Rhubarb is a vegtable, and plentiful this year

Rhubarb is a vegetable. It is also a good source of calcium, Potassium, and vitamin C. I grow Rhubarb and have put it in pies, jam, jelly, rhubarb cake, rhubarb sauce, and rhubarb crisp. Apparently, rhubarb is a superfood rich in antioxidants and vitamin K.

Rhubarb can also be used to make salsa. I have found a few recipes. It makes sense because if you add enough pepper it probably tastes like pepper. I might also try roasted rhubarb and rhubarb butter which isn’t butter at all but is made with rhubarb, honey, and orange juice and can be used as a sauce for pork or chicken. I may try it as a barbecue sauce or marinate or glaze the next time I grill chicken.

The best way to find new, exciting, nutritious or tasty recipes that include rhubarb is by asking Google.

Growing rhubarb is easy and can be one of the many joys of homeownership. Even on my inner city postage stamp-sized lot. If you don’t grow rhubarb you can buy it at the St. Paul Farmer’s market.



Pay Day type loans for real estate agents

Coins, moneyIf you are not a real estate agent you might not find this interesting. Sometimes a real estate agent will work with a client for six months or more before getting paid. Agents get paid by their broker only after a successful closing of a home sale.  Sometimes everything falls apart shortly before the closing through no fault of the agent or the agent’s clients . . which is why I am writing this.

Some lenders find out when an agent has a closing and they start sending the agent emails that go something like this: “we specialize in empowering real estate professionals like you by providing commission advances on pending sales or listings.”

Even if you were not born yesterday you know that the interest rates of those “commission advances” are huge. If for some reason the expected commission never arrives it may take the agent awhile to pay back the money advance plus interest.

People who survive as real estate agents have a cushion in the bank before they start. We learn how to manage our money so we can pay our bills in between commission checks. We learn to set money aside from each check for income taxes.  Agents who do not make enough to pay their bills need to either lower their expenses or take on additional work.

Most real estate agents and Realtors® are independant contractors working on a 100% commission basis. It is exactly like being a gig worker.definitely not for everyone and some days I wonder if it is for me but after awhile I just got used to it.

Plants and trees are included

it is hard for some folks to believe but some of us have sentimental attachments to plants. I have some peony bushes that came from the family farm. From there they went to a home in St. Paul and then they went to a home in Maplewood. Now they are in my yard. When we decide to sell we will ask out children if they want the plants and if they do we will remove them before the house goes on the market.

Perennial plants and trees are considered part of the property and are included when it is sold.  Most anything can be put in a purchase agreement to buy a house. If the buyer and seller agree in writing the seller can take the plants.

Things go much more smoothly when anything that the sellers do not want to included in the sale are removed from the property before the buyer sees the property.

Sometimes homeowners want to keep light fixtures and other items that are attached to the property.  Again the best way to avoid misunderstanding is to remove those times before the home goes on the market.

Technically under Minnesota law, if the homeowner plants tomatoes or other crops before they sell they are entitled to come back and harvest them.

Pink Peonie

Over the years I have had clients who got most upset over missing hostas and in one case missing rhubarb when they went to take possession of the property.

My friend the finch

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. I keep a birdhouse on the back porch. It is just outside the window when I am in my office. Every year house finches build a nest in it.  They are fun to watch and they sing beautifully.  They are busy little birds. When their young hatch they will be even busier gathering food and bringing it back to the house.  I bought a new birdhouse this year. It is empty. The birds either don’t like the house or the neighborhood.

Finch on a bird house


April 2024 Home Sales – Minnesota

This just in from Minnesota Realtors. April 2024 definitely outperformed April 2023.

April home sales infographic
Screen print – Home sales infographic

“The Minnesota housing market, along with the weather, is heating up. Seller activity increased, and buyers were also more active compared to April of 2023. Home prices and inventory both rose, but affordability issues persisted due to supply and demand imbalance.

Our April affordability index shows that the majority of buyers with median incomes don’t make enough to afford median priced homes. To that end, more supply is still needed across the price spectrum, especially in ranges first-time buyers can afford.

“Even as inventory levels rise, sellers are still finding they have the upper hand in most areas and price points,” said Geri Theis, President of Minnesota Realtors®. “Buyers should understand that while they have more options, there is still competition. That’ll be even more true if rates fall.”

April Year-Over-Year Summary of Key Market Indicators:
• Closed sales: 5,465 (up 17.9%)
• Median sales price: $350,000 (up 4.5%)
• Average sales price: $405,208 (up 4.6%)
• New listings: 9,042 (up 20.3%)
• Pending sales: 6,283 (up 7.7%)
• Days on the market: 42 (no change)
• Homes for sale: 12,408 (up 18.2%)”

[April Housing Market Report]

1st Half Property Taxes Due Today

If you own property in Minnesota first half property taxes are due today. For homeowners with mortgages, you are likely paying 1/12th of your property taxes each month. Your mortgage company pays the taxes when they are due from that money. Mistakes happen. It is a good idea to look up your address on your county website and make sure the taxes are paid.

Property taxes are payable to the county where the property is located. For help go to the county website.  If you own property in St. Paul go to the Ramsey county property tax site.

Have a merry property tax day! Let’s do this again on October 15th.

 money (2)