Shoreland zoning protects your property values

If you’re shopping for waterfront property, you should know about shoreland zoning and the rules that go with it. No one likes rules. But the first thing you should know is that these rules don’t just benefit fish, birds, and wildlife, they benefit you

By preserving the up north qualities of our lakes and streams, these rules also preserve your property values. Even up here in NW Wisconsin, some lakes have a more urban feel. Other lakes, however, still have a relatively undeveloped feel – even though most of their shoreline is developed. Views are preserved, privacy is preserved, and so are property values.

Second, it’s important to know that certain minimum standards are in place in Wisconsin. In some counties, and even on certain lakes and streams, the rules are more strict. Existing homes, of course, are grandfathered in. But if you’re building on shoreland anywhere in Wisconsin, you’ll need to meet these minimum standards:

  • Lot size. Lots served by a public sanitary sewer must have a minimum average width of 65 feet and a minimum area of 10,000 square feet. “Unsewered” lots must have a minimum average width of 100 feet and minimum area of 20,000 square feet.
  • Buffer strip. Clear-cutting of trees and shrubs isn’t allowed in the strip of land from the ordinary high-water mark to 35′ inland. One exception is for a 30′ wide path, for every 100′ of shoreline, down to the water. That allows you to reach the water, have a great view from your living room, and still protect your privacy. (And also, by the way, preserve the view of whoever lives across the lake.)
  • Setbacks. All buildings and structures must be set back at least 75′ from the ordinary high-water mark. Exceptions include piers and boat-hoists. And, if an existing pattern of development exists, some counties may have a “setback averaging” system that allow homes to be built closer to the water. On certain bodies of water, though, setbacks are increased to 125′ – or, in rare cases, up to 300′.

This is just an overview; for details on these and other shoreland zoning provisions, contact the DNR or county officials. Keep in mind, too, that existing homes are grandfathered in. When you buy one, you obviously can’t do much to change the lot size or setback. You can, however, take steps to restore the buffer of natural vegetation along your home’s waterfront.

But don’t try shoreline restoration just because it’s good for the environment. Do it if you’d like to increase your privacy, see more birds and wildlife, and catch mroe fish. (And also, by the way, spend less time mowing your lawn.)

Buying or selling in NW Wisconsin? Call Jean Hedren, Edina Realty NW Wisconsin Realtor. 218-590-6634. Or visit www.JeanHedren.com.

 

Your NW Wisconsin lake home or cabin search starts with the lake that’s right for you

Here we’ll examine the lake or water type that best suits your lifestyle.

Every buyer approaches the search process differently.  I’ve worked with some people, for example, who were very particular about the features they wanted in their new lake home; they were less concerned about where it was located.

I’ve also worked with buyers who prefer to start by choosing a lake—or at least by narrowing down their search to a very short list of lakes.  Only then do they begin looking for the place that’s right for them.  Choosing the right lake is their #1 priority; for them, this step comes first.

That’s a very good idea; every lake has its own distinct character. Do you want a home on a large recreational lake or a small quiet lake? Would riverfront property work best for you?

Large lakes, often the most desirable because they offer a greater variety of recreational activities, typically have homes and cabins with the highest price tags.

If you are willing to settle for a smaller lake, the same home may come with a smaller price tag. Chances are the lake is going to be quieter. Lakes below a certain size (about 200 acres) just aren’t very interesting for jet skis and water skiers; they tend to see more pontoons, fishing boats, or canoes.

You’ll have fewer neighbors and you’ll probably get to know them better. Depending on the lake, fishing pressure may be lighter.

Would riverfront property work for you? The same cabin or home will sell for less on a river than it would if it were on a lake. People tend to prefer lakes; maybe it’s because you can usually get out and do more on them than you could on a river.

Most rivers, especially smaller ones, just won’t offer the same boating or recreational opportunities as a lake would. In some cases, you may be able to travel upstream or downstream in a boat – or at least in a canoe or kayak. You may even have what’s essentially your own private fishing hole.

With some riverfront properties, the river may be too small or the current too swift. You’ll mainly just be able to sit and enjoy the river view. Still, if your waterfront is a small creek that you can see from your livingroom window, there’s something special about being near the water. It can also attract a lot of wildlife that you’ll be able to watch.

As you are thinking about your ideal lake home or cabin, you’ll want to consider the type of water that works best for your lifesyle and budget. Check out the NW WI Lakes and Rivers tab above to learn more about the area lakes.

Curious to learn more about cabins and lake homes for sale in NW Wisconsin? Give me a call at 218-590-6634. Or, you can email me at jeanhedren@edinarealty.com. Start your NW Wisconsin lake property search at www.JeanHedren.com

What a Home Inspection Should Cover

Buyers, here is a list of the major items home inspections will cover depending on the type of property you are purchasing. A large historic home, for example, will require a more specialized inspection than a small condominium. However, the following are the basic elements that a home inspector will check. You can also use this list to help you evaluate properties you might purchase.

Structure: A home’s skeleton impacts how the property stands up to weather, gravity, and the earth. Structural components, including the foundation and the framing, should be inspected.

Exterior: The inspector should look at sidewalks, driveways, steps, windows, and doors. A home’s siding, trim, and surface drainage also are part of an exterior inspection.

  • Doors and windows
  • Siding (brick, stone, stucco, vinyl, wood, etc.)
  • Driveways/sidewalks
  • Attached porches, decks, and balconies

Roofing: A well-maintained roof protects you from rain, snow, and other forces of nature. Take note of the roof’s age, conditions of flashing, roof draining systems, (pooling water), buckled shingles, loose gutters and downspouts, skylight, and chimneys.

Plumbing: Thoroughly examine the water supply and drainage systems, water heating equipment, and fuel storage systems. Drainage pumps and sump pumps also fall under this category. Poor water pressure, banging pipes, rust spots, or corrosion can indicate problems.

Electrical: Safe electrical siring is essential. Look for the condition of service entrance wires, service panels, breakers and fuses, and disconnects. Also take note of the number of outlets in each room.

Heating: The home’s heating system, vent system, flues, and chimneys should be inspected. Look for age of water heater, whether the size is adequate for the house, speed of recovery, and energy rating.

Air conditioning: Your inspector should describe your home cooling system, its energy source, and inspect the central and through-wall cooling equipment. Consider the age and energy rating of the system.

Interiors: An inspection of the inside of the home can reveal plumbing leaks, insect damage, rot, construction defects, and other issues. An inspector should take a close look at:

  • Walls, ceilings, and floors
  • Steps, stairways, and railings
  • Countertops and cabinets
  • Garage doors and garage door systems

Ventilation/insulation: To prevent energy loss, check for adequate insulation and ventilation in the attic and in unfinished areas such as crawlspaces. Also look for proper, secured insulation in walls. Insulation should be appropriate for the climate. Excess moisture in the home can lead to mold and water damage.

Whether you are a first time home buyer or buying your first lake home or cabin, I’d be happy to help you find the home or cabin in NW Wisconsin that’s just right for you. Jean Hedren, Edina Realty NW Wisconsin Realtor, 218-590-6634. Email: jeanhedren@edinarealty.com

Douglas County WI homes for sale. Washburn County WI homes for sale.

A complete guide to buying your NW Wisconsin dream lake home or cabin.

 

This NW Wisconsin lake home or cabin buying guide includes the following 12 tips and resources:

  1. Getting started.
  2. Choosing the lake type that’s right for you.
  3. What is your preferred recreation?
  4. Your ideal cabin style.
  5. Lake frontage and shore land zoning.
  6. Beauty or price?
  7. How do critical habitat designations affect you?
  8. Viewing lake properties.
  9. Deciding where in NW Wisconsin?
  10. What to know about wells?
  11. What about septic systems?
  12. Writing an offer.

Thinking about buying your dream lake home or cabin this year? To get started, give me a call at 218-590-6634. Or, email me at jeanhedren@edinarealty.com.

Inspect and maintain your septic system

A conventional septic system requires maintenance, inspection, and service every three years to ensure continued operation.

Most waterfront homeowners in NW Wisconsin utilize a conventional septic system. Not only is a properly functional system designed to protect their family’s health, but also to protect the surface and groundwater from contamination.

Conventional septic system diagram

Conventional septic system diagram

Steps to ensure a properly functioning septic system:

  • Pump or inspect your septic system every three years.
  • Divert surface water away from the drain field.
  • Avoid driving or parking on the drain field to prevent soil compaction.
  • Avoid obstructed drain lines by keeping roots of trees and shrubs away from the drain field pipes.
  • To prevent drain field clogs, avoid putting cooking grease, oils, coffee grounds, cigarettes, sanitary napkins, tampons, disposable diapers, paper towels down the drain or toilet.
  • Compost your vegetable scraps rather than using a garbage disposal.
  • Conserve water with low-flow toilets, faucets, and shower heads.

How do you know if your septic system is malfunctioning?

  • Sewage is backing up in the basement or drains.
  • Water is ponding or creating wet areas over the drain field.
  • Bright green grass over the drain field.
  • Dense aquatic plants along only your shore land.
  • Sewage odors.
  • Bacteria or nitrate in nearby well water.
  • Biodegradable dye flushed through your system can be detected in the lake.

It’s 2018. Where’s your new up north cabin?

If you’ve resolved that this is the year to buy a new lake home or cabin in northwest Wisconsin, then it’s time to get started.

NW Wisconsin lake cabin

If one of your new year’s resolutions was to find a new lake home or cabin and get moved in before Memorial Day weekend, well, then I am a little concerned.

Here’s why: It may take us a while to find the lake and the cabin that are just right for you. Figure a little negotiating before you have an accepted offer, and then typically about another 45-60 days before the actual closing can take place.

So if you’d like to enjoy weekends at your new cabin this summer, it may not make sense to delay your search until May or June. If you want to actually own that cabin by May or June, then the time to get started is right now.

If we get underway quickly and things happen fast, there’s still one situation when a late spring could complicate your plans. That’s if you’re buying a three-season cabin that has its water turned off in the winter. You’ll probably want an inspection, and it’s hard to inspect a cabin’s well, septic system, and plumbing without turning on the water. But even then, I’m usually able to help buyers and sellers work things out.

And if you’re buying a year-round lake home or cabin, the best time to buy is… Year-round. So if you’re ready to turn those up-north Wisconsin cabin dreams into reality, give me a call now at 218-590-6634. Or, you can reach me at jeanhedren@edinarealty.com.

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.