Let them eat fruitcake

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. Last weekend I managed to acquire 25 of the 26 ingredients to make a fruitcake from the recipe my mother and grandmother used.

Making the cake is quite the process. It is hard to keep track of all of the ingredients but I have a system. The recipe I have was missing a couple of instructions but I figured it out and updated the recipe.

It takes at least an hour to measure and mix the ingredients. I have one bowl that is large enough to hold it all. Once the batter is ready it goes in the oven and bakes for 4 hours.

Once the cake cools, which takes at least 4 hours it gets wrapped in sherry soaked cheesecloth, and put in a container which I keep in a cool place. I check it every couple of days and add a little more sherry.

There isn’t anything like my boozy little fruitcake. It will be ready to eat by December 20th but I’ll wait until Christmas eve.

I think the reason why people don’t like fruitcake is because they have never had a good fruitcake.

The ingredients are not as easy to find as they used to be. I generally have to visit at least 4 stores to get it all.

fruit cake ingredients
fruitcake ingredients


Home sales and prices by neighborhood

Here are the numbers for home sales in St. Paul, MN during November. The number of homes listed is lower than the number of homes that got offers and the median sale price was up 11K from October. There were a few neighborhoods where the average sale price was higher than the average list price which is a sign of rising prices.

We see a slow down in home sales between Thanksgiving and Christmas. There are plenty of home buyers out looking but not so many homeowners who want to sell during the holidays.

Table home sales by neighborhood
November home sales St. Paul, MN

The data used to create the table was exported from the Northstar MLS and is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Once exported the data was gently sorted in an MS Excel spreadsheet.

If you would like to know how much your real estate might sell for please contact me for a free no-obligation consultation. For more numbers please see Local home prices and market conditions.

St. Paul isn’t walkable in the winter

I can’t recommend any part of St. Paul as walkable in the winter. There are a lot of sidewalks that never get shoveled. The crust if ice has formed from last week’s snowstorms and will likely remain until the spring thaw.

There are business owners who clear some of the walk but not all of it.

For those who like to walk, or need to walk, I can recommend walking in the street or on snowy boulevards. It will be interesting to see if local hospitals can handle all of the broken hips as an aging population attempts to walk outside in St. Paul in the winter.

There ought to be a law . . . oh wait there is a law:

Saint Paul City Ordinance requires snow and ice to be removed from sidewalks within 24 hours; read Chapter 113and Chapter 114 of the Saint Paul Legislative Code for more information.

The city web site even has a “how-to” section for people who do not know how to properly remove the snow from the walk.

There is also a  printable door hanger to take with you on your next walk. Leave the door hanger as a reminder to neighbors to keep their sidewalks clear.

To report a sidewalk that’s a safety hazard and needs shoveling, contact the Department of Safety and Inspections at 651-266-8989. 

The city will have the snow removed and send the bill to the property owner.

It is important to remember that the snow removal ordinance applies to property owned by businesses, rental property, condominiums, and townhouses and the sidewalks in front of vacant houses.

Please be a good neighbor and keep your sidewalk safe and free of snow and ice. If your neighbor can not shovel and you can shovel their walk too.

Snowy street in St. Paul

10 years ago 2009

When asked about the last decade in real estate my memories of the crash of the housing market more or less wipe out the rest of my memories.

If you ever wondered what happened with all those vacant registered houses, look around and you will notice vacant lots. They didn’t all get torn down, some were rehabbed, and a few are still vacant.

Currently, there are 497 registered vacant buildings in St. Paul. Most of them are houses. The number of registered vacant buildings in St. Paul peaked in 2008 at 2031.

This is what I wrote the first week in December 2009:

IMG_1584_Enhancer_edited-1_wm I don’t want to say good news, it is better news, at least for now.  In September of 2008, there were 2031 registered vacant buildings in St. Paul.  Most were homes. Now some fourteen months later the number has dropped to 1633.  That is still a big number and it doesn’t count all of the vacant homes just those that have to be registered with the city of St. Paul.   In most cases, those are buildings that are unoccupied for a year or unoccupied with code violations.

Having fewer vacant properties in St. Paul is a good thing. I drove by some that were on the list last summer and they have been fixed up and some have been sold to new owners. The home in the photo is on E. 3rd street and is looking much better and doesn’t have the notice in the window anymore. I will keep watching the list. I hope that it continues to go down.

The number of foreclosures on the market has gone down and continues to decline each month but should go back up again when the next wave of foreclosures hits.  These foreclosures will be caused by job loss and ARM (adjustable-rate mortgage) resets. According to reports from the Mortgages Bankers Association delinquencies on FHA and conventional mortgages have been rising and delinquency rates and foreclosure rates will continue to worsen before they improve.  I will go ahead and predict it will also drive up the number of vacant homes in St. Paul too.


TNAS for the holidays

TNAS stands for “temporarily not available to show”. It is a status in the Realtor MLS system. If your home is on the

market during the holidays this is a great way to put it on hold. That means it is still for sale but no one will be able to make an appointment to see it.

The temporary part is kind of vague but it is a common practice to put listings on hold for a couple of weeks over the holidays.

If you want to sell your house but do not want it on the market during the holidays ask your Realtor about “temporarily not available to show”.