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How to Winterize Basement and Attic Areas

Like it or not, winter is coming in Minnesota. Home basements are particularly vulnerable to the freezing temperatures winter brings. But if you act now to protect the vulnerable parts of your home, you can prevent damage later, while preserving heat. Learn the best practices for winterizing your basement and attic here. https://bit.ly/3yZfbAN

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Many Reasons to Be Thankful

Wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving together. May all of your Thanksgiving traditions bring great joy to all that celebrate together!! We are so grateful to all our clients, family, and friends!!

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Congratulations Tracy Otoka Cushman!!

2022 Seven Star – Top 100 Member in Market

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October 2022 Housing Report

Buyers gain bargaining power as homes sit on market longer
MINNEAPOLIS (November 10, 2022) — As the selling season slowed in October, closed sales slipped almost 31% compared to a year ago. New listings also decreased, falling 19% below last year with 6,883 properties coming on the market. The median sales price was up nearly 4% to $320,000, although sellers were receiving slightly less than their asking price on average, down about 2% from October 2021. Homes were sitting on the market longer, up 20% to 36 days on average. Slower moving inventory pushed the number of homes for sale up 5.5% to over 13,000 properties across the state. Overall, there was two months’ supply of available housing inventory in October, up 25% over last year, marking the second straight month where inventory hit levels not seen since 2020. 

“The seemingly sharp decline in closed sales actually reflects a return to more normal seasonal market conditions after two years of unusually high activity,” said Chris Galler, CEO of Minnesota Realtors. “All the fundamentals remain strong, and the real estate market is robust. Of course, factors like inflation and climbing interest rates are impacting some consumers’ ability to purchase a home. This is especially true for first-time homebuyers. But overall, we’re seeing a normal shift for this time of year. As properties are priced properly for local market conditions, buyers are better positioned to negotiate and purchase a home. Higher inventory levels are opening more choices within a more affordable price range. If you’re ready to buy, this is a good time to enter the market.” 

May be an image of text that says '13,231 Homes for Sale $320,000 Median Sales Price 5.5% vS Oct. 2021 Minnesota Realtors® 3.8% vs Oct. 2021 October 2022 Housing Report 36 6,137 Closed Sales -30. -30.7% vS Oct. 2021 Days on Market 20.0% VS Oct. 2021'


October year-over-year summary of key market indicators: 
 

  • Closed sales decreased 30.7% to 6,137 
  • Median sales price increased 3.8% to $320,000 
  • Average sales price increased 5.6% to $374,990 
  • New listings decreased 19.1% to 6,883 
  • Pending sales decreased 33.5% to 5,373 
  • Days on the market increased 20.0% to 36 days  
  • Homes for sale increased 5.5% to 13,231 

Closed Home Sales Across Minnesota by Region 

In October, closed sales declined in all 13 regions compared to a year ago, bringing Minnesota’s average number of closed home sales down 30.7% year over year. The smallest declines were seen in Upper MN Valley at 7.3%, Arrowhead at 17.0%, and West Central at 17.1%. The largest declines were reported in Northwest at 34.6%, Headwaters at 37.3%, and Southwest Central at 37.8%. See the chart below for more details comparing closed home sales for October 2022 to October 2021.

The seven-county Twin Cities region comprises Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington counties. The official Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington metropolitan statistical area recognized by the Census Bureau consists of 16 counties, on which MAR & SPAAR local associations report. 

View full regional and county reports here. 

View statewide report here. 

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Fall Maintenance Checklist

Minnesota Fall Maintenance Checklist

 By MNR News

Welcome to autumn! The colors are blazing, chill winds are blowing, and the whole state smells like a pumpkin-spice soy-protein latte. Time to break out the sweaters, pick up a rake, and get your yard and home in order before the snow flies. Here are a few helpful hacks and tips.

Put Your Lawn to Bed

Pulverize and Compost Leaves

Wait! Before you rake, bag, and toss, remember that there’s gold in them-thar leaves! Give your grass a nutrient-rich spa treatment by mowing leaves to smithereens. The debris will settle between the blades and produce compost loaded with soil-enhancing carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Your lawn will thank you with lush green growth in the spring.

Bring Out Your Dead

If areas of your yard are brown, bristly, and dying, chances are you’ve got a thatch problem.

Over the seasons, dead grass and other plant material settle at the bottom of your lawn, creating a dense barrier that keeps air, water, and nutrients from reaching the roots. If there are just a few spots, you can tear up the thatch with a dethatching rake. For more widespread dead zones, consider renting a dethatching machine. After clearing thatch, use a core aerator to increase airflow and stimulate microbes that will feast on the dead material and release nutrients. Finish off the project by sowing grass seed in the bare spots.

Feed Your Grass

As the weather cools, your grass needs a feast before it slumbers. Winter-formulated fertilizer helps roots absorb and store the nutrients for lush spring growth. If possible, do a soil test to determine the right fertilizer mix for your lawn.

Shut Off the Water

Turn off the valves supplying external faucets, drain the pipes, and stow the hose inside. If you have a lawn irrigation system, save some time and play it safe by contracting a professional service to clear the lines, and shut off the water.

Enter the Tao of Pruning

If you’re philosophical, you’ll shrug off the big dead oak hanging over your roof, knowing it will fall if it is meant to fall. If, however, you have a mortgage and a high-end insurance deductible, you know that if a tree falls during a January blizzard, the only sound that can be heard is your bank account draining.
So, apart from looking out for dying trees that could damage your house, this is a great time to remove dead growth and suckers from smaller trees, and prune bushes to improve their appearance. Not only will it look tidier, but the plants will produce healthier growth in the spring.

Go for the Gutter and Land on the Roof

Time to get vertical and head up the ladder for a gutter inspection. Fish out leaves, branches, and other debris, and don’t forget to check the downspouts for blockages. While you’re up there, take a good look at the roof. The Frisbee that landed there two years ago is now full of leaves, moisture, and a thriving moss colony that’s expanding on to and under the shingles. If left unchecked, it will cause a lot of damage. Clear off the leaves and other detritus and kill the moss and mold with a spray solution made from one cup of white vinegar and a gallon of water. And remember, never walk on a wet roof. If heights give you vertigo, call on the unemployed brother-in-law who’s been living on your couch since May. Or better yet, hire a roof maintenance pro.

Stow the BBQ, Fold the Lawn Chairs, and Shed a Tear for Summer

From beer brats to shrimp shish-kabobs, you had some epic cookouts. Now it’s time to dump the ash, clean the grill, and store the cooker in the garage or shed. Likewise for the lawn chairs and other outdoor furniture on your deck or patio. If you’re one of those hearty souls who keeps the coals burning through the dead of winter, be sure to invest in a cover that protects your barbecue from the elements.

Fortify and Purify Your Home for Winter

Seal Leaky Windows and Doors

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafty, improperly sealed windows and external doors account for 30% of all household heat loss. Check weatherstripping and caulking in all of these areas and replace if necessary.

Insulate Plumbing in Cold Spaces

When pipes are exposed to cold air, ice blockages can form, causing enormous water pressure to build. If not thawed, the pipes will burst and cause extensive water damage. That’s why it’s important to inspect pipes in the attic, basement, crawlspaces, garage, or other areas they might be impacted by freezing temperatures. Prevent blockages by wrapping exposed plumbing with pipe-insulation foam or tape, which you can obtain from the hardware store.

Sweep the Chimney

There’s nothing cozier than a crackling blaze in the fireplace. However, few things are more dangerous than a dirty and improperly maintained chimney. Every year, there are over 125,000 chimney fires in the United States, causing in excess of $100 million in property damage.  , a substance that forms from the residue of smoke, vapor, and unburned wood, is highly flammable. When it ignites, fire moves rapidly, cracking, warping and melting masonry, and spreading to other areas of the house.

The best defense is scheduling an annual chimney inspection with a chimney sweep who is certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. It’s a small investment to keep the home fires burning where they belong.

Replace Filters in the HVAC System

During those lazy summer days your central air conditioner sucks in clouds of pollen, dust, and other contaminates. By autumn, the filter in your HVAC system in a nasty grey mess. Switch it for a high-quality filter that can perform efficiently up to three months. And while you’re at it, schedule an HVAC inspection and cleaning to ensure your furnace is operating optimally and all the ductwork is clean.

Test the Smoke Alarms

Although most smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors start chirping when their batteries are low, it’s still a good idea to periodically test them. Replace batteries as needed and look at the manufacturer’s replacement recommendations. The average lifespan for a smoke alarm is 10 years. Units combining smoke-and-CO detection should be replaced every five to seven years. And stand-alone CO detectors last about seven years.

Prime the Pump

Eventually, that White Christmas (and White Valentine’s Day, and White St. Paddy’s Day) is going to melt into a moving river of water. For most basements, it’s only a matter of time before some—or a whole lot—of that water floods in. A working sump pump is your first line of defense. So, it’s important to make sure it’s in top operating order. Test it periodically, and if it has a backup battery make sure it’s still functioning. As the battery ages, its run time decreases to as little as half of its original capacity. If you have a voltage meter, measure the voltage between the positive and negative terminals. Anything less than 12.1 volts shows that the battery is nearing the end of its lifespan and should be replaced.

Clear the Air

When the windows are shut tight, the air can become a toxic stew of molds, mildews, and off-gassing chemicals. Allergies, asthma, and even cardiac disease can be irritated by environmental triggers. Fortunately, there are many easy and economical ways to purify the air.

  • Tame allergenic dust by vacuuming weekly, regularly cleaning bed sheets, and damp mopping floors where dust accumulates.
  • Discourage mold and mildew by keeping bathroom and laundry areas dry. Toss damp mats and towels in the wash and dryer and run a ceiling fan while showering or bathing. Consider using a dehumidifier in stubbornly moist areas like laundry rooms.
  • Keep toxins out of the air by replacing volatile chemical cleaners with gentler citrus, soaps, and vinegars.
Deep Clean the Stove and Oven

All that sautéing and frying takes a toll on the range hood, filters, and fan. Take it all apart, scour the greasy gunk, and replace the filters. If you have a gas stove, inspect the burners for clogs that can create uneven heating. Get your oven ready for prime-time baking season by running the self-cleaner if it’s equipped with one. Otherwise, try this recipe for a powerful, all-natural cleaning paste:

  • 1 tablespoon Castile soap
  • 1 ½ cups baking soda
  • ¼ cup vinegar

Blend together and apply to oven with cloth. Let sit for 20 minutes (or longer), and scour with an abrasive sponge. Wipe down with clean, wet cloth before using dry cloth to finish.

Clean the Fridge—Inside and Out

Remember that potato salad you stowed from the July 4th cookout? Well, it’s still in the back of the fridge cultivating a healthy mold colony. Fall is a perfect time to purge your “food museum” of ancient relics and make room for all those pies and leftovers you’ll shove in there after Thanksgiving. This is also a good time to roll the fridge forward and vacuum the condenser coils. It will operate more efficiently and help expand the appliance’s lifespan.

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Heat Your House Efficiently This Fall

9 Fall Energy Savings Tips for Your Home

BLOG.CONSTELLATION.COM

Fall energy savings can help lead to a lower heating bill and reduce wear and tear on your heating system. It all begins by giving your heating system a thorough checkup and taking care of routine maintenance, among other important home heating energy-saving tips. Some companies cover maintenance in their A/C service plans, which are bundles that combine home service protection with electricity.

Tips for Energy-Efficient Heating This Fall

Here are some energy-saving ways to heat your home and keep it running efficiently this fall.

1. Find and prevent drafts throughout your home

For fall energy savings that pay off all year round, consider using weatherstripping to close gaps that let in cold drafts. Make sure to check and replace aging weatherstripping around doors and windows. But remember: Not all weatherstripping is alike. For example, sealing a garage door involves different weatherstripping than you would use for your front door.

Also, check for gaps and cracks around your home’s foundation and around windows, doors and areas where utilities enter your home. Sealing these with caulk can help keep heat in your home.

2. Lower your home’s thermostat to save energy

A simple way to achieve fall energy savings is by running your heating system less often. Keeping your thermostat between 68 and 70 degrees during the day and turning it lower at night will help to reduce the cost to heat your home. If you’re willing to wear a sweater, the few degrees of temperature difference could result in savings over the season.

Many people forget to lower their thermostats at night. One of the benefits of a smart thermostat is that you don’t have to rely on your memory. The thermostat will adjust the temperature according to the schedule that you set.

3. Open and close curtains for better energy efficiency

You can reap more fall energy savings by using the power of the sun. Open curtains and drapes when the sun shines through your windows. Solar heat through a well-insulated window can raise the temperature in a room by several degrees — without your heater having to do extra work. When the sunlight fades, pull your curtains tightly closed to add another layer of insulation between the cold outdoors and the rooms of your home.

4. Inspect your furnace before winter arrives

One of the best fall heating tips is to have an expert HVAC professional inspect your furnace. A professional has the experience and training to spot issues you might not notice and can make recommendations for how to keep your system running efficiently all year.

To ensure your system will be energy-efficient for fall, it must be clean and in good working order. Dirty ducts and filters clogged with debris make your furnace work harder than it needs to to heat your home. Keeping air filters clean is one of the most important fall heating tips. They’re inexpensive and easy to install, so there’s no reason to overlook this source of fall energy savings.

9 Tips for Energy Efficient Heating this Fall

5. Don’t block your vents

It may sound like common sense, but one of the best (and easiest) fall heating tips is to make sure air can flow freely from your vents. If you have furniture or drapes that block your vents, you could be wasting energy by preventing heat from flowing into the room and circulating. If you can’t move the furniture or drapes, an easy solution is to buy inexpensive vent extenders that direct air from vents under sofas or behind drapes out into the room.

6. Use less energy for water heating during the fall

No list of fall energy tips would be complete without mentioning your hot-water heater. Check the temperature setting to make sure it isn’t set too high. For most people, temperatures between 110 and 120 degrees are hot enough for washing dishes and bathing.

You can achieve even more energy-efficient heating for fall if you buy a blanket for your water heater. Stores sell insulation you can fit around your unit to hold in heat.

7. Check your home’s insulation

If you haven’t checked your insulation in a few years, take the time to do it now. Believe it or not, insulation does wear out. And manufacturers are always working to improve their products. You may find some of the new attic insulation types are so much better that it’s worth the investment of time and money to add to or replace existing insulation.

8. Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans for fall

Improving the circulation of heat means you can do more with less, making it one of the best fall heating tips to follow. Warm air rises, meaning the warmest air in the room is near the ceiling where it doesn’t impact your comfort. Run ceiling fans clockwise at a low speed in the winter to draw cold air up from the floor. As it flows upward, it pushes the warm air out toward your walls and down into your living space.

9. Check your fireplace for drafts

If you have a fireplace in your home, that’s another opening to the outside. Fireplaces can be a major source of lost heat, so your heating tips for the fall should include making sure that doesn’t happen. If you have a loose or damaged damper, your chimney can suck heat from your room. Make sure to keep your chimney and damper in good condition.

You may also want to consider adding glass doors over your fireplace opening. They allow you to enjoy the fire, but they prevent room air from going up the chimney. You can also cover the fireplace opening when you’re not using it to put a stop to drafts.

Some times of year require your home to use more energy than others. Just as you would be interested in ways to save energy in the summer on cooling, you may want to save on heating in the fall and winter. With these fall home energy tips and heating efficiency tips, you can enjoy a warmer, more comfortable home, save money and extend the life of your heating system.

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Housing Market Shifting

The US housing market is firmly in a state of “correction” with home prices and inventory levels shifting across the country. Experts expect these shifts to continue in the fourth quarter of the year, which is a traditionally slow time for real estate transactions. But there are silver linings. Despite higher mortgage rates, buyers can take heart in increasing home inventory and fewer bidding wars. For sellers, realistic home pricing continues to be key to success. What else should you expect from the market for the rest of 2022? Find out here. #HousingMarketMonday https://bit.ly/36Cws1S

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September 2022 Housing Report

Properties sitting longer as interest rates rise; bidding wars ease
MINNEAPOLIS (October 12, 2022) — In September, a cooling trend continued as closed sales were down 18.2% compared to a year ago. New listings also decreased, slipping 17% below last year with 8,384 properties coming on the market. The median sales price was up 4.8% to almost $325,000, although sellers were receiving slightly less than their asking price on average, down about 2% from September 2021. Homes were sitting on the market longer, up more than 18% to 32 days on average. Slower moving inventory nudged the number of homes for sale up 2.1% to nearly 14,000 properties across the state. Overall, there was two months’ supply of available housing inventory in September, up 17.6% over last year and also marks the highest level of inventory since 2020.“The slower market activity we’re seeing is the result of several factors,” said Chris Galler, CEO of Minnesota Realtors. “Interest rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage passed 7% in late September, making it more difficult for buyers to enter the market. This is especially true for first-time buyers. Inflationary pressures in the wider economy are also impacting buyers’ bank accounts. These factors are heightening the normal decline we see in the fall. However, it’s important to recognize that the market is still strong, and that sellers are getting offers with good terms when properties are priced accurately for local conditions. Bidding wars are over, and buyers are better positioned to negotiate for a home that might have been out of reach only a few months ago.”

May be an image of text that says '13,828 Homes for Sale $324,900 Median Sales Price 2.1% vs Sept. 2021 Minnesota Realtors® 4.8% vs Sept. 2021 September 2022 Housing Report 7,501 Closed Sales 18.2% vs Sept. 2021 32 Days on Market 18.5% vS Sept. 2021'

September year-over-year summary of key market indicators:

  • Closed sales decreased 18.2% to 7,501
  • Median sales price increased 4.8% to $324,900
  • Average sales price increased 6.8% to $378,231
  • New listings decreased 17.0% to 8,384
  • Pending sales decreased 26.9% to 5,969
  • Days on the market increased 18.5% to 32 days
  • Homes for sale increased 2.1% to 13,828

Closed Home Sales Across Minnesota by Region

In September, closed sales declined in 10 out of 13 regions compared to a year ago, bringing Minnesota’s average number of closed home sales down 18.2% year over year. Three regions reported increases: Upper MN Valley at 7.3%, Southwest at 6.1%, and Northwest at 2%. The smallest declines were seen in Southwest Central at 3.1%, North Central at 3.7%, and Arrowhead at 3.8%. The largest declines were reported in East Central at 17.3%, Central at 20.7%, and 7-County Twin Cities at 23.6%. See the chart below for more details comparing closed home sales for September 2022 to September 2021.

The seven-county Twin Cities region comprises Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties. The official Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington metropolitan statistical area recognized by the Census Bureau consists of 16 counties, on
which MAR & SPAAR local associations report
.View full regional and county reports here.

View statewide report here.

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4 Fall Staging Tips

 

tree, fence, plant, house, leaf, fall, flower, home, porch, foliage, spring, color, autumn, backyard, garden, flora, season, flowers, trees, hdr, seasons, yard, vermont, pumpkins, outdoor structure, Free Images In PxHere

Fall is a season that alludes to the comfort of the senses. Autumn is also a time of the year that many folks will move into their new home. Use these seasonal tips to stage your home, and take advantage take of the  fall highlighting your home to it’s fullest.

Fall Colors

Embrace the fall colors with touches of seasonal décor.  Use rich colors to warm up your homes appeal. This could be as simple as decorative candles, pillows or a throw place on the couch.

Seasonal Scents

Aromas of cinnamon, apple, cranberry, or other fall spices are warm inviting scents this time of the year. Be cautious as to not offend a potential home buyer with any scent that may be overpowering or too strong. A candle or essential oil diffuser near your home’s entrance will freshen the space & set the seasonal tone.

Shorter Daylight Hours
As the daylight hours shorten during the fall, be sure to let in as much natural light as possible to give your rooms a more inviting and spacious feel. Adding extra lamps will help, if you don’t have enough natural light.

Home Exterior Decorating
When planning to sell in the fall, take advantage of seasonal items to raise the curb appeal of your home.  A festive wreath on your door, pumpkins on your porch, or mums along your walk way are wonderful fall additions that don’t cost much to spruce up your home. Also, be sure to keep up with the falling leaves on your lawn, as you do not want the highlights of your home to be distracted by piles of falling leaves.

 

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August 2022 Housing Report

Interest rates and inflation give buyers pause

MINNEAPOLIS (September 13, 2022) — In August, closed sales were down 17% compared to a year ago, with 8,256 transactions across the state. New listings followed the cooling trend, falling 17.9% compared to last August even as the total number of homes for sale increased by 2% to 13,271. This bumped up the supply of homes on the market to 1.9 months, an 18.8% gain over last year. Although the median sales price increased 4.4% to $330,000, sellers were receiving slightly less than their asking price, down 2.2% to 99.3%. Homes were sitting longer, too, with days on the market averaging 29 days, up 7.4% from August 2021.

“The trend toward more normal market conditions continued in August, signaling a more buyer-friendly environment,” said Chris Galler, CEO of Minnesota Realtors. “Although homes with desirable features in an affordable price range are still fueling competition, the frantic ‘drive-by buying’ of a year ago is over. With an increasing supply of properties to choose from, buyers are becoming more thoughtful and discerning, and less likely to rush a purchase. Rising interest rates and the broader inflationary environment has also dampened activity. Still, for buyers with the means to go forward, this is a good time to find the right home without the stress and pressure of a heated market.”

May be an image of text that says '13,271 Homes for Sale $330,000 Median Sales Price 2.0% vs Aug. 2021 4.4% vs Aug. 2021 Minnesota Realtors® August 2022 Housing Report 8,256 Closed Sales 29 Days on Market -17.0% vs Aug. 2021 7.4% vs Aug. 2021'
August year-over-year summary of key market indicators:
  • Closed sales decreased 17.0% to 8,256
  • Median sales price increased 4.4% to $330,000
  • Average sales price increased 4.6% to $383,759
  • New listings decreased 17.9% to 9,033
  • Pending sales decreased 19.0% to 7,592
  • Days on the market increased 7.4% to 29 days
  • Homes for sale increased 2.0% to 13,271

Closed Home Sales Across Minnesota by Region

In August, closed sales declined in 9 out of 13 regions compared to a year ago, bringing Minnesota’s average number of closed home sales down 17% year over year. Four regions reported increases: Northwest at 23.6%, Upper MN Valley at 7.1%, West Central at 7%, and Southwest at 0.8%. The smallest declines were seen in Headwaters at 0.8%, South Central at 2.1%, and North Central at 9.9%. The largest declines were reported in East Central at 19.8%, 7-County Twin Cities at 20.1% and Central at 26.2%. See the chart below for more details comparing closed home sales for August 2022 to August 2021.


The seven-county Twin Cities region comprises Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties. The official Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington metropolitan statistical area recognized by the Census Bureau consists of 16 counties, on
which MAR & SPAAR local associations report
. 

View full regional and county reports here.

View statewide report here.