Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New Market Coming to Sequoya Commons

It's long overdue!  For too long, the Westmorland and Sunset Village neighborhoods have been missing a quick place to pick up essentials such as milk, bread, eggs or occasionally a bottle of wine or craft beer.

The long wait will soon be over!  The Market, a new neighborhood market will be opening in April at Sequoya Commons!  Katy Kovall, The Market owner, says it will be a friendly neighborhood market that will cater to area residents.

"We want this to be a place where we know our customers and they stop in often for that forgotten ingredient or pantry staple," she says.  "We are working with vendors now to determine our exact inventory."  Organic items are something they hope to have on hand when possible, she added, as well as cheeses, prepared sandwiches and perhaps a small frozen food section.

The Market will be holding an informational meeting on Sunday February 3 from 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. at Sequoya Commons.  Neighbors are encouraged to stop by to talk to Kovall about what you'd like to see in a neighborhood market.  I plan to be there.  I hope to see you there!

Friday, January 25, 2013

No Beards Required

On a whim, my husband and I decided to go out to dinner on a recent Wednesday night.  Off to the Brasserie V on Monroe Street!  It was a first for us, having never ventured into the Belgian Restaurant and Pub.  At the advise and urging of friends, we were not disappointed.  The service was great, the food was delicious and the atmosphere was delightful!  Can you really go wrong with a sandwich that includes Nueske bacon and avocado?  Yum!  The list of beers was endless, certainly a brew for every palate.

As my husband and I enjoyed a beverage and chatted about the recent happenings in our lives, I couldn't help but notice all the employees with beards.  Two bartenders, two waiters, one host and at least one chef were all sporting beards.  I wondered, was a beard a requirement to work at Brasserie V? 

So, not shy, we asked the waiter.  "Is a beard a requirement to work here?" A little taken aback at the question, he looked around.  "No," he responded.  "I guess I've never noticed.  That waiter just started last night," he gestured, pointing to a fellow bearded waiter.

"I think it's just January in Wisconsin," he added.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Divide

A colleague and I were talking the other day about housing trends, interest rates and the current housing market.  Typical Realtor talk.  As we discussed, we both agreed that spring has arrived early this year.  Of course, not the weather, but the market.

Open house traffic is at a fever pitch, buyers are out.  I've been involved in transactions with multiple offers and I've arranged showings for houses that are not even listed.

My colleague and I were discussing the ramifications of this scenario.  What our focus group of two decided is that buyers are out, but inventory is low.  It's either too early for sellers to be thinking about listing their house (it's not too early this year!), or they are waiting for the market to turn.

Well, here's the thing about waiting.  What you have and what you want are only going to get further apart.  That great divide will continue to grow.  Sure, you may get more for your house if you wait a year or two, but the prices of the house you want will also increase and so will the interest rates.  It's a lose, lose situation.

So, sellers can wait and let the divide grow, or jump in.  As always, it's your decision.

Monday, January 14, 2013


How important is the appraisal in the home buying or selling process.  Pretty important!  I was involved in a recent transaction where the closing hinged on the appraisal.  The buyers and sellers had agreed on a price.  The earnest money was in escrow, the inspection was done and the "i's" were dotted and the "t's" were crossed.  The appraisal was all that stood between the buyers getting a new home and the sellers moving on.

Financial institutions and mortgage companies require an appraisal to be sure that the collateral (the house) that they are lending the money for is worth the amount the buyers and sellers have agreed upon.  In this case, the house did not appraise for the agreed upon price.

All turned out fine.  The price was adjusted to reflect the appraised value and the transaction did go to closing.  But a valuable lesson was learned by both the seller and the buyer. 

For the buyer, no matter how much the buyer is willing to pay, if the market won't support that price the sale won't happen.  Unless of course, the buyer has cash. 

As for sellers, most believe their house is worth a lot.  And in terms of memories and value to the seller, it is.  But again, the market will determine what the final price should be.

The moral of the story:  Be realistic about price when buying or selling.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Good Taste

It always amazes me what people like.  I have a sweet little house listed that would be a great starter home or an investment property.  It's in a nice neighborhood, with a large yard.  But I'll be honest, it needs some work.  The remarks on the MLS data sheet say "Fix me up!"  Don't get me wrong, it has beautiful hardwood floors and great bones.  But like I said, it needs some cosmetic updating.

I held an open house recently and a young couple came through.  They did the obligatory walk through and whispered out of earshot, but they also made some comments I could hear.

"I love the bathroom," said the wife.  "I wouldn't change anything."

"Really?," replied the husband.  "I'd have to the change the tub."

The bathroom has original pink fixtures.  You can't buy those anymore!

They continued through the house and made their way to the basement.  On the way back up the stairs, they stopped in the kitchen and spent some time opening cabinets and looking in drawers.

"It's a nice size kitchen," I offered.

"I like it a lot," said the the wife.  "I even like the gold appliances.  It's cute."

The husband was silent.

The couple wandered through a few minutes longer and then were on their way.  I thanked them for coming and asked them to contact me if they had any questions.

As they walked down the front walk, I heard the wife exclaim once again, "I love this house!"

I don't know if I'll hear from this couple again.  But, I do know I learned something.  Good taste is subjective.  What I like isn't necessarily what you like.  My taste is not your taste.  And I may not like pick bathroom fixtures, but the gray wall paint sure helps!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Downsizing the New Year

Every January, New Year's resolutions are the norm.  Millions of people make dramatic resolutions; lose mega pounds, remodel the house, save lots of money.  I'm no different.  The problem is that most years, those resolutions are long forgotten by mid-February.

This year I've decided to downsize my resolutions.  I'm after small successes.  No less noble and certainly as satisfying!  My declarations are simple and include promises such as smiling at 10 people everyday, stocking up on necessities like printer cartridges and stamps, being helpful to others, buying flowers for a friend and responding to e-mails when they arrive in my inbox rather than letting them stack up for days.

While these resolutions may not be as remarkable as most, they are sustainable.  Of course, I'll be the only one who knows whether I've succeeded at the end of the year.  But I'm thinking my year of resolution downsizing will certainly last past February!

Happy New Year!