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Cheryl Helwig, Broker, Agent
REALTOR®, - Broker, GRI, MAR, NAR, Rotarian, Mpls/St. Paul Magazine Super Agent
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Date Archives: August 2020

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Driveway Driving You Crazy? 5 Types to Consider

Driveway Improvement- Homeowners - Counselor Realty

Your driveway is one of the parts of your home that tends to be taken for granted. Home and garden magazines usually give driveways a short shrift. But as it's a large space on the exterior of your home, it helps form that important first impression for visitors and potential home buyers. If your driveway is showing signs of age or damage, it can also make that final stretch of coming home more distressing than de-stressing. Renewing your driveway can be the move that makes your house the envy of all the Minneapolis homes for sale

Knowing the benefits of the most common driveway materials will help you decide if repair or replacement is your best option. If you want to match your neighbors' driveways, know what challenges they may be facing with the material. If you want to contrast and stand out among the Saint Paul homes for sale, make sure your choice is an outstanding one.

  • Asking for Asphalt 
    Asphalt is a common choice for large areas such as parking lots. Easy to install and relatively easy on the budget, it's durable and you won't have trouble finding experts in asphalt driveway installation. It does require resealing every few years, and while the heat it stores can be welcome in the winter snows, it might not be the best option for summer driveway basketball games.

  • Beauty in Brick 
    The warm tones of brick can bring a sunset glow to your driveway. Clay brick is durable and beautiful, and you may find a shade that coordinates with your home. But brick driveways need to be cleaned and sealed twice a year and may not be an ideal choice if you put significant wear and tear on your driveway.

  • Conscious of Concrete 
    Concrete is one of the most popular choices for driveways. It's durable and accepts tinting and stamping, which can liven up an outdoor space that might seem a bit bare in early spring. It doesn't attract heat as asphalt does. But environmentally conscious homeowners might be concerned about concrete's impermeability. Concrete does not permit water to pass through it to the ground, creating runoff that can pollute local water systems.

  • Gravel is Great 
    Budget-conscious homeowners, rejoice! Gravel is the most budget and DIY-friendly option available. Gravel is water-permeable, and you can customize gravel color for your home. Because gravel does shift in time and is water-permeable, you will need to re-grade your driveway every few years, and a French drain is a DIY-friendly way to manage water runoff. One of gravel's drawbacks, however, is the challenge of snow removal. Pieces of gravel could get stuck in a snowblower and do serious damage, and a plow could remove some gravel with the snow.

  • Top Your Driveway With Tar and Chip 
    A tar and chip driveway looks similar to asphalt but requires less maintenance. This type of driveway is achieved with a gravel base, liquid asphalt, and loose stone applied over the asphalt. The finished driveway doesn't require resealing as asphalt does, and you can customize the color with the stone layer. While vulnerable to damage if you use a snowplow, it's relatively easy to repair. 

Your driveway is one of the hardest-working parts of your home. It endures vehicle and foot traffic in the most extreme weather conditions and rarely asks for more than the occasional cleaning. We appreciate homeowners who care for every part of their home. If you have a home that's well-loved or would like to find one, please call today. 


7 Tips for Walls That Wow Buyers

Sell a Home - Improve Walls - Counselor Realty

One of the easiest and most affordable ways to make your house look better is to tend to your walls. Those scuffs and dents make a home look dingy and older than it is. But you can shed the years and the damage in no time with a few tools and basic techniques sure to make your home stand out among the Minneapolis homes for sale

  1. Start With A Clean Slate 
    Dust and wash your walls at least once a year. You may want to dust your walls more often if you have seasonal allergies. Use a microfiber cloth and a telescoping mop handle to reach up to the ceiling and into corners. Spray all-purpose cleaner onto a second cloth to remove additional grime. Tackle stains and spots with dish soap and a sponge. Never use abrasive cleaners on your walls.

  2. Mind The Gap 
    Small holes in walls look unsightly and are very easy to repair. Smaller holes may need nothing more than a dab of spackling paste. For larger holes, mesh will help retain the integrity of the repair. If the hole in question is a mouse hole, fill the hole partially with steel wool before applying the spackling paste.

  3. Nailed It 
    If you have paneling or molding secured with nails, they may occasionally pop out. Get a nail set from a hardware store to secure the nail in place again with help from your hammer.

  4. A Fresh Look 
    Examine your freshly cleaned walls for marks and scuffs that may need additional attention. Note the nature and location of each blemish. If you spot a mark that may be present because of furniture placement, prevention is your best cure. Move the furniture or apply protective caps on edges that may rub against the wall. Other spots may need a paint touch-up. 

  5. Perfect Match 
    If you have the paint or shade sample card for the wall that needs a touch-up, take it directly to the hardware store for a fresh quart. If you don't, a paint shade matching app might help. Sherwin-Williams offers ColorSnap® Visualizer for iPhone and Android, so you can avoid trying to check various sample cards or rely on memory for the proper shade. 

  6. Paint The Town-- Or Just Your Living Room 
    If you have chipped or peeling paint, or you have multiple scuff marks, you may want a full fresh coat of paint. This is a perfect DIY summer weekend project and a great opportunity to try out the latest shades. If you are changing from a deeper shade to a pastel, or are painting over walls that include an accent wall, a primer will prevent the old colors from flashing through.

  7. A Crowning Achievement 
    Crown molding instantly makes any room look more elegant. Crown molding comes in a variety of styles and can be stained or painted. You'll want to set aside a day for installing it, making it the weekend project that will make your home the envy of other Saint Paul homes for sale

Walls are an often-neglected but crucial part of home maintenance. While not exactly flashy, walls draw attention. If you have any questions about helping your home draw the attention you want, call today. 


Natural Wonders You Have to See Around the Twin Cities

Natural Wonders - Twin Cities - Counselor Realty

You don't have to travel far to find yourself surrounded by the beauty of nature. The Land of 10,000 Lakes boasts tens-of-thousands of natural areas where you can be wowed by the wonder of our region. Minnesota is simply magical. With so many serene spaces to explore in and around the Twin Cities, we invite you to take a break from shopping Minneapolis homes for sale and Saint Paul homes for sale, and instead venture out to visit the stunning scenery at these wonderous destinations.

  • Minnehaha Regional Park - 4801 S. Minnehaha Dr., Minneapolis, MN 55417
    If there's one natural wonder in Minnesota you have to visit, it's the Minnehaha Falls. Located in the Minnehaha Regional Park, this awesome site features a 53-foot waterfall that's easily accessible which means it's no surprise that nearly a million people visit the metro marvel each year. Best of all, it freezes over in the winter, offering an impressive nature photo-op without having to leave the city limits.

  • Blaine Wetland Sanctuary - 11980 Lexington Ave. NE., Blaine, MN 55449
    Those who are closing on one of our Blaine homes for sale are in for a treat. The Blaine Wetland Sanctuary recently completed its construction of a new boardwalk, allowing visitors to venture deep into this 500-acre area of upland and wetlands. These protected areas provide habitats for many plants and animals, some of which are threatened and even endangered. Stroll the boardwalk and take in all that mother nature has to offer at this tranquil sanctuary.

  • Hidden Falls Regional Park - 1313 Hidden Falls Dr., Saint Paul, MN 55116
    Hidden Falls Regional Park
    isn't difficult to find. In fact, it's only a few blocks away from many of our Saint Paul homes for sale. This scenic park on the Mississippi features the Hidden Falls waterfalls. A superb place for an afternoon picnic, Hidden Falls lets you escape to nature right around the corner from home.

  • Carlos Avery State Wildlife Management Area - 5463 W. Broadway Ave., Columbus, MN 55025
    Many of our clients love browsing our Anoka County homes for sale because they are within a few miles of fantastic greenspace-getaways. As one of the best places for bird-watching, the Carlos Avery State Wildlife Management Area offers exceptional opportunities for exploring over 20,000-acres of marshland. Deer, bear, turkey, pheasants, and dozens of other animals call this area home so be sure to tread lightly and keep your binoculars handy!

  • Niagara Cave Co. - Hwy 30, Harmony, MN 55939
    When you're not enjoying the sun in the Twin Cities, take a drive to Harmony and explore Minnesota's underground. Niagara Cave is a fascinating limestone cave that delves almost 200-feet below ground. Venture into this cool area, and you'll discover a stream, waterfall, and even fossils. Rated one of the top ten caves in the United States, a trip to Niagara Cave is a must for any nature lover who appreciates our world's subterranean beauty.

  • Palisade Head - Highway 61, Beaver Bay, MN 55614
    Trust us, we never tire of watching the many waterfalls around the Twin Cities. However, it's always nice to get a new perspective on nature, and for an unforgettable view, book-it straight to Palisade Head. Although it is technically part of Tettegouche State Park, it is actually around 5-miles north of it in a noncontiguous area. This stunning cliffside stands an imposing 300-feet above Lake Superior. If you're looking for a place to marvel at our wonderful world, there's few better in the state than atop Palisade Head.

Would you like to live close to these natural wonders? We can make your wish a reality. Call today to learn more about homes for sale in the Twin Cities.


Look for Vinyl at These Shops Around the Twin Cities

Record Stores - Twin Cities - Counselor Realty

We love our local record stores, which is why we're thrilled to announce that one of our favorite holidays, National Vinyl Record Day, is coming right up on Aug. 12th. Be sure to check out some of these great Twin Cities record stores near Minneapolis homes for sale!

  • Barely Brothers Records - 783 Raymond Ave., Saint Paul, MN 55114
    Barely Brothers Records is a fixture of the Saint Paul music community. It's one of the best places in the area to find new releases on vinyl—they even review new records on their website—as well as a vast collection of used LPs and 45s. Once you've scored the albums you want, take a look at these Saint Paul homes for sale nearby.

  • Electric Fetus - 2000 S 4th Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404
    One of Minnesota's most iconic record stores, Electric Fetus has been in business since 1968. To this day, they're one of the best places in the Twin Cities to find the latest new releases and reissues on vinyl, with new arrivals hitting the shelves every week. Their Minneapolis location near these Minneapolis homes for sale. is currently open, and you can also call ahead for in-store or curbside pickup.

  • Agharta Records - 2512 University Ave. W, Saint Paul, MN 55114
    You'll find an incredible selection of records packed into a cozy space at Agharta Records. The shop is wall-to-wall vinyl and includes a dizzying selection of new releases and reissues, from classic rock and jazz to metal, punk, and hip-hop. If you can't make it to their brick-and-mortar location in Saint Paul, you can also order records directly through their website. 

  • Cheapo Records - 2600 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55408
    Browsing through the racks at Cheapo Records is like going on a treasure hunt, except you truly never know what you might find. They offer thousands of new and used records, tapes and CDs, plus a huge selection of posters, t-shirts, and music memorabilia. Cheapo Records has locations in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, along with a third store in Blaine, just down the road from these Blaine homes for sale

  • Caydence Records & Coffee - 900 Payne Ave., Saint Paul, MN 55130
    When you can't decide whether you want to hit up a coffee shop or record store, you'll be glad to know that this hip spot in Saint Paul is both. Caydence Records & Coffee has talented baristas whipping up frothy lattes and cappuccinos, as well as a hefty selection of records for sale. Be sure to check hours prior to paying Caydence Records & Coffee a visit. 

At Counselor Realty, we're proud to live in a major hub for art and music. National Vinyl Record Day is just one of many ways to celebrate this abundance of local culture. Call today to learn more about life in the Twin Cities, and talk to our team about how we can help find your home in the Twin Cities area. 

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