How to Add Value to Your Cabin

By Tanya Mayer

Your cabin or cottage is a wonderful sanctuary where you go to enjoy rest and relaxation as you escape from the noise of the city. Log cabins are usually built in places where you can enjoy the beauty of the open skies, the trees and water.

If you inherited a log cabin or you bought one at a great price, you will need to do some work it for you to enjoy its warmth and comfort or to let it out as a vacation home. Here are some of the best ways to add value to your cabin.

Make more room for outdoor views
A log cabin could be dark and boxy with inadequate sunshine during the day or cool air at night. If your cabin has small window and door spaces, you need to open it up with new windows.

Replacing the old windows with modern double paned windows will not only improve the visual appeal of your cabin, it will also make it more energy efficient. Installing larger windows will also help you to enjoy exciting outdoor scenery while you are sitting comfortably inside the cabin.

Create space for outdoor living
Your cabin should have a patio or deck where you can sit and look at the beautiful sunset or the twinkling stars at night. It is also a nice place to have a cup of tea or coffee at dawn. You can spend time with other family members on a front porch that has well-trimmed grass and a screen to prevent insect bites a night
You front porch can also be a great place to play family games in the evening. To make the most of the outdoor space at night, you may also add fire-pits. This can serve as a nice gathering spot for all family members.

Upgrade water and plumbing systems
Check the quality of water that you get from your well. Ensure that the well and water-pumping system are still working efficiently. Check all the pipes and ensure that you don’t have any leaky pipes, faucets or valves. Also, pay close attention to your septic or sewage system. Consider harvesting and recycling your rain water so you can conserve water in an environmentally friendly way.

If your cabin is in a place where there could be extremely low temperature, consider installing a reliable freeze alarm to give you a notice when the sensors detect abnormal weather conditions. You can also add other alarms to alert you about flood, smoke, fire or power failures.

Renovate the kitchen
Old cabin kitchens are usually lacking in color, and the appliances are usually old and in urgent need of replacement or upgrading. In fact, most cabin kitchens are not designed for full time use like the ones you may have in your city home. So you have to workout a way to put a new kitchen in place, fit it perfectly into the old cabin space without spending a huge amount of money. Here are some brilliant ideas for adding value to your cabin kitchen:
* Build cabinets from recycled pieces of wood
* Use white shades or pale yellows with rough sanding to make them fit the age of the cabin
* Create a butcher-block style countertop that can fit an old sink or drainboard made of cast iron.
* Upgrade the fridge and freezer to energy star rated models that will save a ton of energy.

Upgrade the bathroom
Most old rundown cabins have bathrooms with outdated fixtures and plumbing. You can replace the old sink with a modern vanity sink that will give you some additional storage space below it. If you only have an old cast iron bathtub, you will need to install a new water-saving shower fixture on it or replace the entire shower section with new hardware. The old lighting will also need to be changed to a modern LED energy saving lighting fixture.

Those are some of the best ways to add value to an old cabin at a relatively low cost. Whatever you do to modernize the cabin, you should still ensure that it retains its warm, cozy, quiet, natural and comfortable look. At the same time, you should use materials, fixtures and finishings that will appeal to your taste and to potential buyers or people who will like to rent it.


Tanya Mayer is a blogger from Brisbane, Australia. She is interested in writing on various topics relating to family, home and home improvement.

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How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing at your Cabin

by Tanya Mayer


When water turns into ice, it expands but the pipes containing them don’t expand when the temperature drops. This puts your frozen pipe at the risk of bursting. Fortunately, you don’t have to allow your pipes to get damaged during winter. You can keep the pipes from bursting with the following tips.


Wrap pipes with insulating material
Special rubber insulation has been designed to keep pipes from freezing. Use them to wrap your pipes. Ensure that there are no gaps between the pipe insulation rubber. Secure the ends of the insulation strips with duct tape and keep them dry as you wrap them around your pipes. To increase the flow of warm air to the pipes, you should open up all cabinets that have plumbing at night when the ambient temperature drops.


Insulate pipes with heater tapes
Heater tapes can keep your pipes warm throughout the day and night. Buy a UL-certified tape that has a thermostat. UL-endorsed tapes have been tested for safety and the thermostat will stop the tape from getting too hot. You can run the tape along the length of the pipe if you don’t want to wrap it around it. Follow the instructions in the user’s manual when you are installing the tape. If you don’t want to use heater tapes, you can set up a heated reflector lamp in an enclosure and ensure that lights are on at night.

Keep your pipes dry
If you are not going to be using your cabin in the winter, you should drain your water pipes to prevent them from freezing. You can also do this at night if you feel that the temperature could drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. To do this, you need to locate the water main cut-off valve and have a water cut-off key handy. You can find the main supply valve close to the meter at the side street outside your home. Another main supply valve will also be located near the outside wall in a box underground. In very cold climates, however, this valve is located in the basement. After you locate this valve, follow these steps to drain your pipes:

  •  Open all the faucets in your cabin
  •  Turn the main supply valve off
  • Ensure the water stops flowing out of the faucets within a few minutes
  • If water keeps flowing, return to the shut off valve and tighten it.
  • Call your plumber if you can’t turn it off successfully.

Heat up your drain lines
Place rubber insulation around your drain pipes the same way you did around the water pipes. Make sure you pay close attention to the sinks in your kitchen and bathroom. On very cold days, you can direct a heat lamp at your drain P-trap.

Close up the gaps around your pipes
Broken insulation can allow cold air to get to your pipes and make water freeze. So fill all the cracks or gaps around the pipes. Look around all the areas where you have your plumbing. Close any cracks or gaps using caulk. This will prevent cold air from coming into your home to reduce the temperature of water in your pipes.

Use a RedyTemp to control pipe water temperature
This gadget monitors the temperature of the water in your pipes and regulates it. To use it, you need to:

  • Disconnect an end of the supply lines to your faucet
  • Attach it to the device
  • Connect the supply lines that came with the RedyTemp machine
  • Plug the unit into your mains power supply
  • Set the temperature you want.
  • Check the water that comes through the cold water faucet
  • Adjust the temperature until you have the desired temperature.

During the warm months you can lower the temperature to reduce your electricity bill.

Regulate your thermostat
Adjust your cabin thermostat to about 55 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, your water should be able to flow freely without freezing since  it is above the freezing point. Setting your thermostat appropriately will also improve the movement of warm air to the places where pipes are located behind your walls, in your basement, or attic.

To prevent your pipes from freezing, you need to keep them warm. You can apply the tips provided here to insulate them. When you are leaving your cabin for a long time, it is best to keep the pipes empty by shutting off your main supply valve.


Tanya Mayer is a blogger from Brisbane, Australia. She is interested in writing on various topics relating to family, home and home improvement.

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Low Maintenance Landscaping for Your Cabin

by Bethany Seton

Whether you permanently live in a lake home or cabin, or you just own one where you go in the summertime (or rent out), you should never neglect the landscaping involved with the same. It’s true when you own a place like that, the surrounding greenery does most of the job, but without a well-thought-out landscaping design, those stunning views just might go to waste. Sometimes, landscaping can get pretty confusing, especially if you’ve never done it before. In order to help you get a better idea of what you can do with your own lakeside property, we’ll list some of the best tips and tricks that you can implement to fully realize your dreams of the perfect lakeside oasis.

The View
What’s the point of having a cabin if you don’t take full advantage of the view? One of the best ways to do so is by building a patio, where you can enjoy some quality time with your friends and family. An even better idea would be to build an elevated deck. Once constructed, the options that you have for decorating are limitless. From basic stuff like a nice outdoor seating area to more complicated decors like a garden swing or a fire pit, you really have the chance to create the perfect space for your own needs.

For those of you who are not familiar with the hardscaping concept, think about it as some sort of hard landscaping, which basically refers to the non-plant elements of a yard. This includes paved walkways, walls, fences, lawn ornaments, etc. The way you should think about it when designing your hardscaping plan is that you’re creating an extension of your indoor area, on the outside. From your home’s interior, to the beautiful yard and then to the surrounding landscape, all the elements in your home area should be in total harmony.

Make sure you have a well thought out plan before getting started. For example, decide on a style, such as the French-style garden. One of the most common, but most effective ways to begin hardscaping, is by using rocks (you can even use the available resources from around the house). Whether you’re using small rocks in order to create some sort of a walkway from your doorsteps all the way to the lake, or you’re using big boulders as focal points, this element is the perfect balance between a modern setting and a natural one.

Choose the Plants Wisely
This tip is almost mandatory for people that don’t permanently live at their cabin. The main reason for that is that most plants require care and attention. You might be tempted to plant some of your favorite flowers but remember that you might not be there daily to water them. For this reason, you’d want to consider cold-resistant plant varieties that survive by themselves, even during the winter, like coneflowers. Just because the colder months are coming, it doesn’t mean that you should leave your garden bare and dormant; the beauty of nature is meant to be seen throughout the entire year. So start looking into plants like heather, Japanese quince, winter aconites or pansies and bring back the magic of spring.

Choosing to plant flowers that can survive in the cold season is not the only thing that you can do in order to keep your garden alive throughout the entire year. Investing some money in evergreens is a decision that you can’t possibly regret. They’re usually expensive, but when talking about low maintenance landscaping, evergreens are the way to go, given the fact that you only have to plant them and then they’re pretty much fine on their own. Even at Christmas time, you’ll be able to have your evergreen trees and shrubbery on display.

Artificial Grass
This step is for those of you who really want to take it all the way there. The grass is really hard to maintain, no matter the season; so if you’re not really up for the challenge, you can consider buying some artificial grass. Most people are afraid of artificial grass, as it used to look really cheap and fake, but nowadays you can find lots of quality options that can trick people into thinking that you’re actually able to grow grass in the dead of winter. The bottom line is that it is extremely low maintenance, as you only need to hose it down every now and then and you’re good to go.

Landscaping is not an easy job, especially when you’ve never done it before. The benefits offered, however, will far outway any of the difficulty you might have at the start. When it comes to a lake house though, things might get a little bit easier given the fact that you don’t spend the entire year there. Picking low-maintenance plants and similarly resistant varieties would be your best choice. Be mindful of the surrounding nature and you’ll see that the options you have for this kind of landscaping at your cabin are countless.

Bethany Seton is a real estate agent from Melbourne. For the last two years, she decided to leave her office job and follow her passions for writing and traveling. Currently, she travels with her laptop and writes for various blogs, hoping one day she will gather all the experience she gets in one book.

Posted in Landscaping and Gardening, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Decorating with Rustic Lighting Fixtures

by Chet Nosalik, Reel Lamps

Decorating your lodge, cabin, log or traditional home with a rustic theme offers you the opportunity to add charm and natural elements to your space. Rustic-themed light fixtures – whether crafted from wood, copper, brass or even more interesting materials – add a visually appealing, yet organic feel to a home.

Including rustic lighting in your favorite space, no matter where it is, creates an environment far removed from an often-hectic lifestyle. Who wouldn’t want to come home to the same relaxing atmosphere you prefer during a vacation in the woods or a weekend hunting or fishing? The type of lighting you choose not only enhances your décor, it adds warmth and personality to any room in the home.

No light fixture makes a statement like a chandelier. These items are especially popular in rustic-themed homes. Chandeliers create stunning focal points in living and dining rooms or in homes with open floor plans.  If you’ve got the space to go dramatic, such as with a cathedral or vaulted ceiling in a great room, go for a large, striking light fixture that will cast a warm glow over the entire room or area.

Smaller versions of these light fixtures are perfect for smaller areas such as hallways or foyers. While chandeliers made of original or faux antlers are popular and always eye-catching, others handcrafted of natural tree branches, wrought iron and vintage re-purposed lumber are also unique.

Ceiling Fans and Fixtures
If you don’t have the ceiling height for a chandelier, flush mount and semi-flush ceiling fixtures and fans can be every bit as rustic and unique. Luckily, there is no set standard when it comes to rustic lighting. Some rustic features to look for in an overhead fixture include wrought iron, opaque or smoked or glass, animal, Western, hunting or fishing motifs, leather accents and candle-style bulbs.

A ceiling fan and light fixture combination can also create a rustic statement piece while serving as a functional component of your home’s décor. Make sure the fan blades present a low profile so as not to distract from the motif or unique design or materials of the light fixture.

Floor and Table Lamps
Rustic accent lamps are an exceptional way to add even more visual interest to one or more rooms. Choose lamps constructed of metals or natural materials and motifs that feature natural elements such as leaves, trees or plants. Western and animal motifs also add great rustic touches. If you have an avid angler or bow hunter in the family, consider one of more custom floor or table lamps made from treasured but unusable fishing poles, fly reels or arrows.


Reel Lamps knows first-hand that the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” Is true. The company creates one-of-a-kind floor and table lamps out of discarded fishing gear. Unwanted or broken freshwater or saltwater rods, reels, old lures and scraps of granite are cleverly repurposed into creatively themed lamps. The company also provides clients with the option to create their own custom lamp designs from their own equipment. Reel Lamps also offers faux oil kraft lamp shade with top and bottom lacing in a variety of sizes, featuring hunting, fishing and animal motifs.

Pendant Lights
Kitchens, especially those featuring a seating area, bar or a central island, are the perfect areas for rustic pendant lights. Hanging lights from a ceiling to within a few feet of a prep, dining or entertainment area is practical, yet also another opportunity to expand on your rustic theme. Consider choosing pendant lighting that features bands of wood, cast iron, leather or brass, along with vintage-style, opaque glass.


Wall Sconces
Sconces not only add rustic charm to log walls or long hallways, they make a definite statement when framing a vintage wood-framed mirror in a bathroom. Custom shades featuring nature or animal motifs, wood or metal framework or refurbished antique lanterns mounted on reclaimed pieces of lumber all scream rustic.

Reel Lamps doesn’t limit its creativity to floor and table lamps. The company also offers a unique variety of rustic wall sconces that will enhance the décor of any home, lodge or cabin. Each design Is mounted on an unfinished natural lumber plaque. Depending on the model, each sconce includes part of a fishing rod, a reel and a rattle trap, jig, bobber or popper.


Lighting for Trophies and Collectibles
Don’t forget to include smaller lighting fixtures for your prized hunting or fishing trophies, antique collectibles or artwork. Thanks to the growing popularity of rustic décor, many lighting centers and stores that sell outdoor and sporting gear might carry exactly what you’re looking for. If you prefer authentic vintage options, try architectural salvage shops and antique stores.

Rustic lighting is far more than an antique carriage light by the front door – it sets its own mood and level of tranquility inside your favorite space as well.  Installing several types of rustic lighting in your home will only increase the relaxed ambience you’re looking for.



Reel Lamps was created in December of 2012 by Chet Nosalik with a design patent filed in January of 2013. Chet wanted to create something unique that captured the attention of fishing enthusiasts around the world.

Reel lamps unique fishing pole lamps are created from landfill-bound fishing gear; broken rods and reels, old lures, and granite scraps. Reel Lamps is the perfect example of the old saying “ One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” The company’s creativity continues to amaze anglers around the world by providing many species of fish themes both saltwater and freshwater.

Custom designs are also welcome. Reel Lamps has designed and built many lamps from clients memories and equipment of lost ones.

Click here for more information.

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Things to Consider When Buying a Lake Home for Renting Out

By Bethany Seton

It’s no secret that property investments can put you on the track towards financial freedom, but finding the right one might be more challenging than first thought. When it comes to purchasing waterfront property, there are many factors to consider which could impact upon the profitability of your investment into the future, which is why it’s important to have your checklist at the ready.

Consider your schedule
Unless you plan on engaging the services of a property manager, you’ll be responsible for looking after the dwelling and the needs of your tenants. Before you commit financially or emotionally to the idea of a lakeside investment property, think about whether you have enough time available to make regular visits and conduct proper maintenance. This is particularly important if the property is situated a long distance from your home – you’ll need to be prepared for the occasional road trip.

Find the funds
Before you can think seriously about adding another property to your portfolio, you’ll need a financial plan. If you’re prepared to manage risk and are looking to take advantage of rising real estate values, you might prefer to leverage the equity you have in your home and put it towards a down-payment. It is worth noting that the amount of equity you have will be dependant on the current state of the market, so your first step should be to find out just how much of it you can access and use towards your next property.

Often, as an investor, you can access up to 80% of your current property’s equity which can prove to be of immense benefit, depending on the value of the new investment. Alternatively, should this figure be insufficient, you’ll likely need to take out a second mortgage, which will come with a higher interest rate. Either way, you’ll want to be fully committed to a payment plan before taking on more debt.

Secure the right spot
It’s a blanket rule for purchasing real estate, regardless of your intended purpose, but even more important when you’re planning on renting out your new home. Proximity to the basic amenities like grocery stores and public transport will still factor in, but you’ll also want to consider things like the view from the property and access to beaches and parks.

Holidaymakers are chasing fun and relaxation, so if you can track down a spot that offers both, you’re halfway there. Other things to consider include the orientation of the house itself, which will make all the difference come sunrise and set, and the lake itself. Understanding the ecology of the water and its surrounds could save you from many nasty mosquito seasons ahead.

Account for maintenance costs
Every property costs money to maintain, and your expenses will be impacted by the location of the same. The standard rates in your chosen suburb will likely differ from what you pay for your home, and will likely be higher due to the waterside location. Depending on where the property is situated, you can also expect more rapid wear as a result of salt air, weather conditions, or rising water levels.
Even once all of these extra costs have been accounted for, you’ll want to keep some cash spare in case any repairs are required. You can minimize the likelihood of damages by choosing tenants with a positive rental history, but some routine repairs will become an unavoidable part of your lake house ownership.

Get insured
On top of the regular maintenance costs associated with property ownership, you’ll also have to cover the cost of insuring your new lakeside purchase. Compared with inland homes, lakeside properties are at a greater risk of flooding or other damaging weather conditions, a risk which will show up on your insurance policy. Depending on where your lake house is located, it would be prudent to familiarize yourself with your insurance options relating to your investment. Make sure to go through your policy with a fine-toothed comb and have the insurer clarify exactly what is and isn’t covered so that you know what you’re signing up for. Beyond weather conditions, you should also purchase landlords’ insurance and cover yourself for any potential damages caused by your future tenants – you can never be too safe.

Plan for the future
It’s not uncommon for homeowners to consider upsizing their property in the pursuit of extra value, but you’ll need to factor these plans into your purchase decisions. If you consider it likely that you’ll want to grow your investment in the future, avoid choosing real estate on a small block, as you could quickly run out of available yard space. Before you go ahead with any expansion plans, remember to consider whether the value added will outweigh the expense and whether you can afford to leave the dwelling vacant while renovations are in progress.

When it comes to choosing an investment property, any waterside home is a considerable commitment in terms of maintenance, but with the promise of financial freedom at your fingertips, it might well seem like a no-brainer. By considering all of your options and following a step-by-step process, you can make sure your investment stays watertight into the future.


Bethany Seton is a real estate agent from Melbourne. For the last two years, she decided to leave her office job and follow her passions for writing and traveling. Currently, she travels with her laptop and writes for various blogs, hoping one day she will gather all the experience she gets in one book.

Posted in Real Estate | Leave a comment

Patio Upgrades to Celebrate the Spring Days

If you and your family enjoy hanging out in your backyard during spring and summer, you might be interested to know what fancy upgrades you can make to enhance its look. It is very easy to add style and life to your patio with the following features.

Dining Set
How about a nice barbecue evening out? Now that the weather is gradually warming up, you can think about whiling away your evenings beside the charcoal grill accompanied by friends and neighbors, enjoying meatballs and bread with garlic dressing. Sounds yummy. But where are your guests going to sit? Now might be time to add a few chairs and dining table to your patio. Other than to make your outdoor area presentable, placing furniture outside will also make it usable.

And since the dining set is probably going to be exposed to the elements until the last days of fall, you want it to be weather-resistant and easy to clean. Choose materials that endure bad weather such as wicker, aluminum, wood and plastic.

Add a few curtains to your patio to have more control over how much wind, sun and rain comes in. Since the rest of the yard is open anyway, it never hurts to have some privacy outdoors. Put another way, turn your patio into an open living room. Add a couch, cushions and a small table. Choose bright colors to create a pleasant and comfortable environment for both your family and your guests.

During the day your patio will get plenty of sunshine, but what about at night? Now might be time to add some fancy lighting outdoors. Think cute tea lights, beautiful lanterns or vintage chandeliers. When it comes to outdoor lighting, you can find a myriad of lanterns in stores. There is such a bounteous supply of options that your head will start spinning around and around.

When selecting outdoor lighting, go for safe and nature-friendly options. Use LEDs and solar-powered lights. There are three major advantages of using eco-friendly lighting: first, there is no wiring and installation is piece of cake; second, you will attract fewer bugs; and third, it is so much more cost-effective! You will save money and be nice to nature at the same time.

Potted Plants
What is a patio without some colorful and fragrant flowers? If you have missed the beauty and freshness of flowers during winter, now is a perfect time to add some potted plants beside the furniture. Fresh flowers will add life to your patio as well. Whatever you choose, it will definitely fancy up the area.

We can’t think of anything more relaxing than bubbling water cascading from a wall. Now imagine having this feature in your own yard. Sounds like well-spent spring evenings. And the best thing is you can do it yourself with a little creativity and a few materials. There also are loads of water walls available at stores. So if you are planning some patio upgrades, be sure to add this one to the list.

Who needs a fireplace in spring? Well, to be honest, spring nights can be quite chilly and if you have decided to spend more time outdoors, you are going to need more than a few blankets to keep you warm. Installing a fireplace, which seems to be the most expensive option of all so far, is the ultimate outdoor addition we would like to show you. And it is worth having one (especially if you go for fancy curtains to keep wind and rain off). This is the perfect place to sit by in the evenings with a cup of tea and a good book. You’ll love it!

The tips are kindly provided by PerfectCleaning SW3

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Tips for opening your cabin or lake home after a long winter

You’ve been looking forward to it all dreary winter and now the time has come to open your cabin for the spring and summer! Follow these insights to get your lake home in peak warm-weather condition, while still leaving time to enjoy those first perfect weeks of cabin season.

Make a plan before you leave home

While it can be tempting to wing it, it’s best to give this first weekend a little bit of thought. Don’t forget to:

  • Call to turn on any services you shut off over the winter, including electricity, water and trash collection.
  • Check the insurance policies on your lake home and boat. Contact Edina Realty Insurance if you’ve purchased a new jet ski, boat or wave runner that you’d like to insure.
  • Check your boating registration and renew it if necessary. In Minnesota and Wisconsin, watercraft licenses must be renewed every three years.
  • If you plan to put in a dock, and you need help, call your crew a few weeks in advance to see if they’re available.

Focus on systems and safety

After a long winter away, you’ll need to be sure that your home is safe to inhabit again before you turn on your water and other systems.

  • Check the furnace and put in a new filter.
  • Check pipes for rust or damage before you turn on your plumbing and water heater. If you’re not sure how to make the call, hire a plumber to do a basic assessment.
  • Be on the lookout for signs of critters. Check screens and windows for holes and gaps and electrical cords for fraying or bite marks.
  • Inspect your deck and eaves for signs of rotting.
  • Test the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Test and replace the batteries in motion sensor lights on the front door, deck and on the way down to the lake.

Check in on basic necessities

Whether you’ll spend the whole summer or special weekends at your lake home, you’ll want to be sure it’s stocked with the basics. Run a quick inventory review before heading to the store for replenishments.

  • Go through your pantry and throw out any expired food, as well as anything that looks like it may have been the subject of a critter invasion.
  • Check that you’re stocked up on sunscreen and bug spray. Remember that sunscreen lasts at its original potency for up to three years. If you’re not sure when your bottles were purchased, buy a new set and label the purchase date so you can avoid tossing out bottles in the future.
  • Check the stock of your bathroom toiletries. To save money and stay green buy shampoo, conditioner and body wash in bulk bottles rather than using travel samples.

Plan for next year

Even with the best-laid plans, you’re likely to forget the exact size of batteries you need, or the magic solution that helps spruce up your rusty showerhead. At the end of your first weekend up north, write out a cabin-opening supplies checklist that you can use for years to come. Include:

  • Battery sizes for smoke, carbon monoxide and outdoor motion detectors
  • Furnace and air filter specifics
  • Vacuum bag sizes
  • Tools you need to check or turn on specific systems
  • Rags and cleaning cloths
  • Cleaning solutions
  • Toiletry basics
  • Critter traps or deterrents

You’ll thank yourself next year when your organizational habits give you even more time on the lake on that first perfect cabin weekend.


Hoping to buy a lake home this summer?

Buyers don’t want to miss one day on the water, so the market is already heating up! Start by getting matched up with a REALTOR® who specializes in your desired lake home area. Call, email or chat our customer care team today to get started.

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Five Tips For Finding Your First Perfect Lake Property

Whether you grew up with a lakefront cabin or home in your family, or have spent weekends and holidays at resorts or friends’ homes “Up North,” it’s a common dream to wish for a lake house of your own.

If you’re ready to start making fantastic memories involving early morning fishing trips, sandcastle building and sunset happy hours, follow these insights that will help you buy a lake home for the first time.

1. Choose the right lake for your needs

Start by asking yourself why you are buying a waterfront house. The possibilities for waterfront fun are endless, and some properties or lakes may better suit your needs, says Edina Realty lakeshore home expert Jim Eisler.

“Ask yourself, how do you intend to use the lake on an ideal weekend? Are you looking for water activities and a lake conducive to water skiing and wakeboarding? Do you envision long pontoon rides and the call of the loons? Do you fish for walleye, northern or the elusive muskie? These are the kinds of questions you want to ask and answer before you start your search,” says Eisler.

It’s also important to keep in mind what is static and what can be modified when it comes to lakes and lakefront properties. “Elevation and lakeshore quality has been created by nature and cannot usually be changed or modified, but the waterfront structures generally can be — subject to zoning ordinances,” says Eisler.

2. Determine the best location

Once you’ve figured out the kind of lake property you want, it’s time to identify the best location for your new adventure. Start by considering your starting point for each trip — either your primary residence or your work.

If you live and work in the eastern suburbs, for example, you may be interested in looking at lake homes in western Wisconsin. Burnett County is full of great properties, including in the popular vacation home towns of Siren and Spooner. Closer to the border, you may find you love St. Croix Valley riverfront homes.

If you work in downtown Minneapolis, consider exploring the Brainerd area, which is just two short hours away. Alexandria, another popular area for lake cabins and homes, is also only two hours northwest of the metro area.

Of course, when you have a fabulous lake home to retreat to on the weekends and holidays, any area can be the one you’ve been dreaming of. Whether you’ve settled on your desired lake home and its location or need a little help finding the right spot, get partnered with a lakeshore expert from one of Edina Realty’s 60 offices across Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

We’ll ask the right questions so you can enjoy your new property for years to come. After all, we live here and we have spent years becoming bonafide lake experts.

3. Think local

If you’re thinking of buying a waterfront home, we’d be remiss not to remind you that there are plenty of great bodies of water right where you live! Don’t forget to consider changing up your primary residence to be on a lake year-round.

If you’re in the Twin Cities metro area, popular lakes for full-time living include Lake Minnetonka and the Minneapolis chain of lakes — Lake of the IslesBde Maka Ska (formerly Lake Calhoun) and Lake Harriet.

Search lakeshore homes in any city in Minnesota or western Wisconsin.

4. Know the rules

Water is, of course, one of our most precious natural resources, and it’s important that lake property owners take great care of the lake or river where they choose to live.

In many cases, there are building ordinances that prevent homeowners from building near or on the shore. These ordinances are designed not only to protect the water and shoreline but can also help protect homeowners from building on waterfront land that may erode or destabilize over time.

If you’re planning to build on an empty lake lot or to tear down an existing home and rebuild, you’ll want to consult with the local governmental authority to make sure you can build as you desire. A lakeshore expert from Edina Realty can help you draft an offer that gives you time to determine whether your plans will work and can even put you in touch with developers who specialize in a waterfront building.

Want to learn about how the lake is being protected for the future before you buy a home or lot? See if the lake in question has an association that oversees the area. Many associations can give you the history of the lake and tell you how governing bodies like the county and DNR monitor the lake for clarity, fish, and safety.

5. Financing a lakefront home

Whether you’re buying a waterfront primary home or a weekend lake cabin, you should connect with a mortgage loan officer early in the process.

If you’ll be financing this property as a second home, you’ll work with your lender to determine if you are able to (and want to) use the equity from your primary residence to help pay for the down payment or closing costs of the new lake home. You will also have to disclose to the lender if you plan to use the property as a rental, which may impact your loan application and interest rate.

READ: How to prepare for financing a second home.

Getting started

If you’re hoping to enjoy a waterfront property this summer, get started now so you have plenty of time for backyard barbecues, boat cruises and bonfires.

Reach out today to get started on the process of buying a lake home, or start searching waterfront properties in Minnesota and western Wisconsin today.

If you follow us on Twitter and Facebook, follow #BuyerInsights for more great tips on purchasing the right home for you and your family.

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Reindeer Games At The Cabin

by Dale Mulfinger

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care with hopes that St. Nick soon would be there….. uh, oh. Did we design the fireplace to accommodate St. Nick? Isn’t he a bit chubby to fit down my flue?

On Dancer and Prancer and… but wait again… didn’t I see the reindeer outside my cabin munching down my corn and begging for more.

Are they on strike for better quality corn? I’ve been feeding them organic non-GMO, straight from Homestaed Mills feedmill in Cook.

Or is it Rudolph who has incited their rebellion? Has our use of red as cabin color made him jealous? Did he have an international patent on red? Chinese red as on the entry column to my cabin that my wife at one time painted to my surprise?

Are they contemplating immigration issues as they try to return to the North Pole? Maybe they won’t make it back into the US. In what country is the North Pole anyway? Or is it its own sovern state? I’ve tried speaking to them but all I got was grunts and snorts. You’d think they would be more polite since they appear as soon as my car arrives at the cabin. I’m hardly out of my car when they give me that look, “Where have you been? Where’s our corn?”

It’s possible that their attitude stems from knowing the steep roof slopes our SALA designs employ. Maybe we’ll need to hire a furrier to shoe their hooves with Vibram soles.

I’ve set out another bucket full of corn and now I’m returning to my desk to doodle a garbin for the Amundson property a few hundred yards from my cabin.

Dale Mulfinger was born and raised on a dairy farm in Minnesota, and the rural landscape and vernacular architecture have informed his many designs. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, he worked nationally and internationally before becoming a Founding Partner in 1983 of what is now SALA Architects, Inc. The breadth of his work at SALA includes modest remodels and additions, lakeside cabins, along with urban and rural homes from St. Paul to Buenos Aires.

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Quick Cabin Bites!

Presented by Chef Patrick Moore, the “Getaway Gourmet”

Chef Patrick Moore, the show’s very own “Getaway Gourmet” from Brule, Wisconsin is bringing three of his favorite hors d’oeuvres recipes to the cooking stage this year!  As always, his unique cooking presentations combine great award-winning flavors with his own belief that cooking at the cabin can be a wonderful experience that doesn’t have to take all day.

“You came to the cabin to relax with family and friends,”  Chef Patrick said, “I’m going to teach you how to make memorable meals and still leave time for play.”

This year’s “Quick Cabin Bites” recipes include;  Triple Mediterranean Bruschetta, Grilled Corn & Black Bean Salsa and Crab & Avocado Salad.

The “Getaway Gourmet Cooking Stage is located at the back of the 200 aisle.  Free recipe cards and “Quick Cabin Bites” samples will be served!  Cooking demonstrations will be presented a number of times each day.

Friday – 3, 5 & 7 p.m.; Saturday – 11 a.m., 1, & 3 p.m. and Sunday – noon & 2 p.m.

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