Frequently Asked Questions
The Minneapolis and Saint Paul Home Tour is an annual event that promotes city living. The tour brings thousands of home enthusiasts together for a weekend of sharing home remodeling ideas. The tour is sponsored by the Planning and Economic Development departments of both cities, local financial institutions, developers, contractors and other businesses. The home tour’s most important partners, of course, are the homeowners who volunteer to open their homes.
The Minneapolis & Saint Paul Home Tour is FREE to visitors. The focus is on homeowners sharing their experiences and ideas; even where contractors are present, so are the homeowners. Projects range from large to small and cover a wide range of housing eras, where other tours may show just new, luxury or historic homes. The homes are all within the city limits of Minneapolis or Saint Paul. There are some geographic clusters of homes, but the tour covers many neighborhoods. And it’s just one 11-hour weekend…not to be missed!
Homes will be open to visitors:
- Saturday, April 30, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Sunday, May 1, 2016 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The home tour will take place regardless of weather conditions.
The home tour is a free, self-guided event.
Find a printed guide (a tabloid-newspaper publication), which includes a description of each home and maps showing home locations, at libraries (selected Hennepin County and Minneapolis libraries, all Ramsey County and Saint Paul libraries) in the month before the tour, and at the homes themselves during the tour.
Look for Home Tour signs at major intersections directing you to the homes.
In most cases, homeowners greet visitors. Visitors can also speak informally with experts about home buying, remodeling and other topics. Visitors go on the tour to get remodeling ideas and learn about neighborhoods.
The tour features a variety of homes in neighborhoods throughout Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Homes on the tour are chosen to reflect the quality, variety and history of city housing, and living styles. By popular demand, the focus is on remodeling and expansion of existing, occupied homes…from a single room such as a kitchen or bath, to a multi-story addition or entire home renovation.
New homes selected are generally examples of energy-efficient or green construction, or non-profit and government-sponsored projects. For example, multi-family rental represents a current trend with significant impact on neighborhoods and transit.
City governments and non-profit development partners use the tour to talk about their renovation and building initiatives; often those properties are for sale. Private homeowner homes are not for sale.
The Tour encourages real estate professionals with listings nearby tour locations to have their listings open during the tour. The Tour is a great way to ask homeowners about neighborhood flavor.
Selected libraries in Minneapolis and throughout the Hennepin County system, and all libraries in Saint Paul and Ramsey County carry the Guides starting in early April. Or, pick up a Guide at the first home you visit, based on what you find on this website.
The Tour’s many sponsors include the Planning and Economic Development departments of both cities, contractors, developers, financial institutions and other businesses.
The Tour was started in 1988 by the City of Minneapolis, joined in 1989 by the City of Saint Paul, with the common goal of encouraging homeowners to stay in the cities instead of moving to the suburbs. In 2003, the Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) took over management of the Tour, and when NRP ended, NRP selected Pro Media, Inc. to continue the coordination function.
The Minneapolis Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) was created in 1990 to revitalize the neighborhoods of Minneapolis and make them better places to live, work, learn and play. One of its major areas of focus was on improving the housing stock of the City. NRP became a major sponsor of the Home Tour in 1992 and provided funding and staff support to the City while the City served as the coordinator of the Tour.
As neighborhood organizations used their NRP monies for various programs to help renovate homes and complete other community improvement projects, the Minneapolis & Saint Paul Home Tour served as a showcase for these projects and the neighborhoods.
After the 2002 Home Tour, the elected leaders of Minneapolis decided to end the City’s coordination of the Home Tour. NRP staff and the NRP Policy Board felt that the Tour was a vital part of marketing the City to potential homeowners and decided to take over the coordination role and continue the Tour. Under NRP’s direction from 2003-2011 the tour evolved from being supported mostly by governments and non-profit agencies, to a Minneapolis and Saint Paul public/private partnership focused on showcasing homeowners and neighborhoods.
As NRP ended its operations as a multi-jurisdictional partnership and neighborhood revitalization program, it looked for an organization that could continue the Home Tour in the spirit and traditions of the past 24 years. It selected Pro Media Inc. to perform the coordination function because of the experience, commitment, knowledge and enthusiasm of its owners and staff.
-Former NRP Director Bob Miller
Life stage adaptations or construction. Example: Enlarging to accommodate growing families, or making handicapped-accessible. Most homes, even if one room is featured, have at least the main level open to view.
Live/work spaces — home office configurations and artist spaces. Second-story addition and basement or attic finishing have had much interest on recent tours, whether for live/work or just more livable space.
Homes within easy walking or driving distance of each other. Neighborhoods with three or more homes may receive special recognition in the Home Tour Guide.
“Cool factor,” or the draw of the unusual. Examples: Mansion, solar-powered home, architect-designed in an unusual setting or using non-traditional materials.
Remodeling/redecorating/restoring on a budget: Repurposing found objects, artistic and creative solutions done well.
Preservation and blending in: Restoration and preservation true to the era of the home, and remodeling that honors the scale and rhythm of the surrounding neighborhood.
Garages and accessory dwelling units. Garages with special purposes - living, hobby or work. Well-done rental properties of any size with unique stories.
LEED, GreenStar, GreenPath and other approaches that spark discussion of environmentally-friendly remodeling and new building.
Homeowners have found the tour to be a very rewarding and enjoyable experience. Many have met neighbors or other home enthusiasts as a result of having visited homes on the tour and want to “give back.” By promoting their neighborhoods and highlighting the quality of city living, owners help strengthen their neighborhoods and attract residents who help build and maintain healthy, vibrant communities. Homeowners who have lived through the dust and frustration of remodeling appreciate the positive comments offered by visitors. The tour provides a good incentive/deadline for completing projects whether by contractor or homeowner.
This is a tour of Real Homes, Real People, Real Ideas. It’s just as “real” to have concentrated on just one room at a time, as it is to have done the whole house. Typically one entire floor of the home is held open, even if one room such as the kitchen is the focus.
There is no charge for homeowners on the Tour, and homeowners will not receive money for having a home on the Tour. Many participants say it provides the incentive they’ve needed to get projects finished or the house cleaned, or leverage to get a contracted job done on time.
Commercial sponsors, such as the companies who have been involved in the home’s construction/remodeling, often help hold the homes open and have paid sponsorship opportunities available.
Those homes not involving professionals (and some that do) rely on family, friends, and neighborhood boosters to help staff the homes during the tour.
The Minneapolis & Saint Paul Home Tour’s theme involves homeowners being present. We do understand that one adult may need to focus on being with the children elsewhere during the tour. Some children will enjoy helping with the tour for a while.
Fill out the online form. Call coordinator Margo Ashmore at 612-867-4874 if you have any question whether your home would be a good candidate for the Tour.
Call coordinator Margo Ashmore at 612-867-4874 if you have any question whether your home would be a good candidate for the Tour, or to request an application form that can be filled out in Word. Or, if you want to just get it done now, Fill out the online form.
Typically, January 15 is the deadline for nominating a home for that year’s tour. This allows time to meet with the homeowners, organize the tour, line up the sponsorships and coordinate all levels of publicity. After January 15, homes may be accepted if they help to accomplish geographic distribution, clustering, and other Tour goals. Early submissions are encouraged so that they can be seen before January 15. The 2016 deadline is indeed January 15.
Contact Margo Ashmore at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive sponsor information. Sponsorships assure that the tour is professionally organized, managed and promoted.
Professionals are encouraged to help homeowners hold the homes open and have their promotional literature available at the homes. Sponsorship is highly recommended and reasonably priced. It is the only way to have a company’s name mentioned in the promotional materials of this highly-regarded, accessible tour.
Financial institutions, real estate professionals, development initiatives and other housing-related or city-living related concerns are also welcome to use this forum as sponsors.
Generally, homeowners are supported by their families, friends, and professionals who worked on their homes. But occasionally, a greeter is needed. Call Margo Ashmore at 612-867-4874 to register.