Thursday, December 17, 2009

About that new $6500 tax credit

Much press has been given to the first time home buyer's tax credit, but the newest incarnation of the tax credit includes another very interesting element - the $6500 tax credit available to current home owners.

Not every current homeowner will qualify for this tax credit. Here is a summary of who is eligible:
  • You have lived in the home your currently own for at least five consecutive years of the last eight years. This is very important detail that can help those home owners who have had to relocate for work purposes and who have been unable to sell their former home yet.
  • You are purchasing a home for your primary residence. It does not matter if you are purchasing a traditional single family home, a condo, a townhome or a half duplex as long as it will be your primary residence. Investment and vacation properties do no qualify.
  • Your income must be less than $225,000 for a married couple or $125,000 for a single person to qualify for the full tax credit. If your income is between $225,000 and $245,000 for a married couple or $125,000 and $145,000 for a single person, you will receive only a partial credit.
  • The home you are purchasing must be less than $800,000.
  • You must have an accepted offer to purchase no later than April 30, 2010 and you must close on the property no later than June 30, 2010.
As with the first time home buyer's tax credit, the amount of the credit is based upon the purchase price of the home. The tax credit will be equal to 10% of the purchase price of the property up to a maximum of $6500. If you are purchasing a property that is less than $65,000, your tax credit will be 10% of your purchase price only.

You will need to live in the home for at least three years. If you live there for less than that, you will need to repay the full amount of the credit.

This tax credit is exciting because it helps not just young families move up in their homes as many of these programs normally do, but it also help empty-nesters and retirees who want to downsize.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Things to Do Around Monroe

~ Come to Heritage House in Monroe tonight for the Young Professionals of Green County for a Holiday Happy Hour starting at 5:30. There will be Holiday Martini and appetizer specials. The YPs are also adopting a family in need this month, and they will be collecting donations tonight. Donations of food, cash, baby clothing and educational toys are encouraged. See YP website for details.

~ Prost! Baumgartner's in Monroe is having their holiday party this Friday evening from 7 pm until midnight. Enjoy oysters on the half shell, traditional Glugg, cheese and more.

~ Toffler's in New Glarus is hosting a CD release party for area artist Beth Kille. There will be live music and no cover charge for this event which starts at 9 pm on Saturday.

~ There is still time to see Monroe Theatre Guild's annual production of A Christmas Carol. Showtimes are 7:30 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, as well at 2 pm on Sunday.

~ MTG's Stage Right youth program has a workshop on Saturday. Junk Puppets is for kids ages 8 through 12. Children will learn the art of puppet making combined with recycling as they use traditionally recycled and throw-away items to make their art. $18 for members, $21 for non-members, 9 am until noon.

~ Green County Humane Society has a fundraising event this Saturday. Pet Photos with Santa takes place from 10 am until noon at Monroe Auto Sales on the west side of Monroe. Bring your pets to be photographed with the big guy, and while you are there, pick up some treats at the bake sale there at the same time. Donations of baked goods are welcome; please contact Angie at 325-9600 for more information. Remember, the Humane Society is always in need of donations and dog walkers (see their website for a wish list), so chip in to help out the furry friends there this winter!

~ The Monroe Farmer's Market is starting up again! The first market of the season is today ~ Don't miss this weekend's Winter Market! Stock up on root vegetables, jams, jellies, baked goods and more at the farmers market on Monroe's Downtown Square. With a nod to the weather, the market moved indoors for winter, and it will be held in the lower level of Das Baumhaus from 9 am until 2. The next one isn't until January 16, so stock up now.

~ The Bel Canto Singers will perform a concert at 7 pm on Sunday at St Victor's Catholic Church in Monroe. Bel Canto is known for their rich vocals, and they will be teaming up with an organist, trumpeter and saxophonist for this performance. $5 admission.

~ Congratulations are in order for five Brodhead area ballerinas who will be onstage at the Overture Center in Madison this weekend for the annual Nutcracker performance. The girls, all students at the BHF Dance Academy, are Emily Beauchel, Nickole Becker, Carly Benton, Abby Jo Harnack and Rachel Jorgensen. There is still time to purchase tickets for the performances by contacting the Overture Center Box Office. Way to go girls! All that hard work really paid off for you. Break a leg!

Property of the Week

This week's featured property is a three bedroom home in Browntown.

Space, space and more space. Need more space for the family? How about space for the workshop and big boy toys? This three bedroom home on 1.13 acres has everything you need. The rambling ranch has a unique floor plan that includes the all the basics - living room, dining room, bathroom, bedrooms - along with an eat in kitchen and an enormous rec room that has a wet bar and half bath.

Privacy is yours when you relax on the the secluded back porch. Overlook a landscaped yard and miles of valley without seeing the neighbors.

The enormous detached garage is large enough to park two semis with room for more, so bring on the big boy toys! You are near the Cheese Country trail for riding an ATV or snowmobile and only minutes from Cadiz Springs for fishing. Trailer the boat a short drive up to Yellowstone or take the camper and spend the weekend. This garage has room to store all of these and more, more, more!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Food for Fines

The Monroe Public Library is doing a food drive to benefit both the local food pantry and those of us who *ahem* support our public libraries by not being so prompt in returning things.

Food for Fines runs now through December 19. For every non-perishable food item or pet food item you bring in, the library will forgive $1 in fines. There is no limit, so give generously and get all those fines waved magically away.

I know our family will be contributing a tidy bag of items during this promotion...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Things to Do Around Monroe

If you have finished digging out from yesterday's blizzard and can think ahead again, here is a look at what is happening in our area in the upcoming week:

~ On Friday evening, the Monroe Arts Center plays host to the Community Sing Along starting at 7 pm. Patrick Beckman will play the piano, and the audience will be directed by the Allen Redford, Director of Choral Music at Highland College. Songs will include traditional holiday fare such as Deck the Halls, Jingle Bells, White Christmas, Silent Night, and Joy to the World. Prior to the singing, there will be a reception from 6 until 7 to close the annual holiday Silent Auction. It will be your last chance to bid on great items in this annual fund-raising event.

~ Trolley Rides will leave from Monroe's Downtown Square this Friday evening to highlight the entrants in the annual Holiday Lighting Contest. The trolley stop is on the southeast corner by Das Baumhaus.

~ No time for holiday baking? Stop by St John's in Monroe for their annual holiday cookie and candy sale. A huge variety of goods will be available including traditional Swiss bratzeli and much more. All cookies are $6 per pound, stop in any time between 8 am and 1 pm.

~ Freeport Public Library has a children's book drive going on through December 15. Bring in a new or slightly used children's book for donation to local non-profits to distribute to children in need in the Freeport Area.

~ If the kids are looking to give their Santa lists to the big guy in person, he is making some local stops this weekend. He will be at the Monticello Fire Department from 11 am until 1 pm on Saturday, the Monroe Public Library from 10 am until noon and 1 until 3 pm, the Lena Fire Station from 8 until 11 am, the Freeport Public Library at 10 am for storytime and from 2 until 4 for visiting, McConnell Historical Society at 1 pm.

~ Monroe Lego Club meets this Saturday from 10 am until 1pm at the Monroe Public Library. This free event is open to Lego-lovers of all ages. Children under 10 must have an adult in the library. Bring your creations to share. Bricks are provided; please do not bring your own to prevent mix-ups.

~ Opening night for Monroe Theatre Guild's production of A Christmas Carol is Saturday evening. There will be a 7:30 show this Saturday, as well as Thursday, Friday and Saturday of next week along with 2 pm matinees on this Sunday and next. Tickets are available at the door, $12 for members and $15 for non-members.

~ After you warm up your singing voice at the MAC, switch gears and head over to Leisure Lanes in Monroe on Saturday evening. They are hosting a Karaoke night with DJ Jackie Lee in Spirits Bar and Grill.

Property of the Week

This week's featured property is a commercial building in Monroe, Wisconsin.

Here is your chance to own a piece of Monroe’s history dating back to circa 1865.

The historic Lanz Building is a rare property with over 14,000 square feet on 3 levels located on corner lot in Downtown Monroe. This location is ideal for your business or non-profit, a well traveled corner between Turner Hall and the Square. There is newer electrical, 16” solid masonry walls, exposed brick walls, 11’ ceilings on main floor and 9’ ceilings in basement. The building is loading dock capable, and there is underground parking available. For your customers or employees, there is plenty of parking available thanks to street parking on two sides and a large public lot to the rear.

This building is easily divided inside with multiple exterior access points. Whatever you are thinking - restaurants, retail space, art gallery, museum, office spaces or anything else - this space is wide open and waiting for someone with a vision.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Argyle Integrated Environmental Studies Plant Sale

Argyle has a cutting edge program in their schools nowadays, the Argyle Integrated Environmental Studies program. As a fundraiser, the students are currently doing their annual Native Plant Sale.

The students have harvested over fifty varieties of native seeds this fall during their fieldwork. They will be planting these seeds and raising the seedlings in their greenhouse over winter. You can purchase single species trays, custom trays and collection trays. Each tray has 32 healthy plants in 2 inch pots and will cover 50 to 100 square feet of garden space.

See Species Available

There is an order form link from the species page or contact Les Bieneman to order. Ready-made collections will cover many options: Tall Grass Prairie, Woodland Edge, Rain Garden, Butterfly Garden, and Rock Garden.

Native plants require significantly less care than non-native species, and they attractive native species of birds, butterflies and animals.

The Annual ALEA Native Plant Sale provides funds to support Integrated Environmental Studies throughout Argyle School (4K-12th grade) with field trips, new scientific equipment, supplies for the greenhouse and educational curriculum.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

November Market Report

First, the number of single family homes that sold in Green County in November of 2009:
  • 19 homes sold in November of 2009,
  • The homes were on the market for an average of 88 days,
  • The average sale price was $111,000,
  • The median sale price was $133,047,
  • The highest priced property sold was $265,000,
  • The lowest priced property sold was $59,000.
Things have not changed very much when compared to November of 2008:
  • 21 homes sold in November of 2008,
  • The homes were on the market for an average of 76 days,
  • The average sale price was $136,242,
  • The median sale price was $121,000,
  • The highest priced property sold was $450,000,
  • The lowest priced property sold was $55,000.
It is nice to see the average days on market dropping down from the 95+ days that we saw earlier this spring.

I find it very positive that the November statistics are similar to where they were last November. Given the way that the market slowed down so much in the early spring of this year, it is great to see things holding steady again. The average sale price is lower, which is reflective of both the fact that prices did drop in our area in the last year as well as the fact that the First Time Home Buyer's Tax Credit was a great incentive that encourage a number of former renters to take the leap into home ownership in recent weeks.

December is historically a slower month for real estate sales, so I am curious to see how this year shapes up. Interestingly, one home has already sold in Green County this month, and it is

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Things to Do Around Monroe

~ The Monroe Clinic Volunteers have their annual Christmas Festival on Friday in Founder's Hall. On December 4 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., stop in for a bake sale, lunch stand, Clare’s Closet gift shop items, a silent auction as well as coffee and sweets. All proceeds benefit the scholarship fund.

~ If you are in Shopko this Friday or Saturday, stop by to listen to music provided by students of the Green County Piano Teachers Association. 155 students and 8 teachers are participating in a Piano Play-A-Thon.

~ Did you register for Kookaburra's annual Cookie Contest? If not, there is still time. If you are not a baker, stop in to taste the cookies and fudge entrants between 10am-3pm, and be sure to check out the fun new inventory of culinary goods and gifts while you are there.

~ New Glarus will host the first Tour of the Arts, showcasingworks by emerging and established artists, each one hosted by a different business or retail store. Maps of the artist locations will be available at the New Glarus Chamber (Depot Building on Railroad Street) starting at 10 a.m. There will also be traditional Swiss holiday treats and other sweets at the Swiss Church Cookie Sale, Santa at the Anderson Mall and horse-drawn wagon rides downtown.

~ Tthe Monroe City Band Christmas will have a concert on Sunday, December 6, 3:00 p.m. at the Methodist Church. Admission is free, and there will be cookies after.

~ Juda Fire Departments holds their annual Big Gun Show this Sunday from 8 am until 3:30 pm. Buy, sell or trade at 100 tables of guns and gun related times. $4 admission at the door, will all proceeds helping the Juda Fire Department to purchase life saving equipment.

~ St John's UCC Church hosts Deutscher Weihnachtsgottesdienst this Sunday at 2 pm. This German-language sermon is believed to be one of the few of its kind still conducted in the US. There will be a retelling of the Christmas story using lessons and carols with several native speakers taking part in the reading.
~ The Monroe Theatre Guild’s Youth Choirs have their fall session concert on Sunday, December 6th at 7:00 PM at Monroe Arts Center. Both the Junior and Senior Choirs will be performing traditional and non-traditional Christmas songs. The kids are sure to entertain music lovers of all ages. Doors open at 6:30 and admission is by donation. Come fill the house with supporters of these young singers.

~ Are you ready for TubaChristmas!? Come to Lincoln Mall on W. Galena Avenue in Freeport at 11 am on Saturday for an hour-long concert of your favorite Christmas carols played by local and regional tuba and baritone players.

~ Also in Freeport this Saturday is the annual Luminary Walk at Okadale Nature Preserve. From 6 pm to 9:30 pm, the woods will glow with the light from hundres of luminaries. Enjoy an guided hike through the paths where special guests along the way will share their stories with you. Treats and music await in the Lodge, and the Children's Holiday Giving Store will be open. Admission is $6 for adult, $4 for kids 4 through 11 years for this enchanting event.

~ The Green County Area Entreprenuers and Inventors Club meets this Monday evening from 6:30 until 8:30 at Barb's Kitchen (710 16th Street, Monroe). Barb Newcomer and other Food Entrepreneurs will talk about their businesses and sharing a commercial kitchen. Tours and samples available. Event is open to the public and free.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Get your tickets now

Tickets are currently on sale for the Monroe Theatre Guild's upcoming production of "A Christmas Carol." Do you have yours yet?