Monday, February 27, 2012

How Much Work is Too Much?

I held an open house last weekend for a nice home in Sunset Village.  It's got great space, big windows, a large kitchen and a fabulous wooded lot. 

I call the house a rad, retro Mid-Century modern.  It was built in 1951 and is being sold by the original owners.  This type of house does have a following.  It's an "add a sunburst clock and bring your penny loafers" kind of house, right down to the turquoise wall phone in the kitchen!

But..., there's always a "but", it's too much work.  So, I got to thinking, how much work is too much work?

  • Pull up the carpet and expose the hardwood floors - free (except or labor).
  • Tear down the turquoise living and dining room drapes - free (except for labor).
  • Paint the walls - cheap ($20 for a gallon of paint, multiple gallons needed, plus labor).
  • Install a pedestal sink in half bath - cheap ($150 for the sink, plus labor).

Those four "do-it-yourself" projects would take little time and would improve the "look" of the home immensely.  Sure the kitchen needs to be updated and the pink bathroom is a little over-the-top, but the opportunity to put you stamp on the house may be worth it.  And the potential is incredible.

Someone will love the house, love the lot, love the neighborhood and won't be afraid of a little sweat equity.  For them, it won't be too much work at all, but an investment in themselves, their future and their new home.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Thinking of Buying a Home? Put that Credit Card Away!

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you know that mortgage rates are at record lows.  It's also true, that it's a buyers market.  So you say to yourself, perhaps it's time to buy a house?  Or downsize? Or finally get that master bathroom you've always wanted.  Whatever your reasoning, it is a great time to purchase a home.

So you look around, you find exactly what you are looking for, you work with a lending officer to work out the details of a home mortgage and you put an offer on your dream house.  Easy, right?  Ninety-nine percent of the time it is easy, however there are a few things you should know when securing a mortgage.  These are the Ten Commandments of a Home Loan.  Sure, there are others, but these are a few of the things a mortgage lender will tell you.

Ten Commandments When Applying for a Mortgage

1)Thou shalt not change jobs or become self-employed
2) Thou shall not buy a car, truck or van unless you plan to live in it
3) Thou shall not use your credit cards or let your payments fall behind
4) Thou shall not spend the money you have saved for your down payment
5) Thou shall not buy furniture before you buy your house
6) Thou shall not acquire new inquiries on your credit report
7) Thou shall not make any large deposits into your bank account
8) Thou shall not change bank accounts during the loan
9) Thou shall not co-sign for anyone
10) Thou shall not purchase ANYTHING until after the closing

So get out there and start looking for your next new home...but keep that credit card safely stashed away!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hoyt Park Plan Meeting

The Hoyt Park Area Joint Neighborhood Planning Committee continues to do great work to create community, safety and design guidelines within the Hoyt Park Area neighborhoods.

The committee will hold their next meeting on February 20, 2012 from 6:45-8:45 p.m. at the Sequoya Library.  Agenda items include city transportation staff Q&A to include bus service and bicycle infrastructure.  e-mail city staff questions to  The meeting will also address sustainability subcommittee reports and design guideline information gathered at the public meetings and focus groups.

For updates and additional information, be sure to visit the website for the Hoyt Area Plan.  Sign up to get updates at

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Pre-inspection Pays Off

I have a client who will be closing on a new house in a few weeks. As you can imagine, she is thrilled with the thought of moving. Not the actual "moving" part, but the excitement that comes with settling into a new home.

The transaction was pain-free, in part because the sellers had the home pre-inspected. Of course, my buyer had an her own inspection, but it was clear that the sellers had taken care of many of the items the buyer's inspector would have found. In fact, it was apparent to the buyer's inspector that there had been a pre-listing inspection. In his words, "most homeowners wouldn't know to address these areas on their own. I'm sure they had someone come in and talk to them about what items may be sticking points for buyers."

That pre-inspection paid off for the buyer and the seller. The seller made changes that readied the home for a quick sale and the buyer had few items that needed attention.

So, in about 10 days my buyer will be in her new home, happy as a clam, and secure in knowing that the house is in great shape. And the sellers will be off on their new adventure, in hopes of finding the next place they will call home. A win-win for all!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Souper Bowl XVI

Eat some soup, Build a Home: that's the slogan of Souper Bowl XVI being held at Madison West High School on Saturday February 4, 2011 from 2:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Souper Bowl is an afternoon and evening of food, art and entertainment that brings the Madison Community together to support Habitat for Humanity.   The event partners with Madison area high schools and potters, who donate ceramic bowls created in their art classes and businesses.  The students at Madison West high school have made more than 600 bowls for this year's Souper Bowl!

Tickets are $15 which includes one dinner - you guessed it, soup - and a one-of-a-kind bowl.  Family packs are available for $35 and include four dinners and two unique bowls.

Looking for a larger, more decorative bowl?  No problem!  Other ceramic bowls are sold in the silent Pro Bowl auction at the event.

The day is filled with entertainment, great food and door prizes, too.  All proceeds from Souper Bowl XVI benefit The Dane County chapter of Habitat for Humanity.   Last year, the Souper Bowl event raised $22,000.  Let's make this year even better!