Monday, January 14, 2019

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending January 5, 2019



The turn of a calendar year often creates a desire to resolve to do something different. Weight loss through a combination of regular exercise and healthy eating is often at the top of the list, followed by learning a new skill, quitting smoking, reading more, spending more time with loved ones, getting more organized, traveling and saving money. Annual evidence indicates that a bump in listing and buying activity also occurs each January, which appears to be the case again in 2019 for much of the country.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending January 5:
 • New Listings decreased 4.9% to 809
 • Pending Sales increased 0.7% to 553
 • Inventory increased 6.0% to 8,209

For the month of November:
 • Median Sales Price increased 8.2% to $265,000
 • Days on Market decreased 7.1% to 52
 • Percent of Original List Price Received decreased 0.1% to 97.3%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale increased 10.5% to 2.1

All data from NorthstarMLS. Provided by Minneapolis Area REALTORS®. Report © 2019 ShowingTime Publish Date: January 14, 2019 • All comparisons are to 2018

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Designs, they are a changin' - New Trend Alert for 2019

Wave Goodbye to Palm Fronds: Here’s the New Pattern That Will Be Everywhere in 2019

Whimsical, vibrant and reminiscent of the tropical vacay we took last summer (mojito in hand, of course), palm fronds will always hold a special place in our hearts.
But the leafy stems have held the spotlight for a few years now in the form of wallpaper, furniture, pillows and, yes, even our phone case—and we think it’s time to turn over a new leaf (you knew that was coming…).
Introducing 2019’s prettiest decor trend: Birds…as in toucans, parrots and swans, oh my! We’ve been eyeing delicately feathered fowl on wallpaper, bold, bright tropical flyers on throw pillows and even graceful hummingbirds on bed linens. Yep, we’re renovating our (bird)house with at least a few iterations of the pretty winged creatures. And they’re a breath of fresh air from the oversupply of pineapples, succulents and, you guessed it! Fronds.
You know what they say: Birds of a feather, decorate together (or something along those lines…)
Image result for bird print fabric

Thursday, January 3, 2019

10 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home in 2019

WRITTEN BY JAYMI NACIRI 
10 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home in 2019
Sure, you can make a resolution to start hitting the gym or eating better, but don’t neglect your home! These New Year’s resolutions will help your space look better, which will naturally make you feel better—and there’s no kale or cardio involved!

Declutter!

Not only will it look great to have cleaned-out those closets and cleared-off those counters, but it will feel great, too. “It turns out that your well-being could also become victim to what we might call the ‘clutter effect,’” said Psychology Today.“A collection of recent studies on stress, life satisfaction, physical health, and cognition all speak to the value of streamlining.”

Donate, donate donate

There are so many worthy organizations out there who are desperate for clothes, shoes, linens, and housewares. Let The Pinnacle Listhelp you decide what to let go of. “Employ the 6-month rule,” they said. “It’s undeniably hard to get rid of things you have fond memories of, but if you need to reevaluate your space needs, it’s time to start donating or throwing out some of your stuff. If you have clothing, odds and ends, or even appliances that you haven’t used in the past six months, odds are that’s not going to change out of the blue. If it’s hit the half-year mark and those items are gathering dust, put them in the donation bin.”

Get your credit in check

Do you check your credit report every year? You can do so for free, and keeping up with your credit report frequently will ensure that you can quickly take care of anything that’s incorrect. Make this the year that you also take care of legitimate issues on your credit. Whether you’re already a homeowner and aren’t intending to move anytime soon or are looking to buy this year, getting your credit in order and improving your score can leave you better prepared for anything that pops up.

Clear out the entry

You don’t notice the pile of shoes and tangle of jackets and umbrellas right inside your front door, but everyone who comes through your house does. Take a fresh look at your home this and resolve to streamline that entry. You know what they say about first impressions.

Invest in a good mattress

We don’t want to invoke the selling proposition of mattress companies, because, frankly, that whole seven-year rule (and the reason they say to replace your mattress every seven years) is disgusting. So, we’ll just leave it at this: You deserve to be more comfortable. And, you can do that these days rather inexpensively. Business Insider’smost recommended option is the Leese Sapira Mattress for $1,360, while the much-loved Nectar is just $699.

Clean your showerhead

Your shower could be SO. MUCH. BETTER. And don’t you deserve a better shower in 2019? Chances are, the flow is being compromised. Thankfully, the fix is easy. “If the flow from your showerhead is growing weaker, the cause is probably mineral buildup,” said Family Handyman. “Many manufacturers recommend that you remove the showerhead and soak it in a half-and-half mixture of warm water and vinegar (any type). But there’s really no need to remove the head. Just pour the mix into a heavy-duty plastic bag and attach it to the shower arm with a rubber band. The acid in the vinegar dissolves minerals, but prolonged contact can harm some plastics and metal finishes, so remove the bag every 15 minutes and check the shower flow.”

Make your money make money

This is a great time to review your bank accounts and credit cards to see if you’re getting the best yield and interest rates. There are some great high-yield bank accounts offered by online-only banks, while zero-interest credit cards are a great option for those who want to transfer a balance so they can pay it off more quickly.

Pump up your emergency fund

If you already have one, it may be time to up the amount you contribute. If you don’t have one and think you’re too strapped for cash to start putting away money for a rainy day, even the couple bucks you save here and there from skipping Starbucks can help. An “emergency savings fund provides a financial safety net, and your new home is the perfect reason to start one,” said NerdWallet. “Remember, if the furnace quits on a cold night, there’s no landlord to call. Laid off unexpectedly or surprised by major car repairs? Mortgage payments are still expected on time and in full. Without an emergency fund, these expenses could force you into credit card debt or worse.
Ideally, your emergency fund should cover several months of expenses, but it’s OK to start small. Set aside a portion of every paycheck with the goal of saving $500 as quickly as possible, and then contribute as much as you can moving forward.”

Take a look at your insurance

Are your homeowner’s insurance and car insurance policies handled by separate companies? You could be missing out on big discounts. Ask friends and family for a referral to an insurance broker who can review your current insurance, make recommendations, and hopefully find you better options. Depending on where you live, you may also want to ask about insurance for things like earthquakes, floods, and fires, which may not be required but would give you greater peace of mind.

Become more water-wise

A few simple changes can reduce the amount of water you use at home and save you money “Our houses are thirsty,” said Houselogic. “The average household uses about 400 gallons of water each day, or almost $700 per year in water and sewer costs. Making a few simple changes, such as installing EPA-certified WaterSense products, could trim up to $200 from your annual water bill. Add to that energy savings from reduced costs to heat water, and your yearly savings could reach $300 or more per year. Replacing your pre-1994, water-guzzling toilet with a low-flow toilet prevents $90 worth of water costs from being flushed away. HE (high-efficiency) toilets use compressed air and electric water pumps to flush with less than 1 gallon of water; older models required up to 8 gallons.” 

Originally posted by Coldwell Banker Blue Matter

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Pile on Textures for a Comfy and Cozy Space

Guest post by  Michelle Lee, Houzz
As nights get shorter and the weather gets colder, a lot of us will be retreating indoors for warmth and comfort. If your room still resemble a bright and breezy summer oasis, this might be the time to refresh its look for fall. Fuzzy blankets and snuggable pillows are some of this season’s essentials, so get ready to layer these textures for an autumnal haven.
Go for velvet. This material is making a huge comeback in recent style trends and is a must-have staple of fall decor. The rich fabric adds undeniable elegance to any room. It practically begs you to sit down and stay a while. Velvet furniture comes in a variety of beautifully bold colors, such as this navy sofa that brings instant drama to this London living room. You can also reupholster your own piece of furniture in velvet instead of buying a new one.

Add a sheepskin rug. If you love wearing slippers around the house and are craving for more warmth underfoot, look no further than a classic sheepskin rug. They are incredibly versatile and can work in any room. Drape one over the back of a chair or sofa or use it as an extra layer on the bed. Its warm, fuzzy texture creates an effortlessly luxurious look. They’re mostly seen in snow-white shades, but they can be customized in a variety of colors.

Consider wool, cashmere and knits. These fabrics aren’t restricted to cold-weather clothing; they can be used in home decor as well. Resembling your favorite fall sweater, they immediately conjure up feelings of warmth and stay true to that promise when used as blankets and throws. Available in a multitude of colors and price points, you can easily match them to your current decor scheme and budget. This charmingly chunky knit throw blanket invites you to hibernate here.

Layer up the drapes. Give your walls some love this season by investing in floor-to-ceiling window treatments. They can help a small space look and feel taller when mounted to the ceiling while thick, billowy curtains can bring a snug feeling to a large and drafty room. Insulating soft fabric also combats the soon-to-be cold weather outdoors. Neutral colors, such as beige and gray, work best to create a calming and peaceful vibe, as seen in this New Orleans living room.

Keep a basket of blankets handy. Bulky blankets are always welcome on cozy fall nights, but they can be a struggle to store if you don’t have a linen closet. Handwoven and braided storage baskets are a great solution. They’re both budget-friendly and adorably fitting for fall. They add an extra layer of texture to the room. Most are deep enough to store several thick blankets. These baskets take up very little space, so they can easily be placed next to a sofa, in an empty nook or near the hearth. Take a hint from this Minneapolis living room and leave the corner of a blanket hanging out for some fuzzy flair.

Consider floor pillows and poufs. If you’re hosting a lot of family and friends this holiday season, floor pillows can work double-duty as decorations and seating. Poufs can be surprisingly comfortable and easily stacked in a corner as a beautiful display when not in use. They’re also a low-commitment way to experiment with fun prints around the house.

Decorate with festive throw pillows. Throw pillows are easy, minimal decorations that pack a punch of style. Available in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes, they can be customized to your design preference and color palette. Alternatively, you can venture out of your comfort zone and test bold colors or interesting patterns. In this Scandinavian living room, the silver tufted pillow and orange ruffled pillow bring interesting dimension to an otherwise minimalist and neutral space.

Cozy up by the fire. If you’re lucky enough to have a rustic stone fireplace at home, you have plenty of texture and dimension to work with this fall. For those of us who don’t, you can still play up your fire feature by displaying cute collections or holiday ornaments on the mantel. Even if you have an electric fireplace, stacking wood indoors creates the cabin ambience that is essential to this lovable season. If you don’t have a fireplace at all, consider placing candles around your home. Renters and childproofers might try LED candles, which have become very realistic and even scented. Flame or no flame, the soft flicker and warm glow will instantly cozy up any space.

Originally posted by  - October 2018

Saturday, December 15, 2018

When Was the Last Time You Cleaned These 20 Items in Your Home?

Did you know there are 10 MILLION bacteria per square inch of a kitchen sponge? (dailymail.co.uk) What about the fact that your pillow is as germy as a TOILET SEAT! (NY Post) Those are just two of the mind blowing (and scary) facts about common household items that are probably not getting cleaned as regularly as they should be. With that said (or rather written :)) here are 20 items that you should give a little extra TLC to this weekend!
Remote Control
Good Housekeeping spilled the dirty truth on the Today Show by reminding us that while we know remotes are often the dirtiest item in a hotel room the same holds true for our homes. You should clean this, and game controllers, once a month with some rubbing alcohol and a q-tip for those hard to reach spots.
Portrait of handsome young black man watching tv at home.
Stove Knobs
Cleaning stove knobs can be a pain but it is an important part of keeping your kitchen free of icky germs we spread from handling food. For a quick clean simply pull off the knobs and soak them in a bowl of white vinegar.
Oven knobs
Dishwasher
Sometimes we forget to clean the things that clean ­čÖé Add cleaning this appliance at least once a month to your to do list. 
Light Switches
“When cleaning your house, keep one thing in mind: If hands touch it, it needs cleaning” says Karen Gibbs of TODAY. So how often should you actually clean switches? The answer is weekly! 
Baby hand touching a panel with five light switches

Door Knobs
I think we are all guilty of forgetting this one…especially the doorknobs outside! Cleaning professionals recommend wiping down doorknobs with a household cleaner or disinfecting wipe about once a week.
Children hand open door handle
Garbage Cans
Sure you take the trash out when the bag is full but when was the last time you actually scrubbed the inside of the can? And how about the can(s) outside?
Open trash can in empty room with wood flooring, blue wainscoting and a power outlet.
Comforter
You may change your sheets every week (or every other week) but when was the last time you cleaned your comforter? The experts at Good Housekeeping suggest cleaning it once a season.
Teddy bear on bed
Pillows
Dust mites, pet hair and and dead skin…oh my. Gross, right? Yes, I agree. But sadly all of these things might be living in and on the place where you lay your head to sleep each night. Interior design expert Robin Wilson recommends washing your pillow cover every three weeks in the washing machine. Then, wash the pillow itself every three months.

Keurig/Coffee Maker
Is your morning cup of Joe contaminated? We hope not. To be sure experts recommend that a Keurig be cleaned (and descaled) every 3-6 months.
Dish Sponge
Did you know that a kitchen sponge is actually 200,000 times DIRTIER than a toilet seat? Also, if your sponge is over a month old then toss it.
Hand with sponge above kitchen sink
Drying Rack
Anything that has standing water in it tends to be…well…stinky. Be sure you scrub down that drying rack every few days to avoid a slimy mess.
Dish rack on kitchen countertop
Top of the Fan
Cleaning a ceiling fan can be a dirty and dusty job if you let it go too long. Real Simple suggests cleaning fans every other month if you use the fan year round.
A spinning ceiling fan -- but it's not in a home, it's in a rural barn -- that's why you can see wooden rafters and a steel roof, and lots of dirt, dust, and cobwebs if you zoom in.
Pet Toys
If your house is anything like mine then there are more toys than your little fur baby could possibly ever need. It is important to give their toys some cleaning tlc regularly as they often end up in their mouths.
Brown sleeping dog with paw on pink monkey cuddly toy
Lint Trap
This is a super important one not only to keep your home clean but also safe! “The U.S. Fire Administration (part of FEMA) cites that there are 2900 home clothes dryerfires every year resulting in an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss. And the leading cause: failure to clean them.” 
Dryer vent in a home being cleaned out with a round brush. There is a large pile of lint that has been removed from the vent on a white tiled floor. The walls and baseboards are white. The lint is gray. Taken with a Canon 5D Mark 3 camera. rm
Dryer vent in a home being cleaned out with a round brush.
Washing Machine
Washing machines are pretty clean since you use often use hot water to clean your clothes but they still need attention about once a month. To clean your washer just run an empty  load with hot water and bleach.
Toothbrush Holder
According to NSF International, this is one of the germiest items in a home. Pretty gross considering it holds the item you clean you mouth with.
Single toothbrush in white beveled cup against blue tile

Sofa
According to thesweethome.com you should be cleaning your sofa with a vacuum every 2 weeks and it should get a deep clean once a year. Hey, the silver-lining is you may find some spare change while you are flipping those couch cushions over!
Cleaning Sofa Pillow
Toilet Bowl Handle
Think outside of the
box bowl. Use a disinfectant wipe and make sure to close the lid to avoid airborne germs!
All done!
Ice Trays
Does your ice taste funny? There is a chance that may be from the ice tray being dirty and not actually your water.
Stacked ice cube trays in a freezer
Orignally published by Coldwell Banker Blue Matter -

Lindsay Listanski - January 2018

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Winter Lawn Care Tips

Guest post by Henry Walsh
Caring for your lawn during the winter can look different from other homeowners depending on your location. Unless you live in the extreme Southern areas of the country, most grass types will go dormant during the cold winter months. However, just because winter isn’t the primary growing season doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty to still do. Check out these winter lawn care tips to keep your lawn healthy.
Apply Fertilizer
Choosing to add fertilizer to your lawn before the snow falls is a great way to give your grass a boost of energy to stay alive during the winter months. Use a slow-release fertilizer when you want to give your lawn root systems a slow and steady stream of energy over a more extended period. Make sure to follow directions and refrain from applying too much fertilizer in one area of the lawn which could cause burning due to too much nitrogen.
Let It Breathe
Aerating your lawn once every couple of years is a great way to make sure that your lawn is receiving essential nutrients at a deeper level. Aerating will allow sunshine, water, and energy to penetrate deep into the soil which will make the lawn healthier and stronger come spring. Renting an aerator is an excellent choice for many homeowners or consider your local winter lawn care professional that can do the job for you. Aerate your lawn before any winter weather, like snow or ice, fall on the grass this winter.
Consider Overseeding
For those homeowners in the South looking for a way to keep their warm-season grass lawns green all year, consider overseeding with the opposing season grass type as part of your winter lawn care, once the lawn goes dormant. The cool-season grass will love the colder temperatures that winter brings while the warm-season grasses take a much-deserved nap. Unfortunately, homeowners in the northern parts of the country will have to accept dormant lawns in frigid temperatures or snow-covered lawns in other winter areas.
Mulch Fallen Leaves
Many parts of the country will see the addition of fallen leaves onto lawns in the early parts of winter. Instead of raking up the leaves and bagging them up for removal, consider using this free source of energy to create a stronger lawn. Mulch the leaves with a leaf mulcher, or by merely using your lawn mower, to cut the leaves into smaller more manageable parts. Dead leaves provide a natural source of nitrogen to the lawn making it a welcome addition for future growth.
Apply Compost
Compost is one of those items that every homeowner needs to keep a healthy lawn. Compost can be created at home in a compost pile or is available for purchase from a local garden center. Compost is helpful to add to a lawn before winter arrives to provide a natural energy source for underlying roots. The compost will be gradually worked into the soil by microorganisms making it a great option to cure many lawn issues.
There are plenty of ways to care for your lawn even if winter temperatures have already arrived in your area. Race against Mother Nature before the arrival of snow and ice to provide your yard with essential added nutrients like compost, fertilizer, and fallen leaves. Aerating and overseeding your lawn are other ways to make sure that your lawn looks great year round. Consider all of these winter lawn care tips this year for a beautiful lawn.

Henry Walsh is a gardening writer and eco-conscious living advocate. He recently began his homesteading journey after many years of incorporating the principles into his urban lifestyle.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending December 1, 2018

While recent stock market activity has displayed some heart-pounding drops and rallying rises, that volatility has not created the same tidal waves within residential real estate. Increasing home prices and mortgage rates have indeed created a sense of immediacy for some buyers and turned others away due to affordability concerns, but these decisions appear to be rooted in longer-term trends rather than the effects of a media headline or presidential tweet.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending December 1:
 • New Listings increased 7.0% to 877
 • Pending Sales decreased 9.0% to 904
 • Inventory increased 1.5% to 10,437

For the month of October:
 • Median Sales Price increased 8.6% to $265,000
 • Days on Market decreased 7.7% to 48
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 0.2% to 97.9%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale remained flat at 2.4

All data from NorthstarMLS. Provided by Minneapolis Area REALTORS®. Report © 2018 ShowingTime  Publish Date: December 10, 2018 • All comparisons are to 2017