Enjoy the fall colors while you shop for your NW Wisconsin lake home or cabin

Right now is a great time to find your new home, cabin, or recreational property in Northwestern Wisconsin.  Summer is over and autumn leaves are turning their brilliant yellow and red hues.  A smart strategy is to get serious about your search right now.

Beautiful fall colors in NW Wisconsin

Beautiful fall colors in NW Wisconsin

Fall leaves

Fall leaves

Here’s why:  If you’re planning to wait until spring before beginning or resuming your search, remember that a lot of other buyers are doing the same.  Sellers are very aware of this, and some have resigned themselves to not seeing much more activity until April. But once April arrives, they’ll be confident that more buyers will turn up in the months to follow. Home prices might even start a little higher and they’ll be less willing to negotiate on price.

Instead, if you find the place you’re looking for now and put in an offer, you’ll be in an excellent negotiating position.  Many sellers are eager to sell now so they can move on; your negotiating power is even better.  Some sellers will be glad to no longer be carrying those costs through the winter.

While interest rates are still very low, there is no guarantee they will remain at these levels. That’s one more reason to buy now.

This time of year, even Mother Nature is making it easier to find your new home, cabin, or recreational property.  The leaves are falling, and suddenly it’s literally much easier to see what’s out there.  Not only is this a wonderful time of year to enjoy the colors, lake homes and the lakes tend to be more visible.

But if you’re curious about properties you’ve seen online, I’d be glad to help you get a closer look.  To see my listings, go to www.JeanHedren.com.  You can search by county, community and even by the specific lake name. (I’ll also be glad to show you any properties in Northwestern Wisconsin.)  You can also check out my YouTube listing videos – Edina Realty Northwest Wisconsin Homes

There’s no better time than right now to find your new home, cabin, or recreational property in Northwestern Wisconsin.  The leaves are turning, our inventory of available properties is still good, and now is an excellent time to come take a look around.

Take your NW Wisconsin property search while enjoying the fall colors. Download my free NW Wisconsin property search app at www.JeanHedren.com

Jean Hedren, Edina Realty, NW Wisconsin. Douglas, Bayfield, Washburn, Sawyer County real estate. Gordon, Wascott, Minong, Solon Springs, Barnes, Hayward, Spooner real estate, and other NW Wisconsin communities.

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Posted in Bayfield County WI listings, Douglas County WI, Douglas County WI listings, Edina Realty, NW WI Real Estate, Washburn County WI listings, Wisconsin real estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Out exploring? GPS and phone maps are great. But don’t forget the big picture.

Out exploring? GPS and phone maps are great. But don’t forget the big picture.

Scenic drive in Barnes, WI

Scenic drive in Barnes, WI

These days, more and more people are forsaking paper maps for phone or dash-based mapping systems. But when you’re looking for real estate, and maybe even when you’re just trying to find your way back to town, don’t forget the big picture.

Don’t get me wrong. I love gadgets, and I love technology. I’m no luddite technophobe. In fact, I’m the designated software trainer for the Edina Realty agents in northwestern Wisconsin. But I firmly believe that paper-based maps still have a place.

Here’s why. First, larger maps help you see the big-picture context. Without them, you’ll be looking at the world through a tiny window. Plus, when you’re driving through a dead zone your phone or tablet will only work if you’ve planned ahead and preloaded detailed maps of that particular area. Maybe you did, maybe you didn’t.

So I’d especially like to recommend two entire books full of good old paper maps:

  • Northwest Wisconsin Fishing Map Guide, Northern Region. You can also find maps, fisheries info, and other lake information by going to the menu above and clicking on NW WI Lakes & Rivers. But when you’re out driving around, this 224-page volume can be an invaluable reference. Although it’s intended for anglers, it includes great maps and lake information that’s helpful for the non-angler, too. Available from Amazon, and also at finer bookstores, hardware stores, and bait shops everywhere.
  • Wisconsin Atlas and Gazetteer, by De Lorme. These 96 pp. of large-format maps show all the roads in Wisconsin—including the smallest dirt back roads. They also show terrain features, boat landings, and other points of interest. (For more about specific communities, you can also go to the menu above and click on NW WI Communities. And for the quickest routes to get here, click on Get Here.)

I love my phone, and buyers have told me the Edina Realty Mobile App can be extremely helpful. But to supplement your phone, tablet, or dash system, don’t forget plain old paper maps. They run on a user-friendly page-based operating system. Their batteries never die, and they work everywhere. Try one today.

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Septic Systems Simplified

Septic Systems Simplified

I’d like to address a topic that may not be very glamorous. But it’s one that’s important to know about when you’re buying a home or cabin in NW Wisconsin.

If you’re living in town, then you probably have city water and sewer. All you need to worry about now is paying a small bill every month. But once you move to the country, you’re on your own. Don’t worry though. Most of the time these systems work just fine.

septic-system

Still, before you buy a home or cabin, it’s important to know about its septic system. Repairs and upgrades can be expensive. Here’s a quick overview; to really understand septic systems thoroughly, you may wan to do an online search on some of these terms and read further.

The first question you should ask is what type of system a particular home or cabin has. There are three main types: conventional, mound, and holding. You may also hear about something called a “separate gray water system.” One other term I’ll explain briefly is “perc test.” You’ll want to know what it is and why it’s important.

A conventional septic system runs waste water and solids into a large concrete septic tank where bacteria digest the solids. Liquids run out the other end into a drain field that’s made of perforated pipe buried in a gravel-filled trench. Solds that don’t digest settle out into a sludge at the bottom of the septic tank. Every two or three years, you’ll need to have this sludge pumped out. It’s not expensive, and it’s no big deal. It’s just part of owning a home or cabin that’s outside the city limits.

A mound system is similar, except that the drain field is above ground level inside a large mound of gravel and dirt. It’s used in certain special conditions – most often when the soil isn’t permeable enough, there isn’t enough soil before you reach bedrock, or the water table is too close to the surface. Although the mound can be landscaped in a way that makes it less noticeable, it’s still going to be there. Another negative is that mound systems often require a pumping system in between the septic tank and the drain field. Otherwise, these systems work just like a conventional septic system.

A holding tank is just what it sounds like – a hold tank that needs to be pumped out a soon as it’s full. I see them most often at older lakeshore cabins. They’re usually only used for sites that are unsuitable for either a conventional or a mound system. Sometimes, however, they were installed because they were a less expensive alternative.

As you’d expect, a larger tank is better. But it still needs to be pumped out eventually. And when it is, a large tank will cost more to empty.

You may be able to upgrade a holding tank to conventional or mound system. But even if you can, it will be a fairly expensive undertaking. Meanwhile, pumping out the holding tank will be a regular expense. If the system serves a small cabin that’s only used on a dozen weekends every year, that’s less of an issue. But if that cabin becomes a full-time, year-round home for a family of six, then you’re going to have a monthly pumping bill.

To help with that problem, some homes and cabins have a separate “gray water system.” (You’ll also see them used on conjunction with conventional and mound systems.) Gray water, as opposed to “black water,” is all the waste water that hasn’t come from a toilet. Depending on local codes and regulations, your gray water can sometimes be released with little or no processing; you could even use it to water your lawn or garden. Just be careful about what soaps you use, and avoid pouring too many household chemicals down the drain (probably a good idea anyway).

Finally, here’s one more term you should know about. If you’re building a new home or cabin, you may hear about something called a “perch test.” That’s short of “percolation test,” and it’s a measure of how permeable your soil is. If your building site is on clay soil that’s relatively impermeable, it could mean you’ll need a mound system or holding tank. It it’s on relatively sandy soil, you can relax. You’ll probably pass your perch test with flying colors.

This was an important topic, but maybe not a very fun one. If you read all the way to here, then perhaps you are ready to start shopping for your country or lake home or cabin – www.JeanHedren.com

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Preventing Frozen Septic Systems

Although it’s been an unseasonably warm fall in Northwest Wisconsin, it’s never too early to start planning ahead.  If you’re buying a home or cabin up north, you may want to take extra precautions so its septic system doesn’t freeze up this winter.

septic-system

 

This is usually only a problem during extremely cold winters when there’s very little snow.  We experienced an epidemic of frozen septic systems back in the winter of 2002-2003.  Some small towns in Northern Wisconsin even had their municipal systems freeze when the frost reached depths of eight or nine feet.

Usually it’s not the septic tank itself that freezes first; instead it’s the pipe between the house and the tank, or else the pipe leading from the septic tank to the drain field.  (Sometimes it’s the drain field itself.)  The first situation causes an immediate backup.  The second can turn your septic tank into a holding tank.  Both, however, can usually be resolved by your local septic experts.

To prevent these problems from happening in the first place, your best bet is to to buy several bales of straw next November.  Break them apart and fluff up the straw as you spread it out over the ground above your septic system and drain field.  You may also want to spread some over the area between your house and the septic tank.  In the spring, this straw will make great mulch for your garden.

(Every fall around here, you’ll see ads for “sewer hay.”  That term is used generically; it’s up-north lingo for just this kind of situation.  But make sure you get clean straw, rather than substandard hay with lots of weed seeds.)

Or, if you’re not into gardening, go to the home improvement store for a few sheets of 2” foam insulation.  Lay them out over your septic tank and drain field, put a couple of rocks on them so they don’t blow away before they’re covered with snow, and then sit back and wait for winter.

Need a break from studying up on septic sucking issues? Relax a bit by viewing some of my current listings (and maybe even take a few virtual video tours via YouTube), just click here.

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Think outside the cabin box.

Maybe you’re thinking of buying a cabin up here in Northwestern Wisconsin.  And maybe, it could be that using or living in your cabin year-round is part of your long-range plan.

Your plan might be a good one.  But be realistic about whether your cabin is a three-season, 3.5 season, or four-season cabin.  In some cases, insulation upgrades and retrofits can be tough. If you are financing the purchase, lenders can be very specific about the type of cabin they will finance. Generally, they won’t finance a three-season cabin. But talk to your lender about what they can finance.

Be realistic, too, about how big that cabin is.  Even if it’s great for a long weekend, is it really big enough for seven days a week, twelve months a year?  Can even two people live in it without getting cabin fever?  Is there storage room?

Next, think outside the cabin box.  Can a new garage with a shop and extra storage solve those problems?  Can you add on?  (Don’t forget, though, to check your local zoning and waterfront setback regulations.  They could limit your options.)

I’d be glad to help you find a cabin for now—and maybe even for later.  And maybe your current cabin is the best long-term solution.  But if trading up is an even better solution, give me a call.  I can help you sell your current cabin and help you find a lake home that’s just right.

Start your Northwest Wisconsin cabin search at Jean Hedren, Edina Realty: http://www.jeanhedren.com/

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N7730 Island Lake Rd, Spooner WI, McKinley Lake. Accepted offer.

Make this lovely 4 bedroom log home your year round home or getaway. More than 3000′ sq ft of living space, large chef’s kitchen, main level laundry, huge lakeside windows for great wildlife viewing, are some of the features. McKinley Lake is a great fishing and boating lake, and this home offers wonderful bird and wildlife viewing. Attached and detached garages offer plenty of storage and vehicle space. Minutes from Spooner and Trego, WI.

Property details: N7730 Island Lake Rd, Trego, WI.

Accepted offer.

 

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8639 E Meade Church Rd, Solon Springs, WI real estate

Just listed: 8639 E Meade Church Rd, Solon Springs, WI.
3 bedrooms, 2 bath, 1728 sq ft
20 acres with pond
Offered at $230,000

Enjoy country comfort on 20 acres within half hour commute to Superior/Duluth. Newer quality built home with quality interior finish details including stainless steel appliances, lighting fixtures, cabinetry, and more. Laundry on main level. In-floor heating, electric baseboard heat, and efficient pellet stove. Wrap-around deck, no maintenance metal roof and vinyl siding. Extra large 34×20 pole building with in-floor heat.

Curious about this Solon Springs home? Call Jean Hedren, Edina Realty NW Wisconsin, 218-590-6634. Or, email: JeanHedren@edinarealty.com.

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