Default Header Banner

Information Center

Information center

Each market is different and may have unique requirements and benefits to buying real property there. That’s why it’s important to work with a REALTOR® to help you navigate the particularities of their markets. Below you will find some links to resources to get you started. Call your REALTOR® to help you find the property you want and the expertise you need.

Latest updates

Bayfield county covid-19 information sessions

Bayfield County will be holding an information session on business and resident COVID-19 relief grants (virtual and in-person) on Wednesday, July 21 at 10:30 am for residential and 11:00am for business.  Learn more HERE

st. louis county - cdbg citizen advisory committee

The St. Louis County Board of Commissioners will make one At Large appointment to the St. Louis County CDBG Citizen Advisory Committee, term expiring April 30, 2024. The CDBG Advisory Committee holds one public hearing and three public meetings to review applications and provide funding recommendations. Meetings are typically held in January between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. CDBG Citizen Advisory Committee members are paid $50 per diem and mileage at the current county rate.

Persons interested in being considered for this appointment should submit an application no later than July 30, 2021 to:  Phil Chapman, Clerk of County Board, 100 North 5th Avenue West, Room 214, Courthouse, Duluth, MN, 55802, fax: 218-725-5060, or e-mail


featured resources

one roof housing 

One Roof Housing presentation and homebuyer information - December 8, 2020

Learn more about homebuyer resources offered by One Roof at the Homebuyer 101 page.  

Protect your Investment 

A Guide for at Risk Homeowners

Resources for Coastal Property Owners



WLSSD Ordinance Update

Due to COVID-19, WLSSD ordinance has been suspended until July 1, 2021 although some municipalities are currently enforcing the ordinance.  Refer to list below and verify with individual municipality.
In June of 2017 the WLSSD passed required revisions to the Ordinance Establishing Standards for Reduction of Inflow & Infiltration which all municipalities connected to the WLSSD system (included below) must follow.  Of particular interest in this update is Section 7.2 which covers lateral lines.  Municipalities can enforce this section either through a point of sale requirement or through an annual inspection program.  Most municipalities have chosen to complete the requirement through point of sale. Municipalities are required to comply with enforcement of this ordinance by February 15, 2020.  While some municipalities have been in compliance for some time, some are still finalizing their ordinances.  A list of municipalities and the current status of their ordinance is below.

Full Ordinance Text:

Click here for Municipality List (12/20 DRAFT)



City of Cloquet 

City of Duluth 

I&I Point of Sale (Sump Pumps
At point of sale city needs to inspect the basement for a sump pump or the man hole for contributing to the city storm water/sewer system. If property is found non-contributing that compliance certificate is $105 and good for 1 calendar year. If property is contributing then owner needs to pay $200 towards compliance and sump pump will most likely need to be installed, current or new owner can undertake this and there are grant monies available to cover the majority of the cost. Call 218-730-4130 to schedule an appointment prior to closing.

Lateral Line Grand Funding Update

The City of Duluth has provided this letter with both a reminder of the POS inspection requirements as well as an update on grant funding for lateral lines.  See second to last paragraph. 

Rental Ordinance – Life Safety Department 
All properties that are rented or that the owner is receiving a benefit from others dwelling there in City of Duluth must have a rental license. There are 2 types licenses available a Single Tenant(owner occupant w/1 person, a family or related persons) or Multi-Tenant(more than 1 unrelated persons).If purchasing a rental property or converting a single family residence to a rental check on license status and be prepared to pay fees.Licenses are issued for 3 year terms and current fees can be found on the website.
Phone: 218-730-4380


The City of Duluth requires garbage service at all residential properties, so if a garbage bill is delinquent the garbage hauler may petition to put the outstanding amount onto the property taxes. A good rule of thumb is to require a paid in full garbage receipt prior to closing.

Steps to Gas Service
 – Comfort Systems natural gas service within the City of Duluth 

City of Ely

City of Esko 

Thomson township I&I 

Recent transactions in Thomson Township have highlighted the Townships decision to move forward with enforcement of their sump and lateral inspection requirement. The ordinance currently includes a requirement in Section 3.A that “no person shall sell, advertise for sale….”.  See full Ordinance here.

City of Grand Marais 

City of Hermantown

City of Proctor 

City of Rice Lake 

City of Silver Bay 

City of Two Harbors 

City of Superior


The City of Superior City Council approved a "Vacant to Value: New Construction" program on April 7, 2021. With some of the oldest housing stock in Wisconsin, with over 40% of homes more than 80 years old, the City recognizes the need for new, single-family homes that are affordable.  The program was developed with the intent of reducing some costs that go into new development. To learn more about this program click here or visit the City of Superior Planning Department.  

County Information

Ashland County


The Ashland County Board passed an amendment to the existing Private Sewage System Ordinance on April 20, 2021.  The amendment relates to an Annual Maintenance Fee for each improved property as subject to the Private Sewage System Ordinance (15.07)(1) within Ashland County except those served by municipal sewer, shall be assessed an annual fee of $8.00 per year.  The annual fee shall be assessed and added to the property tax bill at a rate established by the Zoning & Land Committee.  The full ordinance and board packet can be found here

Bayfield County

Bayfield County has home rehabilitation funds available for county residents.  Applicants must be low to moderate income and use the funds for home repairs such as roofs, siding and windows.  The program is administered through Northwest Regional Planning.  To learn more click here


Grants of up to $10,000 are available to small business owners (Microenterprise) and up to $5,000 to homeowners/renters. Must meet qualifications including low-to-moderate income criteria.  More information here.

Douglas County

Carlton County

Cook County

Cook County Board of Commissioners approved proposed Zoning Ordinance amendments on April 13, 2021.  As described in the meeting, the two major changes are as follows:

  • Shifting of erosion control language from Section 7 to Section 5 as the provisions apply to the entire county, not only shoreland areas. No actual provisions were modified, simply the location of the language.
  • Removal of shallow soils language from Section 7.14 Bluff Area Stands as it was found that this requirement was less restrictive than State requirements. The shallow soils standards comes into play in bluff areas where soil depth over ledge rock averaged 24” or less as it relates to structure setbacks. 

Read the approved, redline version here.  

Lake County 
Plat Book
Septic Ordinance
Planning & Zoning

St. Louis County 


St. Louis County has expanded its online permitting options to now include septic system permits. The newly launched online septic permitting system allows contractors and homeowners to fill out the application, provide any necessary attachments and submit payment - all online. It can be accessed at

OSW Citizens Portal Demo Video link contains the complete series of video’s on how to use the new system


What Changed

A net income approach to commercial property assessment for apartment buildings with 4+ units was used in 2021.  The income approach considers the following factors, potential gross rent (income), operating expenses, and a capitalization rate. Potential gross rent is the total annual amount that would be collected if the property was 100% occupied at market rent.  Operating expenses are expenses related to maintaining income producing capabilities of a property and capitalization rate is a rate used to change an income estimate into an estimated market value.

 When apartment buildings were last assessed, a cost approach was used.  The cost approach estimates the price a buyer should pay for a piece of property is equal the cost to build an equivalent building. In the cost approach, the property's value is equal to the cost of land, plus total costs of construction, less depreciation.

Why it Changed

According to the Minnesota Department of Revenue, apartment building assessments were on average 20-30% below sales prices.  The Department of Revenue, acting as the State Board of Equalization, has the authority to increase or decrease assessed market values to bring about equalization.  St. Louis County adopted the income approach to address the discrepancy.

Appeals Process

Refer to link included to learn about how to appeal property value or classification:  

Short Term Rental

The St. Louis County Zoning Ordinance now requires specific permits for short term rental properties, such as rental vacation homes and properties listed on VRBO or Airbnb. St. Louis County allows for short term rental of properties through the issuance of an over-the-counter performance standard permit, which means that standards need to be met by the applicant in order to obtain the permit. In certain zoning districts and situations, a conditional use permit may be necessary.

On-Site Wastewater Notice

St. Louis County is updating Subsurface Sewage Treatment System (SSTS) permitting forms. As the County uploads them for septic professionals to use the old forms will be phased out. The new forms can be found here.

Additionally, a new online permitting system is coming Spring of 2021. The new system will enable the public to submit septic applications online 24 hours a day/7 days a week with the convenience of online payments. Finally, please be aware that properties that have more than one SSTS, including privies, requires an entire set of documents for each system per State requirements.

Ordinance 61 Septic Point of Sale St. Louis County 

All septic systems within St. Louis County must be inspected prior to sale. Inspections will determine conditions of the septic system as 1 of 4 outcomes. In 2 of the outcomes system replacement will be required which could lead to additional fees or escrowing of monies.


MPCA Feedlot Registration Requirements

Nearly all feedlot owners are required to register with the State and must update their registration information every four years.  Feedlot registration has moved to an online system.  For more information see the factsheet or Feedlot FAQ for lenders and realtors. 

Pathway to Achievement Program

Promoting diversity within Realtor® membership

The MNR Pathway to Achievement Program is designed to promote diversity within the Realtor® membership by helping people not in Minnesota's racial majority join the Realtor® community and enhance their probability of long-term success in the real estate profession.

The program forges an alliance between the recipient, sponsoring broker, local association, and Minnesota Realtors® (MNR).  To learn more about the program click here.  Applications will be accepted in July and August, 2021.

Classification of Short Term Rental Properties

MN Department of Revenue FAQ for Classifying of Short Term Rental Properties

MN Department of Revenue Memo to County Assessors December 2020

Minnesota Realtor Association


RentHelpMN is Now Open for Applications

Minnesota Housing is pleased to announce that RentHelpMN is now open and accepting applications. RentHelpMN makes it possible for eligible renters to get caught up on overdue rent and utilities dating back to March 13, 2020. It also makes provisions for those at risk of falling behind on rent payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please note that RentHelpMN is in Phase One, in which people with past due rent who meet eligibility requirements are invited to apply.

To apply for RentHelpMN, please visit or call 211. The 211 helpline has dedicated multilingual staff available to answer questions about RentHelpMN, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Visit to learn more about the program and eligibility requirements and to apply.

Wisconsin Resources

Partnership for Success Program

Promoting diversity within the REALTOR® membership

The WRA Partnership for Success Program is designed to promote diversity within the REALTOR® membership based on race, color and national origin, in a manner designed to enhance the probability of long-term success in the real estate profession.

The program forges a partnership between the applicant, the sponsoring broker, the local or regional association, and the WRA. Applicants must be of a minority race, color or national origin, and must demonstrate a commitment to becoming successful real estate licensees. To learn more click here

Inspection Legislation

The home inspectors legislation, originally proposed in 2020, was reintroduced this session. After being passed by the Senate and the Assembly, it has been signed into law by Gov. Evers as 2021 Wisconsin Act 17. Among other provisions, home inspectors must now use the term "defect" in their inspection reports when referring to a condition they have observed and believe meets the definition of a defect. In addition, inspection reports must include a summary page that lists the conditions that are defects and other items that may need further evaluation or maintenance, with references to where detailed information for those items may be found in the report. Look for further details in upcoming WRA publications and videos.

Wisconsin Realtors Association 


National Association of Realtors and Homeownership Matters 

Protect Your Money from Mortgage Closing Scams When Buying a Home

Residential Appraisal Process - FAQ for Agents

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)


downpayment assistance

Get the help you need to buy your new home.  Click here to learn more and find help by filling out the information. 

Lunch & Learn Materials

Lake County (11/14/18)

Cook County (11/1/19)

Douglas County (11/14/19)

Carlton County (2/10/21) 


Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce

Cloquet Area Chamber of Commerce

Hermantown Area Chamber of Commerce

Lake County Chamber of Commerce

Cook County Chamber of Commerce

Superior-Douglas County Chamber of Commerce

Bayfield County Chamber of Commerce

Ashland County Chamber of Commerce


4031 Grand Avenue
Duluth, MN 55807