Category Archives: Home

5 Things To Do After You Move

Congratulations on your new home! Now that you’ve moved in there are a few things you need to do.

  1. Change the locks! I know they gave you the keys at closing but you really have no idea how many keys are out there. I’m not trying to freak you out here I just want you to feel safe in your new home.
  2. Say hi to your new neighbors. This is not only good manners, it’s good for the community. Good neighbors watch out for each other and that reduces crime and creates safer neighborhoods. A win win for everyone involved.
  3. Change your address and send out moving announcements. Changing your address is going to be the easy part all you need to do is go to USPS.com/move and enter in your new address. They do charge for this service but it’s only a dollar and if you ask me it’s worth every penny. Finding the perfect moving announcement on the other hand may prove to be a bit more challenging, there are just so many options! I’m personally a huge fan of a moving announcement that includes your picture like this one I found on minted.com. The picture helps people connect the dots and it’s a wonderful way to have some fun, get creative, highlight your new home and make some memories.
  4. Purchase a welcome mat and buy a few new houseplants. If you follow us on social media you know I’m a bit of a houseplant nut but I’ll bet you didn’t know that I’m equally as crazy for welcome mats. In fact I have a whole Pinterest boards dedicated to pretty and fun welcome mats. I think they set the tone for your new home.
  5. Celebrate! Buying a new home is a pretty big accomplishment. One you should be proud of. If it were me I would invite all my friend and family over for a little par-tay but you may prefer to celebrate with a good dinner and a glass of Prosecco. Whatever you decide just be sure to toast to your new home.

The Best Places to Shop for Houseplants

I love incorporating houseplants into my homes decor. (We also like to recommend them when staging a home.) I don’t think there’s an easier or more budget friendly way to add warmth, texture and a nice pop of color and personality to any space.

The best places to shop for houseplants | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

Looking to add a few houseplants to your home? You can buy them from so many places including your local grocery store but I highly suggest forgoing that option and heading to one of my favorite local garden centers.  

  1. Tangletown Gardens: This has been my long time favorite place to go to shop for houseplants and outdoor plants. (This is not a new obsession for me.) I like to tell people that shopping at Tangletown Gardens is an experience. Nestled in Southwest Minneapolis this place is like a little fairy garden for adults. They have a great and unique selection of houseplants and beautiful pots to put them in.
  2. Tonkadale Greenhouse: I recently found this place (I found it in August to be exact) And I think I’ve been there 4 or 5 times now and I always bring a new friend. This place has the largest selection of cacti, fiddle leaf figs and snake plants in the area. I had no idea there were so many different types. The home decor is fantastic and the place smells so good. Visiting this place in the middle of winter is like a mini tropical vacation.
  3. Wagners Garden Center: I go to the Wagners on Penn Avenue in Minneapolis and if you haven’t been in recent years I encourage you to give it another try. The plant selection, pots and decor selections have changed dramatically over the last year. I was told the daughter took over but I’m not sure if that’s true. Either way the selection is definitely more on trend. I’ve gotten quite a few spider plants there, another plant I adore and can’t easily find. But my favorite time of the year to visit Wagners is at Christmas time they fill the whole green house with Poinsettia’s and it’s gorgeous.
  4. Bachman’s: Bachman’s was the very first place to take the mystery out of houseplants for me. They categorize them there; Plants of Steel (This is how I fell in love with the ZZ plant), Low light, Medium light and High light. Which makes the houseplant selection process super easy. I send a lot of my friends with black thumbs to their Plants of Steel section with much success. Bachman’s also holds a special place in my heart because I spent a lot of time at the Lyndale location when my boys where little. They loved the indoor Koi pond. It’s also where I introduced them to the Venus flytrap. That plant provided hours and hours at our house.

Making Room to Entertain at Home

We live in a 3 bed, 4 bath home in Minneapolis. We have a main floor family room, an updated kitchen, plenty of bathrooms and a finished basement. So in reality we should have more than enough room to entertain at home. And don’t get me wrong we do unless we’re hosting a sit down around the table event like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Despite all the rest of the space in our house our dining room just isn’t big enough to host the types of dinner parties I would love to have.

I picture our entire family gathered around the table as Matt carves the turkey and I sip my wine enjoying a well cooked meal. You know just like they do in the movies. But in reality we’re not great cooks and our dining room just isn’t big enough to accommodate 16 people gathered around a table. But I’m not the type of person to just give up and let everyone just sit willy nilly where ever they want like Matt suggests so this Thanksgiving I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I realized that we have a really large living room. It’s definitely long enough and wide enough for my large table. And the wheels started to turn. I could flip flop the rooms. So I quickly made up my mind and that afternoon while Matt and the boys were out of the house, I moved the dining room table to the living room and my living room furniture to my dining room. And it was fantastic.

I know what you’re thinking and yes it was a little bit of work. But it was worth it. I had achieved my goal, we finally had enough space for everyone to gather around the table.  And as I sat there sipping my wine and enjoying the moment I was pretty proud of myself. It was exactly how I pictured it, minus Matt carving the turkey. The only downside to this whole experiment is that one forgets how warm it is to sit in front of the fire.

 

Making Room to Entertain at Home | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

The first step in the great Thanksgiving flip-a-roo was to empty the rooms. This was a little tricker than I thought. You need to move things multiple times to make space.

Making Room to Entertain at Home | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

This is a picture of the empty dining room, before I laid out the rug. An added bonus to switching out the rooms, my house got a really deep cleaning.

Making Room to Entertain at Home | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

Here’s a picture of my living room which is now my dining room. I could hardly contain my excitement. It still makes me really happy to look at this picture. It turned out better than expected.

Making Room to Entertain at Home | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

And finally here’s a picture of my dining room which was my living room. An added bonus to having the living room so close to the kitchen is that now everyone could hang in one space without bothering the cook.

 

#entertainingathome #thanksgiving #dinnerparties #atmine #myhomethismonth #mattengengroup

5 Housewarming Gifts

I feel like we’re always searching for the perfect housewarming gift. One that’s unique, says to the new home owners, hey I actually gave this some thought and one they’ll actually use. It’s hard. Am I right? So I decided to round up my favorite 5 housewarming gifts and share them with you here. These gifts are unique but still practical and sure to get used.

  1. A welcome mat. With so many options to choose from I’m positive you’ll be able to find the perfect one for the new home owners. If you need a little inspiration I have a board dedicated to welcome mats on our Pinterest page. They can be personalized, funny, traditional or all of the above.
  2. A bottle of wine and gift certificate for your favorite local pizza delivery. Because let’s face it when you’re busy moving boxes or cleaning up after a rocking party who wants to think about cooking? And taking the time to introduce them to everyones favorite local pizza delivery is an invaluable service. One they will appreciate for years to come.
  3. Your favorite home design book. My current favorite is Homebody: A Guide To Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave, Joanna Gaines.  You can also get this one at Target. Which makes it super easy to cross off your to do list.
  4. A marble or wood cutting board. This gift is as pretty as it is practical. And beautiful cutting boards are enjoying a moment right now. I dare you to find a kitchen on Instagram without one.
  5. A framed map of their city or local icon. I love giving these as gifts, people love them. They’re a perfect addition to a gallery wall. We have a map of Minneapolis as well as a print of Lake Harriet and the Foshay Tower as part of our gallery wall. I found ours here on Etsy.

And there you have it our favorite housewarming gifts of the moment. If you’re reading this and have a great housewarming gift idea we’d love to hear from you.

5 Unique Housewarming Gifts | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

Are we in a Balanced Real Estate Market?

Balanced Real Estate Market | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

We’ve experienced quite a few years of a strong sellers market here in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area but the tides seem to be shifting back towards a balanced real estate market. We think that’s a good thing. What are we seeing to make us think a shift is coming? Well let me explain. We typically see a bit of a slow down in the fall and winter months but we’re seeing more and more listings than previous years and they’re staying on the market a little longer than a day. Buyers in the entry level price point where multiple offers and homes selling over list price can finally breathe because the listing inventory is rising which translates to more houses to choose from.

On the sellers side we’re seeing more and more price reductions on currently listed homes. This means that the price of homes isn’t growing as quickly as it had been, it’s balancing out, bringing us back to a balanced real estate market.

And finally interest rates are rising, they’re currently around 5% for a 30 year fixed loan and while this may feel high for some of us, this is still historically low. Unemployment is low and the economy is doing well so despite how you may feel when you hear the current interest rate this a normal and healthy practice.

So don’t panic when you hear about the market shifting because a balanced real estate market is not a bad thing, it’s just different from what we’re used to. Now really is a good time to buy and sell a home. We understand that there are pros and cons to every situation but if you’ve been considering making a move now may be a really good time for you to sit down and evaluate your goals and consider making that move sooner rather than later.

 

3 Things You Can Do To Make Clutter Stylish

Decluttering continues to be the number one thing Stagers and Realtors recommend when you start getting your home ready for sale. If the buyer feels like you don’t have enough room for your stuff they won’t either. So once you rid yourself of all the mis-matched cups and things you don’t need. It’s time to organize what’s left and make it look pretty.

Here are 3 really easy and fairly inexpensive things you can do to beautify your clutter.

  1. Add shelves to your garage or your basement and purchase matching clear bins. Clear bins make it easy to see what’s inside and matching bins are pleasing to the eye. Mis-matched containers look messy.
  2. Purchase pretty baskets to gather all the loose items in your closets like your mittens and hats. Pretty baskets are also great in the bathroom, use one as a catch all under the sink for your cleaning products or hair products/tools.
  3. Matching hangers. I really didn’t think this would have as big of an impact as it did but it works. Matching hangers are kind of like the matching bins, they are easy on the eye they also help you save space by eliminating bulky and inefficient hangers.

Where can I take old paint cans to dispose of them?

This is a very common question. Especially when you’ve just sold your home and you’re moving out because everything must go. Yes, all those old paint cans need to go, even if the previous owner left them for you. The only way they can stay is if you ask your new buyers Realtor if they would like them and they say yes. If they don’t want the old paint cans it is your responsibility to remove them from the home prior to moving out. Do not assume the new buyers will want them. This will almost guarantee a last minute stop to the old house to remove them prior to closing.

So where can you take your old paint cans to dispose of them? If you live in Hennepin, Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Ramsey, and Washington counties you have two very easy options. All you need is your ID or a utility bill to prove you’re a resident.

Hennepin County Recycling Center and Transfer Station
8100 Jefferson Highway, Brooklyn Park,
(612) 348-6500 or (612) 348-6509

South Hennepin Recycling and Problem Waste Drop-off Center
1400 West 96th Street, Bloomington,
(612) 348-6500 or (612) 348-6509

Both facilities listed above accept household hazardous waste like paint cans, automotive fluids, pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals that I’m guessing you don’t want or know what to do with either. For additional information on items accepted, like old TV’s and computers etc., visit Hennepin County’s website.

If you live outside of Hennepin County I just found a great new website that can help you figure out what to do with your leftover pain cans. It’s called Earth 911  https://search.earth911.com/ All you need to do it enter the material you’re trying to recycle, your zip code and click search.

 

5 steps to instantly refresh your home

Updating your home can seem like a big undertaking, especially if it’s been awhile. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming and it doesn’t have to break the bank.

If you’re thinking about refreshing your home, these 5 easy updates will go a long way.

  1. Paint. A Fresh coat of paint will make the room feel clean and give it a whole new feel. Consider what each room is used for and if you’re having problems picking out a color, head to Pinterest or Instagram for inspiration. Gray and white walls remain popular with todays home buyers.
  2. Buy some new pillows. They’re an easy way to add a pop of seasonal color or pattern to a room.
  3. Bring in some plants. A personal favorite of mine. Like pillows they’re an easy way to update and add some interest and contrast to a room. And their popularity has exploded in recent years making them a very easy way to stay on trend.
  4. Purchase new window treatments or simply remove what you have and let the view speak for itself.
  5. Shop your home. Move the rug from the family room to the living room or vice versa. Repurpose everyday items, use a stack of books as an end table or an old map as wall decor. Get creative with what you have.

#home #refreshyourhome #mattengengroup #realestateblog

Homes for the Holidays

I’m a huge fan of the freshly fallen snow and the twinkling lights but most of all I love to see how everyone decorates their beautiful homes for the season. Today I’m going to share a few homes I’ve found on Instagram, each one is as different and beautiful as the next. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Homes for the Holiday | Matt Engen Group | Real Estate Blog

I’m not sure where this one came from, I save so many houses I occasionally lose track.

Homes for the Holiday | Matt Engen Group | Real Estate Blog

Instagram @northern_vernacular

Homes for the Holiday | Matt Engen Group | Real Estate Blog

Instagram @patticakewagner

Homes for the Holiday | Matt Engen Group | Real Estate Blog

And this is our house, it’s not as decorated as some but this is where our heart is.

You can find it on Instagram too @mattengengroup

 

#homefortheholidays #home #mattengengroup #mnrealestate

Home

We all take vacations for a variety of reasons. Some of us need a break from work or kids or life in general and some of us truly just like to explore and experience new things. I take vacations to admire the different architectural home styles around the world.  I’ve always loved to see how people live and experience the culture but more importantly I like to see what they live in, I like to see their homes. For me there’s nothing better than wandering the streets, with no destination or purpose, I just take picture after picture of the beautiful homes I see and I take it all in. I post a few to our Instagram page @mattengengroup but mostly I take them because they speak to me. Each and every home has a story to share, the more homes I see, the more I learn to appreciate my surroundings and enjoy the simply beauty of home, including my own.

The canal houses of Amsterdam.

 

The Moorish-style architecture of the houses in Positano Italy.

 

Our classic colonial in Minneapolis, MN.

 

#home #architecture #homestyles #howwehome #amsterdam #italy #minneapolis #mn