All Blog Entries by Sara Ifert

Found 30 blog entries published by Sara Ifert.

Having weathered a year of the COVID pandemic, it's not hard to see the many ways our lives have been affected. For some homebuyers, job changes or furloughs may have decreased the amount of home they can afford. Other potential buyers have shifted to more self-employment work and aren't sure how that affects their financing. Patrick Averill of Thompson Kane has been helping many of our clients secure financing during this unique time. He recently shared a few insights with us about the current lending climate.

Q: How has the lending market changed with COVID? Is it more difficult to secure a loan?

Patrick Averill of Thompson Kane

Patrick: Due to COVID, underwriting guidelines have become more strict than they used to be. More up-to-the minute income information is required

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At some price points, cash offers and escalating prices have made it more difficult for financed buyers to be competitive - especially if they’re only able to put 3-5% down. But, there are ways buyers can stand out in this situation. One way to appear more competitive in a tight market is through your lender. Dave Grauwels of Guild Mortgage helps many of our clients. He recently chatted with us to share how he and his team help his customers go through the offer process with a competitive edge. Read his top three strategies below.

Dave's Tips for Being Competitive as a Financed Buyer

Dave Grauwels of Guild Mortgage

  1. Get your pre-approval underwritten so your offer is nearly as appealing as cash. If a buyer starts the pre approval process early in their search, we can
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Are you looking for a home in an established neighborhood, but can’t seem to find any options? We rounded up a selection of established neighborhoods that consistently have a good amount of inventory available. From communities with historic bungalows to houses in growing neighborhoods with a wide variety of inventory, these neighborhoods have options for many types of buyers. Check out the neighborhood profiles for each community to see all the latest listings.

Photo of Grandview Commons neighborhood

Are you searching for your perfect home? Contact one of our experienced agents for a consultation. We would love to help guide you through the process of buying your dream home!

Birchwood Point - Located on the far west side of Madison, Birchwood Point is near shops and dining in Madison

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A great perk of living the condo lifestyle is that you can swap outdoor chores like snow removal and yard work for getting outside for fun. There are many great conservancies and parks with endless opportunities to hike in the Madison area, and some condo communities are lucky enough to have them right outside their door. For some buyers, having easy access to beautiful outdoor spaces is a must-have item on their wish list. Below is a roundup of some of our favorite condo communities that happen to be a short walk to a conservancy or hiking spot.

Do you need help finding a condo that best suits your lifestyle? Contact one of our experienced agents.

Harbor Village - Explore the oak savanna and wetland prairies at Pheasant Branch Conservancy,

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Winter is just around the corner, and although it may be more challenging this year due to the pandemic, there are ways to make it easier and more fun. Just because your usual winter activities may be less feasible this year doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the season. Here are 5 ways to prepare for a happier and healthier winter that keep you safe.

  1. Get outside for winter fun. Fresh air and sunlight go a long way to improving mood, so don’t forget about all of the fun outdoor winter activities that are available this time of year! Try ice skating, cross country skiing, or taking winter hikes. Dane County Park’s winter recreation guide is a great resource for finding fun ways to be active outside. You can also visit the City of Madison Parks

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Thanksgiving plans this year have changed for many people, but that doesn't mean you still can't celebrate the holiday! Here are 8 non-traditional ways to celebrate Thanksgiving this year at home. Some of them may even become part of your regular holiday tradition!

8 ways to celebrate Thanksgiving at Home in the Madison area

Thanksgiving 2020 Ideas

  1. Get outside. Many local races are going virtual this year. The Berbee Derby and Turkey Trot are both still happening, and are a great way to support your community and get some exercise. Running not your thing? Visit one of Dane County’s many parks and take a Thanksgiving Day hike, or take an extra long stroll in a new neighborhood. Depending on the weather, wearing layers will help make the time outside more comfortable. Spending a little extra time

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Many buyers have a preferred neighborhood or condo community in mind when they start searching for a home. However, there are not always homes for sale on the market that match their criteria. How do you find an unlisted home in that oh-so-perfect neighborhood or condo community? Our agents have been successful in helping our clients discover these properties with letter writing campaigns. A letter writing campaign is a targeted marketing strategy that can connect buyers with their ideal home - before it comes on the market. Read on for tips from Maureen Moran and Dan Miller on how to leverage this strategy.

Why do letter campaigns work? They often provide a benefit to both the buyer and seller, and lead to an easier sale.

Maureen Moran

Maureen: Receiving

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The home inspection is an important milestone in the home buying and selling process, and sometimes it can be a big sticking point. It’s not uncommon for a home inspection to reveal a few issues that buyers feel need to be addressed and the sellers say, “no way.” How can buyers and sellers work through this apparent impasse? A few of our realtors share some of the strategies they have used to help buyers navigate their inspection contingency - without jeopardizing the sale.

Five ways we help buyers navigate tricky inspections

Five ways we help buyers navigate tricky inspections

1. Be professional

Sometimes inspections bring forth issues that sellers weren’t aware of, or disagree with. Sellers can even be offended by the results. We help by focusing the conversation on issues that negatively

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Falling in love is part of the home buying process for many. You walk into a home and you just know it’s the one. Interestingly enough, a “love letter” can sometimes seal the deal for prospective buyers. In the context of real estate, a love letter is a letter penned from the buyer to the current owner of their dream home. Not all sellers are swayed by these letters, but in some situations a love letter can tip the scales in the favor of that buyer. Even when there are multiple offers. In this article, our team of Realtors share their insights about love letters, and how they can help you buy your dream home.

Chris Venden

Chris Venden has often encouraged buyers to write love letters to sellers since she got into real estate 15 years ago. “I think it helps

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A recent listing in Middleton was located on a quiet cul de sac on a large lot that backed up to a wooded conservancy. It was a perfect backdrop for a cozy and inviting home. However, the home was somewhat sparsely furnished. It needed additional furniture and decor to help it show to its full potential. This is a scenario where staging can make a huge difference.

REALTOR Shelley Lazzareschi worked with the seller to develop a staging plan that worked best for them and their budget. The seller decided to hire Brook Furniture Rental to provide furniture and decor while the home was on the market. Brook Furniture delivered and set up the furniture - they even hung the artwork! Debbie Lea of Showcase Home Stagers worked alongside with Shelley to finish

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