Is it December already?

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. The year is flying by. There are oh so many holiday events and activities going on this weekend. I thought I would post a picture to get everyone in the mood for December in St. Paul. I take this picture at about the same time every year. No snow in it this time but that is alright.

I will list my top picks for the first weekend in December:

  1. The lighting of the tree at union depot. Starts at 5:30 PM today
  2. European market at the Union depo:t Friday, Dec. 1: 4-9 p.m.
    Saturday, Dec. 2: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
    Sunday, Dec. 3: 12-6 p.m.
  3. Indoor Saint Paul Farmer’s market – Market house (across 5th the street from the outdoor market) Dec. 2 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
  4. 39th Annual Old Fashioned Holiday Bazaar Landmark Center. (admission charged) Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Landmark Center.
  5. Skating at the Wells Fargo Rink at the Landmark Center Daily 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM.

Happy December 1st!

Holiday decorations Rice park
Rice park holiday lights

Multi-generational homes

Having a couple of a few generations living under one roof must be like having Thanksgiving every day. It seems like the idea of multi-generational living was the most popular during the recession.

Student loans debt has made it more common for people to live with their parents for an extra decade. In another decade or so the tables may turn. Elderly parents will be living with their college graduates.

Here are some statistics put together by the National Association of Realtors about multi-generational home buyers.

info graphic
Multi-generational housing


Sometimes housing seems unfair

fair housing logo
Fair housing

When we talk about fair housing it is usually about rental properties. There are national laws, State laws, and local laws against discrimination  based on the following:

  • Race
  • Sex
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Familial Status (having kids or being pregnant)
  • Public Assistance (MFIP, EA, GA, SSI, etc.) (Minnesota)
  • Sexual Orientation (Minnesota)
  • Marital Status (being married, single or divorced) (Minnesota)
  • Disability
  • National Origin
  • Creed (belief or faith) (Minnesota)
  • Age (St. Paul only)

It is possible to discriminate against home buyers. As a real estate agent, I can not participate. There are homeowners who do discriminate. There are multiple offer situations where the buyer wrote the love letter to the sellers and the sellers really liked the idea of a family with children living in the house.

The neighbors in a condo association will tell me that they want me to make sure that whoever buys the condo is a good neighbor.

I have also seen a couple of examples of “pre-listed” or “coming soon” homes where the home was “pre-marketed” but only to a certain group of people. The end result was a buyer who was a perfect fit for the neighborhood at least in the eyes of the homeowner and the neighbors. There isn’t any way of knowing who else might have wanted to buy the place.

I would be violating fair housing laws by recommending a neighborhood. I know that seems far fetched but the government doesn’t want people like me steering home buyers to one neighborhood or another. I can answer questions about neighborhoods.

Housing discrimination does not have to be intentional to be illegal and is more common than most people believe.

St. Paul is segregated. I think the reasons are more complicated than illegal discrimination. Why is it that St. Paul is all one school district but we have good schools and some not so good schools?

Home showings rise as inventory falls

graph of home showings

Homes that are on the market are getting a lot of private showings. I see this with our own listings. An above average number of showings but the feedback from the buyer will state that the house is too small or not what the buyer is looking for.

Normally buyers do not ask to see homes that only sort of match their criteria, but these days they do because there just isn’t much on the market to look at. Sellers need to be aware that in addition to more showings they may also be getting more negative feedback.

Buyers are more willing to see houses for sale that are not quite what they are looking for because there are so few homes on the market. The data on the chart below is coming from “ShowingTime” which is the system local real estate professionals use for setting up private tours of homes that are on the market.

The number of showings per home is higher in St. Paul than the average for the Twin Cities. I am not exactly sure why that is because the shortage of homes is acute in both of the Twin Cities.


graph of home showings
Showings per home

Is your home for sale during the holidays?

I answer this question several times each holiday season. If my home is on the market should I decorate it for the holidays? My answer is always the same. That depends.

I don’t have a problem with holiday decorations but the same rules apply to them that apply to any kind of decorations in homes that are for sale. The decorations should not detract from the home or distract people who are viewing it. Less is generally more and it is all pretty subjective. We don’t have any data on if homes with Christmas trees sell for more of less than homes without.

Some people decorate every square inch of their home for the holidays and display their beanie babies, snow babies and Santa Bears too. Not a good idea when your home is on the market.

Skipping the holiday decorations all together is alright too. It is better to have no decorations than too many decorations. Don’t worry about offending anyone.

The home should be photographed without any holiday decorations if at all possible.

There you have it my typical “it depends on” non- answer type answer to the holiday decoration question. Happy Holidays, and yes every year homes are sold between Thanksgiving and the new year.


There are so many opportunities on small business Saturday

Brick commercial buildings on west 7th street
Businesses on West 7th

I am not much of a shopper but today is small business Saturday and I will spend money in my own community. I’ll start the day by buying some donuts from a local bakery for my dad. Later I’ll grab a cup of coffee at the local coffee shop. This evening we will be at an event that is being hosted by a local small business.

Shop local because it is good for the community and most of the money you spend will stay in the community. I am a small business owner. The money I bring in doesn’t go to another state to a corporation or to pay a franchise fee.

Don’t wait for small business Saturday. Buy local all year long.  Don’t spend your whole life working for someone else. Think about starting your own local business.