Friday, June 22, 2018

Live and Play Twin Cities - Weekend Events!

If you missed out on getting tickets for tonight to see the original JT (James Taylor and his All-Star Band), we have a few other options for things to check out this weekend!

Back to the 50s Weekend

The Minnesota Street Rod Association’s 45th annual “Back to the ‘50s Weekend” presented by NAPA Auto Parts will blanket the State Fairgrounds with more than 12,000 street rods, customs, classics and restored vehicles, all dating from 1964 and earlier, as well as 350 vendors and tons of activities.
Named the “Best Car Show” in the nation by USA Today in 2016 and 2017, this amazing show offers something for everyone!

This is exactly what it sounds like. It's a conference featuring 100+ Pinterest-based classes taught by the best presenters in the nation. And it's also a show with nearly 300 top businesses providing beautiful options in the worlds of DIY, crafts, cooking, self-improvement, photography, party planning, scrap-booking, holiday, beauty and fashion and all sorts of other great things. What's Pinners? It's where Pinterest comes to life. 

Hosted in Lowertown St. Paul, this three day festival is scattered around Mears Park and features an extensive line up of local and national musicians. 

And if your looking to just stay put this weekend, the weather is looking great for a little stroll around downtown Excelsior or getting out and enjoying our very own Lake Minnetonka. 

Whatever you end up planning, stay cool out there and have fun! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

How to Personalize Your Outdoor Space

Transform your patio, deck or outdoor room into a personal oasis that reflects your special sense of style.
Guest post by Sara Marie Hall
As the temperatures rise and the days get longer, it’s time to create an outdoor space that’s a welcoming extension of your home. The inside of your home is a reflection of your style, and your outdoor space should be no different. Struggling with how to bring your design taste outdoors in a way that’s unique to you? With a few special touches, you can transform any patio, deck or outdoor room into a personal oasis that reflects your special sense of style.

Choose Furniture Based on Size and Lifestyle

To get started, consider the size and function of your space to select the right furniture. Whether you have a huge backyard complete with a large patio for alfresco dining or a small balcony in a city apartment, make your outdoor space completely your own by focusing on how you can enjoy it most within the space limitations. For example, your balcony space may not support a dining area, but it might comfortably fit two lounge chairs and a bistro table, perfect for outdoor dining.
If you’re looking to create a cozy, personal getaway to curl up with a book, choose a few chairs, a side table and a chaise lounge. If you love to host outdoor parties during the spring and summer months, consider adding a full outdoor dining set, multiple lounge chairs and even an outdoor bar cart. If you want a place for a large family to gather under the stars, choose a sectional. Everyone’s outdoor style is different, so think about how you envision using the space. Start with what you need, and know that you can always add pieces as your needs change.

Select Accents that Speak to Your Decorating Style

Once you’ve chosen outdoor furniture and decided how you’ll use your space, you get to have some fun decorating! This is where you can truly let your personality come through and give your outdoor space the fun touches that will make it shine. Here are the elements to consider:
Colors. Start by choosing your favorite color scheme. If you like bright colors, go for a bold combination of yellows, blues or reds. Navy is a great option for a poolside retreat. For a contemporary look, blues, whites and greys all blend well. Love a minimalist style? You can’t go wrong with classic black and white.
Textures. With your color palette in mind, search for outdoor rugs and textiles that create a cohesive look. Then, add finishing touches such as copper lanterns, twinkling string lights, stylish planters or metal wall art. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something you really love and that feels personal.

Add One-of-a-Kind Elements

Of course, no space is complete without a few special touches. You probably don’t want to subject family photos or treasured souvenirs to the elements, but you can still personalize your outdoor space with decor pieces that hold special meaning. Choose touches like a hand-painted birdhouse or homemade musical wind chime. If you have a green thumb, plant your favorite flowers in planters for a sweet reminder every time you see them. However you choose to decorate, you’ll know yours is a one-of-a-kind outdoor space.

Sara Marie Hall creates original online content about outdoor furniture for Crate and Barrel, where you can find options for spaces of any size.  She enjoys spending time outdoors and loves adding new personal touches to her outdoor space each summer.

Re-posted from Coldwell Banker Blue Matter - June 2018

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending June 9, 2018

The Federal Reserve recently increased the federal funds rate by 0.25 percent, marking the second rate hike this year and seventh since late 2015. Two more 0.25 percent increases are expected by the end of the year. The 30-year mortgage rate did not increase, yet Fed action can have an indirect effect on the housing market. Buyers often react by trying to lock in at the current rate ahead of assumed future higher rates. Educating consumers that the Fed rate and mortgage rates are not the same can help curb panic buying.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending June 9:
 • New Listings decreased 2.7% to 2,094
 • Pending Sales decreased 4.1% to 1,450
 • Inventory decreased 18.5% to 10,623

For the month of May:
 • Median Sales Price increased 8.4% to $271,000
 • Days on Market decreased 9.6% to 47
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 0.7% to 100.2%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 12.0% to 2.2

Publish Date: June 18, 2018 • All comparisons are to 2017All data from NorthstarMLS. Provided by the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS®. Report © 2018 ShowingTime

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending May 26, 2018

Residential real estate activity is in full swing across America. Some trends are persisting as they have week after week, month after month and now year after year. But some metrics are teasing a deviation from the norm. There may not be as many homes for sale as there were last year at this time, and home price increases are still more likely than not, but there is a chance that we could see more positive changes in either sales or new listings as the summer months progress.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending May 26:
 • New Listings increased 5.5% to 1,817
 • Pending Sales decreased 9.9% to 1,405
 • Inventory decreased 19.4% to 10,322

For the month of April:
 • Median Sales Price increased 8.8% to $266,500
 • Days on Market decreased 10.2% to 53
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 0.8% to 99.9%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 20.8% to 1.9

All data from NorthstarMLS. Provided by the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS®. Report © 2018 ShowingTime.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Weekend Happenings!

Summer is officially upon us and that means its time for art shows, concerts and lakes. Here are some family friendly things that are going on this weekend for you to check out!

Get out and enjoy the weather and let us know if you find anything fun in your neighborhood we should check out.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

The 5 Best Self-Learning Smart Home Devices

Self-learning home devices learn your habits and adjust themselves accordingly for an unprecedented level of convenience.

Guest post by Jon Snyder
Picture this: You’ve had an exhausting week — all you want to do is go home and relax. It’s hot outside, but you arrive to a perfectly cooled home. As dusk rolls in, your blinds follow suit, as if they’re chasing the sunset. You make your way to your bedroom and practically crumble into bed. The lights dim as the temperature dips and you drift off into a peaceful sleep.
This might sound like a futuristic dream, but actually, it’s a reality. In today’s world, millions of smart gadgets are available to make your home more intelligent. But these “smart” devices are limited to homeowner’s programming capabilities, which is usually turning on and off at certain times. Genius? Not so much. Self-learning home devices are different. They learn your habits and adjust themselves accordingly for an unprecedented level of convenience.  Here, we’ll take a look at some of the best connected devices and the ways they can observe patterns, interpret data, or use artificial intelligence to help make your life easier.
  1. Self-Learning Thermostats

Keeping your house at an ideal temperate can be pricey. About 50 percent of your energy bill can be attributed to running the heat or air conditioning. A manual thermostat can be programmed to adjust temps at certain times but if you leave for vacation and forget to turn it off, you’re out of luck.
Smart thermostats are a game-changer. They can learn your favorite temp and make sure you’re never too hot or too cold. If you’ve cranked the AC a few days in a row, your thermostat will pick up on this pattern and adjust the temperature settings accordingly. And when you leave for work or a week-long vacation, sensors and GPS will alert your thermostat to automatically save energy (and money).

2.    Self-Learning Blinds

There’s nothing worse than being woken up at the crack of dawn on a weekend to sun beams hitting you square in the face. Or the opposite — you can’t seem to roll out of bed because the room is so dark that it must still be nighttime, right?
Smart blinds can help address both of these issues. The latest intelligent shades connect to your compatible smart-home systems and adjust themselves automatically. Simply program your shades to move your window treatments to your preference. And to take it one step further, some smart blinds can follow the sun to maintain the same level of light as the season’s change, which saves energy and money (without any effort on your part).

3.    Self-Learning Beds

Even your bed can have brainpower. Tech-savvy mattresses covers sync up with your thermostat and bedroom lighting for a full sensory experience. As you begin to snooze, the temperature and lights of your room and bed adjust to your preference. When you doze off completely, they adjust again or turn off completely. These self-learning mattress protectors can also track your sleep patterns and help you achieve your best night’s rest.

4.    Self-Learning Surveillance

Being able to keep an eye on your home while you are away is the ultimate peace of mind, as one in 36 homes are burglarized each year. Smart surveillance systems employ innovative learning technology like facial recognition to keep your home safe from unfamiliar faces. Some cameras also have self-learning video analytics, which automatically adjust their settings based on the scene conditions to give you the clearest view possible. Plus, they connect to Wi-Fi for 24/7 footage, pinged right to your smartphone from anywhere with internet.

5.    Self-Learning Spectrometer  

This might not seem like an everyday item, but smart food spectrometers are making waves in the kitchen. This tool interprets algorithms to understand food freshness, sweetness and quality. In real-time, it can determine if your meat has gone bad, if your whiskey is the real deal or if that farmer’s market fruit is fresh.

Bonus: Self-Learning Home Controller

As seen at the 2018 Consumer Electronic Show, a self-learning home controller takes your smart home gadgets and make them smarter. It uses artificial intelligence to understand your home patterns, picking up data from your smart appliances, lighting and electricity. It automates mundane tasks without scheduling or hassle to better manage your home and save money. Although it’s not available for purchase yet, this home controller could help smart gadgets reach their full potential.  

As smart home gadgets continue to get smarter and learn on their own, it’ll be fascinating to see how they will predict our behavior to save energy, slash bills, and most importantly, make our lives better.
Perhaps one day, there will be no snoozing through alarms (your phone will know to wake you up), no burnt banana bread (your oven will know it’s fully baked), and no parties after midnight (your lights know bedtime is at 10PM). But hopefully these self-learning devices will learn that sometimes humans like to break the rules.

Jon Snyder is a Product Manager at Esurance, where he oversees countrywide design of property insurance products. Jon has over 25 years of experience in the insurance industry and he writes about a variety of topics, including smart home technology, homeowners insurance and the intersection of the two. You can learn more about Esurance’s homeowners insurance options by visiting their website

Monday, June 4, 2018

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending May 19, 2018

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, existing home sales were down 2.5 percent for the nation as a whole in April. While local trends do not necessarily coincide with national trends, a holistic outlook can often explain the general state of feelings regarding residential real estate. Sales have been lower in year-over-year comparisons in the hottest submarkets due to low inventory and a speed to sale that is faster than the market can replenish itself.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending May 19:
• New Listings increased 8.9% to 2,279
• Pending Sales decreased 10.2% to 1,437
• Inventory decreased 22.6% to 9,768

For the month of April:
• Median Sales Price increased 9.0% to $267,000
• Days on Market decreased 10.2% to 53
• Percent of Original List Price Received increased 0.8% to 99.9%
• Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 20.8% to 1.9

Publish Date: May 29, 2018 • All comparisons are to 2017
All data from NorthstarMLS. Provided by the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS®. Report © 2018 ShowingTime