Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Second Best

Halloween is the second largest holiday for outdoor decorating, right behind Christmas.  No surprise that Christmas is number one, who doesn't need a pick me up during the dark, cold days of winter?

But Halloween does seem like an odd second, doesn't?  What about Thanksgiving?  Or Easter?  Or the 4th of July?  No, Halloween wins!

This year I came across quite a few yards and lawns with Halloween decorations on the near west side of Madison.  Some ghoulish, some classic and some just downright fun!  Some of these displays are best viewed at night when the real character of the holiday comes out.

Take a drive through your neighborhood in the next few days and enjoy the second best holiday, at least as far as outdoor decorating goes.  Check out the ghosts and ghouls and pumpkins of all shapes and sizes.  You'll find blow-up spiders, witches hanging from trees and graveyards galore.  Happy Halloween!


 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Comfort Zone


A couple walked into my office a year ago and wanted to talk to a Realtor.  Yeah me!  We sat down in my office to discuss what they were looking for, in terms of location, size, price, timeline, etc.  As we talked, I also discovered they like to bike, camp, hike and garden.  Excellent information to have when looking for a new house.

As the discussion continued, I also tried to get a feel for their motivation for moving.  I learned they were living in rural Dodgeville on 30+ acres in a home that they had built.  They had some sentimental roots.  How were we ever going to find a place that had the home qualities they desired with the feeling of “space” that their rural property provided them?  A tall order! 

Something else was evident.  The wife was more excited about moving to Madison than the husband.  He was reserved and reluctant; perhaps he wasn’t fully committed to moving.  The husband loved his acreage!

We agreed to stay in touch and move forward.  We identified a search area on the near west side of Madison and began looking.  We looked at older homes and a few newer houses.  We looked at ranches, two-stories and even a few contemporary styles.  Winter came and the search slowed.  Last spring as the market began to gear up, we resumed the hunt.  And we expanded our area to include Fitchburg.  The husband also began to relish the idea of moving to Madison.

In the meantime, they readied their rural house for sale.  Late last spring they called in a bit of a panic.  Their house in rural Dodgeville had an accepted offer; time to intensify our efforts.  Fairly quickly we landed on a house in Fitchburg.  It was a very nice ranch home, close to the bike path.  It afforded some privacy and was in close proximity to nice restaurants and some shopping.  They liked it!  But the yard was tiny!  What??  From 30+ acres to less than a ¼ acre lot; actually, yes!

We prepared an offer.  There were counter-offers.  We inspected.  There were amendments.  We had a closing date.  Storage units were ordered.  Boxes were packed and packed and packed.  Their house out of town closed.  They were homeless for 10 days, but took the time to take a nice camping trip to relax before the next move to their new house. 

My clients moved into their new home late last summer.  They are as happy as can be.  While the yard is small, it provides plenty of space for planting perennials and annuals, trees and shrubs.  They are close to bike and hiking trails.  And they still camp. 

Some transactions happen quickly.  Others take more time to find the right property so that everyone is comfortable and on the same page; where all involved can get into their comfort zone.  Perhaps you know someone who wants to move (but maybe doesn’t know it yet).  Have them give me a call at 608.333.4406.  As always, I’m happy to help!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Market Normalization

The most common question I have been asked in recent weeks is, "Where did all the Buyers go?"

The Short Answer: Market Normalization.

The Long Answer: Buyers have gone nowhere. They are still here. They haven't left town in droves. There have been no large employers who have left our area; there have been no spikes in unemployment, no rises in interest rates, yet the number of showings on MLS listed properties are down across the board. So what has buyers holding back?

It's known as market normalization.  An analysis of local real estate sales going back to 2003 indicates that the housing market is simply returning to its old self again. Historically, people have always wanted to move by the time school is out in May. For those who miss that opportunity, they really really want to be moved by the time school starts up in September. It's the way the real estate market has performed for most of the past 30 years.

Why do we say, "most of the past 30 years" and not "every year"? The game changer known as, "The Great Recession."

Beginning as early as the second half of 2005, we saw inventory levels rising dramatically and sales numbers dropping equally as fast. Inventory levels rose from a low 3.5 month supply in late 2003 to a market high 18 month supply in January of 2008. That's right...right here in good old, stable Dane County, a supply of housing for sale that would last for nearly a year and a half without the addition of any newly listed properties.

So where are we now? With a current supply of approximately four months but lower activity levels, we seem to be back to where we were a decade or so ago in terms of supply and demand: A Normal Market. The good news in all this? In housing, as with the stock market, stability and predictability are good things. In housing, sellers can now better time their move and buyers know when to count on more choices becoming available.

                                                                 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

August 2014 Home Sales

It's not news that spring is the Real Estate market "season".  Typically, the market slows from mid-August to mid-September as buyers and sellers are more occupied with late summer vacations and the start of a new school year.  This trend was also true this year, however the home sales on the near west side of Madison continue to be strong.

Oh sure, there are some houses that don't sell as quickly, often a result of location, condition or price.  But that may also have been the case had those houses been listed in the spring.   See what sold...perhaps a neighbor or friend's house is listed below!

August home sales

1009 Saybrook Rd
$165,000
08/12/2014
401 Shepard Ter
$293,900
08/12/2014
3909 Euclid Ave
$279,000
08/12/2014
5217 Harbor Ct
$460,000
08/12/2014
4349 Felton Pl
$213,000
08/11/2014
445 Rushmore Ln
$192,000
08/11/2014
930 Haywood Dr
$199,000
08/11/2014
814 Blue Ridge Pkwy
$645,000
08/08/2014
2908 Arbor Dr
$232,500
08/08/2014
742 Oneida Pl
$504,000
08/07/2014
1017 Vilas Ave
$315,000
08/07/2014
223 Alden Dr
$180,000
08/07/2014
641 Eugenia Ave
$315,000
08/06/2014
4115 Cherokee Dr
$320,000
08/06/2014
638 Odell St
$271,000
08/06/2014
4338 Travis Ter
$251,800
08/06/2014
588 N Midvale Blvd Apt 302
$188,000
08/06/2014
5054 Lake Mendota Dr
$452,000
08/05/2014
317 Nautilus Dr
$122,400
08/05/2014
125 S Yellowstone Dr
$315,000
08/05/2014
409 Shepard Ter
$250,000
08/05/2014
622 Orchard Dr
$239,000
08/04/2014
9 Kewaunee Ct
$405,000
08/04/2014
1347 N Wingra Dr
$221,500
08/04/2014
480 Hilton Dr
$194,900
08/04/2014
425 Presidential Ln
$219,900
08/04/2014
1028 Erin St Apt 5
$129,900
08/04/2014
1226 Brookwood Rd
$265,000
08/04/2014
4502 Onaway Pass
$245,000
08/04/2014
504 Toepfer Ave
$274,000
08/04/2014
1014 Spruce St
$215,000
08/01/2014
653 Hilltop Dr
$333,000
08/01/2014
5022 Regent St
$288,000
08/01/2014
3513 Gregory St
$255,000
07/31/2014
909 Pontiac Trl
$309,000
07/30/2014
841 Terry Pl
$365,000
07/30/2014
608 N Midvale Blvd Unit 301
$145,000
07/30/2014
456 Virginia Ter
$515,000
07/29/2014
915 Columbia Rd
$448,000
07/29/2014
6006 Driftwood Ave
$306,200
07/29/2014
5525 Englewood Dr
$245,300
07/29/2014
1922 Keyes Ave
$323,200
07/28/2014
30 N Spooner St
$352,000
07/28/2014

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Monroe Street Changes

My office is on Monroe Street, so I spend a lot of time driving on Monroe.  If you do too, you have seen the changes happening up and down the street.

Some exciting changes are in store!  You may have seen "The Monroe" building going up in place of the old Town and Country service station on the 2600 block of Monroe.  Retail space on the first floor and apartments above are a nice improvement to the area.  Two long-time Monroe Street retailers have moved into the "The Monroe".  The Knitting Tree is now located at 2630 Monroe St. and the Monroe Street Shoe Repair is occupying space at 2630 Monroe St.

The 2500 block of Monroe is also under construction.  The space previously occupied by The Knitting Tree and The Monroe Street Shoe Repair is being renovated to house Collectivo Coffee with plans to open in early 2015.  Collectivo Coffee currently has one location in Madison on N. Pinckney at Tenney Plaza on the Capitol Square.  The Monroe Street location will provide a full-service cafĂ© offering breakfast and micro-brews.  The design of the new coffee shop proposes an open floor plan with large exterior windows to invite customers to connect with the sidewalk atmosphere of the location.

Additional changes are coming to Monroe Street on the 3400 block of Monroe St.  More on those changes in an upcoming post!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Olbrich's Crackle, Fire & Froth

School has started.  Football is underway.  Leaves are beginning to turn.  It is time to usher in Autumn. 

One of my favorite events to begin the season is Olbrich's Crackle, Fire & Froth.  This annual event, scheduled for Friday September 26th from 7-10 p.m., is the prefect way to spend a crisp autumn evening wandering the outdoor gardens at Olbrich, sipping local Wisconsin beer and tasting local food prepared by Food Fight restaurants.

A relatively new event for Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Crackle, Fire and Froth has quickly become one of the highlights of Fall in Madison.

The Great Lawn at the garden is transformed into a Fall festival grounds, complete with huge bonfires, hundreds of carved pumpkins, live music by the Wheelhouse and of course the beauty of the outdoor gardens with fall foliage beginning to show it's true colors.

The other surprising element of the evening is the ability to wander the garden and enjoy the beautiful landscape lighting that displays the garden in an entirely different light!

Fall has definitely arrived!  Time to enjoy the season.  Olbrich's Crackle, Fire and Froth is a great way to start!  I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Home Grown Flowers

Turning leaves are what comes to mind for most people as Autumn settles in.  But Fall is also a wonderful time to enjoy the remaining flowers of the season.  Burgundy and gold mums and Black-eyed Susan's are in abundance this time of year, as well as bright-colored branches from native shrubs.

A wonderful, local source for bouquets, centerpieces or to dress up an upcoming event is Home Grown Flowers in Madison.  The owner, Caroline (a client of mine!), prides herself on unique arrangements where Mother Nature and local availability determine what flowers to use.  This philosophy allows Caroline to create wild, natural-looking arrangements that are anything but ordinary.  So committed to finding just the right foliage to use, Caroline has been know to tromp through the woods or knock on a strangers door to provide her clients with just the right arrangement.  She also partners with local growers for annual flowers and blooms she doesn't grow in her own half- acre garden.

Inspired by nature, a love of beautiful plants and the unique combinations that can be created and a desire to make each of her clients' events or occasions special make Home Grown Flowers a truly wonderful place for your next flower decorating needs.  You won't be disappointed!