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La Crosse Real Estate Blog

Judy Gull


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 34

Owners Rush to Prepay Property Taxes Before Losing Benefits

by Source: “Homeowners Scramble to Pre-Pay Property T

With tax reform signed into law, homeowners in areas with high property taxes are scrambling to prepay their 2018 tax bill in order to take advantage of deductions that will be severely curtailed once the legislation takes effect Jan. 1. The new tax law, which Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed last week, caps the amount of state, local, and property taxes that homeowners can deduct at $10,000.

Some counties already allow for prepayment of taxes, while others are rushing to provide residents the ability to do so after strong demand. For example, local officials in Montgomery County, Md., say they’re fielding requests to prepay taxes for the first time ever, which prompted them to hold a special meeting the day after Christmas to come up with a plan.

“It just never came up [before],” George Leventhal, a Montgomery County councilman, told CNNMoney. “No one was saying, ‘Please let me make early payment of a bill I don’t owe yet.’ Wise cash management suggests you should pay closer to the due date, not farther away. But because of this change, it seems it could be possible that people could derive some benefit and deduct their property taxes for next year in 2017.”

Nearly half of the county’s taxpayers have more than $10,000 in combined state and local taxes, Leventhal says.

Still, there’s no guarantee homeowners who prepay their 2018 property taxes will be able to deduct the payment. On Wednesday, the IRS posted to its website an advisory notice that said prepaying property taxes will work only under limited circumstances. To qualify for the deduction, property taxes will need to be paid in 2017—but they also must be assessed in 2017. That means homeowners who prepaid their taxes based on estimated assessments or who tried to pay several years’ worth of taxes at once will likely still face the new limited deductions, The New York Times reports. 

Source: “Homeowners Scramble to Pre-Pay Property Taxes,” CNNMoney (Dec. 27, 2017) and “Prepaying Your Property Tax? IRS Cautions It Might Not Pay Off,” The New York Times (Dec. 27, 2017)

***Depersonalizing To Sell Your Home!!!***

by Judy Gull

For More Information, or Help Getting "Fit To Sell" Contact Me:

Cell: 608-304-4855  | |  

Office Direct: 608-781-7714


Did you receive a nice chunk of change with your tax return? Consider using it for home improvement projects that will increase your home's curb appeal. The following upgrades are all under $3,000.

1. Replace door No. 1
As one of the first things a prospective buyer sees, your front door is critical to your home's curb appeal. Buy a new door and spruce it up with shiny new knobs, locks and knockers. An energy-efficient door can help you save money on bills and may make you eligible for federal tax credits next year.

2. Refresh the garage
That dented garage door panel you no longer notice? Prospective buyers will. Two new garage doors will set you back just under $3,000 and do wonders for spiffing up your home's exterior.

3. Get lit
Illuminating your walkway, installing motion-sensor lights or adding lighting fixtures that highlight your home's architectural features or landscaping help your property look as appealing at night as it does during the day. Added light also helps keep your property secure.

4. Add outdoor living space
Decks and patios are among the top features buyers look for. Use your refund to install a stamped-concrete patio or a small deck, and it's almost like adding another room to your home.

For More Information, or Help Boosting Your Home's Exterior -

Contact Me |  Cell: 608-304-4855  | |  

Office Direct: 608-781-7714



***Advice To Improve Your Winter Curb Appeal!!!***

by Judy Gull

Types of Mortgage Loans

by Lori Corken

Types of Mortgage Loans

Investing in a home is a tough assessment as you have to learn everything that is important to purchasing a property – such as what sort of taxes to expect, how to get the most out of your property, and how you are going to pay for that property. In order to afford real estate, you will want to get a mortgage loan that is right for your situation. Not every mortgage loan is going to be right for you, so knowing what each type entails will benefit you in paying off that loan. Here are some of the most popular loans for homebuyers and some information about them.


Fixed-rate home loans are highly popular for many different reasons. As one of the oldest forms of mortgage loans, you are able to choose from 10, 15, 20, 30, and even 50-year fixed-rate mortgages depending on the amount you need and how much you can afford every month. Fixed-rate means that the interest is going to stay the same for the whole duration of the loan, meaning that you are going to know exactly how much you owe every month because it is never going to change. This is popular because many homebuyers have a budget to stick to, and knowing what that payment is, is beneficial for them. However, this means that if interest rates fall in the real estate market, you will be paying a higher rate for your home than what you could be paying.


That is why some people choose adjustable-rate mortgages, another highly popular mortgage loan. Adjustable-rate mortgages, or variable-rate mortgages, offer you a lower interest rate at the beginning, a large benefit for those that are seeking lower payments. The interest rate will change every year, so if interest rates fall you will be paying a lower interest rate overall. The downfall to this is that if the interest rates go up, you could find yourself paying for more than you can afford and you are not going to know exactly how much the payment is going to be.


Federal Housing Administration loans (FHA) are also highly popular as those that cannot always qualify for a loan can receive one low down payment on a loan with FHA. This is something that first-time homebuyers can benefit from, or someone that has a bad credit score. The downfall is that the size of the loan can be limited so you might not receive as much as you need with an FHA loan.


These are just a few of the mortgage loans that are offered to homebuyers and they tend to be the most popular ones offered. If you are looking into purchasing a home, one of these three are going to be the easiest and most popular that you come by.


About the Author

Real Estate Agent Lori Corken is pleased to bring you this article on different types of mortgage loans. Lori deals with primarily luxury homes in Parker Colorado and Castle Rock Colorado. If you are interested, please check out her website at

Riverfest Lights up Independence Day in La Crosse

by Judy Gull

The annual family fun fest that is the La Crosse Riverfest will take place during the week of the Fourth of July - from Wednesday, July 3 through Saturday, July 6. The promoters of this year’s spectacular four-day party will go out of their way to ensure it provides "something for everyone" in the community, and surrounding Mississippi River bluffs region, to enjoy.

La Crosse's beautiful Riverside Park (located on the 100 Block of State Street) has played host to Riverfest ever since its inception way back in 1983. In addition to the sparkling and explosive Fourth of July fireworks show at about 10 p.m., launched over the Mississippi River by the La Crosse Skyrockers and sponsored by the La Crosse Jaycees, Riverfest offers a plethora of entertainment, food experiences, arts and crafts, a children's parade, outdoor family movie, and more.

The fun officially begins when Riverside Park opens its Riverfest gates at 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 3. Highlighting the musical part of the event is the band Cheap Trick, scheduled to take the Kaplan University Main Stage at about 9 p.m. on opening night. Some of the other notable entertainers scheduled to perform at Riverfest include the El Caminos, a Hypnotist Show, the Southern Bluffs Wizards Jump Rope Team, and the Warriors Baton and Drum Corps.

Food and beverage vendors at the festival run the gamut, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • A&W Family Restaurant
  • Ciatti’s
  • Famous Dave’s
  • Fazoli’s
  • Seven Bridges
  • Culinary Visions
  • Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

You can begin your own personal access to Riverfest today, by purchasing an official Riverfest button. Not only are these buttons stylish and cool looking, but the financial contributions gathered from these little buttons will allow the sponsors of the event to donate more than $60,000 to numerous community organizations.

If you act fast, you can still purchase Riverfest buttons online. During the transaction, you will have the option of either picking up your buttons at the Riverfest Office near the north end of Riverside Park, or having them mailed to you at an additional cost for shipping and handling.

The buttons cost $5 each before Riverfest kicks off, and $7 at the gate. Buttons will not be available via the web once the party starts.

For the full schedule, Events Calendar, Entertainment Listing and any other information relevant to Riverfest 2013, visit RIVERFEST.

The city of La Crosse, Wisconsin, resting along the banks and amid the bluffs of the mighty Mississippi River, offers residents and visitors alike an incredible opportunity – delightful travel on one of the most famous rivers in all of America. Experience the Mighty Mississippi’s wild splendor and breathtaking beauty by taking a cruise aboard one of La Crosse's riverboat tour companies such as Mississippi Explorer Cruises or old-world paddleboat cruises aboard the La Crosse Queen.

The La Crosse Queen is a life-size replica of a 19th century riverboat that also happens to offer a number of essential, and not-necessarily essential, modern-day conveniences and services. This matriarchal riverboat (regularly inspected by the United States Coast Guard), is licensed to easily transport a maximum of 149 passengers.

There have actually been six previous vessels christened with the name ‘La Crosse Queen’ that have plied the pools and backwaters of the Mississippi River from the city of La Crosse's Riverside Park. So, it is aboard the La Crosse Queen VII, launched on its maiden voyage in 2008, where you will enjoy your sightseeing and excursion cruises today.

As indicated above, what you will see and do on these cruises depends on the specific type of cruise you decide to book. The first decision you will have to make is whether you want to take one of the various public cruises, or explore the option of chartering a much more intimate private cruise. Some packages include the following:

Public Cruises

Cocktail, Dinner and Sunday Brunch Cruises - These are typically two-hour tours where food, beverages and relaxation are the primary highlights - next to the mighty Mississippi River and surrounding scenery, of course.

Interactive Wildlife Eco-Tour and Sightseeing Cruises - These are typically laid back, casual, 90-minute affairs, on which you are given a guided tour up and down the river. Your guide will provide you with descriptions of some of the scenery and wildlife, as well as entertain you with interesting factual and trivial bits of information about the various points of interest.

Private Chartered Cruises

When you charter a Mississippi riverboat, you are often allowed to customize your experience to best suit your needs - within reason, of course. Departure times, river routes, and the length of time for your trip, are some of the common options available while planning your cruise. Food service, entertainment and cocktails are possible available amenities, if desired.

The weather is always a mercurial guest in this part of the country, and is the primary reason that most, if not all, riverboat cruises operate only from May to October.

La Crosse Housing Market Strong in April

by Judy Gull

These are good times to be a home buyer in the great state of Wisconsin, although one could also say that these are good times to be a home seller as well, here in the lovely Mississippi River bluffs city of La Crosse.

The primary reasons for optimism come to us from the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (WRA) and its 2013 April Home Sales Report. In summary, this statistical report shows that in spite of steadily growing home prices, housing in Wisconsin continues to be comparatively affordable.

The Wisconsin Housing Affordability Index - which measures the percentage of homes that a median income family can typically afford to purchase, given the availability of a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 20 percent down payment - held strong at 255 in the month of April. In comparison, the National Association of REALTORS'® (NAR's) United States Housing Affordability Index for this year's first quarter was 197.

La Crosse's median home price jumped from $127,000 in April 2012 to $149,000, an increase of more than 17 percent. This elevated sticker price did not seem to do much to temper home buyers' enthusiasm because during that same time frame, home sales in La Crosse registered a 9.5 percent rise.

WRA's 2013 April Home Sales Report also shows that although the median home price rose to $138,000 (a solid 7.8 percent price increase) the total existing home sales for the entire state during the past year saw a 9.20 percent volume increase.

  Median Price Sales
  4/13 4/12 % Change 4/13 4/12 % Change
La Crosse $149,000 $127,000 17.30% 115 105 9.50%
Statewide $138,000 $128,000 7.80% 5863 5367 9.20%

According to Renny Diedrich, the chairman of the board of directors for WRA, the upward mobility trend for La Crosse, and the state of Wisconsin in general, represented in its report is no fluke. Rather, it marks the state's 22nd consecutive month in which home sales growth was positive. Diedrich says that not only is the current pace of home sales solid, it's also sustainable, which offers us yet another encouraging sign that the United States' housing market is making a healthy recovery from its all-too-recent nosedive.

The WSA's statistical report also shows that the overall housing sales for the entire nation, in the year's first fiscal quarter, enjoyed a 9.8 percent increase. Here in America's Dairyland, home sales numbers attained an almost 12 percent jump over the figures from the first quarter in 2012.

At Home with Judy....Spring Checklist Series #7

by Judy Gull

Exterior: Gutters, Trees and Gardens

Beginning with your gutters, check to make sure they’re clear of any debris. Spring rains and summer thunderstorms will give them a workout! Check also for any corrosion, separated joints or loose fasteners. Reinstall any downspout extensions if you removed them in the fall. Make sure that water flows at least 3 to 4 feet AWAY from the foundation. You may need to adjust your landscaping to facilitate this.

If you’re not comfortable being on a ladder, or don’t know exactly what to look for, call a professional. Many contractors will give you an estimate on the job before you book for service. Call around to secure a price you’re comfortable with.

Winter weather can also wreak havoc with your roof. If you notice any damaged shingles or seals, call a professional for repairs before the rains come. A small roof leak can quickly turn into a lot of damage if not caught early.

Heavy snows and ice can bend and weaken branches and tree limbs. Do a visual inspection of the trees on your property, especially those that are in close proximity to your home, garage or patio. With summer storms on the horizon, any weak limbs should be removed. You can either do this yourself or call a licensed arborist.

Yard cleanup – Remove all winter debris from the yard and clean up any dead foliage. Begin planning your spring and summer landscaping projects. A little advanced planning can save a lot of time when planting season arrives.

At Home with Judy....Spring Checklist Series #6

by Judy Gull

Exterior: Plumbing and Air Conditioning

Air Conditioning
Your air conditioner gets a workout over the summer, so proper maintenance and inspections in the spring are very important!  First, make sure that the vents are clean of any lint or debris that may have accumulated over the winter months. If any debris is present and you choose to clean it yourself, be very careful not to damage the “fins” that surround the exterior walls. Even if no debris is visible, it’s a great idea to have your system checked and cleaned by a professional every couple of years. A professional can also tune your system so that it will run more efficiently.  In regards to the system and its use inside the home, consider installing a programmable thermostat.  If you have a central air system this can help save considerable money on energy use!

If you use an air conditioner window-unit, now is the time to re-install it. Clean the unit before install and remove the dust and dirt from the filter.  Don’t forget to clean the filter  regularly during the cooling season also.  Once a month should be fine, but check more frequently if you use the unit every day. Be sure when you install the unit that the seals are tight and that it is properly fastened.

Winters in the Coulee Region can be brutal on your plumbing and pipes. Check your outdoor faucets for any drips or leaks and either repair them or call a professional to do the job.  Also run water through your garden hose to check for any cracks or holes that may have developed during the cold winter, even if it was stored in a garage or shed.

Please come back next week for our next installment of the Spring Series for Homeowners.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 34

Contact Information

Photo of Judy Gull Real Estate
Judy Gull
RE/MAX First Choice
757 Sand Lake Road
Onalaska WI 54650
Direct: 608-781-7714
Fax: 608-783-4263