Wednesday, November 30, 2011

For Sale: 5BR/2+2BA Single Family House in Chanhassen, MN, $549,000

Presenting Another Gorgeous Home from Stafford Family Realtors
7300 Bent Bow Trail ~ Chanhassen, MN

This elegant listing in Demand Longacres! Nestled on a private, wooded lot, this exceptional home features a Main floor office, Gourmet kitchen, fully finished LL walk-out, spacious deck & a stone paver fire pit.

For more information please visit for a private showing please call 952.470.2575

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Weekly Market Update: November 28, 2011

Let the race to the end of the year begin. With 2012 just around the corner, buyers continued to exceed their November 2010 purchase volumes. Sellers weren't so keen, posting fewer newly-listed properties on the MLS than at this time last year. With roughly 87.5 percent of 2011 data in the books, the clever observers will start snapping sneak peeks of annual statistics and watching YTD numbers a little closer than usual.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending November 19:

• New Listings decreased 18.6% to 938
• Pending Sales increased 30.5% to 805
• Inventory decreased 21.8% to 20,796

For the month of October:

• Median Sales Price decreased 9.6% to $154,500
• Days on Market decreased 0.6% to 134
• Percent of Original List Price Received increased 0.9% to 91.2%
• Months Supply of Inventory decreased 27.8% to 6.3

Source: Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors

Monday, November 28, 2011

Wine Storage For Every Home

If you're a wine drinker (like me), chances are you have several bottles of wine in your house at any given time.  Or maybe you only drink wine occasionally but enjoy entertaining or like the thrill of picking up many bottles of wine during huge sales at your local retailer (like me, again).  If you fall into any of these categories, or even if you just like to have a few bottles on hand at any given time, then it's nice to have some handy and stylish wine storage.  We thought we'd highlight some storage ideas for you, from the simple to the extravagant. 

But first, a word about wine storage.  There is a reason that wine has been stored in wine caves and underground cellars for hundreds of years - the ideal storage conditions can be consistently met: cool, dark, humid and still surroundings. While storing wine is not rocket science, there are a few key points to keep in mind that will help ensure your wine has the very best chance for long-term survival and optimal aging.

  • Optimal wine storage is a consistent 55°F, excessive heat will wreak havoc on a bottle of wine (i.e., do not store under hot lights, or above the stove or refrigerator).
  • Ideal humidity is between 65-75%.
  • Keep it dark.  If a wine is in direct light consistently, it will affect the flavor of the wine significantly, a result of premature aging.
  • Keep it sideways.  This will keep the cork moist, which should keep the cork from shrinking and allowing the enemy of wine, oxygen, to seep into the bottle.
  • Keep it still.  Agitating wine can keep the sediments from settling red wine, which can wreck the flavor.  Be sure there is nothing vibrating near your storage area.
Simple Storage
While it's probably best not to keep a wine rack on your kitchen counter, there's no reason why you can't make a stylish little spot in a closet or your basement.  There are probably as many ways to store your wine as there are types of wine.  Find a style that suits you.

Refrigerated Storage
If you're looking to incorporate a wine refrigerator into your home, there are many to choose from.  Ranging in sizes and features, you can find them in most big box retail stores.  They can be kept on the counter top, as a stand-alone piece of furniture, or as a built-in feature in your home.

Closet Conversion
If you think you don't have room for bigger wine storage, think again.  Here are some pictures of closet conversions.

Wine Cellars
If wine is your passion, then going all out on a cellar makes sense.  Here are entire rooms devoted to storing and tasting wine, sometimes even sharing a meal (but that might be chilly - wear a sweater).  We can all dream, can't we?


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanks Giving

We’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow with family and friends and, as always, we are very much looking forward to it! There’s something really special about Thanksgiving, a day set apart to gather with loved ones and give thanks. And when I think about it, it must be the Giving of Thanks that makes Thanksgiving so meaningful to so many.

Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. It has officially been an annual tradition since 1863, when during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26.

The event that Americans commonly call the "First Thanksgiving" was celebrated to give thanks to God for guiding them safely to the New World. The first Thanksgiving feast lasted three days, providing enough food for 13 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans. The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating "thanksgivings"—days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as military victory or the end of a drought.

It makes me wonder how special every day could be if I approached each day as Thanksgiving Day. A day set aside to give thanks to God for His provision and blessings in my life. Our lives are so much easier than those of the Pilgrims, and I think it’s so easy for us to take for granted the food on our table, the roof over our heads, and the freedoms we enjoy here in America.

Tomorrow, we celebrate Thanksgiving! And on Black Friday, I’m going to continue to celebrate Thanks Giving and continue to celebrate Thanks Giving rest of the year!

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” --Thornton Wilder

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” --Melody Beattie

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our friends and family!

Much Love,
Eric & Sharla

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Weekend Happenings: Thanksgiving Weekend 2011

If you'll be sticking close to home this weekend chances are you'll have guests with you.  If you're looking for something to entertain the masses, check out the offerings below for some holiday fun.  And if all else fails, there are usually some great movies released on Thanksgiving weekend.

Making Seasons Bright
MN Landscape Arboretum
November 25 to January 1

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum announces "Making Spirits Bright," a holiday season brimming with merriment, music and make-believe. Visitors will find 12 spectacular storybook-themed decorated trees, surrounded by storytime seating, in the Oswald Visitor Center and Snyder Building. Santa also will be on hand! The whimsical art of Dr. Seuss in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" will inspire a display of holiday-themed gingerbread creations. All that and much more!

Here are the offerings for this weekend:

Storytime by the Trees. Sit down with the kids by your favorite tree and listen as the elves and helpers tell your favorite holiday stories. Storytimes: 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Traditional Holiday Teas. Sat., Nov. 26  Snyder Building Tea Room. Share holiday joy at these formal teas complete with freshly baked sweets and savories, plus an English trifle. $23 member/$26 non-member, plus tax. 612-626-3951.

Holiday Kids' Shop. Nov. 25-Jan. 1. Tucked inside the Visitor Center, there will be a special place where kids can shop for gifts for mom and dad. Gift wrapping too! No grown-ups allowed!

Holiday Live Music. This weekend's highlights include:
•Holiday Heralds of the Minnesota Chorale, Saturday, Nov. 26, 1:30-2 p.m. and 2:30-3 p.m.
•Twin Cities Bronze Handbells Concert, Sunday, Nov. 27, 1-2:30 p.m., MacMillan Auditorium.

The Depot Ice Rink
225 3rd Avenue South

Minneapolis, MN 55401
Thanksgiving Holiday Hours:

10:00am – 9:00pm on November 24
10:00am – 11:30pm on November 25 & 26
10:00am – 6:00pm on November 27
Cost:  Prices and Packages

Having extra time off over the Thanksgiving holiday is a great opportunity to spend time with friends and family; but the question ultimately becomes ‘What do I do with all of my spare time?’ We suggest skating a few laps around an ice rink.

It's fun, it's romantic, and it's warm in the winter...and it's open this weekend. Named one of the top ten best places in the United States to ice skate by the USA Today and MSNBC, The Depot Rink is a historic Downtown Minneapolis train shed that now houses a modern-day, indoor rink with floor-to-ceiling glass walls showcasing views of the downtown city skyline.

Lifetime Fitness Turkey Day 5K
Lifetime Fitness Target Center - Downtown Mpls
Thurs., Nov. 24, 2011
8:00 am
Cost:  Registration: Adult – $30; Adult (LTF Member) – $20; Youth 5k (17 & under) – $20

Race Day Registration: Adult – $40; Youth 5k (17 & under) – $25

This Thanksgiving, consider taking a preemptive strike against all of those calories by participating in a long-distance run before the big feast.  Warm up your Thanksgiving appetite with the 2011 Life Time Turkey Day 5k! Since 1989, the TD5k has brought family and friends together to start the day in a healthy way. Join runners, joggers, and walkers for a morning of fun,

This charity race benefits the Second Harvest Heatland.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Weekly Market Update: November 21, 2011

The most recent weekly report card shows buyer activity is still registering higher than the same week in 2010. Sellers, on the other hand, introduced fewer new homes to the market than last year at this time. A few shakeups in the housing policy world are worth mentioning: keep an eye on HARP 2.0, new FHA conforming loan limits, and changes to the short sale process on GSE-backed loans. As always, there are prices and then there are the driving forces behind them. It's important to understand both.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending November 12:

• New Listings decreased 2.5% to 1,112
• Pending Sales increased 37.1% to 853
• Inventory decreased 22.2% to 21,068

For the month of October:

• Median Sales Price decreased 9.6% to $154,500
• Days on Market decreased 0.7% to 134
• Percent of Original List Price Received increased 1.0% to 91.2%
• Months Supply of Inventory decreased 28.0% to 6.3

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Real Story About Real Estate

Ask any person selling their home in this market, and you’ll hear that it can be a grueling process, kind of like a boxing match (I like that analogy because in a buyer’s market, sellers— and their Agents—generally feel a bit beat up by the time they get their home sold.)

To continuethe boxing theme, I’ve divided the process into Rounds:

Round 1:
• Get the home prepped and staged for market
• Go to the store and buy a bottle of Tums
• Evacuate the home for all those showings
• Realize you’re halfway through the bottle of Tums and you’ve only been on market a week
• Absorb the showing feedback—the good, the bad, the stupid
• Buy another bottle of Tums
• More showings, more showings, more showings and now some 2nd showings
• Experience the joy of getting an offer
• Go immediately into shock when you see the offer price
• Successfully negotiate terms and you are off to Round 2

Round 2:
• Get the home prepped for the Buyer’s Home Inspection
• Evacuate the home for 4 hours (just when you thought you were done doing this)
• Re-negotiate the sale based on the inspection items—items you lived with just fine!
• Buy another bottle of Tums

Round 3:
• The Appraisal
• Pop open the bottle of champagne when you hear your home appraised successfully
• Realize your Agent could really use the rest of your Tums—how do they do this every day??

Round 4:
• The closing—mountains of paperwork is signed
• You feel really rich for just about 1 minute
• Then you turn around and close on your new home and no longer feel rich

For some sellers, the process isn’t this painful! We’ve had several homes sell within a couple days or weeks of being on market. By working in partnership with our clients and carefully pricing a home at market value, buyers will have a sense of urgency to act on the home. They are educated on the market and realize, this home won’t last at this price! And the good news for Sellers? Their home sells at or close to list price!

Call us to discuss how we can work with you to sell your home without being beat up in the process.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Open House: November 20, 2011

8088 Savanna Valley Way - Victoria
5 bedroom/4 bath
Open:  11:30 to 1:30

Only relocation makes this beautifully finished home available! Located in Savanna Valley on a premium walkout lot with wetland views! This home has been beautifully updated with a Gourmet Kitchen featuring granite counters, pantry, tiled backslash and stainless steel appliances, 5 BRs & finished lower level. Walk to the neighborhood park, Holy Family High School & the Victoria Field House.

Click HERE for more information on Savanna Valley Way.

Weekend Happenings: Midwest Home Show

21st Annual Midwest Home Show
Minneapolis Convention Center
November 18-20, 2011
Friday, November 18 • 1 - 6 p.m.
Saturday, November 19 • 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sunday, November 20 • 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Cost:  Adults 18+: $8 at the show / $4 purchased online
Ages 65+: $4 at the show Ages 17 and under: Free admission
Military members (active & retired) + families: Free admission
Weekend pass tickets are good for the entire weekend!

Add on. Reconfigure. It’s all about making your home not just the right size, but the perfect fit—for you, your family, your tastes, and your lifestyle. But sometimes you need a little help getting started, and that’s where the 21st Annual Midwest Home Show comes in. It's a gathering of 200 of the Twin Cities best remodelers, landscapers, designers, retailers and home improvement specialists. That’s 200 experts to help you complete your home improvement projects, see solutions rather than problems, and help you fall in love with your home all over again.

Not only will you have access to the Twin Cities best home improvement exhibitors, you’ll find great show features like IKEA’s Life Improvement Store, Home Depot DIY seminars, a huge Builders Association Foundation garage sale, an AbitarĂ© Design Studio sample sale, a "FamCave” full-sized room displays, a fun and inspiring tablescape design competition, holiday culinary kitchen demos, and much more! In addition, walk through spectacular garden and landscape displays.

Source:  Midwest Home Online Magazine

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Building a Home: Tips from Sharla

I am recovering. From what you may ask? I didn’t have a baby, but I kind of feel like I did! We’ve been in the process of building our new home, since June 2010, to be exact—and we just moved in a month ago.

I told Eric that we should write the entire house off as Continuing Education, but he sweetly reminded me that it wasn’t accredited C.E., so therefore, not a write-off. But, it was a great education for us and I am confident that both Eric and I are better Realtors now, understanding firsthand, the process of building. . . Which included finding a lot, tearing down a house, working with the local municipality for approvals, working with architects—including my brother which was a highlight, making all the selections and collaborating with our builder and subcontractors to build our new home.

I could write a book on the whole ordeal but instead thought I would share with you the Top 3 Lessons I learned about building in the last 2 years:

1. Choose your builder like you are choosing your spouse! You need to communicate with each other really well and trust each other because there will always be issues that you’ll need to work out together. Case in Point: Our kitchen island required 2 slabs of granite and when they were installed, they didn’t match. I asked Tom (Tom Ryan of Ryan Homes, Inc.) if he’d want that in his house and he replied, “Nope, I’ll fix it!” and he did.

2. Get input from everyone! My brother, Dave, is an Architect in Sioux Falls, and he and I spent weeks going through our plans together. We also got input from our friends and clients which resulted in some great ideas for our home. Case in Point: What looks like a bookcase is really a Murphy Bed in our main floor Office. It’ll turn the office into an extra bedroom on Holidays when our whole family stays for the weekend.

3. Build a Book. I called mine “The Book of Broken Dreams” because most of my ‘great ideas’ came from upperbracket homes . . . so we couldn’t afford them. Our builder was really creative and together, we would come up with a solution that Eric & I could afford and gave us the look we wanted. Case in Point: I love the look of wood moldings and wainscoting but it’s very expensive. So, we framed millwork around drywall to create the same look.

If you are considering building a new home, we can definitely provide some insight into the process.  Give us a call and we'd be happy to discuss it with you.  We'd love to hear from you, our readers.  What things did you learn during the building process that would help others as they build their new homes?  Please share in the comments.

Our Best,
Sharla & Eric

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Monthly Market Update: October 2011

There's the numbers, then there’s the story behind them. For months, declining inventory has been the national tale to tell. This suggests a changing narrative with different voices. A buyer might tell you that record low mortgage rates and affordable prices made homeownership more attractive than renting. A seller may say that less competition allowed them to receive more of their asking price. The moral of the story? Real estate is local both in terms of geography and personal circumstance.

New Listings in the Twin Cities region decreased 16.3 percent to 4,921. Pending Sales were up 34.6 percent to 3,492. Inventory levels shrank 22.5 percent to 21,145 units, a trend that could indicate a changing landscape. Prices gave back some ground.

The Median Sales Price decreased 9.4 percent to $155,000. Days on Market decreased 0.3 percent to 135 days. Absorption rates improved as Months Supply of Inventory was down 28.6 percent to 6.2 months.

Recent reports from the broader economy have dispelled the story of a double-dip recession. An early reading of gross domestic product (GDP) showed 2.5 percent growth. Meanwhile, national job growth, a major driver of housing demand and price support, has recently strengthened. An increasingly impatient White House has rolled out phase two of the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) for Fannie- and Freddie-backed mortgages. This should help a number of consumers as they write the next chapter.

Source:  Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors

Weekly Market Update: November 14, 2011

Pending home sales were off to the races as buyers eagerly entered more contracts than during the same week in 2010. Sellers pulled back a bit as they listed fewer new properties than last year at this time. By and large, inventory declines have been the 2011 tale to tell, but a handful of alternative leading indicators suggest that the Spring 2012 market could present a changing landscape.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending November 5:

• New Listings decreased 18.7% to 1,134
• Pending Sales increased 20.5% to 794
• Inventory decreased 22.1% to 21,214

For the month of October:

• Median Sales Price decreased 9.6% to $154,500
• Days on Market decreased 0.6% to 134
• Percent of Original List Price Received increased 1.0% to 91.2%
• Months Supply of Inventory decreased 28.3% to 6.3

Source:  Minnapolis Area Association of Realtors

Monday, November 14, 2011

Colorful Interiors: What Are The Top Color Picks of 2012?

Color experts are already giving their forecasts for the hot hues for 2012. And next year, the inspiration for color is mostly being drawn from the great American outdoors.

“Native plants and flowers, oceans and lakes, and rocks and minerals are the sources of inspiration for the paint colors that will be ‘in’ next year,” says Debbie Zimmer, color expert at the Paint Quality Institute.

Here’s an overview of the 2012 color palette, according to the Paint Quality Institute.
Bold Blue

“From sparkling sea-glass blue to colonial blue-grey, blues are suitable for all living spaces, being a naturally soothing color that is loved–in one iteration or another–by almost everyone,” says Zimmer.

Vibrant Green

A variety of green shades are expected to make it into more interiors next year, from dining rooms and kitchens to family rooms and bedrooms.

Bringing the outside in, these greens range from celery and asparagus colors to fir and fern, Zimmer says.

Majestic Violet

“A harmonious combination of patriotic blue and red hues, violet can add ‘punch’ to any room when used as an accent color, or serve as the dominant color in a bedroom,” says Zimmer.
By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine, Styled, Staged and Sold blog
Let us know what you think!  What bold colors are you planning on incorporating in your house in the coming year?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Open Houses: November 13, 2011

4645 Old Kent Road - Deephaven
3 bedroom/5 bath
Open:  12:00 to 2:00

Nestled on a private lot in North Amesbury, this home offers gracious living! It is beautifully updated & designed with family and entertaining in mind. Enjoy Main Level Living with a lower level Guest Suite, Exercise Room & Custom Pub. The 5 Car Finished Garage is the perfect "Man Cave". This home is a must see! Contract for Deed financing now available. Please call 952.470.2575 for more information.

Click HERE for more information on Old Kent Road.

Need a Bigger Bathroom?

When it comes to real luxury, there are few things in this world that beat a big, gorgeous, private bathroom for soaking, unwinding, primping, pampering, and just being alone.

The dream bath is entirely achievable, even if your current loo is less spa and more storage locker.  Here are 5 ideas for gaining space in your bathroom remodel.

1.  Lose The Linen Closet

If your bathroom has a towel or linen closet, thank your lucky stars, says interior designer Barbara Schmidt, owner of bstyle in Minneapolis. That little closet can be a bathroom breakthrough.  Many times having a beautiful, spacious-feeling bathroom can be achieved by reclaiming just a few square feet of space.

2.  Mount It On The Wall

With so much heavy equipment, a bathroom can easily feel crammed and claustrophobic, especially when floor space is at a premium. Now you can put the biggest appliances on the wall, thanks to new innovations in wall-hung vanities and toilets.

3.  Make It Transparent

Perhaps the best invention since indoor plumbing, watertight, frameless-glass shower doors work beautifully to expand any bath visually.  Frosted glass doors and shower curtains cut off your sight lines and make small bathrooms feel even more cramped.  Visually adding several sqare feet to a bathroom can change the entire feel of the room.

4.  Rightsize Your Vanity

Too often, builders make the mistake of installing oversized vanities in bathrooms that can’t accommodate them.  There are a variety of bathroom vanities that are designed to maximize space.

5.  Take Your Flooring To The Walls

Interior designers know that perception of space is just that: perception. By lining the floors and walls with the same material, the eye perceives the space as a single, continuous volume.

Let us know your thoughts.  We'd love to hear from you.

Source:  Midwest Home Magazine, Alyssa Ford

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Weekly Market Update: November 7, 2011

Local home buyers had no reservations about exceeding their 2010 purchase volumes for the week. Sellers were a bit shy, introducing fewer new listings to the marketplace than last year. It's particularly important to watch the inventory needle as it can illustrate the overall market balance. Speaking of which, now is a great time to keep an eye on months supply and seller concessions. These metrics can often serve as leading indicators of a changing landscape.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending October 29:

• New Listings decreased 14.5% to 1,070
• Pending Sales increased 40.3% to 870
• Inventory decreased 21.6% to 21,930

For the month of September:

• Median Sales Price decreased 7.2% to $155,000
• Days on Market increased 5.6% to 137
• Percent of Original List Price Received increased 0.3% to 91.1%
• Months Supply of Inventory decreased 21.7% to 6.8

Monday, November 7, 2011

Garage Doors Can Make or Break Curb Appeal

Overhead Door Corporation

The garage door is the largest working part of a house and often its most prominent feature. So when you’re buying, you want to choose carefully. The annual Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling Magazine found that a garage door replacement project returns almost 84% of your investment, making it one of the better home improvement projects in terms of recouping value when a house sells. The right garage door can make or break many of those curb-appeal enhancements.

“Especially on houses where the garage is front and center, the garage door absolutely has to look good,” says Casey McGrath, a real estate practitioner in Kitsap County, Wash. And it has to operate smoothly: Americans use the garage more than any other entry to the house, including the front door, according to a survey commissioned by window and door manufacturer JELD-WEN.

What a garage door costs

A new door should cost significantly less than the amount it may add to the value of your house. For a standard door in wood or steel, installed costs typically range between $550 and $1,650 for a single door, and $800 to $2,500 for a double door. But if you’re looking at a heavy-duty aluminum door, or a custom-made design in exotic wood, the cost could easily reach $10,000.

Depending on the style and precise dimensions, two single doors may or may not be any more expensive than one double door. A second door opener adds $150 to $250.

Types of garage doors

Garage doors come in four basic types: They may swing out, swing up, roll up, or slide to the side.

Swing-out carriage-house doors or sliding barn doors are a good choice if you need to keep the ceiling clear or if you want their distinctive look. Otherwise, the most popular option by far is the sectional roll-up door.

Before purchasing a roll-up door, measure the space between the top of the garage door opening and the ceiling or overhead framing. Standard tracks require headroom of about 14 inches. If you don’t have that, you can get low-headroom track, which costs about $100 more. There are also tracks specially made for garages with unusually high walls or cathedral ceilings.

Choosing the right style

It’s important to pick a door that suits the style of your house. If you live in a Craftsman bungalow, for example, you might want something that looks like the swing-out doors found on garages behind early Craftsman houses. Manufacturers of modern roll-up doors make them in styles that mimic the old swing doors, complete with faux strap hinges on the sides and a pair of handles flanking a deep groove in the center.


Most styles, whether traditional or contemporary, feature panels, trim, and other detailing. Doors with true frame-and-panel construction tend to be sturdier than those with decorative detail that is merely glued or nailed on. Many styles have glass panels on the top row, which looks inviting from the street and brings daylight inside. You can also find roll-up doors with shatterproof glass or frosted plastic in all the panels, for a more modern look.

Common garage door materials

Wood: Wood offers a charm and authenticity that other materials merely mimic. Wood doors can be made locally in whatever size you need, and they stand up well to bumps from basketballs. The downside is that they require frequent repainting or refinishing, especially if you live in a damp climate.


Wood doors range from midprice to very expensive, depending on whether they consist of a lightweight wooden frame filled with foam insulation and wrapped in a plywood or hardboard skin (the least expensive) or are true frame-and-panel doors made of durable mahogany, redwood, or cedar. Wood doors usually carry a short warranty, perhaps only one year.

Steel: Metal is a better choice than wood if you don’t want a lot of maintenance. Steel leads the pack because it is relatively inexpensive yet tough. Bare steel rusts, so you need to touch up scratches promptly, and steel also dents.

Amarr Garage Doors

Minimize this risk by choosing doors with sturdy 24- or 25-gauge panels rather than 27- or 28-gauge (the higher the gauge number, the thinner the metal). Or consider a steel door with a fiberglass overlay, which resists dents and doesn’t rust. Fiberglass will need periodic repainting or restaining, though, because the color fades over time.

High-quality steel doors may have lifetime warranties on the hardware, laminations between the steel and any insulation, and factory-applied paint. Budget doors tend to have shorter warranties on some components, such as paint and springs.

Aluminum: Inexpensive aluminum doors, once common, have largely been replaced by sturdy versions with heavy-duty extruded frames and dent-resistant laminated panels. Rugged and rust-proof, these are a wonderful choice—if you can spend $10,000 or so on a garage door.
Less expensive aluminum doors have aluminum frames and panels made of other materials, such as high-density polyethylene. Because of its light weight, aluminum is a good choice if you have an extra-wide double door; it won’t put as much strain on the operating mechanism.

Insulation and energy savings

Considering the size of a garage door, it might seem obvious that you should invest in one that’s insulated. Because of its sandwich construction, an insulated door is more durable, and the enclosed back panel gives a garage interior a more finished look.

Overhead Door Corporation

But the insulation won’t save energy unless you heat the garage or treat your attached garage as part of the “conditioned” part of your house. The federal Energy Star program recommends against doing this if you park cars, store lawn chemicals, or use solvents there because it could let dangerous fumes inside; it’s better to insulate only the shared wall and use that as the indoor-outdoor boundary.

In past years, you could get a federal tax credit for garage doors, but that break ended in 2010. Only house doors are eligible.

Source:   Jeanne Huber is the author of 10 books about home improvement and writes a weekly column about home care for the Washington Post.