Greater Madison Wi Real Estate Blog

 

May 6, 2019

7 Ways to Improve Your Offer

How can you compete as a buyer in such a strong seller’s market like ours? Here are seven great strategies you can use.

Selling a home? Click here to check out our step-by-step home selling process.

The market can fluctuate, but when you’re a buyer in a strong seller’s market with lots of bidding wars, you want to make sure that you’re prepared to make a strong offer. Here are some tips to help make that happen:

 

1. Make a large earnest money deposit. A larger deposit shows that you have the financial means to back up your offer, and it removes any doubt from the mind of the seller and their agent. Non-refundable earnest money is even stronger, but it can be a little risky depending on the circumstances.

 

2. Make a large down payment. When the agent sees this, you’ll look even stronger financially.

 

3. A pre-approval letter from a well-known local lender. National lenders are a real pain to deal with. Local lenders are much more pleasant, and listing agents are going to lean toward these offers first.

 

4. Accommodate the seller’s closing date. Ask them ahead of time when their ideal closing date is and match that up in your offer.

 

5. Write a personal letter. This has become a lot more popular over the years, and it’s another great strategy to help you stand out in the eyes of a buyer.

 

6. Include an accelerator clause in your offer. Put in the highest offer you’re willing to with an accelerator clause. You can even write it to exceed the next highest offer by $1,000.

 

7. Inspection repair limits. This is a big concern for sellers. They think you’re going to nickel and dime them, but putting in a clause that you specifically won’t ask for nitpicky repairs is smart.

 

If you have any other questions for me about buying a home, selling a home, or about real estate in general, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Posted in Home Buying Tips
April 29, 2019

What Should You Know as We Head into Q2?

The first quarter of the year has passed and the numbers let us know that our market is still healthy. Here’s why. 

Selling a home? Click here to check out our step-by-step home selling process.

 

Today I have a market update for the first quarter of 2019. We compared what we saw at the end of Q1 in 2019 to what we saw at the same time last year. Here’s what you need to know:

 

In Dane County:

  • The number of sales was down 7% to 1,287
  • The average sale price was up 2% to $319,000

In Madison:

  • The number of sales was down 16% to 707
  • The average sale price was up 1% to $306,000

" Appreciation is pretty consistent across the board." 

 

In Deforest/Windsor:

  • The number of sales was up 10% to 67
  • The average sale price was down 1% to $307,000

In Sun Prairie:

  • The number of sales was up 15% to 145
  • The average sale price was down 2% to $294,000

In Waunakee/Vienna:

  • The number of sales was down 5% to 54
  • The average sale price was up 4% to $473,000

What does all this mean for you? We’re seeing total sales come down a bit, but our appreciation is pretty consistent across the board. If you have any questions about what’s going on in your neck of the woods, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I would love to hear from you soon.

Posted in Market Update
April 16, 2019

Why a Price Quote Shouldn’t Make a Difference in Your Agent Decision

Should you hire the agent who tells you that your home will sell for the highest price? No, but here’s the type of agent you should hire. 

Selling a home? Click here to check out our step-by-step home selling process.

 

A house is only worth what it’s worth, no matter who you talk to. Many agents out there will tell you that your home is worth much more than it really is in order to get your business. We do things a little bit differently at the Brad Bret Team.

 

We search a radius within one to three miles of your house, look for comparable homes that have sold in the last three months, and come up with a range of your home’s value. We look at pictures, compare characteristics, and come up with a value where your home fits in with other similar houses.

 

When an agent comes in and tells you a home is worth $300,000, ask for proof. There’s no denying what a house it’s worth, but it’s all based on interpretation.

 

If you have any questions for us in the meantime, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.

Posted in Home Buying Tips
March 29, 2019

Buyers: Avoid These 6 Mistakes in a Seller’s Market

Avoid these mistakes if you’re trying to buy a home during a seller’s market. 

Selling a home? Click here to check out our step-by-step home selling process.

 

There are six big mistakes that buyers often make in a seller’s market:

 

1. Not making your best offer. If you think you’ll have a chance to negotiate or receive a counteroffer, you probably won’t. In a hot seller’s market, tons of buyers are putting in offers, and the highest one will usually win.

 

2. Overanalyzing the purchase price. You can’t look at assessed values, appraisals, etc. Look at the price, look at the market, have your agent do some research, and find out what it’s worth right now. With this estimate, you can put your best offer forward.

 

3. Working with an inexperienced agent. An agent who is part-time or new in the business simply won’t have the right advice. They don’t fully understand the market yet, and their guidance will be limited.

 

4. Not getting pre-approved. If you jump into the market without knowing what you can afford, you’re wasting everyone’s time. Your first step should be getting pre-approved. 

" An agent who is part-time or new in the business simply won’t have the right advice." 

 

5. Not being prepared for a bidding war. There’s likely going to be a lot of competition, which means there will be bidding wars. If you’re not prepared, you won’t be able to hold your ground very well.

 

6. Not learning from your mistakes. If your offer isn’t accepted the first time around, it’s time to take it as a lesson and do things differently the next time. If you continue using the same strategy that didn’t work, you’ll get the same failed results.

 

If you’d like to find out how we help buyers for free, if you have any questions, or if you’d like further information, feel free to reach out to me. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Posted in Home Buying Tips
March 15, 2019

5 Things That Can Sabotage Your Home Sale

If you plan on selling your home, here are several tips that will help you fix it up so it looks its best for the market.  

Selling a home? Click here to check out our step-by-step home selling process.

 

If you plan on selling your home sometime in the near future, you should start prepping it for the market six to 12 months before you want to officially list it. During that time, here are the eight most important fix-ups you should consider doing:

 

1. Paint the home a neutral color. This gives it a clean, fresh look.

 

2. Replace old flooring. There is some fairly affordable flooring you can install, and homebuyers these days like the solid-surface options.

 

3. Update the light fixtures. If you have old light fixtures, it’s pretty easy and inexpensive to install some new ones.

 

4. Update the cabinet hardware. Try adding some new handles and pulls to match the new fixtures you’re installing. If your cabinets are old, repainting them will also give you a great return on your investment.

 

5. Trim the bushes and add fresh mulch. This will definitely amp up your home’s curb appeal

 

6. Power wash the outside. I don’t know about you, but my house gathers moss on its sides all the time, and that’s exactly the kind of thing you don’t want buyers seeing during a walk-through, so give your home a good power wash. 

" If your cabinets are old, repainting them will also give you a great return on your investment. " 

 

7. Paint or change your front door. This is the first thing buyers see when they walk up to the home, so make sure there’s no chipped paint or anything like that.

 

8. Get your floors or carpets professionally cleaned. This truly makes a world of difference for buyers who walk into your house.

 

If you’d like to start prepping your home for the market right now, give me a call so I can walk through it for you and advise you on which items to address specifically.

 

As always, if you have any other real estate questions, feel free to reach out to me as well. I’d be happy to help you.

 

Posted in Home Selling Tips
March 4, 2019

The 9 Essential Steps of the Home Buying Process

There are nine steps to the home buying process that you need to know. 

Selling a home? Click here to check out our step-by-step home selling process.

 

Thinking of buying a home soon? Here are the nine steps you’ll need to take:

 

1. Get pre-approved. Make sure you talk to a mortgage lender and provide them with all your necessary financial documents. This will let you know what you can afford so you don’t waste time looking at houses that are out of your price range.

 

2. Meet with an agent. Do your homework and see what you can find out about all the local agents in your area. Don’t just work with someone you cross paths with at an open house.

 

3. Set up a home search. The parameters should include how much you’re approved for and what you can afford. From there, you can narrow down your criteria.

 

4. Go out and look at homes. Pick several that fit your search criteria. These days, you can search online and get a pretty good idea of what you want before you even have to set foot outside.

 

5. Make an offer. Your agent should perform the necessary research about the home you want and its surrounding neighborhood in order for you to make an educated offer.

 

6. Start the mortgage process. After your offer is accepted, you’ll give that offer to your mortgage lender so they can start the mortgage process. 

"This is an important process, so you need to have a competent agent by your side." 

 

7. Schedule tests and inspections. Among other things, this means a home inspection and a radon test.

 

8. Negotiate the repairs. If any structural or mechanical issues are found within the home during the inspection, you’ll negotiate with the seller and come to some sort of resolution over how they get fixed.

 

9. Close the sale. At this point, it’s all a matter of making sure all your documents are in order and that you’ve crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s.

 

This is an important process, so you need to have a competent agent by your side. If you don’t, your home purchase can turn into a nightmare.

 

If you have any more questions about the home buying process or you have any other real estate needs at all, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d love to help you.

Posted in Home Buying Tips
Feb. 15, 2019

The All-Important Questions You Should Be Asking Your Agent

In today’s message, I’ll lay out the full list of questions any homebuyer should be asking their potential agent. 

Selling a home? Click here to check out our step-by-step home selling process.

 

Did you know that 80% of homebuyers will work with the first agent they come in contact with? That’s an alarming number given the fact that not all agents are created equal.

 

You don’t want to take the easy route, though, and get stuck with an agent who is less than stellar. The best way to avoid this is to do some research on the agent and compare their credentials against some basic criteria.

 

Are they part-time or full-time? I work with plenty of part-time agents who are overtly scattered, disorganized, and make it very apparent that they work other jobs.

 

What kind of experience do they have? Maybe the agent has been in business for 20 years and sells five homes a year on average or it could be that they’ve worked in the business for five years but, on average, sell 20 to 30 homes yearly.

 

Also, regard certain team models with caution—some teams are made up of 30 agents and say they sell up to 300 homes a year but disguise individual productivity by adding their home sale totals into one.

"Asking yourself whether or not your agent is likable should precede all previous questions I’ve mentioned." 

 

Do they have systems built? Assess whether or not they have proven systems in place that will guide you through the buying process.

 

Are they tech-savvy? If the extent of an agent’s technological reach is using fax machines, and they’re what you’d consider “old school,” they’re probably lacking the tools necessary to serve you at the highest level in this digital age.

 

Are they detail-oriented? Your agent should be thorough and shouldn’t leave messes behind for other agents to clean up.

 

Are they flexible? Find out if you can cancel the buyer agency agreement if you’re not happy with the service.

 

Are they likable? Though this is coming in last, asking yourself whether or not your agent is likable should precede all previous questions I’ve mentioned. From there, you can begin to determine if the other factors fall into place.

 

If you have other questions or you need more information related to real estate, visit our website at BradBret.com or give us a call. We look forward to speaking with you!

Feb. 1, 2019

Looking Back at How Our Market Has Evolved Over the Last Year

Our real estate market has changed drastically in the last five years. Here’s what you need to know. 

Selling a home? Click here to check out our step-by-step home selling process.

 

Since we’re starting a new year, I want to talk about our area’s market reports from over the last few years.

 Let’s start with Dane County. In 2018, we saw 7,965 sales. This figure is down by 1% from 2017, but our average sale price is up 5% to $316,000 during the same time period. Over the last five years, the average sale price is up 18% and the number of sales is up 13%.

In the DeForest area, we saw 351 sales in 2018, which is down 14% from the figure we saw in 2017. However, the average sale price increased by 2% to $306,000. Over the last five years, the number of sales has gone up by 20%, while the average sale price has increased by 21%.

"Total sales may have dropped, but home prices have continued to increase.

 

For Sun Prairie, we’ve had 860 home sales in each of the last two years. The average sale price has increased by 7% from 2017 and is now up to $287,000. In the last five years, the number of sales in Sun Prairie has increased by 16%, while the average sale price has gone up by 20%.

While total sales are flat or have dropped, home prices continue to increase, and we’ve had a great run for the last five years. If you’re a home seller, you’re in great shape. If you’re a buyer, I’d consider getting into the market when it’s slower, like it is now, and before prices start to ramp up even higher come February and March.

If you have any questions for me about the value of your home in today’s market or anything else related to real estate, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Posted in Market Update
Jan. 7, 2019

Assessment vs. Appraisal: What’s the Difference?

The next time a friend bemoans the bank’s assessment of their home, correct them! What they’re upset over is actually called an appraisal. 

Selling a home? Click here to check out our step-by-step home selling process.

 

Today we’ll be clearing up some misconceptions about what assessments and appraisals are.

 

An appraisal is ordered by a bank and dictates the value of a property. Done for financing purposes, it’s found by researching comparable property in the area; this is similar to how an agent finds the value of your home. An appraisal is required for a mortgage.

"You have to be careful with appraisals—more times than not, they’re inaccurate.

 

Appraisals, which are ordered by the bank, evaluate your property's market value. What they do is find a ballpark value that is used to calculate your tax basis. Your home is assessed when you buy it, and any future reassessments are based on local area sales.

 

Somebody once told me appraisals aren’t worth the paper they’re written on, and I’ve seen this to be true. A client of mine had their home appraised at $400,000, but the market showed it was only worth around $325,000 (which is what it later sold for). You have to be careful with appraisals—more often than not, they’re inaccurate.

 

If you have any questions or need more information, feel free to reach out to us. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Posted in Home Selling Tips
Dec. 20, 2018

An Important Message About Market Timing

If you’ve ever wondered about which time of year is best for sellers, today’s message is for you. 

Selling a home? Click here to check out our step by step home selling process.

 

Proper timing is a major component of any real estate sale. So when is the best time of year to list your home?

 

Without fail, the ideal window for sellers is between February 1 and May 31. This range can obviously start a few days sooner or end a few days later, but this general time frame is when sellers will find the greatest opportunity to succeed.

 

So if you’re thinking of selling, start planning now. This will ensure that you’ll be ready to list by the time February rolls around.

 

As for when you shouldn’t list, there are a couple of specific times during which our market underperforms compared to the rest of the year. July, for whatever reason, is not a good month for sellers. Selling during Thanksgiving or Christmas may also prove difficult.

"If you’re thinking of selling, start planning now.

 

Of course, the way you time your sale should also reflect what’s happening in the market at a given moment. You can find more information about our area market by visiting www.bradbret.com.

 

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Posted in Home Selling Tips