• Downtown
  • Downtown St. Paul Condos

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    River Park Lofts at 406 Wacouta

    The downtown St. Paul condo market is very unique. There are many real estate professionals in the metro area who not only have no experience with downtown St. Paul, they have a hard time finding the buildings. Experience selling condos is useful too.

    While working with a buyer last week I found two agents who have condos listed downtown who knew little about the buildings and I believe that is why the their listings were priced incorrectly, and they were missing information about the units in the listings and of course could not answer questions.

    In one case the agents worked as a team so that an offer on the unit was ignored by more than one agent. These agents are all very good at getting clients to list with them. That is their super power. Getting a listing and doing a good job selling a downtown condo are totally unrelated.

    There are agents who work downtown who seem to kind of take over in various buildings with many condos for sale in the same building. That can also lead to problems with dual agency and pitting one seller against another as one agent represents several sellers.  These agents commonly charge higher commissions and extract larger fees from their clients too.

    I can usually tell right away if the listing agent has no experience in the downtown market and if I am representing a buyer I take advantage of the situation if it helps my client.

  • Downtown
  • Yes you can have a condo and pets too

    window

    Many people assume that if they live in a downtown condo they won’t be able to have pets. There are condo buildings throughout the city that do not allow pets. I had a listing in a building that only allowed fish and no other pets.

    In another building dogs are not allowed because members of the homeowners association believe that allowing dogs would create too much noise and that owners might be able to hear dogs walking in the hardwood floors. Cats are allowed.

    Other buildings allow dogs but only 1 or they have size and weight limits which favor small dogs over large dogs. So far I have not seen a building that allows dogs but not cats.

    It is easy to find out about pet restrictions before seeing a condo for sale. In Minnesota condo buyers have 10 days to review condo documents which include rules and restrictions before making a final commitment to purchase. Those documents should be read carefully.

    also see Homeowner association documents and Parking and Condos

  • Downtown
  • What is up in downtown

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    Median sales price and number of Condo sales downtown St. Paul

    The chart above has some numbers for downtown condo sales. Right now there are 47 units on the market. Asking prices range from $67,000 to $2,249,900 with a median asking price of around $210,000. The over all median sales price downtown has been around $174, and the average sale price of 209K this year with 129 sales so far.

    The average cumulative number of days on market is just over 91 days which is higher than the St. Paul average of 63.2 cumulative days on market. Nothing new for many years it has taken longer to sell a condo than other types of housing and downtown is mostly condos.

    To get a little perspective on how long it takes to sell a downtown condo look at the graph below that shows average days on market downtown for the last five years.

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    Downtown St. Paul

    If you would like more information about the downtown St. Paul real estate market please call or write. The numbers used in the graphs are from the NorthstarMLS which is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. The majority of the homes sold in St. Paul are listed on the MLS.

    also see Downtown is different – fewer real estate agents know downtown.

    Downtown housing – a chart that shows the impact of the Green line.

  • Downtown
  • Downtown housing

    downtown Saint Paul

    Downtown Saint Paul seems to be healthier and more vibrant that it has been since the middle of the last century before the freeway was built. I noticed over the weekend there is activity downtown day and night. It used to be dead on the weekends with few businesses open.

    The population of people living downtown has doubled since 2006 with about 8000 people living there. Apartments seem to be springing up every where and we have the old warehouses that were converted into condos. For several years experts were predicting that the opening of the new LRT Green line in downtown St. Paul would have a positive impact on property values. Since the Green line has been running for a couple of years I thought I would look at some numbers.

    For the rest of the city we have a fairly straight line of property values going up. It is like downtown Saint Paul can not make up it’s mind. Yet I am optimistic about the future of downtown. The numbers in the chart were generated from data in the NorthStarMLS which is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

     

  • Downtown
  • It takes longer to sell your downtown condo

    Median days on market
    Median days on market

    Homes are still selling quickly in St. paul and we really are in a sellers market. It has always taken longer to sell a downtown condo than to sell a single family home outside of downtown. Condos in general take longer to sell because there is less demand for them. Median days on the market for a downtown condo is about 65 days where as the median days on market for a house in St. Paul is 35 days.

    I like to look at these numbers over a period of a few years to put them in context. It wasn’t just my imagination that condos were tough to sell in 2011 and 2012.

  • Downtown
  • Who really pays in an association?

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    Kelllogg Plaza – downtown St. Paul

    Often it seems like condo buyers don’t understand the math behind assoication dues. It is important to add up everything that they cover before deciding they are too high. Assoication dues often cover insurance. I’ll be paying my insurance this week and if I divide it out it comes to more than $100 a month.

    In some buildings the association dues pay for heating and cooling. The last time I was on a budget helper type plan for heating and cooling it came out to around $200 a month.

    The money that goes into the association usually comes from everyone’s monthly dues. That means that a condo owner is paying for a new roof just like a single family home owner has to pay for their own roof.  Some assoication are able to set aside money each month for repairs and emergencies and even for large improvement projects. Others will need to collect money from owners to cover improvements or deferred maintenance that becomes an emergency.

    Even if the association covers exterior maintenance it isn’t free. It is about several  pooling their money and sharing costs and expenses. Sometimes owners agree to share cleaning, maintenance, snow shoveling or lawn care so that they can keep monthly dues low. Sometimes buyers are attracted to units with low monthly dues only to find out that they will need to take a turn shoveling the snow or cleaning the laundry room.

    Usually when I do the math and figure out how much services, insurance, trash removal, water and heat would cost a single homeowner the condo owner comes out ahead with lower monthly expenses.

    It is also important to remember that the association isn’t a “they” or a “them” it is you. you are the association.

    HOA documents