• General Real Estate News
  • Mortgage ready Millennials

    Future home buyers

    The youngest in the millennial generation will turn 20 thus year and I doubt that many are ready to buy a home. I have had several clients in the last few years who are in their thirties. High student loan debt continues to be an issue because there are limits to how much debt a borrower can have and still get a home loan.

    In the long run people who are able to buy their own home are able to accumulate more wealth than those who rent. The first step in getting ready for homeownership is to pay down debt. The second step it to save a little money for a downpayment. There are numerous downpayment assistance programs for credit worthy home buyers.

    I like to send people who want to buy a home but who are not quite ready because of student debt or a low credit score to The Minnesota Homeownership Center. The Homeownership center is a non-profit and free.

  • Local Market Conditions & home prices
  • The Twin Cities

    Median home prices in St. Paul and Minneapolis

    The Twin cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis are not identical twins. The cities are more like very close fraternal twins. There are differences between the two cities. Property taxes are higher in Minneapolis but those taxes include more services. You would have to live in Saint Paul for a time to really appreciate what a quirky little town it is.

    Home prices are on average higher in Minneapolis than they are in St. Paul. Home prices are going up slightly faster in Saint Paul than they are in Minneapolis. There are other differences between the two cities.

    Minneapolis has a woman for a mayor and she isn’t the first. Saint Paul has had 53 male mayors in a row. Minneapolis police chief is also a woman, Chief Janeé Harteau, who was just named on Fortune’s list of top 50 world leader. Harteau is number 22 on the list.

    I guess I would call Saint Paul parochial, but I also call it home.

  • For Boomers
  • How soon is soon?

    Beautiful Saint Paul brownstone and brick condo building.

    I have written about this before, I am not of fan of putting a sign in front of a house indicating that it will “soon” be for sale. We are in a strong sellers market. Many of my peers believe that “coming soon” is a wonderful marketing strategy that benefits the homeowners. I view it as a strategy the benefits real estate agents, increases the likely hood for dual agency, and generally ticks off the home buyers who are ready to buy today. We have a lot of homebuyers who are ready to buy right now.

    When is soon? There is one house that has had a coming soon sign in front of it for at least a month. Are they really interested in selling? Coming soon is kind of vague but it would help to have some kind of a time limit. My own home will probably be for sale at some point after the year 2020. Should I put the “coming soon” sign out now, or should I wait?

    We have had a few listings that have been sold in the first day or three that they were on the market with multiple offers even. The “coming soon” strategy would have stretched it all out for a few days but would not have increased the value of the homes and would not have made the sell any faster.

    Pre-listed and coming soon

  • Architecture
  • Bad remodels


    There are renovations that are beautiful but they can also be what I like to call home wreckers. For example take a small historic home, rip out a few walls and put in a gourmet kitchen with granite counter tops and of course those ubiquitous stainless steel appliances. The kitchen now takes up 1/3 of the first floor and is done in one style while the rest of the house is another style.

    The kitchen looks nice and so does the rest of the home but they don’t go together at all and I have seen a few remodels where the rest of the living space was reduced or moved to a lower level to make room for a larger kitchen. Yes it is true that the kitchen often sells the home but having fewer bedrooms and baths will hurt the salability of the large kitchen.

    I think it is alright to do most anything to our homes to accommodate our lifestyles and our tastes but expecting to make money or even recoup the cost of a some of the strange renovations I see isn’t realistic and sometimes what one owner thinks of as an improvement keeps a potential buyer from making an offer.

    There are two homes in my area that have been strangely and expensively upgraded. One took almost a year to sell and sold for 40K less than comparable homes and the other has been on and off the market for the last 18 months. They will need to drop the price another 20K if they want to sell it. The owners are trying to get the money they put into the upgrade back.


  • First Time Home Buyers
  • Home is for gardening


    One of the joys of homeownership is gardening. I planted the Crocus on the south side of house many years ago so I can enjoy them every year. They always come up and each year there are a few more than there were the year before.

    Most summer flowers, fruit and vegetables like full sun. Home buyers who are serious about gardening will look for a house on a lot with few trees.  Sometimes things change and gardens have to be moved but that only happens to people like me who stay in one place for a long time.

    The daffodils will come up next, followed by tulips, and then peonies. After that I have lilies and roses too. Spring is my busiest time of the year so I have to keep it simple. I struggle to get my vegetable garden in and to keep it all weeded. Each year I simplify it a little more. I have to at least have flowers, herbs, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.