Builder Update: Northwestern Wisconsin

The state of the local building market is an indicator of the overall health of an area’s real estate market. It seems like a good time to get a pulse check, so I caught up with one of the area’s most respected builders, Duane Hoefs of Hoefs Construction and then checked in with Dan Campion of Johnson Lumber to find out what they’ve been experiencing in 2015.


Hoefs is not only behind a few of the area’s iconic commercial buildings, including the Bremer Bank building in Danbury and Paradise Landing restaurant in Balsam Lake, but has also built and remodeled some of the area’s most prominent residences. He says that business has been much better this year compared to the past few post-recession years. Instead of the “go big or go home” mentality, he’s finding that people are choosing better products and higher end finishes that they can enjoy now and will hopefully help with resale value down the road. His clients are also getting more creative with interior choices that fit this area like using timbers and beams. He said their pipeline is pretty full, but that if someone was hoping to start a new home yet this year, they would likely be able to get things started in August.


Dan Campion confirmed that most area builders are booked until Fall, adding that he’s had the busiest winter he’s ever had in all his years with Johnson Lumber. He said they’re doing a few higher end homes in the $700,000 range, but that most people seem to be going smaller, choosing quality over quantity, with nicer finishes. The biggest problem facing our building market, according to Campion is the shortage of skilled and trained workers. Because of that, he’s starting a local high school program to introduce young people to the trades and give them a chance to build some skills. It’s a great example of how local businesses and professionals like Johnson Lumber and Dan Campion are committed to making sure our area has a strong heartbeat! – Wanda Boldon

Great Fishing Cabins for Sale in Northwestern Wisconsin!

The Wisconsin Fishing Opener for general inland fishing is right around the corner! With 160 different species of fish in our waters, there should be plenty to keep any fishing expedition occupied. If you’re really serious, there’s still time to secure a great property on one of our better fishing lakes before the Opener on May 2nd. Take a look at what’s available!

Yellow Lake is the largest lake in Burnett County and is one of the most popular fishing destinations in Northwestern Wisconsin. It’s also connected to Little Yellow Lake and the Yellow River, which shares water with the St. Croix River. Can you say “fishing mecca?” We currently have two properties available on Yellow Lake.

883763 Yellow Lake  $214,000

882173 Yellow Lake $214,000

883763 Yellow Lake  $199,900

883763 Yellow Lake $199,900

The Yellow River also contributes to the great fishing environment on a few other lakes in the area, including Benoit and Lipsett Lake. They have great structure and shoreline for fish habitat and won’t disappoint your angling efforts. Here are a couple of properties that will delight your family and friends, even if they just want to swim and play instead of tossing around lures.

864982 Benoit Lake  $299,000

864982 Benoit Lake $299,000

886382 Lipsett Lake  $349,000

886382 Lipsett Lake $349,000

If you’re interested in seeing any of these properties or would like to fish around for something a little different, just let us know. We’d like to help you find the right place for your goals. Happy Fishing! – Wanda Boldon

Ice Out 2015

We’re calling today “ice out”, which signals the unofficial end of winter for us. That’s no foolin’ on this April 1st! Most of our area lakes are open and alive, but a few of the larger, deeper lakes, like Devils and North Sand Lakes, still have a thin layer of ice. The wind and rain we’re getting today ought to take care of what ice remains though.

To get you equally excited as we are, we’re sharing some pictures of area lakes that are open, along with links to properties for sale on those particular lakes. There are a lot of great properties for sale in Northwestern Wisconsin right now and if this gets you in the mood to have one for your very own to love and cherish, we’re happy to help you find the right match!

Happy Easter from Everyone at CENTURY 21 Sand County Services! – Wanda Boldon

Ham Lake

Ham Lake

Properties for sale on Ham Lake:

Oak Lake

Oak Lake

Properties for sale on Oak Lake:

Johnson Lake

Johnson Lake

Property for sale on Johnson Lake:

Birch Island Lake

Birch Island Lake

Property for sale on Birch Island Lake:

Countdown to Ice Out 2015


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


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!


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


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 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