Category Archives: Home Trends

What Buyers Want in a Home

Covid has changed many things in the real estate market, from how we search and look at homes (hello virtual showings) to what buyers want for their next home. Some of this has been trending since before Covid but this is what we’re seeing buyers look for.

Outdoor Spaces: From relaxing patios, outdoor gardens, a fire pit or a swimming pool, outdoor spaces are important to todays home buyers. The extra space and fresh air allows homeowners to safely entertain while social distancing.

Work or Distance Learning Spaces: Since everyone is working and learning from home, buyers are looking for additional space to work. (Bonus if that area has a door.) Having everyone working from the dining room table doesn’t work when adults or kids need a quiet area to concentrate or take a Zoom call.

Home Gyms: Whether you ride a Peloton or practice yoga having dedicated spot to work out is key. I think we can all agree a dedicated space is way better than working out in your bedroom. If you can somehow get access to a TV even better since a lot of gyms are offering online classes.

Bigger Kitchens: Since everyone is home and restaurants offer limited seating more and more people are cooking at home. And since we’re all at home the kitchen needs to be big enough for everyone to cook together. Think counter space and large kitchen islands with plenty of seating.

What does this mean if you’re a seller. Consider how you could highlight these spaces in your home. Realtors are highlighting them in their listing descriptions. Need help? Just ask. As always staging will be key.

How To Be More Sustainable At Home

Despite what you may think, being more sustainable at home is super easy. Most of the things we’re currently doing to live a more sustainable lifestyle at home we started by accident.

For example, I started washing our clothes in cold water when we first got married after I shrunk a countless number of sweaters and turned even more white t-shirts pink.

Another change I made after ruining several pairs of yoga pants, my favorite tank top and the living room carpet was to switch to all natural cleaning products. No more bleach at our house. Our favorite natural cleaner is a simple solution of vinegar and water.

Growing up I always had a thing for cloth napkins. They just felt so fancy and we used them for all our dinner parties. Well we just took it up a notch and started using them for all our meals at home. With two teenage boys I’m doing laundry all the time anyway.

When the time came for us to replace our dishes a few years ago instead of heading to the store I went to Good Will. Where I purchased the most beautiful floral china plates. I use these everyday, not just for special occasions. I do this with drink glasses and coffee cups too.

Replace plastic /paper straws with metal straws. This one was a happy accident. Nothing had to be destroyed for us to make this change. We just happened to get the cutest rose gold colored metal straws for a gift. We haven’t look back since.

Because we are often on the go and admittedly not good planners we go to the grocery store every day. This way we only buy only the ingredients that we need and nothing gets wasted. Did you know that as Americans it’s estimated we throw away 30-40% of the food we purchase. I find that number astounding. (Also please note because of the current stay at home order we are not doing this.)

Incorporate as many plants as you can into your home decor. We love plants at our house and have 7 different plants from this list to help purify the air in our home.

And finally we compost and recycle because the city provided the bins and well why the heck not? I’m constantly amazed by how much we’re reduced our garbage by doing this. Now if only we could get the City of Minneapolis to pick up our recyclables every week instead of every other week. Our recycling bin is always overflowing.

We obviously still have a long way to go to living a more sustainable lifestyle. But I hope you enjoyed seeing just how easy it is to be sustainable at home. Just imagine how happy the earth would be if everyone made a few changes to live more sustainably.

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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.

Key Features for a Hygge Home

It’s currently -27 degrees in Minneapolis. And I’m not taking wind chill into account. Needless to say when it’s -27 degrees we don’t leave the house much. Not that I’m complaining, I’m kind of a homebody. Nothing makes me happier than a good meal, a bottle of wine and Netflix or a really good book.

Turns out I’ve been practicing the wildly popular way of life often referred to as Hygge for years. Hygge is all about enjoying the comforts of home over a long dark and freezing cold winter. But surviving winter and living the Hygee lifestyle isn’t just about lighting a bunch of candles and cozying up in front of the fire with a good book, although that helps, it’s about creating a inviting and comfortable home that helps you makes the most out of winter.

And while Hygge is more frequently thought of after we purchase our homes and start decorating there are a few key elements you should consider when looking for a home to really live the Hygge life.

Windows. I know what you’re thinking. Why would anyone need more windows to survive the winter? Well it turns out that light is a key element to Hygge and a true Hygge lifestyle doesn’t only happen at night. Natural light is vital to our bodies health. It improves our moods and it helps us sleep. And when you’ve been trapped in the house for 3 days with two teenage boys keeping your spirits up is a key element to keeping everyone in the house alive.

5501 Dupont Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55419 | Matt Engen Group

A large space to gather. Friends are another key element to a Hygge lifestyle. When everything in town has shut down because of the cold you may want to invite a few friends over to share a warm and delicious meal, play cards or watch a movie. Which brings me to my next feature.

5741 Grand Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55419 | Matt Engen Group

A movie room. Now we live in Minneapolis so a full blown movie room with stadium seating and a large screen most likely isn’t going to happen for us. But what we do have is a dark and cozy basement with a large TV and surround sound. The perfect place to curl up with lots of blankets, some popcorn, the dog and the kids.

And finally I would highly encourage you to consider a fireplace for your next home. Wood or electric it’s your choice but lighting a fire, pouring a glass of wine and gathering friends and family around for some good conversation feels like the ultimate Hygge experience to me.

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.

 

Halloween Decorations

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but decorating your home with lights, skeletons, ghosts and other spooky creatures has become popular for Halloween.

  • Please note if your home is currently for sale we do not recommend decorating like this for Halloween. Instead we recommend pumpkins, mums and general fall decor.  

But since I’m a huge fan of Halloween and I love when people embrace the spirit of the holiday I’m sharing my favorites here. I’m pretty sure these will make you smile and maybe even inspire you to decorate. If you do let me know or better yet, send me a pic.

Halloween Decorations | Minneapolis Homes | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

Halloween Decorations | Minneapolis Homes | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

Halloween Decorations | Minneapolis Homes | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

 

 

According to Zillow

I love design trends and selling houses is what we do. So it’s no surprise I’m a fan of Zillow’s latest research on paint colors and how they impact the sale price of a home. If you’re thinking about selling in the near future you may want to pay attention. Todays buyers want what they are seeing on Pinterest and Instagram and all the features they highlight in their research can definitely be found there.

Here’s a quick recap of my favorites with pictures I found on Pinterest for inspiration.

Homes that feature charcoal gray or black doors typically sell for $6,271 more than expected. And why not, statement doors are beautiful and increase curb appeal. I’m in love with the traditional look of a white house with a black door, it appeals to a wide variety of buyers and if you’re selling you’re home that’s exactly what you want. I found this one on Pinterest.

Houses with kitchens that have a different color for the upper and lower cabinets known as tuxedo cabinets sell at a $1,547 premium. When you consider how much it costs to re-do a kitchen I’m not sure this offers as much bang for your buck as painting the front door but it’s good information to know and an indicator as to what’s coming.

As for bathrooms, light blue or periwinkle blue paint increases the selling price by $2,786 according to the research. Like painting the front door this one’s a no brainer if you ask me. A fresh coat a paint will freshen up the space and make it feel clean. I should note here that cleaning is another huge selling feature that does not go un-noticed, especially when staging the bathroom.

And finally, this last one kind of surprised me, considering all the gray walls we’re seeing in the Minneapolis/St. Paul real estate market. Homes with light taupe living rooms, with tan, peach or pink undertones sold for $2,793 more than expected.

All the images pictured were found on Pinterest and are saved to our Matt Engen Group Pinterest page.  If you’re on Pinterest too be sure to follow us there.

#pinterest #zillow #paintcolors #hometrends #sellingtips #mattengengroup