Tag Archives: Twin Cities

Protesters shut down Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges’ press conference, demanding new leadership now, continued unrest

In an odd turn of events, the protesters attempted to oust Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges calling for her and her entire staff to resign.

This action come in lieu of the recent tragic shooting of Justine Damond, chief of police Harteau was asked to resign yesterday in relation to this event.

At the press conference, a group of protesters from a Justine rally appear to take over the meeting and demand that Hodges also resign.

Hodges made no remarks to signify if she were or were not to resign, simply leaving the conference abruptly.

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How everyone is making a killing off of Millennials in the 2017 housing market, here is my plight

housing market - screen shot.jpg

A screenshot of the 2017 housing market, Twin Cities, MN. 

Twin Cities, MN —In recent weeks, through home searches, online and afoot, as a Millennial, I have become obsessed and mentally defeated by the prospect of buying a house to call my home.

My seemingly novel never-to-end socioeconomical crusade has taken place in a seething market that has been nothing short of aggressively “seller’s”, as those in the know dub it, and one that might be the figurative death of me financially.  And the wheels keep turning, the lights don’t go off at keep looking.

From my semi-consummate home search I have learned a number of very important things for those searching. Mostly that it is a difficult task buying a house in this market, in this year, 2017.  Yet I have no other reference.  And two, perhaps, that everyone is making money off of Millennials in this housing market, a lot of money.

And here in my own wordy words–which I hope are unbiased and as objective as possible–from a post-modern interpretation, which may not be possible–I offer you something of my experience.  I hope this helps inspire you and build your confidence in your endeavors, if not simply to allot an entity of an easy target for you to blame your failed searches on.

Let’s jump right in, when searching for a house in the Twin Cities one will notice that houses leave the market shortly after they are put on the market. (So, be prepared.  Get pre-approved, because if you are only pre-qualified your offer means dick and you have no edge.)  These home listings are a magic trick in reality; in the best locations performed, a home that you love in your price range is gone!  Abracadabra!  Search the same home listing you descried yesterday and the once “for sale” designation will be in “active contingent”.  Strike one, bummer dude…

This means your prospect home is off the market fast, post-haste, nowish, and it is no longer for sale to you. Feels good, don’t it?  Most times, in 24 hours your new home will morph into someone with money’s home.  Better up the price on your range, boss, or search a new area entirely.

If your ideal search area is anywhere near a nice neighborhood in the Twin Cities, or in proximity to efficient transit (say, the Green Line, a decent/good bus route) there is no hope. Your home search might commence like JFK’s secret service in Dallas, the opposite of well.  Rental agency want your ideal and your cash, and they have amassed money.  It’s called dollar bills and they are on fire in their trousers for something you like.  Because there are thousands out there like you ready to pay high rents and not buy especially in the metro area.  Good deal!

That seems like round one for my home search.  And obvious after the fact.  All that, and I still put my feet on the ground and went.  I started to notice that realtors were driving the prices by saying in effect that you must get on the train ere it is leaving the station, once it get’s moving you won’t get on. Juicing seems right, sort of emotional about it. Still it went, nothing short of impossible, in a bubble, as MPR has suggested.  And now realizing that the ones that get OK’d by FHA cost more, they must be decent!  Never in a good area.

I will say this, from seeing it firsthand, one of the main reasons the prices of homes are driven up is because of those in control of the market, the ones with the documents nd the keys to show the listings.  These are the people behind the curtains twisting the levers.  FHA restrictions, thorough inspections, the flood of those looking to buy, these are great sales pitches for price increases.  I want in.  Of course location, quality, and size are also important, but that is a side note from the real estate industry marketing.

Throw in pre-closing costs, underwriting costs, appraisals costs, closing costs,and you have an industry that depends on these houses moving and to the highest bidder.  I write for free, mostly, this underwriting mortgages sounds nice!  To give you a feel, I have spent $2500 so far and I don’t have a house, and I borrowed money for a down payment, and nothing is certain until it is.

To me, the whole housing market scheme is to make money, naturally.  That is no surprise.  But how aggressive.  And the higher the price, the higher all will make in the end.  Let’s not forget, we must pay the realtor for finding the house and pay his buddies to tell you whatnot about the property.  They don’t just want to hang out with us in a strangers home.  Everyone get’s a cut; the higher the price of the house, the better for those involved save the ambitious buyers.

The other reason that houses in the Twin Cities are so expensive and going so fast is surely because the market is flooded with property management companies looking to buy houses cheap, with their vested agencies and commanding authority, and turn them into ad hoc rentals.  Also, to note, flippers are prevalent too.  Renting makes money.  Flipping might make money.  And the renters pay the the owner’s equity unawares.  it could be yours.  And perhaps flippers do cheap obvious work, shoddy.

Not only does buying property for rentals drown out first time homebuyers looking for an inexpensive starter home, it can lead to devaluation of the community, surrounding properties, and areas in which they are in, that’s redundant of me.  But you get the point, it’s an opinion.  Try living next to a rental home; you never know who your neighbors will be next year, every year.  I might be a good neighbor who likes to trim his grass weekly, or I might not.  Maybe I like to party and you like to go to sleep at 7 PM on the weekends because you are tired.  We live next door.  I don’t care… etc. 

All that said, we live in a capitalistic society where sleeping and partying and property management and home ownership are real… I think of French in The Departed, “… This is America, make more money, if you don’t make money you’re a douche bag…”  I am not complaining, I am just letting you know what I have seen.  That’s it, everyone is out there to make money.  Millennials are getting killed in the market by Generation X and Baby boomers and foreigners with money, and by everyone else too.

There is still hope though.  Apparently winning and getting a house in this market really depends on picking an area that will be good in the future, not picking in a good area now.  Grow a vision.  Get your brain to work better.  Become a psychic.  Things change, areas get better.  I was told about Grand Ave. in St Paul.  Imagine it ten years ago.  It wasn’t like it is today.  Beautiful.  So maybe North Minneapolis, far North, will be good in ten years.

This motivation to switch my demanding search area preference might work out actually, though we haven’t closed on the deal yet.  I have seen some promise, less bidding and more realistic prices.  I saw inspiration for this location change in a comments section of one of the numerous “house bubble” articles I read about some crybabies being sad about the housing market because wah!

Let me preface by saying I am not sad, I am jaded.  The commentor remarked that the market wasn’t as bad as people made it out to be, and that those looking (as he dubbed, and I quote, the “white hipster dorks” of the Twin Cities) just wanted to live in unrealistic areas that were trendy and expensive right now.  They wouldn’t even think about buying in North Minneapolis or in East St Paul because they were basically scared, or craven.

I rather became obsessed with that title “white hipster dork”, it’s hilarious and exact, and this fear about living in certain areas we pervade only having merely heard stories about, legends, tales, beliefs, lies, etc., it means a lot to me having read Moby-Dick unironically twice.  I kind of put that label and its baggage on myself and thought of how I didn’t want to be motivated by fear, I am no WHD, as this great muse said.

Why not?  Things change.  Areas become safer.  Neighbors make neighborhoods.  Homes and properties gain value elsewhere.  The sun also rises in the north and in the east.  People say bad things about me and it might not be true.  Everything became so topical and relevant.  Find a house I want in size, in quality, in feel that I like and not worry about the area at first.  Not be a wimp or motivated by portent fancies.

Becoming so fed up from what I had heard about safety, about bus routes, about price and what we should have and shouldn’t–what others want for us, what we don’t want, I thought on and kept thinking.  I don’t tell you what to do, don’t tell me what to do.  Maybe I recommend boxers and you recommend briefs; I don’t want to wear the underwear you pick for me, and vice versa.

I came to the most logical conclusion that the safest place to buy a home in Minneapolis is La Crescent, MN.  The safest place to buy a home in East St Paul is Hudson, WI.  (Though, I am no good at geometry, so forgive me about the locational inadequacies.)  I wanted to know what everyone thought about the commute and how safe it was to live there, so I could pretend I cared.  I usually make decisions for myself, usually.

But I won’t move there yet.  No, but I have lived there and it is nice, La Crescent.  May retire there later on.  Most likely will move to the most northern part of North Minneapolis and become better at DIY home security.

Though, I will live in a house more our speed.  I don’t want to live in a house that is cheaply redone by flippers–the kitchens all look the same–in an area that will turn to shit later.  Same soon-to-be dated backsplash in the same small kitchen with the same cheap craftsmanship looking tacky.

I’ll take the original 1949, untouched, nothing done to, rambler style, ready to have the carpet torn out of.  It’s that old.  So I can make it my own.  Do something better than what everyone else is doing.  I don’t care about trendy.  Like buying a house in a great neighborhood today.  Accordingly, while I do the repairs, I will think of how it has come to this and blame only myself.  The other area will fail.  No one else did it for me.  These briefs do wonders for my thighs.  Go fish.

In my exact experience, FHA will require an appraisal, that costs money.  I have done two home inspections at average cost of $400 each, and one radon test, at $125, these cost money.  A lease must be resigned by June 1st, by birthday, rather resigned, this might cost money.

Moreover, if we don’t get lender approved because of a bad appraisal or because of our financial situation, we lose both our rental and the prospect home and become homeless, this probably costs money.  If it get’s approved we have to repair the paint on the house before closing date, which gives us a week, and pay an extra $100, only to have more costs incurred.

So all in all, things are looking up.  Never been happier about being where I am.  Maybe won’t rent again.  Maybe have my own place.  Those are the prospects from someone who has been diligently going after their dreams, the American dream: own a home.  I know more about how bad my math is than ever before.  I read about 28/36 and I am not sure if we qualify.  It might happen and the edge might get taken off.  Or not.  Got to go forward, right?

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Thank you for reading my piece.  Leave a comment.  I would appreciate it.  Also, thanks in advance for sharing my story.  I love writing!  TS_

 

U of M Money Well Spent: “Complaints against Teague date back to 2012 University of Minnesota and Virginia Commonwealth paid $300,000 to settle earlier claims of gender discrimination. “

Norwood Teague

Norwood Teague

Complaints against Teague date back to 2012 University of Minnesota and Virginia Commonwealth paid $300,000 to settle earlier claims of gender discrimination.

And this is where all my hard-borrowed tuition goes…

Letter to the Editor: What’s in a Name; The Redskins and Lake Calhoun

4 TLake Calhoun- Wikipedia

I wrote this piece to MN Daily 11/11/13, it was never published.  The Redskins were to play the Vikings, just as they did last weekend. 

***

11/11/13 (previously unpublished)

In recent news proponents arguing for the name change of the Redskins rallied outside of the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis.  This rally was set in place on the basis of a name change, the namesake of an NFL team, this team, the Washington Redskins.  This specific argument of change is very important, and central to the nation’s growth, and progressive equality for minorities; however, those same activists who went out to advocate the name change of an NFL team have overlooked the name change of a city landmark that is racially as disparaging, the name change of Lake Calhoun.

What are the true motives for those rallying against the name?  Is it a national hot topic that brings people out?  Why not try to fix something local?  Something as detrimental for minority groups as the name of an NFL team.  Lake Calhoun is a city landmark named in honor of a promoter of slavery, a confederate general from the South, and a person who slighted the ideas of abolitionists.  Yet we do nothing to change the name.  We stand outside of the Metrodome taking photos behind signs while the name of Lake Calhoun sits safely in the midst of our city. 

For living in this progressive city I feel this name an embarrassment.  I believe we as citizens have a right to protect the idea of equality within our community, not just those of nationwide spectacles. 

For the past 3 years, since I found the true origin of the name of Lake Calhoun (from an ambitious History Professor at MCTC, Matt Carhartt) I have seen nothing change.  I have heard nothing of the idea since.

A dangerous relationship; how BNSF will end Amtrak

“Our records indicate that you are scheduled to depart on Amtrak train number 28 from St.-Paul-Minneapolis-Minnesota at 8:00AM on Friday August 8 and arriving in La-Crosse-Wisconsin.
That schedule has been affected by late-operations. Alternate transportation is being provided over some or all of your route. To speak to an Amtrak representative about travel options call us at 8772319448 at your earliest convenience.

We apologize for any inconvenience and want to thank you for being a valued Amtrak customer.

Sincerely,
Amtrak”  preston

Amtrak PDF: Amtrak Empire Builder Detours in North Dakota to Speed …
A dangerous relationship; how BNSF will end Amtrak,

Recently, times couldn’t be harder for Amtrak. The passenger train empire has been delayed indefinitely because of crude oil and fracking freight in North Dakota and Montana. As if America’s transit infrastructure couldn’t get worse, ironically so, it has. As we speak, passengers suffer major delays throughout the country while BNSF halts passenger travel for freight with priority, dangerously so; Amtrak pulls to the side as non-renewable resources are transferred nationwide, these detours and pull-offs create increasing stays at the station.

Generally, I take Amtrak for transit out of the Twin Cities area, to southern Minnesota. As I am not a car owner, the prospect of any bus, plane, or rail travel is ideal, and more environmentally sound than said car, yet if it doesn’t serve its purpose as a timely institute it lacks the one quality it relies on; movement.

Several times I have attempted to take Amtrak and each attempt varied only in wait time: a possible “three hour” delay, and a new list of excuses. One thing that remained the same was: we took a bus. The last time this happened, I took the opportunity to inquire as to why. The melancholic voice on the line described how he was unsure if he would have a job at Amtrak in a year because of delays caused by BNSF; passengers were keen to the plights of rail travel, and profit numbers were down. I hung up the phone with nostalgic thoughts of young America confident in its punctual mode of transportation; the locomotive.

It is truly sad to comprehend that the very thing that started the expansion of this great nation, the U.S., will get brought to a screeching halt by the depletion of natural resources and the need for corporate expansion. The Amtrak attendant explained that once the oil fields dry up the tracks will run smoothly again, because BNSF owns the rails on which that stretch of land (North Dakota and Montana) sits, and the land the rails sit on- that being said,  they won’t allow Amtrak to build on their land. It seems a futile enterprise.

Apparently BNSF is building an alternative track for freight; however that remains to be seen.

Amtrak has to realize that complimentary donuts and bottled water won’t make up for trains not being in at the station; and buses are not trains. The slap in the face comes when buses are sitting outside of the station and  trains are sitting near oil rigs, or near fracking sites, in another state; Amtrak attendants had previous knowledge and neglected to mention this on the ticket sight.

Why won’t America prioritize progressive and environmentally friendly travel- travel that America built itself on?

Is it because of natural resources and the money made from the sales of?

Irony comes hard when one must take a car over train travel because the resources that fuel that car are holding up passengers trains at the station.

Has the need for more seized the growth of railway transit in America, or have we neglected the very thing that could promote better transit throughout the nation?

I thought of this on a bus sitting at a train crossing waiting for BNSF freight cars to go by while our train sat in another state, this was in Winona, MN.