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RE/MAX Results - HartmannTeam

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The New look of RE/Max. What do you think????
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Awesome OPEN HOUSES this weekend. Visit us in Como Park, Crocus Hill, Falcon Heights, New Brighton, & Vadnais Heights. Check out our website for details and times.
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Our new office at 748 Grand Ave in St. Paul. This is the back entrance with plenty of parking!
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The Truth About Open Houses in St. Paul, MN

So you are ready to sell… You are doing your due diligence and exploring agents and agencies to consider hiring.. You found a good internet article about how to find and  hire a great Realtor (if not you can use ours). You are hearing words of wisdom from friends who have sold their home recently… And one thing you are hearing mixed reviews on is open houses. What?? How could this be? The staple of  traditional real estate sales, the OPEN HOUSE,  is a questionable marketing tactic?? That is what you are hearing.

Lets take a quick look at ALL of the pros and cons so you can make your best decision on this. I’m going to use my own personal experience from open houses that my team have done over the years. The majority of open houses we have done have been in the neighborhoods of St. Paul, Como Park, Midway, Mac/Grove, and suburbs like Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, and Falcon Heights. My team has hosted about 2,000 open houses in these areas.

As a seller, you should first consider your location, price point, type of property you own, types of open house, and frequency of open house. Lets define the three types first.

General Open House- Open to the public. Typically held on the weekend. Advertised through MLS and 3rd party syndication.
Broker’s Open- In St. Paul area, these are typically held on Tuesday from 11-1PM. Targeting agents in the area. Lots of networking happening here.
Showcase Open (exclusive)- Typically the first open house and on a Sunday. Its open to the general public, but the neighbors from the surrounding 200 houses are mailed invitations as well. This extra marketing and neighborhood involvement can create serious excitement, and buyers who attend get a feeling that the listing is SUPER HOT.  Helps to create urgency and possibly lead to multiple offers.
Now you should consider your property. Lets start with your location and price point. If your home is in the highest 10% of pricing for your area, there is a good chance that your general open house will be less effective. The reason for this is because the buyer pool for your home is much smaller than a median priced home in your area. You will attract a lot of looky loos and curious neighbors.  More than likely the few buyers shopping in the highest range for your area have already hired a Realtor to help with their search. If not, these people will certainly contact the listing agent directly so long as quality marketing is out on the home. A Broker’s Open House will still be a great value to you.

If your home is in a lower to mid high price level, a larger buyer pool will be out there. It will be much more likely to have the actual buyer attend your open house. So, assuming your price point is in the the low to mid-high range, here are the benefits to you:

Open house may eliminate other showings. This will make being on the market more convenient for you during the week. By having the open house on Sunday, you may eliminate that showing request that was coming at dinner time on Tuesday.
Create a buzz. A properly hosted open house can create a buzz and lead to offers. Open House gives more exposure to your home. Also, there is a possibility of a  sale directly from the open house. According to a 2011 NAR study, 11% of homes sell directly as a result of the open house.
Broker open exposes your home directly to agents who have buyer right now! The other benefit is you can receive opinions/recommendations immediately from local Realtor about your property. A feedback form is the best way to gather info.
The Negatives:

While open to the public, this invites anyone to come in. Possible security issue, although with 2000 open houses under the belt, we have had no problems at all.
The majority of people who stop by are neighbors or un-qualified buyers.
This is a tactic for the Realtor to look for new customers.
Low overall odds of actually selling. However, IMO, 11% is not a bad gamble.
Ultimately, the decision is up to you. You should be wary of an agent that does not offer open houses because they say “open houses don’t work”. Obviously, open houses don’t work if they don’t do them. We give our clients the choice of open houses after they have all of the information to make a good decision based on their personal situation.

My vote is for open houses and I think the benefits out weigh the negatives. The choice is yours, Make your best decision!

I hope this was helpful to you!

Shawn P. Hartmann | RE/MAX Results | Direct 651-468-9099
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Welcome Back Como Park Home Owners!

After a long struggle and with the cooperation of many neighbors, the MLS will include the Section West of Dale St. and South of Maryland Ave back into the MLS named district of COMO. Her is how it now looks.
To see the current homes for sale in Como Park, you can visit our website. Here is a link:
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Common Question: What types of inspections are there?

The standard home inspection is not the only one that is available. In fact, depending on which city you live, some other inspections are required. Also, depending on your financing, other inpsections may be required. Here is a list of additional inspections you might want above your basic home inspection:

Lead base paint
Radon *HOT for 2014*
Sewer line scope
Furnace certification

These are the ones that I've seen over the years. If you think of any that I missed, please post! THX
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12 important questions to ask Realtors BEFORE listing a St. Paul home by Shawn HARTMANN on 01/05/2014 

Too often, many people choose their Realtor based on the idea that all real estate agents are essentially the same. They sign with the first agent to come along, only to realize too late that they should have shopped around. The following questions are designed to help you avoid this mistake by equipping you with what to look for while selecting an agent in St. Paul. The best way to find a quality agent is to follow these steps:

Let's begin. If there is an agent in your neighborhood that you have seen successfully selling homes for years, a call to this agent is a good start. Next, ask friends or family for the names of (good) Realtors they know. A personal referral is a great way to find a quality Professional Real Estate Agent. Once you have compiled a list of names, use this guide to help you determine which agent is the best for YOU. Interviewing 3 agents seems to be the magic number. It may seem like a little extra work to coordinate 3 interviews with agents, but based on my experience, this is by far the best way to ensure you DO NOT end up having a BAD REAL ESTATE EXPERIENCE.

Top local agents that work in St. Paul neighborhoods like Como Park, Highland, Saint Anthony Park, Merriam Park, and Macalester Groveland will already have a good knowledge of the required inspections for St. Paul and also have a good intuition for the value of your home based on experience. This experience is irreplaceable when it comes to accurately assessing your home’s value. This same experience will apply in the suburban areas such as Roseville, Eagan, Falcon Heights, Shoreview and so on. Maplewood requires a pre-sale truth in housing report while most St. Paul Suburbs do not.

Be sure to let the agents know that you want to interview them for the job and you have some questions to ask.

Here are the top 12 questions to ask:

1. Can you share some information about yourself?
–Look for professionalism and consistency.

2.  How do you approach your work?
–Look for a business person that has a strategy and Team to work with. A strong marketing plan is critical especially in the areas of photography, internet, and social media promotion.

3.  How many homes have you closed in the past year?
–Look for an agent who is active in your area and at the top of their industry. Look for the best. Why settle for less than that? Agents that sell 20 to 40 units per year have ideal blend of experience and availability.

4.  What is the dollar volume of homes you have sold in the last year?
–Beware of agents who use their company status vs. their own.

5.  How long have you been in business?
–Longevity in the industry does not always mean success. However, look for an agent that has been in the business at a minimum of three years. The fall-out ratio for agents in the business less than 3 years is over 80%.

6.   Do you have a personal assistant or other support staff working for you?
–Most top agents employ (out of their own pocket) an assistant or staff. It is imperative that the agent have support in order to take care of the details of the transaction. How can your agent be actively showing homes to clients and working on the details of your closing at the same time? Things will fall through the cracks and that could cause critical problems with your transaction. By employing qualified staff to handle the small details, he or she can devote more time to serving your needs.

7.  What will you do keep me informed?
–Do you want daily or weekly reports from your agent? Will the agent be able to meet these expectations? Determine how much communication you want, then find an agent who will give you the attention and time you deserve.

8.   Can you provide me with further resources I may need?
–The best agents have built strong relationships with their “Teams” and can often get expedient service or be able to “cash in a favor” for your transaction should a crunch or problem arise. Handymen, contractors, and other repair specialists should on speed dial for your agent. In Minnesota, since the seasons change, you may need specialized services like winterzation or snow removal. The agent should be able help with situations like these.

9.  Can you give me some references from other clients you have worked with?
–Don’t be afraid to ask for references. An agent who provides raving fan service and is proud of their work will be happy to provide references.

10.  What is the best way for me to get in touch with you?
–You should know exactly how to get through to your agent or assistant. Direct cell phone and email should be standard. Ask how soon you could expect ot have your message returned on average.

11.  What awards or accolades have you received in the past couple of years?
–Make sure that your agent is a professional and is well regarded and at the top of the industry. They will be more knowledgeable and will be able to best represent your interests based on experience and reputation.

12.  How will you represent my best interests?
–Absolutely do not hire someone that you don’t believe will represent YOUR best interests at all time. Have your agent give you examples of how they represent their client.

Selling a home and moving can be a lot of work and stress. You will prepare your home for market, price your home, sign contacts, have showings, open houses, contract negotiations, inspections, financing contingencies, appraisals, underwriting, repairs, moving and packing, and of course your daily life. Be sure you pick the right agent from the start and all of these steps will be less stressful. The wrong choice and your stress and headaches will be magnified. GOOD LUCK!!
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Save $100,000 By Owning A Home


So you are debating whether or not you should own a home or continue to rent? Lets take quick look a at owning a home strictly from a financial perspective.  The graphic is from a “Rent vs Owning” calculator that I use. Your scenario could be completely different, so you can easily create your own to see how owning a home might look in your situation (link to calcuator).

Now lets take a look at the key numbers.  A few things to note (they are itemized on the graphic): 1. When you sell, the profit you take comes to you tax free (assuming you live in property 2 out of past 5 years). 2. Savings on your income tax is substantial. You deduct all interest and taxes paid.  3.  Even with a very modest 2% average growth and by making minimum payments on y0ur 30 year loan,  your equity position is close to $100K!

You can search the internet for days and find infinite commentary about where the future of the housing market is going. Here is a recent post I made from the National Assosiation of Realtors. It seems likely that Minnesota is in for another year of 4-8% growth in pricing on Real Estate. Having personally owned homes for 15 years (through the rise and crash and rise of the market), I feel confident that we could expect housing to stabilize an increase at a very conservative 1-5% growth rate over the next 10 years.


First you should assess what you can afford. Will you be able to pay the mortgage, taxes, insurance and other expenses that come with maintaining that property? You’ll want to assess your income, expenses and job stability. Also, an emergency account is important for anyone, however, it can give a homeowner extra peace of mind. Ask yourself, Is the purchase of a house a responsibility I’m ready to take on?  

How long will I live in the house? You may have heard the rule of thumb that if you will live in a house for five or more years you might consider buying. That way you have time to recover closing costs and the costs associated with selling the property. Be sure to think this through very well, having the flexibility of renting might be a better option for you. If your goal is to establish roots in a community and plan on being there for a while there can be psychological benefits to purchasing a house. Owning a home will give you a sense of pride or security, as well as the opportunity to put your stamp on your home and make it your own.

Is rent a waste of money? I’ve heard clients say, “they don’t want to waste their money on rent.” However, there is no guarantee that if you buy a house you’ll have any more money in your pocket than if you rent. There might be an unexpected maintenance cost, or you could lose equity in your house if the housing market fails to perform. However, homeowners have the opportunity to gain equity.

Ask yourself the questions above to think about your needs and life circumstances and use that as a starting place for decision making rather than letting market conditions or housing trends dictate a very personal decision.

We offer free home buyer seminars and consultations. Just Contact me 651-468-9099 or by email:
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