In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of diversity and inclusion in all aspects of society. This includes the realm of homeownership, where young BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) individuals play a crucial role. Empowering and supporting young BIPOC homebuyers is not only a matter of social justice but also has significant economic and societal benefits. 

ABC Realty was able to connect with a recent young BIPOC homebuyer, Marcus, where he was able to tell his story of how he utilized community resources to close on his first home. 

Marcus, can you explain what the homebuying process was like and how you got connected with your ABC Realty real estate agent, Seanne Thomas?

Honestly, it was a pain in the butt! We were looking at houses from September until December 30th before we settled on the home we chose. With every house there was a problem. Maybe the house would have cost me more money to set up, or for me to fix. Or maybe when we were ready to choose a home, someone already had purchased that home. 

My previous roommate was also looking for a home at the time, so they recommended Seanne Thomas. From then on, we began looking at the Rivoli homes coming up, there were also income-driven comes that we were looking at.  

I went with the NeighborWorks program that works with low- to moderate-incomes homes. I depended on the combination of both Seanne and other family members who have also owned a house. Since Seanne is more knowledgeable on the Minnesota market, I was able to ask, “Is this normal here?”

NeighborWorks Home Partner, how did you discover them and their ties with Habitat for Humanity?

I spoke with a home advisor, Jeff, that basically recommended me to reach out to Habitat for Humanity. They have a loan lending program, or NeighborWorks opportunity. This program had the lowest interest rate going because the housing interest rate was really high at the time. 

This process was the easiest of them all. They just needed my information. I would recommend this program to first-time homebuyers. If you have less debt and have a good financial standing, I’d recommended this program even more. From [trying to get my new] mortgage, to car payments, to student loans, this program helped me balance it all. This program goes based off of fixed monthly payments at no more than 30% of your income. 

I hear a little accent, what’s your background? How long have you been in the Twin Cities for?

I’m all the way from Albany, Georgia. I moved up here in 2019 and got my master’s degree. Trying to get your master’s degree and moving at the same time, was a little weird. The job market down in Georgia was not good for tech roles, versus coming here to Minnesota. Ironically enough, it was either Minnesota or New York. [My roommate and I] we ended up tossing some darts and we said, “whichever city it lands [on], it’s going to be a fresh start for everyone.” Once that was decided, I was just looking for jobs, especially after they started raising the rent in our current apartment. We ultimately came to the conclusion that after raising our rent, we might as well both get our own homes.

Tell us a bit about your home! What’s your favorite room in your home?

I have not stayed in the house yet, but I don’t recommend moving in the winter! I’m still moving things in. It’s in Saint Paul and the neighborhood seems pretty quiet. I have seen different animals these days.

My [soon-to-be] game room/office is my favorite room! I’m going to be playing my Naruto games for sure. I’m hoping to get a better PC so I can play even more games.

What were you looking for in a home versus what you might have had to possibly compromise on?

Before my compromises, I wanted a four bedroom, two baths, and a basement. After the compromises and prices, I pulled back to three rooms, and I could possibly turn the basement into a fourth bedroom or guest room. For the price that I got the house, there’s a garage also detached. For the bathroom I didn’t get, I did get a garage and there’s lots of space in the attic.

What do you recommend for other young BIPOC folks that may also be first-time homebuyers?

I would definitely recommend to do your research and make sure you get your home inspection.

Dayton's Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services Plans Development with $7M NMTC Allocation • Smith NMTC Associates, LLC

Empowering young BIPOC homebuyers is essential for creating a more inclusive and equitable society. By providing opportunities for homeownership, we can promote economic empowerment, community stability, representation, and work towards closing the racial wealth gap. It is crucial for policymakers, lenders, and community organizations to collaborate and implement initiatives that remove barriers and provide support to young BIPOC individuals on their journey to homeownership. Together, we can create a future where everyone has an equal opportunity to achieve the dream of owning a home for future generations. 

We have been receiving tons of questions on the Rivoli Revival! Due to unfortunate events, the Rivoli houses will be delayed until spring 2022. Continue to keep an eye out for our updates on the project and contact us for any information about the houses.

There is some good news about the development of the Hillcrest site. Janet Leadholm has worked hard at recreating a new plan for the site and is working to get this plan out to the public for support. To view Janet’s plan in comparison to the plan the city has in place, scroll below! The photos appear small but click on them for a better view.

You can email Janet Leadholm at or our Broker, Seanne Thomas, if you want more information on the development of the Hillcrest site.

As June comes to a close, we want to share some of the highlights we recognize this month.

First, June is when we celebrate Juneteenth. It marks the day the word of freedom reached the last enslaved people in Galveston Texas in 1865, more than 2 years since the emancipation proclamation was put into place. Though we celebrate Juneteenth as a victory out of enslavement, the oppression of the black community has taken many other forms that we still work tirelessly to end. Today we celebrate all the hard work of not only us, but of our ancestors.
We also celebrated the entire month in recognition of our LGBTQ+ community! Did you know that we celebrate June as Pride Month because of a black bisexual trans woman? ?️‍? It all started when Marsha P Johnson threw a brick at police in a revolt against their violence to the LGBTQ+ community.
Home ownership rates for LGBTQ+ are still low due to discrimination. Regardless, ABC Realty has worked with many people in the LGBTQ+ community to become homeowners! We also have agents who are LGBTQ+ to work personally with you!
This month we recongnize the oppression the community has faced and still faces daily, and we stand in solidarity with you ❤️?????

Many exciting updates came out of April!

First, our Broker, Seanne Thomas, got nominated as the honorable SPAAR Hero for the amazing work ABC Realty has done for the community; Particularly for our role in becoming a launchpad for young professionals starting their careers.

Click the link below to watch the video on YouTube!

Second, an update on the Village on Rivioli modular solar-powered homes:
Last month, crews started building the first two houses. The south-facing end of the house will be covered with solar panels that are expected to generate most, if not all, the power that’s used by residents.These houses are among the biggest single-family affordable developments in St.Paul for decades. Buyers can earn no more than 80% of the local area median income. For a family of four, that’s $78,500, and the houses will be priced less than $250,000. But just because it’s affordable, doesn’t mean it can’t be quality! With a star architect and high-end materials and construction techniques, the project shatters many of the stereotypes about the quality and character of affordable housing.


Lastly, ABC Realty is teaming up with YardHomes MN to bring you a new type of unit coming to the Twin Cities! Their spacious, single level unit is great if you’re looking for a gorgeous newly built home at a fraction of the cost.  This can potentially be used as an ADU (accessory dwelling unit) on your property to use as an office space, guest-house, or space for a son or daughter moving back home. Even if you love your current home, what’s better than a get-away? Use this up-north as your family cabin!


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After a full year in the pandemic, how is the spring 2021 real estate market? Like so many other industries, the housing market was not exempt from Covid-19’s effects. Remarkably, the residential real estate market (including existing homes and new construction) has flourished over the last twelve months. Sales are up, prices are appreciating, and more new homes are being built. The housing market has been a pillar of strength in an otherwise slowly recovering economy. New listings and showings are up since last year, and homes in St. Paul receives 6 offers on average and sells in around 31.5 days. This is down from an average of 41 days on the market in 2020 and 45 days in 2019! The average sale price of a home in St. Paul was $238K last month, up 6.3% since last year. The average sale price per square foot in St. Paul is $164, up 10.4% since last year. The market is clearly still in the seller’s favor. Home prices continue to rise while interest rates remain low and home buyers continue to chase opportunities to buy a house. Buyers who wait for price reductions or open houses will miss out. We have never seen anything like the current housing market, but we hope it is here to stay! Stay tuned for upcoming listings on the Village on Rivoli and  across Scattered Sites this Spring 2021.


February is Black History Month, an annual celebration which calls on all Americans to reflect on the significant roles that African-Americans have played in shaping US history. We take this time to celebrate being the only black female owned full service brick and mortar brokerage in the Twin Cities.

 As ABC Realty is expanding, we are becoming known as a launch pad to young professionals starting their career. Empowering young adults to find and keep meaningful employment through mentorship, guided community justice work, and career navigation. 

We have two new POC members, Mikayla Patrick and Monet Auguston! Mikayla is the new Operations and Social Media Manager and Monet is our newest Agent on the sales team. As members they will have the opportunity to utilize all of the resources the Brokerage presents.  

While we are excited to gain members, we are also losing a few valued parts of our team. Mhonpaj, Ismail and Ben will no longer be working for this brokerage; though they will all still work with the lovely East Side community in other facets. 

Mhonpaj, one of our highest esteemed Realtors, was a top producer as a six figure agent, bringing 104k in commissions last year alone. You can find Mhonpaj at Home Sellers Realty, or at her farm which has been infamously named “Mhonpaj’s Garden.” 

Ismail, one of our Operations Managers, can be found working as an Engagement Specialist with Minnesota HomeOwnership Center continuing the work for equity and equality for the East Side.

Ben, our other Operations Manager, will continue working as the leader of the East Side Housing Justice Coalition which stemmed directly out of ABC Realty’s justice work. He is based out of the East Side Freedom Library, which has a mission to inspire solidarity, advocating for justice and work toward equity for all. 

Both Ben and Ismail’s new positions are a direct result of the amazing justice work they were able to accomplish through ABC Realty. The Brokerage is a platform to mold and build young professionals, allowing them to get the real life experience they need to put on their resumes and expand into their future.  

Rooted in community, ABC Realty is vested in giving opportunities to both community members and people of color,  making sure they are represented in the work we do here. 

When you support this Brokerage, you are supporting the work we do to uplift and change the lives of young people in the community. 

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking with Ricky at Mosaic Christian Community. Mosaic has been doing some interesting things in the community. For example, they started a program where houseless single mothers can use Mosaic’s parking lot to stay in their cars overnight. Recently there has been a new feature in Mosaic’s parking lot, tiny homes! Like many residents, we were curious as to why there were tiny homes parked at Mosaic. It turns out that Mosaic has partnered with a local organization Settled that constructs tiny homes to house homeless people. In speaking Ricky I found out that Mosaic was contacted by Settled to help them with this project. Going beyond just housing homeless folks settled seeks to create community. In the six tiny homes that will be placed on Mosaic’s lot, two of them will be inhabited by people who were not homeless. “don’t look at it as just a tiny home or some church in a neighborhood, all people are welcome here!” Ricky stated on our call. Like Mosaic, Settled puts community first and that is why it is so important that people housed become part of it. Ricky told me that those housed are already connected to Settled and have been selected by the organization for placement. Residents will pay rent and utilities, this is a long term solution as opposed to short term shelter. When I asked Ricky why Settled uses churches to build their tiny homes he said it’s due to the fact that there are federal exemptions that allow them to build. As of now, there are still more tiny homes being built at Mosaic. I asked Ricky if there was one thing you could say to everyone reading what would it be? he told me that “You are worth it and we love you”, fitting words for an institution that is a cornerstone of its neighborhood. If you’d like to learn more about Mosaic Christian Community or Settled I’ve attached links below!

Mosaic Christian Community


Thinking about how to help your neighbors during tough times? Here are some tips to take care of the people around you:

1. Call your elderly and immunocompromised neighbors and see if they need any supplies or help. The elderly and immunocompromised are especially at risk right now so if you can drop off some supplies, it will help keep your neighbors safe.

2. Not all your neighbors can afford to stay home, so if you can lend a hand with child care or delivering hot meals, it can make a big difference for others.

3. Practice good hygiene and washing hands for 20 seconds (That’s the happy birthday song twice!).
Not only is good hygiene good for you, but it protects your community as well.

The beginning of March is a great time to get your garden going. We here at ABC Realty have ordered quite a few types of seeds to plant in our gardens. One of our realtors, Mhonpaj even runs her own farm called Mhonpaj’s Garden.

If you’ve ever dreamed of having your own garden, the spring is a great time to buy a home with space for one, or upgrade to a bigger plot. Call us today for all your real estate needs!



It’s March! Spring is here! We want to remind you about a few easy Spring cleaning activities you can do to maintain and beautify your home!
1. Clean your gutters. Dirty gutters are an eyesore and a liability for you or your buyers. Cleaning your gutters takes less than an hour, and helps prevent flooding in your yard.
2. Repair your windows and screens. Make sure to replace damaged windows and screens so you can enjoy that fresh spring air. Damaged windows and screens lower the curb appeal of your home.
3. Once the snow melts, make sure your lawn is up to snuff. Rake away leaves and clutter to dry your lawn out so it isn’t a muddy mess.
As always, call us today for any of your real estate needs.

Hello Minnesota! Spring is around the corner. Do you know what that means? Grilling. Look at these delicious burgers smoking up on that grill. Can you imagine how delicious they are? And you know what? I don’t even eat meat! But I’m still excited about the prospect of grilling up a storm. What would make that experience even better? Grilling in your own home. Aren’t you tired of renting? It’s becoming cheaper to own than rent, giving you more money for that sizzlin’ grill. Call us today for all your real estate needs!



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