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June 25, 2020

Wisconsin Real Estate Report – May 2020


Let’s take a look at how the Wisconsin housing market shaped up in May. The number of home sales in May 2020 was 6,440, which was a decrease of 25.8% compared to May 2019. Statewide listings were down 19.8% to 27,202 while the median single-family home price rose 6.2% to $214,000. Houses were selling just as quick this May compared to last May. On average, homes were on the market for 97 days, which is the same rate as May of 2019.

WRA Chairman Steve Beers said that a drop in home sales was expected beginning in May due to the National Emergency and the Safer at Home order. He also stated the re-opening of the state economy should help in terms of home sales.

Source data provided by the WRA



Posted in Market Reports
June 24, 2020

Should You Buy a Home During the Recession?

Image via Pexels

Image via Pexels



After the last economic recession sent home prices plummeting, Millennial homebuyers are wondering if this recession will be their opportunity to finally buy a home. That interest is only bolstered by the fact that interest rates are at an all-time low, and many young professionals have been able to keep their jobs through the pandemic, albeit remotely.

However, while there are advantages to buying right now, buyers shouldn’t expect rock-bottom prices just because we’re in a recession. If you’re thinking of buying a home right now, here’s what you need to know.


The housing market is still competitive

The coronavirus-induced recession has scared many buyers from the market, especially out-of-state buyers who can no longer travel safely. Unfortunately, sellers have pulled back, too. With fewer buyers and sellers on the market, prices have remained competitive. In fact, while home sales are down, prices are up compared to the same time last year.

Buyers can still find an edge in today’s market. While there may be less wiggle room on pricing, fewer buyers on the market means more ability to negotiate repairs and contingencies into the purchase offer.


Interest rates are low, but lending criteria are high

Mortgage rates continue hitting record lows, but not everyone gets to take advantage of today’s low rates. Lending standards tighten when interest rates drop, making it harder for borrowers with lower credit scores to take out new mortgages or refinance existing loans.

Are buyers who don’t qualify for conventional mortgages out of luck? Not quite. As long as it’s an owner-occupied property, buyers can apply for FHA home loans to purchase or refinance a home. While FHA loans come with additional mortgage insurance premiums, they’re still a good deal for qualified buyers. Buyers simply need to factor these additional costs when calculating how much home they can afford.


Finding a turnkey home is harder

There’s another cost recession home buyers need to include in their calculations: repairs and renovations. That’s because with new construction on the decline and would-be sellers waiting to list their homes until the market rebounds, it’s harder to find a turnkey home during the recession.

While fixer-uppers sell for less, finding the money to renovate is a challenge. On average, first-time buyers spend nearly $34,000 renovating a fixer-upper. Luckily, this is just below the cap for the FHA Limited 203(k) home loan program, which allows buyers to roll renovation costs into their mortgage. Homes that require structural repairs or repairs over $35,000 can be financed with a standard FHA 203(k) loan or Fannie Mae HomeStyle loan.


If you can afford to buy, it’s still a good idea

Despite these challenges, the recession is still a good time to purchase a home for buyers who are in a position to do so. Mortgage rates this low may not be seen again for some time, if ever, and home prices are only expected to rise.

Buying isn’t a smart decision for everyone, however. During a recession, it’s more important than ever that buyers have secure employment and cash reserves to weather the economic uncertainty ahead. Renting is still a better choice for people whose financial situation is unstable or who or plan on moving within the next few years. In some high-priced markets, renting may be cheaper than buying.

For buyers who do decide to buy right now, working with a real estate team will be critical to navigating the complexities of buying during COVID-19. From the best practices for touring homes safely to protecting buyers from coronavirus-related hiccups, it takes knowledge and experience to execute a successful real estate transaction during a pandemic. Instead of venturing into the great unknown solo, buyers should link up with a real estate professional who will put their well-being — both personal and financial — first.


Article Courtesy of

Shirley Martin /

June 8, 2020

Summer Home Maintenance Checklist


The weather is heating up and that means it’s time for some summer home maintenance! There are plenty of ways to keep your home in it’s best condition and after handling the winter and spring weather, your home could use a little maintenance. Here are some important items you should take care of.


Repair Deck/Patio

The weather in Wisconsin fluctuates a lot over the course of a year. Your deck and patio have to deal with everything from snow, hail, freezing temps and thawing out every year. So, they deserve some much-needed maintenance! Clean and power wash your deck and reseal it if necessary.


Inspect Roof

Just like our decks and patios, the roof of your home deals with a lot of elements throughout the year. No, they won’t need to be repaired or require maintenance every year, but you will want to give your roof a good inspection. Check for any areas that could potentially cause a leak and make sure you don’t have missing shingles. Taking care of small repairs over time can help you avoid potentially bigger problems that may arise if you don’t check on your roof.



Giving your gutters a good cleaning is definitely something you should take care of. Clear out any debris that has built up from leaves or branches. This will help avoid standing water in your gutters which can lead to unwanted pests such as mosquitoes.


Check AC

Summer temperatures get hot and you don’t want to be stuck without air conditioning when the thermometer is climbing. Make sure you check your filters if you are using window units. You can hire professionals to give your AC system an inspection if you have central air conditioning. These preventative measures will help make sure your systems are good to go to keep you cool all summer.



Landscaping is a very important part of the visual appeal of your home. It’s one of the first things people will notice so that’s why it’s definitely something you need to take care of. Cut your grass often so it doesn’t become overgrown. Make sure you also take the time to weed. Caring for your yard will keep your home looking great this summer!


Wash Windows

Windows can be a magnet for fingerprints on the interior of your home and the exterior gets dirty over time from outside debris. Now is a great time to give your windows some much-needed care. Plus, clean windows look a whole lot better than windows with smudges all over them!


Keep Dirt Out

Take measures to keep the inside of your home clean. Nobody wants mud and dirt tracked all over their home. An easy way to do that is by using doormats. Place a coarse mat outside of the entryways to your home. It’s also a good idea to place a rug on the inside of entryways where family members or visitors can place their shoes, so they leave the dirt at the door.


Test Alarms

Testing house alarms only takes a few minutes. Your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should have a button you can press to test if they are working properly. If they need batteries replaced take care of that as soon as possible. Your house alarms can save your life, so take the time to make certain they are working properly.





Posted in Home Tips
June 5, 2020



Hunting for a new home online is a great place to start your search, but it should not be your end all be all. Good listing agents are excellent at highlighting the best features of the home, but keep in mind there may be more than meets the eye. To make the most of your time and efforts and gather a well-rounded picture of home listings online, keep the following three things in mind.


1. Stay up to date. When you start your search, make sure you find a site that pulls up-to-date listings directly from the multiple listing service (MLS) where real estate agents actively post their most current homes for sale. Many online resources update less often or fail to remove listings that are off the market, making it more difficult to sort through the clutter.

2. Pictures can be deceiving. Real estate photographers are experts at showing a home in the best possible light. Many use tools and strategies to boost appeal, such as a fisheye lens to make areas look larger and creative editing to make colors and textures really pop. But, often listings will not contain photos of unappealing parts of the home, like small closets or outdated bathrooms.

3. See it to believe it. Once you find what appears to be your dream home online, call up your real estate agent and schedule a showing. You want to take the opportunity to vet the home in person or online and explore every part of it before beginning the offer process. Your real estate agent will help you cover all your bases and will ask questions you may not have thought of.




Posted in Home Buying
June 1, 2020

Selling Your Home in a Pandemic: 3 Tips for a Safe Transaction


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Selling Your Home in a Pandemic: 3 Tips for a Safe Transaction

Need to sell your home and wondering if it’s a good idea? From the state of the housing market to how to keep your family safe while selling, homeowners have a lot of questions about selling during the coronavirus pandemic. But while there are precautions you need to take if you sell a home right now, it is possible to sell your home safely and make it worth your while.

COVID-19 and the Housing Market

While the coronavirus pandemic has affected the housing market, it hasn’t sent it crashing. Yes, there are fewer homes and buyers on the market. However, home prices haven’t dropped significantly and people are still buying and selling homes. In fact, with less new construction and fewer pre-owned homes on the market, sellers could stand to benefit from a competitive climate.


But while the housing market is stable right now, it could take a turn for the worse if the pandemic drags on for several more months. For homeowners who do need to sell, it’s better to do it now than wait and risk entering a weakened housing market.

3 Tips to Sell Your Home Safely

In normal times, selling your house means inviting a rotating cast of prospective buyers and agents into your home for days or weeks on end. But these are anything but normal times.

When selling a house during the pandemic, it’s essential that homeowners and their agents put safety first. As you prepare to list your home, here are three things you can do to keep yourself and your buyers safe.

1. Use Virtual Staging to Showcase Your Home

Staging is known to help homes sell faster and for higher prices. But with non-essential businesses still closed in much of the country, rental furniture can be hard to come by — if you’re comfortable bringing it into your home at all.

Luckily, sellers don’t have to choose between making do with their own furniture or selling a vacant home. Virtual staging tools have made it possible for agents to stage homes remotely. Virtual staging can even be used to edit out furniture and clutter and replace it with more visually-appealing alternatives.

2. Swap Open Houses for Virtual Home Tours

Many cities and states have restricted real estate open houses in an effort to reduce public gatherings. Unfortunately, limiting showings to appointments makes it difficult for sellers to reach a large pool of buyers.

To let more buyers see your home, set up virtual tours. Sellers can use both self-led 3D tours and agent-led video walkthroughs to show off their home. However, just like in-person showings, preparation is key for virtual tours. In addition to improving the exterior curb appeal of your home through lawn care and landscaping, be sure to deep clean and complete outstanding repairs like patching drywall before giving prospective buyers an up-close view. If living in your home while selling, you’ll also need to declutter before each showing.

3. Take Precautions for Home Showings

Serious buyers may need to see your home in person before finalizing a purchase offer. You may also have agents in your home for virtual tours. Whenever someone enters your home during the pandemic, it’s important to take precautions to keep everyone healthy. These include sanitizing high-traffic rooms like bathrooms and kitchens, wiping down handles and other commonly-used items, and asking anyone who enters your home to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer.

You can’t put life on hold forever. Instead of fearing your home sale, find the tools that will let you sell your house safely. From simple health strategies like hand washing to high-tech apps that let you show your home remotely, the right tips and tools make all the difference when it comes to selling a home safely during COVID-19.


Article Courtesy of 

Shirley Martin /


Posted in Real Estate Advice
May 28, 2020

Wisconsin Real Estate Report – April 2020


Let’s take a look at how the Wisconsin housing market shaped up in April. The number of home sales in April 2020 was 5,900, which was a decrease of 6.9% compared to April 2019. Statewide listings were down 20.5% to 25,364 while the median single-family home price rose 9.7% to $214,000. Despite the dip in new listings and home sales, houses were selling quicker this April compared to last April. On average, homes are on the market for 99 days, which is 4.8% less time than April of 2019.



Posted in Market Reports
May 22, 2020

5 Reasons Why You Should Use a Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home


When it comes to selling your home, there is a lot of added value when hiring a real estate agent to help. However, you may think selling your home by yourself may be a better idea. You might think it’ll save you money or that you’ve read enough online to know how to navigate the process of selling real estate, but we think you should reconsider that. When deciding to sell your home on your own, you should take these five things into consideration first.


Market Experts

Real estate agents are trained professionals. During the process of selling a home there is plenty of paperwork that you may have no idea how to get through, while an agent knows exactly what to do because of they’ve been there before. On top of that, real estate agents know the market better than anyone since they are working in the real estate industry and have built up experience and knowledge in order to help you sell your home. They will also know how to get you the best deal.


Marketing Tools

When it comes to marketing your listing, First Weber real estate agents have a lot of resources that will get your home sold. Your property will have its own listing website, your agent can leverage your property on their social networks, they can use print advertising, etc. The amount of exposure they will be able to get your property will help you sell your home faster and for the right price!



Even if you’re generally good at negotiating, it’s a different ball game when negotiating your home sale. Our agents have dealt with all kinds of offers from all-cash offers to bidding wars to offers well below asking price. They will know how to handle those situations for you. Also, if you plan on negotiating your home sale without an agent, there is a good chance your buyer has an agent working with them who you will have to negotiate with. They will certainly have the upper hand given they are a real estate professional.


Time Saver

Selling a home is A LOT of work. Even if you feel like you can handle it yourself, you are going to be putting a lot on your plate, especially since you don’t have experience selling a home on your own. You will need to take calls from interested buyers, advertise on your own and a hundred other things that will take up the majority of your time. It will save you a lot of time and unnecessary stress to have an agent handle those tasks for you.


Correctly Pricing Your Home

Pricing your home is no easy task. It’s also hard to separate emotions from the listing price you want to place on your home because of all of the memories you’ve made there and the hard work you’ve put in to get your home ready to sell. You are likely going to think your home should be priced much higher than market value because of those emotional factors. Once again, real estate agents are there to help you with pricing advice. They know the market, the neighborhoods, comparable housing prices, school districts and everything else that will be factored into properly pricing your home.


May 13, 2020

4 High-Return Updates for the Home


Do you have a list of changes you'd like to make to your home this year? Completing cosmetic updates is easiest when the weather's in your favor. In honor of May's National Home Improvement Month, here are four upgrades ranging from curb appeal projects to large-scale expansions that often yield high returns.


1.   Replacing doors and windows: Homeowners are often encouraged to consider projects that boost overall curb appeal. Swapping out a wooden front door for a steel model or replacing front-facing windows can pack more of an ROI punch than renovations made inside the home.


2.   Constructing a deck: Create a beautiful transition from your back door to the outdoors by building a deck. The update turns into a major selling point that can recoup your initial investment when it's time to move on.


3.   Adding insulation: Of all the projects listed in Remodeling magazine's Cost vs. Value Report, adding loose-fill insulation to your attic is the only one with returns that exceed 100 percent of the cost. It can also help reduce year-round heating and cooling costs.



4.   Building a second-story addition: Even with a slight increase in construction costs, completing a significant two-story addition resulted in a substantial year-over-year increase in value. Adding the extra space will likely catch the attention of buyers.


Posted in Home Selling, Home Tips
May 8, 2020

At-Home Activities for the Whole Family


What makes a house a home? It is the memories you make with your loved ones in it. There are plenty of activities for you and the whole family to take part in during the time you have to be inside of your home. With the weather slowly warming up, you will also be able to get outside for some outdoor activities. Let’s take a look at some options to spend some quality time with the whole family!

Card Games/Board Games

This is an easy way to include the whole family and depending on the game you choose; all ages can play. You could play some classic board games like Monopoly, Yahtzee or Scrabble. If you would rather play card games you could play Uno, Spoons or Go Fish. There are a lot of game options out there that the entire family will enjoy!

Yard Games

As previously mentioned, the weather is starting to get warmer! That means you can get outside and be active, and there are plenty of games you can play while outside. From cornhole to basketball to playing catch, there are a handful of different options to choose from. If you have a larger family, you could play games like capture the flag or start a backyard football game. Whatever you decide to play, it will be nice to get outside of the house and enjoy some fresh air.


This is something that you need to provide for your family anyway, so why not involve the whole family during the process of making dinner? Not only is it a good way to enjoy some time together as a family, it always provides you the opportunity to teach your children or significant other how to cook.

Movie Night

Who doesn’t enjoy watching movies? This is a very easy way to bring the family together. If you can’t all decide on which movie to watch, let each family member pick out a movie they like. Once you’ve decided on which movies to watch, grab the popcorn and enjoy some quality family time together!


There is nothing quite like gathering around a fire with your favorite people. It gives you a chance to hang out and talk with your family and enjoy each other’s company. From telling stories around the fire to roasting hot dogs or marshmallows, bonfires are a fun way to spend a night outside.

Posted in Home Tips
May 7, 2020

How to Safeguard This Big Investment


Purchasing a home is one of the largest financial commitments you'll ever make, and it's understandable to want to protect your investment throughout the purchase process. When you're ready to make an offer on a home, adding a contingency to your contract can give you time to assess the property and feel confident that it is a sound investment.

Here are five contingencies that can safeguard your investment:

1. A financing contingency ensures you're not on the hook if something goes awry with your loan. If you're unable to secure a mortgage or the terms and conditions change significantly during the contingency period, you can back out without any penalties.

2. An inspection contingency gives you a set time frame to have a professional home inspection done on the property. Should issues be found, you can negotiate with the seller to make repairs or adjust the sales price to account for the home's condition. 

3. An appraisal contingency protects you if an appraisal comes in below the sales price. When this happens, it's up to you to make up the difference, either by securing additional financing, paying it out of pocket or renegotiating the deal. If none of these methods work, the contingency allows you to back out without losing your earnest money.

4. A home sale contingency is crucial if you're selling an existing home while buying a new one. Essentially, it says your purchase relies on your ability to sell your current home by a specific date. If you haven't accepted an offer in that period, you can withdraw and get your earnest money back.  

5. An occupancy contingency protects you should you need to move into your new home by a specific time. It gives you possession of the home on the date you specify. 

It's no secret that today's housing market is a competitive one, and bidding wars can be intimidating. Get in touch today to ensure that your bid stands out and your investment is protected.