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.

Looking for a home to buy

We’re currently working with multiple buyers who are looking for a home to buy. They are pre-approved and ready to make an offer. If only we could find a house. The current inventory levels (homes that are currently for sale) in Minnesota are low. This isn’t new news, they’ve been steadily declining in recent years. On top of that the Twin Cities population is increasing and more and more baby boomers are aging in place. As a result the competition is extremely competitive for first time home buyers. Houses are once again selling quickly. Many in multiple offers. Consequently frustrating even the most patient home buyers. Our advice, understand the market, manage your expectations, buy what you can afford and most of all be patient. The right house is out there. We promise.

Looking for a home to buy | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

#firsttimehomebuyer #lookingforahometobuy #realestate #realtors #mattengengroup #remaxresults

How to Clean your Stainless Steel Appliances

When getting ready to sell your home the number one and easiest thing you can do is clean. And then clean again. Paying close attention the bathrooms and the kitchen. Both have to be immaculate, they really do. And if that stresses you out I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t end there, because now that your house is for sale you need keep your home clean.

In the kitchen this means that all surfaces need to be wiped down for every showing including the appliances. If you have stainless steel appliances you will need to pay close attention to how you clean them. You don’t want to leave behind finger prints, streaks or water spots. And surprisingly enough we see this a lot.

The easiest way to keep your stainless steel appliances clean for showings is to purchase Weiman Stainless Steel Wipes. Trust me when I tell you that they’re a life saver. You can purchase these at Home Depot or Target for less than $4.00.  Keep them under your sink for easy access and before you leave the house give your stainless steel appliances a quick wipe down and without a doubt they will look brand new!

I recently introduced this product to our client. Check out the before and after pictures we took of her stainless steel appliances.

This is the before picture:

How to Clean your Stainless Steel Appliances | Blog | Matt Engen Group















And now the after:

How to Clean your Stainless Steel Appliances | Blog | Matt Engen Group















I’m sure you’ll agree that this product is worth the $4.00 price tag. I mean what a difference! And it’s so easy. All you need to do is wipe and go.

To summarize it doesn’t have to be difficult to keep your stainless steel appliances clean.  All you need is the right product and 2 minutes to make them sparkle. A clean home really does do more than appeal to a buyers sense of aesthetics. It tells them that you have taken care of your home and it’s a wise investment.

#stainlesssteelappliances #sellingtips #sellyourhome #mattengengroup #cleanhome

Family Fun Day!

Our family found ourselves with nothing to do yesterday. Amazing, I know. This almost never happens to us, no sports? no work? what to do? I was personally looking forward to curling up with a good book and staying in my PJ’s all day. But we live in a house with two boys, who are 12 and 14 years old. If we didn’t find something to do as a family they’d spend the day in front of the TV playing Fortnite with their friends. And that means I would lay in bed that night fretting about the massive amount of screen time I just let them consume.

Matt and I decided we’d go bowling at Town Hall Lanes. Both boys surprised us and quickly agreed to go. If you haven’t been to Town Hall Lanes it’s a neighborhood bar/restaurant and 10 lane bowling alley located in Minneapolis. Matt and I like the food and their beer, the Masala Mama is our favorite. The atmosphere at Town Hall Lanes is relaxed, clean and kid appropriate. It was busy, it always is, but we were able to get a lane immediately. We got our shoes, ordered drinks and appetizers, made new friends and bowled 2 really fun games. Turns out I can still kind of bowl, at least well enough to beat the boys!

Family Fun Day! | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

We love the fun retro feel of the lanes.

Family Fun Day! | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

And the shoes.

Family Fun Day! | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

Success, no one fought the picture and everyone smiled. #momwin

Everyone was feeling pretty good after bowling and no one was in the mood to go home so on a whim we decided to head to Can Can Wonderland for some mini golf.  When we arrived we were told it would be a 1 hour and 45 minute wait. I almost lost the family but I convinced everyone to step inside, (thankfully I had been here before and knew what to expect). Once inside they were blown away by what they saw and decided to stay.

We ordered a few drinks at the bar while the boys ordered popcorn and a pretzel from the State Fair themed menu. Then we played vintage pinball, foosball as a family but the majority of our time and money went to trying to conquer Donkey Kong. The time flew by. We were mini golfing before we knew it. Navigating our balls around lit up ferris wheels, a tornado and at one point we had to trade our golf club for a baseball bat. The boys were captivated and challenged the entire time. The atmosphere was fun, creative and definitely kid friendly. A quick tip, if your kids are older go a little later in the day, it was fun when they dimmed the lights and the place lit up.

Family Fun Day! | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

Vintage pinball machines is really fun to look at, hard to play.

Family Fun Day! | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

Mom and dad against Preston and Dillon for a couple games of foosball – we win!

Family Fun Day! | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

I can’t remember what hole this was but this couch brought back so many memories. So did the blanket.

Family Fun Day! | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group

The first hole starts with a bang. Your ball takes a ride on a lit up ferris wheel.

#thingstodo #minneapolis #sundayfunday #minigolf #bowling #family #mattengengroup


Winter in Minnesota

Winter in Minnesota really isn’t my favorite time of the year. So why do I live here?  Well when I awoke this morning I was reminded how beautiful winter can be. Most days I’m too cold to really enjoy the beauty of it. I bundle up and run as quick as I can from place to place. But when I looked outside this morning the sun was shining and the snow was clinging to the trees, it was almost magical. What did you think of the last snowfall? Love it or hate it? We would love to hear.

Winter in Minnesota | Matt Engen Group | Real Estate Blog


Winter in Minnesota | Matt Engen Group | Real Estate Blog


Winter in MN | Matt Engen Group | Real Estate Blog

#winterwonderland #onlyinmn #mattengengroup #home