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

 

 

Our Top 5 Minneapolis Restaurants

Small local restaurants are the backbone of our neighborhoods. Aside from their amazing menu’s they make our neighborhoods desirable by adding to the uniqueness of our communities. Sure we all love mainstream restaurants too but can you imagine what it would be like to live here with out all the charming and unique restaurants we so often take for granted? Without them our neighborhoods and our home values wouldn’t be the same. So go ahead, eat out tonight, after all it’s for the neighborhood.

Live in Southwest Minneapolis like we do? Here are our top 5 favorite neighborhood restaurants.

  1. Terzo – This is one of our favorite places to go when it’s just the two of us. We love the atmosphere. I describe it as warm and cozy, a friendly, quiet place. If there was a fireplace behind the bar I would never leave. It’s in the Lynnhurst neighborhood of Minneapolis so it’s close and we always seem to be able to grab a seat at the bar, which we love. The owner and the entire staff are knowledgeable and just generally delightful. The food and the wine are always a hit, we haven’t had anything here we didn’t like.
  2. Red Wagon Pizza – Located in the Armatage neighborhood this one is a family and a girlfriend favorite. My girlfriends and I like to go and meet for a glass of Red Car Rose. Matt likes the beer selection and we all like the pizza. The atmosphere is loud and friendly, the perfect place to bring the family. They have a beautiful bar, it’s seriously so pretty and the patio is one of the best in town.
  3. George and the Dragon – The owners and the staff are what make this place tick. Oh and I guess I shouldn’t forget the food, it’s pretty darn good. The Asian Hangover is by far our favorite thing on the menu with the burgers and the Katherine (a steak salad) tied for a close second. The atmosphere is comfortable and welcoming, there’s always a familiar face greeting you at the door. This restaurant is truly a neighborhood favorite so it’s best to call ahead.
  4. Wise Acre Eatery – Hands down the prettiest restaurant and patio in town. I could just sit for hours, sip my wine and let my eye wander from one gorgeous spot to the next. A true farm to table experience, seriously I think everything is actually grown on their farm in Plato, MN. Matt and I love to stop by for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And it’s my absolute favorite spot to meet the girls for drinks on the patio.
  5. Grand Cafe – What can we say we love this place. They describe it as magical and well I can’t think of a better word to use. It’s French inspired and gorgeous. Seriously I think it’s one of the prettiest restaurants in the neighborhood. When Matt and I want to celebrate a special occasion or just forget about life for awhile this is where we go. I’m also a huge fan that it’s woman owned.

#minneapolisneighborhoods #minneapolisrestaurants # top5 #mattengengroup

Moving: Research the neighborhood

You can change the paint color,  you can get a new front door, heck you can even remodel the kitchen but you can’t change the location of your new home or your neighbors. So before you put in an offer please take a closer look at the neighborhood. Here’s what I suggest.

  1. Google your neighborhood. When I google the Kenny neighborhood of Minneapolis the first thing that comes up is the neighborhood website. And it’s filled with all kinds of useful information about the community, upcoming neighborhood events, groups I can join and helpful links. Check to see if the neighborhood has a Facebook or Twitter page.
  2. Take a walk. That’s right. Walk around the neighborhood, what do you see, who do you meet? If you’d walk around my neighborhood you’d see people out walking the dog, running or riding their bikes and kids are often playing in the front yards.
  3. Check out the neighborhood hot spot, coffee shop and schools. You can find this info by checking Foursquare, Yelp, and Google Local for reviews and recommendations.
  4. Get in your car and drive to work. Even better do it at your usual ‘go to’ work time. How long does it take you? Be honest with yourself, you are going to be making this commute multiple times a day, 5 days a week.
  5. Take a close look at your neighbors front and back yard. Do you like what you see. If their lawn ornaments are driving you nuts now just wait.
  6. And finally talk to as many people as you can about the neighborhood. Who do you know that lives there, what do they like, what don’t they like?

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

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

#summertime #minneapolis #mattengengroup #thingtodo #livinginmn

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