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When the Boom Goes Bust, You're Left With Big Holes in Neighborhoods

minnesota car parked on nicollet AvenueIt's not unusual to own two cars, if you live in Minnesota. You have your summer vehicle and your winter car. This is a photo of the winter version. I found it over on "Eat Street," Nicollet Avenue by 28th.

This area was just beginning to boom when I left Minneapolis for good. Dozens of new restaurants, lots of new construction. When I first moved to Whittier, all of my friends thought I was nuts. It was much tonier to live in the Wedge or Kenwood or Uptown. Or near Lake of the Isles, like Mary Tyler Moore. Sane people did not buy a home in the scary part of town.

Except it wasn't the scary part of town. Not much more crime in Whittier than anywhere else except maybe Powderhorn, and even part of that is just perception.

This is one of the secrets to making money in real estate, though. You buy at the edge of development. Because pretty soon the edge of development will probably creep over into your neighborhood and property values will go up.

We stopped by our old house on Grand Avenue, a 3-story Victorian. The dahlias were gone. The new owners probably did not know enough to dig them up in the winter or else they didn't care. Much of the phlox were gone, too. You don't see phlox in California; I should try growing phlox. But the house next door had been recently sold. I could tell because the Christmas tree lights were gone, and it was painted. Those guys would not have removed the lights nor painted in a million years. The neighbor on the other side said those people had lost the home to foreclosure.

We had sold at the height of the market for almost 3 times the amount we paid for it 5 years earlier. No wonder the new owners didn't stop as they pulled out of the driveway. A minimum down-payment FHA loan will do that to you -- put you underwater if values fall.

Much of Whittier looked depressed. There were huge holes in places. Homes had been torn down but never rebuilt. Stores and restaurants were closed. Nicollet seemed very unhappy and sad, not the vibrant, blossoming street it once was. Even the "Eat Street" signs drooped. That car is probably not somebody's winter car. It's probably their only car.

As a real estate agent, I am not always in favor of gentrification. It displaces people.

Photo: Elizabeth Weintraub

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Elizabeth Weintraub is co-partner of Weintraub & Wallace Team of Top Producing Realtors, an author, home buying expert at The Balance, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown, Carmichael and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put our combined 80 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at RE/MAX Gold. DRE License # 00697006.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of RE/MAX Gold. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to

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