• First Time Home Buyers
  • Home is for gardening


    One of the joys of homeownership is gardening. I planted the Crocus on the south side of house many years ago so I can enjoy them every year. They always come up and each year there are a few more than there were the year before.

    Most summer flowers, fruit and vegetables like full sun. Home buyers who are serious about gardening will look for a house on a lot with few trees.  Sometimes things change and gardens have to be moved but that only happens to people like me who stay in one place for a long time.

    The daffodils will come up next, followed by tulips, and then peonies. After that I have lilies and roses too. Spring is my busiest time of the year so I have to keep it simple. I struggle to get my vegetable garden in and to keep it all weeded. Each year I simplify it a little more. I have to at least have flowers, herbs, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.

  • For Home buyers
  • Basic question to ask real estate agents

    Real estate agents like to talk about how many homes they sell each year. If you are hiring an agent I think it is more important to know if they will sell your home. One of the most important questions to ask an agent is how much experience they have.  New agents will charge as much as experienced agents.

    New agents may not even know what it is they don’t know. It is a good idea to choose an agent who has been selling homes for at least a few years. It isn’t like there is a shortage of agents.

    Don’t assume that because an agent is with a big well known company that they have experience. In fact real estate companies don’t sell real estate at all and real estate agents are independent contractors.

    You might know you are working with an inexperienced agent if he or she can not answer basic questions about the home buying or selling process.


    Roof tops as seen from the Pointe in downtown St. Paul
  • Boardman Realty
  • Not the agents fault

    The other day someone was criticizing the agent who has a home listed that needs some work. He said “what is wrong with that agent? The house is full of junk. I can see it through the front window”.

    It isn’t the agents fault. We often advise our clients to make repairs or to clean and declutter. Some will tell us they are going to have everything ready. We discuss pricing and make our recommendations based in part on what the homeowner says they are going to do before the home is put on the market.

    Sometimes the work is done before the home is put on the market and sometimes it isn’t. When I list a house it is my job to sell it no matter what kind of shape it is in and I don’t have any control over the condition. I have to be truthful about the home but can find a way to market it in a positive way.

    Most of the homes in St. Paul are smaller and older and they don’t look like the homes shown in the glossy magazines or on television and that is alright. I am happy to sell the most modest of homes. They are sometimes a challenge but there is always a buyer.

  • For Home buyers
  • The blizzard effect

    Few people look at homes for sale during snow storms and we get fewer offers on homes for sale. I like to call it the blizzard effect.

    The warm weather we had last week was good for local home sales.

    The spring home buying season starts shortly after the super bowl ends no matter what the weather is like.

    A snow storm is headed our way but we got this. We will get somewhere between 3 and 18 inches in the metro area and it will start this evening or tonight or early tomorrow or possibly this afternoon and should be over by sometime on Friday.


  • Boardman Realty
  • Pre-listed and coming soon

    We are in a sellers market which means that it isn’t hard to find a buyer for almost any home.

    There has been a shortage of homes on the market for a couple of years now.  Some homes are “pre-listed” which means they are for sale before they are listed for sale and are sometimes sold while they are still “coming soon”. People who drive by and see the sign have an advantage if they would like to buy the house which is why I want to give buyers this pro-tip.

    If you see a boulevard with a bunch of colorful flags on it that can mean a for sale sign will soon be delivered. The sign companies have the utilities marked before they dig . . hence the flags. There are other reasons why utilities are flagged it doesn’t always mean the home is coming on the market but it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on it because it might be for sale soon . . which isn’t like coming soon but it could be coming soon.

    If you are a home owner who is thinking about selling and you want hire a Realtor who is going to “pre-list” your home and “pre-market” it give me a call.We won’t play games or play with your home. We don’t need to pre-list we can skip all of that and just sell it for you.

  • For Home buyers
  • Can you afford a house?

    The question is really about being able to get a mortgage. Most people can not pay cash for a home and need a mortgage and need a pre-approval stating that they are at least qualified for a mortgage.

    The easy but not exact rule of thumb is that if you add up all your monthly expenses and a mortgage and divide by your gross monthly income you need to come up with a number no higher than 36%.  Lenders are looking at an income to debt ratio. Debt is car payments and student loans and credit card payments and of course a monthly mortgage payment.

    There are mortgage calculators all over the internet which makes it easy to calculate how much a mortgage payment might be.

    Home buyers also need a down payment and the ability to pay closing costs. Down payments start at about 3% and typical closing costs will add up to about 3% of the loan amount. There are programs for downpayment assistance and sometimes sellers can help with the closing costs.

    We struggled to buy our first home but have never regretted it.

    Also see Housing for minimum wage earners