Your Ramsey County property taxes in 2023

property taxI don’t know how they do it but notices from the IRS and property tax notices always come to my house on a Friday or Saturday.

Anyhow our property tax statement came on Friday. Taxes went up. I did the math and if I was paying the taxes monthly instead of twice a year I would be paying $37.50 more each month.  Since I pay the taxes once or twice a year I really notice the $225 to $450 dollar increase.


There are some property tax refunds available through the State of Minnesota. I mention this because some folks do not seem to be aware of it. Homeowners can file it free online by August 15th.

There is also a program for seniors that allows them to defer tax payments. It is actually a loan to be paid back with interest.

As a person who is self-employed, I am used to setting money aside for income taxes and for property taxes.

It is safe to assume that property taxes will be even higher in 2024, this year ours went up 12%.  They do occasionally stay about the same from one year to the next. They rarely go down.

Spring is here

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. It may be cold out and the ground is covered with snow but it is spring. The sun is warm and the snow is finally melting off of the streets. This is the time of year I like to start my garden. I start some plants indoors. It is fun to watch them grow. I start with flowers and in April I start with tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. Each is very easy to grow and start from seeds.

Now is the perfect time to plan your garden. If you plan to put your house on the market this year plant flowers.


Real estate buyers in mid 2020 through the end of 2021

Home prices are still going up in the Twin Cities Metro area. If you bought your house in the second half of 2020 or in 2021 it might not be worth quite as much as you paid for it even though the value has gone up.

Multiple offers on homes for sale were very common during that period and often the sale price was well over the asking price. It is quite possible that some home buyers overpaid. Some overpaid by tens of thousands of dollars.

Buying a house and selling it two years later is always an expensive proposition. It won’t take long for the house to be worth t but what was paid for it. Expect to own the home for at least five years, seven to ten years would be even better.

Buying a house is not the best short-term investment.

The first flowers of spring

Siberian Squill, a type of scilla start to bloom shortly after the snow melts. Here in South Eastern Minnesota. I love the color of these little flowers. They are small and tend to grow in clumps which makes them easy to spot. 

Siberian Squill
Siberian Squill

we should start to see them soon . . . if the snow ever melts. There are buds on some of the trees and I can see some crocus and iris poking up.   

Asking for repairs this spring

turretI encourage home buyers to ask for a complete home inspection. For the last couple of years, buyers were skipping the inspections to make their offers more competitive.

This year buyers are asking for inspections and some are asking for repairs. Some of the repair requests are kind of silly and they seem to just irritate the homeowner. Especially in cases where the buyer knew about the need for repair when they made the offer.

Inexperienced real estate agents can mess things up by asking that a licensed professional adjust a door or caulk a window.

No licensure is needed for caulking or door repair or for many of the household tasks and repairs that buyers ask for.

A real estate agent is a licensed professional.

I something is leaking or not working asking for a repair makes sense. Some of the repairs that buyers ask for are upgrades, improvements, or home maintenance items that a well-meaning inspector is suggesting.

Sellers who wish to sell without making any repairs should put in writing that they will not be making repairs. The language can be put in the MLS so that buyers see it on the internet before they even see the house.

Home buyers should understand that sellers can say no to repairs and sometimes it really is easier and less expensive to put the house back on the market and sell it to someone else than it is to have the repairs made.

Home inspectors for better or worse

Home inspectors are not licensed in Minnesota.  A person can buy a franchise or go out on his own and become a home inspector. I say this because most home inspectors are men. I am referring to the complete home inspection requested and paid for by home buyers.

There are some wonderful inspectors out there. There are also some who really don’t know what they are doing and over the years I have seen it all.

Sometimes, buyers, have friends or family members conduct the inspection. That can work but only if the person doing the inspection knows what to inspect and have a system so that they don’t miss something vital.

One of the worst things an inspector can do is give advice outside his area of expertise. For example, an inspector should not say that a boiler needs to be replaced. He should recommend that the buyer have a licensed HVAC contractor inspect the boiler. He can also state his findings like ‘rust” or “leaking” etc.

Sometimes an inspection will lead to another inspection this is especially true in the case of heating plants, chimneys, and main sewer lines.

An inspector should never tell the buyer what the seller should repair. It is up to the buyer and seller to work that out. In most cases are no rules about who is responsible for repairs.

The inspector should not tell the buyer that the HOA is or is not responsible for a repair, or that they are not responsible for it. The condo documents will outline what the association is and is not responsible for. Generally, if an item that needs repair is inside the condo and if it is used exclusively by the condo then the condo owner is responsible for repairs and maintenance.  Always consult the condo documents.

Mold always means trouble and is often mislabeled by well-meaning inspectors.  I have seen requests to have entire foundations replaced due to “toxic black mold”.  I often refer home buyers and sellers to the Minnesota Department of Health website. They have excellent information about mold. Not all mold is harmful. Penicillin is an example of a helpful mold.

Realtors usually know several good inspectors but should always be recommending at least three inspectors. The buyer’s agent should not choose the inspector that choice is an important part of the buyer’s due diligence.

I’ll always recommend a complete home inspection before committing to buying a house. The inspection also protects the sellers who may not know about a repair issue that they can be accused of hiding.