Saint Paul Real Estate Blog

Today's Home Buyer Trends

As signs that the economy is recovering appear, many homeowners are thinking about remodeling or upgrading to new spaces. But what does the current home buyer want? Real estate agents, builders, architects and interior designers say the answers are casual, comfortable, convenient, budget-friendly and environmentally conscious. What does that mean?

Large Kitchens: A large, open kitchen with an informal dining area is now a mainstay. People are not as inclined to pump extra money into a three- or four-car garage, but in the kitchen, people are willing to splurge. Specialized appliances like espresso machines, built-in steamers and high-end ranges also are in vogue.

Smart Rooms: Custom builders have noticed a 15% decrease in living space of newer homes, but an increase in functionality from rooms. The formal dining room is a dinosaur; today's buyers are more likely to want that space for a media room. Because more people are working from home at least part of the time, home offices are a great asset.

Bathrooms: Luxury baths with free-standing tubs and showers with unique water features are a big draw for home buyers. Couples with shared bathrooms are even leaning towards dual sinks, storage and counter space so they don't have to share. They also want privacy, including a separate toilet if it is within their budget.

Storage: Built-in bookshelves are out, giant master closets are in. Garage and pantry storage also are important.

Energy Efficiency: Some of the new homes being built now are 50% more efficient than those built five years ago. That could save up to $1,200 annually on utility bills. Window orientation and shading don't cost more money during building but bring huge savings. Features such as upgraded insulation cost more initially, but reduce energy costs long-term.

Outdoor Rooms: Many home buyers are trading indoor space for large outdoor living area. The...

What $189,900 Buys in Cottage Grove MN

Here is MLS # 4013701


This charming single-family house is located at 7223 Imperial Avenue South in Cottage Grove, Minnesota. This one-story home was constructed in 1976. It has 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 2,368-square-feet of space.


This spacious rambler features a finished basement with a large family room, den and plenty of storage space. Many new updates throughout!


Found in a fantastic location in Cottage Grove, this house could be yours for $189,900!

Browse more Cottage Grove MN Real Estate


Minnesota Home & Patio Show 2011

Do you have plans for this weekend? The 32nd annual Minnesota Home & Patio Show will be at the Saint Paul RiverCentre February 17 through 20, 2011. More than 400 local and national manufacturers and retailers will be on site, offering creative solutions for home project needs.

The Home & Patio Show in Saint Paul is a great place to gather information, get ideas and be inspired for the upcoming spring home improvement and gardening project season. Whether you're planning to replace those windows, or to give the garden a makeover, you can find the resources you need at the Home & Patio Show. Attendees can learn about the landscaping, see new building materials, buy lawncare equipment or pick up some new tools. Architects, building suppliers, contractors, interior designers and landscaping firms will be available to discuss new home construction, remodeling projects, energy conservation, landscaping needs and other renovation projects.

A variety of demonstrations, presentations, and exhibitions will be available for viewing and learning. PBS old-house expert Bob Yapp will be in town Feb. 20 for two presentations sponsored by the Twin Cities Bungalow Club. How-to help will available every day from the home improvement coaches from Home Depot.

Tickets are available for purchase on the day of the show. For more information, visit


Staging Leads to Picture-Perfect Homes and Quicker Sales

Five years ago, real estate agents had to explain home staging to potential home sellers. Today, the concept has caught on.

With an average of eight homes for every buyer in the Twin Cities area, according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors, a house that looks it best has a much better chance of selling. A thorough cleansing, decluttering, and packing away personal items to make a home appear more appealing to strangers can only go so far when the goal is to sell it. In today's market, a house needs to stand out from the scores of others.

When selling a home, professional home stagers can offer invaluable advice that could move it faster, even at a higher price. They can help sellers pick the right colors to paint their walls and tell them what might be detracting from a house's internal appearance. Professional stagers can even bring in items artwork, area rugs, sofas, pillows, and more to emphasize a home's special features.

Staging is not decorating. It's depersonalizing the home so a buyer can imagine what it would be like if they moved in. Most people don't have the time or knowledge to give their homes a generic look that is also inviting. A stager can help. A range of services are available, from a written consultation that lists repairs and changes that a home seller can make all the way to a whole-house makeover that could include rental furniture.

Of course, those services come in a range of prices as well, from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. But home owners may be able to recoup most of the costs if staging helps their home sell more quickly and without a significant reduction in price. If the market stays as competitive as it is now, more sellers in the future will likely employ the skills of stagers to stay competitive.

Once a home looks its best, professional photos of each staged room take marketing the home to the next...

Frank Lloyd Wright Inspired Home For Sale

Like unique homes? There is a Frank Lloyd Wright inspired residence available on the market. Larry and Fern Willson built their own Taliesin, Wright's landmark home in Wisconsin.

"We've always loved his prairie-style architecture and have visited some of his homes," said Larry. "We like open design and wanted to be able to see the outdoors from inside every room."

The couple collaborated with an architect to build the two-story home in 1992 on almost five wooded acres in Inver Grove Heights. After they sell, the Willsons plan to move closer to family and build another Wright-inspired home in Hudson, Wis.

The 2,952-square-foot Wright-style home has three bedrooms and three bathrooms. The kitchen was recently updated with granite countertops and new appliances. The master bedroom loft features a balcony overlooking the living room. It includes a number of built-ins in a variety of woods, a massive stone fireplace that spans three levels and deep exterior overhangs. The walkout lower level offers a bird's-eye view of trees, perennial gardens and wildlife.

Located 5 miles from Inver Grove Heights shopping and near downtown St. Paul, this home is priced at $494,900.

See our listing for this Frank Lloyd Wright inspired home
View other homes in Inver Grove Heights MN
Source: A taste of Frank Lloyd Wright - Star Tribune

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