Summertime in Minneapolis

Ah Summertime in Minneapolis. It really is the best time of the year. Maybe it’s because we’ve finally de-thawed and we can go outside without multiple layers of clothing and boots on. Oh the freedom of flip flops. And while many of us escape every weekend to the family cabin up north, a lot of us are left looking for fun activities to do closer to the city. Lucky for us there is no shortage of fun things to do. Here are our top 5.

  1. The lakes. It doesn’t matter if you want to relax on the beach, go for a swim, rent out a kayak or paddle boat our Minneapolis lakes offer something for everyone, including food. We love to walk around the lake and then enjoy a refreshing IPA for us and ice-cream for the kids. Our favorite places to go are SandCastle  and Bread and Pickle. 
  2. Outdoor concerts. There’s no shortage of places to go to see live music in Minneapolis. From Music in the Parks  to the Basilica Block Party and the MN State Fair there’s something for everybody all summer long.
  3. Baseball. And we have two really great options right here in our beautiful cities, the MN Twins and the St. Paul Saints. The stadiums are beautiful and both offer free fireworks on Fridays after the game during the summer.
  4. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. It’s one of the largest urban sculpture parks in the country and home to the famous Spoon and Cherry.
  5. Visit one of the local Farmers Market. It turns out we have over 60 of them.

Summertime in the City | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

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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.

Staging the bathroom

The bathroom, it’s usually not the biggest room in the house but it should not be overlooked when staging your home. Because the bathroom is where you start and end your day it’s important to buyers. It should feel fresh and luxurious. Not sure how to accomplish that? Here are five simple things you can do to stage your bathroom.

  1. Clean. And then clean again. And then clean again. There is absolutely nothing worse than a dirty toilet or bathtub. It will immediately turn off buyers.
  2. Remove everything from the counters. Yes I know you use that every day but no one wants to see your toothbrush. Try to think of the prettiest bathroom you’ve ever been in and how it made you feel. Was there a toothbrush on the counter?
  3. Remove your towels and rug. If you have a small bathroom do not put the rug back down. It only clutters the space and makes it feel smaller. Wash and hang fresh towels.  If you do not have matching towels head to Target and get some. And while you’re there you may want to pick up a new shower curtain and some fancy soaps.
  4. Remove all your cleaning products, take them to another room or get a pretty basket to store them in and hide the wastepaper basket.
  5. Now it’s time to bring back in a few accessories. Think about creating a spa-like experience with fragrant soaps, bath oils, natural loofahs, candles and fresh flowers or a plant.

Staging the Bathroom | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

#staingthebathroom #staging #stagingtips #sellingtips #sellingyourhome #mattengengroup

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

Staging the Living Room

We know the idea of deep cleaning and decluttering your whole house can feel like an overwhelming task so we’ve decided to break up our staging tips and organize them room by room. Since we covered staging the kitchen in a previous post today we’re going to talk about staging the living room. The living room is where most of us spend the majority of our time and it’s often times the first room we see in a home.

Keep in mind here that the goal of staging is to make your house appeal to the most amount of buyers. Staging allows a potential home buyer to view your home with out any distractions. It presents a well-cared for property and gives the buyer a really positive first impression.  Whether you do it yourself or bring in the experts don’t list your home without first doing the work.

Follow the steps below when staging the living room to make buyers feel comfortable.

  1. Declutter. This is always at the top of our list. Put away the family photos and mementos. Remove the smaller pieces of furniture, that mis-matched ottoman and the overflowing magazine rack are great places to start.
  2. Clean. You’ve heard me say this before. A really clean house tells the buyers that you took really good care of this place. It’s also the easiest place to start. A clean slate or so they say.
  3. Paint. Yes we know painting is a lot of work and the new buyers may not like the color you pick out. But a light neutral color will appeal to more potential buyers than bright yellow. Trust me on this one. It will also make the space seem cleaner and brighter.
  4. Rearrange the furniture. You really need to think about how people will use the space. It’s important to create conversation areas while keeping the space open and approachable. If you don’t know what to do with the furniture the new buyer won’t either.
  5. Arrange knick-knacks in odd groupings. The bookshelves and the mantle should all be edited. Keep things simple and arrange them in groups of 3-5 or 7.
  6. Depersonalize the gallery wall. I’m a huge fan of gallery walls and don’t think they need to be removed. But they do need to be depersonalized. A gallery wall dedicated to your little is not ideal. But a simple trick I’ve used through the years is to simply replace the pictures with your favorite landscape pics.
  7. Maximize the windows. An abundance of natural light tricks the eye into thinking the space is larger. So keep your window treatments super simple, two matching panels is a light fabric work great. And don’t forget to clean the windows. I can’t tell you how big of a difference this makes.
  8. If your front door opens directly to the living room make sure you create a welcoming entrance. A side table and a lamp work great and give people a place to set their keys.

5413 Oliver Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55419 | Matt Engen Group

#stagingtips #stagingworks #sellingyourhome #stagingthelivingroom #mattengengroup

Staging the Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home. To help buyers fall in love with it just complete these easy to follow steps.

  1. Remove everything from your counters because counter space is what matters most in a kitchen. Everything and I mean everything must go. Once you have it all removed bring back in one or two decorative items, like flowers, a plant or a bowl of fresh fruit.
  2. Pack up all the extra dishes that are taking up valuable space in your cabinets. Throw away or donate any pots, pans, glasses, flatware or small appliances that you are not planning to take with you to your next house.
  3. Freshen up, clean and modernize your cabinets. Adding updated and modern hardware goes a long way.
  4. Clean your appliances and then clean them again. Nothing turns off a buyer more than dirty appliances. If you have stainless steel appliances you may want to refer back to a previous blog post I wrote on cleaning those.
  5. Remove all the magnets and notes from the fridge.
  6. Remove the boxes of cereal or whatever it is you store on top of the fridge.
  7. Scrub your walls and if they still look dirty you may need to consider a fresh coat of paint.
  8. Clean and organize your pantry, consider using a few decorative baskets.
  9. Empty all the trash cans. If your trash can usually sits next to the counter. Remove it and purchase a smaller one that can easily fit under the kitchen sink.

Staging the Kitchen | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

#kitchen #stagingthekitchen #stagingtips #mattengengroup

House Hunting Etiquette

When house hunting there aren’t a lot of rules you will be asked to follow but there is such a thing as house hunting etiquette. Here are 6 things you can do to make this process enjoyable for everyone involved.

Remove your shoes, even if there isn’t a sign. It’s just the nice thing to do, especially if it’s raining or snowing. A quick tip when house hunting wear shoes that you can easily slip on and off.

If you have to bring the kids make sure they are in your sight at all times. This is not a playground, this is someones home.

Leave your pets at home. As much as we love our pets not everyone does. Some people may even be allergic.

Leave the food and the drink in the car. As much as I love my Starbucks it’s not a good idea to bring it in to someones home. If it spills it will most likely stain.

Please do not sit on the furniture. Would you want someone sitting on your bed? Plus it may be staged, air mattresses and paint cans make lovely beds in a pinch. But they are not very sturdy. Trust me.

And under no circumstances should you use the bathroom. Unless it’s an extreme emergency, after all life sometimes just happens.

And there you have it. Simply following these easy tips will ensure your house hunting experience is a positive experience for everyone, including the sellers.

House Hunting Etiquette | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

#househunting #homebuying #househuntingtips #mattengengroup

Making an offer on a home

Once you’ve selected a home, it’s time to make an offer. We’ll help you draft the purchase agreement to protect your interests in the property. We present the offer along with your pre-approval letter and earnest money check to begin negotiations.

To put a purchase agreement together we’ll need the following information;

  1. Your full legal names. How the names appear on the purchase agreement is how they will appear on title. You can change this later but you will need to make an amendment to the purchase agreement to do that.
  2. How much earnest money will you put down? This is money paid at the time you write the purchase agreement to confirm a contract. This is typically done with a check made payable to the listing broker. Or if you live here in Minneapolis you can use a fairly new electronic system called TrustFunds.
  3. Purchase Price. How much will you be offering.
  4. Close Date. When do you want to take possession of the house and how quickly can all the involved parties, your lender and the title company make that happen. In Minneapolis the close date is typically 45-60 days from the day you write the offer. The close date does need to happen on a Monday-Friday. Title companies are not open on the weekend.
  5. Do you want to get your home inspected? We highly recommend this one but it is your choice and it is included on the purchase agreement so you do need to decide. You also need to figure out how quickly you can get all the right people in to do the inspection. Again in Minneapolis and the surrounding area’s this can usually be done within 7-10 days.

There are a few additional forms that you will need to read and understand that are included with the purchase agreement but this is the information needed to put an offer together.

 

You’ve decided to buy a home!

Congratulations you’ve decided to buy a home! We believe this is a good decision. The key is finding the right home.  And lucky for you we’re here to help you do just that. We’ve lived and worked in Minneapolis and the surrounding area for over 20 years. Developing a strong understanding of the neighborhoods and the local housing market.

But before you get to far along one of the very first steps you need to take after making the decision to buy is to secure financing. You need to know what you can afford before you start looking at homes. Looking at homes outside of your price range is a waste of time if you’re a serious buyer and can lead to severe disappointment.

Once we know how much you can afford to buy we’ll help you pinpoint homes that meet your specific needs. We’ll do that by setting up a MLS search that’s unique to you so you can check out homes online. And we’ll start talking to our network to identify pocket listings or homes that aren’t quite on the market yet. Once you identify a few you’d like to see, it’s time to get out there an actually start looking at homes to buy.