color of the year

I generally avoid painting anything in the Pantone color of the year. I have seen houses where I can see which year or group of years the owners decided to decorate. Some of it looks dated very quickly. Colors like white, off-white, light grey, light beige, or greige go with any sofa or rug.

In my humble opinion window shades or blinds that are in any color but white or something close to it are an abomination no matter how expensive or custom-made they are.

The color of the year can be used for accessories or maybe a few accessories. Some folks buy cheap stuff and swap it out every year or two which is sustainable.

This year’s color is called “Veri Peri” and is described as “periwinkle blue with violet-red undertones” periwinkle has always been one of my favorite colors but I won’t go crazy and repaint my office with it.

Although Veri Peri isn’t found in nature, spiderwort flowers come close.




minnesota home sales December 2021

No surprises here. The lack of homes for sale resulted in fewer home sales in December. Here are some numbers for the State of Minnesota curtesy of Minnesota Realtors:

December year-over-year summary of key market indicators:

  • Closed sales decreased 4.0% to 7,137
  • Median sales price increased 8.0% to $300,000
  • Average sales price increased 9.4% to $351,135
  • New listings decreased 14.3% to 3,591
  • Pending sales decreased 12.4% to 4,595
  • Days on the market decreased 16.3% to 36 days
  • Homes for sale decreased 24.5% to 7,121
Infor graphc of MN home sales
December 2021 home sales – Minnesota


Today is a holiday

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. day 2022, which is a federal holiday. Banks and the post office and government offices will be closed.  Public schools are closed today too. Look or virtual events and celebrations because yes there is still a raging pandemic and for most of us no hope of being vaccinated any time soon.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr 1963

I’ll add to what the reverend said to include women.

Minnesota and the Twin Cities are home to some of the worst racial disparities in the country. In metrics across the board—household income, unemployment rates, poverty rates, and educational attainment—the wealth gap between white people and people of color is significantly larger in Minnesota than it is most everywhere else. There is also a large gap in homeownership between people who are white and people of color.

Homeowners have a significantly higher net worth than renters have which is one of the reasons for the large wealth gap. Our neighborhoods in St. Paul and in most cities are still segregated.

The Twin Cities is also where George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed by police last May setting off protests around the country. It is clear that we have a lot of work to do. It doesn’t feel like we are making progress when it comes to equality and liberty for all.

Dr. Martin Luther King Speaking at the University of Minnesota
Dr. Martin Luther King Speaking at the University of Minnesota –

Photograph from the Minnesota Historical Society collection

Getting used to bare shelves

Empty shelves

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. I have been doing my grocery shopping in person during the pandemic.  Each week there is a new surprise. I took the picture when there wasn’t a lot of bread on the shelves but as you can see there was plenty of bread. This week there wasn’t much in the way of toilet paper and I couldn’t find any Brussel sprouts.

Last year it was hard to get some cleaning supplies and the year before that masks and hand sanitizer were hard to find and mostly not available. I would stock up on a few things but it is hard to anticipate which shelves will be empty the next time we want something.

Empty shelves are sometimes attributed to vague supply chain issues and more recently bad weather has been blamed and so have worker shortages. We were warned before Christmas to shop early because of shortages. That seemed like a kind of manufactured shortage and I don’t think it ever materialized. It is as if someone was trying to create a buying frenzy before Christmas.

Bare shelves make me realize that there is a difference between needs and wants. We have all the food we need but are missing some items that we want.

Yet seeing empty shelves is kind of scary too. It isn’t something I am used to or have ever really experienced.

One week frozen foods are missing and the next it is bread. I have learned to buy a little extra of the essentials like peanut butter and as long as I have flour and yeast I can make bread.

Working from home with a twist

Some full-time Realtors actually have full-time jobs. There are no set hours in real estate. Clients often ask real estate agents if work in real estate full time but they never ask agents if they have another full-time job.

There have been times over the years when I have taken in additional work. During the housing market crash and great recession, I had some part-time gigs with a couple of companies on the west coast.

Working with home buyers means having to be available all the time because houses just don’t stay on the market very long these days. Working on the listing side is a little more flexible and in this market, the sellers really are calling the shots. Real estate agents have to be available to answer questions about the house and keep an eye on showings and feedback.

As long as two jobs can be worked one at a time instead of at the same time it can work. Working full-time at two jobs while caring for children might be more of a stretch.

River in winter
frozen Mississippi river

Forgotten pandemic safety rules

The pandemic isn’t over. We are all tired of it. Wearing masks indoors in public places is required in St. Paul.Face mask

“Amid highly contagious COVID-19 variants, Mayor Melvin Carter signed Executive Order 2022-3 on January 5, 2022, renewing the requirement for face masks to be work indoors:

  • Individuals, regardless of vaccine status, at City-Controlled Property: Must wear a face-covering indoors at all times. Employees who are not in a congregate setting and are alone in their assigned workspace may refrain from wearing a face covering.
  • Individuals are not required to wear a face-covering while outdoors, unless at an activity specifically designated and posted by the City as requiring a face covering.
  • Businesses Licensed by the City of Saint Paul: Must require all Individuals to wear a face-covering indoors at all times when social distancing of at least 6 feet is not maintained, except for temporary removal of face-covering when eating or drinking.
  • Athletes, performers, and supporting staff competing or performing at indoor spaces that are licensed or controlled by the City of Saint Paul are not subject to this regulation.
  • All Businesses: Strongly encouraged to continue to require that all individuals, regardless of vaccine status, wear a face-covering indoors at all times when social distancing of at least 6 feet is not maintained.

In real estate, we had a kind of protocol in place during most of the first two years of the pandemic. We asked our clients to wear masks when touring houses and we asked that only the buyers or decision makers tour homes in person. There was a whole protocol for sanitizing door knobs for those who believe that doorknobs pose a threat.

Most houses on the market had hand sanitizer and some had masks near the front door.

We had rules about having too many people in the house at a time.

Those rules no longer apply. If you are selling a house or buying a house you may wish to take some precautions. You can ask your agent to wear a mask. Most agents will. You can also request a private showing or even a video tour.

I let my clients know that I am fully vaccinated and boosted and wear a mask when I am in any house but my own.

Let’s have a safe and healthy third year of the pandemic.