Michigan Named Best Place to Travel Worldwide for Outdoor Enthusiasts

By Jake Swope |  Jan 09, 2020 | Original article can be read here.

KEWEENAW PENINSULA, Mich. (WLUC) – TripSavvy, a national travel publication, has named Michigan the best location in the world to travel for outdoor enthusiasts in 2020. For areas in the U.P. that rely on outdoor tourism like the Keweenaw, rankings like this are incredibly helpful.

“We’re a four season destination for outdoor adventure travel and it’s one of our cornerstones for attracting people to come to the Keweenaw. It plays a major role in our economy that provides a lot of jobs in the areas, and we continually like to promote that to visitors of the region,” said Brad Barnett, Executive Director of the Keweenaw Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

With events like the Copper Harbor Trails Fest, and miles of trails for ORV’s and snowmobilers, travelers help local restaurants and hotels stay busy.

“All of us in the area benefit from outside tourism. Especially with snowmobilers, I mean look at the snow outside, we’ve been blessed with a lot of it very early on this year, so I think everyone can honestly tell you that everyone is up in numbers as far as business goes,” said Julie Cortright, Owner of Bonfire Grill.

One of the area’s best outdoor attractions is Isle Royale National Park which draws in visitors looking for an escape out into the wilderness and is the most revisited national park in the country.

“It’s an incredible experience mainly because it’s untouched, pristine, natural wilderness. You’re not going to find that sort of experience in the United States in many places,” said Barnett.

With the cuts to the Pure Michigan campaign, outreach like this will help boost the areas tourism industry.

“That’s taken 37 million dollars out of national advertising promoting Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, and leaves places like the Keweenaw out of the loop. This designation is huge because it reaches not just national, but international audiences and puts us back on the map,” added Barnett

Buying or Selling a Home in Winter: What You Need to Know

Man with a baby on his shoulder walking with his wife in the snow

Nobody buys or sells a home in the winter. Right? Wrong! In fact, if you checked the numbers, you’d find that a good chunk of home purchases are done during the coldest months of the year. Besides, many southern regions aren’t all that affected by the change in seasons. But even if you live up north, homes are still getting bought and sold despite icy roads and snow-covered roofs.

For us nerds who want the stats, almost a million homes were sold in the U.S. last winter (973,000, to be exact, from December 2018 to February 2019). That means one out of every five (19%) of the homes that were sold in the 12-month period between September 2018 and August 2019 were sold when temperatures plunged. Sure, more homes were sold in the summer months of 2019.1 But still, the amount of homes that are bought and sold in the winter is nothing to sneeze at.

So, if you’re wondering if you should put off buying or selling a home until spring, why wait? You may be surprised to learn that there are actually advantages to buying or selling while Jack Frost is nipping at your nose.

What are the advantages? You’re about to find out! Find expert agents to help you sell your home.

Selling a Home in Winter

Okay, huddle up, home sellers. Let’s unpack the perks of selling when the air gets chilly.

The Internet Has No Seasons

You probably already know that most buyers go online to search for homes, no matter what the temperature is outside. In fact, nearly all buyers (93%) used the internet during their home search last year.2 This instant access to property listings has had an impact on the typical seasons buyers look for homes. While spring is still the hottest home-buying season, serious home buyers are always on the lookout—checking the latest listings on their tablet before bed or while waiting for their kid’s hockey game to end. So even though the weather may be changing, it won’t stop home buyers from shopping.

Less Sellers

Come spring, other sellers will flood the market and your home will be just another fish in a great big pond. But right now, you’ve got a limited number of sellers on the market. For perspective, 210,000 homes for sale dropped off the market from November to December in 2018.3 If that pattern repeats this year, you’ll have 12% less competition on the market if you list your home during the winter! Buyers have fewer homes to choose from, which means you could sell your house faster.

Buyers Mean Business

Most folks want to curl up under a blanket next to a warm fire on a cold winter day. If a buyer is trudging around in freezing weather or breaking away from their holiday schedule to look at your home, they must be serious. That’s because many winter buyers are working against a deadline, whether it’s an expiring lease, relocation, or a contract on their current home.

Time Off

You may think people are less likely to see your home in the midst of their hectic holiday schedules. That can definitely be true. But keep in mind, most people also have more time off around the holidays. That means more time for browsing their favorite home apps, dreaming about their future decor, and even scheduling home showings.

Getting Tax Breaks Before Year-End

Winter home buyers may also be motivated to capture the tax benefits of buying a home before year-end. Home buyers can write off some of the expenses of their home purchase on their taxes. There are usually multiple tax benefits of owning a home they can take advantage of too. Typically, a homeowner can count on the following being tax-deductible:

  • Mortgage interest
  • Private mortgage insurance (PMI) premiums
  • Real estate taxes

All of these tax benefits could make a potential home buyer want to get a house bought and closed before the new year. And if you’re selling your home and buying another, you could ring in the new year with more tax breaks too!

Tips for Selling in the Winter

Nothing says welcome home quite like walking out of the cold into a nice, warm house. It’s easier to make a house feel like home in the wintertime. Here are a few tips to help you set the buying mood:

  • Keep it simple. If you’re selling around a holiday and have decorations up, make sure they accent—not overpower—a room. Less is more.
  • Crank up the cozy. Light a fire in the hearth, play soft holiday music in the background, and prepare fresh-baked goods or mulled cider for guests.
  • Shine a light outside. Winter days get dark early. Brighten your home’s exterior with outdoor spotlights.
     
  • Take down outside decor. Nothing says “my home won’t sell” like a house with reindeer inflatables on the lawn in February.
  • Avoid a winter wonderland. Snow is great, unless we’re talking about outside shots of your home. Buyers want to see details of the house, not a blanket of snow. Make sure you have clear-weather photos of your home.

Remember, the nicer your home looks, the more likely it is to sell—and for more money.

Buying a Home in Winter

Alright, home buyers. Now it’s your turn. Below are the benefits of buying a house when the weather outside is frightful.

Less Buyers

Okay, we already established that home sales take a plunge during the winter. So, typically, you won’t have to deal with as many competing buyers as you would if you waited to buy in spring. Which probably means you don’t have to worry as much about someone else snagging your dream home before you can submit an offer, or about getting caught in a bidding war. It’s kind of like when someone brings in holiday treats to share with the office, but most of your coworkers are out of town. You get first dibs on the best desserts!

Better Deals

Since supply and demand for housing are both down during the winter months, you might be able to save money on your purchase! Hard to believe? Check out the recent seasonal prices: The median sales price of homes last winter was more than $250,000—then it jumped up to nearly $267,000 in the spring.4 That means people who bought their homes during winter saved almost $17,000 compared to those who bought in spring—a nearly 7% discount.And hey, if you’re able to knock tens of thousands of dollars off your home purchase, that might make any challenges of buying during the wintertime worthwhile.

Mortgage Rate Fluctuations

If you’re getting a mortgage, you might be able to lock in a good interest rate before the new year hits. Having a lower interest rate would save you money as you work to pay off your new home. But keep in mind, interest rates don’t always go up. So check with our friends at Churchill Mortgage to learn more about the status of current interest rates.

Witness the Home’s Durability

House hunting in winter gives you a chance to see how your potential new home handles harsh weather. Sure, moving to a new home during the spring and summer is probably a lot easier than when you have to bundle up and deal with icy roads. But suppose you fall in love with a house even with the weather at its worst. Then you can be confident that living there will only get better from here on out!

Tips for Buying in the Winter

Okay, here are a few tips to be extra-ready for buying a home in winter:

  • Stick to your budget. Sure, home prices might drop a bit with the temperatures. But that doesn’t mean you should justify spending any more than 25% of your take-home pay on monthly housing payments. To make sure your winter home purchase is a blessing and not a curse, calculate how much house you can afford and stick to it.
     
  • Negotiate with confidence. Remember, there isn’t much competition. So, sellers will probably be willing to work with you. If the home inspection brings up some issues, don’t be afraid to ask your seller to make repairs or lower the asking price.
     
  • Prepare for tax changes. Buying a house can complicate your tax situation, which is why it’s always a great idea to connect with a tax expert for knowledge. They can make sure you get every deduction and credit you’ve earned.

If you follow these tips, there’s hope you’ll find the house you want and get a good price in the winter.

Article originally posted at www.daveramsey.com/blog/selling-your-home-in-winter

#1 in UP Land Sales!

Northern Michigan Land Brokers was #1 in Land Sales for the Upper Peninsula again in 2019! We need to send a big “Thank You!” to all of our wonderful clients who put their trust in our hardworking and experienced agents this past year. We are ready for a fantastic 2020, so if you’re looking to buy or sell with agents who know and love the land — make us your first call!

Data for graph obtained courtesy of the Upper Peninsula Association of Realtors
for 1/2019-12/2019

555,000 Acres of Upper Peninsula Land Sold for $300M Cash

Logging
Allison Milligan | The Oregonian // A logging truck passes on a private forest tract.

By Justine Lofton | jlofton@mlive.com Posted Nov 30, 2019 by mlive — Original article here.

More than half a million acres of Upper Peninsula timberland have been sold to a New Hampshire-based logging company for $300 million in cash.

Seattle-based Weyerhaeuser Company sold 555,000 acres of Michigan timberland to an affiliate of The Lyme Timber Company this month, according to a news release.

The property will be managed for “sustainable timber production” by Lyme Great Lakes Forest Company, a release said.

Lyme is expected to keep the former Weyerhaeuser employees who were tasked with managing the land, which sustains a mix of hardwood and softwood acres, Devin W. Stockfish, president and CEO of Weyerhaeuser, said in a statement.

“We’re excited to be investing in a region known for the quality of its hardwood timberland, mill capacity, and logging and trucking infrastructure,” Jim Hourdequin, managing director and CEO of Lyme Timber, said in a statement.

Founded in 1976, Lyme’s portfolio include forestland in New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Tennessee, Florida and California.

How Marquette Warms up when Winter Adventures Cool off

Nov 21, 2019 Travel Marquette – See original article here.

Seattle – the land of Starbucks – may have met its match in Marquette.

The Upper Peninsula city is home to more independently owned coffee shops per capita than the Pacific Northwest area that is synonymous with java culture. The local roasters and craft coffee brewers are ideal for a morning wake-me-up, a mid-day break or an afternoon warm-up following a day outdoors.

Marquette MI coffee shop

And that’s important as winter snow and cold loom, a change of seasons that offers more opportunity to relax as the crowds get smaller while the fun never stops. This Lake Superior shoreline city is known for its summer outdoor adventure and its innovative food and beer scene, but it can be overlooked for winter getaways.

The region has an extensive network of trails that lend themselves to hiking, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and fatbiking. Marquette is also recognized as the birthplace of North American organized skiing, and the hills remain incredible.

Before learning more about winter outdoor recreation, it’s smart to game-plan for what you’ll do to enjoy the culinary and craft cocktail scene.

Here are five must-stop coffee shops to think about visiting.

Blackrocks Brewery Igloo Marquette MI

There are dozens of places to grab a great meal and a cold beer – craft brews know no season and visitors can even continue the outdoor theme in a heated igloo at Blackrocks.

Snowshoeing and Cross Country Skiing

The Noquemanon Trail Network offers unmatched outdoor experiences with 50K of maintained trails that can be used recreationally for point to point or looped outings. Trail experts recommend snowshoe users start on the singletrack at the Forestville Trailhead, and they ask that people steer clear of the trails groomed from classic and skate skiing. Rentals are available at Forestville, and as a bonus to dog owners, your furry friend is welcome to get outside with you.

The outdoor outfitter Down Wind Sports say the difficulty of snowshoeing is often overestimated.

“If you can walk you can snowshoe,” they remind users. “(It’s) one of the easiest ways to get outside in the winter and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan has no shortage of places to explore.

Down Wind recommends hitting the Eben Ice Caves, Yellow Dog Falls and Hogsback Mountain as other potential outings.

Winter Hiking

If you’re still more comfortable in your own two boots, the trails up Sugarloaf Mountain and Blueberry Ridge remain popular in the down season. The majestic views of snow-covered terrain from atop Sugarloaf are just as mesmerizing as the other three seasons. The half-mile trail is well marked, and while it will be slower-going with snow, the terrain is manageable for people of all fitness and skill levels. The city’s 12-mile multi-use trail is another great option to get those steps in.

Seasonal Events

In a two-week window last winter, three separate snowstorms each dumped between 12 and 24 inches around Marquette. Add in an icestorm of “legendary proportions” and the dreaded below zero temperatures of the polar vortex, and it would have led most people to hunker down and stay inside.

Marquette threw a party and held a fatbike race.

Marquette Polar Roll Fatbike race

Todd Poquette, who runs the Polar Roll winter adventure race with 30-mile and 15-mile bike routes and a 10K snowshoe event, chuckles when recalling heading into the woods to clear choked off trails that were battered by fallen and hanging trees and a base buried by ice and powder.

“Miraculously, the show went on,” said Poquette. “I think it’s part of the culture. We don’t slow down just because the summer ends. We still have a lot of cool events that happen throughout the year, and people really enjoy getting out and getting together.

“Everyone understands that the conditions are part of the experience.”

For the Polar Roll, Poquette says there are roughly 450 race participants – they’ve had riders from nearly every state, including California and Arizona since its 2015 inception – and hundreds more who come for the festivities. The atmosphere is built around the collective experience.

On the course, there are areas with people grilling food, handing out drinks and the “Hugs and Bacon” aid station that has developed into a favorite. There’s a post-race party with live music.

“We make it a good time for everyone,” Poquette said.

Marquette also activates for these key winter events, but the area’s full scope of entertainment options can found here.

Noquemanon Ski Marathon Marquette MI

Scene from the start of the Noquemanon Ski Marathon Nordic cross country ski race from Ishpeming Michigan to Marquette Michigan.

Noquemanon Ski Marathon

Staged on the Noquemanon Trail Network, the “Noque” is a point-to-point cross country ski race that offers varying lengths of competition, including 50K individual, 50K relay, 24K and 10K events. There are also snowshoe and snowbike options that traverse rolling hills, frozen lakes and majestic woods. The 22nd annual event in 2020 will be held Jan. 24-26 and has become a fixture in the outdoor landscape of Michigan and its Midwestern neighbors. The scenic terrain promises a lifetime of warm memories. The race’s non-profit status is dedicated to furthering non-motorized trail development, preserving all-season outdoor recreation for future generations.

U.P. 200

This sled dog race, in its 30th year running from Marquette to Grand Marais and back, marks its territory as the third-longest event in the continental United States and provides a glimpse at what happens in the renowned Iditarod race. Mushers powered by 12-dog teams welcome crowd support from the start in downtown Marquette, along the way at checkpoints during the race and a raucous environment as they return to the finish line along Lower Harbor Park. The trail actually clocks in at 230 miles long despite the race name, and it’s a testament to the endurance and drive of the team. Head to Marquette to experience it for the first time from Feb. 13-17, 2020.

Visit Travel Marquette to learn more about the region and plan your visit.

Why You Need A Qualified Land Agent

When buying property, rural homes or camps, it is important to have an agent that is knowledgeable in land sales. A skilled land agent will be able to help you navigate all the issues that can arise while looking for property or a rural home/camp…such as utility availability, accessibility of the property, any easements or building restrictions, land use regulations, mineral and water rights, etc.

As the U.P.’s local land experts, it is our job to advise and answer all the questions or concerns you have (as well as the ones you haven’t thought of), to ensure you’re ultimately getting the right property for you! The article below was written in the Southwest, but the logic holds true here in the Upper Peninsula as well!

It’s Time to Buy That Hunting Camp….

Fall hunting season is upon us here in the Upper Peninsula. If you’re a hunter yourself, then you already know that a great location is something to treasure and that many special memories are made at camp. Owning a successful, private spot to enjoy season after season is the ultimate dream for many hunters. For those of you still searching for your perfect ‘deer camp’ to call your own, we have plenty to choose from!

Maybe you’re looking for a simple, rustic camp that’s just enough to lay your head before you’re off again at dawn; or maybe you want all the comforts and convenience of home. Are you looking to bunk just a few or a do you have a oversized crew? Whether you’re after deer, turkey, bear, grouse, or even your own fishing hole…Northern Michigan Land Brokers can find a property that suits your needs!

$199,900 // MLS#1116486// Crystal Falls, MI

This 2 bed, 1 bath camp sits on 320 acres in Iron County, a prime area for big bucks in UP! The large, varied acreage, along with water features, make this area spectacular for hunting deer, grouse and bear, and trout fishing as well as ATV, hiking, snowmobiling, etc. The camp is user friendly with wood/propane heat and a drilled well. Acreage has good access, is gated for privacy and has a good stand of hardwood timber that could provide some income as well.

$39,900 // MLS#1111333 // Little Lake, MI


This hunting camp is a great opportunity for those looking for space on a tight budget. The camp itself is solid, has a private pond, and is large enough to sleep a dozen, and sits on 5 acres. However, you get to benefit of accessing the adjoining State and surrounding CFA lands to create a vast hunting area at a fraction of the price!

$110,000 // MLS#1117568 // Cornell, MI

If you’re looking for a something that feels more like a home, then this option in Southern Marquette County could be a winner. This is a simple home with a crawl space, but has a full kitchen and bath and a large living space and truly could be a year round residence. This area has a strong deer population and the fields on this acreage would make incredible food plots! The remainder of the acreage is thick cedar and mixed uplands which is great for wildlife cover.

$149,000 // MLS#1117131// Northland, MI


This outstanding choice sits on 120 acres in Southern Marquette County. The camp itself has been updated with indoor plumbing, double showers and a sauna, has been wired for a generator, and is ready to use immediately. Property is easily accessible, but gated for privacy and is bordered by State land on three sides! The West Branch of the Escanaba River runs just north of the property so not only is this a great hunting area, but has excellent trout fishing nearby as well.

$95,000 // MLS#1112591 // Au Train, MI

Located in Central Alger County, this property with 49 acres is in a fabulous recreation area near the National Forest. It is equipped with propane and has a drilled well and septic. Screened porch makes it easy to enjoy the peaceful setting or relax after hunting the plentiful deer and grouse here. Easy, year round access off the county road, a pond on the property and several nearby lakes, so you can enjoy fishing and water rec as well.

$110,000 // MLS#1112591// Thompson, MI

A beautiful log A-frame in Southern Schoolcraft County makes a cozy base camp and the warmer winters make for great hunting! Cabin comes furnished and with multiple blinds spread across the 40 acres so you can be season ready immediately!

These are just a sampling of our current hunting properties. For a more extensive list of hunting land, camps and cabins, click here.

In addition, a full list of all available properties can be found here.

How to Keep Trespassers Off Your Land

Whether you own a modest parcel or a sprawling domain, unwanted trespassers are always a concern. You deserve to be confident that your property is exclusively your own to enjoy, but how do you go about stopping uninvited interlopers? It’s a difficult question that every property owner must face at some point. Fortunately, there are several simple solutions that can help you safeguard your property and gain invaluable peace of mind.

Keep Your Property Posted

Everyone knows it’s illegal to trespass on private land, but there’s a key detail many people miss. For these laws to be enforceable, you need to make sure that any would-be trespasser knows they’re on your private property. That’s why keeping your land posted with the proper signage is crucial. It serves as both a potential deterrent and a legal notice to ensure you can enforce your boundaries.

However, it’s not quite as simple as just posting up some signs along your property lines. Each state has its own particular regulations regarding where and how to post your property. Depending on the laws in your state, you may also need to register your posting with the local town clerk or land office. Still, the minor inconvenience of properly posting your property is a small price to pay to keep your land protected.

Limit and Control Access Points

The reality is that there’s not much you can do to physically keep out someone who is determined to enter your property. In most cases, however, trespassers are simply opportunistic and can be easily dissuaded. You can make your property less easily accessible by using fences, gates and other physical barriers. Take some time to consider where trespassers are most likely to enter your property and focus on these areas in particular.

You can also use natural vegetation to create effective barriers that blend seamlessly into the surrounding land. Plant a combination of trees, shrubs and warm-season grasses along the borders of your property to help deter uninvited guests. These natural barriers also have the added benefit of making it more difficult for onlookers to see your property. For the best coverage and protection, consider using evergreen trees and perennial grasses that won’t need to be replanted every year.

Enlist Some Help

Robert Frost had the right idea when he wrote that good fences make good neighbors. Of course, the inverse is often true as well. Developing good relationships with your neighbors is often as effective a deterrent against trespassers as any sign or physical barrier. Good neighbors tend to keep an eye out for one another and are more likely to let you know if they’ve seen something suspicious on your property. They can also be extremely helpful when you aren’t around to monitor the property yourself.

On the other hand, it’s important to be careful about what you say to others. Boasting about the trophy bucks you’ve seen or all the work you’ve done to boost your property’s value can be tempting, but it may also make you a bigger target for trespassers. It’s better to keep a lower profile and avoid unwanted attention.

Capture It on Camera

Few things can make would-be lawbreakers reconsider their actions more quickly than the presence of a camera. Simply posting a few cameras in highly visible locations is often enough to dissuade visitors from taking liberties with your private land. It’s also a good idea to add some well-concealed cameras in the event that a particularly bold trespasser attempts to steal or damage the ones you’ve left in plain sight. Even if the cameras don’t turn a trespasser away, they’re still useful for collecting evidence that can later be used to prosecute the intruder.

It’s important to note that cameras are subject to a variety of regulations in many areas. In particular, it’s very important to review your local laws before installing cameras that capture video. Some states require that you post clear notices anywhere visitors may be recorded on video. Recording audio often introduces further legal complications, so it’s best to avoid capturing sound altogether. The goal is simply to make sure people know that they can’t access your property without being seen.

You have every right to control who can and cannot legally enter your property. Of course, having the right and having the ability are often two separate matters. The tips above will help you deter interlopers and make your property a less appealing target. It’s also important to act swiftly and seek prosecution if you do catch a trespasser on your land. In the end, the best deterrent is often simply making it clear that encroaching on your property comes with real consequences.

Original article written by Russell Jones, founder of PropertyWorkshop.com, and can be found at https://www.landhub.com/blog/how-to-keep-trespassers-off-your-land/

Top Four Takeaways from The 2018 Land Market Survey

The highly-anticipated Land Market Survey is out! Every year, REALTORS® Land Institute and the National Association of REALTORS® Research Group conduct this survey for land professionals across America to use as an informational resource. The land industry faced many challenges (such as natural disasters and uncertainty on the long-term effects of the current trade war) and many victories (such as the WOTUS ruling and an overall strong economy). Let’s take a look at some of the biggest takeaways from the 2018 Land Market Survey.

1. Land Prices Are On The Rise, But Slowly

Average land prices across America rose, but at a slower rate than previous years. Land prices rose 2% in 2018, compared to 3% in 2017. This slower gain could be a result of rising interest rates and depressed commodity prices.

2. The Price of Land Bought and Sold Went Down

Across all land types, the median price per acre decreased to $4,500. The amount of land being bought and sold also decreased to a median of 53 acres. However, some land types actually saw higher sizes and prices in 2018. Agricultural irrigated land, timber, recreational, and ranch land all increased in price per acre over the year, while agricultural non-irrigated, timber, residential, and ranch land increased in property size.

3. Financing Was The Number One Issue Facing The Land Industry

49% of respondents said that financing was an issue affecting the land industry. Local zoning, federal zoning, state regulations, and tariffs were also mentioned as top issues.

4. Land Is Being Sold Faster.

While some land types struggled in 2018, the median number of days a property would sit on the market decreased from 95 in 2017 to 90 in 2018.

As with any year, 2018 was a year of many ups and downs for the land industry. It’s impossible to predict what will happen next, especially in this industry. However, the data from the Land Market Survey can help us plan for whatever 2019 has in store for us and help make it the best year yet.

Want to learn more about the current state of the land market? On January 23, Scholastica (Gay) Cororaton, a research economist at the National Association of REALTORS®, hosted a survey going into the nuts and bolts of the Land Market Survey. The live webinar quickly sold out, but don’t panic! You can still watch the recording for free on our webinar archive page. The recording will be posted the week of January 28th.

by Laura Barker, January 25, 2019 [Your] Land Blog, RLI Post, The Voices of Land