La Pointe, WI Real Estate News

By Eric Kodner, CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -
(Madeline Island Realty)
  A Ray of Economic Hope from Across the Border - Minnesota Jobless Rate Drops in October   The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Thursday that the jobless rate in Minnesota fell .5% in October, from 6.9% to 6.4%.  Why is this good news for home sellers on Madeline Island? Because over three-fourths of prospective buyers in our zip code (54850) come from the State of Minnesota.  A significant majority of Madeline Island second home owners come from the Minneapolis - Saint Paul metro area. It won't bring immediate relief, but good economic news from a neighboring state can mean more buyers, particularly in a market that is largely recreational and second homes.  And at a time when second home inventory is stagnant, lending is almost nonexistent and buyers are on the sidelines, news like ...
Comments 2
By Eric Kodner, CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -
(Madeline Island Realty)
  Advice to Madeline Island Home Sellers for 2012   Here's some early advice to homeowners hoping to sell a dwelling on Madeline Island in 2012:   Hit the market early.  Don't wait for "tourist season" to begin.  It takes time to market your home and get it in front of the buying public. Price your home to sell.  The number one reason for failure when listing a home for sale in today's market is overpricing. Get your home ready for showings.  That means making your property look its best, inside and out.  Pay attention to curb appeal issues, including yard work and the condition of siding, roof, decks and porches.  Remember the value of a positive first impression.   You'll probably be competing with quite a large inventory in 2012, including some foreclosure properties.  Buyers are loo...
Comments 0
By Eric Kodner, CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -
(Madeline Island Realty)
  Disney Family.com Website Promotes Apostle Islands Wisconsin Vacations   The Disney Family.com website now features "An Island Adventure in Lake Superior" on its Family.com website. The article includes an interactive map and a trip planner called "Pre-trip fun for kids".  The trip planner for youngsters is custom-tailored by age.  There are also tabs on the site for "Things to do", "Places to Eat" and "Places to Stay".  The information on the Apostle Islands appears under the heading "Things to do in Wisconsin". The site's list of Madeline Island attractions is impressive, although it could probably be a bit more inclusive.  As the popularity of Madeline Island and the Apostle Islands as a vacation destination continues to grow, expect to see more informational sites for visitors lik...
Comments 0
By Eric Kodner, CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -
(Madeline Island Realty)
  What Exactly Do You Mean by Number One?   Every so often, we read somewhere on the Web or in print that an area agent or company is claiming to be "number one" in area sales.  There's no reference to the time period used to make that claim, but it doesn't matter.  It's little more than puffery, but that doesn't stop some agents and companies from making such claims. Select varying time frames and the statistics may give very different rankings.  For example, at the close of the last two calendar quarters of 2010, an area title company staffer told me that our firm was the only one closing any sales in 2010. Between October 1, 2010 and September 30, 2011, I would be delighted to compare my closed sale statistics with any agent in Ashland or Bayfield County.  The claim, "number one in l...
Comments 30
By Eric Kodner, CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -
(Madeline Island Realty)
  Madeline Island Real Estate Market Report - October 2011   As the end of 2011 draws near, it's worth taking time to assess what's going on with the Madeline Island real estate market. Showings and sales have wound down and walk-in activity at area offices is nearly zero, as is typical for this time of year.  Worth noting is the fact that there was very little real estate company or agent advertising in the October edition of the Island Gazette, compared to the previous edition of that publication. A significant number of listings appear to have been withdrawn from the market.  And there is plenty of unsold inventory which did not sell in 2011. Vacant land sales did poorly during 2011, due in part to a lack of available vacant land financing from area lenders.  The perception that buil...
Comments 4
By Eric Kodner, CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -
(Madeline Island Realty)
Madeline Island, Bayfield and the Apostle Islands Featured on Disney's Live Well Network   This past summer, a camera crew from the Live Well Network arrived on Madeline Island to shoot several segments which highlight area attractions.  The segments included one on shipwreck diving off Madeline Island, a feature about the Apostle Islands sea caves and another about the Bayfield Inn. Karen Nicholas of Adventure Vacations in La Pointe, Wisconsin served as the boat pilot and guide for "Motion" host Greg Aiello during the filming of these television segments.  Adventure Vacations moors several of their watercraft at the dock behind our Madeline Island Realty office and launches many of her tours from our dock on Lake Superior. The Motion program is a production of Disney - ABC Television ...
Comments 0
By Eric Kodner, CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -
(Madeline Island Realty)
Here's Why We're Preparing for the 2012 Madeline Island Sales Season Today Selling real estate in resort country can be a gamble at times.  We accept that fact.  But why make the odds worse by being off the market? I've watched area real estate firms for years now, observing that many sellers pull their properties off the market or hold off listing until Spring arrives.  In today's market, I belive that can be a huge mistake. Even though our annual sales picture is largely seasonal, although we've seen sales in all twelve months of the year.  Some of the best bargains can be had in "off-season" months, for the simple reason that sellers sell when they have to, not when it's convenient for buyers. When a seller pulls their home off the market in November or December and then decides to ...
Comments 0
By Eric Kodner, CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -
(Madeline Island Realty)
  What Succeeded and What Didn't This Year for Madeline Island Sellers   Tbe 2011 real estate market on Madeline Island was pretty thin, particularly in the second half of the year.  Given that fact, it's difficult to draw conclusions about what worked and what did not.  But if there are any conclusions which may be drawn, the following are certainly true. Buyers were bargain-hunting this year.  Most of what sold in the second half of 2011 was priced at under $300,000.  Cash was king in 2011.  Financing didn't play any significant role in Madeline Island sales, especially during the past six months. Prices are down compared to 2010.  Homes that were listed at over $400,000 in 2010 are now solidly in the $300,000s.  It appears reality is beginning to set in among sellers of Madeline Isla...
Comments 2
By Eric Kodner, CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -
(Madeline Island Realty)
  Entering the Off-Season on Madeline Island   Late October on Madeline Island is a time of change.  Summer home owners are scrambling to winterize their homes and cottages, buttoning up and putting the cabin or cottage to bed for the winter months. Homeowners set out mouse traps and little cardboard trays of D-Con.  They sprinkle mothballs in drawers and closets to repel mice.  They pour RV antifreeze into sink and shower drains and into toilet tanks. Late autumn is a time to get busy and get things ready for winter, but it's also a time to contemplate and sum up the season.  For an Island business owner, it's a time to assess and do a reckoning of what succeeded and what may need to be done differently in the future. Nights become crisp and cold, Lake Superior comes alive with wind an...
Comments 0
By Eric Kodner, CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -
(Madeline Island Realty)
  Who Doesn't Love to See a Happy Buyer?   One of my favorite stories is about one of my buyers, actually a couple who bought a waterfront home on Madeline Island with my help a few years ago. These folks didn't necessarily pay the lowest possible price for their home.  Maybe they could have gotten it for a bit less, maybe not.  Perhaps they could have waited on the sidelines and could have made an offer months later, if the house was still available at that time.  But they could just as easily have lost out on purchasing the place. Every time I see them, I receive some sort of thank-you from these buyers.  And I'm constantly reminded that they firmly believe they made a good choice.  As a footnote to this story (and an even happier ending), last year these folks literally bought their ...
Comments 4
By Eric Kodner, CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -
(Madeline Island Realty)
  The Market May Be Bottoming Out, but Not All Sellers Have Gotten the Message   I read a local newspaper article the other day which speculates that "a market bottom has formed" in the Madeline Island Real Estate market.   If one examines closed sales, that may be a valid conclusion, but the vast majority of sellers probably haven't figured that out yet. List prices have dropped over the past year, but the transition to better pricing has been fairly recent.  There still seems to be a lot of seller unreality about pricing.  Just a couple years ago, I remember a heated discussion with an Island summer homeowner (from Minnesota) about prices.  He argued that the nationwide fallback in prices would "never happen here, because Madeline Island is such a special place".  Today, I don't hear ...
Comments 3
By Eric Kodner, CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -
(Madeline Island Realty)
  More Real Estate Opportunities on Madeline Island Than We Have Seen in the Past Three Decades   It can be argued that we are seeing today some of the most remarkable real estate opportunities on Madeline Island in decades.  Here are the ingredients which have come together to make this possible:   Inventory - Many property owners who acquired their homes and lots in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s are now retiring.  These owners are ready to cash out and move on.  It's a sort of "changing of the guard", with a new generation of buyers discovering Madeline Island and making it their own. A Buyer's Market - Driven by the same market forces which have shaped primary home markets across the country, our recreational second-home market is priced at levels resembling those of the 1990s and earli...
Comments 0
By Eric Kodner, CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -
(Madeline Island Realty)
  Too Much Inventory? Not Enough Inventory? What Do Buyers Want?   We hear both of these conflicting comments from prospective buyers every year.  A prospect walks into our downtown La Pointe, Wisconsin office to inquire about listings for sale. And her first question is "why is there so much on the market here?" Funny but an hour earlier, another would-be buyer came into the office and complained that "there isn't much to choose from" among the properties currently listed for sale on Madeline Island. We're a relatively small summer community of second homes and recreational properties.  You probably won't find a dazzling array of architectural styles and choices to choose from.  If you don't see something that fits your lifestyle, new construction is always a good option. Maybe some bu...
Comments 1
By Eric Kodner, CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -
(Madeline Island Realty)
  Supersizing Your Marketing May Boost Sales    If you've seen the new Ralph Lauren "Polo" logo, you may have noticed something. The tiny Polo Pony and rider logo which formerly adorned Polo wearing apparel has grown hugely in size.  The old logo was under an inch in height.  The new "Big Pony" logo is big, about five inches high..if it were any bigger, one would be able to determine the pony's gender from a distance of several feet. In fairness to the Polo folks, this isn't a newfangled marketing formula.  You see the same large-format logos on Abercrombie apparel.  In the world of marketing preppie apparel, turning your merchandise into billboards appears to be the new business model The new Polo logo is mas grande.  Some might even call it "in-your-face" marketing.  Bigger is better,...
Comments 3
By Eric Kodner, CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -
(Madeline Island Realty)
  If You Liked It Then You Should Have Made An Offer On It   [My apologies to Beyonce..]   Just a couple of days following the recent closing of the sale of one of our Madeline Island listings, I received a phone call from a fellow who confessed that he had been browsing that waterfront property for months.  We tend to think of such prospects as "lurkers", not in a negative way, but simply because they watch and watch from the sidelines, but seem to take a very long time (if ever) to come forward and make an offer.  They won't contact an agent, won't ask for more information or request a showing..they just snoop and browse and lurk and hope somehow that the price will come down dramatically or that the seller will become desperate. The lurking on Madeline Island seems to get more seriou...
Comments 77
By Eric Kodner, CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -
(Madeline Island Realty)
  What Makes a Dwelling a Cabin or a Summer Home?   The distinction between a "cabin" (or "cottage") and a summer home or vacation home is often misunderstood by prospective buyers.  I've even noticed that some real estate agents make the same mistake when describing a dwelling. In our Madeline Island community, the percentage of year-round dwellings is increasing, particularly as a result of zoning regulations which require that new dwellings conform to the Wisconsin Uniform Building Code.  A new construction home on Madeline Island must meet certain criteria.  Manufactured doors and windows must be used, and the R-value of walls, windows and roofs must meet minimum standards.  A new dwelling must have a central heating plant.  There are published standards for air infiltration and hea...
Comments 3
By Eric Kodner, CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -
(Madeline Island Realty)
  A Referral From Minneapolis Real Estate Agent Cotty Lowry Shows Why Other Real Estate Professionals Choose Madeline Island Realty   At the beginning of August, I received a phone call from Minneapolis area Realtor Cotty Lowry, inquiring about a Madeline Island property owned by one of his clients. Cotty Lowry is a well-known and much respected Realtor in the Twin Cities area who specializes in the south Minneapolis area.  He enjoyed a stellar career as a residential Realtor with Coldwell Banker Burnet, becoming one of the top 40 sales associates at that firm in 2002.  Cotty is now a partner and owner with the Minneapolis Lakes Area Keller Williams office and a member of the select Keller Williams International Associate Leadership Committee.  He's also a member of the Board of Directo...
Comments 0
  Real Estate Broker and Instructor Eric Kodner (with Madeline Island Realty of La Pointe, Wisconsin) to Teach the NAR At Home With Diversity Course at Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors in October   Eric Kodner is broker and owner of Madeline Island Realty in La Pointe, Wisconsin.  He has twice taught the NAR "At Home With Diversity" course at the Wisconsin Realtors Association in Madison, most recently in November of 2010.  Kodner was recently named 2012 President-Elect of the Wisconsin CRS Chapter and he also serves on the Board of the Minnesota CRS Chapter.  He is 2012 Chair of the Wisconsin Realtors Association Equal Opportunity - Cultural Diversity Committee.
Comments 1
By Eric Kodner, CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -
(Madeline Island Realty)
A Tribute to a Good Friend on Madeline Island - Carol Fay Lacy   This past week, we were saddened to learn of the death of Carol Lacy.  I spoke with her sons, Larrry and Joel Gershgol, this evening and Larry was kind enough to give me a copy of the program from Carol's memorial service.  The service took place at Christ the King Lutheran Church in New Brighton, Minnesota on September 6th. Carol was a good friend and a regular visitor to our Madeline Island Realty office.  She had a great sense of humor and was always cheerful whenever I spoke with her.  She was a well-liked summer resident of Madeline Island and she maintained her ties to the Island throughout her last decade of life, including her links to St. John's United Church of Christ in La Pointe, Wisconsin. Carol will be missed...
Comments 1
By Eric Kodner, CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -
(Madeline Island Realty)
Praise from a Professional Photographer   I was at the Bell Street Gallery on Madeline Island last weekend, shooting a few photos at one of Steve and Mary McHugh's gallery openings.  I brought along a camera and a new lens that I've been experimenting with.  The results turned out to be fun and interesting.  Here are a few samples: The images are ultrawide and crisp, nearly 180 degree views.  You just can't get results like these from most conventional ultrawide lenses. [Photo courtesy of Madeline Island Realty] The Canon 15mm Fisheye lens lets you stuff a lot of view into a single frame.  I'm told that Canon has discontinued this lens, which is really too bad.  You'll need DxO Optics Pro software to uncompress and rectify the raw image to achieve a similar result. Ultrawide lenses are ...
Comments 2