Thursday, January 16, 2020

4 Investments Worth Making in Your First Home

You’ve just bought your first home – congratulations! Now it’s time to make your home feel like, well, home by undertaking some long-term investments that will not only look beautiful, but will also last you for years to come.

The following is a guest post by Suhayl Laher
In today’s post, we’re offering some advice for first-time homeowners on areas where spending a little bit more is likely to pay off in the long-run. From valuable aesthetic updates in key areas such as the kitchen, bathroom and living room to installing smart heating systems and insulation to prioritize energy efficiency, our tips will leave you inspired to make the most out of your first home update.
Replace flooring
Flooring has the power to change a room entirely, so it should go without saying that this is an essential aspect of the home where you should consider spending a little extra. Since flooring in areas such as the hallway, kitchen and bathroom is likely to undergo high footfall traffic, your material choice should always look to combine durability with that visual wow-factor where possible.
When it comes to updating your flooring, choose neutral colors to create a luxe look that goes the distance. Generally, neutral colors offer you the freedom to change your furniture or accessories without updating all the fixtures and fittings in the process, and will even allow you to keep up with trends as they change.
Whether you’re opting for some stylish, large format floor tiles which offer a contemporary touch in the kitchen or some hardwood flooring which adds warmth to your living room, quality flooring is a great way to add personality to a new space from the off – meaning showing your floors a little TLC should be high up on your list of investment priorities.
Update key areas of the home
As the hub of the home where friends and family alike come together to relax, the living room is the best place to start when it comes to fixtures and fittings. Lighting can have a huge impact on the overall aesthetic in your living room – so it’s worth spending a little bit more on lamps or downlighters to add that cozy, homely touch to the lounge.
Additionally, art is a great way to change the ambiance in your living room, so choosing pieces with comfort and calmness in mind is a great way to add a tranquil theme that makes you feel right at home from the get-go.
Naturally, ensuring your bathroom looks fresh, well maintained and hygienic is important when moving into any new home. Modern or high tech touches are an effective way to add an extra luxe appeal, so consider investing in a rain shower or waterfall taps to create a relaxing oasis that washes away the stresses of moving and unpacking.
Elsewhere in the home, high-end fittings such as granite or quartz worktops are practical choices that will go the distance. Though these may be a high investment initially, investing in durable, hard-wearing and practical materials in areas of frequent use ensures longevity and, as such, a great return on your investment in the long-run. 
Photo by Andrea Davis on Unsplash
Invest in quality furniture
Nothing makes a house feel like home quite like furniture – after all, furniture is the most effective way of adding character to any space. When opting for your style, try to prioritize items that will stand the test of time, as this will ensure your first few years in your new home isn’t spent constantly renovating in-line with the latest trends.
When choosing timeless furniture, wood is often the first material which springs to mind. While solid wood is often more expensive than other types, it boasts a distinctive aesthetic and durability that will look great year after year. Whether you’re purchasing an oak cabinet for the living room or some luxury walnut bedroom cabinets, solid wood is an effective way to add a high-end, comforting appeal to your home.
Prioritize energy efficiency
Energy efficiency is now one of the highest priorities for homeowners as it can make a significant difference in the cost of utility bills. While adding energy-efficient features may be a large initial investment, the sooner you start making the changes, the greater your savings will be – so we recommend optimizing your new home right away. 
Some essential areas to evaluate energy efficiency are the boiler and the loft. Poorly insulated lofts can be a major cause of energy wastage, even if all of your other appliances are in premium condition. If appliances such as your boiler aren’t in a premium condition, however, this could only add more costs to your energy bills, particularly if it breaks down during the winter months.
To keep track of your heating usage and spot issues early, a smart heating system is a great way to monitor your spending. Smart heaters allow you to add more thermostats and controls to different rooms, including hot water and heating – making this a logical investment for any first home.
Photo by Francesca Tosolini on Unsplash
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of moving house, but with our tips, we hope you’ll be on your way to making worthwhile investments in your first home. If you’re still in search of that dream first house, contact your local Coldwell Banker Real Estate affiliated office to help make the process of buying a house trouble-free.
Originally Posted by Coldwell Banker Blue Matter 

Monday, January 13, 2020

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending January 4, 2020

With the start of the New Year, the real estate market turns more active across most of the country. Sellers connect with agents, resulting in a pop of new listings, followed by renewed interest by buyers, which leads to an increase in pending sales. This pattern is seen every year and 2020 should be no different. We’re starting off the year with continued low interest rates, low unemployment, and rising rents nationally. This sets us up for a strong start to 2020 and plenty of optimism for the coming spring market.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending January 4:
• New Listings decreased 17.9% to 683
• Pending Sales decreased 7.0% to 546
• Inventory decreased 12.8% to 8,064

For the month of November:
• Median Sales Price increased 5.6% to $279,900
• Days on Market decreased 1.9% to 51
• Percent of Original List Price Received increased 0.2% to 97.5%
• Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 4.5% to 2.1

Minneapolis Area Assosiciation of Realtors

Publish Date: January 13, 2020 • All comparisons are to 2019 - All data from NorthstarMLS. Provided by Minneapolis Area REALTORS®. Report © 2020 ShowingTime

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Coldwell Banker Knows Luxury

It doesn’t come as a surprise that Coldwell Banker affiliated agents sell more $1 million-plus homes than any other brand.

With real estate’s most robust global network of 92,000 who wear blue proudly in approximately 3,000 offices in 44 countries and territories, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Coldwell Banker affiliated agents sell more $1 million-plus homes than any other brand. Last year alone, our agents sold more than 30,000 $1 million-plus homes.
When it comes to luxury, Coldwell Banker stands out from the crowd with 3 critical components: our passion for agent education, our enormous global network, and our sophisticated suite of marketing materials.
1.) Education
Our luxury agents are so successful because we invest in our talent. The Coldwell Banker Global Luxury certification course is created and delivered by our top luxury agents who share best practices for working with the world’s most affluent clientele.
The courses are held all over the world multiple times a year in partnership with The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing.
Takeaways from the course include:
a) Designation in Luxury Property Specialist and Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist so their customers know that they are working with the best
b) Networking and referral opportunities with other successful luxury agents
c) Access to exclusive Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Marketing assets
2.)  Global Network
Whether you are in Mexico or in England, you can reach out to a fellow Gen Blue agent to help you. Coldwell Banker Global Luxury agents can tap into the vast global network to find upscale buyers and sellers.
We have also partnered with List Hub Global, the best in international syndication, to further our reach globally. Many listings will reach an international audience of more than 70 million buyers and investors in over 60 countries and territories through over 100 different real estate portals.
Ever hear of the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times? Coldwell Banker Global Luxury listings are syndicated to websites of these prominent publications to increase awareness. Our luxury property specialists can sit back and relax knowing that these listings will be taken care of by Coldwell Banker.
3.) Marketing Materials
Coldwell Banker Global Luxury marketing materials can take any home to the next level. Between the visually stunning, totally customizable listing presentation, capabilities brochure, and industry-lauded thought leader content like The Report and A look At Wealth, luxury agents have all the tools they need to deliver that ‘wow’ factor to their potential clients. Best of all, just about everything Coldwell Banker Global Luxury puts out is customizable (read: ownable!) by our agents. Our goal is for the content we labor over to be seamlessly integrated into their marketing plans and proposals.
If all of that isn’t enough, our award-winning publication Homes & Estates is sure to ‘wow’ readers. Our program delivers an insider’s perspective on luxury real estate, design, and lifestyle. It is also home to a host of powerful proprietary marketing tools available only to Luxury Property Specialists, because we recognize that exceptional marketing is a key player in a luxury industry.
If you want to be part of the brand that sells more million-dollar-plus homes than any other, visit to find out why your next move should be with Coldwell Banker Real Estate.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending November 23, 2019

Residential new construction activity continues to rise nationally. The U.S. Commerce Department reports that new housing permits rose 5% in October to a new 12-year high of 1.46 million units. Lawrence Yun, the National Association of REALTORS® chief economist, called the latest figures “tremendously good news for the housing sector.” With builder sentiment and buyer activity remaining strong, it is widely expected that new construction will continue to remain brisk in the coming months.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending November 23: 
• New Listings increased 74.1% to 928
 • Pending Sales increased 39.8% to 966
 • Inventory decreased 6.6% to 10,724

For the month of October:
 • Median Sales Price increased 5.7% to $280,000
 • Days on Market decreased 4.2% to 46
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 0.1% to 98.1%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 4.0% to 2.4

Minneapolis Area Assosiciation of Realtors

Publish Date: December 2, 2019 • All comparisons are to 2018 All data from NorthstarMLS. Provided by Minneapolis Area REALTORS®. Report © 2019 ShowingTime.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Make A Move to End Hunger

Moving any time soon? Find out how the simple act of moving can help you feed a person in need.

Guest post by NorthStar Moving Co-Founder Laura McHolm
Did you know that in the United States, 1 in 7 children goes to bed hungry? Shocking right!? What can just one person do to tackle such a big problem? A simple click of a button or making a move can help out quite a bit! First thing you can do is go online and donate to your local food bank. Every little bit helps! It only costs $1 to provide four meals to a hungry child. Next, bring non-perishable food directly to your local food bank’s door.
If you are moving, it is the perfect opportunity to help feed hungry kids. The act of giving while you move will actually make your move easier and potentially help those in need. As you pack up your kitchen, don’t throw away those unexpired canned and dried goods, donate them! Save yourself some heavy lifting and shelf place in the new place. Sounds easy right? It gets better, you don’t even have to take the food down to your local food bank yourself!
Visit, a non-profit organization that will connect you with a local moving company that will deliver your non-perishable food donations to your local food bank for you. Check out their Find A Mover tool and feel good about working with a moving company that gives back. It’s free and one less thing to pack.
Wondering if your food bank wants your three pound bottle of mustard? Here are the top items that they need:
  • Canned Vegetables & Fruits
  • Canned Stews & Soups
  • Canned Beans
  • Canned Tuna
  • Pasta & Sauce
  • Baby Food
  • Dry Beans
  • Flour
  • Cereal & Oatmeal
  • Juice
  • Rice
  • Peanut/Nut Butters & Jelly/Jams
Now that you have donated a box full of food to provide meals for hungry families, feeling the urge to help even more? Start your own food drive. It’s a great way to get your kids in the habit of giving. Simply ask local businesses, schools and libraries to put out your colorfully decorated food drive donation boxes and use your social networks to get the word out. If I can do it for seven years in a row with the “Let’s Send Hunger Packing” food drive, you can too. In fact, we have raised a total of approximately 134,124 meals! It only takes 1.2lbs of food to provide a meal to an individual in need, so it doesn’t matter how big your food drive is, every little bit helps. Together, we really can send hunger packing!

Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.

Originally posted by Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Get Thanksgiving Holiday Prep Started Early

Whether you’ll be hosting a family get-together or celebrating with friends, start planning now to ensure a stress- and disaster-free Turkey day.

Guest post by  Michelle Lee, Houzz
It’s time to pack up those spooky Halloween decorations and transition your home for the next fall holiday. Whether you’ll be hosting a family get-together or celebrating with friends, start planning now to ensure a stress- and disaster-free Turkey day. Here’s how to organize your party supplies and details for a beautiful feast this year.


Finalize Your Guest List

First things first, sit down with your friends and family to make a final decision on who you’ll be inviting over this year. Make and mail invitations now so your guests will have enough time to coordinate their own plans and get back with a timely RSVP.


Make a Menu or Hire a Caterer

Jot down recipes, shopping lists and cooking schedules today if you’re planning to make a home-cooked favorite or two this year. You’ll want to stock up on ingredients before your local grocery store sells out. If you’re not very kitchen-savvy, begin browsing local caterers’ menus before the best get booked.
While you’re at it, be sure to clear space in your pantry and fridge to hold the bounty of food before cooking day. If you have extra time, your oven and cookware supplies could probably use a nice cleaning.


Do a Walk-Through of Your Home

It’s important that you take your time as you pass through every room. Make note of anything unsightly that your guests might notice and take the next couple of weeks to fix scuffed paint spots, flickering lights or fraying furniture. Clear the coat closet and entryway, spruce up your post-feast lounging areas and prep guests rooms or kids’ areas as needed. Also take a good look at your dining space as you move on to the next tip.


Decide What You’ll Need to Rent or Buy

Can your dining room accommodate one long table for everyone or will you have to split up into two areas? Do you have enough chairs and table settings? Gather your own entertaining supplies and see if you can make-do or if you’ll need to buy or rent extras for this holiday season.


Plan Out Your Table(s)

This step is a bit early, but you can start visualizing the table or sketch it out on paper. Start planning an ideal seating chart, so couples aren’t awkwardly separated and family feuds aren’t reignited. You can make changes as RSVPs arrive.
Consider what your statement centerpiece will be this year as well as how you’ll be coordinating the plate settings and name cards to match. If you’re going with a nature-themed piece, it’s best to wait to order flowers now to prevent early wilting, but make sure to reserve one ahead of time with a local florist.


Start Decorating!

This is the most fun step of all and you can really let your style shine in any way you desire. Choose a general theme for the home and shop for matching decorations. Make sure you add some of this season’s classics, such as warm candles along the mantel or an inviting fall wreath on the front door.

Originally posted by Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog

Friday, November 8, 2019

20 White Kitchens That Look Like Design Heaven

A bright all-white kitchen can be a bit blinding and stark-especially a small one. Painting your cabinets a subtle neutral will maintain than the light and open feel of a white color scheme while bringing in dimension and personality.
All white is classic, but it can get blah, fast. Warm it up and add contrast without breaking out of the light color scheme with a cream and earth-toned rug. Leanne Ford also displayed earthy decor on the floating shelves to bring out the rug.
Hadley Mendelsohn Design Editor Hadley Mendelsohn is House Beautiful's design editor, and when she's not busy obsessing over all things decor-related, you can find her scouring vintage stores, reading, or stumbling about because she probably lost her glasses again.
industrial kitchen