Open house at the water tower

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. This weekend is the annual water tower open house. From 9 to 5 on Saturday and Sunday (10/14/2017 and 10/15/2017)

The water tower is located on Snelling avenue in between Highland Parkway and Montreal. Don’t miss the opportunity to climb all of those stairs. The climbing isn’t all that much fun but the view makes it worth while. The tower is at the highest point in St. Paul.

Visitors will also have an opportunity to learn more about St. Paul water.

Here is the view from the tower looking west:

view from highland water tower
Minneapolis, as viewed from the Highland Park water tower 

Time to prepare for winter


This tip is  mostly for new homeowners or for people who are new to Minnesota.

It is almost time to turn off the water to the outdoor faucets and disconnect any hoses and put them away. It will be in the 60’s today and the weekend should be nice too but let’s face it we are on borrowed time and soon night time temperatures will be below freezing and then the white stuff will start falling.

If you do not know how to turn off the water to outdoor faucets you still have time to figure it out.

Here is what you need to do:

1.  Turn off the water from the inside of the house.

2.  open the spigot on the outside and let the water drain out.

I usually leave the spigots open but once the water has been drained out I don’t think it matters.

What happens if you don’t turn the water off?  Pipes can freeze and faucets can be destroyed by ice.  . . and it isn’t pretty.  Frozen pipes can burst and ice can damage faucets resulting in the need for expensive repairs. 

Which twin is better?

Yesterday I got a call from someone who wanted to know which city is better to live in St. Paul or Minneapolis? Even though the cities are called twin cities there are some big differences.

St. Paul has more of a small town feel where as Minneapolis feels more like a big city. The good news is that the cities are right next door to each other. It is easy to live in one city and take advantage of all that both cities have to offer.

Housing is a little more expensive in Minneapolis than it is in St. Paul. The minimum wage is higher in Minneapolis than it is in St. Paul. Property taxes are higher in Minneapolis but they include more services like trash removal and alley plowing.

The cities have very different personalities.  I think both are great places to live but the cities are not identical twins.

chart of median home prices
Median Home prices Minneapolis and St. Paul


What is clutter?

We always advise home sellers to clean and declutter before putting a home on the market, but what is clutter? We don’t all define clutter the same way. I define it as “stuff” that distracts potential home buyers.

The stuff keeps potential buyers from seeing the beauty of the home. Here are a few items that become clutter once the home is for sale:

  1. Family photos.

    Antique Tea pot
  2. Wall calendars.
  3. Refrigerator magnets.
  4. Too many house plants, real or fake.
  5. Too many books
  6. Doilies
  7. Throw rugs
  8.  Extra dining room chairs
  9. Large ottomans
  10. Large coffee tables
  11. Extra end tables
  12. Large collections of almost anything

The important thing to remember is that it is alright to use our homes anyway we see fit but when it comes to selling a home it is all about marketing. Women in particular react negatively to “clutter”. Less really is more and when in doubt, leave it out. The general idea is to make the space look larger and a bit more generic.

My list is only partial and has the most common items that I ask home owners to remove from rooms. Homes that are not decluttered sell too. The list is aimed at the home owners that want to go that extra mile and put some effort into getting the most money for their home in the least amount of time.

The longer people have lived in a home the harder it is for them to de-clutter. As a service to my clients I go through their homes before they put them on the market and make suggestions.

Everything is wonderful

I am going to predict that the total number of home sales in St. Paul will be slightly lower in 2017 than in 2016. Prices have continued to rise and demand is strong, but the number of homes on the market remains low.

There is little new construction and when there is new construction the homes are large and expensive. What we need are more smaller homes but apparently those are hard to build and sell so that the builder can make a profit.

We have seen an increase in new or newly renovated luxury apartment buildings and some lower rent apartment buildings too. Owning a home isn’t the best option for everyone but neither is renting. In the long run home ownership builds wealth.

As for the wonderfulness of the situation, it is wonderful for people who own rental property.

Home sales and prices

Friday at last

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. It hasn’t been a fun week. I am just going to post a couple of pictures I took this week.

palace theater
Palace theater

Proof of life in downtown St. Paul after business hours. The Palace Theater is on 7th place between Wabasha and Saint Peter street. It just re-opened after being closed since 1977.

Mickey’s Diner

Mickey’s Diner is on 7th street and has been opened most of the time since the 1940’s.