St. Paul has elderly houses and lead based paint

I write some version of this every year. Our housing stock in St. Paul is old. Some folks consider houses built in the 1950’s old, but in St. Paul they are newish. 43% of the houses in St. Paul were built before 1939.

Any house that was built before 1978 could have lead-based paint in it. Since about 80% of the houses in St. Paul were built before 1978 it is safe to assume unless proven otherwise most St. Paul houses have lead-based paint in them.

Lead is harmful to human beings, especially to children and Federal law requires that persons buying or renting a home that was built before 1978 receive a disclosure that states that the home could have lead-based paint in it. Homebuyers can have the paint tested for lead but they almost never do.

Buyers are given a pamphlet about how to protect their families from lead-based paint. 

Washing hands and covering chipped or peeling paint is recommended. Having paint tested before removing it is also recommended.

One of my clients had a child who had an elevated level of lead in his system. Lead was found in the finish on an old built-in buffet in a home built in the late 1930s.

We are in a strong seller’s market and In multiple offer situations, sellers are likely to reject the offer in which the buyer plans to have the paint tested for lead.

Unless the homeowner has test results that prove there is no lead-based paint in the home or the home was built after 1978 please assume that there is lead-based paint and take appropriate precautions.

Epa lead-based paint
From the EPA

Lead From Paint, Dust, and Soil Can Be Dangerous If Not Managed Properly

FACT: Lead exposure can harm young children and babies even before they are born.

FACT: Even children that seem healthy can have high levels of lead in their bodies.

FACT: People can get lead in their bodies by breathing or swallowing lead dust, or by eating soil or paint chips with lead in them.

FACT: People have many options for reducing lead hazards. In most cases, lead-based paint that is in good condition is not a hazard.

FACT: Removing lead-based paint improperly can increase the danger to your family.

Also, consider that if the exterior of a home is or was wood and it has been scraped and painted there could be lead in the soil, and before unleaded gasoline became the norm there was lead in our gas tanks too and some of it ended up in the air and sold. There is more but I think this is enough for now.

Information about lead-based paint testing

Also, get healthy home information from the Minnesota Department of Health. 

Let’s build housing

“Despite the month-to-month trend or even year-to-year changes, America is facing a massive housing shortage due to multiple years of underproduction in


relation to population growth. We estimate around 5.5 to 6.8 million additional housing units need to be built. America is on track for only 1.6 million and 1.7 million new housing units this year and next, respectively. That would represent the best two-year performance in 15 years, yet it would still be inadequate. Therefore, expect both rents and home prices to outpace overall consumer price inflation in the upcoming years.”

Lawrence Yun – NAR Cheif Economist



Father’s Day 2021

Happy Father’s day. I sure do miss mine. He taught me how to change a tire and how to use a slide rule. I miss his sense of humor and his no-nonsense common-sense approach to just about everything.

Dad 1928-2018 The photos was taken on his 40th birthday (1968)

I love the details in the picture. I can see the pocket protector that he often wore. The dishes and cake stand and the set of encyclopedias behind him in the cabinet. Encyclopedias were how we settled famiy arguements at dinner tim before Goodle, Siri and Alexa.

dad raking
Dad taken in 1963 – when dad was still black and white

Getting it all recorded

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. I have a camera in my office that keeps an eye on things when I am gone. My office is just off the back door. I know that

The sign outside my office

getting pictures of people taking stuff won’t get the stuff back and there isn’t much of a chance the thieves will be caught or stopped from doing it again, but the documentation might come in handy if I have to make an insurance claim.

The camera can send me an alert and I might be able to stop a burglary because of it, or maybe the camera will prevent a break-in or theft because it is there and I have a big old sign outside the door stating that there is a camera.

The sign is probably just as effective of a theft deterrent as the camera but with the camera, I can watch the cat sleeping in my desk chair.

I have seen tons of ring doorbell footage of people stealing packages left on porches and front steps. There was a woman who went door-to-door collecting mail from mailboxes. She was recorded several times.

Those thieves are never caught and the packages are not recovered.  If the police are called after a theft all they can do is make a report. Having a report isn’t quite the same as recovering stolen belongings but it is close enough.

People in the security camera industry are the real winners as they continue to capture crime in St. Paul on video.

. . oh before I forget, make sure you check your mailbox before it gets dark.

Who really owns the Twin Cities?

I recently read “Who Owns the Twin Cities”. From the Urban Institute. The report examines the increase in investor-owned rental properties and the


decrease in homeownership among people of color.

“The Twin Cities have largest Black-white homeownership gap of any metropolitan region in the nation, and that gap has worsened dramatically since 2000. This stark divide in homeownership reflects broader patterns of racialized wealth and income inequality in the region.”

An increasing share of housing units in the Twin Cities is made up of SFRs (Single Family Rentals)

Corporate landlords have invested massively in SFRs in the two counties, disproportionately purchasing in neighborhoods with more low-income and BIPOC residents and decreasing homeownership rates.

It is through real estate sales that I earn a living, but I never forget that housing is important to everyone and that homeownership is a vehicle for wealth creation.

I don’t have answers to the housing affordability crisis or the homeownership gap, but it is always on my radar especially when it is time to vote or when I have conversations with local elected leaders. Having the largest Black-white homeownership gap of any metropolitan region in the nation isn’t anything to be proud of.  We must do better.

Also, see The Color of Law

Record breaking real estate prices in Minnesota

According to the Minnesota Realtors Association, the May real estate market in Minnesota stayed strong with closed sales up +14.5% over last May, and pending sales increasing by +9.4% year over year. Demand continued to squeeze available inventory as new listings only inched above last May’s levels at +0.2%. The median price rose to $310,000, up +15.7% from 2020, an all-time high median sales price.

Days on market dropped by -37% to just 29 days, a historic low. Buyers are feeling the pressure and pursuing homes with multiple offers while houses come on and off the market very quickly.

Infographic with May home sales
May 2021 Home sales