Brainerd Area Lakes Real Estate Newsletter

Friday, October 26, 2018

Monday, September 24, 2018

Beat the Cold Weather Blues with a Vacation Home Up North

During summer months we RUN to lake country, ditching work early to steal those precious moments on the boat. Come November, we are tempted to hide inside, when winter is calling us to come out and play. The winter months in Brainerd Lakes offers some amazing experiences if you dress appropriately for the cold and have a hot drink waiting for you inside.

If you’ve been dreaming of a vacation home and want to take advantage of it year-round, we’ve compiled a list of all the activities available during those “forgotten” months.

1. Ice Fishing
This is probably what you think of when you think of winter on a Minnesota lake. It’s classic! Tell us what’s not to love about catching fish in a heated trailer with a warm (most likely spiked) drink in hand.

2. Pond Hockey
Get the neighbors together, or bring some friends up for a friendly game. If you don’t feel like cooking there are plenty of restaurants in the area to free yourself from the kitchen.

3. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Is it wrong if we consider this an activity? There are so many amazing restaurants in the Brainerd Lakes area and beyond that it would be worth a weekend foodie trip.

4. Snowmobiling
What’s better than jet-skiing on open water? Snowmobiling on frozen water! Plus, the area has hundreds of miles of trails.

5. Downhill Skiing and Cross Country Skiing
There are many options for skiing in the area, including Mount Ski Gull and ski trails all throughout the Brainerd Lakes area.

6. Tubing
If skiing isn’t your jam but you like a little thrill, tubing is a fun activity the whole family can enjoy. Mount Ski Gull boasts the largest tubing hill in Minnesota. Or, just head out in search of a nice size hill and bring your own sleds. Good, old fashioned fun.

7. Winter Mountain Biking
The Cuyuna Lakes Trail offers nicely groomed winter biking trails. There are trails for every skill level. This is a great experience if you’ve never been!

8. Shopping
It’s okay to head indoors too! Nisswa is the perfect place for a shopping day, with two blocks of specialty shops and stores.

9. Ice Skating
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention hitting the lakes with your skates. This is a great activity with the kids too, and a fun way to get active outdoors in the winter.

10. Bonfires
End the day on a warm note with a bonfire by the lake. Roast s’mores, hot dogs and watch the stars. Sounds pretty perfect!

Winter up north is as good as summer if you do it right. Now is the most perfect time to start a vacation home search so you can take advantage of winter’s playground up north. Come and play!

Monday, September 24, 2018

 

Is Your Home Fire Safe? Preparation is Key.
 
You can never be too prepared for something like a fire in your home. Since October is National Fire Prevention Month, we wanted to give you a head start on some important action items. We’ve compiled a list of the most important things to consider:
 
1. Install fire alarms and smoke detectors
We bet you’ve heard at least once a year how important it is to have properly working fire alarms and smoke detectors, and the importance of checking them monthly. Now, think back to the last time you actually did that. The problem is that most people read what should be done and never do it. Make this a priority by setting a monthly alarm on your phone to remind yourself to complete the checks. Batteries should be replaced yearly as well.
 
Taking these small precautions is so important to your safety and your family’s safety
In case of a fire.
 
2. Teach children fire safety basics
Fire safety basics include how to prevent, prepare for and deal with a fire. Content should be determined based on age, but it is never too young to discuss a fire safety plan. Your children will be more likely to remember steps if you have discussed them many times over.
 
With younger children it’s very helpful to introduce them to firefighters and EMT in a non-threatening manner, so that they are not fearful during a fire should someone come looking for them. Children have been known to hide from firefighters during a fire because of their scary looking equipment and gear. Check with your local fire station to see if they host any events that would give your children a meet and greet opportunity.
 
3. Be prepared with fire safety equipment
There are several fire safety products that are helpful during a fire, including fire extinguishers, a fire blanket and a fire safety ladder. These are great items to have on hand in your home.
 
4. Stay in the kitchen
If you’re cooking, especially on the stovetop, it’s important to stay close. Grease fires can get out-of-control very quickly. Kitchen fires are common, so don’t walk away for a long period of time.
 
5. Extinguish controlled fires completely
Fireplace fires and bonfires should be extinguished completely before walking away or going to sleep. In addition, if you remove hot ashes from your fireplace they need to be placed away from anything flammable and ideally away from your home.
 
6. Keep heat sources clear of household items
Heat sources including fireplaces, ovens and space heaters should all be kept clear of household items and flammable items. Examples of potential fire hazards include blankets, sweatshirts, rugs, towels and more.
 
Fire can devastate a home and a family in a matter of minutes. Taking easy steps to help prevent fire and prepare for it is so important. October 6-13, 2018 is Fire Prevention Week. We encourage you to visit https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Campaigns/Fire-Prevention-Week for many more resources to educate yourself and your family. There are downloadable tip sheets, family fun, kids resources and much more.
Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Questions To Ask Yourself Before Buying A Cabin

Nothing is more Minnesotan than going up north to the cabin. If you’ve made the decision to invest in a cabin, you’ve made the best decision of your life! Okay, we realize we are a little biased, but we love lake country.

All kidding aside, it is important to ask yourself the following questions to understand what exactly you want before buying a vacation place.
 

Where do you want to vacation?

Do you want to be on a lake or river? Do you want to be close to town or in the country?

Another important factor is travel time. If this is a cabin for your family to gather, consider where family members will be coming from and what a comfortable travel distance is for you. If you plan to take short weekend trips there, you want to make sure travel time doesn’t interfere with your plans.
 

How much cabin can you afford?

Knowing your budget is key to a good cabin search experience and can help you avoid disappointments and disagreements. If you’re making a purchase decision with a spouse or significant other, make sure you are both on the same page when it comes to the budget. Having a set budget is very helpful for your realtor as well.

If you need assistance, speak with a financial advisor about your options.
 

What kind of cabin do you want?

The word “cabin” can refer to a variety of destinations. In Minnesota, a cabin can be one room, or a luxury lake home with all the amenities of home. Narrow your search by determining what style vacation home you’re looking for. Consider size and number of guests that will be staying on a regular basis. Also look at what exterior style you like. A few popular options include A-frame, log cabin, modular (prefabricated) home and camper/trailer.

The more flexible you are with some of these details, the more options you’ll have during your search, of course!
 

What features and amenities are important to you?

Write a list of features and amenities that are most important. In fact, it might be helpful to make a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves. This can be a variety of things including the following:

-Views (sunrise, sunset, lake view, etc.)

-Scenery

-Size of property

-Deck/patio/outdoor space

-Sandy beach, swimming area

-Dock

-Garage

-Lake size and lake features (is it good for fishing?)

-Fixer-upper or move in ready

Remember, the more must-haves you have, the more narrow your search, so try to keep an open mind!
 

If you have more questions about buying a cabin or the Brainerd Lakes area, feel free to reach out to us at 218-820-7355.

 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Consider Buying A Vacation Home With Friends And Family

 

You want a vacation home on the lake.

You want to enjoy summers with your family and friends.

You don’t want the financial burden of a second mortgage.
 

If these statements apply to you, you are the perfect candidate for purchasing a vacation home with friends and family. Lake homes are expensive and we have seen more and more group purchases in the last few years. In fact, we’re starting to think it’s the way to buy! Especially if you can navigate the buying process smoothly and openly.

 

We’ve included some great tips for buying with family and friends below, but if you have specific questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

 

Set Up a LLC

Ownership of a vacation home by two or more persons that are not married should be set up as a LLC. It is the most practical and protects each owner while still preserving the right to be taxed individually. Another major benefit to a LLC is the ability to set up a operating agreement, somewhat similar to a prenuptial, but for real estate. With this agreement and the help of a lawyer, you can document everyone’s ownership percentage as well as other details specific to the property, like maintenance, who manages the property and more.

 

Create a Schedule

If you’re buying the vacation home with the understanding (and agreement) that everyone is welcome at any time, then you don’t need to worry about a schedule. However, if you all agree on splitting the year by choosing dates for each owner, do this well in advance so that everyone is on the same page.

 

Set Ground Rules

While you may have the home set up as a LLC, there will still be opinions about minor details and decisions, so it’s best to go over these things prior to signing on the dotted line. One must-have discussion is that of “who is welcome?” While you may not want guests staying in your home-away-from-home without an owner present, others may not feel the same way.

 

Another topic of discussion should be house rules. You may be unpleasantly surprised to open the door to a smelly garbage or a sink with dirty dishes. Make sure you discuss the ground rules of the house in detail and never assume someone is on the same page without talking about it first. This mindset will help avoid conflicts and frustrations.

 

Decide if Renting is Right For You

If there are times that the house will not be used, you may consider renting the home out. Keep in mind, this brings about a whole new dynamic to the home. However, if you and the other owners are all in agreement, renting can be a great way to bring in some extra cash to put towards repairs and updates. It’s also helpful for paying down the mortgage! Consult a lawyer before heading into the rental realm and make sure everyone is on the same page.

 

With the right planning, and of course the right people, buying a vacation home with friends and family can be the perfect solution to your lust for a lake home!

 

Call us to find a vacation home today! 218-820-7355.

 
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