Barker and Hedges Real Estate Blog

Greening Minnesota ~ November

Here is a round-up of some environmentally friendly practices and green space expansions being carried out in and around the Twin Cities metro area and Minnesota.

Power from a new 10-megawatt hydroelectric plant located along on the Mississippi River, just below the new Interstate 35W bridge at the Lower St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam,  will produce enough electricity for about 7,500 homes by the end of next year. The new $35 million plant is about 30% complete. Brookfield Renewable Power of Massachusetts, which owns it, will sell its electricity to Xcel Energy.

Members of the Pedro family, which had a longtime luggage business at 10th and Robert Streets, have donated the land to the city of St. Paul on the condition it be turned into a park. Trees and grass will replace the concrete and brick on one block of downtown St. Paul. According to the article, Carl Pedro Sr. left Italy for St. Paul in 1907 and opened his business, Pedro Luggage, in 1914. In the 1960s, the business...

Data Post November 26, 2009 - Forced vs. Unforced Registration Test

Website Data for November 19 - November 25, 2009

It's now officially the "Holiday Season" so we'll see what impact that has on the weekly reporting for the last month!  For this week we saw nearly identical visitors and uniques on each website, but lower than expected lead actions (IDX registrations and inquiry requests).  This is likely due to the start of the usual "seasonal adjustment" for our local market.

Raw Data: (Unforced) (Forced)

 Total Visitors

1,222 1,404
 Unique Visitors
 1,030 1,136

A Minnesota Thanksgiving

It’s turkey time. Hope you have yours on hand for tomorrow! About 46 million turkeys were eaten on last Thanksgiving Day.

For that, many can give thanks to Minnesota turkey producers! Minnesota produces more turkeys than any other state, raising about 45 million each year. North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri, and Virginia round out the top 5 states.

Part of the reasons why Minnesota's 600 or so turkey farms are so successful is because of the close proximity of corn and soybeans. The state's turkey industry supports about 1,800 corn and soybean farmers.

Additionally, the University of Minnesota and the College of Agriculture and Animal Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine have helped farmers address the issues such as preventing disease and providing the birds with better diets.

When you overindulge in turkey and all the trimmings tomorrow, please don't overindulge in alcohol and then drive. Not only could you be placing the lives of yourself and others...

Strange But True: Skeletons in the Basement

When most people decide to sell their home, they take some time to spruce up the place for when potential buyers visit. They clear out the clutter, dust, sweep out the dirt, vacuum, and generally make it more inviting. It makes the home much more likely to sell. A house in Louisianna just might not ever be sold because of the sellers failure to clean out some of the skeletons in their closet. Or in this case, the basement.

A real estate agent showing a house in Gibson found about 100 human bones in a corner of the basement:

James Kenny, a forensic investigator with the Terrebonne Parish Coroner's Office, says the bones found Saturday were so old that dirt had saturated the marrow inside them. He says they probably are remains of Native Americans buried long before the house was built.

Kenny says he learned that the previous residents would often find bones while mowing the lawn or doing yard work, and would put them in the basement.

Half of the split-level house...

Wells Fargo Partnering with Twin Cities to Reduce Foreclosures

Are you late on mortgage payments, facing foreclosure and have a loan through Minnesota's largest home lender, Wells Fargo? Don't ignore your mail.

San Francisco-based bank Wells Fargo & Co. will turn to the Twin Cities  for help in reaching troubled homeowners. Early next year, Wells Fargo and the two governments of Minneapolis and St. Paul will hold joint workshops where people late on their mortgages can apply to have their loan payments reduced.

Invitations to the events will have Wells Fargo's and the city's names on the envelopes and letterheads in the hopes of getting beleaguered mortgage holders' attention.

This is the first time that Wells Fargo has joined with city governments to reach struggling homeowners facing foreclosure. The partnership comes after the Mortgage Bankers Association announced that 6.98% of nearly 900,000 mortgage holders in Minnesota,...

Mortgage Delinquencies Reach an All-Time High in Minnesota

92,500 Minnesota homeowners are facing or are in foreclosure. The Mortgage Bankers Association says that roughly 62,000 Minnesota mortgage holders were behind on their payments in the third quarter, a record high. Loans in the process of foreclosure rose in the state and the nation from July through September of this year.

Nationwide, there are about 4.3 million mortgages that are at least 30 days past due. That's the highest since the association started tracking data in 1972. Minnesota ranks 39th in the number of delinquencies but 15th in foreclosures started. Florida, California, Arizona and Nevada lead the nation in mortgage problems.

The Minnesota Home Ownership Center, which provides housing counseling, is seeing demand for its services grow. The group counseled 12,000 individuals last year. They expect to serve 15,000 consumers by year-end.
Of concern to the state's housing experts is the shift from the bulk of troubled loans being the subprime variety to being...

Data Post November 19, 2009 - Forced vs. Unforced Registration Test

Website Data for November 12 - November 18, 2009

The overall lead totals were down this week.  Visitors and Uniques were nearly identical to last week so I think we'll chalk the low lead totals up to time-of-year / approaching Holiday season.  What this does tell us is that we need a higher traffic volume to achieve our goals during a slower time...maybe a test for another day!  Here's the Data:

Raw Data: (Unforced) (Forced)

 Total Visitors

1,212 1,385
 Unique Visitors
 1,030 1,153
 Avg Pages Viewed per Visitor

2 Twin Cities Art Fairs

There are two art sale events taking place in the Twin Cities area soon.

Weekend Art Fair in Minnetonka

Groveland Elementary School will host a holiday art fair Friday and Saturday at the school, 17310 Minnetonka Blvd., Minnetonka MN. A portion of all sales will benefit the Groveland Green, Fit, Fun Playground. The playground, which was installed last summer, is designed for better access for kids of all abilities. Fundraising now will go toward a second phase scheduled for next summer. Hours are 6-9 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday. Friday night will be a preview session, with food and fresh cider served, and there will be an admission fee of $5 on that night. Admission Saturday will be free.

Edina Art Center's Annual Gift Sale

The Edina Art Center's annual sale has begun. It features one-of-a-kind items made by over 50 regional artists, including pottery, jewelry, art...

Data Post November 12, 2009 - Forced vs. Unforced Registration Test

Website Data for November 5 - November 11, 2009

Well, not much changed from last week.  The total visitors and total uniques are nearly identical and (unforced site) had slightly better non-IDX lead totals while (forced site) saw the same net total of non-IDX leads and an increase in IDX leads.  A few more weeks of testing and maybe we'll be able to make some sense out of these numbers!

Raw Data: (Unforced) (Forced)

 Total Visitors

1,220 1,415
 Unique Visitors

Unique Homes ~ Bridge-to-Home Conversions

Nothing too big to report today, so today is a post Just for Fun. But it also may give you a new look at unique homes and creative architectural problem solving.

I can't quite remember how I stumbled across it, but I found this Radical Redesign: Bridge-to-Home Building Conversions. I could not believe that there areseveral bridges that have been converted into living spaces or vice-versa: homes and buildings that were designed to also be a bridge.

My favorite picture from the series is this one of a skinny stone house precariously perched on a stone bridge. It has been in Ambleside, England, for over 300 years. It is currently a store and visitors center.