Madison and Dane County homes for sale and events. 

Nov. 10, 2018

First Time Homebuyers - A 12 Month Guide To Your New Home


First Time Home Buyer Madison

A real yard, a home to decorate any way you would like and bigger rooms and closets.  Your dream of making a move from renting to owning is exciting to most first-time homebuyers.  It can also be harder to navigate than most expect.  The following 12 month checklist will help most first-time homebuyers side step the common mistakes, for example:  paying too high of an interest rate or picking the wrong home.

 

12 MONTHS OUT

Check Your Credit Scores.  Get a copy of your credit report from a reputable source.  We recommend annualcreditreport.com.  The three credit bureaus are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, and are required to give a free credit report once a year.  If you check this ahead of time, you can avoid last minute mistakes and have them corrected before you make an offer.

 

Determine How Much You Can Afford.  Meet with a lender of your choice to find out how you can afford and what type of home you would like to own.  Your lender will look for a total debt load of now more than 43% of your gross monthly income.  This is called debt-to-income ratio.  The ratio will include your future mortgage and any other debt you may have.  This will include credit card debt, auto loan and student loans.

 

If you would like to look at this before you meet with a lender, there are plenty of calculators on the web that can help you with this such as this one.

 

Make A Down Payment Plan.  Most conventional loans do require a 20% down payment.  If can afford to do this, do it.  Your loan will cost less and you will get a lower interest rate.  Don’t worry if you can do the full 20% there are programs that can help.  FHA offer loans with as little as 3.5% down payment.  It will though require a Mortgage Insurance Premium, which will increase your monthly payment.  The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) can provide you a list of nonprofit home buying programs by state.  Check with Credit Unions and your employer, they may even have assistance programs to help you.

 

If you do plan a savings strategy, keep in mind that the banks like to see stable funds.  They like to see the funds stay in your account for 60 to 90 days before applying for your loan.  You can always use a financial gift from a family member or bonus you may receive closer to the time of your purchase.

 

9 MONTHS OUT

Prioritize What You Want Most in Your New Home.  Deciding what is most important to you in your new home, for example:  how far from work are you? A big yard? Open floor plan? A quiet street with kids or no kids?  This will help you make a better decision on what type of home you would like to buy.  Remember, it’s a joint decision and it’s better to work this out ahead of time.  Make a list of must haves and what trade-offs you are willing to remove.

 

Research Neighborhoods and Start Visiting Open Houses.  This is where the fun begins.  Use a property search site such as realtor.com to help you find out about neighborhoods, public transportation and cost of living.

 

Start visiting open houses to get an idea of the type of homes in your price range and which neighborhoods you like the most.  Seeing homes that you like will keep you motivated to continue reducing your debt and saving for your down payment. You may also use our home search at www.RealEstateGuy.net to search for homes and save your favorites.

 

Budget for Miscellaneous Home buying Expenses.  Some of the miscellaneous upfront costs could or will include:  a home inspection, title search, property survey and home insurance are just a few examples.  Cost can vary by location, but you can budget a couple hundred dollars.  You can start saving now for these expenses.

 

Start a Home Maintenance Account.  A good habit to start now is putting a little aside each month.  This will help fund any maintenance issues, repairs and home emergencies that may arise.  It’s enough to have to call a plumber, but to pay credit card interest can make another unnecessary monthly payment.

 

6 MONTHS OUT

Collect your Loan Paperwork.  Banks require specific paperwork when it comes to mortgage loans.  Below is a list of what they will want:

 

W-2 Forms – or business tax returns if you are self-employed – for at least 2 to 3 years

 

Personal tax returns for the past 2 to 3 years

Your most recent pay stubs

Credit Card and all loan statements

Your bank statements

Addresses for the past 5 to 7 years

Brokerage account statements for the most recent 2 to 4 months

Most recent retirement account statements, such as 401 (k)

If you start collecting these documents, it can lessen the stress when it is time to get your loan.

 

Meet Your Lender and Buyers Agent.  Set up an appointment with one of our experienced buyer's agents. A Buyers Specialist will work in your best interest and will try to find you the right property regardless of the seller’s agent.  A Buyer's agent will also work you all the way through the closing process. And best yet, a buyer's agent is FREE to you.  They are paid by the seller at closing.

Meet with your lender. We highly recommend local lenders - it's best to avoid online lenders. It is important that you look for a Mortgage Broker that will look for competitive loan rate for you among multiple lenders.  A bank can only look at their own products. 

We work with some excellent lenders who have always treated out clients well.  Let us know if you need recommendations

3 MONTHS OUT

Get pre-approved for your loan.  If you have been following this timeline, your credit scores, paperwork, and down payment should be on track.  You have researched your lenders and buyer agents.  Now it is time to start working with them.  Now is the time to get pre-approved for a mortgage.

 

Make an appointment with your lender and bring all your paperwork.  They will run a credit check on you and will let you know how much of a loan you’re approved for.  It at times make sense to borrow less than the maximum amount the lender allows.  This will allow you to live comfortably.  Draw up a budget that includes mortgage payments, insurance, maintenance and everything you may have going on in your life. 

 

Start Shopping for Your New Home.  Now that you are pre-approved, start shopping.  Your Buyer’s Agent will be able to target homes in your price range.  This way you won’t waste your time looking for homes you can’t afford.

 

1-2 MONTHS OUT

 

Make an Offer on a Home.  It could take 4 to 6 weeks to close on a home.  If you have a firm move out date, make sure to leave enough time to deal with any problems that may arise to delay closing.

 

Get a Home Inspection.  One of the first things you will need to do after you get an accepted offer is to have a home inspector look at the property.  If the home inspector finds something that may need repairs, that is an example of something that could delay closing.

 

In The Last Month

 

Triple Check that all your financial documents are in order and review all lending documents before closing.  The home stretch!  If you have been keeping your documents up to date and your down payment is in reserve, the last final steps are the easiest.  Reviewing your mortgage documents can be the most difficult.  Your agent will help you through them.

 

Get Insurance on Your New Home.  Don’t forget to secure your insurance before closing.  You will need to bring proof of insurance to closing. We recommend Laura Beck Nielsen at Farmer's Insurance.  

 

Do a Final Walk-through.  You will usually do a final walk-through of your new home a day or two before closing.  This is to make sure the home is in the condition you and the seller agreed upon.

 

Get a Cashier’s Check or Bank Wire for the Cash Needed at Closing.  Make sure to get an exact amount of cash need for closing.  You should get that a few days before closing.  Once you have this you can secure a cashier’s check or arrange to have the money wired.  Personal checks are not accepted.

That is it!  Congratulations on Your New Home!

 

                                                    

 

Posted in Buyer Resources
Oct. 5, 2018

Prepare to find your perfect home in Madison

You are looking into buying your first home and walk into the home of your dreams, What do you do?  Are you ready to act?   Will your actions lead to paying too much?  Losing the home? or just having such a miserable experience you never want to do this again?   Just a few steps in preparation can help you avoid all this.  

Whenever and where-ever you are going to be buying, it i never too early to start.  Follow these simple steps for you to be to be “offer ready"  and you will have a great experience.   

  1. When you want to be moved in and settled in your new home? Identify that date on a calendar. Now count back 8 weeks. This date is when you need to have an accepted offer on the books. So if you want to be settled in your new home on July 1st, you’ll need an accepted offer May 1st. Note, closing can sometimes take as little as 45 days, but 60 days leaves you a little wiggle room if there are delays. Nobody wants to have to move into an extended stay hotel and put all their stuff in storage, only to have to move it again in a few weeks!?

  2. Now we need to set aside time to find your new home. I recommend a period of 4-12 weeks. The more unique features and location that you’re looking for, I generally recommend setting aside more time to search.

  3. Look at your personal finances and decide how large of a payment you can really afford. Be realistic; leave room for savings, emergency funds, car repairs, and unexpected home repairs. Do not overextend yourself. You can always save the extra money for renovations!! ...or a vacation. ??

  4. Get pre-approval from your lender. I highly discourage showing homes to clients who don’t have pre-approval in hand. Why? 

    • You don’t want to visit a home, and fall in love with it, and then not be able to purchase it because your financing isn’t lined up. Not only does it stink to be let down, but looking at homes when you aren’t ready to buy isn’t an effective use of time because the market will be different when you’re ready to pull the trigger. 

    • In a seller’s market, sellers are looking for strong offers. A strong offer includes evidence that you’ve established a relationship with a lender and can obtain financing for the purchase. “Well, of course I can get a loan” isn’t sufficient assurance. The other buyers you’re competing against are including their financing pre-approvals with their offers, so when yours is missing, your offer appears weaker. ??

  5. Meet with your real estate agent before you start searching. Home sellers are represented by agents who negotiate for the seller’s advantage; you need to be equally represented by someone who fights for your best interests.  

    When we meet, we’ll discuss the home buying process, what you most want in a home, our search strategies, getting an accepted offer, and what to expect every step of the way. Bring your questions to this meeting! Your agent is your consultant and should be an enthusiastic guide.??

  6. Be ready to roll on loan commitment. Your work is only beginning when you get an accepted offer; now you’ll need to supply more documentation and go through several more steps to obtain a commitment from the lender that says they are indeed lending you the money. There’s usually a deadline in the offer by which you must have loan commitment. Selecting a lender and starting the application prior to a home really helps reduce the stress when you do get an offer accepted on your home. 


Don’t have a lender yet? Click on “Contact us” for a referral to trusted lenders who’ve taken great care of our clients. 

Find your new home using our free home search. We’ll email you daily with new listings and when properties have an accepted offer. Our site is updated in real time so you’ll know the current status of every home you peruse. 

 

Oct. 5, 2018

Madison Housing update, fall 2018

Happy Fall,   
As your trusted real estate agents, we thought it worth bringing your attention to the state of the house sales market.
Madison home sale statistics
We have been used to homes coming on the market and receiving multiple offers.  By all accounts, this appears to have changed dramatically.
 
To demonstrate, I have pulled some stats.  This represents a snapshot of the Madison, but the same could be true of all Dane County communities.     
 
Currently, there are 750 homes on the market.  Just 98 are under contract in Pending. 
 
Of this 750:
 
510 homes are truly available.  
23 have offers with bump-able contingencies
217 have offers but are still showing.
 
One more tibbit, of the available 510 homes, 99 (20%) have had a price reduction with in the week and the average time on market is 65 days.
 
Conclusions,  While we do not have the statistics for homes available in the spring, we know that the days on market were significantly less.  The ratio of unsold homes to those under offer is high and 20% of homeowners who have realized they are needing to reduce the price indicates homes are not moving as fast as previously. 
 
We are also seeing it benefiting our buyers.  Buyers are taking their time, asking questions, and coming in under asking.   None of this was happening in the spring.
 
What are we saying.   Buyers, this is a time for you.   Lots of inventory, and much more chance to use a diverse array of financing.   Even contingent offers are being considered. All this, makes now, the best time of year to buy!  
 
An added bonus, Interest rates remain low, providing affordability for buyers.   However, rates are set to climb.   As rates increase, buyers will see their affordability drop and sellers will likely see a drop in their prices too.  
 
For this reason, we have an unusual market which is good for both buyers and sellers.  
If you would like to find out more.  Here are 6 things to do to be ready to buy a home, call us to discuss the possibilities for yourself, contact us.
Oct. 5, 2018

Prepare your home for fall.

It is fall!  Time for hot chocolate, cider, and soups and, of course, Fall colors. (maybe not in that order)
Soon it will be pumpkin time too!  
 Fall Leaves
 
But first!!!!     There are a few important home maintenance tasks to do to prepare your home for the winter ahead. 
 
1. Clean out leaves and debris from gutters.
2. Have a heating professional check your heating
system every year before the winter season.
3. Drain in-ground sprinkler systems.
4. Make sure the caulking around doors and windows is
adequate to reduce heat/cooling loss.
5. Insulate or turn off and drain outdoor faucets, pipes in unheated garages,
and pipes in crawl spaces.
 
If you are thinking of Selling in the spring, now is the time to do any pre-sale exterior painting projects.
 
 
This brings us to another topic.   Many people consider the best time to sell is the spring.  Now this may be true..... unless the interest rates climb and affect the real estate market negatively.  Then all bets are off.   
 
However, If you are willing to bet on selling your home this spring, we wrote an article to help you get your preparation started NOW.   Prepare your home to sell in the Spring
Posted in Home Tips
Feb. 22, 2017

5 Ways to Sell Your House for More Money

The 2017 spring housing market is officially underway and cranking with fervor. Since we work with buyers all day, every day, we know what they’re looking for and what they want, and they’re prepared to make a strong offer for your house if they think it’s worth it!

That’s great for you as a seller, because that means you have the opportunity to net more money in your pocket. However, buyers will try to drive a bargain unless you increase the perceived value of your home. The more valuable your house appears, the more money they’ll be willing to pay. Here are five ways to net thousands of dollars more:

  1. Make the right upgrades with high returns. Everyone knows upgraded counters, new appliances, sharp backsplashes, and hard surface floors are desirable, BUT!! it’s very easy to spend more on upgrades than you’ll recover from the sale. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into a home and seen $60,000+ in lovely upgrades, but the comps will only support $30,000 worth. Guess who takes the $30,000 loss on the chin?

    So how do you avoid making that mistake? Get a free home valuation to discuss which upgrades would net the greatest return for you unique property and location. You might not need to do anything to the kitchen at all! Or, you might not need replace the cabinets, when simply sanding and painting the faces could create that upgraded look at a fraction of the cost. Unless the bathroom is super 70’s hideous, tearing out all of that tile might not make sense; it might be better to paint the vanity, replace the light fixture, and swap out the sink hardware for something more modern.

    A real estate professional has seen tons of homes and knows what your competition looks like. They also know what condition the comparable houses in your neighborhood look like. We can help you identify which upgrades will multiply in value at the closing table.

  2. Staging. Staging is the art of making your home look professionally decorated, so that it appears more valuable. Simple, tasteful decor that’s lacking in clutter, knickknacks, extra furniture, toys, and excessive artwork can easily add 5-10% to the sales price. If your home would sell as-is for $280,000, that would be an extra $14,000-28,000 in your pocket. Let’s be conservative: what could you do with $15,000? How about $25,000? I rest my case.

    Staging also helps your home sell faster, because buyers aren’t blinded by all of your stuff that prevents them from seeing the bare walls and floors. If buyers can see the plain, empty space, then they can envision their stuff in the house, which allows them to start getting emotionally attached to it. People buy houses because they love them. Emotions sell. So putting your extra things in storage for a short while can help buyers fall in love with your house, which means it sells your house faster and you get to move on to the next chapter of your life sooner.

    Staging is very affordable and stagers prefer to use your existing decor to create the desired image. If you’re missing a few key pieces, some stagers will lease them to you; others will encourage you to buy pieces (that you can often find very affordably in buy/sell/trade groups online). The goal is to create the right image at a low cost. We’ll connect you with the outstanding staging professionals on our team when you’re ready to sell.

  3. Professional photos. The photos on the Internet are what creates the first (and sometimes last) impression with thousands of potential buyers. Consider them as your “first showing.” Professional photos and a professional camera are essential -- no cell phones or pocket cameras!  DO NOT accept anything less than the best photos to sell your home.

    Professional photos showcase your house’s best qualities, brightness, unique floor plan, nice finishes, and the thoughtful work you put into staging. Professional photos raise the buyer’s expectations so they perceive your home as being as nice (or even better) than it actually is. Buyers become excited about seeing your house, which is the kind of emotion you want them to feel about it; it puts them in the mood to buy! Professional photos are an important part of successfully marketing your house, so don’t skip it.

  4. Price it right. Everyone wants to get top dollar for their home, but overpricing it at the outset hurts your pocketbook in many ways. Some excellent prospective buyers will never see your listing at all because your house is listed higher than their search cut-off. Buyers are also smart; they’ve been looking at homes enough to know what an appropriate price should be. When they see your house overpriced, they see that you aren’t serious about selling and move on. Their impression of your house is now “overpriced” and as it sits on the market, they perceive it as stale. Many buyers won’t seriously reconsider, even if the house is what they’re looking for and later drops into their price range.

    By contrast, pricing your house in line or even a smidge lower than comparable properties generates a TON of buyer interest, and sets you up to receive multiple offers. When buyers know they’re competing with other buyers, they act quickly and make their strongest offer straight out of the gate, often for over list price! And, Madison-area data shows that these houses sell in half the time than those that are priced over comparables.

  5. Hire a Master Negotiator. The agent who lists your home works for you, negotiating on your behalf. It’s very important they have excellent negotiation skills, as they can net you thousands more at offer time.

    Real Estate Guy has been selling homes in Madison for over 23 years, has successfully navigated every sort of market expansion and adjustment, and is well respected by area Realtors. Combining the above tactics with his expert negotiation skills helped Guy’s clients receive accepted offers in a little more than half the time of all Madison-area homes on average in 2016!  And, the homes he sold averaged 2.5% more of list price, as compared to all agents’ average. (at 98.5% vs 96%). That means significantly more money in your pocket with half the carrying costs and half the limbo waiting for that strong offer!

Although your neighbors’ home sales influence the price your house will sell for, there are many things you can do to increase your sales price by over 10%. By contrast, sellers who don’t do these things end up leaving money on the table, which means less money in their pocket. The Real Estate Guy team will walk you through the process to make sure you net the most money from your home’s sale!

What’s your home worth now? How much value could improvements bring you? Visit MadHomeValues.com for a free home valuation and consultation with Guy. Let’s get your home sold this year!

Want to find your next home?  Start here http://www.RealEstateGuy.net

Posted in Selling Resources
Feb. 2, 2017

Six Steps to Snag the Home of Your Dreams

In a scorching hot market, landing the property you want means having your ducks in a row so you can pull the trigger immediately. Not being ready means losing your perfect home.


Fortunately, the process is pretty straight-forward and completely doable. Here’s what I’m telling clients they need to do right now to be “offer ready.”

1. First, when you want to be moved in and settled in your new home? Identify that date on a calendar. Now count back 8 weeks. This date is when you need to have an accepted offer on the books. So if you want to be settled in your new home on July 1st, you’ll need an accepted offer May 1st. Note, closing can sometimes take as little as 45 days, but 60 days leaves you a little wiggle room if there are delays. Nobody wants to have to move into an extended stay hotel and put all their stuff in storage, only to have to move it again in a few weeks!??

2. Now we need to set aside time to find your new home. I recommend a period of 6-12 weeks. The more unique features and location that you’re looking for, I generally recommend setting aside more time to search. So if you’re more flexible about your requirements, starting your search March 15th would be fine. If you’re more particular about what you’re looking for, start looking February 1st. Note: February 1st was YESTERDAY!!!??

3. Look at your personal finances and decide how large of a payment you can really afford. Be realistic; leave room for savings, emergency funds, car repairs, and unexpected home repairs. Do not overextend yourself. You can always save the extra money for renovations!! ...or a vacation. ??

4. Get pre-approval from your lender. I highly discourage showing homes to clients who don’t have pre-approval in hand. Why? 
     •  You don’t want to visit a home, and fall in love with it, and then not be able to purchase it because your financing isn’t lined up. Not only does it stink to be let down, but looking at homes when you aren’t ready to buy isn’t an effective use of time because the market will be different when you’re ready to pull the trigger. 
     •  It’s a seller’s market, and sellers are looking for strong offers. A strong offer includes evidence that you’ve established a relationship with a lender and can obtain financing for the purchase. “Well, of course I can get a loan” isn’t sufficient assurance. The other buyers you’re competing against are including their financing pre-approvals with their offers, so when yours is missing, your offer appears weaker. ??

5. Meet with your real estate agent before you start searching. Home sellers are represented by agents who negotiate for the seller’s advantage; you need to be equally represented by someone who fights for your best interests. When we meet, we’ll discuss the home buying process, what you most want in a home, our search strategies, getting an accepted offer, and what to expect every step of the way. Bring your questions to this meeting! Your agent is your consultant and should be an enthusiastic guide.??

6. Be ready to roll on loan commitment. Your work is only beginning when you get an accepted offer; now you’ll need to supply more documentation and go through several more steps to obtain a commitment from the lender that says they are indeed lending you the money. There’s usually a deadline in the offer by which you must have loan commitment.  Selecting a lender and starting the application prior to a home really helps reduce the stress when you do get an offer accepted on your home. 

All of these points speak to acting swiftly in a very fluid and rapid-moving market where you’re in fierce competition with many other buyers for relatively few properties. These are the cards I tell my buyers to have in hand so they don’t lose the home they love.

Don’t have a lender yet? Click on “Contact us” for a referral to trusted lenders who’ve taken great care of our clients. 

Find your new home using our free home search. We’ll email you daily with new listings and when properties have an accepted offer. Our site is updated in real time so you’ll know the current status of every home you peruse. 

 

Posted in Buyer Resources
Nov. 29, 2016

Why Real Estate Guy Moved to eXp Realty

After almost 24 years experience with thousands of homes sold, Guy made the decision to move his team from an old brokerage model to a new broker affiliation that provides an excellent platform for us to build our business, and as importantly, service our clients with excellence.

I am proud, happy and energized to be joining eXp Realty in Madison. 

Green light to eXpGreen Light to eXp Realty

 

 

"The move was not a decision I took lightly, and as the move wasn't anticipated, it happened quickly. It was an intense process of talking to friends, colleagues and brokers, figuring out my options, and my way forward become very clear: I should join forces with eXp - a national, modern, agent owned and technically advanced company. "

Just as Guy's last company was 14 years ago, eXp is now the "new kid on the block".  It has grown from 1000 agents countrywide to 2,000 agents in just 7 months this year. We believe this is a sign the company is proven and ready for the big time. This growth is a testament to the value the company provides. 

eXp is agent owned and traded on the stock exchange (symbol expi).  The company offers stock earn-in and options which are great for agents, and will provide a level of ownership never seen before.  Agent ownership will, I believe, translate into a more dedicated group of agents who care about the future of the company.

I believe eXp is a great fit for the team?. The company will provide a platform for us to efficiently run our business, yet allow the freedom for us to develop the business in a manner that is congruent with the vision we have for great customer service and growth

Real Estate Guy has been using our own internal systems and we are very happy with them. For this reason, We did not suffer any interruption in service. However, one of eXp’s strengths is their software, and the programs eXp has carefully selected are excellent. Over the next 6 months the team will give them careful consideration and decide which to adopt, offering you better online visibility to our listed homes and improving our service in other ways.

Most importantly, to our loyal friends, past clients, and all our prospective clients, we are organizing with a double down focus on customer service.  We are building a team where customer service is a base requirement for hiring on the team. We are recreating the customer experience in home buying and home selling.

We are in the final stages of the move and are asking for your help to build up our inventory again. Who do you know who is thinking of buying, selling or investing in Real Estate whom we can assist?  

Guy

 

Guy Lofts | Real Estate Guy
(608) 513-1123 | guy@realestateguy.net

Nov. 29, 2016

Are Rising Interest Rates Cause for Alarm?

Are Rising Interest Rates Cause for Alarm?

Now that the uncertainty surrounding the Presidential election has passed, home buyers and sellers naturally look to the future. What should we expect? Should our plans for a new home purchase be put on hold? Does this mean I shouldn’t put my home on the market? 

No one has a crystal ball to see into the future, however signs remain positive at this point.

Interest Rates

Interest rates have risen a full 1/2 percent since the election. This was fully expected by financial experts. Rates now sit a smidge below where they started in January of this year: 3.96%.

Why does this matter? (Or, why should I care?)

First, it’s important to understand that rising interest rates come from a strong economy (as opposed to the strong economy coming from rising interest rates.) A strengthening economy creates inflation, which causes rates to rise. Therefore, raising rates alone aren’t a bad thing; rather they’re an indicator of good things (as long as inflation doesn’t outpace income, of course, which is another discussion entirely.)

Rising interest rates do have ripple effects. Rising rates can dramatically increase the cost of a mortgage, causing a borrower’s monthly payment to increase. This means they can borrow less money for the same monthly payment. Look for more buyers to focus on somewhat lower-priced properties, rather than the higher priced properties they were looking at a few months ago. 

While this effect has very little influence on the current market, it will become more pronounced as rates increase. An excellent example of this are the 12.7% interest rates of the 1980s, when today’s $948/mo. payment was well over $2,100! 

Furthermore, since everyone is equally impacted by higher interest rates, even well-off borrowers will be less likely to spend extra money unnecessarily. If they don’t have to move from their current living situation, they may be willing to lose a new home based on price, and just stay put. 

In conclusion, the recent rise in interest rates is simply a “market correction,” bringing them to where they were at the beginning of 2016. As the economy improves, rates will continue to rise, so it will cost more to borrow for a home purchase. 

Takeaway: What this means for you

It makes the most financial sense to plan to make your real estate move now, while sellers are more willing to negotiate and buyers can lock in lower interest rates.

Early Signs Predict Strong 2017 Spring Home Sales

Although we typically see a slow-down in sales during the fall and winter months, 2016 has been unusual. There were significant dips in closed volume during some traditionally very active months, and we’re seeing very high foot traffic at open houses during the winter holidays. Most open house visitors appear to be familiarizing themselves with the market in preparation for a spring purchase and some are ready to buy within the next 30 days. 

The ramp-up for the spring season is hitting much earlier this year, in addition to buyers whose housing need is imminent, and for those who absolutely need to sell, the advantage goes to those whose homes are on the market early — which means NOW.

Winter and early spring are a time to buy or sell a home. Why? There is always year-round movement in the market. People are changing jobs and moving to be closer to family every day, and they need someplace to live when they get there. Many have already sold their home, so they have nowhere to stay. Sellers are retiring and moving out of the area, and don’t want to be tied to their northern property anymore. Others need to downsize to protect their financial portfolio or because they aren’t physically able to maintain a larger home. 

None of these variables are dependent upon season, and for this reason, there truly is no bad time to sell or buy real estate. 

What is Your Home's Value?

Thinking of selling? What is your home worth? The best guidance comes from a real estate professional who knows the market and the value that your home's unique features bring. Click here for a free, no obligation quote for your home's current value!

Nov. 2, 2016

Cheat Sheet: Is Your Home Ready for Winter? Part 2: Exterior

Fall is the perfect time to protect your home’s value by inspecting for potential issues and properly maintaining your property. The damaging winter cold can push weak materials over the brink of failure. A few minutes spent repairing items now could protect you from costly problems and repairs in a few months.

 

This easy-to-use list focuses on the outside of your home, and most homeowners can easily complete everything in one weekend. Part 1 of this series was an easy-to-use cheat sheet listing helpful indoor winter preparations.

 

HEATING AND COOLING

  • Check that furnace vents are clear from outdoor obstruction, and that the furnace is actively venting when it runs (to make sure it isn’t obstructed by a mouse nest, for example.) 

  • Cut away any plant growth that has occurred around air conditioning units.
  • Remove any wasp nests, rodent nests, toys, furniture, or any other objects on or near the air conditioning units.
  • After snowfall, ensure the outside vent is clear of snow.

 

ELECTRICAL

  • Check for exposed or degraded wiring and cable, for all wires running to the house and cabling along the house. Have a keen eye especially for weather and rodent damage.
  • Coil up and store all outdoor extension cords and summer decorative lights

 

YARD

  • Drain, coil, and store all garden hoses in garage or other storage area.
  • Shut off supply to outdoor spigots and drain spigots.
  • Inspect lawn sprinkler systems for leaky valves and exposed lines.
  • Cut back and trim all vegetation from structures.
  • After growing season, cut grass short.
  • Pull dead annuals and weeds from garden.
  • Dig up rhizome perennials and store in cool, dark, freeze-proof area (basement) for winter to replant in spring.
  • Rake and remove leaves from grass. Consider using them as a protective mulch on flower beds.
  • Clean up and store away children’s toys, sandboxes, and play sets.

 

FOUNDATION

  • Check foundation walls for cracking, heaving, spalling, and deterioration.

 

EXTERIOR

  • Inspect chimney for loose, deteriorated, or missing mortar or bricks.
  • Inspect all decks, patios, porches, stairs, and railings for deterioration.
  • Check gutters for refuse and damage.  clean all gutters and repair as necessary.
  • Inspect siding for damage, warps, loose pieces. Have any suspicious areas inspected and repaired.
  • Visually inspect roof. Have any broken or missing shingles repaired. If roof is older and missing granules, consider having it inspected for damage to prevent ice damage. 

 

Who Do I Call To Have Work Done?

Find some problems during your inspection? We work with many trades and professionals in the course of helping our clients buy and sell homes... and that means we know who our clients love! Call us at (608) 513-1123 for our latest local service recommendations. 

 

What is your home's value?

Get an instant snapshot with our FREE Home Valuation Tool here.

Posted in Home Tips
Nov. 2, 2016

Thinking of Selling in Spring? Now is the Time to Prepare!

As we crash from the post-Halloween sugar high, reality hits: the holidays are right upon us, and then in a blink of an eye, it will be January — the beginning of the busy home selling season. January is when our phone inquiries, website hits, and open house attendance skyrockets because people want to buy a new home.

If you’re thinking of selling or buying a home in spring, NOW is the best time to get ready!

Whether this is your first home or your next home, buying a home requires preparation. By being organized and efficient, you can complete the needed steps easily. This article breaks the process into a 12 month plan (take a look, it’s a fantastic resource!), however with needed funds already in hand, many of the steps can be condensed.

 

1. Meet with your Lender

At the top of the list right now is contacting your lender to learn how much of a loan you can get, and identify any other issues which could prevent you from closing on a new home. If you’re selling your existing home, discuss that as well, to make sure a closing can go off without a hitch. Meeting with your lender now will help avoid unexpected delays at pre-approval time.

The records you should have ready to go for meeting with your lender include:

 

  • W-2 Forms – or business tax returns if you are self-employed – for at least 2 to 3 years
  • Personal tax returns for the past 2 to 3 years
  • Your most recent pay stubs
  • Credit Card and all loan statements
  • Your bank statements
  • Addresses for the past 5 to 7 years
  • Brokerage account statements for the most recent 2 to 4 months
  • Most recent retirement account statements, such as 401 (k)

 

 

Next step for lending:

After the initial meeting with your lender, ideally you should get pre-approval 3 months before you’re ready to close on your new home. Sellers look for lender pre-approval as a sign of a qualified offer on their home, so having that pre-approval in hand is essential for getting that accepted offer. Look at the calendar to back track when you’ll want to get pre-approval. 

 

Don’t have a lender?

We strongly recommend Joe Long at Waterstone Mortgage. Our agents have worked with Joe and his team for many transactions, and know Waterstone is knowledgeable in all types of loan products and downpayment options.  

 

2. Meet with your Real Estate Agent

Call us at (608) 513-1123 to set up an appointment with our experienced team. If you're selling your current home and buying a new one, you'll work with a Listing Agent and a Buyer's Agent, who will coordinate their efforts to ensure a smooth transition. If you're simply buying a home, you'll meet with a Buyer's Agent.

Why a Buyer's Agent?

A Buyer’s Agent will work in your best interest and will try to find you the right property regardless of what a seller’s agent wants.  A Buyer's Agent will also guide you all the way through the closing process. And best yet, a buyer's agent is FREE to you; they are paid by the seller at closing.

Why a Listing Agent?

If you’re also selling your current home, as your Listing Agent we’ll aggressively market your home and connect with thousands of potential buyers to find the right buyer for your house. We’ll also help you identify an appropriate selling price, ensure your home is attractively staged for maximum perceived value, negotiate offers on your behalf, and manage the transaction through closing. We’re your experts and steadfast guide through the process.

Setting an appointment with your Listing Agent NOW will give you time to identify and work on key improvements before putting your home on the market in a few very short months! 

 

Home Valuation

What is your home worth? Get an instant snapshot with our FREE Home Valuation Tool here.

 

Get Started Now

Ready to get started? Call us now at (608) 513-1123. We'll get the ball rolling to ensure a successful sale and close in the spring?