Thursday, January 31, 2008

Got Shaggy Oaks? Trim NOW and Prevent Oak Wilt!

Oak wilt is devastating to the landscape in communities across Anoka County and Minnesota. Prevent oak wilt spread by smart landscaping and maintenance. Oak trees should be trimmed in the late fall or winter months. If you have overgrown oak trees, now is the time to trim them and avoid exposure to this tree-killing disease!

Last summer I photographed a neighboring property in Ham Lake that has been battling oak wilt for the past four years. In just three months this property lost nearly a dozen of these majestic trees. (Read Oak Wilt—A Minnesota Tragedy for the full story.) What was once a home with a tree screened view from the street, now has only a handful of small trees left to block the cars. The amazing thicket of mature oak trees is gone.

Oak wilt is not just a Ham Lake problem. It is prevalent in communities from Lino Lakes to North Branch and Forest Lake to Stacy. 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 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 the leaves. The tree attempts to block the fungus, but also blocks all water and nutrients to the branches and leaves. Eventually, the trees leaves wilt and it dies.

Oak wilt spreads through the root systems of near by 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
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.

Trim large mature oaks now. As a preventative to spring storm damage, have your large oaks trimmed now so that heavy, dead branches won’t fall during the spring tornado season and break other healthy limbs.

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.


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If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. 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.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ham Lake Residents Town Hall Meeting—View City Water and Sewer Plans


Do you have an opinion on the vision for Ham Lake’s future? Take time and attend the town hall meeting to see the five proposed plans that the task force has outlined. On Tuesday February 12 starting at 7:00PM, there will be an opportunity for all of Ham Lake’s residents to see the five comprehensive plan proposals that are currently being considered by the task force appointed by the city council.

According to the
February 2008 issue of the Ham Laker newsletter, there will be a short presentation describing each of the five alternative visions for Ham Lake.

Mixed-Use Village Center Develop 115 acres around the Crosstown/Hwy 65 intersection with industrial, commercial, park and residential with varying densities. Densities meaning single family or multi family (apartment and townhome) developments. City water and sewer service would be contracted from East Bethel.

Mixed-Use Village Center and Moderate Density Development Expanded version with 1700 acres developed to include residential homes with 1/3 acre lot sizes. According to a map in the
January 2008 issue of the Ham Laker this would encompass the area around the Coon Lake area north of Crosstown and east to Lexington Avenue. Sewer service would be contracted directly with the Met Council and the City would be required to develop it’s own water system. Residents in the proposed area could be required to connect to these new systems.

Business-Only Sewer District 115 Acres at the Crosstown/Hwy 65 intersection developed for industrial and business use exclusively with water and sewer services contracted from East Bethel.

Mini-Batch Sewer Plant Develop a 20 acre sewer district to serve the existing businesses at the Crosstown/Hwy 65 intersection. Each business would use their existing wells.

Individual Sewer and Wells This proposal, which is the least expensive of the five options, is to maintain status quo with individual wells and septic systems serving each property. The city will continue to monitor the water quality in area lakes and enforce septic system regulations as necessary.

This is an important meeting that will affect every Ham Lake resident and our taxes for years to come. Plan to attend to review the proposed options for yourself.

Additional Articles on the City Water and Sewer in Ham Lake:


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If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. 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 2008 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What’s My Home Worth in Forest Lake, MN? Or Ham Lake? Or Lino Lakes? Or Blaine?

Sound’s like a trick question in this market doesn’t it? Funny thing is that no matter what the market is like, the answer is not simple.

What if you dig into your closet or file cabinet for that big vinyl envelope you received when you finalized your refinance last year? There was an appraised value for your home in that paperwork. Is that what your home is worth?


Assessed values from the Washington County or Anoka County assessor are updated annually. That should be a pretty accurate number right?
There are some great, interactive websites like
Zillow that have popped up over the past few years. Type in your address and within seconds a slew of interesting information hits your computer screen. But are these values accurate?
Ironically, all of these values could be considered good, accurate numbers or at least clues to the value of your home. As these numbers can be drastically different, how do you know what is the most accurate number? First, you need to know what the value is for. If you want a value to determine a selling price for your home in today's changed market there is no quick and easy answer. Since, there is no special real estate Magic 8 Ball for determining the best starting price, working with a knowledgeable Realtor for expert advice is the next best option.


Many things can affect the selling price. A home located with easy access to 35 is more desirable to some than a home on the opposite side of Forest Lake. Existing homes near the Landings of Summerfields development are affected by the prices and discounts being offered on the new homes in that community. Whether your home is on public utilities or has a private well and septic system is a consideration. And this is only the tip of the iceberg.

As a Realtor, I serve the communities in the Forest Lake school district and Anoka County. From Forest Lake to Hugo and Lino Lakes to Blaine and beyond, I keep my ear to the ground to hear what affects the prices of homes in the north and east Twin Cities metro area.

Are you planning a spring move and need to know what your home is worth? Do you want expert advice from someone who knows the Anoka County and Forest Lake District #831 area? Let me help you!
CLICK HERE to schedule a FREE market value assessment. 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 2008 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Monday, January 28, 2008

We Don’t Need an Agent!—First Time Buyers Find Their Way Home

The phone rang late one Saturday afternoon. He said they had just driven by a listing of mine and could I show them the inside. “Are you working with an agent?” “No”, he said. The meeting was set for the next evening.

The young man and his fiancĂ©e arrived with an entourage of parents and assorted other relatives. Being first time buyers, they wanted assistance and approval on their first home. Looking over the home from top to bottom, they liked what they saw but needed time to think. I asked the question I always ask, “When you are shopping for a home, are you shopping for a Realtor?” The dad answered. They don’t need an agent because they could get a better deal working directly with the listing agent. I explained why this wasn’t true but could tell from the look on his face, he wasn’t sold.

I explained agency and asked the young couple to sign the disclosure on agency as required by the State of Minnesota. Buyers need to understand that at any listing for my broker, I am under contract to work for the seller and protect their interests. If the couple decides to sign a buyers’ representation agreement, they would be in a DUAL agency when looking at Keller Williams Premier homes. They had seen many homes with other real estate agents, but I was the only agent who explained agency to them or asked them to sign the required disclosure.

Days later, a decision was made; the young couple wanted to make an offer. A contract was signed for buyers’ representation for the specific home only. Dual agency now applies. As an agent working for both parties, I could not do anything that would hurt either the buyer or seller. Because it was only for the specific home, I could not discuss other property options. An offer was presented, but terms could not be agreed upon. The buyers went away.

A few weeks the price was reduced on my listing. I called this young couple to see if the lower price would be enough to renew their interest. It would. But there was also another new construction house in a different area that was being considered.

Another showing. They were sure that they had it down to between the two homes. I could see the indecision and confusion on their faces. I asked about the other home they were considering to help them contrast it to my listing to help my selling clients and put their home in a better light. As with most homes, neither home was a perfect fit. I am a firm believer that after weighing all of the pluses and minuses, homes will sell themselves if they are the right home. A week passed. No offer came forth.

Finally a phone call from the young man. We have made a decision. We are not going to offer again on your listing. It is not the right home for us. In fact, neither home is right. We are starting over. "Would you help us find a home?"

Now as their buyers’ representative, I got to work. For the next few weeks, we visited a dozen or so homes from the hundreds currently on the MLS that met their criteria. Traveling from Stillwater to White Bear Lake and Hugo to Forest Lake we narrowed down the field of potential homes to two or three. Finally, one sparked enough interest for a second showing with the parents, but this home also had a few quirks that raised concerns. That same evening, since we were out, I set up another showing for a home in a development that hadn't considered. Funny thing was, the home was perfect!

With the perfect home, there were no delay or hesitation in signing the offer. Things fell into place. With every visit to the home for the inspection and walk-throughs, the young couple became more excited.

At the final walk-through, with minutes to go before they were to receive the keys to their first home, I asked them, “So, are you glad that you decided to sign with a Realtor?”


They answered together, “Yes!! You made it so much easier to find the right home! Especially for first time buyers.” I don’t make this stuff up…Those were their exact words.

After the closing, I received a hug and sincere, “thank you for everything”, from my young clients. As they set off to begin life in their dream home a thought struck me, what a great job I have!


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Do you need an expert Buyer's Representative to help you find your Dream Home? If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. 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 2008 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Thinking Outside the Box to get your Home SOLD!

You’ve seen the statistics! You know that the real estate market is down across the nation. Sellers in the 2008 spring market will be fighting to be noticed in a sea of foreclosed homes, builder’s models and investor’s flips. So what can you do to make your home stand out and get noticed? What little trick might give you an edge? Maybe it is time to think outside the box!

THINK Feng Shui

Using the ancient Chinese discipline of Feng Shui to create balance and a flow of energy throughout the home may get it sold more quickly. Before dismissing this concept as a bunch of malarkey, look closer. Removing clutter is one of the key ways to get your home sold and a cornerstone of Feng Shui. The flow of energy or Chi through the home determines how the buyer feels when they step inside the home. A home with a balanced Chi will invite the buyer to linger longer in the home. As a Realtor, I know showing homes there are some properties that “just feel right” from the moment you step over the threshold. Buyers literally languish in certain homes absorbing the atmosphere.

Improving your home’s energy using Feng Shui might be as simple as setting intentions. Write down your selling mission and place in an affirmation box. Or, take that first ad or the MLS listing sheet and write SOLD across it. Place this where you will see it everyday like your wallet or your car’s dashboard and reaffirm that your home will be sold.

Delve deeper into Feng Shui and discover if the five elements are out of sync for your property. Fire, earth, water, metal and wood should be represented in colors or objects and balanced to keep the positive energy flowing.

If your home’s Chi is really out of whack, consider an online Feng Shui consultation with an expert.
Carole Provenzale, owner of Feng Shui Long Island, could be just the ticket to getting the energy balanced and your home sold in this changed real estate market.

THINK St. Joseph

St. Theresa way back in the 1500’s started something big when she needed to find additional land to build convents. She buried a trinket and prayed to a saint. Not just any trinket or saint, she prayed to St. Joseph, saint of the home, and encouraged other nuns to join her with prayers. They buried St. Joseph medallions back then, but now a statue is in vogue. Kits are available with a small statue of the saint and directions on how to properly bury the figure in your front or back yard.

THINK Expert Real Estate Assistance

While I have no statistics on whether ancient Chinese or Catholic beliefs help to sell homes, I do know that receiving expert advice on pricing and preparing your home for sale are the tried and true ways to success. Online sites like
Zillow are a great way to get started with a ballpark idea of your home’s value. But this is not the market to play around with rough guesses and selling by owner. You NEED expert advice; A Realtor® who shows homes and writes offers in your neighborhood on a daily basis to provide you with an accurate marketing analysis for your home. Your real estate agent can give advice on getting you home ready to sell including everything from basic staging to expert Feng Shui. And most importantly, they can get your home price right in this changing real estate market so that your home is one of those SOLD this spring!

Need an Expert Market Analysis for a home in Ham Lake, Lino Lakes or other community in the Forest Lake school district? Click Here to set up your FREE Listing Consultation.

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If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. 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.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

New Construction Down Considerably in the Twin Cities North Metro!

A 25% nationwide drop in construction was announced last week by the National Association of home builders. But as all real estate is local, what does that mean to those of us living and working in the Twin Cities? Are the numbers the same? Better? Worse?

The answer is, it all depends on your location!

The Builders Association of the Twin Cities
(BATC) issued a press release stating that there were 8.961 units permitted in 2007, down from 12,644 in 2006. This translates to a 29% decrease metro wide during the past year. Additional statistics are available showing building permits issued since 2005. Looking at the communities throughout Anoka County and the Forest Lake school district the numbers are significantly lower in most communities.

There were a few surprises but overall and not surprising. The big story is which communities have seen the lowest downturn in new home construction. Forest Lake has faired well with only a 40% decrease in construction. No doubt due to the Summerfield Development off of Highway 97.

Isanti having a big drop off in construction of -89% is not too surprising as it is in the outlying northern perimeter of the metro, Maplewood (-79%) and Stillwater (-89%) however are a different story. Both of these areas while more centrally located with higher demand have less space for big developments. Stillwater focus included more upscale high priced homes which haven’t faired in this changed market.

Similarily, most Ham Lake (-68%) new homes are well into the $400,000 price range. That in combination with being over 30 minutes from either downtown can be a reason for the higher than average building permit fall off. Andover (-62%) having some lower price point homes may have helped its percentage a bit.

Both Blaine (-54%) and Lino Lakes (-54%) are within that magic 30 minute drive time to the downtowns which maybe one reason that the drop off isn’t as bad as communities to the north. Both communities have a wide range of price options for new construction homes as well.

The good news in the sea of negative numbers is the gains for the City of St. Paul. With a whopping +21% increase since 2005, St. Paul has bragging rights.

Once again, the real estate mantra, Location, Location, Location, comes into play.


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If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. 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 2008 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Are Homes Really a Good Investment?—Is NOW the time to Buy a House?


Annual housing numbers were released this week and there were no surprises that the housing market was down in 2007. I say there were no surprises because the double digit increases in value seen a few years ago throughout the Twin Cities and Minnesota could not continue. Everyone working in the real estate industry knew the market was ready to correct.

In the north and east metro counties (Anoka County, Chisago County and Washington County), I have notice the market correction building for the past few years. In the northern suburbs we feel the trend sooner than in the heart of the metro. So the slower market is no big news bulletin.
**View Twin Cities Housing Statistics Here**

The real news is that the real estate market is poised to turn in the other direction.
Who wouldn’t want to get in on the ground floor of a historically-solid performing entity?

Though real estate has peaks and valleys, it is still a good investment. Even with the recent price drop, Twin Cities home values are up significantly from where stood in the mid-1990’s. The astronomical, unrealistic pricing is gone but the core value is holding strong. Real Estate remains a good investment if people once again start treating it as such.

Glenn Dorfman of the Minnesota Association of Realtors (MAR) suggests we all look at the real estate market with a dose of realism. His recent podcast, “Not optimism, not pessimism, but REALISM...” explores the idea that everyone must look at real estate as the long term investment that it is.

Facts and common sense are what a strong real estate market is built on. Outrageous increases in property value are an abnormality in the market. Historically, housing has shown continuous, MODERATE increases. Due to the outrageous increases in the past decade, the market needed to correct.

So what does this mean to the average home owner? Think of your home purchase as a LONGTERM investment. Almost every financial planner I have ever met would strongly advise against ever borrowing against a 401K program. It is a long term investment for your retirement and the penalties are harsh if not repaid.

Borrowing against the equity in your home has similar consequences. So why would anyone think that removing equity from their home is a smart option?

So is NOW a good time to buy? In a word, Yes! Smart buyers will get in the game! Low interest rates, negotiating sellers and massive inventory give a savvy buyer options! There is no way of telling whether any market has hit bottom until the prices start going up again. Work with a Realtor, knowledgeable in your community to find a good deal!

As Dorfman says, “residential homes are long term investments in the same way that stocks are...flipping, greed and making fast money is mostly myth.”


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If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. 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.

Monday, January 14, 2008

January Thaw Brings Out Home Buyers in the Twin Cities North Metro—Is Real Estate Making a Comeback?

With the Minnesota Vikings out of the playoffs, Sundays are once again a good opportunity to sell real estate. At my first open house of the year yesterday, I wasn’t able to sit down for a minute and read a chapter in the great novel I had brought with me. As soon as the sign was placed on the snow bank at the end of the drive, buyers started coming through the door.

What?!! Buyers???

On NBC's Today Show this morning, a real estate expert implied that there are no homebuyers to be found. Well that so called expert wasn’t in Forest Lake, Minnesota yesterday. The beautiful sunny day and well priced split level brought out several interested parties.

First time buyers

Move up Buyers

Empty Nesters

Sure some could have been tire-kickers, killing time on a Sunday afternoon. But it is my expert real estate opinion that most were seriously considering making a move. Will any of them write an offer on that particular house? Possibly, but that is not the point. The good news is I believe almost everyone I spoke with yesterday will be making a move this year! It is exciting to see the market charging up for a great 2008!

People, NOW
is a great time to move!

Sellers, NOW is the time to start getting your home ready for the spring market. Ignore the naysayers! It is time become educated on how to get your home priced and prepared properly to be sold quickly. A quickie, internet market estimate for pricing just won’t do.
Call a real estate expert in your market to pave the way to your new home.

As an expert in the northern Twin Cities suburbs, I have been successfully listing and selling homes throughout Anoka, Washington and Chisago Counties last year. I know what it takes to get a home sold in this changed market. My list to sold ratio was 71% last year—Yep, I sold 5 out of 7 homes I listed in 2007!

Buyers, NOW is the time to write that offer. With so many wonderful homes on the market, you really have a chance to be selective. But don’t wait too long as more buyers are getting that spring buying fever, homes will start disappearing from the active MLS and go into pending sales. It happens every year whether we are in a slower market or not, spring fever and the real estate market go hand-in-hand in Minnesota.

Buyers get educated and sign a buyer's representation agreement! Yesterday almost all of the buyers that came into my open house were not represented by a Realtor. I had the opportunity to educate several people on why having a Realtor working for you does not cost anything and can actually SAVE money.


Don't let the media dictate whether you make a move in 2008 or not. Team up with a good Realtor and make 2008 the year that your housing dreams come true!

Additional Articles for Home Sellers:
Top 10 Ideas to Get Your Home Ready to SELL!
Open Houses—Do they Work in a Buyer’s Market?
What is your Realtor’s List-to-sales Ratio?
Is the "Busy Road Factor" Affecting the Sale of Your Listing?

Additional Articles for Home Buyers:
Rent VS Buy? It's Time to Revisit the Question!
Real Estate Agent Selection Primer—How to Choose to the Right Realtor for You!
First Time Buyers: Helping Define YOUR Dream
Dreaming of life on MN Acreage? What YOU need to know Before You Make Your Move!

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If the January thaw gave you a bit of spring moving fever and you need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a
FREE Relocation Packet. 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 2008 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tale of Two Headlines—City Water and Sewer for Ham Lake?

A day or two before Christmas, our copy of the January 2008 Ham Laker Newsletter arrived from the City of Ham Lake. I noticed it nestled between the holiday cards and did a quick glance over the headline, “Please Answer our Community Survey”, before tearing into the envelopes that held the photos, wishes and good tidings from our family and friends. It wasn’t until the Christmas gift wrap had been cleared that I had a chance to sit down and actually read it.

Being a Realtor who likes to blog to keep residents informed on Ham Lake and Anoka County, I read every issue of The Ham Laker cover to cover to get the news from the city council meetings and community. Luckily even though the January issue was poorly timed, I did not make an exception.

On closer examination of the story on the community survey, I read the words, “financially feasible sewer and water system.”

Hmmmm…I had heard that there was talk about developing the corner of Highway 65 and Crosstown for additional commercial development. I had read about the task force of 30 people that were investigating options. Reading further, I became a bit concerned as I read between the lines, it sounded like they were seriously considering bringing city water and sewer into Ham Lake and implying it would lower our taxes.

Looking closely at the map, the proposed area included areas around Coon Lake. I was becoming mildly concerned.

A few days after the New Year, the January issue of Lakes and Loons arrived. This year old privately funded publication has been giving a different side of the news since it’s inception first issue. Their headline was not a bit vague. Ham Lake Sewer District: $75 Million…Plus Interest

Ouch…
The Ham Lake city council was not just considering a northern city water and sewer system, they were talking numbers. Reading the article was eye opening!

  • The task force is not made up of Ham Lake residents.

  • No citywide vote is scheduled for this massive change to the Ham Lake community.

  • A community center is being considered along with walking and bike paths.

  • High density housing would be an option in areas where the city utilities are available.

  • Several proposals are being considered to pay for the proposed city utilities. One funded completely by developers.
Now as a Realtor working in Anoka County, this concerns me. People consider Ham Lake because of the rural life style and close proximity to the city. These changes will have an immediate affect on property values. Right now, any homeowner in Ham Lake would have to disclose to a buyer that city water and sewer are being discussed as an option. This could deter a buyer from considering a purchase of a home as the costs to abandon a septic system, seal a private well and connect to public utilities will run into the tens of thousands of dollars. How do you escrow for unknown assessments and costs?

With current time on the market for a Ham Lake home being counted in months not days; this is going to be another blow to the Ham Lake home seller. View 4th Quarter Ham Lake real estate market statistics here.

If your Ham Lake home is not in the area where the public utilities are being considered but you live nearby, your home value can still be affected. I have sold homes in Centerville, Lino Lakes, North Branch, Forest Lake and Wyoming with septic systems in close proximity to homes with city water and sewer. It is a tough sell when you have a well but your neighbors have city water. And the situation is the same with a septic versus public sewer connection. There is always a perceived threat that the homeowner might be forced at some point to connect to the system.

Though, I have few answers and many questions about the water/sewer proposal for Ham Lake, I do have some advice to Ham Lake residents. Read both of the articles* and Mike’s Musings “Sewergate” editorial and make your own determination on the situation. Make it a point to attend the council meetings. Take the survey and give your comments on the situation. Get educated. This WILL affect Ham Lake property values and taxes and the affect will begin immediately.

*I provided a link to the Ham Laker Newsletter page but as of today, the January 2008 issue is not available on-line.

Lakes and Loons Survey for Ham Lake Residents


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If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. 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 2008 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Uniquely Minnesota Artful Distractions—Homeowner Version: Forest Lake Steam Train


As I slowly wound my way through ice and snow on the slippery North Shore Trail while showing Forest Lake homes this past week, I was momentarily distracted by a colorful garage door. The elements made it difficult to see properly so yesterday I wound around back around the lake where I had showed homes days before to find this wonderful steam train artistic distraction.

While painting a mural on a garage door can be a detriment to a home's value, I will have to admit that this steam train mural would be a welcome sight to many. It really pops out against the white winter snow and
many people still love the nostalgic steam train era.

Not all art in Minnesota is in museums or created with chainsaws!

Other Uniquely Minnesota Artful Distractions:

Don't be distracted when making important real estate decisions! If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. 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 2008 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Lino Lakes, MN Real Estate Market Statistics 4th Quarter 2007

Real estate in Lino Lakes, MN in Anoka County is affordable and selling—though admittedly at a slower pace than most sellers would like. The community is conveniently located near the junction of the 35E and 35W split, just north of the Twin Cities, Lino Lakes is a 33 square miles treasure. With 13 lakes and acres of beautiful protected wetland, the community is served by three school districts; Centennial District #12, Forest Lake District #831, and White Bear Lake District #624. The gem attraction is the pristine 2,700-acre Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Regional Park Reserve is situated within the heart of the city. Lino Lakes is committed to maintain this treasure and its natural settings and wildlife habitats for years to come.

The fourth quarter numbers show area homes were selling just a bit faster than the previous quarter with an average of 141 days on the market for sold properties (DOM) compared with 159 days DOM in the third quarter. Looking at current inventory levels and the rate of sales for homes priced under $300,000, there is about 10-12 months of inventory. So with fewer homes selling and more coming on the market the absorbtion rate has gone up as in the third quarter it was closer to 6 months of inventory. Hopefully things will pick up again as the snow melts away.

While homes under $300,000 in Lino Lakes have a manageable inventory level, similar to other areas of the Twin Cities, high end homes are selling at a slower pace. Based on the 4th quarter statistics it will now take about tow years to sell the current inventory of homes above the $400,000 price tag. Though better than communities to the north, like Ham Lake and Forest Lake, which have about 3 years of high-end home inventory, Lino Lakes high end absorption rate is starting to edge upward.

4th Quarter Lino Lakes residential real estate statistics for single family homes:

Under $300,000~ 45 Active Listings, 2 Pending Listings, 11 Sold Listings, 132 DOM


$300,000-$400,000 ~ 32 Active Listings, 1 Pending Listings, 6 Sold Listings, 98 DOM

$400,000-$500,000 ~ 12 Active Listings, 0 Pending Listings, 3 Sold Listings, 308 DOM

$500,000 and Up~ 13 Active Listings, 2 Pending Listings, 1 Sold Listings, 128 DOM

Lakeshore available in Lino Lakes

1 Active Listings

Lino Lakes lakeshore price range: $544,900

1 Home on Otter Lake

Acreage properties available in Lino Lakes

8 properties listed on 1-2 Acres priced between $174,900-$589,900.
4 properties listed on 2-3 Acres priced between $220,970-$375,000
1 property listed on 3-5 Acres priced at $280,800
1 property listed on 5-10 Acres priced at $329,900
1 property listed on 10-15 Acres priced at $408,900

For additional information on any current Lino Lakes real estate listing or for additional information on buying a home in Lino Lakes contact Teri Eckholm directly at 651-336-7073.

**All Statistical information based on information from the REGIONAL MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE of MINNESOTA, INC. for the period of 10/1/07 through 12/31/07.

Articles on Lakeshore and Minnesota that might be of interest:

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If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. 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 2008 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Forest Lake, MN Real Estate Market Statistics 4th Quarter 2007


Real estate in Forest Lake, MN in north Washington County and east Anoka County is still selling. The first big December snowfall and holidays didn’t deter savvy buyers from getting out into the market and writing offers. The inventory levels are down from the third quarter statistics, but sales during the last three months of the year were only slightly lower than the previous quarter. The fourth quarter numbers show area homes are staying on the market an average of 166 days, just slightly lower than the 171 DOM in the third quarter. Looking at current inventory levels for homes priced under $300,000, there is about 9-10 months of inventory at the 4th quarter rate of sales.

High end home sales continue to remain stagnant. With only one home sold in the last 3 months, sellers in the over $400,000 price category are looking at a market time in the years rather than months if the rate of sale continues at this snails pace. Of course spring always brings new buyers out…They will have plenty of wonderful homes to select and negotiate on. When the ice thaws, it will be time to consider a lakeshore home!

Lakeshore opportunities are abundant in the Forest Lake area! The combination of an amazing inventory of 32 lakeshore homes, long market times, and low interest rates, creates the perfect situation as sellers should be ready to negotiate an acceptable deal for the sale of your piece of shoreline!

4th Quarter Forest Lake residential real estate statistics for single family homes:

Under $300,000~ 69 Active Listings, 3 Pending Listings, 22 Sold Listings, 133 DOM (Lakeshore Subgroup ~ 3 Active, 0 Pending, 0 Sold)

$300,000-$400,000 ~ 37 Active Listings, 3 Pending Listings, 6 Sold Listings, 292 DOM (Lakeshore Subgroup ~ 10Active, 1 Pending, 0 Sold)

$400,000-$500,000 ~ 17 Active Listings, 0 Pending Listings, 1 Sold Listing, 265 DOM (Lakeshore Subgroup ~ 7 Active, 0 Pending, 1 Sold)

$500,000 and Up~ 18 Active Listings, 1 Pending Listings, 1 Sold Listings 429 DOM (Lakeshore Subgroup ~ 12 Active, 1 Pending, 0 Sold)

Lakeshore available in the City of Forest Lake
32 Active Listings, 2 Pending Listings, 1 Sold Listings

Forest Lake lakeshore price range: $234,900-$2,900,000

22 Homes on Forest Lake
8 Homes on Clear Lake
1 Home on Sylvan Lake
1 Home on Neds Lake

**All Statistical information based on information from the REGIONAL MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE of MINNESOTA, INC. for the period of 10/1/07 through 12/31/07.

Featured Listing in Forest Lake Minnesota: 20685 Georgia Ave N

Articles on Forest Lake, Lakeshore and Minnesota that might be of interest:


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If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. 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 2008 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Ham Lake, MN Real Estate Market Statistics 4th Quarter 2007


The sluggish real estate market continues to affect Ham Lake, MN and Anoka County in the fourth quarter of 2007. Homes are staying on the market longer with an average Days-on-Market (DOM) of 220 days for homes sold in the 4th Quarter (compared to 157 DOM during the 3rd Quarter). Note that DOM for homes under $300,000 is a significantly lower time on the market, selling with an average DOM of 155.


While there are 30% fewer homes on the market in Ham Lake, 110 versus 158 at the end of the third quarter, homes are taking a bit longer to sell so there continues to be more homes on the market than buyers. Homeowners considering selling a home in the Ham Lake area must consider the average time to sell a home in the area is approximately 5-8 months. A home must be properly priced and prepared for showings to sell effectively in the Ham Lake market today.

Additional 4th Quarter Ham Lake residential real estate statistics for single family homes:

Under $300,000~ 36 Active Listings, 1 Pending Listings, 10 Sold Listings, DOM 155 (All existing homes)

$300,000-400,000 ~ 24 Active Listings, 0 Pending Listings, 5 Sold Listings, DOM 222 (New Construction Subgroup ~ 1 Active, 0 Pending, 0 Sold)

$400,000-$500,000 ~ 20 Active Listings, 1 Pending Listings, 6 Sold Listings, DOM 257 (New Construction Subgroup ~ 3 Active, 0 Pending, 2 Sold)

$500,000 and Up~ 30 Active Listings, 0 Pending Listings, 1 Sold Listings, DOM 390 (New Construction Subgroup ~ 9 Active, 0 Pending, 0 Sold)

Lakeshore available in the City of Ham Lake:
6 Active Listings

Ham Lake lakeshore price range: $267,900-$945,000

1 Homes on Coon Lake
2 Homes on Lake Amelia
1 Home on Ham Lake
1 Home on Lake Netta
1 Home on Mallard Lake

**All Statistical information based on information from the REGIONAL MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE of MINNESOTA, INC. for the period of 10/1/07 through 12/31/07.

Featured Listing in Ham Lake Minnesota:

3608 Woodland Drive

Articles on Ham Lake, Lakeshore and Minnesota that might be of interest:



If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. 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 2008 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Showing Instructions—Lock Doors, Leave a Card and Bring Your Shovel and/or Snowshoes!

Yesterday the second of January, I was out showing houses throughout Forest Lake and Wyoming, MN. It was a blustery Minnesota winter day that perpetuates the myth that our state is located somewhere north of Canada. It was COLD…No, it was downright FRIGID! Though the sun was bright, the morning temperature was -4. After a day of sunshine, the mercury had risen to the single digits or maybe teens depending on your location.

Now the native Minnesotan that I am didn’t let this stop me. I was working with a buyer who is in town sporadically. Yesterday was a day that she was in town. Our showings were set so all I had to do was warm up the car for a little longer and dress warm.

Everything went along fine until the fourth home on our tour and this was the scene. That whopping foot of snow we received just before Christmas was still on the driveway of this home! (Note that 4 foot bank of snow left on the curb by the snowplow.)


I asked my client if she thought the home was worth the trouble from the exterior. My client was adventurous so we did blaze a trail through the snow to see the home. Inside the home was nice, but not for my client

The feedback I emailed off to the listing agent was short and to the point.
Shovel the driveway!

So what if the home was perfect and my client decided forgo the winter snow climbing adventure? We saw five homes yesterday. Three were vacant. Only one looked like we needed snowshoes to get to the door! If it had been “the” home, our offer would have been lower to reflect the lack of maintenance.

Today the weather is warming up and temps in the mid-30’s and low 40’s are expected for Friday through the weekend. The snow at this property will melt , pack down and turn to an ice block when the refreeze, that undoubtedly will happen, comes!

Sellers even if you have relocated or are not in the area to shovel your driveway, hire someone to maintain the exterior of your Minnesota home. It can’t sell if the buyers don’t get through the door!



Featured Minnesota Listings:

3608 Woodland Drive
20685 Georgia Ave N



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If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. 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 2008 Teri Eckholm http://www.terieckholm.com/

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Real Estate Resolutions for Home Buyers and Sellers in Minnesota

2007 brought a changed real estate market to Minneapolis, St. Paul and the extended Twin Cities suburbs. Home sellers counted market time in months rather than days. Home buyers stayed hidden in the woodwork in the first six months of the year. Those who ventured out to open houses or showings with real estate agents were often confused by the smorgasbord of properties available. In every price range and most locations there were several OPTIONS. Town homes, single family, split levels, ramblers, two stories, remodels, foreclosures, short sales and new construction.

As a Realtor serving Anoka County, Ham Lake and communities in the Forest Lake School District, I keep a close eye on the Twin Cities real estate market. During the last few months of the year, I noticed bit of a change in the wind. Activity was starting to pick up. Frustrated sellers were tired of showings and lowered prices. Buyers teetering on the edge of the proverbial pool took the plunge and wrote offers. Negotiations were made and offers accepted.
The Twin Cities real estate market took one baby step toward forward at the end of 2007.

So what does that mean for those considering purchasing a home or selling their property in 2008? From Ham Lake to Forest Lake and East Bethel to East St Paul we have a strong foundation to our real estate market. Keeping the property value base strong is essential to all Minnesotans.
In 2008, we should all Resolve to be Real Estate Savvy!

Resolutions for Sellers

*Team up with a professional Realtor
*Price right from the start
*Make all repairs
*Declutter
*Make each showing count by staging the home for sale.
*Be willing to negotiate.

Resolutions for Buyers

*Team up with a trusted Realtor
*Get Pre-approved and check in with your Loan Officer regularly to discuss market change.
*Write realistic offers that encourage negotiation.
*Understand the foreclosure and short sale process—While prices can seem like a deal, the assumed risk to buyers on an as-is sale can be great.

Resolutions for Homeowners


*Even if this isn’t the year for you to sell, there are things a homeowner should be doing to maintain and retain property value.
*Maintain the interior and exterior of your home and make repairs on a continual basis rather than deferring to time of sale.
*Stay current with your mortgage and discuss any financial problems with lender immediately.
*Be a good steward of your neighborhood.

Resolutions for Investors

*Team up with a professional Realtor
*Take advantage of the abundance of foreclosures that will hit the market in 2008.
*If holding the property, offer a safe and maintained residence at a fair price to the renters
*If flipping or repairing/reselling the property, be realistic with the numbers. Don’t over invest in materials and curb enthusiastic inflated resale estimates. 2008 buyers are market wise!
*Be a good steward of your properties and the communities in which they are located.
*Maintain the properties to retain value for portfolio as well as the neighborhood.

If buyers, sellers, homeowners, investors and real estate professional alike work together to maintain slight momentum in the market that started at the end of 2007, 2008 could be the cornerstone of a great recovery for the Twin Cities real estate market.



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If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. 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.