ten years ago this September

I published this back in September of 2008. By that time we were well aware of the recession and that the housing market had crashed. Some of those vacant houses in St. Paul were demolished and some are still vacant and owned by the city and by banks too.

There are currently 615 registered vacant buildings in St. Paul. 565 of them are single or multiple housing units. Not all vacant houses are registered. There are over 64,000 houses in St. Paul.
The number of vacant registered building in St. Paul continues to grow. Currently, there are 2031 registered vacant buildings in St. Paul.  Most of the buildings are single family homes and Duplexes.  No one knows how many vacant homes there are that are not registered.  Some of the registered homes are for sale.

Many need repairs.  Some don’t appear to be salvageable as the city has cited them for numerous code violations and it simply costs more than the structures are worth to do everything that the city thinks should be done.

There are vacant houses that have been vacant for years. Will they sit empty forever?  The owners do pay taxes and there is no law that says the property has to be used or occupied.

Having a problem with a vacant property? Follow this link the complaint department. (the city reorganized their website and the link is broken)

Are vacant houses a problem?  What is it like to live next door to a vacant house?  Would you buy the house next door if it were for sale?

Also, see:

St. Paul Real Estate: Vacancy Rate Continues to Climb

Time for apples


There are numerous varieties of fresh apples at the Saint Paul Farmer’s market which is open today. I like the chestnut crabs and the honey crisp the most. The apple orchards are open now and you can never have too many apples. I like to make applesauce, apple butter, and apple pie. I dry some apple slices too.

Apples are low sodium and have no added sugar. They are gluten-free with no high fructose corn syrup. They are also high fiber and apple pectin apparently or at least currently is good for rats and maybe humans too.

Minnesota grown apples

For sale signs make the phones ring

Pink Rose

Even with all the technology, we have old school for sale signs still make the phone ring. People see my signs and they call and it isn’t always because they want more information about the house.

Sometimes people who are looking for the sellers call.  They have all sorts of stories.  One caller said he was from the census bureau but he had no way to back up his story.  He figured he would just give me a call and I would put him in touch with my clients.  He wanted to know if the sellers had moved and I didn’t answer that question either.

The callers ask for email addresses of the sellers and phone numbers and where they work and if they have moved and more.  I would never tell anyone who calls anything about my clients. I have heard some pretty compelling stories from long-lost relatives but wasn’t tempted to blab.

I have on occasion passed the information along to sellers but in most cases when I ask the caller for his or her contact information they won’t give it.  Sometimes callers want to know something about the neighbors and occasionally I get calls from law enforcement.

The sign with the phone number on it is there for two reasons, one is to let people know that the home is for sale and the other is to provide information (found in the brochure box) and a number that people can call if they have a question about the home or would like to see it. I can not give out information about the owners of the home.

Some of the calls I get are kind of interesting, with questions that really get me thinking. Phone calls are fine, that is why we put phone numbers on the signs. Just don’t expect answers if the question is about the homeowner or some complicated real estate question with details you don’t want to share. . . you know like when you are asking for a friend and can not give an address or any other details.

Throwback Thursday, elephants and McCain


The picture is of the garden’s at the St. Paul Hotel, and in the background is the Landmark Center.  The city looks wonderful. – August 30, 2008, the Republican national convention.

The News Media reported that it all happened in Minneapolis but we know the truth. The convention was right here in St. Paul and it was on this day in 2008 at John McCain got the party nomination for president.

Xcel Center in St. Paul, MN 2008 RNC

It all seems so long ago now.

A look at the top ten employers

Housing and jobs are related. If there are no jobs no one wants to live in the area and without enough housing, no one wants to live in the area.

Here is the list of the top ten employers in Minnesota. The numbers are from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The current unemployment rate in the state is at around 3.3%, and 2.8% in the metro area, where the strongest demand is in retail.

Chart from MN DEED
Top ten Minnesota Employers

Jobs are not hard to find right now. For employment statistics and other resources for finding a job in Minnesota check the DEED website: https://mn.gov/deed/job-seekers.