Friday, October 31, 2008

Uniquely Minnesota Artful Distractions—Homeowner Version: Pumpkins Year Round in Wyoming, MN


While visiting one of the favorite pumpkin patches in Wyoming, MN last month, I noticed a bit of permanent décor among the display for the festivities. Long after October, people will be able to drive down County Road 22 and know from this Uniquely Minnesota Artful Distraction where the pumpkins will be next fall.

This carved set of pumpkins is in the front yard of the Lendt Pumpkin patch year greeting the family and friends of the owners year round while providing a bit of artful roadside distraction for those passing by. No doubt left in anyone’s mind what grows in these fields, even in the dead of winter.

Have a VERY Happy and Safe Halloween!

Other Uniquely Minnesota Artful Distractions:
Don't be distracted when making YOUR 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 terieckholm.com

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

October Video Update on Twin Cities Real Estate Market

I came across this market update posted on YouTube from the Minneapolis Association of Realtors which is a very good explanation snapshot of condition of the Twin Cities real estate market today. It is cautiously optimistic about the housing market conditions this fall. Take a look...









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 terieckholm.com

The Frugal File—Halloween Horror: Old Candy Alert!

Thrifty times call for drastic measures. I myself have been known to pinch pennies with the best of them so that our family could splurge on other things. But there is being frugal and being down right cheap. Trick-or Treaters beware…

Last March, my job as a REALTOR had me showing several homes to buying clients throughout Blaine, East Bethel, Andover, Ham Lake and even a few in as far south as Fridley and north to St. Francis. I can no longer pinpoint where this home was located but I will never forget what we saw stored in the closet under the stairs. A clear 38 gallon tote full of 10-20 bags of snack sized chocolate bars. All the favorites were there…Reese’s, Snickers, Hershey’s, you get the picture. It was clearly labeled “Halloween candy for 2008”. Keep in mind this is March now. After my client pointed it out it and I took a minute to process it...Yuck! Some poor kids are going to get a not so tasty surprise on Halloween because that is going to be
very old chocolate!
If you want to be thrifty and pre-buy something for next year’s trick-or-treaters at the half price sales on November 1st, stick to the non-edible treats. Pencils, Play-doh and small toys are usually available. Now if you like to give small gifts at Thanksgiving, by all means get the candy that is 50% off and wrapped in fall colors. I like to buy these and put an assortment into small gift bags for teachers and other service professionals as a Thanksgiving thank you. The chocolate is fresh and will taste good for several more weeks. I will even stock up on Hershey Kisses Kisses for making peanut blossom cookies that we have at Christmas. But saving chocolate under the stairs for a year and distributing to the neighborhood kids is not recommended as a way to save money. In fact it’s kind of gross.

Have a Very Safe and Happy Halloween!


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 terieckholm.com

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ham Lake City Council Candidates Embracing Rural Character or City Utilities? Better Find Out Before Voting!


Four options on the ticket, two seats up for grabs, do you know enough about the candidates to make an educated decision on whom to vote for next Tuesday? To be honest with you, I did not until this past Saturday. A copy of Lakes and Loons arrived in our mailbox this week with information regarding our four choices. I know quite a bit about the incumbent, council member, Gary Kirkeide. He has never waivered in his dedication to maintaining the rural character in Ham Lake and keeping our taxes low while continuing to provide excellent services. It was a pleasure to have information on Tom Johnson published so that I knew more about him than previously. He outlined many of his policies in the paper. I personally like that he also wants to preserve our rural character.

I found out less about the other two candidates, Farrell Touhy and Tom Paulson. They chose not to answer the survey that was published in Lakes and Loons as the other two candidates had. This bothers me a bit as candidates in at any level of government should participate in all forums and types of media. How can we make a decision?

I decided to check online for additional information on the other two candidates and was pleased to find that all four candidates chose to participate in the
ABC Newspaper Voter Guide questionnaire. I read through all of four candidates’ answers and I am now better informed but I still have questions and concerns about Ham Lake.

It seems that there is a feeling by one of the candidates that there is dissention among the current council and that our community is unwilling to work together with each other and surrounding communities. Mr. Touhy states that we need to “partner with neighboring cities”. When did Ham Lake not partner with neighboring cities? Is this about East Bethel, the Met Council and city sewer and water again?

In reading Mr. Paulson’s answer to the city utilities question, I became more concerned and fear that we have not seen the last of the city sewer, water and dense housing proposals in Ham Lake. He states that the approved comprehensive plan was “a good start and our plan should be amended to address these issues”. What issues?
Our city council listened to its constituents earlier this year and voted 4-1 to approve a comprehensive plan that embraced our rural character, kept a 1 acre minimum lot requirement and opted to only use batch septic paid for by end users in the commercial areas. A 4-1 vote doesn’t sound like dissention. It sounds like a council that listened to the residents rather than the mayor.

Several things that affect our community and our pocketbooks could be readdressed in the coming year. One of the big concerns that I note is the “push by members of the Ham Lake Charter Commission to remove a rule in our city charter requiring a citizen vote on the issue of bonds for spending over $1 million”. If this rule is removed, the council would in essence be given a blank check to spend millions without citizen approval. Candidates Kirkeide and Johnson were adamant about preserving the rule. But the other two candidates were open to discussing changes on charter.

Ham Lakers I urge you to read carefully what all four candidates have written. These issues will affect our taxes and the future of Ham Lake. I urge all residents to become educated on the issues and candidates prior to making a choice on November 4th.

Not Sure Where to Vote?
Click HERE to Find Your Polling Place!

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
terieckholm.com

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Defining Dreams—How a REALTOR® Helps Today's First Time Homebuyer

It continues to be a tumultuous real estate market out there. For a first time buyer this can be quite intimidating. More than ever before buyers need to be educated as short sales, foreclosures and bank owned homes continue to be an increasing part of the real estate landscape throughout the Minneapolis/St. Paul's northern suburbs. From Forest Lake to Blaine to Ham Lake, there are homes in all shapes, sizes, price ranges and conditions. Though there is a wealth of information on the web, when buyers get to looking at actual homes in person, they can be overwhelmed not knowing what to do next. Is it really priced right? Will I be happy with my decision if I buy on price alone? It may be a great deal but is it the home of YOUR dreams?

I love assisting first time home buyers!

The opportunity to own their home is exciting and that excitement bubbles right out of these buyers. Many have a picture in their head of what their dream home looks like and it is my job to draw out that picture is and help my first time home buyers find it.

Is it a little bungalow with the white picket fence?
A new trendy condo with views of the St. Croix River?
Or a fixer-upper that they can renovate and build equity?
Everyone has a different dream. As a home buyer's representative, I work with you to define YOUR dream. It doesn't cost buyers one cent to have representation but what they receive is priceless!

In the current buyers' market, there are so many options in every price range throughout the Twin Cities. I did a search a few days ago for a buyer and in a 15 mile radius from her place of employment, there were over 375+ homes she could consider! While it is great to have options, having over 375+ choices is overwhelming. So how do you narrow down your choices? Work with a professional real estate agent. As a REALTOR®, I work hard to understand your needs and lifestyle so we can find your perfect home.

To assist buyers, I asked them questions that help them define their dream...What was most important their home? Beyond the number of bedrooms and baths or how many garage spaces, how do they really live?I take the time to talk with my buyers about their lives and what is important to them. By taking a short, lifestyle inventory, I focus in on what makes up their ideal house.

Once a buyers' dream is defined, the list of potential properties can be narrowed quickly to a reasonable amount of serious possibilities. By understanding what the buyers' picture perfect home is, I help them stay focused and not waste time with homes that don't fit the dream. It most cases it only takes a short time to locate several good options and one "perfect" home to make an offer on...even in a real estate market with hundreds of options.

Let me help you define your dream...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 terieckholm.com

Friday, October 24, 2008

Smashing Pumpkins--An Alternative Housing Mantra?

Okay, I am not a metal-head but I do enjoy alternative rock from time to time and have teenagers so 93X is one of the preset stations on our family vehicle. Yesterday, while driving through Forest Lake, MN and flipping stations away from the annoying recorded political ads, I paused on the rock station and heard these lyrics: “Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage”. It was the chorus so the mantra was repeated a few times. Although catchy, I know from experience, the rest of the song might not be as lyrical so I laughed as I switched the station, but the line stuck in my head.

It started me thinking about all of the rage I have been hearing lately. Not teenaged angst but rage at the housing market. It’s in all the papers and on the news, hundreds of thousands of people enraged at the current financial crisis and the housing/mortgage mess that was the catalyst of it all. I get calls from potential home sellers who are frustrated when they hear the number in their market analysis and realize their homes are not worth as much as they thought. There are homeowners contact me angry at the low value received on an appraisal for a refinance and wonder where these numbers are coming from. There are upset foreclosure buyers who didn’t do their homework prior to closing on a “deal” and realize the “As-Is” bargain of a property has problems that were not fully disclosed. And there are those homeowners who are panicked, frustrated and resigned at the reality of being foreclosed upon.

So I started thinking, maybe these alternative rockers are on to something here. Because despite all the rage that surrounds us, many people are feeling caged in a situation they cannot control.

When I reached my office, the first thing I did was Google search the lyrics and discovered
The Smashing Pumpkins and their song, “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” was the catalyst of my muse. (October is the perfect time to showcase the song of a band with the name Smashing Pumpkins too, don’t cha think?) According to Wikipedia this song was a Grammy award winner in 1997, but this part of the song lyrics speaks to me a decade later regarding the financial situation of today. It was very ironic that the chorus also included the line, “someone will say what is lost can never be saved”. How profound. Consider this, some seniors facing retirement will not have time to wait out the current financial crisis for their biggest investments: real estate, usually the family home and the stock market, usually in a 401K or mutual fund to comeback. What has been lost cannot be saved.

So as rats in our cages, what can we do? It’s time to rethink rather than be enraged. Anger does not solve any problem. We need to refocus; to shift our way of thinking. Pick up that much acclaimed self-help book,
“Who Moved My Cheese?” and change how to think about your life.
  • Sellers forget what you think your home is worth…It is only worth what a buyer will pay today.
  • Buyers need to do their homework with their REALTOR® and trusted mortgage professional to find the right home and right loan.
  • Homeowners facing foreclosure cannot stick their heads in the sand. Take a realistic look at your situation and contact professional agencies to come up with a solution that fits your specific needs.
  • Buyers looking at foreclosures and short sales need to be patient and do their due diligence on every purchase because some of those bargains have “skeletons-in-the closet”.
Rage and anger gets us nowhere. It is impossible to move forward if you are angrily looking in the rearview mirror. Look at where you are today and make a move to pull yourself out of that financial cage you feel trapped in. The sooner you assess your current situation and make moves to change and improve it, the sooner you will recover from the crisis. By taking one positive step at a time, one person at a time, we as a nation will find a way out of this crisis.
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 terieckholm.com

Thursday, October 23, 2008

MN Mortgage Expert Explains—There Still is 100% Financing for Buyers in Minnesota

We have heard that the party was over. Home buyers with limited funds for a down payment would be required to scrimp and save for that first house again. And in most cases this is true. Our veterans have always had a wonderful zero down program available and the VA loan program is still a great option to those who have served our country. But other buyers will have to come up with the minimum 3.5% down payment required by FHA or 5% down for a conventional loan before they can even think of purchasing their dream home. However, if you are considering buying a home in a designated rural area there is still a zero down option, the Rural Development Program.
Now when some people hear “rural”, they immediately conjure up a picture in there head of an old-time farm in the middle of nowhere. Nothing could be further from the truth! According to the
USDA Rural Development website, the program was created to “build stronger, more vibrant rural communities across the nation.” This unique housing loan program does apply in many counties in the north and east metro that aren’t so far from the cities and they don’t have to be farmsteads either! Communities in Isanti and Chisago Counties including North Branch, Stacy, Chisago City, Lindstrom, Shafer, Taylors Falls and many others can possibly qualify for this program. If you are considering buying a home in any of these communities, it is a great program to look into. But very few loan officers really know the ins and outs that make a program like this work.

My go-to Minnesota loan expert,
Mary Chris Gallo, is one such person. She gives a more detailed explanation of the program in her post 100% Financing is Still Available in Select Areas.

In her article she writes, this is a CONVENTIONAL LOAN program with:
• NO down payment
• NO monthly PMI
• The seller is allowed to pay all reasonable closing cost and prepaids
• NO hit to the rate for the zero down
• NOT a first time home buyer program and
• No reserves needed


Read Mary Chris Gallo's entire post here.

There are restrictions so speaking with a qualified loan officer that understands the rural development loan program is essential. Likewise, working with a REALTOR ® that knows understands the current market conditions of the communities within this program are just as critical to your dream home becoming a reality.

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 terieckholm.com

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Stillwater, Minnesota—Beauty on an October Afternoon

MEA weekend is very special in Minnesota. The third Thursday and Friday in October are always the Minnesota Education Association's convention which means a four day weekend to all families with children in Minnesota schools. Our family has almost always used this as a travel weekend as it is off season for many vacation areas. This year we had to stay in town but my husband took off work anyway and I put my real estate business on hold and we spent a family day enjoying the fall colors along the river in Stillwater, Minnesota.

Okay Stillwater, Minnesota is not exactly a resort town but a great place to get away from it all. Since moving to Ham Lake we don't get into Stillwater on a weekly basis as we did when we were minutes away in North St. Paul. Yes, we used to walk the streets and check out the eclectic shops for antiques and treasures almost every weekend. The kids liked looking at the old stuff in the buildings that were once sawmills and department stores. We loved to ride the trolley when the line ran along the St. Croix river from the train station in north to the end of line near Brine's and The Freighthouse. It
was fun to watch the lift bridge stop for all the cars to let a boat through to head up or down the river. Some days we would just go up to watch all the people dressed up for the dinner train ride on the Minnesota Zephyr's afternoon run. It was like a treasure hunt for long lost memories.

As we strolled down memory lane...I mean Stillwater's main drag, my teens were disappointed to hear that the Minnesota Zephyr would no longer be running after December 2008. They had so many memories of that train. The first is more from my memory than theirs as it was when our oldest at 2 years old, decked out in his best pinstriped Oskosh bibs and train hat, met a real engineer and was taken to see the cab of the Zephyr. The boys remember the summer box lunch ride and the midnight ride on the "Hogwarts Express" when the sixth Harry Potter book was released. The train will stay as a stationary restaurant by the depot and not run the rails as it had in the past.

Though the red tour trolley was still there, Stillwater's yellow and green trolleys that used to run the tracks behind the shops along the river were gone. I think they had been dismantled after one of the last floods.

One of our last visits was at the time of the floods. The waterfront restaurant near the boat docks was flooded out and had to be rebuilt. It has been fully reconstructed now. There was a new walkway along the river tracks and wall to prevent future flooding. The lift bridge was saved from demolition and repaired over the past few years as well.

Here is the rest of the photo tour of our beautiful October day in Stillwater, Minnesota. A wonderful relaxing memory-filled getaway within the Twin Cities!

The Sawmill Antique Shop located on the north end of town across from the train depot is one of our favorite antique shops. The building features three stories of antiques from a variety of vendors. Also in the building is a hotdog/ice cream stand and an art shop for filled with beautiful paintings, photography and sculptures by local artists.

Another view of the Minnesota Zephyr and its dining cars. Note the beautiful fall colors on the bluffs that overlook the St. Croix River behind the train.


Stillwater is a popular place to dock your boat for summer fun along the St. Croix River. Not all the boats on the river have been prepared for winter.

Several boat owners are hoping to get in one last river excursion in before the snow flies. Across the river is a view of our neighboring state to the east, Wisconsin.


Here is a boat being removed from the river to be shrinkwrapped to protect it from the winter elements.

And one final shot of the Stillwater Aerial Lift Bridge from the north. We were hoping to see it lift but the boat was forced to turn and head down river instead.

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 terieckholm.com

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Uniquely Minnesota Artful Distractions—Homeowner Version: Not Paper Roses…Wooden American Beauties in Blaine, MN


Last week on the way home from an orthodontist appointment for my son we detoured down a Blaine street following a bright pink sign advertising a late season garage sale. We turned into a dead end road but not a single garage door was opened on this cold gray early morning but we discovered an even more exciting treasure…Another Uniquely Minnesota Artful distraction.

At the end of the cul de sac there was the remnants of a beautiful perennial garden. In the center of the garden, surrounded by wood chips and hostas with leaves starting to yellow, was a wonderfully carved display of wooden roses. Now I know Marie Osmond had a hit with Paper Roses way back when, but these wooden American Beauties are really something to sing about! Good thing I had my camera with as we were going to take a photo of a Blaine water tower for a real estate market statistic post. I was able to get a picture of this unique wooden carving to share.

Look closely at the bottom and you will see a hidden treasure. There is a small dog carved into the bottom of the sculpture. I am guessing the dog is named Rosie!
Other Uniquely Minnesota Artful Distractions:

Don't be distracted when making YOUR 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 terieckholm.com

Monday, October 20, 2008

Blaine, MN Real Estate Market Statistics 3rd Quarter 2008

Blaine is expanding by leaps and bounds in the north metro of the Twin Cities. The residential real estate construction boom in Blaine during the past decade has slowed but not stopped making new and existing home purchase opportunities very affordable. Conveniently located along 35W and Highway 65 and connected by Highway 10 just north of the Twin Cities, Blaine is an attractive location for both business and residential development. The community is served by three school districts; Anoka Hennepin District #11, Centennial District #12, and Spring Lake Park District #16. Blaine is best known for the National Sports Center a sport and meeting facility that hosts an annual worldwide soccer event and Tournament Players Club golf course where the PGA Senior tour is played every summer.

Real estate in Blaine, MN in Anoka County is affordable and selling—though admittedly at a slower pace than most sellers would like. The third quarter numbers show area homes are staying on the market an average of 162 days. Single family homes are selling faster than townhomes/condos with an average of 154 CDOM (Cumulative Days on Market) verses 183 CDOM. And newly constructed homes are out pacing existing homes with 107 CDOM to 164 CDOM. The overall CDOM statistic for Blaine compares with other areas of the north metro like Lino Lakes with a 151 CDOM, Forest Lake with a 167 DOM and Ham Lake with 210 CDOM. (Links to statistical reports for these communities are listed below.)

Last year, homes in Blaine were selling a bit faster than other areas of Anoka County but the slowdown in existing sales seems to have overtaken this community as well. New Construction is a bright spot with homes selling at a brisk 107 CDOM and in less than 6 weeks in some price points.


Buyers looking at single family homes under $300,000 in Blaine have an inventory over 200 homes to choose from currently on the market. At a rate of 30 per month sold, the inventory is manageable. Looking at current inventory levels and the rate of sales for single family residential homes priced under $300,000, there is about 7 months of inventory as it stands today. This is up a bit from last year at this time when there was about 5-6 months of inventory at the same time period.

Higher price homes are selling faster than last year. Still, they have to compete with new construction for the buyers. Note that one third of the homes sold over $300,000 sold in the 3rd quarter are new construction. If you have a higher priced existing home on the market, be aware of the builder incentives being offered as they do affect your ability to sell.

The townhome and condominium market has exploded in Blaine and builders have pulled out all the stops bringing pricing down. There is considerably less new construction townhome inventory on the market with only about 8 months of inventory compared with nearly 3 years of inventory at this time last year. Existing townhome sellers still must make their prices very attractive even though some of the builders’ inventory is down. There are still a significant number of builders with new townhomes available in the same area and they are making deals as evidenced by their very low 40 CDOM compared with 183 CDOM for existing townhomes and condos.


3rd Quarter Blaine residential real estate statistics for single family homes:

Under $300,000~ 222 Active Listings, 36 Pending Listings, 95 Sold Listings, 152 CDOM (New Construction Subgroup 17 Active, 2 Pending, 6 Sold, 167 CDOM )

$300,000-$400,000 ~ 51 Active Listings, 8 Pending Listings, 28 Sold Listings, 143 CDOM (New Construction Subgroup 15 Active, 5 Pending, 10 Sold, 49 CDOM)

$400,000-$500,000 ~ 26 Active Listings, 3 Pending Listings, 9 Sold Listings, 135 CDOM (New Construction Subgroup 8 Active, 3 Pending, 3 Sold, 44 CDOM)

$500,000-$1,000,000~ 47 Active Listings, 4 Pending Listings, 4 Sold Listings, 285 CDOM (New Construction Subgroup 12 Active, 2 Pending, 2 Sold, 77 CDOM)

$1,000,000 and Up ~ 1 Active Listings, 0 Pending Listings, 0 Sold Listings (New Construction Subgroup 0 Active, 0 Pending, 0 Sold)

3rd Quarter Blaine residential real estate statistics for townhomes and condos:

Under $300,000~ 143 Active Listings, 26 Pending Listings, 64 Sold Listings, 183 CDOM (New Construction Subgroup 36 Active, 5 Pending, 18 Sold, 40 CDOM)

$300,000-$400,000 ~ 33 Active Listings, 1 Pending Listings, 0 Sold Listings (New Construction Subgroup 10 Active, 1 Pending, 0 Sold )

$400,000-$500,000 ~ 11 Active Listings, 0 Pending Listings, 0 Sold Listings (New Construction Subgroup 6 Active, 0 Pending, 0 Sold)

$500,000-$1,000,000~ 11 Active Listings, 0 Pending Listings, 0 Sold Listings (New Construction Subgroup 1 Active, 0 Pending, 0 Sold)

For additional information on any current Blaine real estate listing or for additional information on buying a home in Blaine 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 7/1/08 through 9/30/08.

Articles on 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 terieckholm.com

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Tapestry of Fall Color in Ham Lake, Minnesota

Sunday was a perfect day for an autumn walk down our Ham Lake road. We are blessed to live on a quiet road with nature all around us. It is amazing that just a few minutes north of the bustle of city life in the communities of Blaine and Shoreview there is an Anoka County community with acreage lots that allow residents to escape every evening to a natural paradise. Ham Lake still has a farm or two. Horses are allowed and many families have riding rings in their yards. Another common sight are the huge fields of Kentucky Blue Grass that stretch across many acres throughout the area as Ham Lake is known for its lush green sod farms.

We are fortunate to live in an area where it is common to see raccoons and fox; a family of deer romping through the yard is a daily sight! We can look out our back window anytime of day and see wild turkeys wandering around in the grass. And let me tell you those birds are more fun to watch than the gaggles of Canadian Geese that have overtaken many Twin Cities parks. In addition to the squirrels, bunnies and chipmunks that are common in most residential communities, eagles, hawks, turtles, and even an occasional bear have been known to live in our neighborhood.

Though the natural beauty is wonderful year round, capturing the beauty of Ham Lake on a crisp October afternoon was a joy that needed to be shared. Here are a few snapshots of the tapestry of color that I experienced last Sunday as I walked through my neighborhood.


Apple, oak and aspens in our side yard to the north.



Catalpa, aspen, red oak, white oak and pines in our side yard to the south.




A bank of beautiful oaks across the prairie to the east.


Colorful beauty across a Ham Lake sod field.



Amazing burst of golds, oranges, crimsons, and greens accented by the white bark of the birches that have already lost their leaves.


Autumn beauty upclose!

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 terieckholm.com

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Circle Pines Townhome Value!

No, this beautiful townhome is not featured in a magazine spread but it could have been. The amazing thing is, it is priced $60K less than the price paid just a few years ago. Only the banks are giving better deals...But this home is NOT bank owned or a short sale. The seller is very flexible on move in dates so a quick closing is possible. You could be serving Thanksgiving dinner in a your first home...a real dream home...that could have been featured in any home beautiful magazine!
NEED MORE INFO and Photos? Visit my website terieckholm.com and click featured links.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Weekend Fall Photo Tour of White Bear Lake, Minnesota--A Tapestry of Color!

Saturday was a perfect autumn day in Minnesota if you enjoy Mother Nature's eye candy! The fall colors were just starting to burst in White Bear Lake area. Around every corner there was another tree showing the signs of the crimson red, golden yellow, bittersweet orange or burgundy that was soon to appear. It was the perfect time to take a break from photographing interiors and exteriors that are so common in real estate and take some fun photos of the natural beauty unfolding in the Twin Cities.
Here are just a few of shots I took that showcase some of the beauty found on an autumn day in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

Boaters along the shore of White Bear Lake.

End of the season sail across the lake. Just look at the color starting to burst across the water.

Street shot of White Bear Lake Minnesota with a tapestry of color.


Beginnings of fall color near Manitou Island Bridge.

Another view of Manitou Island bridge.

Playful Bear Statue at the park in Washington Square just east of Highway 61.



Washington Square Gazebo with flower baskets that will be but a memory in the weeks to come.
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 terieckholm.com

Lakeshore Market Statistics for Forest Lake, MN—Clear Lake & Forest Lake Sales


A few weeks back I received a phone call from a lovely lady thanking me for my informative post on the lakeshore market in the Twin Cities north metro. She lives in Forest Lake on Clear Lake and was considering selling next summer After reading my article, Think Now is a GREAT Time to Make a DEAL on a MN Lakeshore Home? I Do!, she was concerned about the changing market and wanted more specifics on how homes on Clear Lake were fairing today. She didn’t want a market analysis of her home, just some statistics on what was really selling on Clear Lake. I told her that was a very good question and the sales values would be very different than what was happening on other area lakes. I said that I would look into the situation further and get back to her. I also told her that her query could become my next post. She thought that was a terrific idea so here it is.

First of all, many people may not realize that the City of Forest Lake, Miinnesota has several lakes and the lake, Forest Lake itself is really 3 lakes, First, Second and Third. All three are full recreational lakes and are connected by channels but the lakeshore on the different has different levels of desirability and hence drastically differing values. First Lake is the largest and most coveted shoreline. Similarly, Clear Lake is nearby Forest Lake. It is a full recreational lake but it is not connected to Forest Lake. Many people driving past the City of Forest Lake as they head up on 35 toward Duluth will mistake Clear Lake for Forest Lake as it is the only lake visible from the freeway. It is just to the east of 35 and there is a small fishing pier and boat landing visible from the road.

So how has Clear Lake real estate faired during the market slow down? My research showed very little activity in the past year. In fact, only one home has sold so far in 2008 and three homes were sold in 2007. The home sold in 2008 had been recently remodeled and sold within days of listing for an amount significantly higher than its stated tax value. This is very unusual and on the surface sounds like great news for Clear Lake homeowners but it is only one house and so the information taken alone is misleading.

Taking the three homes sold in 2007 into account, the picture is clearer but not as rosy. Averaging all four homes, the days on the market (DOM) expands to 135 for the SOLD homes on Clear Lake. Since each of the homes is drastically different in age, style, shoreline, acreage and condition, I did not want to average the value. Rather I compared the homes sales prices to the current listed tax values from the Washington County Assessor.

Here is what I found:

  • A home on 217th sold for $463K and has a current tax value of $332K. It sold for significantly more than its tax value.
  • A home on Everton sold for $295K and has a current tax value of $277K. It sold for slightly more than its tax value.
  • A home on 210th sold for $320K and has a current tax value of $441K. This is significantly lower than the county has listed (and more in the norm for what is happening in the marketplace).
  • A home on Fondant sold for $682K and has a tax value of $530K. Again very high compared to the tax record.
Then I averaged the sales prices to come up with an average; it appears that the homes on Clear Lake are selling at 1.15% of tax value based on the 2007 and 2008 sales data.

There are also four homes currently listed on the lake that and the cumulative DOM is considerably higher. The average DOM is over 440 days for these four lakeshore homes. Also two of the homes are listed at prices significantly higher than tax value:
  • 21XXX Everton $270K List, $278K Tax
  • 21XXX Floral Bay $406K List, $441 Tax
  • 57XX 220th $680K List, $375K Tax
  • 51XX 217th $949K List, $703K Tax
The first two homes were originally listed at $340K and $475K respectively. I think it is possible that the prices on these homes were brought down to under tax value so that they would have a better opportunity to sell. This seems to be inline with what is currently happening in most segments of the real estate market today.

Since there were so few sales on Clear Lake, I also compared tax values to sale prices for lakeshore homes on Forest Lake during the past 12 months. On Forest Lake (Lakes First Second and Third combined), 17 previously owned homes sold with lakeshore. The tax record to sales price ratio was 1.01% just slightly over tax value.
To get a true picture of what a lakeshore home value would be in the market place today, it would be most prudent to have a property specific market analysis done. But, if you just want a ball park value, take a close look at your Washington County tax statement. Unless your home has significant recent improvements or is significantly distressed, its current value in today’s market is very close to the assessed value.

More Articles on Forest Lake and Lakeshore 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 terieckholm.com

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Uniquely Minnesota Artful Distractions—Homeowner Version: Skol Vikings! Minnesota Viking in Roseville, MN!

One of my favorite parts of being a Realtor is in December when I make my way through Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties making my holiday visits to the homes of my past and present buyers and sellers delivering two foot tall, live Christmas trees. The trees are a beautiful holiday centerpiece and in the spring can add value to a homeowner’s landscape. Last December, as I made my holiday trek through the north and east Twin Cities metro, I was distracted by a Viking!

In Minnesota, there are many fans of the purple and gold hometown football team but not too many go so far as to have a carved likeness of a Minnesota Viking on their front lawn. At the time, this fierce warrior was covered with snow so I made a mental note to return at the start of the football season and capture this artful distraction to share. This wooden tribute to the Minnesota Vikings is located at a home on a side street in Roseville, MN. The purple pride of this football fan is further evidenced by the sign on the front of the home. I don’t know if this is supposed to be Regnar, the mascot of the Vikings, but Regnar or not, this is one committed fan! Skol Vikings!

In case you were wondering…Skol is a Swedish salute to an admired group and it is the beginning of the Minnesota Viking Fight song:

Skol, Vikings! Let's win this game.
Skol, Vikings! Honor your name.
Go get that first down, then get a touchdown,
Rock 'em, sock 'em, fight, fight, fight, fight!
Skol, Vikings! Run out the score;
You'll hear us yell for more.V-I-K-I-N-G-S!
Skol, Vikings, let's go!


Other Uniquely Minnesota Artful Distractions:


Don't be distracted when making YOUR 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 terieckholm.com

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lino Lakes, MN Real Estate Market Statistics 3rd Quarter 2008



Lino Lakes continues to grow and real estate is affordable. Conveniently located near the junction of the 35E and 35W split 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.

Real estate in Lino Lakes, MN in Anoka County is still selling. During the third quarter, single family homes had a cumulative days on the market statistic (DOM) of 151 days or about five months average selling time in the Lino Lakes area. While encouraging, these are summer numbers and it will be interesting to see if the momentum continues into the fall and winter. Active homes priced under $300,000 seem to be selling well and with thirteen in pending, it seems there is still some momentum as we head into October in this category. There currently is about a six month absorption rate meaning it will take six months for the current inventory of homes to be sold if no additional homes are listed. Lino Lakes existing homes continue to compete with available new construction in Hugo and Blaine. But as it is in southern Anoka County, its sales figures do not tend to be as stagnant as northern Anoka County communities like Ham Lake and Linwood.

High end home sales are starting to move in Lino Lakes. This is welcome news as no high end homes were sold in the first quarter of 2008. There were still just a handful of sales in the $400,000-$500,000 category but the 6 sales over $500,000 is an encouraging sign.
Acreage opportunities are abundant in the Lino Lakes area! From one acre parcels to 15 acre hobby farms, Anoka County as quite a selection of homes in the Lino Lakes area. Many have been on the market for a quite a while. With continued low interest rates, it is a great time to negotiate a deal on your piece of Minnesota acreage!


1st Quarter Lino Lakes residential real estate statistics for single family homes:

Under $300,000
~ 50 Active Listings, 13 Pending Listings, 22 Sold Listings, 145 DOM
$300,000-$400,000 ~ 30 Active Listings, 1 Pending Listings, 7 Sold Listings, 145 DOM
$400,000-$500,000 ~ 13 Active Listings, 0 Pending Listings, 2 Sold Listing, 181 DOM
$500,000 and Up~ 13 Active Listings, 0 Pending Listings, 6 Sold Listings, 152 DOM


Lakeshore available in the City of Lino Lakes:
4 Active Listings
Lino Lakes lakeshore price range: $324,900-$698,000

1 Home on Baldwin Lake
1 Home on Otter Lake
2 Home on Reshanau Lake

Acreage properties available in Lino Lakes:


12 properties listed on 1-2 Acres priced between $89,900-$799,900
2 property listed on 3-5 Acres priced at $264,900-$550.000
3 properties listed on 5-10 Acres priced at $319,900-$579,900
1 property listed on 10-15 Acres priced at $689,900
1 property listed on 20 Acres priced at $429,900
1 property listed on 80 Acres priced at $6,000,000

**All Sold and Pending Statistical information based on information from the REGIONAL MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE of MINNESOTA, INC. for the period of 7/1/08 through 9/30/08.

Articles on Lino Lakes, 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 terieckholm.com

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Forest Lake, MN Real Estate Market Statistics Third Quarter 2008


Forest Lake, Minnesota in the northeast metro Twin Cities area holds a special place in the hearts of many Minnesotans. Many residents of Minneapolis, St. Paul or one of the first ring suburbs will remember Forest Lake fondly from decades ago as a summer vacation spot or place to go for a drive in the country. Today, the lakeside cabins have been replaced with year round homes and the rural nature is all but a thing of the past in this thriving St. Paul suburb. Though housing growth has slowed down drastically in the past year or two in many northern suburbs due to ever increasing gas prices, Forest Lake is holding its own.

Real estate in Forest Lake, MN in north Washington County and east Anoka County continues to sell but slowly. The Days on Market (DOM) Statistic is currently running at about 167 days for all homes sold. When the six month numbers showed area homes had stayed on the market an average of 211days, this is welcome news.If we look at sold homes in the under $300,000 category the absorption rate is at a 7 month level which is down from 11 months at mid-year and significantly lower than the first quarter 24 month high. Summer weather for selling lakeshore may have contributed to this lower statistic. But high end homes continue to struggle for sales. Only eight homes sold in the 3 summer months in the $400,000 plus price category. Currently, the Forest Lake community sits with over 4 years of inventory when factoring in the sales of the first three quarters sales on high priced homes. Great homes at amazing prices are out there on lakeshore and acreage properties. With this much inventory, sellers will be forced to consider offers and be flexible when negotiating if they NEED to sell their home. However, it is an ideal time for and astute buyer to negotiate a GREAT deal on a lakeshore home!

Lakeshore opportunities are abundant in the Forest Lake area! There are more listings than ever before at incredible prices too! The inventory levels are awesome…49 lakeshore homes currently active. Many have been on the market for a quite a while. With continued low interest rates, it is a great time to negotiate a deal on your piece of Minnesota shoreline!

Mid Year 2008 Forest Lake real estate statistics for single family homes:

Under $300,000~ 86 Active Listings, 6 Pending Listings, 38 Sold Listings, 164 DOM (Lakeshore Subgroup ~ 5 Active, 0 Pending, 0 Sold)

$300,000-$400,000 ~ 32 Active Listings, 2 Pending Listings, 8 Sold Listings, 175 DOM (Lakeshore Subgroup ~ 6 Active, 0 Pending, 0 Sold)

$400,000-$500,000 ~ 17 Active Listings, 0 Pending Listings, 4 Sold Listing, 138 DOM (Lakeshore Subgroup ~ 8 Active, 0 Pending, 3 Sold)

$500,000 and Up~ 35 Active Listings, 2 Pending Listings, 4 Sold Listings 231 DOM (Lakeshore Subgroup ~ 30 Active, 1 Pending, 4 Sold)

Lakeshore available in the Forest Lake area:

49 Active Listings, 1 Pending Listings, 7 Sold Listings

Forest Lake lakeshore price range: $210,900-$2,100,000

43 Homes on Forest Lake
3 Homes on Clear Lake
1 Home on Shields Lake
1 Home on Heims Lake
1 Home on Comfort Lake

**All Statistical information based on information from the REGIONAL MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE of MINNESOTA, INC. for the period of 7/1/08 through 9/30/08.


Articles on Forest 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 terieckholm.com