• General Real Estate News
  • Secret cell phone numbers

    Pay phone
    pay phone

    One of the most challenging parts of my job is getting phone calls returned and emails answered. There are real estate agents who have secret cell phone numbers so that they don’t actually have to talk to other agents. Usually these numbers are available to their clients and can easily be found by using Google.

    I remember the time I sent a text message to a real estate agent who is kind of a big deal and how surprised he was that I had his cell phone number. His office told me that they could not give it out.  I found it on the internet. He was trying to avoid me and ended up having to answer a question that one of my clients had.

    Some of these agents are all about numbers but not phone numbers. Oh well another day another dollar.

  • General Real Estate News
  • Just passing through

    Many west 7th street businesses do not want a light rail line running down the middle of West 7th street. I am not in favor of it either for several reasons. I have attended a few of the public meetings and have concluded that the opinions of people in the neighborhood are not really taken seriously. Feel free to stop inside a West 7th business and sign the petition.

    No Light Rail line on west 7th
    No Light Rail line on west 7th


    Businesses say no
    Businesses say no


  • General Real Estate News
  • Vacant lots for sale

    The city of Saint Paul Has 27 vacant lots for sale. Fill out and application by May 20th 2016 and you too could become a land owner. In the real estate business we call it buying dirt.

    How to make a lot vacant
    How to make a lot vacant

    Here is how it works:

    Individuals and businesses have the opportunity to submit an application to purchase the vacant lots, and will be considered and accepted according to four priorities:

    1. Sale for construction of commercial or residential structures that create
    jobs or housing opportunity and increase Saint Paul’s tax base.

    2. Neighborhood uses that provide a public benefit, such as community gardens,
    pocket parks, public plazas, public art installations, or others.

    3. Sale as a vacant lot to adjacent property owners.

    4. Sale for the purpose of land banking.

    Note: Commercial uses are not currently being considered.

    Learn more on the city web site

    All too often these lots are sold to adjacent neighbors who incorporate them into their existing property which is kind of a shame because living in the city isn’t about large lots, which is why suburbs were invented.

    I don’t like the big gaping holes left by the housing market crash, and the great recession. I would like to see small rental units put on the lots. Tiny houses or housing pods. If we can build ginormous houses on little lots why can’t we build a few small affordable places to live on a little lot?

    How to make a lot vacant
  • General Real Estate News
  • Houses available for rehab

    I thought that headline would get some attention. The City of Saint Paul is accepting bids on properties available for rehab through the “Inspiring Communities Program”.  People have expressed an interest in buying the homes but they are not sold like traditional real estate they are sold by the city through an RFP process.

    The goals of the inspiring communities program are as follows:

    • Utilize HRA property as a catalyst for neighborhood transformation
    • Construct or rehabilitate lots or buildings to create a variety of housing opportunities in focused cluster areas
    • Create job opportunities for local residents, Section 3 certified businesses, minority, women, or small businesses
    • Inspire innovative, sustainable design and construction methods

    Some public funds are used to rehab the houses and after they are sold for far less than it costs to rehab them. In other words don’t try this at home and please don’t call me about purchasing these they are never sold to individuals but are sold to contractors or companies. If you would like to buy one after it has been rehabbed let me know. I was able to help buyers purchase a homes on 4th street and on Bates that were rehabbed through similar programs.

    Properties released in this RFP are listed under two separate events on stpaulbids.com. Please be certain proposals are submitted under the correct event.

    Dayton’s Bluff RFP Property List and Reports

    Map of Dayton’s Bluff RFP Properties

    Proposals are due Wednesday, May 11, 2016 for the following properties:

    Note: Proposals must be submitted under Event 378 on stpaulbids.com.

    • 700 4th Street East
    • 767 4th Street East
    • 737 Plum Street
    • 275 Bates Street

    Proposals are due Wednesday, June 8, 2016 for the following properties:

    • 208-210 Bates Street
    • 216-218 Bates Street

    Note: Proposals must be submitted under Event 379 on stpaulbids.com.

    275 bates street
    275 bates street
    216-218 Bates Street
    216-218 Bates Street


  • General Real Estate News
  • Reasons why home sales were lower last month


    The biggest real estate news story this week:

    The National Association of Realtors said Monday that sales of existing homes fell 7.1 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.08 million.

    There are several reasons why there were fewer home sales in February.

    One reason home sales are down is because the average number of homes on the market has gone down. Homes are selling briskly and I have clients who want to buy homes but they do not have enough homes to choose from and when we do find a home that they like they have to compete with several other buyers for the home.

    There are people who would like to sell but they are holding off because they can not find a home to buy.

    Some homeowners are hanging on until they have more equity. The recent housing crash wiped out a decade of equity. Each spring I meet with potential sellers who decide to wait another year until they have more equity.

    There is a large number of baby boomers who are retired or close to retirement who are staying put. As a group older Americans just don’t move around much.

    Some more new construction would help. It would be nice to see some houses on those lots that were made vacant by tearing down houses during the recession.

    Maybe if tiny houses were allowed in the city we would have more housing.