Tag Archives: realty

De-cluttering Your Home for a More Successful Sale


De-cluttering Your Home for a More Successful Sale and Removal

All real estate experts will agree that preparing your property prior to putting it up for sale is an essential step that will sufficiently augment your chances of a quick and successful deal. A presentable home is far more appealing and will blow out the competition. Keep in mind that emotion plays a high role in the purchasing process. One can fall in love with the design of your place and therefore be willing to dismiss minor flaws. Your goal is to help buyers envision themselves living in this exact home. Selling an estate is not an easy task, so it’s best to take care of the things that are under your control such as clutter.

First Things First

Let’s be honest – there are a lot of things on your agenda. Creating a list of all the tasks you need to tackle is extremely useful. This way, you will avoid the risk of getting lost in the process. Get equipped with enough storage options. Put yourself in the shoes of the potential buyers and mark certain areas that you think might have an influence on their decision. Small improvements might raise the value of your home and help you seal a quick deal. In terms of the interior, you can repair leaking faucets, fix wall cracks and other appliances. You might also consider repainting or replacing old fixtures. Don’t forget the exterior of your home. It is the thing that visitors will spot first. Remove the lawn appliances and furniture from the yard and find them a proper storage place.

Clean The Clutter

The fastest way to get your home ready for prospective buyers is by de–cluttering. This will also help you when preparing to move out of the house. Pre–packing is a perfect way to get rid of the unnecessary items around your home. It will also minimize your stress level. De-cluttering is the time for reconsideration of what things are actually essential to your daily life. Chances are in the process you will find things that you no longer use or that are damaged. It might be easier to deal with one room at a time. The next step is to go through all your possessions. Put some of the bulky or less appealing furniture in storage before showing your home. This way you will free up additional space and make your place look larger. Put your seasonal clothes in boxes. Decide what you want to keep and what you will throw or donate. If you don’t have enough storage space in your home, get a self–storage unit, but make sure it is out of the way when potential buyers come around. 

Before Showing Your Home

After you are finished with most of the work, now you just need a few finishing touches. Be sure that your home is clean and tidy. Vacuuming, mopping and dusting as well as window cleaning are the basics. If you have pets that live indoors, send them to relatives or neighbors before the open house so you will have time to get rid of the unpleasant odors and fur that you now realize covers everything in sight. Set a small storage space in the house where the potential buyers don’t have access. You can display valuable items and accessories that add to the overall decor. However, you need to remove pictures and personal belongings such as children’s drawings that will hinder potential buyers from envisioning their own families in the space.

About the Author: Heather Roberts is a content writer from London, UK. She lives in Balham, London with her husband and two sons, and loves planning family trips and exploring new places.

Lake Nokomis

Nokomis, Minneapolis

The Nokomis neighborhood in South Minneapolis has a population of more than 40,000 people, who no doubt find the area as interesting as we do. It’s surrounded by the Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport, Veterans Memorial Park, and Interstate 35W. Many people know of the Nokomis area for its main attraction, which we’re sure you’ve heard about or visited at least once – Minnehaha Falls. Sound familiar? Well, there’s much more to this family-friendly neighborhood that you need to read about.

The first place you should visit is the neighborhood’s namesake, Lake Nokomis. During the winter, the lake is a haven for winter sports aficionados and it attracts hockey enthusiasts and ice fishers alike. Each year, for a weekend in mid-January, the lake is overtaken by the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships. Established in 2007, the annual tournament draws both local and international players and celebrates the very sport for which Minnesota is known. If you love hockey and don’t mind hanging out in sub-zero temps, then you definitely won’t want to miss out on this event!


If you’re like us and prefer to admire the lake’s beauty from a distance, be sure to bundle up and go for a walk around the frozen terrain. Take a moment to admire one of the many picturesque bridges. You might even catch a glimpse of some brave ice fishers like the guys seen above!

Right next to the lake, you’ll find the Nokomis Community Center. Because of its stunning view of the lake, it’s a favorite location for special events, including wedding receptions! The center offers a full range of recreational programs for every age group, including athletics, cultural and fine arts, music and dance, and community celebrations. Click on the link above if you’d like to see the center’s hours, times, and upcoming events!

Nearby, you’ll find the Aqualand Aquarium Center. Family owned since 1966, its prime location makes it a favorite neighborhood destination for families with young children. If you’re feeling nautical (and want to feel like you’re in a tropical getaway rather than a frozen tundra), make sure to visit the Aquarium. Aqualand is especially known for its selection of tropical fish!


Feeling artsy? Well then you should definitely check out the Museum of Russian Art. At first glance, it may look more like a church than a museum (the building was originally a chapel), but don’t be deceived by its appearance. In 2013, Star Tribune named it as one out of the city’s Best Museums To Take Out-of-Towners, but even if you’re a local who just wants to entertain yourself with a little Russian culture, there’s no better place to go.


Speaking of entertainment, Nokomis has a lot more to offer! For example, the retro-inspired Parkway Theater provides a large selection of movies from diverse backgrounds for you to choose from. Described as the “Neighborhood Cinema,” the Parkway celebrates the community’s independent filmmakers from all ages and backgrounds. You can read more about them here.

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If transportation is a big concern for you, don’t worry because Metro Transit has got you covered in this neighborhood. The centrally-located transit station, which is serviced by multiple bus lines and the Metro Blue Line, is located right next to Oaks Station Place, Oak’s Properties’ newest apartment community. Talk about convenience!

If hunger strikes then you’re surely in luck, because Nokomis is home to the world-famous restaurant, Matt’s Bar, known for its “Jucy Lucy” hamburger (and no, that’s not a typo – with all that cheese, there’s no room for an “i” in Matt’s burger!). Opening in 1954 as a neighborhood joint, Matt’s Bar has since grown to be one of biggest must-eat places for out-of-towners and serves as a regular hangout for locals. The “Jucy Lucy” itself has an exciting story; make sure to read more about it on Matt’s website.


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If you decide to take a walk to burn off some of those calories from Matt’s (which are so worth it, in our opinion) then be ready to stroll past some of the cutest houses around. Consisting of mainly traditional and cottage-style homes, you might feel like you’ve been transported to a quaint New England town, rather than being located just minutes from the hustle and bustle of a big city. Adding to the cozy, small-town feel is the fact that you’re likely to run into professional dog walkers, escorting 6 or 7 dogs like it’s no big deal. See this adorable picture for woof-proof!

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If shopping is your preferred form of cardio, then you’re going to love the small shops on Chicago Avenue. While in the neighborhood, we had the chance to talk to some local business owners like Jake Sanders, proprietor of the family business, Shop in the City. He told us about the shop’s humble beginning in 2002, and how it has grown into a community favorite. Jake and the rest of the team currently remain active in the Nokomis community by participating in fundraisers and giving charity donations. Many of the surrounding businesses have similar stories, either being family-owned or having been around for many decades.

Because of its wide array of activities and abundance of single-family homes, Nokomis is a great place to live. For families looking to settle down in a safe community, then this is the right place. Served by elementary schools such as Wenonah, Keewaydin, and Hale, Nokomis provides a great, safe environment for kids to grow up and thrive.


Last, but not least we have Minnehaha Falls, a magnificent 53-foot waterfall, located in Minnehaha Regional Park. The name originates from the Dakota language with “Mini’ meaning water and “haha” meaning waterfall; because of the second half of its name, it is sometimes referred to as the “Laughing Waters.” This park offers a great place to admire one of nature’s most powerful and awe-inspiring forces. During the summer, you’ll often find couples taking wedding pictures under the park’s gazebo. During the winter, it’s just as majestic when the water freezes and turns the falls into a frozen fantasy.

So, dear reader, this is where we end our post. Feel free to contact us with any questions about the neighborhood, or let us know if we missed one of your favorite local hangouts! Make sure to check out the rest of our neighborhood features to find the right match for you.

            Neighborhood Resources

Neighborhood Schools

Faith Communities

Wenonah Elementary School Lake Nokomis Lutheran Church
Keewaydin Elementary School Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church
Hale Elementary School Crosstown Covenant Church
Nokomis Montessori Magnet School Minnehaha United Methodist Church
Nokomis Regional High Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church
Laurel Nokomis School Nokomis Heights Lutheran Church
Island Village Montessori School St. Herman’s Orthodox Church



Lake Hiawatha Park Matt’s Bar
Nokomis Naturescape Gardens Al Vento
Lake Nokomis Fat Lorenzo’s
Lake Nokomis Main Beach Sea Salt
Minnehaha Park Las Teresitas
Bossen Field Park Corner Table
  Hot Plate
  5-8 Club
  First Course
  Colossal Cafe
  Dominguez Restaurant
  Bill’s Garden Chinese Gourmet

Best Countries To Travel To These Holidays


Caught the “traveling bug”? We caught it too! We want to invite you to look at the five places we recommend you celebrate your holidays this Christmas. Maybe you’ve been to a couple of these, maybe we caught you at just the right time. Let us know either way!



Do you believe in Santa Claus? Perfect, so do we! That’s why we’re recommending Amsterdam, where the Santa Claus, or Sinterklaas, legend remains strong. If you can, stay for New Years where Nieuwmarkt or Dam square is known for their fireworks and merry crowd.



Those who live in the Midwest or anywhere that snows have at some point or other have learned to love snow. Waking up to those snowy days when we feel like doing nothing but staying in and snuggling next to a blanket. Waking up to these winter wonderlands is breathtaking, and if you feel like waking up to this every morning take a trip to Lapland, Finland, because it’s totally worth it.



Like big, tall, bright, Christmas trees? Take a trip to Munich, specifically Marienplatz where you’ll see hundred-foot-tall Christmas trees, and  two dozen Christmas markets. Sounds magical, doesn’t it?



Imagine this: walking down a snowy busy road, Christmas music, trees, lights everywhere. Do you think you’d like that? Well, take a trip to Provence, France where you’ll feel like doing nothing but making snow angels and dance around, and break out in a musical. Please send a video if you do!



Maybe snow isn’t your thing. Maybe you want to take a break from anything that resembles cold weather. That’s fine. We know the feeling. If that’s the case, then Puerto Rico is where you need to be this Christmas, maybe stay for New Year’s too! Because why not? Once in Puerto Rico take a walk in El Yunque rainforest and enjoy the nature and warm breeze. Then cool off next to the ocean at night. Be sure that wherever you go you’ll hear music, maybe a “Jingle Bells” set to a salsa beat. If you do —send videos, please!


So dear reader, this is where we say goodbye. But, before you leave us, tell us what your plans for these holidays will be? Traveling? where to? Feel free to tell us where you’ve visited before during the holidays! Safe travels!!

Property Searching Tips and Guidelines

If you need to find the perfect home you have envisioned, then you will likely have a fairly good idea of the things you’re looking for. Get your priorities right and focus on making a good plan for your searching efforts. There are a few things you may easily forget while you focus on the bigger picture, so the following tips aim to give you an idea what you can do to make things work out to your advantage.

  • Setting your priorities

Before you start the search, you will need to make sure you have all things you need to have in your home down on paper, so you can keep track of them during the search. Once you do that, pick the ones you know you will need to have no matter what. Once you start looking you should make sure you keep your priorities tight and with a good list on hand. This will allow you to track things with greater efficiency.

  • Comparing things

Once you have gone through no less than a dozen homes, you will likely begin to lose track of all the details you may be dealing with. You would do well to keep a chart or checklist of the features you saw in each of the homes you went through for future reference. Once you finish things with the basics, you will need to cover other things such as exterior decorations, natural light, roofs and more. You can use that chart to keep track of the search, so make sure you do so for your future searches if you’re not doing one now.

  • Home walkthroughs

When you do a tour of a home for your first time, you will likely feel overwhelmed and excited if the place is nice. This will make you less likely to notice any inherent problems the home may have, so keep your eyes open for such even if you’re having fun in the process.

  • Floor plan and measurements

Make sure you have your furniture well measured and ready to move before you find the right home. You would do well to be ready for this before you start your search just in case, as it will allow you to pack and move fast and without any delays that would set you back financially. Something else you need to do is keep a good floor plan so you can figure out which items will fit well and which will need more work and whether they really need to be moved or not.

About the Author: Heather Roberts is a content writer from London, UK. She lives in Balham, London with her husband and two sons, and loves planning family trips and exploring new places.



Whether it’s exploring the waters of colossal Lake Minnetonka or shopping at one of the 140 retail stores at Ridgedale Center, it’s no wonder why an increasing number of Minnesotans have chosen Minnetonka as their place to call home.
Besides serving as an entry point to the massive Lake Minnetonka, Gray’s Bay, the only part of Lake Minnetonka within the City of Minnetonka, is also the source of the Minnehaha Creek. The site is also a shoreline restoration are where invasive plants have been removed and replaced with boulders, logs and native flora to act as a natural filter to help preserve wildlife and water quality. This entry point is a great destination for those with canoes looking to get away from any motors, acting almost like a metro-area boundary waters for anyone feeling up to a winding and scenic 22 mile trek to Minnehaha Falls.

10210181584_5dd11dc8d6_cThose looking to keep their feet on land will find plenty of beautiful scenery as well. A drive or walk along the coast of Gray’s Bay acts as a tour of some of the most stunning homes in the metro area. With residential property on the lake at such a commodity, buyers are more than willing to shell out some extra money to be in such a prime location on one of Minnesota’s most famous lakes. Not that the homes themselves need any more reason to be on the pricier end. With many of the lake homes valued at over three million dollars, the opportunity to find luxury real estate is there for those diligent enough to snag one of these gorgeous homes.

10210391665_0b24865964_cA local favorite, the Gold Nugget Tavern and Grille, offers an interesting blend of a down-home bar and fine dining. The food is all made from scratch and presented with as much care as you’d see at an expensive fine restaurant. The history of the Gold Nugget is also very telling of how valued it is in the community. It was only reopened after some convincing by the neighborhood after the owner died. After a change in location and an upgrade to what the waitress says was considered “a dive,” the Gold Nugget continues to live on, offer great food and serve as the only bar in the Glen Lake neighborhood.
A great resource for residents is the Minnetonka Script, a newsletter that offers a wide variety of programs and services for those over the age of 55. From a wine making class to practicing Tai Chi to extended trips to Chicago and New York for the holidays, there’s no shortage for those looking to learn something new or plan a fun outing with friends.

10210402883_c784e4b779_cMinnetonka’s 49 community parks and 81 miles of sidewalks and trails also offer plenty of running room for residents. Among the most unique of these parks in Bennett Family Park which offers eight baseball diamonds of varying sizes and holds league games for baseball players of all ages.
With the majority of Minnetonka’s land being used for residential housing, there is certainly no shortage of homes to choose from. Whether you’re in the market for a starter home with close proximity to parks and trails or a fortress of luxury on the lake, Minnetonka’s spectrum could be considered for just about any type of buyer.

Neighborhood Resources

Minnetonka Schools

Faith Communities

 Hopkins School District  Adath Jesherun Congregation
 Minnetonka School District  All Saints Lutheran Church
 Wayzata School District  Bet Shalom Congregation
 International Spanish Language Academy (ISLA)  Bethlehem Lutheran Church
 Immaculate Heart of Mary  Cross of Glory Baptist Church
  Minnetonka Christian Academy  Fairview Evangelical Lutheran Church
 Sleepy Tigers Chinese Learning Center  Faith Presbyterian Church
 Good Shepherd Presbyterian
 Immaculate Heart of Mary
 Jehovah’s Witnesses
 Lutheran Community of Grace
 The Mills Church
 Minnetonka Lutheran Church
 Minnetonka Seventh Day Adventist Church
 Minnetonka United Methodist Church
 Oak Knoll Lutheran Church
 Old Apostolic Lutheran Church
 Redeemer Bible Church
 Ridgewood Church
 Sharei Chesed Congregation
 Slavic Baptist Church of Transfiguration
 St. David’s Episcopal Parish
 St. Luke Presbyterian Church
 St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
 West Oaks Community Church

Public Parks

Local Restaurants

 Big Willow  Bacio
 Civic Center  Pairings Food & Wine Market
 Lone Lake  Gold Nugget Tavern & Grille
 Meadow  Spasso
 Purgatory  Redstone American Grill
 Crane Preserve  Christos Greek Restaurant
 Hilloway  The Marsh
 Jidana  Ham’s Sandwich Shop
 Kinsel  Living Waters Market & Cafe
 Lake Charlotte
 Lake Rose


2013 Emerging Markets Homeownership Initiative & Fair Housing Summit

IMG_2845Realtors, lenders and other housing professionals braved the frigid temperatures Wednesday to get to the University of Minnesota campus in St. Paul yesterday. They weren’t there to attend class at the university, but they were there to learn. This was the site of the 2013 Emerging Markets Homeownership Initiative (EMHI) and Fair Housing Summit. Those in attendance came to gain a better understanding of how diversity and cultural understanding play a key role in the world of real estate.


The summit kicked off with a welcome from Julie Gugin, Executive Director of the Minnesota Homeownership Center who gave a rundown of the day’s scheduled events and thanked the crowd for taking the time to become better educated by taking part in the summit. The floor was then given to RNR Realty International’s broker, Nene Matey-Keke, the Vice Chair of the Diversity Committee of Minnesota Association of REALTORS® (MNAR). Matey-Keke offered an introduction to Christine Berger, Vice President of Governmental Relations at MNAR.


The first speaker of the day was the keynote speaker for the event, Dr. Mai Moua of Hmong American Partnership. Moua focused on how our own unique culture and history shape how we view the world. A sketch of two (or three to some) figures was presented as part of an activity. The audience interpreted the sketch in different ways and the activity showed how a single image could be seen in drastically different ways based on an individual’s cultural frame. Moua spoke about highlighting three basic questions: What am I seeing? What am I not seeing? And what are the possibilities? She explained how asking these questions should be used in our everyday lives to look at the often-unnoticed cultural influences on our thoughts and actions towards others.


The summit also featured three rapid learning sessions related to working with emerging markets. The three sessions offered education on how to deal with predatory lending, the Federal Housing Administration’s new “Back to Work” Program and Minnesota Housing loan options, entry costs and down payments. Attendees were offered a crash course on each of the topics and given information on how to learn more about each subject.


Past President of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, Jerry Ascencio was also asked to speak at this year’s summit. Ascencio spoke about his personal connection to the real estate industry and told stories of growing up in California after moving from Mexico. He talked about the fact that his father never bought real estate based on “basic financial illiteracy” and misconceptions of purchasing real estate in the US. Ascencio related this story to the idea that realtors, lenders and housing professionals can work to educate those new or unfamiliar to the system. He then spoke about how one of the first goals as a real estate professional was to get his parents into a home they could proudly call their own.  Ascencio also expressed how home ownership in the US is a common goal that spans across all cultures, one that offers stability and security, especially to those moving from outside the US.


The summit concluded with a breakout session where people were encouraged to attend one of three classes or their choosing. The classes offered covered the topics of understanding home ownership disparities among racial and ethnic groups, the best and worst fair housing cases and a class on fair housing continuing education credit.

With an extensive agenda featuring knowledgeable presenters, the 2013 EMHI & Fair Housing Summit proved to be time well spent for those seeking to learn more about working with diverse groups and different cultures seeking to become home owners in today’s real estate market.