Thursday, June 28, 2012

10 Reasons People LOVE to Call North St Paul MN HOME!

So what is the big draw to the town with the giant ever-smiling snowman? There is a love for this unique town that goes beyond the iconic snowman greeting those passing by on Highway 36.

People love living in North St Paul. The City of North St Paul, is located just EAST of St. Paul Minnesota along Highway 36. It is a quaint little town with a rich history that was founded in 1870 by Henry Castle on the banks of Silver Lake. He named the town’s main streets after his children, Henry, Helen, Margaret and Charles. When it incorporated in 1887, 221 people called the Village of North St. Paul home. From those humble beginnings, the town has grown considerably. As of 2008, nearly 12,000 people call the City of North St. Paul, Minnesota home.

Here is a top ten list of reasons why this community is such a great place to live.

#10—Water and Electric. Most cities provide the basic utilities of water and electricity to its residents. But few communities can boast water from five wells drilled deep into the earth for a pure, natural source of drinking water as well as their own power grid and wind turbine like North St. Paul can!

#9—Local Police and Fire. The City of North St. Paul is proud to have its own
police department and volunteer fire department.

#8—Cowern Elementary, Richardson Elementary, Webster Elementary and North St Paul High School. Go Polars! North St. Paul has three K-5 grade schools and a high school within its borders. Cowern and Webster Elementary schools are located on the south side of 36; Cowern at Margaret St and South Ave and Webster on North St Paul Rd just north of McKnight. While both Richardson Elementary and North High School are located on the north side of 36. Richardson bisects 16th Avenue and North is located along 11th Avenue. All three schools are an integral part of the North St. Paul/Maplewood/Oakdale School District #622.

#7—Silver Lake Park, Beach and Fishing Pier. Many North St. Paul children have learned to swim on brisk summer mornings in the water of
Silver Lake , a tradition that continues into today! Warm summer afternoons the beach and playgrounds are full of swimmers, fishermen and picnickers. Although there are several other parks and playgrounds scattered throughout North St. Paul, Silver Lake is one of the most often visited.

#6—Unique taste treats! Homemade French fries at
Village Pizza, Broasted Chicken from Pizza Factory and award winning homemade ice cream from the HomeTown Creamery ice cream shop are just a few of the delectable treats served daily in North St. Paul.

#5—Booya! The fall tradition of the
North St. Paul fireman’s booya is an experience that no resident of North St Paul can resist! After a night of cooking up a ‘secret recipe’stew in giant pots, the volunteer fire department serves up their brew for all. Whether purchased by the bowl or pot, it is a fall tradition enjoyed by community residents for nearly a century!

#4— Friday Night History Cruz. Love classic cars? Spend a Friday evening in North St. Paul for the
History Cruz. Hundreds of car enthusiasts invade the main street of downtown North St. Paul, 7th Avenue, to show off their prized vehicles and see the shiny chrome fenders of yesteryear.

#3—The Snowman. The snowman has been greeting the residents of North St. Paul since it was constructed in the 1970’s. It was originally downtown behind what is now K&J Catering, but later moved to a park at the corner of Hwy 36 and Margaret Street. For those keeping statistics, the snowman is 44 feet tall and weighs about 20 tons! The North St. Paul Snowman is also a social-media phenomena with nearly 10,000 likes on his Facebook Page.

#2—Eclectic Options for Living. Whether you want the convenience of a low-maintenance townhome, a historical turn of the century treasure, a 1950’s rambler or bungalow, or a recently constructed, modified two story, you can find an affordable option to rent or purchase in North St Paul.

#1—Friendly People. The number one reason for living in North St Paul is the welcoming community atmosphere. Isn’t that what most people search for in a place to call home?

Copyright 2012

Friday, June 15, 2012

One Size Does NOT Fit All When Selecting a REALTOR®

One of my family's favorite places to visit on a trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida is the Animation Building in Disney’s Hollywood Studios There is a spot after the animation tour where a couple dozen would-be illustrators can go for a half hour class with a Disney artist. The class gives step-by-step directions on how to draw a beloved Disney Character. It the past we have had the chance to draw Mickey , Goofy, Pluto, Stitch and even Jack Skellington and Scrooge McDuck. Thankfully, talent is not required and the only art on display is the actual instructors. At the end of the session, everyone leaves with a drawing that somewhat resembles the character that is up on the screen.

The best part of the day is when we compare our drawings Here are examples of my family’s drawings from when my sons were in grade school. Though all of our drawings look like Walt’s old pal, Mickey Mouse, none are identical to each other (and definitely NOT as expert as the one draw by the instructor!). Lesson learned? Everyone who can hold a pencil and follow simple instructions can draw Mickey Mouse, but it takes talent and experience to become a great Disney artist!

Now in real estate, there is a similar situation; anyone can take a real estate class but not all REALTORS® are exactly the same.

Though, REALTORS® do take the same required classes and tests to become agents and adhere to a very specific code of ethics, we are people not machines. As people, we are individuals with different life experiences and talents. Not every real estate agent does things exactly the same way. We all come into each experience with our own talents, abilities and backgrounds. Through education, we may become similar but not identical.

So what does working with a REALTOR® really mean to a buyer or seller?

REALTORS® do abide by a Code of Ethics. In my Minnesota real estate practice, I take these rules very seriously. It is considered the standard of practice that I work under as I truly believe it is the right way to do business. Although there are many details to the complete code of ethics, here are a few points I would like to highlight:

REALTORS® pledge to protect and promote the interests of their client.
REALTORS® do not mislead on property value.
REALTORS® must disclose material defects and facts on properties.
REALTORS® must not discriminate.
REALTORS® must disclose dual agency.
REALTORS® are required to be accountable for funds.
REALTORS® must disclose accepted offers.
REALTORS® are required to provide competent service.
REALTORS® are not lawyers and cannot offer legal advice.
REALTORS® preserve the confidential information of their clients.

When selecting a REALTOR® make sure that the person is on the same page with you and can draw up and present the contract in a professional manner. Take the time to research and select a professional REALTOR® that will be your partner and advocate. Work with a person you like and trust to help you understand the process and negotiate the best deal for you!

Copyright 2012

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Key Things to Consider when Buying a Vintage Home

History can be a powerful draw to home buyers. A turn of the century home with unique rooms, window sizes, dormers, front porches, attics, stone fireplaces and hand crafted woodwork are sought after by many. Finding an affordable vintage home that has been properly maintained can be challenge. Sometimes the search can take a home buyer across the Twin Cities metro area from Summit Avenue in St Paul to homes along the St Croix in Stillwater to quaint neighborhoods in North St. Paul and Chisago.

There are vintage homes in every style and price point in the north and east Twin Cities Metro. Whether you seek a lovely old duplex, traditional two story or highly sought after mansion (the original executive home), there are some key considerations in purchasing a vintage home.

Updated with Style—Not current style but did the updates reflect the style of the era when the vintage home was originally constructed. If the updates to the home do not blend well with original home, the value of the home can be compromised.

Upgraded Plumbing and Electrical—If the furnace resembles and octopus and you need fuses for the electrical panel, there will be major updates required to the home at some time in the future.

Charming Windows—Decorative leaded glass and stained glass windows are beautiful. Many vintage homes will not only have beautiful window details but often there will be odd sized windows too. While this adds to the charm, it costs to have custom windows replaced.

Odd Sized Doors—Just like with the windows, often doors are not a standard size. This can lead to additional expense when repairing and/or replacing a door as it will have to be cut to measure.

A Good Foundation—When homes were constructed a century ago, there wasn’t a building code or city inspector. Often a corner of a home would be a “root” cellar without a foundation wall or floor. Sometimes the builder would just skim a thin layer of cement over the wall to make it look nice rather than use cement blocks. Though they have stood for decades, walls can deteriorate over time.

Garages and Sheds—Very few families owned cars or the lawn equipment we require today so when vintage houses were constructed there often weren’t garages. Look closely at any older detached garage as many can be unstable. Finding a vintage home with an attached garage means it was probably added on as a remodel. If this is the case, make certain it fits well with the existing structure of the home.

Closets—Homes in the early 1900’s were insured by the number of doors so bedrooms were often constructed without closets. Some closets or dressers were added later under the eaves in the upstairs of a home. Because people did not have the extensive wardrobes that we have today, closets were much smaller than what is expected today.

Original Hardwood—Properly refinished and maintained, vintage hardwood can be a one of the most beautiful features of the home. How do you check to see if the flooring is hardwood ? If the home has carpeting, look at the floor inside a closet or at the edge of the floor under a vent for clues as to what the flooring is like below.

Fireplaces and Chimneys—While beautiful and a focal point, be certain to have any original brick or stone fireplace inspected by a professional chimney expert prior to purchase. Over time bricks can loosen and linings crack which can be costly to repair.

This list is not all inclusive but a starting point of things to consider when searching for a vintage house to call home. The charm of a historical home is that it was handcrafted to be full of charm and not necessarily perfectly constructed.

Copyright 2012