Fall Prep for Cabin Sellers

It’s that time of year when we start to prepare our properties for the change in seasons. Screen porches are being closed, boats and docks are coming out of the water, and for some, entire properties are being shut down for the winter. But if you already have or are planning to put your bait in the water to try and find the right buyer for your place during the Fall season, you have a different kind of checklist. Here are a few things to consider.


  1. Be sure you have great photos of your land and/or frontage before the leaves fall and the lakes freeze over. Buyers looking in the winter months will feel comforted by seeing a great representation of “what lies beneath” during our non-frozen months.
  2. Identify the clean-out cover for your septic tank. If you get an offer that requires an inspection, a yard full of fresh fallen leaves (or snow) may make it difficult to find.
  3. Double check that your plowing and shoveling service is in place for the season. Your property will be shown more often if it’s easy to access.


  1. Keep your blinds and shades open so that the first impression is still light and bright upon entering. Check your lightbulbs and replace any that are not doing the job. The coming months can get pretty dark. You don’t want that working against you.
  2. Test your locks and door knobs to make sure they’re in great working order after increased summertime use. You don’t want to lose a valuable showing because we couldn’t get inside. (If you have to jiggle the key three times to the left and then pull up on the knob in order to enter, you may want to make an adjustment.) Be sure your agent has keys to any buildings that are padlocked for the winter as well.
  3. Embrace the change in seasons with your décor. If you want someone else to fall in love with your cabin, you need to show that you still love it too!

Ask your agent for tips as well, because every property is unique. We want to help you succeed and are happy to help with suggestions to put you in the best position to sell. – Wanda Boldon

Middle McKenzie Lake Tram Ride

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Way before any of us knew how to say “pontoon boat”, glaciers moved through this area to form our lakes, making hundreds of sandy bowls in the ground. Sandy bowls have edges – and some of those edges are higher than others, aka “high elevation”. There are definitely benefits to owning a place with higher elevation versus having a level lot. I live on a lot with some elevation. I like it because I can sit on my deck on a summer morning, still dressed in my pajamas and not worry about putting on a show for the parade of boats that drive by. I’m sure they appreciate that too!

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But some buyers aren’t keen on owning an elevated lot, thinking how hard it will be to trek up and down the stairs with small children and coolers full of refreshments. The wonderful answer to that dilemma is the tram. I’ve seen many iterations of this over the last 20 years. None really inspired me to take a ride. “No thanks, I’ll take the stairs.” The wait is over! I’ve met a tram I can really sink my cooler into!

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With a 750 pound capacity, offering a smooth, quick ride to the lake, this tram at our newest listing on Middle McKenzie Lake will change the mind of the most adamant “low elevation” person. Click on the link below to take a ride! – Wanda Boldon



Cabin Buyers are Getting Short Changed

We pick up on trends as the year goes on and like to share meaningful observations, if they can be helpful. This year, we’re seeing something that’s a surprise to us – an uptick in buyers showing up to look at cabins with agents from outside the area. It blows our minds that these agents have the time and inclination to work 1-2 hours outside their primary market area. That’s their choice, if they don’t have enough business at home. But what the buyers don’t understand is the huge disservice being rendered to them by choosing someone to “help” them who doesn’t have the breadth and depth of knowledge of our area as each and every one of our CENTURY 21 agents.

As simple as life can be Up North, we manage a list of complexities in real estate transactions that never hits the radar for agents from other areas – aka “civilization”. It starts with finding a proper fitting property for the buyer. This is a bigger deal than meets the eye. We truly care about the kind of experience buyers want to have at their cabin and knowing the personality of a neighborhood or the vibe at a particular lake isn’t something you can sift out of an MLS sheet. The process then moves on to navigating special lending and zoning issues. Clearing hurdles and hassles is one of things we do. Getting to the closing table shouldn’t wear you out!

Anyone can find a shiny pony. Real service should offer more than that. Sadly, buyers don’t know what they’re missing when they never experience it to begin with. But the thing that may be of largest concern to buyers is overpaying for a property – really overpaying. If your agent isn’t personally involved on a daily basis with the ebbs and flows of a marketplace, how can they possibly give sound pricing advice when it’s time to make an offer?

We understand there are trust issues involved in making such a large purchase and that’s likely the driving force behind why buyers come with an agent they already know. But it seems to me that a small leap of faith on the front end could save some bumps in the road, now and later. – Wanda Boldon

It’s Open Season – for a Hunting Property

Fall hunting seasons are right around the corner! The time is right to make an appointment with a CENTURY 21 agent to find the perfect place for your sport. Here are a couple of options to get you in the mood!

This 19 acre property overlooks a small lake. (Did someone say “duck hunting”?) It has plenty of comfortable space for your crew, with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. The tuck under garage has been closed off and could be a storage room for your gear or a great place to process your deer.

Smith Lake, $175,000, MLS 904911

Smith Lake, $175,000, MLS 904911

If you want the ultimate hunting camp, this property on Webb Creek Drive is going to get you excited. It has 132 acres of prime hunting land and a 1200 square foot cabin that really sets the stage for a traditional hunting camp experience. The open floor plan gives you the flexibility to create sleeping, eating and recharging areas that are tailored to your needs. The current owners think a competitive game of pool is a good way to wind down and relax after a rigorous day of hunting!

Chicog Township, $260,000, MLS 901105

Chicog Township, $260,000, MLS 901105

Whether you’re looking for a full blown hunting camp or just a great piece of land, we have more nice options for you on our website at www.c21sandcounty.com. The hunt is on! It’s not too late to find and close on a property that’s right for you. – Wanda Boldon

Real Estate Market Update

Our Fall real estate market is underway! We’re seeing the signs of summer winding down, with more properties coming on the market and more buyers coming to look at the new inventory. The timing is “spot on”. We look to mid-August for the Fall frenzy to begin and this year is no exception!

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If you found that you didn’t use your property as much this year, it’s a great time to put it on the market. Make an appointment with a CENTURY 21 agent now, and we’d be happy and honored to include your property as a new listing on our weekly Property Tour!

The timing is also ideal if you’re a buyer. Our Fall inventory will become more plump over the next few weeks and there should be a nice variety of properties to choose from. But don’t wait to get the ball rolling. With recreational properties, often times buyers are looking to secure the same characteristics in a property. So you won’t be alone in trying to score the best property available! Connect now with a CENTURY 21 agent, and we can help you stay on top of the latest and greatest places to hang your hat.

In the meantime, be sure to squeeze all the pleasure you can out of our last few weeks of “true summer”. It’s everything it’s cracked up to be! Enjoy! – Wanda Boldon

How to Get a Higher Priced Offer

For every $1,000 of perceived defect, a buyer will ask for a $3,000-$5,000 reduction of the asking price. There are ways to pre-empt that from happening!

Before you put your property on the market, pause and ask your CENTURY 21 agent to do a walk-through with you. It’s a great opportunity to find areas where you can improve your odds of getting a higher offer.


If you have spaces that you’d planned to improve, but didn’t get around to finishing the project, take the time to finish! It will be worth your while and will save a buyer from scratching their head during a showing, as they wonder what your “vision” was for the space.


Perhaps there are areas in your home that don’t comply to current building codes or would be flagged by the buyer’s insurance company as “uninsurable”. Understand that those items may cost you more in the end than if you address them in advance.


You may have areas of deferred maintenance, like a deck that needs a fresh coat of stain or a broken window that was never replaced. Most buyers don’t want to inherit those projects and will express that lack of desire by either offering a much lower price than would cost to actually do the fixes or by not even writing an offer at all!

Don’t risk getting a lower offer. Call a CENTURY 21 agent for help before it’s time to sell. We’re here to help you have a great real estate experience! – Wanda Boldon

Agent Property Tour by Boat

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This week we had an opportunity to tour a new listing by boat. It was a great way to review together what we know about the lake and a valuable perspective from which to see the new listing.

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Our Agent Property Tour is a weekly commitment by our Team to take a first-hand look at our newest listings. It’s the best way to be sharp on the positive attributes of a property and an important part of giving our sellers the best service and attention possible. It’s not uncommon for agents to contact buyers while we’re on Property Tour if they see something that’s a good match. Ho hum, just another day at the office! – Wanda Boldon


High Water Continues to Rise

After Mother Nature clobbered us with 11 inches of rain on the night of July 11th, we continue to get rain in between picture perfect days. It’s been a summer of many personalities! Just in the last 4 days, we had 2 ½ inches of extra rainfall. It’s creating levels of high water that many of us have never seen here. Water flows over the road in some areas and there are many patched and bolstered roads throughout our lakes area.


The upside is the frogs and water fowl are having a ball! If you’re into kayaking or canoeing, this is your time to explore areas that would normally not be navigable. Take advantage of some new adventures! – Wanda Boldon

Frederic Farm is a Great CSA Choice!


While pedaling away on my bike last winter in our home gym, I was delighted to learn about a local treasure from my favorite gym TV show, “Twin Cities Live”. They highlighted a handful of quality farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs and one of them was right here in our neck of the woods! The Burning River Farm is right outside of Lewis, WI and has been growing quality Certified Naturally Grown produce since 2007. I signed up for their CSA right away! They offer full, single and salad shares that can be picked up at the farm each week or they also have several drop sites throughout the Twin Cities including the Golden Fig in St. Paul, Lucia’s Restaurant in Minneapolis and the River Market Coop in Stillwater, to name a few.




Being raised in an Iowa farm community, it’s heart-warming to drive out to a real, working farm and pick up our weekly share.


Each week our box is brimming with fresh surprises. It feels a bit like Christmas! The early greens, including spinach and arugula gave us fresh salads. We’ve also received beautiful radishes, beet, baby carrots, onions and potatoes. And we’ve only just begun!




If you’re not ready to dive right in, like I was, you can purchase their produce weekly at the Midtown Farmer’s Market, the Mill City Farmer’s Market and the Northeast Minneapolis Farmer’s Market. Your body with thank you for it! – Wanda Boldon