First Time Home Buyers

Down payments


Yesterday I was reading some advice written for first time home buyers about how they can save up for a downpayment. The article had some great ideas but the  author stated that 20% down is common. Actually it isn’t common.  Down payments of  5% or less are far more common.

There are some downpayment assistance programs too. Just click on the graphic at the bottom of this article or in the sidebar. If you have a tax refund coming this year that just might be the start of your down payment savings. Personally I like to make automatic payments to my savings account as a way to put money aside without thinking about it. I have also been known to eliminate or reduce a monthly expense and put that money into a savings account.

It does help to have a plan because it is always easier to spend money than it is to make it or to save it.


Downtown condo sales

robert street

Robert street at Kellogg

If you live in these parts “downtown” almost always means downtown Minneapolis . . yet when I say downtown I mean downtown St. Paul. Condo sales downtown have been gathering strength. It seems like just a few short years ago they were hard to sell. These days they are flying off the shelves . . . kind of.  There are more than twice as many people living downtown today as there were in 2005.


Number of condos sold

For Home Sellers

Your agent forgot to tell you . . .



Now that we have a little snow on the ground showing homes to buyers has gotten messier. Persons touring homes need to take their wet boots off at the door. Having a sign by the front door that says “please remove shoes” certainly helps but having a large walk off rug or mat helps even more.

The rug should be thick and absorbent and placed close to the inside of the front door. It should be large enough to hold at least 3 pair of wet winter boots. If the rug is too small there will be a puddle on the floor from the wet boots, If there isn’t any rug sometimes buyers will just leave their shoes on and walk through your home.


Local Market Conditions & home prices

January home sales by neighborhood

I just love numbers, especially on a Monday morning. Here are some numbers for January 2016  home sales by St. Paul, Neighborhood.  Real estate really is that local and as a homeowner myself I like to know about sales in my own neighborhood. The data used to make the chart below was gently extracted from the NorthstarMLS. It was then imported into MS Excel where is was sorted and never shaken. Data from the NorthstarMLS is deemed reliable but not guaranteed . . and as we all know there are few guarantees in life.


Saint Paul Home sales January 2016

I have written about this  before but every time I look to see the number of homes for sale in St. Paul I see a new low for the number of homes on the market. 606 is indeed a new low and has me wondering how low we can go. To have a healthy real estate market we need to have more than 47  closed sales in a month.  In a good month for home sales we would see at least 300 homes newly listed.

Home prices continue to rise in spite of threats of rising interest rates.  If you would like to sell your home please contact me. I will give anyone who sites this article a 25% discount on my fees.

For more local home sale numbers see Local Market Conditions & home Prices.

St. Paul MN

Permit Parking and You

It is true I have to have a permit on my car to park in front of my own house. Each permit costs $10 a year and we have one for each car and a couple of extras for guests and repair trucks. Before permit parking we had people who work at the local businesses taking all the parking spaces and that made it super hard for all the people who park in our neighborhood during the hockey tournaments to find a space.

There are 25 areas in St. Paul where parking permits are required.  If you really hate the idea of paying for parking you might want to look for “parking by permit only” signs while house hunting.

We get a notice in the mail every August with an order form so that we can order new permits by mail. There still isn’t a way to order them electronically but maybe some day there will be. If you need to buy permits you can go to the Traffic Operations offices at 899 Dale Street North in St. Paul.


Parking map

There is a Grand Avenue and Victoria street permit area but I don’t think there are any spaces on Grand that require permits. That would be worse than parking meters.

Friday fun

There is no place like home

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. I am sure most people in St. Paul have heard of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival but have you heard of the Autonomous Snow Plow Competition? Yes there is such a thing and people, like me even, stand around and watch it. The idea is to create a machine that will scoop up snow. They are like snow removal robots. The races are timed and I am not sure who this years winner is/was but that isn’t the point.  Watching it makes me feel good about the future and the young people who are involved in the design and deployment of these robots that have such an important mission.

autonomous snow removal

autonomous snow removal

As you can see I wasn’t the only one out there on Sunday morning watching. There was indeed a carnival like atmosphere.

Vendor in Rice Park

Vendor in Rice Park

I didn’t eat any cheese curds or drink any hot chocolate but I did buy a bag of kettle corn for the walk home.


Teresa Boardman
Realtor®, MN,
Licensed Broker 20624860
Boardman Realty LIC 40419051

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