Lake Superior Rents Minute
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Lake Superior Rents Minute

London Road Update-Do you know a building that need some love?

by Cory Binsfield on 08/04/15

As of this month, we are pleased to report that we have completed our turnaround of 1405 London Road.

We have added new windows and paint to the front exterior and have turned a crime infested property into a quiet little gem filled with outstanding tenants.

To say it was an interesting 2 year process is an understatement.

7 out of 8 rough units have been polished into shiny little gems.

Here are some of the items we accomplished.

  • Restored hardwood floors in 6 units
  • Added 3 tone paint scheme to all units
  • Restored old hardware
  • New ceiling and bathroom fans
  • Upgraded kitchen and baths with a goal of integrating existing old world charm-ranch and rubber molding be gone!
  • New wide slat plantation style blinds
  • Lots of shiny new appliances
  • Most important.......positioned building as a place you would be proud to call home.

Hard to believe it was exactly two years ago when we first took over this crime infested den and started cleaning up.

Do you live in a elegant building with a tired landlord? 

How about a building that needs some love?

We are seeking turnaround plays in East Duluth.

Give us a call or shoot us a text today. Maybe you like where you live but just wish someone would buy the building and turn it around.

Time to get dirty and turn a new building around on London Road

by Cory Binsfield on 08/02/13

We just added 8 units in a prime location on London Road!

Over the next three months, we plan on making some big changes to the property. Currently, some of the residents like to deal drugs and the cops show up one to two times a week.

We are rolling up our proverbial sleeves and plan on getting down and dirty with these bad folks via the Lake Superior Drug Task force and some amazing undercover work by the neighbors.

We have encouraged the bad guy to leave by the end of August and look forward offering some fabulous one bedroom units to people who like old world charm and a view of the Rose Garden and steps from Valentini's Italian restaurant.

If your interested in renting here, let us know. Right now we have a large one bedroom on the 2nd floor overlooking the lake and another one coming up at the end of September. Both will rent for $700 plus electric.

Moving on up! Just like George Jefferson...the big apartment in the sky.

by Cory Binsfield on 04/12/13

We are very pleased to report that we have moved to the historic Dewitt-Seitz Building in Canal Park.

For all of you still mailing rent checks (versus paying online via our web portal on the homepage) make sure you note our new mailing address.

Lake Superior Rents

394 Lake Ave South

Suite 604

Duluth, MN  55802

Or, come by and check out our incredible view of the lake and the Aerial Lift Bridge!

We love this old building and want to thank Oneida Realty for helping us design and build a space that fits our personality. Just like our buildings, we now enjoy hardwood floors, exposed brick walls and tall ceilings.

Life is good!

Rental Demand, What's your best approach to finding a new pad?

by Cory Binsfield on 02/06/13

This month is crazy. I haven't even posted my rentals on Craigslist and noticed I'm already getting a lot of phone calls.

Must be my listings.

So far, I've already had 5 people sign renewals for June 1, 2013 and continue to receive a steady stream of phone calls each day.

Just like the Marines, we are looking for a few good clients.

Question: Where do you search for a rental? What is the best place in your opinion? Let me know and I will see if I can add more listings in your favorite spots.

Have a rocking day!

A Big Thanks! Plus, Time to get your pad for 2013!

by Cory Binsfield on 01/25/13

Happy 2013 and THANK YOU!

I just want to thank everybody for making 2012 our best year ever! We added 12 more units and continue to attract and retain fabulous clients.

By the way, check out our new mansion at 1629 E Superior Street. Built in 1904, it was purchased by Carl Luster (founder and President of Clyde Iron Works) as his personal residence. Trust me, this guy was loaded when he had this mansion built.

The master architect was William T Bray who designed many of the famous mansions in East Duluth. I'm extremely proud of this acquisition and can't wait to bring in a new class of clients that share my passion for old world architecture.

More on this wonderful building later.

This year we are adding a new online application that will allow you to apply and print out your own application. In one simple step, you can fill in the online form, click a few buttons and know if you are approved or denied.

We take a serious approach to tenant screening. Our goal is to provide you with high quality neighbors who you never have to worry about. Everyone must pass a strict credit and criminal background check and this helps us maintain our commitment to best quality best price.  

Last year, we rolled out the new online payment portal.

So far, we have about 40% of our tenants paying rent online. Frankly, why on earth do some people continue to drive down to our office, fight for a parking meter and then drop off a check or cash?

Sure, it costs $2.95 to click a link and pay online. Yet, aren't people worth more than $2.95 an hour? For all of you still paying the old fashioned way, think about the time and expense it takes to pay your rent.

For less than a gallon of gas, you can avoid the hassle of dropping off rent at our office.


Ok, I've been slow to post my listings this year. That darn mansion was a bugger to close and sucked up all my time and resources. Here’s the deal, before I get a bunch of crazy phone calls from Craigslist folks, call me if you are looking for a special property.

We have a bunch of 1,2, and 3 bedrooms that are coming up this year along with some studios. All of them are between 8th Ave East and 21st Ave East. If you like this area, give us a shout.

Once again, thank you for allowing us to serve you.

2012 Leasing Questions

by Cory Binsfield on 01/16/12

Q: I have an American Stratfordshire Terrier. She is the sweetest dog in the world. Why can't I rent?


A: Oh, you mean a Pit Bull? Well, since the majority of dog attacks are from Pitt's, I would  prefer not to rent to you and your fuzzy friend. In one study sponsored by the US Governement Centers For Disease Control it was reported that 32% of all dog related killings of human beings in the United States are caused by Pit Bulls attacks, yet Pit Bulls constitute only 2% of all dogs. 70% of those mauling deaths were of children. How many Disney films have you seen that featured a lovable Pittbull? Now, how many violent actions films have you seen that featured a pittbull?


Q: I see you allow pets. Can I get new puppy or kitten? 


A: No puppies or kittens. Really! Feel free to potty train your pet in your Parent's master bedroom with the new white carpet. Let me know how that works for you. Once your pet is one or two, I will consider your friend.


Q: I love painting. In fact, I am  a studio art major!


A: I love studio art majors! All I need is a 5 year lease and you can paint any surface that has already been painted.  


Q: My male cat is neutered and has never sprayed.


A: Really? Check out my prior post on June 21, 2011. Need I say more?


The Truth Is Out There

by Cory Binsfield on 08/29/11

Have you ever seen the movie Men In Black?

Here's the premise. Aliens are living among us and there is a secret government agency that keeps them in line. Some of the most famous aliens are Janet Reno, Lady Gaga, and Hillary Clinton.

I believe I have just discovered some more aliens in Duluth!

After submitting three revised plans to the City of Duluth's permit office for three wooden walkways that would float on a rubber roof, I am 99.9% sure they are aliens.

For instance, no one can make a decision at the front desk without submitting your plan to the mysterious planning review committee. I bet that committee is composed of the Men In Black.

Thereafter, whoever takes your plan at the front desk will come back and tell you to resubmit with changes and all of a sudden your plan disappears again.

Heaven forbid the people at the front desk would be given the power to approve a plan the same day after pulling up the prior permits on the building and determining if prior work has ever been completed that is similar to the proposed project and conforms to the galactic safety code.

Yes, folks, this special code must conform to fire, building, and environmental codes. Just like when you want to build a nuclear power plant.

In the event you get frustrated with the whole process, try calling the planning review like I did two weeks ago.

Rather than say, "Hey Cory, according to the prior permits and the record of improvements in over the last eighty or odd years, adding a lighter roof and a lighter deck should be no problem." Not only are your walkways 1500 pounds lighter, but the new rubber that’s replacing the tar is about 900 pounds lighter as well. No need for an architect or an engineer.

Instead, here how my conversation went.

Alien: I'm sorry, your plan does not comply. We did not realize you were placing a walkway on a nine unit apartment building. According to the galactic building code, you must hire an architect and an engineer.”

Me: Oh, why didn't they mention that in the beginning when my contractor submitted the plans the last three times?

Alien: I don't know. They should have known better.

Me: Okay, can you fax me the old permit for the deck and roof that was five times the size and weight?

Alien: Why do you want that?

Me: So I can avoid spending $1,000 on an architect and engineer for a walkway that will allow my tenants to exit the building in case there is a fire?

Alien: Why would you want to save money?

Me: O.K., can you tell one of your team members to send me the old permit for the old deck and roof? You sound busy.

Alien: No. I’m too busy and we don't do that. You need to come downtown since the old permits are on microfiche or in the vault. Why would you want us to fax you that stuff?

Me: I'm just as busy as you. I don't want to spend an hour researching old permits and waiting at your office in addition to spending a half hour looking for a parking spot since all the meters are full at City Hall in the middle of the day.

Alien: Most people just come in here or send a draftsman over.

Me: Great, thanks for your help. I will get back to you once I have more time.

As I hung up the phone, I couldn't help but wonder if anyone else shares my frustration. Over the following weeks, here’s what I discovered after polling some respected people in the building trade.

An extremely busy commercial contractor told me how the City sat on a permit for six weeks since the people who needed to approve it where sick. End result, a new restaurant in Canal Park had to delay their opening.

A wise architect told me this is the way it works and there is nothing you can do to change it.

A small residential contractor told me he avoids remodels in Duluth at all costs. He can go to Superior, Hermantown, or on the range and it’s a breeze.

A commercial realtor told me this is exactly why it cost $150 a square foot to improve on an existing structure in Duluth versus $100 a foot to build new. The city comes up with such strict rules for renovating old buildings that it's cheaper to mow them down.

Can you see why the Duluth Armory is still sitting there as one giant eye sore overlooking one of the best views in the city?

Time to call the Men In Black.

Duluth needs to enter the twenty-first century with a permit process that will promote improving our historical treasures while making it easier on business owners to reinvest in the community.

Online Payment Portal Rocks!

by Cory Binsfield on 07/26/11

LAKE SUPERIOR RENTS  has teamed up with PayLease Inc. to streamline our rent collection!  You can now eliminate the burden of mailing your lease payment every month!  Through PayLease, you will now be able to pay your lease payments online via credit/debit card or an e-check from your checking or savings account.  You can make a one-time payment or sign up to have your payments automatically withdrawn each month. It's that easy!  No more hassle and no more late payments. 


Fees (E-check is cheaper than driving to my office)

  • E-check (ACH) debit from checking/savings account: $2.95 per transaction
  • MasterCard/Discover (Debit or Credit Card)- 3% per transaction
  • American Express- 4% per transaction
  • VISA (Debit or Credit Card)- $22.95 per transaction


Why should I use PayLease?  

  • Ability to make payment with a credit card and earn more rewards including mileage points and cash back incentives
  • Customize payment notification reminders for upcoming payments
  • Flexibility of choosing the day of debit payment allows for better money management
  • Automatic payment eliminates late payments. One late fee can be more than over 2 years of PayLease Transaction fees!

How do I sign up?

In order to sign up, please go  and click on the "CLICK TO PAY NOW" button on the home page. It will ask you to enter in the address for which you are making payments for and then will link you to that property in the system. Once you are logged in, select "MAKE PAYMENT" to make a payment or "AUTOMATIC PAYMENTS" to set up an automatic debit each month.


How does PayLease work?

Once you are a member of PayLease, you can go to  and make payments to your property manager with either a credit card or a debit from your checking account.  Standard processing takes 2-3 business days for a payment to process to your Property Manager.  If you select ExpressPay, your payment will be processed for next business day deposit. Your Property Management Company is notified of your payment initiation date and time. Business days include Monday-Friday excluding weekends and holidays.  It is important to remember these processing times when making a payment ON TIME.


Is there a contract or can I cancel at any time?

With PayLease there is no contract.  PayLease is an option for you to make your lease payments easier.  If you opt to be a member of PayLease and still send in a paper check, you will not incur any monthly fees for not using the service.   Fees are incurred only when you process a payment. 


Statement or Balance Questions?

If you have question in regards to your balance please call Lake Superior Rents at 218.310.1088

  • PayLease does not  have access to your balance, so please contact Lake Superior Rents at 218.310.1088

Online Payment Questions?

If you have a question in regards to an online payment or would like to make a payment please call (866) 729-5327.

Cat Drama 2.0

by Cory Binsfield on 07/13/11

Looks like my cat incident is far from over. Now the 26 year old tenant and her Mom are threatening to sue me over the damages deposit. I'm always amazed that someone would sign a pet agreement (see the forms section of the website) and then decide to sue me for damages after their four legged friend destroys a bedroom. It's too bad certain people in our society will never own up to their actions.

Dear Lawnmower Man, what's the big deal about cats?

by Cory Binsfield on 06/21/11

Here's the lowdown on cats from a landlord perspective: 80% of pet owners are great. It's the other 20% that destroy apartments and yards.

My cat horror story of the year begins when I have the carpet cleaned on June 4th for two new college students.  The next day, I get a text stating my new tenant has to evacuate the apartment due to an overwhelming urine smell- she could not breath and had an allergic reaction.

I call the carpet cleaner and ask what on earth is going on? He tells me the carpet cleaning chemicals must have triggered the urine in the pad and the smell was released after the carpet dried.

Do you know the only way to remove a cat urine smell is to rip out the carpet and the pad and seal the floor?

Guess what I ended up doing over the next 3 days?

Here's the worse part.

One of the tenants decides she cannot live there after I replaced the carpet in 3 days. Rather than enforce her 12 month lease in court, I decide to let her out of the lease to avoid a drama queen for the rest of the year.

Total damages by a single cat: $963 plus having to rent the darn apartment all over again.

If you are thinking about adopting a cat and plan on renting over the next few years, I would advise you to reconsider. In addition to potential damages, many landlords in Duluth charge over $300 as a one-time non-refundable pet fee plus extra rent for cat owners.


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