Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending January 20, 2018

Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, were up 1.1 percent in 2017 compared to 2016 to 5.5 million sales, becoming the best year for sales in 11 years. Overall, the housing market performed well in 2017 within a strong economy. Homeowners made healthy price gains at sale, and distressed property sales have returned to historically low marks.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending January 20:
 • New Listings decreased 9.8% to 943
 • Pending Sales decreased 5.7% to 726
 • Inventory decreased 25.4% to 7,062

For the month of December:
• Median Sales Price increased 9.7% to $248,000
 • Days on Market decreased 15.3% to 61
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 1.3% to 97.1%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 26.3% to 1.4

Publish Date: January 29, 2018 • All comparisons are to 2017

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Have you heard of this new trend? What is Hygge? We're here to tell you!

Did you know that Denmark was the second-happiest country on the planet last year, as named by the 2017 World Happiness Report?

If you’re wondering why this would be important to you (unless you’re about to relocate or take a vacation to the Nordic country), consider this: Hygge came in with its cozy outlook in 2016 and, despite multiple efforts among lifestyle experts, editors, and even other countries to dethrone it, hygge remains the predominant lifestyle trend of the day.

So ingrained is hygge in popular culture around the world that it has spawned countless books and interior design collections, and its usage even prompted inclusion in Collins Dictionary “along with Brexit and Trumpism,” said the New Yorker. “Collins describes it as: the practice of creating cozy, congenial environments that promote emotional well-being.”

So, if you haven’t yet learned how to pronounce it (hoo-ga), or integrate the concept into your home, it might just be time for both.
The Next Big Thing?
The Scandinavians don’t have a monopoly on lifestyle trends. Many think that the pervasive popularity of hygge was an overcorrection to the much stricter practice of KonMari, the Japanese concept of hyper-organization and minimalism.

Vogue all but proclaimed 2017 the year that lagom, “the Swedish concept of ‘not too much, not too little,’ would overtake hygge as the predominant lifestyle trend. “Unlike hygge, which aims to capture a feeling, lagom is an ethos of moderation,” they said. “If you need proof that lagom’s moment is imminent, look no further than England. The epicenter of the hygge trend is turning its attention to this Swedish way of living.”

Scotland rode into 2018 with what they claim is the new Hygge: Còsagach, which, honestly, sounds awfully similar to hygge. “It means ‘snug, sheltered or cozy,’” said The Guardian.

Principles of Hygge
According to Amara, hygge was “originally a Norwegian term for wellbeing. Developed into a concept and way of living by the Danish in the 18th century when it first appeared in writings of the time, the country hasn’t looked back since.”

The colors of the year are bold and bright (Hello, Pantone’s deep purple Ultra Violet and Benjamin Moore’s fiery red Caliente). But, hygge calls for softer neutrals. “Paint walls a soft shade of grey, white or cream and keep colors throughout the house earthy to create a sense of calm,” said Huffington Post.
Less is more when it comes to the overall feel of hygge, and that goes for your furniture pieces, too. Keep your lines clean or gently curved and your cushions plush to achieve the right look.

In describing hygge, Christopher Mount, Scandinavian Design expert, told Pamono: “The best description I can think of is the warm and cozy feeling you would have while lounging on a comfortable couch, reading a good book, and drinking a hot beverage, snuggled with a loved one on a wet, cold day. It means to be contentedly cozy, in a kind of simple and romantic way. All of the classic, midcentury Danish furniture—by Finn Juhl, Hans Wegner, Børge Mogensen, Arne Jacobsen, and Nanna Ditzel—has a kind of warm, soft, and ‘hyggely’ quality.”
We’re talking rugs, blankets and pillows—both in and out of the bedroom—and lots of them, at that. Anything that can make a space feel more cozy is hygge-approved, so look for textiles that are soft and soothing.

“One of the easiest ways to make any space feel instantly cozy? Plenty of soft blankets and rugs to add a layer of physical warmth,” said Graham & Brown. “To create a look that’ll appeal to all your senses, try mixing different fabrics and textures to give your space a unique style that’s all its own.”

The U.K-based wallpaper and home decor brand has an entire collection devoted to the Danish concept, complete with wallpaper depicting overlapping slats of distressed wood and a comforting grey and neutral taupe color palette touched with glimmers of warm metallic.  Their cozy hygge faux fur throw, for instance, “will bring a sumptuous touch to your home,” they said. “Created with a thick soft faux fur and lined in luxurious silky satin, this piece is perfect for snuggling into on those dark evenings.”
The right lighting is key to achieving hygge, which makes sense considering Denmark has such limited sunlight. You don’t want anything harsh; instead, go for a soft, warm glow. Lumens recommends “warm-white LED and incandescent lights,” which can “create a soft look when installed with a dimmer.”

Mitzi, a newly introduced offshoot brand of Hudson Valley Lighting®, designs products “with thoughtful simplicity,” they said, which is “precisely why they work well in any minimalist design scheme. Marnie casts just the right amount of light from underneath its metal shade and is “a delightful example of how simple shapes can produce interesting results.”

So, go on and get cozy this spring!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending January 13, 2018

At the beginning of a calendar year, it is often common for home buyers and sellers to become immediately more active. Call it the result of a resolution or the promise of something new, but it is a noted phenomenon across the country. It's really too early to say if the trend will continue in 2018, but the first weeks of the year have not necessarily shown a huge jolt in activity so much as the last weeks of 2017 were quieter than usual.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending January 13:
 • New Listings decreased 5.4% to 892
 • Pending Sales decreased 13.0% to 577
 • Inventory decreased 26.9% to 6,918

For the month of December:
 • Median Sales Price increased 9.7% to $248,000
 • Days on Market decreased 15.3% to 61
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 1.3% to 97.1%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 26.3% to 1.4

Publish Date: January 22, 2018 • All comparisons are to 2017

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Weekly Market Activity Report For Week Ending January 6, 2018

As we embark upon the 2018 campaign, watch for upward movement in some of the same areas for wanted improvements in 2017. The number of homes available for sale continues to be a key factor in the dynamics of residential real estate. Simply put, it would be good to have more inventory available for purchase. Buying a home is a viable and exciting option for many consumers, and having more homes to choose from is one way to assure that the dream of home-ownership is an affordable achievement.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending January 6:
 • New Listings decreased 13.4% to 850
 • Pending Sales decreased 10.7% to 534
 • Inventory decreased 26.7% to 6,904

For the month of December:
 • Median Sales Price increased 9.8% to $248,200
 • Days on Market decreased 15.3% to 61
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 1.3% to 97.1%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 26.3% to 1.4

Publish Date: January 15, 2018 • All comparisons are to 2017

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The 2018 Home Upgrades for New Homeowners

The best way to personalize your space and give it a fresh, polished vibe is to make upgrades-big or small-that let your personality shine.

The best way to personalize your space and give it a fresh, polished vibe is to make upgrades-big or small-that let your personality shine. Whether you're ready to undertake a major remodeling project or only have the budget for a few modern touches, these DIY renovation ideas are a great place to start.
Welcome 2018 with an updated home that's perfect for new beginnings and a lifetime of memories.

Make Your Kitchen Colorful

Gone is the popularity of a white, monochromatic kitchen. More homeowners are embracing bold accent colors on their countertops, backsplashes and cabinets, from vivid yellow and burnt orange to chic turquoise and dignified navy.
Another popular trend is juxtaposing the stainless steel appliances with warm, vibrant hues that make a space more inviting, while keeping that sleek look.

  • Small budget: When repainting, choose a two-toned base. For example, "dark colors offset with lighter or brighter colors...offer visually entertaining and appealing levels of contrast," advise the contemporary design experts at Interior Zine.
  • Big budget: Replace all appliances with stainless steel; then do the painting.

Upgrade Your Storage Space

Finding enough room to store seasonal decorations, filing papers, hardware tools, keepsake items, cleaning products and office supplies is a common struggle of homeownership. Luckily, there are a number of creative and resourceful hacks for increasing the amount of storage without reconfiguring your entire space.

  • Small budget: You don't have to find room in your home for more storage-head to the garage first. Take advantage of the walls by hanging DIY peg boards and adjustable wall panels: "With the help of hooks, you have the freedom of hanging your things anywhere and any way you want: in the center, horizontally, vertically, at the bottom, or top," suggest garage experts. As you tackle inside storage, refer to 8 Space Savers for a Small Bedroom for inspiration.
  • Big budget: Invest in new furniture pieces that double as decorative and functional, like an old chest that you can keep in the living room or a coffee table with a storage space below.

Give Your Walls More Texture

Textured walls is a fun way to infuse character into any room, whether you're into exposed brick, wooden shiplap, geometric molding or smooth tile. Walls are a blank canvas for experimentation, so harness your inner designer and play around with different materials or wallpapers that mimic the feel of those materials.
Note that you can combine more than one texture in the same room to create a particularly unique and artistic ambiance. For instance, a "grungy" or "rustic" wall could be adjacent to a "wavy design on the accent wall," says Kareen Liez, civil engineer and architecture enthusiast.

  • Small budget: If you have unfinished drywall, use this to your advantage, with these ideas from Vintage Revivals or this idea from The Creativity in the Chaos.
  • Big budget: Go in all the way with high quality wall paper that creates texture with patterns or invest in the laundry list of materials needed to create your own exposed brick wall, for example. If your budget is flexible, there are many ways to tackle this project.

Re-Do the Garage Flooring

The garage has become an extension of a home's living space that should be both aesthetic and functional. To take your garage to the next level, and turn it into a space you actually enjoy being in, start with the boring concrete floor-replace it with an epoxy coating.
This material is "noted for its durability and longevity," according to flooring professionals at Kwekel Epoxy Floors. They explain: "With epoxy, you'll enjoy protection against [mold] growth, as it offers a protective layer against moisture damage." Not to mention, epoxy is also stain resistant and the surface repels chemicals, so if something spills, it won't seep into your concrete.

  • Small budget: Take the DIY route and lay the epoxy flooring yourself. Use this tutorial from Family Handy Man to navigate through the process.
  • Big budget: Hire an epoxy company to handle the work, which can be done in one weekend.

Make the Space Your Own

A house is an expression of the people who live inside, so give your new home a splash of personality in the New Year. You'll fee great about the space and excited to show it off to your friends and family.

Guest post by Jessica Thiefels

Monday, January 8, 2018

Weekly Market Activity Report for week ending December 23, 2017

As is usually the case this time of year, housing activity will slow down for a few weeks during the last of the 2017 holidays. Shrewd buyers and sellers will take advantage of this slower time of year to make meaningful deals, especially ahead of perceived or real changes that are due to take place in 2018 as regards taxes, mortgage rates, housing affordability and other factors.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending December 23:
 • New Listings increased 14.4% to 422
 • Pending Sales increased 8.0% to 702
 • Inventory decreased 23.8% to 8,120

For the month of November:
 • Median Sales Price increased 6.5% to $245,000
 • Days on Market decreased 11.1% to 56
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 0.8% to 97.4%
 • Months Supply of Homes For Sale decreased 21.7% to 1.8

Information Gathered from MAAR
Publish Date: January 2, 2018 • All comparisons are to 2016

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy 2018!!!

Happy New Year from Stafford Family Realtors.

As we close out 2017 and reflect on all the amazing things that have happened over the past 365 days, we want to extend a sincere "Thank You" to all of our clients and friends who have supported us and our team and have contributed to another successful year. 

Cheers to you all and wishing you a wonderful 2018!!!