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Area Insights

Picket Trail

Picket Trail in Fostoria

This unique antique shop located right off Hwy 71 in between Milford and Spencer in Fostoria, Iowa has so much to offer. Lots of home decor, up-cycled furniture, an Amish grocery store, jewelry, bath soaps and neat -dated antique furniture and decor. Their open hours are Wednesday - Saturday at 10am. The owner, Cathy, is very kind, knowledgeable, and has the place decorated tastefully! This is a MUST see; I bet you don’t leave empty handed!

The Three Sons

The Three Sons in Milford

Founded in 1960, the Three Sons has been a staple of Milford, IA retail. From Herman and Emil Richter, owners, was born the University of Okoboji, a ficticious university that calls the entire Iowa Great Lakes the campus of the U of O. Part of the experience of shopping the three sons, if walking the old battered floors, and taking a trip upstairs for half price, plus a buck. Brands you would expect in Milford Iowa are abundant, such as Patagonia, Oakley, Under Armour, Tommy Bahama, and more. There are currently 2 other stores; one at the amusement park, and another near the Regal Beagle called the bridge store. No self-respecting visitor to Okoboji leaves without visiting one of their stores.

The Family Diner

The Family Diner in Spirit Lake

The Family Diner is Spirit Lake, IA is a local favorite! They offer up a large portion for small money, but whether you come early or late you may be in for a wait. With homemade bread and the largest sausage patty you have seen, The Family Diner is consistently delicious. They are open only for breakfast and lunch and closed two days a week. In my former career at Stylecraft, the family diner was definately a favorite when our friends would visit from North Carolina. They were always inpressed with the bread and rolls and corn beef hash.

Taco House

One of a kind Authentic Mexican Cuisine right here in West Okoboji! A local favorite and rated five stars by visitors young and old. Be sure to put this as a favorite on your list of places to not miss when you are vacationing in the Lakes area. Close to Terrace Park so if you are feeling up for a small walk you may walk from Terrace Park to the Taco House.

The West Lake "Tie Up"

The West Lake

For most leisure boaters in the Iowa Great Lakes, there are 2 main hot spots to go throw an anchor, sit back, and just relax. Sometimes this will result in numerous boats tying up to one another (you may not even know your neighbor), and sometimes it results in a little more privacy where you can chill just by yourself. Every weekend, boaters make the trek across the deepest parts of West Lake to either Gull Point (North AND South side) and Miller's Bay. Thought there are many other great areas to throw an anchor, relax, and swim, these are the two hot spots. If you aren't sure where to go on a Saturday afternoon or wonder where your friends might be, these two spots would be a good start.

Buyer and seller real estate app, right at your fingertips.

Buyer and seller real estate app, right at your fingertips. in The

Browse real-time MLS listings in the Iowa Great Lakes Region
Filter for specific areas and amenities
Be notified when there is a new MLS listing match, status change, or price drop
Stay in touch with your agent
Save searches and favorites
Agents, Buyers, Lenders and Appraisers can view your transactions
View, download and sign documents

Every 30 seconds, a RE/MAX agent helps someone find their perfect place. Let us help you find yours.

1. Search "SellBoji" in your app store on your cell phone.
2. Download the app
3. Create a profile to access info or save searches (This is not necessary to browse the listings)
4. Enjoy all the benefits of the real estate app

Arnolds Park Amusement Park

Arnolds Park Amusement Park in Arnolds Park

Having lived in Okoboji all my life, there are a wealth of memories of Arnolds Park. I, like many of the locals, miss the nostalgia of the old Roof Garden, the fun house, the water slide and much, much more. With time comes change, and the amusement park continues to reinvent itself. Currently with over 20 rides to choose from, the family is sure to have a good time. The main attraction, The Legend Roller Coaster, is the 7th oldest coaster in the United States and apparently the 13th oldest in the world. Reaching speeds of up to 50 mph, the roller coaster has undergone substantial renovations in the last year. In front of the amusement park on West Lake is the Queen II excursion boat, and Pirate Jacks Bar. The sunsets here are unparalleled. If you have a chance to visit, make sure to check out the tipsy house, the three sons, and all of the shops. Just to the east is the green space, which provides great entertainment and in 2013 OAR came to play, which is a pretty big name for Okoboji.

"The Harbor"

The harbor is a man made inlet located on the north end of West Lake. A board walk surrounds the harbor and this is one of the most tranquil parts of the lake. Homeowners in the harbor have a more affordable way to have access to West Lake, and still get to enjoy the clean waters West Lake has to offer. Homes in the Harbor typically range from about $350k to as much as $700k.

Cheap vs high end quality. A buyer's perspective.

Cheap vs high end quality.  A buyer's perspective. in The

Here's the scenario. You are building a house or remodeling your house. Material costs are up. Labor costs are up. You ask yourself, where can I save a buck? Before answering this question, you must be careful, especially if your home is located in an area where other quality homes are built, whether on the lake, off the lake, or in higher valued developments such as golf course developments, etc. Growing up in construction and with a plethora of new construction and remodels under my belt, let me share with you some of the easy things that your future buyers will recognize when they are looking for quality.
1. One of the first things buyers of higher end homes will look for is to determine if the owner used hollow core doors. It's an immediate sign that the seller was looking for ways to save money (where else then did they cut back that I can't see???)
2. The second most obvious is the counter tops. Did the sellers spend for a quality granite, quartz, or other hard surface, or was formica used?
3. The third item that might stick out is the cabinetry. Do the drawers have dovetail construction with hardwoods? Did they use "soft close" drawers? Are there pull outs for the pots and pans?
4. Flooring is an easy one also. Was laminate used, or is it engineered or hardwoods? Does the carpet convey a quality feel and plushness? Is there a nice thick pad underneath the carpet?
5. Though there are many other items to look at, cheap vs quality lighting and plumbing fixtures are probably the next major focus.

There is nothing wrong with with using lower cost materials, especially when trying to keep a project within budget, especially when trying to build more house for less money. Just be aware that most buyers looking to spend in excess of $300k for off lake homes and $500+ for East Lake chain homes, and $1M+ for West and Big Spirit will expect the very best materials and finishes.

South Shore Estates

South Shore Estates in Lower Gar Lake

South Shore Estates is the newest lakeshore development on Lower Gar. Here you have access to West Lake, East Lake, Minnewashta, and Upper Gar.

Beware the (I'll get your home sold in a week) agent

Beware the (I'll get your home sold in a week) agent in The

I hear this one all the time from prospects looking to list their house. "Well, agent xyz told us that if we listed with her, she'd have it sold in a week." This would fall into the category of "If it sounds too good to be true, the probably is." The majority of agents are not going to make this claim, but rather will give you an honest market analysis, inform you as to how weak or strong the market is, especially the market in which your home resides, and present the objective facts. A good agent will then lay out an effective marketing plan, where the majority of the focus should be on "online marketing". Be careful to not get caught up in empty promises, reduced commissions, and being talked in to lowering your price below market value (unless you must have a quick sale). The key to choosing a good listing agent is to objectively determine who is going to provide you the best opportunity to sell your home. Will your listing agent also aggressively work to find buyers, or will they just list your home and wait for another agent to do the work.

 

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