Thursday, May 31, 2007

Seeing the Minnesota Forest Through the Trees at Linwood Elementary



Not every school in Minnesota can boast having a 170 forest in its backyard, but Linwood Elementary can! What a way to learn about science with a quick walk out the door and down the path! Linwood Elementary, part of the Forest Lake School District, is one of eight schools in Anoka County with its own forest and park within shouting distance of their playground.



Though this sounds unique, according to the Minnesota DNR website, there are actually several school forests in the great State of Minnesota. Added in 1994, the forest at Linwood Elementary was one of the first and is still the largest in Anoka County. Linwood Community Park and School Forest is a cooperative effort between Linwood Elementary and Linwood Township. The park boasts nature trails, boardwalks and groomed cross country trails in the winter.

So how do you best take advantage of a 170 acre science lab? Bring in a naturalist. Three times a year, fall, winter and spring, classes have the opportunity to explore the forest with a naturalist from the
Wargo Nature Center. The cost of this educational opportunity is fully paid for with fundraising at the school. The students have also worked with the Minnesota DNR on a prairie restoration project for their forest.

It is not only science study that takes place in the woods, social studies is another subject that has been discussed. To walk in a forest after discussing Native American history, provides an insight into past lives that cannot be found in a textbook. It is unfortunate that all schools across the country do not have the luxury of a forest in their backyard.


If you are relocating to Minnesota, are looking for Homes for Sale in the north and east Twin Cities metro area and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. I specialize in acreage properties! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2007 terieckholm.com

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Home Sellers! You’ve Got to Know When to Hold ‘Em and Know When to Fold ‘Em!

Sellers have been playing a great game out there; poker faced and toe-to-toe with potential buyers. Sellers have been the great masters of the bluff for well over a year now in some cases. But buyers aren’t taking the bait. They have called your bluff and your house is just sitting there with no activity.

Kenny Roger’s well known country song, The Gambler, may be an unusual basis for a real estate analogy, but it’s time for sellers to stop singing the blues and get back in the game!

If a homeowner really wants to get their home sold, it is time to lay down last year’s hand, reshuffle the deck and deal new cards. The reshuffle could mean revising the marketing plan, changing agents, repainting and/or remodeling. The new hand is looking at the pricing with a more realistic eye!

As a Minnesota Realtor working in the Anoka and Chisago Counties just north of the Twin Cities, I have kept an eye on several homes that have been on the market since last summer. Not one or two homes, I have been keeping an eye on a couple of dozen homes in Ham Lake, Forest Lake, Lino Lakes, Wyoming and Columbus. There are homes that listed last summer that have not dropped their price by one penny since they listed last year! This does not make any sense—or cents for that matter!

Sellers need to know when to walk away from incorrect pricing. If you have held firm on your price for over a year, it is not time to walk away from that incorrect price; It’s time to run.

Was the original list price based on a refinancing appraisal from a year or two ago? If it was, it just is not accurate.

Did your listing agent do a market analysis? The comparisons from that analysis are over a year old now…possibly going on two years old. In this changed market, ideal comps are no more than 3-4 months old. Have your agent do a new market analysis for the home. Homes do sell in a buyers’ market but pricing must be accurate and the home in optimal condition.

If you have sat counting your money at your kitchen table based on an out-of-date appraisal or market analysis, you need to immediately rethink your situation. The time for counting is when the dealing is done. There is no deal without a purchase agreement. To get to the paperwork, you need a buyer. Buyers in today’s buyers market are not going to overpay for a home.

The biggest mistake I see sellers make in this market is to get offended when an offer comes in. In their minds they have been counting their money with what they believe their home is worth. However, “Your home is only worth what someone will pay for it today”. That means if a buyer presents an offer backed up with a current market analysis from their buyer’s representative, make certain to take a good look at the offer. To not counter and wait for the next buyer to write up a purchase agreement is not a good idea in this market. Buyers have hundreds of homes to choose from. If a qualified, non-contingent buyer writes an offer and submits information to justify the rationale for the offered price, it shouldn’t be dismissed as a lowball offer. It may be the best offer the seller will receive.


If you are relocating to Minnesota, are looking for Homes for Sale in the north and east Twin Cities metro area and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. I specialize in acreage properties! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2007 terieckholm.com

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Dangers Lurking in the Underbrush on Minnesota Acreage

Anoka and Chisago Counties in Minnesota boast some of the most beautiful, desirable acreage properties in the state. As a Realtor in the Ham Lake, Forest Lake and Lino Lakes area, I have to walk acres with my buyers to assess the land. I walk the perimeter of properties with potential sellers to understand the property lines. Whenever showing homes on Minnesota acreage, I am prepared. There are dangers lurking in the underbrush.


Poison Ivy--Be very aware of these poisonous plants as they are all over in Minnesota yards and wooded areas. Many property owners don't even realize the plants are poison ivy. Poison ivy is found all over the US while a close relative poison oak is found most often in the west. The plants to have a similar look and exposure to either of these plants will cause a similar, painfully itchy reaction.



Poison Ivy in Summer

  • Classic poison ivy in full swing.


  • Some leaves are notched.


  • Some leaves are not.


  • New leaves are shiny and still somewhat reddish.


  • Older leaves are duller.


Photo courtesy of http://www.poison-ivy.org/


Poison ivy can be a ground cover, a vine or a bush. One small neglected patch can spread very quickly to a huge area. Exposure to this plant is an itchy nightmare that can last for several weeks unless treated with prescription medicines, usually steroids. These plants can leave oil on clothing which can spread in the laundry. Be aware of this hazard when walking in any wooded area that you are unfamiliar with.

Can you detect poison ivy? Take the poison ivy
PHOTO QUIZ


Wood Ticks/Deer Ticks—While the woods are often a haven for white-tailed deer, the beauty of these animals is overshadowed by a frightening reality. Deer ticks are carriers of Lyme disease; a painful disease that can be quite debilitating if untreated. Deer ticks (or Blacklegged ticks) are rarely found in maintained yards and are very tiny and often not noticed even after having bitten a host. The best defense is prevention of a deer tick bite.


  • Dress Appropriately—When walking acreage with underbrush or on property that has not been maintained, wear long sleeves and tuck in pant legs.


  • Use Bug Spray—Effective repellents include DEET and Permanone. Spray clothing with Permanone repellent prior to wearing as it is not to be sprayed directly on the skin. DEET can be used on clothing and/or skin.


If you are relocating to Minnesota, are looking for Homes for Sale in the north and east Twin Cities metro area and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. I specialize in acreage properties! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

terieckholm.com
Copyright 2007 

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Erroneous 911 Caller? Only Your Cell Phone Knows for Sure!

As a Realtor in the state of Minnesota, my cell phone is a valuable tool that keeps me connected to my clients and office. I never go anywhere without tossing the little electronic device into my purse as one never knows when an offer will come in or a new client will call on an ad. It is my lifeline of a sort as it is with many others in the real estate profession. But once in awhile I get an odd call or message from another cell phone where the owner is unaware the call has been made.

On these occasions, I get the opportunity to eavesdrop on a conversation due to a cell phone calling me without the owner’s knowledge. These can be quite funny. I had one hilarious five minute voicemail from an agent that I was working on a deal with. He must have been at home in his kitchen when the call was made. He discussed in detail with his wife whether the tomatoes on the counter were too ripe and should be discarded.

I have been known to make these calls as my husband’s work number is saved in my phone. A few times he would get to work on a Monday mornings and listen to a muffled conversation I had in the car with our kids. When he got a call where I was with a client, I bought a new flip phone with keyguard.

While these stories are humorous, here are statistics that are not:

Unintentional or accidental cell phone calls to 911 make up 30-50% of the total 911 calls made by wireless callers. Now, factor in that 30-40% of all 911 calls are from cell phones and it becomes apparent that there is a problem here.


A typical 911 call will last less than a minute. But an unintentional wireless call will take several minutes for the emergency dispatcher to handle. They have to call back the phone number several times to verify that there is no emergency and that the caller needs no assistance. Since the phone is operating, unknown to the caller, it does not ring and repeat attempts must be made for contact.

Many cell phones are pre-programmed for 911 services at the touch of a button. Due to the escalating number of erroneous calls, these features are now being disabled prior to a phone being delivered to the consumer. That way if the feature is required, the consumer is aware that the feature is activated they can take precautions to avoid an unintentional call.


The Minnesota Wireless Foundation offers the following solutions to prevent unintentional 911 calls:


  • Disable Emergency Buttons. Check your user manual or contact your service provider to find out if your phone has a preset emergency feature. Follow directions to disable and prevent unintentional calls.

  • Lock your Keypad. If your phone has a keyguard locking feature, use it. Not only will you not dial 911, it may save you from leaving embarrassing and unknown voicemails on other numbers.

  • Don’t Hang Up. If you realize that you have made a 911 call in error, stay on the line and explain the situation to the dispatcher. You are not in trouble! When you stay on the line, it allows the dispatcher to get back to taking other calls more quickly and those valuable minutes could save someone’s life!


If you are relocating to Minnesota, are looking for Homes for Sale in the north and east Twin Cities metro area and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. I specialize in acreage properties! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.


Copyright 2007 terieckholm.com

Sunday, May 20, 2007

True Minnesotan? "Must Do List" Should NOT include Hazelden--Eight Great Alternatives!


On a wonderfully bright, spring afternoon as I traveled through Anoka County near Carlos Avery Nature preserve, I listened to a few local DJ’s rambling about an article, “60 Things Every Minnesotan Should Do”, in the May 2007, Mpls/St Paul Magazine. As a native Minnesotan, I perked up as I wanted to see how I measured up. They were joking about one entry near the top of the list, “Dry out, Clean up at Hazelden”. Excuse me, did I hear that right… In order to be a true Minnesotan we have had to clean up our act at the world renowned Hazelden Treatment center? Surely the deejay’s had made an error.

As soon as I walked in the door, I picked up my neglected May issue and quickly perused the cover. The cover story, just as predicted was the “60 Things Every Minnesotan Should Do Think you’re a True Local? Rate yourself on our ultimate state-pride checklist”. I flipped to the table of contents and the description for the first feature article read, “How Minnesota Are You? 60 Things you must do if you’re a real Minnesotan.” And there on page 84 about 14 from the top were the words, “Dry Out, Clean Up at Hazelden”.

Okay, sorry Mpls/St. Paul, I love your magazine but take exception to the implication to be a true Minnesotan we must first become an addict and dry out at Hazelden. As a Minnesota Realtor, I have shown homes and property in the Chisago County area and have driven by the quiet beautiful Hazelden facility in Center City. While beautiful and well known for saving countless lives, it is one place in Minnesota that I hope to never have a reason to enter.

Reading through the rest of the article, the writers and editors nailed many favorite Minnesota hangouts, events and rituals. Listening to live bands at First Avenue in Minneapolis where the legendary purple one, Prince, made his debut and stepping across the mighty Mississippi at its roots Itasca State Park, are rites of passage to most Minnesotans. As is going to the great Mall of America, cheering at a high school hockey game and walking through the state fair barns to see what the largest hog looked like while chopping on a Pronto Pup (hotdog on a stick).

So what to do…The story needs a replacement for this number 14 blunder so I came up with a list of things of other places and rituals that define Minnesota.


Alternative Minnesota Favorites:
1. Search for Agates along the Shores of Lake Superior.


Drive up 35 north to Duluth, MN and see Minnesota’s greatest lake, Superior. The wave-smoothed rocks along the shore are like no others for skipping across the water. Watching the big ships come in an dock is a site no one should miss. Take a harbor cruise to get up close to the loading areas. And while you are searching for the perfect skipping stone, you might just find the beautiful bands of red in a Minnesota agate.

2. Doughnuts at Toby’s in Hinckley

On your way up to Duluth, stop for gas and pastries at Toby’s in Hinckley, Minnesota. Their glazed doughnuts have been an institution in Minnesota and their taste is like no other. If you have a little extra time, drive west to the
Hinckley Fire Museum and learn the history of the great 1894 fire that destroyed 400 square miles and 6 towns.
3. Attend a St. Paul Saints Baseball Game and yell “Train” with the crowd.
Outdoor baseball is played in Minnesota. The minor league
St. Paul Saints games are packed with FUN! The games are played at Midway Stadium in St. Paul near the industrial park and railroad tracks. Every time a train goes by, the scoreboard flashes with “TRAIN” and everyone shouts and points at the passing vehicle. A team with the slogan, “Fun is Good”, shouldn’t be overlooked.

4. Kayak with the Family at Wargo.

Plan a fun family outing
Kayaking at Wargo Nature Center. It is a great way to spend an afternoon and explore the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Parks Preserve. Located in Lino Lakes, MN, just north of the Twin Cities in Anoka County, the Wargo Nature Center offers rentals of kayaks and canoes and lessons for the novice.

5. Ride an authentic Riverboat and watch Eagles soar!

A ride up the Mississippi on the
Jonathan Paddleford is an institution Minnesota. Growing up in St. Paul, it was the traditional end of the year school fieldtrip. A few years back, I took my boys on the voyage. Heading upstream with the big wheel turning to the point where the Minnesota meets the Mississippi is an eye-opening journey. Especially since the route passes an area along the bank where several bald eagles nest.

6. Get a Birdseye View of the Mississippi at the St. Paul Science Museum.

See the Mississippi from a whole different angle! The
Science Museum of Minnesota is located along the riverfront in downtown St. Paul. View the river from an actual tugboat that is on permanent display high above the banks. Take a turn virtually driving a tug with fully loaded barges down river. And don’t forget to visit the legendary resident mummy.

7. Watch the Sparky the Seal Show at Como Zoo.

Still free and still fun! The
Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is an awesome Minnesota treasure! For 51 years, Como Zoo has entertained multitudes of children and families as they watched Sparky the Seal do tricks for fish at the outdoor pool in the Minnesota summer sunshine. Family picnics, weddings and school events at Como Park have played important roles in the lives of many Minnesotans.

8. See the Wolves in their Natural Habitat at the Wildlife Science Center.

Better known as the wolf place in Carlos Avery Nature Preserve, the
Wildlife Science Center is a great place to visit to learn about animals native to Minnesota. It is truly one of the best places to learn about wolves. They have many special programs and events throughout the year. Being only about 4 miles away from their home, we can hear the wolves calling from the sanctuary on clear nights. It's a beautiful sound!

Pick any one of these eight activities as an alternative to number 14 on the Mpls/St. Paul Magazine, as
I am a true Minnesotan but won’t be making a visit to Hazelden anytime soon.
If you are relocating to Minnesota, are looking for Homes for Sale in the north and east Twin Cities metro area and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. I specialize in acreage properties! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2007 

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Quick Tip to Add Value to Your Kitchen

As a real estate agent in northeast Twin Cities metro area, I see many homes in various price ranges and conditions. One thing that always confounds me is when I see beautiful kitchen with newer floors and counters and an old vent fan above the stove. This is something people tend to overlook in their homes. This trend is probably due to most Minnesotans being taught from birth to be frugal and when something "works just fine" we tend to "make-do".

In most cases, The Kitchen Sells the Home! People focus on two areas of the home: the kitchen and the bathroom. It is imperative that both areas be clean and look their best!

When selling your home, don't "make-do" with the old stove vent fan no matter how nice it still looks. Replace with a combination microwave/stove fan. It clears up the counter space and adds tremendous value to the kitchen. It is also inexpensive. A new vent fan runs $40-50. For another fifty-bucks or so, you can purchase a microwave/fan combo. Check scratch and dent discounters or clearance areas for good deals. Make certain that the color you choose matches the range...A black microwave in a new white kitchen is a turnoff.

Sure the buyer could make the change for less than $200 too...But if it is done prior to the seller listing the home, it can mean a faster sale and possibly a bigger check at closing!

If you are relocating to Minnesota, are looking for Homes for Sale in the north and east Twin Cities metro area and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. I specialize in acreage properties! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2007 terieckholm.com

Friday, May 18, 2007

Show Patriotic Pride—Buy a Poppy! Support Your Local VFW!


A quick trip into Forest Lake this morning brought back fond childhood memories for me. Outside the local grocery store proudly stood an elderly gentleman with his VFW hat full of pins and a handful of red silk flowers. I have always loved the little poppy's given as a thank you once a year by the Veteran's collecting for VFW.

In case you have forgotten, VFW is an support organization for the Veteran's of Foreign Wars. These men fought bravely on our behalf and deserve recognition and remembrance. This particular veteran was very unassuming but I couldn't wait to walk over, donate and say "Thanks"!

Last summer as the VFW unit marched passed us in the Forest Lake 4th of July parade, my family noticed as we stood for the honor guard to pass, that the veterans are no longer grandfathers from WWII and the Korean War. Now, they are sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and parents. They are our neighbors and friends. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have made VFW members once again young Americans. Despite our politics, we need to support our veterans and remember their service.

So this weekend or over Memorial Day holiday, show your patriotism! Donate a few dollars and say "Thanks" to a Vet! It will really make your day!

If you are relocating to Minnesota, are looking for Homes for Sale in the north and east Twin Cities metro area and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. I specialize in acreage properties! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2007 

Five Essential Spring Repairs for the Exterior of your MN Home

Even if you are not selling your home this summer, there are many maintenance projects that need to be done every spring on every Minnesota home. As a Minnesota Realtor, I see many homes that have not been properly cared for. Throughout Anoka County there are houses with water damage from poorly maintained roofs and decks that are downright scary to walk on. If steps to maintain these properties had been taken on a regular basis, these homes would have sold more quickly and for a better price.
Here are five spring maintenance tips that will not only beautify your home, but also aid in retaining your home’s value for years to come.
Roof—Walk around with binoculars if necessary and check for any missing shingles that may have been blown off during a winter or spring storm. If any are missing or you see other damage, bring in a contractor to assess the damage and make repairs before you have water damage in your home.

Paint—Did the elements cause the paint on your siding or trim to start to peel? Now is the time to assess the damage

Deck Settling—Check for any settling or worn boards on your deck especially if it is off of the ground. If the supports of your deck appear to be pulling away from the home or if the boards are weather-worn, have it reviewed by a professional.

Gutters—Gutters filled with leaves? Take the time to clean out to prevent water backups. Keeping water away from the foundation is the best way to keep water out of your basement. If your gutters are clogged, they cannot do the job and the rains will pour right over the clogged-gutter’s edge near the walls of your home.

Driveway—The winter’s freeze and thaw cycle can do damage to an asphalt driveway. Cracks need to be filled or they will get worse. It is recommended that blacktop driveways also be seal-coated every 2 years when there in an open area with extreme sun exposure to extend the life of the driveway.

If you are relocating to Minnesota, are looking for Homes for Sale in the north and east Twin Cities metro area and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. I specialize in acreage properties! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.


Copyright 2007 terieckholm.com

Monday, May 14, 2007

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) issues a statement: CBS Misses the Mark

The Monday morning debate around the proverbial water cooler at real estate offices all over the US today is not about football. After all it is spring, even in Minnesota. The talk today was about the 60 Minutes segment on how internet sales of property will change how Realtors do business in the future. Frustration was not about the topic as there are many types of business models for the sale of real estate. This is another example and most Realtors are aware that the internet has changed the market and new business models will come up which cause the industry to evolve.

What had my family upset during our Sunday night dinner was the errors that even my 13-year-old was able to point out. The whole segment was the inaccurate portrayal of the real estate industry. I was personally concerned that the business model being looked at was located in Seattle, Washington…Thousands of miles away from where I do business in the north and eastern suburbs of the Twin Cities. Minnesota’s market is significantly different than on the northern west coast. Currently in the Twin Cities metro, homes are selling in 90-120 days, where in this segment they noted that homes on the market for 45 days were overpriced. Real estate is a local business. It is dangerous to make such generalizations.

NAR issued a press release response today regarding the 60 Minutes segment. Several inaccuracies were noted and some statements were flat out wrong. The following is an excerpt from today’s press release.

Here are some examples of the misinformation:


Error: The six percent commission is "sacrosanct."

Fact: All commissions are negotiable. The average commission rate is not 6 percent, but 5.1 percent, according to Real Trends.


Error: NAR is the industry's "governing body."

Fact: NAR is a trade association. It does not govern the industry.


Error: In 2003, NAR issued new rules of its own that threatened to block Internet discounters' access to the MLS.

Fact: The Virtual Office Website policy did not block access to MLSs for discounters or any other brokers who are members of the MLS.


Error: The MLS is the database that lists virtually every home for sale in the country.

Fact: There is no single national MLS. Rather, there are more than 900 local and regional multiple listing services. These are not simply "databases" but private exchange of offers of cooperation and compensation between real estate brokers.


Error: Eight states have "minimum service laws" that require REALTORS® to provide a level of service many Internet discounters can't afford.

Fact: "REALTOR®" is a trademarked term and should never be used synonymously with "real estate agent." The intent of minimum service laws is to ensure consumers receive a minimal level of service from licensees.


Error: The brokerage industry has a powerful lobby. Eleven states flatly prohibit rebates.

Fact: The intent of anti-rebate laws is to prevent kickbacks in real estate transactions, not to limit brokers' incentives to attract customers. The brokerage industry does not lobby for anti-rebate laws.

NAR is in communication with 60 Minutes about its unbalanced reporting and presentation of misinformation and will be sending the CBS network a letter demanding an opportunity to correct these errors and misrepresentations.


If you are relocating to Minnesota, are looking for Homes for Sale in the north and east Twin Cities metro area and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. I specialize in acreage properties! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.


Copyright 2007 terieckholm.com

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy Mother's Day--The Meaning Behind the Message


Wishing someone a “Happy Mother’s Day” has a deeper meaning than to just have a joyous day. Sharing these three words with your mom, Grandma, stepmom or other person is a way to say, “thank you”, “I honor you”, “I respect you”, and “I love you.”
It is about putting a mom’s happiness first for the day.
In the United States we have been honoring mothers for over ninety years on the second Sunday in May. Credit for the holiday is attributed to Anna Jarvis, who spend much of her lifetime promoting this special day to honor her own mother, Ann Jarvis. She was inspired by her mother’s dedication to her eleven children.

On the second anniversary of her mother’s death which fell on the second Sunday in May, Anna Jarvis worked with her Mother’s church in West Virginia to create a celebration for all mothers. She decorated the church with her mother’s favorite flowers, white carnations which were symbolic of her mother’s love; full of sweetness, purity and endurance. Carnations still are used today in Mother’s Day celebrations. Red carnations are symbolic of mom’s who are living and the white flowers memorialize the ones who have passed away.

This first Mother’s Day was such a success that support grew for Anna Jarvis. She recruited a team of supporters to write politicians, congressmen and ministers throughout the U.S. In 1910, West Virginia became the first state to officially recognize Mother’s Day as a holiday. The following year almost every state observed the day to honor mothers as well. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson officially declared the second Sunday in May as the holiday: Mother’s Day.
In the past 90 years though families have changed and there are many more “mothering” people to be honored, one thing has stayed the same. This day is for remembering and honoring mom’s for all of the good you do and the love you share. Happy Mother’s Day!


If you are relocating to Minnesota, are looking for Homes for Sale in the north and east Twin Cities metro area and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. I specialize in acreage properties! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.


Copyright 2007 terieckholm.com

Friday, May 11, 2007

Moms Love Fishing in the Land of 10,000 Lakes!

Enjoying a Happy Mother’s Day and Fishing Opener would be a conflict in most states but not in Minnesota. In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) doesn’t want mom’s to feel neglected as families head out to fish for walleye and northern pike in the statewide opener on May 12th! The DNR wants families to bring mothers and grandmothers along in the “Take a Mom Fishing” weekend!


The Minnesota DNR is inviting mothers who are Minnesota residents to fish this weekend without a license. It is a fun outdoor activity the entire family can enjoy. Whether out on a pontoon on Coon Lake in Anoka County, fishing off the pier at Silver Lake in North St. Paul, or casting a line from the shore of White Bear Lake in Ramsey County, it is a great way to have a fun, family Mother’s Day!


If you are relocating to Minnesota, are looking for Homes for Sale in the north and east Twin Cities metro area and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. I specialize in acreage properties! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.
Copyright 2007 terieckholm.com

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Caution! Wild Turkey Crossing—On Every Major Roadway in MN!


Minnesotans have long been aware to keep an eye out on roads for wildlife hazards. Most state residents have had at least one family member encounter a white-tailed deer either head on or as a near miss. We learn as soon as we hit the road at 16 years old with the ink wet on our licenses, to keep an eye out for those 4-legged hazards that jump out of the ditch and can total a car with a direct hit.

But have you ever encountered a wild turkey? Although the wild turkey had nearly disappeared from Minnesota at the turn of the century, these birds have made a comeback as of late. It is estimated their population is over 30,000 according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Living in Anoka County I know this first hand. As a Ham Lake resident with a couple of acres, our wooded area has been home to a flock of wild turkeys for the past year. The eighteen birds are beautiful but we have a sort of love/hate relationship. You see, I know first hand how stupid these beautiful birds are.

OK. What would prompt such a statement? A few years back as I traveled with my boys home from a birthday party down Lexington Avenue, I had an encounter with a wild turkey. Or rat
her my windshield did. We were just coming up on one of the S-curves with almost no shoulder and a deep ditch. This is a two-lane, 55 mph road edged with tall grass. Another car was approaching us in the other lane when all of the saddened this stupid bird darted out onto the road. As the other car approached, the wild turkey attempted flight and was able to get just high enough to hit my windshield square in the middle and bounced off the top into the ditch.
We were lucky. Our new van only lost a windshield…The dumb turkey lost its life. And NO, we did not take it home with us to eat it!

It could have been much worse. A week later we saw on the news a woman who hit a wild turkey going 70 mph on the interstate.
The bird went through the windshield and ended up in a pile of blood and feathers in the lady’s back seat.
As a Realtor, I am driving all over the countryside from Blaine to Chisago. And from North Branch to White Bear Lake. The wild turkey population is thriving in Anoka, Chisago and Washington Counties. If you travel through this area and see wild turkeys near the road, try to give them room as they cannot fly as high or as quickly as a pheasant. If I see them near the side of the road, I proceed with caution. I hope to never have hit a 30 pound dead weight with my car again!


If you are relocating to Minnesota, are looking for Homes for Sale in the north and east Twin Cities metro area and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. I specialize in acreage properties! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2007 terieckholm.com

Monday, May 7, 2007

MN Landscaping: Composting & Tree Planting Tips

It is that time of year again…Most Minnesota home owners are itching to get out into their yards and get started on that big landscaping project. And, it is finally warm enough to jump right into it! Landscaping can add thousands of dollars to the value of your home.

As a Realtor in the northeast metro, I know how important it is for home owners to keep their property looking nice inside and out! Homes that have a wonderful curb appeal entice a potential buyer into the home.

If you plan to make a move this year or if the landscaping project is just to add to your own personal enjoyment of your home, think through your landscaping plan. Whether your project is a huge endeavor with a total redesign of your landscape or just trimming the bushes and grass, there are a few things you should consider before you get started.

Yard Waste


In Minnesota, it is against the law to place yard waste in your garbage. This includes leaves, lawn cuttings, weeds, shrubs and tree trimmings, and plant prunings. Using a mulching mower provides a natural fertilizer and strengthens the lawn. Residents of Anoka County can contract to have yard waste picked up or bring leaves and clippings to one of two county compost sites.

Composting is a great option for many homeowners. Compost bins are available from Anoka County or
you can build your own. Compost turns into humus which enhances the soil when used as mulch so flowers, shrubs and trees can grow stronger. No need to buy and haul expensive mulches home anymore!

Yard waste that can be composted:


  • Leaves
  • Grass Clippings
  • Dead flowers
  • Pine needles
  • Acorns
  • Shrub trimmings (minus the branches)
  • Straw
  • Garden Waste
Household waste that can be composted:
  • Vegetable scraps
  • Fruit scraps
  • Tea bags
  • Coffee grounds
  • Rinsed Eggshells
  • Saw dust
Planting Trees

Trees add to a homes value. Leafy deciduous trees can provide shade to save energy as well as add beauty to the landscape. But planting a tree in the right location is essential. If you have above ground power lines anywhere in your yard or on the perimeter of your property, you need to consider the type of tree and how large it will grow before planting the tree.

According to Xcel Energy, trees are a common cause of electric service interruptions in Minnesota as well as throughout the nation. Use the "zone" approach, illustrated below, when planning the location of your new tree to avoid many of these problems.
Anyone who has ever driven by a home or property where the trees have been butchered by a utility company in the winter knows how bad it can look. Branches hanging over the power lines can cause power outages if they fall on the lines during a spring or summer storm. Utility companies have to be proactive in the winter and trim away any potentially hazardous branches, leaving some very ugly trees behind.
Xcel Energy offers a free guide on how to correctly plant trees near power lines to help homeowners protect their landscape investment.
Before planting any trees or digging, Call Gopher State One Call 1-800-252-1166 to have all underground utilities located. This is a free service in Minnesota to prevent damage to underground utilities. It usually takes 24-48 hours so plan ahead for that weekend project.
If you are relocating to Minnesota, are looking for Homes for Sale in the north and east Twin Cities metro area and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. I specialize in acreage properties! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.
Copyright 2007 terieckholm.com

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Why Minnesotans have More to be Proud of than 10,000 Lakes

As a native Minnesotan, I have always loved living here! I have traveled to many parts of the United States and though there are other wonderful communities across this great nation, but I have always loved calling Minnesota home!

Being a Realtor working in the northeast metro of the Twin Cities, I get the opportunity to meet with many out of state families considering relocation to Minnesota for the first time. It is eye-opening for many of these visitors just what an opportunity it is to live in the land of 10,000 lakes! Whether people are considering a home an acreage home in Lino Lakes or Ham Lake, a town home in Blaine or a lakeshore home in Forest Lake, the reaction is always the same: Minnesota offers great opportunities.

At a recent seminar I attended, this message about Minnesota was brought home tenfold! Glenn Dorfman, COO of the Minnesota Association of Realtors shared some interesting statistics he compiled from various sources about our great state. I was amazed at our ranking in several categories.
As Minnesotans, we have much to be proud of!
Minnesota is Prosperous!



  • MN has the 2nd lowest poverty rate in the US


  • MN rates 8th on the scale of median family income.


  • MN rates 15th on the scale of residents with median family incomes over $150,000.


  • MN rates 2nd for homeownership!
Minnesotans work hard and value education!

  • MN rates 1st in women’s labor force participation.


  • MN rates 4th in men’s labor force participation.


  • MN is 9th for residents with a college diploma!


  • MN is 2nd for residents with a high school diploma!
Minnesotans care about our health.

  • MN rates 4th for residents having health insurance.


  • MN is ranked 2nd on the list as healthiest by the United Health Foundation.
Minnesota is growing!
Minnesota grew faster than its four neighboring states, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin from April 2000 through July 2003. Minnesota grew 2.8% during this time period which was very close to the growth rate of 3.3% shown by the US as a whole.


If you are relocating to Minnesota, are looking for Homes for Sale in the north and east Twin Cities metro area and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. I specialize in acreage properties! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.


Copyright 2007terieckholm.com

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Staging 101—Why Dead Animals Don’t Sell Houses!


It happened again last weekend. As a Realtor in the Twin Cities, I was showing houses in the Lino Lakes/Blaine area to my first time home buyers. In one cute little rambler, my clients and I walked into a cozy den and there was a stuffed snarling bobcat decorating the back of the upholstered rocker. It is always a show-stopping conversation piece when showing a home and there’s a dead animal in the room. Of course, in homes like this, there’s never just one dead animal…In the basement there was room full of various hunting “trophies”.

This is not meant to start a debate the merits of hunting or mounting a prize catch.
As I show houses in Anoka and Chisago Counties is an area of Minnesota where many people love to hunt and fish, this is a home staging issue.
I want point out that the average buyer does not want to come eyeball to eyeball with a 15-point whitetail buck!
Imagine walking through a strange home, flipping on light switches, turning a corner and getting stared down by the glass eyes of an animal that breathed its last breath along time ago. A prized northern on the wall or pheasant on the table does not impress a buyer either.

Selling a home it is supposed to be all about the house! No seller wants to turn off a buyer by their décor. Pack and store these trophies in a storage locker or rent a
POD but don’t leave them to become the conversation piece of the buyers and their agent! If a buyer and their agent are admiring your hunting abilities, they aren’t focused on your home…Which is after all, why they are in your home in the first place!

If you are relocating to Minnesota, are looking for Homes for Sale in the north and east Twin Cities metro area and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. I specialize in acreage properties! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2007 terieckholm.com

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Moles, Voles and Pocket Gophers…Oh, MY!


These critters are not as scary as lions and bears, but if you have spent thousands on landscaping your property, their destructive activity could frighten any lawn-loving Minnesotan.

Pocket gophers, along with their little mole friends, are the bane of the countryside. These small little rodents cause serious damage to lawns and landscaping across Anoka County. Pocket gophers leave huge dirt mounds above ground and runs that crisscross around your yard deep beneath the earth. Moles and Vole trails are the windy runs just below the surface of your lawn. The ones in my yard look similar to an aerial view of “
the unweave the weave” highway construction project on 35E and 694!

Spring is a busy reproductive time for these little pesky creatures. And gophers, moles and voles can have several litters in a season. If you do not want your yard overrun with dirt mounds and the dead damaged trails on your lawn all summer, it is best to address the pocket gopher/mole problem in early spring.

As a Realtor working in the Twin Cities north metro, I know how buyers get concerned when they see several huge dirt piles in a sellers’ yard. It seems that these creatures have a knack for knowing when a h
ome is listed. I have had several frantic sellers call the day after they have listed with their first ever gopher mound in their yard.
Similarly, when walking a property, buyers will stumble as the ground sinks beneath them when they discover a newly dug mole trail. It can be a huge concern to a home buyer as it can ruin the landscaping.

Whether you are a buyer, seller or home owner maintaining your landscape, here are ideas to eliminate the mounds and trails from your yard.

How to get rid of moles, voles or pocket gophers:
  1. Get rid of their food supply. Pocket gophers eat grub worms that live in the dirt. If you chemically treat your lawn to kill the grub worms, the pocket gophers move on. Usually to your neighbors’ yard.
  2. Mole repellents can also be used to change the taste of the grub worms. This can be purchased at a store or you can mix your own. One cup of dish soap, one ounce of Castor oil and ¼ cup of cayenne pepper mixed together and spread with a garden sprayer should do the trick. Of course this method again just moves the pests to your neighbors’ yard.
  3. Ultrasonic Devices. I had a client who had some success with this method last year. The high pitched sound emitted by the unit is designed to sound like another gopher. Since these are territorial animals, they move on. Again, probably to your neighbors’ yard.
  4. Use a poison for gophers and moles. This is effective but if you have pets or children, there are risks. Your pet could dig up the poison or the poisoned gopher and become ill or die.
  5. Set underground traps. This is an effective method with results that you can see. The wire traps are set underground in near the gopher mound. When a gopher moves through the burrow, he is killed in the trap.

If you are relocating to Minnesota, are looking for Homes for Sale in the north and east Twin Cities metro area and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2007