Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Spruce Up the Half Bath for Guests!

Guest post by Michelle Lee, Houzz
Hosting family or friends is an equally exciting and stressful experience for all. Having a comfortable guest bathroom is key and you’ll want to deck it out with all the necessary supplies to avoid awkward run-ins, like guests asking for more toilet paper. Envision what you expect from hotel bathrooms and incorporate some of these must-have details to get a gleaming five-star review from your houseguests.
All about appearances. The first thing you should establish in your guest bathroom is a good look. Replace flickering and ill-placed lights with new sconces or vanity fixtures to create a warm and welcoming ambiance. Since this is also where your guests might be getting ready for the day or touching up in the evening, provide an adequately sized mirror. A full-length mirror is ideal, but if your room or budget doesn’t allow, look for an inexpensive over-the-door option.
Storage and supplies. It’s imperative to provide sufficient storage space and supplies for your houseguests. Load up your vanity with basics such as towels, tissues, soap, lotion, air fresheners, a first-aid kit and feminine supplies. If you’re hosting overnight guests, allow them their own storage space to lay out the toiletries they bring along. Empty a drawer or bring in a freestanding storage unit for their personal belongings.
A tidy toilet. Two of the most important items to include in any bathroom are plungers and toilet paper. Making sure these items are available will reduce potential awkwardness and embarrassment for both parties. There are many discreet plungers for sale today and you can store extra TP rolls in a stylish wire basket for a trendy look, as seen here.
Tip-top trash. Function is often sacrificed for style, but in the case of wastebaskets, practicality should reign above all. You’ll want to provide a large bin, preferably with a lid and empty it on a consistent basis. Hampers are also a nice touch to keep soiled linens out of sight. Be sure to replace them with new, fluffy towels regularly too.
Open up for overnighters. If you’re hosting long-term or overnight guests, a stock of toothbrushes, toothpaste and face washes will come in handy. Fresh towels and a hamper for dirty linens are also must-haves. For bonus points, pamper your guests with soft robes and slippers. If you have a finicky shower faucet system in your master bathroom that your guests have access to, leave a note explaining how to adjust the dials for a stress-free wash.

Originally posted by affiliate Coldwell Banker Burnet Blue Matter

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending February 24, 2018

We are in a bit of a residential real estate holding pattern thus far in 2018. While some regions have witnessed a welcome increase in pending sales, declines in metrics such as closed sales, new listings and inventory in national year-over-year comparisons are more common, and it may take until late summer or early fall to see evidence of a predicted increase in inventory. In the mean time, buyer interest has remained strong despite the usual supply challenge.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending February 24:
 • New Listings decreased 8.0% to 1,262
 • Pending Sales decreased 8.6% to 968
 • Inventory decreased 22.8% to 7,618

For the month of January:
 • Median Sales Price increased 9.7% to $244,000
 • Days on Market decreased 13.8% to 69
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 1.0% to 96.9%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 22.2% to 1.4

Publish Date: March 5, 2018 • All comparisons are to 2017
Data originally published by Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Looking to get more organized this spring?!? Here are 8 Creative Ways With Closets

Guest post by Kelsey Roadruck, Houzz
Closets are no longer limited to storing clothes, linens or random odds and ends. You can actually discover more living space and streamline storage for your lifestyle in these underutilized and overlooked places. Here are some inspiring examples of closet transformations including a home bar, gym and office.
Don’t think you have space for a home bar? Look again. Even the shallowest hall closet can be converted to a drink station. A happy hour hideaway is a very Prohibition era-esque concept, which is all the more reason to stock it with handsome decanters, glasses, intriguing bar tools and a few of your favorite bottles.
Meet your get fit goals by transforming your closet into a mini home gym. This long and narrow closet has a full workout wardrobe on the right and a lean exercise machine on the left. If your closet can’t accommodate a machine, you can still lay down a yoga mat and install a mirror for keeping your form in-check as you use the floor space for sit-ups, push-ups and the like.
If your productivity is lacking, a quiet home office might be what you need. This before-and-after proves that you don’t need a gigantic walk-in closet to make this idea work.
Simply remove the doors off of an unused closet, install a wide shelf if you can’t shimmy a desk in properly and voila! Chalkboard paint, a sconce and a few desk organizers are also featured in this compact home office.
A craft station is another creative alternative. In this closet, craft materials are organized in the carts with labeled drawers. An over-the-door organizer holds oodles of wrapping paper and stationery among other things. And the sturdy shelf is great for gift wrapping or writing letters. Make it your own by hanging inspirational wall art or photos.
Nooks are very popular on Houzz, especially those reinvented for reading. This alcove under the stairs was finished with warm wood paneling, a reading light and lots of cushions. If you don’t have enough space to actually sit down and read in your closet, use it as a little library for book storage instead.
Dress it up for a fab dressing room. New York Fashion Week just ended, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a runway of your own. This is an ultra glamorous example, but all you really need is a chair, mirror and vanity. You can also try this in a playroom for littles who like playing dress-up.
Rehabilitate the linen closet as a hospitality room. Use this space to hang bathrobes, store towels and display your favorite perfumes and lotions. This is especially useful for those who travel often or have a second home used for a weekend getaway. In addition to freshly laundered linens, you’ll find neatly pressed formal attire here with a weekender bag at the ready.
Prioritize zen by carving out a closet for reflection. Whether you’re religious or just need some peace and quiet, a small closet is a secure place to hole up in for 20 minutes and just be. Keep a floor pillow, pouf or soft area rug here for prayer, yoga or meditation. If you’re not working with a walk-in closet, you can still use a shallow closet as a shrine of spiritual objects or mementos that bring you joy.

Originally posted by affiliate Coldwell Banker Burnet Blue Matter  

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Effective Improvements for a Faster Sale

You have decided to sell your home, and you are eager to sell it ASAP! You need to move or want those proceeds immediately, but how? Let’s go through the best ways to efficiently and effectively improve your home for a speedy sale.

First, curbside appeal. This is the first thing every potential buyer sees so make it stand out!  Some suggestions:
  • Hire a gardener to clean and spruce up the entrance
  • Remove superfluous items from the front of your home, i.e. garbage cans, strollers, etc.
  • Put a fresh coat of paint on your home’s exterior
Second, this is the time to clean and eliminate all clutter inside your home. Here’s how:
  • Give away extra toys, clothes, and anything else that makes it look crowded or disorganized
  • Organize the kitchen countertops and closets
  • Place bulky items in storage
Third, landscaping matters. A large yard cannot shine if the plants, grass and trees are in bad shape. Try the following ideas:
  • Artificial grass-this always looks amazing and eliminates the need for maintenance
  • Tie orchids around the trees, plant fresh flowers and maintain the grass and trees
Fourth, look under the hood. Make the inside of your home look as good as possible.
  • This is the time to do some of the minor repairs you have been putting off. This will make your home look better and may eliminate certain issues during the Inspection Period.
  • Yes, it seems expensive or time-consuming. However, if you hire a professional company, this can truly make the difference and get you more money in less time.
Finally, hire a professional, licensed Realtor. A Realtor with experience and expertise can help sell your home quickly for the best price.

Originally published by Coldwell Banker Burnet Blue Matter by Hillary Hertzberg

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending February 10, 2018

The market needs an increase in new listings in order to build inventory. It is something that has been needed for some time, and there has been positive movement in that regard in desirable submarkets. But it has not been consistent from week to week in year-over-year comparisons. Another way to boost inventory is to have fewer sales, but nobody wants to see that become an ongoing trend.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending February 10:
• New Listings increased 0.7% to 1,364
 • Pending Sales decreased 6.9% to 853
 • Inventory decreased 25.5% to 7,139

For the month of January:
 • Median Sales Price increased 9.2% to $243,000
 • Days on Market decreased 13.8% to 69
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 1.0% to 96.9%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 22.2% to 1.4

Publish Date: February 19, 2018 • All comparisons are to 2017

Monday, February 19, 2018

President's Day 2018

Happy President's Day from Stafford Family Realtors!

We hope that you are enjoying your long weekend! We are looking forward to getting back into work first thing in the morning. Everyone be safe out there!

Ambient Lighting Tricks to Warm Up the Whole House

They say setting the mood is like flipping a switch and we couldn’t agree more. Lighting plays a lead role in making your house feel like home. Here are 10 lighting tricks to enhance your home’s aura.

Guest post by Kelsey Roadruck, Houzz
They say setting the mood is like flipping a switch and we couldn’t agree more. Lighting plays a lead role in making your house feel like home. Here are 10 lighting tricks to enhance your home’s aura.
1. Control natural lighting. If you thought only stormy weather could make a breezy beach house look dark and moody, take a second look at the photo above. The lucky homeowner can draw the sheer curtains closed without completely blocking out the sun. They also get a postcard-worthy view of sunrise and sunset every day from their glass doors. The dimmed fixture above casts a warm light in an all-white room while the cloudy landscape photo tones down the views of the beach.
2. Be picky about your paint. Ask a professional about a paint’s light reflectance value (LRV) before you commit to a color. Lighter colors tend to be more reflective than dark shades. Pay attention to sheen level too since glossy finishes are more reflective than matte finishes.
3. Experiment with materials and finishes. When mixed and matched strategically, these seemingly small details can determine the mood of a whole room. This white and grey bathroom would look stark and cold without the brass fixture above. The candles around the tub help warm the room up too.
4. Install a dimmer switch. There’s nothing relaxing about straining your eyes in a room that is too bright or too dark. Use a dimmer in addition to layering your light sources for ultimate light control. Believe it or not, installing a dimmer switch can be a DIY project.
5. Recess your lights. Even if the bulb is not that bright, a central fixture with multiple bulbs and a shiny finish can be overpowering. Recessed lighting conceals the bulbs and therefore can lights feel softer. You could also hide strip lighting underneath cabinets for a nice nightlight on your way to the kitchen or bathroom. Check out this ultra contemporary island that appears to be floating mid-air.
6. Go a different direction. Uplights, like sconces and track lighting, create a soft glow. On the other hand, downlights cast ominous shadows that can really add mystery to a romantic room. Get creative by backlighting wall decor for a play on color and shapes.
7. Take a refresher course in lightbulb basics. The type of bulb is equally important as its fixture. Halogen, fluorescent and LED bulbs have a range of temperatures from warm (or yellow) to cool (or blue) hues. This is a matter of personal preference, but typically yellowish bulbs warm up cool-colored rooms nicely and vice versa. Bluer bulbs also help brighten darker spaces, like basements and windowless bathrooms.
8. Find your favorite shade. Bright colors, playful patterns and funky shapes can bring personality into a stale space. Smoky glass chandeliers intensify intimate vibes in a dining room while big paper lanterns enliven sophisticated home offices. The teal shades on this fixture match the pillows and put an icy sheen on the large dark walnut bookcase.
Note: This ceiling light is reflected in the whimsically shaped mirror that will help spread light further into the room.
9. Try twinkle lights. Not limited to holiday decor, you can use twinkle lights all year round. Drape them over windows for some extra sparkle or fill jars or empty wine bottles with a bundle of battery-operated fairy lights for an illuminated vignette.
10. Open flame. It’s no secret that candles are customary to ambience, but they’re often reserved for after dark. Next time, try starting a fire first thing in the morning and you’ll find that candles are as effective for waking up as they are for winding down. The heat will naturally draw you out of bed and the rising sun will energize you. We’re channeling all the feels from this rustic bedroom. The corner fireplace and candle chandelier are nothing short of mesmerizing.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Weekend Roundup of Activities Around Town!

Looking to get out and enjoy the weekend around the Twin Cities? Here is a few ideas of some fun ways to get out and enjoy the weekend!

Minnesota Orchestra in live performances of Leonard Bernstein’s score as the complete film is shown on screen, February 16 and 17th.
The Orchestra plays Leonard Bernstein’s score to West Side Story, while the complete 1961 film is shown on a large screen above the Orchestra Hall stage. David Newman, an Academy Award-nominated Hollywood composer and conductor, leads the Minnesota Orchestra in these concerts.

The concerts are held at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis on Friday, February 16, at 8 p.m.; and Saturday, February 17, at 8 p.m., with tickets priced from $34 to $96. Tickets are available at and by phone at 612-371-5656.

Escape the cold and get a taste of the tropics at one of the Zoo's most popular events. Bring your pail or favorite sand toy and play in Minnesota's two biggest indoor sandboxes.  Take in a full day of family fun exploring an indoor rainforest teeming with wildlife, along with special activities each weekend.

Minnesota Zoo Members Bring a Friend—your guests will receive 50% off daily admission tickets Monday through Friday during Tropical Beach Party.

Or consider checking out some of our local shops and restaurants while wandering around charming downtown Excelsior. Whatever you decide to do, enjoy your weekend!