Bathrooms demystified

If you are looking for a house to buy you may want one that has more than one bathroom. You may find a listing for a home that has two bathrooms only to find that one of the bathrooms is a 1/4 bath which consists of a shower in the basement.

It is helpful to understand bathroom definitions.

A full bath, which counts as one bathroom has a shower, tub, toilet, and sink.

A three-quarter bath has a toilet, and a sink, and a shower or a tub and counts as one bathroom.

Most half baths sometimes called a “powder room” have a toilet and a sink and counts as one bathroom.

Quater baths which also count as one bathroom may have a toilet, or a sink, or a shower, or a tub.

In the older parts of the city quarter baths in basements are more common than they are in other parts of the region.

The most unusual combination of baths I have ever seen in a house was one where there were a tub and a sink on the second floor and a toilet and a sink on the first. That house had 2 half baths and was listed as having two bathrooms.

Bathroom definitions are likely local so don’t take this too seriously if you are house-hunting outside of Minnesota.


Bathroom – full

working with a real estate agent and understanding agency

Marcie – Reading all about agency in real estate

This is a kind of public service message I write at the beginning of every year when the home buyers come out of hibernation and get serious about looking at some real estate. Real estate companies do not make the rules about agency, the department of commerce does.

Here are some basics:  If you list your house with a real estate agent and that agent brings in an offer from a buyer that she is representing you now have dual agency which means that the agent cannot represent the buyer or the seller but instead becomes a facilitator. The agent facilitates the sale and can not do anything to the advantage of one party and the detriment of another. No matter what the seller or the buyer has signed with that agent previously they are not in a dual agency situation until both parties agree to dual agency by checking the box on line 229 on page 6 of the purchase agreement and signing lines 234 and 244.

What most home sellers and buyers do not understand is the way the word broker is used in the disclosure. If an agent from real estate company A lists a home and another agent from real estate company A brings in the buyer there is dual agency because they have the same broker.  All agents work under a broker and most people have no idea what a broker does or who that person is.

There are a couple of large real estate companies in the area that have one broker for a few thousand agents.  When they list your home they will tell you all about the networking and how they will market your home to other agents. What they don’t tell you is that if one of those agents brings in a buyer those agents go from being able to advocate for their clients to being facilitators.

The rules are broken often as agents from two offices of the same real estate company under the same broker both advocate for their clients.

Homebuyers need to be aware when they go into an open house or new construction the nice agent who is showing them around is representing the seller and anything they say can be to their detriment later on. Buyers should choose an agent to work with who will work for them as an advocate and not just a facilitator.

Real estate is locally regulated and the law may be different in your state.

Related articles about dual agency Agency and dual agencyAgency in real estateAgency and the open houseAgency? What is agency?What consumers should know about agency

City poised to redefine “family”

Until recently, the City of Saint Paul restricted the number of unrelated adults who could live in one residential unit by enforcing an outdated definition of “family” in its Zoning Code, defining family as:

Family. One (1) or two (2) persons or parents, with their direct lineal descendants and adopted or legally cared for children (and including the domestic employees thereof) together with not more than two (2) persons not so related, living together in the whole or part of a dwelling comprising a single housekeeping unit. Every additional group of four (4) or fewer persons living in such housekeeping unit shall be considered a separate family for the purpose of this code.

If the St. Paul City council approves it the new definition of family for zoning purposes will be:

Household.  Six (6) or fewer adults and minor children in their care, living together in a dwelling unit.

Saint Paul’s Zoning Code uses a definition of the term “family” to regulate the number of unrelated occupants allowed in one residential dwelling unit.

The new definition is a bit more flexible than the old and will come before the city council sometime this year. I always find zoning rules and codes interesting.

We use the term “Single Family” as a way to describe single housing units too. If you buy a single-family home you can fit all eight of your children in it and still have room for the cat and the dog and maybe some backyard chickens too.

Try YouTube instead of Facebook

I am not trying to pick on Facebook but it seems like when something breaks people go and as their Facebook friends what they should do. I am referring to minor home repairs and home maintenance.

There is no shortage of bad advice when you ask a random group of inexperienced individuals how to do something that may require the help of a pro.

YouTube doesn’t have all the answers either and I have run into some bad “how-to” advice. I have also been able to use YouTube videos to perform minor maintenance and home improvement tasks all on my own.

There was the time the central AC unit seems to be leaking. It turned out to be a clogged hose. I did need help with it but at least I knew what was wrong and didn’t do something stupid like let the repair person sell me a new unit or a large repair job. He cleaned the line and it hasn’t leaked since.

I had some problems with my washer that turned out to be a clogged filter. it was a Youtube video from the manufacturer that showed me how to remove and clean the filter. I am sure my Facebook friends would have had tons of suggestions too but I doubt it any own the same model of washer.

If you want to learn how to bake a tastier potato or how to crochet a hat or how to plant a garden in a straw bale you may find better information on YouTube than anything your friends on social media can provide.

Check the source of the video and if possible find videos from a couple of different sources. You might be surprised by what you can learn.  Sometimes I learn by watching a video that I couldn’t possibly do the work myself.  Yet even if I end up hiring someone I have a better understanding of the project of I approach it from a DIY  point of view.

The freedom to stay warm

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. I spend a lot of time watching the inauguration on Wednesday.  There was a lot of conversation on social media about what the women wore particularly the first lady, former first lady Michelle Obama, and the first female Vice President Kamala Harris. I don’t think men are having these conversations but women are.

I know that as a woman I am expected to care about fashion, especially cute shoes. The shoes that the above-mentioned women wore to the inauguration cost more than I spend on shoes in five years.

The clothes were certainly appropriate and beautiful too. They were also a reminder to me that women, no matter who they are and what they do are expected to be decorative and are often judged as much by their clothing as they are by their accomplishments.  No one commented on what President Biden or First Gentleman Emhoff wore on inauguration day.

Bernie Sanders memes have been very popular this week. With Sanders in his folding chair, placed in locations all over the country.  Sanders has worn the coat in prior years it isn’t new. I admire his clothing choices and his ability to wear the same garment in more than one season. He looks so Minnesota.

Senator Bernie Sanders at the 2021 Inauguration of President Biden

Even the amazing poet laureate Amada Groman got a clothing critique. She told reporters that she choose to wear yellow because it is her favorite color.



Throwback Thursday – Women’s march 2017

Four years ago today the Women’s March on DC was held and there were numerous sister marches around the world and in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was the largest single-day protest ever held. It seems like a hundred years ago and like it just happened yesterday.  It was held the day after former president Trump’s inauguration as a protest over offensive remarks he made about women.

There were so many people that there wasn’t room to march between Saint Paul College and the capitol building. If you look at the lower picture you can get a feel for the crowd size.

womans march
women’s March 1/21/2017
2017 women’s March in St. Paul