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Twin Cities Market Update Week Ending February1, 2014

As we emerge from the seemingly never ending polar vortex, the real estate market is beginning to show signs of life.  The most recent market stats continue to favor home sellers with lower inventory and higher median sale prices.  Here is a breakdown of the year over year stats for a few key categories:

  • New Listings: DOWN 16.9% over last year.
  • Homes for Sale (inventory): DOWN 9.1% over last year.
  • Median Sale Price: UP 12.4% over last year.

To give a little more context to this information, there are just under 12,000 homes for sale in the Twin Cities right now and last year at this time there were just over 13,000 home listings and those following the real estate industry were noting at that time that the overall listing inventory was exceptionally low...and now it is even lower.  The lack of available homes is causing median and average sale prices to increase.  If you would like more information about the market stats in your area, please visit our Twin Cities Market Statistics page for additional information that is updated daily.

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Greening Minnesota ~ June 2010

There have been some major green and earth-friendly developments in Minnesota and the Twin Cities recently, including new statewide regulations on phosphates in soaps and the start of a major green job growth initiative in the Twin Cities.

Starting Thursday, Minnesota and 15 other states will ban the sale of dishwasher detergents that contain high levels of phosphates, a source of pollution in lakes and streams. Stores will not be allowed to sell detergent with more than 0.5 percent phosphorous. The bans do not apply to commercial dishwashing products, and detergents for hand-washing dishes generally contain no phosphorus.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman are teaming up to support and attract environmentally-sound manufacturing to the Twin Cities with the Thinc.Green MSP initiative. With Thinc.GreenMSP, the mayors are looking to boost demand for locally-produced green products and services, as well as for the skilled workers involved in their production. The economic development initiative is part of a broader program called the Blue Green Alliance, a national partnership between labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to growing the number of green jobs.

Dakota County passed a resolution in 2008 to "go green" and collaborate with cities to utilize energy-efficient facilities and practices. The countywide "greening initiative" is paying off, according to a 20-page study the North Star Chapter of the Sierra Club in Minneapolis. The combined efforts of the cities and Dakota County will not only reduce emissions from public buildings by saving energy, it will help save taxpayers at least $200,000 a year.

A green roof has been installed on the garage of Saint Paul's newest fire station. Located at W. 7th Street and Randolph Avenue, the city is seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the new building. The 8,000-square-foot green...

Data Post October 8, 2009 - Forced vs Unforced Registration Test

Website Data for October 1 - October 7, 2009

We are testing 2 nearly duplicate websites to find out whether we collect more leads by forcing users to register or not.  For more information about our "Test," please visit our previous blog post here

For this reporting period, we have posted our raw data first and our comments second.  Please note: these numbers represent total unique visitors on each website for the Oct 1 - 7 timeframe, but the contact form submissions reported below only represent those that first registered on a website during this time.  For example: IDX users who registered prior to October 1st, and requested a showing during this timeframe, were not counted in this data. 

Raw Data:

  Saint-Paul-Real-Estate.com (Unforced)
BarkerHedges.com (Forced)

 Total Visitors

 921 1363
 Unique Visitors
 752 1084
 Avg Pages Viewed per Visitor
 15.6 11.1
 Avg Time on Site per Visitor
 10 minutes 47.1 seconds 6 minutes 56.1 seconds
 Bounce Rate
 27% 40%
    
 IDX Registrations 8...

Forced vs Un-Forced Registration on Real Estate Websites

It's the next "Great Debate"...should your real estate website force registration or not?  We have struggled with the answer to this question for several years and participated in forum discussions and roundtable gatherings compiling information and opinions from both sides of the issue.  So here's the deal:  Matt is committed to the cause and a believer of forced registration on our websites.  I am not convinced.  I think forced registration is a turn off for potential buyers and they will go elsewhere to find the information they desire. Matt and I are 50/50 business partners and we have tried to convince each other we are correct for over 2 years, armed with opinions and quasi-empirical data from web posts and forum boards.  It isn't working.  With the re-launch of our 2 highest producing local websites, we have decided to put the debate to rest.  Here's the plan:

We have 2 nearly identical local websites that are the same platform and relatively the same longevity.   You are on the first website that forces registration – www.barkerhedges.com  it’s unforced fraternal twin brother will be located at www.saint-paul-real-estate.com (redesigned launch will be completed prior to test).  www.barkerhedges.com has been forced since June 5th 2009 and www.saint-paul-real-estate.com has been unforced since its initial launch as a template website several years ago.

All of our leads flow into a single database and we track User traffic with Google Analytics on a daily basis.  We are going to track our "User to Lead ratios" for both sites and post weekly statistics on our blog.  In a...

August Events in the Twin Cities

August is a swinging month in the Twin Cities when it comes to community celebrations, festivals, and other excuses to walk around in shorts and eat "Something on a Stick." There's lots to do, starting with today!

New Brighton's annual summer Stockyard Days are taking place on August 2 through 9. The event, now in its 29th year, features a golf tournament, a kiddie parade and grand parade, street dances, and fireworks. For a complete list of times and locations for all Stockyard Days activities, go to www.stockyarddays.org and click on "events."

Lake Hiawatha’s Annual Neighborhood Festival is taking place today, Wednesday, August 5 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Lake Hiawatha Park, 2701 E. 44th Street in Minneapolis. There will be a talent show with prizes, carnival games, food for sale, and community information tables.

There will be some Outdoor Puppet Theater on Thursday, August 6, from  6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Folwell Park, 1615 Dowling Avenue N. in Minneapolis. "The Adventures of Katie Tomatie" will be presented by Open Eye Theatre with live music.

LYNAS Summerfest takes place on Thursday, August 6, from 5:30 p.m to 9p.m. at Lynnhurst Park, 1345 Minnehaha Pkwy. W. in Minneapolis. As always, the annual event will be a fun evening for the whole family with food, games, music and more.

The 36th Annual Longfellow Cornfeed occurs on Thursday, August 6, from 5:30 p.m to 8 p.m. at Longfellow Park, 3435 36th Ave. S. in Minneapolis. Join in for an evening of fun, food, and entertainment perfect for the entire family! Enjoy hot, delicious corn on the cob, live family-friendly entertainment, hair and face painting, fair style concessions, large inflatable attractions, community information tables, and much more!

The Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board is partnering with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts...

Connected in this Crazy World

The talented Twin Cities Realtor team at Barker & Hedges has fully embraced the new technology that keeps people connected today. You can contact us in the traditional ways of calling us on the phone or coming to our office, but you can also e-mail us, tweet us, even visit us at our Facebook page. Few other Realtor teams embrace such technology, but if it keeps us more connected and helps provide information to our clients, we like to make use of it. We provide information and connect with the community in a variety of ways.

First and most obvious is our blog!

Second, we utilize both Twitter (@BarkerHedges) and Facebook. Become our follower, our fan, or both and get updated with pertinent information about the Twin Cities communities and greater Minnesota. 

Third, we Flickr. The BarkerHedges Flicker photo stream has contributed to our Photo Fridays! Additionally, you can take a photo tour of the Minneapolis Art Sculpture Garden.

Fourth, we have an entire website dedicated to Minnesota First Time Home Buyers and they have their own forum where they can talk to each other, the members of our real estate team, and people working in the mortgage business. 

The team at Barker & Hedges has done a pretty good job of keeping up with modern technology. We love being able to communicate with our clients and also provide great information to the rest of the community. We're sure to adopt more methods of communication as they become embraced by the public!

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What Do Enchiladas Have To Do With Staging?

In today's busy world, time is at a premium for hardworking people. "Multi-tasking" has been engrained in our daily habits so much that it is almost second-nature. For example, at this moment I am writing a blog, updating my Facebook status, planning three vacant staging projects for next week, and cooking enchiladas for dinner (beef, not chicken).

Staging your house while juggling kids, work, and the dog may drive busy sellers over the edge. In situations like this, it is essential for these sellers to have a "plan of attack" when preparing their house for sale. It is the goal of home staging professional to give suggestions for color choices, furniture arrangement, and home accent placement. However, good staging consultations do not stop there. Realizing the importance of your time, stagers should prioritize your staging To-Do List.

So many times I find sellers cleaning out underneath the bed before cleaning the stain on the carpet that Fluffy left behind. (If you are taking notes... Pet stains on carpet take priority over the junk under your bed.)

Take me for example... although my Facebook status is long overdue for an update, it is not as important as planning my upcoming staging projects. And even...

The Happiest Place on Earth?

Disney World is considered (by the Disney Corporation), the "Happiest Place on Earth." If you have ever been to the parks, you can reminisce how mouse ears, fairy princesses, and non-stop cheery music create a magical world that most children, young and old, cannot resist.

Over-zealous mouse fans can unintentionally turn Disney charm into a home staging nightmare when trying to imitate the Magic Kingdom in their own room...

Snow White, Bambi, and a myriad of characters turn this room into a cluttered sight. Notice there is no furniture, no decor, just walls full of a busy print. Therefore, when selling a house, it is essential to neutralize the space for buyers.

Neutralizing walls have positive effects:
  • Suits various decor styles and colors
  • Increases the visual size of the room
  • Reduces a cluttered atmosphere
  • Appeals to a larger segment of buyers

This room in the picture above has a happy ending... but you will need to check out future blogs to find out!

KFM Staging & Design is a Minnesota home staging company that creates "First Impressions that Sell" in the Twin Cites and Western Wisconsin. KFM specializes in vacant staging and staging consultations. Visit our website for staging tips or to schedule your in-home or online consultation....

Photo Friday - Walker Art Center & Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

The Mineapolis community absolutely loves its arts, whether its in the form of music, theater, film, or paint and canvas. Or in the case of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, paint and steel.
 

Of course, its not all paint and steel, but much of it is. And now you can take a quick, pictoral, "virtual tour" of the Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden on our Flickr page.

 

From the Spoondbridge and Cherry fountain and its pond to the Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge spanning 16-lanes of Twin cities traffic, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is filled with iconic beauty. Residents love to run, jog, walk, or stroll through its grounds, either for exercise, pleasure, or both.

 

 


Part of the park has existed as a garden since the 1930s. In the late 1960s, Interstate Highway 94 severed the connection between Loring Park and the garden. The acreage in front of the Walker Art Center eventually became a playing field.
 
 
In 1988 the Walker and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board collaborated to turn that playing field into the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. However, many of the sculptures had already come to the walker over a period...

Falling in Love... with a House

After several blog postings of home staging tips, techniques, and examples, it was time to revisit WHY home staging helps houses to sell. So, put on your lab coats, we are dissecting the science behind the falling in love with a house.

THE HUMAN BODY: Several chemical and physical reactions occur in the body when it encounters something it loves - pupils dilate, heart rate increases, and endorphins (happy hormones) flood the blood stream. Now, this may all seem very "unromantic," but these reactions trigger an emotional response which creates a memorable experience for buyers who are visiting your house.

THE EMOTIONAL RESPONSE: Studies indicate that buyers decide within 5 seconds of seeing a house if they like it or not. I believe that the emotional response when purchasing is instantaneous. Whether buyers like, dislike, or are indifferent about the property they are viewing, they have drawn a conclusion about the house from their immediate emotional reaction. This is exactly why home staging is essential.

THE HOME STAGING FACTOR: The purpose of home staging in the process of selling a home is to create an environment in the house that buyers will (literally) love. Using stylish furnishing and design principles, home staging sets the scene for what life will be like when THIS house is purchased while re-enforcing the emotional connection for buyers.

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