In Alexandria north of Arrowwood Resort and big Lake Darling is Lake Louise which was named after the daughter of Charlie Cook who had settled in Alexandria in 1858. He had been a fur merchant in London and a member of the Hudson Bay Company. Mr. Cook was the first postmaster of Alexandria and after a few years moved to the east coast and later to London where he spent the remainder of his life. I have also read that later in life he became an artist.
To the northeast of Lake Louise is a small lake named after Cook’s son, Charlie. Another son of Charlie Cook has an Alexandria lake named after him too. Lake Henry.
As you will see in photos I have shared, Louise and Charlie are connected by a stream. You will also see that Louise looks larger than the 214 acres reported by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. To me, it feels bigger than 214 acres too. Maybe it is the round shape, I don’t know, but when I have been out on Louise it feels much larger than 214 acres. Currently there aren’t any homes for sale at Louise but there are a couple of bare lots on the market. The lake offers good clarity (8 feet in the the most recent DNR survey) and desirable located close to shopping, schools, medical facilities, golf courses, and restaurants. Having Arrowwood as a neighbor is pretty nice too.
The photos, and a short video (safe for work, no sound), I have added were taken Saturday afternoon and give a 360 degree aerial view moving clockwise around the lake. At Arrowwood the 2017 Minnesota Lakes Classic Boat Show was taking place and I also captured some photos of the annual event.
[In the foreground of the photo below is Louise and behind it is the clubhouse of Arrowwood’s Atikwa Golf Course. Also visible: Arrowwood, Lake Alvin, Lake Darling, Lake Carlos, Lake L’homme Dieu, and Lake Agnes.]
Yesterday, lake lot sales in Alexandria came up in a discussion with a client and I was reminded that this will be the last year a classic cottage on Lake Darling’s Darling Drive will grace the shoreline. It is a ‘pending’ sale in the Alexandria MLS without contingencies and even though I have been told what the plans are, the plans to tear down is also in the description of the property in the MLS listing. For me, a lover of old lake cottages and cabins, it will be sad to see. There aren’t many left and one of them on Lake Carlos (lakecarlos.com) went on the market last week.
This is a listing of one of my partners, Tom Wegner, and the following is how he has described this property: Lake Ida custom home built with elegance & quality craftsmanship! This home will impress you at first sight! Designed with 4 bedrooms and could easily be made into 6 bedrooms with a bonus room loft and a walk-out lower level. This home is perfect for entertaining a large family and extra guests. Located on Betsy Ross Road, which is paved and is a quiet and a peaceful location. Home is nestled in the trees with beautiful landscaping and expansive views of Lake Ida. Home features abundant storage room, there is a large storage shed and awesome workshop in the 3rd garage bay that’s heated & has A/C. Lots of additional features. Small HOA shares lakeshore and dock with space for you boat lift.
For more information about this Lake Ida home visit:
Instead of lake breezes and the sound of a loon, the home at 112 Country Club Heights Road in Alexandria has green (literally greens) and the quiet a golf course provides, outside the windows and doors. But besides having the front nine of the Alexandria Golf Club to enjoy it has Lake Darling .3 miles from the front door. What is best is after a brief walk, bike or drive, the owners can go for a boat ride to Zorbaz on the Lake or go water skiing. You see, this property and some others on Country Club Heights Road have shared access to a really nice lot on Big Darling. The owners share a marina and can have a lift for their boat or pontoon. Pretty nice living.
Update: This property is under contract with contingencies…
Lucky. That is what I was when my parents decided to buy their first home in Alexandria at Lake Brophy back in the early 70’s. A few years later they bought a home on the west side of downtown Alexandria and a cottage at Lake Le Homme Dieu. Next was a cottage at the south end of Lake Carlos. The net result was life at the lake has been a part of every summer of my life. I loved it and still do. A breeze from Lake Darling is keeping me cool as I write this on a hot Sunday evening. Much of what I enjoy about lake life is the simplicity of living and of course the close connection to nature. Not that that can’t exist away from the lake but it seems to easily go hand in hand at the lake especially in the smaller confines of a cottage.
Something else that was instilled in me, and for which I feel fortunate, was that tennis can be enjoyed for your entire life. My mother told me this as she made me go to my first tennis lesson. The lesson was with Suzie Olson (now Suzie Johnson), a longtime tennis coach with Jefferson High School. Suzie and the game hooked me immediately and it led to more lessons and many hours on a tennis court. I haven’t played much in the past decade but will again some day. It is a game that whether aged five years or ninety-five, you can enjoy.
This all leads me to the photos below. Last week I received an email from someone I hadn’t connected with in a few years. Back in the 2000’s I participated in the District 206 Lunch Buddy Program. In brief, it is a program that connected me with an elementary student that might benefit from spending time with someone outside their peer group each week. It is a great program and I can say that I benefited as much as the new friend I made. Anyway, the person that contacted me was the wonderful coordinator of the Lunch Buddy Program and more. Her husband happens to be the President of the Alexandria Area Tennis Association and she had heard I own a drone and wondered if I could capture some aerials of the courts at Discovery Middle School and Alexandria Area High School. I was glad to not only help Kathy but to give back to the tennis association. Below are some of the photos I took today. Alexandria is a special place to live and as you will see, there are some nice courts to play tennis. Learn more about the AATA at their web-site and/or their Facebook page. In closing, I’d also like to give a shout out to Casey DeJong. He was my high school coach and has done so much for tennis in Alexandria and gave so much to me. He is a good person and regretfully I don’t know that I ever expressed that to him. I should stop by a local court. No doubt, Casey is there playing and having a great time.
Alexandria Area High School
Discovery Middle School
Earlier this year I bookmarked a site I read about somewhere of which I can’t recall. The site is called SunCalc and what it does is show you the sun is at during the day at a location you specify and a date you specify. Really cool. The screenshot on the left shows you the sun today at Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria. It is an especially handy tool for anyone building a home or planning a landscape project.
Remodeling Magazine each of the last thirty years has published a report called Cost vs. Value. Their objective is to pass on to the public uninfluenced information about what it will cost to have a professional complete a remodeling project and, based on opinions of real estate professionals, how much it will raise the home’s value if it were to be sold within a year. The data they collected for 2017 is from 29 types of project in 99 markets across the United States.
In Remodeling’s summation of the national date, they wrote
To understand the 2017 Cost vs. Value report, think “greige.”
Greige—a mix of gray and beige—is said to be one of the hottest colors around, despite it being such a subtle tone. It’s the same thing with Cost vs. Value: This year’s report is more about several small, incremental improvements rather than colorful jolts. It’s a greige kind of year.
The 29 projects in the 2017 report paid back an average of 64.3 cents on the dollar in resale value. We add and remove projects just about annually, but if you focus solely on the 24 projects that we’ve tracked for the past six years, their payback for 2017—also 64.3 cents—is only about three-quarters of a penny higher than in our report for 2016.
Those changes are minimal because the differences in the underlying numbers are minimal. The average cost for those 24 projects rose 3%, while the value that real estate pros put on the projects went up 4.2%. Minor gains, yes, but welcome ones compared with the trauma induced by the Great Recession nearly a decade back.
Both recent and long-time trends continued. “Curb appeal” projects—changes to doors, windows, and siding—by and large generated higher returns on investment than work done inside the home. Meanwhile, projects that called for replacing something, like a door or window, scored higher among real estate pros than did remodels.
You can read more about the 2017 report and see the numbers for the West North Central States Region and also download a PDF containing a report for Minneapolis. Even if thought of selling is a distant or currently non-existent thought, it is good information to know.
A .72 acre lot with 102 feet of level frontage at Maple Lake went on the market yesterday. There isn’t an abundance of level, sandy lakeshore and unfortunately it can’t be made. That, the .72 acre size and this location make this an attractive lot. It is a short drive to the bustling south end of Alexandria where there is shopping, groceries, banking, restaurants and medical facilities. And ofcourse that means quick access to Interstate 94 too. A key feature though is that it is within School District 206. This means that any students that live at this property will be able to attend Alexandria Area High School and the younger students will be able to attend Woodland Elementary School.
Steps will get you more for your hard earned dollars at the lake. Yesterday I returned from a visit to Paris and the apartment I rented in the Marais district reminded me of this fact of lakefront life. The apartment I rented in the 4th arrondissement overlooked a square where there used to be a convent in the 13th century and the buildings were built around 1787. I have rented an apartment in Paris before and it was in an older building that had an elevator added to the center without giving up any architectural character. One hasn’t been added to the apartment I rented this year and I was on the fifth floor and had 140 steps to climb. It wasn’t a problem or inconvenience to me whatsoever.
With those 140 steps came a nice price. My previous stay at the building with an elevator and a Seine view cost me more than twice what I paid this year for the same number of days. There are many thoughts that would enter a potential buyer’s or renter’s mind such as “what if my health declined” or “it is going to be a pain to carry groceries up and down” or “my grandmother is going to have a hard time when she visits”. These are also the mental roadblocks lakefront buyers confront during a lake home search. And thus, there is lower demand for lake properties that have a decent amount of steps to the shoreline and this means buyers will get more for their lakefront dollar. Speaking from my own experience and the experience of past clients that did buy a lake property with steps, it is a very small issue and while not inexpensive, a motorized lift can be added. But far less expensive than a more level lake lot will cost.
A handful of homeowners in Alexandria are lucky enough to have Lake Le Homme Dieu on one side of their property and the back nine of the Alexandria Golf Club on the other side. If you watch a video (embedded in this post) I recorded this past weekend you will journey down the 14th fairway towards its tee box and the green of the 13th hole. The home behind the bunker of the 13th green (look for a white garage door) is on the market as of yesterday evening. Once the trip down the 14th is completed you will see the handful of homes I mentioned viewed from South Le Homme Dieu Drive and starting at the home that just went on the market, 711 S Le Homme Dieu Drive NE.
Update: This property sold during the first week of the listing period.
Below are videos I recorded this past Wednesday. Straight from a memory card used in my drone, they are unedited and quite imperfect but they will give anyone interested in Alexandria, and specifically Lake Victoria and Lake Burgen, a look at the status of the ice at both lakes (as of Wednesday afternoon). I’ve been busy and hadn’t gotten to editing them and the ice would have likely departed by the time I got to them.
Besides offering an ice update the videos also show neighborhoods off the lake at the southeast side of Lake Victoria with addresses such as Wilderness Ridge, Lois Lane and Shadow Lane, as well as homes on the east side of Lake Burgen (East Burgen Road and Maple Drive) as well as Rosewood Lane at the northwest corner of the lake.
Notice the large swath of land that is owned by the state at the north end of Burgen. There is a Public Access there as well as across Hazel Hill Road at the south end of Victoria (look for the pier). You will see my black car in the large parking lot. You will also see the Living Word Lutheran Church (it is white) on the east side of Lake Victoria. The Burgen Public Access has some of the nicest lakeshore you will find. Sandy and no weeds. It is one of my favorites, if not my favorite, Public Accesses to park my car at and pump up my inflatable SUP for a tour.
The videos are very far from perfect, or good, but I hope someone enjoys them or finds them useful.
Being that Mother Nature has been confused this winter I figured those of you that aren’t in the area would be interested to see the status of the ice at the lakes in Alexandria. So with my drone in tow, yesterday, the first day of Spring, I parked at the Lake Geneva Public Access and recorded footage at the north end of Geneva.
Each May when I move to the lake a heavy dose of nostalgia moves over me. And it persists throughout the summer as well as each time I visit a lake cottage or cabin throughout the year. This year when I move from my primary residence in Alexandria to the lake cottage will be no different. I will think of the past summer as well as summers long ago. The appreciation for them grows as I age and the simple pleasures of life rise in importance.
Technological advances energize me as does what it does to improve the quality and efficiency of life. That being said, I have been guilty in the past of spending too much time looking down at the rectangular device in my hand. But, I have improved in that regard quite a bit in the past couple of years. Moving to the lake is one of the best tonics for me to be more in the moment and remember the moments. Smell usually does it. The smell of the lake or a cottage that has been closed up for the winter. Or, seeing a young boy or girl skiing for the first time takes me back to my first time skiing at Lake Le Homme Dieu. Fireworks around the Fourth or the start of Wimbledon elicits remembrances of time with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. Great times at the lake. At a cottage my family used to own on Government Point we used to crowd around a tiny television with poor reception and watch Borg, McEnroe, Connors, Navratilova and Evert along with other tennis greats. Last year I sat lakeside and watched live coverage on an iPad.
The tiny television versus iPad being used is a good way to think about a lake property. Each year with technology, there is going to be something better and sooner or later you are going to spend more money to upgrade. With a lake property, it is highly likely your investment isn’t going to depreciate and dividends will be paid in the form of more time with your family and memories made. I highly recommend it.
The Super Bowl is a big event annually for millions of people around the world. There is a group people in the United States of America that look forward to as much as anyone. Yes, ofcourse anyone in the advertising business but I am referring to the members of the National Association of REALTORS. Super Bowl Sunday is typically the kick off to real estate sales for the year and it likely will be no different in 2017 across Minnesota. From now until Memorial Weekend you will see lake cabins and cottages become available for purchase as well as homes off the lake in residential neighborhoods in Alexandria.
For anyone considering buying real estate that is visiting alexmn.com for the first time, note that on each page there are links to pages that will show you real estate for sale at a specific location, such as a lake, or a specific price range. On the lake homes, lake lots and residential pages, there are also search forms. While the search form on the home page of my site will search all listings, the other forms will only search their category. So, if you want a lake home with four bedrooms, go to the lake homes page and set the bedrooms to four and the filtered results will only show four bedroom lake homes. At any page when you have results, notice that you can toggle between a list view and a map view. If you end up with a question, I’d love to hear it. Have a good time this Sunday and I also hope you have a good time searching for real estate.
Have you viewed an episode of HGTV’s popular program, Beachfront Bargain Hunt? If you haven’t, here is the premise. People that are dreaming of living at the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico (correct me if I am wrong but I haven’t seen an episode yet at another body of water) search for a waterfront home. The trouble is that the locations they like are more accommodating to million plus budgets and not the $300,000 or less budget of the people on the show. Three or four waterfront homes are toured and there is a reason for the ask price such as a road or highway that needs to be crossed to reach the beach or the home is a condo. It is pretty surprising to see some of the properties available. Just like HGTV’s House Hunters and House Hunters International, I find it fun to watch and try to figure out which home is going to be chosen.
Buying a lake home in Alexandria or at a lake nearby Alexandria also is within reach for almost every budget (the home pictured below sold for $222,500 in 2106 at Lake Vermont). Like the people searching on Beachfront Bargain Hunt, being realistic is an important part of success. I suggest having a spreadsheet with ‘must haves’ and ‘wants’. If you are willing to drawn a line through some or all of the wants and satisfy all or most of your ‘must haves’, you are probably going to be able to find a home. 31 families that paid $100,000 or less will be spending the summer of 2017 at a lake in Douglas, Pope or Todd County. The majority of the properties are in associations and the home is a mobile home. That style of living may not be for you but I can almost guarantee that people that are the new owners will have a great time. If their expectations were for privacy and a large interior, they aren’t going to be very pleased.
With a budget up to $300,000, you can own a home at The Chain of Lakes if you are okay with being in an association such as Blakes by the Lakes or are okay with a home needing some renovation and/or (more than likely ‘and’) having a number of steps down to the shoreline. If you go to my ‘LAKE HOMES‘ page and do a price search up to $300,000 (or just click on the Lakefront Bargain Hunt image) you will see what I mean. There are properties at Lake Darling, Lake Victoria, and Lake Jessie available as of today, January 10th, 2017. The inventory of lake homes on the market is pretty light right now because of the time of year but stay tuned. The time new listings of lake homes start hitting the market varies each year.
Guilty. That I am, of spending too much time focused on my smartphone or tablet. But, I have gotten much better at living in the moment and my phone is put away when driving. You won’t see me walking through city streets looking at my phone and if I am with someone at a restaurant my phone is out of sight. It still amazes me when I visit large cities such as New York City that so many people are looking at their phones as they walk down the street and that there aren’t a higher number of fatalities resulting from a car or bus hitting a pedestrian that was updating their Facebook status. Anyway, back to living in the moment.
While I am enjoying the moment of winter and the holiday season in Minnesota, my mind has been wandering to summer moments. Thus, the video below. It is partly self-serving ofcourse as I’d like to keep people focused year round on summers in Alexandria and contacting me to help them buy or sell, but I also enjoy producing videos showcasing the lakes and Alexandria. So I put together a montage of clips from summer at Alexandria’s Chain of Lakes earlier this week. I’ll be interested to hear if anyone can name the famous Lake Le Homme Dieu woman that appears in the video. She was special and is dearly missed by many.
This video was recorded in the morning on December 3rd, 2016. It was a crisp, quiet morning in Alexandria and I made the mistake of not wearing gloves. It was getting painful so I had to cut my aerial visit short but did capture some decent video of the building and the north end of Broadway. When my quadcopter heads away from the court house towards Broadway you will see the former Central Junior High School. This is where I attended school from 7th to 9th grades and it is now the Law Enforcement Center as well as housing other government agencies such as a Department of Motor Vehicles office. On the east side of the building in the lower level is the Douglas County Library.
The Douglas County web-site has this posted about the building, “The official business of the county was held in officer’s homes until 1867 when the county commissioners voted to rent a small frame building on Main Street for the county offices. The first county jail was built in 1868. It was a 12 x 14 foot building of oak timbers with ceiling, floors, and walls one half foot thick. In 1875, the widow of William Hicks donated Block 34 of the Original Town Site of Alexandria to the county with the provision that it be used for building a courthouse. In 1876, a two story frame building with five offices on the ground floor was erected. The second floor was used as a courtroom. This building was used for over 20 years until the first courthouse at the present location was built in 1880 with a brick jail on the same lot.
The county government went through a reorganization in 1888 and new commissioners were appointed by the State Legislature. This was the last appointed county board as county commissioners have been chosen through the election process since.”
People that are new to the Chain of Lakes in Alexandria, Minnesota will often ask me about flooding. Usually, it is because of a previous experience at a lake that didn’t have any way of releasing water. The Chain does have an outlet thanks to the Long Prairie River. So, while there are summers that the water is higher than other summers, flooding isn’t a problem. A few summers ago there were some lots that were very level to the shoreline that did have the lake creep onto their land a bit and the only negative was work needed on landscaping near the shoreline.
The head of the Long Prairie river is at the northeast corner of Lake Carlos and the river ends around 94 miles miles later where the Crow Wing River begins. There is a dam with a parking area just beyond the outflow from Lake Carlos that I pass by often when driving to visit homes or to Lake Carlos State Park for a hike. I also pass by it often on my bike as I enjoy biking around Lake Carlos. For people that don’t live in the area the parking would be a handy spot to park and unload their bikes for a ride. During the summer there frequently are people beginning a leisurely tube ride on the river.
The Beginning of the Long Prairie River and The Chain of Lakes Exit
A Long Prairie Rive Selfie
[both videos recorded November 13, 2016]
Less than 48 hours before everyone in Alexandria, Minnesota was jarred back into reality with snow and ice I recorded a short trip around Little Darling. It is a counter clockwise trip beginning facing the properties along Casa Marina Road. If you look closely you can see Lake Alvin behind it. Big Darling is in the rear as the tour continues. You will see two points. On the right at the end of Casa Marina Lane is Glendovan Point. Across from it on the other side of the lake is Brown’s Point. It was named after a prominent businessman that came to Alexandria in 1860, L.J. Brown. Mr. Brown ran a real estate ad calling it “Point Delight” but that, I think fortunately, didn’t have staying power.
As the video continues you will see a distant view of some of the homes, cottages and cabins of Darling Drive until Carlos-Darling Drive is reached. Lake Carlos comes into view and after the channel between Darling and Carlos we are back to the properties off of Casa Marina Road.
At 28572 South Shore Drive (the southwest corner of 8,050 acre Lake Minnewaska) is a year round home with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Yesterday I was at the property and recorded aerial video. The garage and land across the road from the red home is part of the property. Notice how level the 139 feet of shoreline is and if you look closely you will also see a sandy bottom. The city of Starbuck is a bike ride away as is the famous Starbuck Dairy Queen. With shoreline like this another beach isn’t needed but there is a nice beach by the Dairy Queen too if someone in the family has an urge to build a sand castle or play with other aspiring builders.
Link: MLS 10-21501
Latoka Highlands is a fairly new development in Alexandria that is nearby Latoka Beach. Nice for everyone that lives there but especially for active kids as it can be reached by foot. It also is a short drive to downtown Alexandria and there is a bike lane all the way to downtown as well. Other benefits to the location besides Latoka Beach are its close proximity to the YMCA and one of Alexandria’s largest employers, Tastefully Simple. For anyone with hockey players in their family, it is also nearby Alexandria’s ice rink, Runestone Community Center.
It was a beautiful weekend, wasn’t it? The floundering Minnesota Vikings aside, the weather was spectacular for November in Minnesota. Sunday morning I popped in my earbuds (walking and listening to podcasts is a favorite activity of mine…my current favorite is ‘How I Built This‘). I went for a walk from the courthouse in Douglas County to Big Ole Park and then City Park. There is a trail that branches off the Central Lakes Trail and takes you along the eastern shore of Lake Agnes. This year another branch off the trail was added. It is paved and will take you to Kenwood Drive and then north/south. It is a separate trail from Kenwood and is nice for walkers, bikers, etc. as before there wasn’t a designated path. It passed right by Caribou Coffee for those needing a caffeine boost.
During my walk I took a few pictures with my iPhone and have shared them with commentary.
The Douglas County Courthouse is located in the 300 block of 8th Ave West between Douglas and Elm streets (west of Broadway in Alexandria).
Big Ole. He faces south and used to be located about 2 blocks south of his current position. Behind Big Ole is the Central Lakes Trail and Lake Agnes.
Big Ole had a makeover (new paint) in 2015-2016.
This is part of a sitting area in Big Ole Park.
Dogs are welcome at Big Ole Park and the trail. It is nice that the city has provided a pet waste station. Big Ole Park also has restrooms for humans.
This is something new to the park and trail. It is a handy tune-up station for bikes and more. There is even a tire pump.
I like inline skating and you will often find me here lacing up.
Lake Agnes with Lake Henry in the distance. The two lakes connect and really are just one lake with south and north bays.
Shuffleboard at City Park. Lake Henry is visible on the left. There is a public beach that can’t quite be seen in this photo but it is there and pretty nice for small children.
Horseshoes and Lake Henry at City Park.
The City Park Bandstand.
There also is a fishing pier at City Park.
It has been a busy year in Alexandria’s real estate market. Not crazy busy but similar to 2015. Quietly strong.
This morning I was scrolling through my memory and recalling sales of homes, cabins and cottages at The Chain. In September, my age hit 48 and my memory took another hit. Continually, I am saved by Google or one of my favorite apps, Evernote. When it comes to real estate in Alexandria, there is no equal tool to the data each member of the Greater Alexandria Area Association of REALTORS has at their fingertips when they are logged into Flexmls. A laptop is in front of me and I am logged in so let’s take a look at the high and low sales at a number of lakes in Alexandria’s Chain of Lakes thus far in 2016. Note that if you click to see one of the closed sales that the price you will see is the list price at the time of the acceptance of the Purchase Agreement.
I will start with at the beginning of The Chain at the Alexandria lake where my love of lake life bagan, Lake Brophy. The high sale was for $340,000 at 1286 East Lake Brophy Road NW and the low sale was at 1444 Brophy Park Rd NW for $247,400.
It is unusual to see sales at the lake that connects to Brophy, North Union, as it is about as undeveloped as you can get in the area. But, one sale closed in 2016. 2500 County Road 22 NW sold for $520,000.
Next in line at the Chain is Lake Stony and then Taylor. Like North Union, there are few homes. But, Stony did have a closed sale in 2016. 1456 Carlson Beach Road NW sold for $185,000.
Moving from Taylor to Cowdry, we start hitting the heavily developed lakes. Cowdry’s high sale was $590,00 at 520 East Lake Cowdry Road NW and the low sale was $157,948 at 1026 West Lake Cowdry Road NW.
Sale prices at Lake Darling were more muted than in a typical year. The high sale was $357,500 at 3807 Casa Marina Road NW and the low sale price was $283,000 at 404 Carlos Darling Drive NW (by the Carlos Darling Channel).
Lake Geneva has been pretty busy so far this year with a lot of activity at East Lake Geneva Road. The high sale was $725,000 at 686 East Lake Geneva Road and the low sale was $250,000 at 1003 Glacier Avenue.
The Chain ends at Lake Jessie. Each year there aren’t many sales as it is fairly undeveloped. There was a sale at 2405 West Lake Jessie Drive SE so it receives the title for high and low sale at $275,000.
The takeaway is that if you are patient, there is a good chance you will find a lake property that fits your budget and your needs. Likely not all your wants but most of your needs. Just always keep in mind the importance of the features of the lake lot and the location. And, keep the market trends in mind. If you like hearing of sales you can sign up for my weekly newsletter that I send out to subscribers each Saturday morning. It is more concise than this blog post as I simply list by bullet the new lake home listings, the lake homes under contract and the closed (sold) lake homes. Sign up at the bottom of any page of my site.
On a final note. By focusing on Alexandria’s Chain of Lakes I am skipping many great lakes such as Ida, Maple and Miltona to name three. If you are interested in learning of the high and low sales at any lake, leave a comment and I will reply with the information.
If you were in Alexandria this past Saturday, wasn’t it a beautiful day? Perfect weather and the fall colors are even more perfect. It was a good day to do anything outside and after a couple hours of cleaning up my lawn I drove to the Public Access at Lake Le Homme Dieu next to Rotary Beach and then launched my DJI Phantom. I’ll be adding more video later but in the meantime, here is a rising view from the Carlos – Le Homme Dieu Channel.
Lakes in and around Alexandria are the obvious attraction to most people. Myself included. The area is chock full of really, really nice lakes. While they are equally beautiful in the winter, I spend the winter in town at my home on the west side of Alexandria. I grew up on the west side and have always appreciated its neatly laid out streets and having parks and the downtown area just a short walk away. It is easy to get to the Central Lakes Trail from the west side too. Families with kids that live on the west side have the advantage of having Lincoln Elementary School within walking distance.
In the video below (recorded this afternoon) you will have an aerial view starting at First Lutheran Church and moving south along Douglas Street and ending about half way between 12th and 13th Avenues. On the left side of the video is Cedar Street.
Red Rock has been very popular this year. Seven sales of lake homes wouldn’t garner attention for lakes such as Darling, Carlos and Le Homme Dieu but for a 520 acre lake that isn’t overdeveloped, it is noteworthy. Certainly there is nothing wrong with Red Rock that would account for seven sales in a calendar year that isn’t over yet, otherwise there wouldn’t have been seven buyers and it should be noted that the days on the market for these seven properties were normal or better than the market average for lake homes in the Greater Alexandria Area Association of REALTORS.
The price range for the six that are closed sales (one property listed at $275,000 is under contract but hasn’t closed yet) was $84,900 to $225,000. Here is a list of the six that have sold with the ask price listed first and followed by the sale price.
Lake Minnewashta in Carver County has some unwanted visitors. Zebra Mussels.
But, there is some good news coming from Minnewashta and a joint partnership of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, Carver County and the Lake Minnewashta Preservation Association. They worked in coordination with Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources. A treatment that was applied to Minnewashta’s Little Minnie Bay. The treatment was a copper-based product called EarthTecQZ and it has been reported that it looks like it was a success. That is all the news I have found for now but it is good news indeed. Zebra mussels get a lot of attention in the press but the reality is that only two percent of Minnesota lakes have them. Positive news about a solution to getting that percentage closer to zero is a nice way to end the week.
At this time of year the page views at this site slide. It has happened every year since it went online in 2004. The reason is that the majority of people returning to my site or visiting for the first time, are people interested in lake properties in the Alexandria Area. Fall has many people’s thoughts on school, football, hunting, outdoor projects, enjoying the fall colors and not on summers at the lake. It is natural for people to get more excited about lake life towards the end of winter and at the beginning of spring. But now and leading up to the first snowfall (sorry for bringing it up), it is the best time for negotiating a good price on a lake home.
It isn’t the case with every property listed for sale in the Multiple Listing Service as each seller has their own motivation. But, put yourself in the shoes of someone that owns a lake home that is only used seasonally. That owner is likely going to take a harder look at offers now. Offer that they might not consider next spring. The lake home is going to sit empty and the owner will have carrying costs such as utility bills, upkeep, taxes, insurance and if there is a mortgage, monthly payments will be made. If they sold their lake property now, they would have equity freed up. And uncertainty can get the better of people’s imaginations. Questions such as “How is the presidential election result going to affect the economy” or “How is the real estate market going to be in 2017” may be thought about. Uncertainty is your friend when you are a buyer. Sellers become less uncertain, if not over confidant, in the spring as potential buyers are excited about the upcoming summer.
People that have listed real estate for sale shouldn’t be underestimated, they are savvy than often is perceived. It is uncommon that a seller or their representation will be imprudent enough to answer the question. Most often, the best case is they will give a response that they aren’t going to hold out for full price.
The majority of people aren’t going to give a verbal response regarding price and/or terms on real estate being offered for sale. There a number of reasons this is true but a big reason is that a buyer that won’t take the time to put together an enforceable Purchase Agreement isn’t serious.
How does this year stack up versus the previous year in lake home sales in Alexandria? Pretty nicely. In 2015, 101 lake homes were sold from January 1st thru August 26th versus 117 in 2016. By ‘sold’ I am referring to the date a Purchase Agreement (PA) was agree upon. A PA accepted on 12/31/2015 would be included in the 2015 numbers even though it closed in 2016 or if it hasn’t closed yet. The numbers are also only for properties with an Alexandria mailing address. Last year the high sales were higher and more plentiful. There were 4 sales higher than 1 million dollars and 11 higher than $600,000. This year there have been no million plus sales and 8 higher than $600,000.
Unlike the email newsletter I send to subscribers every Saturday morning, the numbers I have shared include all Multiple Listing Service listings that were classified as lake properties. This includes properties that are part of lakefront associations, have deeded access, shared access or 100% owned frontage at a lake. The newsletter I send only includes homes that solely own their lakeshore.
GIS is short for geographic information system. From Wikipedia: “In a general sense, the term describes any information system that integrates, stores, edits, analyzes, shares, and displays geographic information. GIS applications are tools that allow users to create interactive queries (user-created searches), analyze spatial information, edit data in maps, and present the results of all these operations. Geographic information science is the science underlying geographic concepts, applications, and systems.”
Douglas County recently upgraded their GIS offering in a big way and have made it easy to find information about real estate and the layer with leaf-off aerials from 2016 also will give you a very good feel for water depth and the bottom of the lake. Check it out. It is a wonderful tool. Below is an example in a screenshot of a portion of an area of Three Havens.
A writer for National Geographic wrote this about Lake Le Homme Dieu. This is according to the passage about Lake Le Homme Dieu from the copy of “How The Lakes Were Names” at the Douglas County Historical Society in Alexandria near Noonan Park.
Here is more of the text about Le Homme Dieu….
Lake Le Homme Dieu is one of the “most beautiful sheets of water in America,” a writer in the National Geopgraphic Magazine wrote some time ago. The north shore area of this lake, called Interlachen Park, was named for Interlochen, Switzerland, which means “between the lakes.” The naming of Lakes Carlos, and L’Homme Dieu have been hard nuts to crack.In Dr. Warren Upham’s book on Geographical Names in Minnesota, he says that G.A. Kortsch wrote him that they were named by Glendy King, an early homesteader in that area. King named Carlos and L’Homme Dieu for his two friends in West Point Academy. This story errs in that a Mr. Napoleon Beedom got a U.S. patent in 1871 to this land between the lakes. He sold to a Chales Kingston in 1875 which may account for the confusion of names.
A shore while ago, Dr. William Anderson of Minneapolis, who owns property on Lake L’Homme Dieu, was interested enough to write the Academy to verify if all three men were there at the same time. It must have taken much searching, but the librarian answered that in 1886 there were two cadets by those names. BUT NO KING. There was a Charles Kingsley, however. In letters written by the Kinkeads, they speak often of their neighbor, Glendy King. We know from my early map that among the homesteaders listed on it, was the name of Glendy King whose homestead was on Lake Winona close to the homes of Will Kinkead and Mary A. Kinkead. This land was where the airport in Alexandria is now located, reaching down to Lake Winona. Will came in 1857, Mr. King must have come to Douglas County soon after. Oddly enough, the names of Lake Carlos and Lake L’Homme Dieu are on this old map. If Mr. King did name these lakes he must have done so before the 1860’s. The Alexandria Mr. King could hardly have been at the Academy in 1886, nor could he have been the homesteader on the lakes, neither dates nor names jibe.”
If you would like to read the remainder of what is shared about Lake Le Homme Dieu, I have uploaded a PDF and you can download it using the link provided below.
The Legacy of the Lakes Museum (formerly named Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum) in Alexandria has many exhibits that are enjoyable to visit again and again. One of them exhibits the Grand Hotels and Resorts that were in Alexandria. I took this photo of a brochure from Bedman’s Beach Resort at Lake Ida. Ah, the days of $20 – 22 a week at the lake. My favorites from the brochure are “Surf-board riding is a real sport” and “Where lake cooled breezes and home comforts with no care for the morrow make winter come too soon”.
The dog in the video is an English Springer Spaniel named Piper that lives next door to me at Lake Darling. If Piper had her way, she would run and jump into the lake over and over again until she fell over in exhaustion. I am with her and love being able to help her addiction. Below are some other videos I found on YouTube of dogs enjoying jumps into lakes.
Iona Way is a street in Alexandria that has more than one nice feature. First off, the people that live in homes on Iona Way have frontage on one if the cleanest lakes in Douglas County, Lake Latoka (tip: keep an eye on homes for sale at Lake Latoka by visiting latoka.com). The homeowners also enjoy peace and quiet with very low traffic as the street ends with a cul de sac and there are a total of six homes with Iona Way addresses. And finally, shopping and medical facilities round out what is great about this location. It is around a three mile drive to the shopping (WalMart, Target, Aldi, Dunn Bros. etc.) and the top rated medical facilities at the south end of Alexandria.
The last sale at Iona Way was in 2008 for $860,825. The home has 3,832 finished square feet, 1.2 acres and 154 feet of lake frontage. The home pictured above is currently for sale in Alexandria’s MLS. THe MLS number is 10-17952 and it has 5,573 finished square feet, 1.51 acres and 190 feet of Latoka frontage.
You know those “you have memories to look back at” notices you get each day on Facebook? I received one this morning and one year ago today I shared the video below. Except for some new homes and remodel projects going on at Lake Darling, this video could have been recorded today. A beautiful day one year ago, a beautiful day today.
In regards to real estate sales at Lake Darling, here is what has gone on in 2016. All ‘sold’ properties have been in the $300,000 – $400,000 range. A property on Casa Marina Road sold for $324,000 in February and there is renovating going on. Another property on Casa Marina Road is under contract (list price $398,000) and the third property is on South Darling Lane (list price $324,900).
Do you dislike Open Houses but like Lake Le Homme Dieu and Alexandria’s Chain of Lakes? I have a video for you and have embedded it below. In it, I take you around 2712 Le Homme Dieu Heights and down to the lake, then head back to the home and inside. Once inside, you will get a walk-thru the main level to take a look at the living room, kitchen, dining area, laundry room, pantry, half bath and a wonderful porch. A porch surrounded by pleasing landscaping and views of it and the lake in three different directions. Next you will walk up stairs to level 2 and three bedrooms that all have lake views. There is a large, attractive full bathroom outside the bedrooms. Finally, in the video you will tour the walk-out level that includes a family room, work area, bedroom (also has a lake view), 3/4 bathroom and the utility room. You will notice a large patio and I kicked myself after reviewing the video for not opening the door and walking outside. If you look closely you will also catch my reflection in a few windows and mirrors. HGTV wouldn’t be pleased.
At the southwest corner of the second largest lake in Douglas County (MN), Lake Ida, is Bedman Drive. It is a paved township road with no outlet. Very peaceful. And, the location is advantageous as it is a short drive to downtown Alexandria and an even shorter drive to places such as Arrowwood, Zorbaz, the Alexandria Golf Club and Bug-a-Boo Bay.
It isn’t very often that level, sandy lakeshore is for sale at prime Alexandria lakes and is even more uncommon to have them right next to each other. That is the case today. Two adjacent lots on Bedman Drive are both listed for sale. Different owners with the same reason for having them on the market. They both now have homes on an Alexandria lake. Both of these lots have public sewer ready (connection fee needed). Only a well will be needed. As you will see in the video I recorded yesterday for lot 2, it is a really nice setting.
If they interest you, feel free to visit and walk them. Both lots have the corners staked. There are two routes to get to this location. Heading north on County Road 34, turn left onto County Road 61. Then, turn right on Bedman Drive and turn left at the T. Or, if you are on County Road 22, turn right on 61, left on Bedman and left at the T. All routes are paved. No gravel roads.