Something to ponder over your morning coffee this Monday morning: a whopping 45% of all U.S. housing sales in Q4'08 were categorized as "distressed" (foreclosures and short sales).

Clearly the housing situation in the U.S. is serious and getting worse with each passing day as the economy deteriorates. Last week President Obama introduced a comprehensive plan to address the situation. Here are the salient points to understanding President Obama's mortgage bailout plan:

  1. only owner-occupied homes will be eligible for mortgage assistance (2nd homes and vacation homes are ineligible, as are speculative buys and properties that were bought to "flip")
  2. purchasers who did "liar loans" will be ineligible (includes no doc loans in which no income or…

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DC foreclosuresLake & City Homes is pleased to announce a new tool for daily updates of Madison WI distressed property, including all Madison  short sales, foreclosures and REOs (bank-owned properties). Although the foreclosure rate in Wisconsin is considerably lower than states such as FL, NV, MI, OH, IL, and CA, Wisconsin still has a ready supply of distressed properties for those looking to pick up a good deal. According to RealtyTrac, the foreclosure rate for Madison is 8,749 in the nation. There were 103 foreclosure filings in Madison for the month of January 2009. There are currently 190 foreclosures in Dane County.

Although Wisconsin's foreclosure rate is rising, it is considerably lower than other states due to far fewer sub-prime and Alt-A loans being made to…

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DC foreclosures







A new search snippet for Madison WI distressed properties was just added to the Lake & City Homes Realty website. This shortcut search is in accessible from the homepage and displays updated listings and prices for all Madison WI  short sales, foreclosures, and REOs (also known as bank-owned real estate). Even though Madison WI has a very low foreclosure rate compared to many U.S. cities, it still has its fair share of repossessed properties. So check out some of the amazing deals on offer in the Madison WI housing market. In some cases prices are the lowest we've seen in a decade! In addition, rates have fallen below 5% and there is the added incentive of the $8K tax credit for first-time homebuyers who purchase by 12/1//09.…

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Today we'll learn details of President Obama's $75 billion homeowner stabilization initiative. So far we know from reports that the plan would reduce mortgage payments to 38% of borrowers' income and, with government assistance, further reduce mortgage payments to 31% of borrowers' income through government write-downs of principle. Homeowners "at risk" but not currently in default on their mortgages would also be eligible for assistance. Low rates will be guaranteed for a period of five years. Reports by MSNBC are that borrowers would receive incentives for keeping their mortgages current and that lenders would receive payments for helping homeowners restructure their mortgages, as well as receive incentives for keeping borrowers' mortgages current. More…

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I wanted to give you an update on the stimulus package. After weeks of debate and negotiations, Congress and the administration reached a deal on the $787 billion stimulus package on Wednesday and approved it Friday.

The final bill is pared back from the original House-approved bill, which was needed to garner approval from three key Republican senators. The bill passed the House Friday by a 246-183 vote; the Senate passed the bill by a 60-38 vote that evening. President Obama is expected to sign the bill today.

On Feb. 10, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced the administration's Financial Stability Plan, which provides up to $2.5 trillion to revive the financial markets. Scant details were provided on the entire plan and particularly on how the…

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The new tax credit for first-time homebuyers that's included in the economic stimulus package was far less than the $20,000 the homebuilding industry wanted. Analysts expect the credit of 10 percent of the value of a home, up to $8,000, to provide only a modest boost to the battered U.S. housing market. Last year, Congress enacted a $7,500 tax credit for first-time buyers, but that had to be paid back over 15 years and the impact on home sales was negligible.

The tax credit is part of the economic stimulus package expected to be signed soon by Obama. It was scaled back from a Senate proposal of $15,000 and is limited to first-time buyers who act between January 1st, 2009 and December 1st, 2009. First-time buyers are defined as those who haven't owned a…

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Madison's Capitol BuildingJust released employment figures show the U.S. economy shed 3.6 million jobs from December 2007 to January 2008, including close to half that figure in the last three months alone. The unemployment rate now stands at 7.6% nationally and, in case you hadn't heard, at over 10% already in several states. And the list is growing.

But fortunately jobs aren't disappearing at the same rate in every real estate market.

As reported by Ajilon Professional Staffing, there are still areas around the country in which the unemployment rate is low and the job outlook relatively strong.

Led by Madison, WI, Ajilon calls them "10 Cities For Job Growth in 2009". They are:

1. Madison, WI   
2. Washington, D.C.   
3. Boston, MA   
4. Richmond, VA   
5. Milwaukee, WI   
6. Pittsburgh,…

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affordable East Side bungalowLake & City Homes Realty is proud to announce its very first listing!

This adorable brick & stone bungalow is located on Madison's near East Side on a quiet tree-lined street in desirable North Gardens. And it is priced under assessment for a quick sale.

Features include good-sized living room, separate dining room, large eat-in kitchen, two nice-sized bedrooms (including a Master bedroom that leads out new sliding doors to a generous-sized deck), separate office (could also be used as a playroom, den or workout room), plus a dry, spacious basement currently used as an art studio.

The large fenced-in yard is private, boasts lovely mature trees, and is perfect for playing and relaxing with kids and pets alike. There is also a large storage shed for…

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Lake & City Homes new yard signLake & City Homes is proud to announce the completion of its first production run of yard signs and open house signs!

It wasn't easy but it was worth the effort!

First, two different designers were involved in the production of the initial logo, Dina Sporer of Red Hot Skillet Designs in Madison WI and Donna Collingwood of Collingwood Designs, also of Madison.

A third designer, Marily Crews-Nelson of Whopping Big Signs (a division of Magellan Mapping out of Waunakee WI), then skillfully reproduced our signature skeleton key and the rest of the elements in our logo onto a 24x36, full color, 2-sided, 080 aluminum, ≈24 gauge, baked white enamel sign that includes elegantly rounded corners and grommets on both top and bottom. And what a beautiful result!…

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In real estate, it's a well-known fact that many buyers have difficulty imagining what a house would look like if the furniture was arranged in a completely different way. Worse yet, buyers typically have a hard time getting past furnishings that aren't to their liking or style. That's why I'm a big believer in staging a home prior to putting it on the market. I've been known to go to great lengths to stage homes, and even greater lengths to avoid marketing a vacant home, especially when furnishing it and staging it is a possibility. I've even used excess furnture from one home to stage another! And I'm an even bigger believer that in these challenging economic times, sellers need to be even more open to advice and counsel about staging their home than…

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