Tuesday, February 25, 2014

January Home Sales

Wondering what the house down the road sold for last month?  Or perhaps the one around the corner?  Here's a list of home sales on the near west side of Madison in January.  It's not a complete list, but does give a snap shot of what's happening in the Real Estate market in our neighborhoods.

January 2014 Home Sales

6321 Alison Ln
4920 Hammersley Rd
730 Oneida Pl
5323 Brody Dr Unit 204
4918 Holiday Dr
5006 Lake Mendota Dr
5029 Tomahawk Trl
3534 Topping Rd
421 S Mills St
209 S Segoe Rd
817 Sauk Ridge Trl
555 S Midvale Blvd Unit 318
2810 Gregory St
3417 Stevens St
1008 Ridgewood Way
5114 Flambeau Rd
1202 Edgehill Dr
3538 Heather Crst
1137 Erin St Unit 102
2320 West Lawn Ave
917 Haywood Dr
489 Woodside Ter
608 N Midvale Blvd Unit 201
228 Westmorland Blvd
503 Sheldon St
5144 Spring Ct
45 Cherokee Cir Unit 104
454 S Owen Dr
5302 Hammersley Rd
6325 Stonefield Rd
542 Piper Dr
1110 Pauline Ave
517 Bordner Dr
2506 Kendall Ave
1022 Mound St
$10,032,190 *
107 S Mills St
$10,032,190 *
314 Cheyenne Trl
$442,770 *
475 Agnes Dr
$241,528 *
517 Charles Ln
$332,500 *
3902 Priscilla Ln
6416 Offshore Dr
$200,830 *
4325 Travis Ter

* Prices are estimated. Actual sales price una

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

First Open House

I was holding an open house for a colleague of mine one Sunday afternoon last spring.  It was a darling house in the Dudgeon-Monroe neighborhood.  I was greeting guests as they arrived and telling them about the house.

Amanda and Toby arrived and announced that this was their first open house.  “Great”, I said.  “Here’s some information about the house.”  Amanda replied that this was their first open house…ever!  I wish I’d had balloons, flowers, confetti, celebration music or at least a cookie to commemorate the moment.  I didn’t have any of these, but I did have a great sense of the house, the neighborhood and a willingness to help.  They were nervous, apprehensive of the open house “protocol” and unsure about how to proceed.   We had a great conversation that day and I put them on my radar to keep them posted about upcoming properties that may fit their criteria.

The timing of their ideal move-in date had changed since our initial meeting at the open house.  This young couple had a lot on their plate; Toby was graduating from the University, he was slated to begin a new job and Amanda was newly pregnant with their first child. 

A few weeks later, after looking at several homes, we found a property that was a good match for what they were looking for.  A second look confirmed it, so we wrote an offer.  After much negotiating – it was a multiple offer situation -  Amanda and Toby didn’t get the house.  Rats!  Back to the drawing board.

More looking, more conversations, more looking.  Another potential house came on the market in a neighborhood they liked a little better.    Again, it was a multiple offer situation.  We put our best offer together and it was accepted!  Amanda and Toby were elated!

The young couple has since moved into their new home and added an infant son to their household. They were able to make a few changes to the house before they moved in, which was ideal before the arrival of the baby.  I wouldn’t say the graduation, new job, home purchase and move were stress-free, but I will say that it all worked out wonderfully and they have settled into their new home and neighborhood.

An interesting side-note, this house was a For-Sale-By Owner property, so additional diligence on my part was necessary since there was not a Realtor on the other end of the transaction.  After the closing, I received a note from the seller saying how happy she was to have worked with me and she was so happy that everything worked out so smoothly!  Bonus!

 2013 was a year where buyers were ready to buy, but inventory was low.  Persistence was the name of the game.  I anticipate that 2014 will be similar.  Perhaps you know someone who, like Amanda and Toby, are new to the home-buying process and could benefit from my help.  Have them give me a call at (608) 333-4406 or shoot me an e-mail at kepping@restainohomes.com  I’d be happy to help!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Run Dog Run

Two dogs live across the street from me.  One lives next door and another lives in the house behind me.  I have a dog, my two sisters each have a Labrador and so does my brother.  Dog lovers abound in Madison.  As any dog-owner knows, dogs need to run and play.  So I was elated to learn that later this year the Madison Parks Department is opening a new off-leash dog park at Odana School Park on Segoe Rd. located behind the new HyVee.

This location is the former Odana School.  Many years ago there was a fire at the school and it closed.  In recent years, the building has been home to Epic and the adjoining land was converted to a city park with soccer fields and basketball courts.  This new dog park will be a welcome addition!

As with all Madison dog parks, there are rules.  All dogs must be licensed with the city and have a dog park permit.  Dogs are not allowed in children's play areas or athletic fields.

When your dog is driving you crazy for lack of exercise, check out the new park at Odana School Park.   I'll be there, probably with my sisters, brother and neighbors - and our four-legged friends, of course.  Run dog run!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Groundhog's Day and the Super Bowl

How are Groundhog Day the Super Bowl and Real Estate related?  Let me explain.
On the groundhog front, in a rare case of unanimous agreement, Jimmy the Groundhog in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, Punxutawny Phil in Pennsylvania and Staten Island Chuck all saw their shadows on Groundhog Day, indicating that we will likely experience 6 more weeks of low temperatures. The interest rate forecast however is quite different, with the chances of us enjoying 6 more weeks of low rates becoming increasingly unlikely.

In another, also rare but unanimous agreement, the Federal Reserve Board at their January 29th meeting opted to cut back their bond purchases by another 10 billion per month, further dismantling the economic stimulus campaign it started a few years back. The feeling by the Fed is that the underlying strength in the broader economy continues to grow. How can such good news about the strength of the economy be bad news for home buyers? In short, fewer bond purchases by the Fed means increased interest rates on home loans for Buyers which in turn translates to increased competition between Buyers trying to get an accepted offer and an attractive loan locked in before the next rate increase.

Adding to the fervor is the seasonal increase in housing activity that takes place immediately following the Super Bowl. Using history as our guide, we have consistently seen that the national focus changes rapidly from, "Who had the best TV commercial?" to "How do we get moved into our new home before the end of May?" Listing activity increases dramatically as do things like Open House attendance and the number of homes likely to receive more than one offer at a time. The lack of available inventory, which is being seen in Madison as well as nationally, means Buyers are taking strong action fast and many Sellers whose homes were previously underwater for equity, are now seeing increased value along with some long overdue light at the end of the tunnel.

Our best advice right now? Buyers should get preapproved immediately and start the home search ASAP.  Being familiar with market offerings and having your lender ready to act quickly will be key to helping you make an informed decision in a fast paced market. For home sellers, my advice is to call on me to prepare a market analysis of your home's value right now. Even valuations as old as 90 days may no longer be accurate given the current atmosphere of imbalanced supply and demand. The time is now.  If 2014 is anything like 2013, and I expect it will be, the housing market will be HOT by mid-February.   I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have and I'd be honored to have the opportunity to earn your trust and your business.