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Woodbury is the largest city in Washington County, Minnesota, and is an eastern suburb of the Twin Cities.

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Cottage Grove

Cottage Grove is located 8 miles, South East of St Paul on the Mississippi River

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Eagan is a city south of Saint Paul in Dakota County in the State of Minnesota. The city lies on the south bank of the Minnesota River.

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Lake Elmo

Lake Elmo is a community of communities, with over 30 distinct neighborhoods.

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10 Homebuying Tips when Looking at Vintage Homes

There is nothing that compares to the architecture of a historic home. A turn of the century home often was designed and constructed with unique rooms, window sizes, dormers, front porches, attics, stone fireplaces and hand crafted woodwork are sought after by many. Finding an affordable vintage home to purchase that  has been properly maintained with authentic details intact can be challenge.

Updated with Style—Not current style but did the updates reflect the style of the era when the vintage home was originally constructed. If the updates to the home do not blend well with original home, the value of the home can be compromised.

Upgraded Plumbing and Electrical—If the furnace resembles and octopus and you need fuses for the electrical panel, there will be major updates required to the home at some time in the future.

Closets—Homes in the early 1900’s were insured by the number of doors so bedrooms were often constructed without closets. Some closets or dressers were added later under the eaves in the upstairs of a home. Because people did not have the extensive wardrobes that we have today, closets were much smaller than what is expected today.

Original Hardwood—Properly refinished and maintained, vintage hardwood can be a one of the most beautiful features of the home. How do you check to see if the flooring is hardwood ? If the home has carpeting, look at the floor inside a closet or at the edge of the floor under a vent for clues as to what the flooring is like below.

Fireplaces and Chimneys—While beautiful and a focal point, be certain to have any original brick or stone fireplace inspected by a professional chimney expert prior to purchase. Over time bricks can loosen and linings crack which can be costly to repair.

Charming Windows—Decorative leaded glass and stained glass windows are beautiful. Many vintage homes will not only have beautiful window details but often there will be odd sized windows too. While this adds to the charm, it costs to have custom windows replaced.

Odd Sized Doors—Just like with the windows, often doors are not a standard size. This can lead to additional expense when repairing and/or replacing a door as it will have to be cut to measure.

A Good Foundation—When homes were constructed a century ago, there wasn’t a building code or city inspector. Often a corner of a home would be a “root” cellar without a foundation wall or floor. Sometimes the builder would just skim a thin layer of cement over the wall to make it look nice rather than use cement blocks. Though they have stood for decades, walls can deteriorate over time.

Garages and Sheds—Very few families owned cars or the lawn equipment we require today so when vintage houses were constructed there often weren’t garages. Look closely at any older detached garage as many can be unstable. Finding a vintage home with an attached garage means it was probably added on as a remodel. If this is the case, make certain it fits well with the existing structure of the home.

This list is not all inclusive but a starting point of things to consider when searching for a vintage house to call home. The charm of a historical home is that it was handcrafted to be full of charm and not necessarily perfectly constructed.

Rent Versus Buy – Do the Math!

Buy or Rent? It is a fantastic question and one often asked by first time home buyers. It also creates a lot of discussion and sometimes debate. So why is this such a tough question to answer? Because there are many variables that will define the home purchase investment. The biggest is location which can often determine the price of a home. In some areas like in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro where we are blessed with very affordable real estate, an entry level home can be purchased for roughly $150,000 to $200,000 but in other large metropolitan areas, starter homes can be double this amount. This makes it more attractive, and affordable to rent.

But even in an area where homes are affordable, other several other factors do come into play. Taxes, insurance costs, maintenance, utilities, mortgage rates and how long you plan to stay in the home are a few of the things that need to be added into the rent versus buy equation.  This might seem to be an impossible calculation  but there is a great tool available online. Check out the NY Times Rent VS Buy Calculator. It is an interactive tool where you adjust the graphs to what is happening in your market, your life and your future. The tool calculates where the breakeven rent versus buy point would be for you. It is very helpful no matter where you live.