Friday, September 28, 2007

Keller Williams Cares Benefit for Forest Lake Realtor--Rally for Dave!

I met Dave Van Alstine on my first week as a Realtor. He started with the same broker on the same week as I did. Dave had a full time job and was nearing retirement. He started real estate part time to get a business going for a retirement career.
Known for his ready smile and stories about his family and boating excursions on Lake Superior, Dave enjoys life. I enjoyed every continuing education class that I was lucky enough to share with him.


Dave was the perfect Realtor. My favorite story of Dave’s sales and marketing ability is when he was doing a Sunday afternoon open for a small townhouse development in North Branch, a town just north of the Twin Cities. Dave wanted traffic at the open and tried to think of where the perfect first time buyers would hang out on a Sunday afternoon. He had a brilliant idea. He took a piece of cardboard and wrote a handmade sign and stuck it at the end of the local McDonald’s Drivethru. He sold out the development that day…Around half a dozen sales in one day.

A few months after I joined Keller Williams Premier Realty, I noticed that Dave’s name on our list of new agents at the office. I immediately called and welcomed him aboard our team. We were very lucky he chose to be a KW agent. I even watched his files on his vacation a few weeks later.
Dave isn’t selling much real estate these days. He was diagnosed in 2005 with a malignant tumor behind his left eye and into his brain called “Olfactory Neuro Blastoma”. This is a rare tumor (1,000 cases in the last 75 years) without much knowledge of what causes it. Dave just came through his third surgery this week…We are all praying for a full recovery.

Our KW Cares team has organized a Rally for Dave. There will be a pancake breakfast and on-line auction in early October. This is a public auction open for bids from anyone, not just Keller Williams agents.
Visit the Rally for Dave Website to read more about Dave, bid on great items or donate to defray his medical costs. Prayers are also appreciated.
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 www.terieckholm.com/






Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Crisp Air, Colored Leaves—It’s Time to Winterize your MN Home!

There was a nip in the air this morning and the calendar says fall is upon us.
Leaves are just beginning to turn gold, red and yellow all over Anoka County. The fallen acorns have attracted white-tailed deer as they feast in our Ham Lake backyard. We know it is time begin the autumn chores to protect our investment from the winter ahead.
As a Realtor in the Twin Cities metro, I know how important it is to maintain a home in throughout the year. Winters can be mild or brutal in Minnesota. Getting your home ready in the fall can prevent winter damage and costly repairs in the spring.

Here are a few reminders of repairs and preventive maintenance tips for all homeowners to consider in the fall:

  1. Clean Gutters of leaves and other debris that might clog the drainage. A blocked gutter can cause an ice dam when the snow flies.

  2. Winterize the lawn tractor or mower and get that snowblower tuned. If you have a plow service, make contact and update your contract prior to the first snowfall.
  3. Change security lightbulbs in hard to reach outlets. It would hazardous to climb ladders to reach the tip of a garage over an icy driveway.
  4. Unhook, coil and remove hoses from water spigots. Turn off and winterize sprinkling systems. Turn off water to outside spigots if not frost-free to prevent burst pipes in subzero temperatures.
  5. Have the annual furnace cleaning and tune-up to be ready for those first cold evenings. Remember to change the furnace filter every month for best efficiency…even if the packaging says “6-month filter”. QUICK TIP: Change filter when you make your monthly mortgage payment so you don’t forget.

  6. Check all windows and doors to see if new caulk or weather-striping is needed.

  7. Fall is the perfect time to paint with the low humidity and crisp breeze. Check deck, siding and trim for peeling paint.

  8. Fall is the last chance to seal the asphalt driveway prior to winter freezing. Fill cracks and topcoat if necessary.

  9. Inspect the roof for missing or damaged shingles. Verify that the flashings are sealed from rain and snow.

  10. Snap a few fall photos while the mums and trees are vibrant with color! Golden yellow oak leaves and vivid red sumacs will look awesome in the local MLS if you decide to sell your home over the winter.
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 www.terieckholm.com/

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Buyers Continue to Have the Upper Hand in the Twin Cities Real Estate Market



The Statistics are out for August and the numbers show that in the 13 County Twin Cities metro, home buyers continue to have the edge over sellers in the real estate market. Affordability is up. Closed sale prices are down. Home inventory per buyers remains in the 10 to 1 range. The good news for sellers is that homes are continuing to sell but at lower prices.

Opportunity is knocking. Have you seen the new ads by the Twin Cities Builders Association? In the television spot, there are doorknockers gone wild--knocking endlessly to get out the message that it is time for buyers to buy. It is more than a promotion for their
new blog/website, it emphasizes the fact that the market hasn’t been this good for buyers in years. Buying now is a great investment opportunity.
Compound the increased inventory with the Federal Reserve cutting the interest rates by half a percentage point yesterday;
it is an awesome time for buyers to step into homeownership!
As a Realtor working in the north metro counties of Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington, I see these trends first hand. From Ham Lake to White Bear Lake and Blaine to Forest Lake, homes are selling when sellers take the time to prepare the home for sale AND price properly. With an abundance of inventory on the housing market, buyers have literally dozens of options. Overwhelmed, they will weed out the overpriced, overlook
homes with bad photos, and take time to consider all options prior to writing an offer.


2 truths of the current real estate market:
  1. It is a Great Time to Buy a Home!

  2. Selling a Home takes Preparation, Patience and Willingness to Negotiate.





AWESOME Featured Listings:
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 www.terieckholm.com/

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Goodbye Summer! As the MN State Fair Ends, Another School Year Begins in Forest Lake.


September always means one thing in the Forest Lake school district
: Back to School. Summer fun and events are over and a new school year begins. As soon as the final footlong hotdog is sold at the Minnesota State Fair and the final blue ribbon awarded, the school bells ring and new opportunities begin.

Memories of the fair have yet to fade. The corn dogs were great and the ride on the Space Needle was awesome. It is a once a year chance to see the entire Twin Cities from the top of the tower. Our chance sighting of a presidential hopeful before he officially threw his hat into the ring was exciting. Minnesota is a great place to stump even for a not yet official candidate like Fred Thompson. Catching a glimpse of a former Twin like Kent Hrbek at some place other than the Metrodome is just one reason to attend the fair. Learning about our great state from exhibits is another. It is amazing what has been fished out of Minnesota lakes and how it can be transformed into art.

Summer is officially over with the end of the state fair. Now a week into the school year district residents are anticipating Forest Lake Rangers football games, band concerts and the field trips. Approximately 7,500 students attend the 12 Forest Lake schools. The district encompasses one of the largest geographical areas in the state, 240 square miles and serves 12 communities. Towns and cities include Columbus, Linwood, Ham Lake, Hugo, Scandia, Lino Lakes, Marine, Stacy, May Township, Forest Lake and Wyoming. From
preschool through adult continuing education
there is something for everyone in the Forest Lake area schools programs.

As summer ends we are no longer on top of the world but with our feet firmly on the ground. Students and their families become more deeply involved in school activities. It is time to visit a school, sign up for a class, attend a musical or cheer at a sporting event. It may be the end of summer in Minnesota but the fall is always the start of something special to residents in the Forest Lake School District.

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 www.terieckholm.com/

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Chirp! Chirp! Chirp! Someone PLEASE make that Smoke Alarm STOP!

As a parent and homeowner, safety is a number one priority in my home. That is why as a Realtor, I was often puzzled, even concerned, when I visit a home with disabled smoke alarms. I just never understood the logic of removing batteries or unplugging hard-wired safety devices. I never understood it until I lived with a set of defective alarms for several months on end.

Last November it started. It was shortly after we installed new batteries at daylight savings time the first chirps started. A few evenings later about 3A.M. we were awoken by the smoke alarm going off in the kitchen on the main level of our two-story Ham Lake house. By the time we got downstairs, the alarm had stopped. It had not triggered the other six alarms that are hardwired throughout our home. We figured that since we had just turned on our forced air furnace, maybe dust was the cause. This seems to happen every autumn once or twice so we went to back to bed.

Around Christmas, the alarms started to go off about once a week in the middle of the night. I was beginning to understand why I would see alarms with removed batteries in listings throughout the Twin Cities, as this was annoying!


I did a bit of online research. Smoke detectors should be vacuumed periodically as dust and tiny spiders can cause malfunction and false alarms. It was also noted that smoke alarms should be replaced every ten years. We opted for the cleaning route and vacuumed all seven alarms the next morning.

In March we contacted an electrician about having seven new Firex alarms installed. We were assured that these top of the line detectors would eliminate the problems. A few weeks later, we were $400 poorer but positive it would be worth it for a good night’s sleep. The electrician’s truck had not made it down the road before the next set of chirps began.

This was the first of several visits from the electrician to our Ham Lake home. He returned the next week to verify there were no loose wires. He also replaced the unit in the hallway that seemed to make the most noise. Again, within an hour there was a chirp, chirp, chirp. Now, I have an upset electrician along with a tired and upset family.

I did a Google search and ended
up at the Firex website. The company has a frequently asked question page that is a wealth of information. What a great resource. Newer alarms must be reset after the batteries are installed. To reset the alarm, you need to depress the test button for 15 seconds with the battery removed. Great! Problem solved! A good night’s sleep is ahead.

Wrong! About 12 hours later, it started again. Back to the list of options from the Firex site. We called the electrician back to put all of the alarms on one circuit so we could shut off the alarms and be certain that poor wiring in another part of the home wasn’t setting off the alarm. One more tense visit from the electrician and we were now on our own with the noisy, frustrating problem.

After months of this noisy protection of malfunctioning alarms, we found you can learn to sleep through the noise but never really get used to it. The four periodic chirps were nerve grating to say the least. On the first chirp our neurotic geriatric dog would get up and move closer to the nearest person. On the second chirp he would try sit as close as he possibly could and stare with big sad eyes. The third chirp would cause him to shutter and with the final chirp he would lay down at your feet shaking.

Finally in August we had enough and were ready to disable all of the hardwired smoke alarms in our home and install battery operated ones. I now understood the decision made by so many others to put a good nights sleep over fire protection.
Before we cut the wires, we tried one more time to resolve the issue. We took down all seven alarms, reset them and installed seven new batteries. One of the smoke alarms would sound as soon as the battery was installed. Bingo! We had the problem unit in hand. So we installed the six good alarms and waited.

Chirp! Chirp! Chirp! Finally I resorted to calling the 800 number for Firex technical support. They were very concerned about our wanting to remove these safety products from our home that were designed for our protection, not annoyance. They offered to replace the defective alarm and sent out a new one via overnight mail. But the technician did not stop there. He wanted to help us resolve the continuing problem. The tech asked if there could be anything else that would cause a noise. Check the attic and check for Carbon Monoxide detectors. The sound of a plugged in CO2 detector can travel echo through the house and sound like it is coming from the smoke detector. We had checked the attic previously but did not check the carbon monoxide detector as we they are electric not battery operated.

Of course I had forgotten that we now had two CO2 detectors. The newest one was installed in the hallway near our bedrooms. After a quick check I realized that the new model DID have a battery backup. It was the source of many of the annoying chirps. So lesson learned. Change the batteries in your CO2 detectors right along with the smoke detectors. Not certain if your carbon dioxide detector has a battery backup? Check it now. It could mean a good night’s sleep in your future.


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 www.terieckholm.com/