Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Second Best

Halloween is the second largest holiday for outdoor decorating, right behind Christmas.  No surprise that Christmas is number one, who doesn't need a pick me up during the dark, cold days of winter?

But Halloween does seem like an odd second, doesn't?  What about Thanksgiving?  Or Easter?  Or the 4th of July?  No, Halloween wins!

This year I came across quite a few yards and lawns with Halloween decorations on the near west side of Madison.  Some ghoulish, some classic and some just downright fun!  Some of these displays are best viewed at night when the real character of the holiday comes out.

Take a drive through your neighborhood in the next few days and enjoy the second best holiday, at least as far as outdoor decorating goes.  Check out the ghosts and ghouls and pumpkins of all shapes and sizes.  You'll find blow-up spiders, witches hanging from trees and graveyards galore.  Happy Halloween!


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Comfort Zone

A couple walked into my office a year ago and wanted to talk to a Realtor.  Yeah me!  We sat down in my office to discuss what they were looking for, in terms of location, size, price, timeline, etc.  As we talked, I also discovered they like to bike, camp, hike and garden.  Excellent information to have when looking for a new house.

As the discussion continued, I also tried to get a feel for their motivation for moving.  I learned they were living in rural Dodgeville on 30+ acres in a home that they had built.  They had some sentimental roots.  How were we ever going to find a place that had the home qualities they desired with the feeling of “space” that their rural property provided them?  A tall order! 

Something else was evident.  The wife was more excited about moving to Madison than the husband.  He was reserved and reluctant; perhaps he wasn’t fully committed to moving.  The husband loved his acreage!

We agreed to stay in touch and move forward.  We identified a search area on the near west side of Madison and began looking.  We looked at older homes and a few newer houses.  We looked at ranches, two-stories and even a few contemporary styles.  Winter came and the search slowed.  Last spring as the market began to gear up, we resumed the hunt.  And we expanded our area to include Fitchburg.  The husband also began to relish the idea of moving to Madison.

In the meantime, they readied their rural house for sale.  Late last spring they called in a bit of a panic.  Their house in rural Dodgeville had an accepted offer; time to intensify our efforts.  Fairly quickly we landed on a house in Fitchburg.  It was a very nice ranch home, close to the bike path.  It afforded some privacy and was in close proximity to nice restaurants and some shopping.  They liked it!  But the yard was tiny!  What??  From 30+ acres to less than a ¼ acre lot; actually, yes!

We prepared an offer.  There were counter-offers.  We inspected.  There were amendments.  We had a closing date.  Storage units were ordered.  Boxes were packed and packed and packed.  Their house out of town closed.  They were homeless for 10 days, but took the time to take a nice camping trip to relax before the next move to their new house. 

My clients moved into their new home late last summer.  They are as happy as can be.  While the yard is small, it provides plenty of space for planting perennials and annuals, trees and shrubs.  They are close to bike and hiking trails.  And they still camp. 

Some transactions happen quickly.  Others take more time to find the right property so that everyone is comfortable and on the same page; where all involved can get into their comfort zone.  Perhaps you know someone who wants to move (but maybe doesn’t know it yet).  Have them give me a call at 608.333.4406.  As always, I’m happy to help!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Market Normalization

The most common question I have been asked in recent weeks is, "Where did all the Buyers go?"

The Short Answer: Market Normalization.

The Long Answer: Buyers have gone nowhere. They are still here. They haven't left town in droves. There have been no large employers who have left our area; there have been no spikes in unemployment, no rises in interest rates, yet the number of showings on MLS listed properties are down across the board. So what has buyers holding back?

It's known as market normalization.  An analysis of local real estate sales going back to 2003 indicates that the housing market is simply returning to its old self again. Historically, people have always wanted to move by the time school is out in May. For those who miss that opportunity, they really really want to be moved by the time school starts up in September. It's the way the real estate market has performed for most of the past 30 years.

Why do we say, "most of the past 30 years" and not "every year"? The game changer known as, "The Great Recession."

Beginning as early as the second half of 2005, we saw inventory levels rising dramatically and sales numbers dropping equally as fast. Inventory levels rose from a low 3.5 month supply in late 2003 to a market high 18 month supply in January of 2008. That's right...right here in good old, stable Dane County, a supply of housing for sale that would last for nearly a year and a half without the addition of any newly listed properties.

So where are we now? With a current supply of approximately four months but lower activity levels, we seem to be back to where we were a decade or so ago in terms of supply and demand: A Normal Market. The good news in all this? In housing, as with the stock market, stability and predictability are good things. In housing, sellers can now better time their move and buyers know when to count on more choices becoming available.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

August 2014 Home Sales

It's not news that spring is the Real Estate market "season".  Typically, the market slows from mid-August to mid-September as buyers and sellers are more occupied with late summer vacations and the start of a new school year.  This trend was also true this year, however the home sales on the near west side of Madison continue to be strong.

Oh sure, there are some houses that don't sell as quickly, often a result of location, condition or price.  But that may also have been the case had those houses been listed in the spring.   See what sold...perhaps a neighbor or friend's house is listed below!

August home sales

1009 Saybrook Rd
401 Shepard Ter
3909 Euclid Ave
5217 Harbor Ct
4349 Felton Pl
445 Rushmore Ln
930 Haywood Dr
814 Blue Ridge Pkwy
2908 Arbor Dr
742 Oneida Pl
1017 Vilas Ave
223 Alden Dr
641 Eugenia Ave
4115 Cherokee Dr
638 Odell St
4338 Travis Ter
588 N Midvale Blvd Apt 302
5054 Lake Mendota Dr
317 Nautilus Dr
125 S Yellowstone Dr
409 Shepard Ter
622 Orchard Dr
9 Kewaunee Ct
1347 N Wingra Dr
480 Hilton Dr
425 Presidential Ln
1028 Erin St Apt 5
1226 Brookwood Rd
4502 Onaway Pass
504 Toepfer Ave
1014 Spruce St
653 Hilltop Dr
5022 Regent St
3513 Gregory St
909 Pontiac Trl
841 Terry Pl
608 N Midvale Blvd Unit 301
456 Virginia Ter
915 Columbia Rd
6006 Driftwood Ave
5525 Englewood Dr
1922 Keyes Ave
30 N Spooner St

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Monroe Street Changes

My office is on Monroe Street, so I spend a lot of time driving on Monroe.  If you do too, you have seen the changes happening up and down the street.

Some exciting changes are in store!  You may have seen "The Monroe" building going up in place of the old Town and Country service station on the 2600 block of Monroe.  Retail space on the first floor and apartments above are a nice improvement to the area.  Two long-time Monroe Street retailers have moved into the "The Monroe".  The Knitting Tree is now located at 2630 Monroe St. and the Monroe Street Shoe Repair is occupying space at 2630 Monroe St.

The 2500 block of Monroe is also under construction.  The space previously occupied by The Knitting Tree and The Monroe Street Shoe Repair is being renovated to house Collectivo Coffee with plans to open in early 2015.  Collectivo Coffee currently has one location in Madison on N. Pinckney at Tenney Plaza on the Capitol Square.  The Monroe Street location will provide a full-service cafĂ© offering breakfast and micro-brews.  The design of the new coffee shop proposes an open floor plan with large exterior windows to invite customers to connect with the sidewalk atmosphere of the location.

Additional changes are coming to Monroe Street on the 3400 block of Monroe St.  More on those changes in an upcoming post!