More “Saved” and “Watched” MLS Listings

by Ross Kaplan on July 23, 2014

The Ayes Eyes Have It, or
“Holdover” Buyers/”Holdover” Sellers

Anecdotally, Twin Cities agents (myself included) are reporting an uptick in the number of prospective Buyers saving or watching listings on MLS this Summer.

A couple months ago, it was typical to have 2-3 Buyers save a listing; now, those numbers can be double or triple.

What gives?

Here are a couple theories:

–More new Buyers are entering the housing market and “getting their feet wet.”*

–There’s more for sale lately (MLS inventory is up), and saving listings lets Buyers keep track.

–Motivated Buyers already bought earlier this year; the Buyers who are left (“Holdover Buyers??”) feel less urgency, are content to monitor things.

–Buyers are watching homes that originally listed this Spring, haven’t sold, and are (over)due for a price reduction (I suppose those owners would be “Holdover Sellers”).

Most plausible scenario:  all of the above.

*That would correlate with increased (Sunday) open house traffic, which also seems to be occurring.

See also, “The Significance of ‘Saved’ Searches on MLS“; and “Who’s Watching the Listing?”


Taking Yes Full Price For an Answer

“He who governs least governs best.”

–Thomas Jefferson

“He who negotiates least negotiates best.”

–Ross Kaplan

Soviet dissident (and now Israeli politician) Natan Sharansky once explained how he and his fellow dissidents helped pass the time in solitary confinement.

brass tacksAdept at Morse code and held in adjacent cells, they would take turns tapping their favorite jokes through the walls.

Eventually, however, everyone knew everyone else’s jokes.

To save time and avoid repetition, they developed their own shorthand.

So, instead of tapping the entire joke, they would just tap the punch line.

Eventually, when even that became too much, they shortened it to “joke #37.”

Skipping to the Punch Line

Real estate negotiations between veteran agents can be a lot like that.

Rather than engage in lots of bluster about the Comp’s (“Comparable Sold Properties”), the subject home’s appeal (or lack thereof), etc., experienced Buyers’ agents succinctly summarize their client’s offer (accentuating its strengths) . . . and then shut up. 

Meanwhile, veteran listing agents (representing Sellers) will typically characterize how strong (or weak) an offer is, walk their client through the particulars, then help them formulate a thoughtful counteroffer.

Or not.

While there is a presumption that a Buyer’s first offer is seldom their best offer, there are plenty of situations where a smart Seller’s best course of action is to simply say “yes” — or at most tweak a few details before signing.

P.S.:  The above also applies to resolving any inspection issues that come up.

See also, “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?’”


“Sloppy” Pricing — or Something Else?


Even in a market with more ”sloppy” pricing — properties listed either well below market value (occasionally) or well above (more often) — the new listing near Cedar Lake in Minneapolis stood out:  an undersized ’50′s rambler on a level, huge 73′ x 135′ lot just waiting to be torn down and replaced with new construction.

Asking price:  $269k . . . in a neighborhood brimming with $1 million - $2 million new homes.

Mispriced vs. Mapping Mistake

The explanation?

The property wasn’t mispriced.

100Rather, the MLS map showed it in the wrong location.

Instead of being 2 blocks west of Cedar Lake (top photo), the home is more than one mile west, in a St. Louis Park neighborhood (Birchwood) that’s very nice, but where values are 50% lower (left photo).

See also, “Tear-Down Economics“; “Tear-Down Prototypes“; “Tear-Down Economics, Circa 2012″; and ”You Know It’s a Tear-Down When . . .”


It’s 5:17 p.m. Sunday; Is it OK to Park Here??

by Ross Kaplan on July 20, 2014


Playing Downtown Minneapolis Parking Roulette

“You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’”

–Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry

The confusing, contradictory parking sign — make that signs – might as well have been hieroglyphics (or maybe an especially sadistic SAT question).

black sheepBut the choice parking spot directly in front of Black Sheep Pizza (in the Minneapolis warehouse district) was simply too good to pass up.

So my family chanced it.

Meter Made

Our leap of faith (and $1 parking fee) were rewarded an hour later when we emerged to find . . . no ticket!

Or at least, I assume no ticket — they do still leave it on your windshield, don’t they??

P.S.:  Our two pizzas, one deep dish Sicilian and the other flat-crust, were terrific.

See also, “Penny $2.50 Wise, Pound Foolish”; “Downtown Minneapolis Parking — or Lack Thereof“; and “Uptown Minneapolis’ New 50% Surtax on Small Purchases.


Style Mashups That Work — and Don’t

July 19, 2014

Spiral Staircases & 1920′s Bungalows What makes I.M Pei’s pyramid in the Louvre Courtyard an instant classic? At the other extreme, why is the 2003 renovation to Chicago’s Soldier Field — adding Contemporary luxury boxes to the Greco-Roman stadium — widely regarded to be an architectural fiasco? Search me. Style Hits & Misses But I think […]

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Minnesota to Adopt Text-to-911 Service

July 19, 2014

Way to Go, Gabriel! “If someone broke into your house . . . calling the police would just let the robber know where you are,” said 11 year-old Gabriel Kaplan, who wrote to the Star Tribune recently asking why it’s not possible to text for help.  Kaplan said he couldn’t sleep one night because he […]

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Fed: ‘Hurry to Buy Stocks Before They Crash Again’

July 18, 2014

Turning Keynes Inside Out “Markets can stay irrational longer than investors can stay solvent.” –John Maynard Keynes In light of The Federal Reserve’s unprecedented, going-on-six-year campaign of monetary stimulus, perhaps the question to ask isn’t, “why are stocks trading at record levels?” Rather, it’s “why aren’t stocks even higher?” My answer:  because at least some […]

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Light Rail, Green Lines & West Banks

July 18, 2014

Twin Cities’ Newest Light Rail Corridor Maybe they could’ve named it “the orange line.” That way, no one would be able to say that the Twin Cities’ spanking-new light rail corridor connecting downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul — officially, the green line — “runs through the West Bank.” Not THAT West Bank If you don’t know […]

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