The roof, the roof . .

Last week we had a new roof put on the house. I hated to see the old one go to the landfill but it did last 31 years. Repairs were made to it, flashing was added, vents were added but eventually, the roof just wasn’t up to the job. When it rained outside it also rained inside.

Nothing like a new roof to make a house look nice and tidy and almost newish. That is the thing about old houses, they can be retrofitted.  Making an old house more energy efficient in most cases is more environmentally friendly than building a new energy-efficient house.

Tearing an old house down just to build something newer and larger should be a crime but it isn’t.

Over the years our old house has been updated and retrofitted many times. It was built before there was indoor plumbing. There was an outhouse instead of a bathroom. It now has two bathrooms and a kitchen sink and one in the basement, a washing machine, and a hot water heater.

It was built before the telephone was invented and used to have telephones in it. At one time it had cable TV too but I won’t go into that. It has had Wifi for many years.

The house did not have electricity in it until it was at least 30 years old. It was well over 100 years old when we added central air. It would have been hard to add central air before the house had electricity.

Sure there are times when I think that a new house would be wonderful but I know they don’t build them like they used to and building a house is very expensive and not as environmentally friendly as recycling and retrofitting.

If you like old houses you will love St. Paul, Minnesota!

How to get your home ready for winter

Colorful leaves
Maple leaves

A first time home buyer asked me what she needs to do to get her house ready for winter. There are a couple of generic things that most homeowners will need to do:

  1. Get the furnace or boiler serviced.
  2. Turn off water to outdoor spigots.

Even if the furnace or boiler is new you should have it checked out by a professional. In the metro area expect to pay between $90 and $200 dollars for the service. I have found that the companies that charge the least are also the companies with the most inexperienced technicians and they like to sell furnaces and boilers.

As for the water, there should be a turn off valve in the basement or crawl space. Turn the water off inside the house, and then go outside and turn the water off. Disconnect the hose and put it away for the winter.

Leaving the water on can damage faucets or cause pipes to burst inside the house or both.

There is a lot more that can be done to help winterize your house like caulking around windows if needed and sealing up any openings where mice can get it.

For older windows sometimes using window insulation kits (plastic)  will stop drafts and improve efficiency.

I like to put the garden tools away and get out the snow shovels. . . there is more but I think I have covered the basics.

Home prices and sales

Here are some home sale statistics for September in St. Paul Minnesota.

September home prices
September home sales St. Paul, MN

A typical pattern where home prices peak in April or May and then decline slightly through the Fall and Winter months. It still takes less than 30 days to sell a house in St. Paul. The number of pending sales for September is down slightly which is why the number of homes on the market is higher than it was in July.

We remain in a strong seller’s market where there are not enough homes on the market for buyers. Expect to see multiple offers on some homes.

The numbers used to make the table were extracted from the NorthstarMLS and are deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

For more, local real estate numbers see Local market conditions and home prices.

Help selling your house

I’ll never understand why people contact me to help them sell their house when it is listed with a Realtor®. I will work with anyone


who hires me. I can’t afford to spend time helping someone else’s clients. I have to put my own clients first.

I use my experience and expertise to make a living. Sure I give free advice on this blog but it is so people can see why they should hire me it isn’t so people can have a free resource so that when their house doesn’t sell they can get advice.

No, I won’t help you sell our house unless we have a contract. Feel free to contact me and we can get the process started.

Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon today

Welcome marathon runners!

marathon crowd

Today is the 38th annual Twin Cities Marathon. There will be some street closures but the freeways will be open, unlike last weekend. It is the most beautiful urban marathon in the country. The exact route of the main event that starts at 8:00 AM today is mostly behind paywalls but I can tell you that Summit avenue will be closed for at least half of the day.

Bring some outdoors inside

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. If you are looking for an almost free house plant that you can enjoy all winter, cut off a piece of coleus from your flowerbed or pot and put it in some water.  A person could make a whole video out of this. Just give it a try it is hard to mess up.

You will see roots in a week or so or let it sit in the water for a month. It is like magic. More roots. Inpatients are also easy to root by cutting a piece of stem and placing in water. They will bloom in your house in the winter. It almost seems like magic and the plants can be brought back outside in the spring.

Coleus, make wonderful houseplants because they are colorful and easy to grow. They will need light. I have grown them in a sunny south-facing window and near an east-facing window.

A person could make a whole video out of this but I am not that person. 🙂 The picture should suffice.

Coleus as a houseplant