The Rental Market is Hot!


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The Rental Market is HOT!

As the Madison real estate market has continued to heat up, so has the rental market. Local rents are soaring as vacancy rates remain well under the national average. This has prompted some homeowners to buy their next home now, while renting their current home out. If you’ve considered the same, you may want to run your holding costs & potential income through a Rental Analysis Spreadsheet to determine whether or not the numbers work. Since the value of income property is measured differently than single family, owner-occupied property, you’ll want to be sure you’re looking at the right data when determining whether or not your home works as a rental. Need the spreadsheet? Email us for a free copy!

Thinking about buying income property? You may be interested in checking out our Investment Property Comparison Guide, consisting of active & sold properties, which is used to compare properties via cap rate, GRM, & cash return. Ask us for a free copy.

The Greenbush & Mansion Hill/James Madison Park TIFs offer great opportunity to both buyers & sellers. These amazing incentives are offered by the City to assist buyers in the rehabilitation of 1-8 unit buildings that are currently being used as rentals. Buyers must owner-occupy to qualify.

Final thought: There are literally thousands of new apartments being built in Madison this year, so sooner or later the market will balance out, and rents will probably soften up a bit. No big deal if you know what to look for in your next investment, but if you’re new to the game, be sure you’re taking all of the facts into consideration (current & future neighborhood development, neighborhood market trends, etc.).

Put_A_Rooster_On_it_LogoListing a home? Net more with Roost Realty! We’ll market your home with style, vision and boundless energy. Looking to buy? Let us be your property matchmakers! We’ll get you in the community, lifestyle and home of your dreams – because we know a home is so much more than a house.

The Dirty Secrets Behind Zestimates

A while back, we uncovered the truth about the accuracy of our beloved Zillow's "Zestimate."A recent article by the Washington Post made us wonder, are Zestimates totally invalid or do they still provide value to home buyers and home sellers seeking the hard facts behind the Madison, WI real estate market? Read on to draw your own conclusions and if you're a homeowner asking "But what can I do to improve my Zestimate?" - don't fret! The answers are just a click away! Read more >

Why the “Off Season” is a Good Time to Sell

Capitol dome in Madison WIThe spring is a wonderful time of year. Snow and ice melt away yielding to the beauty of green grass, budding flowers and "for sale" signs springing up in yards across town. Yes, spring is the time of year when the Madison real estate market really rocks and rolls. At Roost, we predict this spring to be no exception. And while it is common to wait until the spring to list a home, it's not necessarily the most ideal season to do so! What most home sellers don’t realize is that winter is actually a great time to list a home (see previous blog post, 5 Reasons to Sell in the Off-Season). Winter is a magical time of glistening snow, barren landscapes and troves of serious homes buyers combing a real estate market that contains significantly less listings for them to choose from as compared to other times of the year. Still skeptical? Check out these recent articles in the LA Times and Huffington Post that further support this claim.

If you’re thinking about selling your home this year, consider doing it sooner rather than later and contact us. We'd love to help you get the most out of your listing!

For Sale By Owner: What I'd Do Differently

For Sale By Owner FSBO Homes In Madison WI real estate

My husband and I had just tied the knot. My domestic urges must have been in overdrive, because within days of the wedding, I found a house on a Madison "for sale by owner" website that seemed so perfectly us.

I had been combing the Madison WI MLS as a matter of habit -- but I had gone to only a handful of open houses, and I really hadn’t moved from curious to serious. We loved the Schenk-Atwood neighborhood, where we were renting an apartment. However, we also wanted to keep our mortgage affordable and not sacrifice our lifestyle in order to pay our housing costs.

Unfortunately, everything in our ideal area that even came close to our comfortable price point needed an incredible amount of work! We’d seen The Money Pit  -- and we had been warned of the ways a fixer-upper can take over your life (for better or worse), so we were focused on our first home being as move-in ready as possible.

In the end, this two-bedroom house a little further beyond our ideal area held all of the charm we were looking for -- plus a kitchen and bathroom that were both generously sized and updated. As seasoned apartment dwellers, we thought two bedrooms seemed like more than enough space, and we were willing to overlook the lack of garage for the large basement and walk-up attic. One fast month later, it was ours, and we were moving in! A happy ending!

Now, I'm armed with 6+ years of life experience and a real estate license. I can look back and offer the following kernels of wisdom to “first-time-homebuyer me” and others.

Lessons I've learned:

1. Know your priorities. We sacrificed on location to get the house we wanted for our price. Was this a good decision for us? Probably. We’ve been able to comfortably roll with life’s punches (several job changes, new babies, travel opportunities) thanks to a very affordable monthly payment. However, location is the one thing you can never change about your house, and this will absolutely top our criteria for our next purchase. We really miss being in a more walkable area, and have some new family-related neighborhood priorities. I also think my husband will insist on a garage next time around! There will always be trade-offs; it’s about weighing them and making the best choice for you and your lifestyle. Make a prioritized list of your wants and needs at the start of your search and use it to keep yourself honest.

2. Hire a "Wisconsin Registered" Home Inspector. We asked a family member who is a licensed professional home contractor to look at the house for us. He helped us go into the purchase with our eyes open about some of the home's potential issues. But, even if he had pointed out every defect that a home inspector would have found, we wouldn’t have been able to use his findings to negotiate with the sellers, per the state-approved Offer to Purchase contract. This basically meant we bought our home "as-is." When we go to sell our home, chances are the buyer will want a formal inspection, and we’ll be on the hook for issues that may have been present in the home when we purchased it. The money spent on a qualified home inspector pays off up front in negotiations and down the road in peace of mind. A professional home inspection and report is in the best interest of every buyer.

3. Work with a buyer’s agent. We bought the home on our own, from a seller who was selling it on their own. While I don’t have a horror story to accompany this scenario, I do wish we had used a professional buyer’s agent to guide us through the process and help us pay attention to the details we overlooked. Sellers pay the buyer’s agent commission 99% of the time, so it makes sense to employ a seasoned buyer’s agent who can advocate for you and manage the paperwork and other details of buying a home, which can otherwise be pretty stressful. While we felt like we purchased the home for a fair price, now I know how much information should be used when determining market value, and we didn’t consider all of the pieces in the puzzle. When we go to sell our home, we will be subject to the market conditions and recent comparable sales when choosing a listing price and negotiating with a buyer, so it pays off to work with someone who knows this data when you buy.

I’m looking forward to finding our next home in the coming year or two and applying what I’ve learned to advocate for my family in the process. Our home has treated us well over the years, so I also look forward to giving it new life with its next owners!

Want to learn more? I welcome your questions and would love to apply my experience and professional knowledge to help make your next home-buying experience a positive one!

Madison WI Real Estate: Winter Update

Roost Realty For Sale Sign As I'm sure many of you know, the Madison WI real estate market is still going strong, despite the bitter cold! According to Property Trax, active listing inventory in Dane County hasn't been this low since 2006 (when comparing inventory on the 31st day of December, from 2006-2013):

Since we've been talking to a lot of home sellers on the near west side of Madison lately, I decided to pull a few quick numbers to share with them. The data is encouraging, and based on my experience, I assume this trend does not stop at the borders of the near west side. It's exciting to see the numbers holding strong, during what's known to be the slowest season in the year.

Accepted Offers since Jan. 1st= 15 and counting
Homes sold in 2013= 217
Current Active= 37
Months supply of inventory continues to dwindle in January, and is down to 2.46 , meaning it's still a seller's market. Months of inventory= # of homes currently active divided by the number of homes selling each month, based on a 12 month average.
If you're interested in obtaining more in depth market information about your neighborhood, or you're considering selling your home this year, give us a call--this is the time to start strategizing for your 2014 sale.