Seniors Need More Attention

  Chisago County is home to many senior citizens that want to downsize. Many of which, have not bought or sold a home for decades. Most real estate agents like to communicate via text and email, and use electronic signatures, and I have found there are many seniors that don’t text or email, and find electronic signatures difficult. They prefer to work face to face.

  I recently met a seller that worked with an agent that cancelled the listing because the seller had too many questions, and took too much of the agent’s time. The seller then hired an agent that was referred to her, but the agent worked and lived 30 minutes away, which was too far to for the agent to stop by to deliver documents and get signatures. This frustrated the seller who didn’t understand the documents or couldn’t open attachments, or sign electronically. Ultimately the listing agent was fired.

  Many seniors don’t interview multiple agents and are very trusting. They assume that all real estate agents are the same and they sign the contracts as directed.  A lake home owner hired an agent, that had never sold a lake home before, and when the buyer’s lender required flood insurance the agent accused the seller of not disclosing the home was in a flood plain. The seller had no idea it was in a flood plain, as the property was acquired through inheritance. 

  My advice to seniors is to interview more than one agent, work with a local neighborhood expert that has expertise in your type of property, discuss your communication requirements, and ask how to cancel the listing agreement if you are not happy.

  I have worked with many seniors that need help finding a new place to live, help with cleaning, packing or maintenance items. A neighborhood real estate expert can help you all of your moving needs through closing.

    

  

  Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to ckempenich@cbburnet.com. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.

Water Leaks Create Mold

  Many of the homes on the market this year have experienced water infiltration due to higher than normal water tables from several days in row with rain or heavy water runoff from neighboring properties. It has impacted lake homes, farm homes, newer developments and old downtown homes.

  Most homes look great when you walk through the main floor or upper levels but you can’t miss the damp smell when you open the basement door. Unless the seller has recently painted the basement walls and floor you can usually see black mold where the water is coming in.

  One of the main causes of water intrusion is improper grading or lack of gutters and downspouts.  If the water is running towards the house, it usually finds it way in. 

  After inspecting one of my seller’s homes, we noted that the neighboring properties, on all 3 sides, sloped into his yard and directly towards the house. He had a 4-level home with drain tile and a sump pump on the lowest floor, but not on the floor at grade level. Water was coming up through the floor, so he had his yard regraded, and created a rain garden for the water to pool away from the house, and added gutters. When he pulled back the carpet to dry it out, he saw mold, so he removed the carpet and pad, used bleach to kill the mold, dried it thoroughly, and installed new flooring.

  Another client had water coming into her basement this summer, and had drain tile installed outside and inside her home along with a sump pump. She removed the flooring, and dried out the basement, but water had gotten behind the walls where mold grew, so the basement had to be gutted to the studs, and rebuilt.

  Neither of these clients lived in a flood zone or had flood insurance, so the cost of mitigation was their own at $5000 in the first case, and $30,000 in the second. 

  Leaving mold in your house can cause significant health issues, and many people have mold allergies. Mold should be mitigated and water intrusion should be corrected as soon as it is detected. If you want to sell your home and leave it for the next owner, your home may take longer to sell and the price may be drastically discounted for the new owner to take care of the problem.

  An experienced real estate agent can direct you to professionals that can mitigate mold and correct water problems.

   Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to ckempenich@cbburnet.com. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.

One Chance to Make a Good First Impression

  As we approach the busy holiday season and cold snowy weather, we have limited time to get home listings sold. For those that still want to sell their home this year, it is more important than ever to make a good first impression with buyers. The highest number of showings is usually the first ten days that a home is on the market. Staging or improving your home later, may include a price reduction.

  I was talking with a friend over the weekend that sold her home in another state, and she was surprised when the real estate agent recommended staging her home, as she thought it was perfect. Over half of her furniture and accessories were removed and the home was thoroughly cleaned, prior to the photos being taken. The home was priced competitively, and it sold for full price in 2 days.

  Another buyer, I spoke with felt good about his house and wanted to price it high as he didn’t want to leave any money on the table. He felt he could always reduce the price but couldn’t raise it. This house needed a lot of work as it had been a rental property and virtually no maintenance had been done for 15 years. The seller didn’t have the resources to make any repairs. 

  I knew the buyer, for this home, would be a contractor or someone with extra money that wasn’t afraid of some sweat equity. The property wouldn’t meet FHA or VA qualifications, with peeling paint and other hazards. In this case the property was emptied, cleaned, and priced $25,000 lower than if the property had been maintained as needed. 

    I showed a lake home a few months ago that had a new septic mound installed which created a hill between the house and the lake. Dozens of buyers looked at the house and it sat on the market for months, before the seller hired a landscaper. Had the beautiful improvements been made before it went on the market, the house could have sold faster without the seller having to reduce the price.

 

  With any home we are selling, we try to determine who the buyer will be and adjust our marketing to that buyer pool. A contractor or investor doesn’t care about staging as they see the property as a future investment. Buyers that purchase emotionally want to feel like they can move right in and feel at home. A buyer looking for a lake home or one level living, has specific requirements, and may look beyond staging. 

 

An experienced real estate agent can help you make a good first impression with your home.

Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet. Submit your questions to ckempenich@cbburnet.com. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.

Record Price for Chisago Lake Home in July!

July 2018 boasts the highest lake home price in the Chisago Chain of Lakes with less than an acre of land, since the Multiple Listing Service starting publishing sales in 1991. The home on Chisago Lake, sold for $962,500 with 4,550 square feet, just under an acre of land and a gentle slope to 135’ of sandy lakeshore. This surpassed the previous record on South Lindstrom Lake last September when a home sold for $810,000.

Chisago Lake has the highest median sale price for lake homes sold in 2018, at $587,500 with 4 sales. South Center Lake has the lowest median sale price at $275,000 but the highest number of lake homes closed for the year at 11.

The median price for the 22 homes sold on the Chisago Chain of Lakes, this year, rose 14% to $372,000, over the first half of 2017.

July was a good month for the entire county, not just lake homes. There were 105 closed sales with a median price of $260,000 compared to 101 sales in July 2017 with a median price of $215,000. A 21% price increase over July 2017. There were 10 new construction homes that closed in July.

Through the first half of 2018, listings were down 8.5% from 2017, and closed sales were down 16.6%. The median price increased 11% for the first half of the year to $249,816.

The cold and snowy weather this year put a strain on the real estate market through April this year. New listings were down 32% in January, 41% in February, 20% in April, and in June, we finally saw listings increase 29% compared to 2017. 

Even with the recent increase in listings, we still have an inventory shortage, which puts us in a seller’s market. Many homes are selling fast and in multiple offers.

An experienced agent can help you determine if now is the best time to sell your home.

Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to ckempenich@cbburnet.com. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.

Now is the Best Time to Sell Your Lake Home

  Visitors are flocking to the Chisago Lakes for vacations, fishing, events, family and friends and they surprised by the beauty of the lakes and small-town feel. Lake homes look their best right now, with the docks in, the clear water, and flowers in bloom, but there is very little inventory for buyers to choose from. July and August are historically excellent months for lake home sales.

  This week I met a couple from Inver Grove Heights, looking for a home on Forest Lake and they decided to stop by my open house on Green Lake and they loved the area more than Forest Lake. I met another couple that lives a block off Big Marine Lake, and another a block off Forest Lake and both couples want to live on a lake in the Chisago School District.

  According to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), there have been 32 waterfront home sales from January through June 2018, in Chisago County. The median price of the sold properties increased 15% from $318,500 in 2017 to $368,750 in 2018, for the first half of the year.

  The least expensive waterfront home that closed this year was in Lindstrom on South Center Lake for $209,000 with .27 acres and 59’ of lake shore on a small bay. The most expensive waterfront home that closed this year was in North Branch on the Sunrise River for $675,000 with 67 acres and 5000’ of waterfront.

  The 26 new waterfront listings entered on the MLS in June, had a median price of $379,450, for the County.

The median sale price for Washington County waterfront homes was 41% higher than Chisago County at $521,500 for the first half of 2018. The least expensive sale was a cabin on Forest Lake for $169,000 with .26 acres and 59’ of frontage. The most expensive sale was for $1,380,000 on Masterman Lake with 6.76 acres and 200’ of frontage.

  Chisago County waterfront homes will continue to be in high demand as the metro lakes prices continue to rise. If you put your home on the market now you can still enjoy the lake for the rest of the summer! 

  If you are thinking of buying or selling a waterfront property contact a local experienced real estate agent to help you navigate the real estate market in the Chisago Lakes Area.

Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to ckempenich@cbburnet.com. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.

Annual Real Estate Report

NorthstarMLS provides Realtors® with statistical data for real estate sales. We receive reports for the entire Twin Cities Area, which includes Chisago County, as well as individual County and City reports.

The median sales price in 2017 for the Twin Cities Area was $246,000, which was a 7% increase over 2016. The median sales price for Chisago County was $229,900, up 9.5% from $209,950 in 2016.

In the Twin Cities Area, new construction made up 11.9% of the 2017 home sales compared to 11.2% in 2016. Distressed properties (foreclosures) were down from 12.7% in 2016 to 4.6% in 2017. Isanti County had the highest percentage of new construction homes at 16.7% of homes sales, and Kanabec County had the highest percentage of distressed property sales at 11.8%.

Chisago City, ranked 16th for the highest number of new construction homes closed in 2017, in the Twin Cities Area. Chisago City had the highest median sales price in Chisago County at $255,000, an increase of 2% from $250,000 in 2016 and new construction homes represented 22.1% of the closed sales. However, new listings in Chisago City were down 11.4%, closed sales were down 20% and new construction sales were down 2.5% from 2016.

Lindstrom had the highest percentage of condo/townhome sales in the county at 16.3%, and 16.3% of the home sales in Lindstrom were new construction. The median sales price in Lindstrom was $225,000 in 2017 up 6.2% from $211,814 in 2016.

Wyoming, North Branch & Rush City had the highest increase in median sales prices in the County; 10.1%, 10.4% and 11%, respectively.

Stacy had the highest increase in closed sales up 23.8% from 63 in 2016 to 78 in 2017.12.8% of the closed sales in Stacy were new construction homes compared to 3.2% in 2016.

The Twin Cities Metro real estate market (includes Chisago County) has now recovered from the 2008 market crash. The average closed price in 2007 was $274,109, which dropped to the low point of $192,063 in 2011, and reached $293,674 in 2017, up from $273,088 in 2016.

With our inventory shortage, now is a great time to sell your home. An experienced real estate agent can show you the market activity in your neighborhood, and discuss the best time to sell.

Ask the Real Estate Agent is a weekly column by Cheryl Kempenich of Coldwell Banker Burnet, who lives and offices in the Chisago Lakes Area. Submit your questions to ckempenich@cbburnet.com. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For legal assistance consult an attorney.