Winter energy saving tips for Midwest home owners

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DIY home energy checklist

This checklist can start a to-do list for potential problem areas and prioritizing repairs and upgrades. For example:

  • Rattling windows and doors.
  • Draft from the fireplace flue.
  • Replacement of furnace air filters.

About Jean Hedren Realtor. Jean Hedren, Edina Realty NW Wisconsin Realtor, specializes in lake homes, cabins, and waterfront real estate in NW Wisconsin. View all posts by Jean.

Examples of green home features to help sell your home

The U.S. Department of Energy lists several key features of an energy efficient home. Home sellers, be sure to highlight these features to attract buyers. The infographic at the left (courtesy of National Association of Realtors) shows how buyers rate the importance of green and energy efficient homes.

  1. Appliances and electronics – shop for appliances with the Energy Star logo. Energy Star brand offers a higher energy efficiency rating than the government standard.

2. Insulation and heating/cooling temperature control. The Department of Energy has determined that 56% of home energy costs go to heating and cooling. Improving the insulation in your home and installing a programmable thermostat can be an energy cost saving.

3. Water heater. Keeping the water heater in good working order, or replacing  with an energy efficient model can have a positive impact on your utility bills.

4. Lighting. By switching all lighting to LED or CFL lights, you can use half the energy of incandescent bulbs for 10 times the life.

Selling a home in NW Wisconsin? Send me an email or give me a call at 218-590-6634. Or, email me: I’ll be happy to provide a current price analysis to give you an idea of what your home will sell for in the current market.

Low or no cost tips for keeping your home warm this winter.

This article was provided by HomeTeam Inspection Service. For more
information, go to As winter is fast approaching, the
following tips can help homeowners to ensure their homes are well
prepared and more energy-efficient throughout the winter months.
  • Inspect around windows and doors for cracks and seal any openings with caulk or weather stripping to prevent air and water from getting into your home.
  • Have a professional evaluate the amount of insulation in your home to ensure it is properly insulated and will keep your energy costs down.
  • Replace batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they’re working properly.
  • Visibly check the fireplace opening for loose or missing bricks and have screens in place to protect against any embers that may escape.
  • Look for raised, loose or missing roof shingles and replace them, if needed, to prevent water from getting in and creating leaks.
  • Remove hoses from outside spigots and store them during the winter months.
  • Clean debris from gutters to prevent water from collecting and freezing.
  • Make sure all downspouts are pointed away from the foundation.
  • Have the HVAC units inspected and change furnace filters monthly for cleaner indoor air and maximum energy efficiency.
  • Program thermostats to lower temperatures while at work 
    or sleeping.

These simple steps can help homeowners maintain the overall health and safety of their home during the winter season.

This article is brought to you by Jean Hedren, a Certified Residential Specialist

Manufactured, modular, and stick-built homes: what’s the difference?

Manufactured, modular, and stick-built homes: what’s the difference?

What’s the difference, and which type of home is right for you?  These terms can be confusing, especially for first-time homebuyers.  Let’s take a look at what they really mean.  Then we’ll review the pros and cons of each construction method.

Manufactured homes were once known as mobile homes, and sometimes you’ll still hear them called that.  (Technically, more stringent code requirements enacted in 1976 mean that homes manufactured after that date are designated as “manufactured” rather than “mobile.”)  Some of these homes are now built to fairly high standards.  And despite being mobile, their only trip is usually from the factory to their first and final destination.

Still, they’re built on a steel frame with wheels.  They come in “double-wide” and even “triple-wide” variations, and once assembled they’re usually not going anywhere.  Typically, installers remove the wheels and build a skirt around the outside of the home so it looks just like any other house.  These homes are always just one story, and they usually have a crawlspace rather than a basement.  Even if they’re parked on a concrete slab, their structural “foundation” is the metal frame on which they’re built.

Modular homes are different.  Like manufactured homes, they’re built in a factory and assembled on-site.  The difference is that they arrive in more than just two or three pieces—usually several block-shape modules, plus trusses and panels for the roof.  They’re often two stories, and they can be built on a slab foundation, over a crawlspace, or over a basement.

“Stick-built” is the term used for most other home construction.  It’s called that because of all those “sticks” of lumber, mostly 2x4s and 2x6s, that are delivered to the site and used to build the house.  Sometimes you’ll also hear the term “site-built,” which would include other construction methods like timber-frame and log homes.  (Strictly speaking, however, many “log homes” are actually stick-built homes with siding that looks like logs.  True log homes use logs for the wall’s actual structure.)

Stick-built homes are the gold standard to which modular and manufactured homes are compared.  You can never go wrong building or buying a stick-built home.  Later, when it’s time to sell your home, no buyers will cross it off their list because they were hoping for a modular or manufactured home.  These homes are more likely to appreciate, and they’re a safer long-term investment.

Modular homes have most of these advantages, plus a few others.  They usually cost slightly less to build, and they tend to be more energy-efficient.  The modules are built indoors, where they’re not exposed to weather.  Once modules arrive at the building site, the house goes up faster than a stick-built house.  As with any other new construction, you’ll have more choices when it comes to things like flooring, cabinets, paint colors, and even exterior siding and roofing materials.  With a manufactured home, you may not have all these options.

Once construction is finished, most modular homes look just like a stick-built house.  For that reason, they rarely face the sort of zoning restrictions that prohibit manufactured homes.  If you’re buying a modular home that’s already built, you can expect great energy efficiency and solid construction.  One FEMA study found that modular homes withstood hurricanes better than the stick-built houses nearby.  Financing is the same as it would be for any other home.  In terms of resale value, the only disadvantage of modular homes is that buyers could potentially confuse them with manufactured homes.

Manufactured homes have a lower purchase price, but are riskier as a long-term investment.  For that reason, they’re sometimes harder to finance.  On the other hand, if you’re purchasing a new one you may be able to spend less, move in sooner, and afford more land or a better location with the money you’ve saved.  (In some locations, however, local zoning restrictions may prohibit manufactured homes.)

Thinking of buying an existing manufactured home?  Consider carefully the trade-offs you’ll be making in terms of lower purchase price vs. long-term value and salability.  Fair or not, many buyers are uninterested in manufactured homes.  Even when these homes are built to reasonably high quality standards, they may not appreciate at the same rate as nearby stick-built homes in the exact same neighborhood.  In some cases, they may actually depreciate over time.

This means some banks are reluctant to offer financing for manufactured homes.  That’s been especially true the past few years.  Unfortunately, the buyers who could most benefit from the lower purchase price of a manufactured home are likely to face even more challenges.  Even if you’re already pre-approved, be sure to talk with your banker before making an offer on a manufactured home.

For some buyers, however, manufactured homes can still be a good option.  Maybe you’re one of them.  With the money you save, you’ll be able to afford more land, a better location, or a bigger downpayment.  And there’s a lot to be said for smaller mortgage payments every month.  Just make sure you understand the trade-offs.

Ready to start shopping for your home?

December 2013 Edina Realty Get Advice – 3 ways to lower your energy costs

December 2013 Edina Realty Get Advice – 3 ways to lower your energy costs

Sold: 3 BR country home on 13 acres. 6418 E Cty Rd M, Gordon, WI.

Another home sold in Gordon, WI home – 3 BR, 13+ acres Douglas County forest land. 6418 E Cty Rd M, Gordon, WI. $198,000

3 BR chalet located in the heart of Douglas County Forest Land

3 BR chalet located in the heart of Douglas County Forest Land

Home offers open living space

Open living space with woodburning stone fireplace


Home Highlights

  • 2147 sq. ft. of living space
  • 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
  • Main level master bedroom and bathroom with whirlpool tub
  • Huge walk-in closet
  • 13.79 wooded acres on elevated site
  • Warm knotty pine T & G interior
  • Open concept living space with woodburning stone fireplace
  • Energy-efficient
  • In floor, hot water heating
  • Large windows to enjoy nature
  • Extra large, 36 x 30′ heated 2-car garage with plenty of storage and room for the toys
  • Security system
  • Enclosed 3-season porch
  • New roof in 2011
  • Turnkey – furniture included
  • Located in the heart of Douglas County forest land
  • Ideal location for the avid hunter
  • Plenty of recreational opportunities; close to trails, back roads, and abundant public land
  • Live in the country and commute 40-min to Duluth/Superior; Minneapolis/St Paul are 2.5 hours away

To the Apostles and Beyond

To the Apostles and Beyond

This new listing near Bayfield, Wisconsin is located on the highest point in Bayfield County.  It’s also just a couple miles inland from Bayfield.  Even on a hazy summer afternoon, you can see the Apostle Islands from your bedroom window.  On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least to the outermost of the Apostle Islands, which happens to be named Outer Island.  As the gull flies, that’s about 35 miles.

The home itself is as spectacular as the view.  It’s a low-maintenance, high-efficiency, super-insulated, 3,447 sq ft retreat that’s built to last and designed for living.  This home is surrounded by pines and oaks—and by lupines and other wildflowers.  It’s also surrounded by deer and other wildlife.  Fortunately, the huge garden—complete with raised beds, garden shed, and walkways—is completely surrounded by its very own deer-proof fence.

The home is secluded, private, and quiet—despite being just five minutes from the dining, entertainment, galleries, and other amenities of downtown Bayfield.  To learn more about this exciting new listing, click here: 34785 Fire Tower Rd, Bayfield, WI..  Or, for a quick video tour, click below.

Searching for homes and cabins anywhere in NW Wisconsin is even easier and more fun with the new Property Search app. Click the link below and get started today.

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When it comes to lakeshore properties… a few nice listings in NW Wisconsin

By the way…  When it comes to lakeshore properties, I’m currently listing some nice lake homes, cabins, and buildable lots with addresses like West Shore Lane, Moose Lake Road, Lyndale Bay Road, Saint Croix Road, Flowage Lane, and Loon Lake Road.  You can tell from their addresses that these properties are probably on the water.

Some of my other waterfront properties, however, have addresses like Pine Oak Road, Ewig Lane, Acorn Drive, Timber Ridge Drive, Walter Road, and Highway Y.  From the address alone, you’d never guess they’re lake homes, cabins, or buildable lakeshore lots.

But as for my Bayfield County listing on Fire Tower Road…  (And did I mention it’s on the very highest spot in Bayfield County?  And that it’s just five minutes from Bayfield?)  With an address like that, you can tell the view is going to be spectacular.