Madison WI Real Estate Blog

Great Neighborhood in Oregon - The Legend at Bergamont

In the Dane County real estate market one can purchase a home for around $228,700, which is the median sales price in the second quarter of 2008. Of course, there are options below that price and even more above that price. In fact this past year a 35 acre farmette sold in Fitchburg for $1,250,000. Somewhere in the middle of these prices there are many other homes available. Some of the more well known high end neighborhoods include Hawks Landing, Blackhawk, Nakoma, or even Seminole Hills. Homes in these fine areas typically fetch prices in the $400,000 to $800,000 price range. But if you venture just a little further south outside of Madison you will likely stumble upon The Legend at Bergamont.

Mick Butterfield is the membership services director at "The Legend" and gave me a tour of the area noting some the outstanding features and benefits of living there. "At the Legend you're really buying a lifestyle" says Mick. "This place is great for the family that wants quality, privacy, and yet a great neighborhood with lot's of options for the kids as well as adults. Years ago, the country club model was for Dad only. This model is something that offers something to do for the entire family." In fact, part of the mission says, "Our belief is that the decision to join a private club is a family decision, and the facilities, operational policies and programming must appeal to the entire family." The Legend at Bergamont is co-owned by a group that also built The Legend at Brandybrook, a similar community with around 500 members in the Milwaukee area.

The Legend at Bergamont certainly does offer numerous options, including a lap pool, water slides, 5 tennis courts, a basketball court, and fitness center. Some would probably consider this mixture to be like a vacation. However, for the owners at "The Legend" it's just home. Pam Brien just moved into the neighborhood on Nicole Circle and said, "We absolutely love it here. We wanted a neighborhood in a little smaller...

How to negotiate the best deal on your next house

As the real estate market continues to shift, it seems like most people I talk to keep asking where all the good deals are these days. I would say, it depends. One guy I know told me about a house in Michigan that was $370,000 a year ago, now it's for sale for only $270,000. I suppose if you want to move to Michigan, you could get a good deal near the Chrysler, GM, or Ford plants. However, in the Madison area, the job market is relatively stable, which in turn helps to stabilize the real estate market.

Okay, you might be asking, "Come on Josh, what about the good deals on a house in the Madison area?" Some investors that I deal with, prefer to search for foreclosures and other fixer upper properties. However, keep in mind that just because a property is a fixer upper, does not necessarily mean that it's a good deal. In fact, there are other investors that seek out only homes in good condition because there tends to be less maintenance cost when renting the property. This may also be a wise move with concerns over rising material costs for rehabilitation.

If a foreclosure or fixer upper is for you, there can be some good bargains out there. I helped someone buy a condo in Sun Prairie this year that was in the process of foreclosure. The condo needed a lot of work, but was priced accordingly; about $40,000 below nearby comparable sales. Another couple I helped purchase a house on Lake Kegonsa for nearly $100,000 LESS than the current assessed value. How did I find all these "deals"?

Overall the best "deal" comes from truly identifying your objectives as a home buyer and knowing the market. In both of these cases we spent considerable time looking at various properties that were for sale in the Madison area. Occasionally we found a couple that were a good "deal" but it was too late because they were already...