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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

This Month in Real Estate - January 2015

By: Aaron Martin
Josh Lavik & Associates

Home prices continued to edge upward over the last year in Greater Madison amid increased demand for homes and fewer listings in the area.

The South Central Wisconsin Multiple Listing Service (MLS) has released its first 2015 report on home sales in Dane County, and early indicators show that the area’s housing market will continue its steady rebound in the year ahead.

Demand for homes in Greater Madison remains high, and inventory remains low. There has been a steady decline in the number of homes listed for sale in Dane County over the last three years. The number of new listings in January was 7% lower than in 2014, and 14% lower than in 2013. Despite the continued drop in the number of new listings, however, the number of home sales hit a new eight-year high for January. There were 321 closings reported across Dane County. By end of January, there were 17% fewer active listings than in 2014, and 30% fewer active listings than in 2013, according to the report.

What does that mean for you? Demand for homes has outpaced supply in Madison and surrounding communities, and that has helped fuel a steady recovery in sale prices. The median sale price in January was $216,000, an eight-year high for that reporting period in Dane County. The median price for the month was also up 5% from 2013, which is a promising development for both sellers and buyers.

Higher sale prices mean sellers are able to rebuild equity in their homes. Single-family homes showed measured progress with a 1.8% increase in median sale prices from 2014. But the news for condo owners in Greater Madison was even better. The median condo sale price in January was $158,500, a new five-year high, and a 17% increase in the year-over amount, according to the report.

“I'm not surprised to see the large increase in condo prices since condos also had the biggest decline between 2007 and 2009,” said Josh Lavik, a realtor with Keller Williams and the principal of Josh Lavik & Associates. “This is good news for condo owners that lost a lot of equity in previous years.”

Early indicators for 2015 hold promise for potential homebuyers, too. The year began with historically low interest rates holding firm, which makes home loans more affordable. Also, the steady recovery in sale prices means homebuyers can build equity and haven’t “missed out” on an opportunity to buy while prices are trending upward. Still, there are fewer homes on the market than in recent years, and those historically low interest rates won't hold for long.

“Watch for interest rates to rise in the coming year,” Josh Lavik said. “I think that when this happens, there will likely be a flurry of sales activity of people trying to take advantage of the lower rates anticipating that they will likely go higher.”

High demand for homes and fewer new listings has also driven steady recovery in sale prices across Wisconsin. Median sale prices statewide reached $135,000 in January, a 6.1% increase from January of 2014, the Wisconsin Realtors’ Association reports. The number of home sales across the state in January, however, marked a new three-year low for the month.

For information about current market conditions, or to discuss the right time for you to buy or sell a house, contact Josh Lavik & Associates at 608-620-4234

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Looking for a career in real estate? We are hiring!

Josh Lavik and his team at Keller Williams Realty is looking to grow!

We are currently accepting applications for an Executive Assistant and Transaction Coordinator to manage office operations and serve as transaction coordinator for a high volume of real estate contracts.

Primary Objectives
- Build, Implement, and manage all systems for sellers, buyers, lead generation, database management, information management, and back-office support
- Oversee all contracts through closing
- Maintain the operations manual that documents all systems and standards
- Coordinate the purchase, installation, and maintenance of all office equipment
- Be the first point of contact in handling customer inquiries or complaints
- Keep the lead agent informed regarding any problems or issues that need to be handled
- Responsible for hiring, training, consulting, and holding accountable all additional administrative team members

Regular Work Activities
- System development, Implementation, and Management
- Information management
- Oversight of contracts through closing
- Customer/ vendor relations
- Basic bookkeeping

Key Skills
- Strong written and verbal communication skills
- Exceptional organizational and project management abilities
- Bookkeeping skills
- Great ability to focus 
- Concerned about doing things the right way
- Calm under pressure
- Learning based
- Service-based attitude
- Proven ability to succeed

Experience, Training, and Education
- Bachelor's degree preferred with 1-3 years of administrative experience
- Ability to obtain a Wisconsin Real Estate License

Interested?  Submit your resume and coverletter to us

Friday, December 5, 2014

How much does it cost to sell a house in Wisconsin?

Are you getting ready to sell your house and wondering how much it will cost?  Before you put it on the market, you might want to have an idea about the expenses involved.

Commission - One of the largest expenses of selling a home is the real estate brokerage fee.  By law, this amount varies and is negotiable, however this typically ranges to be 5-7% of the purchase price.  While this can seem like a lot of money, it is often split a number of ways.  In Wisconsin and most real estate deals there is an agent representing the seller (called the listing agent) and an agent representing the buyer (typically the buyer's agent).  This commission amount is often shared between the two agents and then part of it is split with the agents brokerage firm.

Administrative fees - Depending on the agent and brokerage there can be added administrative fees.  This amount varies greatly, but could be $200 to $1,000 depending on the company.

Transer fee - This is required by the State of Wisconsin and as of the date of this blog post amounts to $3 per 1000 of the sale price.  From January to October of 2014, the average sale price for Dane county (Madison area) is $249,819.  Based on this amount, the transfer tax fee would be $749.

Title insurance - This is included in most real estate transactions so that the property will transfer free and clear into the buyer's name.  Often this is charged based on the sale price of the home.  Using the average sale price of $249,819 again it could amount to $800 to $1500, depending on the title company that is chosen.

Deed preparation - When you purchase a property in Wisconsin you will get a deed.  You should consult your attorney about what type of deed is best for you.  This is usually a smaller cost of the sale and should not be more than a few hundred dollars.

Special assessment - To make sure there are no special assessments for the property, this cost covers the search for special assessments.  Again, a much smaller cost and should not be more than a few hundred dollars.

Gap endorsement - This covers the gap in title insurance from the date of the title commitment and the date that it is actually recorded in the register of deeds.  Again, a much smaller cost and should not be more than a few hundred dollars.

Home warranty - This is an optional cost that may be paid by the buyer or the seller.  A home warranty will typically cover items such as appliances, furnace, air conditioning, light fixtures, etc.  Similar to a car warranty, this will not cover everything in the house but will cover most things.  They often have a small deductible to pay before the warranty covers anything and the term is usually 1 year.  Costs range from $400 to $800 from most of the companies we recommend.

Pre-inspection - If you have an older home it might be a good idea to have a pre-inspection done on the home.  While many times a buyer will pay for their own inspection, sometimes it might be a good idea to have this done before putting the home on the market.  Discuss with your agent if this is a good idea or not.  Inspections can be $300 to $500 for a basic home and much more for multi-unit or larger properties.

Home staging - Have you seen HGTV?  I'm sure you know that home staging can make a BIG difference in the final sale price and how fast your home will sell.  Some of the best agents may do staging themselves or offer some suggestions to other professional home stagers.  This might be a few hundred dollars for a consultation and could be a few thousand dollars if you will be bringing in furniture and other staging items.

Well, septic, and water inspections - If you live in the country then you are familiar with well, septic, and water inspections and testing.  These could add a few hundred dollars to the cost of the sale and can be done before listing the property or at the time of the buyer's inspection.

Property tax proration - If you don't set aside monthly payments in an escrow account for property taxes then you will  have to pay your prorated amount to the buyer for property taxes.  If you close at the beginning of the year, then this will be a much smaller amount than if you close at the end of the year.

We hope you found this blog post helpful as your prepare for the upcoming costs to sell your home.  If you're getting more serious about selling your home, then we would like to interview to be your listing agent.  When you choose Josh Lavik and his real estate team to help you sell your home we will provide an exact estimated seller's net sheet that shows all the costs of the sale.  Contact us today at 608-620-4234 to sell your home in the Madison area or visit us online at

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Wondering about Radon in Wisconsin?

Are you concerned about Radon in your home in Wisconsin?  Do you even know what radon is?  Should you be concerned?

In this video real estate agent Josh Lavik and local home inspector Brad Acker discuss some of the common things to consider regarding radon in a home.

Want to learn more about radon?  Then check out the environmental protection agency and see their suggestions about radon, or the department of health services for Wisconsin.

Thanks for tuning into our real estate blog for the Madison area in South Central Wisconsin.  For more information about buying a home, selling a home, home inspections, or radon tests, feel free to reach out to us.  Have a great day!

Monday, September 22, 2014

What's great about living in Madison? Find out more...

coming soon...

We are currently building a resource to have the best content readily available about living in the Madison area.  Here you will be able to find detailed information about the very best about the Madison area, including awesome neighborhoods, employment opportunities, travel & lodging, nightlife options, real estate for sale, shops, sports, photos, and many other things to do in Madison.

In fact, right now we are actively seeking to work with two specific groups of people.  First, those of you who live in the Madison area, we are building this content now and we want your opinion.  What are your favorite things to do in Madison?  Best restaurants?  Best places to work?  Tell us here...

Second, if you own a great business in Madison and want to be a part of our project, then we need to talk.  This is a great opportunity for you to increase awareness for your business and become a part of the best portal for living in the Madison area.  Contact us today to discuss the opportunity...

Do you already love Madison and want to search homes for sale in the area?  Check out our real estate search engine today...

Or are you thinking about moving and want to know what it takes to sell your home in today's market?  Contact our team discuss the right options for you...