General Real Estate News

Marriage and home ownership

Gold Wedding Rings --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Gold Wedding Rings — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

After same sex marriage became legal nation wide I started reading these articles about the possible impact on homeownership which kind of surprised me. Marriage has never been a requirement for home ownership. There are groups of people who have lower than average homeownership rates but I don’t think unmarried gay couples are one of them.

For one thing people do not have to be married to live together or to own real estate together. Sometimes one person in a two person household owns the house and the other helps with the expenses and sometimes people who are not married own homes together.

Two or more people who are not married can own a home together and be on the mortgage together. In fact more than two people can own a home together and be on the mortgage together. I see this with multi-generational type homes owned by families and I have worked with people who are not married and who have purchased real estate with their friends.

If unmarried people are joint tenants on the title then the other person on the title inherits the property. If the couple takes title as tenants in common then if one person dies the disposition of the descendants portion of the property is determined by a will or by the inheritance laws of the state.

In Minnesota as in many states when people who own property marry the spouse has property rights. It will take both of them to sell the property and the proceeds will belong to both. One partner can buy the property as a single person but once he marries it belongs to both partners and both have to sign the pile of paperwork it takes to sell the property to someone else.

The important thing to remember is there is no law that says you have to be married to the person or people that you choose to buy property with. I don’t think we will see a surge in homeownership because of new same sex marriage laws.

Historic Homes

On the move

We lost several homes during the great recession. They were demolished. This home wasn’t demolished but is moving to the empty lot that used to belong to a home that was demolished during the housing market crash. I had to do a lot of research because the property has been taken off the tax roles but as near as I can figure it is a one story with one bedroom and one bath and about 800 square feet of finished livable space space.

The home was named the Charles Palmer house and was built in 1874 and moved to its current location in 1897. Moving houses was easier back in the 1800s because there was no bothersome plumbing or all those pesky electric wires overhead. It was probably heated by a wood burning stove and may not have even had much of a basement back then.

The building is currently located at 447 Smith avenue in St. Paul and the space is needed for the stone saloon next door at 445 Smith avenue.  The home’s new address will be 41 Douglas street which is just a few blocks away. The home will be restored and I hope it will become a new home for someone.

447 smith

447 Smith

447 Smith

Charles Palmer House

The house that was to the left on what is now a vacant lot was demolished in 2009. See: One less vacant house.


Friday fun

Where will you watch the fireworks from?

It is Fridays and Fridays are for fun. I really do enjoy fireworks. I watch them every year. For several years they were launched down by the river and I would watch them from the highbridge right along side hundreds of my neighbors.


fireworks 2013 St. paul, MN

Last year because of those freaky July floods the fireworks display was moved to the State Capitol building which was kind of fun. I watched then from median on John Ireland Blvd.


Fireworks 2014 St. Paul, MN

This year there will be fireworks from the new CHS field in lowertown – downtown St. Paul. I could probably watch from the parks along the river but I think it would be better to watch from the Eastern river bluff.  I like to have St. Paul is my backdrop as opposed to just shooting the fireworks exploding in the air without any context. I am guessing that the mounds park area will be pretty crowded. I am still considering my options.

I am open to suggestions or an invite to someone’s rooftop patio. :)

Neighborhood Businesses

More historic preservation

People don’t always consider businesses when they think of historic preservation. This business restored the iconic sign that has been a kind of landmark in the area for decades. They did a wonderful job and it looks like a cleaner slightly more modern version of the original. I am sure they could have found a less expensive option but I am happy that they went with the mid-century modern type sign.

liquor barrel

Restored sign

The other side of the building as a lovely mural made by local artists. I’ll post the photograph when I find it.


Taking a walk

202 McBoal street

202 McBoal street

This is one of the little stone houses in St. Paul.  The Martin Weber house at 202 McBoal street was built in 1867, which makes it one of the older houses in St. Paul but not the oldest on the block. It sits on the limestone river bluff and it is likely that the stone used to build it was quarried right on the site.

The house became the home of a German immigrant and was in his family for many years. It has had a few additions over the years. It was restored many years ago and has been rental property for many years.

This house and others like it remind me of what attracted me to my neighborhood. Part of it is the rich history and the variety of architectural styles. I support preservation and live in an even older house myself.

Houses are for people and as we live in them we become part of their history which is really a part of their story. We lost several small run down historic properties during the great recession and the crash of the housing market. We can never get those houses back but in the end we need to remember that the whole purpose of a house is to be a place for people to live and people are the reason for these structures.

When I talk with historic preservationists I am always interested in learning how their work is going to impact people and the community as a whole. I see this house as a kind of treasure that belongs to all of us and think it is wonderful that it has been home to many people over the years.

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For Boomers

Overvalued real estate

dollarhouseSometimes homeowners stop talking to me at all after I recommend a listing price for their home because they would rather work with an agent who has a higher price recommendation. Real estate agents know this and some will give you that higher price every time.

The good news is there are a lot of real estate agents and several that can and will do a great job selling your home . . . once it is priced right.

The value a real estate agent gives you is just a recommendation and it is based on data and facts and in all cases a homeowner should be able to ask whatever they want to for their home. Pricing a home is more of an art than a science and yes it takes experience and I don’t know anyone who always gets it right every time.

A great strategy for real estate agents is to tell the homeowners what they want to hear and then work on a price reduction after the home is on the market.

The problem with that strategy is that the longer your home is on the market without an offer the less it will sell for in the long run. The homeowner who starts at the lower price often ends up getting more money for the home than the homeowner who wants to just “try” the higher price for awhile.

Homes that are priced right generally sell quickly in today’s market.

As a homeowner myself I don’t think I can price my home correctly. I am biased and I think I am probably under pricing it. At the very least I would need and want a second opinion.

Unless a home is underpriced sellers can plan on getting less than the asking price. When I work as a buyers agent I rarely encourage the buyers to offer full price when I know from experience that the sellers will probably take less and even if they don’t it never hurts to ask and do a little negotiating.

If you live in St. Paul and would like some general information about home values please see Local market conditions & home prices. 



Teresa Boardman
Realtor®, MN,
Licensed Broker
Boardman Realty

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Photos of St. Paul
Photos of St. Paul

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