OxGood Riddance Year of the Rat. Happy Year of the Ox!

It is said that the Year of the Ox will bring stability and calm to the world. I think we could all use a bit less drama and turmoil after 2008, the Year of the Rat. In Chinese astrology the rat symbolizes greed and cleverness - a perfect symbol of what seems to have led to the U.S. economy's perfect storm. The Ox, on the other hand, is expected to bring "extra drive and enthusiasm" in pursuit of our goals.  And because earth is equivalent to the color brown in the five-element system, the year 2009 is also called Brown Cow Year.

How Now Brown Cow?

Well, so far it's a little early to tell. Nationally, we're still hitting new lows every week in the housing market. But at some point the market must…

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That old joke about how your tax assessor views your property may be more true than you realize...

In a recent conversation with City of Madison Assessor's Office I was struck by two things: One, the fact that the office of the City Assessor of Madison does not have unfettered access to the South Central Wisconsin MLS (apparently they they have access to Sold listings but do not have access to Active, Pending and Expired listings). And two (and perhaps more surprising), that in valuing properties for the purpose of determining homeowners' annual property assessments, the City doesn't use certain recent comparable solds. Which recent comps, you might ask? Well, recent comps deemed by the City to have been "sold under duress" as in, you guessed it, short…

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Search by mapLake, City, Lake. The motto of the place I live, Madison WI.

Yep, it's that time again. That time of year I sit in my office, hands slightly elevated over my keyboard, struggling to keep the blood flowing in the right directions, trying to ward off the frigid Wisconsin temps (it doesn't help that I have the worst circulation known to man!). Yes, it's that time of year I feel the need (half-jokingly) to remind myself why I moved back to Madison WI five years ago in the first place. The answer is, of course, because I thought it would be a great place to buy a house, raise a family and start a business. But a part of me assumed anyone views their hometown that way. At the time I was making my decison, I remembered all the great things about growing up in…

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sample graphThe Madison WI housing market continues to hold up remarkably well compared to other areas of the country. Although there is still a significant inventory overhang and it is taking longer to sell, prices are holding up well and homes are selling, provided they're priced right to begin with. There are over 1,100 single-family homes currently on the market so far this month in Madison alone and the current absorption rate (number of months of inventory) for Madison, WI is 10.03 months. It won't be until we get down to six or fewer months that we'll expect the tide to turn from a buyer's market to a seller's market. This could happen in relatively short order depending on what kind of stimulus plans Obama introduces to help the nation's troubled housing…

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Good Morning!
Obama's new Treasury Department is considering a revised version of the $7,500.00 tax credit for first-time homebuyers.  As you may recall, the previous law permits a first-time homebuyer to receive a one-time $7,500 tax credit which the homebuyer is required to repay over a 15-year period at $500.00 per year at zero percent interest.
The new proposal would keep the $7,500 tax credit intact, but would remove the repayment requirement.  In other words, the $7,500 would be received with no requirement of a repayment.  This is quite a different stimulus. 
Under the current proposal, the purchase would need to be made before July 1, 2009. 
We should know in the next 30 days whether this portion of the Obama Administration stimulus will be…

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30-year mortgage falls below 5% for the first time ever!

mortgage rate graphAccording to marketrate.com, the national average rate on the 30-year loan fell to 4.96% in the week ending Jan. 15, down from 5.01% a week ago. That is the lowest rate on record. Freddie Mac began its rate survey in 1971. A year ago the loan averaged 5.69%.  The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, a popular refinancing choice, edged up to 4.65% from 4.62% a week ago. Last year at this time the loan averaged 5.21%.

Madison mortgage bankers are reporting a huge surge in refinancing activity as mortgage rates have plumbed historic lows...

If you're a first-time home buyer interested in taking advantage of these historically low rates, please contact us at Lake & City Homes to discuss the advantages of using…

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Yippee! The South Central Wisconsin MLS board completed its compliance on our new site yesterday (in very short order, I might add) and Real Estate Webmasters' development server login prompt was removed from our site this morning. So as of today, we have liftoff my friends and it is official: www.LakeAndCityHomes.com is now live!

Over the past few days we've added over one hundred popular searches and almost 150 pages of unique content relating to Dane County homes and the Greater Madison Area real estate market (with much more content to come!). We're anticipating that many of the popular searches we've created will become favorites with site visitors. We want to make it a snap for you to find the homes that fit your lifestyle in the areas you're…

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example of a kludgeAccording to Wikipedia, a kludge, also referred to sometimes as a kluge or cluft, is "a clumsy or inelegant solution to a problem or difficulty". In engineering, a kludge is considered a "workaround", typically using unrelated parts cobbled together. And in computer programs, a kludge is often used to fix unexpected problems usually caused by earlier kludges.

Last night, in response to my nine year-old not taking the time to thoroughly search his pajama drawer - and therefore incorrectly, and rather impatiently, concluding that there were no long pajama bottoms available - decided on this novel, yet decidedly kludgy, way of addressing the problem. Simply wear three pairs of short pajama bottoms to create the necessary coverage! Although not fully…

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Happy New Year and Welcome to the launch of my new & improved real estate website, Lake & City Homes!

After five years in the industry, I can't think of a better way to confront uncertain times in the real estate market than by meeting them head on. While some may duck for cover or exit the industry altogether, I believe the way forward is to demonstrate a renewed commitment to serving my clients by:

  • ♦ investing in my own brokerage
  • ♦ developing new ideas
  • ♦ developing better tools
  • ♦ developing superior strategies

Thanks to the incredible talent at Real Estate Webmasters, I've evolved my web presence from what was essentially stale brochureware (built by your's truly with outdated and unsupported tools such as Microsoft Frontpage) to…

4701 Views, 6 Comments