Special Details Add Value

We meet special, funny, grateful, loving, giving, creative, industrious People every day in our work. The People are what drive us to work long hours and go the extra mile. When you like and appreciate the People, you do a lot to help them. It feels great to make them happy!

After the People, come the Properties. The Properties we encounter here are varied and unique. Each Property seems to have a soul, with something special about it. But there’s an argument to be made that Mother Nature is what “makes” most of the Properties in our market. The natural features and creatures associated with any given property are the things that bring buyers from far and wide.

Where Mother Nature leaves off, the People step in. They create homes and cabins to suit the location and their needs. When we come across a structure where thoughtful choices were made in the construction and stylish finishes top it off, we giggle, clap and jump up and down. (Well, I do.) These special details are what adds extra value to a property. We have a couple of great examples on the market right now.

This chalet style home on Johnson Lake is a treasure, by all counts. The log features throughout the home tie the interiors together seamlessly and creatively. In addition, the fieldstone featured in the landscaping along with the fieldstone fireplaces in the home marry the inside beautifully to the out.

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Switch gears to this traditionally styled home overlooking Birch Island Lake, where choices were made to add to its elegance like a stately covered porch, dormers in the roof line and a sweeping entrance to welcome you home.

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We’ve found that sellers who make the choice to add special details like these are rewarded when it comes time to sell. We think the buyers feel rewarded too! – Wanda Boldon

Fall ATV Riding Season Begins Tomorrow

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The state funded ATV trails close tomorrow, September 16th. If you’ve enjoyed the trails all Summer, don’t panic! The Burnett County Forest Woods Trails & County Forest Roads are still open for ATV/UTV use. You can ride on any wooded trail, snowmobile trail and ATV trail that is located on County Forest Lands, as long as it is not bermed, gated or signed as closed and is at least eight feet wide. (A good rule of thumb is that if you can drive a truck down the trail, then you take your ATV/UTV down it.)

The leaves are starting to change here. So it should be a beautiful weekend to get out and ride. Have fun! – Wanda Boldon

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Letters to Sellers: A Human Experience

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We’ve experienced several instances this year, where buyers have felt compelled or moved to write a letter that accompanies their offer when it’s presented to the seller. The letters have a variety of sentiments about why they’ve chosen to pursue the property and offer a little bit about the buyer’s personal life and family. If a person chose to wear a cynical cap, the letters could potentially appear self-serving, as a way to butter up the seller, in a market that has become competitive. I don’t see anything wrong with that. But cap wearing isn’t really my style and I think there’s more to it. I think they’re expressing something deeper.

In our day-to-day work, helping buyers and sellers reach their goals, we develop a special relationship, where we become privy to personal information so we can help their hopes and dreams come to life. A recurring theme is the desire to spend more time with people who matter. In an age where we live with devices and tools that boost our productivity, but slowly reduce the quality and quantity of our actual human interaction, the quest for ways to get it back is strong.

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Our customers get it. They know what’s happening in their lives and they’re looking to fill the gap. This is what some are saying:

“When we reflect on our family and what we enjoy most, as well as what we want in our future, it’s the time spent together, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We know things will slow down a bit for the kids when High School ends, but most likely for a short time as they move into adulthood, college, marriage, kids, etc. We’ve been searching for a place that we can use for years upon years, as a place for family to gather and enjoy.”

“We have 4 children, and as they are growing up, we are realizing that our time with them is limited. We hope to purchase a lake home in order to spend more quality time together, while they are still living with us, but also when they are grown with families of their own.”

We are eager to have a cabin for our family to enjoy.  Our family is large – seven children. Next school year, four will be in college and two in high school.  We are looking forward to sharing special time with our children and, soon, we hope, grandchildren at a lake place.  We feel that your home would be a great place for all of us to enjoy.” 

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This essay from David Byrne, “Eliminating the Human” describes very thoughtfully how we got here and why we thirst for more human interaction. He summary says this:   “Our random accidents and odd behaviors are fun—they make life enjoyable. I’m wondering what we’re left with when there are fewer and fewer human interactions. Remove humans from the equation and we are less complete as people or as a society. “We” do not exist as isolated individuals—we as individuals are inhabitants of networks, we are relationships. That is how we prosper and thrive.”

Thankfully, this place, our area, is a vehicle for more human interaction. If you’d like to start exploring how it can help you prosper and thrive, we’d love to be a part of your journey…and one day, maybe even deliver a letter! – Wanda Boldon

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Recreational Market Heats Up for Fall!

The recreation real estate market in our area has been strong all Summer. Certain sectors have been hotter than others. But we’ve been impressed by what has been happening here. Normally the Summer market can be a little sleepy, because buyers and sellers are busy having fun, enjoying the seemingly endless vacation life that is available here. But this Summer could be best summed up with the phrase “you snooze, you lose”. People were jumping into the market very readily.

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Now, as the kids head back to school and the endless party of Summer starts to fade, our Fall market will start to unfold. Traditionally, the Fall market comes on strong and then starts to taper just before the holidays. We’ve often asked ourselves “why and how can it be our best selling season?” Recently, we slowed down long enough to attempt to pin down some answers. Here’s what we came up with!

The Conditions: We generally have long, lingering, beautiful autumnal weather here. Temperatures are moderate. Our plant life and vegetation starts to die in August, making it easy to look at wooded land lots. The bugs diminish, which adds to the enjoyment of being outdoors. The honking sound of migrating geese fills the air. In short, heaven.

Sellers: Would-be sellers decide to put their property on the market, after enjoying “one last Summer” – or after NOT enjoying one last Summer.

Buyers: Fall buyers are long-term thinkers and not hemmed in by the seasons. They want a property to enjoy all year around and are serious about finding the right place.

So even though our Summer sales this year have been just ducky. We expect Fall to be even hotter! – Wanda Boldon

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Vacation Rentals: A Northwoods How-To

1Vacation rentals in the Northwoods are easier than ever for both sides of the transaction, with the help of services like www.vrbo.com and www.homeaway.com. Property owners can help defray expenses for a property they don’t use all the time and renters can dip their toes into lakefront living for a reasonable cost. It seems like a win-win for everyone – and usually is!

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I attended a hearing this week at the Burnett County Government Center, where I had the opportunity to witness some of the difficult sides of vacation rentals, where everyone doesn’t win. There were several property owners on the agenda, looking to get approval for Conditional Use Permits that allowed them to rent their properties on a short-term basis. As each person stood before the committee, their stories unfolded through the series of questions and answers. Some permits were granted and others were not.

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Renting Your Property – How to Win: You need a permit to rent your property on a short-term basis. If you advertise your rental online, you can’t hide. Just do yourself a favor and get the permit. You’ll want to do some homework before you apply. Is your septic large enough to accommodate the number of people who will be renting? Do you have someone living nearby who can be a “24/7” contact for your renters? How do you screen your renters and monitor their behavior so that they don’t pose a problem for your neighbors? Those are just a few of the zingers you’ll want to be prepared to avoid. Here is a link to more guidelines that will help you through the process. http://burnettcounty.com/DocumentCenter/View/3658

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Renting A Property Like a Winner: If you’re renting a property in our area, especially a lake home, pack a sticky note that says “When in Rome”. It’s a lot of fun to splash around a new lake and soak up the summer sun. But proceed with care and witness how the owners behave on their lake. Find out about any special concerns and understand what is the norm. Because you will distinguish yourself very quickly as an outsider if you don’t. Terrorizing the neighborhood by buzzing the shoreline with your boat, screaming profanities around the firepit and shooting off fireworks at 2am are all ways to shut down the future of renting a property again. If you need to blow off steam, hit the gym. Don’t ruin an owner’s ability to continue renting their property. Only a loser would do that…Wanda Boldon

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Great Retirement Properties for Sale

One trend that’s caught our attention lately is buyers with a focus on retirement. Buyers of just about all ages will utter the word…retirement. It’s been an interesting turn-about. During the recession, we all-but-lost the category of buyers who’d hoped to buy a place here to enjoy during retirement. They either couldn’t sell their homes in the city to make the transition or they weren’t thinking about retiring, with all the uncertainty that existed. Those reasons, along with a myriad of others took them out of the picture for us.

Now, they’re back – and have taken shape in unexpected forms. It’s expected that someone in their mid-to-late 50’s would be thinking about how they’d like things to go when they decide to retire. Many plan to sell their large home in the city, where they raised their families and buy something here that’s more modest. They crave the pace, peace and lifestyle that our area offers. And yet, they’re still close to their family and friends in the Twin Cities. They often plan to buy something in the sunbelt for the winter months as well. This is all expected. Normal.

What’s not expected is to hear people in their 30’s and 40’s with very young children projecting the very same things for themselves. Their mission is to buy something now, work on it, make it their own and enjoy it as their family grows. Interesting.

For those of us who already live and work here, it’s easy to picture the transition – far down the road, as it may be. For those who’d like to jump in, here are a few properties that offer some nice features for retirement life. Contact a CENTURY 21 agent if you’d like to take a closer look. We can answer a lot of questions about “life Up North” as well! – Wanda Boldon

MLS# 1507201 Overlooking Birch Island Lake $299,000

MLS# 1507201 Overlooking Birch Island Lake $299,000

MLS# 1509380 Dunham Lake $275,000

MLS# 1509380 Dunham Lake $275,000

MLS# 1509278 Prinel Lake $275,000

MLS# 1509278 Prinel Lake $275,000

 

 

Selling Your Property: What Price to Pay?

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When the time comes to sell your property, there are many things that swirl through your mind. For a lot of people, the first thoughts relate to the overall “letting go”. Homes, cabins and even recreational land are attached to memories, that in turn, keep us attached. It can take a long time for some people to get through this initial stage. There’s nothing wrong with that!

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After that hurdle is cleared, the practical stuff begins to surface and that’s generally where we come in. We help owners by doing research and analysis to arrive at an appropriate price for the current market. We also help owners understand what kinds of things they can do to prepare the property for sale. A good agent will explain the most valuable timing and strategy that applies to the situation. Every situation is different.

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One thing that CAN happen at this point is for an agent to become overzealous about making a sale and earning a commission that they exclaim they have a buyer who is perfect for your property and will cut their commission if you agree to enter into a single party listing agreement for that buyer. We’ve seen this very scenario several times this year.

In one instance, the seller agreed and waited 30 days for this buyer to come forward. The buyer never materialized. After that, the seller decided they didn’t want to be represented by that agent and chose to start over with another agent. They lost 30 valuable days on the market and the momentum that goes along with being new on the market.

Another example is a family who entered into a similar agreement. In this case, the buyer did materialize and the buyer did make an offer that was accepted. Then they backed out. A few months later, the same buyer came back, with hat in hand and offered to purchase the property for $50,000 more than they’d originally agreed in the first offer. This left the seller suspicious and question the true value of their property. They stepped back from the whole process to get some answers. An entire year went by before they felt comfortable with the right agent for them.

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If we could offer a “do over” for these sellers, we would have a conversation about the power of the market. We would explain that the excitement of being new on the market, where many buyers and agents have access to information about their property, leads to a better Offer price, a more solid, qualified buyer and timing that establishes boundaries so that a closing date is set. The original motivating factor for the sellers in these situations was the dollars saved in reduced commissions. We contend that it ultimately cost them more. – Wanda Boldon

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FOURTH OF JULY MEMORIES

Prinel Lake near Webb Lake, WI

Prinel Lake near Webb Lake, WI

Celebrating the Fourth of July in Northwestern Wisconsin is a natural! In fact, we call it “the Superbowl of Up North”, because it’s the holiday when our area swells with people and activity. Families gather and friends reunite in our beautiful surrounds to enjoy a day off work together. For many though, it’s become more than a day off work. It’s generally a few days. This year, the holiday spanned a full week, flanked by two beautiful weekends and it seemed that many people took advantage of the opportunity and took vacation time to make the most of it.

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Many of the Lake Associations in the area plan and organize a boat parade to bring neighbors together in the spirit of the holiday. Young and old get together to create a “float” that is worthy of the occasion and then motor around the perimeter of the lake to greet those watching from their docks and boats.

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It’s just one more way to create memories with those who are important in your life. If you’d like to start making some memories of your own, we can help. Our CENTURY 21 team can find the right property for you. Don’t wait – it’s never too early to make an impression on special people! – Wanda Boldon

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The Flowers of Now!

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Last week, as I was driving down a rural road, on my way to meet a client, I witnessed someone in the ditch with a spade in one hand and a plant clump in the other. I don’t accessorize with a badge yet, so I didn’t stop. But a word of caution if you had similar ideas – “look, but don’t touch”. Wisconsin is one of a few states that has a wildflower protection law. It was passed in 1923 due to concerns of declining plant populations. If you’re caught you could be fined and charged with a misdemeanor. Ouch!

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It isn’t just live wildflowers that are of concern either. Cutting dried wildflowers causes damage as well. Just one cut flower can reduce the number of flowers that return the following year. These little bloomers aren’t just there for our visual pleasure. They’re there to support entire ecosystems for pollinators, birds and small animals. Butterflies, insects and small birds depend on their seeds, nectar and pollen.

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NOW is a great time to get out and enjoy the wildflowers cascading through the roadsides of Northwestern Wisconsin! Whether you’re traveling at the slow pace of a walk or driving your ATV to the nearest trail. Take an opportunity to “stop and smell the roses”. These little jewels will be gone before you know it! – Wanda Boldon

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Spring Market Culminates in Memorial Day Fun!

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Most buyers want to kick off the summer season at their new cabin with family and friends. For us that means so much! We know what a joy it is to live Up North. Helping people find a way to spend time here makes us happy. Because of that, the CENTURY 21 Team worked morning to night during the Spring season, to help as many people as we could. It was a race to the finish line – Memorial Day weekend!

We’re pleased to report that what we suspected was happening, all along, was true. It WAS a good Spring market. Last year, 166 properties were sold in our market area through May 31st and this year, 193 sold!

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In an effort to recharge for the “next round”, some of our dedicated CENTURY 21 Team members took a little break to enjoy the holiday with families and friends.  Now we’re ready for the Summer Season! – Wanda Boldon

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