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Sept. 19, 2019

SHORT SALE AND FORECLOSURE: HOW ARE THEY DIFFERENT?

 

As unfortunate as it can be when homeowners fall behind on mortgage payments and must face the possibility of losing their homes, short sales and foreclosures provide them options for moving on financially. The terms are often used interchangeably, but they’re actually quite different, with varying timelines and financial impact on the homeowner. Here’s a brief overview.

 

A short sale comes into play when a homeowner needs to sell their home but the home is worth less than the remaining balance that they owe. The lender can allow the homeowner to sell the home for less than the amount owed, freeing the homeowner from the financial predicament.

 

On the buyer side, short sales typically take three to four months to complete and many of the closing and repair costs are shifted from the seller to the lender.

 

On the other hand, a foreclosure occurs when a homeowner can no longer make payments on their home so the bank begins the process of repossessing it. A foreclosure usually moves much faster than a short sale and is more financially damaging to the homeowner.

 

 

After foreclosure the bank can sell the home in a foreclosure auction. For buyers, foreclosures are riskier than short sales, because homes are often bought sight unseen, with no inspection or warranty.

 

 

Posted in Real Estate Advice
Sept. 18, 2019

Weekend Events

This Weekend in Wisconsin:  

BADGER BASH: WISCONSIN VS. MICHIGAN, BARABOO NIGHT MARKET, AND ANNUAL CAR SHOW!

 

BADGER BASH: WISCONSIN VS. MICHIGAN

 

Union South

1308 W. Dayton Street - Madison, WI 53715

Information: 608-890-3000

Event Date Detail

Sep 21, 2019

 

Event details

Check out gameday's best tailgate, 2 1/2 hours before kickoff, every home football game at Union South. Just steps from Camp Randall, Badger Bash features the full UW Marching Band, great food, and fun for the whole family! Free admission and open to the public.

 

Check out more events in Wisconsin.

 

September 20, Art on the Town, Appleton

September 20, Baraboo Night Market, Baraboo

September 20, Cemetery Walking Tour, Wisconsin Dells

September 20, Garden Tours at Taliesin, Spring Green

September 20, MAM After Dark:  Birthday Bash, Milwaukee

September 20, Mauston Wine Walk, Mauston

September 20, Oktoberfest, Beloit

September 19-21, Youth Musky Hunt at Mystic Moose Resort, Hayward

September 20-21, Apple Splash Festival, Somerset

September 20-21, Camp Forest Fall Fest, Forest Junction

September 20-21, Central Bull Riders Association National Finals, Marshfield

September 20-21, Horse & Buggy Days, Weyauwega

September 20-21, Ragnar Wisconsin Trail, Wausau

September 20-21, Viola Horse & Colt Show, Viola

September 21, Annual Car Show, Francis Creek

September 21, Apple Harvest Festival, Waukesha

September 21, Art in the Park, Stevens Point

September 21, Art in the Square, Crandon

September 21, ARTRAGEOUS, South Milwaukee

September 21, Badger Bash:  Wisconsin vs Michigan, Madison

September 21, Barktoberfest, Cambridge

September 21, Blue Harbor Craft Beer Festival, Sheboygan

September 21, Booya Days, Cadott

September 21, Brew-B-Que, Lodi

September 21, Chili Cook-Off, Oshkosh

September 21, Colorama Bike Tour, Merrill

September 21, Colorama Festival, St Germain

September 21, Dodge County Flea Market & Craft Fair, Beaver Dam

September 21, Ethnic Fest, Two Rivers

September 21, Fall Fun Fest, Bristol

September 21, Fall O Rama, Waupaca

September 21, Farm Aid Festival, East Troy

September 21, Grantoberfest, Grantsburg

September 21, Hayward Fall Festival, Hayward

September 21, Holy Hill Arts & Crafts Fair, Hubertus

September 21, Maywood Earth Ride, Sheboygan

September 21, Mukwonago Fall Fest, Mukwonago

September 21, Oneida Big Apple Fest, Green Bay

September 21, Party on the Pavement, Racine

September 21, River Days, Sheboygan

September 21, Run, Walk, Wag 5K & 1-mile fun run, Watertown

September 21, September Fest, Ripon

September 21, Sturgeon Bay Harvest Festival, Sturgeon Bay

September 21, Vintage Market at the Hill, New London

September 19-22, Wisconsin Futurity Horse Festival, West Allis

September 20-22, Community First Fox Cities Marathon, Menasha

September 20-22, HODAG Musky Challenge, Rhinelander

September 20-22, Oktoberfest, Chippewa Falls

September 20-22, Wind Power Championships, Fond du Lac

September 20-22, World Challenge, Elkhart Lake

September 21-22, Annual Thresheree & Harvest Festival, Richfield

September 21-22, Annual Woodcarving Show, Competition and Sale, Stevens Point

September 21-22, Driftless Area Art Festival, Soldiers Grove

September 21-22, Wine and Harvest Festival, Cedarburg

September 22, Autumn Art on the Marsh, Horicon

September 22, Cheery Cherry Fall Fair, Menomonee Falls

September 22, Shown’ Off for a Reason-Classic Car Show, Pulaski

September 22, The Autumn Trek Ride, River Falls

Posted in Community Events
Sept. 9, 2019

Choosing the Right Neighborhood

 

There are many important factors that come into play when trying to find a home that is right for you and your family. Is the home big enough, does the yard have enough space for kids to play and are there enough bathrooms? These are all things we think about when searching for a home. One of the most important factors, and sometimes overlooked, is finding the neighborhood that works for you. Here are a few things that you should consider when you look for a great neighborhood:

 

Research Schools

Education is one of the most important things in life. Make sure you look for homes that are in a school district that has great schools so that your kids can receive a solid education.

 

Future Value

More than likely, you aren’t going to be in your home forever. Your agent can tell you about the property value and growth of the homes you are looking at.

 

Commute Time

You may have found the perfect home, but if you have a long way to commute each day you won’t even be able to spend time in your lovely new home. Consider your commute time when searching for a neighborhood so you can spend less time on the road and more time at home with your family.

 

Lifestyle

Are you an avid runner or biker? Do your kids love to play at the park or swim at the pool? Keep your lifestyle in mind so the community you choose to live in has the amenities that fit your lifestyle.

 

Budget/Affordability

A few miles can be enough to cause the price of homes to vary significantly. Though you want to find a home in a great neighborhood, you will also want to keep your budget in mind.

 

Posted in Home Buying
Sept. 6, 2019

TAKE 5: WHAT TO NEGOTIATE WHEN BUYING A HOUSE

 

Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned veteran, the negotiation part of the transaction can be a little daunting and stressful. However, it is necessary to ensure you are getting the best possible deal for your money. So, what should you negotiate when buying a home?

 

1.     Closing costs. Your closing costs are determined by a variety of factors, but you can expect it to be between 2% to 5% of the purchase price. Ask the seller to cover some or all of the closing costs upfront or request a closing credit that can be used to make specific updates and fixes to the home.

 

2.     Furnishings. Love how the seller has furnished and decorated the home? Buyers often negotiate keeping couches, fixtures, landscaping items, patio furniture, appliances, and more. And many sellers agree, wanting to make the home more appealing.

 

3.     Inspection and closing timing. Buyer offers that include a quick inspection and close timeline are often more attractive to sellers who have been going through the process for far too long. Just ensure you allow yourself ample time to get your financing in place and complete proper, thorough inspections.

 

4.     Home warranty. Sellers will often agree to pay the premium on the home warranty at closing and then hand it off to the new homeowner, who is responsible for the deductible on any future claims.

 

5.     Repairs. Your inspection may uncover small or large repairs needed to bring the home up to standard. You can negotiate to have these items fixed before closing or ask for a price reduction to cover the costs.

 

Aug. 12, 2019

Kitchen Makeover on a Budget

How does your kitchen look today? If you're thinking of remodeling and you're finding it too expensive at the moment, why not keep it fresh with these low cost ideas.

 

Posted in Home Design
Aug. 6, 2019

ORGANIC FOOD ON A BUDGET

 

Organic food usually tastes better, and is better for you, but it can also be very expensive compared to non-organic products. Organic food can cost nearly 50 percent more, thanks to the extra labor required to produce it and consumers’ demand exceeding supply.

So how do you get tasty organic food without spending a ton of extra money? Follow these tips to get more bang for your buck.

 

Shop at farmers’ markets: You can get fresh organic produce for far less at a farmers’ market than you’d pay at the grocery store. It’ll taste just as good, and you’re getting your food straight from the source.

 

Choose seasonal produce: Out-of-season produce usually has to be imported, and that can really drive up the price. Focus your meals on in-season fruits and vegetables so that you don’t end up paying $6.00 for a pound of organic asparagus.

 

Shop more frequently, and plan your meals around bulk sales: The trick here is to only buy what’s needed for your meals, and to only plan for a week of meals at most. That way you’re less likely to throw food away, because you can use leftover produce for more meals before it goes bad.

 

Grow your own: A home vegetable garden will provide some extremely cheap organic produce, and gardening can also be a fun and rewarding hobby.

Posted in Home Tips
July 30, 2019

Why You Should Invest in Real Estate

 

There are a lot of ways you can invest your hard-earned money. You could invest in the stock market, CDs or bonds, but what about investing in real estate? There are certainly a lot of benefits in doing so. Here are a few reasons why you should consider investing in real estate.

 

Additional Cash Flow

Though you have the upfront costs of investing in real estate, you will soon have additional cash flow. Once you find renters you will be able to collect money from them. You can put that money towards the mortgage and use whatever is left to either save, invest or spend however you’d like.

 

Building Equity

Investing in real estate is a wonderful way to build your equity. You are building your equity every time you are making payments toward your mortgage. This is a great way to build up equity over the course of your life.

 

Stable Investment

Compared to other investments such as investing in the stock market, real estate investments are relatively stable. The price of real estate does not fluctuate wildly on a day-to-day basis like the stock market sometimes does. The price of your investment property, depending where it is located, also has the opportunity to appreciate quite a bit over time.

 

Providing a Home for Others

 

Building equity and having additional cash flow are already great perks of a real estate investment. Another great perk is being able to provide a home for others. Not everyone can afford the down payment or other costs of purchasing a home, so they only have the option to rent. So, you are not only becoming wealthier because of your real estate investment, you are providing others with a roof over their heads while doing so.

 

Posted in Real Estate Advice
July 23, 2019

Tips for First-Time Homeowners

 

Finally owning your first home can be one of the most exciting moments in your life. You get to enjoy the freedom of doing whatever you want with your new place! As a first-time homeowner, there are some new things you need to keep in mind that you may not have needed to think about while renting. You no longer have a landlord to take care of certain things like mowing the lawn or cleaning the gutters. You are also the person responsible for covering expenses when things break. To make sure owning your first home is a positive experience, follow some of these simple tips to make homeownership a breeze!

 

Spending on Upgrades Right Away

When you bought your home you likely had a vision of how you wanted it to look. You may have had ideas for renovation projects or plans to make one of the bedrooms a fully furnished guest room. These are common things to want as a new homeowner, but you should wait a little while before tackling these projects. You just drained a lot of your savings to put a down payment on your home along with covering closing costs. Take the time to build your savings back up a bit before you start to spend a lot of money on renovations or new furniture.

 

Additional Expenses

There is a reason we mentioned why you shouldn’t spend a lot of money on upgrades right away. You need to plan for unexpected issues that can pop up at any time! Maybe a bad storm came through and you need to fix your roof, or your washing machine decides to quit working. You need to put money aside in preparation for these additional expenses that you can’t predict.

 

Routine Maintenance

Houses require a lot of upkeep. Some tasks will need to be done on a weekly basis while others may only need to be taken care of every few months or even years. You should be able to remember when you need to mow your lawn, but it’s much easier to forget those tasks you don’t need to handle as often. For things such as cleaning your gutters, checking your roof for leaks or checking smoke detectors, you may want to create a maintenance calendar to help you stay on top of those tasks since they only need to be done every so often.

 

 

If you keep these few tips in mind when you buy your first home, things should go much more smoothly. Make sure to put extra money away for costs that can arise at any time, so you aren’t scrambling financially when things need to be fixed. Keep up with maintenance on your home so you don’t run into major issues down the road that may come up by neglecting past issues. Keeping these things in mind and making sure you plan ahead will make homeownership much more stress-free!

 

Posted in Home Tips
July 22, 2019

5 First-Time Building Mistakes to Avoid

 

Designing your own home can be exciting, but it's a lot more work than buying an existing house. With so many moving pieces involved, knowing what works and what doesn't is key. Protect your home's long-term value by sidestepping these five avoidable pitfalls of building a new home.

 

1. Forgetting About Storage Space

From seasonal items to extra bedding, everything requires a temporary home when not in use. For that, you'll need plenty of storage space. Some simple solutions might include a few extra closets, a sizeable garage space or built-in cabinets and shelving.

 

2. Skimping on Materials

Anything worth doing is worth doing right, and new home construction is no exception. Even if you're watching your pennies, try not to scrimp on quality, especially when it comes to important things like flooring. The materials you choose can have a huge impact on your home's overall value.

 

3. Overlooking Energy Efficiency

For an energy-efficient home design, make sure to use earth- and wallet-friendly features like well-sealed windows and green materials during the build. These are your strongest assets in keeping heating and cooling costs down long-term.

 

4. Losing Sight of Current and Future Needs

Design for your current needs, but keep the future in mind, too. For instance, do you plan to have children? Are you going to pursue a specific hobby, such as woodworking, when you retire? Whatever the future holds, work with your builder to create a dream home that will support your evolving needs.

 

5. Letting Someone Else Decide

You don't need to keep up with the Joneses to have an ideal space. Only you and your family know what you need most in a new home, so choose and upgrade according to your preferences alone.

 

 

In the end, building your ideal home is about identifying both what you want and what you don't want. Choose wisely so your new abode will be comfortable, efficient and attractive to future buyers.

Posted in Home Design
July 19, 2019

Seasonal Home Maintenance Checklist

Your home is an investment that requires ongoing maintenance to stay in tiptop shape. If you neglect annual and quarterly tasks, however, you risk overlooking potential issues that could lead to expensive repairs down the road. Stay on top of preventive maintenance tasks with a seasonal checklist and the reminders below.

Winter -- To prevent pipes from bursting, drain and insulate exposed outdoor pipes and leave the water dripping inside on cold nights. Also check your boiler's water level every now and again to make sure it doesn't get too low.

Spring -- Winter can leave a layer of grit on your home's exterior. Get it ready for spring by cleaning windows, doors and siding with a garden hose or power washer. And while the weather is mild, have your HVAC systems serviced by a professional to keep them running at optimal efficiency.

Summer -- Inspect your sprinkler system for clogs or malfunctioning heads. Keep an eye out for damaged pipes or pooling water to avoid a larger issue. Review or establish your family emergency plan and restock your disaster supply kit if necessary.

Fall -- Get ahead of winter by having your chimney professionally inspected and cleaned. Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly and have fresh batteries. And keep your gutters clear of leaves and debris to protect your roof and foundation.

These are just a few maintenance items to stay on top of around the house. Keep up with all of your annual, monthly and seasonal to-do's to preserve the value of your home and avoid potential headaches down the line. You'll be glad you did!

 

Posted in Home Tips