Madison WI Real Estate Blog

Winterizing Your Home

Now that the first snow is fallen the denial is over... Winter is here, and for most of us that means higher heating bills. To cut down on cost there are some easy tricks to winterize your home without breaking the bank. Popular Mechanics has come up with a comprehensive list of 19 Ways to Winterize Your Home.

Cover Up Drafts

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5%-30% of your energy use. An option for covering the space under the door is a draft snake which you can either make yourself or purchase.

Change Furnace Filters

Furnace filters should be cleaned or replaced once a month during the winter months. You can also consider switching to a permanent filter which can trap around 88% of debris instead of only 10%-40%.

Run Fans in Reverse

Switching to a clockwise rotation makes it warmer since air pooled near the ceiling is circulated back into the living space.

Winterize A/C & Water Lines

Drain any hoses and air conditioner pipes, making sure there is no excess water in your equipment. Turn off any exterior spigots and shut off your a/c.

Turn Down Your Water Heater

Lowering the temperature from 140 degrees F to 120 degrees F reduces your water heating costs by 6%-10%.

Install Storm Doors & Windows

This can easily increase energy efficiency by 45%, sealing the drafts and reducing air flow. They also offer better light and ventilation into your home.

Keep Your Furnace Clean

A clean and lubricated furnace can save up to 5% in heating costs.

Turn Down the Thermostat

Make sure you turn down your thermostat when no one is home to save on efficiency. For every degree lower the thermostat is set during the winter months saves 1%-3% on the heating bill.

Use Window Plastic

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Is Now a Good Time To Sell?

With December right around the corner, many homeowners are asking themselves if they should sell now or wait until the spring. Josh Lavik has the answers to all your questions in his latest CW57 Real Estate News Video!

Still not sure if you're ready to sell? Check out our Website to find out how much your home is worth. Contact us at Josh Lavik & Associates (608) 620-4234 for a home selling consultation or if you have any other questions about the process.

We are here to create A Better Real Estate Experience for our clients!

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This Month in Real Estate: October 2015

The South Central MLS reports that the 586 Dane County sales reported for October are 18.9% more than 2014 and are the highest total for the month since 2004. This brings year-to-date sales to 6,950 which is 13.6% ahead of last year and on pace to be one of the top three years of home sales ever.

The median sales price in Dane County for October is staying steady at $230,000, as it has been year-to-date. This compared to the median sales price for the first 10 months of last year the South Central MLS reports there is a 4.6% increase. The median sales price in Dane County has demonstrated solid growth since 2012 and is exceeding the previous annual high of $218,000 set at the end of 2007.

For the month of October new listings have increased 4%, but the higher volume of sales continues to keep the number of homes for sale very lean. Only 3.06 months of active inventory is now available, compared to the 4.5 months just one year ago.

Across South Central Wisconsin MLS, sales increased 3.8% in October, making it 11.7% ahead of last year. The median sales price increased 7.2% as well for the month and 6.2% year-to-date. All counties are equally or exceeding 2014 in year-to-date sales and median prices.

With great interest rates still in place, pending the Federal Reserve's next meeting in December, and steadily rising prices, many buyers have recognized that waiting to act may cost more. Now is a great time to contact us to buy or sell your home!

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.

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Saint Joseph Home Seller

Want to Make Your Home Sell Faster?

The history of the Saint Joseph Home Seller is quite interesting, and may be just the thing you need for a quick home sale. Saint Joseph is the patron saint of home and family, being Jesus' adopted father and always providing a stable happy home. People believe this tradition started all the way back in the 1500s when St. Teresa of Avila, needed to find land to build a new convent. When she was having no luck finding the land she needed, Teresa told the nuns to burry consecrated medals of St. Joseph in the grounds of their convent and pray to him to help her find land that was big enough and cheap enough for her project. The prayers and burying the blessed medals worked as Teresa quickly found the perfect piece of land. Over centuries this custom has changed and instead of burying medals of St. Joseph people began to bury small statues of St. Joseph when they wanted to sell their home.

Even if you're not Catholic, if you want your home to sell quickly burying a statue of Saint Joseph might do the trick. After purchasing a small statue of Saint Joseph, you must bury it upside down in your yard. Legend says that the statute should be buried upside down so the statue will need to work harder to get out of the ground and into the home. The best place to bury the statue is by the For Sale sign, although people have had success burying it elsewhere in the yard. Once the house is sold the homeowner should dig up the statue and put it in a place of honor in your new home. You could also leave the statue buried in the ground to protect the new homeowners and help them find safety and comfort in the home. Some warn however, that leaving the statue behind will only make the property change hands again and again.

For more information on the legend of the Saint Joseph home seller visit www.saint-josephstatue.com/

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Rent Vs. Buy

Have You Ever Taken $1,000 and Flushed it Down the Toilet?
You may not have literally burned up $1,000, but if you're still paying rent, it amounts to the same thing. When you buy a home you own something solid, real, full of value. Building equity by buying your own home is one of the single most lucrative investments you can make.

According to the National Association of Realtors the gap between rental costs and household income is widening to unsustainable levels, and the situation could worsen. In the past five years, a typical rent rose 15% while the income of renters grew only by 11%.

Buying a home is 23% cheaper than renting nationwide and now is the best time to buy since 2012. This is calculated by an assumed 3.85% mortgage rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan with a 10% down payment.

The New York Times has used an assumed 30-year fixed rate mortgage with a 20% down payment for their reference. With these assumptions buying can be up to is 36% cheaper than rent.

This month on CW57's Real Estate news Josh discusses renting vs. buying. Check out the video below and keep updated with Josh's monthly segments for more information about real estate topics and trends.

Affordability of Home Buying

If you can afford a rent payment, you can afford a house payment. A simple formula determines how much house you can afford. In general, 28% of your total income can be used for a mortgage payment (principal and interest only). Taxes, insurance, homeowners dues and other variables increase your monthly payment and reduce the total loan amount for which you can qualify.

Annual Income:
$20,000...........................................$467
$25,000...........................................$583
$30,000...........................................$700
$35,000............................................$817...