From the category archives:

Lake of the Isles Historic Homes

You would think that in one of the “worst markets” we have seen in a long time that there would be no way a record sale could ever happen in Minneapolis. Well, like I have said numerous times on my blog, the high end market marches to a different drummer.

Back in March, I reported that 2427 E Lake of the Isles Parkway in Minneapolis was on the market with Sky Sotheby’s Realty for a whopping $5.5 Million. Well two days ago it hit the MLS as SOLD, and at a record price of $4.859 Million, making it the highest priced home to ever sell in Minneapolis.


When driving around some of the historic neighborhoods of Minneapolis, you might notice a unique roof on some of the homes. Rolled roofs at the eave are seen mostly around the Lake of the Isle area. The style is known as Cotswold Cottage and is designed to replicate thatch. It is an expensive roof to apply to your home, as special eaves must be constructed to support the roll over the roof line. In my opinion, this roof option should only be used on a Tudor style home, however I have seen it pushed onto a newer home with French design and it didn’t look to good to me.

Two basic materials are used the most.

1) For a more authentic look, only cedar shakes should be used. The first home has cedar tiles and you can see by the closeup just how many tiles are placed on the roof. The pattern varies and is very time consuming, but the roof will last you a long time. The home really looks like a cottage out of Hansel and Gretel.

2) A cheaper way to employ the style is to use common place asphalt shingles. It gives the same affect from a distance, but to me is less pleasing to the eye closeup. It too will last you awhile, 20-40 years, and is cheaper to apply as the only real cost comes from the eave roll.

In a quick Google search, I found one local builder who advertises he does the replicated thatch roof, but I am sure there are others out there that also offer the style. If you are looking to replace your current roof with an architectural roof like thatch, make sure to call several roofing contractors and get detailed quotes, time to construct, etc. With it being more expensive to build, you want to make sure you get something that is priced well, but also high quality too!


I don’t always post articles from other sites, but this one is an important update concerning a proposed tax credit for rehabilitating historic homes. With so many local homes deteriorating, it is extremely important to offer some way for homes owners to save these homes from further demise. The tax credit would allow an income tax credit of 25% on the amount spent for repairs.

Minnesota Historic Preservation Tax Credit Update
(courtesy of Preservation Alliance of Minnesota)

Preservationists were given disappointing news late last week when the Senate Tax Committee passed its Ominbus Tax Bill without including the Historic Preservation Tax Credit provision (SF385). We understand that the Senate Tax Committee was concerned that adequate resources were not available to fund the credit. Early next week, the House Tax Committee will assemble its Omnibus Tax Bill. The Tax Credit MUST be included in this bill or Minnesotans will go another year without this important preservation tool. If the Tax Credit is included in the House Omnibus Tax Bill, the proposal will be discussed in a Senate/House conference committee.

PLEASE TAKE ACTION TODAY! The House Tax Committee leadership needs to hear from us NOW. Please contact your Representative and have him/her contact Chair Ann Lenczewski and Vice Chair Sandy Wollschlager to ask that the Minnesota Historic Preservation Tax Credit (HF1240) be included in the Omnibus Tax Bill.

For your convenience, here is a list of the Tax Committee members for 2007 and link to the full article. Thanks for your support!


It could be if you purchase a historic home without doing your homework first.

Remember Tom Hanks in the “Money Pit”? It was funny, right? Well, it is, until it happens to you. Here’s some advice on what to look for should you be thinking of buying an older home. Oh, and this advice comes from first hand knowledge of my own money pit historic home from a couple years back.

I am using this Saint Paul Historic Home as an example, so if you own this home, please forgive me. It is easy to see from the photo that the home needs work, but not every home upon first appearance will tell you as much.

I have a photo of this home also at the end of summer. As you can
also see, it is usually covered in vegetation and doesn’t appear to be kept up very well. If it were for sale and I was a potential buyer, red flags would immediately go up. The perception being, if the yard is a mess, than the inside can’t be much better.

So a couple things to look for on the Exterior should be:

  1. Age of the Roof – if the shingles are peeling, then plan on spending upwards of $10,000+ for a new roof. Victorians are notorious for steep pitches and multi-gables, which bring the price up on roof repair. Not to mention they are quite dangerous for a roofer not use to the height.
  2. Wood Rot – some may not notice this as a problem in Minnesota, but if bare wood exposed to water is allowed to continue, your little problem could spread and before you know it you are not only replacing a window sill, but the entire widow casing and support beams.
  3. Overgrowth & Drainage – trees that rub against the home can cause extensive damage to the roof and siding, and also cause runoff into the home itself. Check to make sure there isn’t any water pooling in the yard from faulty gutters as it could end up in your basement during a downpour.
  4. Weather Stripping – are the windows original to the home? If so, make sure they are properly sealed, and by sealed I mean “neatly” sealed, not just some caulk slapped up for good measure. Old homes can be drafty and cost you a bundle in heating and cooling if windows and doors are not sealed against the elements.
  5. Foundation or Porch Sag – if the porch is warped and sagging, not only will you have to replace the porch foundation, but most likely the porch roof as well. The strain put on the roof supports could cause too much stress and make the porch not very safe, and also cause drainage problems. Remember #2, wood rot? Also, look at cracks in the exterior brick or stucco. This could be telling you the home has foundation problems which will require extensive retrofitting and sometimes go as far as jacking the home up for repairs.
  6. Chimneys – one hundred year old chimneys are usually the last item on any repair list, but if not looked after, they could come crashing down into your home during high winds. Have a professional chimney repair company check the mortar around the bricks. If he can lift a brick off the top or stick an knife in the mortar like butter, than the chimneys will have to be retucked. You might even want to seal them from the elements using a 10 year product that keeps moisture out of the mortar.
  7. Exterior Brick – too many times I see exterior brick homes that need to be completely retucked with new mortar. This can be an expensive repair depending on the size of the home, but it has to be done to keep the structure around for another hundred years. And no, painting the brick is not a good solution. It will cause more problems than it will solve.
  8. Exterior Paint – check and make sure the paint is not peeling around trim. Some times home owners take the easy way out and keep painting over 50 years worth of paint. Instead, all old paint should be stripped off, then the trim should be treated, repaired, and painted with new exterior paint. Remember lead based oil paint was used prior to 1978 and will not take water based paint very well over it. It always bubbles up or peels within a couple of years.

This post just covers the exterior parts of a historic home that you should pay attention to if planning on purchasing in the future. It is also a good basis for home owners who currently live in an older home. Use it as a check list for repairs that you might not previously have thought about completing.

Look for my future post in the next week where I discuss items to look for in the interior of a Historic Home whether it is in Minneapolis, St Paul, or somewhere else in the States.


Tax Credit Hearings Scheduled for Historical Home Preservation
(courtesy of the Preservation Alliance)

The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota and a coalition of supporting organizations are back at the State Capitol in 2007 to support the Historic Preservation Tax Credit proposal. We need your help to make it happen!

The Historic Preservation Tax Credit proposal would provide a 25% tax credit for qualified historic rehabilitation projects, providing significant economic development benefits statewide, in small towns and large cities alike. More than half of all states—29 in total—already have similar programs, and we need this incentive to stay competitive. Most of Minnesota’s neighbors, including North Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan, have a state historic rehabilitation tax credit.

Specifically, the tax credit will:

  • Allow an income tax credit of 25% of the amount spent to rehabilitate certified residential and commercial historic structures (locally designated as historic or on the National Register of Historic Places).
  • Encourage private investment in historic properties, generate additional jobs and stimulate economic development within existing communities.
  • Be used as an effective tool for community revitalization in urban and rural areas.
  • Provide incentives to create affordable housing and market-rate housing that stabilizes neighborhoods in areas that are difficult to redevelop.
  • Accelerate private investments into “Main Street” businesses and building rehabilitations, bring vacant properties back onto local tax rolls, and bolster heritage tourism efforts.
  • Pair with the 20% federal rehabilitation tax credit to make smaller or more challenging rehabilitation projects more financially feasible.

The Historic Preservation Tax Credit has been introduced in the both the Senate and the House as Senate File (SF) 385 and House File (HF) 1240. Please click on the following link to access the Senate bill language for SF385 and House bill language for HF1240 Please click here for a A two-page fact sheet about the bill.


Home shot as location for Mary Tyler Moore Show is now For Sale at $3.6 Million

I often wonder if every home that has famous connections sells because of its past history. We shall soon see. The home located near Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis at 2104 Kenwood is on the market for $3.6 Million, after receiving a complete makeover the last two years.

The popular TV show used a shot of the third story exterior as the location where a character lived during the series, but Mary Tyler Moore never lived there. The current owners are hoping the history will add to the nostalgia of the home, but don’t expect it to sell just because of its famous past.

The classic Queen Anne Victorian home is beautiful. At around 9800 square feet, the home boasts new hardwood floors, complete re-wire, four new furnaces, a 3000 sf kitchen/living room additions, rebuilt windows, and much more. The owners goal was to update the home to the 21st century, but restore what they could of the original design characteristics of the home. They saved what they could, and added what was missing. The original large parlor pocket doors were even found walled up, in perfect condition. They have done a magnificent job at restoration. As I myself have restored two Queen Anne Victorian homes as well, I can attest of the excitement one feels once the home is completed. I will keep you updated on how much the home sells for!
Watch these 360 degree tours of the home to see what’s inside!

If you are interested in touring the home for purchase, please contact me and I will make arrangements and send as much information to you about the home via email. Check the Star Tribune for a wonderful article they wrote on the sale of 2104 Kenwood.


Statistics on Lake of the Isles Historic Homes 2006

This weeks featured Luxury Community is the Lake of the Isles/Lake Calhoun area in Minneapolis. Similar to last weeks snapshot of St. Paul Historic Homes, this one will also only consider those homes listed at $1 Million and above, built before 1940, and single family residential.
In 2006, 60 homes were listed, ranging in price from $1 Million to $5 Million. They break down into the following categories:
  • Currently 18 active listings
  • 17 Homes were sold in 2006
  • 11 Listings were cancelled and not re-listed for sale
  • 14 Listings Expired and were not re-listed

The average adjusted days on the market were:

  • Current active listings = $1-2 Million, 160 DOM $2-5 Million, 292 DOM
  • Homes that sold = 11 Homes sold with in 23 days of list date, whereas 6 took on average 238 days to sell
  • all Cancelled/Expired listings =

To sum up the Historic Home Luxury market in the Lake of the Isles area, roughly 42% of the listings were taken off the market because they were not selling. Only 28% sold and the remaining 30% are still active. Of those remaining on the market, it is interesting to note that homes priced between $1-2 Million are selling more quickly than those price at $2 Million and up. But it is still taking a while to sell, anywhere from 6-10 months.

I would have to say that the short selling time of 11 homes was probably due to them being priced correctly from the beginning. If a home is priced too high when it hits the market, it quickly becomes forgotten by buyers. The most important statistic to report is that of listing price vs selling price. Of the 17 homes sold, the final selling price was on average 7% lower than the original list price. Obviously, home owners would like to sell for full price, but affluent home owners have the luxury of being more flexible with the bottom line. In this case, sellers in 2006 were able to sell their homes quickly, and buyers walked away with a home they loved and with a feeling of accomplishment of negotiating the purchase price!