Welcome to My Blog!

I have been a resident of the Fox Cities for over 35 years. I was raised in the area and now my wife and I choose to raise our 4 girls here because of the great place it is to live. Being a real estate professional starts with a passion to want to assist other people get what they are looking for. My main focus is on listening to people so I can learn what is most important to them. When a customer closes on their new property it is the start of a life long relationship. It is my goal that people are so delighted with their experience that there is no doubt that not only will they return, but they will also refer their family and friends. As a member of the Werth team our focus on delighting customers has made us the #1 RE/MAX team north of Milwaukee!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Law Requiring Carbon Monoxide Detectors Effective Feb. 1, 2011

There's a danger lurking in many Wisconsin homes, serious enough for the state Legislature to pass a law.
This assailant often strikes its victims as they sleep, sickening hundreds in Wisconsin each year.
"What makes carbon monoxide so dangerous is the fact that it's colorless, tasteless and odorless," Milwaukee Fire Department Deputy Chief Randall Zingler said. "You can't see it, feel it or hear it, and if it's there when you go to sleep, you might not wake up."
Beginning Tuesday, a new state law takes effect requiring carbon monoxide, or CO, alarms to be installed in all one- and two-family dwellings, according to the state Department of Health Services.
The detectors work like smoke alarms, alerting the dwelling's occupants to dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide.
Newly constructed homes will require detectors that are directly wired to the home's electrical service; owners of existing homes may use battery-powered, stand-alone detectors, according to the department.
State law now includes a similar requirement for multifamily dwellings as well as any public building that is used for sleeping or lodging purposes.
Carbon monoxide is a gas that can be emitted from poorly functioning or unvented furnaces or other gas-powered home appliances.
Outdoor appliances such as portable generators, heaters and stoves also can create dangerous levels of CO in cabins, campers, tents, and hunting and fishing shacks.
In Milwaukee, all too often outdoor appliances are used indoors by people to heat their homes when their utilities have been shut off, creating the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning, Zingler said.
Often, however, carbon monoxide leaks result from wear and tear on furnace ventilation pipes that allows the gas to escape into a home, Zingler said.
Other sources of elevated CO in homes include clogged chimneys and gas kitchen stoves that are used as a source of heat, he said.
There also have been reported instances of carbon monoxide from vehicle engines seeping into homes from attached garages.
"CO is basically caused by incomplete combustion of fossil fuels," Zingler said.
Older homes are more susceptible to carbon monoxide leaks, he said.
State health officials recommend that the detectors be installed on every level of a home and near sleeping areas. Zingler also recommends they be placed as high as possible because carbon monoxide tends to rise when it escapes.
The Milwaukee Fire Department responded to 164 confirmed incidents of elevated levels of carbon monoxide in 2010, according to department data.
In 2009, the latest year for which such statistics are available, hospital emergency rooms in Wisconsin treated 480 patients for CO poisoning, according to the state health department.
According to data from by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission released in September 2009, between 2004 and 2006, carbon monoxide poisoning deaths in the United States resulting from heating systems and gas water heaters averaged 54 a year.
Carbon monoxide alarms, some of which come with smoke detectors, are relatively inexpensive.
A First Alert plug-in CO detector with a battery backup lists for $25.97 on the Walmart website, and a combination CO/smoke detector manufactured by Kidde lists for $19.99 on the site.
The devices are available at many other retail outlets, Zingler said.
Another reason carbon monoxide is potentially so dangerous is the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning - headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness and vomiting - can be associated with common illnesses, which raises the importance of detectors in the home, Zingler said.
If a carbon monoxide alarm goes off, people should not open windows, because that makes it more difficult for responders to find the source of the leak, he said.
"Get everyone out of the house and call 911," Zingler said.

Taken from the Journal Sentinel

Monday, January 24, 2011

5 Reasons You Should Consider Selling Your Home Today

Selling your house in today’s market can be extremely difficult. It is for that reason that every seller should take advantage of each and every chance that appears. There is a fantastic opportunity available right now. Meet with your real estate agent and mortgage professional today and see whether it is the right time for you and your family to make a move.

Here are five reasons you should consider selling in the first 90 days of 2011.

1. Interest rates have spiked up.
Rates have jumped over 1/2 point in the last several weeks. The short term result of increasing rates is a surge of buyers jumping off the fence to purchase in fear that rates may continue climbing upward. This is a short window of opportunity. If rates fall again, buyers will jump back on the fence. If rates continue to rise, it limits the number of buyers who can qualify at each price point. Now is the best time to sell your house.

2. If you are moving up, you can save thousands.
If your family goal is to sell your current house and take advantage of the fabulous selection of properties currently available to buy the home of your dreams a at bargain basement price, DO IT NOW! Prices will continue to soften in most markets. However, if you are buying, COST should be more important than PRICE. Cost can be dramatically impacted by rising mortgage interest rates. Do the math and decide if now is the time.

3. During the winter months, the buyers are serious.
We all realize that buyers are not quick to pull the trigger on the purchase of a home today. There is no sense of urgency with the supply of eligible properties at all time highs. However, at this time of year, the ‘lookers’ are either staying warm (in the North) or just busy with other priorities. The home buyers left in the market are serious and are more apt to buy. Less showings – but to more motivated purchasers.

4. You beat the rush of inventory that is coming next year.
Every year there is an increase of inventory which comes to market from January through April as homeowners put their houses up for sale in preparation for the spring market. Here is the number of listings available for sale in 2010.

January – 3,277,000
February – 3,531,000
March – 3,626,000
April – 4,029,000
We believe there is a pent-up selling demand (homeowners who have held off selling over the last year) that will lead to an increase in these numbers this spring. You won’t have to worry about this increasing competition if you sell now.

5. You have less ‘discounted’ inventory with which to compete.
This year, sellers of non-distressed properties have been given an early holiday present. With banks trying to rectify their foreclosure procedures, there has been a large supply of discounted properties removed from competition. No one knows how long it will take banks to return to the normal flow of foreclosed properties to the market. However, until they do, every homeowner has a better chance of selling their property.

Bottom Line
If you are looking to sell in 2011, there may not be a more opportune time than this right now. Serious buyers, great move-up deals and less competition from super-motivated sellers and foreclosures creates the perfect selling situation. Don’t miss it!

Taken from the KCM Blog

Monday, January 10, 2011

5 Property Tax Questions You Need to Ask

What is the assessed value of the property? Note that assessed value is generally less than market value. Ask to see a recent copy of the seller’s tax bill to help you determine this information.

How often are properties reassessed and when was the last reassessment done? Generally taxes jump most significantly when a property is reassessed.

Will the sale of the property trigger a tax increase? Often the assessed value of the property may increase based on the amount you pay for the property. And in some areas, such as California, taxes may be frozen until resale.

Is the amount of taxes paid comparable to other properties in the area? If not, it might be possible to appeal the tax assessment and lower the rate?

Does the current tax bill reflect any special exemptions that you might not qualify for? For example, many tax districts offer reductions to those 65 or over.

Used with permission from REALTOR Magazine

Monday, December 27, 2010

5 Ways to Speed Up Your Sale

1. Price it right. Set a price at the lower end of your property’s realistic price range.

2. Get your house market ready for at least two weeks before you begin showing it.

3. Be flexible about showings. It’s often disruptive to have a house ready to show on the spur of the moment, but the more often someone can see your home, the sooner you’ll find a seller.

4. Be ready for the offers. Decide in advance what price and terms you’ll find acceptable.

5. Don’t refuse to drop the price. If your home has been on the market for more than 30 days without an offer, be prepared to lower your asking price.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

10 Questions to Ask a Home Inspector

1. What are your qualifications? Are you a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors or National Associaton of Home Inspectors?

2. Do you have a current license? Inspectors are not required to be licensed in every state.

3. How many inspections of properties such as this do you do each year?

4. Do you have a list of past clients I can contact?

5. Do you carry professional errors and omission insurance? May I have a copy of the policy?

6. Do you provide any guarantees of your work?

7. What specifically will the inspection cover?

8. What type of report will I receive after the inspection?

9. How long will the inspection take and how long will it take to receive the report?

10. How much will the inspection cost?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Tips for Creating Winter Curb Appeal

During summer months when gardens are in bloom and the sun is shining bright, curb appeal comes naturally to many homes. But when the autumn chill turns to winter cold and the sun sets earlier in the day, it becomes more difficult to create that inviting exterior look that grabs buyers from the curb.

It is possible to create striking winter curb appeal without expensive or complicated exterior changes.

Add splashes of color.

Make the front door the focal point with a large wreath adorned with a colorful ribbon. To finish the look, place large colorful planters filled with evergreens beside the front door.

Give it seasonal sparkle.

Transform an unused birdbath or fountain into a seasonal display by adding twigs with red berries. Fill frost-resistant urns with twigs, winter greenery and sparkley baubles.

Light it up.

During the winter, it's more likely that buyers will be viewing homes after sunset. Use clear flood spotlights to focus on the home's architectural features. Keep exterior lighting fixtures at maximum wattage and clean them regularly.

Show off the lifestyle.

Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean you can't use the deck. Shovel your backyard sitting area and leave your grill uncovered so buyers can envision themselves using the space. If the home has a hot tub, leave that open and running during showings as well.

Make the deck an extension of the house.

Set up your outdoor tables and chairs just as you would in warmer months. Homeowners often cover their furniture and place lawn objects haphazardly on the deck. Uncover them and for added appeal, add a weatherproof cafe set with pillows that play off interior accent colors. Glancing out onto this type of vignette can make the indoor space feel larger and more interesting.

Create a photo display of sunnier days.

Show buyers what the outside of the home looks like during other seasons by displaying some landscape photos in frames or using a digital photo frame with a slide show of images. This will give a sense of what the property looks like at other times of the year. If the home has a garden, make a list of what's planted where. Perennials can be expensive, so treat them as a selling feature.

Don't forget to clear a path.

If the ground is covered in snow, the simplest and most important thing you can do is shovel the driveway and sidewalks and keep the home's patio's and decks as clear as possible so buyers can get a sense of their true size.

Monday, December 13, 2010

$8,000 First Time Buyer Tax Credit Extended for Veterans


The $8,000 first time buyer tax credit is extended for veterans who have an accepted offer by April 30, 2011 and close by June 30, 2011.*

Veterans can finance up to 100% of the purchase price plus the VA funding fee.

No down payment up to $417,000.

Veterans can qualify for more house with "zero" down payment and less than perfect credit.

Sellers can pay up to 4% in concessions.

No monthly or upfront PMI Insurance.

*Subject to specific extended, qualified military duty requirements.