“Listing Agent to Be Present For All Showings”

by Ross Kaplan on July 31, 2014

Alternative to Pocket Listings:  “Chaperoned” Showings

Apparently, the way some agents persuade their selling clients to forego wide exposure on MLS and instead let them quietly market the home — presumably to their own Buyers — is by telling them that that’s the best way to cut down on curiosity seekers and other needless intrusion.

pocket-listingNo, it’s not.

The best way to screen out unqualified Buyers is for the listing agent to carefully vet Buyers beforehand — and, if need be, “chaperone” showings.

That’s especially appropriate for upper bracket properties and/or homes with an especially high profile (like the home of a celebrity).

High “Curiousity Quotient”

Buyers (and Buyers’ agents) don’t necessarily like that, but Sellers are certainly entitled to set those ground rules.

If the home is unique and desirable enough, Buyers will go along.

Meanwhile, so-called “pocket listings” serve exactly one person’s interests:  the listing agent’s.

P.S.:  The other reason to accompany showings is to familiarize Buyers with all the home’s features and amenities, which their own agent could easily miss.

See also, “Pocket Listings:  Good for Agents, Bad for Clients“; and “Dual Agent vs. Double Agent.”


“Tudor” vs. “Revival Tudor”

by Ross Kaplan on July 31, 2014


What’s the difference between a “Tudor” and a “Revival Tudor?”

As far as I can tell . . . none.

In fact, “Revival Tudor” appears to simply be the more formal name for what everyone commonly refers to as plain old “Tudor.”

Here’s a good working definition:

“The essential characteristics of a Tudor Revival house usually include the use of half-timbering, oversized fireplaces, and the use of brick and stucco siding. Roofs are steeply pitched, and dormers and overhangs are common.”

Antique Home Style

The stunning Tudor  – make that “Revival Tudor” — pictured above is located at 3328 W. 55th Street in Edina, and is listed at $1.35 million.  Edina Realty’s Stephanie Chandler has the listing.


$500k House? No, $500k Off

by Ross Kaplan on July 30, 2014


St. Louis Park’s Most Expensive Home (Still)

If only because the Twin Cities doesn’t have many gazillion dollar homes, you seldom see six figure price reductions (more than $100k) on homes listed for sale on MLS.

Which is why a $500k price drop yesterday on 2545 Huntington Ave. South – from $5 million to $4.5 million — was an eye catcher.

The home overlooks Minneapolis’ Cedar Lake and the skyline, but technically is in St. Louis Park’s Fern Hill neighborhood.

At its new list price of $4.5 million, Huntington is just one of three dozen or so listed Twin Cities homes — out of +14,000 — on the market for over $4 million.

P.S.:  It’s also St. Louis Park’s most expensive home — by far.

The runner-up is a $2 million home on the north end of Twin Lakes, in the adjoining Lake Forest neighborhood.

See also, “Included:  $2 Million Guest House”; and “Two’s Company Overlooking Minneapolis’ Cedar Lake.”


U.S. Housing Market Bellwether: the Twin Cities

by Ross Kaplan on July 30, 2014


The Goldilocks Market

“Twin Cities Home Prices Best Predictor of U.S. Trends”

headline; U.S. News & World Report (7/30/2014)

Call it the “Ohio” of the U.S. housing market.

Just as Ohio voters seemingly choose the President every four years (or have, at least every election since 1964), according to Trulia, the Twin Cities housing market is the best proxy for the overall U.S. housing market.

If you prefer, call it “the Goldilocks” of the national housing market (not too hot, not too cold — at least ignoring the weather).

Diverse Economy

Which kind of makes sense, given the diverse Twin Cities economy featuring a mix of business (3M, Cargill, Target, Medtronic), government (St. Paul is the state capitol), academe (the University of Minnesota), and agriculture.

The only caveat:  the data comes from Trulia — now Zillow-Trulia — whose numbers in my experience have been anything but accurate.

See, “Why Realtors Hate Zillow”; “Taking Trulia For a Spin”; and “Why Trulia and Zillow Are Off (Another) 3%.”

[July 31 update:  CBS Local just picked up the story this a.m.]


How to Absolutely, Positively Tell If It’s a Lowball Offer

July 29, 2014

Tying Up Loose Ends & Open Offers Admittedly, there’s usually not much doubt. But if you want absolute, ”case-closed” proof that a Buyer’s offer qualifies as a lowball, here it is:  when the Seller rebuffs it*, they never even bother to withdraw it. Either the offered price is so preposterously low they know the Seller will never […]

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The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict & The Felony Murder Rule

July 29, 2014

Who Bears Legal Responsibility for Civilian Deaths in Gaza? [Editor's note:  if you read this blog for real estate-related content . . . skip this post.  If you want my take on the horrible, depressing war occurring in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank now, keep reading.] “Felony Murder Rule”:  a legal doctrine in some common […]

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“Sell in May & Go Away?”* Not If You’re (Also) a Buyer

July 28, 2014

Soft(er) Summer Pricing Housing market conventional wisdom is that Buyers have more choices — but pay higher prices — in the busier Spring market vs. waiting for Fall. Fortunately for Twin Cities Buyers (less so for Sellers), there are some early indications that that may not be the case this year. So, my Buyers — […]

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Not All Finished Square Feet Is Created Equal

July 27, 2014

Golden Valley Rambler With 5 BR/4 BA, 4,500+ FSF for $475k What at first blush looks like a screaming value becomes less so once you factor in the house style — a one-story rambler (“Ranch” outside the Midwest). In particular, fully half of the finished square feet is in the basement. Basement vs. “Lower Level”* […]

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