School’s out and you’re ready to take that first long weekend trip to the lake house. You purchased the place as a vacation home to get away from the crazy hustle and bustle that keeps you too busy when you stay home. With lots of expectations of the fun weekend activities you pack the suitcases, load up the kids, and off you go.

Once you finally arrive and swing open the door, those old familiar musty odors greet you as soon as you step inside. Why does this always happen and what can be done to prevent it?

The musty smells are typically caused by mildew which is a common problem in living spaces that are frequently kept closed up. Mildew grows where there is little air movement, and in damp, warm conditions. Mildew has a musty smell and can eventually leave unsightly stains. Common spaces to have mildew issues are basements, bathrooms, kitchens, closets, and crawl spaces.

The key to fighting mildew and musty odors in your lake house is eliminating excess moisture. Try the following steps:

When you arrive at the vacation home, if weather conditions are favorable, open the windows to get some fresh air circulating. When possible sleep with the windows open.

Take short showers and run the exhaust fan so the bathroom doesn’t steam up too much. The warm shower moisture makes a perfect environment for growing mildew.

Following showers and swims, hang towels outside to dry and make sure they are completely dried before bringing them inside.

If you do any indoor cooking while at the lake house cover the pans with lids to avoid adding extra moisture to the inside air.

Before leaving to head home, put trays of kitty litter over the air vents to help absorb moisture. You could also use open bags of charcoal or sidewalk chalk placed throughout the house to absorb moisture and odors.

When you leave the house you probably unplug the refrigerator, when you do, leave the door partially open and put crumpled newspapers in it to keep the musty smells away.

Leave the dishwasher propped open so it can air out completely and avoid mold growth.

During the summer months the air conditioner helps to lower the level of humidity in the house, leaving it running while you’re gone will help to eliminate mildew problems. A dehumidifier in the warm months will also reduce moisture levels.

Leave doors in the house open to encourage ventilation and air circulation.

Putting ceiling fans or bathroom fans on a timer to run about 12 hours a day will help to keep the air moving which is extremely important in removing moisture and odors.

If you follow the above tips your lake house, or vacation home, is sure to smell much better for your next visit. If you follow these steps and the problem persists then you might need to contact a qualified home inspector to check for moisture build up on insulation in the wall or ceiling spaces.


Whether it’s a homey cabin by the lake or a casa grande in an exotic location, you worked hard to earn your summer home. The last thing you want to do is work hard cleaning or making repairs each time you arrive for fun with your friends and family. It’s understandable if your dream of one day owning a second home didn’t include a plan for how you would maintain it. But now that dream has come true and figuring out how to keep your getaway in tip-top shape is a reality.

The first thing you must do to take care of your vacation home is to insure it. Without proper coverage your investment could literally go up in smoke. Speak with both your real estate agent and your current insurance agent to learn about any special considerations for insuring a home out of state or country. The second concern is the physical upkeep and security of the property.

Unless you have a friend or family member who lives near your vacation home and is willing to do the work, there are really only three options for taking care of a second home: do it yourself, hire a property manager or hire a caretaker. Each option has its pros and cons.

Do It Yourself

This option is only practical if you live near your second home and are willing to dedicate a few days each month to light housekeeping and landscape maintenance. It is the least expensive way to care for your place and also gives you more opportunities to meet neighbors and acquaint yourself with the area. The extra responsibility, however, can make your vacation getaway feel like one more chore that needs doing.

If you do opt to do your own maintenance, it’s a good idea to make a list of and meet local repairmen, plumbers and electricians. Knowing which local professionals you can count on will alleviate much of the stress in an emergency. It's also a great idea to invest in home security systems. This will really cut down on the risk that your property will be burgled during the time between your trips.

Hire a Property Manager

Paying for the services of a professional property manager is the most convenient way to have your vacation home maintained. Services include preparing the home for you arrival, closing it when you leave, regular inspections and handling emergencies. If you are interested in renting out your vacation home when you’re not using it, a management company can oversee that process as well.

Top service costs top dollar, but don’t assume a management company is reliable just because they charge a hefty fee. Check with the Better Business Bureau, your real estate agent and neighbors before signing a contract.

Hire Local Help

Hiring a local caretaker and/or housekeeper is a compromise between doing all the work yourself and paying a large fee to a management company. A groundsman or housekeeper can keep the property neat and ready for your arrival. They can also perform regular inspections of the home and contact you if there are concerns. An full-time handyman is another option to consider if the property is large enough to accommodate another person or family. The best way to find reliable help is by asking other homeowners for recommendations.

Purchasing a vacation home can be an emotional decision but ultimately it’s an investment that must be protected. No matter which solution you choose, home security systems and motion detecting lights can help safeguard the home when you are not there. It’s an inescapable part of home ownership that occasional accidents and repairs are going to happen. But if you are prepared, these everyday inconveniences don’t have to spoil the wonderful times you have planned for you summer home.


Ways To Keep Your Home Safe

by admin on April 9, 2012

If you think back to your childhood and how you felt about your home, it is likely that you remember it as the most comfortable part of your world. As a child, your home is where your parents are, where you sleep every night, where you play after school, etc. It follows, therefore, that as a parent and a homeowner, you should attempt to do all you can to preserve this sense of comfort for your family. One of the best ways to do this is to make sure that your home remains a safe and secure environment. So, with that in mind, here are a few tips for how to build and maintain a secure environment in and around your home.

• Security System – Of course, the first thing that comes to mind when considering securing your home is home security systems! Modern systems can come equipped with a number of features, including motion sensors, alarms, video cameras, smoke detectors, etc., which, all together, can form a virtually impenetrable web of security around your home. These systems are completely essential if you want to make your home as safe as possible.
• Exterior – There are a number of things you can do to the outside of your home to decrease the likelihood of any criminal activity. To begin with, along with your security system, put a sign in the front yard indicating the fact that you are protected. Additionally, keep windows and doors closed at night and when nobody is home, and try to have a car in the driveway or visibly in the garage at all times – these little things make it obvious that your home is occupied and protected, and thus make it a less appealing target for criminals.
• Neighbors – It may seem like a concept totally unrelated to home security, but forging relationships with your neighbors is one of the best ways to create a safe and secure environment around your home. As you bond with your neighbors, you can trust them to work with you to keep your neighborhood safe, and you can be assured that they will tell you if anything seems wrong in or around your property. This can particularly be helpful if you have to be out of town for any amount of time.
• Vigilance – Finally, there is simple, practiced vigilance on your part. The most significant aspect of home security is how well you perform at keeping your house safe. This means locking doors at night, not opening the door for just anybody, and even teaching your kids how and when to lock doors and set the alarm, etc. It is your responsibility, after all, to protect your home whenever you are inside it, and maintaining vigilance can make your home the comfortable and secure environment that you need it to be.

- Max Neufeld is an online blogger and professional freelance contributor to multiple social media outlets. He contributes to marketing campaigns for websites like


There was a rise of 12.8% on existing home sales within the month of December. This meant that the increase was 5.28 million units, and the brainerd-real-estate-talkforecast was a rise of about 4.1% or about 4.87 million units (The National Association of Realtors is responsible for collating these figures). In the event, the actual figures have surpassed expectations. On the other hand the supply of homes in December fell to 8.1 million units. This is the lowest recorded level since March in the previous year.

An overview of the trends [click to continue…]


Please find the response the GLAR REALTORS have provided to Crow Wing County in regards to the proposed ordinance.

“We encourage you to share this information with anyone you feel may be interested and suggest providing comments to the County prior to December 20, 2010.

Land Use Revisions

Here is a peak into the .PDF files,

Revision Requests:

1) Issues Related to Existing Lots, Uses, and Structures.

2) Issues Related to Standard for Impervious Area and Shoreline Vegetation Buffers.

3) Issues Related to the County’s Administration of the Proposed Ordinance.

4) Various Other Specific Aspects of the Proposed Ordinance.

[click to continue…]


Minnesota Foreclosure Video

December 14, 2010 has an excellent video on Minnesota Foreclosures. Talking Points: * Foreclosure Process * Resources & Who to Turn To * Foreclosure Counseling * Additional Tools SEMAR Presentation Minnesota Foreclosure Slideshow

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Promising Year for Minnesota Homeowners

December 14, 2010

The mantra amongst aspiring homeowners in the Minnesota region seems to be “Now, we certainly can!”. According to various specialists, 2011 should be the year when the realty industry finally emerges from a four-year decline, bringing new hopes and promises. However, are people ready to take the leap of faith, or will everyone write this [...]

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2010 Crow Wing County Zoning Meeting

November 23, 2010

Ordinance revisions,  part of the County’s Future Land Use Map Project, can be viewed on the County website at‐ All comments submitted will be added to the official file and also will be handed off to the policy-makers. County staffers will analyze the public comments over a 30-60 day period. Another public hearing will [...]

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Choosing Lake Home – Five Points to Ponder

November 9, 2010

Tips for Buyers: Selecting a Lake home Nothing beats waking up in the morning and having a cup of coffee on a balcony that is overlooking a beautiful lake. Imagine..  Just laying back on your chair, take a sip on your coffee then close your eyes and take a deep breath of fresh air, it [...]

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Win $10,000 and Prizes – Brainerd Rotary Reverse Raffle

October 12, 2010

Brainerd Rotary Club’s Reverse Raffle Win big with the 2010 reverse raffle hosted by the Rotary Club of Brainerd Minnesota. Proceeds from the raffle go to the Rotary and help support local organizations which help kids. What a great way to help local children and have a little fun in the process. Purchase tickets from [...]

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