Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Weekly Market Update: December 30, 2013

Gains in construction activity and job growth have made the Fed confident that moderate bond tapering won't rock the resilient real estate market. Holiday happenings have bolstered an already healthy economy. And though winter vacation jubilee may accentuate seasonally lazy home sales, most local markets should show cozy year-over-year comparisons.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending December 21:

• New Listings decreased 15.3% to 558
• Pending Sales decreased 11.0% to 689
• Inventory decreased 7.3% to 13,283

For the month of November:

• Median Sales Price increased 13.4% to $195,000
• Days on Market decreased 26.5% to 75
• Percent of Original List Price Received increased 1.3% to 95.4%
• Months Supply of Inventory decreased 11.1% to 3.2

Source:  Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors

Monday, December 30, 2013

Don't Forget The Ceiling

Are you still living with popcorn ceilings?  Or better yet, popcorn ceilings with glitter in them?  With a little imagination and effort you can ramp up your ceilings to transform them from an eyesore to an eye catching feature. 

We've provided a little overview of different styles of ceilings.  There's sure to be one that will work in your home.

Scrape and Repaint

Probably the most cost effective solution is to scrape down or off the existing texture and repaint with a crisp white or a shade that is 10% the color of your current walls.  Some textures can simply be pushed down to basically create a knock-down texture.  Test in an inconspicuous area, like a closet first.  Simply spray with water, wait 5 minutes for it to soak in, then using a putty knife or a drywall scraper pull the texture across the ceiling.

Some popcorn textures, however, incorporate a small bead to make the bumpy look.  If this is the case with your ceiling will need to scrape off the texture and fill and sand where needed before repainting.

Coffered or Box Beamed

To create a rich looking ceiling you could add coffers or beams to your ceiling.  Coffers are usually made up of drywall covered sections that create a recessed area.  Box beams create boxes from wooden beams.  Both looks are beautiful and can be fairly simple or very ornate.  We've showcased a few of them for you.


Maybe your existing ceiling is just in too rough of shape to be fixed with a little sanding.  You can cover your ceiling with pressed panels that come in either metal or resin.  Pressed panels would be secured directly to your existing ceiling with nails or glue.  Metal panels can give you that old world feel or they can be fairly contemporary.  Most resin panels can mimic metal or can be or look painted.  Here are some examples.


A dropped ceiling includes a suspended rail system with panels that drop into the rail system. And forget the cheap dropped ceilings that are in your head. Today's dropped ceilings are anything but cheap looking.  As with pressed ceiling panels, dropped panels can come in metal or resin and have a variety of colors and styles.  And because the panels are dropped, many times they can mimic the look of a coffered ceiling as well.


Wood ceilings add a rich and warm feel to a house.  They can be used over the entire ceiling or in small areas to denote different spaces.  While some can add a rustic feel to a house, others can have a far more urban look.

Be Creative

Let your imagination run wild.  There are so many ways to turn a boring ceiling into something spectacular.  Here are some more inspirational pictures to get those creative juices rolling!

Source:  Michelle Schwake for Stafford Family Realtors

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013!

We are counting our blessings and you are one of them.  We wish you the merriest of Christmases!

Eric & Sharla Stafford

Monday, December 23, 2013

Gift Wrapping Stations

If you're like me, you are in the throes of gift wrapping right about now.  I don't know about you, but my organizational skills around the storage of gift wrapping necessities are in need of a revamp.  My current "system" involves keeping all my wrapping paper, tissue paper, bows, ribbons, gift tags and gift bags in one bin which somehow always seems to have many other bins piled on top of it.  So that when it comes time to get something out of there I have to do some major lifting and rearranging of everything.  Then once I am perusing the gift wrapping bin, it's so jam packed with stuff that most everything is wrinkled, ripped, and otherwise unsightly.  Not to mention, I usually find that I do not, in fact, have any birthday themed wrapping paper for boys (or what have you) anywhere in sight.  Then I usually have to hunt down the tape and the scissors and a pen.  Needless to say, what should have taken about 5 minutes is now a much longer endeavor.  And Lord help me if I have to wrap more than one gift!

This got me thinking that I should most definitely put a gift wrapping station on my list of home improvements for next year.  It would be so nice to have a dedicated spot for wrapping that has everything I need neatly stored and all tools at my fingertips. 

I have been doing a little research (i.e. snooping at online pictures) and have found some great inspirational photos that I thought I would share with you so that you can add one to your home as well...cuz I know you need one too!  As you can see, some are elaborate while others are so simple almost anyone can copy the idea in their home.

Source:  Michelle Schwake for Stafford Family Realtors

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Dream Showers

We are in the midst of a bathroom remodel.  It's mostly just updating the tile and the vanity.  But the biggest change will probably be in the shower.  The old shower was a poorly done, fiberglass surround with no door or light and old fixtures.  I'm very excited about this new shower!

First of all, I love showers.  I know some people are bath people, but I am definitely a shower person.  My ultimate shower would be immense!  With multiple shower heads, a bench, steam, and piped in music.  But alas, I would never leave such a shower.  And, in reality, I have a 3X3 foot space to work with and a very limited budget.  But no one can stop me from dreaming! 

I invite you along to dream with me.  Here are some inspirational photos of some amazing showers.  Who knows.  Maybe one of these could be in your future home or remodel!

Source:  Michelle Schwake for Stafford Family Realtors