Top 7 Tips for Traveling with Your Pet

Vacation season will soon be upon us and what would a vacation to the North Woods be without bringing your family dog along? Travel with pets can bring its own challenges so here’s my Top 7 Travel Tips for Vacationing with Your Pet:

Tip #1: Ensure Your Pet is properly I.D’d: Pets can easily get lost in a new area they are not familiar with. If Fido get separated from you, you want to make it easy for people to contact you when he is found. If your pet is microchipped, make sure your contact information is current. No microchip, no problem; you can purchase a small tag with your pet’s name and your cell phone number on it and put it on his collar.

Tip #2: Have a Copy of Your Pet’s shot records: Many states, including Minnesota, require that your pet be current with their shots especially a rabies vaccination. It’s a good idea to have a copy of your pet’s shot records with you when traveling.

Tip #3: Don’t forget to pack a bag for your pet: When you packing for yourself and your family, it’s easy to forget about your pet. Take the extra time to pack a bag for your pet. Include grooming brushes, medication if needed, a first aid kit, favorite bed, favorite toys, and the most important, a good leash.

Tip #4: Food & Water: while it not good to feed a pet in the car while moving, it is important to ensure they have their normal food for the trip. When you stop for gas or a to take a break, make sure your pet has fresh water available to hydrate. Keep some tap water in a cooler in a plastic bottle and having a bowl to pour it in, is an important thing especially when traveling during the heat of summer.

Tip # 5: Potty Breaks: When you stop for gas or a break, don’t forget about your pet. During long drives we all enough a break to stretch our legs and your pet will also welcome the chance to get out of the vehicle for a bit. Remember to keep them on a leash!

Tip # 6: Bring a well ventilated carrier: Having a safe place to house your pet makes the entire travel time safer for both you and your pet. Carriers do take up quite a bit of room in your car, it is a safer place for pets to travel. And when you get to your hotel or cabin, a carrier is also a nice place to have your pet relax while you are unloading the car or going to dinner.

Tip #7: Never leave your pet in the car unattended: Just like young children, pets can easily overheat in a locked car. Even if the temps seem comfortable to you outside, inside the car they can quickly get too hot. Its better to be safe!

With so many fun activities in Itasca County, your pet will definitely enjoy going hiking, fishing, camping, and more. Travel safe and don’t forget to stop by and visit us at our Marcell and Grand Rapids locations. We LOVE dogs!

Get Learning!


Spring is here and that means summer isn’t far behind. What plans do you have for your children this year when the last school bell has rung? It can be a challenge to keep little minds simulated and active hands from getting into mischief. I just might have a solution for you! GET LEARNING, the community education program for the Itasca Area Schools Collaborative, offers a wide range of programs and classes throughout Itasca County to keep your children busy. And, if you have some free time on your hands, they have adult classes as well. While their spring catalog is coming to an end, there are still plenty of activities to participate in while awaiting the summer catalog which will be out shortly. You can see the current catalog here.

Here’s a short listing of upcoming classes for the kids:

Kids in the Garden: May 1st from 5:30 - 6:50 pm
Sculpture for Kids: Wednesday, May 1st - May 29th 3:00 - 4:00 pm
Canvas with my kids: May 9th, 4:30 - 6:30 pm
College for Kids: June 10th - 14th (see catalog for details)

Adults classes are held all over Itasca County so you can certainly find something that peaks your interest near your home. Here’s a short list of upcoming adults classes:

Basket Weaving (Bicycle basket) May 13th 5:00 - 9:00 pm
Birch bark Bread Basket: May 13th & 14th 5:00 - 8:00 pm
Pallet Painting Class: May 21st 5:00 - 8:00 pm

We are never short of fun activities in the Grand Rapids and surrounding area. Plan to enjoy some of the wonderful classes offered!

New Buyer FAQ's Part 3: Closing on Your Property


In my past blog post, we’ve talked about finding the perfect home and making the offer. Now, let’s talk about how the closing process works. Closing on Real Estate normally involves a title search, gathering paperwork from the lender, and in general ensuring that everything is complete for the new owner. Your Realtor will help walk you through the process but here are a few of our FAQ’s about closing:

Where will we be closing? You can pick the closing company you’d like to work with. Your Realtor can give you recommendations for closing companies they’ve worked with in the past if you’d like. The closing company will work to get all of the title work completed, paperwork prepared, and identify any issues.

Is the closing date on my contract guaranteed? The closing date on the purchase agreement may change. It is our best guesstimate of when everyone will be ready, including the lender if there will be a mortgage. Your realtor will keep you updated on how things are progressing. We do everything we can to ensure we will meet the agreed upon date, but things do come up.

What happens at closing? Both buyers and sellers should bring their driver’s license as proof of identity. And then, be prepared to sign…..lots of signatures….like a lot! Your closer will review each document with you and have your sign. Once all signatures are completed, you’ll receive copies of everything. Buyers have your settlement funds ready to do. Sellers; you’ll get the proceeds.

When will I get the keys? The most widely agreed upon timing is at closing. Once both buyers and sellers have signed on the dotted lines, the keys are turned over to the new owner. In some circumstances and with prior agreement, move-in early terms are negotiated between buyers and sellers.

Remember, your Realtor will keep you updated on all closing activities.  You may be asked for additional information, especially from your lender.  Never hesitate to pick up the phone and ask questions.  That's what we're here for! 

Let The Show Begin!

The team at Edge of the Wilderness Realty loves living in Grand Rapids and surrounding area of Itasca County. Wonderful lakes, miles of trails, and the beauty of nature. But did you know we also have booming Arts & Theater opportunities? That’s right, the Twin Cities has nothing on us. No need to drive for hours to see a play or heard some awesome music. There is plenty of that right here in Itasca County.

The Edge Center for the Arts, Bigfork, MN: This amazing center plays host to art exhibitions, touring shows, locally produced shows, and classic films. Located about 38 miles North of Grand Rapids, the Edge Center is a great play to come. The 2019 season is set to bring us a wide variety of exciting events. Visit their website for a full schedule.

The Reif Performing Arts Center, Grand Rapids: The Reif Center offers live music, theater, dance, and an art gallery. Each year they host more than 50 national and international performances. It is also home to the Reif Dance program where children 4 years old through adults can learn a wide variety of dance including ballet, jazz, and tap. Their calendar is loaded with events. Visit their website for a full schedule:

MacRostie Art Center, Grand Rapids: The MacRostie Center host art exhibits, has a wide variety of classes and a shop that features local and regional artist. There is something for everyone at the MacRostie. For adults learn to make a Birch Bark Mat, Paint, work with clay, and jewelry making, just to name a few. For youth there are classes in 3-D printing, watercolors, sculpture, and more. Visit their website to see everything that is offered. You are sure to find something that interest you.

As you can tell, there is so much to do in Itasca County. Why not come and join us?

New Home Buyers FAQ's Part 2: Making the Offer

In my last blog post, we answered questions about finding the right home.  Today, we’ll answer questions about making and offer.  Remember, you don’t have to know everything; that’s why you have your Edge of the Wilderness Realtor to guide you through the process. So, now that you’ve found the prefect place, what’s next?  Read on to see if we can answer the questions you might already have:


  • I know what the seller is asking, but how will I know how much to offer?  Your realtor can help you with determining your offer price but the decision is yours.  And remember, it’s not always about the money.  Are you pre-approved?  Are you asking for help with closing cost?  Will your offer be contingent on selling another home or on an inspection?  How quickly do you want to close?  All of these items can come into play when writing an offer.  
  • What’s are contingencies?  Contingencies are also part of the purchase agreement where the buyer is staying “I will pay your this much for your property, BUT these things apply to my offer”.  For example, one contingency might be a home inspection.  Another might be a septic compliance and a well test.  If you currently own a home but have it on the market, you might choose to have a contingency based on the sale of your current home.  Talk to your Edge of the Wilderness Realtor. 
  • What’s earnest money?  Earnest money is part of any purchase agreement.  It is part of your commitment to purchase.  You’re saying “yes, I want to buy your property, here’s my deposit”
  • How much earnest money should I put down?  This is your opportunity to show the sellers that you are serious about purchasing their property. While there isn’t a set amount of money you need to put down, go in strong but stay in your comfortable level.  
  • What happens to my earnest money?  Your earnest money is deposited into the seller’s broker’s account.  The buyer will see a credit on their settlement statement at closing.  In other words, the earnest money is returned to the buyer as a credit when we close.  If, the seller meets all of the requirements of the purchase agreement and the buyer secure financing but decides at the last minute to walk away without cause, the seller may get to keep the earnest money that the seller deposited.  
  • Will I get my earnest money back if the contract is not accepted?  Absolutely! 
  • What is the process for getting my earnest money back if the contract is accepted and the home inspections finds an issue? If, after the home inspection, the buyer decides that the home has too many repair issues to move forward, earnest money will be returned to the buyer.  It’s just a matter of canceling the contract, having both buyer and sellers sign the cancelation, and then a check is mailed to the buyers address.  


FAQ's for New Buyers

So, you’d like to buy a home but aren’t quite sure where to start. It can certainly be an overwhelming task with many questions. To help get you off on the right foot, we have put together a short series of Frequently Asked Questions that the majority of our new buyer have. Over the next few weeks, we’ll try to answer many of the questions you have rolling around in your head.

Remember that every buying experience is different and having the right Realtor to guide you is key to success. At Edge of the Wilderness Lakes & Homes Realty, our offices in Marcell and Grand Rapids are staffed with experienced agents that are ready to show you the way to home ownership.

First up in our series, finding the right home:

How many properties does the typical buyer look at? Some buyers look for quite some time and view many, many homes. Other buyers find the home they want to purchase on their first time looking. It all depends on the buyer and how perfectly the home fits their dreams…..and budget!

How often do you find perfect properties on the first day? It is rare to find a home that fits 100% of your dreams and desires unless you are building from scratch. If you find a house that has 80% of what you are looking for, 10% of things you can change, and 10% of things you can live with, it’s a KEEPER! Be sure to give your realtor a list of the things that matter MOST! That will increase the likelihood of finding your next property quicker!

When should I make an offer? When you’ve found a property that meets the majority of your needs, don’t waste a lot of time “thinking it over.” In Real Estate, if you sleep on it, you might not be sleeping in it, especially in a hot market!

How long does the buying process take? There are many variables here. Once you’ve found the property you want to purchase and have an accepted purchase agreement; if you will be taking out a mortgage, the lender will really be driving the process. Some banks can move quickly, others have more requirements and take a bit longer. If you are taking out a VA or FHA loan, there are additional requirements which can extend the process. Typically, from the point of offer accepted, it will take 6-8 weeks to close.

Next up, we'll answer questions on the inspection process, especially in Itasca County!

Get Ready for Water Adventure In Grand Rapids, MN


One of the things I love about Grand Rapids is the great opportunities for fun outdoor activities basically year-round. We’ve really enjoyed our skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and hockey this winter. Now it’s time for some awesome Spring and Summer adventures.

Itasca County is loaded with great lakes. From Pokegama to Wabana, to the mighty Mississippi River, we have places for all of the great water activities you love. One local business, Paddle Hoppers, is a wonderful place to start your adventure. Paddle Hoppers offers a wide variety of choices for your water vacation. Rent paddle boards, kayaks, and canoes. You can rent right at their location and get it the water there, or rent a kayak and head to another lake for your adventure.

Don’t miss some of the exciting trips they have planned this year. How about a 3 hour Saturday River Run adventure or trips to Clubhouse, the Joyce Estates, or the Gunn Lake Chain. Be sure to register early, these adventures book up quickly. There are so many great activities.

Paddle Hoppers also sells equipment. If you looking for a new kayak, canoe, or Paddle board, stop by their shop at 17 Country Road 63 in Grand Rapids.

More of a fisherman or woman? Thousand Lakes Sporting Goods is a great place to stop, pick up your bait, and gets tips from the staff that are all die-hard fisherman/women. Located at 331 4th Ave NW in Grand Rapids, they carry all of the top brands including Simms, Rapala, Patagonia, and Shimano.

If its your first time coming to Itasca County to fish, the folks at Thousand Lakes can hook you up with a fish guide or simply point you in the right direction. From Muskie to Walleye to Panfish, they will know where they are biting. Don’t forget to say “Hi” to Bennet, the very large Chocolate Lab who is often at the store.

I’ll share some more of my favorite places in future blog post. There are so many great businesses in Grand Rapids that it’s hard to talk about all of them in a single post.

My Top 6 Cabins/Homes on Water Under $200k

Dreaming of a home or cabin on water in Itasca County but not sure you can afford it?  Here’s my Top 6 List; All under $200,000!  


Little Dew Lake Cabin in Togo:  If you’re looking for privacy, this cabin really fits the bill.  Bring your kayak, boat or canoe and start enjoying all of the peaceful solitude.  Walk out your back yard to hunt miles of public land.  If you’re seeking a remote cabin where you’ll see the occasional Moose or Bobcat, here it is. Listed for $140,000 (MLS# 9931870)

Blandin Reservior:  This year round 3 bedroom, 2 bath home includes a second parcel with frontage on the Blandin Reservior.  Lovely cozy touches throughout the home.  A little bit of country right in town. Listed for $147,000 (MLS 9932523)


Round Lake Cabin:  It doesn’t get much better than this!  Adorable waterfront cabin tucked away on the shores of Round Lake.  Private setting with gentle breezes, whispering pine trees, and filtered sunlight along the 240+ feet of lakeshore.  2-car garage with finished space above for whatever you want.  Listed for just $179,000 (MLS # 9932119)


Horseshoe Lake: The owners have done some great cabinet work, lighting, and decorating making this a superb up north property.  Beautiful views of Horseshoe lake.  Enjoy your morning cup of Joe on the 5 x 19 wrap around porch.  Peace and quiet at its best!  Listed for $189,000 (MLS # 9929061)


Mississippi River:  This home sets on a beautiful park-like setting with south-facing views of the Mississippi Rover and Blandin Reservoir.  With 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, sits on a private road.  Inside you’ll find a brick fireplace, oak cabinets, hardwood floors, and an 11 x 11 sunroom.  There is a 24x32 garage and a store shed.  Listed for $189,000 (MLS # 9932578)


Bello Lake:  Ready to get away from people?  This secluded and private home sits on Bello Lake near Bigfork.  With an open main floor plan and two bedrooms upstairs ready for you to put the final touches on.  400’ of hard bottom sand shoreline and 9 acres.  Enjoy the Cedars, Birch, Maples, Balsam, and Aspen trees.  Listed for $199,000 (MLS # 9932535)


No matter where you are looking in Itasca County; Bigfork, Marcell, Spring Lake, Wirt, Grand Rapids……we have you covered at Edge of the Wilderness Lakes and Homes Realty.  Give us a call today!


5 Home Maintenance Tips to Save you from Repair Headaches



Homeownership is great; especially in Northern Itasca County.  Having a place to call your own is what we dream about but what they don’t tell us is that along with having a nice home comes the maintenance piece.  While there are professionals that can handle the more detailed issues that might arise, there are some things that you can do to keep your Itasca County home or cabin in tip-top shape and avoid having to bring in the professional.  Here is a list of my top 5 maintenance tips to help to avoid repair headaches:


  • Air Filters:  Check your air filters monthly.  Did you know that when you change your air filters regularly as needed, you can cut your energy bill by as much as 5-15% annually?  This is certainly an easy way to not only cut energy bills but also a much needed maintenance piece for furnaces and AC units. 
  • Have your AC unit tuned-up:  With spring making its appearance, summer is not far behind.  To keep you cool this summer, schedule an AC tune-up early.  It’s better to have your unit is top condition before the heat of summer arrives and the technicians are too busy to get to you quickly.   
  • Check your Roof:  As winter finally gives way to Spring weather, the snow is melting and you can see your roof.  Spring is the best time to check your roof.  Look for broken or warped shingles or damage to a metal roof.  Having shingles repaired early will save you from water damage on the interior of your home later.  
  • Clean Your Gutters:  While you’re up on your ladder checking the roof, take a peek at your gutters.  Nobody likes cleaning out gutters, at least nobody I know.  But damaged or clogged gutters can damage your roof or force you have replacement gutters put up.  Do yourself a favor, clean them up and keep them happy.  
  • Clean your refrigerator coils: Here’s one that most people do not think about.  All kinds of grease, dust, and dirt can build up on the coils behind your refrigerator.  That makes it not only inefficient, it can be dangerous as well.  It’s very simple to clean them off.  Just unplug the frig, pull it away from the wall and use your  vacuum cleaner’s brush attachment to work the build-up away gently.  Don’t force it.  Then use a cloth to wipe away anything that the vacuum missed.  Piece of cake!  


Follow these 5 tips to help get ahead of any costly repairs.  Fishing opener is approaching quickly so why not get the house in order before putting that boat in one of the 1000’s of beautiful lakes Itasca County has to offer?