It’s Official! I’m in the Top 1%

by Ross Kaplan on December 8, 2016


[Your Name Here] Award

I have no idea for what, or who decided (actually, some organization called “American Registry” emailed this to me, along with a pitch to pay them money).

But, it says so in the fine print on a plaque, so it must be right . . .  🙂

P.S.:  I’d prefer to be in the financial top 1%.  Unfortunately, I’m several million (billion?) short.


Turning the Tables On Buyers Who Want to Buy Contingent

by Ross Kaplan on December 7, 2016

MLS:  “An Offer Has Been Accepted Contingent Upon:  Sale of Another Property”

In a non-Contingent offer — also just called a regular offer — the prospective home Buyer represents that they can perform (= pay) without first having to sell another home.

contingentErgo, a Contingent offer is one in which they have to sell their current home (known as “the backup property”) in order to buy.

With continued tight inventory in many housing markets (including the Twin Cities), this “buy first/sell second” strategy appeals to many Buyers.

The flip side of the coin?

It’s a turn-off for Sellers, who are exposed to greater risk and uncertainty.

Putting Buyer’s Money Where Their Mouth Is

That’s because there’s no guaranty that the backup home will sell within the prescribed amount of time — typically, 60 to 90 days.

Too, it’s possible for there to be a daisy chain of Contingent deals, in which a hiccup in any one deal triggers a domino effect of derailed deals.

Instead of Contingent offers, then, savvy Sellers often suggest a delayed closing, sometimes after setting this (sort of) trap for unwitting Buyers’ agents and their clients:

Listing agent (representing Seller):  “What can you tell me about the backup house?”
Buyer’s agent:  “It’s priced to sell, shows great, and everything nearby is being snapped up!”
Listing agent:  “Terrific!  Then it should sell fast. To give the Buyer time, the Seller will agree to a non-contingent offer that closes in [fill in the blank] months.”

Of course, if the Buyer’s agent isn’t confident the backup house will sell quickly . . . why should the Seller be?? 

P.S.:  There are generally two ways for Buyers to tap the equity in their current home and purchase non-contingent:  1) a home equity line of credit; or 2) a bridge loan.

See also, “Why Contingent Offers Are Making a Comeback (They Are)”“Daisy Chains, Dominoes, & Contingent Offers“; “Contingent Offers:  Getting (Very) Comfortable With the ‘Backup Home’”; “What Asterisk Clause Offer and Contingent Offers Have in Common“; and “Why Sellers Don’t Like Contingent Offers — & How to Overcome Their Reluctance.”


Twitter, the 21st Century Bully Pulpit

by Ross Kaplan on December 7, 2016

What Would Teddy Tweet?

[Editor’s Note: The views expressed here are solely those of Ross Kaplan, and do not represent Edina Realty, Berkshire Hathaway, or any other entity referenced.]

Would 26th President (“walk softly and carry a big stick”) Teddy Roosevelt have tweeted?

teddyPut it this way:  I’m pretty sure that a guy who, after being shot in the chest, insisted on delivering a campaign speech for almost an hour before seeking medical attention would have availed himself of a medium that let him reach — instantly and directly — millions of people.**

So, yeah, I think Roosevelt would have taken to Twitter (and vice versa).

The real question is, “what would Teddy have tweeted?”

Themes:  Anti-Trust, Food Safety, National Parks

My hunch?

Roosevelt’s targets would have been companies like monopolist Standard Oil — ala Goldman Sachs, the vampire squid of its day; the horrible, unsanitary conditions in Chicago’s meatpacking plants, exposed in Sinclair Lewis’ “The Jungle”; plus more positive themes, like the country’s munificent natural beauty, and the need to protect same with sweeping federal legislation.

megaphone2In other words, the same subjects his speeches, legislation, and policy efforts focused on generally (all by a Republican, mind you).

So, kudos to Donald Trump for being the first — but certainly not last — political leader to recognize and exploit Twitter’s capacity to serve as a high-tech bully pulpit.

Here’s hoping that as President, he uses it to reform Wall Street, revamp health care, strengthen the economy, and yes, protect the environment (if Trump can see the light on waterboarding, there’s hope that he can see the heat light on climate change).

You know, good stuff, vs. pursuing personal vendettas, score-settling, etc.

**Teddy’s daughter, Alice, famously said that her father “wanted to be the corpse at every funeral, the bride at every wedding and the baby at every christening.”

See also, “2011 Man of the Year: Teddy Roosevelt.”


Christmas — and TNAS — Season

by Ross Kaplan on December 6, 2016

holiday meal

Chances of Selling: “Possibly” vs. “0%, 100% Guaranteed”

“In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is King.”


The real estate corollary to the proverb above?

winter home“During a time of year when inventory of good homes is depleted, and lots of “For Sale” homes are temporarily off the market (“TNAS,” or Temporarily Not Available for Showing”), the remaining “For Sale” homes stand out.

Seller Situations:  Two Extremes

Whether to temporarily take one’s home off the market over the holidays is necessarily a case-by-case decision.

At one extreme, someone leaving the area for a new job elsewhere is obviously going to keep their vacant (but hopefully well-staged) property on the market.

At the other extreme, a large family with kids home over the holidays, or, a household that’s planning to do a lot holiday entertaining, is likely to take their home off the market.

“Gimme a Break!”; Reduced Visibility

Of course, there are Sellers — some who have been on the market since Summer or even longer (my sympathies) — who simply need a break.

Which is fine, too.

I’d never presume to tell clients what’s best for them.

However, as Realtors like to say, “if your home is officially off the market (vs. just TNAS), the chances of selling are . . . zero.”

P.S.: Only the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) database — not Trulia, Zillow or other third-party sites — show homes that are TNAS.

Which means only Realtors can find such homes.

Result:  their visibility goes way down.

See also, “TNAS Over the Holidays:  How Prevalent?“; “Does TNAS Tweak Buyers’ Interest?“; and “What’s the Opposite of On the Market, But Not For Sale?”


Favorite Fall Photo

December 3, 2016

Post-Fall, Pre-Winter At least in the Twin Cities, the interlude between Thanksgiving and Christmas can be dark and dreary:  the days are short (sunset is now close to 4:30 p.m.); the Fall colors are long gone; but the brilliant white of winter hasn’t yet arrived. In the meantime, the dominant color seems to be . […]

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Incoming Trump Administration Wields the Power of the Purse

December 1, 2016

First, Carrier. Next: Single Payer Health Care?? “A little muscle judiciously applied can be a unifying thing.” –Peggy Noonan, “Trump’s Carrier Coup and a Lesson From JFK”; The Wall Street Journal (12/2/16). [Editor’s Note: The views expressed here are solely those of Ross Kaplan, and do not represent Edina Realty, Berkshire Hathaway, or any other […]

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“Double Lot,” Defined

December 1, 2016

Not Measuring Up? There’s no harm in touting that a home has an especially nice backyard, sits on a large or impressive piece of land, etc. However, the term “double lot” — at least to me — has a specific, defined meaning. Namely, it’s a least twice the size of a standard city lot. In […]

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“Distressed Jeans” — Their Definition . . . and Mine

December 1, 2016

Or Maybe They Should be Called “Dismaying Jeans” Yeah, yeah, I know what fancy-schmancy retailers mean when they refer to “distressed jeans”:  jeans whose various holes and patches somehow make them look chic — and worth a huge mark-up (also referred to as “vintage clothing” in some quarters). My definition of “distressed jeans” is a […]

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