As advertised

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. My husband loves trains so we went downtown to see “Big Boy No. 4014 Visits St. Paul”.  Event coordinators took advantage of the huge space outside the Union Depot and put the train a distance from the depot but set it up so that to see the big steam locomotive we had to go through the depot and stand in line.

The event was well attended.

Here is the picture that was used to market “Big Boy No. 4014 Visits St. Paul”

Big Boy No. 4014 Visits St. Paul

Here is what it looked like from an attendees view:

Big Boy No. 4014 Visits St. Paul
Big Boy No. 4014 Visits St. Paul

Well played! lining it up so that the stop sign helped obstruct some of the view that wasn’t already blocked by people and barriers.

Big Boy No. 4014 Visits St. Paul



Downtown Condos more affordable

The downtown St. Paul condo market has always been unique. The neighborhood is different from any other in St. Paul and so is the housing stock. Many of the condos were built or created in the early 2000s. In the last decade, more rental housing has been created and most of it is luxury apartments.

Median prices in downtown St. Paul are lower than they are for the rest of the city. It wasn’t always that way. Per square foot prices are higher downtown.

Median home sale prices downtown vs the rest of the city


Older houses with older electrical systems

One of the wonderful things about old houses is they can be retrofitted. Even if a house was built without electricity or central heating it probably has both today and maybe Wifi too.

The answer is breakers. There are houses in St. Paul that still have old electrical boxes with fuses instead of breakers. Fuses seem to work fine but those boxes are at least 50 years old and some are much older. Having an ancient electrical system means having fewer circuits. Insurance companies do not like fuses and will charge more or they won’t provide insurance at all.

If the power is 100 amp and the fuse box does not have to be relocated prices for upgrading to breakers start at about $1500.00. It can cost twice as much if there is 60 AMP service or if the electrical box needs to be relocated.  It is easy enough to get an estimate from an electrician.

Any home can be sold as is but for homeowners who want to make improvements before they sell, I recommend upgrading the electrical system. It may actually save money.

We use our houses much differently today than we did in the 1950s. We use a lot more electricity. I have seen old fuse boxes with four or five circuits for the whole house. Newer electrical systems will include that many circuits just for the kitchen.

fuses and breakers
Electrical panels


There is always something broken at my house

Things break and they are more likely to break shortly after new homeowners move in. A few years ago a couple bought a house and discovered that the veggie sprayer wasn’t working. The new homeowners threatened to sue the sellers over it and demanded an amount of money that far exceeded the cost of installing a new sprayer.

Elderly appliances can break down as soon as a new home buyer touches them. It is like appliances know the house has changed hands. That old washer will work for decades but as soon as it changes hands it breaks. Most of the appliances that are sold with houses are considered personal property and are not real estate. I like to think of working appliances as a bonus.

Plumbing leaks happen and sometimes electrical problems too.

In my house, there is always something broken. So far this year we have had an electrician restore power to the electrical outlets in the kitchen and we have had our washer repaired and it looks like I’ll be buying another one soon. We had water leaking in around a window and repaired it by recaulking. Our elderly dehumidifier broke down last week and leaked all over the floor.  I ended up buying a new one.

I am not trying to scare anyone off but if you own a home you will need to make repairs and replace appliances. That is just part of the bargain.

If you buy or sell a house something will go wrong I promise. Be prepared and stay calm.

Enjoy the Saint Paul Farmer’s market

Don’t you just hate it when tables with vegetables on them are set up in huge parking lots and they call it a farmer’s market?  We have a wonderful farmer’s market here in St. Paul. and it isn’t in a parking lot but in the heart of Lowertown downtown surrounded by historic brick buildings.

I buy fresh vegetables, soap, honey, eggs, plants, flowers and usually a bagel to bring home. I recommend the kettle corn and the fresh donuts.

Famer’s market