The front door

Red door

If you are planning to sell your home, your front door matters more than you might think. The front door makes a first impression.  If it doesn’t look very appealing clean it up and put on a fresh coat of paint. It doesn’t have to be some boring color.  If the door needs more than paint consider replacing it. You will get your money back.



The American foursquare

I grew up in a house like this and I can find them in almost all St. Paul neighborhoods.  The home in the picture was an NSP (neighborhood stabilization program)  The program started in 2009 and uses some  tax dollars so that some of these wonderful old homes can be rehabilitated and sold.  The buyer gets an energy efficient renovated home and some financial assistance.  Owner occupied homes are better for the neighborhood than vacant condemned homes and we are preserving our historic housing.  Seriously they just don’t build them like this anymore. ( see the web site for details)  The home is located in the Dayton’s bluff historic district.  It is now a first home for one of my buyers who is thrilled to own it.


The home is listed as still being available on the Saint Paul Inspiring Communities web site.  The other homes on the site appear to have been sold but there will be more homes soon.

The home in the picture doesn’t quite look like the home in the plan.  There are variations but the floor plan is almost identical as is the box shape.  The wood work in the house is plain, flat and wide.  The home was built in 1911 and has three bedrooms and two baths.

American foursquare sears 52
American foursquare sears 52

The American Dream Lives


Last week some clients of mine closed on this home.  They have been searching for a place to live and to call their own.  They did not buy it as an investment in anything other than their future together as a family.  They have lived in the area as renters for the last several years.

Like the previous occupants of this wonderful craftsman style home thy plan on living here for a long time.  Their daughter goes to a school near by and is thrilled to have the entire attic for a bedroom.  I predict that the home will be a good financial investment too, as they enjoy living in it and the money that they spend on the mortgage payments, instead of rent, will help them build equity.

I wish them happiness in their new home.

Congratulations to Matt


Matt is a first time home buyer and he closed on this home a couple of weeks ago.  Matt came to me with his financing in place and a lot of questions.  His questions were the right ones.  They were about the home buying process and what to look for in an older home.

He thought he knew what he wanted in a home, and we looked at many, in a couple of different neighborhoods.  The home he ended up buying is in the Como Park neighborhood which is a convenient location for Matt, close to work and to his friends. 

The home has only had one owner,  is  in excellent repair and only in need of some updating.  We could tell when we walked through it that who ever owned it cared.  Everything was immaculate and in good repair.  The floors are made of oak, the exterior siding is steel, and the roof is fairly new.   

The owner built it, in 1953.   He built the basement first and lived in it with his wife.   As his family grew he built the rest of it and then finished the second story.  There are a lot of memories in this house for the family that lived in it for so many years.

The brother and sister who were raised in the home came to the closing and shared some of their stories with Matt.  They talked about what it was like growing up in the house and about the neighborhood and all the people they know in the immediate area. 

They are happy that Matt owns it now, and they know that he will take care of it, and who knows maybe raise a family of his own in it one day.  There were some tears after the closing as the brother and sister left together.   Matt has their contact information and they agreed to come over and show him a few things.  I think they will all keep in touch.  Matt told them they are welcome to stop by and he meant it.

Matt is new to home ownership and it is a big step.  He really did everything  just right.   I enjoyed working with him, and answering his questions.  Good luck and best wishes Matt.  Oh by the way you are supposed to rake those leaves. 🙂

Congratulations to Horacio and Sara

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posted by (C)T

Moving is never easy, and neither is finding the right home.  Congratulations to Horacio and Sara, they will be moving from New York to Minnesota, and have just purchased this lovely home in Minneapolis not far from lake Calhoun

We started the process on the internet some time last winter, and met in person a few months ago.  We saw some properties that were a bit disappointing too. We worked together on the internet for months.  I would look at properties for them and upload and put pictures on the internet.  I took pictures of furnaces and water heaters too.  I am happy that it all worked out and they got the home they wanted. Real estate is local so there was a learning curve.  In New York lawyers write purchase agreements.  Here in Minnesota Realtors write them.  It does take awhile to understand our customs here, doncha know.  🙂

I really enjoyed working with you and hope that you will enjoy your new home for many years.

Sold data released


How much a home sold for is public information and is available through tax records and is printed in the local paper each Wednesday.  Now anyone with Internet access can search through all homes thHousebu1at have been sold in the past two years in Minnesota through broker reciprocity web sites.  Let me explain that more clearly,  click on the house icon on the right corner of this page to get started.  Choose sold properties instead of active properties on the home search.  No registration required.*

The search works the same way for sold properties as it does for properties currently for sale, the data is gathered through a feed from our local RMLS system.   Searches can be made using a map, or by area, or zip code or what ever search criteria the searcher wants to use.

The data is fairly accurate but the sale price does not reflect seller paid closing costs, for instance a home may show up as having sold for 200K, but the seller paid $5000.00 of the buyers closing costs.  Under most loan programs the seller can not contribute more than 3% to the buyers closing costs so when looking at the sold prices allow for a 3% margin of error.

The sold homes show which real estate company listed the home.  Real estate companies do not sell homes at all.  Often an agent from one real estate company will list a home and an agent from another company will represent the buyer who buys the home. Either way it is the agents who actually sell the homes.  I think it would be more fun if they listed the name of the agent who listed the property and the agent that represented the buyer.

The bigger the real estate company the more homes they sell, because the bigger the company the more real estate agents they have under contract who go out and list homes and find buyers for them. 

The sold data can be used to help determine the value of your home.  A home owner can find homes in their immediate area that have been sold in the last year that have that are the same size, and have the same amenities and see how much it sold for giving them an idea of what their own home might be worth.  Going back two years is not necessary and will make the value estimate less accurate. Realtors help sellers set the asking price in much the same way, and it is not an exact science. 

Home buyers should use the same criteria that they are using to find homes for sale for searching through the solds, so that they can become familiar with the prices.

It can also be used to find out how much your neighbor really got for his or her house because inquiring minds really want to know. 🙂

Why is this data being released?  The general public is demanding it.    Read my October post for details.