Tips to Help You Prepare for Opening Your Cabin this Spring

There’s still a bit of time left before winter is over and we’re ready to start making our weekend trips to the cabin. But it is never too early to be prepared! We’ve pulled together some tips to help you get prepared to open your cabin this spring! 

Make a Plan

Decide what needs to be done and make a list for both the inside and the outside. Don’t forget to check on your licenses for fishing and boating as well. Verify what items need to be renewed or purchased. Also be sure to have a plan to turn on any services that you had shut off for the winter. 

Do an Opening Inspection

Upon arriving, test your smoke and CO2 detector batteries. Turn on water and heating and inspect for any damage to the exterior that might have happened over the winter. 

Check for Critter Damage

Look for holes in your screens, siding, gnawed wires, or rodent droppings, and create a plan for removing or exterminating.

Restock Necessities

Create a list of items that are must-haves in your cabin. Restock non-perishable food items, your first aid kit, and other emergency supplies. 
While it might feel like a long way off, Springtime and cabin days will be here before you know it! Until then, keep an eye on our hot list for the latest properties on the market!

4 Ways to Stay Safe at the Cabin this Winter

Many of us still love heading to the cabin during the Winter months, despite the cold and snow. But there is a lot more to consider when it comes to the safety of you and your loved ones. Here are some things you can do to prepare when you head to the cabin this winter. 

Have Alternate Heating Options

The cold Up North in Minnesota can be brutal. When the temperature hits below zero, or a big snowstorm sweeps through, there is a greater risk of power outages which means no central heating. Be prepared with alternate heating options such as battery-powered space heaters or heated blankets, wood for the fireplace, extra blankets, sleeping bags, and winter clothes. 

Pack an Emergency Kit

It’s never a bad idea to have an emergency kit packed with supplies for the whole family. Be prepared for any Winter emergency from extreme cold to heavy snow. Some helpful items to pack include first aid supplies, non-perishable food, flashlights, flares, blankets, long-lasting candles, matches or a lighter, and a small shovel.

Take a Buddy

Whatever you plan to do – whether a winter hike, going to town for supplies, ice fishing, etc. – don’t go alone. If you get injured, lost, or in a tricky spot, you have another person to call for or go for help or help you out of a sticky situation. If you aren’t able to take someone with you, tell someone where you’re going and about what time you’ll return so they know when to start worrying about you. 

Keep the Cabin Stocked

Have supplies at the cabin that last year-round. Make sure your pantry is stocked with canned goods and other non-perishable items. If you have a wood-burning fireplace or wood stove, make sure you are always stocked up on firewood. Always have extra warm blankets and clothing for everyone. Keep books and board games in the event that you get stuck at the cabin without electricity or cell service. 

Taking these simple measures can help keep your mind at ease during the winter months at the cabin. If you’re looking for a cabin to escape up to during the winter, check out our current properties for sale

Two Changes That Could Be Coming to the Housing Market in 2023

The pandemic caused some major changes to the Northern Minnesota housing market—especially in the vacation home market. More people were looking for escapes from their homes and cities and to spend time in nature. Fewer people were moving so, there was less inventory for buyers. This meant that sellers often had the upper hand, but also that rates for buyers were at an all-time low. As we move out of 2022 and into 2023 (three years after the pandemic began), we are seeing a shift. Here’s what you could expect from the housing market in 2023. 

There Will Be a Gradual Shift Toward Buyers

The “seller’s market” in the last few years has been tough on those looking to buy, even for those looking for vacation homes. But in 2023, there will be a sure, but gradual shift back toward a “buyer’s market”. That means that you’ll get better prices, and mortgage rates are predicted to stay relatively the same as they are now. You will also have more options to choose from and less competition when you make an offer! 

Rental Property Is Becoming a Lucrative Source of Income

Even if you’re looking for a vacation home to spend time with your family or friends, there are a ton of great opportunities to do long or short-term rentals to others for some extra income. With DIY rental apps such as VRBO and AirBnb, you can easily make your family cabin a substantial source of income. More and more people are opting for using these rental services instead of hotels when they travel so it could be a great way to make some extra money when you’re not at the cabin!If you’re curious about what else might be happening in the Housing Market in 2023, U.S. News has made lots of predictions for next year’s housing market. And as always, you can reach out to our team at Bill Hansen Realty to help guide you through buying your vacation home!

3 Reasons Why You Should Consider Having a Well Inspection

Are you considering purchasing a cabin Up North in Minnesota that has a private well? Or maybe you own a cabin with a well that you’ve never had inspected. Although Minnesota state law does not require a well inspection or water testing for a property transfer, it might be a good idea to get one anyway. Three things to look for include the condition of the well, the quality of the drinking water, and if there are any unused wells on the property.

Three Reasons You Should Consider a Well Inspection

  • A licensed well professional can visually inspect certain aspects of the well construction and pump installation to evaluate whether they comply with state code.
  • Drinking water testing can find common groundwater contaminants to provide information about the quality of the water and any potential health risks.
  • The inspector can search the property for unused wells that could threaten groundwater or drinking water if not correctly filled and sealed.

If you’re not sure about well inspections or how to go about getting one, contact our team and we can help point you in the right direction!

4 Frequently Asked Questions About Buying Your First Vacation Property

If you’ve never bought a second home before, you might have a lot of questions about owning a vacation property. Here are 4 of the most common questions about buying a vacation home to help you get started. 

Can I afford a second home? 

Buying an additional property is a big financial step. There are a lot of factors you need to consider other than just having a second mortgage. What are local property taxes like? How much should you set aside monthly for maintenance and repairs? How much will it cost to insure your new home? Do I want to rent it out when I am not using it? Before you get started looking, answer these questions for yourself and create a budget. Then you will be ready to start looking for your perfect vacation home. 

Should I rent out my vacation home?

One way that people manage to afford their second home is by renting it out when they are not using it. If you’ve dreamed of owning a cabin Up North, but aren’t sure you can afford it, this option might be good for you. Before making this decision, consider the extra work that you will need to put into renting out your second home – managing bookings, cleaning, coordinating with guests, and the potential of extra maintenance that can come with having short-term renters.

What are the benefits of buying versus renting a vacation cabin?

While renting can be a good option for many, it might not be the best financial investment in the long term. If you know that you and your friends or family like to go to the same spot multiple times a year, investing in a vacation home is a great financial move. You will likely gain equity in the long run and have the additional asset of a second property to add to your financial portfolio. 

Do I need to hire a real estate agent? 

While it’s not legally required or needed, working with a real estate agent has numerous benefits. When you work with a real estate professional you have access to their professional network and an expert in the legal pieces that are involved with purchasing a property, and more. Check out our blog Five Reasons Why Working with a Real Estate Agent Matters.

We’re excited that you are considering purchasing a vacation home! Our team is here to answer all of your questions! Reach out to us today to learn more about buying a second property!

Building Your Own Hunting Cabin? Here are 3 Ways to Get Started.

Hunting season in Northern Minnesota is upon us! Has it been your dream to have and build your own hunting property? Here are three tips to help you get started. 

Research Locations and Local Hunting Laws

Do your research and find ideal locations with options to buy bare land. Decide if you want to hunt on your own land, or on nearby hunting land. Check on the local laws and regulations surrounding hunting so that you know what to expect. Once you know your location you can start searching for land. 

Understand Your Financial Options

Are you planning to build right away or wait a few years? How much are you willing to spend? Creating a budget and creating expectations around the financial aspect of building your hunting cabin can help you plan and not become overwhelmed by the process. Contact your bank or research various lending options.

Get Connected with your Local Vacation Property Realtor

Another great place to start is by reaching out to a local vacation property realtor to help you understand your options. They will be able to connect you to potential financial lenders, and properties, and might even understand local hunting laws. When you find a professional and knowledgeable team as we have at Bill Hansen Realty, you can feel comfortable knowing that you are moving forward in the right direction. 
Let us be that vacation property realty team for you! Check out our current bare land properties and then give us a call!

4 Things to Consider If You’re Moving to the Cabin Full-Time

The Pandemic changed a lot of the ways that we operate our lives day-to-day. For many people that means working from home full-time. This can give you the opportunity to travel and you might have spent some extra time at the cabin this summer. Maybe it has even got you thinking that you’d like to move to your cabin full-time. Here are some things to consider if you want to make your vacation home your permanent home. 

Sort Out Your Mortgage

Typically, the mortgages are categorized as either a primary residence, secondary residence, or investment property. Be sure to contact your bank or your mortgage broker to figure out what you need to do to switch your vacation home to your primary residence. 

Change Over Your Insurance

The cost to insure vacation homes is often more pricey than a primary residence. Once you have your mortgage sorted out, be sure to call your insurance company to make the cabin your primary residence and save you money. 

Schedule an Appointment with your Tax Professional

Taxes are tricky enough without having to deal with two mortgages. There are several benefits to changing your vacation property to your primary residence. One is that if you do decide to sell it in the future, you could avoid having to pay a capital gains tax unless you’ve listed your vacation home as an investment property and have rented it out. Your tax professional will be able to answer any questions you might have and guide you on the best path for you.

Consider Your Lifestyle

Cabin living doesn’t always offer as many amenities as our urban or suburban homes. Figure out what appliances, electronics, and creature comforts you can’t live without, and be sure that you can translate that into the cabin. You don’t want to regret your choice to move to the cabin full-time. 

The team at Bill Hansen Realty is always here to help you every step of the way. We can help you find a vacation home to live in full-time or get you connected with the right people to help you transition to Up North living! Get in touch today

Best Advice for Buying a Cabin with Friends or Family

One of the most financially savvy ways to achieve your dreams of buying a Northern Minnesota vacation home is to go in with friends or family. But there is a lot to think about when it comes to joint ownership of your Up North Cabin. These are the best pieces of advice we have to set you up for success when you buy your shared vacation property.

Choose Your Partners Wisely

Buying a second home together is not something to go into lightly. There are a lot of details to work out, problems that could arise, or conflicts that might happen. Go into this process with friends or family members you have good relationships with and who can deal with conflict maturely.

Hire a Lawyer

It might seem extreme, but hiring a lawyer to ensure that you and everyone else are protected is vital to successful joint ownership of your vacation cabin. They will be able to ensure that each party is treated fairly and have knowledge of necessary legal details that you might not have otherwise considered. 

Create a Plan to Cover All Expenses

The monthly mortgage isn’t the only expense you will incur. Decide ahead of time who will be responsible for property taxes, insurance, utilities, necessary household goods, furnishings, etc. You can split up the expenses between parties, put one person in charge of the expenses, or have everyone contribute to one account where expenses come out. Whatever you decide, be sure that everyone is in agreement to pay fairly and equally.

Decide Who Will Take Care of Maintenance Issues

Maintenance issues will inevitably arise with any property. Will you hire professionals to fix it? Is there someone in the group who can do the work? Will you decide based on each issue or incident? Ensuring that there is a plan for maintenance issues can prevent conflict and headaches for the whole party.

Make a Schedule for Cabin Usage

If you’re planning on splitting up your time between parties, decide ahead of time what dates each family or individual will have access to the property. You might decide to do some weekends together, or even make your vacation home available for rentals such as VRBO or Airbnb. Decide if you’re willing to be flexible on the schedule and if you’re okay with different parties utilizing the cabin when the various co-owners can’t make it. 

Whenever you’re ready to search for your co-owned cabin property, the Bill Hansen team is here to find the perfect vacation home for you and your friends or family! Check out our current properties to get a taste of what your Northern Minnesota cabin could look like! 

Four Things You Need to Know Before Buying an Older Cabin Property

Minnesota brings a lot of rich history. Thanks to the beautiful scenery Up North, people have built some gorgeous cabin properties over the years. Older homes tend to have solid structural bones and a ton of charm and character, but because of their age, some issues can arise while owning an aged property. If you’re looking into buying an older vacation home, here are four things you should look for or ask about before signing the paperwork. 

When was the electrical and plumbing last updated? 

Older homes often have outdated internal plumbing and electrical systems that could cause major issues resulting in thousands of dollars in repairs. See if outlets are up to code and what materials have been used for piping. Don’t be afraid to ask the seller to update some of the more reasonable items if you decide to make an offer. 

Are there any Structural or Foundational Concerns? 

Even the most well-built homes can deteriorate over time. Beams and foundations can crack and materials can become compromised due to bad weather, water damage, or other uncontrollable factors. If a home has major structural concerns, consider working with the seller to negotiate the price as repairs can be expensive and most homeowners insurance companies won’t cover the cost of these types of repairs. 

Has the Property Been Tested for Radon? 

Radon is a toxic chemical that is created by the breakdown of uranium in the ground. When it occurs naturally in the environment it causes no harm and is released into the atmosphere. However, when it gets trapped inside a home it can cause dangerous side effects to the human body. Ask the seller if the property has been tested, and if it hasn’t, have them test the home before making an offer so that you know what you’re getting into. 

Does the Home Contain any Hazardous Materials?

Homes built before 1978 often contain materials now known to be unsafe such as lead paint or asbestos. You might want to look into the cost and time commitment of removing them before purchasing, especially if you were hoping to move in quickly. 
Buying a cabin property should be a fun and exciting experience. Bill Hansen Realty’s team is here to advocate for you and ensure that you don’t step into a property with a load of issues that could set you back thousands of dollars. Get in touch with us today to start your search for your beautiful, new-to-you vacation home!

Create Your Dream Minnesota Cabin With These Easy Rustic Design Ideas

If you love rustic style design, your cabin is a great place to run wild with your rustic design dreams. Because this style focuses on bringing the outdoors in with natural materials and rugged elements, you can give your cabin the makeover you’ve been waiting for Up North in Minnesota! Here are some ways you can create that rustic feed in your cabin. 

Rough-Hewn Beams

Rough-hewn beams add instant charm and can be used as ceiling beams,  door or window frames, and as a mantle for your fireplace, creating a classic cabin feel. 

Earth Tones

Think colors you would commonly see in nature, like the woodsy tones from tree bark, rocks, and soil, or subtle green tones from plants, trees, and grass. Keep it simple and mix in creams and whites if you don’t want the color or design to feel too “heavy.”

Weathered Materials

Aged wood, reclaimed wood, hammered metal, and seeded glass are all options that provide visual interest and texture and are perfect for decorating your cabin. You could find furniture or art made with these materials or have them custom-made.

Organic Materials

Organic materials like wood, rock, and leather help you feel connected to nature and provide the warmth people love from rustic design. These items can be easily incorporated into flooring, tiles, or furniture to help bring your design together. 

You can take many directions with the rustic design feel from traditional rustic, farmhouse, simple, or modern! The best part is you get to choose! Creating a rustic design in your Northern Minnesota cabin is a fun project and is made all the more meaningful when incorporating elements from our beautiful Minnesota nature! If you’re looking to remodel soon, check out these 6 Priorities for Remodeling Your Cabin