15 Closings(!) Tomorrow at Edina Realty – City Lakes Title

“April showers bring May flowers.”

–old saying

“June deals bring (late) August closings.”

–real estate corollary

Combine a very slow-to-start Spring market, surprisingly low interest rates, and a looming month-end, at least for business (Fri., Aug. 29), and what do you get?

An exceptionally crowded closing docket.

Meanwhile, as for Realtors  . . . not so much. 

At least not unless they’re attending one of those 15 closings tomorrow.


“He Who Negotiates Most, Negotiates Best”

by Ross Kaplan on August 28, 2014

Practice Makes Perfect

Is it true that the best negotiators are the ones who’ve done it the most?

practice2If so, then the world’s best negotiators, bar none, are residential Realtors.

While wheeler-dealers like Donald Trump or gambling mogul Steve Wynn may be involved in a couple dozen major deals in a career, it’s not uncommon for a busy residential Realtor to handle 20-25 deals in a year.

That’s a lot of practice.

> 10,000 Hours

In his book “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell asserts that what distinguishes true virtuosos in their field isn’t native talent, but lots and lots of practice.

According to Gladwell, the magic number to attain excellence seems to be about 10,000 hours.

If he’s right, that’s equivalent to a Realtor handling 100 deals (assuming each deal averages 100 hours from listing presentation to closing).

Nature vs. Nurture; Virtuous Cycle

The subject of hard work vs. native gifts is obviously a longstanding — and touchy — one.

practiceLike the nature vs. nurture debate, the truth is that there’s an interplay at work:  Mozart gravitated towards music composition because of his natural gifts.

As he devoted himself to his work, his skills developed and sharpened.

P.S.:  all of the above applies to writing a blog.

If you don’t believe me, go back and read some of my posts from 2009.   :-)

See also,  “Frank Underwood’s Negotiating Secrets”; “Splitting the Difference and Other Negotiating Tactics”; ”President Obama:  ’I Don’t Bluff’”; “You Know . . . Your Comp’s Are Right, Ours Are Wrong — It’s a Deal!“; and, “The Key to Successful Negotiating:  ’Getting to Yes?’ Or, ‘Getting to No?’”


Discounting for Work(s) in Progress

by Ross Kaplan on August 27, 2014

Adding a (Big) Margin of Error for Hassle, Unknowns

The biggest discount facing home Sellers is for home repairs they’re passing along to the Buyer (euphemistically known as “deferred maintenance”).

That’s true whether the repairs are required pursuant to a local point-of-sale inspection – mandatory in 10 enginemunicipalities in the Twin Cities — or are simply things the next owner needs to do to live in the home.

Especially for electrical and plumbing work, where there may be multiple unknowns, the discount can be as much as 3x – 4x the cost of the actual repair(s).


So, what’s the second biggest discount?

Leaving a half-finished project for the next owner.

Not only are such projects unsightly, diminishing the home’s appeal, but often times whomever “inherits” the project has to undo any work that’s shoddy or isn’t code-compliant.

That is, once they’ve unraveled everything . . .

P.S.:  Think of it as the difference between having a mechanic fix a car engine from the get-go vs. having them fix it once the owner’s attempted to do the repair but screwed it up.


“N-O-O-W-W-W I Get It!”

by Ross Kaplan on August 27, 2014


Lots of Fresh Sod by Minneapolis’ Cedar Lake

For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why the city (county? state?) would put down acres of fresh sod along (and in the middle of) Sunset Boulevard when it’s been so dry.

THEN I saw the huge water truck coming through (several times, in fact), spraying thousands of gallons up to 40 feet.

Fun job!


The Housing Market & “The Ides of August”

August 26, 2014

Quality > Quantity Buyers (at Least Until After Labor Day) The Holidays . . . the post-Holidays . . . any stretch in Winter when it’s well below zero. And mid-to-late August. What do all of those periods have in common? They’re all predictably slow for housing transactions in the Twin Cities. Late Summer Slow-Down […]

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How the Housing Market Shifts Gears

August 25, 2014

From a Seller’s to a Buyer’s Market? The catalyst(s) and pace may vary, but the dynamics of a housing market shift — most recently from a Seller’s market to a (nascent) Buyer’s market — are unvarying. And that’s regardless of locale or calendar (i.e., it describes Las Vegas 2007 as well as Orange County in […]

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Things That Cost About $100 a Month: Cable TV, Cellphones, Leased Cars (Leased Cars??)

August 24, 2014

“Lease a Dodge Dart for $129 a Month!” OK, so maybe I’m not reading the fine print. And, I realize that things like tax, license and registration can add another $1,500 or $2,000 to the cost of the car — not to mention ownership expenses like insurance, gas, and maintenance. But, as Labor Day Weekend approaches, it’s […]

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“Buyer is a Licensed Real Estate Agent in the state of Minnesota”

August 24, 2014

The Corollary to, “No One Washes a Rental Car” What’s the significance of the disclosure — required in Minnesota — that the Buyer is a licensed real estate agent? In my experience, two things: One.  The Buyer is more sophisticated (or should be), and therefore, at least in theory, the deal can progress more quickly and […]

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