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Exterior Home Maintenance Checklist for When the Snow Clears

Clean Gutters

As winter begins to morph into spring, a few more surprises may be lurking beneath the snow than sudden daffodils. Your home can take a serious beating when major snowfall and blizzards are concerned. Even a relatively small amount of snow and winter weather can cause major headaches when it comes to the maintenance of your home. In order to make sure your home survived the winter and is in good working order, read over our handy checklist.

You may be surprised at what you'll need to check and what could be wrong once the snow is gone.

Tend to Your Roof

Your roof is the most likely aspect of your home likely to be damaged by major snowfall. Even if you've had recent repairs done or an entirely new roof installed, winter weather can undo all of your hard work and money in an instant. Running a roof inspection after winter is critical for maintaining a healthy home.

  • Ice Dams: This build-up of ice around the edge of your roof can trap ice, snow, and water, leading to a whole host of issues. Breaking down the ridge will allow the moisture to drain.
  • Icicles: They may be pretty, but icicles can cause major harm and damage if they happen to fall. Break off and dispose of icicles, no matter how small, to avoid punctures through your car's windshield and any bodily harm of those walking beneath them.
  • Heavy Snow Loads: Roofs can be majorly damaged by the heavy weight of snow. If you've suffered a large snow fall, check the integrity of your roof and that there are no cracks or dips caused from the weather. Ignoring these can cause to roof collapse.
  • Attic Condensation: If there's been any snow on your roof, chances are your attic ceiling has some built...

5 Reasons to Move the Family to Minneapolis

Move to Minneapolis

Thinking of relocating the family to a new city and settling down? Plant your feet in one of the friendliest cities in the Midwest. Minneapolis, Minnesota has increased in popularity for families looking for a fun and friendly place to call home. Known for popular attractions such as the Mall of America and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, there is so much more to this Midwest city. From excellent school systems to activities the whole family can enjoy over the years, Minneapolis is a secure choice.

Here are five reasons to pack up and move the family to Minneapolis.

Great School Systems

Your children’s education is a vital factor to consider when deciding where you choose to raise them. Having access to high quality education can be a huge contributor to your children’s future. Fortunately, Minneapolis is known for having a great choice of schools.

Being a big city means countless choices for both public and private education, so you can steer the ship of your child’s education. In the Minneapolis School District alone there are 98 schools that are fully equipped to give your children the education you’ve always wanted for them.

If you decide to plant down in the southwest region of the city, you’ll be set for good schooling from the moment your child walks into kindergarten to the moment they toss their cap at their high school graduation. Lake Harriet Lower Elementary School and Lake Harriet Upper School rank as two of the best schools in all of Minneapolis. Of course, there are many other acceptable schools in the city, regardless of where you end up.

Activities for Kids of All Ages

From toddler to teen, Minneapolis has a variety of fun opportunities...

Renovating Your Home? What to Do With Leftover Materials

Renovating Leftovers

So, you have finally decided to start your dream renovation project. You’re ready to tear down some walls and pull up tile.

But once the fun part of breaking things apart is over, it’s time to decide what to do with all of the leftover materials. Depending on what type of materials you have, there are many options in the Twin Cities for recycling, reusing or donating those items for another use.

Wall Fixtures

Bulky items such as working appliances, bathroom fixtures, lamps, and light fixtures are all in high demand at salvage shops and organizations like Habitat for Humanity. These items are especially popular if they are vintage. Stores can take more than just the lighting fixtures and will use the light switches, covers, and wiring as well. Other appliances that work for donations include working washing machines, irons and dryers.


Whole cabinets and doors are also great items to donate, but there are many options for reusing the wood. You can break down the pieces and create a small library or a spice holder. Leftover wood can be transformed into new furniture, such as tables or wooden benches. Smaller pieces of wood can be turned into toys for children or a hipster bottle opener.

Untreated wood can be set aside for the next bonfire, or it can be used for fertilizer. You may be able to sell it or give it away to DIY people who regularly hunt sites such as Craigslist or Nextdoor. There are also organizations that accept wood donations, such as Habitat for Humanity or schools that have woodshop classes. Some schools to look into in the Minnesota area include Women’s Woodshop, Mike Siemsen’s School or...

Landscaping Ideas for Creating Privacy In Big And Small Yards

Landscaping Trees

No matter how big or small, backyards are our own sanctuary from a hectic world. They offer a retreat in which we can entertain friends and family or simply relax and enjoy being outdoors. This is especially true in warmer months.

Thanks to rising real estate prices, larger yards are less affordable and smaller yards are often designed with little concern for our neighbor’s proximity by penny-wise developers. Whether you are looking for a quiet place to enjoy a good book on a sunny day without hearing your neighbors electric lawn mower or an area you can easily gather guests makes no difference. Creating suitable privacy and an atmosphere you can enjoy is easily done with a few landscaping tips and a little know-how.

Solutions For Smaller Yards

Light-Colored Fences

High, solid board fences can make smaller yards feel hemmed in rather than like a private oasis. To reduce this effect, try painting fences white, or in another light tone to give your yard a feeling of added space and light.

Plant Some Greenery

These harsh lines can then be softened with additional plantings. Small shrubs, climbing vines, and vertical gardens will all provide additional interest, color, and scent to your outdoor space.

Build Climbing Planters

Smaller courtyards and patios with close neighbors can be given extra privacy with garden structures such as trellises, arbors, and open panels. These can each be planted with climbing roses or colorful flowers in hanging baskets. When combined with planter waterfalls, additional interest and privacy is provided as the sound of cascading water helps mask noisy neighbors...

Moving into A Smaller Home? Downsize with These 7 Tips

moving to a smaller home

Make the most of your new small space with these smart downsizing strategies.

1. Plan Ahead

Downsizing is the best way to take control of what you own and live your best life with less. So don’t wait to make decisions–start planning your new space early and set goals. If you’re moving in with someone, you’ll want to make sure you’re both on the same page. Ask yourself what kind of lifestyle you want to live, such as if bringing your whole closet is more important than cooking. Do you have room for oversized furniture? And how much smaller is your new home really? Deciding this from the get-go will help you determine which items to keep or toss in the packing process.

2. Take Inventory of Your Stuff

Less space means less stuff. Start by scanning what you have in each room and get rid of any duplicates. This can be especially tricky in the kitchen, where you’re more likely to have extras of things like spatulas, mugs, and other items you don’t need ten of. Unless you have guests over regularly, you can part with your extra silverware, glasses, and other tableware. In other rooms with bigger items, use colored sticky notes to indicate use/non-use. And don’t forget the pantry and bathroom–toss out any old food, ingredients, or expired products. You’ll be surprised by how much goes.

3. Think Storage

You’re going to want all the storage you can get in your new small space, but think quality over quantity. When moving, select one statement piece of furniture from what you own, and then build from that. If you need to invest in new pieces, ottomans that open up, wall-mounted shelving, and under-bed boxes are great organization pieces (plus, you can squeeze in a fun trip to ...

Looking to Update Your Home? 5 Home Features That Are Outdated

Painting Walls


Whether you obsess over small details or miss glaring blemishes, selling a house often feels more complicated than it needs to be. Luckily exposed brick, vegetable gardens and indoor hot tubs aren’t the only way to entice potential buyers. With a few simple DIY fixes, you can elevate your house from maybe to must buy.


Coming Soon: Minneapolis Home & Garden Show

Home and garden enthusiasts, mark your calendars! The Minneapolis Home + Garden show is coming your way for two weekends of inspiration and practical advice from more than 1,000 experts. Here’s everything you need to know to make the most of this must-attend event.

What Is The Show?

The Minneapolis Home + Garden show is one of the largest in Minnesota and features landscaping companies, remodeling contractors, interior design companies, plus more all at the Minneapolis Convention Center...

U.S. Bank Stadium to Host Super Bowl LII & Many Other Marquee Sporting Events

US Bank Stadium

Minnesota is known for its abundance of professional sports teams. Specifically, for their deep and unconditional love of the Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Wild. Sports are at the heart of Minnesota’s passions, and the U.S. Bank Stadium is like a gift from the heavens. This stadium allows the state to host some of the nation’s most watched sporting events.

Since February 4th is the first Super Bowl in the U.S. Bank Stadium, we thought we’d shed some light on all of the sports action you at the U.S. Bank Stadium this year and in years to follow. But first, here’s what makes U.S. Bank Stadium so special.

History of U.S. Bank Stadium

June 17, 2016, the U.S. Bank Stadium opened its doors to the public and welcomed the Vikings to their new home. Previously, the Vikings played in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. However, the Metrodome closed in 2013. During construction of U.S. Bank Stadium, the Minnesota Vikings competed in the TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota.

This two-season wait was well worth it for the Vikings. The stadium is a glass beauty that reflects the skyline of Minneapolis. The facility also boasts a fixed roof that allows it to be used all year round, no matter the winter conditions. As a matter of fact, the stadium’s roof is actually the largest roof made from fluorine-based clear plastic in North America. This technology allows as much natural light in as possible. U.S. Bank Stadium also hold the world record for the five largest pivoting glass doors.

vFor large events, the seating capacity of the facility can be expanded to 73,000, making it an ideal venue for professional sporting events. That’s why it will be used for 2018 Super Bowl and several other marquee events.

2018 Happenings at U.S. Bank Stadium

Super Bowl LII

This year, U.S. Bank Stadium is the host...

Commuting in the Twin Cities

Minneapolis Commute

Are you considering moving to one of the Twin Cities and worried about the commute? Don’t fret, Minneapolis and St. Paul are wonderful places to live and work with significantly lower commute times than other large cities in the United States.

In fact, Minnesota workers have an average daily commute time of 22.1 minutes, which is shorter than the national average. The commute time for those living in Minneapolis is even shorter at 21.7 minutes.

If you’re moving from cities like Los Angeles, the commute for Minneapolis to St. Paul will seem like a breeze. Plus, living in the heart of one of these beautiful cities means being within walking distance to nightlife, museums and more.

Be prepared for any situation when commuting with these tips on traveling between the Twin Cities:

Best time to travel

The best time to travel between cities depends on where you’re coming from. Traffic tends to be slightly worse coming to and from the suburbs of the cities, however, there are ways to plan around traffic and save time.

According to TripSavvy, the morning rush hour is earlier between cities and will be at its worst around 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. The evening rush hour starts decently early at around 4 p.m. and peaks at 5 to 5:30 p.m.

If you plan to leave for work around 7 a.m. and go home after 5:30, you could shave about 20 minutes each day to your commute. The drive between St. Paul and Minneapolis is about 20 minutes without traffic, however, in rush hour you could expect that to double.

Keep an eye out for large events in either cities, as that will make the commute even longer. If driving isn’t your thing, check out the METRO Transit Line, which will get you...

New to Minneapolis? Here’s What You Need to Know

Minneapolis Skyline

Minneapolis, though nestled in the quiet Midwest, is an interesting, culturally diverse and thriving city. Among its many honors, Minneapolis is ranked as the third most literate city in the country, its Uptown neighborhood is immortalized in Prince’s “Everybody’s Goin’ Uptown,” and it’s home to more than 5,000 acres of park land. If you’re moving to or within the area, you’ve probably already found your reasons to love Minneapolis, but here are six other things you should know as a newcomer to the city.

The housing market is hot

How much you’ll pay for your Minneapolis home depends heavily on which neighborhoods you’re considering, but overall the median home price is $241,534 — beyond the national figure. The most expensive areas are downtown, the North Loop, and areas to the far west, near Lake Calhoun, while areas to the east and south of downtown are generally more affordable. This is also the case for rents: A one-bedroom in Minneapolis runs about $1,620 on average, while just across the river to the east, apartments near the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities are just $1,283. Although the housing market is hot, a recent report found that it’s shifting to a buyer’s market.

Its taxes are a bit high

Compared with the national average of $3,028 in annual taxes (based on an assessed home value of $250,000), taxes in Hennepin County are a bit high, at an average of $3,363. In Minneapolis, it’s a bit higher yet. According to the property tax estimator on the city assessor’s website, a $250,000 would accumulate an estimated $3,849 in annual taxes. This shouldn’t discourage you...

Keep Your Home Protected with These Exterior Maintenance Tips

James Hardie Siding

If there’s one thing you don’t want to procrastinate on as a homeowner, it’s exterior maintenance. Imagine the state of your car if you didn’t give it an oil change every 3,000 miles. The same attention to detail should apply to the outside of your home. Keeping tabs on certain home elements can make a big impact on curb appeal and prevent you from having to spend time and money on major updates later on. These exterior home maintenance tips may help save you money in the long run and keep your home looking and performing its best year round:

Check your driveway for cracks

Don’t let your driveway be an afterthought when it comes to home maintenance. After all, cracks in a driveway can take away from the look of your exterior, and make your home appear dated. Check your driveway for cracks during spring and fall and have them resealed before winter hits. This is especially important to complete before winter because Minnesota’s snow and ice can cause those cracks to expand, furthering the damage to your driveway. Resealing cracks now can ensure that your driveway remains in good condition throughout the year. How you seal the cracks will depend on the material of your driveway. Concrete, for instance, would call for a cement repair product, while asphalt may require a rubberized asphalt emulsion filler.

James Hardie Siding

Update siding

Living in the Twin Cities, you have to worry about how the weather is going to impact your siding. Moisture from snow and ice can cause wood and wood-based siding to rot, curl, warp or split, requiring you to repair or possibly re-side your exterior. Fiber cement siding, however, can resist Minnesota’s harsh weather conditions, keeping...

Shopping In and Around the Twin Cities

Shopping In and Around the Twin Cities

Serious shoppers know that heading to the store is more than just a chore, it’s a way of life. Still, it can be frustrating living in a town that has few options to choose from. This is why the Twin Cities area is the place to be. This shopper’s heaven has a variety of stores for every need, and let’s not forget clothing is tax-free in the state of Minnesota.

You can’t mention shopping in the Twin Cities without pointing out Minnesota has the Mall of America, one of the largest malls in the United States. The mall recently celebrated its 25th anniversary with it first opening in 1995. It takes up a total area of 96.4 acres, enough to fit seven Yankee Stadiums inside. It fits more than 500 stores, an amusement park and an aquarium. The mall even has a stop on the METRO Blue and Red Lines. Popular retailers include the LEGO store, Macy’s, Fabletics and the virtual reality sports entertainment center SMAAASH. The mall hosts an annual holiday music festival from November 26 to December 26 with several different types of performances.

There are plenty of things to do in Minneapolis besides going shopping, but those looking for deals have to visit Nicollet Mall and the Uptown district. Located in downtown Minneapolis, Nicollet Mall and the surrounding area is sometimes referred to as the “lunch break.” It’s not uncommon to see someone leave for a snack at the farmer’s market and come back with a shopping bag or two. This area has been a primary shopping district for downtown residents since the late 19th century. It has since expanded to include shopping staples such as Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and the local men’s clothing boutique Hubert White. The mall is nearing the end of a $50 million makeover project. The area has been improved...

Top Notch Schools Makes Edina School District The Ideal Place To Call Home

Receiving a quality education is essential for creating a solid foundation for young students as they prepare for their future. For young families looking to put down roots in an area where their children will receive the best education, Edina Minnesota is one of the best places to consider.

Located in the southwest suburbs of Minneapolis, this upper class community of approximately 48,000 residents has its own unique charm and provides a host of activities, restaurants and entertainment to enjoy.

The Edina School District is a nationally recognized public school district serving approximately 8,500 students. The District includes six elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school.

Edina students place among the top two or three Minnesota school districts in reading, math and writing on a regular basis. The district is often considered a the benchmark for other districts in the state.

Edina High School is currently ranked 4th in the state of Minnesota by US News and has earned a gold medal for high performance on state assessments and college readiness. Only the top 2.5% of high schools nationwide earned this ranking.

Average ACT composite score for Edina High School students is 26.3, with 96% of the senior class taking the ACT in 2015-16. According to ACT college readiness reports, Edina High School graduates out-performed state peers by over 30%.

Edina High School offers over 25 Advanced Placement classes. Over 1,000 students took AP tests in 2015-2016. Scoring and 522 students earned Advanced Placement Scholar awards, including 71 National AP Scholars.

Besides the strong academics offered to Edina students, over 80% also participate in extra-curricular activities including student led clubs,...

5 Exterior Updates That Boost Curb Appeal

Imagine pulling into a beautiful neighborhood in an attempt to find the perfect house only to discover that the listing you had your eye on doesn’t look quite as you imagined. The driveway is cracked, paint is chipping off the home’s exterior and there are overgrown bushes covering the windows. These individual details may seem insignificant on their own, but it’s those small details that really add up and impact curb appeal.

Curb appeal, otherwise known as a home’s first impression, is crucial not only for increasing property value but for making a home easier to sell. If you’re a potential buyer, you’re going to be less likely to check out the inside of the house if the exterior is less than inviting. Whether you’re planning on selling your home or just want to freshen your exterior, these five updates can increase curb appeal to create a lasting first impression:

Replace Your Siding

The first step to giving your home a complete facelift is re-siding. A chipping, rotting, warped exterior can turn away a potential buyer in a second. Living in the Twin Cities, it’s important to select a siding that can withstand the harsh elements year after year. Wood may give your home a natural, rustic look, but it’s often associated with time consuming and expensive maintenance cycles. This is because wood and wood-based siding is susceptible to warping, rotting and splitting after exposure to moisture, which can cause the paint to chip and peel.

Fiber cement siding, however, provides the same authentic look of wood, while resisting harsh weather conditions to keep your home’s exterior in pristine condition. James Hardie fiber cement siding, for instance, resists damage from moisture and offers a tough line of defense during severe weather. Durable fiber cement does not rot and is more resistant...

2017 It A Great Year To Sell Your Home

Have you recently considered selling your home to downsize, expand or simply get a fresh start in a new location? Now is a great time to consider making the move. This year is strongly favoring a seller’s market, so the chances you will sell your home quickly with a great offer is high.

Ryan Fitzgerald, a realtor in Raleigh, North Carolina, has outlined nine great reasons to consider selling your home in 2017. Here are a few of them.

Low Mortgage Rates

If you are familiar with low mortgage rates, simply put the lower the mortgage rate, the lower your monthly cost will be. Because current mortgage rates are still low, many buyers are very interested in making a purchase a lot sooner than later. This is music to a seller’s ears.

A Decline in Inventory

Almost everyone has heard about the concept of supply and demand. The less of something there is, the more value it tends to have. The same goals for the real estate market. As the number of homes available for purchase decline, the value of those that are going to increase. This is a fantastic situation for sellers.

Strong Buyer Demand

It's no secret that buyer demand is back, and back in a big way from the real estate market collapse nearly 10 years ago. Many buyers are realizing that this is a historic time to buy real estate. With interest rates at historic lows, money is on sale. This is creating a compelling argument that purchasing a home is much better than renting. Especially, with how fast rental prices are appreciating.

Rising Home Prices

Due to there being a low inventory and a high demand, the cost of homes has increased significantly. Around November 2016, the average price of an existing home had increased by 6.8% from the previous year. They had gone...

Gorgeous Single Family Home For Sale In Wayzata School District

Width = 213px Height = 13pxHome for sale in Wayzata school district

Looking for a home in the one of the top school districts in Minnesota? Check out this beautiful home that sits on a one acre lot in Maple Grove.

Located in the highly-ranked Wayzata School district #284, this home resides in a mature neighborhood. Enjoy the 1 acre walkout lot with serene pond views from your three season porch/deck/patio. The back yard is fully-fenced with no houses behind the lot. It is located within walking distance to community pool and parks.

The house has 4 bedrooms upstairs with an upper level play area. The main floor has an office and laundry. The walk-out lower level features a home theater, a second kitchen, play area and 5th room. Real hardwood floors on main level. Great light and open concept. One of the best layouts you will find.

Call Michael Bartus today at 952-400-7000 to tour this great home.


Are You Relocating To Minneapolis & St. Paul Area?

Did you swoon at the first sight of Minneapolis? Were you ready to fall head over heels for the charms of St. Paul? One day at Lake Calhoun, a stroll around the wide array of restaurants, one quizzical look at the big spoon and cherry in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and you've decided to pack your bags and move from another state. 


Tips to Save Energy and Add Value

When it comes to energy efficiency, look for smart features and expertise to help you save energy and money and add value to your home.

1. Begin with a Right-Sized Home.

If the home you buy is simply too large for you or your family’s needs or plans, you stand a good chance of wasting energy through excessive heating and cooling costs. If it’s too small, you’ll feel cramped and uncomfortable. It’s a big investment, so seek balance and buy it “right” from the outset. 

2. Purchase Energy Star Appliances Such as Your TV, Dishwasher, Washer and Dryer, and Microwave.

And especially the refrigerator, as it alone contributes about 10 percent of the energy use in a home. Also, unplug electronics not in use or turn off power strips to avoid phantom charges. 

3. Install Efficient Lighting Such as Compact Fluorescent (CLF) or LED Bulbs in Every Fixture.

Lighting accounts for about 6 percent of an energy bill each year.

4. Get an Energy Audit and Have Tests Performed to Identify Ways of Improving Your Efficiency.

You can always upgrade your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system as well as your thermal envelope, which includes insulation, windows, and doors  and the seals or weather stripping around them. Visit energy.gov/energytips for more tips.