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Andrew Harris Agent Photo
C. (715) 904-1065
P. (715) 543-8900
Phone Andrew
5995 Cth W
Manitowish Waters

Your Northwoods Realty Pro!

Search for Real Estate in and around Greater Northwoods

32 Ac On Chaney Lake Rd Price: $99,900

32 acres of select cut forest and 1,700' frontage on full-recreational Chaney Lake can be yours for only $59 per frontage foot! Roads meander through the property for easy access to all areas and a selection of excellent building sites. The frontage is "boardwalk" with several ways to get down to the water. This is an ideal property for someone desiring the best of both worlds between lake frontage, privacy a...

On Chaney Lake Rd Price: $62,500

Your own waterfront retreat awaits with 6.5 acres of land and approx 300' frontage tucked into a quiet bay and it even includes a 198 sq ft insulated one room cabin with gas lighting. Power is available at the lot line. Located on 500 acre Chaney Lake, this property is minutes from ski hills, shopping, local attractions and hundreds of other lakes. Claim your waterfront getaway and think of the possibilities ...

Lot 7 Quiet Waters Ln Price: $12,500

Tucked away in the woods is this 2.28 acre buildable lot that is close to town yet incredibly private at the end of a cul de sac. Very well wooded with several great places which would make an ideal building site. Here is your chance to claim your piece of the Northwoods at a very low price!

Lot 9 Quiet Waters Ln Price: $13,500

Tucked away in the woods is this 2.69 acre buildable lot that is close to town yet incredibly private with a roughed in driveway and several great places to build your Northwoods home. Well wooded and "out in the woods" yet very close to town as well as all of the Northwoods attractions in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. A great way to pick up beautiful land at a fantastic price!

7865 Old County O Bed: 2 Bath: 1 Price: $479,000

RARE opportunity to be on the 900+ acre Turtle Chain with 300' frontage, 6.76 acres, and a masterfully remodeled cabin! Redone with top quality materials, this lovely cabin features new plumbing, electrical, all new fixtures, T&G paneling, new flooring, new front and back decks, all newer appliances, new sliding door, and a luxuriously redone full bathroom. A newer hot tub overlooks the recently completed pat...

120 Suffolk St Bed: 4 Bath: 2 Price: $249,000

Completely remodeled commercial space on the heart of Downtown Ironwood on the city's busiest corner. Redone from top to bottom with over $500K invested, this building offers 6,000 square feet total on two levels. The large space at street level is currently used as a restaurant and offers one of the most visible locations in town. Upstairs, there are two completely remodeled 2BR/1BA apartments each with all ...

120 Suffolk St Bed: 4 Bath: 2 Price: $405,000

Profitable, reputable & turnkey restaurant/rental apartment opportunity! Renowned for outstanding breakfast/lunch menu & located on Downtown Ironwood's busiest corner, The Pines Restaurant has been completely redone from top to bottom plus features all new equipment & furnishings. This 6,000 square foot facility also includes two completely remodeled apartments each with two bedrooms & one bathroom plus new a...

732 Pabst St E Bed: 4 Bath: 2 Price: $72,500

4BR/1.5BA Ironwood home in a convenient family location! Less than a block from Luther Wright K-12 school, downtown and shopping are right there. This home features a nice sized living room, separate dining room area, large kitchen, and a newly added half bath downstairs. Upstairs, you'll find an updated full bathroom and four large bedrooms ensuring room for the entire family. A full unfinished basement is d...

5501 Cth M Bed: 4 Bath: 4 Price: $317,000

One of the most visible storefronts in Boulder Junction is available--and it comes with spacious, well-appointed living quarters! On the corner of County Highways K and M, this 3,500 sq ft crossroads location offers great possibilities for retail, office space or countless other uses. There's ample parking and converting the living quarters to multiple rentals would be very easy to do. The vibrant Boulder Jun...

5501 Cth M Bed: 4 Bath: 4 Price: $317,000

One of the most visible storefronts in Boulder Junction is available--and it comes with spacious, well-appointed living quarters! On the corner of County Highways K and M, this 3,500 sq ft crossroads location offers great possibilities for retail, office space or countless other uses. There's ample parking and converting the living quarters to multiple rentals would be very easy to do. The vibrant Boulder Jun...

Lot 7 Lakeshore Dr Price: $74,500 PENDING

Premium waterfront property at a fantastic price! Have the best of all worlds with this incredibly priced waterfront parcel with 280' rippling sand frontage perfect for swimming, canoeing, or kayaking on 496-acre Chaney Lake just North of the WI state line. Get Canadian lake views, complete privacy, and enormous elbow room with 10.7 acres of level property on both sides of the road. Start making your plans to...

111 1st Ave N Bed: 4 Bath: 2 Price: $55,900

DOWNTOWN HURLEY DUPLEX This duplex features two 2 br/1ba apartments each with kitchen, living room and full bathroom. Each apartment has a seperate entrance with one entrance also having an enclosed storage area. Each unit has its own electric and natural gas meter. Both units are currently occupied by long-term tenants who have been there for several years. One block from Downtown Hurley and right by ATV and...

10701 M38 Price: $265,000

Loved by four wheelers, snowmobilers, sportsman and outdoor enthusiasts in the area and traveling through, everyone's favorite Trail 13and M-38 stop is now on the market! The Pit Stop is renowned for its atmosphere, quality of food and as a great place for people to gather! A completely turnkey business and highly profitable, this opportunity features a recently remodeled and updated bar, dining room, as well...

14266 Harris Creek Ln Bed: 6 Bath: 6 Price: $993,000

Harris Lake MASTERPIECE on 2.24 acres w/211' of sand frontage! The towering entrance leads to a huge living room w/magnificent 28' high ceiling + massive Lannon stone FP. A chef's kitchen has a double oven Viking range, Sub-Zero refrigerator, wine cooler, cabinetry of the highest quality & much more! The master suite includes a 2-way FP, huge bath, WIC, Jacuzzi tub, separate shower & large vanity. Two more la...

7013 Papoose Ln Bed: 3 Bath: 1 Price: $159,900 PENDING

See the potential in this 3br/1ba home tucked away on a beautiful 4+ acre wooded lot with 235' of frontage on peaceful Little Papoose Lake. Plenty of room on both side of the road for additional buildings. A trail winds through the forest to the shoreline. The chalet style cabin features an open concept main floor, two bedrooms, plus another huge bedroom upstairs with a loft overlooking. A stone fireplace fra...

156 Cloverland Dr Price: $650,000

One of the areas most popular and profitable restaurants, the Maplewood Steakhouse could be your next great investment. Fully equipped and updated, customers enjoy a massive wrap around bar, spacious open dining area, tasteful finishes, and a game room. Huge, well thought out kitchen area features walk in coolers, huge food preparation room, service room, as well as ample room for kitchen equipment and worksp...

Lot 1 Village Point Ln Price: $299,000

Incredible Harris Lake parcel with Wet Boathouse! This stunning lot includes 1.5 acres, 305' frontage on exclusive gin-clear Harris Lake, and a very rare wet 3-stall boathouse. Situated on the historic Camp Mishike Peninsula, this gently sloping lot is nestled on the Northern side of the peninsula and offers panoramic views of this magnificent 507-acre Class A Musky lake that also offers excellent Walleye fis...

5964 Hwy 2 Bed: 3 Bath: 4 Price: $629,000

Imagine what you can do with this incredibly well finished full log masterpiece located on busy US-2. Over $700K invested in renovations and absolutely no expense was spared in terms of material quality from floor to ceiling. Could be used as an impressive business location, restaurant, rental lodging (there are 3 bedrooms downstairs along with a master bath), B&B, even a luxurious home, or whatever one can i...

5964 Hwy 2 Bed: 3 Bath: 4 Price: $629,000

Imagine what you can do with this incredibly well finished full log masterpiece located on busy US-2. Over $700K invested in renovations and absolutely no expense was spared in terms of material quality from floor to ceiling. Could be used as an impressive business location, restaurant, rental lodging (there are 3 bedrooms downstairs along with a master bath), B&B, even a luxurious home, or whatever one can i...

Lot 1 Annabelle Lake Rd Price: $39,900

Nestled in the dense woods of Wisconsin's Last Wilderness, you'll find this secluded, level and well wooded 2.1 acre corner parcel and see it as a great place to build your Northwoods escape. Plenty of room to spread out with shopping, restaurants, ski hills, hundreds of pristine lakes and the best the Northwoods has to offer all just a short drive away along with easy access to hundreds of miles of snowmobil...

On Lakeshore Dr Price: $69,900 PENDING

An unbeatable value on 25 acres w/1,200' frontage on 496-acre Chaney Lake is yours for the taking. Enjoy complete privacy and wildlife in a Canadian like setting with plenty of places to build your dream home or getaway. Bordering public land, this parcel offers access to world class hunting and exploring the forest at your leisure. Take your pick of several great potential building sites on the property. Fro...

5973 Cth W Bed: 0 Bath: 1 Price: $249,000

Turnkey commercial storefront building in right in the heart of beautiful Manitowish Waters. This well finished and recently constructed building features a metal roof, energy efficient design, spotless exterior finishes, loading dock, deliver door, huge dry basement storage area, half bath, and central air. Warm knotty pine T&G paneling, wood-look commercial grade flooring, and meticulous finishes add up to ...

5973 Cth W Bed: 0 Bath: 1 Price: $279,000

REDUCED! Outstanding business opportunity right in the heart of beautiful Manitowish Waters! The Wine Barn is a popular year round local business loved by locals and out of towners alike! The beautifully finished and recently constructed building features a metal roof, energy efficiency, spotless exterior finishes, loading dock and door in the back and has a central location in the highest traffic area in one...

On Chaney Cove Rd Price: $31,900

Start planning your waterfront escape today! Take a look at this 1.3 acre parcel situated on 496-acre Chaney Lake just across the MI State Line. Enjoy commanding panoramic views, great fishing and a true up North experience from the 99 feet of rocky frontage. Centrally located in the heart of the Northwoods, all of your recreational desires are at your fingertips. This is a very rare opportunity to own fronta...

2663 Nine Mile Rd Bed: 0 Bath: 1 Price: $129,000 SOLD BY

You just won’t find a property with this many options. Situated on the shores of Lower Ninemile Lake, sits this cute and quaint tiny home. Freshly finished in the fall of 2020, this home gives you that Canadian cabin feel while sitting just minutes from Eagle River. There are two level parcels included, totaling 346 front feet, and the entire package is move-in ready! One parcel is well wooded, private, offer...

6173n Lakeshore Dr N Bed: 3 Bath: 2 Price: $269,000 SOLD

This delightful waterfront home with 175' of beautiful frontage on Chaney Lake offers an open great room, master bedroom/bath, 2 additional bedrooms and a full bath. The attached 28X25 garage is heated and insulated plus has a third side overhead door for ATVs or snowmobiles. Expand your living space or have extra storage with the full unfinished basement which features plenty of headroom. A large backyard of...

On Turtle Dr N Price: $424,000 SOLD BY

Priced to sell on North Turtle Lake! Beautiful, level west facing frontage on the Turtle 3 Lake Chain! 300’ sand/rock west facing LEVEL frontage with 2.6 acres! The viewing corridor has been put in, the shared driveway is in and a partial building site is ready for you! North Turtle Lake is 369 acres with depths up to 58 feet is a Class “A” Musky Lake and is part of the Turtle Winchester 3 Lake Chain which in...

13699 Songbird Tr Bed: 2 Bath: 2 Price: $429,900 SOLD

Take a look at this full log beauty on the Turtle Chain of Lakes! This masterfully crafted full log chalet features a huge deck overlooking the lake, new masonry chimney installed this year, huge loft w/beautiful lake view (loft currently being used as 2nd bedroom), beautiful fireplace, big bedroom, luxurious bathroom with whirlpool tub, and lovely great room wtowering ceiling and gorgeous lake views. There's...

Off Cth C Price: $14,500 SOLD

Claim your piece of the Northwoods with this quality 7.3 acre parcel. Has mature timber, many excellent building spots and is accessed via a 33' wide easement off of County Hwy C. A great hunting spot or place to establish your Northwoods getaway.

E5318 Jackson Rd Bed: 4 Bath: 3 Price: $485,000 SOLD

Tucked away on 20.45AC of wooded landscape & inspired by Victorian Home design, this custom-built 3bed/3ba masterpiece features dormers, classic wrap-around porch, decorative railings, ornate trim, stained glass additions, chandeliers, & two staircases. Every square foot exudes keen attention to detail & pride of ownership in this immaculate home. Enter & be met by the sprawling staircase leading to the impre...

1697 Runway Ln Bed: 3 Bath: 3 Price: $169,900 SOLD

Surrounded by 4 very private acres with a bluff, this delightful 3br/3ba home is full of character and very unique. Open concept living room features cathedral ceilings overlooked by upstairs loft bedroom. Roomy 2-car attached garage, outdoor shed, and many built-ins provides extra provide ample storage and room for vehicles. A very peaceful, natural setting yet just minutes from town. Well maintained, attrac...

20268 Deer Path Rd Bed: 3 Bath: 2 Price: $379,000 SOLD

On the gin-clear waters of Long Lake just North of the Wisconsin border, you'll find this spectacular 3br/2ba TURNKEY custom home with 250' of sand/vegetation frontage. Enter through the foyer/mudroom into the spacious great room featuring a gorgeous view of the water and woods, reclaimed maple flooring from a house built in 1904, dining area, living room area w/gas fireplace, & fully equipped kitchen. Off th...

314 Chippewa St Price: $265,000 SOLD

Excellent opportunity with this very busy and popular Inn Towne Motel/Apartments! Steady clientele, great Downtown Ontonagon location, and just a couple blocks from Lake Superior! Truly a turnkey operation, there are numerous updates and upgrades including newly paved parking lot in 2018, plumbing redone 2020, full renovation in 2007, recent roof replacements, newer appliances, flat screen TVs in all rooms, e...

Off Old Hwy 45 Price: $34,500 SOLD

Here is a rare opportunity to enjoy a premium large parcel offering absolute privacy, hunting opportunities, trails, and a diversity of land as well as many building sites, wooded areas as well as open areas. Power is available at the road, there's year around access, and seller has marked the property boundaries. A trout stream runs by the back corner of the property bordering public land for unlimited space...

332w Frederick St Bed: 6 Bath: 2 Price: $119,995 SOLD

Outstanding opportunity! Currently configured as a duplex, this turn key corner home offers 2 spacious units each with 3br/1ba. The upstairs unit features a large kitchen, 2 bedrooms, big living room, and a nicely finished top floor with a huge 3rd bedroom. The lower unit features a convenient one-level floor plan with an amply sized living room, large kitchen, bedrooms and a bathroom. Loaded with character a...

24911 Misery Bay Rd Bed: 4 Bath: 2 Price: $799,000 SOLD

The ultimate venue for a family or corporate retreat on 4370-acre Lac Vieux Desert! 23 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms provide room for a large group to experience Northwoods fun together on the lake! There's eight units, a recently built waterfront recreation room, fish cleaning house, workshop plus a lovely 4br/2ba main home w/finished walkout basement, two kitchens, 3 season porch and 3-car attached garage. Ever...

132 Wisconsin Ave Bed: 2 Bath: 2 Price: $104,500 SOLD

Enjoy the convenience of being in town while having a huge double lot with a nifty 2br/2ba home and 5-cars worth of garage storage. Lots of room to expand or enjoy as is. Main floor features a large, updated kitchen, big living room/dining area, two large bedrooms plus a full bath. Full basement offers laundry facilities, a full bathroom, roughed in bedroom, and extra storage room. Hot water heater was replac...

Lot 5-on Hewitt Lake Rd Price: $59,000 SOLD BY

Gorgeous Lake lot with 300' of frontage on pristine Hewitt Lake. 3.09 acres with Western exposure, crystal clear water and 90 feet deep. Paradise found! Only $79,900 for recreation, hunting and fishing at your fingertips.

1-10016 Kitten Ln Price: $77,000 SOLD

Unique opportunity to build your own home on a lot designated in a condominium on Big Kitten Lake! Shared well and septic already in place. Enjoy all the amenities that the condominium has to offer-sandy beach, docks, playground, shuffle board, and landscaping-all for you to use! Call for a showing today!

7,8,14,15-10016 Kitten Ln Bed: 4 Bath: 2 Price: $279,000 SOLD

Looking for space for the whole family?! Wildcat Lodge is your place! This lodge includes 4 spacious bedrooms, 2 full baths, 4-season room, 3-season room, wet bar, lobby entrance, and extra living room space. Not to forget the 387 sq foot commercial kitchen and 24x22 formal dining room! The basement includes room for an exercise room, game room, extra storage, workshop, and laundry area. The property also com...

Lot 36 Hewitt Lake Rd Price: $209,000 SOLD

Immerse yourself in the completely unspoiled beauty of this peninsula paradise! Surrounded by water on 3 sides, this 5.34 ac parcel features 660' of frontage on 88' deep Hewitt Lake, the deepest and clearest lake in Iron County, WI. Hewitt Lake has been designated by the WI DNR as an "Outstanding Resource Water" which less than 1% of Wisconsin's 15,000 lakes qualify for. On the other side of the peninsula lie...

6553 Big Lake Rd Bed: 3 Bath: 2 Price: $509,000 SOLD

SECONDARY OFFERS ENCOURAGED! A rare opportunity to be on Big Lake, one of Northern Wisconsin's premier lakes and renowned for its fishing as well as pristine, mosty state-owned shoreline. This 3br/2ba home offers incredible views, room for expansion in partially finished basement and an open, inviting floor plan. A fieldstone fireplace offers an elegant way to warm up, the well was very recently replaced, and...

1007 Yale Ave Bed: 3 Bath: 2 Price: $48,000 SOLD

On a corner lot, this 3br/1.5 bath home offers a convenient location, easy access to snowmobile/ATV trails, many updates, huge kitchen, and even a small park across the street for the kids to play. Enter through the small front mudroom to find a living room area with beautiful wood floors, the updated kitchen, an additional room off the living room, and a back breezeway that leads outside. Upstairs, you'll fi...

11609 State Line Rd Bed: 3 Bath: 2 Price: $259,000 SOLD

Turnkey Northwoods living! This 3br/2ba home is loaded with features while sitting on 8 private acres plus a half-acre Spring Fed pond...a favorite watering hole for the local wildlife...and it's right on the snowmobile trail too! The open concept main floor has a spacious LR area anchored by a handsome wood burning corner fireplace. A huge kitchen w/abundant counter space + island, large dining area, huge ma...

Off Gresham Rd Price: $69,900 SOLD

Privacy, seclusion and a true wilderness experience is yours on this affordable 7+ acre riverfront parcel with 935' of frontage on the Trout River. Driveway, driven point well, gate, patio, pier,and electric power pole are all in place. A perfect place to build your wilderness retreat or just set up your RV. Older camper on site is not usable wihtout major work and seller can remove it at buyer's discretion. ...

7 Ac On Hwy 51 Price: $21,000 SOLD

This 7 acre parcel on Highway 51 is just North of Mercer and offers a huge level open area right off the road, a variety of terrain and timber and is an ideal location for your easy-access Northwoods escape, place for your pole barn, or many many other uses. Currently zoned residential, a buyer could apply to have it re-zoned for business use because of the great location on 51. Located in the heart of the No...

1470 Lead St E Price: $209,900 SOLD

A superb opportunity to be your own boss & live in the beautiful Upper Peninsula! Situated on US-2, the profitable Travelers Motel is renowned for its cleanliness, convenience & reasonable prices. Careful maintenance is evident throughout the property inside & out. There are 12 lodging rooms including 10 double bed units & 2 single bed units, 2br/1ba house that is ideal for living qrts or can be rented, plus ...

Buying or Selling? Let's Do it Right!

Thanks for visiting my site! I specialize in Vilas, Iron, Ashland, Price, Gogebic, Ontonagon, and Oneida Counties as well as throughout beautiful Northern Wisconsin and the U.P. of Michigan. I cover and am experienced in all areas of real estate including residential, commercial, vacation, vacant land and condominiums.

Customers and Clients Come First!

Whether you're buying or selling, customer service is my top priority. That means rapid response, acurate information, no pressure, and putting your interests first. Representing Northern Wisconson's largest and most successful brokerage, Coldwell Banker Mulleady Realtors, Inc., you can expect unparalleled service backed by a 37-year old company and the resources to provide the area's best advertising coverage, agent training, Internet presence, and largest network of real estate professionals.

Best Seller Service in the Northwoods!

If you're considering selling your property, talk to me about a free, no obligation market analysis to intelligently price your property according to our unique Northwoods market. Pictures sell property! Consider that over 80% of buyers begin their search for property on the Internet which makes having the best photos critical to putting a listing in the best light. To achieve that for my listings, I use professional-grade camera drones and DLSR camera equipment to take impeccable exterior, aerial and indoor property photos. Fully licensed, I hold an FAA Part 107 Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle pilot certificate allowing me to legally fly drones commercially for real estate photography.

Simply the Best Buying Experience!

For buyers, let me help you find that ideal property. Licensed in both Wisconsin and Michigan, I can show you the best in two states. Using the power of the MLS and my knowledge of the area and experience, I'll help you zero in on exactly what you're looking for. Let's take the stress and confusion from your property search and instead make it both fun and informative!

Call or text me today at 715-904-1065 or send me an e-mail! Or, stop in and say hi at our Manitowish Waters office in downtown Manitowish Waters on County Hwy W. I'm standing to help you with your real estate needs!

What to Expect When Selling

(by Jim Mulleady, Jr)


When you are considering selling your home or vacant parcel, there are several steps in the process.  Sometimes one can speed things up by bypassing some of the steps.  Sometimes there are additional steps that must be inserted.  This piece is meant to be a brief overview of the steps and what one may expect when selling your property.

1.     The first step is the simple question, “Do you wish to sell?”.  I know that seems oddly simplistic but I have had several sellers change their mind after going through the process of researching, pricing and listing.  The biggest reason for changing one’s mind is family.  Someone in the family objects to the sale or someone in the family wishes to purchase the property.  I consider that a happy ending!  I know it does not get me a commission, but this business is so much more than getting a check.  When I see a family member stepping up and buying a property, I consider it a win for the family. 

Stepping back a moment, most home sales begin with some sort of life event.  That event may be a marriage, divorce, the arrival of children, or children leaving the nest.  The event could be something more dire: moving on to assisted living residences or death.  In recreational property, it may be that the family is simply no longer using the property

My point here is that sellers should ask family members prior to starting the process.  There may be a strong objection from a family member.  There may be a family member with the means to buy the property. 

2.  The second step is to begin research on the property and the market.  In this Internet age, it is quite simple to obtain information.  There are home valuation sites everywhere.  You can also look at your home’s assessed value or fair market value (FMV).  While you may not feel these values to be accurate, sometimes they are.  In this market, I find the land values to be reasonably accurate.  The “improvement” values can be wildly inaccurate.  The improvements are the home, garage, landscaping and other items that have been done to the land. 

Another place to go are the third party sites like Zillow and  I find these sites to not be useful in this area.  I do think these sites could be useful in more urban/suburban environments.  The algorithms these sites use are complex and proprietary.  What I suspect they look at is the value of the land which they can pull off of the tax rolls.  They also would look at the square footage of the homes which in many areas is also available on the tax rolls (not here in the Northwoods).  They then look at the price levels where that particular market has been selling.  That is where the fun part is.  It is trying to put a value on the price per square foot without ever setting foot in the home.  They do not know if you have granite counters, Sub-Zero refrigerators, custom cabinets, or bamboo flooring. 

Here in the Northwoods, it is even more complex.  When you are looking at an area like Waukesha, WI, you are better able to gauge values from a distance.  Here in the Northwoods, the automated systems are (thus far) unable to tell if you are on a lake or not.  Imagine you have a lake home and the home across the street from you is off water.  A Zillow Zestimate is not able to discern that the value of your land is much higher for the lake lot than the off-water lot across the street.  I suspect that they will one day.  Right now, they will “average up” the off-water home and “average down” the on-water home.  This means that if you have a home on a lake that may be worth $300,000 and the home across the street may be with $150,000, the systems will try to average things out so the $300,000 home may show up in the $250,000 range and the $150,000 home may show up in the $225,000 range.  The system is making the assumption that the land is somewhat equal. 

The point of all this is that it is still better to get an estimate from a human.  That person could be a REALTOR.  That person could be an appraiser.  The REALTOR cannot put together an appraisal (unless they are a licensed appraiser). The REALTOR can put together something similar to an appraisal called a Market Analysis.  Appraisers are licensed and are the only ones who can create appraisals.   

Both Market Analysis and appraisals use market data.  Both use comparable active listings and comparable sold listings (‘comps’ for short).  In slow markets, comps are sometimes are hard to find.  Lenders really need comps.  Without comps the person in charge of making the call on the loan (the underwriter) is in a bind.  They like to do a process call “bracketing”.  What that means is that they like to get a comp priced both above and below the subject.  Imagine a home on a lake and the offer is at $250,000.  The appraiser looks for comps both above and below the $250,000 price.  The appraiser looks for both active and sold listings too.  The sold listings have to be “fresh” too.  They cannot be older than 12 months old.  If they are older than that, the comps are kicked out.

What happens if you have a $1M home and there are no comps above $1M?  That is a very difficult question and one that the underwriters must grapple with all the time.  There is no automatic in the lending business.

There are three basic ways to assign value to a home or property. 

            1. Market Approach

            2. Cost Approach

            3. Income Approach

The market approach is what we REALTORS use.  The market approach uses comparable active and comparable sold properties.  The market approach tries to determine the value by looking at these sold properties and active listings.

The cost approach is what the insurers use.  They will look at the square footage of a home and assign a cost per sq. ft.  The cost per sq. ft. is essentially the replacement cost.  It is influenced by building material and labor costs.  I like to think of it as if the house burned down, what it would cost to replace it.

The income approach is not something we use much in residential real estate.  It is the preferred approach for commercial properties though.  It is a good approach for rental property.  If a home is bringing in $20,000/year in income it may be worth up to $200,000 in value (even if it is in poor condition).

Pricing is absolutely the most important decision one will make  The presentation of the home may get you more money and may get the property sold quicker.  However, nothing is more important that pricing.  The price WILL determine how fast the home will sell.  If you price it too high, the market will take a look at it and move on.  Consumers these days are very well educated.  The Internet has given buyers all the tools to determine if the price is good or if it is too high. 

There are three different ways to price a home.

            1.  At Market Value

            2.  Above Market Value

            3.  Below Market Value

Market value is where you ask a REALTOR or an appraiser to put together a value for the property.  You then price it at that level.  If the home is priced correctly, it should sell quickly! 

Pricing above market value is another approach that is often used.  After one determines what the value of the home is, they price it “slightly above” market value.  After all, the buyer is going to negotiate and try to bring the price down.  If I already have a “cushion” then I can get my price right?  Not necessarily.

Another point here is that if you price above market value and the market is declining, you really may be looking at a long time on the market.  If the market is on the rise, eventually the market will overtake your price and you will sell.  Many buyers look at days on market and steer clear of properties that have been on the market for a while.  Your home can be perceived as undesirable because it has been on the market too long.

Pricing at market level is normally the way that most sellers choose. 

Why would anyone price below market?  It seems crazy but it is a strategy.  The theory is that the seller is trying to start a bidding war.  It is a successful strategy if you have a high demand property that will gain a lot of attention  It is not a common strategy here in the Northwoods.  I have seen it though.  There was a cute but unfinished log cabin on a small but clear water lake.  The privacy was terrific as it had 300’ of frontage and over 3 acres.  I figured the market value to be in the area of $250,000.  The seller listed it at $189,000.  Of course I quickly called several customers and shared the news of the bargain!  After all it was November and no one was paying close attention.  The home had 19 offers on it and it sold for $240,000.  Yes, it was still less than my price opinion but it was close.  It also closed very fast.  The pricing below market value is what I call the “feeding frenzy” approach. 

REALTORS do try to determine the market value for a property.  They use tools like the Multiple Listing Service and market knowledge to help find a solid number.  It is easier to determine a market value in a urban/suburban market than it is in the Northwoods.  It is because the scarcity and diversity of listings.  How does one compare a home on Lake Tomahawk vs. Mid Lake?  Both are lakes on the Minocqua Chain of Lakes?  Should they not be comparable?   Lake Tomahawk may command $4000 per front foot for lake frontage.  Mid Lake will be much more modest.  It may be around $1500 per front foot on Mid Lake.  Why?  The old real estate adage of location, location, location” is till true.  Why is land in Barrington worth more than Elgin?  It is the location and ultimately the demand for that location.  That is what makes it so hard to determine price here in the Northwoods.

I will reiterate that a good agent can help you determine a good starting price.  It is up to the buyer and seller to “seal the deal”.  It is the open market that ultimately determines the market value.

3.  Decide to list with a REALTOR

This is no small decision either.  Many folks underestimate the steps it takes to market and sell a home in the Northwoods.  Some items to consider:

1.      Less than 35% of properties that are listed actually sell.  When compared with other markets that is very, very low.

2.     The time it takes to sell a property in the Northwoods is long.  Our local MLS does not have a feature to calculate total days on market.  I try to average and it comes out to just under 250 days.  Why does it take so long?  A lot of it has to do with the cyclical nature of Northwoods real estate.  We do not sell many lake properties in the winter months.  We sell a great deal (over 70%) of lake properties between July 1 and October 1. 

3.     Marketing no longer is putting a sign in the ground and putting it in the newspaper.  Real Estate marketing has evolved from sign and newspaper ads to the Internet and now on to social media.  Savvy real estate salespeople can target buyers by zip codes and interests.  Imagine your home showing up on a persons’ Facebook feed somewhere in northern Illinois. 

Many sellers decide who they wish to list with prior to speaking with agents.  There are so many agents out there.  There are so many things to consider.  Do I want the top producer?  Maybe.  They must be good at what they do. The one downside is that they may be quite busy.  You may only be able to speak to the assistants, not the top producer.  You may want the experienced person.  That may work well for you.  The one downside is that the experienced person may not be fluent with some of the new technologies.  That is quite important these days.  Sometimes the younger agents are hungrier and more adept with technology.  The downside with the younger agents is that they may not be as experienced as other agents.

The Items I would consider when choosing an agent:

            1. Experience

            2. Technology

            3. Negotiation Skills

            4. Marketing Plan

            5. Honesty and Integrity

Why in that order?  I really like to have someone who can predict what is going to happen next.  That is where the experience comes in.  If they have “been there, done that”, they will know what to do and do their best to inform you. 

The technology aspect has become a big deal.  Websites are big but social media may actually now be bigger.  The agent and the company’s ability to present your home in its best light can now be greatly enhanced with technology.  Video is now the way to present.

Once you get an offer you want your person in your corner fighting for every point.  That is where experience is key.  Negotiation skills can be the difference between getting a deal together or the parties walking away.  Rather than simply presenting offers and counter offers, a good negotiator can see common ground  and offer creative solutions to problems.

A marketing plan is very important aspect of real estate marketing.  A plan is the road map for the sale of your home.   It is a good idea to know what comes next.  Photos first, MLS, signs, websites, social media, newspaper and magazines and then what happens next.  That is where the marketing plan can tell you what happens next. 

I think that honesty and integrity are critical.  I am not wise enough to tell you how to measure and/or judge that.  The only suggestion I can make is that I think you have to meet the person to judge the honesty.  One can read reviews and get a sense of the person.  I do believe that meeting the person face-to-face is a very good way to get a feel for the person’s integrity.

Before you interview possible agents, I would suggest looking at their websites and social media sites.  You may see some significant differences!  After you have done some online digging then I would suggest talking to the agents and asking them what they will do to market the property.

4.  Preparing the Home For the Market

This did not used to be a step.  It now is an important step.  One needs to make the home look irresistible to the buyers.  Most sellers do not yet understand this.

It used to be that you simply put the home on the market.  You may have vacuumed before a showing and put the dishes away.  These days one must do more.  I strongly suggest you declutter.  The plastic packing bins one can obtain in many home and discount stores are terrific.  I would start moving things in the basement or garage.  Anything that is non-essential should go in the boxes. 

Next I would paint.  I know, I know.  “The buyers will just paint over my paint.”  Paint is cheap.  Paint can cover up many shortcomings.  I will add that paint can mean the difference between selling and not selling.  I will also add that paint can get you that full price offer. 

I have many theories on this.  My one theory is that buyers do not have imaginations.  They see things as they are.  They do not see things as they can be.  That is where paint comes in.  They also watch more TV.  They see the Property Brothers or Martha Stewart.  They want to buy those homes that are showcases.  Paint helps homes look like a showcase. 

Clean the carpets.  Have a professional come in and clean.  It is not that expensive.  The professionals have tools and can do a much better job than the rental units can.  I do not know why but they can.

Remove smells.  The olfactory sense is one of the strongest senses.  I have had people turn around and leave the perfect home just because of odor.  If someone smokes, you may have to go to extremes with odor eliminators like Ozonators.  You may have to paint or remove carpet.   If there are pets in the home, that is OK.  Have a non-pet owner come over and give you an honest opinion.  A big quote here: “We cannot sell it if we can smell it”

My last theory is quite simple.  The buyers simply want to enjoy life!  They do not want to paint and clean and move things around and take stuff to the dump.  They do not want to open windows in January in an attempt to remove odors. They want to “sit on the pier with a beer”.  I think everyone can relate to that.  Do not underestimate the process of preparing the home for sale.

4.  Home on Market

You have cleaned, painted, moved stuff out, eliminated odors.  You are ready for the world!! Now comes the fun part!  The agent will arrange for photos and measure things up.  They will then bring agents through the home.  After that you are ready for potential buyers to show up. 

Here is where it gets hard.  Be prepared for little or no notice to show the home.  Buyers not only ask but expect to view homes immediately.  They will expect to view homes at all hours of the day too.  Here in the Northwoods it is made worse by the fact that most buyers are not from the area.  We routinely get calls saying that “I wish to view the home tonight.  I am heading for home tomorrow.”  Now you can just say no to the viewing.  The problem with that is that you never know if that person was THE BUYER or not.  I would suggest that if you really need to sell quickly, you swallow your dignity and allow the no lead time showing.  If you are not as pressed for time, politely state that perhaps they can set up a time the next time they are up north.  Seriously, the last minute viewings often do not turn into things.  However, I do not like missing any opportunities. 

Next, you will then receive feedback.  Some of the feedback is helpful.  Some of the feedback is useless.  REALTORS are masters of the vague platitude.  The agents are the ones that are writing the feedback; not the buyers themselves.  You will see things like “the home did not work for them” or “did not like”.  What the heck does that mean?  What does not “work”?  What exactly did they not like?  I personally get angry at this lack of feedback.  I go after the agents and ask what exactly they did not like.  If there are 150 step to the lake and buyers have mobility issues, tell us!  If the buyers have 6 kids and you have a 2 bedroom home, tell us!  Once in a while something interesting will come out.  The buyers need high speed internet for their jobs.  The buyers had a bad experience with LP gas and they want natural gas.  The buyers did not care for the layout of the home.  Those are legitimate reasons to move on to the next home.  A home “not working” or “did not like” without additional rationale are not.

You will also get feedback that is harsh.  Buyers will say things that are inaccurate, untrue or simply not well thought out.  Remember buyers may not yet be familiar with the market here.  Remember that buyers may see a 2 bedroom, 1 bath home on 5 acres with a perfect sand beach on the most desirable lake in the Northwoods.  They may think because the home is modest that the price will be modest too.  What most uneducated buyers do not realize is that 5 acre lot with the sandy beach on the most desirable lake in the Northwoods may be worth $400,000.  The home may only be worth $50K.  This is possibly the only area of the state (perhaps Lake Geneva and Door County) where the land is often worth more than the improvements.

So you may get comments that the home is overpriced.  Just remember that you did your homework back in Step 2.  The buyer may not have yet done his homework.

5.  Offers and Negotiating

All properties will get an offer.  Some will get more than one offer.  How do you respond?  Hopefully you priced the home well and you got an offer quickly.  A fact about offers, pricing and offers.  The shorter the time on market, the closer to asking price you will see.  Conversely, the longer you have been on the market the lower the offer will come in.  So there is a direct relationship between pricing and days on market.  The higher the price vs. market value, the longer one can expect to be on the market.  That is especially true on recreational properties. 

Think about recreational properties like we have here in the Northwoods.  These sorts of purchases use “discretionary income”.  These buyers do not have to buy.  They want to buy but they do not “have” to buy.  So they can submit low offers and if they are countered or rejected, it is not the end of the world.  It is not a must.

Most of the time offers are presented formally.  That means that they are in writing.  You may or may not have been notified ahead of time.  The offers may just show up unannounced.  Sometimes offers are informal.  There is no right or wrong way to draft an offer.  

Once an offer is submitted you have 4 options.  1. Accept.  2. Reject. 3. Counter. 4. Ignore.

Ignore is not a very polite option.  You may receive offers that you may consider ridiculous.  Legally, your agent must present those offers (except if the Listing Agreement states that all offers submitted below a certain point may not have to be presented). 

Obviously if the offer is great in all cases you may wish to consider accepting.  Sometimes the first offer is the best offer. 

There are many elements to the offer.  Price is very important but so are the terms of the offer.  If the financing is not specified or the buyer has not been pre-approved, you may wish to hold off accepting the offer until the buyer proves that they have the ability to obtain a mortgage.  There may be items included that you do not wish to part with.  The closing date may be unacceptable.  There really are many parts to an offer.  If the buyer has proven his credit worthiness and the closing date is acceptable and the buyer is not asking for more than what you can provide, then the offer should be considered for acceptance.

One word of timeliness.  I have seen sellers wait a period of time before accepting.  That can prove to be risky.  I have seen buyers get “cold feet” while sellers are deliberating.  I do not think it prudent to answer the same day but I also think it not polite to go for several days.  My strong preference would be the next day if possible.

There are all sorts of delivery methods.  These days most offers are delivered and accepted electronically.  In some cases, e-delivery may not be possible.  However, if the parties have access to a computer or even a smart phone, it is possible to sign electronically. 

Delivery is very important with offers.  Just signing an offer is not enough.  The State of Wisconsin requires that copies of the signed documents be delivered to the parties for the offer to be binding.  The copies can be sent via computer, fax, US mail or personal delivery.  Methods of delivery are agreed upon in the Offer and do not underestimate their importance.

Negotiating and Counter Offers

There is no right or wrong way  to negotiate.  One can simply say this is the price and that is what I want.  The other extreme is passing counter-offers (countering is now a verb) back and forth.  I have personally made it to Counter #10.  I am sure others have made it more lengthy than that.  There are dozens of negotiating techniques in between as well.

A common negotiation tactic is what I term the “triangulation method”.  This is where a buyer looks at, say, a $300,000 home.  They really do not wish to pay $300,000 but would pay $275,000.  So they offer $250,000 hoping the seller would “meet them in the middle”.  This may work for some sellers.  This may blow up in the buyers face too.  It depends on the motivation on the seller.  If the home is price competitively, reducing the price $25,000 may be considered an insult.  This could harm the way that the seller views the seriousness of the buyer.

My own preference would be both parties present their “sides”.  A good negotiator will try to find the common ground .  He/she will then try to see if there is room for compromise   Most of the time these sorts of negotiations are performed informally (verbally or via emails/texts).  Sometimes these sorts of negotiations are done formally with counter offers.  That is where we get multiple counter offers going back and forth.

A quick word about counter offers.  Counter offers are technically a rejection of the offer.  That is important.  Once one makes a counter offer, the original offer or previous counter offer is rejected.  That gives the party the full right to walk away.  The other point is that counter offers are not cumulative.  This means that if you counter the price and ask for the boat lift in Counter 1 and the seller counters your price but says nothing about the boat lift, the boat lift is not included.  The counter that is agreed upon is the binding counter.  Whatever is included in that language of that counter is what is binding.  So a word of caution when dealing with counter offers.  They can get confusing.

I hope that you will experience a special kind of counter offer called a multiple counter offer.  A multiple counter offer is often used when there is more than one offer.  If you have a property for sale and there are multiple buyers and they make offers, your agent may suggest that you make a multiple counter offer.  This where you draft a multiple counter offer and send it to all buyers.  All buyers are then on notice that there are multiple suitors for the property.  A unique feature of the multiple counter is that the seller signs it first.  The buyer then can either sign it or counter back with another counter offer or reject it.  The seller then would sign the multiple counter offer (or counter offer).  So the seller can make a counter offer and it is not binding until the buyer signs it and the seller signs it again.  The seller really holds all the cards in this situation.  One other feature of a multiple counter offer is that the seller can offer a multiple counter offer with different terms to each buyer.  Why would they do that?  There may be logic but I will put together an example.  Let’s say that a seller has a listing and is asking $300,000.  There are two buyers.  One offers $295,000 with no contingencies and the other offers $300,000 with inspection and financing contingencies.  The seller decides to counter back with $300,000 to the buyer with no contingencies and $305,000 to the buyer with inspection and financing contingencies.  The buyer feels that the financing and inspection contingencies are worth $5000.  Remember that the deal is not together until the Buyer signs the counter and the Seller signs it as well.  If both buyers sign their counters, then the seller has to make the decision on which offer to go with. 


I would also add a note on lenders.  I have been hurt by “trusting” downstate and out of state bankers.  Buyers often have friends and preferred bankers from their hometowns.  i understand and respect that relationship.  However, downstate and out of state lenders do not know the special circumstances that we have in the area.  The local lenders do.

The local lenders know about septic systems and wells.  The local lenders know about rural fire departments.  The local lenders know about lakefront.  The local lenders know about private roads, easements and roads with no road maintenance agreements.  Out-of-area lenders do not know these things.  I know the out-of-area banks will say that all lenders will have to deal with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac issues.  The one thing I will counter with is the local lenders know how to work with our unique issues. 

I would not suggest that you outright ban all downstate lenders.  I would suggest  that you work with your agent and ask the buyer to address all of these issues at the beginning of negotiations and have the lender prove that they are capable of getting past the well, septic, private road, road maintenance questions and anything else in the offer.  You may as well address them early rather than be disappointed right before closing.

Working Through Contingencies

It is my opinion that we do real estate all wrong in the US.  We go through the difficult process of negotiating offers and counter offers and then finally….we have agreement.  We have an accepted offer!!  Woo hoo!  Time to crack open the champagne and celebrate!!  Right!  Right?  Perhaps but we still have to work through contingencies.  The biggest contingencies are inspections and financing.  I will start with inspections.  Inspections are performed by the buyer.  Unfortunately, home inspectors are paid to find defects and they do find defects.  I have never seen a perfect home.  Once defects are uncovered, then we get to go back and negotiate again.  To do that makes no sense.  However it is the standard practice in real estate.  So, be prepared to do more negotiation during the inspection process.

Next comes the financing contingency.  The bank will order an appraisal.  The appraiser will do another home inspection and look at your well and systems.  The appraiser will also look at your offer and inspect those items contained in the offer.  If the home appraises for over the agreed upon price, you are in good shape.  If it comes in less than the contract price, then it is time to go back and renegotiate.  Most of the time the seller has to give in.

Let’s go back to our $300,000 sale.  We decided to go with the higher dollar offer with the financing contingency.  We have an accepted offer at $305,000. The appraisal comes in at $300,000.  Oh no!  What happens now?  Generally, the buyer will ask the seller to concede the $5000 difference.  If the seller does not concede the $5K, the lender may balk at lending on the home.  The deal at that point falls apart. 

There is one lesson you can learn from this example.  Cash offers without financing contingencies are very attractive and they are worth money.  How much?  That is hard to say.  In this case it is definitely worth more than $5K.  In this case I would estimate between $5K and $10K.

One other item regarding financing. There are huge differences in types of loans.  A 30-year conventional loan is the industry standard.  There are FHA Loans and those are very difficult.  Homes have to have a number of items done or corrected to clear the FHA bar.  30-Year conventional loans and FHA Loans are the extremes.  There are dozens of programs in between.  It is important to understand that the loan specified in the offer could easily become a problem.  Pay attention to it.

Preparing for Closing

“When do I start packing?”  That question gets asked a lot.  In Wisconsin, occupancy typically happens at closing.  When the seller gets the check, the buyer gets the keys.  The real question is what happens if it does not close?  I have moved out.  I have bought another home.  I have made numerous arrangements and I am beyond the point of no return.  I wish I had the ability to see into the future.  Unfortunately, I am not gifted with this sense. 

My own opinion on this is that you should start packing before you put the home up for sale.  Today’s buyers are quite picky.  They watch too much HGTV and they expect every home to be perfect.  That said, you should start moving what I will call non-essential items out right away.  Old files, photos, tools can start to be packed and put in boxes and put in the basement, garage or storage.  It is also an opportune time to “purge”.  I have moved many times myself and have helped move others.  People accumulate “things”.  It is time to let yourself free.  I can tell you that I personally have been accumulating things since I purchased my first home in 1986,  I have moved 6 times since 1986.  I still have accumulated ‘treasures”.  I have started the purging process. 

Clothing, furniture and essentials one really cannot do much about.  I would suggest waiting until you get through the inspection process before you start packing more essential items. 

Other things you should do preparing for closing are obtaining mortgage information, trust information and obtain your previous title policy.  The old title policy can save you money. 

It is also a very good idea to ask your agent how financing is going for the buyer.  The longest lead time item in financing is the appraisal.  Once you clear the appraisal hurdle (you do not get to see the appraisal or even anything in it!) then you are not assured of closing but you are about as close as one can be. 


Closing used to be buyers, sellers, bankers, title company folks and real estate agents all sitting around a table.  Those types of closings still happen but they are far less frequent.  Most of the time there is no “live” closing.  Documents are now signed and Notarized when the parties are available to do so.  The documents are then express mailed back to the title company.  Once all of the documents are received and the funds from the buyer arrive (normally by wire), then the closing agent can “disperse” which is formally closing. 


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