Feb. 19, 2020

Cures for the Winter Blues

February is probably the worst time of year.  Ask any Minnesotan.  All the fun holiday parties are over and now we’re just stuck, staring hopelessly at several feet of snow and balking at yet another below zero wind-chill.  But maybe we just need to re-frame our thinking!  Sure, it’s deathly cold outside and nobody’s getting their required amount of vitamin D, but if you can’t beat the winter, you might as well join it!  Here are some ideas for the winter-weary to get you through to spring:

-Ice Skating – there are countless outdoor rinks in the Twin Cities, but we’re fans of Centennial Lakes Park in Edina, which offers free skating (if you bring your own skates), $6 skate rental, and a huge warming house with concessions like hot cocoa – yum! Centennial Lakes Ice Skating

-Minneapolis Institute of Art – admission is always free and you could wander the museum for days without getting bored.  February is Black History Month and the MIA is celebrating with stunning exhibitions from African and African American artists. Third Thursday is Feb 20th and the theme is Afrofuturism – there will be live music, art-making, yoga, and tours. MIA Black History Month

-The 11th Annual Winter Beer Dabbler – On Saturday, February 22nd you can sample 600 beers and ciders at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.  There will be an obstacle course, beer pong, live music, and a silent disco! Winter Beer Dabbler

-Ice Castles – take some inspiration from Elsa and Anna and explore the incredible Ice Castles!  This year they were constructed in New Brighton.  We recommend going after dark to experience the full effect of the LED-lit sculptures. Ice Castles

-Snow Tubing – Buck Hill is always our go-to for snow tubing, and from February 27th – 29th, they are hosting “Northern Lights Tubing,” featuring laser lights and live music. Buck Hill Tubing

-Schell’s Bock Fest – if you’ve never experienced the wonder that is Bock Fest, you’re in for a treat!  Schell’s Brewery in New Ulm will host the annual festival on Saturday March 7th.  It includes an epic scavenger hunt, great beer, brats, and live music. Pro tip: no outside food is allowed, unless strung onto a necklace.  Challenge accepted! Schell's Bock Fest

Posted in Twin Cities
Nov. 8, 2018

Considerations for Minneapolis Seniors Buying a New Home


Minneapolis has a lot to offer seniors, especially when you know where to settle during your retirement years. You may want to downsize into a new home that supports mobility needs, or simply look for a new neighborhood to enjoy now that you have more time. Here are several things seniors should consider when house hunting in Minneapolis.


Affordability of the Home


On average, Median home prices in Minneapolis are higher than the rest of the state and nation, so seniors working with a limited retirement budget may need to look carefully at listings to find a house that works.


Keep in mind that groceries and health costs tend to be lower in the city than elsewhere in the nation. Plus, unemployment is lower in the city than across the nation, which means seniors who want to find part-time work to add a little income during their retirement years are likely to find job opportunities in Minneapolis.



Choosing the Right Type of Home


Sweeping staircases are beautiful, but they aren't always a good choice for seniors. Regardless of your current mobility, think to the future when buying a new home in Minneapolis. Seniors may want to look for single-story homes with wide halls and doorways that will support a walker or wheelchair access. If you fall in love with a two-story home, consider how easy it might be to add a stair lift if necessary.


Other factors that make a home friendly to retirees include walk-in showers, the ability to easily upgrade safety elements in the bathroom and built-in security systems that let you reach out to first responders in an emergency.

Some types of homes that might meet these needs include:

  • Ranch-style homes, available in many of the more suburban areas of the city
  • Condo units, available throughout the city, including some areas near downtown
  • Senior living communities, which provide on-site staff to assist seniors with a variety of needs while supporting independent, active lifestyles

Easy Access to Health Care


Health care is an important amenity for many seniors, and Minneapolis has a lot to offer in this area. The city is home to numerous medical campuses, many of which have geriatric care teams. In fact, Abbot Northwestern Hospital is ranked 38th in geriatric care for the entire nation by U.S. News and World Reports.


Midtown Phillips, Downtown East, and Uptown are a few Minneapolis neighborhoods that are close to top hospitals and boast excellent health and wellness amenities, so seniors concerned with managing chronic illnesses may want to look at homes in these areas.


Getting Around the City


If you're no longer planning to drive due to health reasons or personal preference, you can still choose a home in Minneapolis that allows you to enjoy all the city has to offer. MetroTransit serves the Twin Cities area, which means you can get bus, train or metro rides throughout Minneapolis and nearby St. Paul. Adults age 65 and up get discounted fares, paying just $1 for non-rush hour rides on local and express buses and the metro. Seniors who want to rely on public transportation should consider the proximity of transit stops to any home you're considering.


Choosing a new home in Minneapolis is a great way to kick off retirement years, and an experienced real estate agent can help you ensure your new residence meets the requirements important to you.

Posted in Twin Cities
July 16, 2018

Top 10 Places to Visit in Minneapolis

 is a major city in Minnesota that forms "Twin Cities" with the neighboring state capital of St. Paul. Bisected by the Mississippi River, it's known for its parks and lakes. There's no shortage of things to do and visit in the Minneapolis. From malls to nature, to museums, we have something for you.

In no particular order, here are top 10 places you can visit in Minneapolis:

Guthrie Theater

This Missipi riverfront theater brings crowds for first-class performances. Did we mention that it also has a restaurant with pre-show dining, several bars, and great views of the Minneapolis skyline?

Mall of America

Seven Yankee stadiums could fit inside the Bloomington megamall, home to 520 stores, a Nickelodeon theme park and an aquarium.

Mill City Museum

Built into the ruins of what was once the world's largest flour mill, you can ride the Flour Tower, an eight-story elevator show about the city’s rich milling history. A ninth-floor observation deck overlooks St. Anthony Falls.

Minneapolis Institute of Art

Admission is free to view the permanent collection of more than 89,000 objects, which includes European tapestries and Turkish embroideries.

Minnehaha Park

Hikers and bikers on the 10 miles of trails stop to see the Mississippi River, limestone bluffs, and 53-foot-tall Minnehaha Falls.

Nicollet Mall

A 12-block pedestrian thoroughfare balances big-city feel with eclectic hidden gems. Their highlights? The Dakota Jazz Club and Brit’s Pub (with lawn bowling on the roof).

Target Field

Families pack the downtown stadium to cheer on the Minnesota Twins while enjoying local fare like polish sausages from Kramarczuk’s.

Walker Art Center

The onsite Minneapolis Sculpture Garden reopened in summer 2017 after a two-year, $33 million renovation. Inside the art center, explore 11 indoor contemporary art galleries.

Weisman Art Museum

Frank Gehry’s gleaming silver building houses the University of Minnesota’s collection of more than 20,000 objects, including numerous pieces of American modernism.

U.S. Bank Stadium

The Vikings' $1.1 billion stadium hums even on non-game days. Catch a concert or take a behind-the-scenes tour.

Aside from these great places, housings are also reasonable in comparison to other major cities. If you're planning in moving to Minneapolis or in St. Paul area, our team of experienced Real Estate Agents and Brokers will be happy to help you!



Posted in Twin Cities
July 16, 2018

Commuting in Minneapolis and St. Paul

Are you considering moving to one of the Twin Cities and worried about the commute? Don’t worry, Minneapolis and St. Paul are wonderful places to live and work with lower commute times compared to places in the United States where the traffic is truly terrible like Los Angeles or New York City.

When is the best time to travel?

According to TripSavvy, the morning rush hour will be at its worst around 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. The evening rush hour starts decently early at around 4 p.m. and peaks at 5 to 5:30 p.m.

Just be aware of large events in either city, that will make the commute even longer. If you don't want to drive, check METRO Transit Line, which will get you between the two cities in about 45 minutes.

Driving during winter

Winter in the Twin Cities can be beautiful if you know how to drive in the snow. It's a good idea to slow down and allow plenty of time for your journey in the winter. Remember to make sure your car is completely clear from snow before driving on any roads. It can be dangerous to yourself and other drivers to have snow and ice on your vehicle. It may be faster to take the light rail or leave at a different time if the weather isn’t great.

But hey! Snowy days also means snowshoeing and ice fishing then snuggling up to a fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa!

Drive a commuter car

Look for vehicles that are meant for driving in all weather conditions, rain, snow or sunshine. Finding a car that is both fuel efficient and weather-proof will make your commute between the Twin Cities effortless.

Enjoying your travel time

If you’re spending nearly an hour in your car each day, you might as well be enjoying it. Download an audiobook and put it on your Bluetooth speakers in your car. You can also use this time to set goals for today. Think about you want to get done and use a voice recorder to list down what you're thinking.

Commuting between the Twin Cities is easy as long as you are prepared with the right vehicle and keep an eye on the weather. No one likes sitting and traffic, and hopefully these tips made you hopeful that the commute between the Twin Cities is worth it.



Posted in Twin Cities
July 16, 2018

5 Best Ways To Make an Improvement to your Property and Add Value to your Home



Home is the most valued possession and investment that someone will make. But whether you just bought a house or you have lived there for a while, the fastest way to increase your home's value is by making a renovation. Renovating your home can be an effective way to increase its resale value.

Here are our thoughts on the five best ways that you can make an improvement to your property and add value to it.

1. Remodel Kitchen - If remodeling your kitchen, remodel your entire kitchen. Potential buyers don't want to have to redo the rest of the kitchen themselves. If your planning to do soft upgrades, simple things like painting the cabinets can make a huge difference.

2. Add Light - Many homes built even 10-15 years ago do not have adequate lights in today's standards. Things like skylights and canned lighting can make a big difference.

3. Increase Curb Appeal - This is the first thing that people see when they drive up to visit you. Simple things like fertilizing your lawn, and adding new trees and vegetation change the feel of your home.

4. Maintaining/Add Deck - Regular staining can help make your home more appealing to a buyer. If adding a deck, don't make it too small. A deck that does not comfortably fit 8-10 people may be too small.

5. Update bathrooms - If updating one bathroom, update all of them. Keeping consistency throughout all of the bathrooms will both accomplish your goal and add value to your home.

If you want to see what your home will sell for and how it compares to the homes for sale in your market, schedule a FREE home evaluation with us. We are experts in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area, and we will have bought and sold hundreds of homes.

Posted in House Tips
July 16, 2018

A Guide to Home Buying for Millennials

According to a recent survey,  millennials are educated, tech-savvy, typically know what they want and willing to purchase product or service to support a cause they believe in even if it means paying a bit more. That's probably the reason why there's an increase in people from the twenties to early thirties wanting to buy a home so they can move out from their parent's basement.

The largest generation in history feels that purchasing a home is a smart financial decision that's why millennials entering the housing market need extra support.

This guide should help first-time homebuyer millennials.

1. Deciding if you're ready for the commitment

Buying a home may be the largest purchase you’ll make in your entire life that's why you need to ask yourself first if you're ready for that type of commitment. Buying a home also means you need to work hard not only financially but also handy work like small house repairs and maintenance.

2. Figure out what you can afford

Keep in mind that monthly payments include more than just the mortgage; they also carry interest, property taxes and insurance on the home. You may want to lists down payment, buyer’s closing costs, moving costs, move-in costs, and maintenance. Remember to determine first how these will affect your budget.

3. Consider Credit and Savings

You probably established some type of credit score by now and hopefully, it's decent. Lenders will likely to consider your credit score when it comes to mortgage approval. Apart from credit, check on your savings. When buying a home you need be ready for upfront payments like down payments and closing costs.

4. Look for a Lender and Get Pre Approved

Home buying is definitely a financial process. We mentioned that lenders will consider your bank statements, salary, bills, and even spending habits but you will always have an option to look for several lending companies. Some may be more lenient when it comes to credit history. The banks that you’ve used for years may offer lower rates than other lenders.

5. Look for an Agent You Can Trust

Professional real estate agents have the training, experience, and know-how to lead any first-time home buyer to a home that’s right for them. Your trusted real estate agent should help you decide on your needs and wants when it comes to a home. Not only that, they should walk you through the entire offer and closing process and help you in consider your long-term goals for your new home.

Buying a home is a big purchase not only for millennials but for anyone. It should be taken very seriously and planned for well in advance. Contact a trusted real estate agent, who will be happy to help you through the entire home-buying process today!

Posted in Home Buying Tips
July 16, 2018

5 Common Mistakes First - Time Homebuyers Make


Buying a home is an exciting time of your life and buying your first home is a great accomplishment. But there are some things to be aware of so you don't get buyer's remorse. First-time homebuyers get pulled in all sorts of different directions from parents, friends or even neighbors on the home buying process. So we've listed down the 5 common mistakes first-time homebuyers make. 

1. You don't know what you can afford

You need to know the difference between what your bank says you can afford and what you know you can afford. The first thing you want to do is make a list of all your monthly expenses such as vehicle costs, student loan payments, credit card payments, groceries, health insurance, retirement savings, etc. Next, contact your professional real estate broker and let him know your budget range. But always keep in mind not to look at homes that are outside your price range, you don't want to end up on something you can't afford, which can put you in the dangerous position of trying to stretch beyond your means financially or cause you to feel unsatisfied with what you can actually afford.

2. Not choosing the right  real estate agent

Getting your first home can be overwhelming. Venturing into this process alone, without professional help, is not a good idea. Choose an agent that can provide references from previous buyers. Researching for feedbacks and testimonials on their social media accounts or website is definitely a good idea.

3. Not considering additional expenses

Being a homeowner will have additional expenses on top of your monthly payment. Most of the common things to consider are property taxes, ensuring your home against disasters and making any repairs the house needs.

4. Discrediting important things

Yes, you might be sticking on your budget but don't set aside important things when buying a new home. Some of the things you should never compromise are:

  • Location
  • Neighborhood
  • Home structure and strength
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Size

5. Using your heart in making the decision

No matter how attractive a house is initially, it’s important to keep an open mind and make your final decision based, not just on aesthetics, but on what is financially sound. Remember that buying the most expensive and alluring home you qualify for is not a wise move. Don't max out on how much you can spend as it may leave you with nothing left for savings.

Before you find the perfect home that fits your budget and your lifestyle, you’ll likely have to check out several properties first and if you're aware of the common mistakes ahead of time, you can protect yourself from costly errors and shop with confidence.  The odds of finding your dream home on the first visit are pretty low, especially if you’re sticking to a specific budget. But, the more homes you see, the better idea you’ll have.

Posted in House Tips