Barker and Hedges Real Estate Blog

June is Home Ownership and Home Safety Month

Yes, June is a busy month. And because we were busy in June restructuring this website and the blog, we didn't get the chance to tell you about what's happening. So because it's still June 29th, it's not too late to tell you all about it.

June is home ownership month. Last year, we wrote a blog post about it. And most of it's still pretty good, so I'll repost the important stuff here:

For many citizens, owning a home is the very definition of American freedom and independence. Having your own home or real estate has been the American dream since before the Homestead Act. Because of how important home ownership is to Americans, June has been declared National Homeownership Month. All through the month of June, local and national organizations around the country will draw attention to the benefits of home ownership and encourage responsible home ownership. As of today, about 70 percent of Americans own their own homes at this time. According to the National Association of Realtors, this month is also the 40th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act.

"On April 11, 1968 President Lyndon Johnson urged congress to approve the Fair Housing Act just one week following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a tribute to Dr. King's legacy and commitment to civil rights. One of the Act's central objectives was to prevent discrimination based on race in the sales or rental of housing. This historic Act has since empowered people from all races and ethnicities to pursue the dream of equal access to housing."

If you're thinking of jumping into home ownership, now is probably the time. For many who were priced out of the market before, there are now lots of down-payment assistance programs, tax breaks, low home prices, and low interest rates to make home ownership easier. Contact a Twin Cities Realtor to find out what your options are on the...

Strange-But-True: Battle of the Bricks

It's been an especially long time since there was a Strange But True post. And admittedly, this one is a little weak, but it's still worth mentioning because it could have ended up a much bigger deal than it is.

The Battle of the Bricks

The city of Minneapolis tried to force Basim Sabri to construct his proposed 77-unit condo development along the Midtown Greenway between Grand and Pleasant Avenues with an all-brick exterior.  Furious at what to him seemed an arbitrary attempt to hold him to a different standard than other developers, Sabri mailed each city council member three bricks to "bolster is argument that an all-brick exterior was impractical."  Then he sued.

The result is that he will still use brick in the development, but he is also permitted to use other materials in specified areas, mainly stucco.  The condos will be built utilizing the brick shell of the former Midwest Machinery building and two new stories. 

What caused the flap in the first place? Why was the City trying to dictate the exterior of the building in what seemed like an unfair way?  Improperly filled out paperwork.

The trouble started when it came to this new section.  Sabri wanted to use stucco as an outer shell for those two stories, while the City of Minneapolis wanted to insist that it be made of brick. 

It was discovered that contradictory conditions had been placed on the project in two different parts of the approval process.  In granting a conditional use permit, the City Council said that the new areas could be stucco. But three months later, in actually approving the site plan, the council required that the addition be brick.

Having this settled out of court was best for both parties.  If this would have gone to court and the City of Minneapolis won, it could have set a precedent giving the city...

Brand New Website, Same Steller Service

In some ways it's been here at the Barker & Hedges website, and in many ways, it has not. If you're a regular, you may have seen some changes around here. Our site has been completely redesigned, reorganized, and revamped. But it isn't just another pretty face.

It has more features, more ways to search, more ways to share, and easy ways to save your favorite properties. Additionally, we can e-mail new listings to you that fit your predetermined criteria as those homes come onto the market. As time goes on, even more options will be added to this site to aid you in your search for a home in the Minneapolis - Saint Paul metro area.

Our aim has been to become most comprehensive guide to the Twin Cities real estate. We outgrew the old site as our ambitions swelled beyond its capabilities. This new site will only continue to grow in usefulness as it evolves in the future. If you haven't bookmarked us before, now is the time to do it. If you seek to buy a home in Minnesota's Twin Cities and this is your first visit to the site, take a look around to see what we have to offer. We've packed it with plenty of useful information that we hope will keep you coming back for more.