What are the three most important features of your dream lake cabin?

We all think differently. The property that’s perfect for you might not be perfect for me or for anyone else.

Those three most important items might be the type or size of lake, the perfect swimming beach, other recreation activities, the cabin style that best fits your lifestyle, the number of bedrooms, the garage size, distance from home, and certainly your budget.

Make a list of what’s most important. Trade-offs may be necessary within a particular price range. If you find the cabin and lake of your dreams, what are you willing to trade off in your price range? Keep in mind that even if money is no object, you’ll still need to make choices and trade-offs.  For example:  a quiet lake that’s good for paddling and wildlife watching may not be the type lake good for waterskiing and jetskiing.  It’s tough to find both in the same lake.

Start your lake home search at my website www.JeanHedren.com Jean Hedren, Edina Realty, NW Wisconsin. Or give me a call at 218-590-6634. 

It would be my pleasure to help you find the lake, home or cabin, or lakeshore lot of your dreams. Northwest Wisconsin including Douglas, Bayfield, Washburn, and Sawyer Counties. Communities: Gordon, Wascott, Minong, Barnes, Solon Springs, Trego, Spooner, and others.

Tips for a NW Wisconsin real estate market in transition

I have several buyers who are patiently watching the MLS listings for an especially good deal.  I’ve also been passing along listings that seem like a good fit.  Sometimes buyers have been ready to move quickly, and that’s paid off.

Other buyers were busy with work and family commitments, and they needed to wait a couple weeks before we could schedule a showing.  Sometimes that still works out.  But other times I’ve requested a showing and learned that another buyer has just made an offer that’s already been accepted.  Notice a pattern here???

I’m a Realtor, and of course you’d expect me to say that right now is a great time to buy or sell.  But the thing is, right now that’s especially true.  Consumer confidence is up, we’ve been seeing some promising economic indicators, interest rates are still low, and our Northwestern Wisconsin real estate market is moving faster than the snow was melting this spring.  (April 25 update: snow is gone, lakes are mostly open.) That’s good news for buyers and sellers alike.

If you’re a seller, you’ll still be facing some competition.  There’s a lot of inventory out there, and it’s important to have realistic expectations about what your home, cabin, or land is actually worth in today’s market.  But prices are more stable; homes priced correctly for the local market are selling quickly. Homes priced on the high side are languishing.

And if you’re a buyer, here are some tips to keep in mind during this transitional market.  Even if our market here in NW WI isn’t white hot, it’s at least warming up enough so you’ll need to let go of certain assumptions that are no longer valid.  If you find something you like and it’s a good value, don’t assume no one else has noticed it and come to a similar conclusion.  Instead, please call me so we can schedule a showing now.

If we go take a look and you like what you see, don’t assume you’ll be able to think things over for even a couple weeks before you take a second look.  Someone else with similar tastes may have also seen this home or cabin for the bargain it is.  By the time you’ve taken two more months to think it over, their moving van could already be backing up to the front door.

Finally, here’s one last bit of advice.  Pursue perfection, but prioritize your wants and needs.  Now, not all of my buyers have the same dreams.  Some, for example, want a sandy beach, while others want a small quiet lake that’s better for fishing and watching wildlife.  But when you do find the location that’s just right for you, you can always remodel the bathroom or replace that pink carpeting in the guest bedroom.  Know what matters most, and know what you want so you’ll be ready when you see it.

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.

Preventing Frozen Septic Systems

In Northwest Wisconsin, it’s never too early to start planning a little septic preventive maintenance.  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.  

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 or a septic “blanket”.  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.

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.

How to buy your dream lake home or cabin. New post from Your NW Wisconsin Realtor

Here are 4 posts to help you get started on finding and buying your dream lake home or cabin in NW Wisconsin.

Buying your dream lake cabin – getting started. Purchasing a lake home or cabin is different than buying a primary residence in a town or city.

Writing an offer on your dream home Now is the time for your Realtor to help you make an offer and start negotiations with the seller on your behalf.

The interior and exterior condition Are the home’s interior and exterior structural and mechanical items in good condition?

A home inspection is the best investment you’ll make Hire a home inspector. It’s the best investment you’ll make.

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.

20 helpful articles to help you buy a lake home or cabin in NW Wisconsin

Thinking about buying a lake home or cabin in NW Wisconsin this year? There are many excellent properties to choose from on a variety of lake types and sizes, and many are offered at exceptional values.

Nelson Lake cabin

The following articles offer a wide variety of topics to consider as you choose the lake and home that’s just right for you. The following articles can be found in the Buyers drop- down tab above.

  1. Getting started
  2. Choosing the lake or water type that’s right for you
  3. How does water get into your lake?
  4. Recreational activities
  5. Your ideal lake home or cabin style and condition
  6. Lake frontage and shoreland zoning
  7. Wisconsin’s pier regulations
  8. Beauty or price
  9. Critical habitat designations – how the process works
  10. Critical habitat designations – what are they and how do they affect you?
  11. Critical habitat designations – how they affect waterfront owners
  12. Critical habitat designations – why they’re usually a plus
  13. Critical habitat designations – local examples from the Minong Flowage
  14. Viewing lake properties
  15. What you can learn from our dashes back to the city
  16. Shoreland zoning regulations NR 115
  17. Aquatic invasive species
  18. Is a smaller lake right for you?
  19. What your should know about wells
  20. Types of septic systems

Check out the Lakes and Rivers of NW Wisconsin tab above to learn about many of the clear, deep lakes in Douglas, Bayfield, Washburn, and Sawyer counties.

Have other questions? Give me a call. I’ll be happy to help.

Click the button on the right hand column to subscribe to this NW Wisconsin Homes blog for information about the beautiful lakes and recreation area of NW Wisconsin.

Buying a lake home in NW Wisconsin – Getting started

If you are planning to purchase a lake home or cabin in Northwest Wisconsin, this series of tips will help answer many questions. Check out all 20 tips in the  Buyers tab above.

#1 – Getting started

Purchasing a lake home or cabin is different than buying a primary residence in a town or city. Whether the lake home will be your main residence or a second vacation home, there are other considerations to understand. This series will provide you with some basics about the type of lake, the type of home or cabin, and other information you need to know to make the best decision, and a good investment, about purchasing a lake home or cabin.

11479 E Wangerin Rd, Lake Nebagamon, WI

11479 E Wangerin Rd, Lake Nebagamon, WI

Just as in buying any home or property, here are the first steps to take:

  • Visit with your loan officer and get pre-approved, or have proof of cash funds
  • Know your budget – what the bank will loan you.
  • Know the area you want to cover. The most efficient use of your time and the Realtor’s time will be an area of not more than 50 miles radius of a specific town, or, in general, the county, if you know that.
  • Do your initial research on-line. Have a general idea of what the market is doing; you can ask your Realtor good questions to confirm.
  • Find a knowledgeable Realtor. Someone that knows the local area well, the lakes, towns, and information about the area.
  • Meet first to begin a good relationship. Ask lots of questions. Your Realtor will be doing the same to get to know you and begin the process of finding the properties most appropriate to your needs and life style.

Start your search at www.JeanHedren.com. Jean Hedren, Edina Realty, NW Wisconsin. Search by community or by lake name in NW Wisconsin.

Do you need to be on a lake, or would you be satisfied with a lake view?

Obviously, we’d all like to be on the water.  But what if you could have the same house with a great view of the lake, be living just a mile down the road from the boat landing, and only be paying half the mortgage and half the taxes?

Hmmm….  Something to think about.

In the Lakes and Rivers of NW Wisconsin tab above you’ll find out more about lakes of all sizes in Douglas, Bayfield, Washburn, and Sawyer Counties Wisconsin.

Looking for your dream home in a specific location in NW Wisconsin? Visit www.JeanHedren.com or call Jean Hedren, Edina Realty to start your NW Wisconsin home search.

Dreaming about buying a lake cabin? Choosing the lake or water type that’s right for you.

Buying a lake home in NW Wisconsin? Choosing the lake or water type 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.

Check out all the Buying a Lake Home tips in the Buyers tab above. You’ll also find more information about many of the lakes and rivers in the NW Wisconsin Lakes and Rivers tab above.

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. Visit www.JeanHedren.com to start your lake home search.

Home buyers: Consider the lake home or cabin of your dreams (exterior)

Home buyers: Consider the lake home or cabin of your dreams (exterior)

Before you look closely at homes exterior condition, there’s another question you should be asking yourself: “Is this the right home or cabin for me?”  Consider carefully the:

  • Size of the home.  Although I mentioned this topic in my earlier post on deciding if the interior is right for you, it bears revisiting. Your perfect weekend getaway, for example, could turn out to be just a little too cozy after you’ve retired and you’re living there year-round, seven days a week.  On the other hand, a home or cabin that’s too large will just mean extra rooms to heat, cool, and clean.  If you’re an empty-nester, maybe you no longer need such a large nest.
  • Amount of land.  A small lot, a few more acres for privacy, or 20 acres for even more privacy?  How about 40—or even 80 or more—for more elbow room and good hunting or hiking on your very own land?  Everyone’s dreams are different.  But sometimes it’s not a bargain to pay big money for land you won’t use and enjoy regularly.
  • Location and neighborhood.  Choosing a location can involve trade-offs.  It’s great to have a shorter drive to the cabin, but you may need to drive a little farther north before it really feels like you’re “up north.”  And while solitude and privacy are great, it’s great to have new friends and neighbors up at the lake.  If your nearest neighbor is a mile away, you could be missing out on all that.
  • Terrain.  Low, medium, or high elevation above the lake?  Rocky, wooded, or a wide-open lawn?  There’s no right answer to these questions.  It’s all about what’s right for you.
  • Lake or river.  If it’s waterfront property, is it the right waterfront property for you?  For more, check out these posts on choosing lakes and choosing rivers.
  • Maintenance requirements.  Some people enjoy mowing the lawn or tinkering with home improvement projects.  Some don’t.  And if you enjoy an open expanse of lawn that gives you a better view of the lake, then maybe it’s an easy trade-off.  It’s your call.

Ready to start shopping for the lake home or cabin of your dreams?

Jean Hedren, Realtor
Edina Realty
218-590-6634
www.JeanHedren.com