Steve Huhta Remax

Waupaca Chain News and Info


All Waterfront Homes Owners Should Have one of These

How I made my 45 year old furnace a "Smart Furnace" and at the same time got a "Freeze Alarm."

Every winter, as a realtor, I hear of waterfront home owners who have huge water damage caused by heating issues which resulted in their water pipes freezing and breaking while the homeowner was away. And yes, sometimes the damage is huge, resulting in massive headaches and weeks or even months where the house is not usable.

Well, here is one inexpensive solution, that we just put into our own waterfront home: A smart thermostat:
waupaca chain o lakes Ecobee

We installed this Ecobee smart thermostat, which connects to our WiFi. This allows the thermostat to send us “notifications” if our home’s temperature drops below a certain trigger point. So yes, you could consider this thermostat a “freeze alarm” for our home.

Our furnace is very old, which probably means it is unreliable. When we go to Phoenix for Christmas this year, this fairly in expensive device will tell us if our old furnace is not up to the challenge of keeping our pipes warm.

This smart thermostat was purchased for $149 and then, Wisconsin Focus on Energy sent us a rebate check for $75 as these units save lots of energy.

Besides being a “freeze alarm,” we have our Ecobee smart thermostat programed with “home” and “away” temperature settings as well as a night time lower the heat setting. And, we can control this high-tech unit from our smart phones and computer.

Friday night we went out for a fish fry with friends, forgot to hit the “away” button on the thermostat so, I punched up the Ecobee phone app and told the unit we were “away” so the app lowered our temperature to 66 (from 69) degrees. As we headed home, we told the Ecobee phone app to pump up the heat to our “home” setting and wa-la, our home was nice and toasty warm when we arrived.

For an extra fee, the Ecobee thermostat can be outfitted with remote sensors that can tell the thermostat when no one is home so, it can automatically lower the temperature to the units preset “away” temperature. We have not installed the sensors – yet.

This unit was easy to install and program. Ya, I did all the work myself, with just one call to the support line.

Waupaca Chain o Lakes wis rebate 1200 Click here for Rebate link

Waupaca Chain Properties are Selling VERY WELL

Waupaca Chain Property Sales Very Strong for 2016 and Continue Strong in 2017

written by Steve Huhta – Re/Max Lyons Real Estate – October 2017

The number of Waupaca Chain O’ Lakes property transactions for 2016 was way – way up compared to 2015 and continue very, very strong for 2017. As a result, inventory of Chain properties for sale is way, Way, WAY down. Obviously, 2016 was and 2017 should be, a great time to be a Chain property seller as buyers are now struggling to find properties that fit their needs/desires. And, many Chain properties that had been on the market for a long period, finally sold last year or at the start of 2017.

As you can see form the chart below, 33 properties on the Waupaca Chain sold last year compared to 21 sales in 2015 – a 41% increase. And, to put this in even better perspective: back in 2007, the last year before the real estate recession, 15 Chain properties sold.

To date in 2017 (end of September) there are 32 Chain properties sold or under contract. This is an amazing number of Chain properties sold as again, inventory is very, very low.

Waupaca Chain O Lakes Graph Steve 9-17

At the end of September 2017, there are only 19 properties for sale on the Chain which compares to 54 properties listed in the middle of the recession. Normally in the first part of the summer there would be 32 to 36 Chain properties for sale. Again, inventory of properties for sale on the Waupaca Chain is way down so, buyers may now be struggling to find suitable properties for sale. The new reality: “Chain Inventory is Craze Low”

Today, both Chain buyers and sellers might have the same question: Are prices going up on waterfront properties?

Prior to this year, this is a hard one to answer analytically! But, here are some thoughts:

In mid-2014 a very nice Chain property sold in the lower $800,000 range and then, just sold again in 2016 in the higher $800,000s. At the other end of the value range, a nice year around house on Bass Lake which sold in the mid $200,000 range in 2012 changed owners for in the mid $300,000 range in 2016. Clearly, these sales show “analytically:” prices are moving up, which would be logical, given that inventory is crazy low and the number of transaction is way up.

It is also interest, “analytically,” to look at the number of properties that sold in 2016 and, so far in 2017, that were on the market for a very long time. However, a few of these properties – that had been on the market for a long period, sold way under their “fair market” assessed valuation.

I personally handled two chain sales recently that both increased in value about $100,000 in a three year period that were priced in the $700,000 to $800,000 price range.

And, two Chain houses have sold this year that were priced over $1,000,000

Other interesting examples:

A Chain year around home on Bass Lake sold in the high $300,000 range and had an assessed fair market value of $636,500. The property had been on the market 2010 and was offered at $810,000 back then.

A Taylor Lake cottage near the boat landing that was on the market since 2008, finally sold last year in the lower $200,000 range but, had an assessment of $302,000.

Conversely, a property on Rainbow Lake sold rather quickly last year for just slightly over $1,000,000 and had an assessed fair market value of just $586,000.

Graph under 450000 Waupaca Chain O Lakes

The graph above shows rather clearly and “analytically” that values on the lower end of Chain property values are rising. Lesser expensive Chain homes appear to be rising in value as more of these homes are selling higher than their assessed fair market value now, than in the past.

Higher value homes on the Chain have consistently sold above their assessed fair market value and continue to do so as illustrated below.

Waupaca Chain graph sales over 450000

And now, the final testament regarding how Chain properties are selling: Back in the real estate recession days, very, very few waterfront houses sold prior to the ice going out. In 2017 six Chain properties have sold before docks and boats started going in.

Surveying the Waupaca Chain’s Vegetation

Vegatative survey 2

These folks got a great day to be out in a boat “working” on the Waupaca Chain O’ Lakes. According to the ladies doing this project, they work for a private company hired by the Chain District to do a vegetative plant assessment. We will probably hear the results at the Waupaca Chain O’ Lakes District’s Annual Meeting, Saturday, August 12, 2017; 9 a.m. at the Marden Memorial Center Wisconsin Veterans Home, King