Barker and Hedges Real Estate Blog

Upcoming Twin Cities Real Estate Learning Opportunities

Upcoming Twin Cities real estate learning opportunities.

Buying Distressed Properties. Learn about buying a home that is vacant or condemned. The Powderhorn Residents Group, a Minneapolis nonprofit agency, sponsors the class, which is geared for owner-occupied homes, not for investors. 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Free. Minneapolis Community Education, Henry High School, 4320 Newton Av. N. 612-668-1922.

Buying a Home. Overview of the steps involved, from the mortgage process to closing. 7 p.m. Wednesday. $15. Minneapolis Community Education, South High School, 3131 19th Av. S. 612-668-4326.

Community Land Trust. Learn about the City of Lakes Community Land Trust and affordable homeownership opportunities in Minneapolis. 6:30 p.m. Nov. 10. $5. Minneapolis Community Education, Henry High School, 4320 Newton Av. N. 612-668-1922.

Home Loan University....

Alfred F. Pillsbury Mansion

Alfred F. Pillsbury was the only son of Pillsbury Co. founder John S. Pillsbury.  Alfred was never excited about the family flour-milling business, however. According to local historians, he instead devoted his time to collecting art.  With a particular fondness for ancient Asian art, he amassed a huge collection of Chinese bronzes, jade and porcelain during his lifetime. Pillsbury was also a stamp collector, owned the first high-wheeled bicycle, and one of the first three cars in the City of Minneapolis.

By the time Alfred died in 1950, he had amassed an estate of $6 million. He left his art collections to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.  The 900 pieces Pillsbury bequest to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts still form the core of the MIA's ancient Chinese, Islamic pottery and Chinese Qing period porcelain collections.

The English Gothic home in which he lived hasn’t been so greatly revered.  It can still be located at 116 22nd Street...

Fix It Before You Sell It?

The subject of many real estate-related conversations seems to be the number of vacant homes on the market.  Within the Twin Cities metro area and out around the rest of the country, foreclosures have increased the supply of available houses far past buyer demand.  To deal with the excess vacant houses, several suburbs are considering controversial policies which require home sellers to make repairs before the house can be bought. 

St. Paul began requiring vacant homes in rough shape be inspected and brought up to code.  Brooklyn Park requires that all houses be inspected...

The Emerald Ash Borer Threat

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is encouraging residents to take precautions against the spread of Emerald Ash Borer.  If you haven’t heard about this pest yet, the Emerald Ash Borer is an exotic beetle that attacks only ash trees.  The insect has already killed over 40 million ash trees across the country.  A considerable amount of damaged has occurred in southeast Michigan.  If allowed to spread, its effects could be similar to that of the chestnut blight and Dutch elm disease that devastated trees during the 20th Century.

The Emerald Ash Borer was first discovered in Michigan in 2002 and probably arrived in the U.S. on solid wood packing material carried in cargo ships or airplanes originating in its native Asia. The Emerald Ash Borer was found in Ohio in 2003, northern Indiana in 2004, northern Illinois in 2006, and Wisconsin in 2008. It has also been found in parts of Canada, particularly, Windsor, Ontario.

Slowly, the Emerald Ash Borer creeps...

First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit May Be Revised

I wrote earlier this year about how residents that purchased a home between April 9 of this year and June 30 of 2009 could receive a tax credit up to $7,500.  There is even more good news! Potential home buyers could receive additional tax and financing incentives in coming months.  It could come from either a post-election lame-duck congressional session or from the newly elected Congress arriving in January.

National housing industry trade groups are pressing hard federal officials for a second round of emergency economic stimulus legislation to encourage activity in the housing market. Though House and Senate leaders have not yet agreed on whether or not to hold a session immediately following the election, advocates would like to see action by the end of December.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is working on a plan for a more generous tax credit for home buyers, possibly ranging as high as $12,000.

The reasoning behind their push...

Strange-But-True: A Different Sort of Lake Side Community

You’ve probably heard that if you buy a new home in a planned community, you can choose one that suits your lifestyle.  There are communities built specifically for families with plenty of green spaces and play places. Developments for active people have trails for biking, walking, and running.  Some neighborhoods are built specifically with seniors in mind.  Now there is a new type of community being built in Minnesota, adding to its 10,000 lakes.

Trophy Lake Estates in Center City, Minnesota, is one of three gated communities built around man-made lakes designed for water sports like skiing and fishing. Although new-home sales are slow, ground has been broken on a fourth “lake side” development in New Germany. The concept, which is popular in other states like Florida and California, is relatively new to the Twin Cities area, probably because we already have so many lakes.  But with all that lakeshore property snapped up, I suppose this as naturally the...

Anoka's Historic Downtown District Project

Anoka city planners have a plan to try and draw more people to their historic downtown.  The city has partnered with Rottlund Homes on the $20 million Historic Rum River District project.  The plan will place senior condos and lofts along the Rum River.

The project will include two, three and four-story brick condo buildings with 92 units for people 55 and over.  Additionally, there will be two loft buildings with 100 units that will also house first-floor retail space. It is hoped that adding more residents in the downtown will turn the Main Street area into a prosperous commercial district.

The first senior condo building already began construction last month.  It will offer another housing option for longtime Anoka residents who wish to sell their houses but want to remain in the area.  This in turn will free up single-family homes in Anoka MN for young families and first-time home buyers to move into.

To capitalize on the...

Dayton's Bluff Saint Paul Home Tour

A free home tour in the Dayton's Bluff neighborhood of St. Paul will run on Sunday, October 26, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.  Vacant homes will be the highlight of the tour.  People who would like to participate can climb aboard the home tour trolley and travel from place to place with ease!

Maps with the home information and locations can be picked up at the Dayton’s Bluff Community Council at 798 East 7th Street at the beginning of the tour.  Here, participants also can get coffee and hot apple cider.

Dayton’s Bluff is a great place to live.  It has a Historic District, great parks, wonderful people and very close to downtown.  Additionally, with the high cost of gas and the cost of living in general, homes in Dayton’s Bluff St. Paul are pretty much close to everything one would need.

Saint Paul Dayton’s Bluff spring Vacant Home Tour was a fantastic success, with about 300 people...

Upcoming Twin Cities Home Related Events

Here is a listing of upcoming Twin Cities home-related events.

Finding and Buying Your First Home. Topics include choosing a mortgage, first-time home buyer programs, government loans and negotiating the best price in a buyer's market. 6:30 p.m. Monday. $15. Minneapolis Community Education, Anwatin Middle School, 256 Upton Av. S. 612-668-2470.

Home Ownership. Overview of steps to take to buy a new home. Attendees will receive a copy of their credit report. 7 p.m. Tuesday. $15. Minneapolis Community Education, Southwest High School, 3414 W. 47th St. 612-668-3100.

Buying Foreclosed and Short-Sale Properties. Topics include how to find deals in the foreclosure market and negotiate with banks. For first-time buyers or experienced investors. 7 p.m. Wednesday. $15. Minneapolis Community Education, Anwatin Middle School, 256 Upton Av. S. 612-668-2470.

Home Inspections. Topics include...

"Your kids aren't THAT cute" and Other Things Your Realtor Won't Tell You

In the world of real estate, a seller has control over two things:  the price of their property and condition of their home.  While Realtors help sellers determine a price, many agents count on home stagers to deliver the "bad news" to their clients about the appearance of their house.


  1. "Your kids aren't that cute... pack the photos." 
  2. "Multi-colored carpet does not include stains."
  3. "Hummel collections are not considered focal points."
  4. "Toilet seat covers do not qualify as 'spa-like' accessories."
  5. "Mint green is not a neutral color."
  6. "Your dining table should never be used as long-term storage space."
  7. "Most...