Which should you choose, house or neighborhood?

Some home buyers are open to many architectural styles and others have a specific style and even floor plan in mind when they go house hunting. Homebuyers who have there heart or budget or both set on a certain neighborhood may find that their favorite style of home isn’t there.

If you are looking for a rambler or a split level home with a two-car attached garage I would not bother looking in the downtown area but you might find some in the western part of Highland Park and in the battle creek and Eastside neighborhoods.

If you like Tudor style homes look along Summit avenue or in Merriam Park or in the Cherokee heights neighborhoods because those are the areas with the biggest concentrations of them. I have clients who specifically want Tudors or Craftsman-style bungalows or even Ramblers.

When choosing a neighborhood consider the housing style and when choosing a housing style consider the neighborhood.   When you find the right combination you may find that you can not afford the style of home that you want in your favorite neighborhood.  Homebuyers sometimes end up compromising on style or neighborhood or both when they don’t match.

People who want new construction won’t find much in St. Paul and if they do it will be large and expensive because that is what gets built.

In recent years people have been buying houses in their favorite neighborhood, tearing them down and building the kind of home that they want which is of completely different size and style than what is usually found in the neighborhood. Thankfully that isn’t an option for everyone.

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Tudor style house – Merriam Park

Throwback Thursday – bikes

St. Paul used to have a shared bike program. I have photographic evidence.

bike share
On 6th street at Landmark Plaza in downtown St. Paul
shared bikes
7th and St. Peter in downtown St. Paul

Bike share systems remain popular throughout the U.S. and around the world. According to a report just released by the National Association of City Transportation Officials, residents and tourists in US cities took 35 million bike-share trips in 2017, up a whopping 25 percent from 2016.  The number of trips that are taken each day on shared bikes continues to rise.

The lack of a share bike program in St. Paul makes the city unique. Who knows maybe one day St. Paul will be the only city without a bike-share program.

Welcome to August 2019

August is a wonderful month to be in Minnesota. The weather can be amazing but what I like the most are all the flowers that bloom in August, the Minnesota State Fair, fresh sweet corn and homegrown tomatoes. There is more but those are a few of my favorite things. August is a popular time to take vacations too.

It is hard to imagine but what I think of as the fall home sales season starts. Now is the time to get your house ready if you plan to sell it in the Fall. Right now is actually a pretty good time to sell a house if you want to sell it quickly with the least amount of effort. If you would like some advice on how to get your home ready to sell or want to know how to price it my contact information can be found on the right.

The back to school sales will start soon. August is a wonderful time to buy office supplies and small household appliances.

I’ll have July home sales numbers next week. As I wrote earlier this week home sales were down a little in June from June 2018. I expect the same in year over year numbers for July.

Homegrown tomatoes


Throwback Thursday – 208 Bates

The first picture was taken in 2016 when the City of St. Paul owned the property. They didn’t own it as an investment but bought it to keep it from being raised.  The second picture was taken last week and shows how the 1850’s building looks after undergoing renovations with the help of a $600,000 public subsidy with some strings attached that the units must be used as affordable rentals for the next 15 years.

Renovations were done by private owners in a partnership with Historic St. Paul preservation group. The building was open last spring for the home tour.


historic apartments
208 – 210 Bates
208 bates renovated
208 Bates Ave

Ramsey county 4R program

Reuse, Recycle and Renovate for Reinvestment Program – is what the Ramsey County 4R program is all about. I am very much in favor of saving old houses when possible and always in favor of keeping house parts and everything else out of landfills.

The program has been around since 2010 and is aimed at the tax forfeiture properties that the county becomes responsible for. Examples of the work that has already been done can be found on the Ramsey county web site.

Its mission is two-fold:

  1. Promote productive reuse of old building materials from deconstructed buildings in order to keep those materials out of landfills, thereby minimizing the effect on our natural resources and environment.
  2. Renovate dilapidated structures back to being appealing, taxable properties with an emphasis on using sustainable building practices and incorporating sustainable components in each renovation project.

The house in the picture has sat vacant for many years and is in the process of being renovated through the program. Eventually, it will be sold by public auction.  Revenue coming from the sale of tax-forfeited properties is used to replenish the fund for costs incurred and to use for future forfeited properties.

old house
735 Margaret Street – St. Paul, MN


July 4th is a bit different in St. Paul

There was a time not long ago when the City of Saint Paul had a public fireworks display for all to enjoy. Those days are gone and all we have are the memories and pictures of fireworks at the State Capital.

Last year the mayor announced that there will be no fireworks because the city has other budget priorities (we are broke). In recent years they have been launched from Lowertown ballpark where few people could see them. I’ll always associate the loss of public fireworks displays with the opening of CHS field because that is when they stopped being public.

July 4th is a national day of celebration. Towns and suburbs all around us have parades, celebrations, and beautiful public fireworks displays. It is a day for picnics, barbeque grills, family, and swimming.

If you are in town over the 4th head over to  Minneapolis for a beautiful public fireworks display put on by Minneapolis department of parks and recreation with help from some private sector donors. There will be events all day including a half marathon in the morning. 

We can blame the mayor for the lack of celebration in St. Paul but it isn’t totally his fault. He inherited the mess and it looks like he will pass it along to his successor.  There is an opportunity to build and inclusive free event for the July 4th holiday. A celebration that could foster civic pride.

Maybe our next mayor will help bring July 4th celebration back to St. Paul.

July 4th fireworks over the Mississippi River

Fireworks 2014 St. Paul, MN

Downtown St. Paul in the middle of the day on July 4th 2018.

Downtown St. Paul