Characteristics of a Tudor

We have a lot of Tudor homes with some or all of the characteristics in all shapes and sizes here in Minneapolis. This is because the Tudor architecture was popular at a time of intense population growth in Minneapolis.

Tudors are characterized by their steeply pitched roofs, elaborate masonry chimneys, embellished doorways, groupings of windows, and decorative timbering. Tudors are mainly stucco but they can also be brick.

Tudor houses of Minneapolis
Tudor home example in Minneapolis
Tudor houses of Minneapolis
Tudor home example in Minneapolis
Tudor houses of Minneapolis
Tudor home example in Minneapolis

These beautiful homes are some of our faves in Minneapolis because of the character and charm they add to our pretty city.

Why you need to be pre-approved

There’s no time like the present to get pre-approved to buy a home. After all you have the time and what most people don’t know is that getting pre-approved is the very first step in the home buying process. Most people like to jump straight to the search.

But what you don’t realize is how valuable the pre-approval is to the home buying process. Your pre-approval will tell you how much you can afford and it will give your Zillow searches more focus. Being pre-approved will also give you a competitive advantage when you’re ready to buy.

Today’s low inventory means that you need to be ready to move fast and an offer can not be written without it. In fact most Realtors will not even show you a house unless you are pre-approved.

So if you’re considering buying a home at some point in the next year getting pre-approved is the best thing you can do.

What to do when you’re stuck at home

Here’s a short list of projects you can do around your home. None of which have anything to do with organizing. If you want to do a little of that you can see our previous post on Clearing out the Clutter. All of these are projects we ask our clients to do when getting their homes ready for the market.

Wash all your outlets and your light switches. Seriously these start to look really dirty and grimey after awhile. If you have any cracked or mismatched outlets it’s time to replace them. You can order these online at Home Depot or Lowes and they don’t cost a lot.

Clean the grout in your bathtub and shower. This is not a fun one but it just has to be done. To clean bathroom grout, I recommend using a baking soda and water paste and apply it to the grout and then giving it a good scrub. If your caulk is moldy you may need to take a few additional steps. Start soaking cotton balls in bleach and setting them on top of the caulk. Let it sit there over night if possible. The next day remove the cotton balls and wipe down. If this doesn’t work to remove the stains, it’s time to re-caulk.

If you have white trim and doors it’s time to touch them up. Our trim and doors take a beating and the white shows dirt and grime over time. And trust me when I tell you that when they look rough everything in the room looks rough. I like to keep a can of trim paint on hand and for periodic touch ups. I find it’s easier that way.

Paint the laundry room floor. Another task that’s not for everyone but if you have a concrete floor in your basement laundry room you will be amazed at how good and clean your laundry room will look once it’s painted.

Deep clean your appliances inside and out. There is nothing that will turn a buyer off faster than dirty appliances. Well maybe a dirty bathroom but let’s focus here. For step by step instructions on how to clean stainless steel appliances click here.

Clearing out the Clutter

If you feel like COVID19 has taken over your life and being stuck at home is the worst thing possible I have some good news and something you can do while stuck at home. Declutter your space! If you were hoping for a better option just hear me out. Now is a great time to clean out the clutter because you have the time and organizing your space will help you regain a sense of control and reduce stress.

Wondering where to start, here are 4 area’s of your home you could clean and declutter in less than a day.

Organize your closets: This is my favorite activity. Seriously just ask Matt, getting rid of stuff makes me happy, I somehow feel lighter without exercising or dieting. To get started all you need to do is pick a closet, grab a box, bin or a few garbage bags and start removing the items you no longer use, want or like. If it’s in good condition put it in a bag to give away. If it’s seen better days now is the time to throw it away. And if just doesn’t belong here take it to it’s rightful home.

Clean your storage spaces: Warning, tackling this space will require much more time that organizing the closets. Mostly because these spaces tend to be bigger and everything is in a box. And to organize and declutter correctly you will need to open and go trough each box, following the same guidelines as above if you no longer use, want or like the item it will need to be removed and either donated or thrown away.

Organize and clean your kitchen cabinets: Again I like to take this project one cabinet at a time. My greatest piece of advice is to avoid the temptation to empty all the cabinets at once. That can quickly get overwhelming and lead to chaos, something no one needs at the moment. Simply remove everything from the cabinet, wipe it down with soap and water. Put only the items that you use, want and work back in the cabinets. Move on to the next cabinet.

Declutter your bathroom vanity: This is a super quick and simple project because if you’re like me the majority of the products that land down here can simply be thrown away.

Want to turn this into a family activity? Have everyone pick a closet and turn it in to a contest, who ever has the cleanest and most organized closet wins a prize.

Our Review of Heather’s

We love the newest neighborhood restaurant. It’s that simple.

But if you’d like a little more info, here you go.

First we’re just so happy this place is no longer sitting empty, for those of you that don’t know this building sat empty for 15 years. And we’re not fans of empty buildings, they do absolutely nothing for the neighborhood. Unlike neighborhood restaurants.

Second, it’s adorable inside. For the most part the restaurant is white and full of natural light so the green tile wall behind the bar and all the gold accents easily steels the show.

Our review of Heather's in Minneapolis the latest neighborhood restaurant | Matt Engen Group

Next we should probably talk about the food. You place your order at the counter. Which as you can see in the picture is filled with so many delicious options it was hard to narrow it down. So we didn’t, we ordered what we wanted and then some, including a chocolate chip cookie, because why not?

Beautiful bowls of food behind the counter at Heather's in Minneapolis the latest neighborhood restaurant.
The options are fresh and tasted as good as they looked
Orzo salad with greens and pine nuts at Heather's in Minneapolis the latest neighborhood restaurant.
The Orzo Salad
A plate of food featuring a pesto grilled cheese sandwich, french fries and ketchup at Heather's in Minneapolis the latest neighborhood restaurant
Pesto Grilled Cheese and Fries
A chocolate chip cookie on a plate at Heather's in Minneapolis the latest neighborhood restaurant
A Chocolate Chip Cookie

The food did not disappoint, over all we were very happy with everything we ordered. A few highlights, the tuna salad (not pictured) had artichokes instead of noodles, the french fries are fantastic (seriously do not skip these) and that chocolate chip cookie was to die for. We were suppose to share it but I accidentally ate it all.

In short we will be back. Next time I think I’ll order the fries and a glass of wine because life is short and why not get exactly what you want. Hope to see you there!

My Favorite Home Accounts

For pretty houses in the Twin Cities

By now I’m sure you all know I have a thing for pretty houses, especially the ones in Twin Cities. Part of me is madly in love with the house and the other part of me wants to show everyone just how pretty the Twin Cities can be in every season.

I also enjoy social media, for me connecting with others and meeting new people is fun. Instagram though is quickly becoming my favorite for finding all the prettiest local houses. So I figured it was time for me to share my favorite accounts, ones I think you would enjoy following too, so I rounded them up here.

@domesticconjecture – She finds and photographs the most interesting houses and then she writes a fictional story about what is happening in the house. The stories are equally as beautiful as the houses.

@historicminnesota – A fellow Realtor she focuses mainly on exterior shots in towns across Minnesota. She’s featured a few housese from New Ulm and St Peter, towns I remember from when I was younger as well as Stillwater, a local favorite for pretty houses.

@summit_avenue – The bio reads America’s longest stretch of beautifully preserved Victorian era homes. But it’s so much more than that, you really have to experience this feed to appreciate the beauty of these homes. Full of different angles, landscaping and vibrant colors it brings me so much joy.

@rabenson76 – This is a new to me account but I’ve been enjoying the history lesson he shares with each exterior shot.

Now go show these accounts some love and if I’m missing an account please feel free to share.

3 Winter Activities To Do This Weekend

It’s suppose to be in the 30’s this weekend. Cue the celebration! (If you knew how cold it’s been here in Minnesota you’d be celebrating too.) But all kidding aside when we see temps in the 30’s it’s time to get outside and experience the joy of winter. That’s right, I said outside. Not sure what to do? Here are our top picks.

The St. Paul Winter Carnival: This event runs through Feb 2 so technically you have some time but it’s going to be in the 30’s this weekend so why not. There are Ice Sculptures, Ice Bars, Parades and so much more.

Lake Harriet Kite Festival: This one is open from noon to 4 on Saturday. Go see kites of all shapes and sizes, colors and themes flying over a frozen lake. Other fun things to do include ice fishing, snowshoeing, and a marshmallow roast. This is a free event. Including a free ride from Metro Transit.

Minnehaha Falls: I saved the best for last, I’m not sure how many of you have seen a frozen water fall but it’s pretty amazing. I highly recommend that you dress warm, wear your warmest and sturdiest winter boots and go explore. When we went we went followed the creek and enjoyed a beautiful long walk. My last piece of advice, don’t forget your camera, this place is very Instagrammable.

Love the Home You’re In!

As Realtors we believe in home ownership, we also believe that you should love the home you’re in and if not well you really should consider moving. Not because we’re in the business of helping people buy and sell real estate but because we really do believe that being happy at home is important. It doesn’t matter where you live or how big your house is what matters is how your home makes you feel. 

For some people a home provides security, belonging, privacy. For others it’s where they gather with friends and family it’s a place to start and end their day. 

We live in a 3 bedroom, 4 bathroom colonial home in the Kenny neighborhood of Southwest Minneapolis and living here brings us much joy. We find joy in entertaining our family and friends, we love watching movies in the family room, playing games in front of the fire, playing ping pong in the basement, relaxing outside, (in the summer only) and I personally find much joy in laying my head on my pillow every single night. 

Love the Home You're In | Real Estate Blog | Matt Engen Group
This is a picture of our home covered in snow.

Nevertheless we don’t see ourselves living here forever. At some point our boys will graduate from high school, move out (fingers crossed) and this will simply be more house than we want. We talk a lot about downsizing to something much smaller, an updated rambler with an open floor plan and a pool in the back yard sounds pretty fantastic, don’t you think? 

But that’s for some day, for now we’re going to love the home we’re in. It really is perfect for our family, it fits our needs and makes us happy and that’s what it’s all about.

New Requirements for Minneapolis Home Sales

Starting today (Jan 16, 2020) the City of Minneapolis is requiring an Energy Disclosure Report to be included with the Truth in Housing report which is required by the City of Minneapolis to be completed prior to selling your home.

Backing up for just a minute just in case you’re not familiar with the Minneapolis Truth in Housing Report. This report, commonly called the TISH is required by the City of Minneapolis for any sale of a single family house, duplex, townhouse and first time condo conversions in the City of Minneapolis. This report was put in place to ensure the quality of housing available in the city.

Over all it’s a fairly easy process to complete. It requires making an appointment with a licensed evaluator prior to listing your home. They come out and evaluate your home, it typically takes less than an hour but there is a cost involved for the home owner, prior to this change the cost of this inspection at Structure Tech, a company in Minneapolis that performs these types of inspections was $200 going forward the cost will be $300.

After you’ve scheduled your appointment an evaluator comes to the home, evaluates the property and files a report. A full list of what they evaluate can be found on the City of Minneapolis’s website. A copy of the report is required to be at the property while it’s for sale so potential buyers can see it. A copy is also given to the buyer at closing. If there are any required repairs they need to be taken care of and completed prior to the sale or the buyer has to accept responsibility for the repairs. If the buyer accepts responsibility these repairs need to be completed within 90 days of closing.

Going forward in addition to the normal list of things they evaluate they will be evaluating 4 key area’s and giving your home an Energy Score. The 4 areas are; attic insulation, wall insulation, single pane windows without storms and the heating system. But unlike the rest of the Truth in Housing report, there will be no required repairs related to the energy disclosure. The primary goal of the report will be to educate home owners and potential buyers on the energy costs related to the home.

To test wall insulation the TISH evaluator will drill a small 2″ hole in your wall to determine the amount of insulation in the walls. This will only happen if your home was built prior to 1980 – which is 90% of the housing stock in the City of Minneapolis. The TISH evaluator will find a discreet location that has an exterior facing wall, typically in a closet. A colleague recently had this done and had them do it behind the stove. Once the inspection is complete, the hole will be sealed with a plastic cap.

The new Energy Disclosure report was adopted by the City of Minneapolis in an effort to make home buyers and renters more aware of their potential energy costs before they buy or rent a home. The City of Minneapolis hopes that sharing this information will help the city reach its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 by inspiring home owners and landlords to make the necessary changes to be more energy efficient.

The Nokomis Nest

We did it! We converted one of our three rental properties to an Airbnb and it’s now available for bookings.

I promise to share more on our decision and the process but for now let me introduce you to The Nokomis Nest, our sweet little 3 bed, 2 bathroom home in the City of Minneapolis.

Located within blocks of Lake Nokomis and so many fantastic restaurants and fun shops. It’s also close to the airport, Mall of American and both downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul.

When you stay at The Nokomis Nest you will have the entire house to yourself. That’s 1600 finished square feet of space.

There are two bedrooms on the main floor; one has a queen size bed and one has a full size bed. The third bedroom occupies the entire top floor and has a queen size bed.

Main floor bedroom with queen bed
Main floor bedroom with full bed

Upstairs bedroom with queen bed

Both the living room and the downstairs family room are equipped with High Speed Internet and 4K 55 inch TV’s and have Xfinity/ Comcast Cable.

If you’re headed to Minneapolis anytime soon we would love to be your host. We truly love this house and our beautiful city and can’t wait to welcome you.