Our bank and the tree


It was 17 years ago this week that the house plant/tree in the photo on the left arrived at our front door. (Click to enlarge.)

So this morning, my wife Robbie and I hauled it down to First National Bank Northfield and posed with bank president Dave Shumway.


The bank gave the tree to us as a house-warming gift in 1990 because we got our mortgage (our second) through them. We’d also gotten a business loan from them — and managed to pay it off, even though the business failed. I think they were relieved since we were on the edge financially at the time. Becky Behrens was the bank’s mortgage specialist back then and still is, so if you’re in need of a mortgage, visit her personal real estate loans page. Just don’t ask her to toss a tree into the deal or I’ll get into trouble.

It’s quite a cool thing to be living in Northfield for 33 years and doing our banking with one bank the whole time.


1974 photo of house being moved

While digging through old photos and slides to show our kids and relatives during their xmas visit, I found the photo of our house being moved. And with it, a surprise. The photo is date-stamped, May 1974. Ironically, that was the same year we moved to Northfield. Click to enlarge. I don’t recognize the dirt street or the trees or the white structure in the background so that must have where the house was located… approximately where the site of the current McDonald’s is now on Hwy 3. The other photo (not dated) shows the house after it was painted and the garage was added… including the little second floor deck above the garage. Approximately ten years later, the porch on the north side of the house was added.

img_3986.JPG img_3987.JPG
We’ve been told that house was cut in half many years earlier and that that half was moved to its current location on Jefferson Road (two photos above).

Tilstra house for sale near Northfield

darwin_tilstra.jpgDarwin Tilstra took a walk through our house over the holidays. Darwin and his son Micha are fellow racquetball players. He’s also a coffeehouse laptop jockey like me, working as a as Genetic Improvement Manager for Norsvin USA.

tilstra_house1.jpgHe’s very interested in our house but he’s got one of his own on the market. So I thought I’d help him sell it!

Here’s a description on the Edina Realty listing page for the house:

Absolutely gorgeous country style home, redone from studs to redesigning & everything new. Very elegant with custom architecturally designed interview, from flooring to appliances to the solid oak throughout home. You have to see it to truly appreciate it.

11678 Kane Avenue Northfield, MN 55057
MLS#: 3095534
Price: $549,000
Contact: Brian Trebelhorn

For sale by owner (FSBO): $299,900

We’ve decided to sell our home ourselves — big surprise. Since I’m a blog coach, I’ve been itching to find out if a homeowner’s house-for-sale blog be an effective way to sell a house — especially in a buyer’s market like we’re currently experiencing.

Our asking price: $299,900. How did we arrive at that?

  • 2001 appraisal of $283,000; appreciation until late 2005 but then a buyer’s market in the past year
  • $80,000 of hailstorm repairs (new roof, siding, gutters, screens, windows, ceilings)
  • Comparison to other houses currently on the market in the 55057 Northfield zip code. According to Realtor.com, as of today, there are 312 single-family homes for sale in 55057, and 27 single-family homes in the $275,000 to $325,000 range.
  • In that batch of 27, there appears to be only one older-style home similar to ours. It’s at 407 6th St E, MLS ID#: 3294142, listed for $309,900 by RE/MAX Results / The Kuyper Group, which has a more detailed listing of that house here.
  • We think their house has some advantages over ours: new floors, central air, concrete driveway. We think our house has some advantages over theirs: Victorian-style exterior, full ‘new’ basement, much larger lot (86 x 165 vs theirs at 65 x 99).
  • We could easily justify pricing our house the same, i.e., $10,000 more than we’re asking. But with 26 other houses on the market in this price range, it seems prudent to be a little more aggressive on price.

This week I’ll investigate getting a FSBO yard sign with a brochure dispenser, as well a directional sign for the end of our street where it intersects with Woodley. And once I get the brochure done, we’ll tack up a few on public bulletin boards around the Northfield area — various coffeehouses, grocery stores, etc. We’ve already notified the colleges, Carleton and St. Olaf.

In January, we’ll place the house on Mpls/Twin Cities Craigslist (where it’ll also end up on the map mashup HousingMaps.com) and then maybe pay an FSBO service the fee to get it listed on the MLS. In the meantime…

Call now!! Operators are standing by!! Not available in stores!!