Itasca County Area Real Estate News

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

April 11, 2019

Coldwell Banker Northwoods Realty Continues to Lead the Way

Multiple Realtors® Earn Top Recognition from Coldwell Banker® International; Agency Receives Premier Office Designation for Sixth Straight Year

Coldwell Banker Northwoods Realty continues to be the top performing real estate agency in Itasca County, based on sales volume data published by the Itasca County Board of Realtors for the period January 1 - December 31, 2018. 

“We owe our success to our loyal clients, who trust us with the most important transactions of their lives,” said Broker/Owner Mike Kellin. “We don’t take that responsibility lightly and we work hard to deliver successful results for them time and again.”

Several of the agency’s Realtors® were also recognized for their performance by Coldwell Banker®, landing them among the top representatives worldwide in the Coldwell Banker system:

• Brett Beckfeld and Pam Gilhousen qualified once again for the International President’s Circle, awarded to the top 10 percent of all representatives worldwide in the Coldwell Banker system.

• The Up North Team comprised of Cathy Beddoe Carlson, Jenny McClure, Lynn Ranger, Tim Skelly, and Jamie O’Toole, earned membership once again in the International President’s Circle as a team among the top 20 percent of all Coldwell Banker teams worldwide.

Karen Gessell, in her second year as a realtor, qualified for the International Diamond Society, awarded to the top 15 percent of all representatives worldwide in the Coldwell Banker system.

• Mitch Kellin achieved membership in the International Sterling Society, given to the top 25 percent of realtors worldwide in the Coldwell Banker system.  

For the sixth straight year, Coldwell Banker Northwoods Realty was recognized as a Coldwell Banker® Premier Office, one of the highest honors given to Coldwell Banker agencies. The Grand Rapids office has received the designation 11 times in its history.

Mike Kellin says it’s the combined talent of his entire team that drives their success. 

Charlotte McDermott’s exceptional market knowledge and industry experience are second to none. She’s respected for her unwavering professionalism, tenacity, ethics, and loyalty to her clients.  

Jim Affleck is a local legend and has earned a loyal following as resident expert on area lakes and waterways. He’s been matching clients with their dream destinations for decades. 

As a veteran, Joel Perrington has a personal passion for navigating the challenges of VA home ownership and financing. His years of experience with aerial Geographic Information Systems for the Department of Natural Resources has given Joel a unique perspective when it comes to finding clients ideal locations.

In just two short years, Lisa Waldo has built a reputation as a savvy realtor who is incredibly dedicated to her clients. She’s creative, tenacious and the ultimate team player. 

Todd Christensen also joined Coldwell Banker Northwoods Realty in 2017. Todd’s local entrepreneurial success provides his clients with invaluable business acumen and insider experience. 

Coldwell Banker Northwoods Realty is Itasca County’s real estate leader. Purchased by Mike and Lisa Kellin in 1990 from Bob Hill and family, the agency has been family owned and operated since 1947. The Kellin’s son Mitch and son-in-law Brett Beckfeld are realtors and son Lewis serves as Chief Financial Officer. The office of 17 real estate professionals with dedicated marketing and administrative support cover all of Itasca County and the Grand Rapids area as well as parts of Aitkin, Cass and St. Louis counties, and Duluth’s North Shore Region. 


March 19, 2019

4 Reasons Spring is the Best Time to Sell Your Home

It's the first day of spring and that means it's the perfect time to sell your home. And there are some good "signs" that the market could be strong in 2019.

As the snow melts away there are far fewer homes are on the market. When inventory is low, it increases your chance of a home sale. Fewer homes on the market mean more exposure for the homes that are. Yeah for you, right?!

Secondly, thanks to our evolving economy, interest rates are on the rise. However, they are still realtively low. That's a plus for you as well.

What's more? God bless those beautiful millennials. This spunky bunch is readying to become first-time home buyers. That's good news for you, too.

But what about home equity? If you are one of the fortunate souls that bought when interest rates were under 4 percent, then you've been building some of the good stuff. This year may be a great time to cash it in.

If you're considering 2019 to be your year, don't hesitate. The early spring market is the BEST!


Jamie O'Toole, Realtor®, Up North Team, Coldwell Banker Northwoods Realty

Feb. 14, 2019

How's the Market in Itasca County?

Breaking It Down: Itasca County Home Sales Report

A common question posed to brokers and Realtors® from the general public is, “how’s the market?” The responses vary based upon each individual's track record and/or experiences. That being said – the best way to provide accurate information is to refer to the Minnesota REALTORS Monthly Indicators report. The 10K Statistical Reports Activity Snapshot from December 2017 until December 2018 became available at the end of January. 

Results provided a mixed bag of positives and negatives: The number of homes available for sale during the past 12 months was down 10.9 percent, from 375 in 2017 to 334 in 2018, which would be consistent with the number of closed sales also being down by 36.8 percent.  With the number of available homes for purchase being down – it would be logical there would be fewer closings.

On the positive flip side, the median sale price (which is the point at which an even number of homes sold below and above this number) increased by 20.6 percent.  In 2017, the median sales price in the Itasca County area was $115,000. In 2018, that amount rose to $138,725.  

Equally positive is the 16.9 percent increase in average sales price. In 2017 that amount was $136,807, while in 2018 the average sales price increased to $159,949. It should be noted the increased sales price is a “double-edged sword,” a positive for sellers and a negative for buyers.

Most importantly to keep in mind is that ALL real estate is LOCAL. While the sale of lake homes would factor into the above overall averages, their sales prices differ wildly from the quoted amounts. The local MLS/Board of Realtors no longer breaks the sales of homes into specific categories.  A future blog will attempt to explore the monumental role lake homes play in our local market. 

Prepared by Charlotte McDermott, CRS, G.R.I

Coldwell Banker Northwoods Realty


Dec. 27, 2018

Buying Hunting Land? What you need to know.

Inside Intel on Selecting Your Perfect Outdoors Property

As a Realtor® and avid outdoorsman, I’ve guided clients on the sale and purchase of all types of hunting and recreational land. These are the most important factors you should consider when evaluating a parcel:

1) Look for a volume discount: Normally, the larger the parcel, the lower the cost per acre. 

2) Location, location, location: Does the parcel have public land adjacent to it? What is the terrain? High or low ground?  

3) Accessibility: What is access to the property like at different times of the year? Consider all of northern Minnesota’s weather possibilities. 

4) Feast or famine: What is the animal count on the parcel?  

5) Making changes: What are local restrictions for building or improving the parcel?

6) Life happens: What is the worst-case scenario if you have to sell the property?

Please share some information with me on what you’re looking for and I can give you feedback and ideas.

Yours in the outdoors,
Todd Christenson, Realtor®, Coldwell Banker Northwoods Realty

Posted in Land, Useful Tools
Nov. 20, 2018

Ready to Sell? What you need to know.

3 Valuable Tips Before the "For Sale" Sign Goes Up

  • Concentrate on readying your main living area first. It’s too overwhelming to tackle the entire house at one time. First impressions are everything, so if you "wow" them when they walk in the door, it will help them look past the attic that has years of memorabilia in it. 
  • You are listing your house because you are moving - start packing! The best way to de-clutter your house is to start packing away the things that you will take with you. And get rid of the stuff you don’t want!
  • Contact a realtor. We are here to help take the stress out of selling your home, explain the process and make sure you are protected under all circumstances. Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at 218-244-0795 and I'm happy to answer any questions you have.

By Karen Gessell, Realtor®, Coldwell Banker Northwoods Realty 


June 26, 2018

Most Recommended Real Estate Agency By Women

2018 Women's Choice Award Winner

Women make or influence 91% of home-buying decisions. As it turns out, women are favoring Coldwell Banker for their real estate needs.

Coldwell Banker has been named a 2018 Women's Choice Award recipient. The Women’s Choice Award is a symbol that women gave their collective approval of the Coldwell Banker brand. This is the only award that recognizes and identifies brands that women recommend, and the award we have received celebrates Coldwell Banker for excellence in overall quality and customer experience.

Recommendations are the highest compliment we can receive in our business. At Coldwell Banker Northwoods Realty, we are honored that two-thirds of our business is referred to us by our valued clients, and proud that over half of our agents are women who have chosen to partner with us. 



May 2, 2018

Common Misconception by Home Sellers

Don’t Wait for the "Green" to List Your Home

In Minnesota, a common thought is that things need to "green up" prior to listing your home or property for sale. As a seasoned realtor, I’m here to tell you this is actually false.

Most buyers are left with little inventory to choose from in the fall as sellers pull listings from the market at the thought of moving during the winter. This leaves many buyers still on the hunt come spring. Throw in additional new buyers as the temps warm up, and this ignites a very strong, immediate demand for available homes.

All this activity creates an excellent environment for sellers.  Don’t wait until May or June to list - you might have missed the window to sell your home fast, with potential competing offers!

Brett Beckfeld, Coldwell Banker Northwoods Agent

May 1, 2018

What You Need To Know about DIY

Make Sure Your Efforts Make The Right Impression

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) home improvement shows on TV and social media are taking over and we love it. It gives sellers fresh ideas to update their homes while saving a little money along the way. But, be careful that your DIY efforts deliver. Most updates look good from afar or online, but the true test is when buyers walk through the door. Poor finishes or craftsmanship are quickly recognized.

As a DIY-er myself, a minor detail I see often is with trim - a raw-edge-to-raw-edge vs. a 22.5 degree-angled miter cut. Make sure you take the time to do a proper finish - no matter the upgrade. Does it affect the utility of a home?  No. Does it affect one's enjoyment of the home? Probably not. Is it a costly thing to fix? Most often, no. But, poor finishes can raise questions in the buyer's mind about where other short cuts were taken, and if those short cuts are behind drywall or other hidden areas.

Make sure you pay attention to the details - one minor shortcut can cost you more than you'd imagine. Take your time, do your research and do it right the first time. 

Brett Beckfeld, Coldwell Banker Northwoods Agent

April 30, 2018

Get an Instant Property Valuation and Personalize Your Home Search

Our New Website Makes Buying or Selling a Breeze

With our refreshed site, get an instant home valuation and create your own profile to make your home or property search easier than ever. Custom market reports and interactive map search tools are right at your fingertips. Take a look around and let us know what you think! And definitely let us know if we can be of help to you.

July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

Receive the Latest Local Market Stats

Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

Get Local Market Reports Sent Directly to You

You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Useful Tools