Monday, February 18, 2013

Market Flip

Well, here we are in mid-February.  Not yet spring, but winter winding down.  In the Real Estate world, this is what's called pre-market.  Spring is typically when the Real Estate market really picks up.

I'm hear to tell you, the market has already picked up and it's a crazy home buying-selling world out there!  Buyers are out in droves and are pounding the pavement hard!  Many of these buyers are renters, who have been sitting on the sidelines waiting for the perfect time to buy.  They have come out of the woodwork! I'm working with four different sets of buyers who are all renting.   

The other thing we are seeing is low inventory.  Houses that are only on the market a few days are getting offers quickly and in some cases multiple offers.  I have been involved in two multiple offer transactions in the last week!  Even homes that have been languishing on the market for months are receiving offers and going to closing. 

The market has flipped.  Just a few short months ago it was a buyers market.  Today, sellers are in the drivers seat.  In the Dane County area, a healthy market is 6 months of inventory.  As of last week, the inventory in Dane County was 4.2 months.  Low inventory means it's a sellers market.

Interest rates continue to be low, but those are expected in increase over the course of the year and be at or over 4% by year-end.  Still a great rate, but not as good as the 3.5% you might be able to get today.

If you are thinking of selling, get on the market now.  The buyers are not only looking....they are buying!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Phone Books...Really?

I was coming home the other day and passed a van and several young man walking door-to-door delivering telephone books.  Every year, it seems two or three different phone books are dropped  on my front stoop.

It used to be there was one phone book with hundreds of uses.  Need the number of a neighbor?  Look in the phone book.  Searching for an auto mechanic?  Check the yellow pages.  Need a birth certificate?  Check the government listings in the phone book.  Right now, I have FIVE phones books in my kitchen cabinet.  How many have I used?  ZERO!  A new and exciting thing called the Internet has made the phone book virtually obsolete…but they keep coming!!   Well, they don’t have to anymore.  I recently learned that you can get off the phone book list (click here to learn more).  You can always throw them in the recycling bin, too.

Which reminds me, did you know you can trade in your refuse containers for smaller or larger sizes?  Who knew?  I recently exchanged our recycling bin for a larger one.  Gotta love that!

I’m heading to the recycling bin with all my phone books now.  How about you?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

How are Your Trees?

Snow, snow, snow!  While beautiful, my back is sore from shoveling and my trees poor branches are sagging!  With the heavy snows we’ve had recently, it’s sad to see my arborvitae bent or even broken from the weight. Removing the snow from the trees is the standard advice.  Here are some tips from Olbrich Botanical Gardens Horticulture staff.
Olbrich battles the same thing – only with a lot more trees and shrubs!   Olbrich’s Director of Horticulture, Jeff Epping, has suggestions on the best snow removal techniques that might be able to save your plants.  
Get that snow off!

If possible, get out into your garden and gently remove the snow with a broom or some other soft device during or immediately after the snowfall.  “If it’s practical, get out while it’s still snowing, maybe even one or two times,” Jeff says. Of course, he adds, it’s not foolproof advice, “I went over my arborvitae twice at home and they still bent over from the weight of the heavy snow.”

It’s best not to wait any length of time to remove the snow, especially if colder temperatures are forecasted, since snow will freeze onto the foliage or branches of the plants and be difficult to remove without causing further damage.


Jeff’s favorite method for getting the snow off low branches is to brush it off in a sideways motion using his entire arm.  That way the snow gets pushed off to the side without damaging the foliage, rather than wet clumps falling further down into the plant.  However, for tall arborvitae, you might need to be more inventive. There’s no real tool for this, so Olbrich’s horticulture staff has come with a few contraptions that make the job easier. “We use telescopic pole saws so we can adjust the height.  We remove the saw blades and attach a small flexible rake or a foam ball with a rag around it secured with duct tape.  You want something that’s soft on the plants and not so heavy to lift.” Even so, Jeff admits, your arms will get tired and your hands will get cold!

Well, sore back, tired arms and cold hands, it is winter in Wisconsin!