Tag Archives: Minnesota Homeownership Center

5 Hacks to Make Your Studio Apartment Look Bigger

Do you live in a loft? studio apartment? Do you see yourself living there for a while, or do you just like that style and can’t see yourself leaving it? Well, we totally understand, and we’ve got tips for you to make every square footage of that room count. Here are five hacks to make your studio apartment look bigger than it actually is:


1. Lighten up the floors

Yep, that’s right. Make your floors a lighter color. Paint them, or if you’re renting the place  and your lease won’t allow it, then a wide bright rug will do the trick just fine, as well.


2.  Clear it up

By this we mean, clear, see-through furniture is your best choice. Side tables with see-through legs. All these help into making it seem there is less space, or clutter. Try it out and tell us what you think!

3. Two-for-One

To some people this idea never seems like fun, but then again some people love the efficiency of it. Think of buying one furniture that doubles into something else. For example, your side table could also double as a bar. These not only save you space, but also keeps you and almost forces you to keep the space less cluttered  and more organized.


4. The walls are your friends

Well, it might sound silly but they are! They become extra space you can occupy. For example, hang your necklaces, towels, etc. Have that become another space that you can use. Here’s a tip: make sure everything has at least 5-8 inches of space between each other. The trick is to never make it seem like it’s cluttered.


5. Higher Up

Ok, so now we’ve used up your walls, floor, and even doubled-up some furniture use. Now, look up. Yes, the ceilings. No, we’re not hanging anything from there today (although we recommend you do—some interior decorators suggest hanging plants gives it a sense of more space to a room), but we will be painting it. If you are lucky enough to have a high ceiling, then feel free to paint it! We suggest you do the same color as your floor to lighten up the place even more.


Well reader, here is where we end our post. Hopefully, you’ve find it informative! Feel free to tell us if you’ve tried any of this and it’s worked! Or, if you’d like to add some more tips, feel free to do so in the comments below!



Find the original article here.

Winter Home Maintenance Checklist


Here’s a quick and handy checklist courtesy of the Minnesota Homeownership Center to make sure your home is running at its best these winter months.




  • Check ceilings at exterior edge and window for water damage or ice buildup.
  • Inspect exposed wiring, cables and plugs for damage and wear. Replace at first sign of damage.
  • Test ground fault circuit interrupter outlets in the kitchen, bathroom and basement. Test by pushing the “T” and then reset by pushing “R.”
  • Occasionally flush water down seldom-used showers and sinks.
  • If you go on vacation, have someone check on your home and make sure the heat is working.  If a house gets too cold the pipes could freeze and burst.
  • Replace the furnace filter monthly.




  • Shovel sidewalks and driveway before foot and car traffic make it difficult to remove.
  • Avoid using salt on sidewalks and driveways to melt ice as this corrodes the concrete. Use sand as an alternative.
  • Watch for “ice dams” that build up near the edge of the roof. Ice dams are caused by warm air leaking into the attic and can cause melting snow to enter under the roof shingles and drip into the attic. This can ruin insulation and damage the roof. Caution, removing ice dams can also damage the roof. Reducing heat loss with insulation is the best way to prevent ice dams.


Got any others tips for winter home maintenance? Leave them in the comments below.


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.