Vote on August 11, 2020

Minnesota ELECTION 2020 – August 11, 2020, Primary Election for State, County, and Municipal Offices. It isn’t too late but it would be nice if you had voted ahead of time. The polls open at 7:00 AM and close at 8:00 PM.

Don’t take my word for it Visit the Minnesota Secretary of state web site for details. Get a sample ballot and figure out who to vote for.

If you have an absentee ballot it is too late to mail it. Do not bring it to your polling place. Bring it to your county elections office.  They have drop off boxes, some have hours when ballots can be dropped off. You might need to read some signs and whatnot.

Let’s do this!


Jobs and real estate licenses

It is during times of high unemployment that people decide to start businesses or become real estate agents. In the last couple


of weeks, I have been getting inquiries from people who want to get a real estate license. Normally I get those inquiries in January.

The articles I have written about how to get licensed in Minnesota are among the most popular articles on this site.

There isn’t now nor has there ever been a shortage of real estate agents in the Twin Cities. The failure rate for agents during the first two years is high.

Real estate agents have a lot of expenses and it takes a while to start making money. Competition is fierce and there are several qualified agents for each person who wants to buy or sell real estate.

Often when agents quit it is because they can not pay their personal bills and business bills on little or no income as they startup.

Most new licensees get some business from friends and family. The income range for a real estate agent is large. Many make less than $30,000 a year and some make more than $200,000 a year.

I got my real estate license in early 2002 after having been laid off during a recession.  I got my real estate brokers license in 2007 just in case.

Getting a license isn’t hard. A person has to be 18 years old and has to take 90 hours of classroom or online training. There are three 30 hour courses called “pre-licensing” courses.

The applicant has to take a test, pass a background check, and find a broker to hold the license. Real estate licensees are regulated at the state level. Find more information on the department of commerce web site.

Most real estate agents are 1099 independent contractors who get paid on a 100% commission basis after the home sale closes.

People with real estate licenses have to work under a broker. Real estate companies have at least one licensed broker who is the “broker of record” and that broker is responsible for all of the agents and their sales. Most brokers will take on any licensee who can fog a mirror.

Brokers also get to keep part of each commission before paying the agent.

It takes additional hours of training and another test to get a brokers license. To be eligible the applicant has to have had a salesperson’s license for three years. See the Minnesota licensing guide

I think that is why we usually don’t ever find out who the responsible broker is in each company and there isn’t any way to look it up. I digress.

Once licensed a person can become a REALTOR by joining the National Association of Realtors.

It takes more than a license to be a successful real estate agent. Agents usually work with little or no supervision. Being self-employed means paying for health insurance and paying income taxes several times a year. Taxes are not withheld from commission checks.

Some budgeting and money management skills are required. Those for sale signs cost money and so do the lockboxes and we pay to use the MLS.

It is necessary to have a laptop computer and tablets are very useful. Highspeed internet access at home is a must. A reliable car is essential and your car insurance may go up.

There are business expenses every month even if there are no sales. The real estate broker will keep a percentage of all commissions. At some of the larger companies that percentage can be more than 50%.

Right now home sales are unusually low because there are not as many people putting their homes on the market because of the pandemic. That may change yet this year and maybe it will all balance out. If not this year 2021 should be a good year.

The real estate market will do well until it is affected by the high unemployment rate which will cause people to buy less stuff and will ultimately affect those who are working from home with secure jobs dreaming of a larger house.

If you would like to be a real estate agent you need to understand that competition is fierce and the hardest part of the job for new agents is finding a steady stream of clients.

It seems as though anytime is a good time to become a real estate salesperson. I know people who started during the great recession and housing market crash who did very well while experienced agents dropped out.

Related articles:

How many real estate agents in Minnesota

What is a real estate broker

Realtor Demographics

Realtor isn’t a job title


100 years ago women won the right to vote

The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote.

The women’s suffrage movement 1840-1920

Let’s honor the women who fought so that we can vote by voting. If you are a Minnesotan and have not voted in the August Primary you can do so now. Go to the Minnesota Secretary of State web site for details.

You should have a plan for the 2020 presidential election in November. That plan could be voting by absentee ballot or by voting early an in-person starting on September 18th or by voting in person. 

Planning ahead means ordering your absentee ballot for the November general election today. When you get your ballot fill it out and send it back immediately. It is possible that by October the postal service will be even slower than it is now.

Voter turnout in Minnesota is usually strong. To make that happen the polls will need to be open on November 3. It takes a lot of volunteers to make that happen. Please volunteer to be an election judge.

2017 women’s March in St. Paul

Also, see 2017 women’s march

Moving isn’t always the best option

I haven’t met anyone who really likes to move. The process can be stressful and time-consuming. Sometimes there are less expensive alternatives.

If you need a space that looks nice on camera for work/business you might not have to move to create such a space. My home office is fine for most everything but looks a little too homey on camera.  When I need a classier location for a video meeting I go to what I call my “ZOOM room”. The set-up works for any kind of virtual video meeting, but I use ZOOM.

I  moved a small desk away from the wall and hung up a large piece of green fabric on the wall to create a green screen. I can choose from a variety of backgrounds so that it looks like I am in a large office, or on a beach or in a yurt because I really like yurts. If I lived in a warmer climate I would have a yurt for an office.

In the before time the room was used for overnight guests. Most any room works and it can be a total mess.

For business meetings, I use the photo at the top of this site for my background. I even have a few pictures of conference rooms that come in handy.

Conference room

If you would rather have more space or a room with a view than a virtual background I would be happy to help you buy/sell some real estate. We can meet via video if you like for an initial consultation or by phone or email if you prefer.

Also see My new Northern Office

Some REALTOR demographics

I write about this every summer. REALTOR isn’t an occupation it is what members of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) are called. As a member, I get to call myself a REALTOR.

Every year NAR publishes statistics about the membership. It looks like the median age went from 54 to 55 in the last year and the percentage of women REALTORS went from 67% to 64%. Most people don’t know that there are more women members than there are men.

The median age was 57 at one point and then along came the great recession and housing market crash. Some agents retired and the median age went down.

Here are this year’s numbers:

REALTOR® Demographics

  • 65% percent of REALTORS® are licensed as sales agents, 22% hold broker licenses, and 15% hold broker associate licenses.
  • The typical REALTOR® is a 55-year-old white female who attended college and is a homeowner.
  • 64% of all REALTORS® are female, and the median age of all REALTORS® is 55.
  • Real-estate experience of all REALTORS® (median): 9 years
  • Median tenure at the present firm (all REALTORS®): 4 years
  • Most REALTORS® worked 36 hours per week in 2019.
  • The median gross income of REALTORS® was $49,700 in 2019, an increase from $41,800 in 2018.
  • Median number of transaction sides in 2019:
    • Residential sides for all REALTORS®: 12
    • Residential sides for residential specialists only: 12
    • Residential sides for commercial specialists only: 3
    • Commercial sides for commercial specialists only: 6
  • Formal education of REALTORS®:
    • Some college: 28%
    • Bachelor’s degree: 32%
    • Graduate degree and above: 13%
    • Associate degree: 13%
    • Some graduate school: 6%
    • High-school graduate: 7%

I read one recent article indicating that the number of real estate licensees is rising again. So far the housing market is doing well during the pandemic and it is during times of high unemployment that people start businesses.

About ten years ago NAR was very concerned about the median age of its members being so high and ever since they have gone that extra mile to get younger members into leadership positions.

Boardman Realty is a woman-owned and operated real estate company.

People who are afraid of masks

There are some things I have to do to keep my business open. I have to wear a mask when I tour homes and I have to ask my clients to do the same. When I drive my car I have to wear a seat belt or get a ticket.

Over the weekend I went into a sandwich shop. The people working behind the counter were not wearing masks. I won’t be going back there again. There are numerous places we can get take out where the staff wear masks.

When I commented on the lack of masks I was told that masks are dangerous and that they make people sick. I was wearing one at the time. I was told that masks make it hard to breathe.

Some people order their sandwiches and have them delivered. They don’t know that their sandwich is being prepared by someone who isn’t wearing a mask. It is the only shop in the area that doesn’t have COVID-19 advisories on the door and in the store.

This wasn’t the first time I saw someone who wasn’t wearing a mask in that store making sandwiches. I submitted a complaint to the Minnesota Department of Health.

As of July 25, 2020, per the Governor’s Executive Order 20-81, people in Minnesota are required to wear a face-covering in all indoor businesses and public indoor spaces, unless alone.

We need to do everything we can to stop the spread of COVID-19 so that our children can go back to school.