Housing for all

construction
Couple walking

An older but probably not elderly couple walk by the construction site where apartments are being built. The advertising on the sign in front shows a young man on a bike and lists some amenities including yoga and fitness center and bike storage.

The apartments are “smart” and there will be a rooftop terrance grill and lounge too. I work with young people and older people who are interested in living in Lowertown and most are attracted to the area, and the buildings in it by the same amenities.

Right now it seems like we need more housing of every type. Affordability is also important as rents remain high and wages remain fairly flat.

There is no such thing as identical condos

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view from a River Park Loft

In a condo building it isn’t unusual to find unite that have the same floor plan and are the same size as the condo’s directly above and below. Yet they are not identical because they are on higher or lower floors. They are similar but not identical.

The condo on the same floor but down the hall may not be the same size or have the same floor plan and it doesn’t have the same view.

Each piece of real estate is unique even if it is in a building with similar units. A 900 square foot condo on the 25th floor may be worth 30% more than the same unit on the 2nd floor. The unit that overlooks the patio won’t be as valuable as the unit that is the same size and has the same floor plan but has a view of the river.

A north facing unit with all of the windows on the North side may be less valuable than the similar South facing condo.

Homes can be similar to other homes. Maybe they were built the same year using the same materials and are facing the same direction. If the homes are in different towns or neighborhoods the values are not the same.

Home buyers usually don’t have any problem understanding the differences.

If you can read you can buy a condo

MN Capitol
Minnesota Capitol building

My headline is a little silly. I recently helped an investor buy a condo and the agent who was representing the seller seemed to know that the buyer had to have some association documents but did not include all the required documents.

Selling a condo is a little more involved than selling a regular home. The good news is that all of the documents are listed on a addendum that is part of the purchase agreement. Buyers should reference the addendum and check to make sure that they have all of the documents.

Under a consumer protection law Minnesota condo buyers have a ten day period to review the association documents and can withdraw their offer without penalty if they do not like what they see.

Buyers should actually read these documents.

Here is a list of documents as outlined on the condominium, townhouse and cooperative addendum:

DOCUMENTS: Seller is required to furnish Buyer with the following documents relating to the Association and/or the Master Association, if applicable, before conveyance of unit:

38. (1) (a) a copy of the  declaration (other than any CIC plat), (b) the  articles of incorporation, (c)  bylaws, (d) any  rules

39.  and regulations for the association, and (e) any  amendments or supplemental declarations;

40. (2) a copy of the master declaration, articles of incorporation, bylaws, and rules and regulations, if the common interest

41. community is a member of a master association;

42. (3) (a) a Disclosure Statement (for initial sale of property) and all amendments thereto required by MN Statute

43. 515B.4-101, including a balance sheet of the Association, current within 90 days, and the projected annual budget

44. of the Association and a statement identifying the party responsible for preparation of the budget; or (b) Resale

45. Disclosure Certificate (for resale of property) and all amendments thereto required by MN Statute 515B.4-107,

46. including the most recent regularly prepared balance sheets, income and expense statements and current budget

47. of the Association. The Resale Disclosure Certificate from the Association must be dated not more than 90 days

prior to the date of this Purchase Agreement or the date of conveyance, whichever is earlier.

Downtown Condo sales strong

The demand for downtown condos is strong and prices are almost as high as they were before the crash. There are still downtown condo owners who are renting out their unit waiting for the price to go up. People who purchased a condo between 2006 and 2008 may still be underwater. Owners who bought foreclosures in 2009 and 2011 should have a decent amount of equity.

There are currently 39 units on the market downtown ranging in price from $112,000 to $1,888,000.00. I guess there is something for everyone.

For information about units in a particular building give me a call or send an email.

High crime areas

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Downtown Saint Paul

I don’t write much about crime. No one wants to talk about it and it is bad for business.  Last week I was the victim of a robbery. A robbery is a bit different than a theft or a burglary and the difference is important. A robbery is an in person crime where force is used with the intent to take something and it is a felony.

A young man followed me into the lobby of a downtown building, started talking to me and when I turned around to answer him he grabbed my purse and ran.

Ultimately I got my belongings back. A total stranger heard me yell as I ran after the robber and was able to intercept the robber causing him to drop my purse and run away.

That was the third or maybe the fourth time I have had a purse and wallet stolen in St. Paul but the prior occasions were thefts or burglaries and even a “smash and grab” but not robberies in broad daylight during the lunch hour in downtown St. Paul.

The police arrived more than an hour after I called 911 to “take my statement” and by that time any witness who may have been in the area was long gone. As has always been my experience with the Saint Paul PD these two were about as indifferent as two people could be.

There isn’t anything they can do after a crime happens but I always figure if I call them and report it maybe somehow the information will help someone.  The officers did not know the downtown area well or maybe not at all which made it hard to explain what happened, where it happened and where the thief went.

The young man who robbed me did not need to be afraid of being caught and will likely have a lucrative career grabbing purses and wallets downtown during business hours as long as he stays on the streets.

The streets around the Union Depot in downtown St. Paul, are eerily quiet during the noon hour. Maybe people are in the skyways. I was walking from my car which was parked on Wacouta Street to 4th street. As someone who likes to walk I know that the safest areas are the places where there are lots of people or even just more than three of four people.

If you go downtown and venture outside please be careful. Put your phone in your pocket and avoid carrying anything that can be taken away from you.

To learn more about crime in St. Paul go to the Saint Paul Police web site develop an awareness of what types of crimes happen and where they occur.