Virtual House Hunting: Door County Edition

Real Estate Agent with The Kellstrom Ray Agency, Inc. (Est. 1948)

Virtual House Hunting:

Door County Edition


Door County Virtual House Hunt

Do you ever watch HGTV and think house hunting looks like a breeze?  Trust me---there’s a lot more to it than choosing between 3 (and always only 3) magical houses and then BOOM you’re a homeowner! Well, it’s not EXACTLY like that (and I’ve actually been on HGTV—on Lakefront Bargain Hunt—Renovation, to be exact (where I “showed” exactly three Door County waterfront homes.)). 

However, I do help Door County home buyers navigate through every step of the Door County buying process on a daily and weekly basis so that it feels a lot more like HGTV and less like sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, especially if we’re working together virtually. You’re making one of the biggest purchases of your life and you should do it with confidence! 🏡🔑



(One takeaway from this is when they wire you for sound—don’t wear a dress!)

MaryKay Shumway Lakefront Bargain Hunt


As a home buyer, you’ll have professionals working for you to help you through the entire process. 

It’s important that you do your research and hire people that you trust. I recommend interviewing 2-3 agents or Brokers (preferably Accredited Buyer Agents (ABR®s) and hopefully you decide to work with me!) and talking to at least 2-3 local lenders (or at least researching them) before committing to one.  You’ll want to compare rates and you’ll definitely want to get pre-approved so you know how much home you can afford in Door County.

You’re going to be talking with your Realtor ® (me) a LOT (probably almost daily) so it’s important that you find someone you click with and who you also trust to guide you through the process.  I’d be happy to send you my complete bio (and even references).

When it comes to choosing a lender, you’ll either go with your current lender who has most of your financials or (we hope it’s this option) you’ll want to choose someone local who you can meet with in person—and who is familiar with our homes, condominiums, vacant land, zoning issues and more.  Please feel free to ask for lender recommendations as I have worked with dozens and feel that I can help you choose someone who is the right fit.

Door County Virtual House Hunting


Your Door County home buying team will also likely include a home inspector (or maybe a surveyor or soil tester) as well as others, and I’m happy to send you a list of several candidates to choose from. 

One of the best steps you can take to prepare for Door County home ownership is to determine your home budget. I always recommend that buyers think about what they are comfortable spending monthly rather than thinking of the full mortgage amount.  We can work on that together. Break down your fixed expenses as well as what else you need to allocate expenses for. (Don’t forget little things that you budget like your Netflix subscription or the family vacation). That way you can set a maximum amount for how much you’re willing to spend on your mortgage monthly and be sure to take taxes, homeowners’ insurance and other monthly costs into consideration. 

Please also remember your lender will look at your FICO score as well as existing debt (including student loans and auto), and want at least 2 years’ worth of taxes, pay stubs and more.  It’s best to be really prepared.

Once we determine together what you can truly afford to spend on your Door County home (or condominium, business or vacant land) we’ll start the most exciting process—the actual home search.

Door County Reality House Hunt

Current safety guidelines have meant that nearly all touring is currently done virtually.  This can be done by me streaming video, FaceTiming, using WhatsApp and a dozen other fun ways to be creative in unusual times.  Also, my own listings are in the process of being optimized for 2020 to be more video and digital and far less “print-worthy”.  But remember, I’m able to tour ANY Door County property for you (not just my own listings) and I’m happy to do so.  I see many “virtual open houses” in my 2020 future. 

We, as Realtors®, know that home buyers love to look at Zillow because it’s pretty, it is easy to use and everyone loves the handy map function! However, Zillow isn’t the most reliable source when it comes to getting your Door County real estate information. Zillow doesn’t know your interest rate, the cost of your homeowner’s insurance, what type of loan program you’re using, or several other factors that can affect your monthly payment.  Also, Zillow can have expired listings, inaccurate data (I had one client send me a listing from Zillow showing up as Sister Bay which is actually in Ellison Bay (and I’ve had that problem with my own listings, on occasion) and a lot of other inaccuracies. 

There is also a lot of information on Zillow that isn’t up to date (the most often one being that there is already an accepted Offer on a property) and Zillow won’t reflect that.  I’ve had people send me Sold listings from Zillow, too.  So we’ll set up a custom search, and I’ll make sure you stick with the custom Door County MLS search to ensure that you have the most accurate and up to date information available (and my website at is constantly updating for your search).


Virtual House Hunting:

Door County Edition


We’ll also talk in detail about your specific wants and needs.  Do you love Baileys Harbor because it’s on Lake Michigan or prefer the Green Bay side of the Peninsula for sunsets?  If we look at a home without a garage, is there enough land to build an attached or detached garage?  Are you working with a loan program that will specify a certain type of property?  Is having electric baseboard heat a deal-killer?  Do you need a single-story ranch home or at least 2 and ½ bathrooms? These are the things I’ll discuss with you very early in our search so we save time.

Yes, I assure you, people are still searching for and BUYING Door County properties in 2020 for both primary and secondary homes.  I’d be delighted to be your virtual guide to all things Door County and to help you find the Door County home, condominium, business or vacant land that is perfect for your specific needs. 

Please feel free to reach out to me TODAY via phone, email or text, and let’s start that Door County reality house hunt together. 


Follow me on Instagram @marykaysdoorcolife for updates on all things Door County!





My Happy Door County Lakefront Bargain Hunt Family


View our listings and all Door County listings at








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All information is deemed reliable as of date of publication and is subject to change without notice.


 Thank you for reading!  MaryKay Shumway, ABR®, CRS®, Realtor® loves to laugh and enjoys working with people that love the Door Peninsula.  She is a full-time real estate Broker, mother of two and a senior Broker Associate at the Kellstrom-Ray Agency, Inc. in beautiful Sister Bay, Wisconsin.  She represents listings throughout the Door County Peninsula and also represents many Buyers that want to purchase the perfect property to make Door County a part of their lives.  CONTACT MARYKAY ABOUT YOUR DOOR COUNTY PROPERTY QUESTIONS TODAY.

MaryKay Shumway has a consistent multi-million dollar producer for over thirteen years.  Representing both listing clients and buyer clients full time, MaryKay is also a mother of two and active in the Door County community in the local school district, nonprofit groups and governmental affairs.  A member of the Door County Board of Realtors Honors Society from 2005-2016, the Door County Realtor of the Year 2008, a member of The Real Estate Group's Chairman's Circle in 2010-2015, and an member of the Coldwell Banker International Diamond Society for 2014 & 15.  She has served as President and Vice President of the Door County Board of Realtors  and as a member of its Advocacy Committee.  MaryKay is a top MLS producer and has held the position of top producer at The Kellstrom-Ray Agency, Inc. since 2016.


Contact MaryKay.  "As a multi-million dollar producer and senior associate at The Kellstrom-Ray Agency selling Door County real estate, I focus my balance on both  featured listings and representing Buyer Clients looking for the perfect Door County Property.  I turn Door County vacations into Door County traditions by helping you own your own Door County real estate, and I represent exceptional properties in all price points on the Bay of Green Bay, Lake Michigan, and all inland lakes and properties in between. Call, text or e-mail me today."


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MaryKay Shumway

Door County Wisconsin's Real Estate Expert
BUYING or SELLING a Door County Property? Call Me Today!

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