Only if that’s what you pay………………..
I think everyone knows this is a Seller’s market. There is less inventory then there is demand. Many Sellers are pushing up the asking price of their home trying to glean a few more dollars. This is understandable. Some Sellers have gotten TOO aggressive with their asking price and are “out of the market” This I believe is an opportunity for Buyers who want to avoid the bidding wars that occur today. There is no rule that says you can’t offer $200,000 for a home priced at $225,000. As an agent, I have a fiduciary responsibility to present any offer you make. I frequently provide input as to the probability of an offer being accepted. My Dad used to tell me the answer is always NO until you ask.
I have heard agents say, “I won’t present low ball offers” While that statement may make great “water cooler chatter”, it is not consistent with A Buyer Representation Agreement. Remember, your Agents job is to act in YOUR BEST INTEREST!
If you think a house is overpriced by $20,000 but you like the house, why not make an offer? What is the worst that could happen? The Seller could say NO THANK YOU! That’s not too devastating, is it? Sometimes the real art of negotiating is having a willingness to start the conversation. Oh and as far as hurting the Seller’s feelings, unless the Seller is your relative and you have to see them at every holiday for the rest of your life, it should be of little concern. This is a business transaction not an assessment of the Sellers taste in clothing or a critique of their peach cobbler recipe. If the house is in need of updates, has deferred maintenance or other issues it may be advisable to outline your reasons for the offer price.
Let’s, for a moment, think about a Seller who in an overheated real estate market (like we have today) has been on the market for over 90 days. And lets also suppose that they have had some showings but no offers. Is it possible they would welcome an offer even if it’s lower than the asking price? I would say in most cases the answer is YES!!! Remember, the actual market value of anything (including homes) is the price a willing Buyer and a willing Seller agree to.
This strategy can work if you and your agent are willing to do the homework.
What is the market value of comparable homes in the neighborhood?
Similar = style, age, finished sq. feet, amenities, finishes
Be ready to execute
-Have a pre-approval letter
-Sufficient earnest money
-What are your contingencies
-Sale of your home (Are you ready to sell/move)
The bottom line is you may be able to put yourself in a position to buy a home if you are willing to venture outside the proverbial box and avoid the your “What Will Sellers Take” comfort zone. Buying a home in today’s market can be difficult, but not impossible. You may just need to stretch a bit and be willing to look where others dare not go!!
Moving across the country is challenging, but when it includes frail, elderly parents, it becomes exponentially harder. It’s why those who have gone through the process with a loved one suggest getting an early start, having a handle on the to-dos, and planning ahead. But most families wait until a crisis before considering housing options and purging a house, according to Judith Kahn of Judith Moves You, a New York City senior move manager. “It’s not unusual for people to call me just weeks before a move,” she says. She also says it’s best to start sorting, cleaning, and figuring out the next steps a year prior to downsizing. “Frail seniors have physical and emotional limitations and can only work two or three hours at a time,” she says. When a move manager swoops in with just weeks to do their work, it increases seniors’ stress, particularly if they have dementia.
Still, parents and children resist. “Part of it is coming to terms with the idea that hiring me is staring mortality in the face,” Kahn says. Sisters Rachel Wineberg-Kaufman of Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., and Johanna Kellman of Naples, Fla., came face-to-face with such resistance when trying to get their 90-something parents, Bernice and Julius, to downsize several years prior to their eventual 2018 relocation from Chicago to Naples. The two had raised the topic several times, but their parents refused to consider moving or even having help in their house. “My mom kept firing the aides we hired,” recalls Wineberg-Kaufman.
But the signs that it was time for a change were there. When the daughters visited, friends pulled them aside and told them that their parents really could use more help. They noticed piles of unopened mail and disorganization in their parents’ normally tidy condo. But getting their parents to accept that it was time to downsize wasn’t easy, and the sisters wanted to respect their parents’ wishes. Then, when Wineberg-Kaufman’s husband talked with his in-laws and suggested moving, they jumped on it (See more of the story in the SRES blog ___), opting to live near Kellman in Naples. A semi-neutral person, someone other than the children, making such requests sometimes can be persuasive and effective.
Tip: When talking with parents about medical directives, ask about their wishes for long-term living arrangements, should aging at home become impossible. Wineberg-Kaufman says, “I wish I had asked, ‘How will I know that you’re ready to move? What signs should I watch out for?’”
After getting a thumbs-up from their parents, Kellman scrambled and started visiting and researching the independent housing options. Kellman suggests doing some scouting years before a move. The choices are vast, confusing, and expensive. In addition, it’s important to pick a place where your parents will feel comfortable.
When the building’s vibe? Do residents seem engaged and happy? Do the activities match your parents’ interests? Could you picture your parents living there? “You really just have to find the personality that’s right for them,” says Kellman.
Once Kellman, an interior designer, chose an apartment in an independent living building, she took measurements and planned a layout. House-sized coffee tables, couches, and so forth, typically are too big for the limited space in independent living apartments. But moving some furniture makes the space feel homier and less institutional.
That advance planning and measuring guided the sisters’ decisions about to bring.
They opted for a few pieces of furniture that were important to their parents, some quilts her mom had made, photos, and some books and mementos.
“If you don’t have a sister who’s an interior designer, hire somebody experienced in senior moves,” advises Wineberg-Kaufman. Such managers are expert in dealing with the big issues of a move and the nitty-gritty details, including packing and shipping, turning utilities on and off, and transferring insurance.
Their unique skills also entail scanning a room and knowing what can be donated, what’s saleable, and what need to be tossed. Moreover, notes Kahn, they have pre-vetted connections with every type of service provider – movers, geriatric care managers, auctioneers, estate sale managers, and so forth – needed to execute a move seamlessly.
When their dad moved from independent to assisted living in the same facility after their mom’s death in 2019, the sisters marveled at senior move managers’ tricks of the trade.
For example, they photographed the medicine cabinet and drawers before packing so that everything was put in the exact same spot in the new apartment. Their dad didn’t have to hunt around for things, which minimized his stress.
A few weeks before the move, the sisters got in touch with their parents’ friends and asked that someone go out with them for a meal each day. It was one way for their parents to enjoy their last weeks in Chicago, celebrate with friends, and bid farewell to their hometown. And to diminish their parents’ angst, the sisters purged and packed after the actual move. They left the apartment intact so that their parents’ last view of it was one of beauty, not chaos.
In retrospect, Wineberg-Kaufman realized that another reason for parents to move to a senior building sooner rather than later is how challenging it is to make new friends, something her parents found difficult. Wineberg-Kaufman notes that people in that age group may have hearing and memory problems and sometimes they’re too frail now to fully engage socially. She also observed that sometimes interactions among residents can mirror those of young children who play next to one another but not together. Had their parents moved they were younger, Wineberg-Kaufman thinks they would have been able to build a stronger social network.
Now that Bernice has passed-away, Julius is isolated at his assisted living facility.
But when he was back in Chicago for his wife’s memorial service, he reconnected with old, lifelong friends and was sharp and engaged. “Because of that depth of friendship, they all just fell into conversation,” recalls Wineberg-Kaufman.
The entire experience has caused her to consider a new model for aging. “Set up your own assisted living with friends,” she says. “Buy two condos: one for the friends and one for the caretaker.”
If you’re planning a cross-country move with a senior, here’s a list of resources and checklists to get you started.
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For those of us that live near or north of latitude 44.986656 (Minneapolis) the winter is mostly dark and on the cool side. While the days to begin to lengthen after Christmas the temperatures can hang at below zero for extended periods. You will generally find folks hunkered down inside with a blanket, a book, and a fire. While that may sound comfortable, anyone who has experienced “cabin fever” knows that the sense of isolation and separation can be real. Combine the normal winter doldrums with a global pandemic and you may begin to exhibit behaviors like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Yikes!!
While the winter is closing in on the halfway mark, there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors this winter. Here are some links to some very traditional activities. There are several places to rent equipment so you can avoid a second mortgage to gear up only to find this may not be your cup of tea.
Downhill Skiing & Snow Boarding – The Minnesota Ski Association can provide you with locations, snow reports and special offers.
Cross Country Skiing & Snow Shoeing – The Minnesota DNR website has information on locations, passes and rentals. Many of the regional parks like Three Rivers Park District or Elm Creek Park Reserve also have information
Sliding – There are enumerable local places to slide or tube but if you are looking for something a bit more dramatic and organized check out the Elm Creek Park Reserve or most of the large regional parks.
There are also lots of ice skating and hockey rinks in the metro area. A drive around after dark and you just need to look for the glow of the lights in a local park. And if you can’t find a park, we do have 10,000+ bodies of water in this state that when frozen can provide an opportunity to glide on blades of steel.
Ice fishing is also available as a great outdoor sport. Large crowds are rare in a “4 hole” fish house. Many anglers opt for a stool on the lake with no shelter at all. As is always the case, make sure that ice is of sufficient thickness and quality to support your activity. The Minnesota DNR has a helpful webpage to give you an idea of what “safe ice” is
The key to comfortably enjoying the outdoors in the winter is always dressing properly. My grandmother’s admonition to dress in layers was and is the best advice (IMO). And there is one activity that requires little gear except clothing. A leisurely walk through the neighborhood or park can giver you just to break you need. If you’ve walked during a gentle snowfall you will know what I mean. I enjoy the quiet, but I do have to be careful to not bump into something while I focus on trying to catch a snowflake in my mouth.
There are also some great organized events to fill your activity calendar. These items were still advertising online when I wrote this.
St Paul Winter Carnival
Maple Lake Ice Fishing Derby
Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Derby
If you’re looking for a more up to date list of events in the area you could try Minneapolis.org/calendar, visitstpaul.com or Google twin cities winter events
With the unknowns surrounding the pandemic it is uncertain which, if any, indoor activities will be available. These are just a few of the options that may be available in the Twin Cities to pass the time until the Spring Equinox. Most area museums and area attractions are worth an investment of the day. (I’m not sure you can get through the Science Museum in a single day). Here are just a few:
Science Museum of Minnesota – The Science Museum was founded in 1907. The museum’s current location on the banks of the Mississippi River in Saint Paul offers 370,000 square feet of space. It includes a 10,000-square-foot temporary exhibit gallery, five permanent galleries, 10 acres of outdoor exhibits, and an Imax Convertible Dome Omni theater.
Minnesota Children’s Museum – Sparking Children’s Learning Through Play. Minnesota Children’s Museum provides children with a fun, hands-on and stimulating environment to explore and discover. The museum helps to instill a lifelong love of learning by nurturing the real-world skills children need to become engaged citizens in the future.
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum -The “Arb” is a top visitor attraction of more than 1,200 acres of gardens and tree collections, prairie and woods and miles of trails. As a premier northern garden, the Arboretum was borne out of the University of Minnesota Horticultural Research Center and established in 1958, with the Men’s Garden Club of Minneapolis, Lake Minnetonka Garden Club, Minnesota
The Como Park Zoo and Conservatory might be just the ticket.
The Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley
No need to hibernate with all these fun things to do. Stay active and social even on the coldest of days. It’s great practice for later because the days are getting longer and in no time at all we will be grilling and chilling by the lake or on our decks.
The recent periods of “Pandemic Prison” may have you climbing the walls and looking for something (anything) to change. While the internet can be a great resource it can also provide a tsunami of ideas that may break the bank and leave you exhausted. Perhaps a shortlist of ideas will help you focus and achieve that new look you are seeking. Here are seven ways to invest your time and resources upgrading your space
OPEN UP YOUR HOME
Lockdowns may be keeping us safe but they are certainly bringing families closer together. 9sometine too close) Your kitchen may now be the school room and home office. Countless living rooms have been tasked as entertainment and exercise spaces. While tearing down a wall or adding on may seem like the only answer, it may be as easy as rearranging furniture and changing the flow of a room that vastly improves function. By eliminating some bulkier pieces adjusting the number of accents and reconfiguring the layout your gym, study hall, office, dining, gathering space can be a realty.
MINIMALIST IS NOT A DIRTY WORD
With all the extra cleaning and disinfecting that is being done you may be glaring (instead of staring at) those shelves of trinkets and keepsakes. That friendly clutter is likely making your space feel smaller than it is. I’m not suggesting you “86” everything you love but it is possible to achieve cozy while improving comfort. I find that when I have less clutter to start with I am less apt to leave more clutter behind. Even if it is just for a few months, boxing up the clutter and storing it away will at a minimum give you a different perspective of your space and way less to dust!!
WHAT ABOUT PAINT
I think new paint is one of the least appreciated home improvements. Paint is not designed to be a “lifetime” investment. Changing up wall colors can be a great way to freshen up the feel of your home and provide relief from the sameness of being locked down. If you’re not up to repainting the entire house how about adding an accent wall to a room? It’s a great way to add contrast and freshness to a tired space. There are numerous techniques that can also be used to give an accent wall extra character. (thank you YouTube) Don’t like what you did to change the paint? No worries, if we’re locked down for awhile you can do it over. You’ll have the time!!
LIGHT UP YOUR LIFE
A relatively inexpensive way to change the look of any room is to update the lighting. New fixtures and updated LED bulbs can improve your look and save you some money. The LED gives you options for intensity and color. (ever dream of a blue room) You can also add accent lighting under cabinets and on stairways that is both functional and eye catching. A licensed electrician is a great resource (and often a must) when you are doing more than plugging in your new lights. Having them installed correctly and safely means you get the enjoyment without the danger of damaging your homes electrical system or causing a fire.
UPDATE THE CABINETS AND COUNTERTOPS
That full kitchen remodel may have to wait until a post pandemic period where “dining out” is a frequent option. That said, there are some simple ways to renew your space. There are some wonderful products for refinishing your cabinets in place. Countertop specialists can usually replace those time worn tops in a day. By adding new hardware you can complete the makeover. Add-ons like under cabinet or over cabinet lighting can give your kitchen a great new vibe.
WELCOME TO THE GREAT OUTDOORS
After being confined for any period of time, it is apparent to me how valuable my time outdoors is. Not only does it feel like I’ve escaped (even if just to my patio) there are the well known benefits that fresh air and sunshine have on my physical and mental health.
I have added to my outdoor spaces entertainment value with things like speakers, lighting, fountains and a fire pit (gas powered) An outdoor rug and new chair cushions were an inexpensive way to put a pop of color in the space. Mine is a micro space (8’x14″) but it does feel comfortable. A great outdoor space can also add value to your home if it enhances the “livability” of the home.
I’m an optimist so I believe this too (pandemic prison) will pass. Until that happens you can greatly improve the look and functionality of your “cell” and make it a place you want to come home to when you are once again, free to move about the country.
The word Christmas comes from Middle English Cristemasse, which in turn comes from Old English Cristes-messe, literally meaning Christ’s Mass. Regardless of the “official” meaning of the word, the Christmas season holds many memories. Bright twinkling lights, pine trees, nativity scenes, crisply wrapped gifts, overwhelming tables of food, Christmas carols, family gatherings, candlelight services, etc. Festive memories that bring joy to so many. For me these memories fill my heart with thoughts of Christmas past. Unfortunately, many of those things may not be part of my holiday in 2020. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will certainly have a different feel this year.
After a year of intermittent social isolation, fear and strife it might be easy to forget that this Christmas is the perfect opportunity to give a gift to everyone you know. It need not break the bank, over extend credit cards or require a second mortgage.
God’s Christmas gift to us, was Himself. (Phil 2 6-7) He came to us as a small vulnerable child and grew among us to walk as we do through this world. An unbelievably gracious act of love that required no money, wrapping paper, decorations or food. His gift continued to give throughout His earthly life. Continually encouraging us to love each other as He loved us. Even those that were “socially outcast” were frequent recipients of His love and mercy.
While I am unable to match the gift given to me that first Christmas,(salvation) I can follow Jesus’ example of loving my neighbor as myself. A card, a smile, a kind word, a prayer, a helpful act are all gifts from me to those around me. Giving of myself, even in small things, could be the best Christmas present ever. I know from past experience that those gifts have the most impact on the giver. Opening my heart to others and giving of myself is the one time I feel like I am truly following His command to “love God with my whole heart and to love my neighbor as myself.” (Luke 10:27)
“Lord Jesus, please open my heart and my eyes to all those who need, this Christmas and beyond. I pray that You would give me the courage, compassion, boldness and strength to be the gift you intended me to be when you created me. Jesus, you showed me that Your love was not limited to the deserving, prominent or popular. Your love was extended to all and You demonstrated how that love held the healing power so needed in the world then and now. Use me Lord to be a conduit for Your love that points people to You and Your incredible gift of salvation.
In Your Holy Name, I pray.”
It is almost here, the end of 2020. A year filled with change and “new normal” Who knew, right? I vaguely remember mentions of Corona Virus and the late-night TV jokes about too many Coronas would give anyone a “virus” or at a minimum make you sick.
Thankful for 2020? Really? Do you have to ask? Can the New Year come soon enough? We need a change, right? Forget “new normal” let’s get back to the way things were. A great battle cry or political slogan but not really based in the reality of experience. If the past teaches us anything at all it is that change is coming. Continually, unrelenting and without remorse or compassion, change, will happen. And it often leaves a trail of confusion and uncertainty for a period.
Even with all the uncertainty and turmoil of this past year I find I am “thank filled”. The year started with the death of my Dad. New Year’s Day 2020. I miss him every day but find myself smiling as I think of all the things he taught me, the shared experiences, that great smile and his response each day I asked “How are you doing pops?” His response never wavered “GREAT” he would proudly pronounce. I am so thankful for the last few years when he needed extra care and I got the opportunity to know him better and serve his needs. I also know my Dad’s life didn’t end and that I will see him again.
I am thankful for my local church family. A smaller, personal and intimate group of believers who have demonstrated a God powered resiliency to continue to provide fellowship, community worship and caring not only for the members of our local church body but also out into the community. Even through the temporary fog of present circumstance the focus has been the Great Commission and Commandment given by Jesus.
I am thankful for my many business and professional relationships. I have not experienced so many people in that environment willing to share their fears, anxieties and convictions at such an authentic level. Perhaps the shared uncertainty of the future has given us a great gift of stripping away veneer to reveal who people really are. And perhaps it has also caused me to listen and hear those around me.
Last but certainly not least I am thankful for my entire family. We are if nothing else an eclectic group. At any given gathering you experience the gambit of political, religious and social opinions. Even within the very distinct “family pods” there is little in the way of unanimity. Even when it gets loud it is only because there is an underlying sense of security and acceptance(usually)
As I said I am not just thankful, I am thank filled; Pressed down and overflowing.
I am most thankful for the God who loves me and knows my name. Whose love was so incomparable that He became a human and then surrendered His life so that I might be forgiven and receive eternal life. And as if that is not enough, He left His Spirit with me so that I would never be alone ever again. He did all this for me and every person on earth. I don’t know about you, but I think that is amazing, awesome, incredible and all the superlatives combined.
Thankful is all I can be, no other response appropriate
Many blessing to you and yours on Thanksgiving
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