First Time Home Buyers

3% down is a thing

threepercentVarious lenders have been contacting me and emailing me to let me know that starting December 15th which of course was a few days ago the 3% down payment conventional loan is a thing . . as in it is available for first time home buyers.  I am not sure what my opinion on the loans but I know they will help some folks who may not have enough cash buy homes.

Before the change conventional loans required at least 5% down.  FHA loans require at least 3.5% down, up from 3% down a couple of years ago. Home buyers will need some cash to buy a home even with down payment assistance. In addition to the down payment there are closing costs. Sometimes the sellers will pay closing costs but generally will charge more for the home to cover them.

Interest rates are oh so low the average on a 30 year  conventional loan is less than 4%, and down 3/4 or a percentage point from December 2013.


Fun all winter

It is Friday and fridays are for fun. If you are looking for a fun place to go during the winter try Como park conservatory. It is part of a public park and it is free which proves that some of the best things in life are free. There is more to see than the flowers and there are free concerts on Sundays starting later this month. See the Como Park website for details.

como conservatory

Como Conservatory

For Home buyers

Is your lender good for three months?

280.16x9So you have a pre-approval letter from your loan officer and it is good for three months. As you look for that perfect home to make an offer on you need to keep in touch with your lender because he or she may not last as long as the letter. people who write pre-approval letters to get fired or to leave the mortgage company, credit union or bank and sometimes most of the time if they leave your file gets lost.

If your file vanishes the good news is that it can be rebuilt from scratch. The bad news is that you will need to provide all that documentation all over again and the worse news is closing on the home you want to buy may be delayed for weeks.

It can get pretty messy and most people hate having to go through the process twice. It is rare that anyone admits that your file doesn’t exist they just ask you for the same information you already gave them and often they need it now.

It isn’t at all unusual for a pre-approval letter to last longer than the person who signed it but once they are gone you might not even exist as a customer.

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St. Paul MN

Shovel it

www_smart-trips_org_wp-content_uploads_2014_06_door_hanger_for_web_pdfWe have not gotten a lot of snow this season but I noticed that when it does snow there are several businesses and condo complexes in my neighborhood that do not clear the walks.

Saint Paul City Ordinance requires snow and ice to be removed from sidewalks within 24 hours.

To report a sidewalk that’s a safety hazard and needs shoveling, contact the Department of Safety and Inspections at 651-266-8989. Be sure to tell us the address of the property and check to be certain it’s within city limits.

The City will contact the property owner to make sure the sidewalk is shoveled as soon as possible. If the owner does not comply, the City will send a crew to clear the sidewalk and bill the property owner for the (high-priced) work.

The city also has a downloadable, printable door hanger that can be used to remind a neighbor to shovel.  I am not sure how to use that on the sidewalks that are along Kellogg Blvd and in other places where there are no homes or businesses. There are several downtown sidewalks that never get shoveled.

People do use the sidewalks even in the winter. It snowed yesterday. Hurry up and shovel before I turn you in.

Local Market Conditions & home prices


The local real estate market is still in recovery. Here is a picture of downtown condo prices over the last decade. The chart follows the same ups and downs as the rest of the city and metro area. Downtown St.Paul is a separate market from the rest of the city. The housing is mostly condos and many of them were renovated, built or converted to condos in the last decade.


Downtown Condos

The data used to make the chart is from the Northstar MLS which is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. The data represents most of the condo sales downtown in the last decade.

For Boomers

Your cabin in the city

4th street
There are people who own downtown condos so they have a place to stay when they are in the city. Maybe they work in St. Paul but live someplace else or maybe they come to St. Paul for some other reason.  There are people who just live here in the summer and like to stay in the city where they can take advantage of fine dining and the arts and the events we host here during the warmer months.

I don’t really understand why anyone would live anyplace but St. Paul but I can understand wanting to own a condo in the city and use it as a place to stay. There are several condos to choose from right now and I can help.

Those who are in the upper 1% income bracket should also consider owning a downtown condo because it is fun and good for the economy.



Teresa Boardman
Realtor®, MN,
Licensed Broker
Saint Paul Home Realty
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Photos of St. Paul
Photos of St. Paul

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