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Connie Erickson's Blog

Connie Erickson

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Displaying blog entries 771-780 of 793

Lender Rules Are A Revolving Door

by Connie Erickson
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According to Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of REALTORS, real estate sales in the US in 2010 were equal to the number of sales in 2000, yet the US population dropped by 27,000,000 since 2000.  (2011, REALTOR magazine).  As I wrote in my January newsletter, the Door County MLS reported a 5% increase in the number of reported sales in 2010 over 2009, however both years maintained 26% of properties listed for sale actually sold.

After 27 years in the real estate business and selling 60 to 100 properties a year in Door County, I'd like to think that there is not too much the I haven't seen.  However, these last couple of years it has been hard to get a handle on lenders and their financing requirements.  This is a revolving door of rules and regulations.  If your credit score is 640 you might get a loan, but you are in a better position if your score is higher.  Now, more than ever, it is vital that you speak with a local lender before you move forward with looking at real estate, even if you have cash for a big down payment.  I recently had a well qualified buyer with cash to pay for a property he wanted to purchase.  However, he wanted to financing the purchase.  The offer was made, subject to financing (which we anticipated would happen fast due to his cash position), but on the last day, he was turned down!   Even if you're "golden", have cash, and good credit, I strongly recommend....see a local lender first.  When you're ready, call me first.  I work with local lenders daily and can help you through the process.

4 Factors Involved in Selling Your Property

by Connie Erickson
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Location

The saying, "Location, Location, Location" holds true in Door County as in other markets. We are blessed with a variety of beauty throughout Door County and a diversity of buyers...some wanting waterfront, others preferring secluded acreage, and still others wanting a Village setting. Buyers will generally pay more for properties that feature a great view.

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Price

The faster you sell your property, the better. And research has shown that the faster selling properties are those that are priced right from the start.
Properties that are priced above the market take longer to sell and, in the end, tend to sell for less than they should have sold for if priced at the market value in the first place.

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Condition

New properties have a marketing edge over resale properties because they are clean and in pristine condition. When we work together as a Seller and Agent Team, I will share my staging DVD with you and my talents to help you stage your property for success.

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Agent Marketing/Effort

The agent you choose can dramatically affect how fast your property sells and how much.

I have 27 years experience and pride myself with superior market knowledge. I have a great reputation with other agents, which means your property will get plenty of exposure. We, at the Erickson Team, are proactive in our marketing efforts, not reactive. We also have strong records of customer/client satisfaction in our market place.

Real Estate Markets Are Local

by Connie Erickson

Yesterday we attended our monthly Door County Board of REALTORS luncheon and Bill Malkasian, President of the Wisconsin REALTORS Association, spoke to us. I love listening to Bill as he is always so well informed. I wanted to share with you some of the information he shared with us.

Bill emphasized the fact that real estate is "local". Madison, WI market is not the same as the Door County, WI market. Unfortunately, the press does not always report it that way. It is an important concept to understand and now more than ever, it is very important to choose a REALTOR who is familiar with the market and can interpret it for you. I will talk more about that later, and exactly how you can choose that REALTOR.

Bill stated that there is a 13.5 month inventory average in the State; it is far different in Door County. The upper end second home market, he said, is the most challenged of all categories in the State (Door County had more of these sales in ’10 than ’09 and you can always see the whole picture all the way back to ’08 on www.ConnieErickson.com). Bill indicated 2011 will be a better year because of the certainty of the tax code as it relates to capital gains. In 2110, the average sales price for the State was $189,900. He explained Freddie and Fannie cease to exist, Bill said, "they will exist in 5 years and be replaced due to privatization."

While Bill and I know you’d like a better report – Bill said to expect flat line growth in ’11. There are 35 newspapers left in Wisconsin; 17 are owned by Gannett. Interest rates may go down again a bit later this Spring and this is a great time to buy. Finally, Bill shared that Wisconsin has a low unemployment rate of 7.8% compared to the 9.4% US rate.

Lastly, I want to share I am the proud recipient of the Betty Graf Scholarship Award for 2011 and will use that assistance to take the Certified Property Distressed Expert course in February so that I can better assist my clients who are upside down and close to or in foreclosure.

Market and Mortgage Rate Predictions for 2011

by Connie Erickson
 

On January 4, 2011, Laura Seefeldt of Johnson Bank spoke with me about financing and predictions for 2011 mortgage rates.

Should I Buy a Home Now?

by Connie Erickson

I'm often asked if this is a good time to buy a home. Some clients are concerned that home prices may fall further than they have already. They are assuming that the best course of action is to wait for the bottom in the market and then buy. The problem with this approach is that you don't know where the bottom is until you see it in the rear view mirror, meaning until you've missed it!

Home prices are one factor in determining your cost of ownership, but so are interest rates and financing availability. Even though interest rates have gone up in the last six months, they are still near historic lows. Since your monthly mortgage payment is a combination of paying down your principal and paying the interest owed, if home prices come down a little further but interest rates up, it could cost you even more to service a mortgage on an identical home!

While a home is a major investment, it is also the center of your personal life. It's important to live in a home that reflects your taste and values, yet is within your financial "comfort zone." To that end, it may be more important to lock in today's relatively low interest rates and low home prices, rather than to hope for a further break in prices in the future.

Please give me a call if I can be of any assistance in determining how much home you can afford in today's market.

Thank You Salvation Army Bell Ringers!

by Connie Erickson

 

google map to real pro systemsAs they do every year, Bob Erickson and George Bisbee spent a few hours last Friday ringing the bell for the Salvation Army. Not only did they have a fun time seeing and chatting with lots of old friends, as well as making new ones, Thrivent Financial was doing matching funds up to $125,000, for our district! By the end of the day, the buckets contained over $220,000, and with the matching funds, totaled over $340,000!!!!! That is a whole lot of money that goes to those in need. A HUGE THANKS goes out to ALL Salvation Army Bell Ringers!

Thanksgiving Day in Jacksonport

by Connie Erickson
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Bob and I had such a wonderful day on Thanksgiving Day; I wanted to share some of our day with you. We have a ritual that begins with breakfast at Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant. We then take a walk. This year we walked in Whitefish Bay Dunes State Park and Cave Point. It was spectacular! There has been so much moisture that liken has grown on the trees. The trees looked as if they were budding! Lake Michigan’s waves were huge and crashing on the shore.

   

   

After our walk, we went to the Jacksonport’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. We have not missed one of their parades! Each year the parade gets a little larger, but it is still so short that the participants turn around and make another pass through town!

   

Crafty Ideas For Winter Curb Appeal

by Connie Erickson
google map to real pro systemsYes, it's still

possible to create

great curb appeal

when it's cold and

gray outside.

 

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey

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.

Fortunately, it is possible to create striking winter curb appeal without expensive or complicated exterior changes, says Charlene Storozuk, a home stager and designer with Dezigner Digz in Burlington, Ontario—a city that averages 51 inches of snow per year. It just requires a little creativity.

She and other home-design experts offer these eight tips:

1. Add splashes of green and purple. Plants, grasses, and evergreens can liven up a home’s winter landscape. Experiment with tall grasses, such as fountain grasses, that survive harsh winters. And in late fall and early winter, plants from the cabbage family add a vibrant purple 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, suggests Elizabeth Lord, broker with Carolina Farms & Estates LLC in Rock Hill, S.C.

2. Give it seasonal sparkle. Transform an unused bird bath or fountain into a seasonal display by adding twigs with red berries. Or fill frost-resistant urns with twigs, winter greenery, and sparkly baubles (sold at most craft stores), Storozuk says. For extra sparkle, roll twigs in glitter and incorporate a gazing ball—a mirrored glass ball available in various colors—into the display.

3. Make the garden statuesque. Roman- or Greek-themed outdoor sculptures can add class and elegance to a garden in winter. Be sure to use frost-resistant statues so they don’t crack, Storozuk says. Place the statues strategically throughout the garden to draw buyers’ eyes around the outdoor space.

4. Light it bright. During the winter, it’s more likely that buyers will be viewing home after sunset. Use clear flood spotlights to focus on the home’s architectural features, Storozuk says. Keep exterior lighting fixtures at maximum wattage and clean them regularly. When snow covers the ground, Michele Thompson, broker-owner of White Fence Real Estate in Vevay, Ind., takes photos of listings at night with all of the interior lights on—the light bounces off the white snow to create a warm, inviting glow. For the best results, turn off the flash, and use a tripod to avoid blurring, she says.

5. 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, Storozuk says. If the home has a hot tub, leave that open and running during showings as well.

6. Make the deck an extension of the house. Set up your outdoor tables and chairs just as you would in warmer months. "Home owners often cover their furniture and place lawn objects haphazardly on the deck," says Kitty Schwartz, president and owner of Classic Home Staging in Katonah, N.Y. For added appeal, she adds a weatherproof cafe set with pillows that play off of interior accent colors. "Glancing out onto this type of vignette can make the indoor space feel larger and more interesting," she says.

7. 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 year," Storozuk says. If the home has a garden, make a list of what’s planted where. "Perennials can be expensive," she says, "so treat them as a selling feature."

8. 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 patios and decks as clear as possible so buyers can get a sense of their true size.

Reprinted from REALTOR® Magazine Online November 2010 with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

5 Steps to Obtaining a Mortgage

by Connie Erickson
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Today’s stricter lending environment means that processing a mortgage application is more complex than ever, given the number of steps that lenders, underwriters, and mortgage insurers must all complete before home buyers truly have their financing in place.

To help ensure the process goes smoother, you can also take steps of your own. It’s a good idea to discuss the process with me, I'm an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR), even before shopping for homes. By planning ahead, you’ll be in a much better position to negotiate and move forward on a purchase—and avoid any unpleasant surprises regarding your mortgage.

1. EVALUATE AFFORDABILITY
Lenders and mortgage insurers look at a variety of factors, but the two most important are your monthly mortgage payment and your total debt loan, relative to your gross income. As a home buyer, it’s also important to consider additional expenses, beyond your mortgage payment, that can impact how much home you can afford. Depending on your situation, these other expenses could include property taxes, mortgage insurance, homeowners insurance, home maintenance expenses, homeowner association fees, parking expenses, and utilities.

2. DISCUSS YOUR OPTIONS
Deciding what type of mortgage is best for you depends on your personal situation, your financial scenario, and your future plans. For example, if your down payment isn’t large enough to qualify for a conventional loan, an FHA mortgage can be an excellent option. Alternately, you may qualify for an attractive program offered at the national or local level. Mortgage programs are always changing, so ask me about current options.

3. INTERVIEW LENDERS
I can provide several recommendations, based on past home buyers’ experiences. Rates and fees are typically very competitive between lenders, so it’s often more important to focus on other factors including the level of service provided and how well they’ve executed transactions for other buyers. The type of mortgage you are seeking may also impact your choice of lender, since some are more familiar with certain mortgage programs than others.

4. GET PREAPPROVED
Completing a loan application with one or more lenders will help confirm whether your intended mortgage financing plans will work out as hoped, or if you must modify your plans. It’s important to understand since pre-approvals are contingent upon the lender receiving full documentation; your pre-approval does not guarantee that you have a mortgage. Still, it’s an important first step that will also put you in a better negotiating position with sellers.

5. COMMIT TO A LENDER
As soon as you are under contract to purchase a home, commit to working with one lender to complete your mortgage application. You will probably be charged a fee at this point because this is when the lender starts incurring processing expenses on your behalf. Show your lender that you are serious about working in partnership with them by submitting all the required documentation as quickly as possible.

Following these five steps will greatly improve your results in getting a mortgage. Count on me to provide more detailed information on each step on the process and answer any questions.

October 2010 Door County Real Estate Market Report

by Connie Erickson

Fall has been, and continues to be, very active….much more than in 2009. The one big difference between 2009 and 2010 is that I’ve not had one Buyer say to me: "I think I’ll wait", "The economy scares me", "I think my job may be in jeopardy." Quite the contrary, 2010 Buyers are buying because our prices have decreased somewhat and the interest rates are great.

To see the up to the minute stats on the market as of October 1, 2010 CLICK HERE.

Tell all your friends to visit my web site, www.ConnieErickson.com regularly for up to date market information.

Displaying blog entries 771-780 of 793

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Connie Erickson
Door County Realty, Inc.
Po Box 340 - 4027 Main Street
Fish Creek WI 54212
Office: 920-868-2075
Toll Free: 888-678-3949
Fax: 920-868-2425

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