Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Trip to the Drug Store

It was an ordinary day.  I was climbing into my car after a brief stop at the drug store when I heard someone call my name.  I looked around but I didn’t see anyone I knew.  A minute later, my neighbor Becky was standing next to my car door.

“You’re a Realtor, aren’t you?”  She asked.  When I answered yes, she explained that she and her husband David were looking for a small house for their son.  He had been living with them for some time and it was time for him to be on his own.  Becky and David did have some criteria; it needed to be close to their own home, small and within a certain price range.  This would also be a place that David could tinker and Becky could garden – she has a beautiful garden of her own, but as everyone knows, gardeners never have enough space! 

While this was an investment for them, they were also in need of someone to talk with about how best to finance the new purchase.  They are both retired and retirement funds were available, but perhaps there was a better way to finance the transaction.  I put Becky and David in touch with a lender who is confidential, provides great service and is just an all-around great person. 

We exchanged e-mails and I promised to be in touch with some possibilities.

Over the course of the next few weeks, the e-mails and phone calls were flying with potential houses for their son.  We passed on some, looked at several and settled on one that they thought would be the perfect place for him.  After taking their son through the house and discussing it as a family, they decided to make an offer.  As is typical, there was some negotiation and in the end all came together.

We got through the inspection.  We got through the financing.  We got to the closing table.  All is good!

A few weeks later, I saw David and Becky in the neighborhood.  I inquired about their son and the new house.  They were all delighted!  In fact, Becky thanked me for putting them in touch with a lender who understood their needs.  She said if she ever needed a Realtor again, she would be calling me.  That statement made my day!  Heck, it made my week!

I have a mentor who has told me, “You never know where you will run into your next client”.  She is right.    Who knew that a visit to the drug store would end with a new, happy client who happened to live just down the street from me!

I haven’t taken to hanging out at the drug store in hopes of locating another home buyer, but you really do never know.  Maybe you know someone looking to purchase a new home for their son or daughter or parent.   If I’m not at the drug store, you can always shoot me an e-mail or give me a call at (608) 333-4406.  I’d be happy to help!

Friday, March 7, 2014

March comes in like a lion and out like a....REALLY REALLY BIG LION

As the 2014 selling season, pining for a break from the frigid temperatures, attempts to get up to full speed, we are seeing the market shape up exactly as predicted some months back: Extreme inventory shortages. The good news: Many homeowners who were previously underwater on their homes (owing more on their home than it was worth) are now finding an exit strategy as prices continue to rise. We are also seeing builders recover and are finding not only signed building contracts for completion, but reduced risks in the speculation building market which will get them going again too. For this we are all eternally grateful.

On the buyer's side, the current market can be a bit frustrating. Many homes are selling quickly, some with multiple offers resulting in sales at or even above asking price. We are seeing open house traffic in excess of 20 groups of visitors at some locations, so we know people are ready to buy. The big question right now is: At what point does the market become balanced?

The current Board of the Federal Reserve has stated they will continue to reduce stimulus as the economy improves. To date they have, after each meeting since last year, reduced the amount of mortgage backed securities they will purchase. Interest rates, while not spiking per se, have increased enough to cause the home affordability index to decline modestly. One need not be a rocket scientist to figure out that with prices and interest rates both on the incline, it is best for buyers to jump into the market now before it gets too hot, both literally and figuratively, which leads us to the lion/weather analogy in our title line:

The extremely cold weather has kept some buyers inside and away from open houses. We believe, but certainly cannot guarantee, that the temperatures will rise towards the end of March. When they do, it will be a wide open throttle and very hot market into the summer...even faster paced than what we are seeing now. Sellers wishing to avoid a possible slowdown in the market as interest rates continue to rise should contact me right now to work on staging, pricing and pre-marketing. We will then be fully prepared for the spring market.

As always, I thank you for taking the time to visit this blog.  If I can ever help you or your family with Real Estate questions or needs, I'm here to help!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Kindness Connection

A few days ago I received a message from a colleague of mine with a link to a YouTube video that made my day.  In fact, I've watched the video five times and I've shown it to several friends!

I was so moved by the video that I decided to embark on something new I'm calling the Kindness Connection.  During the month of March, I plan to provide random acts of kindness to people around me.  They won't be huge, elaborate acts, just everyday niceties.  Perhaps I'll pay for someone's coffee, or drop a book off to a friend, or look in on an elderly neighbor.

We all participate in acts of kindness, but they are usually the result of a previous event; a death in the family or a scheduled surgery.  What I'm talking about are acts of kindness that aren't tied to an event.  They are truly random.

I'll keep you updated on my progress.  Join me if you like and let me know how you are doing.  It might be just what we need to get to spring!