Median Home Price is Up 10% Over Last Year

By the end of May the median home price in Chisago County rose to $243,000, year to date, compared to $220,500 for the first five months of 2017. The number of closed sales is down from 351 to 291 for the same period, according to the Multiple Listing Service. Our low inventory is pushing prices higher. Many homeowners I talk with are afraid to put their homes on the market for fear of selling to quickly and not having a place to go. 

There were 92 closed sales in May, in the County, with a median sale price of $250,337, with an average marketing time of 17 days. The most expensive home sold in May was on Chisago Lake for $650,000. The least expensive home was sold for $99,900 in Rush City.

Chisago Township had the highest median sale price, in the County, of $399,500 with 6 sales in May. Followed by Chisago City with 9 sales and a median sale price of $300,000.

North Branch had the most sales in the County with 21 sales, and a median price of $235,000.

The best values can be found in Shafer with the median price of $182,000, but you must be quick as the average marketing time is only 12 days. 

Homes also move fast in Lindstrom, with an average of 14 days on the market, and the median price of $252,366.

There were 11 waterfront homes that sold in May with a median price of $384,000. The highest waterfront sale price was on Chisago Lake for $650,000, and the lowest priced waterfront home was on West Rush Lake for $209,000.

There were also 11 new construction home sales, spread throughout the county, that closed in May with a median price of $283,700. The highest was $417,000 and the lowest at $182,482. 

We are still experiencing a seller’s market with low inventory, shorter marketing times, and higher prices. This trend should continue for the next few months.

An experienced real estate agent can help you determine the right price for your home, to help you sell quickly, and maximize your net proceeds. 

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.

Higher Prices for Lake Homes

Chisago County has several beautiful, large, recreational lakes 30-50 miles from the Twin Cities including; Green Lake, Chisago Lake, North & South Lindstrom Lakes, North & South Center Lakes, E & W Rush Lakes. Home prices on these lakes increased 11% in 2017 over 2016. There are many smaller lakes and rivers that also saw price increases.

There were 64 lake home sales, on the above-mentioned lakes, with a median sale price of $314,950 in 2017. The highest price was $810,000. In 2016 there were 71 sales with a median price of $283,900 and a high price of $675,000.

The Chisago County lakes are still a great value compared to Forest Lake, White Bear Lake, & Lake Minnetonka. Below is a comparison chart for 2017 sales broken down by lake.

Lake Name # of Sales Median Price High Price
Chisago Lake 5 $350,000 $535,000
Green Lake 16 $412,500 $655,000
N Center 8 $319,000 $350,000
N Lindstrom 6 $272,250 $540,557
S Center 8 $277,000 $429,900
S Lindstrom 3 $412,000 $810,000
E Rush Lake 5 $305,000 $439,000
W Rush Lake 13 $218,500 $615,000
Big Marine 11 $476,500 $1,235,000
Forest Lake 42 $482,500 $1,200,000
White Bear 11 $890,000 $1,350,000
Lk Mtka 178 $1,181,250 $8,271,000

 

Currently, there are very few lake homes on the market, so it is a good time to study the options on the lakes. You will want to be prepared to make a quick decision when they become available, as they could sell fast. There are many considerations other than location or price, but prices are projected to continue to rise. 

 

I see more buyers from the Twin Cities or Wisconsin buying our lake homes than current residents, as some people prefer more land or larger houses. The Chisago Lakes Area received a lot of attention over the past year with the work of the ABC Committee and the school district improvements, and many people that grew up here are returning to raise their children in our great community. Living on the lake is like living on vacation!

 

An experienced real estate agent can help you compare the features and benefits of the waterfront homes available in Chisago County, including the recreational lakes, small private lakes, or riverfront homes. 

 

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.

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.

Health Hazards at Home

  As the weather gets colder and windows are closed, it is important to give your home a check-up. There is a false sense of security when it comes to being safe at home. When people buy or sell a home, most of the problems are identified; the rest of us may live with hazardous situations for years.

  Check your attic for bat droppings, rodent trails in the insulation, bird nests, mold or water stains.

  Walk around your furnace and water heater and look for combustible materials, laundry, or storage items that are too close. Change your furnace filter and smell for gas. I have seen many furnaces test positive for carbon monoxide and gas leaks. If you have an air-exchanger, make sure it is running; newer homes are more air-tight and need fresh air circulating.

  Change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. There should be a smoke detector in each bedroom and a carbon monoxide detector within 10’ of each bedroom, in addition to other areas. It is recommended that the detectors be replaced every 10 years.

  Inspect your down spouts, extensions, and grade around the house. Water should drain away from the house.

  In older homes, check for peeling paint or asbestos. Both are hazardous to breath, so have an abatement specialist recommend the correction. You can purchase a lead test from the hardware store.

  Test your drinking water. I have seen water test positive for bacteria, lead, and we often see rust and manganese. You can purchase water test kits from Chisago County, or you can contact water treatment companies.

  Test your home for radon. One home can be radon free and the neighboring home can be hazardous. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. You can purchase test kits at the hardware store or contact a radon mitigation company.

  Look for mold in the basement, bathrooms, under sinks, and leaky windows. If mold penetrates wood, insulation, or sheetrock it will be expensive to remove and repair.

  If an outlet, light fixture or switch isn’t working, have an electrician inspect and repair to avoid an electrical fire.

  Walk around your house, garage, and yard and look for anything that may need attention. Be safe and be pro-active. In addition to protecting your safety and health, regular maintenance checks will save you time and money when you decide 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.

End of Summer Clearance Sales for Housing Stock

  At this time of year, there tends to be a final push for sellers to get their homes sold. Focus changes to back-to-school needs, sports, preparation for colder weather and planning for winter holiday and travel. This change in focus brings price reductions, which is great for savvy buyers.

 

  According to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) In Chisago County there are 194 Active, Pre-Owned, Listings and 89 of those listings have been on the market for 60 days or longer and 67% of those listings have reduced their price. Of the homes on the market between 30-60 days, 51% have reduced their price, and only 14% of the homes on the market for less than 30 days have reduced their price.

 

  Pushing to get the highest price possible, can sometimes backfire with longer marketing times, resulting in price reductions which could put the price lower than if the property was priced right from the start. Buyers look for reasons why a home hasn’t sold if it has been on the market for an extended period of time. They may pass over the listing completely or attempt a low-ball offer, which often offends a seller and can kill a sale.

 

  This has been a very unusual year for real estate because of the severe weather from January through April. New listings in January were down 32%, 41% in February, and 20% in April. This brought the number of closed sales down 19% in May and 21% in June. (it typically takes 5-8 weeks to close a sale from the time of sale) We finally saw an increase in listings in May, June, July, and August but closed sales were still down because the shortage of inventory in the Spring.

 

  The good news for sellers is that prices are up about 12% over 2017 prices, but prices typically decline during the fourth quarter. This provides buyers with an opportunity for buyers to negotiate a great price on older inventory without being in multiple offers.

 

  September and October are still good months for selling real estate. We see a lot of “change of life” sales happenings, i.e. marriage, expanded families, divorce, death, promotions, relocations, down-sizers, etc. 

 

  There is a season for selling and buying every type of real estate and an experienced real estate agent can help you time the market to meet your needs.

  

 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.