consider the roof rake

The first snow of the season is behind us and so is the second. The first snow kicks off the ice dam season. One of the best ways to prevent ice dams on roofs is to remove the snow before it has a chance to melt and freeze and turn into ice.

Yes, you can shovel your roof with a roof rake. They can be purchased at most building materials stores and they are not very expensive especially as compared to repairing water damage caused by water pooling on the roof because of the ice dams.

Now is a good time to buy a roof rake. They will sell out quickly if we get a big snow and they are considered seasonal which means they will be replaced by flower pots and seeds in late January or early February.

To learn about snow and ice dams go to the University of Minnesota Extension website and read up. Knowledge is power!

Related article Damn Ice Dams

 

Ice rake
roof rake

Minnesota is the best run state

MN state capital building
Minnesota State Capital

According to 24/7 Wall Street, Minnesota is the best-run state in America.

  • 2016 Unemployment: 3.9% (13th lowest)
  • Pension funded ratio: 79.8% (18th highest)
  •  Credit rating and outlook: Aa1/Stable
  • Poverty: 9.9% (6th lowest)

We have jobs with decent wages and more than 10,000 lakes. Yes, we pay state income taxes but we get a lot in return. We also have a beautiful newly renovated State Capital building.

Winter isn’t so bad if you dress for it. Spring, Summer, and Fall are amazing. We don’t have hurricanes and wildfires and earthquakes are rare. Mosquitoes are abundant but never in the winter.

It is time to get the shovel out

I walk a lot. I even walk outside when it is cold out. Weird I know but I have my reasons.

I was surprised when I walked to the grocery store last week and the sidewalk was covered with snow and ice, days after it had snowed. Some of the snow became ice after freezing and thawing a few times.

In fact, only about half of the properties along the way had snow-free sidewalks.

Saint Paul City Ordinance requires snow and ice to be removed from sidewalks within 24 hours; read Chapter 113and Chapter 114 of the Saint Paul Legislative Code for more information.

The city web site even has a “how to” section for people who do not know how to properly remove the snow from the walk.

There is also a  printable door hanger to take with you on your next walk. Leave the door hanger as a reminder to neighbors to keep their sidewalks clear.

To report a sidewalk that’s a safety hazard and needs shoveling, contact the Department of Safety and Inspections at 651-266-8989. 

The city will have the snow removed and send the bill to the property owner.

It is important to remember that the snow removal ordinance applies to property owned by businesses, rental property, condominiums, and townhouses and the sidewalks in front of vacant houses.

Please be a good neighbor and keep your sidewalk safe and free of snow and ice. If your neighbor can not shovel and you can shovel their walk too.

Covered under the first amendement

 

American flag
American Flag

The First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Passed by Congress September 25, 1789. Ratified December 15, 1791. The first 10 amendments form the Bill of Rights
Learn More

When I look at the first amendment it is clear to me that no one in this country has to worship the flag of this country. We are free to worship and kneel or not kneel or stand or not stand before the flag. We are also free to believe in God but we don’t have to.

This truly is a great country. Let’s keep it great.

Holiday fun in downtown St. Paul

it is Friday and Fridays are for fun. I spent part of last Saturday a the Union Deport. The out-door European Market is bigger than ever this year. There is even a warming house. There is a lot of food and plenty to drink. Last weekend was the official tree lighting but don’t worry if you missed it because they leave the lights on.

There are train rides too and the annual holiday bake sale will be held this Saturday.  For more details and times for events please see the Union Depot website. 

My goal this weekend is to get to the indoor Saint Paul Farmer’s market , in the Market House building. The downtown Farmer’s market has had winter hours for as long as I can remember but the whole outside in the cold just wasn’t fun.

I should probably mention that downtown St. Paul is also a great place to live. I’ll be writing more about that next week.

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Cash real estate purchases

washing machine
Laundromat

Every year I work with a few buyers who pay cash for real estate. So far I have not run into anything weird. As a Realtor® I am not required to report it  I am suspicious that a buyer is laundering money, but am encouraged to do so. That is hard to do because I also owe my clients ‘confidentiality”.

Buying real estate is a great way to launder money. Suspicious activity includes people who buy property for cash without looking at it and people who pay way too much cash for a property that doesn’t seem to be desirable or worth what is being paid for it.

The cash buyers I typically work with are pulling money out of investment accounts or retirement accounts and they usually supply me with some kind of a letter from a financial institution stating that they have the money.

Money laundering usually involves “shell corporations”, rather than individuals.

Actual cash in paper currency is not accepted by title closing companies.

People who are selling real estate especially investment property rarely take an interest in the buyer and many investment property buyers do so through a corporation. Which makes sense. I guess I am writing this just to put the idea on everyone’s radar.