Wisconsin Real Estate News, Market Trends, & Local Information

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

July 8, 2019

Home Warranty: Do I need one?


Every time I write an offer for a buyer I ask them if they would like a home warranty....what is one and what does it actually mean to have one? A home warranty is a one-year service agreement that covers the repair or replacement of many major home system and appliances that could possibly break down over time due to normal wear and tear. A home warranty is a perfect complement to homeowner’s insurance but will not work as a substitute. A home warranty typically covers items that most homeowner’s insurance plans do not cover. Items that are typically covered are central air conditioning/heating systems, kitchen appliances, washer and dryer, plumbing system, electrical system, and roof leaks. If you purchase a home warranty at the time you are buying a home, coverage begins on the day of the closing. Repair bills are expensive, and most of the time they do not come with a warning. A home warranty can act as a buffer, especially for someone who does not have a emergency fund. A home warranty may save you money, depending on what kind of repairs you end up needing. Having a home warranty can make you feel more secure in your home purchase, especially if you’re buying an older home with older appliances and HVAC units. For some homeowners, this is enough of a reason to invest in a home warranty. If you are interested in buying or selling a house, or have questions about home warranties, Give me a call!


Amy Hopfinger
Broker Associate
Homestead Realty Inc.



Posted in Market Updates
July 1, 2019

Top 10 Wisconsin Firework Shows in 2019






Shake the Lake in Madison with Live Music, Food, and Family fun activities. This is Wisconsin’s largest firework show!






Summerfest, or Vetrans park Milwaukee Lake Front .






The St Croix river cruise offers a firework display July 3, and 4th.




Bayfield & La Pointe


Great Lakes at Bayfield’s fourth of July festivities.






Independence Day on the Rock in Janesville




Green Bay


The biggest firework display north of Milwaukee, Fire Over the Fox is a daylong festival with national acts, ceremonies, and salutes, food and carnival rides.




Door County


Egg Harbor’s firework display over the bay was votes best in Door County. Food, Music, and a performance by the UW-Madison Marching Band.




Clam lake


Beautiful firework display located in the heart of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.




Stevens Point


Riverfront Rendezvous include dozens of live performances, games, and prizes.  Fireworks and a lighted boat parade are the main events.








Fox Cities biggest firework display. At Memorial Park Live bands, and further west.


Farther west, Riverfest is a four-day festival along the Mississippi river.






 As Always, Please contact me with all of your real estate needs!

I am looking forward to hearing from you !


Amy Hopfinger

Broker Associate

Homestead Realty Inc.

(920) 296-3013



Posted in Market Updates
June 19, 2019

Something Fun: Outdoor Theaters




Looking for something fun to do with the family this summer? Going to an outdoor theater has always been at the top of our summer to-do list! Go ahead and relax while you check out one (or all!) of these Wisconsin Outdoor movie theaters…




Highway 18 Outdoor Theatre


W6423 US HWY 18 Jefferson, WI


(920) 674-6700




Chilton Twilight Outdoor Theater


1255 E Chestnut St Chilton, WI 53014


(920) 849-9565




Big Sky Drive-In Theatre


N9199 Winnebago Rd Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965


(608) 254-8025




Skyway Drive-In Theatre


3475 State Highway 42 Fish Creek, WI 54212


(920) 854-9938




Field of Scenes and Fieldhouse


N3732 UNI Drive Kaukauna, WI 54130


(920) 788-1935




As always, please contact me with any of your real estate needs!


I look forward to hearing from you!




Amy Hopfinger


Broker Associate


Homestead Realty Inc








Posted in Market Updates
June 10, 2019

Should I Rent to Own ???


As a real estate expert, I get calls almost daily from buyers asking about rent to own.  There are a lot of misconceptions out there.  Sellers consider rent to own for a few different reasons, maybe they are having trouble selling the house and can’t afford the mortgage payment and a mortgage payment at their primary residence.  Maybe there have been long term tenants that would like to purchase the home, they have a great rental history but can’t yet get a mortgage, the seller might see rent to own as a benefit, rather than having the tenants leave and put the home on the market…those are just a couple of scenarios that rent to own can happen in.  It is not as common in a good seller’s market, like we are in today. 


Why would buyers consider this option?  Usually this only happens if buyers can’t qualify for a mortgage but want to work towards owning a property.  Sellers that are willing to do this, can be hard to find.  Most buyers don’t realize that in addition to the monthly rent and security deposit, there is usually a down payment deposit as well.  This is usually 1 to 5 percent of the purchase price and will be more than their rent. The rent amount is usually higher than a normal rented property. If you can’t purchase, or decide not to purchase when it comes time to the “own” part, you generally will forfeit the down payment amount you paid and the amount you paid thus far in rent, does not get returned to you.  So at that point you will have paid above market rent, a lump sum, and have nothing to show for it. Quite often in this scenario the tenants/buyers are responsible for repairs and maintenance during the lease term and any money or sweat equity you put into the property will not be reimbursed, if you can’t close when it comes time to “own.” Now, anything can be negotiated, but this is what I see most often.


Sellers that consider doing rent to own should contact an attorney so they can understand the laws.  You should make sure the person renting/buying the home has spoken to a lender and has a realistic idea of what it will take to qualify for a mortgage and how long that will take.  The seller should be following up to make sure the buyer is doing what they say they will.  Whatever sales price you decide on should be realistic and ideally close within a year…if you do a long term rent to own you risk the market changing and the property not appraising for what you agreed upon 2 or 3 years prior. Sellers should do background and credit checks and make sure all the rules are laid out clearly. Sellers should always require a down payment deposit.


Buyers, this is generally not your best option, but if it is your only option make sure you speak with a lender and figure out realistically how long it will take to be able to purchase the home.  Make sure you are doing everything they tell you to.  Do not stick too much work into the property until you own it.  Understand that what you are signing is a contract, make sure you understand what happens if you default. I strongly suggest instead of focusing on finding a rent to own, focus on finding a lender that will guide you in the direction you need to be to be able to purchase a home, without having to do rent to own, and focus on getting there.


If you need help finding a lender that can set a plan for you and help you understand what you need to do to be able to purchase, contact Amy at 920-296-3013 or amylhopfinger@gmail.com 


Posted in Market Updates
June 3, 2019

Fun Farmer's Markets






Brady Street Sunday Fundays Art & Farmers Market
N. Arlington Place & Brady Street
June 23, July 14, July 28, Aug. 11, Aug. 25, Sept. 8, Sept. 22
Second and fourth Sundays, noon-4 p.m.


Stop down to Brady Street during Sunday Fundays for fresh local produce, art, music and specials from a variety of local businesses. For instance, stop by Sciortino's for ham and rolls; or enjoy drink and brunch specials at area restaurants.



Brookfield Farmers Market
Civic Center Plaza, 2000 N. Calhoun Rd., (262) 784-7804
May 4-Oct. 26
Saturdays, 7:30 a.m.-noon (rain or shine)


Get more from the market with a frequent shopper card, available at the information booth. Collect 12 punches to earn $5 in market money; collect 24 to earn $10.



Brown Deer Farmers Market

Marketplace Shopping Center, 9078 N Green Bay Rd. (414) 354 - 4117
June 12-Oct. 30
Wednesdays, 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.


This farmer's market has the classic fruits and vegetables but also mixes it up with coffee, salsa and other unique vendors.



Burlington Farmers Market
Wehmhoff Square, next to The Burlington Library (262) 210-6360
May 2-Oct. 24
Thursdays, 3-7 p.m.


Find a variety foods including meat, cheese, vegetables and fruit as well as items like salad dressing, honey, flowers, bakery, ice cream, sandwiches and much more.



Butler Farmers Market
Hampton Avenue at 127th Street, (414) 840-6602
May 20-Oct. 22
Mondays, noon-6 p.m.
No market on Labor Day

Shop fresh produce, fruits, honey, specialty meat, ready-made foods and more at this Monday afternoon market.



Cedarburg Makers & Growers Market
Cedarburg Cultural Center parking lot
W62N546 Washington Ave., (262) 224-7849
June 14-Oct. 11
Fridays, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Closed the week of July 4


While away a Friday morning at this combination market featuring both the work of artisans and locally grown produce from area farms.



Delafield Farmers Market
Main & Dopkins Streets, (262) 719-3848
May 4-Oct. 26
Saturdays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.


NEW this year: Delafield Chefs Market will also take place on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon, beginning July 17


Grab a cup of coffee and peruse the market, which features plenty of locally produced food along with crafts, plants and prepared foods. Keep your eye out for the Drift food truck, serving up espresso and delicious savory New Zealand style hand pies.



Delavan - Boxed & Burlap
2935 Hwy 67, Delavan, (262) 374-5497
May 31- Sept. 6
Fridays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.


Enjoy a cup of Boxed & Burlap coffee while strolling the market's selection of produce, baked goods, jam, meat, cheese, eggs, honey, fresh cut flowers, jewelry, soap, decor and artwork.



Dousman Farmers Market
Dousman Village Hall, 118 S. Main St. (262) 968-4566
May 1-Oct.16
Wednesdays, 2-6 p.m.


Take some time to browse this market for vegetables, meats, plants, herbs and artisanal crafts. Keep your eyes out for the lemonade stands run by area children under the supervision of local parents!



East Town Market
Cathedral Square Park, Wells and Jefferson Streets, (414) 271-1416
June 15-Oct. 12
Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.


Enjoy free yoga from 9 to 10 a.m. at the park's main stage, as well as DanceWorks offerings for children, families and teens (see schedule for details).



Enderis Park Farmer's Market
Enderis Park, 70th Street, between Chambers and Locust
June 16 -Sept. 15
Sundays, 9 a.m. - noon


Purchase farm fresh produce or delicious prepared food products at this market which is celebrating its fourth season.



Fondy Farmers Market
2200 W. Fond du Lac Ave., (414) 933-8121
May 11 - June 15
Saturdays, 9 a.m. to noon
June 22-Oct. 31
Saturdays, 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Nov. 2-23
Saturday 9 a.m.-3 p.m.


Visit Milwaukee's oldest continuously operating market featuring over 40 fresh and prepared food vendors, including farmers from Fondy's farms in Port Washington and Mequon. Special events include BBQ & Greens Fest on July 27 and Harvest Fest on Sept. 14



Fort Atkinson Farmers Market
24 E. Milwaukee St., (920) 563-3210
Spring preview May 4-18
Regular season May 25-Oct. 26
Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon


This market features over 36 hyper-local vendors (most from within a 30 mile radius) and over 50 craft vendors during Arts Saturdays, held on the last Saturday of each month.



Fox Point Farmers Market
North Shore Congregational Church,
7330 N, Santa Monica Blvd., (414) 352-0555
June 15-Oct. 12
Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon

Browse a variety of vendors selling fresh vegetables and flowers along with free-range chickens and eggs, smoked salmon, grass-fed beef, lamb, organic pork and more. Go green: In an effort to reduce waste from single-use plastic, cups and styrofoam, Fox Point Farmers Market vendors use bags, plates and cups that are biodegradable or compostable. Reusable mesh and cloth bags will be available at the market information table.



Garden District Market
New location! Wilson Park Senior Center (2601 W. Howard Ave).
June 22-Oct. 26
Saturdays, 1-4 p.m.

Shop local fruit, vegetables, quality meat, gourmet popcorn, oyster mushrooms at this neighborhood market.



Germantown Farmers Market
Parking Lot of the Germantown Village Hall
N112 W17001 Mequon Rd., (262) 250-4710
May 4-Oct. 26
Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon


From fresh flowers to locally grown produce, you'll get your fill at this weekly market featuring both conventional and organic products.



Greendale Open Market
Broad Street-Village Center, between Northway and Schoolway, (414) 423-2790
June 16-Oct. 6
Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon


Support a wide variety of unique vendors and community groups featuring wares that vary from flowers to fresh produce to bakery and arts and crafts.



Greenfield Farmers Market
Konkel Park, 5151 W. Layton Ave.
May 5-Oct. 27; closed Memorial Day weekend
Sundays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.


Visit on the first Sunday of every month for the maker's market featuring quality, hand-crafted goods from local artisans.



Hartford Farmers Market
Hartford Recreation Center parking lot, 125 N. Rural St., (262) 673-7193
May 18-Oct. 26
Saturdays, 7 a.m.-noon


Stop by and check out selection of crafts, organic food, vegetables, local specialties and fruits.



Horicon Farmers Market

Kiwanis Park, at the end of South Hubbard Street, (920) 485-0216
May 1 through October
Wednesdays, 4-7 p.m.


Take a picturesque drive to Horicon to visit their market which features vendors, a free live music series and community cook-outs hosted each week by a different Horicon area service organization.



Jackson Park Farmers Market
3500 W. Forest Home Ave., adjacent to the boathouse north of the pond
June 13-Sept. 26
Thursdays, 3:00-6:30 p.m.


Take a stroll through the park, support local vendors, grab a bite to eat and enjoy live music each week at this relatively new neighborhood market.



Kenosha Parks Farmers Markets
June through November
Tuesday-Friday, 6 a.m.-noon
Saturday, 6 a.m.-1 p.m.
Tuesdays: Pennoyer Park, 35th Street and Seventh Avenue
Wednesdays: Columbus Park, 54th Street and 22nd Avenue
Thursdays: Lincoln Park, 18th Avenue and 70th Street
Fridays: Baker Park, 66th Street and Sheridan Road
Saturday: Columbus Park, 54th Street and 22nd Avenue



Kenosha Harbor Market
2nd Avenue Between 54th & 56th Streets, (262) 914-1252
May 11-Oct. 12
Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.


This bustling European-style mixed market offers goods from 150+ vendors each week. In addition to produce, meats, cheeses and prepared foods, you can also enjoy live entertainment, chef demonstrations and educational booths.



Lake Mills Artisan/Farmers Market
Common Park, North Main and East Lake Streets, (920) 648-6721
May 8-Oct. 16
Wednesdays, 2-6:30 p.m.


This market features seasonal produce, crafts and art, all produced by farmers, crafters and artisans who grow or create their products.



Madison's Dane County Farmers Market
Capital Square, 2 E. Main St. (608) 455-1999
April 13-Nov. 16
Saturdays, 6:15 a.m.-1:45 p.m.


The 200 Block of Martin Luther King Blvd.
April 13-Nov. 6
Wednesdays, 8:30 a.m.-1:45 p.m.


There's nothing small about the Dane County Farmer's Market. Take your time and stroll the square nibbling delicious things and getting your weekly shopping done. Need a sense of what you'll find? Here are 8 great foodie finds to look for on your next trip.



Menomonee Falls Farmers Market
North Middle School Parking Lot, N88W16801 Main St.
May 1 -Oct. 30
Wednesdays, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.


Peruse produce, home-made bakery, flowers, garden plants, specialty items, and unique arts and crafts made in Wisconsin and the surrounding area.



Mukwonago Farmers Market
Field Park, Highway NN & highway 83
May 15-Oct. 9
Wednesdays, 2-6 p.m.


Wander the aisles of seasonal fruits and vegetables, herbs, eggs and wares from local artisans while enjoying live entertainment and prepared foods.



Near West Side Market
3600 W. Juneau, (414) 933-0640
June 20-Sept. 26
Thursdays, 3:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.

Enjoy live music while visiting with local farmers and food vendors selling a delicious mix of produce, cut flowers, baked goods, popcorn, prepared dinner items, and a variety of handcrafts.



New Berlin Farmers Market
15055 W. National Ave. (262) 786-5380
May 4 - Oct. 26
Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon


In addition to fruits and vegetables, this market features numerous other treats including popcorn, egg rolls and dog treats.



Oak Creek Farmers Market
Drexel Town Square, 361 W. Town Square Way
June 1 to October 19
Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.


Grab a cup of Valentine coffee and peruse the wares of 40+ vendors offering the freshest in fruits, vegetables cheeses, eggs, meats, honey, and flowers. Stop by for the special makers markets on June 15, July 27, August 31 and October 5.



Oconomowoc Farmers Market
First Bank Financial Centre, 155 W. Wisconsin Ave., (262) 567-2666
May 4-Oct. 26
Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon

Shop over 40 vendors -- from produce and bakery to arts and crafts -- at this weekly market.



Outdoor Urban Market
Milwaukee Public Market, 400 N. Water St., (414) 336-1111
June 1-Aug. 31 (rain or shine)
Saturdays. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Browse the wares of some of the best artists, growers, makers and crafters in the region at this bustling urban market. Market attendees get one hour of free parking in public market lot with a market purchase and validation.



Pewaukee Farmers Market
Koepp Park, 201 Oakton Ave.
June 12-Sept. 25
Wednesdays, 3:30-7 p.m.


Browse a variety of vendors selling fresh produce, flowers, natural skin-care items, sauces, salsas, women's clothing, cooking mixes and offering services including chiropractic therapy and fitness programs at this weekly market.



Port Washington Farmers Market
East Main Street, between Franklin and Wisconsin Streets, (262) 305-4220
June 8-Oct. 26
Saturdays 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Closed July 20 for Port Fish Days


Visit with friends, enjoy tasty samples, sip your coffee, walk your pet (pets are allowed) and stock your kitchen with a variety items brought to you by area farms and vendors.



West Racine Farmers Market
3100 Washington Ave., (262) 886-3091
May 18-Oct. 26
Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon


Peruse the selection of seasonal fruits, vegetables, flowers and plants at this weekly market.



Riverwest Gardeners Market
Garden Park, 821 E. Locust St., (414) 367-9389
June 2-Oct. 27
Sundays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Closed June 9 for Locust Street Festival


This neighborhood market specializes in seasonal fruits and vegetables, local honey and eggs, freshly made bread and beautiful bouquets.



Saukville Farmers Market
Veterans Park, 639 E Green Bay Ave., (262) 284-9423
June 23-Oct. 27
Sundays except Labor Day weekend, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.


Spend the morning in the park! This market is stocked with Wisconsin-grown produce, flowers and crafts.



Shorewood Farmers Market
Lake Bluff Elementary, 1600 W. Bluff Blvd.
June 16-Oct. 27
Sundays, 9:30-1 p.m.

Enjoy live entertainment and special events throughout the season at this bustling family-friendly market showcasing the best of seasonal produce and locally made products.



South Milwaukee Downtown Market
11th and Milwaukee Avenues, (414) 499-1568
May 30-Oct. 10
Thursdays, 3-7 p.m.

You'll find both conventional and organic produce, along with arts, crafts and baked goods at this family friendly market.



South Shore Farmers Market
2900 S. Shore Dr.
June 15-Oct. 26
Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon

Grab breakfast along with your produce for the week at this pet-friendly market along the lakefront.



St. Martin's Fair
Market Square Gazebo, 11230 W. Franklin St., Franklin (414) 425-7500
May 6-Oct. 7
First Monday of every month, 3 to 7 p.m.
Sunday of Labor Day Weekend, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Monday of Labor Day Weekend, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.


The St. Martin's Fair features fruits, flowers, vegetables and prepared food, along with a wide variety of other wares, from hardware and household items to pet supplies, clothing, shoes and more. Live music is featured over Labor Day weekend.



Sussex Farmers Market
Sussex Civic Center, N64W23760 Main St.
June 2-Oct. 13
Sundays 9:30 a.m-1 p.m.
No market on July 15.

Purchase fruits, vegetables and meats from Wisconsin growers while enjoying live music and children's activities.



Thiensville Farmers Market
Thiensville Village Park, (262) 512-1790
June 11-Oct. 15
Tuesdays, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

This farmer's market is open all day long every Tuesday during the summer. Features include local produce, fruits, meat, grains, artisanal goods, dairy products and a variety of live performances from local artists.



Tosa Farmers Market
Hard Mills parking lot, 7720 Harwood Ave., (414) 431-5798
June 1-Oct. 12
Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon

Get to know local community organizations, enjoy live music and peruse wares from over 50 vendors, featuring plants, produce, ready-to-eat foods, flowers, bakery, cheese, meat and more at this weekly market in the Wauwatosa Village. The first Saturday of each month showcases a makers market featuring local artists and their wares. Each week, kids age 5 to 12 are also invited to participate in the market's Power of Produce (PoP) program; stop at the Info Booth for $2 in tokens to spend on fruits, veggies, and food-bearing plants. This successful program not only lets kids learn about where food comes from, but also about exchanging money with vendors. The Tosa Market also caters to FoodShare recipients, doubling up to $10 in tokens each week.



Walker Square Farmers' Market
Walker Square Park, 1029 S. 9th St. (414) 301-3110
June 23-Oct. 31
Sundays and Thursdays, 7 a.m.-3 p.m.

Looking for unique produce? Look no further than the Walker Square Market where you're sure to find summer staples as well as something delicious and new to try.



Waukesha Farmers Market
Downtown, St. Paul & Madison St, North of Fox River (262) 549-6154
May 4-Oct. 26
Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon

You'll get a bit of everything at this Waukesha market, which features produce, crafts, entertainment and more from over 150 vendors.



West Allis Farmers Market
6501 W. National Ave., (414) 302-8600
May 4-Nov. 30
Tuesdays and Thursdays, noon-6 p.m.; Saturdays 1-6 p.m.

If you love a market dedicated to produce, this is the one. Walk the stalls or snack on lunch from one of the market's prepared food vendors.



West Bend Farmers Market
Old Settler's Park, Main Street and Cedar, (262) 338-3909
May 18-Oct. 26
Saturdays, 7:30-11 a.m.

One of the largest markets in Wisconsin, this market occupies multiple blocks in Downtown West Bend and features a variety of products from produce, fruits, meats, eggs, maple syrup, bakery items, spices, soaps, herbal products and prepared foods. No pets are allowed.



Whitefish Bay Farmers Market
Aurora Parking Lot, 324 E. Silver Spring Dr., (414) 962-6690
July 6-Oct. 19
Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon

Relish this open air market featuring produce, eggs, meats, fish, cheese, flowers, honey, coffee, bakery and more.


As with all events, please call ahead to confirm. For a list of farmers markets state-wide check out usda.gov or farmfreshatlas.org.


If you have any questions about activities in your area, give me a call!!






Posted in Market Updates
May 30, 2019

Help me choose a lender!!

When purchasing a home, I want to make sure that you are comfortable, happy, and get to the closing table…but in most cases, that depends on the approval of your loan.

There are many lenders and banks that will promise you big things but do not deliver. I meet many buyers that want to get through the preapproval process as quickly as they can, and there are many online lenders or local lenders that will ask you a couple questions and preapprove you, based on that info.

Wouldn’t you rather take an extra hour getting the lender documents so they can do their due diligence? Wouldn’t you rather be reasonably certain they will be able to deliver on what they say?  

Unfortunately, it is almost impossible for a buyer to know who to trust without a referral from either family/friend or your favorite Real Estate Expert. Who better to ask?!  We deal with all sorts of lenders in our business and we have developed opinions on who delivers on their promises…and….who doesn’t. Not everyone is a good fit either, as your real estate expert we get to know you, we know which lender will deliver the kind of customer service you need. Talk with the preferred lenders that your agent recommends, ask questions, and compare rates so that when purchasing your new home, you feel confident in your financial decision. A great expert lender can make a huge difference in a transaction.

Keep in mind: Just because someone gives you a pre-approval letter easily, doesn’t mean that they can close the deal.

If you are thinking about purchasing a home, and would like to know who my preferred lenders are… Let’s Talk!



Go to www.mywisconsinhomefinder.com to check out some of my listings

Or Click Here to follow me on Facebook!!! 


Posted in Market Updates
May 30, 2019

Home Inspection - Realistic Expectations for Buyers

Home Inspections and the reason for them are often misunderstood.  Not every agent properly prepares buyers and sellers for this portion of the transaction, leaving buyers freaked out and sellers upset. As a buyer, it is important that you remember that you are not purchasing a new home… so problems that are relative to the age, price, and location of the home, should be expected. A home inspection is a great way to educate yourself and discover any possible major defects that were not noticed during the showing or by the current owners.  A home inspection is not an opportunity for the buyer to provide a punch list of items to the seller, to fix. It is a great way to get an idea of what your future “honey do list” may look like. There will always be items that come up on the inspection, always.  As the buyer, you need to focus on items that are significant.  So often I see buyers kill the deal by making silly demands, asking for things that are not significant, and then when they walk away from that deal and move on to the next, they discover each home has their own set of problems or repairs needed.  A home inspection is not gospel! Just because a home inspector points something out, doesn’t necessarily mean it even has to be fixed or changed. For example, items not up to current code…. you will often see this in inspections.




 A seller is not required to bring everything in their home up to current code, before they sell it.  Building code changes frequently, something on the inspection may not be up to current code but it is at code for when it was installed or completed and working as it was designed for that time.  Another thing to remember is that a home inspector is not an expert.  Quite often in inspections you will see wording like “home inspector recommends further testing by a qualified professional “….that just means the inspector isn’t exactly sure if there is a problem or not and if you as the buyer are concerned, you should have someone that specializes in that particular item, look at it.  That does not mean you have to have further inspections and it doesn’t mean there is for sure an issue.  However, it works both ways.  An inspector might miss things, they can only inspect what they can see and get to. If there is a leaking pipe behind a wall and at the time of the inspection there was no water damage showing, and it wasn’t obvious, that inspector is not going to know there may be a plumbing problem behind the wall. 




So you get your inspection and where do you go from here?  What is a reasonable and an unreasonable request?  Some examples of things you will often see that are probably relative to the age and price might be…. cosmetic issues, repairs under $100, windows with failed seals, cracks in concrete, loose fixtures and railings (items that are easy to fix), minor water damage that was visible at the time of your showing, small movement in foundation/basement walls, minor sloping in floors, roof normal wear and tear, old appliances, wear and tear in outbuildings, tiny amounts of basement water seepage, and minor landscaping issues. These are all things that most homes will have, things you add to your own honey do list, and these are not the items that you should expect sellers to fix.  There are things that could affect the immediate or future life of the property and the safety of those living it.  An example of some of those items would be, high radon, a roof needing replacement now or in the next year, appliances/mechanicals that do not work, structural problems that are not normal for the age of the home, mold, flooded basements, active plumbing leaks, major electrical issues, and termites.  Those are the kind of items that you may want to look further into and negotiate either a credit or a remedy for.


The home inspection process does not have to be scary, it is important that you are properly prepared.  The smoothest transaction happen when both buyer and seller go into the inspection period with reasonable expectations. 




Amy and her agents at Amy Hopfinger & Co are always willing to help answer any questions you may have about the inspection.  Call or text Amy at 920-296-3013 or email AmyLHopfinger@Gmail.Com


Follow all Amy’s latest updates and properties at https://www.facebook.com/AmyHopfingerandcompany/


To see properties that are on the market, go to www.mywisconsinhomefinder.com


Posted in Market Updates
May 30, 2019

For Sale By Owner: An Expensive Mistake

Are you considering selling your home? Are you considering selling it on your own? Without an agent? There are over 100 variables in the home buying and selling process, do you know how to manage them all? Here’s 7 reasons why selling your home without an agent is risky….not to mention, most for sale by owners sell for 15% less than if they would have had an agent.



1.       Inaccurate Knowledge


Anyone in the world can get an estimate on their home’s value with just a click of the mouse. Is this value accurate? Have you been in most of the area homes that have sold or are on the market?  If not, it is very hard to compare, not to mention, if it is your own, you might be a little biased!  Do you know how the average buyer compares one feature to another? This information is extremely important and if you do not have accurate knowledge of the market, the price that you think your house will sell for could be extremely above, or below market value.




2.       Running into Problems / Liability


When you get a laundry list of things from an inspection, are you going to be prepared to negotiate those items?  Or an appraisal reveals to you that your home is worth significantly less that you thought? Do you understand what is required for FHA, USDA, and VA loan appraisals? Maybe an old lien, that you knew nothing about, shows up on title…..now what? Most agents have something called errors and omissions insurance, so if a lawsuit would arise from something you forgot to address during the sale, are you going to have this coverage? How to you know if the people you are letting into your home are actually preapproved? What is your plan to solve these problems and keep buyers from running for the hills? Real estate agents deal with these problems frequently and know exactly how to handle them.




3.       Ineffective Negotiation skills




Most home owners do not know what to do if they receive a low offer on their homes. There can be counter offers and rejections. Negotiation can get complex, and a third party is a good idea to separate emotion from facts during this time. Not working with an agent is like going in to a big court case without an attorney.




4.       Lack of Social media and marketing skills


Although you might think that marketing your own property would be easy, but it’s a lot harder than it seems. An expert agent will be able to market your home on multiple platforms that will target the correct audience and reach hundreds to thousands of home buyers. An agent would also have access to a trained photographer, and tons of marketing strategies. The agent will what works, and what doesn’t.  Not marketing it in MLS or on all the public websites often results in less buyers, less competition, and less money.




5.       Questions and Advice


Real Estate agents will have answers to any questions you may come across, How to fill out all of the forms accurately (These are legal documents). He or she will also have access to a countless amount of professionals that can help.




6.       Time


For sale by owner properties on average take longer to sell. If you don’t want your home sitting on the market for months, you may want to work with an agent who might already have interested buyers waiting for your home. Do you have time to respond to all the questions and showing requests in a timely manner?  If not, you are leaving money on the table.




7.       Paperwork




There are pages, and pages of legal documents that go along with selling a home. One tiny mistake could land you in court, or cost you thousands of dollars. To avoid this expensive mistake, simply let a real estate agent handle it for you.




I could go on and on.  Most people go for sale by owner because they don’t want to pay a commission.  If you hire the right agent, and are realistic about your property, there should be no reason why they can’t get you the money you are looking for, even with commission.  Did you know that you still have selling expenses without an agent? Would you do surgery on yourself to save money?  Let a friend work on your teeth because you don’t’ want to pay the dentist?  Why on earth would you go through such an important and high dollar transaction and try to do it yourself?




Amy Hopfinger and Co are here to help.  If you are interested in how we can list your property and still net you top dollar, contact us at 920-29-3013 or get a free home value consult by going to www.wihomeprices.com


Posted in Market Updates
May 30, 2019

My 5 favorite things about a career in Real Estate

  1. Personal Freedom

Be your own boss! I don’t work less than any other job, real estate is a lot of work but I create my schedule how it works for me and my family.  If I have a sick child, I don’t need permission to stay home with my child, if I want to take a vacation, I do!  You are creating and running a business, which is hard work, but it is yours!


  1. Unlimited Income

A commission only career can be scary, it takes time to establish, and you have to spend money to make money. However, it is an amazing feeling when the possibilities are endless, no one will ever tell me how much money I can earn.  I decide how much money I can earn!


  1. I Help People Find Their Dream Home

Building a relationship with clients and helping them find their dream home is not only rewarding, but it is also fun too.  You get to look at tons of beautiful homes.  The feeling is pretty awesome when your client closes and you know you helped them make one of the biggest purchases of their life.


  1. Helping People Thru Difficult Times

Owning a home is amazing for lots of people, but sometimes life just happens, and all of a sudden that home can be a burden…like a death in the family, a divorce, a foreclosure. Not only are these homeowners going through an emotionally trying time, but now they have to worry about selling their home. I take care of selling their home, so that they don’t have to worry about it. I work with a lot of people that are struggling to pay their mortgage, most people don’t realize they have options.


  1. I Get Out Of The Office

This is not just a desk job! I love to be able to explore different areas and enjoy the beautiful state of Wisconsin.


How do I start my career in real estate and what are the requirements?

The Wisconsin DSPS requires completion of 72 hours of approved instruction and pass the state exam to receive your sales license. The WRA offers all the instruction and resources needed to become a real estate licensee in Wisconsin!

The WRA's eight-day accelerated sales pre-license course will cover property ownership, land use controls and regulations, valuation and market analysis, financing, mandatory disclosures, contracts and much more.


Classes can be in person, or online and cost about $325+books


If you are seriously interested and want to learn more in depth, attend my presentation on March 28th at Tribeca Café in Watertown (click here to sign up), where I talk about what it takes to get in the business and how to do it.  Sign up, space is limited.


Sign up for a class HERE

As always, please contact me with any of your questions. I am happy to help and get you started! 

Amy Hopfinger Strauss


Broker Associate


Homestead Realty Inc.








Posted in Market Updates
May 30, 2019

Three things that increase a home's value

Three things that increase a home’s value:


Spring is right around the corner, and most people don’t know what they should and shouldn’t do to increase their home’s value.  These three things will not only increase the value, but there is a good chance if you have these three things your home will be worth up to 10% more than your neighbor!




      A cosmetically updated kitchen with stainless steel appliances


If your kitchen just needs a little sprucing, you don’t have to rip your whole kitchen out. Start by looking at your cabinets. Are they outdated? A little goes a long way. Simply replace the hardware for a new and updated look.  A fresh coat of neutral paint to tie your flooring and counter tops together is another easy way to update your kitchen.  If your appliances are old and you need to replace them anyway, replacing them with stainless steel will also increase the value of your home.  If stainless steel is not in your budget make sure that all the appliances are the same color.






 A cosmetically updated bathroom


Next, move on to the bathroom. Again, less is more! First get rid of any clutter in the bathroom, no one wants to look at a bathroom and think “dirty.” Add a fresh coat of neutral color paint such as beige or ivory.  Are your cabinets outdated? Replace the hardware to change the look.  Another easy update is simply replacing the shower curtain!




A clean and painted basement


Most people don’t think about the basement, but this step can make even the scariest basement look clean and appealing. Basements should be free of clutter, if you need to use your basement for storage, make sure everything is boxed and organized on shelves.  Now comes the important part, paint!  Paint the walls white and the floor a dark color, I recommend renting a paint sprayer, it will go much faster and will ensure you get in all the nooks, especially in a stone basement.  I promise, this will give your whole basement a bright and cheery look!


Still not sure?  We are happy to come and take a look and tell you what you need to do to get the most money possible, for your home.  Call or text Amy at 920-296-3013, or email amyLhopfinger@gmail.com 



To look at homes on the market go to www.mywisconsinhomefinder.com




Posted in Market Updates