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!
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!
Selling your house is hard work. You make repairs, analyze the surrounding market to establish a logical and appealing listing price, take pictures, fill out the listing documents, take a phone call from the office chiding you for all your spelling mistakes, double check for accuracy and then turn on the marketing and networking machine.
It’s a good thing you know an experienced, smart, savvy, charming, good looking and hard working real estate agent to take on the lion’s share of the work (who can always be reached at (651) 251-4898 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Your life – as a home seller – is made easier when you have an experienced professional on your side. While I’m dealing with the listing, marketing, and communications with prospective buyers and their agents you have one job: getting your house ready to be seen and sold.
This can be a challenge for home sellers as two formidable opponents have to be met and conquered. Taken individually, neither is nearly as imposing as when they team up. But when they work together, they can stall a home sale for months—even years. Unfortunately, they’re always hanging around the house, waiting to cause trouble.
The villains are inertia and its helpmate, clutter.
Inertia is the force that pushes you back in your seat when your jetliner takes off. It’s the force that keeps the car moving after you’ve taken your foot off the gas. It’s the physical property of a body at rest (or in motion) that opposes a change in what is happening at the moment.
In the realm of home ownership, real estate inertia is the natural tendency to stay put in your familiar home setting. Rather than upsetting the apple cart by striking out in a new direction, it’s the understandable propensity to leave well enough alone—even when the familiar home base is no longer as suitable a venue as it used to be.
This despite the fact that as our family or work or financial situations evolve, sooner or later most everyone will overcome house-related inertia and start thinking about selling and finding a better fit. That might be larger or smaller, grander or simpler, or simply more conveniently located. That’s when inertia’s partner comes into play to stop everything.
Clutter is all the stuff we’ve built up to make our lives more comfortable—and there is a lot of it we could do without. But the idea of actually addressing which things are disposable, and then actually disposing of them? Well, nobody in his or her right mind wants to tackle that (at least not right now).
While we’re here, take a moment to think about the things in your home that constitute clutter….in my house it’s the accumulated boxes and piles and crates of kid toys. I’m confident that the Hot Wheels, Nerf Guns, and Legos will never again see the light of day in our home. What do you have that constitutes clutter?
To make a mathematical formula for this common phenomenon:
inertia + clutter = later
The foolproof strategy for overcoming the two scoundrels is to cut the clutter part down to size. Tackle one room at a time. It works. True, this involves overcoming a certain amount of inertia—but nothing like the mountain of the stuff that thinking about the whole household full of the stuff involves.
Have a garage sale, make a donation, consign your stuff or just find friends that can make better use of your unused (but always loved) things.
My i + c = l formula probably might not be included in any physics textbooks, but it’s a good one to remember as soon as you begin to think about selling your house.
Selling your house is hard work, the best way to make things easier is to give me a call at (651) 251-4898 or email me at joe.anderson@results. net.
The common theme in Twin Cities housing for the last 18 months or so has been a severe shortage of home listings, especially in the first-time buyer price range. An incredible glut of buyers waiting to take advantage to low lending rates is backed up at the gates of home ownership. With that in mind, I’ve been encouraging home owners that may be considering a sale to get on the market and make some money!
Unfortunately, many prospective sellers feel compelled to jump in without carefully considering how to prepare, market, and eventually sell the home. They wrongly think that so much demand means you can get away with little preparation.
So I came up with a list of things to avoid – because lists are easy to follow, and you can put little check marks after each item and that’s quite satisfying….
By the way – it has to be noted that home selling blunders to avoid are mostly compiled for the benefit of For Sale by Owner do-it-yourselfers. The target readership are those who for some reason have fallen prey to the undisputed flub #1: failing to hire a licensed Minnesota real estate agent such as (oh, I don’t know)…Joe Anderson with RE/MAX Results (651-251-4898 or email@example.com)!
Given that understanding, here are what appear to be the most often repeated home selling flubs—presented as overs and unders. They’re listed in no particular order:
- Over-improving. Because price is such a pivotal home selling element for any Saint Paul property, putting in a major upgrade prior to selling likely won’t result in a 100% ROI. Carefully consider whether the outlay of cash is worth the potential increase in sale price.
- Under-researching. Knowing what is currently on the Saint Paul market is the only sure way to position your own offering. Failure can be counted on to lead to the dreaded third item….
- Overpricing. Prospective buyers will be comparing your offering against homes in the area of similar age and size and comparable condition. Time after time after time, current market conditions have demonstrated that finding the right listing point will lead to incredible traffic in the home – and that more than anything is the key to a quick sale, at the right price.
- Under-marketing. A For Sale by Owner sign in the yard is effective only for potential buyers who are driving down your street—a tiny fraction of those who might otherwise be interested. Yard signs are great, but a strong presence on the inner-web and social media are crucial to selling your home. Another reason why you need to work with an agent that has a strong presence in all of those venues. I mean how many agents have 4,651 Twitter followers? And are humble about it?
- Overlooking flaws. Being proud of your Saint Paul property is all well and fine, but your own pride of ownership is the opposite of
most buyers who start from a skeptical perspective. What I’m trying to say is – be sure you’ve made your home super-showable. De-clutter, touch up paint, clean the home, mow the lawn, empty the trash (things get ripe in the summer time), make sure the A/C is on or windows are open – these are all little things that make a huge difference!
- Over-optimism. When a dream buyer is on the line, enthusiastic and cooperative, it’s wrenching to ultimately find that you’ve been wasting time with an unqualified buyer. If you aren’t represented by an experienced Realtor®, you’re the one who must qualify prospects before showings. I will say, in the current market most buyers are coming to the table with great buying credentials. They’re smart people and recognize the competitive environment…and are willing to do what it takes to win your home (but that doesn’t mean you skip the due diligence process).
These six unders and overs appear on almost all the “home selling mistake” lists—but they aren’t comprehensive. Most (almost nine out of 10) buyers avoid discovering these or less common pitfalls by teaming with an agent. When you hire me to represent your sale, you’ve teamed with someone who is experienced in avoiding all of them! I can help you get on the market and make some money – and I can always be reached at (651) 251-4898 or firstname.lastname@example.org.