New CENTURY 21 Agent: Beth Stenzel

Beth Stenzel, Realtor

We’re proud and excited to welcome Beth Stenzel to the CENTURY 21 Sand County Services, Inc. team! Beth began her real estate career with CENTURY 21 in the late 1970s in West St. Paul, where she was born and raised. She loved the work! Then in the early 1980s she decided to specialize in real estate finance, as a mortgage banker and spent the next 35 years helping over 4000 people finance or refinance their homes.

Sharing life Up North with the next generation.

In the early 1990s, Beth and her husband Lee bought a property on the Yellow River with 38 acres and a cabin, which they’ve remodeled and improved over the years and in 2015, they decided to make it their home! Now every day is filled with watching wildlife and enjoying the beautiful surrounds of the area.

Beth Stenzel and Broker, Dave Boldon

Living a simpler life with the help of technology lead her to the decision that she wanted to round out her career the way it began, as a real estate agent with CENTURY 21. Beth says it makes her feel joyful to help people go down the path of buying or selling real estate and that now she gets to do the work she loves again.

We’re fortunate to add a seasoned veteran like Beth to our team and feel confident that she’ll deliver Extraordinary Experiences to everyone she works with. Welcome back to CENTURY 21, Beth! ~ Wanda Boldon

Round Man Brewing Co., Spooner, WI

I don’t drink beer. Breweries and brew pubs don’t turn my head. But I like to feel happy and in the hands of skilled hospitality. I love seeing, smelling and eating great food. I applaud hard working and energetic business owners. This place turns my head.

This pretty much sums it up.
Yes, please!

The Round Man Brewing Co. opened last Fall and has taken the food and beverage experience in our area to another level. It’s in the iconic Dahl’s Home Store location on Walnut Street, a transformed space that combines warm, historic features, industrial mass, intelligent art and colorful energy.

18 Taps, 8 Signature Brews
Great visuals everywhere.
Magic happens here.
Magic happens here too.

But more than the tangible, it’s the people who truly bring the place to life. The entire Churchill family works and is involved with the enterprise and you can feel that connectedness. Under that roof, everyone feels like they’re a part of the Churchill family – guests and servers alike.

Spencer Churchill with his parents, Sue and Jeff

It’s a well-oiled machine. The service from every single person is friendly and expedient. The food is beautifully plated, with fresh new flavors.  It’s a come-as-you-are atmosphere, where you can relax and let them do all the heavy lifting. Except they make the experience look fun and effortless, which is the sign of massive effort and energy being poured into the operation.

Crabcake – part of a special Mardi Gras menu
Smoked Duck Nachos
Shrimp Etouffee – part of a special Mardi Gras menu
Pages and pages of love.
Take me home and I’ll growl for you.

Oh, and they serve wine too. ~ Wanda Boldon

Great Properties for Sale: Chalet Style

Despite the mounting snow, the Spring Market is upon us. No matter what Mother Nature serves up, we continue to move forward to help our clients who want to sell find clients who want to buy. (“Yes Winter, we know how to operate in your clutches!”)

This week, we listed two wonderful properties – both with chalet style homes that have features that will interest a wide pool of buyers.

Welcome to Rice Lake!

Rice Lake $329,900 MLS# 1527787

This three bedroom, two bath home is “just right” Goldilocks. It offers one level living with a master suite, main floor laundry, an open great room with a wood burning fireplace and breakfast bar. Outside there is a wrap around deck, patio and an oversized garage to hold all of your toys and equipment. Perhaps one of the most special things about the property is the lot. With 215 feet of frontage, 8,9 acres and located right across the road from County Land, this property is an outdoor enthusiasts dream!

While you’re dreaming, set your eyes on this one-of-a-kind handscribed log home on 40 acres. It’s one of the most special homes you will ever see.

Webster, WI $385,000 MLS# 1527791

The owner is a log artisan who spent his life building masterpieces for other people. This is the home that he and his wife created for themselves. There is character built and curated throughout with log beams, staircases and vaulted spaces that allow the sun to spill in. You’ll find a bedroom and bath on all three levels. The lower level also has a family room with a fieldstone fireplace, wine room, large mudroom and laundry. There are vista and pond view from many rooms as well as the large deck. The garage has an additional storage room and the large storage building has a heated shop. You’ll want to keep a boat in the storage building too. Because North Sand Lake is just down the road!

You can find more information about these properties on our website. But don’t gaze too long. If you’re interested in taking a look, contact us right away. Because the Spring Market is now! ~ Wanda Boldon

The Polar Vortex & Septic Systems

Nothing can put fear into your belly like watching the contents of your toilet rise versus circling down and out to your septic system. Screaming “NOOOO!” will not stop it and you can’t push it back. Will you run away or stand there and watch the overflow in disbelief? If you could only turn back time.

Let it flow!

The plunging temperatures (pun intended) of the Polar Vortex were something most of us have never seen in our lives. We’re only starting to realize the impact it had on different aspects of our lives. Frozen septic systems have been one of the casualties. The combination of our relative lack of snow, to protect and insulate the ground, along with the plummeting temperatures left many septic lines frozen. If the pipe that leads from your toilet to your septic tank is frozen solid, no amount of pressing the flush lever will cause things to – flush.  

You can’t peck away at the problem.

As a result, the poo pumping experts in our area are working as fast as they can to help those in need. They’re pulling out their bag of tricks to thaw the lines and get things moving again. They’re also suggesting to those who have vulnerable systems or shallow septic lines to protect and insulate them in the Fall with straw, leaves or something that would provide a buffer from the chilling reach of Mother Nature.

Life Up North requires that you always be prepared and the whole situation has people considering their Plan B – an outhouse, or privy as they call it in sophisticated circles. Having an outhouse on site means you’ll never have to be caught with your pants down! You do need to get a permit to have one, because it’s actually considered a legitimate kind of septic system. But once you have the go-ahead, you can let your creativity and your sense of humor run wild! We love a good outhouse and have collected a healthy batch of photos of our favorites over the years. Check out our Pinterest Board for some inspiration for your Plan B. One day you might be very happy to be freezing your tail off! ~ Wanda Boldon

Northwestern WI: The State of the Market

Now that the dust has cleared after the State of the Union address, the coast is clear for us to share the State of the Market for our area. At the end of every calendar year, we extract data from the MLS and from the real estate recordings at the County Register of Deeds and compare it to the previous year’s findings. When it comes to reading the tea leaves, we combine forces with our entire team to make sense of it all and draw some relevant conclusions. Our shared experiences are stirred into the data and we arrive at a few points of brilliance. At least, that’s what we tell ourselves!

Point of Brilliance #1: Steady She Goes
Total sales in 2018, in terms of dollars-sold, was much the same as 2017. However, homes and cabins sold faster than the previous year and for an average of 3-4% off list price. We saw many properties sell for full price and also had multiple offers on properties that were “the hot ticket” for buyers. (If you want to know if your property is “hot”, invite one of us over and we can let you know!) Vacant land and lake lot sales were much the same as the prior year – stable and still a bit soft. The element that kept the market from growing more is Point of Brilliance #2.

Point of Brilliance #2: Low Inventory
We’re sitting in a virtual corn field with this one and chanting, “If you build it, they will come.” There are a few things that we simply can’t change quickly, and this is one of them. For every 5 buyers we work with, we have one matching property. It’s frustrating for buyers and it’s frustrating for us. But we have a finite amount of lakeshore and land to go around, and we’re also suffering from a lingering aftermath of the downturn, where few new structures were built. So why, you ask, aren’t the prices shooting through the roof? Refer yourself back to the downturn. No one has forgotten how that felt and no one wants to make a foolish real estate purchase. AKA: Mamma ain’t raised no fool.

Point of Brilliance #3: Changing Buyer Pool
Change can be sneaky when you’re immersed in the midst of it. One day you wake up and feel like things have changed overnight, except they haven’t. This one is kind of like that. Suddenly, we have more and more buyers looking to move here, live here, retire here. The way people live and work has become uber flexible and living Up North is now a viable option for more buyers. As a result, the ratio of wannabe weekend-owners to wannabe resident-owners has shifted, and we’re selling more properties that are geared to that buyer pool, like “higher end” Voyager Village homes and alternative recreational homes. We’re also selling futures. Because the folks who aren’t able to pull the plug and move right now are looking to buy something they can slide into when the time is right.

2019 is here to stay and the Spring Market is upon us. We say, “Bring it on!” If you want to be a part of next year’s statistics and contribute to a future Point of Brilliance, give us a call. We’re here to help! ~ Wanda Boldon

Prepare for a Successful Winter Inspection

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Selling your property in the winter may not sound like a lot of fun. But our Spring market is starting now and buyers are poised to find the right place. So yes, it’s prime time, if you want to be a part of the Spring market. If you’re concerned about cleaning and moving, we have great resources to help you with any hurdles you need to clear. Tell us what you need and we’ll get you connected!

If you’re a buyer, you’re likely anxious and excited to get into your new property in the Northwoods so you can prepare for the precious summer days that are right around the corner. Yes, literally, right around the corner! By the time you get an accepted offer, get your financing in place and do your inspections, it’s here.

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To help things move along smoothly, I asked Chad Imme from Pillar to Post Inspections if there were things that both buyers and sellers should keep in mind regarding inspections in the winter. Chad and his wife, Wendy have a successful home inspection business that serves our area. You can see their glowing customer reviews on their Google and Facebook pages. Chad said it’s not easy to inspect a home in the winter. But he said it’s more successful if there’s good cooperation from the seller and if access is provided to the important areas.

One of those important areas is the roof. If it’s snow covered, it’s helpful to get an age on the shingles and to gain access to the attic. One thing you can actually see better in the winter is heat loss and ice damming. The roof will show you that in clear sight!

The bare areas show heat loss.

The bare areas show heat loss.

Sellers can also help by making sure the pilot lights are lit on any gas appliances, like stoves and fireplaces. A home inspector’s insurance generally doesn’t cover them for activities like lighting pilot lights. Without a pilot light, it’s difficult to understand if those items are working properly.

The lights are on and no one's home!

The lights are on and no one’s home!

Septic systems are concerning to many buyers who live in urban environments where a municipal sewer system magically takes everything to a place far, far away. In a rural environment, septic systems are critical to the functioning of a property and they can be expensive to replace. If the access lid is above ground, it can be opened. If the access lid is buried in snow, it’s helpful for the seller to flag the location so it can be easily found and shoveled out. If the access lid is below ground, it’s difficult or impossible to get a look inside. The drain field can offer some clues about the condition of the septic system as well. If the inspection pipe is full of ice, it’s an indication that the drain field is saturated and may need to be relocated.

People come in two camps: those who want to look and those who look away!

People come in two camps: those who want to look and those who look away!

Furnaces can be easily tested in the winter. If the seller has had a recent tune-up, they can show a receipt or provide something in writing from the person who did the work for them. However, for air conditioning units, if the temperature is below 60 degrees, they can’t be tested. It would do damage to the compressor.

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So with a little planning, sellers can prepare for inspections that may be a part of a buyer’s offer so that buyers don’t have to be afraid to go ahead with a purchase – even in the winter! ~ Wanda Boldon

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New Wine Bar in Webster, WI

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There’s something new blossoming in Webster on Cedar Street. It’s named after the state flower of Wisconsin and is called Violet on Cedar. “Violet” is a wine bar that serves small plates, soups and dessert. It’s the creation of mother and daughter duo, Virginia Harstad and Ginna Lauré. They both spent their formative years in Burnett County, but their outside education and experiences have led them to this exciting new collaboration.

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The idea to create a place that offered wine and food germinated in 2012 when they sat down to write a business plan. Over time, they’ve allowed the idea to unfold as the right elements came along to make it happen. Among those elements was finding the right space and location, finding the right chef and food plan, and then preparing themselves with the knowledge they needed to do it right. Ginna even traveled to Napa, CA to earn a Level 3 certification with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust so that she felt confident in her knowledge of wines and wine service.

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Once they purchased the real estate that would become their vision, they acquired the zoning change and permits required to transform the 3 bedroom, 2 bath home into a 38 seat space, complete with bar area, a professional kitchen and a dedicated baking room. The interior is open, fresh, light and bright. It’s a comfortable place to linger with old friends and to meet new ones as well!

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The next step was to begin testing and tasting food concepts. They worked diligently with their chef Hans Eckstrand to create food ideas and recipes. To hear them talk about their food and what they plan to present to patrons can be summed up in one word: flavor! The menu will be everchanging along with some staples. And rest assured, if you require a gluten-free environment, this is a safe place for you! They also joined forces with Lisa Benson at Webster’s Fresh Start Coffee Roasters to create a house blend of coffee called – you guessed it, Violet.

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They’re taking things one step at a time, so that Violet can grow and develop in a way that maintains their vision. But the future holds ideas for private parties, wine tasting events, developing the outdoor green space for summer use and expanded hours.

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They’re open Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 4:00-8:00pm and have menu and wine updates on their website and Facebook page. Stop by this weekend for their Open House on Saturday, January 12th from 4:00-8:00pm. When you arrive at 7438 Cedar Street, it will feel like you’re arriving at the home of a friend. When you leave, you’ll know that to be true! ~ Wanda Boldon

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Navigating Transition

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The nuts and bolts of our work involves real estate law, property evaluation and pricing, marketing and representation of properties, contract drafting and overall knowledge of our geographical area and community. But the deep reality of what we do is help our clients through transitions.

It’s our privilege to be a part of people’s lives as they make decisions to change and transition to something new. Our work puts us square in the middle of all the questions and issues that surround the process of change. Whether we’re working with a seller or a buyer, they each need help navigating their way to new territory.

Yellow River, near Spooner, WI

Yellow River, near Spooner, WI, December 2018.

December 2018, three days later.

December 2018, three days later.

Like the weather, change can happen quickly. Before you know it, things aren’t the same anymore. What no longer works for one person, now becomes the ideal for the next. We help connect those dots by truly getting to know people and understanding their goals. We are a conduit.

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Another aspect of what we do at our firm is help people build careers. In the last 30 years, we’ve helped people of all ages create a rewarding work life that fits their goals. Being able to live in this beautiful area, have challenging, meaningful work and financially create your own destiny is a dream come true, in our opinion. We’re always on the lookout for someone special and new who wants the same thing for themselves.

It's never too early - or too late, to start learning.

It’s never too early – or too late, to start learning.

We’re agents of change at CENTURY 21 Sand County Services and we never stop asking, “Are We There Yet?” ~ Wanda Boldon

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Great Property For Sale: 29008 W. Yellow River Road, Danbury, WI

We are honored to represent this beautiful new listing on the Yellow River with access to both Big and Little Yellow Lakes – about a 30 minute boat ride from the dock.

MLS# 1526160 Yellow River, $389,000

MLS# 1526160 Yellow River, $389,000

Yellow River, near Danbury, WI

Yellow River, near Danbury, WI

This year around log sided chalet has an expansive great room with lots of glass and a beautiful fireplace.

Great room with wood burning fireplace

Great room with wood burning fireplace

The kitchen has an open flow to both the great room and dining area, with lovely wood and tile flooring.

45The loft, above, is home to the owner’s bedroom suite – a spacious area with a pretty wood lofted ceiling and includes a full bath, walk-in closet and a large sitting area that could be used for hobbies or office space.

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When your friends and family arrive, there is plenty of space for them to unpack their bags and make themselves at home, with 3 additional bedrooms and a large room that could sleep extras or become a quiet space to get away from it all.

The large deck spills out from the great room and could hold a sizable dinner party, lots of potted plants and flowers – and even a portable bar! The fire pit is close enough to interact with any action that’s happening on the deck as well as the dock area.

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The wood fired sauna is a great place to warm up before a hard core session of yoga as well as a place to warm your bones after cross country skiing or snow mobiling.

Wood fired sauna

Wood fired sauna

Inside the sauna

Inside the sauna

The property has two stick built garages, both have cement floors and log siding that ties into the home. The largest was built in 2009 and has solar panels. What a great place to work on your sleds, store your boats and tell tall tales!

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When we asked the owners what they loved about the property, this is what they had to say…
“Home away from home, only 2 hours away from the Twin Cities, makes it easy to get away and enjoy the peace and quiet of the Yellow River or take advantage of the many area activities.  Great river activities, either relaxing on the ride down to the lake, kayaking or all day fishing. The cabin is great for families to gather to enjoy ‘Cabin Olympics’, including bean bags, ping pong, horseshoes, darts and maybe even a wager at the casino in Danbury.  Great location for walks, runs, bike rides, cross country skiing or ATV’s and sledding on the local trails.  Ending the day relaxing in the wood fired sauna or just enjoying the serenity from the covered deck!”

If this property looks like it could be YOUR home away from home…or the home you never want to leave, make an appointment with us to see it right away! ~ Wanda Boldon