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.

State fair and home improvement time

Nothing like the Minnesota State Fair and it starts today and ends on Labor Day. I go to the fair every three to five years. Our state fair is the largest in the county by average daily attendance and the second largest in the country by total attendance. It is a big deal and if you have never been you should go.

State Fair time is also a great time to check around for sales. I have purchased major appliances at fair time and gotten some great deals. Also look for siding, window and roofing sales. Visit the home improvement building at the State Fair.  I love the Creative activities building too. There really is something for everyone at the Fair.

For me, the best days to go to the fair are the first couple of days when everything is still fresh. The hundreds of thousands of people tend to trample everything down. Going after dark or getting there when it opens is fun too. The State Fair changes a little every year but never really changes. I still remember going with my parents and grandparents when I was 5 years old. The fairgrounds are full of memories and colorful too.

minnesota state fair


After today no more texting and driving

Effective August 1, 2019 – it is against the law touch cell phone while driving. I guess electronic messaging while driving was already against the law.

Highlights of the new law:

• Amends the definition of wireless communications
device (e.g., cell phone or personal electronic device
that can transmit data):
• Dedicated GPS and some types of radios are not
considered wireless communications devices
• Devices being used for navigation purposes (such as
through a smartphone app) are treated as wireless
communication devices
• In addition to the existing ban on electronic messaging,
prohibits a motor vehicle operator from
• Engaging in cellular phone calls
• Accessing various content on the device, including
video, audio, and apps
• Allows hands-free device use for calling
• Allows GPS features to be used, if it is in hands-free
mode without requiring typing
• Allows device use for audio content, if it is in hands-free
mode without requiring scrolling or typing.

I have been using a nifty little phone holder that fits on the air vent in my car. It is inexpensive and very low tech.  I use the blue tooth to listen to text messages and can send a response back without typing but I almost never do. I like the idea of driving without talking on the phone or responding to messages.

The penalty for violating the law is a petty misdemeanor, carrying a $50 fine for the first violation and a $275 fine for subsequent violations.

There is always something broken at my house

Things break and they are more likely to break shortly after new homeowners move in. A few years ago a couple bought a house and discovered that the veggie sprayer wasn’t working. The new homeowners threatened to sue the sellers over it and demanded an amount of money that far exceeded the cost of installing a new sprayer.

Elderly appliances can break down as soon as a new home buyer touches them. It is like appliances know the house has changed hands. That old washer will work for decades but as soon as it changes hands it breaks. Most of the appliances that are sold with houses are considered personal property and are not real estate. I like to think of working appliances as a bonus.

Plumbing leaks happen and sometimes electrical problems too.

In my house, there is always something broken. So far this year we have had an electrician restore power to the electrical outlets in the kitchen and we have had our washer repaired and it looks like I’ll be buying another one soon. We had water leaking in around a window and repaired it by recaulking. Our elderly dehumidifier broke down last week and leaked all over the floor.  I ended up buying a new one.

I am not trying to scare anyone off but if you own a home you will need to make repairs and replace appliances. That is just part of the bargain.

If you buy or sell a house something will go wrong I promise. Be prepared and stay calm.

How to find truth in housing reports

TruthHome buyers can use Google to find:  “St. Paul property look-up” and type in a property address of a home for sale and find the Truth in Housing Report. I would provide a link but those pages move around too much.

The City of St. Paul requires a truth in housing report for residential dwellings of all types before they can be sold. The report is made by an inspector who has been approved by the city.

They look for code violations and the seller is not required to repair anything but is required to put in a hard-wired smoke detector if there are none in the home.

“Failure to obtain a Truth-in-Sale of Housing disclosure report before marketing a house for sale,
or failure to make that disclosure report available to prospective buyers, is a violation of law and
is punishable as a misdemeanor carrying up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000.00 fine.”
[city ordinance]

These reports are different from the seller’s disclosure. The seller’s disclosure is a multiple page form the must be filled out by the sellers. it contains questions about the condition of the property, and the sellers can disclose information about maintenance problems.

In the older homes, it isn’t unusual to find several odds and ends on the TISH report that need attention. The idea is to make the buyer aware of these problems. The reports are helpful to home buyers, their agents and inspectors.

The city has a list of the ten most common deficiencies, search for the list and fix everything before the inspector arrives. 🙂

The inspector also looks for open permits. All permits have to be “finaled” by the city inspector before the sale of the home can close. Looking at the permits can provide a lot of useful information about when work was done to the home.

Buyers should note that the cities inspection does not take the place of a buyers inspection and I urge home buyers to have an inspection. The buyer’s inspection covers much more than the city inspection.

Closed sales are down

The number of home sales is down in Minnesota and certainly in the metro area. It isn’t because homes are not selling it is because fewer people are putting their homes on the market. Some of it has to do with an aging population. Older people own a lot of real estate and are less likely to move.

The population is growing and fewer houses are being built.

Minnesota Association of REALTORS