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!

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.


Friday, December 10, 2010

10 Steps to Prepare for Home Ownership

1. Decide how much home you can afford. Generally, you can afford a home equal in value to between 2 and 3 times your gross income.

2. Develop a wish list of what you’d like your home to have. Then prioritize the features on your list.

3. Select three or four neighborhoods you’d like to live in. Consider items such as schools, recreational facilities, area expansion plans, and safety.

4. Determine if you have enough saved to cover your downpayment and closing costs. Closing costs, including taxes, attorney’s fee, and transfer fees average between 2 and 7 percent of the home price.

5. Get your credit in order. Obtain a copy of your credit report.

6. Determine how large a mortgage you can qualify for. Also explore different loans options and decide what’s best for you.

7. Organize all the documentation a lender will need to preapprove you for a loan.

8. Do research to determine if you qualify for any special mortgage or downpayment assistance programs.

9. Calculate the costs of homeownership, including property taxes, insurance, maintenance, and association fees, if applicable.

10. Find an experienced REALTOR® who can help you through the process.

Source: REALTOR Magazine

Monday, December 6, 2010

2010 Energy Tax Credit

People can now weatherize their homes and be rewarded for their efforts. According to the Internal Revenue Service, homeowners making energy-saving improvements this fall can cut their winter heating bills and lower their 2010 tax bill as well.
Last year’s Recovery Act expanded two home energy tax credits: the nonbusiness energy property credit and the residential energy efficient property credit.

Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit

This credit equals 30 percent of what a homeowner spends on eligible energy-saving improvements, up to a maximum tax credit of $1,500 for the combined 2009 and 2010 tax years. The cost of certain high-efficiency heating and air conditioning systems, water heaters and stoves that burn biomass all qualify, along with labor costs for installing these items. In addition, the cost of energy-efficient windows and skylights, energy-efficient doors, qualifying insulation and certain roofs also qualify for the credit, though the cost of installing these items does not count.

By spending as little as $5,000 before the end of the year on eligible energy-saving improvements, a homeowner can save as much as $1,500 on his or her 2010 federal income tax return. Due to limits based on tax liability, amounts spent on eligible energy-saving improvements in 2009, other credits claimed by a particular taxpayer and other factors, actual tax savings will vary. These tax savings are on top of any energy savings that may result.

Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit

Homeowners going green should also check out a second tax credit designed to spur investment in alternative energy equipment. The residential energy efficient property credit equals 30 percent of what a homeowner spends on qualifying property such as solar electric systems, solar hot water heaters, geothermal heat pumps, wind turbines, and fuel cell property. Generally, labor costs are included when figuring this credit. Also, except for fuel cell property, no cap exists on the amount of credit available.

Not all energy-efficient improvements qualify for these tax credits. For that reason, homeowners should check the manufacturer’s tax credit certification statement before purchasing or installing any of these improvements. The certification statement can usually be found on the manufacturer’s website or with the product packaging. Normally, a homeowner can rely on this certification.

The IRS cautions that the manufacturer’s certification is different from the Department of Energy’s Energy Star label, and not all Energy Star labeled products qualify for the tax credits.

Eligible homeowners can claim both of these credits when they file their 2010 federal income tax return. Because these are credits, not deductions, they increase a taxpayer’s refund or reduce the tax owed. An eligible taxpayer can claim these credits, regardless of whether he or she itemizes deductions on Schedule A. Use Form 5695, Residential Energy Credits, to figure and claim these credits.


Friday, December 3, 2010

How to Purchase Outdoor Christmas Lights

To purchase outdoor Christmas lights has become almost mandatory these days. For Christmas decorations have gone beyond the adorning of halls with boughs of holly, and traditional decoration has now been extended to include the outside of homes. Householders love to decorate their homes (along rooftops, windows and doorframes or even netted around tree trunks and bushes) with lights of all different colors and types. If you are confused about the kinds that best suit your home and budget, here are some helpful hints to guide you along.

A few tips

Both the style of the house and the variety of trees and shrubbery in the landscaping are things to consider when designing an array of outdoor Christmas lights.
The pitch of the roof, the height of trees and the general atmosphere of the house (elegant or casual) has also to be taken into account when selecting the lights.
You must decide what kind of lights you want - colored or white. Green, red and copper are the most vivid colors and make the best outdoor Christmas lights for a dazzling visual effect.
Be on the lookout for sales. Stores generally lower the prices to attract more customers, and although the best deals are available only after the holiday season, it is the best time to invest in lighting for the next Christmas.
Always buy a few feet (15 to 20 ft) extra of lighting in case you find that you have forgotten to include the pitch of the roof or some such area while calculating the total length requirement.

When putting lights on trees and bushes, wear long sleeves or even gloves to protect your skin from the needles and thorns.
Use short strings so that they may easily be replaced in case of any defect.

Don't use white lights in combination with colored lights, white lights look so elegant that eyes tend to overlook the colored lights.
Don't use lights that have been recalled due to some manufacturing defect. They could turn out to be dangerous.

Reprinted from: http://gift-ideas.christmasgifts.net/Christmas-decorations.php

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

10 Things to Take the Trauma Out of Homebuying

1. Find a real estate agent that’s simpatico. Homebuying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the agent you choose is both skilled and a good fit with your personality.

2. Remember, there’s no “right” time to buy, any more than there’s a right time to sell. If you find a home now, don’t try to second-guess the interest rates or the housing market by waiting. Changes don’t usually occur fast enough to make that much difference in price, and a good home won’t stay on the market long.

3. Don’t ask for too many opinions. It’s natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas will make it much harder to make a decision.

4. Accept that no house is ever perfect. Focus in on the things that are most important to you and let the minor ones go.

5. Don’t try to be a killer negotiator. Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price may lose you the home you love.

6. Remember your home doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Don’t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself—room size, kitchen—that you forget such issues as amenities, noise level, etc., that have a big impact on what it’s like to live in your new home.

7. Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate insurance availability, and consider a schedule for moving. Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to sellers.

8. Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-home buying budget. Even if you buy a new home, there will be some costs. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.

9. Accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will probably pass. Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big commitment, but it also yields big benefits.

10. Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation. While U.S. homes have appreciated an average of 5.4 percent annually over from 1998 to 2002, a home’s most important role is as a comfortable, safe place to live.

Reprinted from REALTOR Magazine Online by permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS Copyright 2005. All rights reserved. www.REALTOR.org/realtormag

Monday, November 29, 2010

Five Tips to Help you Manage Your Credit

Managing your credit can seem confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. While every person’s individual credit profile is different and should be managed in its own way, there are a few basic steps that everyone can focus on to help effectively manage credit.

1.Pay your bills on time. Late payments, collections, and judgments have a large negative impact on your credit scores.
2.Manage your debts. Keep the balances on your credit cards as low as possible. By keeping your balances below 10% of the limits, you will help to ensure better credit scores.
3.Give yourself time. The length of your credit history has a significant impact on your credit scores. Establishing a long history of paying your bills on time and using credit responsibly will help to build healthy credit. Always try to keep your oldest accounts open to lengthen the time of active credit use.
4.Apply for credit in moderation. Opening too many new accounts within a short period of time causes inquiries to appear on your credit report. This can be interpreted as a sign of financial difficulty and lead to you being a higher risk to potential lenders.
5.Monitor your credit regularly. Utilize on-line services that allow you to see your credit such as AnnualCreditReport.com or Credit Coach. This will help you check for inaccuracies that may appear on your report and avoid identity theft.
Look at the past two years and use that as a tool to focus on the next two years. If you have good credit, keep doing what you have been doing. If your credit isn’t up to par, learn from what you have done and develop a plan for what you can do to rebound. Following these simple steps can help in the process of building healthy credit and lead to a better financial future.

Article taken from Credit Coach blog: http://creditcoachblog.net/

Friday, November 26, 2010

Am I Automatically Approved for the Loan When I Get Pre-Qualified?

No. Pre-qualification simply means that a lender has reviewed the preliminary information you have provided, including your monthly or annual income. Based on this preliminary information, the lender will pre-qualify you for a certain amount. A credit check may not have been run and the lender is not yet in receipt of written documentation supporting your claims. You will only qualify and be approved for the loan, when you actually apply and submit all necessary documentation and a credit check proves you are worthy of being approved for the loan or multiple loans.

Information copied from www.realestatewiki.com

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program

Many existing homes in Wisconsin have problems related to moisture, condensation, drafty rooms, ice dams, mold, and high utility bills—which indicate the home may not have proper insulation, and/or is not at the level of safety, health, and comfort it could be.

Work with a consultant partnering with the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program help to identify the cause of those problems, and provide recommendations for getting them fixed. By completing a home evaluation you not only receive a more comfortable and energy efficient home, but you can receive Cash-Back Rewards for completing all or part of the work!

How it Works
Customers experiencing these common home performance problems select a partnering consultant who best meets their needs. Once a consultant is selected, they will visit the home and complete a comprehensive energy evaluation of the following areas:
Insulation and building shell
Air leakage
Mechanical equipment
Moisture and ventilation
Combustion safety and carbon monoxide
Once the evaluation is complete, you'll receive a written report of the findings and a list of recommended solutions. At this point, you have the option to do all or part of the work. Once that work is completed, your consultant will follow up with a post-performance evaluation and inspection to ensure the improvements are effective. Your consultant will complete all required paperwork to make sure you receive any applicable Cash-Back Rewards for the work you've done.

Here is the link to the site for more information:


Monday, November 22, 2010

Tips for Finding the Perfect Neighborhood

Tips for Finding the Perfect Neighborhood

The neighborhood you choose can have a big impact on your lifestyle—safety, available amenities, and convenience all play their part.

1. Make a list of the activities—movies, health club, church—you engage in regularly and stores you visit frequently. See how far you would have to travel from each neighborhood you’re considering to engaging in your most common activities.

2. Check out the school district. The Department of Education in your town can probably provide information on test scores, class size, percentage of students who attend college, and special enrichment programs. If you have school-age children, also consider paying a visit to schools in the neighborhoods you’re considering. Even if you don’t have children, a house in a good school district will be easier to sell in the future.

3. Find out if the neighborhood is safe. Ask the police department for neighborhood crime statistics. Consider not only the number of crimes but also the type—burglaries, armed robberies—and the trend of increasing or decreasing crime. Also, is crime centered in only one part of the neighborhood, such as near a retail area?

4. Determine if the neighborhood is economically stable. Check with your local city economic development office to see if income and property values in the neighborhood are stable or rising. What is the percentage of homes to apartments? Apartments don’t necessarily diminish value, but they do mean a more transient population. Do you see vacant businesses or homes that have been for sale for months?

5. See if you’ll make money. Ask a local REALTOR or call the local REALTOR association to get information about price appreciation trends in the neighborhood. Although past performance is no guarantee of future results, this information may give you a sense of how good an investment your home will be. A REALTOR or the government planning agency also may be able to tell you about planned developments or other changes in the neighborhood—like a new school or highway—that might affect value.

6. See for yourself. Once you’ve narrowed your focus to two or three neighborhoods, go there, and walk around. Are homes tidy and well maintained? Are streets quiet? Pick a warm day if you can and chat with people working or playing outside. Are they friendly? Are their children to play with your family?

Reprinted from REALTOR Magazine Online by Permission of the National Association of REALTORS
Copyright 2005 All Rights reserved. www.REALTOR.org/realtormag

Friday, November 19, 2010

5 Things to Do Before you Sell

Here are some tips

1. Get estimates from a reliable repairperson on items that need to be replaced soon, a roof or worn carpeting, for example. In this way, buyers will have a better sense of how much these needed repairs will affect their costs.

2. Have a termite inspection to prove to buyers that the property is not infested.

3. Get a pre-sale home inspection so you’ll be able to make repairs before buyers become concerned and cancel a contract.

4. Gather together warranties and guarantees on the furnace, appliances, and other items that will remain with the house.

5. Fill out a disclosure form provided by your sales associate. Take the time to be sure that you don’t forget problems, however minor, that might create liability for you after the sale.

Reprinted from REALTOR Magazine Online by permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS
          Copyright 2005.  All rights reserved.                        www.REALTOR.org/realtormag