Taylors Falls is so close

If you are looking for a place to go that is close to the Twin cities consider visiting Taylors Falls. We went there a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed walking through pothole park (Interstate Park) and we on the paddle boat ride on the St. Croix River.

Taylors Falls is especially beautiful in the fall and is one of my favorite place to go and take pictures of fall colors . . . not that we need to think about fall in the middle of summer.

St. Croix river
St. Croix river

Minnesota is a beautiful state.

I love/hate my phone


It is Friday, and Fridays are for fun.  I will admit I am rather fond of my phone and I rely on it and use it all day long and sometimes I even use it to make phone calls. I lose my phone several times a week.

Yesterday I lost it in my car and found it by calling myself with another phone.  A couple of weeks ago I lost it at the downtown Farmer’s market.

I totally panicked when I reached for my phone and it wasn’t there.  I retraced my steps through the market.  I checked the brussel sprouts (I love brussel sprouts doesn’t everyone?) and the beets and went past the honey and checked the corn stand.  I could not find it anywhere even though it is in a bright pink plastic case.

It is a good thing I did not report the phone missing because I found it in my other back pocket and not in the pocket I usually put it in. I have lost my phone while I was holding it.

I actually wrote this post in 2013. My phone has more uses than ever now. I can use it to check to see if the wash is done, and I can adjust the thermostat and I can use an app I have to unlock electronic lockboxes on houses. I can turn the lights in my house on and off and check the cameras in my office. There is more of course.

Which should you choose, house or neighborhood?

Some home buyers are open to many architectural styles and others have a specific style and even floor plan in mind when they go house hunting. Homebuyers who have there heart or budget or both set on a certain neighborhood may find that their favorite style of home isn’t there.

If you are looking for a rambler or a split level home with a two-car attached garage I would not bother looking in the downtown area but you might find some in the western part of Highland Park and in the battle creek and Eastside neighborhoods.

If you like Tudor style homes look along Summit avenue or in Merriam Park or in the Cherokee heights neighborhoods because those are the areas with the biggest concentrations of them. I have clients who specifically want Tudors or Craftsman-style bungalows or even Ramblers.

When choosing a neighborhood consider the housing style and when choosing a housing style consider the neighborhood.   When you find the right combination you may find that you can not afford the style of home that you want in your favorite neighborhood.  Homebuyers sometimes end up compromising on style or neighborhood or both when they don’t match.

People who want new construction won’t find much in St. Paul and if they do it will be large and expensive because that is what gets built.

In recent years people have been buying houses in their favorite neighborhood, tearing them down and building the kind of home that they want which is of completely different size and style than what is usually found in the neighborhood. Thankfully that isn’t an option for everyone.

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Tudor style house – Merriam Park

Local Vs. National numbers

Home sales were down in June of 2019 from June 2018 nationwide but by how much varies by location. In the Metro area, year over year home sales were down by 2% and were down by 4.5% in St. Paul. Nationally home sales were down 2.2% in June of 2019 from June 2018.

Locally the inventory of homes on the market has been pretty steady at about a two month supply while nationally there is a 4.4% supply. The numbers may seem small but when I work with home buyers I can actually feel the difference between a 2 month supply of houses and a 4 month supply. In a balanced housing market, there is a six month supply of housing.  We remain in a strong seller’s market.

If you are planning to buy or sell real estate this year the local numbers are the ones to watch.

There are still more home buyers than home sellers. I think the trend will gradually ease up over the next decade or so as older generations reach their peak home selling years. Some experts are predicting a great real estate sell-off as baby boomers age. I think a gradual sell-off is more likely considering the 19 years age range of baby boomers.

Here is an infographic with the national existing home sale data for June 2019.

June Existing home sales infographic

Get the house ready to be inspected

Here are a few simple things homeowners can do to head off common issues found during inspections conducted by buyers inspectors.

  1. Remove any old parts the contractor left by the furnace or water heater. Leftover parts may confuse inspectors and buyers and can lead to all sorts of negative assumptions about the condition of furnace and water heater.
  2. Make sure every light fixture in the house has a working light bulb in it. Inspectors may suggest a fixture isn’t working if the bulb is burned out.
  3. If there is a fuse box remove any old and all-new extra fuses and put them away.
  4. Clean the surfaces of the water heater and furnace.
  5. Make sure all of the windows have screens on them.
  6. Make sure all windows open and close.
  7. Check under every sink and remove any buckets if there is no leak present.
  8. Make sure all electrical outlets and light switches have covers.
  9. If extension cords are being used due to lack of outlets disconnect and remove the extension cords.
  10. Change the furnace filter.

Some of the items I am mentioning will just help to keep the list of items that need attention shorter which will leave a better impression on the buyer.

Some home inspectors don’t know what they are doing and others are excellent. There isn’t any licensure or even qualifications to be a home inspector in Minnesota. Over the years I have seen all sorts of crazy on home inspections. Sometimes home buyers kind of freak out and so do sellers when confronted with a list of repair requests.

Also, see the City of St. Paul Truth in Housing Inspection 

Metro area in the top 20 for elder orphans

The term “elder orphan” keeps cropping up in information about senior housing. According to SeniorLiving.org, the Twin Cities are number 14 in the top 20

Swallowtail butterfly

larger cities that are “elder orphan” friendly.

I am sure you have seen the senior housing ads that feature two old people, one man and one woman smiling at each other as they enjoy some activity in senior housing.

The future doesn’t look that way for 25% of baby boomers who are single and childless.

Cities that are elder orphan friendly have affordable safe housing and an excellent transportation system and residents have access to health care. I would think that living close to siblings and friends might be helpful too.

Senior housing is still a vague term. It can mean 55+ condos or apartments or assisted living apartments or even skilled nursing facilities. For many baby boomers, senior housing means living in the same home they lived in when they were younger.

For many moving isn’t an attractive option which means it is unlikely that orphan elders will flock to the metro area to take advantage of the orphan elder friendliness.