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7 amazing things to do in Wisconsin in the fall

Wisconsin is a great place to explore when fall is in full swing. The dramatic transformation of the state’s sprawling verdant landscapes to radiant patches of crimson and scarlet is a sight to behold.

Make the most of the unforgettable views and experiences that the Badger State has to offer during this picture-perfect season. Here are seven Wisconsin vacation ideas to add to your fall itineraries:

Drive off to a picturesque road trip or two

Looking for the quickest way to bask in Wisconsin’s golden autumn glow? Just hop in the car and hit the road.

Well-known Northern Wisconsin thoroughfares like the Wisconsin Lake Superior Scenic Byway, Door County Coastal Byway, and the Nicolet-Wolf River Scenic Byway are among the best scenic routes to take if you live near or are visiting the Bayfield Peninsula area.

The entire state also boasts of 119 designated rustic roads that showcase the crimson autumn hues.Wisconsin’s Department of Tourism even helps you keep track of where to find the most vivid autumn hues across the state. Just check this online Fall Color Report to see where you should go next.

See the sights of the season aboard a historic Wisconsin train

For a different kind of sight-seeing joy ride, Wisconsin’s rail lines offer memorable alternatives. The Mid-Continent Railway in North Freedom, for example, offers a seasonal Pumpkin Special. The trip stops midway to allow guests to pick the perfect pumpkins for their Halloween needs.

Other rail services worth checking out for a fall tour include the kid-friendly Riverside & Great Northern Railway in Wisconsin Dells, the historic Osceola & St. Croix Valley Railway, and the Spooner-based Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad’s charming doodlebug (self-propelled railcar) called Madeline.

Experience hiking trails and state parks with a unique backdrop

Exploring the great outdoors on foot is one of the most satisfying ways to experience fall in Wisconsin. With so many open, natural spaces to choose from, there is always something new and different every year.

The Interstate Park in St. Croix Falls is an outstanding example. The Badger State’s oldest state park has been a favorite year-round destination among outdoor explorers and vacationers since 1900. When the fiery hues of fall start to appear, its lush landscapes become even more astonishing.

You can also head to Timm’s Hill in Ogema to marvel at the scarlet treetops from Wisconsin’s highest geographical point.

Get the freshest picks from a local apple orchard

Apple-picking is a beloved all-ages activity in Wisconsin in the fall. What started out as a treat for local kids has become a yearly tradition that entire families eagerly anticipate.

The Erickson Orchard in Bayfield is a quick stop for this unique seasonal experience in the northwestern part of the state. Be sure to sample their popular apple cider doughnut when you visit.

Bayfield also stages an annual three-day Apple Festival every October, gathering the best produce from approximately 15 local orchards. Mark your calendars each year for this core event.

Bring the family to a pumpkin patch

What is fall without the eager anticipation for Halloween? In Wisconsin, the abundance of local farms makes searching for the perfect pumpkins a yearly adventure that everyone looks forward to.

For residents of Northwest Wisconsin, notable destinations include Mommsen’s Produce Patch in Rice Lake, which features jaw-dropping cannons and catapults that launch pumpkins several feet in the air.

For pumpkin-based treats, The Candy Shoppe & Bakery in Bayfield has all the pies and loaves of pumpkin bread to keep your taste buds satisfied.

Wade knee-deep in cranberries

Aside from apples and pumpkins, cranberries also take the spotlight in Wisconsin during the autumn months. The best place to enjoy all of the cranberry-related festivities is in Warrens, the “Cranberry Capital of Wisconsin.”

In late September every year, this modest village hosts the world’s largest celebration dedicated to cranberries. This three-day event features marsh tours that teaches guests everything there is to learn about Wisconsin’s official state fruit.

Plus, with more than three miles of farm market booths, arts and crafts vendors, and cranberry-based delicacies on sale, this festival is certainly worth the four-hour drive from the Bayfield Peninsula.

Zip over the autumn-tinged canopy

Do you enjoy having an adrenaline rush along with your sight-seeing? Maybe a zip line tour above the dense, autumn-colored tree tops is right up your alley.

For Wisconsinites based in the Bayfield Peninsula, one of the closest destinations for this kind of adventure is the Northwoods Zip Line in Minocqua. Other options located a bit farther include the Door County Adventure Center in Ellison Bay and Wilderness Canyon in Wisconsin Dells.

A similar, but more laid-back overhead sight-seeing experience can be found at Granite Park Ski Area outside Wassau. Their chairlift rides are a great way to see what Rib Mountain looks like right before the snowy ski season begins.

For more unforgettable weekend getaways in Wisconsin this fall season, get recommendations from the local experts at Windseeker Realty and Windseeker Rentals.Contact us today by calling 715.779.5000 or sending an email to Agent(at)WindseekerRealty(dotted)com.

From the subtle shift to cooler temperatures to the dramatic change of colors in the surrounding foliage, fall highlights the many wonders of living in Wisconsin like no other season can. In this new to-do list by Bayfield Peninsula real estate specialists Windseeker Realty, you can read about seven outstanding Wisconsin getaway ideas best suited for this gorgeous season. Discover various sight-seeing rides and tours you can join, learn about the iconic local produce that have defined this season for generations of Wisconsinites, and get tips on top destinations to include on your travel itinerary in this brief yet packed local guide.

8 excellent stops for a relaxing staycation in Bayfield County, WI

People are never in short supply of outstanding places to stay in Bayfield, WI and its surrounding towns and cities. Whether you are a tourist visiting the area for the first time, or a long-time resident looking for a staycation not too far from home, you are sure to find an ideal escape nestled within the Bayfield Peninsula’s lush natural surroundings.

Here are eight ideas to get you started:

Windseeker Rentals
Various locations in Bayfield, WI

A collection of short-term accommodations in and around Bayfield, Wisconsin that spans from cozy cabins in the woods to lovely lake-view units in the heart of Bayfield. All rentals are outfitted with extra creature comforts such as luxury bedding, eco-luxe bath products and skin care items as well as locally curated artisan pop-ups that you can purchase local goods from. Visit our website to learn more and to book your stay. www.WindseekerRentals.com

Old Rittenhouse Inn
301 Rittenhouse Avenue, Bayfield, WI 54814

Combining the irresistible charm of a traditional bed and breakfast with the exquisite ambience of a fine dining restaurant, the Rittenhouse Inn presents an experience that even long-time residents of Bayfield Peninsula communities eagerly desire. The Old Rittenhouse Inn is composed of two elegant Victorian houses and a private cottage. Together, the structures provide a total of 20 guest rooms which feature sophisticated amenities such as whirlpool tubs, fireplaces, and stunning views of Lake Superior.

The Bayfield Inn
20 Rittenhouse Avenue, Bayfield, WI 54814

Located right along the shoreline that serves as the take-off point to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, this iconic establishment is one of the main highlights of Bayfield’s downtown area. The Bayfield Inn offers 21 luxury hotel rooms, along with a variety of private lodging options that include rental houses, condominiums, apartments, and suites. Having recently undergone renovation for its features and facilities, the Inn today combines the best of modern comforts and conveniences with the distinct charms of yesteryear.

Bayfield County Rustic Yurts
Two locations in Bayfield, WI and one location in Cable, WI

Officially managed and operated by Bayfield County, these Mongolian-style round tents offer an exceptional way to get away from it all. Designed with four beds that can accommodate a total of six guests, these minimalist tents are nestled in the middle of a lush, wooded area overlooking Lake Superior and other breathtaking panoramas of Wisconsin’s Northwoods.A single step outside of these yurts opens the doors to unforgettable outdoor adventures, thanks to direct access to a variety of recreational trails.

The Seagull Bay Motel
325 South 7th St Bayfield, WI 54814

Just on the edge of Bayfield and nestled on the hillside overlooking Lake Superior, is the quaint Seagull Bay Motel. Offering 32 newly updated rooms of various sizes to accommodate your family or group, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the lake as well as direct access to the famous Brownstone Trail that leads straight into downtown Bayfield.

South Shore Campground
23650 State Highway 13, Cornucopia, WI 54827

This quiet 18-acre campground has 8 pull through RV sites and 5 tent sites. Located just outside of Cornucopia and the sandy beaches of LakeSuperior, enjoy the peace and serenity of the Northwoods. Less than 5 miles from Meyers Beach and the Sea/Ice Caves. Pull through sites provide 50/30/20 electric hook-ups as well as potable drinking water hook-ups. All sites include a picnic table and fire ring. A perfect base in which to explore the South Shore of Lake Superior.

Cornucopia Sweet Retreat
201-215 Superior Street, Cornucopia, WI 54827

Located in the heart of Cornucopia above the cozy and vibrant Cornucopia Sweet Shoppe. Wake up to the smells and sounds of fresh ground coffee. Just steps from the beach, perfect for swimming or watching the many sunsets over the South Shore. Open floor plan includes private bathroom, living room with kitchenette, and sleeping areas.

Siskiwit Bay Lodge
89405 Jack Pine Road, Cornucopia, WI 54827

Another worthwhile bed and breakfast to visit along the shores of Lake Superior, Siskiwit Bay Lodge is roughly a half-hour’s drive west of Bayfield.Experience the height of luxury at this sophisticated lakefront property. With accommodations limited to three private rooms and a suite, you will enjoy utmost privacy and peace surrounded by towering pines, cedars, firs, and spruce trees. Each room is designed to face the sparkling Lake Superior, guaranteeing an experience that makes the most of its exquisite lakeside location.

Do you want to discover more Wisconsin vacation spots? Let Windseeker Rentals help you – our expertise will not just lead you to excellent places for vacation stays, we can also show you outstanding real estate opportunities that will keep you close to the best adventures that the Bayfield Peninsula area can offer. Call 715.779.5000 or email Agent(at)WindseekerRealty(dotted)com for more information.

Have you ever slept inside a yurt? If this is the first time you are even hearing of one, then it is probably time for you to experience an outdoor excursion in one of Bayfield County’s exceptional vacation hot spots. Let Windseeker Realty guide you through eight outstanding examples of the county’s most sought-after destinations for outdoor recreation. From casual bed and breakfasts to lavish, historic mansions, a variety of unforgettable experiences await you here. Make the most out of your next weekend family getaway or week-long camping trip with friends. Read this guide to learn more about your options.

Boost your home’s curb appeal for a quicker, bigger sale

One of the essential steps in selling a home is boosting its curb appeal. Giving potential buyers a strong and positive first impression of your property can set the stage for a straightforward and rewarding home sale.

Here are nine tips to keep in mind to effectively improve your home’s curb appeal:

Clean, clean, clean

Every potential buyer should see your home as good as new. Make sure that every corner and every inch of the property is as clean and tidy as you can make it.

This is especially important if you own a home in a waterfront location. Proximity to the shoreline leaves your property constantly exposed to the elements.

Deep cleaning projects can be strenuous and even dangerous (consider your roof’s cleaning needs, for example), so do not hesitate to hire professionals for these jobs. Their designated equipment and cleaning solutions will prove worthwhile investments that will contribute to a fruitful home sale.

Get essential repairs and replacements done

In many cases, cleaning alone is not enough to restore your home to its peak condition. Smart and cost-effective upgrades and repairs are the perfect complement to every deep clean.

Pay attention to your roofing, exterior walls and sidings, and windows. These are the parts of the house that endure the most wear-and-tear. Check your gutters and outdoor plumbing fixtures for clogs or leaks, too.

Apply fresh coats of paint or stain

Repainting walls and re-staining doors are simple yet elegant solutions that can instantly boost the appearance of your home’s outdoor features. Just be mindful not to resort to repainting as a solution for substantial cracks and damage. These need proper repairs to prevent future problems and delays during the buyer’s home inspection.

Give as much attention to your backyard as you do the front lawn

While casual onlookers will appreciate an impressive front view of your home, serious buyers will take their scrutiny a step further by closely examining outdoor spaces at the rear of the property.

For waterfront homes with access to the shore or a dock area, the backyard is an even more important feature that requires proper maintenance and landscaping.

Set up adequate spaces for entertaining

One of the best things about owning a waterfront home is having an exceptional outdoor space to show off. Highlight this distinctive feature of your property by creating inviting spaces that visiting buyers can use to relax during their tour of your property.

Enhance your outdoor spaces for evening views

Chances are, you will have buyers dropping by for a viewing at dusk or in the evening. How does your property look in the dark?

Strategically placed outdoor lamps along your footpaths and front porch will illuminate and even add a romantic vibe around your main entry. Decorative string lights are also a charming addition to your outdoor recreational areas.

Add fresh blooms in time for a viewing

A quick way to liven up your front and back yards is to plant fresh, seasonal flowers. If you know the schedule of your buyers’ viewings, time your purchases so that the flowers are at their most vibrant when your visitors arrive.

Remember, this is just a quick fix. Reviving your lawn or garden is a more lasting change you can make to improve the look and feel of your outdoor spaces for the long term.

Practice addition by subtraction

When it comes to landscaping, removing things is just as important as adding them. For example, if large trees are getting in the way of a good view from your bedroom window, a good trimming might be in order.

You might even have to consider uprooting older trees if they are too close to the house. Large, expanding roots underground can cause major damage to the foundation of the house.

Spruce up the main entrance

As a seller, you will always want to make every visitor feel welcome. This is why your main entry deserves plenty of attention when you boost your curb appeal.

Tidy up your porch and decorate it with a few potted or hanging plants. Make sure it is well lit at night, too. You might also need to update your main door – whether by installing a new one, applying a fresh stain or coat of paint on your current one, or simply by polishing or replacing the door knob.

For more expert advice on how to get your home ready to sell, contact Bayfield Peninsula real estate specialists, Windseeker Realty. Call us today at 715.779.5000 or email Agent(at)WindseekerRealty(dotted)com to learn more about our team and the top-rated professional services we deliver.

A good first impression goes a long way in making a successful, rewarding, and stress-free home sale. Buyers will always have an eye for houses that appear good as new, so it pays to give that impression with just the first look. Boosting your home’s curb appeal goes well beyond just a deep cleaning. It also requires careful planning for necessary repairs and upgrades, smart choices in decorating, and a few worthwhile investments that can help increase the appeal and value of your home. In this guide, Windseeker Realty lists nine practical tips to help you prepare and showcase your property’s exterior features before you sell.

Here are all the documents you need to purchase your new home

Paperwork makes up a large part of what you need to buy a house. For a smooth transaction from start to finish, it pays to be ready with all the pertinent documents you will need to submit and present at different stages of the home buying process.

Use this detailed guide to keep track of your documentary requirements when buying your next home:

Credit report

One of the most important documents you should prepare at the beginning of the home buying process is your credit report. Even before you approach a lender to inquire about a mortgage, you can already request copies of your annual credit reports from federal credit bureaus Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion for free here.

Reviewing your credit score early gives you enough lead time to identify and report any discrepancies or errors that can lower your rating. It also gives you a head start on fixing your credit in time for your actual loan application.

Boost your credit rating by paying off outstanding debt and improving your regular payment obligations in the months leading to your home purchase. With a better credit score, you can secure a better home loan, whether in terms of a larger principal loan amount, lower interest rates, more favorable loan conditions, or any combination thereof.

Proof of income

To secure a mortgage, you must be able to prove that you have a steady source of income. There are several documents you can gather and submit for this purpose, including:

  • Your last two pay stubs
  • The previous two years’ W-2 forms (or Wage and Tax Statements) issued by your employer
  • IRS 1099 Forms, for self-employed or independent contractors
  • Direct deposit authorization forms for workers who receive payments and fees from other sources

These income records, along with the bank statements and tax returns described below, will come in handy early in the home buying process. These documents enable you to secure a mortgage pre-approval,an essential step to help you establish a realistic and reasonable price range for your home search.

Bank statements
Lenders also look at your bank accounts and other assets to assess your risk profile as a potential borrower. Official bank-issued statements of your various accounts as well as investment and insurance vehicles provide lenders with the necessary proof that you have money in reserve to cover your mortgage obligations in the event of an emergency.

Bank statements can also demonstrate that you have accumulated your down payment money over a long period of time. Large sums of money that appear seemingly out of nowhere can lead to suspicion about the validity and stability of your income sources.

Tax returns

Another way lenders get a clear idea of your financial situation is by reviewing your tax returns. If you have yet to file your tax return for the current year, the returns from the previous two years will do.

Tax returns provide information that verify the consistency of your reported annual earnings relative to your declared income. They also track whether there are any major fluctuations from one year to the next.

If you are unable to provide copies of your tax returns on your own, you can sign a Form 4506-T to authorize your lender to request these from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on your behalf.

Gift letters or deeds

In case you are receiving extra financial assistance from family or friends in the form of a direct gift, secure written confirmation confirming that the money was given as such, and not as a loan.

For transparency, the letter must indicate the exact amount given, as well as the nature of your relationship with the benefactor. It also helps to declare that the gift amount was given voluntarily.

Rent records

If you have been renting, it will also help to provide your lender with proof of your ability to pay rent on time. Be prepared to facilitate communication between your lender and your former landlord to secure the necessary documentation.

Driver’s license or other photo ID

In addition to your financial records, always make sure to have proper identification ready. This typically means any ID card that feature your photo and signature.

In most cases, your driver’s license is the handiest form of valid identification you can provide. You can save time by preparing copies of this ID ahead of your meetings with your lender and other service providers you will be hiring.

Looking for more information to guide you through the home buying process? Read Windseeker Realty’s first time home buyer guide here. Better yet, contact our local experts to get relevant tips, market insights, and reliable professional advice. Call 715.779.5000 or email Agent(at)WindseekerRealty(dotted)com to learn more.

Buying a house involves a lot of processes and paperwork. In this complementary piece to our growing series of helpful buyer’s guide reference articles, Windseeker Realty goes into detail about the essential documents that every home buyer should prepare. From requesting and reviewing your credit report before you even begin shopping for the right lending partner, to breaking down a checklist of important income records and bank statements, we will cover all your concerns when it comes to making sense of the piles of paperwork you need to work with to buy your next home

The best nature parks and camping spots in and around Bayfield, WI

If you are searching for the best weekend getaways in Wisconsin, look no further than Bayfield, WI. With its incredible lakefront location surrounded by thriving natural areas, the area presents outstanding destinations for countless outdoor adventures. Below are five of the best places in the area worth heading to for an unforgettable hiking or camping trip:

Frog Bay Tribal National Park

Just a few miles outside of Bayfield in Red Cliff is Frog Bay National Park, the nation’s first Tribal National Park! This beautiful park boasts a protected 300 acres of tribal lands in the watershed and stretches over 3/4 mile along Lake Superior’s shoreline on the Red Cliff Reservation.The park includes a gorgeous 2-mile-long hiking loop through a moss-covered boreal forest with a stopping point at a beautiful sandy beach. The park provides views of the Apostle Islands including Oak, Basswood, Hermit, Raspberry and Stockton. Almost all the park’s infrastructure including the trail system, interpretive signs, and bridgeswere developed through careful planning by local tribal staff. It’s a great place for any season!

Houghton Falls State Natural Area

Located just south of Bayfield, this 76-acre scenic nature preserve is named after the charming low-flow waterfall that is best visited during the spring. But even if your trekking plans fall on another season, there is plenty of natural beauty to appreciate here. Break out the snow shoes and enjoy some winter hiking.

The preserve protects Echo Dells,a sandstone gorge that dates back to the Pre-Cambrian era. The picturesque 1.5-mile trail leads to Lake Superior and is surrounded by lush growths of yellow birch, hemlock, white pine, and white cedar trees.Breathtaking views of where the lake meets gorgeous brownstone cliffs.

Pets are welcome as long as they are leashed.Bikes, horses, ATVs, and snowmobiles are not allowed.

Big Bay State Park

Hop across Lake Superior and head to Madeline Island to explore this 2,350-acre State Natural Area. With four miles of shoreline, 1.5 miles of sandy beaches, a mile-long boardwalk, more than seven miles of hiking trails, and a plethora of outdoor sports and activities to enjoy, you will likely need an entire weekend to make the most of this trip.

In addition to hiking and exploring the area, visitors can swim, kayak, and go fishing on the lake. The 60-site campground welcomes campers of all ages, with 15 sites fitted with electrical outlets. Picnics are also a great idea if you are not planning to stay on the island overnight.

Pets are allowed here, with the usual requirements to keep them on a leash and under control.

South Shore Campground

This 18-acre campground located just outside of the quaint little village of Cornucopiahas 8 pull through RV sites and 5 tent sites nestledin a peaceful forested setting. Only a mile from Cornucopia’s famous sandy beaches and Ehler’s General Store, it’s the perfect setting in which to explore the South Shore. It’s also just a quick jaunt from Meyers Beach and the Sea Caves- a great place for swimming, beachcombing, kayaking, and relaxing.

Copper Falls State Park

Ahour south of Bayfield brings you to another exceptional northern Wisconsin waterfall sightseeing area. Featuring hiking trails constructed as early as the 1920s, Copper Falls State Park has plenty of stories to tell any avid outdoor adventurer.

More than a handful of exciting discoveries await every hiker or camper here – from log buildings dating back to the 1930s, to the naturally made lava flows, gorges, and a variety of waterfalls.

Hang out at Loon Lake to go swimming, fishing, and canoeing to your heart’s content. Explore 17 miles of trails that are accessible on foot, on a bike, or in skis or snowshoes. There is just so much to experience at Copper Falls State Park that you will probably head home already planning your next visit.

Leashed pets are allowed in all areas of the State Park except the Doughboys Nature Trail.

If you want to make outdoor adventures part of your regular routine, finding a home in the Bayfield area is a great way to make it happen. Let Windseeker Realty show you the best homes for sale in the area. Call 715.779.5000 or email Agent(at)WindseekerRealty(dotted)com to learn more.

Wisconsin’s most impressive architecture

Wisconsin is no stranger to exceptional achievements in architecture. Historic homes and buildings, as well as avant-garde modern structures abound here, adding another dimension of character to the Badger State.

If you are looking for the most Instagram-worthy places to visit in Wisconsin, this list of Wisconsin landmarks will give you a good head start:

The Apostle Islands Lighthouses
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is home to a proud collection of historic lighthouses – six of which were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977, collectively known as the Apostle Islands Lighthouses. These included the two lighthouses on Michigan Island (built in 1857) and those located on Raspberry Island (1862), Outer Island (1874), Sand Island (1881), and Devil’s Island (1891).

Black Point Estate and Gardens
Lake Geneva, WI

This magnificent summer mansion is a beautifully preserved icon of the earliest days of Lake Geneva’s historic reputation as an opulent summer getaway destination. Built in 1888 in the eye-catching Queen Anne style, the Black Point Estate is hard to miss against a backdrop of mature foliage and clear blue skies.

In addition to the stunning summer cottage, the estate also features a lovely garden area and event lawn.

Trips to this architectural and historic landmark are available exclusively via private tours courtesy of the Lake Geneva Cruise Line.

Dell’s Mill
Augusta, WI

See what life in Augusta was like back in its days as a grain and flour production center. Built in 1864, Dell’s Mill used to be a popular gathering place among the area’s farmers, where bonds across the community were made as they waited for their grinding to be done.

Dell’s Mill now houses a museum that operates from May through October. Even if you visit during the winter and early spring months, the place will give you plenty of picturesque views and angles of the structure and its unique features like the dam and water wheel.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin
South of Spring Green, WI

Frank Lloyd Wright left a lasting legacy in American architecture, so it is only fitting that his estate belongs in a list of Wisconsin’s finest architectural landmarks.

Home, studio, and sanctuary to one of Wisconsin’s favorite sons, the Taliesin is recognized not only in the Badger State. In addition to being listed on the United States’ National Register of Historic Places and designated as a National Historic Landmark, it is known around the world as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Taliesin is now open for a variety of guided tours, ranging from in-depth tours around the entire estate and more condensed highlight tours designed for visitors of different ages.

If the Taliesin caught your interest and curiosity, you can also sign up for a two-day tour from Madison to Racine that takes you to Wright’s best-known creations in the state.

The House on the Rock
Between Dodgeville and Spring Green, WI

This off-beat tourist attraction simply defies explanation – from its eclectic selection of buildings and exhibit rooms, to the varying stories behind its history. But this takes nothing away from the House on the Rock’s reputation as one of Wisconsin’s architectural marvels.

The building features a total of 14 exhibit rooms, with attractions ranging from model airplanes and miniature circus displays, to a 200-foot-tall “sea monster.”” The place really goes from interesting to flat-out weird rather quickly.

But the main highlight every visitor must see is the Infinity Room. Extending 218 feet out and suspended over verdant tree tops without any supporting structures underneath, this remarkable structure is sure to make hearts race.

MecikalskiStovewood Building
Pelican Lake, Schoepke, WI

This National Historical Site effectively preserves and showcases a definitively American house construction. Featuring eighteen-inch sections of cedar logs laid out to resemble a stacked woodpile, stovewood architecture is distinct from log cabins where the timber runs the entire length of the walls.

The Mecikalski Building is notable for its sheer size, which provides a prominent canvas to showcase the distinctive architectural style. Its multiple functions as both personal and commercial properties also make it a genuine artifact that is particularly relevant to Wisconsin history and culture.

The Pabst Theater
Milwaukee, WI

Named after German-American brewer Frederick Pabst – the man behind one of the most popular beer brands in the United States – this historic concert and performance venue was built in 1895. Hosting around 100 events every year to this day, Milwaukee’s “Grand Olde Lady” is currently the fourth oldest continuously operating theater in the country.

The 1,300-seat facility owes its outstanding acoustic qualities to its German opera house-influenced interior design. A stunning two-ton Austrian crystal chandelier hangs over the auditorium to add a sophisticated focal point to complement the main stage. Outside, its German Renaissance Revival-style construction is a highlight of the East Wells streetscape.

Discover more about Wisconsin’s best features and attractions with Windseeker Realty, the Bayfield Peninsula area’s most trusted real estate team. Call us today at 715.779.5000 or email Agent(at)WindseekerRealty(dotted)com to learn more.

How to avoid taxes on capital gains when you sell your home

Every homeowner wants to maximize their profits when they sell their home. It is essential to understand how taxes on capital gains apply when selling real estate.

What are capital gains?

The profits you earn from selling assets such as your house or car – as well as stocks, bonds, and other investments – are capital gains. These amounts are taxed only after the asset is sold.

Taxes are not levied on assets that are actively earning or appreciating while they are held by investors. The only exception applies to mutual funds – investors in mutual funds may be charged for capital gains when shares of the fund’s holdings are sold.

How are capital gains taxed?

Two types of tax rates apply to capital gains levied on real estate sales, depending on how long you have owned and occupied the house:

  • Short-term capital gains taxes apply to assets held for less than a year. Short-term gains are taxed at the same rate as your regular income, which makes these rates higher.

To find out what tax bracket your income falls into, click here.

  • Long-term capital gains taxes apply to assets owned for longer than 12 months. These are generally lower, capped off at 20% as established by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. In some cases, you may even qualify for a full exemption, or a 0% tax rate.

How can you avoid or reduce taxes on capital gains when you sell your house?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows exemptions of up to $250,000 in capital gains for single homeowners. For married homeowners filing jointly for exemption, up to $500,000 is excluded from the taxable amount.

These exclusions apply under the following conditions:

  • You owned the house for at least two years within the last five years prior to the sale of the property.
  • You occupied the property as your primary residence for at least two years – whether consecutive or non-consecutive – in that same five-year period. (Persons with disabilities, military service members, and members of the Foreign Service or intelligence community are exempt from this rule.)
  • You have not claimed any capital gains tax exclusions for another property that was sold two years prior to the current home sale.

Any property owner who is subject to an expatriation tax (individuals who renounce their citizenship) are not allowed to claim any of these exclusions.

A sample computation of a real estate property asset’s capital gains

Determining the total amount of capital gains from a sale involves more than just the difference between the original purchase price and the final selling price. To compute for the actual amount of your capital gains, you need to determine the cost basis of your home purchase. This total comprises:

  • The original purchase price
  • Taxes and fees paid at the time of purchase (typically between 2% to 5% of the purchase price)
  • Additional amounts spent to add value to the property (e.g. upgrades and renovations)

For example, you bought a house 10 years ago for $150,000, paid an additional 3% in taxes and fees (amounting to $4,500), and spent $50,000 on home improvement during your stay. These make the cost basis for your capital gains $204,500.

Original purchase price $150,000
Closing fees and taxes +         $4,500
Home improvement expenses +       $50,000
TOTAL (Cost basis) $204,500


If you were able to sell this house for $700,000 this year, you earned a capital gain of $495,000.

Final sale price $700,000
Cost basis from purchase –     $204,500
PROFIT (Capital gains) $495,000


This means if you are married and filing jointly, your household is fully exempted from paying any capital gains taxes. Your total capital gain falls fully within the $500,000 exclusion that the IRS allows.

However, if you are a single homeowner, $245,000 out of your $495,000 capital gain is still subject to tax.

How are investment properties affected by the capital gains tax?

Investment properties are subject to the 1031 Exchange provision, which enables real estate investors to earn a profit without paying any capital gains tax.

Section 1031 of the IRS code allows the exchange of “like-kind” properties. For example, exchanging one retail property for another retail property is allowed, but trading it for a rental property is not.

Ready to dive into the process of selling a house? Get in touch with Windseeker Realty and get top-rated professional guidance from the leading real estate experts in Wisconsin’s Bayfield area. Call us today at 715.779.5000 or email Agent(at)WindseekerRealty(dotted)com to learn more.

How to find out how much house you can afford

When considering the question “What do I need to buy a house?”” the first thing that comes to home buyers’ minds is how much money they need to put out.

Thinking about money matters, especially for major, life-changing purchases like a house can be daunting, but do not let it stop you in your tracks. Read this guide for effective tips you can take to stay on track of your home buying goals.

Option A: Calculate on your own

  • Step 1: Determine how much income your household generates
  • Do you know how much money you make every month? Consider all of regular sources of income, from your salary to any additional earnings and revenue from sources such as investments or even alimony, if applicable.

    If you are married or are sharing the household (and you plan to continue sharing the new home you are planning to buy), combine your monthly income to get a more accurate base amount.

  • Step 2: Identify and add up your total monthly debt payments
  • Determine how much you pay for relevant debt obligations. These include any of the following:

    • Outstanding credit card dues
    • Student loans
    • Car payments
    • Child support obligations, if any
    • Other notable loans

    Note that regular utility bills, such as electricity, cable, telephone and internet services, and pest control costs are not included. Lenders generally do not consider these when evaluating your credit rating.

    If you are paying rent, exclude this from your computations, too. This expense will no longer apply when you buy your own home.

  • Step 3: Apply the 28/36 rule
  • Lenders generally use this standard to assess borrowers’ creditworthiness. It should also guide budgeting and debt management for your household.

    The 28/36 rule simply means you should spend no more than 28% of your gross monthly income on housing expenses (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance). In addition, the household’s total debt (including housing costs) should not exceed 36%.

    For example, for a household that earns $45,000 annually:

    $45,000 ÷ 12 = $3,750 monthly household income

    To compute for 28% (or 0.28):

          $3,750 x 0.28 = $1,050

    To compute for 36% (or 0.36):

          $3,750 x 0.36 = $1,350

    This household can therefore afford a house that requires monthly mortgage, tax, and insurance payments not exceeding $1,050. But these buyers should also make sure that the total of their debt obligations, including what they pay for the home, is not more than $1,350 each month.

Option B: Get a mortgage pre-approval from a lender

If you have already made up your mind about buying a home, a faster way to get a clear estimate of your purchasing power is to apply for a lender’s mortgage pre-approval.

This process entails a lender’s thorough review of your financial and personal records, based on documents such as:

  • W-2 statements from the previous two years
  • Income tax returns from the previous two years
  • At least two recent pay stubs, preferably indicating year-to-date income
  • Proof of additional income, such as bonuses or child support payments
  • Statements of assets, such as investments and retirement savings
  • Credit report
  • Proof of employment
  • Social security number

Your mortgage pre-approval will come in the form of an official letter from the lender. The letter indicates the estimated amount that you are qualified to borrow, as well as the terms that apply to the loan.

In addition to providing you with accurate information to guide your home search, you can use this document to convince a seller of your ability to pay for their home. Just be sure to pitch your offer within 60 to 90 days – the typical duration for which pre-approval letters are valid. Otherwise, you will need to request a new one.

Bonus: 3 more essential tips to keep in mind

  • Save up for a substantial down payment
  • While planning for your mortgage budget, aim to pay a large down payment up front. At least 10% of the home price would typically suffice, but if you can build it up to 20%, you will be in a better position to get lower interest ratesand even a shorter loan life.

    A big down payment can also help you avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI). PMI is a measure lenders use to protect themselves from instances of borrowers defaulting on their loans.

  • Budget for closing costs and other recurring costs of homeownership
  • Set aside 3% to 5% of the purchase price for closing costs. These include home inspection, appraisal, homeowner’s insurance, and title review fees – all of which are essential in finalizing the sale.

    Start budgeting for recurring expenses for your home, too. Cover the essentials such as water, electricity, and internet bills, as well as routine maintenance (HVAC, pest control, etc.) and repair costs.

  • You do not have to spend the entire amount
  • Remember: The right home for your needs does not have to be the most expensive one that you can afford. If you find a house that costs less than the maximum amount you can borrow, save the extra money for future renovations or emergency needs. 

New to the home buying process? Click here for Windseeker Realty‘s first time home buyer guide. For more useful tips, in-depth market insights, and top-rated professional real estate services, contact our local experts at 715.779.5000 or Agent(at)WindseekerRealty(dotted)com today.

Romantic Weekend Getaways in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is mostly known for its farms, forests, beers, and dairy products. But beneath this curtain, America’s Dairyland is also gifted with a great variety of romantic escapes. These range from cozy, candle-lit fine dining restaurants to breathtaking small towns where you and your significant other can enjoy quality time.

If you are in the midst of planning a romantic weekend getaway in Wisconsin, scroll down below to see some of our recommendations.

Bayfield

Bayfield is not without romantic charms. One may even argue that Bayfield is an ideal setting for a romance movie or novel, with its gorgeous coastal setting and small-town appeal. It is also worth noting that some of the most romantic spots are closer to home.

Activities in Bayfield for a romantic weekend:

  • Take a private cruise on Lake Superior around the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. There are many local outfitters that offer rides or charter sailboats. Pack some wine, cheese, and cold cuts, then head out before the sun sets for a spectacle in the sky. Check out Bayfield.org for recommendations.
  • Experience stunning views and luxury at Old Rittenhouse Inn, Wisconsin’s first Country Inn and gourmet restaurant offering 20 guest rooms in 2 Victorian homes and a private cottage.

Washburn

From Bayfield, head South on State Highway 13 and enjoy the scenic views along the way.

Activities in Washburn for a romantic weekend:

  • Pack a picnic and check out the great sandy beaches along the way. Bayview Beach and Friendly Valley beach. Stroll down the beach as the sun sets and feel the sand between your toes as the waves gently crash on the beach.
  • Head South of Bayfield to Houghton Falls State Natural Area. An easy hike through the woods and along the falls to the waterfront. Sit on the Brownstone ledge and watch the ships sail by.
  • Make a reservation at Good Thyme Restaurant & Catering. Enjoy a glass of wine and a spectacular meal. You won’t be disappointed!

Madeline Island

From Bayfield, head to the Madeline Island Ferry landing at the end of Washington Avenue. Take the Ferry across Lake Superior and get ready to explore!

Activities on Madeline Island for a romantic weekend:

  • Head over to Madeline Island and go on a nature hike in Big Bay State Park. Keep the pace relaxed and pack a nice picnic to enjoy once you and your partner find a lovely spot.
  • Rent a scooter and explore the 14 miles long by 3 miles wide Island. There are miles of sandy beaches or trek the hiking trails in the Town Park. Don’t be in a rush for any of your activities and enjoy Island time.
  • Picnic at the beach. Check out Joni’s Beach. Just 2 blocks from the ferry landing, Joni’s beach includes a sheltered picnic area. There are a dock and a beautiful sandy beach. Watch the ferries come and go as you enjoy a picnic on the beach and sink your toes in the sand.
Plan a romantic getaway in Wisconsin on the Bayfield Peninsula

Explore homes for sale in Bayfield, WI to be closer to all the romantic getaways Wisconsin has to offer. Contact our team today to get started.

Things to do in Bayfield WI: A 2-day Itinerary

Bayfield, Wisconsin is one of the most underrated destinations in the country. It has everything: from picturesque sceneries, a rich local history, and a unique culture worth getting to know. Moreover, Bayfield is an emerging destination for green tourism. It boasts the largest number of Travel Green Wisconsin-certified businesses in the state.

If you are only here for a short while to explore real estate options, this two-day itinerary will allow you to get to know this city we call home.

Note: The best time to go to Bayfield

To fully appreciate the culture and nature of Bayfield, we highly recommend visiting during the summer or fall, but don’t discount our winter wonderland!

Day 1 – Arrival

  • 9 AM: Start the tour to the area by visiting the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center, the first Travel Green Wisconsin-certified establishment in the itinerary. Get some maps to understand the lay of the land. While you are here, check out the observation tower or head outside and explore the center’s trail system.

    From here, you can continue on to Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife RefugeOR cut the trip to the center short and proceed to the next activity.

  • 11 AM: With a map on hand, it is time to see the some of the sights. Check out Houghton Falls State Natural Area. Stop by Friendly Valley Beach and Bayview Beach and dig your toes in the sand.
  • 1 PM: Time for a late lunch. There are plenty of options to choose from, including the Fat Radish, Pier Plaza, and Manypenny Bistro, just to name a few.
  • 4 PM: End today’s adventures with some down time at the Bayfield Maritime Museum. It is open until 4 PM from Sunday to Thursday and until 7 PM on Friday and Saturday. Here, you will learn everything there is to know about Bayfield’s maritime heritage− all 163 years of it.
  • 6 PM: Make your way to your lodging in Bayfield. If you have yet to make a booking, there are several outstanding accommodations in the city. Check out Windseeker Rentals for availability for some great vacation rental options.

Day 2

  • 9 AM: After breakfast, it is time to visit Bayfield’s most popular tourist destination, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, located just off the coast of Bayfield. Book a guided kayak trip ahead of your stay with either Trek & Trail in Bayfield or Lost Creek Adventures in Cornucopia. Or check out Apostle Islands Cruise Services and their Grand Tour for a great overview.
  • 1pm: Head over to Madeline Island on the Madeline Island Ferry Lineand grab lunch at one of the many dining options in the island, such as Grampa Tony’s, Cafe Seiche, Farmhouse, orthe Pub Restaurant, then grab a cup of joe at Mission Hill Coffee House.

    After lunch, explore more of what Madeline Island has to offer. You can shop for trinkets and souvenirs, or just soak the sun before you head back to Bayfield.

  • 5 PM: It’s time to head back to the mainland. Board the ferry, and check out the great dining options in Bayfield before you retire to your lodging. You have been out all day. You deserve to rest. Tomorrow, it’s a new adventure.

Day 3 – Departure

  • 9 AM: That is two full days experiencing the sights and local life in Bayfield. Before you head back home, you have the option to make a side trip to Kickapoo Coffee for some local brews, pick up outdoor gear for your next visit to Bayfield, and visit a bookstore to find a good book such as What Goes ‘Round, which sells pre-loved books.

Time to make Bayfield your home

We hope you had a dazzling 48 hours in Bayfield, just enough to make you fall in love with the city and leave you wanting more. To explore more homes for sale in Bayfield and on the Bayfield Peninsula, browse our website for the latest listings or contact us today.