Madison WI Real Estate Blog

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.


Top 4 Deal Killers for Homebuyers

Falling in love is exhilarating. It can also be a bit scary, especially when a home has captured your heart. What if something goes wrong and you end up not spending the rest of your life with this stack of brick and mortar you're lusting after?

No matter how careful you are, some deal killers are unavoidable. Others, however, are preventable, so pay heed if you hope to keep your deal alive.

1. Don't Mess with Your Mortgage Preapproval

A common reason for a real estate deal to fall apart is that many homebuyers don't fully understand the mortgage process. Sure, you may get a loan preapproval, but don't think for one minute that this guarantees you will get the loan. It doesn't.

Here's what happens after you receive your preapproval letter and decide to move forward with the purchase. The lender will start your file, give you a list of paperwork required, order an appraisal and credit reports, verify your employment and income, and more.

The file is then sent to the processor who will review all of your information as well as the appraisal. He or she will then put together a package of all pertinent information to be sent to the underwriter.

The underwriter is the person who ultimately determines whether or not you are an acceptable credit risk. He or she will assess your ability to repay the loan, your credit, and the collateral used to secure the mortgage - in this case the collateral is the home. Then, just before funding the loan, the underwriter will perform what is known as a "soft pull" of your credit information to see if anything has changed.

This is the point where many borrowers run afoul. If you hope to keep your purchase alive, don't do anything - from application to closing - that might change your financial picture and sabotage your final approval. This means no shopping on credit for appliances, furniture or anything else. Don't switch jobs, fall behind on your bills, co-sign a loan for anyone, or in...

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...

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!


How Can You Make Your Home Happier?

Your home should be a sanctuary from the stresses of everyday life where you can relax and spend time with friends and family. Here are some tips to help you put a smile on your face whenever you walk in your front door.

Surround yourself with mood-boosting colors. Red, orange and yellow are often associated with generating a positive mood. If these colors aren't your favorite, surround yourself with ones that are uplifting and give you inspiration.

Fill the air with blissful scents. Many scents like jasmine, lavender, citrus or even fresh baked cookies are linked to happiness. Sent is also linked to memory so filling your home with happy memories will lift your spirits.

Create a dedicated space for your hobbies. Spending time on activities that bring you joy is important to your overall happiness. If you passion is reading, painting or woodworking, having a space devoted to your favorite hobby will motivate you to spend more time on what you love.

Bring the outdoors in. There is a significant link between spending time enjoying nature and your mood. Fill your home with plants and fresh flowers, even just opening the curtains can make an impact.

Simple tips like these can create a happier, healthier and more valuable home!


August Home Care Tips

The return to school and work is looming over us now that August is here and we're getting in those last vacations before summer is over. Here are a few things you can do around the house with fall right around the corner.
Edit and organize clothes closets. Before you do any shopping for fall, sort through your closets and drawers. Donate any items you no longer want. Begin pulling out fall clothes from storage to asses what you still need.

Clean the bathroom fan. Through the summer months the bathroom fan has to work even harder to clean the air. Leave it on for a full 30 minutes after each shower to prevent bathroom mildew from forming. Use a vacuum attachment to clear out the dust and grime.

Prep for quick and easy weeknight dinners and school lunches. Get a jump start on kitchen tasks by cleaning out cupboards and prepping some big batch meals you can freeze. Wash and chop fruits and veggies to keep as healthy snacks.

Give the mudroom a makeover. Create a functional and attractive mudroom with a set of wall hooks and some organizational baskets. Maximize closet space with a shoe rack and a high shelf for less frequently used items.

Do some emergency prep. In case of an emergency you should always have some emergency kits up to date with food, water, clothes, flashlights and first aid supplies. Especially if you are living in an area where flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes or earthquakes occur.

Check and put away summer equipment. Clean summer gear and toss broken items before storing them for next year. Take advantage of end of season sales to find a new one at the best price.