Condos townhouses and parking

When it comes to parking spaces and condos make sure everything is in writing and that the person who is making the parking promises actually owns the parking space.

I once had an agent promise a buyer a parking space that frankly was not part of the purchase and the condominium documents specifically stated that there wasn’t a parking spot included.

A few years ago a parking space was sold that technically could not be sold with the unit. Occasionally when I go to sell a condo I find out that the owner does not own the parking space he or she is using because the deed was not transferred at the last sale. This can be repaired but it can also slow down the sale process.

Here are some of the parking possibilities for St. Paul condos:

1. A garage with an assigned parking space.

2. A garage with an assigned parking space and the space is deeded. Sometimes these spaces can be sold separately from the unit and other times they have to be sold with it.

3. No parking what so ever included with the unit.

4. There are X number of parking spaces and they are assigned on a first come first served basis. Owners with “seniority” get to choose the spot they want. Spaces may be reassigned when units change hands. In that case sometimes a parking space is included in with the purchase but it isn’t a particular space.

5. A private surface lot with no assigned spaces but enough spaces so that everyone can park.

6. There is on street parking only.

7. Parking spaces are leased through a third party. The space that the last owner of the condo used does not transfer to the new owner. He or she must acquire their own parking space.

8. There is a garage with valet parking only. Each unit owner is entitled to park one or more vehicles in the garage but there are no designated spaces.

Then of course there are heated garages and garages that are not heated and ramps that are attached to the building or sometimes across the street.

As an agent I ask a lot of questions about parking if I am putting a condo on the market. If I am working with a buyer I make sure that there is something in writing about parking.  Usually we find it right in the condo documents that our Minnesota state laws require that buyers receive before the purchase is finalized. Buyers have 10 days to review the documents and can cancel the purchase with no penalty if  they don’t like the parking situation or anything else.

Parked car
Parked car

Also so see downtown parking options

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.

Living and parking downtown


It seems like most of the Realtors who show my listings downtown these days have little or no experience with the downtown neighborhoods and not much experience with condos either.

There are a few downtown condo buildings that do not provide parking. In most cases there isn’t any way for the condo owner to sell parking to a buyer if the seller doesn’t own it. Sometimes real estate agents will tell buyers about nearby parking lots without bothering to verify if there is parking available in those lots or ramps.

If you are buying a downtown condo you will need to do a little research. If parking is included with the condo the condo documents will state which space it is or if the space isn’t assigned where the parking is.

If parking isn’t included it is up to the buyer to figure out where to park.  Here are three web sites that currently, as of January 2017, have information about parking and contact information for lot and ramp managers or owners:

Condo owners who are selling their units should never promise parking unless they have some kind of a contract that is transferable to a buyer.

As someone who has an office downtown and who goes downtown often I can say that there is plenty of parking. However sometimes it is half a block away or even a block away from my destination. For some people that would be a real hardship and for others it is not.

There are housing opportunities all over the city that do not include parking of any kind which is why there are cars parked on the streets.

Downtown St. Paul Condos

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.

Yes you can have a condo and pets too

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

What is up in downtown

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.

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.