Explore Ham Lake, MN
By Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro
(Boardman Realty)
Comments 17
Well over a decade ago, I was on a weekend shopping excursion with my family. Just as we were about to step off the curb into the busy parking lot of the local Target, I attempted to take the hand of my precocious son when he announced to my husband and I, “I can hold my own hand!” And being obstinate and still in that "terrible two" stage, he did. He put one chubby little fist inside the other behind his back and attempted to step off the curb and into traffic. And like the mama lion I was, I stopped him by the scruff of his neck...well actually, the collar of his jacket. Realizing his need for independence, we explained to our child the danger of his actions. (Hey Bud...A driver of a car cannot see a tiny person out their windows as they back up their cars.) We compromised. He was al...
By Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro
(Boardman Realty)
Comments 5
We are in the Dog Days of a very warm Minnesota Summer! The weather is perfect for lakeshore picnics and weekends at the cabin. Many Minnesotans are itching to get out and enjoy the beauty of our area but nobody wants to be literally "itching". It is time to heed the warning of potential hazards on Minnesota acreage. Anoka, Chisago  and Washington Counties in Minnesota boast some of the most beautiful, desirable acreage and lakeshore properties in the state. As a REALTOR® who works throughout the Ham Lake, Forest Lake, Blaine and Lino Lakes areas, I have to walk acres with clients to assess the land.  We walk the perimeters of wetland and hobby farm acreage properties to understand the property lines. Whether in a suburban backyard or  wooded field, whenever I show homes on Minnesota a...
By Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro
(Boardman Realty)
Comments 14
It's not a trick question. But it can be tricky to get a realistic answer because whether it is a buyer's market, seller's market or something in between, there is no simple way to come up with an exact market value for the average homeowner Many people think if they pull out the big vinyl envelope from the last time they refinanced they have a document with an accurate home value. After all good money was paid, usually several hundred dollars, for an appraiser to come up with a dollar figure of value for the bank to approve the loan. So is the appraised value what your home is worth? Some people look to the assessed values that arrive on an annual basis from the Anoka County or Washington County assessor. It seems reasonable that this would be an indication of a property's current valu...
By Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro
(Boardman Realty)
Comments 2
Spring Repairs to Maintain Home Values in Minnesota A few weeks ago, annual property tax notices reach the mailboxes of many Anoka County and Washington County homeowners. Assessors processed this information based on last year's sales and assessments so while the real estate market is picking up, many home assessed values continued to decrease. The county assessor will often review a home from the exterior and make a value determination.  So as spring has sprung, it's time for Minnesota homeowners start thinking it's time for the "honey-do" list of spring projects.  Keeping your home in tiptop shape is essential in optimizing your property’s assessed and market value. Even if you don’t intend to sell your home this summer, there are a few essential things to check, repair and or replac...
By Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro
(Boardman Realty)
Comments 1
Minnesota's state motto claims we live in the land of 10,000 lakes, yet there is actually over 12,000 in this great northern state. However, one thing is for certain; all MN lakes are all too cold for swimming in the spring.  This March marked several record breaking temperatures in the high 70's and I know more than a few Minnesotan's were tempted to turn on their central air yet a quick jump in the lake could have been deadly. It is normal for air temperatures in April and May to occasionally be as warm and sultry as August, making the water in those 10,000+ lakes look very refreshing. But beware. In order to swim safely, the water temperatures need to be at 70 degrees. Most Minnesota lakes do not reach a 70 degree temperature until late May. Some lakes in the northern part of the st...
By Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro
(Boardman Realty)
Comments 16
Why can't a bride and groom take that little bar code scanner from Target or Macy's and scan a photo of a new home instead? I know couples need the department store stuff like blenders, coffee makers and blankets but they often want and need a first home too!   What if brides and grooms could  browse the internet listings on any real estate website or drop by a neighborhood open house and use a special "dream home scanner" to click on a favorite home. Then they could receive the keys to their dream home just in time to be carried over the threshold. THAT, my friends, would be a fairy tale ending or beginning; a really start to happily ever after. It may sound off the wall but newlyweds are going to face a tougher time finding a loan without a down payment.  Zero down loans have all but...
By Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro
(Boardman Realty)
Comments 6
Horse and animal restrictions on Minnesota acreage properties Last year, during a final walkthrough of an acreage home my buyers were purchasing in Anoka County, one of their daughters ran up to me giggling and said, “Joe thinks you are buying him a pony.” “Oh…really?” was all I could think to respond.     Mom nodded that yes it was a fact, Joe had it in his three-year-old head that I was going to drop off a four-hoofed pet on move-in day. While I have been known to give a closing gift to my clients, I have never offered a pet as a present…especially a pony!   This particular precocious toddler must have mixed up some of the conversations during our home search outings. As we searched for the perfect Minnesota acreage homethroughout Anoka, Chisago and Washington Counties, there was quit...
By Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro
(Boardman Realty)
Comments 5
Tips for protecting home from pet damage Just yesterday I was out showing homes in northern Anoka County. We were at a lovely, well kept home in East Bethel. As we pulled into the driveway, we could hear barking from the garage. The two kenneled dogs did not bother the showing at all. But as I inspected the home with my buyers, we noticed chew marks on the oak door frame near the floor.. In this particular case, my buyers discounted the small flaw in an otherwise meticulously well kept home, Pets do make a difference when selling a home. We Americans LOVE our pets. Dogs, cats, bunnies, snakes, hamsters...you name it. Some people let them sleep in the bedroom or eat in the kitchens. Others will cook fresh food for the dog, while nuking a frozen meal for the family. People dress their pet...
By Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro
(Boardman Realty)
Comments 6
  Vaccination Clinic Carlos Avery Wildlife Science Center The Wildlife Science Center in the Forest Lake/Columbus area is better known as the Carlos Avery wolf refuge. On a cool crisp evening when the world is quiet in my Ham Lake front yard, I can easily hear the dozens of wolves howling from their home. It is located a few miles as the hawk flies from my home so it is near and dear to my heart.  The Wildlife Science Center (The WSC) is not only home to several types of wolves, a number of other animals call the sanctuary home including several big cats,  a variety of fox, owls and hawks. There are even a couple of “celebrity wolves” that starred in the Animal Planet Series Growing Up Wolf. This April, The WSC has a special event planned for Anoka County dog and cat owners, (but pet ow...
By Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro
(Boardman Realty)
Comments 51
Does a Homeowner need copy of Grant Deed?   A client sent me an email earlier this week from regarding a letter that arrived in their mailbox that day. Sherry and her fiancé had bought an Anoka County house late last year . This letter strongly suggested it was important to purchase a copy of their grant deed for their records. My well-educated clients were confused by the strange  wording in the letter. They began to question their instincts…Did they need this “grant deed and property file” as the Record and Retrieval Company of Champlin was suggesting?   The short answer is no.   My clients were right to contact me before parting with $87 of their hard-earned money for what is just above a scam in my book. My first instinct screamed “SCAM” as real estate professionals rarely use the t...
By Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro
(Boardman Realty)
Comments 63
Busy Road Factor Selling a Minnesota Home As a REALTOR®, people across the north and east Minneapolis/St Paul metro area  contact me to provide comparative market analyses on their homes. I work hard to get the price right whether it is for a single family home, a townhome, an acreage estate or a lakeshore getaway. Getting the price right is imperative in this changed real estate market. I use a system to check the comparative homes sold in the past 3-4 months and add and subtract for differences in each particular home. But every once in a while there are homes that are affected by what I call the "Busy Road Factor". These are situations that are unique to the property but will dramatically affect the number of interested buyers. My daily travels as an Anoka & Washington County real es...
By Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro
(Boardman Realty)
Comments 7
Home Selling Tips Sponge/Textured Painting     A decade ago, both SpongeBob and sponge painting were very  cool but are now out of style. Of course there are those who will debate this statement because SpongeBob is still a young nephew's favorite Nick TV show, And, some there are those who still love their sponge painted walls as much as the yellow square-pantsed cartoon character. But if a homebuyer wants to sell his house in 2012, the  faux texturing sponge technique from the early 2000's, must get a good coat of neutral paint...or two!   My family does not have our Ham Lake home on the real estate market. However, after a decade of looking at rag rolled, sponged and textured walls, it was time to take down the dated wallpaper borders and paint our interior walls a neural, warm tone....
By Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro
(Boardman Realty)
Comments 3
First Time Homebuyer Question What is Immediate Possession? Today people want everything NOW! There are drive thru windows for quick meals. We communicate with instant messaging and texts. Americans are trained for immediate gratification in our daily lives. As a Minnesota REALTOR® I try my best to get people to slow down throughout the homebuying process. But when it comes to handing over the keys, I strongly recommend my clients ask for immediate possession. Immediate possession after closings is good  for both the homebuyer and homeseller in a real estate transaction. In Minnesota, time of possession of the property is negotiated.  But it is in everyone’s best interest that the buyer be given the keys to the home at the time of closing along with full possession to access the propert...
By Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro
(Boardman Realty)
Comments 6
Looking for an Anoka County foreclosure, bank-owned or short sale but need to be able to live in the home immediately after closing? Good news is that foreclosures are not always destroyed homes requiring major rehab. Some of today's foreclosures can be MOVE IN READY! This economy has forced builders and responsible homeowners alike to let amazing properties go back to the bank. Many are still in pristine condition. Some still may require a bit of cleanup or a few cosmetic changes but there are many in move in condition too. Here are a few of the treasures I noted on the Twin Cities MLS in Anoka County: Andover 5BR/3BA on 2.5 Wooded Acres. New septic, appliances,& carpet. Sold for $380K in 2007, bank asking $249,900. Starter home in Columbus on 9 Acres. Move in condition 3BR/1BA/2 Car. ...
By Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro
(Boardman Realty)
Comments 6
First Time Homebuyer Word of the Day Short Sale   As a Minnesota REALTOR®, I have received many calls in recent weeks from excited first time homebuyers and/or their parents as they assist their children looking for a first house. A lot has changed since dad and mom bought their first home a decade or so ago so are many questions.   A few days ago a call came from an excited first time homebuyer who has been scouring the internet for the perfect property at the ideal price. He calls and wants to set up some showings for the homes he has found. With a quick email, he forwards a list of a half dozen MLS listings and I bring up an array of his dream homes. With five of the six properties, there is an agent note that indicates the home is in short sale. When I pass on the information, I hea...
By Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro
(Boardman Realty)
Comments 9
Septic System Pumping Requirements on MN Acreage When I first heard the infamous Erma Bombeck quip, "The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank", I had no idea what she was talking about. Now, after a decade of living on an acreage property with a septic or private sewage system, I not only get the joke, I know it is true. Septic cleaning is a dirty business and somebody’s gotta do it. Septic tanks must be pumped out at a minimum of every three years in the city of Ham Lake. This periodic requirement for individual septic systems specifies not only pumping but a visual inspection too. In fact, having your septic tank pumped and inspected is a requirement of most Twin Cities north and eastern metro communities. State and county codes do not control the point of sale or inspection o...
By Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro
(Boardman Realty)
Comments 1
First Time Homebuyer Real Estate in Columbus MN       Columbus Minnesota is not normally and area a first time homebuyer would consider but with affordability up throughout the north and east metro, 2011 could make it one. This community is known for acreage properties which usually mean that the listing prices are out of reach for a first time buyer but as the average homes sold for just under $190K in 2011, there are opportunities for those first time buyers who dream of owning an acreage home.   Closed sales nearly doubled in Columbus, Minnesota in 2011 compared to sales in 2010. Only 12 homes were sold all of 2010 in this Anoka County community, just west of Forest Lake, which is well known for its acreage properties. Yet in 2011, sales came back with 23 sold properties. However ne...
By Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro
(Boardman Realty)
Comments 10
Best Tips on Selling an Anoka County Home-Why Pay Buyer Closing Costs A seller's estimate of proceeds or net sheet is an essential part of the listing contract.  It lists the  estimated closing costs associated with the sale of the home. One of the items on the list sheet is a blank for the “Seller's contribution to a Buyer’s Closing Costs.” In this current market, I always include several thousand dollars as an estimate to prepare my clients that this could come up at negotiations. So many FHA buyers, and even some conventional ones, will require assistance with their closing costs.  But every now and again, I hear will hear a seller loudly scoff at paying a buyer's closing costs. The conversation usually goes something to the effect of, “I don’t want to pay my own closing costs. Why w...
By Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro
(Boardman Realty)
Comments 2
A foreclosed home is not the proverbial money-pit! Many bank owned properties --especially Minnesota lakeshore and acreage homes--are priced to sell and do not sit on the market forever!  People are snapping up deals all over Anoka County on homes that are in great condition and priced right! Some are bank-owned foreclosures but regular traditional sellers are also pricing their homes properly to sell in this changed real estate market. As a buyer, you have to be ready as the good homes are selling FAST even in the WINTER! Here are a few north Twin Cities metro homes that I noted that sold in DAYS over the holidays: East Bethel 1999 built 5BR Rambler on 3.5 acres with an additional garage located on Devils Lake. Sold in 20 days for $236K. Lino Lakes home 4BR/4BA/5Car garage built in 19...
By Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro
(Boardman Realty)
Comments 8
"Is buying a home really a good investment?" Great question, eh? Especially in this slowly stabilizing economy. For decades buying a home was for decades regarded one of the safest investments a person could make; the epitome of the American Dream. But now first time buyers are confused as home values and average sales prices plummeted. Is the real estate market current downturn a opportunity to grab one's piece of the American Dream? Does owning a home make sense as a financial investment? MOST AMERICANS say YES! In a January 2012 survey of voters by the National Association of Home Builders, "74 percent said that despite the ups and downs in the housing market, owning a home is the best long-term investment they can make." That is 3 out of 4 voting Americans who still believe in the ...

Ham Lake, MN Real Estate Professionals