Minneapolis/St. Paul gets a bad rap for the cold.
Sure, Minnesotans do welcome spring with the ritual ‘Counting of the Fingers’ to account for any digits lost to frostbite the previous winter. But really, it’s a lovely place. I should know — I lived there for 10 years.
So as I put together my best real estate blog list for the Twin Cities, I had more than a passing acquaintenance with the neighborhoods, which can be a bit of a negative.
Because I like to look at these blogs the same way you do: As someone moving to a new city who wants to learn about the local community, learn more about the local real estate market, and maybe even find a real estate agent — but without getting buried in a blizzard of listings and a bunch of ‘Now’s a Great Time to Buy!’ come-ons.
But still, I will put on my journalistic-objective glasses and chip away.
One of the best sites I came across is the St. Paul Real Estate Blog  from Theresa Boardman, who’s greatly revered in real estate social media circles as someone who’s very smart about blogging and all social media.
The praise is well deserved: St. Paul Real Estate Blog is a great mix of real estate news, tidbits about the community and about events like the Winter Carnival, as well as some personal insights and photos from the author, but not so much as to make you feel like your aunt is showing you her favorite scrapbook. Boardman’s also got some nice photobooks of the Twin Cities area — the photography here is a big plus and gives you more insight into the community than a simple narrative could.
Big bonus: it’s pretty amusing. She told of a recent showing of a bank-owned property where she was asked to bring her own screwdriver to pry the plywood off the door. And I don’t know if she was being funny when she wrote this, but it still was:
“I took [this photo] in Mears Park downtown last summer before it got so cold that I can’t take pictures without freezing my camera off.”
Yep, she said “summer” and “freezing” in the same sentence. Welcome to St. Paul!
Homes MSP Real Estate Blog.com  is another good site with a nice feature on neighborhoods and listings in those neighborhood.
It’s written by Sharlene Hensrud (a solid Nordic name, the type of which you’ll encounter often in Minneapolis/St. Paul).
There’s a good deal of information for first-time buyers, and she also has posts from a home inspector, lender, home-stager and a transitions coach. A well-rounded approach to your entire relocation process.
It’s written well and organized well, to boot, so as a consumer, there’s no wasted time trying to find content that’s useful.
Barker and Hedges sounds like a cheap pack of smokes, but it’s actually a real estate shop that has a very nice blog, Barker and Hedges Real Estate Blog . I came across this late in my search, and I’m glad I did.
It looks fabulous, with a great design and nice photos, and the content is incredibly useful to people looking at relocating to the Cities. Take this post — Twin Cities Blog Round-up . This kind of thing is de rigeur for most blogs (and yeah, I do it as well).
But it’s also good — well written with really interesting links about the Twin Cities that a newcomer would find very engaging and useful (that word again, useful). The writer clearly put a decent amount of research into it.
Other posts are also interesting, including extensive profiles of communities around the Twin Cities . Just one note to Barker, or Hedges, or whomever: throw some pics or maps in there. You’re punishing your writer — not to mention your readers — with having to produce so much text for something that can be best described with pictures.
Jennifer Kirby over at Minneapolis Real Estate Blog  does a nice job giving you a virtual tour of Minneapolis – she deals more with higher-end property. Her site still contains a wealth of information for people looking to buy and sell. She has a gift for writing and a knack for identifying all sorts of topics that come up when people enter the real estate game.
Also check out her blog Minneapolis Luxury Real Estate Blog . Busy busy is Miss Kirby.
Scott Ficek’s Minnesota Investment Property Blog  is geared more to the real estate investor, but it’s still an interesting read for would-be homeowners and do-it-yourselfers, and anyone who has renters. He has a great feature called Stupid Property Repairs,  many of which I’ve tried myself and can verify that yes, indeed, they are stupid, and often painful.
If you’re interested in the north metro area (don’t fret about the ‘north’ part, the south metro is nearly as damn cold as the north), check out Theresa Eckholm’s MN Real Estate Update Blog .
It’s definitely worth a look if you’re considering the northern part of the Twin Cities area, with some particularly good insight into areas of the market like foreclosed lakeshore properties,  which might appeal to second-home buyers looking for a bargain.
Finally, while not a real estate blog, it’s one of the best darn mortgage blogs you’ll find anywhere on the Web: Alex Stenback’s Behind the Mortgage . He makes mortgages come alive. Or at least doesn’t induce one into a coma. Let’s take what we can get.
There you have it. And I know I missed some fine blogs — I’m just one guy.
So help me out. If I missed a fine Website, instead of emailing me with your indignity, leave a comment here (with some indignity), or tell me about some other blogs that you like.
Tim Johnson — Editor, Relocation.com
Related article: The Best Chicago Real Estate Blogs