Young, growing families eventually get to the point where they outgrow their current digs. At this point they know they need to move up to a larger home but hesitate because of current market conditions.

Sure, it’ll be a snap to sell the current home; starter homes are in great demand right now. But, then what? Competition is keen in most price ranges in Madison, causing many would-be move-up buyers to hesitate.

The question of the season is: “Should we sell now while the market is hot and then rent until it cools off?”

The answer is: “Are you nuts? Have you any idea how much rents are increasing?”

Although rent prices are down on a year-to-year basis, they’re up on a month-to-month basis. In fact, the rent on a one-bedroom apartment…

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Through December 31

Zoo Lights at the Henry Vilas Zoo

Head to the zoo on Thursdays through Sundays for a warm beverage and a stroll through a winter wonderland of lights and sounds. Zoo Lights is open from 5:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. and is closed Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Learn more online at vilaszoo.org/zoolights.

 

December 2 through December 31

Olbrich's Holiday Express

What a show! From 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily (with restricted hours on Christmas Eve and closed Christmas day) you can view large-scale model trains in a holiday scene. And members of the Wisconsin Garden Railway Society will be on hand, showing off their trains as well. See the website for details.

 

Through January 2

Holiday Fantasy in Lights

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Thanksgiving is creeping up on us and if you want to dine out, and hope to get a reservation, you’ll need to act quickly. And, we have a few places you may want to call for those reservations.

Essen-Haus

For some Madison families, Thanksgiving dinner at Essen Haus is a tradition. They serve a family-style dinner with all the usual favorites, including stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, yams and more. “All of the sides are bottomless,” they promise on their website, “and you take the leftover turkey home!”

Adults eat for $22.95 while dinners for kids between the ages of 6 and 10 are $8.95 and the wee ones, age 5 and younger eat for free. Get additional details online at essen-haus.com.

 Essen-Haus is serving Thanksgiving dinner from 11…

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A couple of years ago I read a news story about a woman from China who bought an apartment in New York City for $6.5 million. She bought it for her two-year old daughter and plans to hold on to it so that when the child grows up and attends an American university, she’ll have a place to call her own.

Must be nice, right? How many of those 8,200-plus students who pay $9,000 to more than $10,000 to double up in one of UW’s 19 residence halls would like a sweet deal like this?

Let’s take a look at what the experts say.

Fears of creating a financially-dependent monster

Many parents worry about fostering financial dependency when helping their adult children financially. How your child deals with your generosity, however, has to do with his or…

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November 1

The Porchlight 2017 Annual Recognition Dinner

If you’re looking for a way to give back to Madison, consider attending the annual Recognition Dinner. You’ll enjoy a cocktail reception, silent auction, dinner and touching stories from Porchlight clients. This event runs from 5;30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. and you can learn more online at porchlightinc.org.

 

November 1 through November 5

Wisconsin Science Festival

Science Festival events will be held in various locations across the state, but the kickoff party is happening November 1, right here in Madison at the Madison Children’s Museum. Kids can enjoy free science-related activities and more. The museum is located at 100 N Hamilton St. in Madison and you can find the full…

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As the department stores in Madison are reminding us, it’s never too early to start thinking of the winter holidays. Retail aside, it’s even more important to get an early start on holiday volunteer opportunities.

Of course, Toys for Tots can always use a new, unwrapped toy to distribute to Dane County’s kids during the holidays. But there are other ways to give back to the community as well.

 

Operation Christmas Spirit

The annual holiday project of Operation Help a Hero, Operation Christmas Spirit is celebrating 15 years of helping military families during the holidays. And, they offer several ways you can help:

  • Adopt a military family
  • Adopt a single service member
  • Make a monetary donation

See Operation Christmas…

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As we move closer to winter you’ll no doubt start hearing about how lousy winter is for the real estate industry. “Winter can be the toughest season to put a house on the market,” claims Adam Verwymeren at Fox News.

Most of us who actually work in the industry know better.

Winter has its advantages when it comes to buying and selling homes in Madison.

Consider the source

When reading stories about anything, it’s always good to consider the source. Mr. Verymeren at Fox News, for instance. There’s no bio that accompanies his article so we have no way of knowing if he is involved in the real estate industry and, therefore, no way to gauge the veracity of his information.

So, when the Associated Press’ Dave Carpenter says that winter…

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If you’ve spent the past few weeks or even months looking at homes for sale but haven’t found the one that’s just right for you, we have good news. Fall is actually one of the best times for homebuyers to shop.

The deals are better now

Home prices tend to peak in June and July. In fact, “May, June, July and August―account for 40% of an average year’s total home-selling volume,” Tian Liu, chief economist at Genworth Mortgage Insurance suggests at HousingWire.com. 

Not only does the volume of sales decrease when fall arrives, but winter and fall home prices inch down as well. Remember, there is often a difference between the list price and sales price of a home.

So, while list prices dip less than half a percent in fall, sales prices drop…

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Early last month, ApartmentList.com released their list of the top 75 metros in the U.S. for millennials. The criteria for inclusion fell into three categories: 

  • Jobs
  • Livability
  • Affordability

“Few metros offer the ideal mix of a strong job market, affordable rent and home prices and high livability scores,” claims Sydney Bennet, Apartment List’s research associate.

Madison, however, is one of only three others that offers that ideal mix, with a perfect score (A+). Provo, Utah and Pittsburgh were the other two.

Madison is a livable city

Although Madison came in third overall, we scored the highest in the livability category. Apartment List surveyed renters to come up with this metric.

They asked them about weather, access…

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