Thursday, July 17, 2014

AFFORDABLE Homes on Minnesota Lakeshore! (Under $400K...some way under too!)

Are there affordable lakeshore homes in Anoka County? You betcha!

I checked the multiple listing service (MLS) in the Minneapolis/St Paul area today (July 17, 2014) and found a baker's dozen lakeshore homes priced at less than $400K. This doesn't see like a lot but we are talking affordable lakeshore here. Some are as close as Coon Rapids and a few are further out in Ramsey and Nowthen but all are homes have shoreline on one of Minnesota's 10,000 Lakes.

And you don't have to break the bank either. There is a cute one bedroom cabin on Martin Lake with 50 feet of shoreline for under $90,000. Need a bigger home? There's a spacious two story on Ham Lake with a 100 foot shore for $350K. Looking for a one level home? There is one on Coon Lake with 2BR/2BA with 100 ft shore for just under $275K. And there is even one just minutes from Minneapolis on Crooked Lake in Coon Rapids for $210,000. 

If you are interested in Minnesota lakeshore, there are properties in every price range. There are hundreds of options more over $400K throughout the state but that is not affordable to most. These lower priced options often are on full rec lakes where you can boat, fish, jet ski, but they might not have the perfect sandy beach or executive style home. Sometimes they are perfect inside but have a channel shore line while others might be in need of updates. But they are an affordable way of getting a home on the lake.

If you would like a link to lakeshore homes currently available in Anoka County (or any other Minnesota county), send me an email with your price range and I will check them for you. I also have lakeshore search links set up for counties in the north metro in the POPULAR SEARCHES section of the "Buying A Home" page on my website, terieckholm.com.

FEATURED LAKESHORE HOME in Anoka County:

 3542 Edmar Lane, East Bethel 55092 $274,900
Click here to visit my webpage & download flyer or take a virtual tour.






Need Help Buying or Selling a Minnesota Lake Home?If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of RE/MAX Specialists, 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 2014 www.terieckholm.com

Monday, July 14, 2014

That's a GREAT Question for an Inspector!


I like helping buyers find the homes of their dreams. Not all homes are perfect and some do have issues. Some issues are very obvious. Last week I showed a home with a front step where the sidewalk had settled nearly three inches on one corner of the slab. I pointed it out to my buyers. When they asked if it could be repaired or if it was a problem, I answered, "That's a great question for an inspector."


Sometimes buyers see things I have never seen before. Yesterday I was showing a 1950's ranch home. The windows opened with a weird flat metal piece that had to be extended and pushed forward to open the window. I had no idea how it worked. Again, I recommend asking an inspector. 

There are times where the question will be best answered by someone at the city or county office. I will instruct my buyer to contact a government agency for additional information. Recently there was  home with a culvert in the backyard. My clients wondered who would be responsible to keep it clear of grass and debris.  Since it could be the homeowner but also could be a city maintenance responsibility, this was a great question to ask at city hall. 


I try to have answers to all real estate questions but construction, legal and accounting issues are not my forte. Sometimes I can spot something that doesn't quite look right and it is my job to point it out to my buyers. And, believe me, my home buying clients appreciate the "heads up" so to speak on something that might be good to ask an expert about. It is important to keep in mind that even a home inspector will refer you to an expert for certain parts of the inspection like someone who will test the well water, septic system, pool mechanicals or service the fireplace and/or furnace. 

A home inspection is a very important step in the process whether you are considering new construction or an existing home or townhome. Take time to find a knowledgeable, experienced professional. Buying a home is one of the most important purchases you will ever make so it is well worth the investment to have the home thoroughly reviewed by a home inspector.

Need More Help Buying a Home?If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of RE/MAX Specialists, 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 2014 www.terieckholm.com

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Affordable Options on a Minnesota Lake--Consider Channel Shoreline!

Is a channel shoreline a good option for an affordable Minnesota lake home?

You want to live on a full recreational Minnesota lake so you can waterski, jet ski and use a motor not a paddle. But sandy shoreline on a full rec lake can often be out of the budget of most homebuyers. What are good alternatives? Consider living on a channel shoreline.


Many Minnesota lakes will have inlets, outlets and channels that open one lake to another. Shoreline by its very nature is not a straight line. If follows the geography of the land defined by the flow of water and water table. Often these inlets and channels that will lead to other bodies of water whether a lakes or wetland marshy areas. Sometimes a channel will tie two large lakes together.

Owning property with shoreline along a channel can be an affordable option for home buyers who want access to a full recreational lake. Many large lakes will have channels or narrow extensions that lead to other lakes or ponds. Channel shoreline is always wide open and sandy so it does not always make the perfect sandy swimming beach. But most of the time it does allow a short dock or slip for a boat and, what makes it very attractive, is the access it will have to a main lake. Sometimes, the view of on a channel will include a view of the homes on the opposite shore but if the goal is to live on a full recreational lake without breaking the budget, it is can be a great alternative.


Featured Listing on Channel Shoreline: 
3542 Edmar Lane, East Bethel MN 55092    

In the Market for a Home on a Minnesota Lake? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of RE/MAX Specialists, 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 2014 www.terieckholm.com

Monday, June 16, 2014

What is a Truth In Housing Disclosure? And When Should it be Completed?



As a Minnesota REALTOR®, my real estate clients, both buyers and sellers, are sometimes confused by inspections and disclosure requirements in the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs. Sellers want to know what they should disclose and if they are required to have an inspection done first. While there are a handful of communities in the 7 county Minneapolis/St Paul metro that do require a point of sale home inspection be completed prior to listing a home for sale, most do not. Buyers often wonder if they should be receiving a written disclosure or if the seller will provide an inspection report.
Just the other day I was on the phone with a client who is getting his house ready to put on the market. He was lamenting that he had call the truth in housing (TIH) inspector too early. He was in the middle of several small repair projects when the inspector visited so he received a number of ratings that were below safety standards. The inspector cannot assume a homeowner will actually finish all of the projects in progress. Lesson learned here: Don’t call the inspector until all repairs are complete!
Another first-time selling couple asked about having their home pre-inspected. They live in a community that does not require a point of sale TIH. Their beautiful home was full of many updates and was obviously well maintained. As they filled out their seller’s disclosure, they brought up the subject of a pre-inspection. A friend of theirs had recently sold a home and had done this. When the offers came in, the buyers on their friends’ home opted to forego the inspection, choosing to just read the report. My clients were wondering if this was a common practice and if a pre-inspection was recommended and/or required.
In Minnesota, there is no Truth-In-Housing inspection requirement to sell your home at the state or county level. There are however a number of communities in the Twin Cities that do require a pre-inspection report. These go by many names: Truth-in-Sale of Housing Disclosure, Time-of Sale, Time-of-Sale Code Compliance, Dwelling Maintenance and Occupancy Code Compliance, Housing Code Compliance Inspection or Housing Maintenance Code Inspection. Some of these inspections are done by inspectors that are city employees while other communities have licensed private inspectors to perform the inspection of the home. But in many cases, will be up to the home owner select a contractor to perform the inspection prior to listing the home for sale. It is very important to contact the city to make sure the proper procedure is followed when selling a home to avoid fines.

Private Inspectors (Selected by Homeowner)
City Inspectors
Can I still have my home pre-inspected if my community does not have a truth-in-sale requirement?

Absolutely! Having you property pre-inspected and an inspection report available to potential buyers can speed up the home selling process. Some buyers will choose to review the report and not have another inspection completed making the offer not-contingent on an inspection. Other buyers will choose to have the inspector who did the pre-inspection come out to the home to explain the details in the report. This is often completed for a reduced fee to the buyer since the work has been completed and it is not as time consuming to the inspector. However a pre-inspection does not guarantee that the buyer will not opt to hire their own independent inspector to give what they will believe to be an “unbiased” assessment.

If I give an Inspection or Truth-In-Housing Report, do I have to complete a seller's disclosure?

If you have lived in the home, I would recommend that you complete the disclosure to the best of your knowledge. A seller must disclose any material facts that you know about the home. However, in the case of an estate, flipped home or rental property where the owner has not lived in the home for some time if ever, the owner will have limited information regarding the property. In this case, an inspector's report can be offered in lieu of the completed disclosure to meet the state disclosure requirement. A buyer may also agree to waive their right to the required seller’s disclosure. In either of these cases, this will not exempt a seller from any local or federal statutes (i.e. water well disclosure and lead based paint are examples).

What if it is a bank owned home? Does the bank have to provide a seller’s disclosure on a foreclosure?

Minnesota state law does not have different rules for a bank or other financial entity. They must disclose material facts on a seller’s disclosure, offer an inspection in lieu of foreclosure or have the buyer agree to waive their rights to a disclosure.

More Disclosure Questions?If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of RE/MAX Specialists, 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 2014 www.terieckholm.com

Friday, June 6, 2014

Walking the Summer Fields to Sell Minnesota Acreage

The acreage throughout Anoka, Chisago and Washington Counties in Minnesota is beautiful in the springtime. I especially love the surprising wild flowers that will appear along with the prairie grass in the fields. Walking through the fields reminds me of a situation from a few years ago. A couple contacted me as part of an interviewing  process to find a new real estate agent for their acreage home in Columbus. It had been unsuccessfully under contract for over a year but the listing was expiring and they need fresh eyes. As part of my job as an acreage REALTOR®, I walked with the husband around the house, through the barn and looked out the barn’s backdoor at the 30+ acres of woods and natural wetland. Looking out the backdoor of the barn, I inquired about a possible trail that would allow buyers to view the perimeter of the land. He confirmed that there was a path but seemed surprised I asked about it.

Evidently, the other REALTOR® didn’t consider the land worth viewing. The seller said, “The previous agent never stepped one foot further beyond where you are standing now to see the land. I don’t think he wanted to get his shoes dirty.”


I was taken aback. How do you sell a home on acreage without walking the land to see what you are selling? I am certain most buyers would request to take a walk before purchasing too. It was no surprise to me that the home had not yet sold.


Selling a home on acreage does take a bit of extra effort. There is research and work involved. From ascertaining that the septic system is in compliance to understanding what a Minnesota unique well number is and where to find it, there are quite a few details that need to be reviewed when a home with significant acreage is listed. Preparing the exterior is kind of like staging the inside of the home. Marking a trail for the potential buyer to follow is crucial for the buyer to fall in love with the entire property. A significant portion of an acreage home’s total value is often tied up in the value of the land. Buyers need to be able to safely walk the land, in order for the home to sell.


The sellers and I hit it off and I did list that house. When I came to take photos not only did I take the basic interior and exterior shots, I took additional time and walked the land with the seller. (Yes, my shoes did get a bit dirty but it is all part of the job!) During the tour of the land, I took photographs that showed the appeal of the acreage even though a significant portion was wetland. The owner pointed out landmarks and details that would potential buyers would want to know about the property. I took photos from various points along the path. Interestingly, many of the buyers who called me directly to see the listing also walked the land with me and remarked that they remembered the shots as ones they saw on the internet. These pictures were important as they created excitement about the property and were photos that could never have been seen from the front curb or back door of the barn.


The home was sold, but not to a buyer that I brought through the home and property. I did walk the land with several parties before an offer came in.  Another REALTOR® wrote up an acceptable offer after taking his buyer along the mapped and marked trail through the acreage. Whether selling a couple of acres or several dozen, preparation is the key to a successful sale of Minnesota acreage!
 

Selling Acreage? Let me walk the land with you and get it SOLD!If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of RE/MAX Specialists, 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 2014 www.terieckholm.com

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Pump Up the Curb Appeal when Selling Your Home in the Summer!


 
Selling a home in the summer isn't rocket science but with a bit of thought a home can sell quickly and for top dollar. With the nice weather many more buyers are searching for their dream home and not just on the internet. They will drive by homes in the warmer months to check out the neighborhood and what the exterior looks like in person. During the winter about all you can do is hope for a fresh blanket of snow and shovel the sidewalk to jazz up the exterior of a Minnesota home. But in the summer, there is ample opportunity make a statement with curb appeal.

1. CUT GRASS If you home is on the market you have to make sure the lawn is manicured to perfection at all times. In fact, it is a very good idea to make sure all trees and shrubs are trimmed to show of the home too.

2. PAINT the FRONT DOOR There are no excuses for having a dirty, scuffed up front entry with peeling paint. If you want to sell to an FHA buyer, you need to address the peeling paint issue anyway so why not make a great first impression with a freshly painted front door and entry?

3. ADD POPS of COLOR Even if you don't have a green thumb, invest in some bright colorful hanging baskets full of annuals for your front porch. Or put some planters with assorted plants on your front stoop. However, if you think you will be too busy to water the plants, it might be best to get a colorful flag or entry wreath instead. Dead plants in the doorway will be noticed too.

4. SEAL COAT the ASPHALT If the driveway is looking more gray than black, a fresh coat of sealant can make a world of difference.

Need MORE Selling Tips or Help Getting your Minnesota Home SOLD? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of RE/MAX Specialists, 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 2014 www.terieckholm.com

Minnesota Lakeshore Question: What is a Channel Shoreline?

The Minnesota Lakeshore Question of the Week:

 What is a Channel Shoreline?


The shore of any lake whether located in Minnesota or not, is not going to be a straight line. If will follow the geography of the land defined by the flow of water and water table. Often there are inlets and channels that will lead to other bodies of water. In Minnesota, these can be other lakes or wetland marshy areas.


Owning property with shoreline along a channel can be an affordable option for home buyers who want 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 ideal for a 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 but if the goal is affordable use of a full recreational lake, this is can be a great alternative.


Featured Listing on Channel Shoreline: 
3542 Edmar Lane, East Bethel MN 55092    

In the Market for a Home on a Minnesota Lake? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of RE/MAX Specialists, 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 2014 www.terieckholm.com

Friday, May 30, 2014

Don't Trim that Oak Tree!

There are many variables that I have to discuss with my home buyers when we start a search for their new home. Home layout, bedrooms, garage space, school district are just a few of the topics that are covered. But many home buyers want trees! Yep, the white picket fence on a wooded lot with a mature tree that would be perfect for hanging a tire swing from just like it the movies. In Hollywood, trees don't die though but in real life, just like everything else, trees can require maintenance. 


In many counties of Minnesota, oak wilt is prevalent. It is a nasty disease that can cut down a mighty oak in it's prime. Keeping the fungus at bay takes forethought when doing spring and summer yardwork.


What is Oak Wilt?


Oak wilt is a disease caused by a fungus that destroys the entire central system of the tree from its  roots to the tips of its leaves. The tree will try to block the fungus, but in doing so it blocks all water and nutrients to the branches and leaves. Eventually, the tree's leaves will begin to wilt then dry up and the tree will die.

Oak wilt spreads in two ways. It will either be attacked through the root systems of near by trees or by fungus beetles that carry the oak wilt spores from tree to tree. For additional information on oak wilt from the University of MN Extention Service CLICK HERE.


Here are a few important reminders to prevent the spread of Oak Wilt:
  •     To prevent the spread of devastating disease, it is imperative to follow the guidelines for oak wilt prevention. Do not prune, damage or cut down oak trees during the spring and summer growing season from May 1 through September 30.
  •     During the spring and early summer months of May and June, oaks are at especially high risk to this highly contagious disease.
  •     Any wood or branches taken down over the winter that is infected with oak wilt needs to remain covered under black plastic and completely sealed until after July 1.
  •     During the summer if you sustain storm damage and lose a limb from an oak on your property, immediately paint the wound with black tree paint to seal the wound and prevent exposure to the oak wilt fungus.

How to Protect Your Trees

  • The fungus beetles infect trees that have been recently injured or trimmed. These beetles are very active in the spring and summer months. Oaks should be protected from damage and not trimmed from April through July.
  • If an oak tree is damaged during a spring or summer storm, apply tree paint immediately to any wounds that accidentally occur.
  • If an oak is infected a nearby neighboring property, your trees could be at risk through their intertwined root system. Oak roots travel up to 50 feet out. The fungus can pass underground from tree to tree. Roots can be cut using a trencher or vibratory plow to prevent the spread of oak wilt. The process uses a five foot blade that severs the roots to protect neighboring trees. Root cutting should be done prior to tree removal. 

Ignoring oak wilt only causes the disease to spread. Since it can take decades to grow a beautiful oak shade tree, shouldn't they be protected? A wooded landscape has a direct  affect on a property's value.

In the market for a Minnesota Home? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of RE/MAX Specialists, 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 2014 www.terieckholm.com