A Very Thankful Thanksgiving

We have so much to be thankful for this year! So we decided the whole team needed to share what they are grateful for as we wrap up 2017 and race toward a new year…

Hannah - Thankful



Hannah: “I’m thankful for my tiny but fierce Anora, the crockpot, and all of the supportive people in my life rooting for my success.”







Thankful - Sarah


Sarah: “I am so very thankful for my husband. We’ve been together since we were teenagers, which means we have done a lot of growing together. He supports me when I try new things, makes me laugh when I need it most, and goes along with most of my crazy ideas. Oh yeah – I am super thankful for his handyman skills too!! New carpet on the stairs, paint, trim, and railing! (Just one of my crazy ideas…) He gives to others whenever they are in need, stays very calm through tough times, and is an amazing dad to our kids. I’m also thankful for my steering wheel heater – something I never knew I needed but couldn’t live without. ”






Theresa: “As I ponder and reflect on the many things I am thankful for, one of the most recent changes for our family comes to mind. In early spring we moved to Lakeville! We were immediately warmly welcomed to the neighborhood by many amazing families bringing treats and cards. I am thankful each and every day for the opportunities our children have by being a part of such a wonderful school district, and community. My hope is for our family to give as much love and acceptance back to the community as we have received.” #lakevillelove



Thankful - Karla2

Thankful - Karla


Karla: “I am thankful for my 3 happy, healthy, capable children. They are grateful for all they have, and show it by sharing their time and gifts with others. I am thankful that after hanging out with the same guy for 29 years, we continue to have a lot of fun together. He continues to surprise me, support my crazy ideas, and makes me laugh every day. I am thankful for crossing paths with Sarah this past spring. She lead me to The Property Geeks, undoubtedly the BEST real estate team! I am thankful for their friendship, patience and willingness to share their knowledge with me. I am thankful that Blake Shelton was named the Sexiest Man Alive. Oh, and for coffee.”






Nekeya: “I am thankful for so many things! I love being able to travel with my family and friends. And I’m grateful for my incredible network that has helped me grow into the person I am today! Plus internet, hot water, friendship, family, having a chance to experience different cultures, getting to work in real estate and last, but not least, Thai iced coffee. ”







Julian 2



Julian: “I am thankful for my family, friends and coworkers who believe in me. I am thankful for the Vikings and Timberwolves being amazing this season as well! I am thankful for my clients who trust me with their real estate needs. I’m also very thankful for my girlfriend. She listens to all of my crazy ideas and is very supportive of me!”







Kim: “I’m thankful for so much this year… my family (especially my ever-patient husband), my supportive network of friends, the opportunities I’ve had this past year to further my dreams while I still try to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I’m especially thankful for my morning cup of coffee, the creation of flavored creamers and my discovery of mashed potato bars. Who knew that was a thing?”




And since no one wanted to go after Caarin, we saved hers for last!

Thankful - CaarinCaarin: “I am eternally thankful to my amazing parents. You see… I am one of the lucky ones. I truly have two of the most amazing parents a girl could ever ask for. They were extra strict in all of the “right ways” that made me angry with them as a teenager, and love and understand them as an adult and mother myself. They have worried more hours, dried more of my tears, and continue to be more supportive than I could ever imagine. Not only did they fulfill their job duties as parents, but they are even more amazing as grandparents. For that I am eternally and forever grateful. So today I am thankful for being so lucky to have been blessed with Dan and Carla Hagen as parents.”



So what are YOU thankful for this year? We’d love to know!

Home Staging Kitchen

15 Before & After Photos that Prove the Power of Home Staging

There’s no denying it: Homes that receive effective home staging definitely stand out. Not only does the right amount of decluttering, organizing and accessorizing make your home more attractive, it can actually increase its value.

According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2015 Profile of Home Staging Report, 32 percent of buyers’ agents believe their clients are willing to offer one percent to five percent more for staged homes. What’s more, 81 percent of agents said home staging made it easier for buyers to visualize the property as their future home.

If that’s not enough to convince you, take a look at these before-and-after photos to really illustrate how powerful home staging can be.

1. Cool kitchen

Attractive barstools and place settings make you want to sit right down for lunch! The hardware upgrade on the cabinets makes a big difference too.

2. Dining room do-over

A fresh coat of paint and right-sized furniture create an appetizing room that’s welcoming without being over-the-top. (Removing that potty chair from the picture was a wise move as well.)

3. Room with a view

This living room went from sad to sophisticated with the help of the right furnishings and accessories. Who could focus on that stunning view with those flimsy outdoor chairs in the way?

4. The personal touch

Homeowners are often advised to keep their rooms neutral and remove many of their personal effects. But by adding a few well-placed items to the countertops, this kitchen just became a lot more enticing.

5. The beauty of decluttered space

Organizing and decluttering go hand-in-hand with home staging. It’s a shame to bury a fireplace behind so much stuff.

6. Updated decor

Many consumers have a hard time envisioning themselves in a space if the decor is too distinctive or distracting. Keeping items current and appealing to all is a way to attract as many buyers as possible.

7. Bedrooms don’t need to be bold

While you may love the idea of an extreme shade, not everyone wants to wake up to dramatic hues. In addition to lightening the wall color, moving the bed away from the window enhances the view.

8. Brighter bathroom

Nothing makes a bathroom sparkle like clean, cream-colored walls. Fresh-flowers, white hand towels, and an elegant soap dispenser take this bathroom from drab to eye-catching without any remodeling required..

9. Gorgeous guest room

This stunning space was packed with potential but failed to live up to it. In addition to new chairs, the right lighting and taking the photo from a better angle transformed this room.

10. Wall art adds a wow factor

The right wall hangings can take a room from comfortable to curated with minimal effort.

11. Less is more

Home stagers will often suggest placing some of your items in a storage unit to make your rooms appear more open and spacious. This photo illustrates why that’s such a smart idea.

12. Accent on color

The walls can stay neutral but adding a pop of color through accent pieces like throw pillows and well-placed chairs pull a room together.

13. Let there be light.

This attic bedroom went to dim and dreary to quaint and cozy with the addition of a nightstand and table lamp. The complementary geometric patterns bring interest to the small space without overwhelming it.

14. Empty just isn’t as appealing

Even if an empty room looks great on its own, showing buyers how to show off the space is inspiring.

15. Every detail counts

In case you needed any additional convincing that home staging makes an enormous difference, this montage of makeovers should do the trick.

We hope you agree that staging can take a home from okay to awesome! And if you have questions about selling or staging your home, feel free to give us a call or tune in to Grill the Geeks every Thursday at 12pm CT on our Facebook page.


Warm Up with Karla’s Southwest Stuffing

Feel that chill in the air? Fall is hurtling by quickly and winter is coming in cold. The proof is in the stuffing–Thanksgiving is only two weeks away!

Thank goodness Property Geek Karla has a cure-all to beat back that brisk snap in the air, and she’s sharing it with all of us today. She said she started adding this Southwest Stuffing to her Thanksgiving menu about ten years ago and now her family won’t let her through the door unless she brings it along. They love the twist on the traditional stuffing recipe. The jalapeno provides a bite of heat and the chorizo sausage and cilantro give it just the right southwestern zip to clear the sinuses and keep the cold at bay.

If you’re looking for some extra sizzle and spice to add to your holiday, we hope you’ll give it a try!

Property Geeks Southwest Stuffing - Sausage

First, saute the sausage. It gives the stuffing that extra kick.

How can something with so many vegetables be so tasty? Just don’t mind that stick of butter hiding underneath all that green.

Southwest Stuffing - Broth

The mixture of broth and eggs provides the rich moisture that holds the whole dish together.

Southwest Stuffing - Pan

Almost ready! Just an hour in the oven to bake all that spice together.

Southwest Stuffing - Final

Ta-da! Looks good enough to be a meal all by itself.


Southwest Stuffing

  • 1 lb bulk Chorizo Sausage
  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • 1 cup cubed Butternut Squash
  • 1 large Onion, diced
  • 8 Green Onions, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped Celery
  • 2 Jalapenos, seeded, deveined & minced
  • 1 cup Cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 TBSP fresh sage, chopped
  • 24oz Cubed Stuffing Mix
  • 3 Eggs
  • 32oz Chicken Broth


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large saucepan, sautee chorizo sausage. Drain fat and set aside. In same pan, melt butter, add onions, squash, celery, green onions and jalapenos. Saute until soft. Add cilantro and sage.
  3. In large bowl, add stuffing mix, sausage, and onion/celery mixture.
  4. In separate bowl, beat the eggs with the chicken broth and pour over stuffing mixture. Toss well.
  5. Butter a large casserole dish and foil for covering.
  6. Spread stuffing into casserole dish, cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
  7. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes.



Apple Cider

Sarah’s Double Duty Mulled Cider

Property Geek Sarah recently spoiled us with one of her family’s traditional fall treats — Mulled Apple Cider. The perfect combination of sweet and tart, it combines two of our favorite fall highlights… sipping warm beverages and being able to use some of the apples we picked from our local orchards.

For as long as she can remember, her mom has made this mulled apple cider one time each year – on Thanksgiving. When she got old enough, it became her job to put the recipe together before all of their extended family descended on the house for a traditional Thanksgiving. About 10 years ago, Sarah and her cousins started taking over hosting the holidays from their parents. Since her mom had always been in charge of Thanksgiving, the responsibility for that holiday fell to her. Obviously she had to keep doing the cider, so her mom’s old percolator and the secret recipe was passed down to her. Rumor has it the percolator is the original one her grandma has always used so it’s doubly sentimental making the recipe in her vintage container. Now that her own children have gotten older, they love to help make the cider as people are arriving, just like she did.

Sarah took it a step further and added her own special tweak to the recipe — for adults only! She’s found that adding a dash of caramel vodka into the cup makes for some delicious warm caramel apple cider. A drizzle of caramel in would also be a great touch!

We decided to call it Double Duty Mulled Cider because not only does it taste fabulous but it will also make your house smell delicious.

 Double Duty Mulled Apple CiderPercolator of CiderMulled Apple Cider

Sarah’s Recipe for Double Duty Mulled Apple Cider

If you don’t have a percolator, you can add all of the ingredients to a large stockpot or your slow cooker and simmer gently.

In the percolator basket, add:

½ large orange, sliced
8-10 whole cloves
3-4 cinnamon sticks
A few handfuls of brown sugar
One gallon of plain apple cider.

Let us know what you think if you decide to try it. And if you’re a seller who’s having a Fall Open House, having a batch of this brewing for when potential buyers come through wouldn’t hurt!

Theresa Gage

The Most Expensive Garage Sale Item

If there’s one thing the Geeks like to do it’s talk. So it was no surprise that we went out to lunch at one of our favorite local pizza places (huge shout out to Ole Piper pizza!) and got to chatting about houses and neighborhoods. Pretty soon the conversation turned to garage sales.

Property Geek Theresa Gage mentioned she’d bought a pretty pricey item she’d found at a garage sale one time so we made her dish up the whole story…

In 2008 she stopped by a garage sale at a house down the street. She started looking at a filing cabinet–not even a very attractive filing cabinet–and the gentleman holding the sale started to make small talk. He asked why she’d need such a big cabinet and Theresa responded that she and her husband owned some rental properties and needed to keep their paperwork organized.

Turns out the neighbor owned some rental properties he was about to lose in foreclosure, including the home where he was holding the garage sale. He wondered if she and her husband might be interested in talking about them. Theresa ended up leaving the filing cabinet but buying a refrigerator for one of their rental homes. She said she’d send her husband down later to pick it up and chat.

One chat led to another and another until Theresa and John found themselves negotiating multiple short sales with separate banks. It took several months, hours of phone calls, and many inches of paperwork but they were able to secure financing and buy out most of the properties, including the original home where the garage sale had been held.

Theresa remembers it being a win-win-win situation. She and John had been looking for some additional properties to add to their portfolio and were thrilled to acquire some investment units so close to home. The gentleman was ecstatic to be able to walk away without tarnishing his credit, and since the properties were under lease contracts, all of the renters were able to stay in their homes. To this day, Theresa still can’t believe the way the transaction happened.

But The Property Geeks aren’t surprised. We know savvy investors have to keep their eyes and ears open if they’re in the market for real estate deals. Opportunities are sometimes as close as just down the street!

Why Fall Is Best to Buy

Why Fall Might Be The Best Time To Buy A Home

A lot of people think the best time to buy a house is during the Spring market.

And, it is…

…in the sense that more houses are listed for sale in the Spring. But, there’s also a heck of a lot more buyers trying to buy those listings.

The thing is, some of the houses listed back in the Spring don’t end up selling. (Usually just because they were overpriced.)

Now, it isn’t like new listings don’t happen in the Fall. There are always new listings coming on the market. But it’s not like, just because it’s Fall and not Spring, prices are necessarily going to fall. In other words, new listings aren’t likely to list for a lot lower than you would have seen in the Spring.

However, the homeowners who did list back in the Spring are much more likely to be anxious (perhaps even desperate) to sell their home. They’ve created their own problem…they missed the boat by pricing too high.

Which is great news for you, if you’re looking to buy a home:

  • Less competition. (Many buyers stop looking at this time of year…for no good reason.)
  • Motivated sellers. (They’re sick of being on the market, and wondering why nobody bought their house.)

But it isn’t always easy to find those listings. They don’t wave a white flag or lower their price to some ridiculous amount everyone would notice. If only it were that easy…

Just because someone listed their home back in the Spring doesn’t mean they’ll be all that negotiable.

There are certain things a great real estate agent will know to look for.

And we love rolling up our sleeves and finding the ones we can most likely negotiate the best deals on.

So, do you have anything you want us to roll up our sleeves and look for? Real estate deals won’t just fall in your lap, but we can certainly help you find one this Fall.

Want another reason to buy a home in the Fall?

You can take advantage of year-end sales to outfit your home!

Hardly anybody buys a home who doesn’t want (or need) to make improvements, however small. So why not coordinate your purchase with sales on items you’ll need? According to Consumer Reports, September is an ideal time for buying carpet and paint. In October lawn mowers go on sale, and the same goes for appliances and cookware in November.