You have questions and we have the answers. If you’re getting ready to sell your home in Madison, read on.


1. Is one season better than another to sell a home in Madison?

I know – it seems like summer only just started and here we are on the cusp of autumn (it starts September 22). And, while we’re all trying to wring out every last drop of this glorious summer in Madison, I am starting to get what I call the “seasonal selling” questions from homeowners.

Long ago, “spring is the best time to sell a home” became the media’s mantra. And, to be fair, they’re partially correct. The media are also fond of telling us that winter is a terrible time to sell. There, they are wrong.

Home sales in November do tend to fall around 8 percent,…

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Imagine you own a home and you decide to sell it. You hire a real estate agent to help you and the agent crunches the numbers and determines that your home, which overlooks a golf course in a high-demand community, is worth $629,000.

The home is listed in the MLS, the agent goes about marketing it, but nothing happens. Or, when offers do finally come in, they are for $100,000 less than the list price. Both the agent and the homeowner are astounded since other homes in the neighborhood with more square footage sold for $100,000 MORE than this home.

How can this happen?

Fake news. Yup, it even happens in real estate and the results can be catastrophic.

If you are familiar with Zillow you know about the website’s “Zestimates.”…

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If you’re married, and an American, you have a 30 to 50 percent chance that your marriage will end in divorce. If you live in Wisconsin, you may end up among the nearly 15,000 divorce cases here every year, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Dane County couples come in second on the list of most divorces in the state – 1,232 in 2015 (the last year for which we have statistics).

So, ok, you’re a statistic. Once the shock wears off it’s time to consider the process of separating the marriage assets. It can be a rancorous and ugly process, but he sooner the two of you begin discussing it, the easier it will be.

What will we do with the house?

Since the marital home is typically the couple’s largest investment, it’s the…

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Dejected: That feeling you get when you finally find a home you want to purchase and your agent tells you that there are multiple offers on it. You’re not alone; there are plenty of dejected homebuyers in the current Madison real estate market.

Here it is only June and yet the nation’s housing market is hotter than July. And, although buyers across the country are having a tough time of it, they should be thankful they aren’t looking for a home in Madison.

After all, they have about 103 days to look before homes are snatched up, according to The Capital Times’ Lisa Speckhard. Here in Madison? Move quick because homes priced less than $250,000 are being scooped up within 10 days of being listed.

By the way, although this is bad news for…

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Strong job growth, a confidence-inspiring economy and even the lowest mortgage interest rates in decades aren’t enough to boost home sales in Madison. Why?

Because there aren’t enough homes available to satisfy the demand. In fact, at the end of April (the latest month for which we have statistics), there were only 1,079 homes for sale in all of Dane County. This represents a 1.62-months’ supply of inventory. A 6-month supply, by the way, indicates a balanced market.

With supply and demand at work here, home prices are escalating quickly, while the number of closed sales are dropping.  How did we get here and what, if anything, can be done to ease the pressure on the market?

Interest rates beckon

Despite recent hikes, interest rates…

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Not to be snarky, but there are a whole lot of people who don’t work in the real estate industry who think they know everything there is to know about buying and selling a home – from the lending process to the closing. Most of them gleaned this vast knowledge base from having bought or sold a home in the past.

I’ve had my hair cut and car repaired in the past but still know little about the intricacies of either. Maybe it’s just me . . .

What real estate “experts” don’t know, however, could end up costing them, dearly. Do yourself a favor. When you’re working with a real estate agent, use him or her for all he or she is worth. Pick their brains, down to the last bit of gray matter. If in doubt about anything, ask, regardless of how “stupid” you…

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broken railroad tracks


Real estate horror stories abound on the Internet but, in reality, most transactions flow smoothly to a successful close. Sure, there are plenty of spots along the way rife with problematic opportunities and, if you’re buying or selling a home in a managed community, those opportunities abound.

At last count, there are more than 350,000 homeowner associations (HOA) in the United States. Collectively, this represents more than half of the owner-occupied households in the country, according to HOA-USA, Inc. So, the chances are good that the home you fall in love with may just be governed by a HOA.

The HOA, in a nutshell

A homeowner association is a legal entity, of which all homeowners are members. It is governed by a group of elected…

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Think of what buying a house would be like without a real estate agent. Oh, I know – that sounds a little self-serving, right? But imagine finding a Madison home for sale that you want to purchase – say it’s priced at $475,900. How do you know that it’s worth that amount of money?

Do you know how to determine the market value of a home in Madison? Nope. But your real estate agent does and any worth her salt will quickly compile a comparative market analysis (CMA) to determine if the asking price is accurate and save your hiney from overpaying for a house.

Before we jump into the nuts and bolts of this, keep in mind that there are many factors that influence home value. These include the current economy, the economic outlook, the job market and…

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There was a time, not too long ago, when we counselled our luxury home listing clients to be prepared for a long, slow trip to the closing table. Much has changed in this niche of the Madison real estate market over the past year and now, when asked how long the home will take to sell, we answer with “It depends.”

Don’t get us wrong, although the high-end property owners who took our advice last fall and listed their homes for sale did so during a seller’s market, since then, conditions have changed and, since July, demand for these properties has declined slightly. Nationwide, more than 40 percent of luxury listings experienced a price reduction, according to Altos Research.

It’s still a good time to sell your Madison luxury home, but it’s…

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Young couple and baby

Aside from the basics of decent price, desirable location and the home’s condition, have you stopped to consider what else a Madison homebuyer may be looking for? Better yet – what type of buyer your particular home appeals to? This is important information because it allows you to stage your home to subtly appeal to that buyer.

A good way to come up with the answer to this is by using buyer demographics. For instance, younger cell phone shoppers will head straight for the latest, most innovative smart phones, while older folks generally just want something that has a screen with big fonts and the capability to place a basic phone call. It’s the same with houses; younger and older homebuyers have their preferences as well.

Be aware that although…

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