Cell - (262) 204-SELL
This is my Real Estate blog for the Greater Milwaukee area. I plan to try and educate local consumers about the Milwaukee Real Estate market, answer any questions they may have, share why I love this being a Real Estate agent, what I love about the Greater Milwaukee Area, and share fun/embarassing experiences with everyone.
Unemployment rates have risen, foreclosures are still occurring, so everything on the home market must be a steal, right? Wrong! Just because a home is being sold at a certain price does NOT automatically make it a good deal.
Now, more than ever, buyers need to exercise due diligence and research carefully before buying a home. A listing agent can recommend a certain price, but that doesn't obligate the homeowner to sell at that price. If you go to an open house and question the asking price, the agent will probably defend it – that's their job. In most cases, they work for the seller, not you, the buyer.
Ask your agent (or even the listing agent) for recent comparable sales in the neighborhood that justify the house. Real estate agents have access to sales information that can give you a good idea of how much a house should sell for.
Does it actually meet my needs, both now and for the future? If you're starting or expanding your family, will this home work? Will you need to add on or make major modifications for it to suit your lifestyle? Is there enough storage and closet space to suit your needs?
Does it meet any handicap-accessible needs you have? If this is a concern, will you have to modify the home to meet these needs?
Is the neighborhood a good fit? If you have children, check out the school district. This is important for both your family and because it can affect resale value. Ask the local police department for information on safety concerns in the area, and walk around yourself to get the feel of things.
Make a list of activities you enjoy to see if this area meets your needs.
Does the home need major repairs within the next five years? If so, how much will the repairs cost?
Can I afford the taxes if I get re-assessed? Checking with the local city economic office will help you learn if/how property values have changed.
What is my financial safety net? If you're a dual-income family and one spouse decides to stay home, how will this affect your financial situation? Will you be able to afford mortgage and upkeep on the home?
In general, making sure that a home fits your needs and that the price is justified, given the current market conditions, will leave you happier in the long run.
With all of the scandals surrounding us today, it seems like everyone
is repeating the age old addage "Buyer Beware". And while I do think
there are a lot of untrustworthy things happening in the general
consumer market today, I think "Buyer be Smart" is a better plan of
I deal with first time home buyers (FTHB) on a daily basis, and many
of them have the same question; "How do I get these great deals that
everyone is talking about?" It's quite simple, yet takes a little bit
of work by the potential buyers. These few steps could save you
thousands on your next home purchase. I've broken this down into a 4
part series so that I can properly explain each step, and will
updating this blog every few days with the next step.
* Get Pre-approved by a credible lender: This is a very simple
process. If you already work with a bank or credit union, make an
appointment to meet with their loan officer. If you don't, contact
your REALTOR and ask them for recommendations. I recommend that buyers
meet with at LEAST 2 different lenders to compare rates, terms, etc.
During this one hour appointment, ask the officer about their current
programs. How much down payment will you need? Do you qualify for FTHB
loans? How much are you pre-approved for? Get this pre-approval in
* Interview local agents: Talk with friends and family that have
purchased a home within the last 2 years in your area. Based on their
recommendations, interview a few agents. Don't simply call the agent
in town who has the most advertising, this doesn't make them the best
agent. I do recommend that buyers find an agent they like working
with, and stick with that agent. As an agent, if I have a buyer come
to me that's pre-approved and motivated to find a home, I will bend
over backwards to help them no matter what their price range. Buyers
that are unorganized and unmotivated don't typically get the same
level of service because as agents, we know that person is unlikely to
actually buy a home.
* Start the Home Search: NOW that you've worked with a lender to
determine your buying power, and selected an agent that's motivated to
work with you, you need to determine what you're looking for in a
home. Many people start the home search first. This may work for some,
but starting the search without having a clear understanding of what
you can afford and knowing current market conditions can actually cost
you time and money in the long run. Ask the professionals about both
of these, and then determine your needs from there. How many bedrooms?
What locations do you like best? Do you prefer tile, hardwood, or
carpet? Having a clear understanding of your likes and dislikes will
allow you to find homes that fit your needs. A quick side note to
couples: Please do NOT use your agent to settle differences in taste
between you and your significant other. Putting your agent in the
middle of an argument about whether you should have tile in the
entryway or not usually makes it very uncomfortable for all parties
*Making an Offer: Rule #1- Don't fall in love with a home: In order
to get the absolute best price when negotiating an offer, you need to
remember that this is probably the
largest financial transaction for you've ever dealt with. In order to find
the best price, you need to find motivated sellers. During your search,
narrow it down to 4-5 properties that you like. Rank them in order from best
to worst on your own scale, and start making offers. If you fall in love
with only one home, you will be at the mercy of the market. In order to get
the absolute best price, you need to determine what each property is worth
to you and stick to that number. If they are asking $150k and you are only
willing to pay $135k, then start with a lower initial bid and never offer
more than $135k. If you and the seller can't come to terms with what YOU
feel the property is worth ($135k), then move on to the next
property. You never want to be in a situation where you feel you paid
much money for the home. Just keep moving down your list until you find the
right property at the right price. This may take 1 offer or 10, but in the
end you'll feel confident that you got the best deal and were a very
Ask your Re/Max agent TODAY for more information about the one-time
$8,000 First Time Home buyer and $1,500 Energy tax credits!