Historic houses and old houses

In my line of work, it is always best to call old houses historic houses. In St. Paul most of the housing stock is historic. Many are small but some are large and have architectural features that we don’t see as much if at all in new construction.

The turret comes to mind. One of the best places to go turret hunting is in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood in St. Paul and winter is a great time to take pictures of them.

You will find turrets on Victorian and Queen Anne style Victorian homes built in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Houses with turrets can also be found in the Crocus Hill neighborhood, the Summit Hill neighborhood, the Capital heights neighborhood, and on the Westside.

Turret collage

Wearing the same gloves for 100 days

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. You may have seen it on Facebook or Instagram, selfies of women who are wearing the same dress for 1oo days. It is part of a marketing campaign for wool dresses that can apparently be hand washed and dried overnight.

I couldn’t help but notice in the pictures that the women are wearing the dress with shirts, jeans, sweaters, and jackets. I have seen the dress worn as a shirt too.

Some of the dress wearers have huge wardrobes of clothes that they can wear with the dress.

That gave me an idea. This week I started wearing the same pair of gloves every day. There are so many things that can be worn with gloves and it will be at least 100 days before it is safe to venture outside without them.

Here is a small part of my journey wearing the same gloves for 100 days:

gloves and shirt
Gloves with my favorite flannel shirt
gloves and sweater
Gloves with sweater
Gloves and facemasks
Gloves with face masks

Maybe I’ll try the gloves with a wool dress.

Home buyers haven’t changed but house hunting has

The real estate industry has remained open during the pandemic but we have more rules. Back a year ago in-person showings

queen anne house
Queen Anne

were down and home buyers were using virtual tours and even making offers before they toured the house.

Here we are a year later with many more people infected with COVID-19 and homebuyers who want to tour as many homes as possible even before they are in a position to make an offer.

People like to see homes in person and they want the experience. It isn’t enough to shop online. The pandemic hasn’t changed the way people want to shop but has changed the way they can shop right now.

There are those in the real estate industry who are predicting that the pandemic will forever change how people shop for and buy houses. I am not seeing it.

This isn’t the best of times for homebuyers but things will get better as more people get vaccinated.

We can and do sell houses without allowing in-person showings.  Typically the buyers are allowed to see the house only after they have made an offer. They see it as they are having it inspected.

counter tops or a heating plant

People who rehab houses know exactly how to make them the most appealing to a first time home buyer. They put in some nice

Old boiler

countertops and trendy backsplashes in the kitchen, and shiny new fixtures in the bathrooms.

They paint the rooms using colors that are currently popular and then do some staging and hang up some “live laugh love” signs and a cookbook and bottles of wine, or fancy vinegar in the kitchen.

When I go into some of these houses and open the plastic door with fake wood grain and go down into the basement I am likely to see an ancient water heater with some rust on it. The furnace or boiler may also have rust on it and in many cases will be older than the home buyer I am showing it to.

A complete home inspection will reveal numerous ungrounded electrical outlets and that the roof is older than the furnace or boiler, which of course are older than the home buyer.

When looking at old St. Paul houses it is wise to start in the basement and work up from there. Sometimes I can smell the basement from the front entryway, which is never a good sign.

After decades of touring old houses in St. Paul, I have seen everything . . . or that is what I say until I see something I haven’t seen before.

Moving in and moving out

We definitely saw people moving from the city to the suburbs last year. The houses that went on the market because of this were snatched up quickly.

It is possible that a large number of people could move out of St. Paul and they would be quickly replaced by people moving in.

There are people who believe they will always be able to work from home and that it doesn’t matter where they live, but it does.

Some of my neighbors who work from home can be seen walking to the coffee shop in the morning or going out for lunch when it was warm enough to eat outside. Even during a pandemic, the city has much to offer.

The city has much to offer for those of us who like cities. Minneapolis is alright too.

View of downtown St. Paul

Minnesota is tops for second homes

second home sales 2020
Infographic from Minnesota Realtors-second home sales

Nationwide second home sales were up 81% in 2020 over 2019. Three of the top 20 counties where people bought second homes are in Minnesota. Itasca, Cass, and Crow Wing counties saw the largest increases in second-home sales.

There are a couple of ways of looking at this. It makes me wonder why so many second homeowners decided to sell last year. It is easy to understand why people bought the homes which most of which were probably cabins.