Real Estate Information Archive

Blog

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5

At Home with Judy....Fall Checklist Series #3

by Judy Gull

Greetings and welcome to part 3 of my Fall Checklist Series for homeowners. Proper maintenance of your roof and gutters in the fall may help prevent damage to your home, both inside and out. Below are my tips for Gutter and Roof autumn upkeep.

GUTTERS
Cleaning the gutters outside your home is an important part of home maintenance. Over time, organic material can collect and create a perfect place for plants and even small trees to take root. This buildup of organic material can create a lot of homeowner headaches. It can also lead to costly home repairs, with damage to the house, roof, foundation and even the driveway and sidewalk.

Rainwater that is not directed away from the house by an open downspout can seep underneath the house and accumulate around the foundation, weakening it and leading to cracks. Did you know that clogged gutters are the number one cause of basement water leaks? Damage to siding and windows can occur when water that spills over the edges of blocked gutters runs down the side of the house. Blockage to gutters can damage your roof by acting like a wick, bringing water from the bottom of the gutter up to rot the fascia. Left unchecked, the damage can extend to the roof sheathing and even the rafters. Cosmetically, overflowing water that hits the ground can splash dirt, debris and mud against the lower portion of the siding.

In the winter months, gutters blocked with debris can create ice dams, which block the flow of melting ice and snow. The water will work its way back to the roof, causing damage to the roof, shingles and leaks inside your home.

In the summer, the water that pools from blocked gutters provides a perfect breeding ground for pests such as termites and mosquitos. It also harbors mold and mildew.

There are many companies in the area that offer gutter cleaning services. Contact me if you'd like any references. You can also do it yourself, but make sure to do so safely. At a minimum, wear heavy work gloves and eye protection and make sure your ladder does not rest directly on the gutters as this can damage them. Gutters can have very sharp edges inside so be vigilant when reaching your hands inside. Remove twigs and leaves, but make sure to not use anything that will cut or damage the gutter. For caked on dirt, wetting it down will make it easier to remove. You can use water to check and unclog downspouts, but be gentle as they’re not built to withstand high water pressure. When you’re done cleaning, use the hose to flush the gutters. This is a good time to check for any leaks in the gutter system.

ROOFS
Do a thorough inspection of your roof. Look up from the ground to see if there are any warping or other visible issues. On the roof itself, check for any worn or damaged shingles or tiles. These should be replaced before the cold weather arrives. Inspect for algae growth and also check the flashing to ensure that no water from melting snow and ice can enter your home. Tree branches hanging over the roof can be trimmed and now is a good time to clean off any leaves or twigs that may have fallen since your last maintenance check. Examine your chimney and chimney flashing. Do you have a rain cap installed? Also, consider installing protective screens around the chimney cap to prevent birds, animals and debris from falling into the flue during the cold season.

While you can do roof repairs and maintenance yourself, hiring a professional to do the job may be the safest choice. Contact me and I'll get a roofer to call you back today!

Come back next week to read part 4 of my series on weatherizing your home.

I welcome your feedback on this article.

See more tips at "For Sellers".

 

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 1-5 of 5

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