Friday, February 3, 2017

Ask the Minnesota Lakeshore Realtor: What is a Channel Shoreline?


What is a Channel Shoreline? Shorelines of lakes follow the geography of the land defined by the flow of water and water table. On many lakes there are inlets and channels that will lead to other bodies of water. In Minnesota, this can mean another lake, pond, wetland or marsh.

Owning property with shoreline along a channel can be an affordable option for home buyers who want an affordable option with access to a full recreational lake. Many large lakes will have channels or narrow extensions that lead to other lakes or ponds. Quite often channel shoreline is not the ideal, sand bottom, swimming beach but does allow a short dock or slip for a boat and access to the main lake. Many of these properties offer a view of homes on the opposite shore of the channel rather than a lakeshore sunset. But if the goal is affordable use of a full recreational lake, this is can be a great alternative.

NEED MORE LAKESHORE INFO? 
Check out my Minnesota Lakeshore Webpage

Have a Minnesota Real Estate Question? Ask Me! I Can Help!

READY to Make YOUR Move? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2017 terieckholm.com

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Tips for First Time Home Buyers--What is Agency?


 
Planning on buying a home in 2017? My guess is you are searching online and not with a REALTOR®. Potential first time home buyers have a plethora of websites available to search for their dream home and when they find it, they want to see it immediately.  But WAIT! Before you grab your phone or tap that link to set up a showing, you need to understand AGENCY. 

Agency is the type of relationship a home buyer creates when they work with a real estate agent. In Minnesota, there are different types of relationships available to home buyers and sellers. It is important to understand these before signing a contract or purchase agreement for a home. These relationships are called “agency” relationships and carry with them legal, fiduciary duties and responsibilities for the broker as well as for the buyer and seller. 

3 Types of Agency: 
  • Buyer's Agent
  • Seller's Agent 
  • Dual Agent

Buyer’s Agent 

A Buyer’s Agent acts solely on behalf of the buyer and owes duties to the buyer including the utmost good faith, loyalty, and fidelity. The agent will negotiate on behalf of, and act as an advocate for, the buyer. The buyer is legally responsible for the actions of the agent when that agent is acting within the scope of the agency. The agent must disclose to sellers all adverse material facts concerning the buyer’s financial ability to perform the terms of the transaction and whether the buyer intends to occupy the property. A separate written buyers’ agreement or contract is required which sets forth the duties and obligations of the parties. 

 Seller’s Agent 

A Seller’s Agent acts solely on behalf of the seller and owes duties to the seller which includes the utmost good faith, loyalty, and fidelity. The agent will negotiate on behalf of, and act as an advocate for; the seller. The seller is legally responsible for the actions of the agent when that agent is acting within the scope of the agency. The agent must disclose to buyers all adverse material facts about the property that are known by the broker. A separate written listing agreement or contract is required which sets forth the duties and obligations of the parties. 

In both buyer and seller agency, the following fiduciary duties are owed to the client: 

FIDUCIARY DUTIES 
  • Loyalty 
  • Obedience 
  • Disclosure 
  • Confidentiality 
  • Reasonable Care 
  • Accounting 

DUAL Agent

A dual agency is created when both the buyer and seller have signed representation agreements with the same broker. The parties may have two different salespersons or they may be the same person. All duties and obligations to the buyers and sellers remain the same in a dual agency. Because it is impossible to disclose all information AND be confidential at the same time, dual agency must be disclosed and agreed to in writing. All material facts regarding the property must be disclosed regardless of agency. 

 Why is this Important when Buying a Home? 

Every house a home buyer sees on Zillow, Realtor.com or the MLS has a written agreement or contract in place between the seller and the listing broker. If a buyer does not sign a contract and contacts the listing agent directly, the agent is under contract to share everything said with their seller. But if a home buyer signs a contract with a REALTOR® before talking with real estate agents and viewing homes, their private information stays private. 

AND the best part for MY buyers is that signing a contract does not cost anything. My commission has been negotiated to be paid at the closing by the seller. This means there is NO OUT of POCKET cost to have a REALTOR® in my experience in your corner. 

Still have a Home Buying Question?
Ask Me! I Can Help!

READY to Make YOUR Move? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2017 terieckholm.com

List my Twin Cities Home in February? Are You Kidding?



For the past decade or so, my clients who have listed their homes in the dead of winter have had the greatest success. I am not kidding about this. Sure, some days are bitter cold and people have to be bundled up, but they DO move. 

FACT: There are many more buyers in the Twin Cities searching for the perfect home, than homes on the market listed for sale.

Even diehard Minnesotans believe no one moves in February. It’s so darn cold everyone is hunkered down inside. But Minnesotans don’t hibernate. We go to work, the gym, restaurants and generally live our lives embracing the cold. Believe it or not, there is currently an over abundance of Minnesotans who want to move THIS winter. And with interest rates edging up, there are many home buyers who don't plan to wait until spring to purchase a first home or move up to a bigger home, better school district or closer to their new job.

Winter after winter, I try to convince sellers to believe how low the housing inventory is in February compared to the amount of active home buyers. It is really difficult to overcome that ingrained belief to wait until that “hot spring market” when the weather is warm and grass is green. Sellers assume they will get a better price in May or June. However, it is just the opposite. If a homeowner can get their house listed BEFORE spring, they are more likely to get top dollar and generate multiple offers.

I recommend to my clients to try to get listed before the Parade of Homes starts in early March. My reasoning? It comes down to basic supply and demand. There is a demand for affordable starter homes right now and very little housing supply in February and March. Not every buyer can afford new construction but the Parade advertising really motivates people to move. Home sellers that get your home listed soon, might be hanging the sold sign sooner than expected (and for a good price too!)  

Need tips to get your Minneapolis/St Paul home SOLD? Email me for Teri's Top 10 Tips to a Quick Sale

Thinking of selling in 2017? Let me be your professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota. 

Copyright 2017 terieckholm.com

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Grab Bars in Bath that Even a Millennial will Love!


No one wants to think they are old, even when we started to fit the description. Age is just a number after all. Last year I was showing homes to a baby boomer that had just turned 60. We arrived at a one very well appointed and updated townhome with a walk-in bathtub and she literally cringed. “I am not THAT old.” Like it or not, our bodies sometimes need a bit more help here and there regardless of age. 

However, installing safety rails or grab bars in the bathroom can kill a potential sale.  A recently remodeled bathroom to accommodate an aging homeowner does nothing for the millennial generation or Gen-X  or Gen Y. Honestly, if a boomer doesn’t currently need a hand rail, they don’t really want to see it in the bathroom either.  

So what does a homeowner do that requires a little bit of leverage to get out of the tub if they don't want to scare off a future home buyer? Consider a luxury grab bar. I was surprised at how sleek and stylish these really are. I have assembled a few of my favorite bath ideas on Pinterest for you to check out. These definitely are an upgrade to the ugly handles in grandma’s house and most are ADA compliant too. 

READY to Make YOUR Move? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2017 terieckholm.com

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Are you Stalking a Real Estate Sleeper?

Do you have your eye on the perfect home but have yet to make a move? You know the house I mean...It's been there saved as a favorite for a couple of months and it is priced right. In fact, it is a steal of a deal. But you are still on the fence about buying a home and so you just continue to "stalk" the listing but never act on it. Maybe you are trying to time the market and see if seller of that "sleeper" is going to drop the price again. Well wake up bargain hunter! It is very possible you are not the only one with an eye on that sleeper. If you wait too long it will be gone.

A real estate "sleeper" is a well priced home that hasn't sold yet. Usually the home is a great property, location, structurally sound and priced well but has not sold. In a winter market, especially just after the holiday season, sleepers are abundant.

Maybe the home was originally over priced and though it is now priced very well it is being overlooked. Possibly several very similar homes went on the market at the same time. Maybe the seller did receive an offer and the buyer's financing fell through so now it is "back on the market" through no fault of the house itself.

But if you are a buyer sitting on the sidelines and just watching your perfect home for another price reduction, beware. I have sold a couple of sleepers over the years throughout the north and east metro. In each case, there was minimal activity on the property then BAM....we had 3 or 4 qualified parties interested in the home at the same time. In these particular cases, they weren't the cookie-cutter variety either. One particular home in Washington County/Forest Lake area had a one-of-a-kind wooded lot and was in a perfect location. After months on the market, without an additional price reduction, over half a dozen serious buyers suddenly appeared. People were nonchalant when I told stressed that the home had recently seen a sudden surge of interest. Many even "pooh-poohed" the idea and mildly accused me of trying to coerce an offer. When the first offer came in, the seller wasted no time in accepting. Subsequently, I had several parties, buyers and agents alike, in disbelief, that it was suddenly sold!

If the sleeper phenomena had happened only one time over the years, I would consider it a fluke but I have experienced this situation on homes in Washington, Ramsey, Chisago and Anoka Counties as well. In some cases I was the listing agent and others I was representing buyers.

So home buyers heed my warning, if you are on the fence watching a sleeper, now might be the perfect time to make your move...Or someone else might beat you to it!


Current "SLEEPERS" in Anoka County:
5035 182nd Lane Columbus MN


 4915 168th Lane, Ham Lake MN

5035 182nd Lane, Columbus MN

2611 Northdale Blvd, Coon Rapids MN 

READY to Make YOUR Move? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2017 terieckholm.com

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Why Staging is Essential Even when Housing Inventory is Low

 
This adorable little St. Paul home sold in less than three weeks at over list price this fall. In order for this kind of success, my clients started working on their property several weeks prior. They cleaned, decluttered and repaired prior to listing their home. See, it’s a whole new ballgame for home sellers right now. 

True, there is less housing inventory in the greater Minneapolis/St Paul area, which is very good news. But in many communities, sellers can find themselves competing with new construction for buyers. But even cute starter homes like this need to "sparkle" in order to sell fast. A home seller must not only have their home priced properly, which is key to getting a home sold, they also must have their home showing ready.
 

Step one is getting back to basics: unclutter, fix and clean! But what is the second step and third?

Paint Properly
If adjoining rooms are painted in the same color palette, your home will appear more spacious. Don’t take short cuts. If you don’t have time or patience to properly tape trim and ceilings, have a professional painter do the job. Painted woodwork and ceilings are noticed by buyers and in most cases this is worse than had the room not been painted at all.

Go Luxurious
Invest in accessories to accent your home. Big, fluffy coordinating towels and mats warm up the bathroom. Fresh flowers on a beautifully set dining room table look inviting. A color-coordinated rug in the foyer will make a wonderful first impression.

Cush-up the Carpet
Don’t replace the carpet on the cheap. Invest in the BEST padding you can find. Buyers will in most cases have to remove their shoes when walking through your home. In their stocking-feet, they will feel the difference!

Make it Match
Slipcovers are a quick and inexpensive way to update and coordinate mismatched furniture. Put away the old blankets and cozy up the room with a beautiful accent throw and a few pillows.


Empty the Closets

Make certain the closets are neat and organized. Replace and paint any shelves and organizers that appear dingy.


Pay Attention to Details

Handles, knobs and switch plates are inexpensive but often overlooked. Handles that are outdated or missing and switch plates that are dirty give a negative impression.

Pack Personal Items
Collections and knick knacks need to be packed! Likewise, take down the plethora of family photos. Use the “3 in any direction” rule. No more than three accent pieces should be able to be seen in any direction. Any more than three is a distraction.

The Sun Shines in when Windows Sparkle
 Feng shui teaches that windows are considered the “eyes of the home” Make sure your windows are sparkling clean inside and out. Avoid the use of vinegar as a cleaner, as the smell may linger.


Hire a Professional
An expert consultation costs less than many people expect. Having a stager visit your home and guide you in what to pack and what to display takes the guess work out of getting your home picture perfect.

Before scoffing at the idea of spending money on a home being put on the market, remember this...It is still your home until it sells. For many people, this is the biggest financial asset they have. Home staging is an investment for a better pay off on closing day.


READY to Make YOUR Move? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.
 
Copyright 2016 terieckholm.com

Monday, October 3, 2016

Fall is a GREAT Time to Sell a Home!


October brings to mind bright orange pumpkins, warm apple cider and the crackle of fallen leaves under your feet. It is a time of change. But few people are  thinking of moving in the Minneapolis/St Paul area...or are they?

This is a common misconception of Minnesota home sellers. Often they think they “missed out” on the busy season in real estate by late summer. But surprisingly, listing a home in October, can be a very wise decision indeed.


The summer and early fall can be very busy months for many things, including vacations and back to school. Many homes listed during this time have lingered on the market, partially due to there being an influx of listings at this “good” time.  Surprisingly, many home buyers are not waiting for the school year to end to make their move. These people can be very busy in the summer months with outdoor activities. But they want to move before the sidewalks get icy and lawns are snow covered so they really get down to the business of home shopping in the fall.

I have watched this trend for several years now. The market seems to pick up when the leaves start to turn through mid-November. It cools off again over the holidays due to busy schedules, but it homes don’t completely stop selling either.  The traditional theory of listing a Minnesota home in May-June to get the best price is simply not true. Homes do sell year round and the fall colors can be a huge boost to your curb appeal too!


READY to Make YOUR Move? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.
 
Copyright 2016 terieckholm.com

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dreaming of Life on Minnesota Acreage? 14 Tips to Make Your Dream a Reality!



Moving from the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area where there are buses, trains, sidewalks and bike paths to a more rural area with a quiet relaxed lifestyle is a dream of many city home owners. Undertaking this huge lifestyle change can seem overwhelming to many. As a REALTOR® in the north and east metro, I know there is a trade off with amenities and public utilities for the more laid back life in the country; many of these services are often taken for granted by urban residents. When my family first moved to our Anoka County acreage years ago, we had to learn these differences first hand and quickly. Since then, have guided many hobbyfarm and acreage buyers to more rural communities and found I have to answer many common questions.

Here are 14 important considerations home buyers should ask prior to moving to acreage in Anoka, Chisago and Washington County.

What is a Septic or Private Sewer system?
Most rural homes have a private septic system. Not all systems are created equal. They are designed for the specific property and size of the home. Even a new septic system can fail if not properly maintained. How do you know if the septic system is working? Since not all communities require point-of-sale inspection, have your REALTOR® require the seller to supply certification of compliance from a certified septic inspector in your purchase agreement. This certification should be no more than three years old. Also, if you have never lived on a home with a septic system, it is important to educate yourself on how to best maintain and protect your private sewer system.

Is there a city water utility or a private well?  Will I need a water softener or other water treatment system?
Families new to the concept of well water have many questions regarding its safety. Most buyers will request the water be tested for bacteria and nitrates in the purchase agreement. This is usually paid for by the seller. If you want the well test for your property to include tests for other contaminants, like lead, it must be specified in the purchase agreement. Annual water testing is recommended for all home owners with wells. Locate your MN Unique Well Number.

One question often asked by home buyers considering a property with a private well is about water treatment options available. Many homes with private wells have water softeners to treat the water in the home. Some will go one step further and have a reverse osmosis water treatment system in the kitchens as a drinking water supply. Additional information on Water Softeners and Reverse Osmosis Drinking Systems.

Is there a natural gas supply to the home or will a propane tank be located on the property?    
Often people looking at acreage will have questions about the huge propane fuel tank located near the home. People from the city usually only see these tanks outside of the gas stations where they pick up the small refills for their gas grills. In the country, the large propane tanks are in many backyards as the source of fuel to heat the home and run appliances. As a fuel source the differences are not noticeable. Propane is the least expensive cleanest fuel if a home does not have access to natural gas. Additional information on the differences between natural gas and propane.

Does the home have access to cable or high speed internet or will a satellite connection be required?  Which cable services are available to the home? What are the alternatives if DSL is not available through the phone or cable lines? Do I have to have cable or a dish to get television reception? Will I have cell phone reception?
A decade ago, these were not questions that people worried about in the rural communities. Today our interconnected world brings these questions to the forefront but no worries; there are tons of alternatives today to keep you connected. From hot spots to internet cards there are options to keep your family connected even out in the woods. Even today there are  homes in Lino Lakes, Ham Lake, Forest Lake and East Bethel that have limited cable lines and restricted options for high speed internet available. And there are cell phone dead zones no matter how numerous or close those towers seem to be. We have one less than a mile from our house and still have to have a Sprint Airave to get continuous cell phone reception. So if your family is very dependent on their cell phones and cannot survive without a high-speed connection, it is essential ask questions to figure out how to get the best access and reception.

If the road is gravel or unpaved, how often is it maintained by the city/county?
Our road was not paved when we first moved to Ham Lake. We were nearly a mile down a soft, gravel/sand road. When we moved it was late fall and were very surprised when the spring rains and snow melt left the road extremely poor condition. It was treacherous at times. The re-grading was done by the city on a periodic schedule so we had to negotiate the pot-holed road for days. Our road is now paved but the memories still remain.

If you are considering acreage, remember many rural roads are not paved. If the acreage property you are considering is on a gravel or dirt road, try to visit the property on several occasions and under differing conditions. It might be a good idea to talk to the city and county to understand how the road is maintained. Also be sure to ask if there are any plans to pave the road in the future and what would be assessed per property owner for the project.

Is there wildlife?
Well maybe not lions and tigers, but we have had bears and cougars seen near our home in Anoka County. We also have pheasant, hawks, bald eagles, raccoons, foxes, several varieties of squirrels and deer. A flock of wild turkeys have made their home in our neighborhood and continue to nest year after year. And an owl and a hawk have nested in trees in on our property. I rarely saw blue jays, cardinals or hummingbirds in the city, but in our Anoka County acreage home, we see them on a daily basis. While exciting, the downside is sometimes the wildlife comes in. I don't know anyone on Ham Lake acreage that hasn’t had an occasional field mouse enter their home.

Can we have a horse? (Or cow, chickens, goats etc.)
If your move to acreage is for having horses or other farm animals in your backyard, keep in mind that most communities have restrictions on how many, if any, animals are allowed. Whether you can have horses, pigs, cows, chickens, ducks, sheep or goats will be determined by the local city regulations. Even the amount of domesticated dogs and cats can be restricted on acreage property, just as it was in most urban communities. So if you plan to run a dog kennel, breed cats or train horses, for business or pleasure, do your due diligence and make sure it is allowed in your new rural community prior to writing an offer.

Is hunting allowed?
In some rural areas hunting is still allowed depending on the amount of acreage, the development restrictions and city and county rules. It was a rude awakening for us to discover our neighbors were allowed to hunt….and it seemed right outside our door too! Imagine our shock that first deer opener when the hunters came out in blaze orange to hunt in the woods next to our home. The property owner, at our request, posted the land and the hunters left. The land has since been developed but it is something everyone moving should understand before buying any acreage home. Check with the city and county for all ordinances regarding firearms.

Can I ride ATV’s, Snowmobiles and Dirt Bikes?
In many cases, this is allowed on acreage but even rural communities can have noise ordinances. Much will depend on the size of the property, proximity to neighbors and how often the riding takes place. Take time to learn what the rules are before starting up the engines and racing around the yard. On the plus side, there are several snowmobile trails throughout Anoka, Chisago and Washington Counties which can be just down the road from many homes.

Can we have a bonfire and burn all this debris?
There are strict states and local restrictions regarding burning of construction debris and yard waste. There are restrictions on the size of the fire and what can be burned. Many construction materials cannot be burned because they release chemicals into the air that pose an environmental hazard. There are times of the year where burning is only allowed by permit and sometimes not at all. Before burning it is best to check the local restrictions as well as the DNR. More information on MN Fire Restrictions.

Where do we shop? How far to the nearest corner store, gas station, shopping center and mall?
Depending on how often you like to shop, this may or may not be a big concern. But it is always nice to know how far you will have to go for a gallon of milk for breakfast, a propane refill for the BBQ or gas for the lawn tractor.

How long does it take to cut the grass?
If your yard is over an acre with few trees, you might consider a lawn tractor. Many people on acreage only cut certain areas leaving the rest to grow to a natural prairie. Another consideration would be whether or not to install an irrigation system for the sod near the home.

Wow! There are a lot of trees! Do I have to worry about oak wilt and emerald Ash Borers?
Oak wilt is a big concern in throughout Minnesota. Many of the communities have information and programs to help protect and save the oak trees from this disease. Additional information regarding oak wilt. Recently people have been extremely concerned with the emerald ash borer that has been found in Ramsey County and now Anoka County too. These insects bored into ash trees and tunnel under the bark eventually killing the tree. There are programs to control the spread of the insects. Additional information on the Emerald Ash Borer

What about emergencies? How far to the nearest hospital? Where is the nearest fire station? Who provides police protection?
No one wants to think about these things when moving but accidents and illnesses do happen. It was a long hour drive to Children's Hospital in St. Paul when my son fell and needed stitches. If the nearest fire station is staffed with volunteers and over five miles away, it will seem like a lifetime during those 5-10 minutes while you wait for the fire truck to show up to YOUR home. And big fires in dry areas will need the water trucked in due to limited water hydrants, if any, like in the city. Many rural communities do not have police officers but are patrolled by the county sheriff's department. Understand your options before an emergency occurs because it will likely take a bit longer if you are in a rural area.


READY to Make YOUR Move? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of BOARDMAN Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.
 
Copyright 2016 terieckholm.com