of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders offered their advice to homeowners. They acknowledged that while “we’re on an upward swing” in property values in general, it’s still important to get “a very accurate estimate of home value” to attract multiple buyers and avoid surprises during the sale process.
Their three steps to discovering that
- Online search. Using the massive amount of data is a starting point for establishing a baseline.
- Knowing the Market. It’s vital to measure your own house against those that are most similar to yours and on the market now. Visits to nearby open houses will offer the best opportunities to observe how similar homes are priced and marketed.
- Calling in the pros. Get yourself the assistance of a real estate professional—and the opinion of other pros like lenders and appraisers. All of the above will dig deep into current and historical comparable sales figures as well as years of experience and neighborhood knowledge.
Perfection in pricing might not be attainable, but that’s ok. Success in selling is the most important goal in making a move. Maximizing your home’s value through effective marketing and networking, helping to negotiate the best possible deal, and seeing the process through from the listing to closing – those are all a part of what I can offer a potential home seller in St. Paul and the rest of the Metro!
To learn more about your home’s value, the process of listing and selling, and how a smart agent can help you make a great deal – give me a call at (651) 251-4898 or email me at email@example.com!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org!
Every potential home seller wants to know when is the best time to sell a house. I’ll answer that question in a moment.
Blog devotees who check in here from time to time may recall the inquiry into whether there really is a single best time to buy a house—and if so, when that might be.
The answer was October 8.
At least that was what the researchers at RealtyTrac deduced after reviewing millions of home and condo sales (from across the nation, not just Saint Paul). The definition of “best” they settled on was the date which recorded the greatest markdown between original listing and actual sale prices. On closer examination, though, 10/8 did seem to be an answer that was going to differ from year to year. But there was definitely evidence for fall being a good season for buyers.
Now there appears to be an answer to our original question: What’s the best time to sell a house? Having an answer might be reassuring to Saint Paul homeowners in a quandary over whether to jump into the busy Saint Paul spring selling season—or to wait for a less crowded time of year.
This answer, which recently appeared on CNBC’s news feed, is less specific than RealtyTrac’s single date—and for my money, more convincing because of it. And the answer is
Like…two weeks from now May.
The first half of May, to narrow it down a bit. The reason is that a home listed between the start of May and mid-month sells nine days more quickly than does the average. To be absolutely accurate, though, the “average” is the average of home sales everywhere in the country—North, South, East, West, and everywhere in between. Warmer or colder climates can send the answer off kilter, as can market conditions present when the calculations were made.
The basis for CNBC’s finding was a Zillow study, but it was not clear exactly when the data was collected, so there is a possibility that in today’s seller-friendly climate, the best time to sell a house in Saint Paul might slip a week or two in either direction.
Further scrutiny yielded a two-track answer to the question of what is the best day of the week to list, with Saturdays vying with Thursdays for the honor. The reasoning was that Saturday is when most house hunters are apt to go online to check out the market; but Thursday is the likeliest day because people are gathering info for weekend open houses.
Wow. That’s some deep digging. Actually, Thursday is the best day for the very reason they give. Buyers start making their weekend plans on Thursday and having your listing show up on the top of the list is absolutely advantageous!
The reality of our market is this…the best time to sell a house is RIGHT NOW! Properly priced homes in the right demographic are selling quickly and buyers are still showing up in droves ready to write offers.
Which leads me to this conclusion…in my opinion trying to zero in on the absolute best day to list is not nearly as useful as taking the time to identify who will be the best Saint Paul agent to help you sell your house. Along those lines: do give me a call at (651) 251-4898 or email me at email@example.com.
For more than a year, it’s been the happy trend across the nation for the average DOM (days on market) for residential properties to have been declining, especially in the Twin Cities.
It’s a “speed of sale” measure—one that most Saint Paul home sellers hope will reflect that it won’t be long before they are handing the keys to happy new owners.
Beyond a careful analysis of the area market, and determining how the home in question fits into said market – there are two important criteria I consider.
One is psychological: thinking of a buyer’s frame of mind, most people don’t want to be the only ones who are interested in a house. When a slightly lower-than-comparable asking price is part of the marketing message, it draws a crowd.
The second is the search bracket. Knowing how buyers tend to bracket price range parameters for similar Saint Paul homes is something I can help with. If comparable homes have been selling in a range that tops out at $400,000, asking $410,000 (so you can discount it in later negotiations) is a mistake: your property won’t even appear on search results you’re aiming for.
It is said that pricing is an ongoing discussion—something that holds true if the activity level is less than expected. In every dissertation, oration, article, comment, FAQ, and essay about successful house sales, the message is the same: if the place doesn’t sell, first check the asking price.
Sometimes that can seem indisputable. If the property in question has been listed at an asking price that’s higher than comparable Saint Paul houses—other homes that have sold—unless outside factors have slowed all area sales, the asking price is probably the stumbling block. A homeowner can quite reasonably object that their property has unusual qualities that make direct comparisons with other Saint Paul homes inexact, but that logic may not be powerful enough to counter the market figures that buyers can see (remember that they don’t want to be the only ones who are interested). Sometimes even for a home that shows spectacularly, lowering the asking price can be the simplest and quickest route to a “sold” sign on the front lawn.
In the case of those Saint Paul homes where Saint Paul asking price conformity isn’t the issue—as when there simply are no other properties that are at all similar—if lowering the asking price is not indicated, it will simply become a waiting game: waiting for the buyer who appreciates the special character of the property. The good news is that there IS a buyer out there for every property; the bad news is that unique properties attract unique buyers—as in, there are fewer of them. But there is some second good news: when they do show up, they are apt to fall in love with the place!
Pricing is part math and part skill, and since the market is constantly changing, it’s a skill that rewards experience tempered by consistent monitoring. I monitor Saint Paul real estate full time, so I can provide the most timely assistance and advice in all phases of selling and buying. I hope you’ll give me a call!