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What It’s Like Selling the Tiniest, Cheapest House In Minneapolis

The adorable north Minneapolis home is just 416 square feet.

See that lil guy, way back there?
Realty ONE Group

The Home-Peeping Industrial Complex is a grim state of affairs for anyone who entertains concepts like “class consciousness” or “affordable housing.” I’m as guilty as anyone, having juiced clicks for years outta the garish dwellings belonging to the finance execs who circle Lake Minnetonka. Real estate journalists, it seems, are beholden to the following three criteria: over-the-top luxe home, unusual home, famous owner home, with most writers content to churn out copy on mega-dollar estates based purely on the merits of being expensive. Some exceptions to this boilerplate content-milling do exist, most notably *own horn loudly tooting* in this very publication.

Years ago, seeking some small deviation from the formula, I asked about the challenges of selling the most expensive Minnesota home for sale at the time—Minnetrista’s $10 million Hawks Nest castle, which had languished on the market. (It appears to have been pulled; the most recent asking price was just under $6 million.)

“Sometimes people bite off more home than they maybe should, and the frustration is usually because they’re ill-equipped to manage and take care of the property,” listing agent Mark LaQua said of the eight-bedroom, 19-bathroom (!), 22,376-square-footer. “As long as you have the right connections for contractors and care people, it’s a pretty nice life.”

Last week, seeking the polar opposite of that story, I stumbled upon the least expensive home currently available in Minneapolis—this North Side cutie, which hit the market last Wednesday. At $79,000 and 416 square feet, it holds the dual distinctions of being the most affordable and tiniest single-family property for sale in town. And guess what? It’s proving much easier to move than a gargantuan suburban castle.

We spoke with listing agent Kara Cleveland on Thursday, and over the weekend 3754 Penn Ave. N. received two offers, one of which was accepted on a contingent basis. (Update, 11/19: Looks like it fell through; the house is back on the market.)

“I wasn’t exactly sure how it was going to go, because it’s so small. My first impression was: I wonder who’s going to buy this?” Cleveland says. “Because I know some people love tiny houses but at the same time some people need more space. I thought it was really cute on the outside.”

Built in 1912, the one-bathroom, one-bedroom cabin-y cottage boasts a newer roof and siding, and some original hardwood flooring lurks beneath the, let’s say, vintage carpeting. Other perks include a larger/clean one-car garage and a sprawling 5,227-square-foot lot. At this listing price, a buyer could likely invest in some immediate interior upgrades.

“Depends if you love that carpet or not, but you could definitely rip that up,” Cleveland says with a chuckle. “There’s a lot of potential if you put money into the cosmetic updating.” 

The close-knit neighborhood is another selling point, she adds. To keep the exterior cheery, a neighbor has been bringing over fresh flowers and tending to the garden as the home sits vacant. You’re not gonna see that in Minnetrista.

Let’s take a photo tour of 3754 Penn Ave., courtesy of Realty ONE Group.