Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Coeur d'Alene's 6-mile lakefront park

In North Idaho the vestiges of a timber industry are still visible most notably by the logging trucks on the roads and the occasional glimpse of a sawmill along a highway. Visitors to North Idaho are less likely to understand the impact that great industry had on the area. That’s because most of the reminders have been buried or hauled off, in some ways to the detriment of not only the economy, but to history. The Coeur d' Alene Parkway is among the burial sites, but you wouldn’t know it by looking. The paved parkway that lies along the north shore of Lake Coeur d' Alene offers visitors 5.7 miles of non-motorized recreation area. The parkway is part of the nationally famous North Idaho Centennial Trail, a multi-use recreational trail system that meanders for 24 miles from the Idaho-Washington state line.
It also covers former mill and rail sites where sawmills once churned, tugboats once blasted their horns as they hauled in rafts of logs through the fog, and raw logs were transported on steel tracks coming out of the mountains. Coeur d'Alene Parkway State Park follows the scenic north shore of Lake Coeur D'Alene, as part of the Centennial Trail, which is in turn a part of the extensive Millennium Legacy trail system. Here, strollers, hikers and bicyclers meander through a 34-acre linear park with its breathtaking shore views. The parkway extends from downtown's Sherman Avenue east along the lake to Higgen's Point, one of the area's premiere hideaways. With more than 1,000-feet of public shoreline the parkway also provides an exercise course and several roadside picnic tables, restroom facilities and benches along the way for visitors to stop and enjoy the stunning lake view. At Higgen's Point park features include a boat-launch, picnic area overlooking the lake, and docks. Coeur d'Alene Parkway State Park is the ideal place to enjoy uninterrupted strolls with scenic views - in the late fall bald eagles gather here to feed on migrating salmon - and it's a great place to bring first-time visitors.
-Ralph's North Idaho Real Estate Blog

From Metro fare to mountain air

What can Coeur d’Alene offer city dwellers who have reached their goal of owning property in coastal metropolis, or suburbia? An urban feel close to mountains and water, according to a California marketing company. “Many house owners who have accomplished their goal of inhabiting the metro gradually become conscious of the inestimable peace and quiet of the province,” according to ZIMBIO, a marketing company that publishes entertainment and real estate news. “This tranquil city exudes small town appeal regardless of its city setting.” A recently published article lauds Coeur d’Alene as one of few places in the West where the economy is strong, prices are low and the paradise of mountains, woods and water veritably press up against main street. “Of the western states, Idaho has the second lowest cost of living. Among the other 49 states, it is the 12th lowest. Owning real estate in Coeur d'Alene is economical as a lot of houses from cabins to executive estates are reasonably valued. Gas and electricity costs are also among the cheapest in the country,” according to the article. “The selling factor of Coeur d'Alene is its natural aesthetics. It is amazing how forests and mountains are just a 20-minute drive from the city.” North Idaho has no typhoons or hurricanes and earthquakes are in infrequent enough to make them nonexistent. In North Idaho, it’s the outdoor pursuits that hold many visitors. “Hiking, fishing, and going on mountain ruts are some of the activities that households can indulge in on weekends. For adrenaline fans, kayaking and whitewater rafting on the streams can be a terrific experience,” according to the article. Although metro lovers may at first need time to adjust to the serenity of North Idaho, the transition is worthwhile, according to ZIMBIO. “For many individuals who can't think of leaving the hustle, transferring to Coeur d'Alene may be unpleasant. Nonetheless, the moment you've tried breathing the fresh mountain air and filling your weekends with fun outdoor endeavors, you'll never wish to go back to a busy city.” To learn more about relocating to Coeur d’Alene visit the chamber of commerce website: http://cdachamber.com/
-Ralph's North Idaho Real Estate Blog

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lake City in Top 10 retirement towns

photo by Esterline What does Coeur d’Alene offer that other destinations don’t? It’s small, clean and gorgeous, according to a CNN poll that ranks the lake city in the Top 10 places to retire. A CNN poll recently placed Coeur d’Alene at the number nine spot among retirement destinations along with Winston-Salem , North Carolina, Austin, Texas and Louisville, Kentucky. Our city along the lake offers a variety of reasons to rank in the top including its climate, which provides warm summer temperatures and mid-range winter temps (it’s not as cold as say, Traverse City, Michigan, which also ranked in the Top 10.). The urban area is small enough to cover via bicycle – indeed, a trail connects Post Falls with the city center, and it offers retirees an interstate highway and millions of acres of forests and waterways to explore. More here: http://money.cnn.com/gallery/retirement/2012/10/16/best-places-retire.moneymag/9.html And here: http://www.cdapress.com/news/local_news/article_ae1dd721-3edf-56d8-aaf9-467ab0d018ae.html -Ralph Bartholdt

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Easy access fixer in elk, trout country

Service Creek is a narrow road that climbs in sort of a sweeping curve in a northerly direction ending in a valley surrounded by mountains of the lower Coeur d'Alene Range of the Bitterroots. It is a fairly easy 1 1/4 mile jog from where the Service Creek Road leaves the Canyon Road along I-90 at the eastern foot of Fourth Of July Pass. I know some young men who prefer this country out of a slew pot of similar North Idaho landscapes for a couple reasons: It is easy to get to. There are a crock load of elk here. From the Canyon Road at the Rose Lake Junction (I-90 Exit 34) fly fishers can access the blue ribbon trout fishery of the Coeur d'Alene River's North Fork in the time it takes to get a meal in the Drive Up of a Carl's Junior at rush hour. The whitetail deer in these valleys are big and most hunters head to more remote areas to do their big game banging. In other words, they do not hunt here. It is 20 minutes from the famed pike fishery of the chain lakes. Ice fishing is best at Rose Lake because it seems to always freeze over. There are other reasons as well, access, being the biggie: You drive down I-90, take Exit 34 and Voila! You're ready to rock n' roll. My point is simple. If there were a place here for sale for cheap, say, a fixer, maybe. One that is liveable. One that has a new wood stove in it along with new metalbestos piping and a wood shed out back. One that has new electrical in the box - many of these places still have the cloth and ceramic post wiring of days gone by, new power at the post, new sewer lines and a newly drilled well, well, it may be worth ponying up some cash for something like that. Let's say the place is on a half acre with roads on each side, and the road out front is the first to be plowed in winter because the state shop is located there. And let's add this: On a fall day after the stove has been stoked and the owner wants some getaway time, he or she can slip aboard an ATV and head up the road to Forest Service land for a bit of hunting, or slip on the waders and head to the lonesome river for some late season fly casting, or slip the boat off the trailer and chase pike a few minutes away at Killarney Lake. Wouldn't that be nice? There is such a place. It is partially remodeled, although much of it is still in its original state. The owners have lived here for several years as they attempted to refurbish the house while working day jobs. The property is on a half acre. It is listed for $69,000. If that appeals to you, or if you want to make an offer, let me know. Ralph Bartholdt Agent Keller Williams Coeur d'Alene http://www.kw.com/kw/agent/ralphbartholdt 208-582-1867

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Houses Crisis will end this year

By most indicators, especially the local ones, the housing market is stabilizing and lining up where it should, had there not been a bubble.
Although many homeowners saw a marked depreciation in the value of the homes in the last several years, it was relative.
The bubble that encouraged super-high prices was just that, an ailment, a weak spot in the hose where the rubber bulged before it burst.
The fix included getting the hose back to where it was before the bubble and here we are, according to researchers.
The latest market studies indicate home prices are about where they were back in 2002.
Home sales in Idaho's Panhandle have been relatively good, with buyer's taking advantage of solid prices.
According to a recent report by the default service industry, the housing market will begin to stabilize this year. That means it will get stronger. It will take a while for prices to go up as the stabilization sets in.

Here's the story by DSNews:

Capital Economics expects the housing crisis to end this year, according to a report released Tuesday. One of the reasons: loosening credit.
The analytics firm notes the average credit score required to attain a mortgage loan is 700. While this is higher than scores required prior to the crisis, it is constant with requirements one year ago.
Additionally, a Fed Senior Loan Officer Survey found credit requirements in the fourth quarter were consistent with the past three quarters.
However, other market indicators point not just to a stabilization of mortgage lending standards, but also a loosening of credit availability.
Banks are now lending amounts up to 3.5 times borrower earnings. This is up from a low during the crisis of 3.2 times borrower earnings.
Banks are also loosening loan-to-value ratios (LTV), which Capital Economics denotes “the clearest sign yet of an improvement in mortgage credit conditions.”
In contrast to a low of 74 percent reached in mid-2010, banks are now lending at 82 percent LTV.
While credit conditions may have loosened slightly, some potential homebuyers are still struggling with credit requirements. In fact, Capital Economics points out that in November 8 percent of contract cancellations were the result of a potential buyer not qualifying for a loan.
Additionally, Capital Economics says “any improvement in credit conditions won’t be significant enough to generate actual house price gains,” and potential ramifications from the euro-zone pose a threat to future credit availability.

Ralph Bartholdt
Agent Keller Williams Coeur d'Alene

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Super Spirit Lake, Idaho home

Call me for any of the homes you see on this site, and throughout North Idaho. I will be happy to represent you, to make certain you get the best value for your money!

Ralph Bartholdt
Agent Keller Williams Coeur d'Alene

Saturday, March 10, 2012


I had scheduled an open house at a nice home in Montrose today - that's the Post Falls subdivision west of Chase Road and just north of Seltice.
It was a windy day that started with sun, but clouds pushed in, turning the day into an overcast, windbreaker, brisk-walk affair.
The few people I saw outside jogged past with stocking caps and mittens, walked their pooches bundled in the last of the winter gear, or opted to drive with their windows up and the heater turned on.
I had no visitors the entire 3 1/2 hours I was at the place.
The balloons I had tied to my Open House signs from Seltice to Poleline fell victim to the wind that busted their moorings and sent them north. Sayonara.
After an hour or two, I dug out my camera and spent the remainder of the day taking photos of the wonderful amenities, and the tasteful decor of the place.
Next week, I plan another open house and encourage anyone who may be interested, or who knows someone who is interested, to stop by.
It's pretty casual.
There's no sales pitch.
It allows neighbors, future buyers or sellers to chat with a Realtor (not mandatory) and get a feel of what this market holds.
I'll keep you posted.

Ralph Bartholdt
Agent Keller Williams Coeur d'Alene 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Radical spring day

Phillip Beggs of Hauser spent the afternoon Thursday at Independence Point perusing a copy of Radical by David Platt. Temperatures in the upper 50s, with a good dose of sunshine had many local revelers enjoying the spring weather that is supposed to last through the weekend. Ralph Bartholdt

Friday, March 2, 2012

Harrison, Idaho Real Estate

I got a call from a local Realtor asking me about this place.
I can't repeat what he/she said, but I thought afterwards that Harrison, Idaho, the town where this listing is located at the edge of the 4-block commercial district, is one of the most scenic, family-oriented, summer recreational hotspots on Idaho's gem-like Lake Coeur d'Alene, a town that once vied for the state's capital, once the largest community in the Gem State, a town of historical and cultural significance.
Here's the listing: CDA MLS # 11-10291

As I say in the video, "Don't judge a book by it's cover."


Ralph Bartholdt
Agent Keller Williams Coeur d'Alene 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Changes coming to downtown CDA

The Wine Cellar, a staple of the downtown Coeur d'Alene wining and dining scene for a couple decades,will move streetside this summer.
The change is one of several planned this spring.
Dockside Restaurant at the Coeur d'Alene Resort will get a facelift, as will the Whispers Lounge and Starbucks.  Space Share CDA which offers shared office space for a nominal rent at  409 Coeur d Alene Ave. has attracted several tenants and seeks to fill its remaining spaces.
Figpickels Toy Store will move to The Resort Plaza Shops and construction is underway at 201 N 3rd St., the former Las Palmitas Mexican Resturant.

More here: http://inlandbusiness.blogspot.com/2012/02/times-are-changing-for-downtown-coeur-d.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+InlandNorthwestBusinessWatch+%28Inland+Northwest+Business+Watch%29

Ralph Bartholdt
Agent Keller Williams Coeur d'Alene 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rathdrum newspaper retires

Tom Burnett started The Rathdrum Star on a bet almost a decade ago. The weekly newspaper with its 10,000 circulation was recently retired./Bartholdt

If he were a car, Tom Burnett would choose a whitewall Galaxie with power steering and leaded gasoline in a century of hybrids the size of telephone booths.
And he doesn’t care how passers by on his two-lane highway respond to the slow blink of his turn signal or that his radio is AM only.
Not so much.
For Burnett, who until last month ran the weekly Rathdrum Star newspaper out of the corner office of a leased building on the town’s main drag, newspapering was a passion.
For almost a decade The Star, with its quirks and jerry-rigging, was a piece of hard copy on the modern highway of web searches and Online news.
It came in the mail every Thursday and each edition was parceled together with passion.
Each copy was conceived with lights on until midnight, especially on deadline day, and if there was an event, Tom went.
He carried his camera and a pocket note pad and he talked to people through a cropped mop of white beard, eying them through spectacles that were narrow and sometimes crooked on his round face making his eyes seem large.
If he didn’t quote sources pin-point accurately it was because he didn’t refer to his notes in the heat of the moment back at the office when the keys under his two fingers steamed and the words flowed as he pounded the keyboard as if it was an Underwood 60 years ago on election night.
He relied on his memory and seventh sense to get the news right, anyhow.
In some ways, he was the man on the masthead of the newspaper – rolled up sleeves, knocking the keys, churning out the local headlines.
“When I started in this business reporters still wore visors,” he said.
And most of them, he recalls, typed with two fingers.
He does, still.
There was irreverence and no time for correctness back then, whether political or social; tweaking a phrase being the sole exception.
It’s how he ran his newspaper too, and anyone who knows him understands his proclivity for well placed, if sparing, profanity.
At weekly editorial meetings, events, talking points and press releases were viewed sardonically at first, until the news was meted from them.
He wasn’t adverse to stand offs with advertisers - sometimes against better judgment - and if grousing were personified Burnett would be its poster child.
When he quit The Star at the first of the year, it wasn’t for a lack of desire.
Costs, the economy, and to some extent the changing times, those subtleties that gave the 1967 Ford Galaxie its beauty, and provides the same to the Chevy Volt, small innuendos backed by big bucks, slowly buried the 10,000 circulation Star.
For kicks Burnett looked for a newspaper job and found one at a Colorado weekly that looked interesting, but threw away the ad.
It would be like starting over, although if he did, it would be at a small-time rag, he said.
Weekly papers come without the anonymity that cushions reporters in larger cities, he said.
“There’s accountability,” and he prefers that in a paper.
For now, Burnett is at his desk in the same building on the corner of Main Street, working on freelance, marketing, advertising copy. Hum-drumming mostly. Playing solitaire and critiquing retirement.
He spent most of his life newspapering, starting at his hometown Stamford, Conn paper 50 years ago. He worked at the Spokesman Review, and was a one-time owner of the Post Falls Tribune. He started The Star on a bet.
Although he has fielded a few inquiries, he doesn’t expect somebody to walk though the door with cash, a plan to buy the weekly and shoot it back into the sky like on the Fourth of July.
Every day, he says, former readers tell him the town needs the newspaper.
He isn’t sure how long the banner of The Star and its logo will stay on the window outside.
“Until someone comes and scratches it off, I guess,” he said.

Ralph Bartholdt
Agent Keller Williams Coeur d'Alene 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Legislature considers taxing home sales

Some state legislators want to further tax home sales in an effort to recoup revenues lost by dropping the state sales tax back to 5 percent as they promised, after raising it to 6 percent several years ago.
The effort could be moot, however, because it's not supported by the GOP majority.
A group called Stop Unequal Taxation in Idaho wants to reform the sales tax code, but  GOP lawmakers argue it would hurt business because the plan eliminates many of the exemptions currently on the books.
Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow is among legislators who want to lower the overall tax rate while getting rid of many of the exemptions.
Without the exemptions, Ringo argues, there would be plenty of money to fund everything Idaho needs for education and other services.
The reform plan would reinstate sales tax for things like commercial aircraft, broadcast equipment, lottery tickets and professional services such as accounting, mechanical work, attorney and real estate services.
The group says reducing the overall sales tax but eliminating exemptions would net close to $350 million.
The proposal is unlikely to get a hearing in the Statehouse.

See more here: http://www.cdapress.com/real_estate/article_d6cff39e-840c-57fa-a64a-3d97a7f7f372.html

Ralph Bartholdt
Agent Keller Williams Coeur d'Alene 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Eagle eyes on Lake Coeur d'Alene

Jack Cotter and Greg Johnston were among more than 100 enthusiasts who spent the weekend photographing Coeur d'Alene Lake's eagles along Highway 97 at Beauty Bay during the bald eagle's annual feast of the lake's spawned kokanee salmon./Ralph Bartholdt

For years, Gregory Johnston has come for the birds.
Each winter around Christmas he travels from his Rathdrum home to Wolf Lodge Bay looking for bald eagles, snapping pictures and selling the images to stock agencies.
It's an annual ritual for many local photographers, from novices to pros.
The pros, like Johnston, set their tripods and mega lenses tipped with cameras, on places where they will get the best light and the best all around chance for killer shots of Lake Coeur d'Alene's bald eagles as they swoop down to catch landlocked salmon near the lake surface.
"After you've done this a while you kind of read what the eagles are about to do, and you know to be ready for a shot,"Johnston said.
He and many fellow pros prefer a particular point at the entrance of Beauty Bay just over the steel railing of Highway 97 where the land drops to the flat surface of the lake.
"We call this the $70,000 Club," he said. "Some of our tripods cost more than a camera."
Despite more eagles and the comeback of the lake's salmon population, Johnston has seen fewer eagles swooping across the stage in front of the $70,000 Club.
"This year hasn't been as good as last year, and the year before that was even better," he said. "A lot of the eagles are staying in the trees across the bay, and there are a few over on Higgins Point."
Jack Cotter of Otis Orchards doesn't mind that there are fewer birds close by.
He doesn't notice.
He is a newbie to eagle watching and for now, just enjoys being on the shore watching the birds flap by out of his camera's range.
"I bought a new lens and thought I'd come out and try it," he said.
Eagle watching on Coeur d'Alene Lake's north end is a good way to spend a few hours in the chill, or to enjoy unseasonably warm weather.
Either way, it's a great idea, Cotter said.
The eagles flock to the northeastern part of the lake at Wolf Lodge Bay following great schools of kokanee salmon, a small landlocked version of the the sockeye or red salmon that spend the summer migrating to the lake's north end to spawn either in the streams, or along the gravelly shoreline.
Once the fish are in shallows, it's meal time for the eagles.
A wildlife biologist with the Bureau of Land Management counted 259 eagles - 215 adults and 44 juveniles recently.
According to Idaho Fish and Game, the number of adult kokanee spawning in Lake Coeur d'Alene has risen dramatically in the past three years.
Fish and Game counted 33,900 spawning kokanee in 2006; 34,000 in 2007; 28,000 in 2008; 333,600 in 2009, and 506,200 in 2010.
This year, it's estimating the adult kokanee spawning number will reach 767,000.
A kokanee's three-year life cycle ends around December as females lay eggs and males fertilize the eggs. After spawning, the fish die and float to the surface of the water, creating an abundant food source for the eagles.
Most of the eagles’ fishing takes place during the early morning. Some feeding occurs throughout the day.

"It's winding down for the season," Johnston said. "I will probably come out for another week or so."
And then the spawning dance of the fish and the eagle's feeding frenzy will be over until next winter.
  —Ralph Bartholdt
                                                Female kokanee salmon along the beach of Beauty Bay/Ralph Bartholdt
                                                                      Male salmon after the spawn/Ralph Bartholdt
Ralph Bartholdt
Agent Keller Williams Coeur d'Alene