Looking for an agent you can trust and who will put your needs ahead of theirs?  I’ve always done that – and always will.  Here’s what one client said:

Wow! What an incredibly intelligent caring and understanding real estate agent! I was very impressed with every aspect of Bob’s work ethic. To find an agent nowadays that is really looking out for you and finds a solution that works best for you is priceless! I would recommend Bob Gilbert in a heart beat if you are looking for someone to take care of your real estate needs.     Marta H, Prior Lake

If that sounds like the type of agent you’re looking for, I’d be happy to help you buy or sell your home.    I’m based in the Minneapolis/Twin Cities area but can assist you with your transactions throughout Minnesota.

Today’s buyers and sellers need more than just a real estate agent.  You need a trusted adviser who can lead you through the intricate process of buying or selling your home.  You need someone who understands the legal issues, financial complexities, and today’s technology.  You need someone who understands your needs and who can help you accomplish your goals based on your requirements and situation.  You need someone who will work tirelessly to help you reach that goal.  I can help you do that – with compassion, discretion, and confidentiality.  Available to assist with all transactions from first time buyers to extreme upper end properties.

Searching for a home?  Click on ‘Home Search’ above for one of the easiest home search tools available.  You can find what you’re looking for with only one click in many cases.  Best of all, the data is real-time so it’s always current.

If you have any questions or if I can help in any way, please contact me either through the “Contact Me” link above, or if you’d prefer just call me at 612-239-3238.  I look forward to working with you and helping you achieve your real estate goals!  Each and every client is a priority to me!  

I love what I do, I’m great at what I do, and I love to help!

Bob G

Posted in Intro

6 Things You Need to Know About the Twin Cities Real Estate Market

This is indeed both a good and a bad time for real estate in the Minneapolis/St. Paul market.  If you’re a seller, it’s quite good.  If you’re a buyer, not so good – mainly because the number of homes currently on the market is limited.  This has been a trend for the past several years, but it’s more apparent now than ever.  I’ve seen articles stating that we sold more homes in 2015 than back in the boom years of 2005-2006.

Here are six statistics comparing November 2015 to November 2014:

NOV ’15 NOV ’14 Percent Change
(compared to one
year prior)
New listings 3,785 3,395 + 11%
Active listings 12,984 15,931 – 18%
Months supply 2.70 3.90 – 31%
Pending sales 3,497 2,962 + 18%
Median sales price $219,900 $205,000 + 7%
Days on the market 73 79     – 8%

Source:  Edina Realty

All of the numbers point to the same conclusion:  homes are selling faster than they’re coming on the market.  New listings are up 11% while active listings are down 18%.  Pending sales are up 18%.   Months supply is down 31%.  ‘Months supply’ is the time it would take to sell all of the homes currently on the market if there were no new listings.

If you’re thinking about selling in the spring, I would recommend getting your home on the market as soon as possible.  Sales don’t slow down that much in the winter, especially in a market like this.  Not only that, but if you wait until spring you’ll have much more competition as a seller since more people will be listing their homes then.  If you’d like to get an idea of what your home might sell for, contact me.  Any agent can give you an idea of the value but I’ll tell you how to get even more for your home.

Posted in Minneapolis Area Info, Real Estate Market Health, Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Two of the Worst Listing Photos

No, I’m not going to actually show you bad photos.  For one, the real estate agent that used them might be offended if I did.  And for another, it just plain wouldn’t be nice.  So I’m just going to tell you (and hopefully other real estate agents) about the two worst types of photos that you can use for your main photo in a real estate listing.

The very worst, and a relative new-comer to the real estate world, would be the drone picture.  This is an aerial photo taken from high above that shows an excellent view of …… the roof!  Now if that isn’t something that would make you interested in a property, I don’t know what would!  Ignoring the fact that it isn’t even legal for an agent to use a drone to take the pictures, or for that matter to hire someone else to take the pictures, they’re just downright bad pictures in most cases.  If it’s a lovely home next to something really nice such as a lake, maybe including a drone photo isn’t a bad idea if it’s done well – but not as the main (first) photo in the listing – ever.  People want to see the house.  That’s what they’re buying.  Yes, it’s nice to let them know if it’s next to a lake but don’t make that the main photo.  And don’t overdo the aerials.  Jeez.  I’ve seen listings with more aerials than interior pictures.  Makes me dizzy.  Don’t do it.

Speaking of lake homes, one of the other ‘worst photos’ to use for the main picture of a listing is a picture of the lake.  What does that tell a prospective buyer?  Not much.  A lake is a lake is a lake.  Sure they’re nice, and sure it’s nice that your shiny new listing is on a lake.  But again, people are buying the house not the lake.  Save the pics of the lake for something other than the primary listing photo.

If you agree, let me know.  If you don’t, tell me why!  Until next time, happy house buying/selling.  Let me know if there’s anything I can help you with.


Posted in Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

10 Reasons A Homebuyer Needs an Agent


But why, you say, would you possibly need a real estate agent to help you find a home when there are tons of internet sites that show homes for sale???  You can go online and find out just about anything you could possibly ever want to know about homes for sale, right?

No doubt it does seem that way.  You can find homes currently for sale, see what they cost, see pictures (sometimes good ones, sometimes not so good ones).  You might even be able to see a few neighborhood statistics.  So what can an agent do for you that you can’t do for yourself?

1.  Having an agent can save you time.  By working with you and looking at homes with you, they get to know exactly what kind of home you’re looking for as well as what type of neighborhood you want.

2.  Agents generally know way more about specific neighborhoods than you’ll ever find online since most of them tend to work in areas close to where they live.  They can tell you about the history of the neighborhood and even more importantly, about future planned changes to the neighborhood.  They also generally know about schools, shopping, entertainment, transportation, etc.

3.  If you’re considering a townhome or condo, agents usually can inform you about the health of the homeowners association.  Believe me, they’re not all created equally.  Some are in dire straits while others have money to burn.  It helps if you know something about the association before you sign on the dotted line – and you won’t find that info on the internet.  By the way, you will normally have the opportunity to review association documents after you make an offer and the seller accepts it.

4.  If you’re working with an agent, they will probably (they should) want you to be pre-approved (not pre-qualified – there’s a difference) for a mortgage before you spend too much time looking at homes.  That saves them and you time by not looking at homes that you may not be able to afford.  They can also provide you with info on financing or at least point you to a mortgage specialist who can.

5.  By working with an agent, you don’t have to wait for open houses.  Simply contact your agent and ask them to set up a showing appointment for you when you find something you want to see.  Couldn’t be easier.

6.  Tired of pesky agents hounding you when you visit an open house?  If you’re already working with an agent, just tell them about it.  They’ll still show you home but they won’t be quite as pushy!

7.  If you currently have a home to sell, your agent can tell you what it should sell for.  That way you know how much money you’ll have to put towards that brand new home you’re looking for.

8.  If you have a great agent, they’ll do a daily review of the listings in the areas that they specialize in.  They’ll know immediately when new listings come on the market.  One of them might be just what you’re looking for.

9.  Most agents can set up an “auto-search” for you.  They enter the criteria for your perfect home and the MLS (multiple listing service) will automatically notify you and/or your agent the instant a new listing matches what you’re looking for.

10.  This one doesn’t apply to most agents, but in the case of the company that I work with, we have a system in which we can input your search criteria and can sometimes find your perfect home before it even comes on the market.  The same applies for selling your home.  How can we do that?  Ask me and I’ll tell you!

And here’s a bonus one for you:  it doesn’t cost you a dime to have an agent work with you!  When you eventually purchase a home, the fee for your agent comes out of the commission that the seller pays.

So if you’re in the market for a home, my advice is to find a great agent that you relate well to and let them help you find that perfect place.  Doesn’t cost you anything and believe me, they can make your search a lot easier!

Posted in First Time Buyers, Home Buying - General | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

2014 – The Real Estate Mystery Market

1362212414_tumblr_mcmozq7Z0x1qznyz8o1_400“There’s something happening here – and what it is ain’t exactly clear” – lyrics from the Buffalo Springfield song For What It’s Worth.  That was from way back in the 60’s.  Who would have ever thought that the words would be appropriate for the 2014 real estate market, at least in my area (near Minneapolis) ???

I’ve gotta tell ya, this is the weirdest year I’ve ever seen for real estate.  Last year was a good year for home sales.  Notice I said good – not great.  It was a heck of a lot better than years past, but nowhere near the days of multiple offers on every house that went on the market.  Remember 1994?  I do.  Tried to buy a house myself.  Every one had multiple offers, mostly all well over the asking price.  I finally ended up buying one before it ever even went on the market.  So no, last year was no 1994!  So, back to what’s happening this year.  It started off like gangbusters this spring!  Certainly looked like it was going to be a year to beat the heck out of 2013.  And yep, multiple offers were common.  Then came June.  The most memorable June ever for my area.  We had over 11 inches of rain – came within .3 inches of breaking the all-time record.  The lakes and rivers rose out of their banks, closing streets and flooding homes.  So rather than the typical July slowdown in the market, we had our slowdown starting in June.  I suppose people were too busy trying to get around and to save their homes.  Can’t blame ’em for that.  So, silly me, I thought maybe the market would pick up again in July.  Nope.  It declined even more than June.  Time on the market went up.  Showings were way down.  Mortgage applications for both new purchases and refinances were down.  Unlike the recent past, new listings were finally UP.  We’ve had a severe inventory shortage, with way more buyers than sellers.  So where have the buyers gone???  What’s really weird is that prices are up a little.  About the only homes that are selling are those that are underpriced or those that are less than $200,000.

Could it be due to rising interest rates?  Not likely.  While it’s true that rates have increased very slightly, they’re still near the lowest they’ve ever been.  And don’t forget, anything around 4.25  to 4.5 % is still one great deal.  Remember 16% and up???  If anything, I’d think that rising rates might give folks a little incentive to buy something before they go up more.   Could it be prices?  Doubt it, they’re still low even if they are rising a bit.  Flooding?  Nope, that’s gone.  Is it the economy?  Got me.  I don’t remember hearing any horrible economic news lately.  Lots of news about mid-East unrest and fighting, but not horrible economic news.  Political?  I don’t think so.  No major elections coming up anytime soon.  So what’s keeping the buyers from buying???

I just don’t get it.  The conditions are perfect, or close to it, for people to buy a home.  Why aren’t they?  Ideas are welcome.

Posted in Home Buying - General, Real Estate Market Health | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

5 Questions to Ask Your Realtor if You’re Selling

I lost!  A listing, that is….from a friend no less!  How did I let that happen??  Because they say that I’m too close to them – and that’s OK with me.  They are indeed friends and sometimes it’s best not to do business with a friend.  It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes things don’t go exactly the way we’d like them to in a real estate transaction.  No need to harm a friendship over it.  What does bother me though, is who they chose to sell their home.   They chose a part-time agent who offered a low commission rate to get the listing.  They did that because I failed to educate them.  Yep.  So what’s wrong with a part-time agent and getting a low commission?  Several things.  For one, a part-time agent doesn’t have the time to properly market a home or to deal with showings and offers when they’re busy spending most of their time at another job.  They often won’t spend the money to get professional photos (this one didn’t).  They often don’t do enough transactions to keep up with the latest forms and law/rule changes.  No doubt the part-time agents of the world will send me hate mail when they read this!  OK, I’ll concede that there are a few good part-time agents.  As for the low commission, other agents see the lower commission that’s being offered to them for bringing in a buyer and, people being people, they’ll often choose to show homes that offer a higher commission payout.  Yes they do.  So what’s the result:  the home sits on the market longer, costing the sellers much more than what they’re saving with the lower commission.  After all, the commission rate is meaningless if the home doesn’t sell.  An agent can offer a 1% commission or a 30% commission, but if the home doesn’t sell the actual rate is ZERO in both cases.  It’s better to go with a great agent, even at a higher commission, to get the job done.

So, if you’re in the market for an agent, here are the top five things you should ask any potential agent:

1.  Are they a Realtor?

Not all real estate agents are Realtors.  In order to be called a Realtor, they must be a member of the National Association of Realtors.  Realtors are required to adhere to a very strict code of ethics.  Agents who are not Realtors do not.  Of course they must follow the laws of the state, but they aren’t bound by the strict code of ethics.

2.  Are they full-time?

Real estate transactions are chock full of pitfalls.  Purchase agreements can run somewhere around 40 or so pages, at least in Minnesota – and every bit of it is a legal contract.  Full time agents are most likely to be able to help you avoid those pitfalls.  Full time agents have the time to market and show your home.   Since they don’t have another job, they’re depending on their income as a Realtor, therefore they’re far more likely to work harder to do a better job of selling your home.

3.  Do they hire a professional real estate photographer?

Something is crooked here!

Something is crooked here!

A great agent will always, always, always pay for a professional real estate photographer – not just a pro photographer, but a pro real estate photographer.  And yes, there’s a difference.  Taking great photos of the inside of a house is quite different from most other types of photography.  You need someone who knows how to do it.  Great photos are one of the most important things to have for selling your home.  The first place most buyers look for a home is on the internet.  If your pictures aren’t good, they’ll often bypass your home altogether.

4.  What will they do to market your home?

Some agents use the 3P process:  Put a sign in the yard, Put it in MLS (multiple listing service), and Pray.  A great agent will spend money to have pro photos/videos and marketing brochures made, will advertise it in local media, will hold public open houses, will hold broker open houses to get agents in from all companies, will network with other agents, will pay to send out ‘just listed’ cards to the neighbors, will utilize social media to spread the word about your house, etc, etc, etc.  Always ask what they’re going to do to market your home.

5.  How much market share does their company have?

Any company that you choose to list with has somewhat of a chance to sell your home.  However, the company that dominates the market in your area has a better chance.  Why?  Because they typically have more agents, which means they’re working with more buyers that are looking in your area.  More buyers mean a better chance of selling your home.  Their agents also normally know more about the area and therefore have a better chance of convincing a buyer that they should buy your home.

Well lookee here, there seems to be a very important question missing from the top 5!!!  There’s not a single mention of COMMISSION.  How could that be?  That’s often one of the first things a seller wants to know about.  Well, we’ve already talked about that, in the opening paragraph.  Low commissions often equate to lesser service, longer selling times, and lower selling prices.  After all, the only thing you, as a seller, are really concerned about is the bottom line – how much $$$ you’re going to have in your pocket after closing.  Does it matter if you pay a higher commission if you NET more money?  Nope.  Does it matter if you can tell your friends that you got a great deal by listing your home at a low rate if it never sells?  Nope.  It comes down to this:  would you rather be able to brag about listing your home at a low commission or would you rather get it sold and end up with more money in your pocket?  As with anything else, you usually get what you pay for!

That’s it for now.  As always:  I love what I do, I’m great at what I do, and I love to help.  If you have any questions, I’m here just for you!

Regards…   Bob



Posted in Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2014: What’s A Millionaire To Do?

Money-IIWhat’s the best alternative to stocks and bonds for 2014?  According to a survey by Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, it’s real estate.

Learn why here:  What’s A Millionaire To Do

With 464 properties on the market in the Minneapolis area for $1 million or more, there’s bound to be one for you.  I can find it for you!

Posted in Luxury Properties | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring is Here (at least in the world of real estate)!

Snow CardinalYou’d never guess it from looking outside – or even worse, walking outside – but in the world of real estate, spring is indeed here already.  I’ll never understand why, but buyers tend to come out as soon as the holidays are over.  It doesn’t matter that it might be -20 with a foot of snow on the ground – buyers start their spring season early!  So if you’re waiting around for the real spring to arrive before you put your home on the market, you’re missing out on a lot of buyer activity.  I’d recommend getting it on the market right now.  If your home isn’t quite showing-worthy just yet, now is the time to get started on sprucing it up.  The sooner you can get it on the market, the better.  Inventory is still low and interest rates are projected to rise.  If you’re a seller, this is the perfect time to get the maximum value for your home.

If you have any questions about this topic, or any other real estate related topic, just give me a yell.  I’d be happy to help.

Posted in Selling Your Home | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

2013 Housing Stats – Minneapolis Area

If you’d like to know what happened in the Minneapolis area housing market in 2013, this is the report for you:

2013 Annual Report

It’s rather lengthy but provides extensive data on the housing market.

As always, I’m available to answer any real estate questions that you might have.



Posted in Minneapolis Area Info | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

2013 Housing Stats for Minneapolis

Home for Sale 2013 was a good year for real estate in the Minneapolis area.  This video will give you the details:

The Monthly Skinny

2014 is projected to be another good year, with modest (single digit) price increases expected.  Interest rates are projected to rise slightly to around 5%.  A conventional 30 year fixed rate mortgage is currently around 4.5%.  Inventory level is expected to rise slightly – it’s been at an eleven year low – as more sellers come into the market.  If you’re thinking of selling, this could be your year to make a move.  Now would be the perfect time to start discussions with your agent if you’re thinking of selling in the spring.

As always, let me know if I can be of assistance.  Stay warm!

Posted in Minneapolis Area Info | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Boomerang Buyers Could Boost Housing Market | RISMedia

Just because you might have experienced a short sale or foreclosure in the past, it doesn’t mean you can’t buy another home if enough time has passed:

Boomerang Buyers Could Boost Housing Market | RISMedia.

Posted in Distressed Property, Home Buying - General | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment