Happy Leap Year

There’s a leap year every year that is divisible by four, except for years that are both divisible by 100 and not divisible by 400. It all has to do with how we count and the fact that the earth orbit is a little crooked. I want to wish everyone who was born on February 29th a very happy birthday. Having a birthday once every four years helps people stay young.



How noisy is it?

I don’t mind noise. I have lived in the city my entire life and have pretty much stopped hearing traffic, sirens and boat horns. I find unnecessary noise like firecrackers and news choppers circling over head for a few hours very annoying but there isn’t a thing I can do about either. There are noise ordinances in St. Paul but they only apply to barking dogs.

If you are looking for a home and noise is a big deal there is a web site where you can type in an address and get a kind of noise score. It is called: Howloud.com

A Soundscore™ rating aggregates noise caused by vehicle traffic, airplane traffic and local sources, such as restaurants, stores, schools, etc.

They use a scale of 0 to 100, with zero being very loud and 100 being quiet.

screen shot from howloud.com
screen shot from howloud.com

Also see: Airport Noise There are some pretty comprehensive maps that show air traffic.

The Saintly City

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. Crashed ice is in town for the weekend. There will be plenty of drinking and debauchery and parties in the streets . . . well at least on West 7th street. It is fun to watch. In the past I have gotten a media pass so that I could get close enough for some photos but once I learned that sports photography is a contact sport I kind of lost interest in getting the media pass. I’ll let the pros get the close-ups and I’ll take pictures of the venue.

Here is a picture of the cathedral after the lighting crew got done. It is simply gorgeous.

St, Paul cathedral – Crashed ice 2016

Here is what it will look like during the event. . . up close.


crahsd ice
Crashed ice 2014

The weather forecast is predicting temperatures in the 50’s on Saturday which is about 60 degrees warmer than it was the night I took the photo of the race. If you want to know more  look at the official crashed ice web site. 

Real estate emergenices

Saint Paul Minnesota

I used to think that there isn’t such a thing as a real estate emergency but I was wrong.  Usually the emergency involves a out of town home buyers who come into town and want to see houses. They call or write on Thursday or Friday and would like to see houses over the weekend.

This is a busy time of year for real estate agents and the weekend is the busiest part of the week.  We have clients that we have been working with for awhile and already have appointments for the weekend. I occasionally respond to emergencies if my schedule allows and I have to say I don’t think I have ever made a dime that way. Most of us work on a 100% commission basis and we only get paid after we sell real estate and even then only after a successful closing.  I honestly love to looking at houses and working with buyers but I also have to make a living. It took me a few years to learn how to say no.

Usually people who don’t know ahead of time when they will be in town are not prepared to buy a home. Sometimes home buyer’s don’t seem to know they are headed for St. Paul to look at houses until they get into the car and are almost here or at least that is what they tell me. These unexpected arrivals are more common before holiday weekends and in the spring.

People who want to work with an experienced real estate agent who really knows the area and the market should connect with an agent weeks or months before they come into town. Make appointments with that agent ahead of time so that it isn’t a last minute emergency and the agent can prepare for your visit. Also consider looking at homes in the middle of the week during business hours. 

Which city is more expensive

Which city is more expensive to live in? St. Paul or Minneapolis? Minneapolis is the winner but not by much. A person who makes $50,000.00 a year would only need to make $49,583.00 to enjoy the same standard of living in St. Paul that they would have in Minneapolis.  The cost of food, housing and utilities are slightly lower in St. Paul than in Minneapolis.

In general housing costs are a little higher. For buyers who want to know the true cost of owning one home Vs. another local Realtors® have access to a true cost calculator that can be used to compare one property to another. The calculations take into consideration commute times, property taxes, entertainment and utility costs and more.

Most people would not choose one city over another because of a slight difference in the cost of living but it is a good idea when comparing houses to look at additional costs like utilities and commuting times, not to mention commuting and possible parking costs. Property taxes should also be taken into consideration and they are almost guaranteed to rise but it ins’t always easy to tell which areas will see the biggest increases.

cost of living
cost of living



It is either for sale or it isn’t

coming soon

Lately I have been seeing “coming soon” signs in front of homes that are going to be put on the market. I don’t understand why home owners agree to let real estate agents use their homes as play things. We are currently in a sellers market.

The only people who benefit from”pre-listings” are real estate agents. They have an opportunity to represent both the seller and the buyer. We call that dual agency and I am not a fan. Either a home is for sale or it isn’t there is no kind of for sale.

In dual agency the agent can not represent the buyer or the seller but has to act as a facilitator. That means the agent can not advocate for either party to the detriment of the other. It is also considered dual agency when both agents are from the same office.

Why pay a commission to a facilitator when you can have your own agent who can negotiate fiercely for you and with you so that you come out ahead? An agent can benefit from dual agency by collecting both halves of the commission but the seller doesn’t benefit.

Either you want to sell your home or you don’t. If you are ready to sell don’t let your agent play with your home or use it as bait, just sell it.

also see Pre-listing