Category Archives: Blog of the Day

Junction Ridge: Madison West Side Neighborhood

Junction Ridge: Madison West Side Neighborhood

Junction RidgeJunction Ridge is located on the west side of Madison. I’ve recently been to the neighborhood quite often as one of my clients recently closed on their new home in this popular neighborhood subdivision. I asked my clients what they liked most about Junction Ridge  and their response was the location along with the amenities of living on the west side.  The amenities include shopping at the West Towne Mall and Greenway Station Mall which are both just minutes away. The schools in the neighborhood are Stephen’s Elementary, Jefferson Middle School and Memorial High School. They also love the easy access to the Beltline Highway. Last but certainly not least they loved the peaceful neighborhood tucked into the growing west side of Madison. My clients felt it was just perfect for them.  Junction Ridge also has its own park complete with basket ball court and walking trails.

The neighborhood offers several events that take place throughout the year including a 4th of July parade, a picnic during the summer, and holiday decorating contests for both Halloween and Christmas.  Presently there are plans for a community garden for all members of the Neighborhood Association to utilize and enjoy. Here is a link to Junction Ridge Neighborhood Association for more information. The map below shows the Junction Ridge Subdivision (courtesy of the City of Madison website) which can be found at  City Of Madison.

Junction Ridge Subdivision map

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Holiday Art Fair

Holiday Art Fair
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison WI

Every year, my wife and I go to the Holiday Art Fair at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMOCA) and Overture Center. We love going downtown  and supporting the arts. The Overture Center and MMOCA  are top notch art centers and we are very lucky to have them here in Madison, Wisconsin.

For three days every year around this time the Museum and Overture Center are transformed with over 90 artisans and specialty food vendors.  According to MMOCA’s website, “thousands of people come out for this spectacular event to kick off the holiday season with cheer! The 2014 Holiday Art Fair will present fine art and craft from around the country, as well as local and gourmet treats, a silent auction, performances by local art organizations, and the popular Rediscovered Arts & Treasures Sale.” The art fair is a great fundraiser that helps to provide support for exhibitions and education programs. The cost of admission this year is $6.00.

There are gifts for all budgets. Take a look at the  2014 Holiday Guide. The guide shares ideas for budgets around $50.00.  In addition, this year we are going to enter the Holiday Art Fair Photo Contest. You can enter your photo taken at the fair and capture the experience. If your photo is chosen you may be able to win a membership to MMOCA. Click here for more information and the rules to participate. This will be our first time entering the photo contest.

The 2014 Holiday Art Fair kicks off  today November 21st at 2:30-7:00pm and will reopen again tomorrow Saturday November 22 from 10:00 am-5:00pm. Sunday, November 23 is the last day of the fair and the hours for Sunday are 10:00am-3:00pm.  We love the music and festivities that circle around the art fair. I encourage you to check out MMOCA’s website to learn about the details, maybe we will see you there!

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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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High Point Estates

High Point Estates a Madison West Side Neighborhood

High Point Estates

My clients recently found High Point Estates to be a good fit for them. Congratulations to Matt & Stacy on their accepted offer on this great Madison west side home!

When I asked them what they liked most about High Point Estates they shared that the location was a good fit for them along with the Middleton/Cross Plains schools meeting their needs. It was quite obvious too that the community was very friendly and that the home is just a two minute walk from High Point Park.

High Point Estates is conveniently located on the south west side of Madison, very close to Elver Park. The neighborhood is a short distance from all the amenities that Madison has to offer, but still maintains the quiet neighborhood setting that makes it such a desirable location. The neighborhood is comprised of 275 single family homes and is a very pedestrian friendly community.  The neighborhood association is very active. Here is the link High Point Estates Neighborhood Association for more information.

The High Point Estate’s community has many social activities including Flamingo Parties,  a Halloween Party, and an annual Garage Sale. They also have several other activities including bunco groups, couples bowling, dinner club, and a ladies luncheon group.High Point Estates Subdivision

The graphic below is from the City of Madison’s website which can be found at City of Madison.

High Point Estates Map Madison Real EstateHigh Point Estates Subdivision

 

 

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Veteran’s Day

John F Moore II, Vietnam Era.

Today is Veteran’s Day. This post is dedicated to all the men and women who served and are serving our country. Thank you! I salute you! Veteran’s Day should be a day that we all take time to pay our respects to those who give up civilian life for a different path. Often times, these men and women put themselves in extreme harms way to protect our country. Freedom certainly isn’t free.

My Grandfather served in the Korean War and my cousin is an active member of the US Army. My wife’s father served during the Vietnam War in the Navy, both of her Grandfather’s served during WWII, and her Uncle served during the Korean War. All their sacrifices are remembered and honored today. I posted a few pictures I was able to find of family members who have served.
In keeping with the Veterans Day theme, there are various federal programs available to help Veterans attain home ownership. One program is Veteran Home Ownership Program (VHP). It is designed to help veterans with limited access to affordable housing be able to purchase a discounted home while receiving assistance with the challenges involved in home ownership. With acceptance into VHP, the qualified veteran will receive assistance throughout the home buying process and guidance on the necessary steps to maintain the home for many years to come. For more information go to Veterans Home Ownership Program.

Vincenzo Incorvaia, WWII
Vincenzo Incorvaia, WWII

In addition to housing programs, the Department of Veterans Affairs also offers home loans to assist Service members, Veterans, and eligible surviving spouses attain home ownership and secure a loan. According to the VA’s website The VA’s mission with this program is to “provide a home loan guaranty benefit and other housing-related programs to help buy, build, repair, retain, or adapt a home for your own personal occupancy.” VA Home Loans are provided by private lenders, such as banks and mortgage companies. VA guarantees a portion of the loan, enabling the lender to provide you with more favorable terms. I work with a small handful of really great lenders and some of them have been able to provide this type of loan for clients over the years. During my experience as a Realtor I have learned who the reliable lenders are in my community and have a handful of connections I share with my clients if they need them.
The guarantee VA loan has a list of benefits:

  • No down payment as long as the sales price doesn’t exceed the appraised value.
  • No private mortgage insurance premium requirement.
  • VA rules limit the amount you can be charged for closing costs.
  • Closing costs may be paid by the seller.
  • The lender can’t charge you a penalty fee if you pay the loan off early.
  • VA may be able to provide you some assistance if you run into difficulty making payments.
John F Moore Sr., WWII.

Take note:

  • You don’t have to be a first-time home buyer.
  • You can reuse the benefit.

In closing, I wanted to share a quote from Maya Angelou that resonates with me today on Veteran’s Day. “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!”

 

 

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Fall House Prep

Autumn Country Road, Southern Wisconsin

It’s time for fall house prep! Fall house prep should be in full swing here in Wisconsin.  I was driving my car this morning and I noticed that the soybean fields are turning bright yellow and the corn fields are dry and taking on an amber hue from the once green sturdy stalks that grew all spring and summer long. It’s time for fall house prep. I usually give this list to my first time home buyers as they will be spending their first fall and winter months in their new homes. This is the time  to take some measures in and around your home to ensure a cozy warm fall into the winter months. The projects range from checking your exterior to your heating system indoors. These projects can save you money in the long run.

Make sure you check sidewalks and driveways for cracks. If you don’t fill them now, water can seep in and freeze, making them even larger. Take the time to resurface worn concrete now this can save you a whole lot of time and money later. I recently re-sealed my concrete drive way and walk way with a product I bought at Sherwin Williams in Middleton. It was a project that was two steps. Power washed the area I was going to re seal, and then applied a sealer with a paint roller.

Check all your lighting fixtures outdoors and change any bulbs that need to be replaced. It’s always a good idea to light your walk way now that the days are shorter and nights grow longer. In addition clean out your gutters and trim any trees or landscaping that are in need.

The grass in your yard needs some TLC before the cold hard winter of Wisconsin sets in. This is a great time of the year to clean up your yard and aerate the lawn and silt seed. This will allow your lawn to take up a lot of water before the winter.

Even the most unflinching do it yourself-er cringes at the thought of a busted water pipe. Fortunately, the pipe that’s most susceptible to cold weather—the outdoor hose faucet—is also one of the easiest to protect from freezing. Make sure your outdoor faucets are freezer proofed and hoses are removed and stored for winter.

Before you head inside, make sure your front entrance has curb appeal with a sweep and clean, check the seals on your front door too to cut down on cold drafts coming through. A nice mat, sconces, and swapping out lock-sets will add to the facade of your home.

Now that we are looking at the inside of the home take a look at your windows. Make sure there is weatherstripping around windows to avoid major drafts in older home. Window treatments are also a great way of keeping the warmth in and the cold out.
Lastly, schedule an appointment to have your heating system serviced. I recommend a yearly cleaning and inspection, as a system can wear itself out quickly which can lead to it pumping deadly carbon monoxide into your home, or simply stop working. If you have forced air change the air filter regularly (every 60 to 90 days). You’ll notice a difference in the air quality, and your furnace will run more efficiently.

Fall house prep is easy if you keep a check list and review it every year!

Maple Tree, Madison WI

 

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Farmer’s Market Saturday

Farmers Market Saturday
Dane County Farmer’s Market

In the fall I love to go to Farmer’s Market Saturday downtown. Its official name is the Dane County Farmers Market. You can find lots of great things like fresh produce, meats, cheese, flowers and plants, and baked goods. I don’t get to come down to the farmers market too often as a realtor I’m working with clients on Saturdays showing homes. I had time this morning to check it out with my wife. Fall is in full swing at the farmers market and it is a glorious Saturday morning!

I consider my wife a foodie. She is an amazing cook and we scored some great things at the Harmony Valley Farm stand. They are one of the local organic farms here in Wisconsin. She will do it all justice in the kitchen I’m sure!

When I’m working with clients that are relocating to Madison I often get the question, “What things make Madison a uniqe place to live?” I can talk about a lot of things and I often mention the farmers market on Saturday around the capitol square. It’s a great experience that really sums up Madison in all its glory. People milling around the square, the capitol, the guy that plays the piccolo filling the air with music, the street cart food stands, the flowers, farm fresh produce, and the smell of kettle corn and Stella’s hot and cheesy bread. The grounds surrounding the State Capitol are an ideal site to host the market. The magnificent landscape and stunning architecture serve as a spectacular backdrop to Dane County’s most celebrated event.

Everything at the market is grown in Wisconsin, that is actually one of the rules to be a vendor at the market. I always recommend to try to get up early to the market as you will have the luxury of strolling along at your own pace without the large crowd that comes later in the day. The market opens at 6am and finishes around 2pm. Maybe I might run into you at the market one of these Saturdays!

Farmers Market Saturday
Autumn Bounty, Dane County Farmers Market
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