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!

May 30, 2019

Painting Smart

If you are painting your house and plan to sell now or sometime in the future, make sure to choose a color that the average buyer would like. Stay away from very bold or vibrant colors and stick to more common colors such as blues, greys, or browns.

If you have a lot of holes in your walls, a fresh coat of paint might not be your answer. Applying a fresh coat of paint might make the flaws more noticeable and even less appealing to the eye. This is the tricky part and there is a lot more to it than just throwing some mud on it. If you have very flawed walls, consider hiring professional help with your home improvements.

Check out the link below from Behr with the 2019 Color Trends, and most popular colors. This could help with some ideas on what colors to go with when painting your home.

Click Me for the 2019 popular paint colors


Posted in Market Updates
May 30, 2019

Landlording: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Investing in real estate can be a great opportunity and a way to set up your retirement. However, there are many aspects of being a landlord that people don’t realize at the beginning. It is important to hire property management if you don’t want to deal with the day to day issues like we list below. Here are some things that we run into…


1.      Problems with Collecting Rent

Tenants come in all shapes and sizes. You’ll have great tenants that pay the rent on time every month, and you will have tenants who simply do not pay, and do not call. The biggest problem with tenants who fail to pay rent is the effect it has on the landlords' own expenses. Not only is the landlord losing money when a tenant is refusing to pay, but many landlords are still paying mortgages on their rental properties and must then find another way to pay their mortgages. A landlord might also need to take legal action and start an eviction process which can take months, and each month you are loosing money.


2.      Stress of Property Management

Although you might do a complete background check on a tenant before they move in, some issue tenants might slip through the cracks. This will potentially have you dealing with problems like illegal drug use, Destruction of property, lawsuits, unpaid rent, tenants lying to you, noise complaints, dealing with police complaints, and much more. Did you know that you can receive citations if you maintain a property like this?


3.      Keeping your property Safe

If a tenant is injured on a property that you own, there is a good chance that you will be sued. Make sure that you have home owner’s insurance and maintain your duty to keep your property in good working order and knowing the building and safety codes in your area.


4.      Paying Taxes

Renting a property to someone is earning you money, so of course you are obligated to report the income you earn when you file your taxes every year. This can make filing taxes more complicated, and more expensive. If you own the home you live in plus one rental house, your property tax bill could be double what you were paying before you purchased the rental.


5.      Evictions

When your tenant is not paying rent, violating a lease, damaging your property, or giving you other reasons to start an eviction you will need to file an eviction notice in court. Evictions are often extremely costly and time consuming. Loss of rent, the cost to file in court, renting a storage to hold the tenant’s belongings, making repairs and cleaning up can easily cost you thousands of dollars. Not to mention telling a family that they have to leave their home isn’t always the easiest or most comfortable thing to do.


If you are looking to get out of being a landlord, we are interested in purchasing your property. Please contact Amy at:


Amy Hopfinger Strauss
Broker Associate
Homestead Realty Inc.




Posted in Market Updates
May 30, 2019

I am thinking about buying a home, Where do I start?

There are over 150 variables and/or steps when it comes to purchasing a home and most buyers I meet want to start at the fun part, looking at homes, but you are missing some very important steps!  If you are even thinking about buying a home, here are some of the most important steps explained.


1.    Reach out to your favorite realtor


Your Realtor can make a big difference when it comes time to buy a house.  You want to find someone that you click with and trust.  They can make or break your home buying experience!  A great agent will listen carefully to your priorities and what you’re looking for. You don’t want just a real estate agent, you want an EXPERT! An expert will know the market you are looking in and can manage the 150 variables through the entire process.  Not to mention, if you are searching public websites, you are not getting accurate listings, you are only going to get those if you are working with an agent. If you don’t have one in mind already, start by talking with your friends and family, lots of people have had an experience with a realtor. Ask for referrals. Another place to look is Facebook.  Who is your local expert in the area?  Who is posting listings and expert advice on a regular basis?  Another option is Zillow, or simply search for local agents online.




2.    Buyer Consultation


There are over 150 unique variables when purchasing a home. The great agents will offer a buyer consult. We’ll use this time to get to know each other. We will sit down and talk about what you and your family are looking for in your new home. Then I will explain each step of the process and answer all your questions.  This will prepare you so when you start looking at homes and find one you love, you are AHEAD of the game and ready to go.




3.    Lender Consultation




A lender consultation is important to get you pre-approved for a mortgage loan. During the lender consultation, you will discuss what is needed in order to obtain a loan.  You will learn what loan type would be best for your situation.  You may be asked to provide some financial documentation and they will pull your credit score.  This preapproval step is crucial.  No one likes to waste time, if you are out looking at homes and have not completed this step, you may be wasting your time, the agent’s time, and the seller’s time. Some properties won’t qualify for certain loan types.  You need to be clear on the kind of loan and the amount before an agent knows what homes to show you.  Most sellers will not even look at an offer without a preapproval letter.  If you need a lender recommendation, ask your Realtor!




4.    Start looking at homes


Your real estate agent will work side by side with you to find homes that fit your needs, lifestyle and budget. He or She will stay in contact with you providing you with homes that fit your unique interests. You will be able to take this time to walk through different homes that you like with your agent in order to find exactly what you’re looking for, and not looking for.



5.    Make an offer


This is super easy and painless if you attend a buyer consult! 




6.    Move in


Pack your boxes and get settled into that beautiful home that you’ve hand-picked with your agent. 

Click to watch a video! Interview with Bo

Amy Hopfinger Strauss
Broker Associate
Homestead Realty Inc.



Posted in Market Updates
May 30, 2019

Short Sale Question & Answer

What Is A Short Sale?


A short sale is when a home owner sells his or her property for less than the amount owed on their mortgage. Typically, the bank or lender agrees to a short sale in order to recoup a portion of the mortgage loan owed to them.




Q: How will doing a short sale effect my Credit?


A: A short sale is highly preferable from a personal credit score point of view, Credit scoring firms take a dim view of a foreclosure and will issue a credit score much lower than when a home seller turns to a short sale instead. That not only protects the seller's score, it keeps them "in the game" and better able to buy another home down the road, without the burden of a significant foreclosure-induced credit score decline.




Q: What Costs will I Pay?


A: You pay nothing! With a traditional home sale, the seller bears the burden of fees and charges, including real estate agent commissions, which can be 3%-to-6% of the total home sale. In a short sale, those fees and commission are completely paid by the bank.




Q: Will I have to keep paying my mortgage?


A: Nope! The home-owner is able to stay in his or her home and save their money throughout the short-sale process.




Q: Will I be able to purchase a home again in the future?


A: Those who participate in a short sale can purchase in as little as two years, whereas those who have lost their home to foreclosure will likely be unable to purchase for 3-7 years. 


Posted in Market Updates
July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

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Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

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You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates