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Yes, You Can Finance Vacant Land!

by Connie Erickson
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There are lenders who prefer not to finance vacant land, however, Robin Sodd at North Shore Bank in Sister Bay will!  Their current lot loan program requires a minimum of 20% down.  The loan is a 3 year adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) at 3.50%.  The loan can be amortized up to 15 years if under $100,000.  The interest rate of 3.50% can adjust a maximum of 2% per year after the 3rd year and has a lifetime cap of 6%, so the interest rate will not exceed 9.50%.  (Note: These terms are as of May 11, 2011 and are subject to change.  See lender for APR.)

A letter from the Village, Town, or County Zoning Department (whichever applies) indicating the property is "buildable" is required.  In addition, a soil test confirming the type of septic system the property will support is also required.  If you do not plan to build right away, Robin said the soil test could possibly be waived.   A current survey of the property may be required.

For questions pertaining to vacant land loans, contact Robin Sodd at:  [email protected]

Big Zoning Changes Affect Shoreland Owners!

by Connie Erickson
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There are new rules coming that will affect shorefront land owners!

All properties that fall within shoreland zoning jurisdiction will be subject to the new rules. The new NR115 is in effect now, however counties have until February of 2012 to have an ordinance in place. The new ordinance could be in place anywhere from November 2011 to that February 2012. There may possibly be an extension from the State to that deadline. 

The following is my understanding of of the new rule after listening to a presentation given by Kay Miller of the Door County Zoning Department:

1.  There will be no clear cutting on a shorefront parcel, nor is there currently.  The rules will allow tree cutting/trimming of 30% of the lot or 200' whichever is less for viewing/access corridor. No additional cutting is allowed.


2. The height restriction will be 35’ above grade. The Door County Zoning Ordinance (DCZO) already has a 35' height restriction and a 28’ height restriction on lots less than 90' wide.

3. The biggest eye opener for me is the impervious restrictions which currently equals not more than 45% for most of the shoreland zoning districts under the DCZO.  Impervious means anything that is not green, so the current rules say that you can use 45% of the property to build, put in driveways, patios, etc., the remainder must remain "green."  The new rule says that you can only have 15% of the lot in impervious area.  "Green" means anything that is green:  vegetation, garden, trees, grass.  One can go as high as 30% of impervious area with mitigation, and the new rules will never allow any more than 30%.  This would apply to any proposed projects.  If you are over the allowable "Impervious Surface Ratio" you may keep what you have until some proposed change triggers action. Mitigation will require an agreement to be recorded on the deed.

4. There will be new rules regarding set back averaging.  The building set back requirement is 75' from the Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM).   Under current rules, this 75' set back can be lessened should there be an existing dwelling on either side of you, but within 100' of your building site, that is located less than 75' from the OHWM.  This means you could have a home on one side and a vacant lot on the other side.   The new averaging procedure requires that there be dwellings on both sides and within 100' of your building site, in order to use the averaging procedure.

If you are considering...
-purchasing waterfront land and building, you may want to ACT NOW as the new rules may limit what you have in mind! 
-adding on to your existing waterfront home/cottage/structure, you may want to ACT NOW!
-making any type of changes whatsoever, you may want to ACT NOW!

As always, speak to the Zoning Department and a builder to see how these changes will affect you now or in the future.

To find out more about this, I encourage you to go to:  view the Door County Zoning Ordinance or call the Door County Zoning Department at 920.746.2323 and ask for Kay Miller or the appropriate zoning administrator for the town you are requesting information.

If you have a family member or friend who is planning on building on a shorefront/lakefront lot or expanding their current home or cottage, send this to them...they'll be glad you did!

Home Inspection - What will it Cost?

by Connie Erickson
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When purchasing a home, having a home inspection is a good way to insure there are not major defects with the property and it's a good way to learn about the property you are purchasing and how things work. Below, Gene Sunstrom of Second Opinion Home Inspections, answers common questions that I receive from Buyers.



1) What is the cost associated with home inspection?

The inspection fee for a typical single-family house varies as does the cost of housing. Similarly, within a given area, the inspection fee may vary depending on a number of factors such as the size of the house, its age and possible optional services such as radon testing or thermal imaging. The cost of a home inspection for an average home of approximately 2,000 square feet would be $300.00.

While finding out the cost of a professional inspection service is a great idea, a far better idea would be for customers who call to ask "What are the qualifications of the home inspector who will be inspecting my home?" because the answer to that question can determine how much a home inspection can save you both short and long term.

2) How long does it take?

The length of time that a home inspection takes varies with the size, age, additional testing, etc. A 2,000 square foot home normally takes from 1 ½ - 2 hours on site and an additional 1 hour to complete the written report.

3) Should Buyer be there?

We encourage the buyer to attend the inspection if possible; this provides an opportunity for the inspector to explain first hand issues discovered or possible suggestions to reduce maintenance on the home in the future.

It is often not practical for the buyer to attend; most home inspectors now have reports that are computer generated with digital images to accurately display problem areas or recommended improvements outside of the structural integrity of the building. These reports can be generated within hours of the onsite inspection and delivered by email to buyer and the buyer’s agent.

For answers to specific questions, you can contact Gene Sunstrom at:

[email protected] or visit his web site:

Home Sale Statistics

by Connie Erickson
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The Nation Association of REALTORS, in their April monthly Wisconsin Housing Report, reported sales of existing homes fell 18.5% in March compared to the same time last year. One has to be cautious when looking at these statistics because the stats are being compared with the same time last year when the home buyer tax credit was offered. This really is not an apples to apples comparison.

Existing home prices in the Northeast dropped 11.2%. It is important to remember that real estate markets are local.

The unemployment figures in Door County for the month of March improved slightly, but will improve largely as the summer approaches with the seasonal activity of the vacation market. Those who are buying recognize the opportunity to capitalize on the excellent interest rates and the fact that our market sale prices have decreased approximately 5 to 10%.

My personal activity is greater than the years’ before, and I anticipate a much better year in 2011 than 2010. While I remain cautiously optimistic, if one is priced correctly and teamed with a REALTOR with an aggressive marketing program, those combinations will obtain the Contract for Sale. The next and final step is getting it closed. So when you are looking for a REALTOR to select, ask the REALTOR how many Contracts (accepted Offers) they have had this year AND how many of those contracts closed. My contract to contract closed ratio, year to date is 100%.

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4




Contact Information

Photo of Connie Erickson Real Estate
Connie Erickson
Door County Realty, Inc.
Po Box 340 - 4027 Main Street
Fish Creek WI 54212
Office: 920-868-2075
Toll Free: 888-678-3949
Fax: 920-868-2425

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