Recent MLS Changes Impact Areas of Como Park – Part 1

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The MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is used by Real Estate Agents to list homes for sale as well as search For homes for prospective buyers.

In mid-September, a significant change was made to the way homes are listed on its service.

For years, homes fell into what were called MLS Districts. Some districts contained one community, others more than one. Some agents as well as the MLS Board of Governors felt that there were problems with homes being listed in the wrong MLS areas, and that the MLS District system itself and its boundaries were “arbitrary” and in need of a change.

So the change was made. Now homes are listed by “neighborhood” instead of by MLS District.

In some areas this works like a dream, but in others, including areas of Como Park, it’s hurting more than it’s helping. In fact, it could be argued that the City District boundaries by which the MLS is now defining neighborhoods are even more arbitrary than the old MLS districts. This is no more evident than by the fact that homes on West Como Boulevard, with direct views of Como Lake and Park will currently not show up for an agent searching strictly in the “Como” neighborhood. They would have to search “North End/South Como” to find them. But this latter “neighborhood” includes homes as far east as Rice Street and beyond.

Many hundreds of homes were purchased by homebuyers believing they would be living in Como Park. This recent change may have a drastic impact on that reality.

I myself have lived in and worked as an Realtor in this newly defined neighborhood for years. So I admit both a personal and professional interest in this issue.

Please leave any thoughts/comments you may have in the area below. We will be compiling feedback to forward to the relevant parties. If you’d like to speak to me directly, please feel free to contact me at (651) 442-0829.

Thank you for your attention!

Shawn Korby

45 thoughts on “Recent MLS Changes Impact Areas of Como Park – Part 1

  1. Ronald Okenfuss says

    Looking at Como Lake from my desk as I type this – Saint-paul-real-estate.com has a slightly different border that includes the narrow wedge that is right on the park – Como Ave from Chatsworth to Como and goes down to the BNSF tracks. Maybe some of the change referred to district 6 boundaries where this same South Como neighborhood is added to the Rice street focussed Dist. 6 so it has more funding?

  2. Kathryn Raths says

    Who makes these apparently arbitrary decisions? Now ,after 55 years in Como Park my neighborhood is assigned to the North End or South Como Park!!! The last time I looked I didn’t see Como Lake, the Como Zoo, Como Park Pavilion or the cornerstone on Horton and Como make any geographical change. Or was there an overthrow of a neighborhood entity that surreptitously moved for a monetary reason? Leave the neighborhoods alone MLS!!!!!

    Kathryn Raths

  3. I can see Lake Como from our front yard. We are actually west of Lake Como. We are 2-1/2 blocks from the Lake. Most of South Como is much farther from the Lake. I don’t like this decision at all and petition for a change. It affects my home’s value.

  4. Pat Owen says

    I’m in the block that sits between the lake and the park, right in the middle of the Como Park. How can I not be in “Como Park”-? This does not make geographical sense.

  5. Therese kelly says

    The lake is across the street from our house, how is that not Como Park? I would have to guess that most realtors are not happy about losing some valuable Como inventory either. I should think that since we are no longer in Como Park that perhaps our taxes should be lowered.

  6. Laurie Hertzel says

    I don’t understand this decision. I don’t understand who made it, or why they made it. Our house is directly across the street from the area of Como Park that is known as Chatsworth Woods. We are right *on* the park! How can they cut us out of the neighborhood?

    We have no plans to sell our house any time soon and maybe his won’t affect our property value. But this is a matter of community cohesiveness and neighborliness, too; we live on the park; we walk through the park daily; this is our neighborhood. I don’t appreciate a bunch of realtors deciding that it’s not.

    Why was this changed? What reason was given? How can we change it back?

  7. Here’s the deal… As of SEP 2011, the year to date average sale price for COMO is $156,951. The average year to date sale price for North End is $80,163. Likewise, the cost per sq ft in Como is $129/ft, where avg Cost per sq ft in North End is $72/ft. I estimate about 1946 homes to be located in the shaded areas. For the obvious reasons, I think this needs to be changed back.

  8. Deb Nugent says

    Shawn,
    Thank you for bringing this information forward to the community. This information is very concerning for those of us who live in the area formerly known as “Como Park”.
    I live 2 blocks away from the park and take full advantage of the park daily. It sadens me that this decision was made and has the potential to impact our property values. Please keep us posted on how we can impact a change to reverse this decision.

  9. Debbie Prokopf says

    I don’t understand who benefits from this change. We bought our house because of its proximity to the park (less than 1/2 block away) and our appraisal noted that the proximity to the park greatly enhanced its value. This change only hurts us and benefits no one else.

  10. Susan Janda says

    Shawn(s): Thank you for starting this site and some collection of responses. I think it would be helpful for future visitors to have the dollar figures you mentioned in a post above placed at the top, in case they don’t happen on them in past post as I did. They are significant.

    The new MLS districts are based on the city’s designated districts. These are homes in District 6. These homes are in Como Park. District 6 reflects far less of Como Park than District 10, which is almost exclusively Como Park, and in which the park proper lies.

    If our homes will be subject to Park traffic and other issues, we want the right to vote in the District in which the park lies.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Therese: the city should lower our taxes as our values have dropped. Or rightfully categorize us, and keep their tax money.

  11. Donovan Hannu says

    We look out our front window directly at Lake Como. We walk across the street and cross-country ski in the park. This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

  12. Amanda Elkin says

    I agree that this recategorization is not logical and will hurt the values of the homes affected. How could a home as far east as Jackson be considered part of South Como? A huge selling point for me when I purchased my home was its proximity to the park & lake. Without this designation in the MLS, I feel that my home will now be overlooked and also be put at a lower price point.

    In my opinion, there should be 2 neighborhoods – Como Park and North End. The South Como component should be removed. The Como Park east boundary should be Dale Street (including everything west of Dale), and south down to Front or Pierce Butler. The North End should be everything east of Dale. This would make much more sense and would protect property values in our neighborhood.

    • Chuck Wollmering says

      Thanks for your concern! I live just east of Dale street and we where in Como when we bought the house in 1983. Your attitude is like the group who wanted to dump us to save your values in the “park”. You are as bad as the people who started the stupid idea. At least you admit it is for your property value you are willing to shit on all of us just east of Dale. The wheellock bluff should be used as it always was, the Como boundary, when we bought the house.

  13. MaryLynn Rosen says

    WHO makes these changes??Don’t we get a vote??
    I live on Barrett st just 2 blocks from the lake.Now I will not be listed as in Como Park. I have lived here almost 20 years.I bought my home due to the higher resale value and perks of being listed as in Como Park.
    Now my property value is much lower for 2 reasons – economy and this MLS listing, but then MLS screwed themselves too, because lower property value equals lower commission.

  14. Shawn Korby says

    Thank you to everyone that has left comments on this blog, as well as to those of you that I have spoken to. I also wanted everyone to know that I spoke with someone from the Park Bugle newspaper this morning regarding this issue. He told me he intended to speak to someone on the MLS board of directors to get their side of the story as well. Hopefully we can get some attention paid to this matter and see some action in the right direction! Thank you again!

  15. Paula Kelty says

    We are disappointed to see this change. I bought my house 12 years ago. One of the primary reasons for buying this particular house was because of its very close proximity to Como Park.
    I do hope we can make a change to this decision.

  16. Paul Jardine says

    This does not appear to have any rational purpose. Presumably there is some benefit to someone regarding this. It appears that those of us affected are on the losing side of something. (Not to mention how idiotic it is that I am three doors from Como Park and not considered in that district, whereas someone living on the corner of Snelling and Hoyt is.)

  17. Patti Rud says

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. With life as hectic as it is for everyone these days, it could have been easy for home owners to miss this… only to wake up to the travesty while trying to refinance or sell.
    I pulled down the demographic grids on the two districts, District 10 that we use to be in, and District 6, the new district that we are suddenly in. The differences are huge and very concerning to anyone that is looking to sell now or in the future. Discerning buyers absolutely review neighborhood demographic information prior to purchasing and this shift will absolutely hurt those of that are in the “shifted” area.
    Questions:
    Was there an opportunity for impacted residents to voice there opinion? If so, how were they advertised?
    What steps can we take to start the process to getting this shifted back?
    Personally, I wouldn’t think that the city/mayor would want the neighborhood surrounding the “GEM OF THE CITY” – Como Park – to be devalued in any way.
    Como lake is out our front door, we are just steps from the walk path, we are 1 block from the pavilion, we are 1 block from the park. Our street address is Como Blvd West… yet we don’t live in Como Park?
    Thanks for your feedback.

  18. Patti Rud says

    Just to add to my previous comments, the demographic info I am looking at are things that are typical indications of stability for a neighborhood… home ownership vs rentals, etc. Things new buyers generally care about. None of the measurements I looked at favored a SHIFT from District 10 to District 6. thx…

  19. Kristi Herman Hill says

    I live on Van Slyke Ave a block from Como Lake and have been in the neighborhood for six years. I’m very unhappy with this decision and would like an explanation as to why it was made. My husband and I bought our house based on its location in Como Park and potential resale value. It’s ridiculous that a house a block away from Como Park wouldn’t show up in a search for Como Park homes.

  20. Eric Neumann says

    Shawn,
    I believe we met. You were at the closing of our house when we bought it this June. One of the biggest reasons we bought this house was because it resides in the Como Park neighborhood. Now, suddenly a few months after we bought our home, it’s not Como Park any more? Why weren’t the people that live in these neighborhoods informed of even the possibility of it being rezoned? This is very disheartening.

  21. Jana Soiseth says

    We walk to Como Park every weekend and we’re 1 block from the lake. To not be considered part of Como Park is unbelievable. When we purchased our home 8 years ago, we were Como Park and still should be. We are closer to the park and the lake than over half of the homes in the new MLS map. If people are looking for a home in Como Park, located near the lake, we would be one of them. Now they’ll never find us. This is outrageous!

  22. Greg Sallee says

    As what looks to be the 22nd reply it’s all been said already. I too am disappointed. Please keep me and everyone else in the loop if there’s anything we can do. Calls, letters, emails and so forth.

  23. James Ruttley says

    I echo the sentiments already raised by my neighbors. This is a remarkably silly boundary change which I would suspect is linked at some level to a person or organization who stands to gain from the change; it clearly delivers no benefit to the residents of the area.

  24. Rebecca Foss says

    I find in ironic that this change in the MLS listing has occurred at the same time as our neighborhood on the South side of the Lake installed stone and mosaic pillars celebrating our role as the Southern Gateway to Lake Como and Como Park. While Chatsworth Park/Van Slyke and the Railroad tracks may make convenient boundaries to arbitrarily designate one area as Como Park, and the others as not Como Park, they do not change the geographical distance involved. We lived 3 blocks from Lake Como before the change, and now, we still live 3 blocks from Lake Como! For those families wishing to purchase a home near Lake Como, removing every home South of the Lake from that listing search is a huge disservice.

  25. Frank Strohmayer says

    Living two blocks from the gates of Como Park for the past 42 years I am a Como resident not a Northender. As others have mentioned I like it the way it is now because we have no connection to Rice Street and the North End.

  26. Tim Silverthorn says

    I live on Kilburn Street one-half block from Como Park. I’ve corresponded several times with Lee Helgen on this issue and Lee Cc’d me on his email to MLS from city council. His email to MLS was about resolution 9 to update city maps to say North End/South Como for Area 6 and requests that MLS cross index the South Como area in MLS searches for Como. I told Lee that this solution, no doubt the easy route for the city council, will result in a convoluted database system for MLS if they even can or will agree to it, and it will be an impermanent solution. The solution that makes more sense is to annex the South Como/Warrendale neighborhoods to Como. Annexation would leave the Como and North End neighborhoods side-by-side in symmetrical squares of equal size. The sliver extending from North End westward to Lexington is an aberration rooted in the historical path of development. It no longer makes sense. If you would like to read the whole transcript of my correspondence with Helgen, which has far more nuance and detail about the issues involved, I’ve posted it here: http://personal.stthomas.edu/tasilverthor/southcomo.htm

    I supported Lee Helgen for the last two elections and on some things I think he’s done a good job but it may be worth noting that his primary opponent, Amy Brendmoen, lives in Warrendale and supports annexation. I hate to turn anything into a one issue election but I wonder if Lee has underestimated how important this is and how seriously the affected neighbors are taking this.

    Tim Silverthorn
    nstead.

  27. Ryan McGuire says

    This is silly! I’m very surprised by the lack of knowledge by people living in this area! You have lived in the North End South Como Neighborhood for years…the MLS is the only thing changing, not the city neighborhood designation, if your realtor is worth his/her money than you will be fine, you can still look at
    the lake, take a walk in the park, blah blah blah, and buyers are going to know this.

    As a person who happens to live a few houses east of Dale, I tell people that I live near como, even though I’m actually a northender and it doesn’t effect my property values…and I get to live in a community where people actually care more about each other as opposed to only their property values!

  28. Councilmember Lee Helgen says

    In 1975 the City Council passed a resolution creating the citizen participation process which led to the creation of our district council system. There is a 10-step process for establishing district councils and a suggested procedure for settling boundary disputes.

    It is important to note that each district council is an independent non-profit organization with an elected board of directors. Any change in district council boundaries would need to actively involve all of the affected councils. The City provides funding to district councils for citizen participation and crime prevention work. This funding is allocated using a formula that sets a base allocation for smaller district councils and uses a set of weighted factors for the larger district councils. It is likely that any substantial change in the population of a district council would impact funding allocations and may require a larger conversation amongst the 17 district councils.

    One of the key roles for the district councils relates to citizen participation in developing large area plans and plan amendments/updates. These community-driven plans are reviewed by the planning commission and forwarded to the City Council for approval. These plans are also used to develop the City of Saint Paul Comprehensive Plan which is updated every ten years and submitted to the Metropolitan Council.

    Additionally, the City of Saint Paul and other community organizations collect long-term trend data using the district council planning boundaries. This data is often used to support grant applications as well as when seeking federal or state funding for community development projects or when planning for service delivery.

    I understand that recent changes in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) neighborhood definitions are creating some concerns related to marketing and selling of homes, particularly in the South Como neighborhood. The Northstar MLS is a private organization that is accountable to a board of governors, who are representatives of the various realtor associations and industry professionals. The City Council did pass a resolution and sent a letter requesting that Northstar MLS update their neighborhood descriptors to more accurately reflect North End/South Como and to change its search criteria to allow for South Como homes to show up when real estate agents or homebuyers are searching for properties in the Como area. It is my understanding that the neighborhood name was recently updated and I am aware that several real estate agents are working through their associations on how properties are listed. Given the nature of the MLS changes across the city of Saint Paul, I have suggested that realtors’ associations spend some time educating their members about how to more effectively search for properties where district council geography encompasses more than one neighborhood, or where the old MLS lines crossed multiple district council boundaries.

    I have also heard about the desire from several South Como residents to have better access to information and input on matters affecting Como Regional Park. Both District 6 and District 10 are regularly provided with information about projects and events occurring within the park. For South Como residents who would like to become more involved, I would encourage them to run for a seat on the District 6 Board of Directors or join the District 6 Land Use Committee. Because Como Regional Park is rather unique given the level of usage, the type of amenities, the range of programming options and its location, the City recently created a Como Regional Park Advisory Committee whose membership includes a number of stakeholder interests, and representatives from both District 6 and District 10.

    Over the past several months, I have been looking at ways to address neighborhood concerns. In terms of next steps, I would recommend that neighbors express their concerns about the recent changes to the MLS system to John Mosey, President of Northstar MLS at 651.251.5456. Regarding the possibility of changing the district council boundaries, I believe that you should begin by making a request to the District 6 Board of Directors to schedule a time when this matter could be placed on the agenda to allow for public comment and to evaluate the impact of changing boundaries. Given the City of Saint Paul’s long history of supporting the district council system, it would be important for both District 6 and District 10 to weigh in on this matter and explore options that would meet community needs and expectations.

    I hope that this is helpful as you engage in discussion with your neighbors.

    Respectfully,

    Lee Helgen
    Councilmember, Ward 5

  29. Ben Nakagaki says

    This is an upsetting turn of events and thank you for alerting us to the situation. I broke my ankle last June, but my wife, daughter, and I still went to Como at least 5 times a week throughout the summer. We’re at Como so much we made a movie about it on our blog. It seems quite unrealistic for a 1-year-old and a guy with a broken ankle to do this if we didn’t live in the Como neighborhood. Outrageous!

    This change really makes no sense to me, who or what is driving this? Thanks again for the heads-up and keep us in the loop on how to fight this change.

  30. The old MLS districts were fraught with problems. The new alignment with city-defined neighborhood boundaries has its own set of issues, but it at least has basis for where the lines are drawn.

    Ultimately though your home has not moved, your lifestyle has not changed. I don’t suspect prices to change either because of this change.

    People looking to buy a home today have a million resources to learn about neighborhoods and regularly search by maps instead of districts. Many of my clients are doing “bird’s eye” views of these homes and then driving by them too before we ever go look.

    As we all know, neighborhoods often do change from one street to the next… no matter what district they are named or what side of a boundary line they are on.

    • Hi Aaron, Thanks for posting, while I agree with you about the old MLS being “fraught with problems” and the rest of your post, I’ll respectfully disagree with you about this Specific area (COMO) in terms of value and how homes are sold. I have sold many many homes in COMO over the years. With this new change, the average home shopper for COMO, using MLS/IDX searches is going to far less likely to type in North End/ South Como if they are looking for COMO. For example, buyers will go to sites like Edinarealty.com and type in the main bar COMO, up pops a framed in area called como, which excludes the homes that have been listed and sold as COMO for many years in this affected (changed) area. The difference historically, in terms of value from COMO to North End is listed on part 2 of this post http://www.saint-paul-homes.com/como-moved/just-moved-part-2. So, values could easily be affected by the real potential of not exposing the COMO Park buyer pool to these areas. You know as well as I do that urban neighborhoods can change quickly, sometimes block to block. Buyer pools change very quickly as well. How information is categorized and organized on MLS has huge effects on where and how buyers search. I’m 100% certain of this. The best solution is to put the old MLS boundaries back in place. Thanks for posting Aaron!

  31. ashok sabherwal says

    I do not approve of the recent change that moved my house at 1414 MACIUBIN ST out of the MLS for Como Park – I would not have this house if it was not listed in the original MLS for Como Park.

    This seems pretty arbitrary and is tantamonunt to changing horses midstream!

    Please review this change – and reverse it under intimation to all those affected. Thank you very much.

  32. Paul Reps says

    The changes to the MLS make finding a listing more difficult for buyers, likely will hurt property values for sellers, and are a disservice to all.

    Too many people are looking at this issue as a matter of politics. To me this is about buying and selling houses. The MLS should draw lines according to what drives demand for a particular neighborhood. Houses near Como Park often sell because they are near a great park.

    When I was searching for properties close to Como Park, I was able to just choose the Como park neighborhood and I got listings that were, by golly, close to Como Park. Now if I were searching for homes near Como Park I’d have to search two different districts and skip past listings that are nowhere near the desired location.

    For the buyers, this is not progress. The MLS has simply made it more difficult to find appropriate listings.

    For sellers who wish to highlight their proximity to a very desirable park, they are now lumped in with listings that are nowhere near the park. Being close to something desirable isn’t the same as being listed within a desirable neighborhood.

    I bought my home in the area formerly known as Como only a year and half ago. Simply put, I would not have paid as much had an identical property been listed in the now defunct Marydale area. The neighborhood a house lists in matters to buyers.

    I would be more understanding of these changes if they had been done to squeeze out properties on the outer edges of the Como neighborhood. There are houses literally within sight of the park that are no longer part of the listing for houses near the park. I can’t believe that I had to type such a self contradictory sentence.

    All that has been accomplished by these changes has been to make the Como Park neighborhood smaller and to expand the former Marydale area into a mess of confusion.

    Many buyers who are looking for properties near Como Park won’t bother with checking the listings within the South Como/North End (again with the self contradictory wording) neighborhood. For buyers who do not care if they are or are not near Como Park, the former Marydale area has been expanded to the point of unwieldiness.

    To summarize, the value of my home will be hurt, buyers are faced with more confusion than clarity, and no one benefits. The MLS is a consumer service. It is currently doing a disservice to their users. I hope that the MLS reconsiders their recent changes and I kindly ask that my local representatives in government stay out of the business affairs of the MLS moving forward.

  33. S Lampman says

    We’ve looked out on Como Lake for 36 years… yet we don’t live in Como Park????? This is ridiculous.
    While I appreciate Lee Helgen’s comments, many people begin their search for homes themselves and aren’t as savvy as realtors in terms of using the various search engines. North End does NOT describe my neighborhood, and I hope the City Council changes that designation. By the way, I did call MLS a couple weeks ago and was told their designations follow Saint Paul’s neighborhood designations, so I hope whatever Council representative is elected sees to it that people living near Como Park are actually considered Como Park neighbors.

  34. Eric Erickson says

    I have read or scanned most of the 38 responses previous to mine. I see great momentum to fight for South Como with the goal of getting it reestablished as “Como.” I can’t argue with the logic of that. It should be Como. There are only a couple of concerns posted from people who live east of Dale, north of Wheelock, which has also been rezoned. I would like to state that this area is also worth fighting for and should be reestablished as Como. As a resident of that area, our connection to the lake and park is strong. It is where we go and what we access, and what should be advertised in real estate listings for our properties. Thank you for being concerned about this MLS change and please keep us updated as to what we can do to keep our real estate designation as “COMO PARK”

  35. Cynthia Nieman says

    We who live within eyeshot of Elmhurst Cemetary, North Dale Recreation Center, and 6 blocks from Como Park consider ourselves to be located in Como Park. Do not change this. This has been my home since 1992 and I love it here. I consider myself a resident of Como Park and am proud of my neighborhood even though I live 1 1/2 blocks east of Dale. All of the residence in this neigborhood respect our homes and are proud to be here and to call ourselves part of the Como Park area. Leave it alone.

  36. Jennifer says

    We are fairly new to what was once considered the Como Park neighborhood. We bought our home a year and a half ago and while searching the MLS and viewing potential homes, we narrowed our search to the Como Park neighborhood specifically. We know the area and of course would recognize that parts of the new South Como neighborhood (which now includes our home, just blocks from the lake) would generate results within the area we were looking to live in, but someone who is not familiar with St. Paul might not be attune to such caviots while searching. Rice Street is great, but if you’re looking for homes near Como and an MLS search produces homes near Rice, there will inevitably be confusion and frustration.

  37. S Gindorff says

    Thanks to all for the community concern around this issue of changing boundaries. We would agree that the new ‘North End/South Como’ area should remain part of the Como Park MLS listings. We live 2 blocks south of the lake and are greatly affected by all that goes on at the pool/soccer fields/zoo/park areas of Como Park. We have more access to the park than many of the homes south of Larpenteur that are north of the lake and, therefore, are greatly impacted by decisions that are made for Como Park. Traffic will increase greatly in our neighborhood as the pool opens next spring, as we are only 1 block from the pool. Our neighborhood can’t possibly be considered NOT in Como Park. We would put our vote in for reconsidering this change.

  38. Shawn Korby says

    I just finished taping an interview with KSTP News 5 on this topic. Reporter said they are planning on airing it on the 6:00 news (11/30/11). He also said it will be available later at kstp.com.

  39. Amy Ekberg says

    I appreciate being kept up to speed on what’s happening with my home and it’s MLS listening. I live just East of Dale, a mile from the park and see no change in neighborhood walking from my home to the park. I agree this is not good for home buyers who use the MLS to search and aren’t aware of what the nature of this neighborhood is, or what it’s called.

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