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December 2014

There are 8 blog entries for December 2014.

letter to property ownersHousing inventory is much lower than it used to be - and demand is much higher - so for some buyers finding the right home can be a real challenge. In some neighborhoods the competition for homes is fierce. A well-priced listing in a popular neighborhood can sell within days (or sometimes even within hours) and with multiple competing offers.

However, there are a few different strategies you and your buyer agent can use to beat the competition to a great home in your preferred location. One very effective method is to deliver a letter to every home in your target neighborhood.

A personal letter offers a great way to reach home owners who are planning to sell but who have not yet put their home on the open market. 

As an example, our real estate

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Accountant Cindy Meicher HasenfratzWith just a few days left before the close of 2014, there are still chances to save on your upcoming tax bill. Cindy Meicher Hasenfratz, CPA, CVA and partner at Meicher CPAs, offers the following suggestions for preserving your income:

Clean out your closets

If you itemize, now is the time to make some trips to Goodwill, Salvation Army or your favorite charity.  Make a list of each item you donate, get a dated receipt, and you can deduct the fair market value of each item (their value may surprise you). You can claim up to $5000 worth of items without requiring an appraisal. The bonus- you’ll have cleaner closets!

Give, especially appreciated stock

You can also donate financially to your charity of choice. Gifts of appreciated stock provide

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MLS Search Mad City Dream HomesAt Mad City Dream Homes we're pleased to share a number of powerful tools which give you many of the same search capabilities as a licensed real estate agent. All of these tools are available on our real estate search page. Below are a few tips for using some of the most popular features on our site. Of course you can always contact us 24/7 with any property search question. We'll get back to you ASAP with an answer.

Search Open House Listings

This is one of our most popular search features. See this post for an example of how to use this tool.

Open House Property Search

 

Search By Location

This tool offers several different search options. You can search by one of more MLS numbers as in the example below. 

Search Madison MLS

Search one or multiple cities. 

Search Madison Area Cities

You can

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gift shop monona terraceAre you struggling to buy for that person who has everything? Perhaps it’s time to step away from the crowded shopping places, and enjoy the Madison museum scene. The city offers a wide variety of museums and entertainment venues. Museum gift shops benefit local arts and entertainment, while providing a unique selection of gifts you won’t find anywhere else.

For the veteran, collector or military historian

The Wisconsin Veterans Museum gift shop has a broad selection of books, branch-specific military gifts, and Civil War collectibles. Shoppers will be surprised by the apparel- both vintage and modern styles, and the variety of options for veterans to proudly display or preserve their memories. Collectors will be thrilled by authentic Civil War

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If you spend any amount of time looking for properties on the internet, it won't take long before you stumble across a few listings with some really suspect photos. Even in this day and age, there are plenty of listings out there which break many of the rules for good real estate photography. So much so that there is a website that is devoted entirely to the subject of terrible listing photos.

Check out the 3 sample listing photos below. How many rules does each of these pictures break? 

Bad Photo #1: Family Room

This photo was produced by an amateur using amateur equipment. The lighting is poor and the image is not crisp. The room is not professionally staged. It's full of holiday decorations and clutter. And is that Fido's chew toy on the

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Holiday Express and LegosHave you heard this at your house? One of the many great things about Madison is if you have an interest in a hobby or activity, there will be opportunities to share it. If you have Lego-lovers in your family, you’ll be thrilled to know that Olbrich Gardens has combined their annual Holiday Express train exhibit with the popular toy bricks! Each year Olbrich Gardens invites the Wisconsin Garden Railway Society to display model trains during the holidays. The trains vary by the day. Hundreds of beautiful poinsettias and other holiday garden themes surround the sets. This year, the surrounding villages are constructed with….you guessed it….Legos. Visitors are sure to enjoy the Victorian homes, ships, and even Star Wars themed portions of the exhibit.

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When is the best time to buy a home in Madison? Conventional wisdom says to buy in the springtime. Year in and year out our local real estate market is busiest during the warmer months and slowest during the winter holiday season. There are many in the real estate industry who refer to this time of year as the "REALTOR Holiday", which runs unofficially from Thanksgiving Day through New Year's Day. 

The spring and summer months are the most popular times for buying in our market, but there can be some challenges that come with buying during the peak season. Shopping in the spring or summer market means you're competing with many other buyers at a time when homes are selling very quickly. If you don't act quickly yourself, you could lose your ideal

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Not long ago this question would have seemed ludicrous. Just a few years ago, a large number of Madison condo developments were holding onto a very large number of unsold units. Demand was low. Many consumers were wary of buying into the condo market and were opting to rent instead. In some areas, such as in Downtown Madison, there were over two years of supply sitting on the open market along with a large amount of shadow inventory lurking behind the scenes. And so condo prices fell, and they kept falling, until they bottomed out in 2012.

That's when we began to see big changes in the condo market. Suddenly for many consumers it was cheaper to buy than it was to rent. Condo purchase activity picked up considerably in 2012 and then moved much higher in

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