Police departments are local

squade car
Saint Paul Police

There seems to be some confusion these days over police departments. The St. Paul police are a city department and not part o the federal government. They are funded and managed on the city level. The city council and the mayor are responsible for the police department.

Funding for police and fire comes from our property taxes.

How you vote in the city council or mayoral race can directly impact the police department. How you vote for president will not directly impact the police department.

If you want to learn more about the Saint Paul PD visit the Saint Paul PD web site.

Before each election look at the ballot ahead of time and get interested in the local elections.

Taken during the before time

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. Last year at this time I was enjoying a vacation up along the north shore of lake superior. In many ways, it was a happier time. We had no idea what was coming. It is like the face mask wasn’t even invented. We stayed in a hotel and ate in crowded restaurants.

It seems like there was a lot less to worry about way back then.

Sunrise over lake superior

Here is a picture that I took in 2018, the same location

Duluth - superior
A lake Superior dawn

I took this one in 2017.

Sunrise on Lake Superior

Something to look forward to in 2021 or 2022? It probably looks about the same but still . . . .

Making the offer before seeing the house

There is a high demand for homes for sale. With the “COVID-19” rules we generally will not allow overlapping showings on homes that are for sale. That means that every available time slot to tour a home has been taken.

In other words, if you are buying a house you may need to compete with many other home buyers just for the opportunity to see the house in person.

As a result, buyers have been making offers on houses based on the photographs. They usually make the offer inspection contingent and tour the home during the inspection period.

If you just noticed that the house went on the market so did several other buyers. If the house looks like it is a perfect fit it is also a perfect fit for many other potential buyers which is why you will need to act quickly.

The current seller’s market is challenging for buyers. The very best advice I can give is that if you have to buy a house now plan on making offers on a few or several houses as they come on the market. Be persistent and plan on making offers until one works out.

If there are multiple offers you will need to go over the asking price. If you have some cash offers with larger down payments like 20% or more are more attractive to sellers. Being flexible on closing dates and on other terms also helps.

Buying a house in December or January may be easier than buying one now. When the pandemic is finally over we will probably see more homeowners who want to sell.

Also, see Getting ready for the 2019 home buying season (this applies to the 2020 home buying season and the 2021 home buying season)

The next home buyers market will probably happen sometime after 2025.

Working with a buyers agent 

All about agency. Working with a buyer’s agent who is not the listing agent for the house that is for sale is one smart way to successfully purchase a home.

Early in-person voting starts on Friday

In Minnesota, you can vote early and in-person starting on Friday, September 18, 2020.

Of course, you could vote in person on November 3, 2020, but the lines will probably be shorter on Friday.

If you want to vote early but do not know where or how visit the Minnesota secretary of state web site.

Some candidates running in the 2020 election have ads so that when you search Google for election information the first thing that comes up is an ad telling you to “secure your vote”

You do not need to secure your vote. You may need to register though if you are not already registered. You can also register on election day or when you go to your county election office for early in-person voting.

If you do not live in Minnesota you will need to register in your own state.

My plan is to use my absentee ballot and drop it off in person at my county election site. That way I get the best of both worlds as far as in-person and absentee.  Here is some information from Ramsey county on how to do that.

You can check to see if your vote was received without ever leaving your house. Track your vote online. 

Voting twice or trying to vote more than once is illegal in every state. Use the vote tracker to make sure your ballot was accepted.

I am sure you are sick of reading about voting but I never get sick of writing about it and am proud of the fact that I have never missed an opportunity to vote. I even vote in the local elections because I care about schools and firefighters and policing too.

Vote 2020 – sign on West 7th street in St. Paul

Home prices went up in Minnesota

Here is an overview of August home sales in Minnesota brought to us by the Minnesota Association of Realtors.

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Minnesota August Home sales

Inventory issues continue to plague first-time homebuyers while competitive pressures have sparked bidding wars. By the end of August, there was only a two-month supply of housing available for sale, which is a historic low.

Here ins St. Paul there is a 1.8 month supply which is the lowest we have seen since December of 2018 when there was. 1.7 month supply. Minneapolis also has a two month supply.

Same old story. Lots of buyers and few sellers. In past decades we were able to build our way out of housing shortages. This time around there is little new construction and what there is is very expensive.

There are some bargains on the market


There really aren’t many actual “bargains” in the local housing market but there are some opportunities. There are 111 houses on the market in St. Paul in all price ranges that have been on the market for 60 days or more.

Prices start at less than $90,000.

There are 1311 houses on the market in the five-county metro area that have been on the market for 60 days or more.

Houses that have been on the market and that have not had a recent price reduction can sometimes be purchased for less than the asking price. They are also less likely to get multiple offers.

Homes that are priced right sell quickly with multiple offers for more than the asking price. Homes that are priced too high stay on the market and sellers are offered less than the asking price.

After a house has been on the market for a while sellers are more likely to accept a fair offer.