Portrait of Kris Plechaty

Kris Plechaty
Buyer's Agent, Listing Agent, Relocation Specialist, Staging Professional
262-720-5157
262-345-3233
kplechaty@firstweber.com
krisplechaty.firstweber.com

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April home sales suffer as inventories continue to tighten

April home sales suffer as inventories continue to tighten

Wisconsin REALTORS Association,

After a strong first quarter, existing home sales weakened in April. Specifically, the number of closed sales dropped 10.7 percent in April 2017 compared to that same month last year, and this pushed median prices up to $171,000, a 6.9 percent increase over April 2016. Inventory levels have consistently dropped over the past year, and there are now just 5.3 months of supply statewide, which is indicative of a seller's market.

Home sales slipped in five of the six regions, with most regions falling by double-digit margins. The only region that saw a slight increase in sales was the Central region of the state, up 0.9 percent, and this was followed by the North region, which fell just 3.1 percent over the period of April 2016 to April 2017.

"The tight inventories are not just a Wisconsin phenomenon; they are hitting a lot of regions hard," said WRA president and CEO Michael Theo. "When demand conditions are strong and supply is limited, something has got to give to relieve that pressure, and that something is the price," said Theo. Market prices increased 7.4 percent between April 2016 and April 2017. Average days on the market dropped from 103 days in April of last year to just 87 days in April 2017. Demand conditions will remain strong in the state, with the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate falling to 3.2 percent in April.

Affordability has slipped but remains relatively high despite the price increases. "Even though we've seen strong price appreciation and mortgage rates are up about a half percent compared to last year, we've benefited from income growth to keep our affordability above national levels," said Theo. The median family income level grew at an estimated annual pace of 2.1 percent, according to WRA calculations. "The Fed has indicated that short-term rates will continue to go up this year, and so even robust income growth is unlikely to maintain affordability when mortgage rates and prices are increasing," he said. "Buyers who don't have their financing arranged will be edged out by pre-qualified buyers or those with cash offers, so moving quickly is crucial," warned Theo.

Finding your dream home is as simple as 1,2,3 with the First Weber app

Finding your dream home is as simple as 1, 2, 3 with the First Weber app

  • 1. Choose a location
  • 2. Draw your area.
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Download it now on the App Store or Google Play.
Watch this quick video
to see how it works.

Renters can buy a home without spending more money

Renters can buy a home without spending more money

RISMedia’s Housecall,

Rents are so high that the average renter could buy a home worth approximately 50 percent more than the median home value without spending any more money, according to a recent analysis by Zillow.

The national median rent, $1,416, is enough to cover the monthly expense (including insurance, maintenance and taxes) of owning a home worth $289,505—considerably more than the national median home value of $196,500.

"Renters hesitant to enter the home-buying market for fear of not being able to find an affordable home should be encouraged to discover they may have more options than they thought," says Dr. Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. "Recent slowdowns in rent growth may take some of the edge off for renters saving to become homeowners," says Gudell.

Ranch styles, and other homebuyer wishes this season

Ranch styles, and other homebuyer wishes this season

RISMedia,

According to a recent survey by realtor.com, ranches are the most in-demand style of home this year, with 42 percent of homebuyers eyeing a rambler in their search for a home. A distant 28 percent of homebuyers—the second highest share in the survey—are in the market for a contemporary. Younger homebuyers, however, have a tendency toward a row house or townhouse—a proclivity that wanes with age, when preferences shift to a single-family home.

Type of home aside, three quarters of homebuyers are on the hunt for a two bathroom home, and over half are out for three bedrooms, according to the survey. Homebuyers, especially younger ones with young children, are also prioritizing a big backyard in their search, an attribute that parlays into more privacy, one of the top motivations for homebuying. Another motivation, held primarily by millennial homebuyers and homebuyers aged 35 to 44, is changing family needs, such as having children. Homebuyers aged 45 and older are more motivated by retirement. A remodeled kitchen is another choice feature for homebuyers, with 80 percent ranking the kitchen as one of their three favorite rooms in their home. A garage, a living room and a master bedroom are also high on homebuyers’ lists.

What are homebuyers not looking for? In the rearview are a guest house, a man cave, a mother-in-law suite and solar panels. "The insights from our most recent consumer survey provide a glimpse into what buyers are looking at today," says Sarah Staley, housing expert at realtor.com. "While we often think of dream homes as being big and bold, that’s not what we're hearing from potential buyers today. These insights can help guide potential sellers in deciding which rooms or features to invest in before listing their homes."

Buying a new house? 5 things to check before moving in

Buying a new house? 5 things to check before moving in

RISMedia's Housecall,

When you're serious about purchasing a home, there are a few important parts of the property to check before you move in.

  • The Neighborhood
    You should feel comfortable with the quality of the neighborhood, which will influence the value of your home. Look at the condition of the other homes and check to see if people are loitering at different times of the day. The house should also be in proximity to your job or nearby schools if you have children. Some individuals who don't have a family may want to purchase a home in a good school district due to the impact that it'll have on the value of the property.
  • Storage Space
    The storage space that is available in the home influences how much clutter will be left out in the open. Look for plenty of storage space that is available in the bedroom closets or in the kitchen to ensure that you can comfortably fit everything that you own without feeling cramped.
  • Plumbing System
    Run the faucets to inspect the water pressure and ask the owners if the pipes are insulated. Hire professionals to check if the radiators are working and if the hot water tank needs to be replaced soon.
  • The Roof
    The roof is one of the most costly features of the home and protects the interior setting from damage due to environmental elements. Hire a professional roofer to determine the lifespan of the roofing material and if it needs any repairs. The tiles or shingles should be secure on the roof deck, and there shouldn't be any leaks present.
  • Sufficient Drainage
    Many buyers make the mistake of overlooking the drainage on the property, but the feature can cause issues if they're not in good shape. Insufficient drainage can lead to severe structural problems in the building.

Although it can be easy to fall in love with a house, there are several areas to check before making an offer to ensure that you won't run into problems down the road. By taking the time to inspect each part of the property, you can have peace of mind knowing you're making a good investment.

Easy ways to safeguard your home and prepare for an emergency

6 Things Every Homeowner Should Know About Property Taxes

RISMedia,

You might not have factored in property taxes when planning to buy your dream home, but the cost of homeownership goes beyond your mortgage payment. It’s important to discover how your property tax bill works—once you know how it’s calculated, you can challenge it if you feel it’s too high. Additionally, property taxes can be a valuable write-off, and as a homebuyer, you should take advantage of all of the available tax breaks for homeowners.

1. You might need to pay different types of property taxes.
When you’re buying a home, research how much the property taxes are—including direct and special assessments—so you can budget for your future as a new homeowner.

2. A tax assessor calculates your property tax by attaching a property value to your home and making adjustments based on local rules to determine the assessed value.

Property tax rates vary depending on where you live. It’s important to know that your tax bill might increase if you’re adding additional square footage to your home, because completing construction on a renovation could increase your home’s value.

3. Property tax due dates vary depending on where you live. Some counties require you to pay the annual property tax bill in one payment and others break it up into two installments. If you receive two tax notices, don’t assume the second one is a duplicate bill.

If you have a mortgage, you might pay an extra amount each month into an escrow account, which the bank uses to pay property taxes on your behalf.

4. You could be subject to interest and penalties for not paying property taxes, and if you continue to be delinquent, the government could put a tax lien on your home or foreclose on it and sell it to generate cash to pay your bill.

If you have a lien on your home, any proceeds from a sale go first to pay off the delinquent taxes. Sometimes your mortgage lender will pay the property taxes on your behalf and request reimbursement from you. If you don’t pay the money back, your lender might consider you in default on your mortgage and foreclose.

5. You might be eligible for property tax relief.

Governments often offer special property tax relief to certain groups like veterans, the disabled and those who have lived in the same home a long time. The exemptions don’t reduce your tax rates; instead, they lower the assessed value of your home.

You can also challenge the property tax assessment through the tax collector’s office. For example, if you believe your tax bill is too high because the assessed value of your property exceeds its actual value, you can submit evidence of that to the tax collector. If you win your appeal, your property tax bill will be reduced.

6. You can deduct property taxes from your federal income taxes. If you itemize your deductions on your federal income tax return, you can deduct the amount of property taxes you pay, but you can’t deduct the cost of special assessments. If you pay your property taxes through an escrow account, you can deduct only the amount that actually went to the government, not the total amount you paid into the account.