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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Historic Neighborhood: Dudgeon-Monroe

A thousand years ago,

Marion Dunn Prairie
Marion Dunn Prairie

the Dudgeon-Monroe neighborhood saw its first residents, the Native Americans. The natural beauty, Lake Wingra, and great farming land are most likely what drew the earliest residents to the area. All that remains now of this era are the effigy burial mounds. 11 of them are still there today by Edgewood and can be seen if you want to take a walking tour of the neighborhood. The Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood Association has done a fantastic job over the years to preserve the history and heritage of the neighborhood. You can check out their website Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood Association.

If someone asked me to describe this neighborhood I would have to say it’s one of the jewels of Madison. Dudgeon-Monroe has a great business district full of locally owned restaurants, taverns, art galleries, and shops. You can find the only Trader Joe’s in Madison on Monroe Street. Along with one of my favorite places to grab a Belgian beer, The Brasserie V, a great neighborhood eatery and tap room. The close proximity to the UW and downtown Madison also make this a desirable place to live.

 
Currently the Dudgeon-Monroe neighborhood consists of 1500 homes. There are never too many homes in this neighborhood for sale but you can typically find a handful. The homes in this neighborhood are really known for the quality craftsmanship and range in architectural style. If you like older homes with lots of character this is your neighborhood. The neighbors in the community love how walkable Dudgeon-Monroe is. In addition, residents also use the bike path which loops around the entire neighborhood.

Wingra Oak Savanna
Wingra Oak Savanna

When I lived on the west side of Madison, I used to bike around the Wingra bike loop quite often.

One of the oldest homes in the neighborhood is the historic Chase home built in 1872. The Samuel and Helen Chase home is located at the end of Woodrow Street on the shores of Lake Wingra. The home was built by Samuel Chase, the eldest child of George Chase, a master carpenter from Philadelphia, who came to work on the Edgewood Villa. The homes architectural style is late Gothic Revival and is still a residence today. The home’s most striking feature is the entrance vestibule. Here, an eight point star motif in the parquet floor is made of walnut salvage that is said to be from the old Independence Hall in Philadelphia and brought to Madison by George Chase.
It’s always important when looking to buy or sell a home that you work with a local real estate professional that is very familiar and knowledgeable about the neighborhood the home resides in. I’ve shown and been in quite a few of the homes in the Dudgeon-Monroe neighborhood and have lived close by for many years.  If you have any questions send me a message.Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood Effigy Mound, Madison WI

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Waunakee Neighborhood- Southbridge

Waunakee Neighborhood-Southbridge
Southbridge Entrance, Waunakee WI

Ever wonder what it would be like to live in Waunakee? One of the newer neighborhoods is Southbridge.  It’s also where I live with my wife, dog, and two cats.

This is the first blog I’ve written for my real estate page.  Welcome!  My goal is to make Colver’s Chronicles: Madison Real Estate blog very informative and interesting read. I will do my best to guide you in the ways of buying and selling homes. You could almost say that I’m in the business of finding people their “happy place.”

I’ve lived in many places and have always gravitated back to the Madison area. A lot of my clients are amazed at how much I know about Madison and the surrounding area. Living in Southbridge, Waunakee has been really great for us. Southbridge is located in the south eastern corridor of Waunakee which is just north of Madison. I think the main reason I’ve lived here for so long is the quality of life. There is so much here in a small area. Some of my favorite cultural things to visit in the area are Overture Center for the Arts, the farmers markets, and the eclectic restaurants. Living near a top rated University brings a lot of diversity to the area which makes Wauankee and Madison a great place to live and work.

In 2012 my wife and I sold our Madison condo and decided to look for a bigger home. We found our happy place in Waunakee. We fell in love with Southbridge and it was only an 8.5 mile drive for my wife to commute to work.  I think what drew us to the neighborhood was the actual home and its beautiful attention to detail. After looking at the Southbridge community we realized it had everything we were looking for. We wanted nature and the ability to walk and bike safely. We didn’t want to be too far from Madison either.

Much thought was put into the little things in Southbridge like the extra wide sidewalks leading to the parks. We have a happening neighborhood pool and five community parks, including Peaceful Valley Park which is only steps from my home.

I will never forget the day we moved in. It was a record breaking COLD day. Funny how you can remember little things like that. I remember our first dinner of Zoe’s Pizza in our kitchen and how Francesca and I were so excited to entertain and meet our neighbors. Living in a condo had many great perks for us but this was a larger space that we can really grow into. Why do I have an urge for pizza all of a sudden???? Ok, back on track!

Waunakee Neighborhood-Southbridge
Settlers Park, Waunakee WI

In addition to the layout and surroundings of Southbridge one thing I really value is the people of my community. When we walk down the street, we are greeted by neighbors who know each others names. Sometimes when I walk my dog Magnus, we are greeted by so many friendly faces that it can take us an hour to do a  normal 15 minute walk! Neighbors enjoy many social activities that promote good spirits such as a book club, bunco night, and a 50’s+ dinner night. I’ve asked several of my neighbors about what they like most about Waunakee and Sourthbridge and the answers range from the beautiful homes, great place to raise children, scenic, close proximity to Madison and, “it’s the ultimate suburban lifestyle!”

 

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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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Moh’s Martial Arts

Moh’s Martial Arts is this months Business Spotlight. There are a few things that I know right now. I love Martial Arts. I love living in Waunakee, and my neighbor Mike Moh is pretty awesome.

Mike is the owner of Moh’s Martial Arts in Waunakee, WI. I wanted to highlight his business not only because I’m a student at the school but because I think it’s important to highlight the local businesses in the community to give home buyers a sense of what the community can offer them. Mike is also a really interesting guy.

 

Mr. Mike Moh
Mike Moh

Moh’s Martial Arts has become Waunakee’s premiere destination for martial arts and life skills training. The locals love Moh’s Martial Arts for their emphasis on Black Belt Attitude, Discipline, and Respect. Students love the exciting, challenging, and well-rounded classes that are available. The programs currently being offered range from ATA Tiny Tigers, Martial Arts for Kids, Teens and Adult classes, and a Mixed Martial Art/kick boxing fitness class. Most of Mr. Moh’s classes are rooted in traditional Songahm Taekwondo. Additionally, there are combat sparring and weapons training classes which truly test your skill set!

Mike Moh has been in martial arts for over 20 years. If you observed one of his classes you would know right away how passionate he is about teaching students of all ages. Mike has many accolades in his martial arts career. He currently holds a 4th degree black belt, has been a 3 time American Taekwondo Association World Champion, and you may have seen him on television where he has played various roles in shows like Castle and True Blood. One of his more recent roles was playing Ryu, star of the hit movie “Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist”.

Mike, his wife Richelle, and their two adorable kids moved here from Los Angeles and are proud to live in the community of Waunakee. If you are in town stop and visit the school located on Moravian Drive or check out their website http://www.mohsmartialarts.com for more information.

Mohs Martial Arts
Mike Moh starring as Ryu in Street Fighter Assassin’s Fist
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Madison Real Estate Market

State Street, Madison WI.
State Street, Madison WI.

A lot of folks in Madison ask me about the current Madison real estate market. Is it a sellers market or a buyers market? Many Realtors® tend to use the phrase, “months of inventory” as a way of quantifying the type of market that exists. This piece of jargon is useful for buyers and sellers to understand. Months of inventory reflects an estimate of the amount of time it would take to sell all of the current listings in a given area if no other new listings become available.

According to the August 2014 data report by the South Central Wisconsin MLS, Dane county has 4.84 months of inventory. This is up slightly from July which at that time was 4.62. So what does this mean for buyers and sellers? It means that all current listings can expect to be sold within 4.8 months, it is considered a seller’s market because houses are selling quickly. A seller’s market suggests that sellers have the advantage due to the demand for property exceeding present supply.

If there are 6-8 months of inventory, you are looking at a balanced market. Even though listings currently aren’t selling quickly they’re not staying on the market too long either.

Additionally, if there are 9 or more months of inventory, it is considered a buyer’s market because houses are selling slowly. In a buyer’s market, buyers have more negotiating power than sellers do because the supply of listings exceeds the current demand for housing.

What does this information mean for Madison area real estate sellers presently? It means they may have multiple offers, the house may sell quickly, and a little curb appeal may go a long way to driving up the price, or (what every seller wants) a bidding war.

What are realistic expectations for selling your home during a buyers market? Choosing to sell your home in a buyers market and having patience will go a long way as homes tend not to sell overnight.  This means that you will need a real estate professional to market your property as efficiently and effectively as possible. I help my sellers by giving their home an evaluation on how to get the most bang for the buck. A little fresh paint, proper staging, and gratifying photos will position your home for the best offer possible. I provide staging advice and professional photography to make sure the house stands out above the rest.

What does this mean if you are currently looking to buy a home in a sellers market? You should be prepared for competition. When you find the home that suits your wants and needs you will have to make decisions promptly and have the ability to submit a good offer with a pre-approval letter (if you plan to finance the home with a mortgage). Negotiating experience from your Realtor® can really benefit you in this type of market.

Conversely, if you are looking to buy in a buyers market you will be looking at an overwhelming number of options. I try to help my clients focus on identifying priorities as what is most important to them. For example, lots size, location, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, school district, etc…I try to help my clients figure out what is most important to them. Once we know what your must haves are we then compile a strategy and proceed to negotiate the best house for the best price.

Whatever the market looks like having a great Realtor® will make things easier and they can provide education and advice for you along the way.

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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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All About the Greater Madison Area-By Martin Colver

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