Monday, September 29, 2008

Property of the Week

This week's featured property is a home on 14 acres on the Pecatonica River.

A private riverfront hideaway awaits. This two bedroom home sits on 14 acres following the curving bank of the Pecatonica River. Woods, water, open spaces, what more could you ask for?

The home has many updates including oak kitchen cabinets, laminate flooring, new garage with radiant heat and more. Expand your living space even more with the upper floor of the garage. It is already studded with subfloor and waiting to be finished.

This one is priced to sell at only $185,000. Call, email or text Brenda or Luis today to set up a private showing.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Singin' the Blues

As mentioned in my last post, Berghoff and Blues is happening this weekend in conjunction with Cheese Days.

The festival, now in its 11th year, features excellent blues performers and Berghoff Beer, brewed locally by our own Minhas Craft Brewery. Our brewery is the oldest continuously operating brewery in the Midwest, and it turns out wonderful products like Minhas brews, Huber beers including Berghoff and Blumers sodas. The brewery is open for tours this weekend, as it is most weekends. Come, learn about the brewing process and then stay for some music and refreshments. Concessions stands will be operated by Monroe's Lions Club to raise money for local projects.

Friday, Sept 19:
6:30 - 9:30 p.m. Perry Weber & the Devilles featuring Tony Menzer & Jimmy Voegeli

Saturday Sept 20:
1:00 - 3:15 p.m. Ernie & the Po Boys
3:45 - 6:30 p.m. The Blue Olives
7:00 - 9:30 p.m. The Crashers

Monday, September 15, 2008

Come to Cheese Days!

Sing it with me!

Come to Cheese Days in Monroe.
That’s the place for you to go.
Music, dancing, yodeling, too.
And a big parade for you.
And we know you will be pleased.
When you taste Green County Cheese.
Come to Cheese Days, come to Cheese Days,
Come to Cheese Days in Monroe!

Every other year, Monroe is home to the oldest food festival in the Midwest. We don't call this blog "Cheese Country Realtors" for nothing. The area around Monroe is dotted with cheese factories, and this coming weekend, September 19-21, is their time to shine.

The Square will be filled with festival attractions. The popular Cheese Tasting Tent is always the big draw on the west side. The south side of the Square is home to the stage and the ever popular Optimist's Cheese Curds stand. Get in line early for your cheese curds tickets, and remember to bring your patio chair to enjoy the acts on the stage for a while. Food vendors, crafts and hospitality tents usually line the north and east sides.

Cheese Days is too big to be contained on the Square, so venture farther afield. The Swiss Post Bus Trolley will be running continuous loops with stops at Minhas Craft Brewery, the Cheese Days Arts and Crafts Fair, Turner Hall, and the downtown parking ramp. From the parking ramp, riders can transfer to the Park & Ride Shuttle Bus with free parking at Shopko and Wal-Mart. The carnival midway is usually in the parking lot half a block south of the Square, behind Dr Healy's Eye Care and in front of Suisse Haus.

New this year are artisan demonstrations at the Arts and Crafts Fair near the Monroe Middle School, a display on the history of Cheese Days at Monroe Arts Center, and a Cheese Days Limerick Contest. Returning crowd-pleasers include the cow milking contest, polka lessons, old time cheesemaking demonstration, arts and crafts fair, vintage car and tractor show, carnival, retail tent with commemorative Cheese Days merchandise, "Berghoff and Blues" with live blues and cool brews at the nearby Minhas Craft Brewery, and the "Heart of Cheese Days" exhibit sponsored by Monroe Swiss Singers at Turner Hall.

Enjoy "Family Farm Adventure" sponsored by Green County Farm Bureau. Kids and families will blast open the barn doors to an exciting "ag-venture" where they can meet dairy calves, discover what a cow eats and drinks, learn how cheese is made, "milk" a cow, and test their knowledge of ag facts with fun games and prizes.

The event is capped off by the enormous and enormously popular Cheese Days Parade. Beginning at 12:30 on Sunday and running for about two hours, the extravaganza features drum corps, horses, clowns, and a variety of entertainment. The parade is led off by decorated Brown Swiss cattle, followed by many floats paying tribute to Swiss heritage, cheesemaking, and the dairy farming legacy of Green County. It is a huge event, drawing participants from as far away as Chicago and Milwaukee.

Visit the Official Cheese Days website for a full schedule of events.

You can even listen to the Cheese Days Song to brush up on your warbling.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Go Green Team, Part 2

As home buyers become more environmentally conscious, sellers would be wise to start advertising environmental features of their homes. As mentioned last in Part 1, specific is important. Rather than calling a house green, Realtors would do well to encourage sellers to get an independent third-party certification for their homes.

Many such certification exist, and the list is sure to grow in coming years. Different certification mean different things, and customers should be offered information on exactly what the home is certified as.

The Energy Star Qualified Homes is a nation program that looks at a variety of energy efficiency measures, and all of these measures can also positively impact the health of people living in the home. The homes must have tightly sealed air ducts, which reduces energy consumption at the same time as improving indoor air quality. They must have improved insulation. The insulation levels require tight building envelopes which also reduce moisture, drafts and noise. Visit Energy Star Qualified Homes for more information.

For existing homes, consider having an Energy Rating done. An Energy Rating determines where homes fall on the HERS Index. A score of 100 represents American Standard Building (or an "average" home), and a score of zero means the home has zero net energy usage. A lower score is considered better, obviously, and homes can score over 100. A HERS Score is specific proof of energy efficiency, and is one way to advertise green without greenwashing. Visit RESNET for a list of Certified Energy Raters nationwide.

The United States Green Building Council offers a well-known green certification. Better known as LEED Certified, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System is considered a national benchmark for design, construction and operation of green homes and commercial buildings. Locally, Artisan Design:Build has done LEED certified work and is familiar with the process.

Green Built Home is a Wisconsin specific program that certifies both new construction and existing home. Their website is filled with resources for green remodeling, checklist and a directory of cooperating building professionals. Green Built Home is a specific, recognized certification in this area.

There are many other independent certifications, and these programs are often state specific. Visit Green Building Certification Programs for an extensive list broken down by state.

Next part, green financing...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Property of the Week

This week's featured property is a 65 acre farm near Orangeville, IL.
This farm consists of 65 acres of rolling hills location with a spring fed creek that runs through the pastures. The home and buildings are located 600 feet off the road on the hill, with private gravel road access. Every side has long views of farm country - pastures, oak trees, Red Angus cows and waving fields. The sun set and sun rise are beautiful in this open sky country, and the stars look like you can reach up and touch them.

The outbuildings are superbly maintained. The large dairy barn has been steel sided and boasts an open cathedral roof. It has been built into the hill so you can drive into the hay mow for easy hay storage, and there is plenty of room below for equipment storage or animals. Forty acres of the tillable land are leased on a year to year basis, providing dependable annual income.

Horse lovers – take note! There is a regulation-sized riding arena already tiled with sand base included on the property as previous owners did riding exhibitions here.

The 2307 sq. foot ranch home has 4 bedrooms including a spacious master bedroom, 1 ½ bathrooms upstairs and 1 full bath downstairs. The lower level family room down is 24 x 22 with all new Berber carpet (April 2008). There are cathedral ceilings in the living room, dining room, kitchen and in the master bedroom, wood paneling throughout the home for a very warm feel, a wood burning fire place in the upstairs living room, and 12x12 Italian quarry tile in the dining room, kitchen, bathroom and utility room. Generous 2 foot overhangs on roof line prevent excessive solar gain in the summer pair with good insulation and all electric heat to help protect you from fluctuating fuel oil or LP costs.

The exterior walls all have 2 x 6 lumber construction. Appliances are included, and the home will have a one year home warranty for buyer’s peace of mind.

Outside, wildlife abounds. Deer roam in and out to drink from the creek. Many species of birds call this area home, including pheasants, quail, red tail hawks, woodpeckers, blue jays, cardinals and about 15 pairs of swallows that grace the property with their acrobatic flying maneuvers and help keep the property free from bugs. At night you’ll hear the hoot owls, crickets chirping and frogs croaking in the creek bed.

Call or text Luis at 608-214-5797 to set up a private showing.