Do your homework without my help

St. Paul, Minnesota

It is a common misconception that a REALTOR can recommend a neighborhood. Recommending a neighborhood is a fair housing violation.

I can’t imagine choosing a school based upon a Realtor’s recommendation. Most of us are not experts when it comes to education but since you asked my own children did well in the public schools but they learned a lot at home too.

Often home buyers will ask if a house is in a “decent” neighborhood. REALTORS can not answer that question, and “decent” is pretty vague. There are people who tell me that a neighborhood is “bad”.  Like “decent”, “bad” can mean just about anything.

There are homebuyers who choose neighborhoods based on what they can afford or how close it is to where they work or to family or to a place of worship.

Some homebuyers can choose any neighborhood while others can only afford the houses in a couple neighborhoods. People with more money have more choices.

There are people who want to live in walkable neighborhoods but I have found that definitions of walkable vary considerably. For me, anything within a mile is within easy walking distance. If I didn’t have a car I could get by pretty easily on foot, or by bike or public transportation, or Lyft.

REALTORS can not “steer” people into a neighborhood or recommend a neighborhood.

The restaurants and shops that I like might not be the same as the ones that you like yet I am expected to make recommendations.

There are plenty of resources and maps on the internet that provides useful information that can help home buyers choose a neighborhood. Driving, biking, or walking through a neighborhood can help buyers narrow the search. Some homebuyers research schools before choosing a neighborhood while others look at crime rates.

The City of St. Paul website has neighborhood information. Each neighborhood has a district council. Learning more about the neighborhood council is a great way to learn more about the neighborhood.

When choosing a neighborhood is important to consider housing stock in that neighborhood. People looking to buy a rambler should not be looking in the downtown area and people looking for a Victorian-era Queen Anne style might find one in Highland Park but there are so few that the likelihood of finding one on the market is slim.

I definitely know people who love St. Paul but they have only experienced a small part of it. It is the same for some of the people who don’t like it.

Multi-generation housing made more popular during the pandemic

According to the National Association of Realtors buyers purchasing multi-generational homes during the pandemic rose to a new high of 15%, The number has been tracked for less than a decade.

Pre-pandemic there was an even split between buyers who purchased a multi-generational home for aging parents and for adult children boomeranging back or never leaving. Now the top reason to purchase a multi-generational home is for aging parents to move into the home.

During the great recession, we saw an uptick in young people moving back home this trend is more about giving the older generations a place to live.

Multi-generational housing is pretty scarce but existing housing can be modified. I grew up in a multi-generational household. My parents had an addition put on the back of the house so that my grandmother could live with us. She had her own entrance bed, bath, and sitting room just off the kitchen.

When my mother was growing up her grandmother lived with them in a spare bedroom.


graph of multi-gen housing gorwth
Multi-geneational housing

It is January, time for a radon test

January is national radon awareness month even in 2021. The winter months are one of the best times to test radon levels. You can do the test yourself, and right now radon test kits are discounted.

Homebuyers should always have a radon test as part of the home inspection.  It doesn’t matter if the next-door neighbors have tested and do not have radon or if no one knows of anyone in the neighborhood who has ever had a positive radon test.

When buying or selling a house the radon test should be conducted by a professional. 

Most homeowners have never tested for radon even though it is estimated that nearly half of all Minnesota an estimated 40% of homes have elevated levels of radon.

I’ll never forget the time the real estate agent told the buyers that she had never heard of radon in the neighborhood. It just doesn’t work that way.

Radon gas can be anywhere and everywhere. Radon is a colorless and odorless gas that comes from the soil. When inhaled these fine particles can damage the lungs. Exposure to radon over a long period of time can lead to lung cancer.

The average radon level in Minnesota is more than three times higher than the U.S. radon level. This is due to our geology and how our homes are operated. Minnesota homes are closed up or heated most of the year, which can result in higher levels of radon. In Minnesota, more than two in five homes have radon levels that pose a significant health risk.

Learn more from the Minnesota Department of Health

Info graphic national radon hotline 1-800-sos-radon

Home sales will be up in 2020

It isn’t too early to call. Home sales are up in the metro area in 2020 over what they were in 2019. Year to date they are up by 10% in St. Paul and as you can see from the graph below they are up over 10% for the last three months.

I’ll be following this closely as the pandemic worsens. So far November home sales are up slightly from a year ago. Typically home sales go down during the holidays mainly because fewer people want to have their homes on the market during the holidays.

graph of new listings
New listings

The data used to make the graph is from the NorstarMLS and is deemed reliable but not gaurnateed.

Happy Friday the 13th

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. There are a lot of people who have weekends off and I am not one of them. Sometimes I work more hours on the weekend than during the week. It kind of makes sense because people with jobs buy houses and sometimes to keep their job they need to work during the week and don’t have time for house hunting.

Friday the 13th is fun if you don’t believe me just Google it.

It may be a coincidence but I found exactly 13 open houses this weekend in St. Paul. If you want to see a house that isn’t open I am happy to help.

Enjoy the weekend, wash your hands often and be sure to stay six feet away from other people.

A good day to be a white cat – with a spot and a calico tail who doesn’t like having her picture taken. 

Those prospecting letters

This is the time of year when homeowners will get letters from real estate agents who have buyers.

Those buyers want to live in your neighborhood or they want to buy a house just like yours. If there are a lot of real estate agents


“farming” the neighborhood homeowners will get several letters.

Right now there are a lot of people who would like to buy a home just like yours or a home in your neighborhood. The demand for housing is high. Let this blog post serve as my letter to homeowners that we are working with buyers who are looking for a home to buy.

The very best way to attract home buyers right now is to have a house that is for sale.

There are also a few entities that will buy your home as-is for cash with no inspections except here in St. Paul a truth in housing inspection is required before a single-family home can change hands.

I get at least one letter a month from a company that buys houses. I suspect that we are on a list somewhere of empty nesters who own a house.

Yes, this is a very good time to sell a house. I’ll have some January sales numbers tomorrow.

lead letter
Template for seller lead

If you are interested in selling I do have buyers interested in your house in your neighborhood. Please call or write anytime for a free no-obligation consultation.