Living in Minneapolis · Neighborhood Tours

Indian Hills and Indian Trails in Edina

If you’re looking for something a little “extra” in your next home, you might be interested in taking a look at these neighborhoods in Edina. Some amazing homes and lots of variety in architecture from traditional to very modern on huge wooded lots. The location can’t be beat either!

A video tour of Indian Hills and Indian Trails

WHERE IS INDIAN TRAILS / INDIAN HILLS?

Indian Trails & Indian Hills are residential neighborhoods located in the city of Edina, Minnesota. They are located in the southwestern part of the city, near the border with the neighboring city of Eden Prairie. The neighborhood is bounded by Highway 169 to the west, Rt. 62 to the north, roughly the high school to the east, and about Valley View Rd to the south around Braemar park.

Indian Trails is located approximately 13 miles southwest of downtown Minneapolis and 11 miles southeast of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP). Commuting to downtown Minneapolis or the airport from the neighborhood is relatively easy, thanks to its convenient location near the major highways of 169 & 494, along with easy access to 100, 62 or 35.

The neighborhood is located just west of Highway 169, which provides direct access to downtown Minneapolis. Commuters can reach downtown in approximately 20-25 minutes by car, depending on traffic conditions.

The airport is also easily accessible from Indian Trails, with several transportation options available. The fastest option is to drive, which typically takes around 16-25 minutes depending on traffic. Additionally, if you wanted to park and take the METRO Blue Line light rail system, it provides direct access to the airport from the nearby Mall of America station, which is approximately 8 miles from Indian Trails. The journey from the Mall of America to the airport takes around 12 minutes. Finally, there are also several taxi and rideshare services available in the area, which can provide convenient transportation to the airport.

WHY LIVE THERE?

Indian Trails / Indian Hills area is known for its large, wooded lots and quiet streets. Many of the homes in the neighborhood were built in the 1950s and 1960s, and feature traditional architecture and well-manicured yards. Some of the homes in the neighborhood are valued at well over $1 million. The median sales price in this area is $982,500, well above the median for the Twin Cities metro, so a little “spendy” as the Minnesotans might say, but if this is in your budget it’s worth looking at, and if it’s NOT, it’s fun to look at the homes anyway! ūüôā

If you want to learn about other neighborhoods and suburbs of the Twin Cities, check out my YouTube channel – I have an entire playlist of them that I add to regularly.

One of the things you’ll note about this area are the mature trees, the hilly landscape, and the curving roadways that give this neighborhood a sense of being nestled away from the suburban bustle, even though it has easy access to everything you might want. It definitely has a quiet, secluded and cozy feel.

Parks

The Edina area is home to several parks, including the 29-acre Arden Park, which features trails, picnic areas, and sports fields. But the closest is nearby Braemar Golf Course and Braemar Ice Arena which provide opportunities for golfing and ice skating, respectively.

Braemar Arena has three sheets of indoor ice and one outdoor seasonally.

The Braemar Golf Dome is the largest and longest-hitting indoor practice facility in the Twin Cities with 44 tee areas on two levels.

If you‚Äôre not a golfer, it also has an almost quarter-mile turf track which is open from the beginning of November through the end of April under the dome. 

I‚Äôm not a golfer, and not a mall walker, sometimes you just want a place to stretch your legs that is ‚Äúsemi‚ÄĚ outside feeling but without the risk of breaking your neck or your leg on icy sidewalks.

The track is free and open to the public. Make sure you wear layers as the facility maintains a temperature 40 degrees above the outside temperature. That sounds kind of toasty when it’s 35 degrees out, but maybe not as much when it’s below zero? You are allowed to use a stroller if you want to bundle up your little and walk.

Schools

Indian Trails is located within the Edina Public Schools district, and is served by Creek Valley Elementary School, Valley View Middle School, and Edina High School.

Shopping

Indian Trails is located near several shopping destinations in Edina and the surrounding areas. Here are a few options:

Southdale Center: Located approximately 5 miles north of Indian Trails, Southdale Center is a large indoor shopping mall with over 100 stores, including anchor tenants like Macy’s, JCPenney, and AMC Theatres. It takes up a large area between York & France Aves just south of 66th street. You‚Äôll also find store like Target, whole foods, Lunds and Byerly‚Äôs groceries in this area. Trader Joes and Total Wine & Spirits is just south of this area at France & 494.  In addition there is some upscale shopping all along France including inside the Galleria Mall.

Another option is to head about 6 miles west to Eden Prairie Center. Eden Prairie Center is another large indoor shopping mall with over 90 stores, including anchor tenants like Von Maur, JCPenney, and Target.

If you like an outdoor shopping area that is easy to navigate on foot, check out the intersection of 50th & France approximately 4 miles northeast of Indian Trails. It is a popular shopping district in Edina with a mix of independent shops and restaurants. In addition there is a small independent movie theater (The Edina Theater) that has recently been updated and is a real contribution to the area if you like movies and are also interested in seeing some of the smaller films that may not be blockbusters. Located in the same area is another Lunds and Byerly’s grocery.

Libraries

If you need your Public Library fix, the neighborhood is located almost exactly equidistant from the Eden Prairie Library just west of 169 across the street from the Eden Prairie Mall. It’s convenient if you’re running to Target over there or grabbing a bite at one of the many restaurants nearby. I believe that this library recently had a fairly significant update, and it was pretty nice to begin with! This is not a small library, but one of the larger libraries in the Hennepin County library system.

Eden Prairie Library:

Edina Library

The other options are the Edina Public Library which is just west of 100 where it crosses 50th street, also a lovely building that is a pleasure to spend time in or the 3rd option in Edina is the Southdale Library on York.  This may be the only time you hear me say anything negative about a library, but I am not a fan. It‚Äôs pretty ugly, it doesn‚Äôt feel like a place I want to spend time. It harkens back to the earlier days when it was paired with a court building. Something about that doesn‚Äôt fit well. I dare you to disagree with me … THIS is the Southdale Library. (thumbs down).

They had planned to move this library into an empty department store at Southdale Mall before the pandemic, and then shelved those plans. I thought that was an innovative way to fill a large empty anchor spot at that mall and draw more people over there. While we are talking about that mall, it hosts a fairly new edition in the form of the LifeTime fitness health club. This place is a palace, with restaurants, co-working space, pools, soccer fields, spa, tennis and pickleball courts etc.

This mall also has the closest Apple Store in case you need some help or a new piece of tech. However, a library in there wouldn‚Äôt hurt. ūüėČ

Overall, Indian Trails is a highly desirable neighborhood in Edina, known for its peaceful surroundings, natural beauty, and strong sense of community.

Do you have another community that you‚Äôre interested in? Drop a comment down below and I will add it to my list ‚Äď I love getting content ideas from people that read my blog or watch my videos because it helps me give you what you‚Äôre looking for!

Living in Minneapolis · Neighborhood Tours

Highland Park Neighborhood St. Paul

I suffer from nostalgia and I’m a sucker for charming old homes and neighborhoods that remind me of movie sets. And that’s why I feel squishy inside when I spend time in Highland Park in St. Paul.¬† It’s a condition, don’t mock me!¬†¬†

Types of homes

The Highland Park neighborhood of St Paul is right next to the MacGroveland neighborhood and shares so many of the same characteristics.  The homes are here older and filled with all of that original charm. St. Paul was settled before Minneapolis and the housing stock there reflects it in many areas.

Many of the homes were built in the early 1900’s and often have original hard wood¬†floors, beautiful wide wood moldings,¬†built-ins, plaster walls, detached garages and other features of homes built at that time. Another feature that I love on old homes that you’ll often see here are porches where you can sit and enjoy the gorgeous weather that we have here spring through fall. I think porches and sidewalks encourage a sense of community and give opportunities to see and talk to neighbors.¬†

As you enter the neighborhood from the west on Ford Parkway you’ll notice a large construction site which is a planned community / new construction development, so if you want the city lifestyle and access but AREN’T interested in old homes, this can be a great option for you. It’s called Highland Bridge and its a couple of different developments including row homes and a senior living development, community park, shops and restaurants. This won’t be where you¬†find a bargain –¬† row homes are at the upper end of the pricing for this part of St. Paul at $1.5M+, there are also custom single family homes being built with lot prices starting at around $500K.

Amenities

One of the things I like about city¬†living is the access to sidewalks and bike lanes as well as the ability to get to restaurants¬†parks and shops relatively easily, on foot, on bike, or in a vehicle. Highland¬†Park¬†is home to all of these things, it has a robust commercial area so you won’t need to go far to grab a bite or do some shopping and recreation is convenient as well, it has a golf course, and¬† easy access to the massive park system along the Mississippi¬†River with all of the bike trails that run throughout (72 miles along the Mississippi rover alone!) and connect to so many local and regional trails in the Minneapolis St Paul region.¬†


Another stand out to me was the local library branch and the Highland Park Rec Center which offers¬†Highland Park Community¬†Center offers educational programs, after school activities,¬†open gym,¬†tot-times, family events,¬†fitness center memberships, youth and adult¬†athletics,¬†S’more¬†Fun¬†childcare,¬†Highland Park Community Center¬†Theatre,¬†field rentals,¬†rental space¬†for parties, meetings, and events, and so much more.

Home prices

The average home price in Highland Park for the typical house is a little more than $441K, its charming neighbor, MacGroveland is just a little bit more from an average home price perspective. 

Access

This neighborhood also has easy access to both Minneapolis and St. Paul for work – as well as the freeways that lead to the South, SW and SE suburbs, or anywhere that you want to go within the metro area. Typically if you work on one side of the river you try to live on that side for easy commuting, but I think Highland Park benefits from a great central location from a commuting perspective.  Light rail is also within 1 mile of the neighborhood and there is a bus system in St. Paul.

It seems like one of the big benefits of the suburbs would be easy access to stores like Target, and Highland Park actually has an adorable little Target in their main commercial area off of Ford Parkway & Cleveland. 

Shopping

Groceries are within easy reach at the Target, Lunds and Byerlys or a short drive to Kowalskis. 

Schools

Children living in this area will attend St. Paul public schools Horace Mann Elementary, Highland Park Middle School, and Highland Park Senior High.

Whether you like historic homes with that old fashioned charm or you’re looking for new construction urban townhomes, this neighborhood has both, along with all the things that people choose city living for. 

Living in Minneapolis

Snow School!

I routinely help people move to MN from out of state and because nearly every state is south of us, warmer than us, and doesn’t have quite the winter that we do, most people aren’t mentally or physically¬†prepared for winter here in MN. I sense a lot of excitement, but also fear?

In this video I’m taking you to SNOW SCHOOL and giving you the tips that you’ll need to get through winter comfortably and safely!¬†

Let me reassure you that people in MN aren’t some mutant breed, we aren’t the huskies of the human race that want to roll around in ice in summer. We just like seasons and recognize that winter is one of them, and have found ways to make it comfortable, safe and doable. In this video I’m taking you to SNOW SCHOOL and giving you the tips that you’ll need to get through winter comfortably and safely!¬†

Winter and snow can be downright magical if you can sit inside a warm house with a cup of coffee and a fire blazing watching it fall from the sky.  But eventually you have to leave the house.  I’m going to start off with how to DRESS for winter here and I’ll do another video on other considerations like driving in it, managing it around your home and preparing your actual house for winter as well as staying safe outside in winter. 

It’s September¬†and that means it is HIGH time to start preparing for winter. Costco has their gloves and hats out, Christmas decor is usually up right around now and its a great reminder to get your act together while the getting’s¬†good.¬†

Today I’m going to start with the basics!  How should you plan to dress here in winter?  

It will vary across the season, with peak winter gear needed in January when we often see stretches of well below zero weather.  Our seasons are pretty prompt here, with a definite change in the air that hits right at the 3 month mark of any season.  I’m recording this at the beginning of September, and the weatherman here pointed out that we have just seen our last after 8pm sunset until next April and that means that we are on our way into fall.  Our temps have been in the mid-50’s overnight lately (and I LOVE IT) with highs in the mid 70’s. Northern MN has the high 30’s for overnight temps – winter is coming!

I don’t mind the short days (in the depths of winter it’s starting to get dark here by around 4:30 and it won’t be light til well after 8am), I sleep well in winter! I may be part bear. We do have the flip side in summer with extremely long days, so if that’s your cup of tea you’ll have it to look forward to.¬†

Everyone has their own definition of cold, but I would say that it starts to get cold at the end of October (highs in the 30’s lows in the 20’s overnight).¬† We often see at least some snow around Halloween. And fun fact – if you see snow it means it’s NOT THAT COLD.¬† It actually will NOT snow when it is truly cold here, there needs to be some moisture¬†in the air to achieve snow and intense cold is also intensely DRY.¬†

Your mom may have mentioned wearing LAYERS to you, and she knew what she was talking about.¬† If you’ll be outside in very cold weather you should plan to have 3 layers on. The first layer is a snug base layer. Do not wear cotton as it holds moisture and having damp skin or clothes is dangerous. Pick a synthetic material that wicks moisture away from the skin.¬†

Your second layer should be your fleece or other clothing (sweater, sweatshirt, something!) that insulates and holds pockets of warm air close to your body. Do you need 2 layers on your legs -yep! If it’s cold, having warm legs makes a world of difference. I feel like there is an artificial focus on the upper body for warmth, but having your legs warm (I mean 50% of your body?!) makes a HUGE difference in comfort if you’re going to be outside.

My dogs don’t seem to mind cold weather at all and still want their walks, and having snow pants on changes everything. They come in varying styles and weights.¬† I’m a dork and wear the¬†thick (and WARM) snow pants you see on kids. You probably have more shame/fashion sense than me and You can get some “sleeker” pants that insulate and block wind, those can be pricey but you’ll look as amazing as you CAN look while wearing snow pants. If I’m going to be out walking dogs or clearing the sidewalk I’ll wear a base layer – long johns, leggings or even tights – and then pull the snow pants over that and I’m super comfy.¬†

Final layer! You’ll want something WIND and WATER proof! These two elements can literally be the death of you if you don’t prepare. Down is a wonderful insulating material but if it gets wet, it’s worse than useless. Blocking wind and water will be what keeps you feeling toasty warm. And when I say water – I don’t mean rain.¬† Snow can be quite wet and soak right through your coat. I can think of nothing worse than being cold and wet at the same time.

man wearing parka
Photo by Dan Smith on Pexels.com

When looking at coats for actual winter weather here, you probably want a parka vs a “jacket”.  A parka is generally longer and will cover your backside better. I would actually say that having both is not a bad idea. If you’re running around doing errands and will be in and out of the car and heated spaces you can scurry around in your jacket and be fine, but for warmth – I like a parka. Parkas also come with hoods (often detachable) and when the wind is ripping around I’ll use it. If you buy from a quality place they often have ratings on their winter items and you can see that clothing is rated to X degrees below zero. You’ll need that in winter. My favorite combination is down with a wind and waterproof shell.

For your extremities, you definitely need a beanie or tuque¬†(interchangeable – you’ll hear both words!), gloves or if you really want warm hands, get mittens. Having your digits all together in one pocket of fabric makes for a much warmer hand. Feet should have wicking socks. The best are wool or smart wool (they aren’t itchy – I promise!) and then boots that are insulated and waterproof. I see lots of feet looking stylish and warm in Sorel’s but North Face are super popular here as are less expensive brands like Lands End.¬†

man looking left side
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Pexels.com

My husband hates the cold and we also stock up on the hand warmer things in winter and he will keep those in his pocket when walking the dogs or clearing.  So if you tend toward the chilly side, that’s another option. 

My last tip is don’t wait! When winter things appear in the store, buy them. They disappear pretty fast next thing you know it’s -20 and the stores are stocked with swim suits for spring break. 

I’ll do another post and video for driving and dealing with cold in general shortly, I also did one a while back on getting your house ready for winter, you can check out my YouTube Playlist for life in Minneapolis and you’ll see that!

Uncategorized

DON’T move to Minnesota if you can’t handle these things!

I hear some interesting assumptions/stereotypes? when talking to people about Minnesota so I’m here today to set you straight about a¬†couple of them at¬†least! Some of these may be controversial! Don’t shoot the messenger.¬†

Let’s start out slow, shall we?  The weather. If there is one consistent thing I hear it’s that Minnesota is COLD. I don’t feel like other states spark this much fear about weather, and I’m not quite sure why we do? Yes – it does get cold here in the winter. Sometimes VERY cold, in the double digits below zero for days or a couple of weeks at a time. This is manageable – we have heated homes, heated cars, and we dress appropriately. We have a saying (not proprietary to MN!) that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing choices. I’ll have to do an entire video on dressing for your first winter in Minnesota! A client actually requested that (hi Linda!).  

And yes, we also do get snow, and people DO enjoy being out in it. Minnesotans as a rule are very outdoorsy and I think that even if you’re not one to want to sit on the ice in the middle of a lake in winter trying to catch a fish, you WILL probably find that spending time outside is the way to go.  I have helped a lot of people move here from very hot climates, many specifically because they wanted relief from the unrelenting heat and the ability to enjoy being outside most of the year.  I’ll have to check with them on the first winter experiences. 

A myth that I hear is that you don’t need AC here. This will shock some, but we don’t live in a bubble of cold air year round, in fact I would say that we get some pretty extreme temperature changes and people that live here love to make jokes about the the fact that the windchill can be deep in the double digits below freezing and then 6 months later have a heat index of 115. We don’t mess around. You DO need air conditioning¬†here.¬† if you really want to fit in, when it’s bitterly cold make sure you say something like “it wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the wind”, “could be worse” applies to all seasons, and in summer throw out “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity!” Add an “Uffda” in there and no one will be the wiser that you’re from out of state.

Tornadoes

Speaking of weather – I’ve had some surprised clients when I tell them to be prepared for tornadoes. Spring and fall are very active weather seasons in MN as cold and hot air start trading places – spinning, if you will! The twin cities area tests their tornado sirens every first wednesday of the month at 1pm. It’s good to know this so you don’t wonder what the heck is happening and why no one at Target is panicking when they hear that. Most minnesota homes have basements and that is a GOOD THING. Even if you don’t love them (and if you don’t love them, keep that to yourself, people here seem to really love basements! remember – conform conform. lol) You’ll want to have an underground lair to escape to if you hear a legit tornado siren. It seems like they only happen at night. I like that we have a comfy bed there so I can sleep while I wait for¬†the tornadoes to potentially demolish my house. When tornado¬†warning sounds it means that they have SEEN A TORNADO AND YOU SHOULD SEEK SHELTER. DO NOT GO STAND ON YOUR PORCH AND LOOK FOR IT!!

Other potential natural disasters are flooding, drought, blizzard and severe thunderstorm. But look at the bright side! no real earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, wild fires or hurricanes! 

Politics

OK – Here I go – I’m going to touch the third rail and tell you about the political climate here!¬† Minnesota has a reputation as a progressive and liberal state.¬† This is true in the urban areas but less so as you move out to the the rural parts of the state where it becomes quite conservative. I think this is true of most places in the united states and possibly the world. We currently have a divided government with a Democratic¬†Governor, the State Senate is majority Republican and the State House is majority Democrat.¬† People have to compromise.¬† The state voted for Joe Biden by a significant margin in the 2020 Presidential election, but make no mistake, Republicans do have a strong voice in the state government here.¬†

2020 election

Progressive policies

Minnesota IS quite progressive in many ways, and the Twin Cities area even more so. The Human Rights Campaign gives both Minneapolis and St. Paul a score of 100 for LGBTQ policies and the state as a whole scores highly in pro equality¬†laws. We aren’t perfect, but this is an inclusive place to live.¬†

Minneapolis passed a minimum wage increase to $15/hour which is being phased in by 2024 and is currently $13.50/hour. 

The focus on education here has been in place since the so called “Minnesota Miracle” in 1971 wherein the state government readjusted taxes to benefit the schools. This emphasis has faded a bit over time, but education remains a high priority in MN – at least as compared to the other 5 states I’ve lived in.¬†

Lastly on the progressive policies – while we aren’t Colorado, medical marijuana is legal in Minnesota as are low dose THC edibles.¬†

Wildlife and Cautions

What should you be afraid of here? Well, not all wildlife is benign in Minnesota and it’s not all confined to the northern wilderness areas of the state.¬† Suburbs of the Twin Cities metro area have frequently reported black bear sightings, coyotes are regular visitors (and typically harmless to humans), and we do have cougars. The cat. And probably the women too – but that’s your business.¬†

We don’t really have venomous¬†insects (a few spiders that will bite and leave you with the equivalent of a bee sting) but we DO have a LOT of TICKS.¬† If you’re walking through high grass it’s best to have long sleeved shirts and long pants on, tucked into socks is ideal. Permethrin is a spray that you can put on your shoes and clothing to repel ticks and if you’re spending time outdoors its¬†probably a good idea. Ticks do not jump, rather they attach as you walk by and brush against the grass. They then like to burrow in warm dark areas of your body… I’ll let you think of the possibilities here.¬† Ticks are mainly a problem because they spread diseases like Lyme Disease among many other illnesses. A key indicator that you may have Lyme is if you’ve been where ticks may be (everywhere) and you see a bullseye shaped inflamation¬†on your body. Go to a dr and get treated – Lyme disease¬†can have long lasting effects that attack your joints and make you feel miserable.

If you can’t handle these things maybe you should consider a different state? But in my opinion it’s well worth the risks to live here. We love it!¬†

Home Buying · Living in Minneapolis · Real Life Relocation · Uncategorized

Moving to MN from St. Louis MO

I specialize in helping people relocate to MN from other parts of the United States and the world thanks to people finding me on my YouTube channel. It’s a niche that I love to serve, people are choosing Minnesota and I love to welcome them here.

I know that this can be a difficult thing to do – uprooting your life to make a change to a completely different everything! The climate, the people, the way that Minnesotans live – which is very much OUTDOORS. Many people make the choice for that very reason. One of the other themes that I hear often is affordability and high quality of life.

If you’re curious about the perspective of this couple, what things felt like challenges, how they overcame those, what made them choose MN, what surprised them when they got here and what they have enjoyed so far, you’ll probably enjoy this video!

If this is a move you are considering making and you have questions please don’t hesitate to ask! It’s what I do day in and day out. ūüôā

Living in Minneapolis · Neighborhood Tours

The Armatage Neighborhood in SW Minneapolis!

I’m sticking closer to home today and taking you on a tour of the Armatage neighborhood in Southwest Minneapolis!¬† If you want to see what the homes and area look like – watch this video!

Homes in the Armatage neighborhood began to be built in the 1940s, and by 1960 most of the neighborhood was estab¬≠lished.¬†The homes in the area really reflect the time period, a lot of post-war (WWII!) bungalows and as the construction reached the ’60’s they began putting up what Minnesotans call “ramblers” and the rest of the country calls “ranch” homes. You still see some 1 car garages, and most garages are accessed off the alley which gives the street and yard areas of the homes a really beautiful feel because they aren’t broken up with driveways, cars and trashcans.

Easy commutes!

Prices

I did a comparison of median home prices for Armatage and the surrounding areas including Edina which is the suburb which borders the neighborhood on the west, the Kenny neighborhood to the east and the city of Minneapolis over all. You can see where Armatage stacks up and how it compares to prices in the city overall. 

The highest priced home on the market in Armatage today is a house that was originally built in 1948, but has since undergone a complete renovation and has had a second floor added. It was priced at $799,900. It has 5 bedrooms, 5 baths, a 4 car garage and nearly 3,000 sf. This is not a typical home in the area, but we have seen a lot of homes pop upward like this as people try to stay in the neighborhood but want more living space than the 1940’s or 1950’s bungalows provide. 

A more typical house for sale right now is a bungalow priced near the median at $445K, built in 1951 and still reflecting the character of the day. It has about 2000 sf and has 3 beds, 3 baths and a 2 car garage. The lowest priced home I saw currently listed is at $285, a 3 bed, 1 bath home that has been used as a rental and can probably use a bit of TLC. 

Neighborhood association

Armatage has a very active neighborhood association and they hold several events throughout the year including a chili cook off, a holiday light display competition, free movies in the park in summer, a fire-on-ice winter celebration with bonfires and ice skating at the park rink, food truck nights and a summer festival.  If you have children the park district  has after school programs through community education at Armatage Park Community Center and they also have all day programming there throughout the summer. 

children s team building on green grassland
Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

In addition to the focus on kids, the community center also hosts events like “Tech Help for Seniors” and a community garden tool swap.¬†

Schools

boy in green shirt
Photo by CDC on Pexels.com

Children in the neighborhood are currently zoned for Armatage Elementary (formerly a Montessori magnet school) In 1952, the Armatage Community School was built, children move on to Susan B Anthony Middle School which is International Baccalaureate School, and then Southwest High School. 

Neighborhood Amenities

Armatage has a close community feel and has the benefit of easily accessible¬†local favorites for restaurants including Pizzeria Lola, Red Wagon Pizza, Book Club, Colita, &¬† Cafe Ceres. It’s a quick ride to shopping to Edina for Southdale Mall or any of the surrounding shops and restaurants including the Galleria for more upscale shopping. Groceries are easy to find at nearby Lunds and Byerly’s or Kowalskis, or if you’re just down the street in Edina you can hit Whole Foods or Trader Joes. Costco people will find the St. Louis Park location the closest – but in my opinion it’s also the craziest one – always mobbed and worth it to drive to Eagan or Eden Prairie instead.¬†

cup of aromatic cappuccino on table in cafe
Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

In addition to the large community park, Armatage is well located to reach the paths around Lake Harriet or Minnehaha Creek. As with all areas of Minneapolis, there is a large focus on bicycling and public streets have bike lanes which are heavily used. The city of Minneapolis also has sidewalks lining both sides of the street so you’ll be safe if you decide to walk up to the lake or creek as well. 

white bicycle road sign
Photo by Cristiana Raluca on Pexels.com

If you’re curious about other area of the city or suburbs, check out my playlist on YouTube! I cover a bunch of them and I’m always adding more, if there is an area that you’re interested in and you don’t see a video – reach out and I may add it to the list, but can at least answer questions.¬†

Neighborhood Tours · small towns and exurbs · Uncategorized

Walkable, Charming, White Bear Lake MN

Need access to the cities but want a small town feel, White Bear Lake has it! I love where I live but every single time I go to White Bear Lake I want to move there! This suburb of Saint Paul just has a good feel to it – from the historic downtown to the lake and parks.¬† If you’re looking for a walkable lifestyle this should be on¬†your list of places you consider!¬† Watch the video below to see what I mean – lots of footage of the downtown and the homes.

White Bear Lake sits north of St Paul (so if you’re not from around here that’s the east side of Minneapolis St. Paul), if you work in downtown Saint Paul you’re about a 15 minute commute or to downtown Minneapolis it’s about 25 minutes. Getting to the airport will take a little longer because it’s on the opposite side of the city, but if you’re only heading there periodically it shouldn’t be a problem, it’s less than 30 minutes in decent traffic.¬†

Downtown White Bear Lake drips CHARM from top to bottom. Most of the homes in the downtown area have a historic look and feel, but are well maintained. As you move out away from that central downtown area homes get a little newer but this is not the place to look if you want new build / subdivision feel. WBL was an old resort town and escape from the city and the rail line still runs right up to it, it retains that feeling of a lakeside vacation area today. The old downtown has a ton of options for restaurants, pubs, bakeries, shops and other services like salons or day spas.¬† The library is downtown as well, it’s a busy bright and modern space that is part of the Ramsey County Library System.¬†

panda printed paper coffee cup on table
Photo by Quang Anh Ha Nguyen on Pexels.com

In the summer and fall, Grab your morning coffee and a muffin from one of the bakeries and then enjoy the community and seeing your neighbors while you shop for locally produced eggs, honey, fruits and vegetables at the farmers market held in downtown every Friday morning from June through October. 

a person holding a purple cabbage
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For a small town white bear lake has a pretty big focus on the arts and you can take classes or take in a show at the White Bear Center for the Arts, The Player’s Theater or the Children’s Performing Arts. 

HOUSING

Home prices in WBL range from the mid-$200’s for a townhouse to $1.2M for a new construction lake front home.¬† If you want to live directly on the lake, prices are consistently over $1M, but you can find something more moderately priced with lake front access.

low angle photography of brown wooden dock at golden house
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Currently White Bear Lake has a tighter sellers market than the metro area as a whole Рthey are sitting at only .7 months of inventory whereas the twin cities is a little over a month on average. 

Schools

White Bear Lake Area Schools are the big cahuna in this part of the metro they serve all or parts of Birchwood, Gem Lake, Hugo, Lino Lakes, Little Canada, Maplewood, North Oaks, Vadnais Heights, White Bear Lake and White Bear Township.There are a lot of schools in the district, so do your research and see which one will work best for your kids.  You can look at sites like Great Schools or Niche.com, but schools welcome visitors that want to tour and get questions answered before making a decision.

Parks

White bear lake is home to 24 parks including access to docks at the lake, a disc golf course, and access to¬†Bald Eagle-Otter Lakes Park which is one¬†of 4 Ramsey County regional parks. This park has a playground, boat launch, fishing pier, access to the Tamarack Nature Center and an off-leash dog area. If you’re looking for swimming, White Bear Lake County park has a swimming beach, this park is located just north of the downtown area.¬†

A city in Minnesota couldn’t hold up it’s head if they didn’t have an ice arena – White Bear Lake is home to the Sports Center Ice Arena where you can participate in or watch the state sport of MN – ice hockey – or for those without the urge to body check someone simply some ice skating. You don’t have to be a member to use the ice here, it’s pay as you go!

Hey – if you have questions about anything real estate or living in the Twin Cities related, let me know! I’m happy to help!

Home Buying · home selling · market updates

Minneapolis Real Estate Market Update Feb 2022

A month goes by in a hurry it seems, so here we are! Did a month make a difference with the real estate market? YES. It is notably busier!

Click here to watch. ūüôā

I don’t think I’m telling you anything you don’t already know, but the real estate market is on fire.¬† Someone hit the gas pedal on the housing market in February and they have a lead foot. What does this mean specifically?¬† Let’s look at the twin cities housing market as of Feb 18 2022.¬†¬†

signages for real property selling
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If you are a seller – LIST NOW and you’ll be partying all the way to the bank.¬†

Just about every listing is getting multiple offers in the first couple of days. The supply of buyers is so great and the supply of homes is so low right now Р15% fewer listings on the market than last year at this point! 

Why are sellers hesitating? I assume that it’s because they are worried about finding THEIR next home.¬† As an agent that represents a lot of buyers, I can tell you that sellers can not only command great prices for their homes they¬†can still get a closing date that suits their needs. For example, if a seller is considering putting their home on the market, but are worried it will be gone in a blink, there is a great likelihood¬†that the seller can ask for and receive a 60 close, flexible closing, or recently I’ve seen them asking for a seller’s home purchase contingency or lastly a rent back situation after closing remembering that most conventional¬†loans require the transaction to close in 60 days on the buy side so no long term rentals this way! but this way the seller will have cash in hand and be able to buy while also have a roof over their heads while they wait for their next home to be available.¬†¬†

One of the things that I really like about real estate is that EVERYTHING is negotiable – as long as the parties work it out (within the law!) and get it in a signed contract, the parties can work together to find a solution that works for everyone. Do you have a creative way to structure a contract that lets everyone get what they need?  Bring it up and there may be a way to make it work out!

This past week we had offer acceptance rates at 15%, which means that sellers are receiving 6-7 offers on average. But the average for the month is hovering around 35% according to Home Free Transaction Coordinators. I’ll give you more info on what they see in a successful offer after I take you through current market conditions.¬†

Absorption rate

It’s a seller’s market, but to what degree? In the past I’ve explained that the way that we determine this is based on the absorption rate or how many months worth of housing inventory we have at a given time if nothing new were added to the market.¬† 5-6 months is considered balanced, more than that is a buyer’s market and less is a seller’s market. Obviously the more extreme the number the¬†more it favors one or the other. That obviously varies by housing type.¬†¬†

Single family homes have a .56 months (about 17 days) supply now as compared to one year ago when they were at .62 (about 19 days).  We have started this year off with available inventory down by 21% year over year. New listings this month are down by 15% from last year.  

I was looking for a bright spot and looked at new construction. Builders are responding to the need for houses and have started increasing their production too.

This image shows the big dip and now the increase starting in single family new builds between $400 & $600K. Its not dramatic, but any amount helps – if you have 50 more houses that’s 50 buyers that have found something.

If you have been thinking about selling and are curious about what your home is worth today, let me know. I’ll give you a free estimate of what your home is worth today – absolutely no obligation, just for your information if you want to know – just send me an email. We need homes and now is definitely the time to get the maximum amount of money out of your sale! mschumann@kw.com if you’re curious. I’m happy to do it.

Townhouse/ Condo properties are at .97 months (29 days) vs 1.13 a year ago (34 days). Prices on Townhouses are at a median of $267,000 which is UP 12.2%.  Average days on market for a townhouse is down 26% to 14. 

Condo prices are at a median of $195,000 up 6.6% from last year and are on the market for about 30 days. If you are a first time buyer or someone that likes condo living, this is the softest spot in the market today and your biggest opportunity. 

Single family homes in the 14 county metro area have a median price of $370,000, a gain of 12.1% year over year. They are on the market for NINE DAYS. Only about half of what we saw a year ago. And don’t fool yourself thinking you have 9 days to think about it, this is a listing going live on a Thursday, showing through the weekend, closing offers on Sunday and allowing a 5 day inspection period before heading to pending.¬†

The combined absorption rate (all property types) is at .67 months or 20 days of inventory as opposed to one year ago when we had a whopping .75 months or 22 days of inventory. 

What can you do if you’re a buyer?  

Here are my suggestions and strategies:

1.my office posts properties to agents internally that are off market and that sellers are willing to part with before going onto the MLS, so having that network available helps a lot!  

2. make sure you see what is available in “coming soon” and get in there quickly¬†

3. even better if you have the nerve-  offer “sight unseen” while in this status. if the seller will do it, you can usually negotiate an inspection this way and if there is something wrong with the property get out of the contract without losing your earnest money, this does require a good offer out the gate. It’s not a way to get a bargain, but is a way to quit losing in multiples.

4. make your offer more appealing are to offer appraisal gap coverage. This means that if you are financing you are stating that you have the ability to make a larger downpayment¬†in order to cover the gap between your offer and what the bank is willing to loan you, having cash is a very important piece of the puzzle in this environment.¬† You can offer any amount of appraisal gap coverage – it doesn’t have to be 100% of the difference!

5 Look at “wallflowers” these¬†are properties that have been on the market for longer than 4 days. This means they have made it through a weekend without getting an offer and may be more willing to negotiate or look at a reasonable but not extreme offer. These can be homes that a buyer got cold feet on, that their financing fell through or other scenarios.¬†

6. Don’t ignore properties that need work!  You can get a home loan that rolls a remodel into it. Not everyone can look past a dirty unfinished basement but it’s rarely a bad investment to add finished square footage to a house – especially in an in demand neighborhood. 

7. Do you have time? Offer on new construction. You eliminate multiple offers and choose your finishes.  Just be aware that contracts allow builders to cancel your contract if the price of materials goes up and you can’t cover the increase. Don’t get yourself in too deep. 

8. There aren’t a ton of these available but spec houses are a good option. They may be completed new builds OR they may be nearly completed with an estimated move in date already.  

9. my last option coming to¬†mind to look at loans that allow you to offer as if you’re offering CASH – without a financing contingency. This seems like a HUH??! moment, but in my video next week I’ll interview a lender with a program like this that may give you a leg up and I’ll post it here, of course!

Accepted offers

OK – lets look at what’s been going on with offers per HFTC: 

Buyers are waiving inspection 46% of the time, this is a lot, but that also means that 54% of the time they are getting an inspection. 

Off market sales are at 12% – this is the “private listing network” that I mentioned where agents that have upcoming listings market them internally first.

Sales Contingent on the sale of the buyer’s home is down to 5% of the time. 

Average sale to list price is 103.2%. I don’t know where these are happening because my buyers have been offering at 15% over and losing… We would be happy with 103%!

Cash is at 17% of offers, Conventional at 69%, FHA has ticked up to 5%, VA is at 0. 

Hey! I would love to hear from you in a comment or an email or a smoke signal … reach out if you have questions! 

Living in Minneapolis

Is MN affordable? Cost of Living update Minneapolis 2022

A lot of people say that they choose to move to Minneapolis because it’s a nice sized city with an affordable cost of living. Most of the people that I work with are moving to Minnesota from out of state and are often coming from more expensive parts of the country. But not everyone is! Today I want to take a look at the cost of living in the Twin Cities and how it compares to some other areas that I see people coming from as well as other cities in the Midwest.

How is Cost of Living determined?

“Cost of living” is a term used by economists and it’s actually an INDEX, so every place in the US is compared to the national average, which is considered 100%.  If a city has a cost of living lower than the national average, it will be expressed as some percentage less than 100 and a higher than the national average cost of living will be a number that expresses HOW MUCH higher than the national average it is as in 100+ x%.

Cost of living in Minneapolis

The magic number for Minneapolis is close to 103% of the national average. This index is broken down into segments like housing, transportation, food, and entertainment and then the number given is the one that consolidates all of these.

Having a cost of living index of 103% of the national average is really a comforting number if you’re looking for an affordable city! I’m going to give you the current COL #’s for other cities in the US as well as cities specifically in the Midwest so you can see how we stack up. Remember that this is looking at ALL areas of the country and typically urban areas are much more expensive. 

Housing

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Housing is the most expensive part of nearly everyone’s budget. Minneapolis is at 117% of the national average. If you’ve ever seen one of my market update videos you’ll understand what drives that, but its a combination of low housing supply, low interest rates and a big bubble of first time buyers that are hitting the market right now.

Food

Here in Minneapolis we are right near the national average for food pricing, sitting at 101% of the national average. 

info from Numbeo 2/6/22

Transportation

For transportation costs, Minneapolis sits higher than the national average at 108%. This includes an average of cost of gasoline, car insurance and maintenance expenses, and mass transit fare for the area. I was a little surprised by this one because I just returned from a trip to NE Ohio and gas prices were consistently higher than what I have paid in MN everywhere east of us. According to AAA, auto fuel prices in MN are LOWER than the national average. 

info from AAA

Healthcare

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Healthcare is at a wonderful 75% of the national average!  The past couple of years have shown us all how important this piece is for everyone, and not only are our costs lower here, but we also have access to some of the best healthcare in the world with the Mayo Clinic being located within easy driving distance of Minneapolis and many high quality hospital systems within the twin cities area itself.

Micellaneous Costs

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Miscellaneous costs come in at 108% these include those goods and services not included in the other cost of living categories, including clothing, restaurants, repairs, entertainment, and other services.

Compared to other large metros across the US

If we compare Minneapolis to large metro areas like New York, San Diego, or Chicago we see that, no surprise, it’s more affordable here.

Housing in NYC is 441% HIGHER than Minneapolis, and cost of living there is 141% higher, San Diego is 35% higher overall with housing 110% higher, and Chicago – where I came from – is 15% higher overall but housing in particular is 54% higher than Minneapolis. 

Housing is the biggest driver of whether an area is affordable or not – we all need a roof over our heads! 

Coming from Texas

I see a lot of people coming to Minneapolis from Texas, most commonly the Austin area, but definitely from all over and Austin is actually coming in at 4% less expensive than Minneapolis. Rents are higher in Austin, but median price to purchase a home is slightly lower there. 

Other Midwestern Cities

Looking closer to home, at smaller cities in the Midwest, Madison WI is actually MORE expensive to live in than Minneapolis – housing is 8% higher, food 3% more expensive and healthcare a whopping 19% more expensive. 

Minnesotans will definitely question why anyone would pay MORE to live in Wisconsin. I mean. It just doesn’t make sense. 

Milwaukee WI (if you love your Pabst!) is the bargain area with overall costs being 2% less, but still getting you where it hurts if you need to go to the dr. 

Bargain Cities of the Midwest

Saint Louis has a 17% lower cost of living index than Minneapolis. Everything from housing, transportation, entertainment is lower – they do come in slightly higher on food and Des Moines Iowa is also a bargain, coming in with a lower cost of living on every metric and the net saving is 24%!

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If you have questions about living in or moving to Minneapolis or the twin cities reach out! I’m happy to help! If you’re curious about different neighborhoods or suburbs, check out my playlist on my YouTube channel where I talk about exactly that!