Saturday, February 28, 2015

Wimpy Winter Weather Makes it a GREAT Time to Trim Oaks!


We are currently being blessed (or cursed if you are a snow-lover) with a wimpy winter by Minnesota standards. The early season abundance of snow...way back in November has now dwindled to a pretty low amount of snow cover. This means most roofs are not sporting 3 foot icicles and home damaging ice dams. People aren’t breaking their backs shoveling or blowing their budget on snow plowing and salt for their driveways. Yes, this wimpy winter has been a blessing in many regards.

  Another perk of the lack of snow cover means that it will be easier to trim your oak trees this winter. Oak wilt is devastating to trees in Anoka, Washington and Chisago counties as massive oaks are destroyed when this disease spreads. Smart landscaping and maintenance requires you trim oaks in the winter months—before April in Minnesota. Now is the perfect time to avoid exposure to this tree-killing disease and without the normal ice and snow of a Minnesota winter it will be much easier to maneuver ladders and equipment to reach trees on acreage properties.

Oak Wilt Devastates Acreage Several years ago I shared photos of a property in a Ham Lake community where the owners had endured oak wilt on their acreage property for several years. Sadly they did not tackle the issue head-on and in one summer alone, lost approximately a dozen trees. (Read Oak Wilt—A Minnesota Tragedy) While the beautiful grove of mature oak trees is now a memory, the current property owners took the initiative to save the remaining oaks. With treatment and proper care,the remaining oaks have been disease free.

Oak wilt is not just a problem in Ham Lake and Anoka County. It is prevalent in communities from Columbus to Lino Lakes and Forest Lake to Scandia. Whether you live in Anoka, Chisago or Washington County, if you have oaks on your property, you need to take precautions to protect them from this deadly tree-killing disease.

What is Oak Wilt?

Oak wilt is a disease caused by a fungus which attacks the central system of the tree from the roots to leaves.  When the tree attempts to block the fungus, it also blocks all water and nutrients to the branches and leaves. The leaves then wilt, brown and eventually, the tree dies.

Oak wilt spreads through the root systems of near by infected trees and 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.

How to Protect Your Trees

Keep oaks trimmed and healthy. Trim large mature oaks now as January/February are excellent months to prune oak trees.  If you have your large oaks trimmed now it is a preventative to spring storm damage when heavy, dead branches can fall during tornadoes or straight line winds.

The fungus beetles infect trees that have been recently injured or trimmed. These beetles are very active in the spring and summer months but not active at all during the winter. Oaks should be protected from damage and not trimmed from April through July.

Tree trimming of mature oaks is best left to professionals especially near the power lines. The trimmer should use a bucket truck or a line/pulley system, NOT spiked climbing boots which can damage the tree.

Selling a Home with Oak Wilt?

Be honest and disclose!  A seller think it is acceptable to cut down a diseased tree and not mention this when selling their home. This is not only unethical it could cause expensive legal problems after the sale. Even if a seller doesn’t say anything about oak wilt infected trees that were removed prior to listing the home, most neighbors will inform a new homeowner at some point. 
 
Cutting down a diseased tree does not prevent the spread of oak wilt. It is likely other trees are infected. If more trees die and the buyer was not properly informed, the seller could be in a legal battle. Bottom line: There is a question regarding diseased trees on the Minnesota Sellers’ Disclosure Form. Fill it out honestly. It is never a good idea to not tell the whole truth on a property disclosure form.  
 
 
READY TO MAKE A MOVE? Let me be your professional guide. If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of RE/MAX Results, 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 2015 www.terieckholm.com

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Mr. and Mrs. Clean Live Here!



A home buyer should impressed by the cleanliness of your home from the moment they step over the threshold.  PERIOD!

While the first step in home staging is decluttering, the second is to be cleaning. Not just “surface clean” either.   A seller must DEEP clean the home!  Potential home buyers will be assessing your property to determine if it is THEIR dream home.  Whose dream includes a half-eaten peanut butter sandwich on the kitchen counter and a dirty cat box in the utility room?  

Sadly, there are places sellers will overlook when too eager to get their home on the market. Here a few spots to have clean and shining so your listing will be known as where Mr & Mrs Clean reside:

Refrigerators—Clean inside and out! Yes buyers will look INSIDE the refrigerator.  Throw out half-eaten food or store in sealed storage containers. Get rid of that moldy bag of cheese that is lodged back behind the drawer. Remove all drawers and shelves and clean until all grime is removed. Take down all notes, photos and drawings from the front door if you have been using as a magnetic bulletin board. If they a If your white refrigerator has discolored, try car wax works to remove the yellowing. Open the doors and check along the inside edge—especially note the rubber molding around the edge where dirt can collect and cause mold.
re not essential, don’t put them back on.

Range/Ovens—Clean your stove from top to bottom, inside and out. Use non-abrasive cleaners to remove all of the stuck on food from the range top. If it is stained and/or damaged, consider replacing the appliance. Clean the microwave and oven. Just like with the fridge,  potential buyers will look inside. Don’t use your ovens as extra storage.  Buyers will think the oven/microwave doesn’t work!

Bathrooms—Take an honest look at your shower and the flooring around it. If it looks grimy and covered with mildew, it will literally gross out a potential buyer. Remove discolored, cracking caulk and put replace with new, matching silicone. Open the toilet lid and make sure that it is clean inside. Clean out every cabinet and drawer….make sure there is no “DNA” with leftover hair, nail clippings etc. at the bottom.

Walls—Wipe down walls by often used light fixtures--Especially if you have little ones. Also, move that trash bin in the kitchen and towel in the bathroom and check behind. It may require some scrubbing. If the stains cannot be removed, consider repainting.

Basements and Garages—These just cannot be a dumping area for all of the things you don’t know what to do with! Clean them out so that potential buyers can open the doors, walk around and see all the way to the corners. If you have to store some items in your garage or basement, they need to be boxed and stacked neatly with plenty of room for a buyer to see what the foundation looks like.

Litter Boxes and Kennels—Pet areas must be cleaned every day and before every showing. Beautiful homes are not considered if it appears that the pets have destroyed the home. If there is an odor, potential buyers assume that the smells have permeated the floors and walls. If possible, let your pet stay with a trusted friend during the duration of the sale of your home.

Light fixtures and Vents—Look up! Sellers will spend hours on their hands and knees scrubbing the corners and sweeping the floors but forget to look up toward the ceilings. Dirty ceiling fans and light fixtures are commonly overlooked in the frenzy of preparing a home for sale. But home buyers often turn on a fan and several months’ worth of dust bunnies are suddenly airborne. Remove the glass from every light fixture and clean off the grime. Wipe down every blade on every ceiling fan. Vacuum the top of every curtain and drape. Check every corner for cobwebs. Remove every vent whether bathroom or air return and wash in mild soapy water to remove the dust.

So before you have your first showing, take another look around your home from a buyer’s point of view and clean it until it shines!

READY TO MAKE A MOVE? Let me be your professional guide. If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of RE/MAX Results, 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 2015 www.terieckholm.com

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Snapshot of Home Sales Statistics in Hugo, MN Year End 2014






The housing market in Hugo, Minnesota has remained steady. This north metro Washington County just outside of White Bear Lake saw a drop in new listings and closed sales in 2014 but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a demand for homes. Housing inventory could the reason the average sales price rose again for the third consecutive year to over $237,000. The amount sellers are receiving on sales is close to asking at 96.7% which is slightly down from 2013 but still one of the highest ratios for communities in the north and east metro area. The average price per square footage likewise continued to increase from $108/square foot in 2013 to $111 at the end of the year. Time on the market to sell a Hugo home, is up by a few days over 2013 but still selling significantly faster than in 2011 and 2012 when homes look over 3 months to sell.

As we start 2015, inventory levels continue to be extremely low for homes in Hugo. This has created a bit of a seller’s market; with sellers have the negotiating advantage. Since interest rates have remained low, home buyers are out there searching for their dream home well before the traditional spring market has begun. Hugo home owners considering selling in 2015 and planning to get the most leverage from the improved market should consider listing their homes as quickly as possible. Once the warmer temperatures arrive, there will likely be more homes on the market and the market will balance out.







READY TO MAKE A MOVE? Let me be your professional guide. If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of RE/MAX Results, 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 2015 www.terieckholm.com


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Snapshot of Home Sales Statistics in Forest Lake, MN Year End 2014





The housing market in Forest Lake has continued to stabilize and become stronger than in the past few years. New listings were down slightly which is similar to many communities. There just is a lack of inventory across the board which is one of the reasons for the significant decline in closed sales. The low inventory continued to drive prices up nearly 17% over the average price in 2013. The average sales price was over $250,000 which is quite significant as it was well under $200,000 just a few years ago. Days on market in 2012 were down a tad but homes still take over 3 months to sell in this area. Average price per square foot has continually risen for the past few years and  was at $114/sq ft in 2014. This is comparable to other communities in the Washington County/east Anoka County area. High average sales prices and low inventory would give the market edge to sellers in the Forest Lake area as we head into the 2014 spring market.







  



READY TO MAKE A MOVE? Let me be your professional guide. If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of RE/MAX Results, 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 2015 www.terieckholm.com

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Snapshot of Home Sales Statistics in White Bear Lake, MN Year End 2014







The historic and popular community of White Bear Lake, Minnesota saw bit of a decrease in the amount of new homes listed on the market in 2014 compared to 2013 and closed sales were down by a dramatic 15%. In this northern Ramsey County city, the real estate demand is high and the market strong. The average price of a home rose by nearly 10% in White Bear Lake going from $190,628 in 2013 to $209,273 in 2014. This caused jump in the average price per square foot too going from $110/sq ft to $118/sq ft; a 7.2% increase. The average days-on-the-market statistic dropped again and substantially in 2014. It took an average 69 days to sell a White Bear Lake home this past year, down from 88 in 2013. This is a welcome change as sellers are back in a better negotiating position and offers are being accepted closer to listed price. Last year sellers in the White Bear Lake area received an average of 95.5% of asking price.

As we start 2015, inventory levels are very low for homes in the White Bear Lake community which is creating a bit of a seller’s market, giving the negotiating advantage to a home seller. With continued low interest rates, home buyers have been out searching for their dream homes regardless of the cold and snow. Home owners considering selling in 2015 and wanting to take advantage of the improved market should consider listing their homes as soon as possible while home inventory is low. Once spring arrives, there will be more homes on the market and the edge to the seller will be reduced considerably.







READY TO MAKE A MOVE? Let me be your professional guide. If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of RE/MAX Results, 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 2015 www.terieckholm.com