It just gets better from here

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun and February is almost over. For me, February is a month that is survived. My friends who live in warmer climates assume that I somehow acclimate to cold weather and that I like it.

I go for a walk most days even when the weather is way below zero. I employ the rule of 2’s. I wear two pairs of socks, two pairs of gloves, two pairs of pants. I cover any exposed skin with scarves and hats.

It is warm enough now so that I can go back to wearing one of everything and leave my face exposed except for a mask. We will have more days with temperatures in the 40’s next week which is definitely single pair of gloves weather.

Winter is not my favorite season. The best thing about winter is when it ends. I think we all appreciate spring more because of what we have to live through to get there.

March can be a long cold month but usually, by the end, there are signs of spring. Average high temperatures by the end of March will be in the upper 40’s. The days will continue to get longer too.

House hunting gets easier too. The longer days and warmer temperatures help.

 

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Know where your water shutoff is

As I watch the news from Texas I keep seeing water freely flowing through houses after the pipes burst. People were shooting videos of water gushing down hallways and falling out of windows. I couldn’t help but wonder why they weren’t shutting off the water.

Pipes don’t burst when they freeze they burst when they thaw because water expands as it gets warmer but that is the subject for a future blog post.

If your pipes do freeze consider turning off the water before the pipes burst. Acting quickly and shutting off the water can save thousands of dollars in repairs.

There is a lever or one of those old-school round valve wheels right next to the water meter. It might be in a crawl space or enclosed, make sure you know where it is.  If you close the valve by moving the lever or turning the handle you can shut all of the water in the house.

The power can be turned off too. There is a switch or level right inside the breaker or fuse box in most homes. Learn how to turn off the power.

For your own safety, you should know how to turn off the water and electricity in your home. If you don’t today is a good day to figure it out.

If you are buying a house ask your inspector to show you how to turn off the water. Some inspectors label the valves and put tags on them.

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Water

Multi-generation housing made more popular during the pandemic

According to the National Association of Realtors buyers purchasing multi-generational homes during the pandemic rose to a new high of 15%, The number has been tracked for less than a decade.

Pre-pandemic there was an even split between buyers who purchased a multi-generational home for aging parents and for adult children boomeranging back or never leaving. Now the top reason to purchase a multi-generational home is for aging parents to move into the home.

During the great recession, we saw an uptick in young people moving back home this trend is more about giving the older generations a place to live.

Multi-generational housing is pretty scarce but existing housing can be modified. I grew up in a multi-generational household. My parents had an addition put on the back of the house so that my grandmother could live with us. She had her own entrance bed, bath, and sitting room just off the kitchen.

When my mother was growing up her grandmother lived with them in a spare bedroom.

 

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Multi-geneational housing

There are no secret conversations on Facebook

Sometimes people believe that what they discuss in Facebook groups doesn’t go any further. The other day some

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neighbors were discussing their plans to buy or sell houses in the neighborhood.

None of them gave addresses but I was able to follow the conversation and use a property database to look up their addresses in seconds.

I don’t mean any harm it was kind of like a game. I challenged myself to find them all quickly.

There must have been some expectation of privacy because no one was publishing an address on Facebook but were offering to share it with individuals via direct message.

As a homeowner myself, I can’t see any advantage in selling the house to neighbors or friends of neighbors. Not during such a strong seller’s market.  I don’t see any advantage in offering it to a small group of people on Facebook either.

Potential home buyers were giving away a lot of personal information including pictures of their children.

Sometimes people share a lot of details about their home buying and selling experiences on Facebook and in doing so they unknowingly give information that other parties can use to their advantage.

When you are sharing information on social media especially in neighborhood groups just know that it isn’t confidential.

We have also seen situations where potential buyers have made negative remarks about a home on Facebook and the sellers have seen it.

Also, see Social media dos and don’ts for home buyers and sellers

Don’t give up

I read an article about Millenials who are giving up on homeownership. I remember feeling that way myself back when interest

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rates were in the double digits. Houses were less expensive back then but those mortgage payments were killer.

Wages have not gone up as much as houses have and housing is more expensive than it was when I was a first-time homebuyer. We wanted a house very badly. We never gave up and eventually, we were able to buy a house.

We got some help though. We were able to get down payment and closing cost assistance. That is why I have a link over the right to a resource for various grants and loans for cash-strapped home buyers.  There is money out there and the site will help you find it. Click here to see if you are eligible. I have worked with numerous clients over the years who have used the programs on the site.

Also, ask your lender about programs for first-time homebuyers.

Don’t give up.

Historic houses and old houses

In my line of work, it is always best to call old houses historic houses. In St. Paul most of the housing stock is historic. Many are small but some are large and have architectural features that we don’t see as much if at all in new construction.

The turret comes to mind. One of the best places to go turret hunting is in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood in St. Paul and winter is a great time to take pictures of them.

You will find turrets on Victorian and Queen Anne style Victorian homes built in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Houses with turrets can also be found in the Crocus Hill neighborhood, the Summit Hill neighborhood, the Capital heights neighborhood, and on the Westside.

Turret collage
Turrets