The Ultimate Spring 2023 Cleaning Checklist

luxury living room with large white sectional and floor to ceiling windows that look out to a pond and greenery

Whether it’s the blooming flowers, warmer winds, or longer days, spring has always inspired us to tackle the cleaning and tidying that may have been swept under the rug in previous seasons. By reading blogs like this or even visiting a dedicated side of social media users known as “CleanTok,” your library of ideas, tips, and tricks to assist in getting your home refreshed is ever-expanding.

Room by room, here is your complete spring 2023 cleaning checklist.

Kitchen Spring Cleaning Hacks You Need to Know

When it comes to the kitchen, let’s go back to basics. That means removing everything from your cabinets and using a damp microfiber cloth with a little dish soap to remove all the grime that has accrued since your last swipe inside them. Limited on time? Disinfecting wipes can also be an efficient tool to collect dust from the tops of cabinets. 

luxury kitchen with Golden kitchen faucet and white marble countertops

We all know that crumbs from cooking and meals find themselves, someway, somehow, under the kitchen appliances. Ideally, sweeping these up two to three times a year can help prevent any annual back-breaking work. To do so, make sure to first unplug the appliance before carefully shifting it out of its designated home until there is enough room to safely sweep up any rebellious leftovers. 

And, as far as counters go, there are a number of cleaning cocktails that can get the job done. Be it a bleach and water solution* or a standard disinfectant spray, remember that counters are a food-contact surface; no matter your cleaning agent of preference, be sure to finish with a clean water rinse. 

*Note: We would be remiss to mention that this is not suitable for marble countertops.

Viral Kitchen Hack that Works: Cleaning Wooden Spoons

wooden boards and serving utensils on a stone counter

Wooden spoons are gorgeous and on-trend. They bring a bucolic touch to any kitchen; however, cleaning them can be a challenge. While they aren’t supposed to go in a dishwasher, hand-cleaning, even directly after use, just doesn’t seem to cut it. 

We have you covered with this difficult-to-clean utensil. Simply submerge all your spoons in a pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, and watch as the water changes color. Rinse and repeat as needed. 

Bathroom Spring Cleaning Checklist

When it comes time to tackle the bathroom, the best thing you can do is start with a clean slate. From drawers to medicine cabinets to cleaning supplies, take inventory of everything you have. This way you can easily see the essentials that need to stay and the extraneous things you’ve collected or been gifted along the way. If it has reached the end of its shelf life (literally or metaphorically), get rid of it and declutter.

Elegant attic bathroom with stylish bathtub, wooden floor and balcony door

Now, it’s time to get rid of all the dust that will get in the way later in your cleaning process. From the top down, use a dry rag or a vacuum cleaner attachment to first clean the ceiling vents and/or fans, and then move down to ledges, windowsills, and shelves. 

After you finish, you’re ready to go. Wash whatever shower curtains, towels, bath mats, or window currents you have, and be sure not to miss the plastic shower curtain—you should either replace it if you haven’t recently or at the very least, give it a thorough clean on your patio or deck.

Now, it’s time to start scrubbing. Make sure you disinfect all surfaces including any wall hangings, the walls themselves, cabinets, and the shower, tub, sink, and toilet, as well as glass features like mirrors or shower doors. This is also a good time to wipe down your trash can—inside and out. Once you’ve gotten through all of that (we know it’s a lot), all that’s left is sweeping, mopping, and admiring your hard work.

Viral Bathroom Hack That Works: Advertised for Dishes—Best for Showers

luxury modern bathroom and shower with white stone and matte black hardare finishes

Cleaning the shower is hardly anybody’s favorite. Among the myriad of shower-cleaning products available, turning to a dish-cleaning brush and a simple DIY solution (that you already have the ingredients for) could be the answer to all your problems. 

Grab a bristled dish brush that has a compartment for (what is normally) dish soap. Instead, fill it with a solution that is half dish soap and half white vinegar. Before you know it, you will have a sparkling clean shower, no vinegary smell, and the unparalleled relief of time-effective cleaning. Best of all, these brush heads are removable, replaceable, and even reusable should you wish to run them through your dishwasher (after a particularly arduous spring cleaning effort, perhaps). 

The Professional-grade Bedroom Spring Cleaning Guide

Between the baseboards and floors, the mattress, and the closet, there is a lot of ground to cover when it comes to deep-cleaning a bedroom, but when all is said and done, this guide will keep things simple, and quick. 

modern minimalist bedroom with a bed flanked by white bedside tables and hanging pendant light fixtures

Step by Step Bedroom Spring Cleaning Guide

Step One: Get the bedding in the laundry. Grab the pillow covers, sheets, and duvets and toss them into the washer. Once this has started, dust your way from the top down. Use a long-handled feather duster to hit all those hard-to-reach places that don’t regularly get cleaned. Pro Tip: Dust isn’t picky when it comes to its surfaces; run the duster right across the walls, and you may just be surprised by how much was hiding in plain sight. 

Step Two: Get every nook and cranny. Now that the bed is fully stripped, use a powerful vacuum cleaner and its attachments to pick up all the dust and debris that may be lingering on the mattress itself. You can also take this as an opportunity to flip your mattress, which ensures it’s wearing evenly. 

Step Three: Hit the decks. Now that the preliminary dusting has been taken care of, the floors (even if regularly cleaned) are ready for some extra TLC. Use a mop and commercial hardwood floor cleaners for hardwood floors. These are available at most grocery and drug stores. For carpets, sprinkle baking soda across the entire carpet and allow it to sit for about five minutes. Then, vacuum once in each direction. This will also help to remove any odors. 

Step Four: Open the windows, and let the fresh air do some of the hard work for you. This will help handle any chemical smells that may be lingering in the room from earlier steps. 

Step Five: The closet—take everything out of it. Use a disinfectant spray and power towels or a cloth to wipe up any dust hiding under clothes piles. Take your duster and wipe it along any rods as well. Then, neatly put everything back in.

If you have been looking to get rid of some of your clothing but aren’t quite sure where to start, put all hanging clothes back in facing one direction. Then, the next time you go to wear it, face its hanger in the other direction. Come the end of summer, anything that remains oriented in the original direction can be donated. 

Viral Hack that Doesn’t Work: Tennis Balls

luxury laundry room with a washer and dyer and white cabinets over marble countertops and backsplashes

Cleaning the pillows themselves is a long-standing staple of spring cleaning checklists. It has often been suggested that adding a new tennis ball or two to the drying cycle can help soften the pillows and expedite the dying process without the use of chemical fabric softeners. 

With this being said—despite having these recreational accouterments on hand—their chemical dye can often transfer to down items, and further, may not be able to withstand the heat a dryer produces (which, spoiler alert, will lead them to melt into your pillows).  

Caring for your home helps maintain and enhance its value. For any questions about a home’s valuation, Engel & Völkers real estate advisors are experts at helping you understand what factors affect its overall value. From everyone at Engel & Völkers, happy spring. 

Exclusive research from the global luxury real estate brand reveals five consumer trends driving the luxury market

Engel & Völkers released today an original trend report based on exclusive market research of likely homebuyers across North America conducted to understand the current attitude, mindset, and intentions of luxury consumers who plan to buy a home in the next few years. Findings indicate that the luxury homebuying market is being driven by millennials, representing a significant shift and transfer of wealth and property from baby boomers. Furthermore, with multiple trends influencing the mindsets and attitudes of specific segments within these consumers, Engel & Völkers has identified five trends that will drive each group of North American luxury homebuyers in the next year.

Peak luxury buyers

Representing consumers looking to purchase a home above the $3 million price point, 59% of peak luxury buyers are millennials. Two-thirds of these buyers report that their jobs allow them to work from anywhere so it is not surprising that nearly all of them either currently own or are planning to purchase a second home in the near future. For real estate professionals hoping to reach peak luxury buyers, it is most important to stay active on social media, as this group of homebuyers rely heavily on Instagram and Facebook to learn about real estate professionals in their desired market. 

The next generation luxury influencer

Influencer culture has given rise to a distinct subset of buyers who are curating their own personal brand of luxury and showcasing it online with a reach and scale that previously didn’t exist for the individual consumer. More than half are millennials who tend to invest in experiences and other external markers of wealth and status, and subsequently, share this lifestyle with their followers. When it comes to working with real estate professionals, these consumers value local market and luxury expertise. They are planning to spend over $1 million on their next home and are likely also influential in their offline communities, which can lead to word-of-mouth exposure for real estate professionals who provide a personalized, high-touch experience when working with these buyers. 

International buyers

Sixty-two percent of luxury buyers in North America looking to purchase outside of the continent are millennials or Gen Z, and they are real estate savvy. Forty-one percent already own more than one home, and 23% own three or more homes. They are looking to work with real estate professionals who have the resources and knowledge of both local and international markets and can be flexible to their schedules. International buyers also value industry experts with experience dealing in luxury properties, so real estate professionals should be sure to promote their luxury knowledge. 

Second home seekers

Luxury buyers on the market for a second home are most likely to be married millennials or Gen X with children living in the household. One-third will be looking to purchase in a region of the country different from where they currently live and nearly all want this residence to be convenient for recreational activities and home amenities, including pools, gyms, and spas. Real estate professionals should note that nearly half of these buyers report that interest rates are influencing them to move up their timeline for buying a second home and that they most value an agent who can help them evaluate the pros and cons of different properties. 

Emerging affluence

Emerging affluence refers to first-time homebuyers, overwhelmingly made up of millennials and Gen Z, who are making over $100,000 in yearly household income. They are more likely to have moved to a new city and started a new job within the past year. The most important factors in deciding where to purchase their first home are neighborhood vibe, walkability, and proximity to both restaurants and work. These buyers most value local expertise when working with real estate professionals and nearly half will reach out to a real estate professional for help before identifying homes they’re interested in online.

“Baby boomers will continue to have a lasting effect on our economy, empowering millennials with financial means to largely drive the buy side of the real estate market in the years to come,” said Anthony Hitt, president and CEO, Engel & Völkers Americas. “For real estate professionals serving the luxury segment, it’s important to understand and adapt to the evolving preferences of new generations who are taking up more space in the market. Continuing to serve as market experts and trusted sources of information will be vital to providing the personalized service and expertise that today’s consumers expect.”

To download the full report, click here.

For more information about Engel & Völkers, visit

Design Trends to Try in 2023

January 4, 2023

As we enter the new year, many of us are taking time to evaluate our lives, goals, and habits—focusing on becoming better versions of ourselves. Whether you want to be healthier, happier, more productive, or anything else this year, it’s important to consider how your physical environment will influence your mental health and mood. The first step towards a “new you” may actually be refreshing your home’s interior design to better facilitate your goals.

From personality-driven designs to vintage pieces and bold colors, we’ve gathered some up-and-coming design trends that will inspirit your dreams for 2023.

Personality-driven design

Minimalism has been eminent in the modern design world over the past several years, but in 2023, we’re turning the page. While not everyone may be ready to embrace a fully maximalist home, it’s easy to take the first steps toward one if you’re still stuck in your minimalist era.

“We have seen so much minimalism over the last few years; our clients are now craving warmth, depth, and character in their personal spaces.”

David Frazier, Architect and Interior Designer

Not sure how to make the switch? Consider adding personal collections, art that inspires you, or a mix of old and new furnishings. The goal is to create a room that speaks to you, not an uninspiring, Pinterest-perfect space.

Textures, curves, and accents

As we covered last year, curves are in—now alongside textured and accented walls. Another step away from modernist and minimalistic design, these features invite a breadth of character and whimsy to your home. Arched doorways and curves around exterior walls add fresh, exciting shapes, and textured wallpaper and decorative accessories offer eye-catching surprises. While it may not be possible to install a new curved wall this year (or maybe it is), it’s easy to add textured and accented pieces to the rooms where you already live.

“Opt for an accent with a unique texture or wallpaper in a similar color to the rest of the room. If you want to create a wooden accent wall, make sure you’re using vertical slats as they give a roof a lift and make small spaces feel more intimate and large spaces feel more inviting.”

Rudolph Diesel, Interior Designer

The most important part? Location, location, location. Choose the right wall to refresh, typically the first one you see when you enter a room.

Wellness at home

The subject of our fall edition of GG magazine, mindful living remains a top priority for many homeowners across the Americas. This trend can take shape in a number of different ways; from water features and open-air spaces to home gyms and spas, the goal is the same: helping you take care of yourself by creating a space for nourishment and focus.

“When it comes to space planning, clients are requesting intentional spaces for activities like meditation, yoga, exercise, and last but not least, home spas.”

Joshua Smith, Interior Designer

These spaces, often called wellness rooms, are on track to eventually replace home gyms. Designers creating wellness rooms integrate materials with a positive impact on conditions like diabetes and anxiety; lighting technology that supports natural circadian rhythms; and high-tech air purifiers to ensure you breathe easily.

Vintage chic

In 2023, we’re saying out with the old and in with the older. That’s right; vintage furniture is having its (second) moment in the spotlight. Ditch inexpensive (and cheaply made) items that will likely find their end in a landfill, and substitute them with used, vintage, or antique furnishings. These pieces call upon past memories and add character to any room.

“People are going to begin investing more in quality products that will stand the test of time. Rather than buying something cheap to get the look at the moment, people will be more selective about what they put in their home in order to have it for years to come.”

Susan Hayward, Interior Designer

Not only are they sustainable but they also seamlessly integrate personal and family histories into the spaces we live—whether it’s a grandfather clock that’s been passed through generations or a desk from your childhood home.

Bold, unexpected colors

Alongside minimalism, natural and neutral-colored spaces have dominated interiors in the Americas for the past several years. Now, however, we can look forward to spending time in brighter spaces, particularly those drenched in yellow, as gray interiors take a back seat. Expect to see rich, warm tones inspired by nature, as well as bold pops of color in furniture, throw pillows, and accent rugs.

Home is Where the Hearth Is

A luxury modern fireplace with a natural wood finish and active fire.

Temperatures are dropping, the sun is setting earlier, and we’re all in search of ways to invite a little extra warmth into our homes. “Home and hearth,” as the idiom goes…and that’s exactly what a fireplace brings, a feeling of warmth and security to any room.

For all their utility, fireplaces serves as much more than just a battleground for winter’s bite. Beyond this, fireplaces quite literally light up a room and warm our souls when friends, family, and loved ones join us around the chattering crackles and pops.

Last but not least, fireplaces can be absolutely gorgeous. Coming in a variety of sizes, combinations, and locations, there is a mantle for everyone’s taste. As such, we are taking this opportunity to feature five stunning fireplace vignettes for five distinct personalities, as well as highlighting two Engel & Völkers listings with mantles blazing their own trails.

The Bookworm’s Haven

A classic fireplace with antique couches, a glass chandelier, and bookcases filled with antique edition books.

What goes better together than a book and a fireplace? 

With that being said, avid readers may be wondering, “Can I combine my fireplace and living room to create the perfect reading atmosphere?” The answer: an emphatic yes. First and foremost, flank your fireplace with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves on either side. Perhaps the finishes that you choose could reflect your favorite genre—our mystery lovers may opt for the complexity of deeply stained oak, while our romance novelists lean into the depth of a heart-stopping emerald.

As for the mantle’s material, highlight the oak’s character with corbels and an applique—hinting towards a storied Victorian backstory. Top it all off with a mirror above the mantle, and there is no question who the main character is. 

The Artist’s Muse

A modern, inlaid outdoor fire pit with couches.

What is more inspiring than a flickering fire within a thoughtfully articulated mantle-scape? 

Here in lies an opportunity to bring this centerpiece outdoors. Whether in a more traditional, stone mantle fashion, a circular fire pit, or an artisanal stone fire bowl, a fireplace enjoyed amidst the peace and quiet of the great outdoors is one that inspires. This is perhaps the perfect opportunity to go for a bold, wrapping mantle made of stone or reclaimed wood that matches the natural surroundings. A sturdier base can also double as a seating arrangement for chillier nights. 

For ease of use, consider including a wood storage solution in the design of your outdoor fireplace, and enjoy. 

The Classicalist’s Monolith

An oversized marble fireplace and a grand entertaining room of a classic estate.

There’s something to be said for the classics—grounding, timeless, and constant. For the classicalist, the hearth is truly the heart of the home. Its gravity pulls all, residents and guests alike, to gather in front of its flames. 

Here, there is no question of material; marble is a must. Not only gorgeous, but marble also provides superior durability and longevity. Though like many natural stones, it will etch, and each addition to its surface will add to its old-world appeal. 

The rest is up to you. White marble? Black? We would suggest a hearty mantlepiece.

The Traveler’s Vitrine

The living room of an eclectic collector with a decorated fireplace mantle.

As a global brand, we know that many of our readers enjoy traveling, and, naturally, have brought home tchotchkes from every corner of the globe. What better place to tell the stories behind them than by a fire, and where better to display them than on your mantle? 

Make it an homage, a collection of memories—a wanderlust, conquered. The only detail required for the traveler’s fireplace is a generously oversized, wrapping mantle. Be it wood, stone, or brick, you choose a material that best compliments the treasures you wish to display. 

Alternatively, if you wish to house souvenirs elsewhere, a fireplace can be a blank canvas for creative tilework. Whether sourcing the tiles from one of your favorite countries or letting a beautiful design boldly tell the tales of your travels, don’t be afraid to let creativity take the reins of your fireplace’s design. Standing in the center of your home will be a reflection of your core beliefs: that there is a beautiful world out there waiting to be seen, enjoyed, and appreciated. 

The Modernist’s Showpiece 

A modern living room with a marble wall fireplace and stylish book case and furniture.

Every home needs a statement, and a fireplace can be a hotbed of innovation. 

For decades, interior designers and architects have proved that warm and cozy rooms do not need to come at the expense of a cool and contemporary style. 

Consider playing up the scale of your fireplace; an entire wall of stone, tile, or marble will leave guests awestruck. Dual-sided fireplaces will undoubtedly strike up a conversation about the intersection of utility and design, and a fireplace painted to match the walls of the room creates the “white box” feeling that contemporary museums are famous for. 

Now that we have struck the hotbed of inspiration, here are two current Engel & Völkers listings that feature gorgeous fireplaces. 

400 Deep Fork Circle

The living room of a modern, luxury home with dark wood floors and a floor-to-ceiling fireplace.

Just outside of Oklahoma City, this home features a grand total of eight fireplaces, as well as an outdoor fire pit. No shortage of luxury, the primary suite includes a see-through fireplace. Sounds like a modernist’s dream, no?

400 Deep Fork Circle is currently listed for $5,495,000 USD by Ty Burnett of Engel & Völkers Edmond.

255 N Green Bay Road

The classically designed interior of a home with an oriental rug and pink chairs.

Bookworms will enjoy an elevated reading experience surrounded by the book-lined shelves that flank the fireplace in this Lake Forest mansion. Make sitting back and grabbing your favorite book while the fire casts a warm light amongst the pages your daily reality. 

225 N Green Bay Road is currently listed for $10,100,000 USD by Jennifer Ames of Engel & Völkers Chicago

Planning the Perfect European Fall Getaway

If you’ve found yourself staring out the window lately, maybe it’s time for an invigorating European getaway. And, no, it isn’t too late to plan an excursion across the Atlantic. In fact, tourism in Europe hasn’t been showing any signs of slowing down this fall. Not convinced by gorgeous views, amazing food, enriching architecture, and an enchanting lifestyle? Maybe the economic incentives will tempt you; the dollar and euro are holding an unprecedented, nearly equal value—making right now the perfect time to set sail.

Once you’ve decided to book a trip, you’re left with your most important choice: where do you go? The unique personalities of Europe’s many countries, communities, and cul-de-sacs can complement a myriad of vacation hopes and dreams. As such, we took the liberty of breaking down a few different paths for you to consider for your fall European trip:

The museum-goer

Without a doubt,  museum enthusiasts must visit Paris, France, a city densely packed with over 250 museums and galleries. Albeit most famously known for The Louvre, our advisors at Engel & Völkers Paris can happily steer you in the direction of the galleries known and loved by true Parisians. 

The would-be beacher

Although we are in the midst of planning a fall European getaway, the ease and allure of a summer climate can still be wistfully enjoyed in certain spots. In Tenerife, the sun continues to shine over world-famous beaches—creating an ideal destination for beach lovers in need of a little autumnal rest and recovery.

Tenerife, the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, is home to idyllic fishing towns, lively beachside oases, and everything in between. To discover the best spot for your vacation, reach out to one of our advisors at Engel & Völkers Costa Adeje

The city-dweller

For those truly entranced by romantic European architecture, Budapest, Hungary, may be just the spot for you. Its Central Market HallOpera House, and Castle Hill are accentuated by the season’s change, an ideal time to visit this bustling European center. 

Engel & Völkers Hungary can give you the full rundown on must-see streets and sites that await your Hungarian holiday. 

The foodie/adventurer

For true adventurers, the Puglia region of Italy, while not a common stop on regular tours of the country, epitomizes the Italian spirit and lifestyle 

If you’re yearning for an Italian excursion, chances are you are also craving some Italian food; Lecce will happily provide this—and our advisors at Engel & Völkers Lecce can point you to the best-of-the-best restaurants in the city. Between stops, make sure to enjoy its famous and historic Roman amphitheater

No matter where you are going in the world, our global network of local experts will undoubtedly be able to assist you—from knowing the true local hotspots to extending your vacation to a lifetime, helping you achieve your goals is just what we do. 

Click here to learn more about all of our shop locations. 

Are You Ready to Buy a Home?

Buying a home is one of the most important personal and financial decisions that you’ll make in your life. In today’s market, it is essential that you understand the journey you are about to embark upon. Complex and seemingly contradictory economic headlines have misled many potential buyers into hesitance. While it’s easy to prioritize mortgage rates in your decision-making process, the economy is just one factor, but should not be the sole deciding factor. Your personal finances, life journey, and local market trends should all be taken into account and given their own weight.

There are a number of elements that may make this the ideal time for you to buy a home. Engel & Völkers has compiled a list of some of the most important factors to consider.


Credit. A high credit score will help you lock in a lower interest rate—which could save you thousands over your loan’s lifetimeAnd, get this, a recent credit scoring ruling has given millions of U.S. consumers 22 extra credit score points.

Savings. Lenders want to see that you have cash set aside in case of an emergency. While your down payment should cover 3.5 – 20% of the listing price, it’s essential to have extra cash—be it in savings, retirement, or anything else—so you can have a fallback in case of a job loss or need for major repairs.

Debt. Lenders considering your mortgage applications will be sure to look at your debt-to-income ratio. As its name implies, this number gives insight into how much of your monthly income is being used to pay off debts. Most lenders look for a ratio lower than 28%

Market Prices vs. Your Budget: While both listing prices and your budgets are influenced by the economy, higher market prices do not necessarily mean your dream home is unaffordable. The trick is to evaluate the homes available in your desired market at your desired price range to see if they meet your needs.

Investing in Your Future

Over the past month, you’ve probably heard a lot about mortgage rates, inflation, and a pending recession. If these headlines are making you hesitant to buy a home, rest assured that the real estate market is in a much better position than they imply. Here’s why:

Historically low mortgage rates: Despite recent increases, mortgage rates are still historically low. However, they will continue to rise. By purchasing today, homebuyers can lock in lower rates and lower monthly payments than those that will be available in the future.

Prices are rising: While the real estate market has slowed, home prices have continued to climb—albeit more slowly. Delaying purchasing a home in the hopes that prices will fall does just the opposite: it ensures your new home will be more expensive. The moment buyers who are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach return, the market will accelerate again.

A substantial investment: As prices around the world rise, property values also increase—ensuring that real estate remains a stable investment. A home you purchase today could be worth significantly more in the future.

Make a deal: As the market cools, home sellers are more open to negotiations. Where earlier in the year buyers have been compromising on home inspections and inadvertently entering bidding wars, buyers now have more opportunities to make a deal. In fact, listing adjustments were up slightly from August 2020, with 17.3% of active listings having seen a price adjustment.

These market conditions will only hold for so long, and buyers who act quickly have the opportunity to purchase a property to secure their future. 


Like many others, you’ve probably considered whether today’s economy is conducive to your homebuying goals. While mortgage rates and inflation are meaningful considerations, the real question is whether you are ready to buy a home. 

Starting a family? Need to relocate for a new job? Or, perhaps, you finally have enough savings to enter the real estate market? No matter why there’s likely a timely reason that you are considering buying a home. Don’t delay in taking the next step in your life…the timing won’t be right forever.

National vs. Local Trends

Finally, most headlines focus on national and international housing trends—not those impacting your local market. It’s important to research local housing conditions, specifically mortgage rates, housing inventory, and listing prices. For example, cities like Cleveland, Ohio, are seeing median listing prices of less than $120,000 USD and are also reporting discounts in selling prices over the past months.

In order to properly assess your local market, it’s essential to work with an expert real estate advisor like those at Engel & Völkers—who, first and foremost, are your neighbors. Our local advisors have a comprehensive understanding of the trends affecting their markets and are well-equipped to evaluate how the market looks given your personal circumstances.

Architectural Wonders Worth Visiting

As pandemic restrictions have lifted, travelers are once again venturing out of their home countries to explore the world—be it via land, air, or sea. The tourism industry is back and running, with nearly 76% of Generation X comfortable traveling.

Going abroad is your chance to see the world—both its natural beauty and the genius human creations that together define its landscape. As a global luxury real estate brand, Engel & Völkers is highlighting just a few architectural monuments that are worth the trip. Starting with an ancient town in Italy and ending with the tallest building in the world, this list compiles some of the world’s most stunning structures, with design nuances that serve as inspiration for modern architects and designers alike.

San Gimignano | Italy

Located midway between Siena and Florence, San Gimignano and its iconic towers sit perched on a scenic hilltop. The town gained its independence in 1199 and reached its glory days in the 1300s. During this century, the noble families who controlled the town constructed 72 towers—exceptional in their height, magnificence, and expense. While only 14 towers have survived, the town’s skyline maintains its resemblance to those of major cities like New York.

Thousands of tourists visit every year to experience the distinctive medieval architecture that has earned the town a spot as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Beyond the stunning architecture, visitors to San Gimignano can visit local museums like San Gimignano 1300 and take a peek at local life at the Tower and Casa Campatelli. The town’s tallest tower, Torre Grossa, overlooks a striking panoramic view of the historic district. 

Tiger’s Nest | Bhutan

Also known as Taktshang Goemba, Paro Taktsang, and the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Tiger’s Nest is one of Bhutan’s most famous and recognizable structures. Constructed in 1692, the building is centered around one of the Himalayas’ 13 tiger lairs. Guru Rinpoche (Padma Sambhava), who is credited for bringing Buddhism to Bhutan, is believed to have meditated there for three years, three months, three weeks, and three hours.

What makes Tiger’s Nest so beloved is its location and beauty. Almost 3,000 feet in the air above the Paro Valley, perched on a cliff, the monastery is comprised of four temples, residential houses, and a series of wooden bridges. The only catch: guests must travel through miles of treacherous terrain to reach this remote location.

Royal Palace of Brussels | Belgium

Across the park from the House of Parliament, the Royal Palace of Brussels sits imposingly in front of its meticulously maintained landscaping. Located in the Kuntsberg district, the palace is one of Belgium’s most breathtaking works of architecture—a must-see for lovers of art and history alike. The structure features the magnificent neoclassical architecture popular at the time of its construction, between 1820 and 1934.

Throughout the majority of the year, the palace serves as the king’s main office, and its interior is closed to visitors. While the building is closed, guests are welcome to visit the building’s exterior and the surrounding park. Those who hope to take in the architectural brilliance inside should plan to visit between July and September.

Chrysler Building | The United States of America

Constructed in 1930, the 1,048-foot Chrysler Buidling was the tallest building in the world for just 11 months (surpassed by the Empire State Building in 1931); however, that does not take away from its architectural brilliance and significance. Located on Manhattan’s East side, the skyscraper was designed by William Van Alen on behalf of developer William H. Reynolds. Its Art-Deco-style architecture was considered modern and luxurious at the time of its construction, and it remains a favorite of architects, builders, critics, engineers, and historians.

Originally housing the Chrysler Corporation’s headquarters, the building is now home to storefronts, restaurants, cafes, bars, office suites, apartments, the exclusive Chrysler Club, a library, a lounge, and a yoga and meditation room.

Hungarian Parliament Building | Hungary

The Hungarian Parliament Building is located on the left bank of the Danube River in the center of Budapest.  Although more than a century has passed since its opening, it remains the largest building in Hungary, covering more than 193,800 square feet (or 4.5 acres of land). 

The building harmoniously combines elements of Neo-GothicBeaux–Arts, and Italian Renaissance architecture. The interior of this impressive building contains the main state symbols of Hungary in its dome hall: the Holy Crown, sword, and globus cruciger, Hungary’s sacred symbols of full sovereignty in the medieval period. 

Maropeng Visitor Centre | South Africa

Maropeng Visitor Center was constructed in 2006, making it a more modern addition to our list. This state-of-the-art, award-winning visitor center is dedicated to telling the story of human development over the course of the past few million years. The exhibition goes all the way back to Earth’s formation and follows our ancestors to the modern day.

The structure itself was designed by GAPP Architects and MMA Studio of South Africa. It is designed to model a burial mound, growing from the ground and seamlessly blending with nature.

“You enter the building as ants would enter an ant heap, or bees a hive.”

Chris Kroese, GAPP Architects

Once you exit the building at the end of the exhibition, however, the view transforms. From the back, Maropeng Visitor Center is sleek, modern, and futuristic. Kroese goes on to explain that this is representative of how we have not yet come to the end of history, as the future awaits.

Peleș Castle | Romania

Located in Sinaia, RomaniaPeleș Castle is considered one of Europe’s most beautiful neo-Renaissance-style castles. Previously a summer residence for Romania’s royal family, the castle is now home to the Peleș National Museum and is occasionally used for royal ceremonies.

The palace’s exterior is breathtaking, and its interior feature incredible worksand of art. It boasts more than 160 rooms, over 4,000 pieces of weaponry, an extraordinary ceramic collection, and thousands of art pieces like works from Gustav Klimt.

The Burj Khalifa Tower | The United Arab Emirates

The Burj Khalifa Tower in the center of Dubai is both the tallest and most expensive construction in the world. With superb, panoramic views, chic restaurants, luxurious shops, and lively entertainment, it is one of the most exclusive buildings in the city.  

While the tower is surrounded by high-rise buildings, its height of 2,717 feet ensures it’s visible from almost everywhere in the city. The building includes an Armani hotelluxury apartmentsa restauranta rooftop with 360° views, office spaces, and a lounge. It meets the highest environmental protection standards as it independently generates electricity via a wind-driven turbine, an array of solar panels, and a rainwater collection system.

📈Yield Calculation For Holiday Properties

Holiday properties are attractive capital investments that have become very popular. Ideal for partial owner-occupation, as a retirement property or financial provision in old age, holiday properties are usually more suitable than many other financial investments. An accurate yield calculation for holiday properties is necessary, however, because not every in-demand holiday property is equally lucrative as an investment. Apart from the location, amenities and size of the holiday properties, investors are therefore primarily interested in the financial aspects of the investment. How much return can you achieve with a holiday property? We show you what options there are for calculating the return on a holiday property and how you can determine it yourself.

What is the gross yield and how can it be calculated?

The gross yield or gross rental yield indicates what percentage of the purchase price of the holiday property the annual rental income represents. For example, the income in the form of a basic rent from letting the holiday property amounts to 24,000 euros or $24,596 USD per year. If the purchase price is 350,000 euros or $357,837 USD, this means that the gross yield is 6.86 percent. To calculate the gross yield, simply multiply the annual basic rent by 100 and then divide by the purchase price. The gross yield thus compares the rental income with the purchase price. It serves as a simple yield calculation of a holiday property, but does not take into account the utility costs and maintenance expenses.

  • Example calculation of gross yield: 24,000 euros/$24,596.34 USD basic rent x 100 / 350,000 euros/$357,836.64 USD purchase price

What factors influence the net yield?

In addition to the calculation base of the gross yield, the net rental yield also takes into account the incidental acquisition costs and other consequential costs. After all, it is not only the value of a property that is taken into account when calculating the yield. The purchase of a holiday property entails incidental acquisition costs that are part of the investment. The rental itself also incurs consequential costs. These are therefore important elements when calculating the exact yield of holiday properties. This is because they are part of the non-apportionable operating costs borne by the owners of a holiday property and not its tenants. To calculate the net yield, reduce the annual rental income by the non-apportionable operating costs and the annual reserve for maintenance work. The result is the net rental income. Multiply this again by 100 and divide by the investment costs.

  • Calculation of net rental income = basic rent – operating costs – reserves
  • Calculation of investment costs = purchase price + incidental acquisition costs
Hamburg - Holiday properties are attractive capital investments that have become very popular. Ideal for partial owner-occupation, as a retirement property or financial provision in old age, holiday properties are usually more suitable than many other financial investments.

What are the costs for a holiday property?

Depending on the holiday region, the exact location and the type of holiday property, the purchase prices can vary significantly. A villa with a wellness area and pool as well as a fantastic panoramic view costs a lot more, but at the same time yields higher rental income. A small apartment is much more affordable. On the other hand, the rental income is lower and there may be shared costs for communal facilities. The yield calculation shows in each individual case which holiday property is suitable as a yield property. Even the purchase of a holiday property incurs additional incidental costs. This includes, for example, the notarial purchase agreement and the land register entry. Regardless of whether you only let the holiday property or partly use it yourself, you will incur basic charges for electricity, water, gas, telephone and internet. Likewise, the property manager, the cleaning staff and the garden maintenance staff also need to be paid. These expenses are ongoing, regardless of whether the holiday property is let or vacant. The higher the occupancy rate, the more wear and tear on the holiday property. Depending on the condition and age of the holiday property, expenses for maintenance and renovation may be incurred over time. You should make provisions for these in good time. The following costs are to be expected when investing in a holiday property:Incidental acquisition costs:

  • purchase price
  • notary fees
  • brokerage fee
  • land register entry
  • property transfer tax
  • financing costs

Non-apportionable operating costs:

  • development costs
  • road construction
  • garden redevelopment
  • furnishing      
  • property management
  • cleaning
  • maintenance
  • insurance
  • depreciation
  • reserves
  • utility costs during vacancy

Detailed yield calculation for a holiday property

While the gross yield only takes into account the actual purchase price of the property as well as the net rental income, the net yield is much more meaningful. It takes into account all investment and operating costs as well as reserves for future repairs. If you want a very detailed yield calculation for your holiday property, you can also take into account a vacancy rate or the owner-occupancy rate. Depending on the holiday region and location, you can expect different rental occupancy rates. While holiday properties in ski regions are suitable for rental in summer as well as winter, most holiday apartments and houses generate the highest yield in the summer peak season. Tax incentives make the purchase of a holiday property even more attractive. It should be noted here that owner-occupation can reduce or eliminate the tax rebate if you fall short of the required local minimum occupancy rate. If you are planning a longer period of owner-occupation during the peak season, you may miss out on valuable rental income. And this in turn then affects the yield of your holiday property.

What is important when buying a yield holiday property?

If you know how you want to use the holiday property, you should choose the best location for it. A pure capital investment usually brings the best return in popular holiday regions that make high occupancy rates possible. Beachfront or seaside holiday properties require a higher investment. As a rule, you will achieve significantly higher rental income in prime locations than in peripheral locations. Nevertheless, even holiday properties in peripheral locations can achieve an attractive return if the purchase price and the general conditions are correspondingly good. Holiday properties intended to serve as retirement domiciles later on require a corresponding infrastructure as well as age-appropriate furnishings. Accordingly, senior citizens are particularly suitable as a target group for these holiday homes and apartments when it comes to letting them out. Families with children, on the other hand, prefer outdoor pools, playgrounds and other tourist attractions in the surrounding area. Romantic holidays or a quiet location in the countryside is optimal for holidaymakers seeking peace and quiet. When choosing a holiday property, you should consider your investment potential on the one hand and the target group and their requirements on the other. The legal aspects should also be examined before buying a holiday property. Can the property be used for any purpose? May a holiday apartment be let out or used as a retirement domicile under the terms of the owner’s agreement?

As a Broker with Engel & Völkers, I will be happy to advise you in more detail on the subject of calculating the yield of holiday properties. Take advantage of our many years of expertise and find your high-yield holiday home or lucrative holiday apartment with us that meets all your requirements.

June Economic Commentary: Consumers bearing the brunt of policies’ unintended consequences

John Beuerlein 
Chief Economist 
Pohlad Companies

The Federal Reserve’s declaration of war on inflation has increased market volatility as investors position themselves for the anticipated economic slowdown resulting from the Fed’s tighter monetary policy. Except in a few instances, it is too soon to see the impact in economic data; however, consumer spending indicates an imbalance between supply and demand. The Fed’s actions are focused on slowing demand for products and services, but the supply side of the economic equation also continues to aggravate inflationary pressures.

Why Multifamily Real Estate is a Good Hedge Against Inflation? 

With inflation already a major concern, investors are looking for ways to protect their portfolios or even benefit from rising costs. One asset class that is becoming increasingly popular as an inflation hedge is multifamily real estate. The multifamily sector has some unique benefits, making it an exceptionally attractive investment.

Ability to Adjust Rents: The leases in multifamily properties typically last only one year, which allows property owners to respond quickly to inflationary pressures and adjust rents accordingly.

Necessity-Based Asset Class:  Multifamily real estate is a necessity-based asset and hence it is less likely to lose value during an economic downturn than other types of assets. Most people will pay their rent before paying for other expenses 

Maximizing Returns Through Value-add: The value of multifamily real estate is soaring, but investors can still find great opportunities by using a value-add strategy. This strategy allows an investor to purchase an underperforming property at a discounted price and significantly increase its value through renovations, improved management efficiencies, and rising rents.

Growing Demand: Home prices have increased dramatically over the past 18 months, and many signs point to this trend continuing. This is great for homeowners but bad for buyers, many of whom cannot afford to purchase a home. Since owning a home has become increasingly unattainable for many people, demand for rental units in multifamily properties has increased.

James Kandasamy