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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This week the U.S. Senate approved an amendment to the Stimulus package that provides a tax credit up to $15,000 to anyone purchasing a home between January 1st, 2009 and December 31st, 2009. The tax credit is equal to 10% of the total purchase price up to a maximum of $15,000. For example, if you purchase a home for $150,000 (or more), you would be entitled to a $15,000 tax credit. Current law provides up to a $7,500 tax credit to a first-time home purchaser. The new amendment, if passed, would apply to all home buyers whether they are first-time home buyers or not. Also, the newly proposed $15,000 tax credit would only require repayment in the event the taxpayer sells the home within 24 months of purchase or does not use the home as the taxpayer’s…

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Dane County Housing StartsEvery two weeks for the past 20 years Dominic Collar’s staff drives to 680 municipal offices throughout Wisconsin to count building permits. That's thousands of miles of driving every year. But it's business as usual for MTD Marketing Services of Wisconsin, the sales and marketing forecasting company that Dominic runs. Compiling data for MABA (Madison Area Builder’s Association), among other clients, MTD's unique data gathering, forecasting and analysis enables Dane County builders to make more informed decisions about which price points, square footage and geographic target areas are most likely to succeed from one year to the next in Dane County, Wisconsin.

Dane County Housing Starts for December 2008

December was the worst month for housing starts in…

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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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