People complain to the blogger

realtor_r_blueIt happens all the time. Home sellers and buyers who are under contract with a real estate agent want a second opinion so they call or email another agent. I am pretty easy to find with the blog and all. It is easy to second-guess someone else but I won’t.

I don’t know the whole story and I am not comfortable judging someone else. There are all sorts of situations where people want free advice . . . because it is free.

People who are having trouble with a real estate agent should talk to that agent. If the agent isn’t doing his or her job as outlined in the buyers or sellers contracts buyers or sellers can ask the agent to cancel the contract.

If that doesn’t work or isn’t an option the next step is to call the real estate company and ask to talk to the broker. Real estate agents all work under real estate brokers and the broker is responsible for the agent’s actions.

If the agent is a Realtor® (Member of the national association of Realtors) and has done something unethical consumers can file an ethics complaint through the Minnesota Association of Realtors.

There is a code of ethics and the specific article that was violated needs to be stated in the complaint. Realtors are held to the standards in the code of ethics and we hold each other to those standards.

I am on the ethics committee for the Minnesota Association of Realtors®. I sit on hearing panels and listen to complaints about and from other members and from the general public. I have learned so much by attending hearings and reading complaints and responses.

There are reprimands and fines for agents who violate the code of ethics. Sometimes violators are sent to training classes.

Consumers can also file complaints with the Minnesota Department of Commerce and they do. You can look up actions that have been taken against licensees and of course the major complaints sometimes make the news.

A turkey is easy to cook

I write some version of this every year. If you are roasting your first turkey this year it is going to be alright. Turkeys are easy to prepare and to be honest hard to screw up.

If you watch the news or are on social media you may get the impression that roasting a turkey is difficult. It is easy unless you make it hard.

There are other ways to cook a turkey but roasting it is the easiest. No need to deep fry it or put it on a stick.

For those of you who have never cooked the bird this is what it looks like:

raw turkey

raw turkey

. . but at one time it probably looked like this:

turkey
Wild turkey

Turkeys are very easy to roast, in an oven or in an electric turkey roaster.

If your turkey comes out too dry it is because it was overcooked. Use a meat thermometer. Cooking time is just s guide or estimate.  Use one of the many roasting charts that can be found online.  Just ask Google for the details about cooking temperature and how many minutes per pound.

I will be roasting my 20-pound turkey for about 4.5 hours at 325. I believe it will be my 30th Thanksgiving turkey. I’ll check it after two hours, and stick the thermometer in after 3 hours. 

Turkeys can be cooked rapidly at 450 or so, but the easiest way is to put it in an electric turkey roaster or in the oven at 325 to 350 and just ignore it. I like to start with a fresh turkey, never a frozen turkey. Fresh turkey tastes better and I don’t have to worry about thawing it out.

I make the stuffing separately but like to stick a whole orange in the cavity. Sometimes I quarter it, other times I just poke some holes in it. There is less chance of food poisoning if the stuffing is cooked separately. This year my son-in-law will be making the stuffing. He has a way with stuffing.

Clean up is simple too.  The only challenge is finding a place to store the electric roaster but as a Realtor, I can help you find a bigger home with more storage space if needed.

The FDA recommends a minimum internal temperature of 165 . . if you don’t want to risk food poisoning.  personally, I go for up around 180 degrees. Please don’t rely on that little pop-up thingy to detect doneness. Use a real meat thermometer.

roast turkey

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

My life is in your hands

I know it sounds dramatic but my safety and maybe even my life is in the hands of my neighbors. Some of those neighbors shovel their sidewalks and keep the ice off of them and others do not.

There is a local French restaurant by Irvine park that never shovels the walk. Their customers can pull up to the door and go it while a valet parks their car. Businesses like that make for very bad neighbors.

The worst thing I saw last snow season was an elderly woman using a walker and leaving tracks in the snow along the sidewalk in from of the local grocery store.

Saint Paul City Ordinance requires snow and ice to be removed from sidewalks within 24 hours. It doesn’t provide an exemption for businesses that do not use the sidewalk in front of their business. It does not provide an exemption for condos or townhouses either.

There are no exemptions for houses that are for sale or for vacant properties.

To report a sidewalk that’s a safety hazard and needs shoveling, contact the Department of Safety and Inspections at 651-266-8989. Be sure to tell us the address of the property and check to be certain it’s within city limits. 

The City will contact the property owner to make sure the sidewalk is shoveled as soon as possible. If the owner does not comply, the City will send a crew to clear the sidewalk and bill the property owner for the (high-priced) work.

The city also has a downloadable, printable door hanger that can be used to remind a neighbor to shovel.  I am not sure how to use that on the sidewalks that are along Kellogg Blvd and in other places where there are no homes or businesses. There are several downtown sidewalks that never get shoveled.

I walk every day. Most days I walk at least three miles. I walk as if my life depends upon it because it does.

I’ll be voting tomorrow

vote

Most of us are tired of the endless commercials about how bad the other guy is and what will happen to us if we vote for him or her. If you are like me and are waiting until election day to vote you still have time to do a little research.

If you don’t know where to go to vote you can start by visiting the state poll finder page.

Start by going to the Minnesota Secretary of State website.  Get a sample ballot  Look it over and make sure that you know who you want to vote for. It is hard to get unbiased information about the candidates but it is better to do your own research than to believe what one candidate says about another.

The MPR website is an excellent source of information, see the voters guide. You can listen to the candidates talk and debate each other. You might also find information by doing a google search on a candidates name.

Many of the judges on the ballot are incumbents and running uncontested. I have been researching the contested races. The positions are important. Local judges can work their way up to the US supreme court.

On the state level, we will be voting for representatives and senators and for a governor. How we vote matters as we elect our 41st male governor.  If you don’t know who represents you in the Minnesota senate and house of representatives you can look it up here on the MN district finder page.

There is a school referendum on the ballot in St. Paul. As always the wording is confusing. Voting yes means more money for the schools and yes that means a tax increase.

I vote in every election which is why you should too. Local elections are democracy in action. There is no electoral college. Each of our votes is counted and the candidate with the most votes wins.

Please vote on Tuesday, November 6th and take some time on Monday, November 5th to do your homework.

How to get your stuff stolen

It happens every day. People leave valuable is their cars and the valuables get stolen. I know some folks who don’t lock their cars because they don’t want the windows smashed they would rather just let someone open the door and rummage around.

If you are new to St. Paul and park on the street or anywhere outside I can tell you for sure that if you leave valuables in your car they will get stolen. I would like to add that it isn’t your fault that they get stolen but you won’t get your valuables back and the police are not much help in such situations.

There are times when you may need to leave something valuable in your car. Consider leaving items like iPads and laptop computers in your trunk if you absolutely have to leave them in your car.

Theft from cars is such a common crime in St. Paul yet people still leave valuables in their car. Please don’t do that anymore.

The scariest Halloween ever

How well I remember Halloween 1991. The kids kept coming to the door and I kept sweeping the snow off the porch. By about 7:30 PM they stopped coming, and I gave up trying to keep the porch and stairs free of snow. By then the wind started to pick up and visibility was low. It was wet, cold and windy outside.

The kids had a lot of fun the next day. It was a Friday and everything was canceled.

We got 28, possibly 31 inches of snow that day in St. Paul.

That was the scariest Halloween ever. Happy Halloween!

Snow
Halloween blizzard 1991 – 28+ inches of snow