NON MLS: The Lake Minnetonka Real Estate Blog

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

Jan. 12, 2022

Our lake: the big, the beautiful Minnetonka

Introduction by Bette Hammel, author of Legendary Homes of Lake Minnetonka

Indeed, our Lake is mighty big, its sparkling waters extend along 125 miles of shoreline and over 14,000 acres of water gracing Wayzata, Excelsior, Deephaven, Maplewoods, Mound, Spring Park, Victoria and more.

Prior to Europeans arriving in the Lake Minnetonka area, the The Dakota Indians occupied the shores and found ample fishing and hunting. Much of the woodland areas around the lake were home to sacred Indian mounds.  

The Treaty of Traverse des Sioux was signed in 1851 between the United States and the Upper Dakota Sioux banks. This opened Lake Minnetonka to European settlement and tremendous growth then ensued.

In 1852 Minnesota Governor Alexander Ramsey was amazed when he first saw the lake thanks to his fishing buddies. “Boys, we have just seen an inland sea!”

Ramsey would return later and visit the country residence of George Brackett in Orono in June of 1888 for a reunion with the surviving officers of the First Minnesota Regiment.

Historically, the lower lake has held most of the elegant mansions of Minnesota’s prestigious families, including those owned by the Pillsburys, Crosbys, Peaveys, and Heffelfingers. Other homes of significance were built on the upper lake including the Dutch Colonial constructed by Edmund Longyear in 1906 at Boulder Bridge Farm.

Samuel S. Gale and his wife Susan platted Cottagewood in Deephaven in 1876. Gale was a prestigous Minneapolis real estate agent and civic leader.

Gale’s daughter Anna (Mrs. Clarkson Lindley) described the virgin area in her journal, “In l834, the wooded shoreline is still unbroken, save for the Harrington and Holt farms across the lake, and from the small white farmhouse, we used to listen to the sounds oF THE big dinner bell floating across the water to us.”  Nearby was the Gale cottage, the first house on Breezy Point.

Since Lake Minnetonka was first discovered, more and more business and cultural leaders have been attracted to the lake’s natural beauty and the enticing number of wooded lake shore properties.

As an example, Breezy Point and most of Maplewood is quite the site for new homes and other new modernist architecture. “Maplewoods is changing a lot today,” says Pam Vasquez, local Maplewoods architect.  “Years ago it was like living in a park here. Now we are seeing many changes in the neighborhoods. People are still neighborly and content to get together,”  she says with a smile.  

The new homes going up in Maplewoods reflect a growing trend around Lake Minnetonka which is the further development and redevelopment of the properties abutting the shore.

Current trends include the use of expanded glass facades, wide open patios, landscaping to match the house and occasionally the bold use of color. Although traditional designs are still popular, many homes show the result of  combining both styles.  

As the lake continues to develop for residential use, an increasing number of lakefront dwellers affirm that preserving Lake Minnetonka’s beauty is a number one priority. Everyone, new or old resident, agrees, “it’s  our lake”.

Nov. 16, 2020

Lake Minnetonka Market Report for October 2020

Here is your Lake Minnetonka Real Estate Market Report for October 2020:

The following properties sold:


5400 Three Points Boulevard #331 Mound $175,000
5441 Lost Lake Lane  Mound $355,000
429 Lake Street  Excelsior $698,000
12 W Point Place  Tonka Bay $668,700
3054 Julia Way  Mound $730,000
2308 Driftwood Lane  Mound $850,000
3425 Warner Lane  Minnetrista $890,000
6674 Smithtown Road  Victoria $875,000
375 Lakeview Avenue  Tonka Bay $875,700
4621 Kildare Road  Mound $1,050,000
4345 Wilshire Boulevard  Mound $1,200,000
2660 Pheasant Road  Orono $1,240,750
5641 Bartlett Boulevard  Mound $1,200,000
2030 Shorewood Lane  Mound $1,400,000
3466 Kings Point Road  Minnetrista $1,560,000
4423 North Shore Drive  Orono $1,575,000
1898 Shorewood Lane  Mound $1,610,000
1990 Shadywood Road  Orono $1,600,000
910 Smithtown Terrace  Victoria $1,640,000
3975 County Road 44   Minnetrista $1,927,000
4400 Trillium Lane W  Minnetrista $1,825,000
29 Fairhope Avenue  Tonka Bay $2,225,000
4017 North Shore Drive  Orono $2,210,000
3534 Ivy Place  Orono $2,450,000
4384 Manitou Road  Tonka Bay $2,850,000
2825 Maplewood Circle E  Woodland $2,800,000
970 Tonkawa Road  Orono $2,850,000
2590 Casco Point Road  Orono $3,392,500
1530 Orchard Beach Place  Orono $3,700,000
2310 Huntington Point Road W  Minnetonka Beach $5,000,000
Aug. 7, 2020

Lake Minnetonka Real Estate MYTH Busters, August 2020 Edition

Lake Minnetonka Real Estate MYTH Busters, August 2020 Edition:
This month’s MYTH Buster is brought to you by your least favorite Undergrad Econ Professor and his lesson of Supply & Demand!
MYTH: So many houses have sold recently, are there buyers even left in the area?!?
FACT: Inventory is WAY down! *Listings are down 20% since this time last year*
MYTH: Houses sell for what they’re worth, right?
FACT: Prices are up! *Average prices are up 44% since this time last year*
MYTH: Housing market slows when school starts
FACT: Because of virtual working and learning this year, the market is NOT slowing down!
Overall, there’s little supply and great demand. What this means for you:
If you are thinking of buying, it is a great time to take advantage of phenomenal interest rates.
If you are thinking of selling, call us for a thorough analysis of your specific area and property, as well as an overview of the premium services we offer our clients.
Lake Minnetonka Real Estate - all help, no pressure; offering facts, not myths.
Jan. 15, 2019

Real estate is a slow moving train

It’s the time of year when people who are thinking about making a move in 2019 are out kicking tires at open houses. If you have a property to sell, now is the time to get that property on the market. The thing about real estate—true in the Lake Minnetonka market as well—is that real is that real estate is a slow moving train. It takes a while to get on the train, it takes a while to get off the train. The reason for this is that it takes a while to get a train up to speed and to stop. 

As I write this post I have a vision of Harrison Ford in the Fugitive leaping off a yellow school bus as the train barrels down on him. 

The point I’m trying to make is that in real estate, things don’t always happen immediately but given enough time they do. If you are thinking about making a move, you need to prepare for that event to occur. One of the easiest ways you can start to prepare is to do some reasearch on the internet—viewing homes and market reports online is a great way to do so. 

Another thing you can do is start going to open houses to see what you like, see what you don’t like, both as you think about leaving your existing place and acquiring your next place. What about this house in terms of how it is presented to market is done correctly? What is done incorrectly? How should that impact how I present my home to the market.

Another great way to start thinking about your move is to engage a trustworthy and experienced Realtor. In spite of all the internet resources, use of a real estate professionals remains at an all time high.

If you are contemplating a move, feel free to call or text me anytime to discuss.

Jan. 13, 2019

Can you assign a purchase agreement in Minnesota?

Any interest in land whether present or future estate can be assigned including purchase agreements drafted and signed as part of the traditional sale process. An experienced agent can sniff out a bogus purchase agreement where the buyer seeks to tie up a property and then change the terms of the deal after the fact.

One of the biggest clues you may get in terms of having a buyer assign a purchase agreement is the insistence that the transaction is all cash and quick close, but the buyer doesn’t provide any legitimate proof of funds or any earnest money. A true quick close, all cash buyer who seeks the property without a contingency stands head and shoulders above a cash offer which morphs into a hard money load from a car finance guy. I had a 100% cash offer morph into financing, and the pre-approval provided was from a convicted mortgage fraudster—which is why it is so important to check and double check all the claims made by someone who states a transaction is all cash, or that they are able to secure financing.

The end result of jumping the gun by signing an all cash offer is that the property is all tied up. I have seen purchase agreements get assigned from builder to agent to newly formed LLC in a matter of days, with little asset verification—it can really spell trouble for a seller to sell to a buyer who has questionable ethics.

On the other hand assignment does have a legitimate purpose if one is a buyer—a large commercial transaction perhaps should stand on it’s own and have the business entity lease the property creating two going concerns that have cash flow. Assignment also can work when a buyer has acquire a purchase agreement on a property that is under it’s market value—which is great for the buyer and bad for the seller.

When in doubt, a non-assignment clause in a purchase agreement can prevent unscrupulous buyers from abusing this ability to transfer the future interest in the property. A sizeable down payment that is non-refundable is also advisable as a seller, as is triple verification of funds—making sure that claims made by a buyer whether for cash or mortgage are accurate.

Judgements can also come into play with the assignment of real estate contracts, so it’s very important to understand the balance sheet of a potential buyer or assignee. Consulting your attorney and Realtor throughout these processes is highly recommended.


As always, if you have a question about real estate, whether buying, selling, or something else, feel free to give me a call at (952) 473-1000.

Jan. 8, 2019

New or updated rambler needed up to $1,100,000 in Lake Minnetonka Area

Immediate buyer need for an updated or new rambler or two story home in Edina, St. Louis Park, Minnetonka, Wayzata, South Plymouth, and Eastern Orono up to $1.1 million.

  • Prefer newer or updated
  • 3800+ sf
  • 4 beds
  • 3 baths
  • 3 car garage
  • Prefer rambler but open to 2 story
  • Large kitchen a must
  • Back yard large enough for big dog
  • Not a fan of light colored wood finishes

Call Dan Gustafson at (952) 473-1000.

Jan. 8, 2019

BUYER NEED: Non MLS Edina Country Club

Buyer seeks Non MLS Edina Country Club from $1.2 - $1.5 million. Please call Dan Gustafson at (952) 473-1000.

Jan. 8, 2019

BUYER NEED: One level living in Chanhassen, Excelsior, or Minnetonka

Immediate buyer need: 2 bdrm, 2 bath, 1 level living townhome in Chanhassen, Excelsior, or Minnetonka priced in the $250-$275 range if move-in ready or low $200s if needs updates. Call Dan Gustafson at (952) 473-1000.

Jan. 6, 2019

Top 10 most expensive real estate transactions on Lake Minnetonka in 2018

There were 143 closed sales of single family homes on Lake Minnetonka in 2018. The prices for Lake Minnetonka Real Estate varied greatly with the smallest transaction being $335,000 for a modest home with channel lakeshore on Black Lake to $11,327,240 for the Southways Estate on Bracketts Point / Browns Bay in Orono. While this post does not address Lake Minnetonka Condo Sales, it should be noted that access to Lake Minnetonka was had for as little as $63,500 for a studio condo in the Lakewinds Yacht Club Complex in Mound.

While I won't go through every sale that happened on Lake Minnetonka, I will touch briefly on the top 10 most expensive homes on Lake Minnetonka and real estate transactions that occurred in 2018:

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Jan. 6, 2019

NON MLS Lake Minnetonka: $2,295,000

NON MLS Lake Minnetonka offering in Minnetrista with 153' feet of Lakeshore. Home is 5,768 feet with 6 bedrooms, 6 baths. Remodeled structure is flawless with high end details and finishes including a breathtaking view of Lake Minnetonka through walls of windows. Crisp white interior with black accents, formal and informal dining rooms, spacious great room, endless Lake Minnetonka views. If you would like more information on this property or other NON MLS Lake Minnetonka listings, please reach out to Dan Gustafson at (952) 473-1000.