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Limited Common Elements: What You Need To Know

Blog - 2015 - 02-23 - Limited Common Elements

Minnesota State Statue 515.B defines a limited common element as elements that are designated for the exclusive use of the unit owner(s) of the unit or units to which the limited common elements are allocated…

So what exactly does that mean?  Well, normal examples of a Limited Common Element (LCE) would be a balcony/patio, your windows & doors, and likely even your HVAC equipment.   Even the garage stall is typically listed as a LCE.

Why does this matter to you?  A lot of buyers feel that everything on the exterior is the Association’s responsibility to maintain and repair.  Which is generally true,  but the major shocker to a lot of condo buyers is who will be responsible to pay for these items.  Nearly every condo building that I’ve dealt with, charges the homeowner for these items.  There’s a few reasons they do this, but the main reason is cost.  If Associations had to tuck money away for all of these items, the dues would skyrocket.  Sometimes, you’ll see an association pay for something that is a LCE expense, but it usually means that everyone is benefiting from the work and the Board of Directors has set aside money for the project through their budget.

Buyers of condos and lofts need to be aware they are responsible for repairing/replacing window and doors.  They need to know that when the decking of their patio/balcony needs to be replaced, the Association will drop off a bill.

Just like owning a single family home, condo owners need to set aside money for repairs.  Over the years, I’ve heard many stories of condo owners that were mad they had to pay for these items, yet it’s something they should have known from the get-go.

Buying a condo is different from buying a house, and it’s important that you have a competent real estate agent that knows how a condo association works.  It takes more than selling a condo to know one ;)

I’m happy to answer questions on condo ownership, and I’d be even happy to help you buy or sell one.

This View Is For Sale! New Listing At The Pointe

Blog - 2015 - 02-09 - Pointe Listing 1510

Another great listing at the Pointe of Saint Paul!  This one is a fantastic two bedroom, two full bathroom on the Northwest corner of the building.  This condo features a master suite with its own private full bathroom and walk-in closet.  Newer floors in the living & dining room, and the kitchen.  Home includes a storage locker and one underground parking space.  Free guest parking and many building amenities at the Pointe!

Catch the Light Rail Transit train to downtown Minneapolis for work or pleasure. New Lund’s grocery store a short block away in the Penfield building!  Many dining options right out your door.  Come see this great listing today!



New Listing at the Pointe! #2809

Blog - 2015 - 01-05 - New Pointe listing


Fantastic new listing at the Pointe of St Paul!  Spacious two bedroom, one bath with in-unit laundry.  Located on the 28th floor, this corner unit has amazing views.  The Pointe features some the best amenities in town!  Indoor pool, sauna, hot tub, fitness center, club room, guest suite, sun deck, and tennis court make living at the Pointe a true luxury.

Located centrally in downtown, one block from the new Lund’s grocery store, one block from the 10th Street Light Rail Station, and just blocks from access to 35E, 94, & 52.



Is this the end of FHA financing for condos?

Blog - 2014 - 06-26 - FHA BYE BYE

Sensational title, I know.   However, HUD is forcing condominium associations to make some tough decisions.  Part of their recent updates to FHA includes a rider that says an association can’t require a background check for renters.

Of all of the odd requirements that FHA demands, this one has gone too far.  The Pointe of Saint Paul will no longer be FHA approved, because of this.  I happen to live at the Pointe, and I stand behind the Board of Directors 100% on their decision to drop their certification.

FHA certification is supposed to make sure the building is healthy, and I can’t see one positive reason why having renters in your association without background checks is a good idea.

Now, in all fairness, FHA is not saying renters can not have background checks, it’s just saying associations can’t require an owner provide proof that one was done.  I would guess that a majority of landlords absolutely would screen their tenants, but then again these landlords probably didn’t finance with FHA either.  From what I can tell, FHA wants to make sure that if their buyer needs to rent out the property, there should be zero obstacles in their way.  Again, if FHA is designed to get first-time buyers or credit-challenged buyers into homes, why they care about the rental requirements is beyond me.

I’m guessing within a year or two, HUD will get a clue and will relax their requirement on this issue.  In the mean time, expect to see less and less FHA approved condo buildings.

The Green Line is Finally Here in St Paul!

Blog - 2014 - 06-16 - Green Line Opening 2

After years of waiting and watching, the green line is finally here!

Saturday was the grand opening, with events all along the line. I didn’t make it to any of the events, but attempted to take a “joy ride” around 1:00pm. The trains were standing room only at the time we went (right about the time they cancelled the events because of the rain), so we decided not to go.

So, Sunday my family and I took the rails as far as we could go. We ended our trip at Target Field, which I must say is beautiful.  This was my first time to the new stadium.  I guess I need to watch a game there, now that I can’t complain about having to park in downtown.

Blog - 2014 - 06-16 - Green Line Opening 1

After reaching Target Field, our adventure wasn’t over.  We then headed down to the Northstar Commuter Rail platform and hopped on the big train.  As part of the Green Line festivities, they were doing free train rides from Target Field to Big Lake, and all stops in-between.  Just between us, Big Lake isn’t really a destination city…  When we returned to Target Field we decided to have dinner in downtown Minneapolis.  I think that was my first time in 10 years having dinner in the “other” downtown.

Blog - 2014 - 06-16 - Green Line Opening 3

The return trip back on the Green Line was less crowded so we could see all the destinations along the route and we’re already planning our next trips.

Are you looking for something to do alone the line? Check out www.onthegreenline.com , a really good resource that lists all the businesses, restaurants, theaters, etc. along the line. What’s my favorite business? Saint Paul Home Realty, of course! We’re located at the first stop, right across from Union Depot.

What have you done along the line so far? Post your stories or links below!

See. Click. Fix. Or, How To Make The City Better

Blog - 2014 - 03-23 - See Click Fix


The City of Saint Paul has partnered with See Click Fix, a mobile app for reporting non-emergency items to the city officials.  If you live in St Paul, go to your app store of choice and download it.  For the Saint Paul branded app, it’s called Saint Paul Connect.

I’ve personally been on a pothole reporting rampage, as they seem extra bad this year.  I’m not sure if I’m imagining things or not, but it seems potholes reported through the app are getting priority.

It’s not just potholes either.  You can report graffiti, damaged city property, abandoned furniture, etc.  It’s a great way to help keep the city in tip-top shape.  City workers can’t be everywhere and see everything, so this is an invaluable app in my opinion.

Have you used this app before?  What do you think?



Mark Your Calendar: June 14th - The Green Line Debut!

Blog - 2014 - 01-22 - LRT Coming Soon


As a Downtown resident, I can’t fully express how excited I am to finally see a start date for the new light rail.  June 14th, I may just need to celebrate.  Truth be told, I probably won’t use the LRT much, as I really don’t go to Minneapolis all that often.  However, I’m excited to see this project finally coming to an end.  Living a block away from the Cedar & 10th stop, we’ve dealt with some pretty intense construction issues (noise, power loss, road closures, etc).  Having the trains operational, I hope brings back some sense of normal to our little neighborhood.

I’m sure the train will be very popular for the Downtown residents that work in Minneapolis.  With Downtown St Paul being an easy commute (I said easy, not fast), this should help making working in MPLS and living in STP just a little bit easier.

What’s your take on the trains?

It's 2014 - Here's what we have to look forward to

Wow, where did 2013 go? Seriously, where did it go, it really seems like last year just flew by. 2014 looks to be a great year for Downtown Saint Paul – not just real estate wise, but neighborhood wise. Here’s my list of things to be excited for in 2014

  1. Saint Paul Winter Carnival, The nearly 130 year old celebration returns! Sure hope the Vulcan’s win the battle this year, as it’s awful cold already…
  2. Red Bull Crashed Ice returns! February 20th-22nd. This is such an amazing event to watch live. ProTip: Arrive very early to get a good spot along the boards. If you can also see the jumbo screen from that location, that’s an added bonus.
  3. Tin Whiskers Brewing Company – Coming in the second quarter to the Rossmor Building (taking over the old Lowertown Printing space). I’ve very excited to see a local brewery open in within walking distance to my condo at the Pointe!
  4. Lund’s grocery store. Should be opening this spring/summer in the newly built Penfield Apartments building. I’ve lived in downtown for over 10 years now, and I can’t stress enough how anticipated the opening of this store is. Not just for me either, I’ve talked to many downtown residents that are counting down the days until it opens.
  5. The launching of an all-new YourStPaulHome.com!  It’s been many years with the same look.  It’s time to mix it up a bit.
  6. Working with a whole new set of buyers looking for that perfect pad in downtown.  If you want to sell your downtown condo or loft, give me a call too ;)

New Aquarium Coming to Downtown?

The City of Saint Paul has secured a deal with a big name player in the aquarium world to build a new tourist-attracting aquarium in downtown St Paul. With the addition of the LRT, having a world class tank just makes sense. City leaders wanted a location that was close to the LRT tracks and already had some infrastructure ready to go.

The City found what they were looking for in the parking ramp at the Pointe of St Paul! According to City leaders, they believe with the addition of LRT, the residents at the Pointe won’t need to own cars anymore, so their parking ramp becomes an opportunity to bring in more people into the downtown area, helping businesses and residents alike.

Although, there was a slight kickback from the owners of the Pointe condominiums, the city took the ramp via eminent domain, citing the abundance in parking throughout downtown and the fact that residents can now sell their cars and exclusively take the bus, LRT, or NiceRide.

The mayor of Saint Paul had this to add “I want my terms as Mayor of this fine city to mean something, and I intend to make that happen. I’ve added two city-owned luxury apartment buildings, a grocery store, and now a soon to be world renowned aquarium.”


If you’ve managed to read through this whole blog post and not figured out this is a sarcastic reference to the Market House building losing their parking lot to build a ballpark, well… This is a sarcastic reference to the Market House building losing their owned parking lot, so the city can build a ballpark for the Saints.

The most amazing property in Downtown St Paul

Blog - 2013 - 11-04 - Bob's Place

I often get asked “What is the most amazing or most unique property in Downtown?” The expected response is some multi-level penthouse high in the clouds, but there’s a very interesting property just a stones throw from Lowertown, in the Wacouta Commons neighborhood that I feel is by far the most amazing property in all of downtown.

A few years ago, I received a private tour of this place by the owner and my jaw dropped.  It’s really the gem of downtown, and it really does not have an equal.  The only property that I can think that would be remotely similar is the Chicago Great Western Row Building on Kellogg, but with this property, you don’t have to deal with a pesky association.  You see, this is a stand-along property!

I remember when construction started on this, I was shocked that someone was finally fixing this old dilapidated building.  In fact, six and a half years ago, I blogged about it

Well, on to the goods – The owner of this home posted his Flickr set on facebook, so I asked him if I could share them with the rest of the free world.  Bob & Lynn, thanks for sharing :)

Click here for a tour!