Instant offers for your house


Instant offer programs, sometimes called “guaranteed offers”  are gaining popularity. The way it works is a company buys your house. They turn around and sell it. Homeowners don’t have to make repairs and can close quickly or even on the exact day they want to close.

Generally, the homeowner gets less money than she would get in a traditional sale but it is fast and convenient and there is almost always a price for convenience. The guesswork is taken out of selling the home. No need to wonder when an offer will come or when it will close.

If you read the fine print you will learn that there are some restrictions and that the house must qualify. Houses in St. Paul rarely qualify because they are too old.  Usually, they have to have been built after 1969 and even that is too old for some of the instant buyers.

There is one company that will even buy old houses that need a lot of work and there are investors who will buy houses, fix them up and sell them.

You can sell any home quickly in St. Paul without ever having an open house and without making any repairs or upgrading anything.

Real estate has always been an asset that takes time to liquidate. Maybe that will change someday even for old houses.  Until then I would be happy to help sell any old house in St. Paul. I actually like old houses.




Not the end of summer

I am not sure where August went it seems like it only lasted a couple of days. Tomorrow is Labor day and today is September 1sr. Technically we have a few more weeks of summer. I like to think of it as the best part of summer. The days are a bit shorter and the nights are cooler. The humidity is lower than it was in August.

It will be a while before the leaves start to change color and we may get in another two full months before it snows.  More importantly, it is still a great time to sell a house and this Fall may be a better time to buy a house too.

This time of year is also a wonderful time of year to take pictures. I grow flowers for the butterflies and they reward me by posing for pictures.

butterflies on a zinnia
Monarch Butterflies on a Zinnia in my garden



Do I really this app?

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun . .  especially Fridays before holiday weekends. There was a time when I was into downloading apps for my phone. I am so over that. It seems like every business that I deal with has an app I can download. Often the app takes the place of information that can easily be found on the internet using a smartphone or computer.

A couple of weeks ago we had to replace our washer. The new washer like many new appliances these days can connect to the internet. I don’t want my washer to be hacked so I leave it offline when not in use. 🙂

Here is a screenshot from my last load of wash:

app screenshot
Washer app

I like having the alert on my phone so that I know when the load is done, I like to keep things moving along. The app is animated and shows exactly what the washer is doing real-time.  It is soothing to watch because the water sloshes back and forth. My inner geek couldn’t resist at least trying it out.

Old and new and good for the city

old brick building and new apartment building
Panama Flats and Irvine Exchange apartments

Right next to downtown St. Paul in an area we used to call the “seam”  in-between Downtown and the West 7th neighborhood there is a new apartment building, the Irvine Exchange apartments. The piece of land is a traffic island with busy streets on all sides. The older building in the foreground in Panama Flats which is an old row house converted into condos.

For a city to grow and thrive there has to be a mix of old and new. The new apartments rent for up to a little over 6K a month. It looks like the more affordable units were rented out right away. $1,126 for 367 square feet which would easily fit inside of the first floor of my home.

There has been a lot of development in the West 7th area near downtown since the great recession. There are new hotels and more places that serve beer.

Fair housing and deed covenants

There is a display in the lobby of the Saint Paul Area Association of Realtors (SPAAR) called owning up. The display is based on the “Mapping Prejudice” project that maps racist deed restriction in Minneapolis. In 2018, the SPAAR diversity committee partnered with the Mapping Prejudice Project from the University of Minnesota. This research shows the connection between restrictive covenants and disparities in levels of homeownership.

In some neighborhoods, developers put restrictions on deeds so that homes could only be sold to white people. Here is an example:

“ E. No persons of any race other than the Aryan race shall use or occupy any building or any lot, except that this covenant shall not prevent occupancy by domestic servants of a different race domiciled with an owner or tenant.” – from a Hennepin County deed

The restrictions were put in place during the first part of the 20th century.

The mapping project shows that the city is segregated today and that it became segregated because of the deed restrictions. Realtors played a role in that and that is what we are owning up to:

1924 COE
Realtor Code of ethics – 1924

People actually believed that people of certain races, nationalities or religions could harm a neighborhood and bring down property values.

Here in the twin cities we currently have the largest racial gap in homeownership rates in the nation with 76% of white households owning homes compared with 22% of black households owning homes. Owning up explores some of the root causes of those disparities.

Eventually, Ramsey County deeds will be examined too and it is likely that some deed will have racial restrictions in them.  My guess is that they can be found in the newer parts of the city closer to the edges. The center of the city was developed in the 1800s. The neighborhoods with the most expensive housing and the best schools are populated by mostly white people.

As a real estate agent/broker/company I am not allowed to recommend a neighborhood or steer someone toward one neighborhood or another. When I list a house for sale I can not make sure that a certain kind of buyer buys the home. The right buyer for any house is the buyer who can pay for the house.


Owning up on display at SPAAR – 325 Roselawn Avenue E. St. paul.