Countdown to Ice Out 2015

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Every year at this time, we all watch and wait as the sunshine works its magic on the thick layer of ice that developed on our lakes through the winter months. It’s so exciting to have the lakes come back to life and to see the water fowl and wildlife that it brings. We typically have ice out in the middle of April, but this year looks like it could be ahead of schedule. Here is a picture of the narrows at Webb Lake. The open water looks great! We’ll keep you posted on the progress or you can just keep your ears perked. When you hear the cheering sounds, you’ll know we have ice out! – Wanda Boldon

 

St. Patrick’s Day Festivities in Burnett County

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If you’re looking for some Irish brand of fun, you can certainly find it here in Burnett County! On Saturday, March 14th, one of the area’s most popular parades kicks off in Webb Lake at 1pm. The Webb Lake St. Patrick’s Day parade has been going for many years and is circled in red on many calendars. Let’s just say it has a reputation!

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Also on Saturday, March 14th, you can enjoy many festivities in Siren, WI. At 8am, you can participate in the Lucky Lilac Scavenger Hunt and then at 10am runners and walkers will take off for the Shamwalk/Run. You can do 5k, right? It’s a paved, family friendly course. At noon, there will be a Dirty Snowman Competition. Um, yes, this one had me wondering as well. But rest assured, this is a family friendly event and they planned to use the end-of-the-winter dirty snow to make snow creations. Based on our heavenly weather this week, there won’t be any or much snow for them to draw upon. Oh well! There’s always the parade to look forward to at noon. It will be on Main Street and you’ll be able to meet the St. Paul Winter Carnival Royal Family and Vulcans.

If you’re hoping to celebrate on the actual holiday, the Yellow Lake community has you covered. Their parade leaves the Gandy Dancer Saloon at 1pm on March 17th and they’ll be giving prizes for the “best float” and the “most Irish”.

There are drink specials along with live music and DJ’s in just about every establishment in the area. There’s a reason they call it an “alcoholiday”. Be sure to dance too! – Wanda Boldon

Trail Update for Burnett County

Here is the latest Trail Update from Burnett County Forest and Parks:

ALL Winter Snowmobile and ATV Trails are CLOSED.

Our next planned riding season will begin, weather permitting, on May 22 with the opening of our Summer ATV Trails. Be sure to check back for updated information.

How to Shop for a Cabin: Part III in a Series

Find the Right Property

Clam

Upper Clam Lake, Siren, WI $159,900

After you’ve found the “right agent” and the “right bank”, it’s finally time to find the Right Property. Yeehaw – this is the fun stuff!

Meenon

Meenon Township, Siren, WI $134,000

Now’s the time to get really clear on what you want and articulate that to your agent. This goes beyond how much you can afford to spend and how many bedrooms and baths you’d like. Paint the picture of what you see in your mind’s eye. You can always change your mind! It’s OK to put it all out there too. If you have champagne taste on a beer budget, your agent will tell you and help you sift out the elements that are most important.

Birch Island

Birch Island Lake, Danbury, WI $414,900

Here are a few things to think about to help get you started:
-Do you want a cabin you can use all year around?
-If you’d like to be on water, what kinds of water activities do you like?
-Do you want to be near other people or do you want to be as remote as possible?
-What kinds of recreational activities do you enjoy? (ex. Hunting, ATV riding, walking, riding bikes, golfing)
-Who will be joining you at your new cabin?
-What is your skill level for fixing and maintaining a cabin?
-What kind of outdoor storage do you see yourself needing?

We’re not trying to be nosy. We like to know the answers to many of these questions so we can help you find a great match. The variety of properties is vast in our area and we can really help narrow the field! Happy Shopping! – Wanda Boldon

How to Shop for a Cabin: Part II in a Series

Find the Right Bank

Whitney Houston once sang a song called “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”. I can tell you where: broken hearts go to the wrong bank.

Working with lenders and their underwriting departments has become one of the more challenging parts of the buying process in the last few years. You might look in the mirror and smile, thinking those problems are just for the folks who don’t pay their bills on time and are in debt up to their eyeballs. Plus, you have a friend who’s in the lending business who has assured you that when the time comes, they’ll take good care of you. That’s all well and good, but there are a few other factors to consider that might have you singing a different tune.

Much like yourself, most people shopping for a cabin or second home have done quite well for themselves. So for the most part, we work with very well qualified buyers. The rub comes from a couple of other directions. Many of the properties we represent have unique features that can cause troubles in underwriting. It’s hard to make a laundry list of the specific things that raise red flags. You just never know what’s going to come into question from one time to the next. But one thing you can be sure of…you’ll find out at the eleventh hour when emotions are high and time is short. Ouch! Using a lender from out of the area can also bring a non-local appraiser to the party, who isn’t familiar with what is “typical” for properties here and once the appraiser has rung the bell, it’s hard to un-ring it.

Rest assured, we don’t get any financial benefit from recommending lenders. We just get to sleep at night, knowing our clients and customers are going to have a smooth ride toward a happy closing day. Once you’ve found “the right agent”, please listen to them about who “the right bank” might be for the property you’d like to buy. – Wanda Boldon

How to Shop for a Cabin: Part I in a Series

Find the Right Agent

Don’t even think about shopping for a cabin without first finding the right agent. I don’t think a lot of people give this step in the process much priority, because it’s not easy and it’s more fun to be wrapped up in finding “the property”. But having a good agent – the right agent – will help you find your best property and will help the experience be the most positive it can be. Working with the wrong agent can not only cause a chain of negative experiences, but may also keep you from finding a place at all – or worse, buying a place that you don’t even like in the end! Believe me, my life and work have been wrapped up in this profession for 20 years and I know what surrounds me. Not every agent is committed, motivated or even good at what we do. But then there are the gems – and they’re worth finding!

Start the way we start everything nowadays – online! You can size up whether a potential agent is a good match for you by reading their profile, studying their listing inventory and by reading their customer testimonials. In order to get the best knowledge and guidance, you want an experienced agent who does this for a living and isn’t just dabbling part-time. You also want someone who lives and works in the area. Don’t just jump in the car with an agent in St. Paul who says they’re licensed in Wisconsin and come Up North to look at a list of properties. Call me and we’ll have a story hour, where I tell you how that one ends!

Once you’ve narrowed the field, pick up the phone and have a conversation with them about what you’d like to find. You deserve to feel comfortable with your agent and you deserve someone who listens to what you want. Where the skill of a good agent enters is taking what you share and translating it to specific properties that will give you the experience you want. A good agent – the right agent – will also share their knowledge about the area and what can be realistically found in today’s market. This kind of “two way street” relationship is where the best results are achieved and leaves everyone with a smile in their heart at closing! – Wanda Boldon

Burnett and Washburn County Trail Update

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We received 2 inches of snow yesterday from Siren to Danbury to Spooner, which was enough to keep the Frozen Ground ATV Trail System open for snowmobile and ATV traffic. The trails are in poor condition due to minimal snow amounts and cannot be groomed. Anyone who has a “snow dance” up their sleeve, should dance it out right now. We could really use some snow to improve things for the recreational riders! – Wanda Boldon

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Preparing Your Property To Sell

There may not be much you can do outside to prepare your property, aside from plowing and shoveling. But there is plenty you can do inside that will make a vast difference in helping you sell more quickly and for the highest possible price. With all the talk about “staging” properties these days, you’d be surprised at how the common sense items get missed. Here are a few common sense tips.

Reduce Clutter. Eliminating unnecessary furniture and personal belongings can help make your house look larger. It’s also easier for Buyers to visualize their belongings in the space if there are fewer visual distractions. Clean off the outside of your refrigerator door. Tuck away stacks of books and magazines. Clear your kitchen and bathroom counters. Here are a couple of good examples.2

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Neat and Clean. Take the time to thoroughly clean your house and put things in order. Buyers get excited about a neat and clean home! If you don’t have the time or ability to do it, we can refer you to someone who can help.

Be Aware of Odors. You may not be sensitive to the everyday odors in your home. Sometimes you don’t even realize! Carpeting and furniture are usually places where odors are trapped. Start at the source to eliminate the odor and then invest in a light home fragrance option like a plug-in, spray or candle to enhance the atmosphere.

Open Window Coverings. Take extra care to leave shades, blinds and window coverings open. A light, bright atmosphere is a great first impression. Here are a couple of sellers who know about letting in the light!

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Make Sure the Locks Work. Check your keys and locks to make sure they are in good working order. This is another first impression as buyers enter your home.

If having one of the special properties for sale in Northwestern Wisconsin this Spring is in your future, focus on these basics and then give us a call. We’re here to help you reach your goals! – Wanda Boldon

Upcoming Ice Fishing Contests

We may not have a lot of snow for snowmobiling right now, but the conditions for ice fishing are great! There are a few upcoming ice fishing contests that might add a little fun and variety to your quest. If you’re feeling lucky you might catch a winning fish AND win a door prize! Check them out!

Saturday, January 31st from 10am – 3pm: Burlingame Lake, just East of Danbury on Lake 26 Road. Food and refreshments are served by the Danbury Area Lions Club and the Masons from the Frederic Masonic Lodge. All proceeds go toward a scholorship fund, community service and the ball park.

Saturday, February 7th from 10am – 2:30pm: Lower Webb Lake at the Oak Ridge Inn. This contest is sponsored by the Webb Lake Area Men’s Club and offers numerous door prizes and something special for kids who register to fish!

Saturday, February 14th from 9am – 2pm: Big Wood Lake. Sponsored by the American Legion, this contest offers some great fishing equipment as prizes along with cash prizes for the first 40 fish caught by kids. You’ll want to be an early bird with a pile of kids for this one!

Sharpen your hooks and play to win! – Wanda Boldon