Twin Cities Northeast Metro Real Estate News

Your local news and information source for homes and investment real estate in the Twin Cities Northeast Metro Area of Minnesota!


Oct. 2, 2018

October 2018 Market News

Fall Has Fallen! 2018 Market Stats and More.

Watch this quick 2 minute video for an update on where the market is in 2018 to date.  As always, reach out to us with any questions and if you are looking to sell - give us a call for a complete market analysis.

Thank you for allowing us to be your real estate resource.

~ Kevin Marois



April 19, 2018

April 2018 Market News

The Market is HOT on Forest Lake!

Even though the snow hasn't melted and the ice is still on the lakes....Spring is coming and with it is the hot spring lake home market on Forest Lake and surrounding area.

This long winter has affected the lake home market as inventory is LOW right now. This is the perfect time to place your house on the market because there are buyer's ready to act quickly and this is good news for sellers. Click HERE to see a market report that shows homes that are For Sale, under contract and have sold within the last 6 months on Forest Lake.

This may not be the time for you to sell, but if you have friends that are considering making a move, please give them our number. Homes are selling before they hit the market. We just sold one on 1st Lake after competing in multiple offers and the home never even went on the MLS!  Lake home values have never been higher than they are right now. We would be happy to put our experience to work for you or those you recommend to us.

If you are a lake home buyer our advice to you is to make sure you have all your ducks in a row before heading out to look at homes.  If you are financing, make sure you have a pre-approval letter in hand by a trusted lending professional. We would be happy to recommend a few that we have worked with in the past and we trust.  Be ready to make fast decisions and put your best foot forward.  You will more than likely be in a multiple offer situation. You won't want to miss out on your dream home over just a few thousand dollars.  Our team will help guide you through this process however you will need to find the home first and that is where the added benefit of using a Realtor will come in handy.  Realtors that know the market are networking with other Realtors.  We have knowledge of many of those listings before they hit the market.  Don't trust the retail sites that have dated information....or don't have the information at all. Put us to work for you to do the ground work and find exactly what you are looking for using our resources.

Hopefully within the next month Spring will start to show, the lake will be melted and you will be out enjoying the area lakes. Until then, take care and stay warm!

Thank you for allowing us to be your real estate resource.

~ Kevin Marois


March 16, 2018

March 2018 Market News

Do We Have A Strong Spring Market? 

As we step into spring this month we can already see real estate sales taking off. More properties are being put under contract this month than we have seen in a long time. Many BEFORE they hit the market.  We are seeing strong signs of a very active market and it is likely that we are going to see home seller's receive higher prices for their properties in the first quarter than we did last year.

For home buyer's it is more important than ever before to be connected with a trusted, experienced real estate agent.  Professionals are aware of inventory that is coming soon and before it goes active on the market and MLS.  Properties are selling fast and you can't afford wait for a property to appear on sites such as Zillow or Realtor. com because it is more than likely it will be sold by the time you inquire on the property.  Not to mention you will be bothered by numerous agents and lenders that they sell your information to.  Use our web site for the most accurate and up to date listings without the hassle.  Click HERE to get started. 

Positive Signs of Today's Market:

  • Average days it takes to sell a property has decreased.
  • Lower inventory provides a lack of competition and gives and opportunity to receive a higher price.
  • Increased internet traffic. Nearly all buyers begin their search online and we make sure our properties are fully exposed.
  • Interest rates remain affordable.
  • Consumer confidence is higher which promotes buying second homes and cabins.

For a more detail report on the market in your area please don't hesitate to reach out to us. You should be happy to know that most of the data is positive. In a nutshell, your real estate is doing well.

Let us know if you need anything. We would love to earn your business and repeat business.  Don't forget, we take the stress out of placing your property on the market for sale. Ask us how! 

Thank you for allowing us to be your real estate resource.

~ Kevin Marois


Feb. 20, 2018

Flake Festival 2018

Flake Festival 2018 is going on right now! February 19th - 25th and includes the Getting Cold for A Cause - Forest Lake Rotary Polar Plunge!  It's going to be nice out so take a look at this Schedule of Events and enjoy some winter time lake fun!


Posted in Community
Feb. 7, 2018

February 2018 - What's Your Home Worth?

What is your home really worth?

The real estate market in the Twin Cities Northeast Metro area remains very strong. We have had some very healthy appreciation over the last 2 years. Of course, this increase hasn't wiped out some of the losses of those that may have purchased property from 2005-2008 but that was an over-inflated market that we may or may not ever see again.

So far this year, sales have been strong yet the prices have leveled off. I would call this the Most Normal Market that I have seen in years.

I have been getting a lot of emails lately from owners that want to know how accurate Online Property Valuation Tools (AVM's) are in determining a true value for a specific property.

As an industry, we do NOT feel that the Valuation Tools you find online are accurate enough to make buying and selling decisions. 

I recently had an owner call me to list their home at $189,000 because that is what the value was quoted on a site like Zillow. After reviewing the property and doing my own research, I was able to list this home and sell it for $20,000 more than what they were willing to sell it for. 

Can you imagine if my past client would have relied on the online valuation and sold via For Sale By Owner? Some buyer would have got one heck of a deal and the owner would have given away $20,000 of their equity.

Here is an Example of what you will find on the different Online Valuation Websites.

I searched a home on 215th St, Forest Lake, MN to see what different sites estimated the value to be. Here are my findings: estimates the value at: $311,723 estimates the value at $358,200 estimates the value at $363,000 estimates the value at $360,386

Yes, this is the same home. (I am not giving you the street number because I would not want to offend the property owner by using their house as an example.) This property happened to have a recent professional appraisal at $450,000!

If you are a property owner or a prospective buyer, how do you make decisions when the ranges of value vary this much? 

I have nothing negative to say about online real estate portals yet I do want to warn everyone that you have to do further research before making decisions about your property.

I have my own Property Valuation Tool that I share with those thinking of buying or selling real estate. 

If you are thinking of selling, I recommend you do the following:

First: Click Here to review our  Property Valuation Tool.

Second: Call us and allow us to do an in-depth evaluation of your property. We will give you the most accurate estimate of your property's value.

As you can imagine, we would like to earn your business but, more important, we want you to be an informed consumer. I have seen too many people make the wrong decision based on inaccurate info on the Internet.

I believe the Internet is a powerful tool yet there is a lot of conflicting information that you must sift through. 

I hope you find this information helpful. Please feel free to use our valuation tool and then call us anytime you want a more accurate evaluation. I hope February is a great month for everyone!

Your Realtor,
~Kevin Marois

June 20, 2017

2017 Annual 4th of July Celebration in Forest Lake!

The City of Forest Lake is known for it's 4th of July Celebration!  

Click HERE for a link to all the community events and come celebrate!

Posted in Community
June 2, 2017

Lake Fest 2017! June 2nd - June 11th

Lake Fest 2017 has come to Forest Lake!


Posted in Community, What's New?
May 2, 2017

Relocation Services

Relocating?  We may be able to suggest local services

Please ask us to help you when you are moving.  Integrity 1st Team has worked with service providers in the Forest Lake area and may be able to suggest the right businesses that will help you.

May 2, 2017

How to Tips

How to: Decide how much house you can afford

Your lender decides what you can borrow but you decide what you can afford.

Lenders are careful, but they make qualification decisions based on averages and formulas. They won't understand the nuances of your lifestyle and spending patterns quite as well as you do. So, leave a little room for the unexpected - for all the new opportunities your home will give you to spend money, from furnishings, to landscaping, to repairs.

Historically, banks use a ratio called 28/36 to decide how much borrowers could borrow. An approved housing payment couldn't be more than 28 percent of the buyer's gross monthly income, and his or her total debt load, including car payments, student loans, and credit card payments, couldn't be more than 36 percent. (In Canada lenders apply similar formulas to determine how much a buyer can afford. The Gross Debt Service ratio, or GDS, is not to exceed 32 percent of the buyer's gross monthly income, and the Total Debt Service ratio, or TDS, is not to exceed 40 percent of the buyer's total debt load.) As home prices have risen, some lenders have responded by stretching these ratios to as high as 50 percent. No matter how expensive your market though, we urge you to think carefully before stretching your budget quite so much.

Deciding how much you can afford should involve some careful attention to how your financial profile will change in the upcoming years. In the long run, your own peace of mind and security will matter most.
Posted in How to Tips
May 2, 2017

Home Selling

Increasing your home's appeal

Remember the 60-second rule: That's all the time you have to create a winning first impression. Here are some simple to significant ways to maximize your home's appeal. 


* Keep the grass cut and remove all yard clutter.

* Weed and apply fresh mulch to flower beds.

* Apply fresh paint to wooden fences.

* Tighten and clean all door handles.

* Clean windows inside and out.

* Powerwash home's exterior.

* Ensure all gutters and downspouts are firmly attached and functioning.

* Paint the front door.

* Buy a new welcome mat.

* Place potted flowers near the front door.


* Evaluate the furniture in each room and remove anything that interrupts "the flow" or makes the room appear smaller. Consider renting a storage unit to move items off-site.

* Clean and organize cabinets, closets and bookshelves.

* Clean all light fixtures and ceiling fans.

* Shampoo carpets.

* Remove excessive wall hangings and knick-knacks.

* Repair all plumbing leaks, including faucets and drain traps.

* Make minor repairs (torn screens, sticking doors, cracked caulking).

* Clean or paint walls and ceilings.

* Replace worn cabinet and door knobs.

* Fix or replace discolored grout.

* Replace broken tiles.

* Replace worn counter tops.


Special details for showings

* Turn on all the lights.

* Open all drapes and shutters in the daytime.

* Keep pets secured outdoors.

* Buy new towels for bathrooms.

* Buy new bedding for bedrooms.

* Replace old lamps or lampshades.

* Play quiet background music.

* Light the fireplace or clean out the ashes and light a candelabrum.

* Infuse home with a comforting scent, such as apple spice or vanilla.

* Set the dining room table for a fancy dinner party.

* Vacate the property while it is being shown. 

Posted in Home Selling