Welcoming the New Year!

Today is January 2nd and we’re sitting at our desks rested from vacation and ready to start the new year. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves and too busy with work and life in general we’d like to stop and reflect on all that we have to be thankful for, 2018 was quite the year. Here are a few highlights:

  • Matt was featured in the Top Agent Magazine for Minnesota. They wrote a lovely article highlighting his many years of experience and how growing up and working in Minneapolis his entire life has helped him succeed as a Realtor.
  • Brian was named a Minneapolis Super Real Agent for 2018 by Twin Cities Business and the Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine (mspmag.com) for the second year in a row.
  • Espen decided to take on a new role with the team while going back to school full time to pursue a career in Forestry and Natural Resource Management.
  • Our team was nominated and came in second for the first ever Twin Cities Collective Best of 2018 awards.
  • And finally we helped quite a lot of people achieve their real estate goals in 2018. To be exact we helped 29 people purchase their dream home while listing and selling 38 homes.

Thanks again for trusting us to help with all your real estate needs. We appreciate your business and your support.

Cheers to a happy and prosperous 2019!

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.

 

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 Favorite Southwest 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.