Greater Madison Wi Real Estate Blog

 

July 12, 2019

Here’s the Best Time to Buy in Our Market



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

 

When’s the best time to buy a home? 

You might be thinking that, during a seller’s market, there’s never a good time to buy, but you’d be wrong—July is a great time to buy. 

You see, the market typically goes heavy from the beginning of February to the end of May before tailing off in June. Then, right around the Fourth of July, things get really slow. I’ve been telling buyers this for years, and every year this same scenario plays out. 

So if you’re looking to buy, now’s the time to do it. If you’d like to get started on the home buying process or you have any other real estate questions for me, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I’d love to help you. 

 

Posted in Home Buying Tips
June 20, 2019

Should Homeowners Do Their Own DIY Projects?


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

There’s nothing wrong with doing some DIY projects to your home if you’re skilled. If you’re not skilled, however, it can be a big problem. We run into it constantly when we go through houses. Some stuff looks really good, but there always tends to be a lot of unfinished jobs simply because the homeowners doing them aren’t professionals. You might not notice the imperfections, but we do, and the buyer’s agent probably will too.

Make sure that if you’re going to do some upgrades or improvements to your home before you sell it, it’s done right. There’s nothing wrong with doing things yourself, but make sure you finish it and that it looks good. If it’s done improperly, you’re much less likely to get a return on your investment.

I’m a DIY guy myself and I can tell you right now that I’ve learned a lot of things and can tell you about some of my imperfections as well. Make sure you’ve got it all done and it looks right.

If you have any questions for me, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

June 6, 2019

How Buyer Agency Applies to Homebuyers

 

Buyer agency is when you sign an agreement with your agent that gives them the right to represent you. There are a couple of things to remember about this agreement, though.

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

 

What is buyer agency?

Buyer agency is a free service in which your agent’s commission is paid by the seller. Basically, you sign an agreement with your agent that gives them the right to represent you and look out for your best interests.

There are a couple of things to be cautious of before you agree to buyer agency, though.

First, make sure any agreement you sign has a cancelation clause so that you can opt out of it if you want. Oftentimes, buyers sign an agency agreement for six or 12 months only to find out a week later that their agent isn’t very good. This is why all of our agency agreements feature a cancelation clause. We feel that we need to earn your business and build your trust, and that doesn’t happen in a week.

Next, don’t hire the first agent you run into at an open house. Do some research before picking one. Find out how long they’ve been in the business, what areas they work in, and what their reviews say. You might get along with them great, but that doesn’t mean they know what they’re doing.

In addition to being competent, you need an agent who’s highly responsive. Homes are flying off the shelves these days, and you need to be aware of listings the day they hit the market. I’ve gotten many calls from buyers asking me to show them a home because their own agent is unavailable. If your agent doesn’t have someone to cover for them if they’re on vacation, you got the wrong agent.

If you have any questions about this topic or you’d like to know your home’s value, feel free to give us a call or send us an email. I’d be happy to help you.

Posted in Home Buying Tips
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!