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

by Judy Gull

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....The Art of Winter Staging

by Judy Gull

When selling your home in the winter, the art of staging the inside becomes more important. Here are five simple tips to make your home shine even when the outside landscaping has faded:

  • Keep your house warm. In the winter people tend to turn the thermostat down to save money, however a warmer house is more welcoming to a potential buyer.
  • Clear your walkways and driveways of any snow or ice. Make it easy for buyers to get to your home.
  • Clean the windows and blinds. Letting in the natural light can brighten up a room and cheer up the home. This also brings attention to the windows and blinds so make sure they are clean even during winter. Dirty windows will make the home appear neglected.
  • Background music played softly can completely change the atmosphere, which will make the home feel cozy and keep potential buyers around longer. Select classical music to appeal to anyone.
  • Leave the light on. Before showing a home, make sure it's well lit. A well lit home is more inviting. If you're not home, consider setting up timers.

Following these simple tips can give your house that added boost in today's competitive market. For information on selling in our local market, please feel free to contact us and ask for a market analysis of our recent neighborhood activity. We are more than happy to answer any questions you might have!

See Gull For All Your Real Estate Needs!

Low Interest Rates and Low Prices Make a Great Time to Buy!

by Judy Gull

Foreclosures and falling prices combined with rock-bottom interest rates have turned many would-be home buyers into new home owners. According to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index hit home prices hit a new record level of affordability. Of all new and existing homes sold during the last three months of 2011, 75.9% could have been comfortably purchased by families earning the national median income of $64,200. It was the highest percentage recorded in the history of the index, and a big increase from 72.9% just three months earlier. And while it’s possible for home prices to continue to drop, it’s perhaps more likely that they will increase again as economic recovery reaches more sectors and more people realize that now is a great time to buy a home.

Another reason to start looking for homes sooner rather than later are low, low interest rates. According to housing analysts, interest rates are near a 50-year low! As of mid-May, 2011, 30-year fixed mortgage rates had fallen to 4.63% - the lowest rates of the year. According to USA Today, the last time average rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage were this low was during the 1970s when minimum wage in Wisconsin was less than $2 per hour!

With mortgage rates at this level it makes a lot of sense to stop waiting and start shopping for your first home. If your family has grown in the past couple years and you need more room, or even if the kids have left for college and you’re looking for something smaller or closer to work, these interest rates make it possible to find a new home better suited to the size of your family. Of course, with many people scrambling to find a place to rent, it follows that now is the best time to invest in rental properties. Why wait? Stop by our office today for more information about buying the home of your dreams for a lot less money than it may take before long.

Don't Miss Out on New Listings

by Judy Gull

Here’s one more reason (as if you needed another one!) to “See Judy Gull For ALL your Real Estate Needs.” Follow Judy and she will guide you through a free service that can get you into your dream home quickly.

Like many other worthwhile pursuits, house hunting hides a paradox within its intricate, labyrinthine processes and procedures. There are a lot of fairly obvious good things, such as picking out your favorite neighborhoods, popping in to some open houses and mentally decorating your future new home. However, one of the primary and reoccurring difficulties many house hunters run into is trying to keep up with all of the listings of new homes that hit the market in a timely fashion.

Not anymore – if you have an email address, you can use this system.

Judy’s new home listings system is not only free, but also incredibly easy to start. All you have to do is go to this website, enter your email address and some of the criteria you’re looking for in your new home and voila! You’re set.

Within your initial email message, you will see a listing of each and every one of the homes that match the criteria you entered for sale at that time. After that, you will receive a fresh email every morning with new home listings, as well as any changes in previously listed homes.

It is not just anxiety or paranoia to think that you will miss out on your perfect home if you do not take an active role in the hunt. This service provides you with this opportunity and all you have to do is fill out a short form.

If you are still apprehensive about giving your email address to a website, here are some factors that might ease your mind. First, you can discontinue the service at any time. And, Judy Gull will not sell your information to any other website or entity.

So, if you’re house hunting in the La Crosse, Holmen, Onalaska, West Salem and La Crescent areas, give Judy’s new home listings system a try. You have nothing to lose and your dream house to gain!

Making an Offer: The Basics

by Judy Gull

Real estate experts agree that knowing the basics of making an offer on a home is an extremely important tool for as a homebuyer. The first step is to understand your own position as a homebuyer. Are you pre-approved for a mortgage? Do you have to sell your current home before you can buy a new one? How much earnest money can you put down on a home? Are you an all-cash buyer? Can you afford the mortgage on a home?

By assessing your financial position and taking steps to ensure that you are in a position to make a strong offer, you will be equipped for success in this challenging process. In addition to understanding your current situation, it is also useful to find out as much information about the property you are interested in as possible. For instance, how long has it been on the market? Why is the home being sold – i.e. are the sellers under pressure to sell? Is the home part of an estate sale? What is the history of the home? What are the area’s comparable home values? The answers to these questions will help you determine how much flexibility you may have in making an offer, and whether that offer is likely to be accepted.

A written contract is essential for any real estate transaction, since oral offers are not legally binding. Your real estate contract must conform to local and state laws. Judy Gull can help you navigate this legal and financial terrain. In addition to ensuring that your contract follows standard procedures, Judy will verify that the contract reflects your desires as a buyer before presenting it to the seller’s agent or representative.

Your written contract will include specifics about the property itself, including its address, legal description, sale price, and title and deed information. In addition, the contract will include your terms and conditions: if it is all cash or subject to obtaining a mortgage; the target date for closing; the amount of earnest money deposit and how it will be returned to you should your offer be rejected; how real estate taxes, utilities, and other bills will be adjusted; who will pay the title insurance, survey, and inspections.

Once these provisions are laid out, Judy can advise you regarding any property disclosures that are required by law, as well as last-minute walk-throughs and other contingencies. The latter are critical components, as they are designed to protect you should issues and problems arise. For instance, one contingency would ensure that you won’t be bound by the contract if you are unable to obtain a loan. Another contingency would guarantee that a satisfactory home inspection is provided within a certain amount of time after the offer has been accepted.

Once your written offer is presented to the seller and the seller signs an acceptance, your contract will be legally binding. If the offer is rejected, however, the sellers cannot hold you legally responsible for the contract should they change their minds later on. Most likely, a seller may make a counter-offer, which may include changes in price, closing date, and other provisions. Judy can help you negotiate with the seller and can help determin how and if you should move forward in the sale. In the best case scenario, both parties will arrive at an agreement, and you will be the proud new owner of a home.

 

If you are thinking about buying La Crosse area real estate or selling a home in the La Crosse area, give us a call at 608-781-7714 or send us an email to explore your options and to find out when is the best time for you to make a move.

La Crosse Housing Market Staying Strong

by Judy Gull

It’s no secret that housing and real estate markets all over the country have been hurting for the past couple of years, but there are areas that are improving and even showing evidence of growth. La Crosse, Wisconsin is one of those areas that continues to thrive, despite being in a recession. La Crosse has exciting housing trends, as well as plenty of spacious and comfortable living options to offer new home buyers.

In 2011, the La Crosse housing market has seen a sharp increase in median sales price. In January of this year, the median price was $125,500, but in just six months that number has risen to $143,000. With the median sale price climbing, potential home buyers should be encouraged to look for their dream home in the La Crosse area during the remainder of 2011.

Home sales in the area are down from a year ago, but considering that first-time home buyers in La Crosse were supplemented by the Federal Housing Tax Credit Program in 2010, the drop off is not a real setback for the market. In fact, home sales actually increased from May to June, showing that there may be more growth to come later in the year.

The declining unemployment rates in the area make La Crosse real estate a stronger market. According to the Wisconsin Realtors Association, the housing market should receive a healthy boost with more residents working. The state of Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is under the national average and with 25,000 jobs already added this year, things are definitely looking up for the state, the area of La Crosse and for Wisconsin real estate in general.

Displaying blog entries 1-7 of 7

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