Vote in person and vote early


Voting in person is important to some voters. It seems to be even more important because of the pandemic. For many of us, voting is important and so is being safe.  Even though our president and his family vote with absentee ballots many of his supporters consider it a badge of honor to vote in person.

Early voting in person is the best of both worlds. Voting early means fewer people at polling places on November 3rd which means less spread of COVID-19.

Here in Minnesota, early voting starts on September 18th at your local elections office. You can find your county election offices here. 

I’ll be using my absentee ballot and I will be dropping it off at my election office before election day. I would do it in person at the election office but to me, voting is more about helping choose our leaders and not so much about going to the polls or not.

I am voting early because I know that on an election day during a pandemic and a flu season things could go wrong.

If you need to vote in-person consider voting early so that we can make the voting process as safe as possible by having less crowded polling places on election day.

The campaign sign question

A client asks if it is alright to have a campaign sign in his yard while his house is on the market. My answer is no. Don’t put up a sign supporting your favorite political candidate while your home in on the market.

It isn’t a huge deal chances are your house will sell quickly with or without the political sign.

If you don’t agree with my opinion go ahead and put the sign-out while the for sale sign is up.

My answer has more to do with depersonalizing the house than it has to do with the support of one candidate or another.

I read an article recently that suggesting that the sign in your next-door neighbor’s yard could cause a home buyer to reconsider the neighborhood. Good luck getting that neighbor to take it down.

We live in politically contentious times. People don’t just favor one political party. Many actually hate the other political party.

Dump Trump sign

If you are a home buyer your probably don’t need to worry about the political persuasions of your neighbors. Neighbors can make your life a living hell no matter which party they support.

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