The Message Should Be Clear

Thanks to my manger for noticing this one.  Note that both these articles were published on the same day!

Star Tribune:  "Fewer Minnesotans upside down than elsewhere in the nation."

Pioneer Press:  "State has high rate of underwater home loans."

Feeling a Spring in your step today?

Sorry world. You have been without my elegent voice for too long. I've decided it is finally warm enough to change the photo to a spring scene. Enjoy!

What Nokomis and Longfellow activities are you looking forward to doing in the warm weather? I just made my first trip of the season to Sea Salt last night.

Tis the season…for ice dams!

A couple of days ago I had a past client email me a question about ice dams and what he can/should do about them.  Then yesterday, my kitchen started leaking…FROM ABOVE!

Ice dams are caused when snow on the roof melts and then refreezes when it reaches the overhangs.  It can be caused by warm sunny days followed by cold freezing nights.  Or it can be caused by a warm attic, which causes a warm roof, which…you get the picture.  That melted snow reaches the overhang where there is no attic below it, and then refreezes.  That ice creates a dam that keeps new melt from reaching the edge.  It sits behind the dam and can eventually find it's way into my kitchen.  Roofs aren't meant to be submerged.  They need the help of gravity to shed water.

I don't know if there is really a way to completely avoid them in this Minnesota climate, and it certainly doesn't help to live in a 90-year-old house.  But here are some tips to help avoid them:

1.  Seal your attic from the house.  If your attic hatch isn't caulked shut…well caulk it shut! 

2.  Add some insulation to your attic to reduce heat loss from your warm house to your cold attic. 

3.  While you're up there, seal over any light fixtures.  They can not only be a source of heat, but an access point for heat loss from the rest of the house.

4.  Look for other "attic bypasses" that might be leaking hot hair air from the house.  Around the chimney or duct work is another common place to find them.

4.  Ventilate your attic.  Attics should be cold in the winter.  When you have a new roof installed, make sure the contractors follow guidelines for proper ventilation.  Especially on old homes, they tend to ignore the problem of adding soffit vents on antique homes.

5.  Remove the fuel.  Removing snow from your roof will eliminate one of the necessary ingredients for making ice dams.  A roof rake is a useful tool for getting snow off of hard to reach roofs.  A long roof rake is a better idea than getting up on a ladder in icy snowy conditions.  BE CAREFUL!  Keep in mind that using the roof rake can damage your shingles and take years off the life of your roof.

My 3-Year-Old’s Favorite Park

For those of you that haven't discovered the new…or new last year…wading pool at Wabun Picnic Area, you are in for a treat.  The park is a little hidden away.  If you aren't on your way to the vetrans home, you probably wouldn't even notice it exists.  Perhaps you've noticed folks playing frisbee golf as you head accross the Ford Bridge?  Well just beyond them is the park.  There are two playgrounds, numberous pavillions, restrooms, and one great wading pool.


The pool features a zero-entrance beach like boarder that allows for the smallest of toddlers to experiment with splashing in the water.  The center of the pool has a large structure pumping out water falls, and there are two other areas with water jetting up several feet in the air.  Word is that Hiawatha's wading pool is going under a similar transformation.

Check out Sea Salt Eatery!

The Sea Salt Eatery, a summer destination for Nokomis and Longfellow "foodies," was the site of a lunch appointment with a good friend of mine a couple weeks ago.  I'll admit this was my first time eating there, even though I had thought about it many times.  Located right next to Minnehaha Falls, it's a great spot to enjoy a summer meal.  While you wait for your food, go watch the water tumble over the falls or walk down to the Song of Hiawatha Garden.  When your food arrives, take a seat at one of the outdoor tables and enjoy!  The dishes are mainly seafood options, but there is plenty of variety.  I enjoyed the crab cake plate and my friend enjoyed the fried shrimp plate.  The food is reasonably priced and really is a great setting!  Get there early on beautiful summer evenings though, word is that the line can sometimes be "out the door."

Tax Credit is Gone…Now What?

The tax credit for first time home buyers has expired.  Is the market going to retract?  Are we in store for another bubble burst?  Or has the economy recovered enough that things can now return to "normal?"

Well…I am not an economist (not that economists seem to know anything the rest of us don't) and I am not about to make predictions for the overall economy.  But if you'd like to hear an unsubstantiated but not totally groundless prediction of the housing market…I am happy to provide one.  Let me gaze into my crystal ball…



1.  The Spring is not over.  Houses are still listing and houses are still selling.  We saw a couple weeks of frantic last minute shopping that will appear as a spike in activity, but activity has not dropped off completely in the absence of government incentives.  I am still getting showings and even sold a listing two days after the credit expired.

2.  Things will slow down this summer…like they do every summer.  The activity level might be lower than in an alternative universe where there had been no tax credit.  In other words, some people that might have shopped this summer accelerated their plans in order to take advantage of the credit and have already purchased.  But the market won't be dead.  Some people just weren't ready to buy this Spring.  Believe it or not, but there are other factors in people's lives other than a tax credit.

3.  Same thing goes for the Fall.  A seasonal up-tick in activity, but less than if the tax credit hadn't seduced people into buying this Spring.

4.  Next year:  It's the economy, stupid!  If the economy is in full recovery mode, the market is going to be active and healthy.

5.  I reserve the right to be wrong about any or all of the above.