Category Archives: First Time Home Buyers

Buying and Selling for 2015 Real Estate Market

House GraphBuying and Selling for 2015 Real Estate market is poised to be fast paced and full of action this year as median sale prices of U.S single – family homes and condos reached their highest levels since September 2008 this last October.  Listing season is knocking at our door and its time to get prepared for what opportunities await you if you are interested in buying or selling your home this season!

The bad news is that markets across the country are expected to slow to a home value growth of approximately 3 percent per year. This is down from the 6 percent home value growth per year we have been seeing recently. The good news is that median sale price of homes and condos are up, so for the majority of you looking to sell you are likely to do well listing your home in the present market.

With a market that is stabilizing and becoming much more balanced than what it has been for some time now buyers have something to look forward to as well.  A balanced market means that buyers who enter the market can expect to get a home for a fair market price (and sometimes better) as there will be more inventory to choose from.

Mortgage rates are down nearly 0.7% from this time last year according to a recent article at This is great news for those of you who would like to sell your current home and acquire that home you’ve been dreaming about. You know the one with amenities like a screened in patio with an attached deck, a lower level walk-out, or larger lot with mature trees, maybe even a lakefront home!

With rates where they are now, first time home buyers can enjoy finally becoming a home owner and still meet their budgetary needs. For those who qualify, the Federal Housing Administration has lowered many of the associated costs regarding the mortgages they support. For example the premiums for FHA mortgage insurance are to be cut from 1.35% of a loan’s value to around 0.85%!

As you can see 2015 is primed and ready to please both seller and buyer alike. If you are looking to buy or sell a home remember that I am here to help. Click the big green button under “Questions? Ask me, I have answers” to contact me by phone or email.

Lets get started on the next chapter of your life today!

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How To Make An Offer

A lot of my clients need advice on how to make an offer. There are several factors to consider when submitting an offer on a property. Here is how to place an offer on a home that will make both you and the seller happy.
The first step towards how to make an offer is find out what the market value of the home is and if the market is hot or not where this property is located. The more in demand a specific market is the less likely a seller is to consider taking an offer less than the listed home price. If the market is cold, commonly referred to as a buyer’s market, than a seller is more inclined to jump on an offer that is reasonable yet below list price (assuming the list price is at or near market value). Bear in mind there is a risk in offending a seller if an offer is well below market value. Ultimately, what remains to hold true more often than any other factor is the market value.
What are the comparable sales? I help my clients do this by taking a look at houses with similar features and what they have sold for over the passed six months in that key area. Make certain that the homes are as close to the same as possible otherwise they are not truly comparable.  Take notice of what the list prices and sold prices were for the results of the comparable properties. Are homes selling for more or less than list price and by how much?
Why are the seller’s selling? What is their situation? A good real estate professional will do research to find out what the scoop is on that home. I try to get as much information as I can from the professional representing the sellers. The more you know about why the sellers are selling the better. When possible find out everything you can about them such as why did they put this property on the market? How much equity do the sellers have in the home? Pay attention to how long the listing has been on the market, is the seller in contract for another property? The answers to these questions are benefactors towards knowing how strong of an offer you should place and if you should offer below, at, or close to the list price (if the list price is true to the market value).
When in doubt ask about! No one can tell you more about an area or neighborhood than the actual people who live there. If you have questions about the schools, crime rates, how active the community is, etc ask individuals who live in the neighborhood. If there are any issues that you feel are worth addressing, but not “deal breakers”, then utilize these factors to adjust the amount of your offer or even to choose whether or not to place an offer.

Lastly, remember that your agent should be there for you and informative, this is something a lot of my clients like about me. Run any and all questions you may have by your agent.  Ask your agent for their opinion and see what their advice is.

When making a home purchase it’s wise to work with a real estate professional that solely represents your interests and only represents you in the transaction, such as a buyer’s agent. Never forget that the listing agents job is to get the highest price possible for a property on behalf of the sellers. The buyer’s agent goal is to get you the home you want and for best price possible! A successful buyer’s agent will put more time into researching a property you are interested in and be more apt to negotiate a term that is in your best interest.

One of the best ways to find an agent that is right for you is to speak with friends, family, neighbors, and also co-workers.  Recommendations like these tend to prove to be a great connection.

If all this seems too bothersome you can always contact me, I’m here to help.

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Home Ownership

Home ownership can be a matter of importance. Renting vs buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you will ever make. For generations buying a home is considered the epitome of the American dream.

However, home ownership has fallen a bit in recent years (due partially to the financial struggles of first-time buyers). Stagnant lower wages and larger student debts among recent college graduates have limited the millennial generation from taking advantage of the historically low interest rates. After the great recession, the housing market has had a slow but somewhat steady come back, which in turn leads to discussions revolving around renting vs buying a home. Yes home ownership is down nationwide from what it was at the peak in 2005, but presently is continuing on as strong as it was in the 90’s.

In the long run owning a home is still a great way to accumulate wealth, if you plan to stay in the home a long time and can have the home paid off by retirement. Doing this means you will have more money for food, health care, and fun(such as spending on your bucket list adventures)!

Below is a look at net worth and home ownership from a presentation given by Lawrence Yun, Ph.D., NAR Chief Economist to the Residential Real Estate Forum at the 2014 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in New Orleans, LA earlier this month.

Home ownership Rent vs buy
US Net Worth Renter vs Homeowner

As you can see, in the past 15 years, the net worth of the typical homeowner has ranged between 31 and 46 times more than that of the net worth of the typical renter.

In addition, consumers are becoming more confident in the economy. Continuing job gains, lower gasoline prices, and rising home values are likely contributing factors. In Dane county the home values rose 5.6% over the past year according to the South Central Wisconsin MLS.

Bear in mind that home ownership isn’t right for everyone, for some renting and leasing is just fine too. Presently the median rental price of a two bedroom apartment in Dane County is slightly more than $1,150.00 a month.  A monthly rental cost like this over the long haul suggests that renting makes more financial sense for the landlord.

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