Friday, April 30, 2010

Financing options

As the consumer lending market tightens, home buyers who do not have at least a 5% down payment for a home are finding it difficult to obtain financing for a home purchase. Traditionally, these buyers have had the option of getting an FHA loan if they have a 3% downpayment or utilizing Rural Development for their mortgage if they don't. Rural Development is currently not lending, however. Legislation is in the works to continue funding this government program, but until then, they are not lending.

Fortunately, another government agency has begun lending once again. WHEDA (Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority) had suspended lending last year due to issues with the private mortgage insurance market. WHEDA loans are once again an option for buyers now, though.

WHEDA's newest loan program is WHEDA Fannie Mae Advantage. This loan allows buyers to purchase a home with as little as $1,000 down. WHEDA Advantage has a competitive, low interest rate and does not require any private mortgage insurance, making for a very affordable mortgage payment for consumers.

WHEDA loans are a very savvy option for home buyers. A home seller who is given an offer with a WHEDA pre-approval letter can have a measure of confidence in the offer. WHEDA does a very strict pre-approval process, fully documenting a buyer's ability to afford a mortgage before the pre-approval is given. WHEDA also requires home buyer to complete an education course before the loan is given, helping to insure that a buyer understand the mortgage loan they are taking out.

All the local banks are able to work with WHEDA, so talk with the mortgage broker at your bank about this great option.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Things to Do Around Monroe

After a brief hiatus, "Things to Do Around Monroe" is back. What is on your agenda for the weekend?

~ The Young Professionals of Green County have their Annual Event this Thursday evening at Kuhn in Brodhead. The event starts at 6 pm with networking, and the recognition of the nominees for Young Professional of the Year starts at 6:30.

~ The Bloody Lake Rendezvous starts today in Woodford. The Rendezvous is open to the public on Saturday from 9 until 4 and Sunday from 9 until 3. Learn about the life of early 19th century trappers and explorers at this living history encampment. Admission is $2, but children under 12 and military service personnel are free.

~ If you rather work on your family history instead, the Green County Genealogical Society is open to the public this Saturday. Use their resource center to look up genealogical information and Green County historical data. They are located at 1609 10th Street Suite #4 (above Kookaburra's on the north side of Monroe's Downtown Square).

~ Check out the garage sales! The Green County Humane Society has a fundraising garage sale in the parking lot of Monroe Auto Sales this Friday and Saturday. If you don't see what you need there, head over to Belleville for their citywide garage sale weekend.

~ The Mighty Richland Players have a dessert theatre performance this weekend in Orangeville. "Belle of the Wabash" is a musical melodrama by Mike Carver. Set in the 1880s, "Belle of the Wabash" is the story of a group of steamboat performers who are shipwrecked near Galena and find their way to Orangeville where they sing for their supper, so to speak. $20 per person, dessert included.

~ Are you up to participating in the 3/50 Challenge? Visit 3 locally owned, independent businesses that you would miss if they were to go out of business. Spend $50 at locally owned, independent businesses over the course of the month. What local businesses do you love? Bakery, hair salon, restaurant, pharmacy, movie theatre, bookstore, auto service center...there are so many choices. Supporting local businesses can be just as convenient and inexpensive as shopping chain stores, and when you spend $50 at a local, independent business, $34 stays in the community as opposed to only $21.50 staying local when you shop a chain store (or $0 when you shop online).

~ River Valley Trading Company has two workshops this weekend:
Blending Herbal Teas and Tonics, and Creating Herbal Preparations with Local Lovely Weeds. Taking place on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, the workshops start at 12:30 with herbal teas along with sweet and savory herbal treats. Cost is $25 for a single workshop or $40 for both. Space is limited, to contact RVTC for a reservation.

Looking ahead to next weekend, make your plans to attend the Brodhead Farm Tours on Saturday.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide detectors are a good thing to have in a home.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is produced when a fuel is burned. Natural gas, wood, oil, liquid propane - all produce carbon monoxide. If the ventilation system for your furnace, heating stove or fireplace become blocked or stops working properly, carbon monoxide can seep in to your home without you ever being aware. This gas can be deadly, so a carbon monoxide detector can truly be a lifesaving device.

Carbon monoxide detectors are much like smoke detectors. They can be battery operated or electric, either hard-wired or plug-in. Like smoke detectors, it is recommended to have one on every level of your home. Placement in the hallway near any sleeping areas is highly recommended. The cost generally runs about $35-45 per detector. Dual smoke detector/carbon monoxide detectors are available as well for a little bit more.

Starting February 1, 2011, carbon monoxide detectors will be required in all residential properties. Now, the government is not going to come in to existing homes to insure that these are present and there is no penalty for non-compliance, but all home inspectors must check for carbon monoxide detectors effective that date.

Carbon monoxide detectors are good things for every home owner to have, but anyone who is considering selling a home should be aware of the changing laws. Pick up a couple detectors now and save yourself trouble later. Anything home sellers can take care of a simple fix to prevent a home buyer stressing over the inspection report, it is a good thing.

Hopefully that is the only thing that carbon monoxide detector will ever have to save, but it is good to know that if you need it, the detector will be there for you.

Image from First Alert.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Property of the Week

This week's featured property is a Cape Cod home in Monroe.

This adorable Cape Cod in excellent condition is waiting for you!

Clean and bright, this home has 4 bedrooms with gable nooks, 1.5 bathrooms, hardwood floors, an eat-in kitchen, dining room and a spacious living room.

The newer roof, Energy Star furnace, central air and water heater means all you need to do is bring in your furniture and start living. Great location by hospital, a garage and a nice yard to boot. Home warranty included for your peace of mind.

Don't miss this one!

Monday, April 19, 2010


Congratulations on selling your home, Angie!

We hope that you and Pete enjoy your new home
and have a wonderful new life together!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Property of the Week

This week's featured property is a ranch in Monroe.

This one has everything you need! Spacious ranch, corner lot, close to schools, finished basement, two car attached garage - what more could you ask for? This three bedroom ranch home has a fantastic basement rec room complete with a huge bar for entertaining.

Asking price is only $119,900, and the sellers are motivated. Come take a look at this one today!

Call or text Brenda at 608-214-5796 or drop us a line via email for more information or to set up a private showing.

Win $100 Monroe Money

Monroe Main Street is looking for your input on the hours that Downtown retail and service businesses are open. We know that everyone has busy lives these days. What hours make it easier for you to get Downtown?

The survey is only three questions long. It takes less than a minute to complete, and you'll be giving
some valuable input to Downtown business owners.

Complete Survey Now

If you need any more incentive, Monroe Main Street will also give away $100 Monroe Money to one respondent. Enter your email address when you complete the survey to be entered in the drawing. Not too bad for answering three quick questions, eh?

Thanks for helping Monroe's Downtown.

Friday, April 9, 2010

On Using a Buyer's Agent

I came across this video earlier today, and I thought that it illustrated very nicely some of the reason to use a Buyer's Agent when purchasing a home in Green County or anywhere else. Wisconsin laws do allow for a Buyer's Agent, and unless you have a Buyer's Agency Agreement, we as Realtors are obligated to put a Seller's interest first.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

March 2010 Green County Market Report

Market report time. What happened with the County, Wisconsin real estate market last month?

Regarding the number of single family homes that sold in Green County in March of 2010:
  • 19 homes sold in March of 2010,
  • The homes were on the market for an average of 110 days,
  • The average sale price was $128,452,
  • The median sale price was $110,000,
  • The highest priced property sold was $358,000,
  • The lowest priced property sold was $25,000.
Let's compare with March of 2009:
  • 25 homes sold in March of 2009,
  • The homes were on the market for an average of 112 days,
  • The average sale price was $142,654,
  • The median sale price was $1118,500,
  • The highest priced property sold was $513,500,
  • The lowest priced property sold was $25,000.
Days on market has stayed steady, and the the change in median sale price was pretty minimal. Steady is a good thing.

Out of curiosity, I pulled the same statistics from 2003, a time when no one was complaining at all about a real estate market prices.
  • 26 homes sold in March of 2002,
  • The homes were on the market for an average of 85 days,
  • The average sale price was $108,042,
  • The median sale price was $109,000,
  • The highest priced property sold was $225,000,
  • The lowest priced property sold was $30,000.
Median sale prices, average sale prices, and highest priced property are all significantly higher in 2010 than eight years ago. This is what happens with regard to pricing throughout history. Seeing that the trend is continuing, even with the difficulties we've had in the real estate market over the last few years, it is good.

Homes are staying on the market longer now, which is a reflection of the fact that we still have a higher inventory of homes for sale. We are still working our way through the extra inventory of homes that did not sell during the winter of 2008-2009.

Peeking ahead at April, 5 homes have already sold this month as of today, only the eighth day of the month. 24 homes are currently pending sale. Let's see how the month keeps going. I personally think that the Home Buyer's Tax Credit has been a helpful thing for real estate in our area after we got through the depths of winter.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Things to Do

Spring has sprung, so come on out and enjoy all that the Green County, Wisconsin, area has to offer!

~ Join the Young Professionals of Green County for their monthly Happy Hour event. This month, they are gathering at Turner Hall in Monroe on Thursday from 5:30 until 7:30 pm.

~ The Alternative Fuel Society meets at River Valley Trading Company in Blanchardville this Friday evening starting at 7 pm. New people are always welcome.

~ Branson on the Road is performing at the PAC in Monroe. Comdey, country, Bluegrass, Rockabilly, and Gospel should make for an entertaining evening. Contact Monroe Arts Center for tickets and information.

~ Ever been curious about how those heavy fleece coats come off the sheep in spring? Now is your chance to see. Patty at Rainbow Fleece Farm has Spring Sheering Days this weekend. There will be presentations on needle felting, spinning and a talk on Spindle Wheels by a textile historian. Fiber in all stages will be available for purchase. 11-4 Saturday and Sunday at Rainbow Fleece Farm.

~ Don't forget about the Knitter's Treat Spring Sale at the Dining Room in Monticello.

~ Argyle Community Theatre presents COPING, an evening of comedic songs telling people how to cope with stress. We know some of the performers, and it should be a fantastic show. The event is at Partridge Hall in Argyle with show times at Thursdays, April 8 & 15 at 7:30 (theater only, $5), Saturdays, April 10 & 17 at 7:30 (theater and buffet, $25), Sunday, April 11 at 3 (theater and brunch, $20).

~ Movie night? The Goetz in Monroe is featuring "How to Train Your Dragon," "Clash of the Titans," and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" this weekend. Visit their website for movie times and information. Sky-Vu Drive In opens in May!

~ Curious about the behind the scenes work it takes to put together theater performances? MTG's Costuming Fundamentals workshop on Friday evening might interest you. Learn the nuts and bolts of the job of a costume assistant and how to set up a costume area backstage. This workshop is free for members ($10 for non). MTG's Stage Right also has two youth classes starting next week: Youth Improv Program and First Timer's Puppets.

~ Oakdale Nature Preserve in Freeport has their monthly Family Day this Sunday afternoon. Bring the entire family to learn a little something, explore nature and play a bit. Free will donation.

~ Get your tickets for the upcoming Monroe Theatre Guild production of the Pulitzer Prize winning play "The Rabbit Hole." This drama will be performed in MTG's Stage Building. Showtimes are April 16, 17, 22 and 24 at 7:30 PM or April 18 and 24 at 2:00 PM. Tickets are $10 for members, $12 for non-members. This production is recommended for adults or teens only.

Property of the Week

This week's featured property is a split-level ranch in Monroe.

Bring the family home! This comfortable split level home located on a quiet street has all you need. 3 bedrooms, main floor laundry, living room with fireplace, family room, refinished wood floors, generous storage area, 2 car attached garage, spacious eat-in kitchen, bright rooms filled with natural lightening. The landscaped yard has plenty of room for kids, grandkids, pets or more gardens.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Calling all knitters

Fiber arts enthusiasts! Did you know that you can get yarn, patterns, needles and more all in Monticello?

Knitter's Treat is the work of Ruth Knight Sybers, who's textile art is on display at The Dining Room at 209 Main. Knitter's Treat carries a variety of out-of-print and hard to find patterns, and Knight Sybers is willing to track down and special order patterns that you might be searching for.

This week, Knitter's Treat is having a spring sale at The Dining Room. There are two rooms filled with yarn, patterns and more. This sale runs April 8 through April 11, 1 - 8pm on Thursday through Saturday, and Sunday from 1 to 4 pm. Visit Green County Spotlight for a $1 off coupon.