We’re still young. But someday it would be great to have a place up at the lake.

In all the years I’ve been in this business, no one has ever told me they wish they’d waited another ten or fifteen years to buy their lake home or cabin.

t-20

Sure, it’s good to be prudent. And hard-working couples, especially those with with young children, may not have a lot of extra time or money. Someday, after they’re retired and their children are grown and gone, they’ll have plenty of both.

But instead of waiting for someday, right now is a great time to begin building memories at your cabin or lake home. And at this stage of your life, there’s no need to skip directly to the luxury lake home where you plan to live out your retirement.

If you’re ready, I’d be glad to show you a couple of those dream lake homes; I’m listing a few of them right now. But I can also show you some surprisingly affordable alternatives. You might call them “starter cabins.”

Sure, you may need to make a few compromises. But when your kids grow up, they won’t remember that the kitchen in your cabin didn’t feature high-end stainless steel appliances. They’ll remember roasting marshmallows and making s’mores down at the campfire. They won’t remember that your cabin wasn’t on the biggest lake with the biggest muskies. They’ll remember all the four-inch bluegills they caught from the end of your dock.

Maybe someday is today. If you’re ready to turn those up-north cabin dreams into reality, give me a call now.  To get started right now, give me a call at 218-590-6634. Or, you can reach me at jeanhedren@edinarealty.com.

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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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.

Are you ready to buy a home?

Check out this video with questions to help you in the beginning stages of your home buying process.

Ready to start looking at homes in NW Wisconsin? Contact Jean Hedren, Edina Realty NW Wisconsin Realtor, your Accredited Buyer’s Representative.

A buyer recently asked “how do I get financing?” I’m glad you asked.

A buyer recently asked the question “how do I get financing?

To answer that question, the first step is to contact a mortgage loan professional in your area.

Getting the best advice for your individual circumstances is so important. So start by talking to a professional either in person or on the phone. And, get a second opinion. Banks have different programs and services. Find one that is the best fit for your needs.

The initial consultation

Talk with your home mortgage consultant about your financing needs, current situation, and goals. Your home mortgage consultant will help you determine the next steps, including:

  • Income, assets, liabilities, and current real estate owned
  • Credit reports

Your mortgage consultant will share information on loan products based on your needs and credit profile.

Ready to get pre approved? Connect with Edina Realty Mortgage. Or, visit my website www.JeanHedren.com

Edina Realty Mortgage

How to sell your home to millennials, Gen X, boomers, seniors.

According to a study released by the National Association of Home Builders, “Housing Preferences of the Boomer Generation: How They Compare to Other Home Buyers”. The study showed the following home features most wanted by each generation:

Millennials

  • Laundry room
  • Exterior lighting
  • Living room
  • Patio
  • Front porch
  • Both shower stall and tub in master bathroom
  • Ceiling fan
  • Hardwood on main floor
  • Deck
  • Energy Star-rated appliances
  • Dining room

Gen X

  • Laundry room
  • Energy Star-rated appliances
  • Exterior lighting
  • Energy Star rating for entire home
  • Energy Star-rated windows
  • Ceiling fans
  • Front porch
  • Hardwood on main floor
  • Patio
  • Living room

Baby boomers

  • Energy Star-rated appliances
  • Energy Star rating for entire home
  • Laundry room
  • Energy Star-rated windows
  • Exterior lighting
  • A full bath on the main level
  • Ceiling fan
  • Insulation higher than required by code
  • Patio
  • Hardwood on the main floor

Seniors

  • Laundry room
  • Energy Star-rated appliances
  • Energy Star rating for entire home
  • A full bath on the main level
  • Table space for eating in the kitchen
  • Ceiling fan
  • Double kitchen sink (side-by-side)
  • Energy Star-rated windows
  • Insulation higher than required by code

Buying your dream lake cabin – a quick start guide

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 Buying your dream lake cabin 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.

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 online. 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.

Curious to learn more about cabins and lake homes for sale in NW Wisconsin? As your NW Wisconsin Realtor, I’ll be glad to help you find the lake home, cabin, or waterfront property of your dreams. To get started right now, give me a call at 218-590-6634. Or, you can reach me at jeanhedren@edinarealty.com.

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.

Preapproval will strengthen your negotiating power

Ready to make an offer on that dream lake home or cabin? 

A preapproval letter from your mortgage lender can be an important tool to strengthen your negotiating power. Sellers and listing agents tend to take offers more seriously when the buyer has been preapproved.

When you have found your dream home, and you are ready to make an offer, submitting a preapproval letter with the offer says you are a serious and committed buyer.

A preapproval letter is based on a preliminary review of your credit information and preapproves you up to a maximum loan amount. Because a preapproval includes a credit check, it’s more powerful than a prequalification letter, which only estimates your potential buying power.

With a preapproval letter, you can confidently shop for a home in your price range, and you are in a position to negotiate an offer – especially when there are multiple offers for the home you want.

Need a great lender? Contact Sandy Vesel, Edina Realty Mortgage.

As you prepare to make one of the biggest purchases of your life, a preapproval can ensure that you are in a loan program that meets your needs. Call Jean Hedren, Your Edina Realty NW Wisconsin Realtor at 218-590-6634. Start your property search: www.JeanHedren.com