5 Projects that Will Add Value to Your Home

Here are five fairly simple projects you can do to add value to your home. Most of these projects can be done in a weekend.

Paint: Nothing cleans up a home faster than a fresh coat of paint. Even homes that have been meticulously maintained need a fresh coat of paint prior to selling. Opt for a light, neutral paint color to appeal to the most amount of buyers.

Update Lighting: Light fixtures are like jewelry for your home. They can be the statement piece that wows potential buyers or they can quickly date your home.

Replace the Carpet: If you have carpet now is the time to consider replacing it. Old dirty carpet is a turn off for most buyers. If you have multiple different types of carpet from one room to the next consider replacing all of it even it if doesn’t necessarily need it in that back bedroom. Carpet used consistently throughout the house will make your home feel larger and more cohesive.

Update Kitchens and Bathrooms: There are a lot of minor changes you can make in your kitchen and your bathrooms without doing an entire remodel that will instantly add value. Consider stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops, adding a backsplash and painting your cabinets.

Freshen up the Exterior: Remove anything that is half dead or all the way dead. Nothing says I have been neglected like a dying bush next to the house. Stain and fix the fence, trim your trees, weed and mulch the gardens and consider painting your front door.

Our Favorite Fall Recipe

Nothing says fall and cozy season at our house like Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup. It’s a family favorite and relatively easy to make. I found it years ago via Divas Can Cook, whose tag line is Southern Recipes that Anyone Can Make. Which is exactly what encouraged me to give it a try! I’m going to share the recipe here because we have made a few adjustments over the years for our particular taste but I also linked you to the original recipe above. Who knows maybe while you’re there you’ll find another new and easy recipe to try.


  • 2-3 carrots, diced
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 7 cups chicken broth
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 package of wide egg noodles
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, removed from the bone
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream


  1. In a large pot, melt 2 tablespoons butter.
  2. Add carrots, onions and celery and saute until tender.
  3. Add in the chick broth and fresh parsley.
  4. Brig to a boil.
  5. Add in noodles and cook until noodles are tender.
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. In a saucepan over medium heat melt butter.
  8. Stir in flour and whisk constantly.
  9. Slowly pour in milk and heavy cream.
  10. Bring to a light boil and continue to boil until sauce thickens. (Be sure to continue stirring.)
  11. Pour sauce into chicken noodle soup.
  12. Add chicken and mix until combined.
  13. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  14. Serve!

Cozy Up Your Home For Fall

Fall has finally arrived and it’s time to get your home ready for cozy season. At our house that means layers, lots and lots of layers and candles, so many candles. Because for me this season is more about the mood than the decor. To set the mood these are the key pieces I will be adding to our home.

  1. Throw blankets, the softer and fuzzier the better. I like to put them at the end of the couch or over the arm of a chair so they are readily accessible.
  2. Candles, bonus points for earthy and grounding fall scents. My current obsession is the Teakwood and Tobacco candle by P.F. Candle Co. You can find them at Carousel + Folk, one of my favorite local shops for curated vintage goods and plants.
  3. I’m really loving faux pampas grass this year and plan to add a few vases around my house. I’ve already added a vase to my bathroom and am loving the cozy boho vibe it’s created.
  4. In the bedroom I love to add in a few extra fuzzy blankets and a few extra pillows. This year I’m thinking about adding in a few additional rust tones as well.
  5. And finally I will be adding in as many Twinkle lights as I can. Because why not, I love that glow almost as much as I love candles.

The Appraisal Gap

We’ve been hearing a lot about the Appraisal Gap lately and how buyers have been using it to win in multiple offer situations but what is it and what does it mean?

The appraisal gap comes into play when the home appraises at a lower value than your offer price. When this happens in a normal situation you have options. You can pay the difference in cash between the appraised value and your offer or you can try to renegotiate a lower price with the seller. The first option assumes you have the cash to make this work and keep it together. The second option requires a seller who is willing to negotiate.

If the seller is not willing to negotiate you can request a second appraisal, which does come with an additional cost. The downside to this is that all parties need to agree because it may delay the transaction and the close date. If the parties don’t agree the transaction is cancelled due to the appraisal contingency clause.

If you have included an appraisal gap clause with your offer, you would automatically adjust the sales price and move forward. The appraisal gap clause was popular for sellers because it came with less risk of the deal falling apart and the seller having to go back on the market.

Using the appraisal gap is not always an option for buyers and some just simply don’t like the idea of paying more for the house than what it appraises for. This is why it’s important in a real estate transaction to understand all your options and what they mean for you.

Fall home maintenance

It’s that time of the year once again, fall has arrived and with it we have your fall home maintenance to do list.

While we know home maintenance can be anything but fun but doing these tasks will save you time and money over the long run. A little regular maintenance will protect your investment.

  1. Clear gutters of leaves, sticks and other debris. We have leaf guards on most of our gutters, which I highly recommend, definitely worth the investment (and no this is not an ad) but if you don’t it’s time to get out the ladder and clean your gutters you’ll be surprised how much debris you’ll find.
  2. Drain garden hoses and put them away. Faucets and pipes can freeze and burst in our frigid temps which is a big mess that you will want to avoid.
  3. Get your chimney inspected and cleaned. Fire burning season is almost upon us and we could not be more excited. We love to cozy up around a warm and inviting fire but we also know that chimneys need to be inspected and cleaned for your safety. This is also area that continues to come up on inspections. Take care of your chimney now so you don’t have to pay later.
  4. Have your furnace inspected. You don’t want to wake up when it’s 40 below and find out you don’t have any heat. Get it tuned up now. Most places offer specials this time of the year.
  5. Check your fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. I know most people save this for when the clocks fall back or spring ahead but I think it’s essential and should be done more than twice a year to protect you and your loved ones.

10 Things Every Seller Should Do Prior to Selling

In a sellers market is it really necessary to prep your home for sale? The answer is yes. With house prices climbing higher and higher, buyers are bringing every dollar they can to secure the deal. Which is why buyers prefer and battle over well maintained, really clean homes with neutral yet trendy paint colors and beautiful decor… they can move right in!

Here are 10 things you can do to maximize interest, showings and offers on your property for todays buyers.

  1. Deep clean – This is one of the easiest things you can do. Deep clean every thing. And I mean everything. Clean your furniture, wash your windows, vacuum and wipe down every single surface.
  2. Declutter – Get rid of all the extra stuff that distracts from your homes best features. If you don’t want to take it with you now is definitely the time to get rid of it. Trust me when I say that in the end it will make moving easier.
  3. Paint – Painting is one of the quickest things you can do to change the overall look and feel of the home. Paint colors date a home faster than people think. The deep beiges, rustic golds and earthy reds scream 1990 more than you think. It also does wonders to clean up the space. Beat up walls and trim make the house feel neglected and dirty.
  4. Landscape – Curb appeal is super important. If it doesn’t look good on the outside, what’s going to motivate them to go in? Remove dead trees and weeds, cut back anything that’s overgrown, lay fresh mulch and always place a pot of seasonal flowers next to your front door.
  5. Finish those projects and make the necessary repairs – Now is the time to fix that cabinet door that just won’t shut. The faucet thats leaking and replace that broken window pane. Alone they may not feel like a lot but those things add up and make a buyer feel like you didn’t or don’t care for the home.
  6. Add trendy updates – Think stainless steel appliances, quartz counter tops, plumbing fixtures and new lighting. None of these have to break the bank but these updates go a long way for buyers.
  7. Replace the carpet – Just do it. Most people find old carpet to be gross. Especially if it’s stained and sagging. At the very minimum have it cleaned and stretched.
  8. Check your mechanicals – These are commonly flagged on an inspection and can be expensive for buyers. Have them cleaned and serviced prior to listing.
  9. Rearrange your furniture – People like flow. They like rooms that make sense. They don’t need a chair for everyone. They prefer intimate conversation areas and dining room tables with enough room to walk around. Night stands next to beds and a spot to set their keys or hang their coat when they enter.
  10. Accessorize your home. Add back in the finishing touches. These are the extra special touches that make the house feel like a home. Spruce up your bedding, buy a new rug for the front entry and fresh towels for the bathrooms. Place fresh flowers on the kitchen table and the bathroom vanities. Anything that creates a welcoming and trendy vibe in the space.

Simply put, the better the house looks in pictures the more interest and showings and offers you will receive!

paint colors to sell your home

Picking the right paint color is crucial when selling your home. You want to appeal to the most amount of home buyers without being boring or forgettable. Because being forgettable is almost as bad as being the house with the boldly painted living room. So which colors are going to sell your home? Our favorites are below.

Our favorite neutral paint colors for selling your home:

  1. Agreeable Gray by Sherwin-Williams: This one consistently rates high on the list for most agents and stagers. It’s a true gray, a bit on the cool side but light enough to match any interior.
  2. Classic Gray by Benjamin Moore: A really light, neutral gray, almost white. This one pairs well with a wide range of interior colors and dark wood stains.
  3. Accessible Beige by Sherwin-Williams: This is one of our all time favorites. It’s a traditional beige with a gray twist and no yellow tinge. Ever. It works well in homes with a lot of brown tones. (It’s also the color used in the picture above.)
  4. Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore: This one is almost considered a classic at this point. A beautiful warm gray with a beige undertones. This one works well in every home.

Historic IMS Lofts

The historic IMS (International Market Square) Lofts are some of the best, most authentic lofts available in Minneapolis. Thoughtfully designed they feature exposed brick, large industrial windows, high ceilings, wood floors and an open floor plan. Depending on which way your unit faces they also offer unbeatable views of the Minneapolis skyline and the Minnesota Twins Stadium. With an added bonus of a private fireworks display when the Minnesota Twins are in season.

290 Market Street, #511, Minneapolis, MN 55405 | Matt Engen Group

The Minneapolis Farmer’s Market and The Walker Art Center are just a few steps away as is the Minnesota Twins Baseball Stadium. Located just outside the popular North Loop area you’re also super close countless breweries and so many popular restaurants.

Be sure to check out 290 Market Street, unit #511 which is currently available for sale.

an organized home

Buying, selling or staying everyone loves an organized home. Here are 5 simple things you can do this weekend to be more organized at home.

  1. Clear the everyday clutter off of your surfaces for good. We all have stuff that ends up on our counters and tables that really isn’t needed. Try to remove those things and leave out only what truly adds beauty or function. (Think small appliances in your kitchen, books or Kleenex’ on your bedside tables.)
  2. Put away the winter gear and make room for summer. Removing seasonal items we don’t need from mudrooms and closets will instantly make those rooms feel more open and give you space to breathe.
  3. Take a peak at your closet. Pick up everything on the floor, refold your sweaters and make sure all your hangers are facing the same direction. While you’re adjusting your hangers, make sure the items you have hanging are clean and hung properly.
  4. Purge your fridge. Check expiration dates and throw that stuff away.
  5. Make your bed. Seriously it’s the easiest thing you can do to make your space feel clean and organized!

spring home maintenance

Spring is in the air! Which means it’s time to clean and spruce up our homes. For many of us our homes are one of our largest investments so taking care of it should be a top priority. A well maintained home will sell quick in any market. Maintaining your home is critical to to keep and even increase its value.

Follow the checklist below to get your home ready for spring in no time!


  • Clean up the yard. Pick up wrappers, sweep the sidewalks, take down the holiday lights and remove all those dead winter greens.
  • Replace your welcome mat.
  • Clean the siding if possible and check for damage to exterior woodwork. Repair and reseal areas as needed.
  • Check the condition and clean your windows. Chalk and replace weather stripping where needed. A tight seal keeps out air and water.
  • Take a look at the chimney, foundation and roof. Call in the experts if you see missing shingles, see cracks in the foundation or missing joints between the bricks on your chimney. All of those can lead to water getting inside your home and no one wants that.
  • Give your AC unit a once over. Change the filter and check hose connections for leaks.  If your AC wasn’t running the best at the end of the year now is the time to call in a professional.


  • Dust the trim, window and door casings and don’t forget to dust the fans in bedrooms and bathrooms.
  • Wash or dry clean the curtains and dust the blinds.
  • Wash or replace the shower liner.
  • Vacuum the furniture and mattresses. Consider renting a carpet cleaner or calling in a professional.
  • Remove everything from your kitchen and bathroom cabinets, wipe down the inside and outside of the cabinets with warm soapy water. Now is also an excellent time to remove any unwanted, expired or broken items, consider donating them or throwing them away.
  • Pull out the refrigerator and clean behind it.
  • Get rid of all that old paint and other hazardous items. For locations in the Twin Cities check here.
  • Remove all items from the mudroom and wipe down the surfaces. Store the winter gear away and bring out the summer fun!