Someday it would be great to have a place up at the lake. Someday…

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.

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 the four-inch bluegills they caught from the end of your dock.

Maybe someday is today. And if this year is the year, it’s not too early to get started right now. 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 60 days until the actual closing can take place. This means that if you’d like to start enjoying weekends at your new cabin this summer, it may not make sense to launch your search in May or June.

To learn more about the cabins and lake homes for sale in NW Wisconsin, call Jean Hedren, Edina Realty NW Wisconsin  at 218-590-6634.

Buying a lake cabin – deciding where in NW Wisconsin?

Deciding where to buy a vacation home or retirement home in NW Wisconsin?  What you can learn from our dashes back to Minneapolis/St Paul, MN.

My husband and I moved to Northwest Wisconsin 16 years ago, when we were nowhere near ready to retire (we’re still not).  Our work has required both of us to make occasional trips back to the Twin Cities for meetings.  We also get down to the Cities now and then to visit relatives.  Even if your situation is different, there’s a lot you can learn from our dashes back to the city.

Elsewhere on my website, I’ve shared many great reasons to consider Northwest Wisconsin.  We have lots of great lakes, streams, trails, public land, and more.

To get here from Minneapolis/St Paul, we can head north on I-35, hang a right at Hinckley, and be in Minong before we know it.  From there, we’re almost home.  From the Twin Cities, it’s an easy 2.5 hours.

So if you’re looking for a vacation home or retirement home, then what do these occasional dashes to the city have to do with you?  Everything.  The same thresholds will still be there.  But they’ll instead determine how much enjoyment you get from your new cabin or lake home.  If your drive time is beyond a certain threshold, then there will probably be fewer weekends when you get away to your weekend getaway.

Planning to move up here for good when you retire?  Welcome to the neighborhood!

If places like Minong, Wascott, and Gordon aren’t yet on your radar, they should be.  Same with the Minong Flowage, St Croix Flowage, Whitefish Lake, and many other small to large lakes. Barnes and Solon Springs is just a bit farther and offer Upper St Croix Lake, and the Eau Claire chain of lakes. Under the lakes and rivers tab above, you can find out more about these lakes.

Please take a moment to explore my website and find out more about the lakes and rivers of Northwest Wisconsin.  Then drop me an email or give me a call at 218-590-6634.  I’d be glad to show you what’s available in our neighborhood.

Cabin fever???

It’s been a cold winter here in NW Wisconsin. If you’re experiencing a little cabin fever, and if you’ve been thinking of looking for a place up north, maybe now’s the time. 

Sure, you could wait until May or June. But we have some good values on the market right now here in NW Wisconsin. By starting your search now, you’ll have time to find what you’re looking for, buy it, and close. You’ll be able to get moved, unpacked, and settled in time for some great fishing, boating, swimming, or any other summertime lake activity you most enjoy.

If you’ve got cabin fever, it’s time to start looking for a cabin or lake home here on any of the clear lakes here in Douglas, Washburn, Bayfield, or Sawyer County. If you want to know more about any of the wonderful lakes in NW Wisconsin, check out the Lakes and Rivers of NW Wisconsin tab above.

If you’re thinking of selling, why wait until May or June to put your home on the market? In NW Wisconsin, the real estate market usually gets going in spring. Buyers are already starting to look now. If you’d like to know what your property is worth in today’s market, call Jean Hedren, Edina Realty, NW Wisconsin. 218-590-6634.

Restaurant/Tavern Investment Opportunity. Lookout Tavern, Gordon, WI

Click on link or photo to launch page.

https://spark.adobe.com/page-embed.jsRestaurant/Tavern Investment Opportunity

Win on Price or Win on “Wow”

Sellers often ask me what they should do to get their home or cabin ready to sell.  Sometimes the answer is “nothing.”  Sometimes I offer advice about cleaning the garage or trimming the shrubs to make a better first impression.  Takes a couple hours, but doesn’t cost a cent.  And sometimes I suggest sellers invest in new light fixtures or a couple gallons of paint.  Less than a hundred dollars, but a whole new look.

In some cases, of course, it might be time for more major upgrades.  There’s no simple answer that’s right for everyone.  But if you do choose to make major upgrades, here are two things to keep in mind.

First, although doing it yourself is a great way to save money, be careful.  Over the years, I’ve seen more than one amateur remodeling job that actually reduced a property’s salability.  So if you’re more handsome than handy, know your limitations.

Second, choose projects that give the best return on your investment, and make sure they’ll appeal to the widest range of buyers.  This means, for example, that kitchen and bath upgrades are a better choice than whirlpools or saunas.  And no pink paint, even if it’s your favorite color.

All remodeling projects cost money; if you’re about to sell, the investment may not be worthwhile.  Occasionally however, some properties definitely benefit from a facelift.  And sometimes that extra “wow” can really help a property stand out from the crowd.

The bottom line?  It depends.  Every situation is different.  But in today’s market, you need to make sure your home is in the best possible condition. If it’s time to replace the roof shingles, do so. Fix a leaky faucet or cracked window. Make sure everything is in tip top shape. Clear out the clutter. If you want your property to sell within a reasonable amount of time, you can win on  “wow.”

If beauty is important in the current market; price is even more important.  If your home or cabin is in great condition but not priced appropriately, it won’t sell. Simple as that. Price is determined by the market, not by how much you think it’s worth or how much you need to get to make your next move.

Local market conditions determine the price at which a property will sell. A home that’s clean and in good repair and priced appropriately will stand the best chance of selling sooner rather than later.

Looking for NW Wisconsin homes for sale? As your NW Wisconsin Realtor, I’ll assist you with all of your home buying and selling needs. Start your search for local listings in the communities of Gordon, Wascott, Solon Springs, Barnes, Minong, and other area communities in Douglas County, Washburn County, Bayfield County, and Sawyer County. Lake homes, country homes, waterfront land, hunting land, recreation land. First time home buyers, repeat and move/up home buyers. Luxury homes.

Sold Lake Nebagamon Home. 6977 Graves Rd, Lake Nebagamon, WI.

 6977 S Graves Rd, Lake Nebagamon, WI. 3 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms. Master suite, rec room, gorgeous lake views. 173′ of level lake frontage on premier Lake Nebagamon. Half hour to Superior/Duluth.

Photos of this lovely home and lake by Al Cambronne.

Buying or selling real estate in Lake Nebagamon, WI? Call Jean Hedren, Edina Realty NW Wisconsin Realtor, 218-590-6634. Or, email: jeanhedren@edinarealty.com.

How to Prepare for House Hunting

Know that there’s no “right” time to buy.
If you find the perfect home now, don’t risk losing it because you’re trying to guess where the housing market and interest rates are going. Those factors usually don’t change fast enough to make a difference in an individual home’s price.

Don’t ask for too many opinions. 
It’s natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas from too many people will make it much harder to make a decision. Focus on the wants and needs of the people who will actually be living in the home.

Accept that no house is ever perfect.
If it’s in the right location, the yard may be a bit smaller than you had hoped. The kitchen may be perfect, but the roof needs repair. Make a list of your top priorities and focus in on things that are most important to you. Let the minor ones go. Also, accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will most likely pass.

Don’t try to be a killer negotiator.
Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price or refusing to budge may cost you the home you love. 

Remember your home doesn’t exist in a vacuum.
Don’t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself that you forget about important issues such as noise level, access to amenities, and other aspects that also have a big impact on your quality of life. 

Plan ahead.
Don’t wait until you’ve found a home to get approved for a mortgage, investigate insurance, or consider a moving schedule. Being prepared will make your bid more attractive to sellers. 

Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation.
A home is still considered a great investment, but its most important role is as a comfortable, safe place to live.

From the National Association of Realtors.

Ready to start your home search in NW Wisconsin? Call Jean Hedren, Edina Realty NW Wisconsin, 218-590-6634.

10 steps to buying your dream home

Buying a home is without doubt the biggest financial commitment you’ll make. It isn’t just about dollars and cents, you are making an investment in your future.

Here are the important steps in the process. I’ll be here to help you every step of the way.

  1. Choose a Realtor® to assist you in the home buying process. The term Realtor® identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors®  and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.
  2. Get Pre-Approved. It’s the key to increasing your negotiating power. Meet with a mortgage consultant and get pre-approved for a loan. Don’t confuse this with a pre-qualification which is simply an estimate of your potential buying power. A pre-approval is a preliminary review of your credit information and pre-approves you up to a maximum loan amount.
  3. Refine your focus. Discuss your housing needs, wish list, preferred location, and budget.  Searching and previewing your properties online will help to narrow down your choices. I can create an online search for you at www.JeanHedren.com  based on your specifications to help you narrow your choices.
  4. View properties. Once you find homes that meet your criteria, request a tour of several in person so you can be comfortable with what’s on the market. I can show any home, even those listed by another firm. Be realistic with your expectations. There’s no such thing as a perfect home. Make a list of priorities as a guide to evaluate each property.
  5. Make an offer. When you know you’ve found the right property, you may need to act quickly depending on the market conditions. Ask about current market conditions and  get advice about preparing your offer. Several points for negotiation should be included in your offer, including price, financing, terms, date of possession, inclusion or exclusion of repairs and furnishings or equipment. The offer to purchase should also include a period of time to have appropriate inspections completed.
  6. Negotiate terms. Counter offers are common in real estate. Be prepared to be a little flexible on price, closing date, repairs, or other items.
  7. Get an inspection. This is your best chance to have the property’s systems and structure evaluated. In NW Wisconsin, it’s common to have three types of inspections: house, well, and septic system.
  8. The walk-through. Usually a day before closing, do a final walk-through of the house to make sure everything you thought was included in the purchase agreement has remained on the property.
  9. The closing. At the closing you will sign the mortgage loan documents and pay your closing costs. The seller will execute the deed to the property, and the closing agent will record the necessary instruments to give you legal ownership of the property. The keys will be handed to you and the house is yours!
  10. Move in.

Start your home search at www.JeanHedren.com. Call Jean at 218-590-6634 when you are ready to view properties.

Does For Sale By Owner save you money? 4 Reasons why FSBOs end up hiring a Realtor.

I am a Realtor. I sell real estate. I can certainly understand a home seller’s reasons for wanting to save a commission expense. We all like to save money.

While commission rates are negotiable, in NW Wisconsin you are likely to pay 6-7% commission on the sale of your property. On a $200,000 home a 6% commission is $12,000. That’s a chunk of change.

Selling a for sale by owner (FSBO) is not a simple task and that is why most home owners hire a Realtor to get the job done. Nationally the success rate of a FSBO is very low. More than 80% of all FSBOs end up hiring a Realtor after unsuccessfully trying to sell on their own.

There are many reasons why selling For Sale by Owner (FSBO) is a difficult task to pull off.

#1 – The wrong listing price

Whether selling FSBO or with a Realtor, pricing is the first and most critical factor. If your home is not priced correctly you are not likely to sell for the highest possible price. More than 75% of marketing a home is about the price. Overpricing a home makes it almost impossible to sell.

Choosing the right price involves thorough research of similar properties that have recently sold in the local area and using the data to correctly set the selling price. The data may not be easy to find in more rural geographic areas.

Sometimes owners may have made recent improvements to their home, and therefore feel justified in setting a higher price. Unfortunately, most home improvement projects do not have a high return. Even improvements like replacing a roof or a septic system will not have much of a payback on the investment.

#2 – Lack of online exposure

Many for sale by owners only put up a handmade “for sale by owner” sign in the front lawn and expect that to do the job.

Others think that including their listing in one of the for sale by owner online sites like Isoldmyhome.com, forsalebyowner.com, or buyowner.com is going to bring lots of buyers.

Unfortunately that’s not the case. The for sale by owner real estate websites do not generate much buyer traffic in comparison to the sites that web savvy Realtors use to market listings.

Google a local search with real estate keywords a buyer would typically use as an online search, and you’ll see the results. Using my local town as an example, a buyer would use keywords like Gordon Wisconsin homes for sale or Gordon WI real estate. The top search results are sites that show listings by Realtors and Real Estate agents individual websites. You can check out your own town or city.

A web savvy Realtor will also use social media to market a home. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, blogs, and other social media help drive traffic to a listing. For sale by owners generally do not have the expertise to market with social media.

#3 – Buyers want your commission savings

One very important consideration that most people who try to sell on their own don’t realize is that buyers understand you are not paying a Realtor to sell the home. These buyers tend to be bargain hunters and since the seller is not paying a commission will feel justified in offering less for the home.

Lots of for sale by owners end up receiving low ball offers. Even if the home is priced right, the seller can end up with a lower number on the bottom line.

#4 – Buyer qualifications and showing the home

One important detail that for sale by owners may forget is that buyers can view a home at just about any time of day or day of the week. A buyer will likely lose patience if the seller cannot accommodate their schedule. The seller will need to find the time to let a buyer have access to the home which can be a challenge if the seller is working full time or does not live on the property. It’s difficult to sell if the buyer can’t get in and see it. A Realtor’s job can make that part of the selling process easy.

Sellers also need to be aware of how to qualify potential buyers. If the buyer cannot get financing, there is no point in showing the home. A Realtor’s job is to make sure a buyer has the ability to purchase. Most buyers looking at homes today are pre-approved.

Sellers may not be aware of the closing costs associated with the selling side and procedures to bring a sale to the closing table. A Realtor will have the experience to handle the closing procedures, and to smooth out any bumps during the final closing procedures.

If you are thinking of selling your home, I will be happy to provide a free, no obligation comparative market analysis for your local area.

Related article by Bill Gassett, Remax Executive Realty Massachusetts. Home Selling Myths That are Completely False

Sold beautiful log home on Middle Kimball Lake

N13748 Coyote Dr, Minong, WI

Sold by Jean Hedren, Edina Realty NW Wisconsin.

The Kimball Chain of Lakes is located in northwest Wisconsin, west of Minong and not far from Nancy Lake, Gilmore Lake, and the Minong Flowage.) This lake home was custom-built on 3.07 private acres with 200’ of sand bottom lake frontage. It features two fireplaces, an indoor grill, a four-season sunroom, newer appliances, a rec room with a wet bar, and a two-car garage.


This classic up-north lake home has some unique special touches.

One of the first things you’ll notice when you step inside: The custom hand-made stained-glass panels that run the full length of the main-level great room and dining room. Another unique touch, this one in the lower-level family room: a built-in indoor gas grill right next to the second fireplace. Perfect for grilling on a rainy October evening or a sunny January afternoon. To learn more, and to schedule a showing, just give me a call at (218) 590-6634. Or, you can reach me at jeanhedren@edinarealty.com.

The Kimball chain of lakes is located in northwestern Washburn County, in between Nancy Lake and the Minong Flowage.  These three lakes have a combined area of around 270 acres, and each has its own character.  These vital stats are a clue:

  • Upper Kimball Lake covers 44 acres, with a shoreline of 1.2 miles, a maximum depth of 11 feet, a mean depth of 5 feet, and secchi disk readings that exceed its maximum depth.
  • Middle Kimball Lake covers 98 acres, with a shoreline of 1.5 miles, a maximum depth of 77 feet, a mean depth of 31 feet, and secchi disk readings of around 19 feet.
  • Lower Kimball Lake covers 129 acres, with a shoreline of 2.5 miles, a maximum depth of 6 feet, a mean depth of 4 feet, and secchi disk readings of around 4 feet.

As you might guess, Upper and Lower Kimball Lakes are both relatively shalow and weedy.  Middle Kimball Lake, however, is one of the deepest and coldest lakes in the area.  In all three lakes, you’ll find northerns, largemouth bass, and panfish.  Middle Kimball Lake also has a few walleyes. Most years the connecting channels allow a medium-size boat to access all three lakes.

Thinking of buying or selling in Minong or NW Wisconsin? Call Jean Hedren, Edina Realty NW Wisconsin Realtor, 218-590-6634. www.JeanHedren.com