We did not go anywhere

If you are reading this. Welcome back.

This site has been down since Saturday, June 9th due to a DDos attack. The attack is about making the network unavailable to people who try to come to the site. it isn’t contagious and has nothing to do with my blog.

The server where it is hosted was attacked. DDos stands for “distributed denial of service’. The way it works is incoming traffic floods the victim and the traffic originates from many different sources. This effectively makes it impossible to stop the attack simply by blocking a single source.

Denial of service attacks create a lot of work for the people who maintain the servers and they result in downtime for sites like mine and it can have a negative impact on my business because the site has all kind of links that people who are interested in buying or selling houses use.

Being hacked and being the target of email scams have been a common experience for me in recent years but having my sites down for several days because of a denial of service attack is new for me. Right now I can not think of a thing I can do to protect myself.  The site is backed up constantly and I change the passwords on a regular basis.

touring houses with buyers

One of my favorite things to do is to tour homes that are for sale with buyers. I have always enjoyed the house hunting process and I am lucky that I get to do it often.

When touring houses home buyers should:

1.  Wear slip-on shoes

2.  If you plan on bringing the family make sure everyone visits the restroom before you go house hunting.  Vacant houses don’t always have the water turned on.

3. Keep an eye on your children.

4. Do not take pictures or video of the home without the owner’s permission.

This is the list for agents:

  • Leave your business card in the house after the showing as a courtesy to the seller, unless showing instructions ask you not to leave a card.
  • Make sure you’ve confirmed the showing so you or your clients are not waiting or turned away
  • If the showing gets canceled or postponed, let the listing office know immediately so the seller can be contacted
  • Stay within the appointment time frame.
  • Use your own app or e-key to open the property for a showing
  • Take your shoes off before you start the showing — a good sign of respect to the current homeowner
  • View the home together with your potential buyer — avoid letting them roam the home by themselves
  • Never allow buyers to enter a property unaccompanied
  • Honor the listing agent’s relationship with the seller and encourage the seller to direct all questions to his or her agent
  • Have a listing sheet ready with all the info of the property for buyers to easily refer back to. (I have it all on my phone)
  • Respect your client by limiting your use of cell phones or computers to the business a hand
  • Don’t allow anyone to eat, drink, smoke, dispose of trash or bring pets into the property
  • Double check that all doors & windows are locked before you leave the property
  • Report any problems with the property to the Listing Agent

I would add to this that agents should knock on the door first.  I try to remember to do that.  You just never know when there is a miscommunication. Earlier this week I was touring a home and there was someone in it. I had knocked first.

It is important to remember that homes for sale are someone else’s private property and that people may be living in the home.

Sunny three season porch

First half property taxes are due tomorrow

Ramsey county building
Ramsey County Government Center 160 Kellogg Blvd – not a place to drop off your tax payment

If you live in Minnesota property taxes for the first half of 2018 are due on May 15th which is tomorrow. If you live in St. Paul you live in Ramsey County and have not sent them in yet you might want to drop them off in person.

Here are the fees for paying taxes electronically:

E-check: $1 per transaction.
Credit card or debit card: 2.49% per transaction.
Signature debit card: $3.95 per transaction.

Current property taxes can be paid in person at:

Ramsey County Plato Building
Property Tax Services Counter
90 Plato Blvd. West
Saint Paul, MN 55107

Cash, check or money order accepted. Business hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Pay by Dropbox
You may submit payments at two drop box locations. Do not pay with cash.

Saint Paul Regional Water Services, 1900 Rice Street, Saint Paul, MN.
Property Tax, Record, and Election Services Office, 90 Plato Blvd. West, Saint Paul, MN.

If you have a mortgage the money has been collected from your mortgage payments and your taxes have already been paid. If you are not sure it is super easy to look it up on the Ramsey county web site

What do county taxes pay for? Many things like libraries and parks and golf courses and the Sheriff. Birth records, death records, and marriage licenses and records.  The medical examiner and financial and medical assistance and jobs programs and voting too. Various transportation projects in conjunction with other entities with taxation authority.

Ramsey County is weird and backward and part of what helps keep St. Paul parochial.

There is an elected board of commissioners that oversees the county programs and budgets. Getting to know your commissioner is important.

Taxes for the second half are due on October 15, 2018. Some folks just pay them all in may.