Thinking of Selling in 2013


Is your home ready for sale?

Ready to Sell?

Think you might want to move in the Spring? The market is still pretty hot for selling homes. Now is the time to talk to a real estate agent about what you might need to do to prepare your home for sale. It’s important to remember that to sell your home you will have to do a bit of investment – yes that means you will have to spend a little money before you put your house on the market.

The first question you might want to ask yourself is; when was the last time the house was painted? If it has been a while you may need to consider painting both the inside and outside of the house. If you painted recently you may want to consider toning down any of the unique or bold colors in your home. Neutrals are best, it will help the buyer picture themselves in the home.

Window washing
Ecspecially the outside upper floor windows. Clear windows will make those rooms brighter and more appealing to buyers.

Fix ups
We are not talking major reconstruction – that’s up to the new homeowner. However, if you have cracked windows or drywall, you will probably want to replace or patch. You may also want to consider putting in new carpeting or prepare for a carpeting allowance when you put the home on the market. That might mean saving up over the winter to ensure you have the funds for such an allowance.

Landscaping is a huge additional investment for buyers – not only money but also time. So you might want to spend some time sprucing up your garden this fall. Cutting out the weeds and pruning where necessary is a definite must. You might also want to fill in some empty spots in your garden with perennials such as crysanthamums and day lillies. If you haven’t paid much attention to your garden in recent years, consider sodding or seeding this last weekend of October.

Though pre-inspection is not required in Wisconsin you may want to consider a pre-inspection if you have been in your home for a long time and want to make sure there will be no surprises in the actual inspection. This will give you time to fix any problems that may show up, and it may also help you have peace of mind as you put your home on the market. Moreover, it may ensure a buyer does not walk away from a potential sale.

These are some of the things you might want to consider before putting your home on the market. To get a better idea of what preparations would be best for your house contact a real estate agent and discuss in greater detail what you need to do before you put your home on the market in the Spring of 2013.

Buying New, How Much Will You Invest

It is so alluring to buy a brand new home. The idea that you get to start from scratch and make the very first memories in a home, plant the first garden, and burn the first pizza are always heady ideas. But when buying a brand new home there are a few things you should consider.

Initial Investment and so much more…

Even with all the incentives to purchase a new home you will still have to invest more in your brand new home.

Interior Decorating: Most likely you will be responsible for the purchase and the labor investment necessary to decorate your home. This will certainly include window coverings, paint, maybe even wallpaper.

Exterior Decorating: You are probably also going to need to invest in the lawn and landscaping of your new property.

Other costs…

Unless your new home is close to you job you may be purchasing a home that is further away from your job. This means you maybe investing more in your car for repairs and oil changes. You may also fill your gas tank more often.

Another item you may need to think about when buying a new home is the layout of the new community will there be additional homes built in the area around home? You don’t want plan to sleep in one morning, only to wake up to a bulldozer digging up the lot in front of your home.

Buying a brand new home is exciting, just remember, there will be greater indoor and outdoor investments other then your home. Working with a real estate agent you will be able to discover what kind of house is the best fit for you.

Fall To Do List:

Its Fall!

And it’s a beautiful day; have you had a chance check out the weather for the weekend, in the Madison area it’s supposed to be quite beautiful on Sunday. You know what that means don’t you? It’s time to getting out the Fall Maintenance List. Don’t have one? We have compiled a list of tasks you may consider completing to keep your home and lawn in good working order.

Your lawn
1. You may have already missed the opportunity to fertilize before the first frost, but the upcoming warm weather may make it okay. It’s good to fertilize before the first frost to provide nutrients for the winter months. Aerate for good root development. And while you may not want to, you should keep mowing the lawn until it stops growing. It can be kept at between 2 ½ and 3 inches tall during the winter months.

2. Overseed your lawn when necessary. If there are bare spots larger than a softball, seed those areas from early September through mid-October.

3. Kill the weeds now to minimize weed growth in the spring. October is a great time to get good weed control going.

4. Once your mowing season is over, drain the gas from the mower, clean the blades and put it in protected storage.

5. If you have an irrigation system, now is the time to drain the system before the winter weather hits. If you aren’t comfortable doing it yourself, call a local company to drain the irrigation system for you.

Ice Age Trail, Madison, Wisconsin September 2012


Your yard
1. Early fall is a great time to plant. The soil is still warm enough for roots to grow, but the weather is beginning to cool, so you won’t have to water as much.

2. Fall color can be added now too. Flowers other than the traditional and well-known chrysanthemum that offer late garden beauty include: autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale), with vase-shaped flowers and blooms in rose to white to lavender, can be used in a border or planted in clumps; strawflower (Helichrysum bracteatum); numerous varieties of aster (some last from July to November); goldenrod (Solidago rugosa) provides a tall cheery yellow to any flowerbed; and Helenium provides organe, red, and yellow accents.

3. Don’t forget trees and grasses. Fountain grasses (Pennisetum alopecuroides), burning bush (Euonymus alatus) and blueberry bushes are phenomenal additions. In the fall, both flame into scarlet, adding brilliant color to the landscape. Fall-blooming reed grass (Calamagrostis brachytricha) and small Japanese silver grass (Miscanthus oligostachyus) are easy to care for and give big visual results.

4. This is also a wonderful time for plant bargains. A few years ago I got mums at the grocery store and picked up a six sad-looking lillies. They have bloomed beautifully the summer after I made the impromptu purchases providing both summer and fall color for our front garden.

5. Now is the time to plant spring flower bulbs; tulips come to mind. It also a good time of year to take out the bulbs that don’t overwiter well, such as dahlias.

6. Trim trees (hiring a professional is a good idea) if branches hang too close to the house or electrical wires.

7. Rake away all debris and edible vegetation away from the foundation.

8. Make sure your snowblower is cleaned, gassed up and ready to go. If you are not inclined to go out and shovel the snow now is also a good time to call the local landscapers and see what sorts of deals they are offering. Also in preparations for the snow it is a good idea to dust off and inspect snow shovels and check the amount of sand or salt you have for those slippery sidewalks and entrance areas.

Other chores
1. Make sure gutters are secure and clean of leaves and other debris.

2. Inspect your home’s foundation and seal entry points to keep small animals from seeking the warmth of the indoors. Seal any cracks.

3. Inside your home, install and/or test smoke- and carbon monoxide detectors. It’s a good idea to place a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace.

4. Have your furnace inspected and cleaned before cold weather hits. It will not only save you from a chilly night with a broken furnace, it will be less expensive to have it done before the height of furnace season.

5. If you didn’t change the air filter this spring, change it now.

6. Locate your water main in the event you need to shut it off in an emergency.

7. Insulate exposed plumbing pipes.

8. Drain air-conditioning pipes. If your AC has a water shut-off valve, turn it off.

9. Use weatherstripping around doors and windows to prevent cold air from entering.

10. Switch screens to storm windows.

1. Make sure the cap on the top of your chimney is secure. You really don’t want critters climbing down and making your house their home.

2. If the chimney hasn’t been cleaned for a while, call a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote.

3. Buy firewood.

4. Inspect the damper to make sure it opens and closes properly.

Finished your list? You deserve a reward, how about some mulled wine or warmed apple cider? Enjoy the rest of Fall.

4118 Winnemac Ave – Accepted Offer in 3 days!

Summer on Wisconsin’s Waterfronts Just Got Better

Pier on Lake Wausau

Summer on the waterfront in Wisconsin can be quite enjoyable. Waterfront owners now have something more to cheer about; aside from the lovely view from their pier.  Since April when Wisconsin modified the rights of waterfront owners.  The new law grandfathers in almost all existing piers and guarantees that waterfront property owners have the right to place a pier even in areas the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has deemed to be “environmentally significant.”

Existing Piers
Under the new law all existing piers are grandfathered in as long as the pier meets the guidelines below:

  • The pier must have been originally placed prior to February 6, 2004.
  • The width of the pier could be no wider than eight feet.
  • A loading platform or deck was allowed as long as it is located at the lakeward end of the pier and the platform had a surface area no greater than either (a) 200 square feet, which may be any width, or (b) 300 square feet, if the deck/platform is no wider than 10 feet.

Moreover, the new law allows the waterfront owner to relocate or reconfigure the pier as long as the pier is not enlarged.

New Piers
A new pier can now be placed without getting a permit if the following requirements are met:

  • Width: No more than six feet wide.
  • Length: No longer than what is necessary to moor your boat or use a boat lift, or 3-foot water depth, whichever is greater.
  • Number of boats: Two boat slips/lifts for the first 50 feet of water frontage of your property, plus one more boat slip/lift for each additional 50 feet of frontage.
  • Number of personal watercraft: Two personal watercraft for the first 50 feet of water frontage of your property, plus one more personal watercraft for each additional 50 feet of frontage.
  • Loading platforms: A loading platform/deck with a surface area no greater than 200 square feet.

If a waterfront property owner wants to place a pier that exceeds these standards, a permit must be obtained from the DNR.

New Piers in Environmentally Significant Areas
Piers can now be built in areas that are considered by the DNR to be environmentally significant. While you still have to obtain a general permit for building the pier, the DNR can no longer prohibit the construction of a pier. However, the DNR may impose condition on the location, design, construction, and installation of such piers.

Wet Boathouses
You may now maintain your existing boathouse if it was constructed prior to 1979. You may use unlimited resources to maintain the boathouse. However, the boathouse can not be expanded.

When looking at purchasing waterfront property it will be important to discuss with your realtor whether the current property owner has received notice from the DNR that the pier is detrimental to the public interest and if the pier interferes with the rights of other waterfront owners.

Source: “New Pier Grandfathering Legislation Signed Into Law,” The Wisconsin Realtors Association Real Estate Magazine (May 2012).