Happy Father’s day 2024

Happy Father’s Day! I miss my dad. he would have turned 96 this last week. He lived to be 90. He is 35 years old in the picture and clearing the weeds along a fence in the backyard of my childhood home in St. Paul.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Father’s out there.

dad raking
Dad- taken in 1963


I am not young

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun.  I recently went to the local garden center to buy more herbs. I grow them in the house all winter and outside in the summer.  When I got up to the register to pay for my herbs, I told the clerk that my basket held “parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.  I thought maybe I would get a smile or something but it was clear that she did not get my reference to “Scarborough Fair” by Simon and Garfunkle.

After that, I had the song in my head all the way home. I think the person who rang up my order was in her late teens. I am a few decades older than that. I don’t consider myself old but I am definitely not young. I was in grade school when Scarborough Fair was released.

flower box with herbs
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme


The Colorful Pilney Building

Last week I wrote about all black exteriors. This week I want to write about color.

The Pilney historic Art Deco style Pilney building was built in 1913. It was a grocery store until sometime in the 1990s, and it has since been converted into office space.

The building is located on Wesdt 7th at Oceola Avenue and is a local landmark. Recently an artist, Audry Carver painted a Mural on the building. Even without the artwork the building itself is a work of art.

Pileny Building
Pilney Building June 2024
Closeup Pilney building
Artwork by Audry Carver
Pilney building 2015
Pilney Building 2015

I just had to add the picture from 2015 because today is Thursday and this is a throw back.

It was more than a grocery store

Cooper’s grocery store on West 7th and St. Clair is closing permanently at the end of the month. I remember back when it was a County Club store.  We shopped there for decades. There has been a grocery store on the site for at least 45 years, maybe longer.

I have often walked or ridden my bike to Coopers. It was also a great place to run into neighbors; it was a common experience we shared as neighbors.

Neighborhood grocery stores are not as common as they once were. Big box stores have taken over. The closing of the neighborhood grocery store hurts the neighborhood and we all feel a sense of loss.

There are rumors of a new owner and of an Asian grocery store opening on the site but according to the owners, the store will close.

Cooper's Grocery
Cooper’s on West 7th in St. Paul
Cooper's sign
Painted by a local artist
Cooper's grocery
Cooper’s on West 7th


What happens to that earnest money?

coinsI get asked questions about earnest money all the time. Recently I encountered a situation where the home buyer was worried that the earnest money would be stolen. Your earnest money is safe.

Earnest money is a deposit made by the buyer. It is held in a real estate broker’s trust account until the sale closes. The purchase agreement spells out who will get to keep the earnest money if the buyer fails to close.

A home can be purchased without earnest money if both parties agree.

Earnest money does not go to the seller. The most common practice is earnest money held by the seller’s broker. The money is usually electronically sent directly to that trust account and there are all kinds of rules and laws governing trust accounts.

Ultimately the money goes toward the purchase price. It will show up on the settlement statement as a credit.

The amount of earnest money depends upon the price of the house.  A larger earnest money deposit can make a buyer’s offer look better to a seller. It shows that the buyer is committed to the purchase.

Words matter in purchase agreements

Stainless steel appliances – granite countertop

Remembering way back to one of my first clients. I sold their house and when we got to the closing the buyers were most upset that the sellers took the microwave with them when they moved out.

Microwave ovens that are not built-in are considered personal property. Unless the buyers ask for them specifically and unless the sellers agree to include them in the sale they can be packed up and moved away.

The buyers refused to close unless the sellers paid for a new microwave and the sellers refused to do so. At the time a new portable microwave oven cost around $100.

Anything built-in is included in the purchase of real estate in Minnesota. That included the kitchen sink, light fixtures, built-in appliances, cabinets and shelving.  If a microwave is built-in then it is included when the house is sold. Light fixtures are included as are curtain rods.

Perennial plants, bushes, and trees also run with the property and are included in the purchase.

If it is a portable model that sits on a table it is considered personal property. It can be included in the sale if specified in writing. Sellers can specify in writing items they do not want to include in the sale.

When asking for personal property the buyer should be specific.  Ask for the ______(model) microwave oven, as seen in the kitchen on this day______.

Sellers who do not wish to sell a light fixture with the house should remove it and put in a new light fixture before putting the house on the market.

Over the years I have seen more misunderstandings and disagreements over property that is worth less than $100 than over anything else. There are gray areas as to what is personal property and what isn’t. When in doubt spell it out and get signatures from both parties.

Experienced real estate agents know the difference between personal property and part of the property.