Barker and Hedges Real Estate Blog

Six Degrees of Home Staging - Wayne Newton

For die-hard home stagers and staging fanatics around the world, home staging is believed to be linked to any profession, celebrity, or life event with-in six degrees. For our first attempt, let's start with an easy one...

Wayne Newton and Home Staging

  1. Wayne Newton is known as Mr. Vegas
  2. Vegas's long-running top show was Siegfried and Roy
  3. Siegfried and Roy are famous magicians
  4. Magicians are known for their sleight-of-hand tricks
  5. Sleight-of-hand uses misdirection to bring attention to a desired area
  6. Attracting attention to desired areas is a key component in home staging
The master bedroom shown the photo below has several angles with low ceiling points. Having no other point-of-interest, the eye is immediately drawn to these low-set roof lines. Home buyers (especially those over 4'10") may view this master bedroom as a series of obstacles.

The staged photo below shows how staging redirects the eye from negative features by creating a visual display that captures buyers' attention. Instead of focusing on the negatives, staging allows buyers to see how to work around less desired areas of a home.

Some critics of home staging accuse stagers of "covering up" flaws in the house; however, that is a uneducated or misunderstood concept of the profession. Home staging...

Upcoming Real Estate Events in the Twin Cities

Upcoming Real Estate Events in the Twin Cities

Buying a Duplex. At this event, you can learn how to identify and evaluate investment properties. Topics will include rehab vs. rental, life as a landlord, financing and Section 8 basics. It costs $18 and will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, January 28, at St. Paul Community Education, Harding High School, 1540 E. 6th St. 651-293-8733.

Finding and Buying Your First Home. Topics at this event will include choosing a mortgage, first-time home-buyer programs, government loans, hiring a real estate agent and negotiating the best price in a buyer's market. It costs $15 and will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 2 at the Minneapolis Community Education, Anwatin Middle School, 256 Upton Av. S. 612-668-2470.

Buying Foreclosed and Short-Sale Properties. At this event you can learn how to find deals in the foreclosure market and negotiate with banks. It is for first-time buyers or experienced investors. It costs $15 and will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 2 at Minneapolis Community Education, Henry High School, 4320 Newton Av. N. 612-668-1922.

Community Land Trust. Here, you can learn about the City of Lakes Community Land Trust and homeownership opportunities in Minneapolis. Cost to attend is $5 and it will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 2 at Minneapolis Community Education, Henry High School, 4320 Newton Av. N. 612-668-1922.

Home Ownership. This is an overview of the steps to take in the process of buying a new home, including the hidden costs and pros and cons of buying. Attendees will receive a copy of their credit report. The cost to attend is $15 and it will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 3 at Minneapolis Community Education, Southwest High School, 3414 W. 47th St. 612-668-3100.

Buying a Home In Today's Market. Topics of this event...

Possible Revision of Home Buyer Tax Credit

On January 15th of this year, the U.S. House Democratic leadership outlined its $825 billion economic stimulus package, loaded with $275 billion in tax cuts and $550 billion in new spending.  Within this package was a significant improvement to last summer's congressional effort to stimulate home sales, which offered a credit of up to $7,500 to purchasers who had never bought a house or hadn't owned one during the previous three years. To qualify, taxpayers would need to close on a house between April 8, 2008, and this coming July 1.

There was just one problem: unlike virtually all other federal tax credits, this one had to be repaid in full over a 15-year period. That made the tax cut more of a $7,500 interest-free installment loan.  Though final details on a revised credit are still subject to change, there's a good chance that home buyers seeking the tax credit either for the 2008 or 2009 tax years will not have to repay it.

According to industry estimates, removing the repayment stipulation could lead to an additional 202,000 purchases this year. The National Association of Realtors is pushing for the July 1 deadline for closing on a house to be extended to December 31.

Read about the $7,500 home buyer tax credit passed in 2008....

Minneapolis Near North Community Highlights

The Near North Community can be found on the north and west side of Minneapolis. It is bordered to the south by Bassett’s creek, to the west by Penn Avenue, to the north by Lowry Avenue North, and to the east by I-94, Lyndale Avenue North and the Mississippi River.  Contained within it are six smaller neighborhoods.

Hawthorne - The Hawthorne neighborhood is in the northeast corner of the Near North community in Minneapolis. The neighborhood is bounded by the Mississippi River on the east and Emerson Avenue on the west; Broadway Avenue is the southern extent and Lowry Avenue is the neighborhood’s northern boundary.  The Hawthorne neighborhood is named after the American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne, born in 1804. The Hawthorne neighborhood is also the home of Farview Park, the oldest park of Minneapolis, the Nellie Stone Johnson School, and the Orvin Olson Park near the Mississippi River. Home to nearly 6,000 residents, Hawthorne is nearly twice the size of most other Minneapolis neighborhoods. Hawthorne is mostly residential, with many single-family houses. There are some multi-family dwellings available. 

Jordan – West of Hawthorne is where one can find the Jordan neighborhood.  Jordan is bound on the north by Lowry Avenue North, on the east by Emerson Avenue North, on the south and west by West Broadway Avenue. It gets its name from a neighborhood junior high school, which was built in 1922 and named after Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Emeritus Charles Morison Jordan.

Jordan is mainly a residential neighborhood. Home prices in the Jordan area are well below the Minneapolis median price for single and multi family homes.  Jordan homes are about evenly divided between rental and owner occupied housing. With a population of nearly 10,000, Jordan is one of the city's largest...

Saint Paul’s Merriam Park Neighborhood Highlights

The Merriam Park neighborhood is located on the western boarder of Saint Paul in the central part of the city.  It is bordered on the north by University Avenue and Interstate 94, on the east by Lexington Parkway, on the south by Summit Avenue, and the west by the Mississippi River. This neighborhood is one of St. Paul's oldest.

The first occupants of Merriam Park were innkeepers who catered to the Red River traders.  In the 1880's when Colonel John Merriam owned much of the land in what was to become Merriam Park, he envisioned the area as a commuter suburb for working professionals. He felt its convenient location and access to St. Paul’s trolley system made it an ideal location.

Due to its deep history, the Merriam Park of Saint Paul has some of the oldest homes in the city. Many of the earliest homes built here feature Queen Anne architecture. There are other historic architectural styles here, including Tudors, Gothic, Italianate, Colonial and Dutch Revivals, American Four Square and Prairie Style homes. There are also many options for other types of homes available in Merriam Park, like town houses and condos. The neighborhood's proximity to the Mississippi River offers scenic riverfront homes and urban wilderness along the biking and walking trails. The Town and Country Club is the oldest country club in Minnesota and has made its home near the river in Merriam Park since 1890.

Residents can keep themselves busy at the Merriam Park Community Center and Merriam Park Library. They can fill their bellies on food and drink from local coffee shops, bakeries, ethnic restaurants and specialty stores. Local shopping and boutiques can be found on Marshall, Selby, University and Snelling Avenues. Young minds can find enrichment at the University of St. Thomas and Concordia College, as well as Central High School.

The average sales price of a home in Merriam Park was $260,170 in 2008.  That statistic includes...

Home Remodeling Blogs in the Twin Cities

Renovating or just making repairs to a house in the Twin Cities?  This is the post for you.

The last two blog posts here were about the Minneapolis and Saint Paul real estate markets in December.  Though more homes have been selling, the prices they’ve been selling for has been dropping.  That is due to a variety of reasons.  One of them is that many of the houses in Minneapolis and St. Paul are old and in need of renovations.  This often drops the price a bit, as the new owners will ultimately spend some time and money fixing them up. 

If you’re renovating or remodeling a home in the Twin Cities, you’re not alone.  Lots of houses in the area, because of their age, are in need of at least a little fixing-up.  Some more than others.  This Star Tribune article about 2 Victorian homes in Minneapolis that had been given make-overs couldn’t possibly really describe all the work that goes into renovating a house or the time it takes.  What better way to share stories about making home improvements than in blog form? 

There are several blogs being written by locals about their adventures in home ownership.  Reading about the work that they have done and are doing is fascinating.  It takes a special person to put in the time, money and energy into fixing a home.  It takes a lot of patience.  Read...

Saint Paul Real Estate Market Analysis: December 2008

The last St. Paul real estate market analysis for the year of 2008.  Let’s get it done!  New posted listings for homes in St. Paul, Minnesota, increased in December according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors’ Market Update for 100 Twin Cities Communities.  During December, there were 399 new listings in St. Paul, compared to the 351 homes put up on the market during the same month of 2007.  That is an increase of about +13.7%.  Unlike November, lots of neighborhoods saw increases in new listings.  The increase in new listings is a little unusual, given that December is so full of holidays. Here is a breakdown of new listings by Saint Paul neighborhood:  (Barker & Hedges blog entry about November 2008 St. Paul Real Estate Market Activity.)

Como 13 (+18.2%)
Crocus Hill 23 (+4.5%)
Downtown Saint Paul 17 (+21.4%)
East Side 104 (+25.3%)
Highland Park 16 (-5.9%)
Mac-Groveland 12 (-40.0%)
Merriam Park 4 (-55.6%)
North End / Frogtown 70 (+40.0%)
Phalen 69 (+30.2%)
Southeast 18 (-10.0%)
St. Anthony / Midway 16 (-0.0%)
West 7th 13 (-27.8%)
West Side / Cherokee 24 (+50.0%)

Saint Paul’s posted new listings of homes for sale in 2008 ended at 6,859.  That is a decline of -8.8% from 2007’s 7,520 homes listed for the year.  Mac-Groveland, St. Anthony / Midway, and West 7th neighborhoods experienced the greatest declines in new listings.  The Phalen and West Side / Cherokee neighborhoods have been the only St. Paul neighborhoods that saw boosts in new listings.  Homes listed in Saint Paul by neighborhood:

Como 381 (-18.8%)
Crocus Hill 494 (-18.5%)
Downtown Saint Paul 383 (-20.2%)
East Side 1514 (-2.5%)
Highland Park 439 (-12.7%)
Mac-Groveland 370 (-21.8%)
Merriam Park 189 (-21.3%)
North End / Frogtown 860 (-5.6%)

Minneapolis Real Estate Market Analysis: December 2008

It’s that last real estate market analysis for Minneapolis for the year of December 2008!  Let’s get to it! The number of new listings in Minneapolis has declined compared to 2007 again during the month of December, according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors’ Market Update for 100 Twin Cities Communities.  There were 555 new listings last month, while in December 2007, there were 567 new listings, a decrease of just -2.1%. The Northeast, Powderhorn, and University Area communities saw increases in new listings while the rest of the Minneapolis areas saw decreases in new listings.  Here is an inventory of December 2008 new listings in Minneapolis by community and the percentage of change that has occurred compared to December 2007 (Previous Barker & Hedges article about November 2008 Minneapolis Real Estate Market Activity.)

Camden 102 (+ 4.1%)
Downtown Minneapolis 58 (-1.7%)
Longfellow 27 (-15.6%)
Nokomis 55 (-6.8%)
North 88 (-24.1%)
Northeast 44 (+18.9%)
Phillips 14 (-0.0%)
Powderhorn 54 (+35.0%)
Southwest 51 (+4.1%)
University Area 12 (+50.0%)
Uptown-Lakes 52 (-7.1%)

Minneapolis’ posted new listing for the whole of 2008 end well behind 2007’s statistics.  From January through December of 2008, there were 11,047 new listings, compared to the 12,633 homes put on the market throughout the year of 2007, a decrease of about -12.6%. The greatest declines in new listings happened in the Uptown-Lakes, Downtown, and Nokomis communities.  The North, Phillips, and Powderhorn communities saw increases in posted new listings for homes over the year.  Here is a demonstration of new listings in Minneapolis by community for the 2008 year to date and the percentage of change that has occurred compared to 2007:

Camden 1,626 (-1.4%)...

Updates on Infrastructure in Minneapolis

I noticed today that there are a few Minneapolis city infrastructure and service projects being talked about and planned.  I thought that I would list them here, because they are some important developments that will affect the quality of life here. These are in no particular order.

Water Filtration Upgrade to Be Canceled

In a move that would dampen water rate hikes in Minneapolis and seven suburbs, the city is moving to cancel a $90 million water filtration upgrade. A staff recommendation would end work on the planned Fridley ultrafiltration plant, originally budgeted at far less than the expected cost. The move was endorsed by a City Council committee on Tuesday. The cancellation would remove the biggest cost factor driving up city water rates, although they're still expected to rise. Minneapolis was poised to spend $18.5 million this year alone on the project.

Read more about this at the Star Tribune.

An Elevated High-Voltage Line Proposed Along Midtown Greenway

Xcel Energy is proposing to route a high-voltage power line along the border of the Midtown Greenway, crossing the recreational corridor four times, and is seeking public reaction to the plan today. The proposal to beef up Xcel's transmission capacity in the Lake Street corridor has kicked up concerns among those who question the need for the line and worry about possible health effects and the visual impact. But the utility said it needs to offer more reliable...

Twin Cities - Making the List

The Twin Cities have made a few “best of” lists that haven’t been shared yet in this blog.  I thought that I would take a few minutes today to write about some of the lists that Minneapolis and St. Paul have made lately. 

Minneapolis and Saint Paul made Travel & Leisure’s America’s Favorite Cities 2008 list.  The people who voted on the Twin Cities found that out of 25 others, they were clean (No. 2) and full of intelligent and friendly people (ranked 2 and 3 respectively).  The highest rated feature of the Twin Cities are its theaters, in which it ranked 3rd only behind New York and Chicago.

In December, Forbe’s released a list in which it evaluated the country's 40 largest Census-defined metro areas using the last 25 years of NAHB data to determine America’s Best Long-Term Housing Bets.  Minneapolis came in at fourth in this list.  Though it might not seem like it, Minneapolis hasn’t experienced the same sort of housing booms that other cities have seen. In the most recent run-up, building activity peaked in the third quarter of 2004. With less inventory dragging down prices, the market is better off in the short term than other places. Minneapolis’ real strength is its economy, which has less of a manufacturing base than most Midwestern cities and it hosts a handful of multinational corporations, like Target, Xcel Energy, and Ameriprise Financial....