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Monday, September 12, 2016

Is it Time to Find Your Dream Home?

Are you feeling cramped in your current home? Or perhaps you have too much space now that you're kids are off to school. Whatever situation you find yourself in we can help! We have experience in both upgrading and downsizing your current home. Watch Josh's latest Real Estate News video and then give the professionals a call! 608-620-4234



Ready to take the next steps? If you're wanting to sell or looking to buy, we're ready to help you with all your real estate needs. Contact us by giving us a call at 608-620-4234 or visit our website.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

September Home Care Tips

With the kids back to school, summer has officially come to a close and fall is in the air. It's time to bring the out the flannel sheets as cooler weather approaches. It's important now to get your house in order as you'll be spending a lot more time indoors. Here are a few things you can get done around the house to prepare for fall:

  1. Refresh your bedroom for fall.
    Take your flannel sheets and cozy blankets out of storage even if you don't need them quite yet. You'll be happy to have them around when the nights start to get chilly. Take the time to rotate your mattress, launder your mattress pad and clean out the dust bunnies from under the bed.
  2. Have the chimney and furnace inspected.
    Make sure you're home is ready to take on the cooler weather by having a professional look at both your fireplace and heating system. It's been awhile since you've used them so before winter gets here make sure they're cleaned and ready.
  3. Clean and organize.
    Don't just save cleaning for spring. Vacuum and mop floors, clean rugs and wipe surfaces throughout the house. As you clean also set aside things to give away while you go through shelves and cabinets. 
  4. Swap out home accessories.
    Keep your home feeling current by tweaking a few details each season. Swap out throw pillows, add cozy blankets and decorate with seasonal produce.
  5. Remove window AC units.
    Remember to drain them, clean or change the filters before storing them for next year. Tape any hardware to the unit so it doesn't get lost in the meantime. 
  6. Hang heavier window treatments.
    Thicker window coverings can help your home retain heat - saving money on energy bills. If you use blinds, layer curtains on top.
  7. Add weather stripping.
    Adding weather stripping is a simple way to stop drafts around windows and doors. 
  8. Consider adding more insulation.
    Adding insulation to your attic space or inside walls can help save money during the colder months.
  9. Set up a homework or project area.
    Encourage kids to get their work done with an area that's comfortable, attractive and well organized. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Challenge of Moving

We all know that moving is hard, especially with a family. The process can seem overwhelming and it can feel near impossible to keep up with kids running around. As a father of 3 himself Josh is an expert on getting families prepared to move. Check out our latest Real Estate News video to get more information on great staging advice and to learn more about how we can help you!



Ready to take the next steps? If you're wanting to sell or looking to buy, we're ready to help you with all your real estate needs. Contact us by giving us a call at 608-620-4234 or visit our website.

Monday, August 22, 2016

4 Myths of Buying vs. Renting


According to a recent report by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, the past 15 years have seen a drastic shift in how Americans approach renting and owning. More people are renting, while fewer are buying houses. In fact, the average annual growth number for renters is now approaching the peak number for homebuying reached in 2006, just before the housing market crash.


The reasons for such explosive rental growth are numerous: lingering effects from the economic collapse in 2008, the revitalization of many urban cores, Baby Boomers aging out of their houses, and high rates of student loan debt among Millennials. Many millennial renters are postponing “next-steps” like marriage or starting a family, and still see home ownership as out of reach.


But should they? Maybe not. We at ABODO know a little something about renting, and have broken down four of the most common myths about buying a house versus renting an apartment.


MYTH #1: Ownership Is More Expensive
Not always — at least month by month. As demand for rental properties has grown, so have rents. In fact, in 2015 rents nationwide rose 4.6%, the largest increase in almost 10 years. According to a recent study, it’s cheaper to buy a house than rent it in 42 states. The overall price tag might give you sticker shock, but more often than not, a monthly mortgage payment will be comparable (or less) than rent, and at least you’ll be gaining equity. Plus, mortgage interest payments are tax-deductible. This handy calculator from the  New York Times can tell you if homeownership might actually be a good financial move.


MYTH #2: Your Savings Will Be Depleted, Forever
You might think that after a downpayment, and mortgage payments, and furnishing, and repairs, and maintenance, and property taxes… saving money is a lost cause. But think of it this way: Every mortgage payment that pays down principal and interest is a kind of “forced savings account.” You have to pay it, so you do. But unlike a rent payment, that money isn’t vanishing into the ether (or, as it’s more commonly known, your landlord’s pocket). Assuming you don’t default on your loan and go into foreclosure, you’ll see that money again, in a different form. By establishing equity in your house, you’ll be seeing long-term value in the form of an investment. You’ll also be eligible for new lines of credit. It might take 30 years, but it won’t be 30 years of checks down the drain.


MYTH #3: You Can’t Get a Loan
Yes, the days of subprime lending are over — and thank goodness, given how that turned out. Given the events of 2007-2009, banks are understandably cautious about handing out large loans for new homeowners. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. In 2014, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced a new initiative, aimed at encouraging first-time homeowners, that backs mortgages with extremely low down payments — as low as 3%. There are conditions, of course: Potential homebuyers must buy private mortgage insurance and have a high credit score (at least 620). But such a low down payment (the standard is 20%!) is a major help for younger homebuyers who might still be paying off student loans.


MYTH #4: You’re Too Young to Own
According to the National Association of Realtors, over 35% of new homebuyers in 2015 were Millennials, making them the largest group of recent buyers for two years running. And the median age for Millennial homebuyers was 30. So it’s not just Gen X or Boomers buying houses. (In fact, Boomers are moving into apartments in droves.)

Convinced? We hope not. It takes more than just an internet article to know whether you’re ready for homeownership. In addition to this list, take an honest and hard look at your finances, your life goals, and your tolerance for home-repair before you commit. But if you decide to go ahead on the rewarding path of homeownership, get in touch with Josh Lavik & Associates 608-620-4234 to set up a consultation. And happy house-hunting!

Friday, August 19, 2016

This Month in Real Estate: July 2016

According to the South Central Wisconsin MLS active inventories have fallen in all 6 markets. Single family home sales have also fallen in five of the six markets compared to last year. Year-to-date sales however are ahead in one-half of the SCWMLS, but slightly down in Dane County.



There is a strong competition among buyers in the price range under $300,000. The impact of this competition can be easily seen with the year-to-date increases in median prices for both single family homes and condos. 


The good news for buyers is that it is a strong economy with historically low interest rates. This helps with affordability even with rising prices. The good news for sellers is that there are buyers waiting for your home. Now is the time to contact Josh Lavik & Associates 608-620-4234 to help you navigate your way through this tricky market. We've helped many buyers and sellers find their dream home!