Friday, June 20, 2014

Thank You to All of Our Sponsors for the 2014 Golf Outing!

Larry Snyder from Frontier Title and Closing Services


Amber Castonguay of Remax

Jason Grubba of Inlanta Mortgage

Larry Stanul of Sandstorm Photography

Charlie and Dana Johnson of Guaranteed Rate

Cherie Jarchow and Chris Ireland of Specialized Payroll in Pewaukee

Stacey Guzanick of Remax

Reid Brueser of Remax

Jamie Ireland and Lisa Bear of Remax

Glenn Shong of Remax

Larry Stanul of Remax

Terry Bear of All Out Movers

Terry Bear of 1st Class Limo

Terry Bear of Terry Bear Painting and Maintenance

Friday, June 13, 2014

Best on the Block

Best on the Block: How To Create Curb Appeal

Spring is in the air, so it's time to give your home an exterior makeover and add curb appeal. A few simple tricks can help boost your home's profile, and ensure visitors get a good first impression when they arrive on your doorstep.

Make a statement with your front door:

Your front door is one of the first things people notice about your home. Is your door drab, drafty or just plain past its prime? Make a bold statement and improve your home's energy efficiency with a new Energy Star–qualified front door. Consider options with decorative glass accents and stunning sidelights to add more natural light while maintaining a sense of style and privacy.

"Finding entry doors that feature stylish options in a variety of popular materials from wood to fiberglass and steel options is easy, and the real beauty is in their performance," says Kathy Krafka Harkema of Pella Windows and Doors. "When replacing your old front door, choose from one that accents your home's style, with high–performance features that help keep out air and water, and low–maintenance convenience like durable prefinished options with coordinating trim."

Accessorize with new hardware:

Replace your front door hardware for a quick, easy facelift. Choose hardware finishes consistent with those of your home's light fixtures, mailbox and house numbers to maintain a polished, cohesive look. You'll be surprised what a difference new hardware on your front door can make in creating a positive look and feel.

Refresh exterior and trim colors:

Now's also a good time to add a new storm door to help keep out the elements, or to add a refreshing coat of paint on your existing exterior doors for a fresh look.

For a dramatic change, repaint your home's exterior. You can also change trim color to refresh your home's exterior impact. When updating trim, choose color schemes that match your home's primary exterior color, or complement it with a fresh twist.

Accent with lighting:

For nighttime curb appeal and safety, add a row of exterior accent lighting to illuminate a walking path with ground–insert solar lights. Or consider solar spotlights to bring out landscaping or architectural focal points. Install new matching light fixtures outside your front door, garage door or patio door to create an inviting feel and provide well–lit doorways to greet you and visiting neighbors and guests.

Create points of interest with plants:

Add pops of color by arranging potted plants around your front door, or on a porch or deck. Incorporate planters or container gardens of varied sizes, shapes and colors to add visual interest. Also, planting flowerbeds along driveways and walkways gives your home a softer, more inviting feel.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


What's The Buzz? Your Backyard Beehive, Of Course!

There are always practices homeowners can adopt that will not only improve the value and appearance of their property, but will also improve their neighborhoods, communities, their own family's health and the environment.

One thing a homeowner can do to impact their property and their world is to consider housing and maintaining a small beehive.

Why keep bees? Christy Hemenway, author of "The Thinking Beekeeper," and founder of Gold Star Honeybees in Vermont says there is a bit of magic to bees.

She says establishing a low–maintenance hive tucked away in the corner of the yard will enhance the resurgence of a dwindling bee population, while providing robust pollination to flowering plants around one's home and landscape.

She believes Bee Colony Collapse Disorder, as reported in the news recently, is absolutely connected to toxins being put into the environment. And Hemenway's solution is her signature top bar hives.

They allow bees to make their own wax without a foundation – a piece of plastic coated with wax, embossed with hexagons. Some hexagons in the top bar comb are sized for food storage (honey), while others are for raising young bees.

Hemenway says beekeeping is not labor intensive – owners can spend as little as an hour a week simply performing inspections.

Her premiere product is the Deluxe Top Bar Hive Kit, with every part included, down to the glass observation window. All the owner must do is assemble the hive using a screwdriver and staple gun.

Deluxe Top Bar Hive Kits come in the New Englander Model, with its black roof for colder climates and the Arizona Model, with a white roof, for where it's warmer. Hemenway's other two top bar hive kits allow for beekeepers who enjoy the craft of woodworking to be more involved in the process of building their bees' new home.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Best Home Investment:

The Best Home Investment: A Wood Deck

As the seasons turn, more homeowners look for projects that not only make their homes more livable, but also offer a great return on investment. With demand high across the country for outdoor spaces that bring the comforts of the indoors outside, there's no surprise that decks are one of the top remodeling projects for 2014.

In fact, a residential wood deck addition has a recouped cost of 87.4 percent, according to Remodeling Magazine's 2014 Cost vs. Value Report, the second highest ROI midrange project only behind an entry door replacement. That means adding a deck to your property will increase your livable space so you can enjoy the outdoors more while resting easy, knowing you're boosting the value of your home investment.

If you think you'd like to add a wood deck to your home, you might wonder about the different material options. "Although composite and PVC decking have gained popularity in recent years, pressure–treated wood decking still carries the lion's share of the market because it's inexpensive, easy to work with and can be found at any lumberyard," says Chris Fox, product manager at Universal Forest Products, a leading supplier of lumber and decking materials.

Today's pressure–treated lumber comes with advancements that weren't available to homeowners just a few years ago. For example, with more homeowners seeking eco–friendly building materials, wood suppliers are exploring environmentally–preferred treatment methods. For example, ProWood's micronized copper azole (MCA) treated lumber decking is eco–friendly, cost effective and easy to install.

MCA is a method for treating the wood (typically pine) using an EPA–registered waterborne wood preservative system to protect against termite attack and rot. MCA–treated lumber provides a light, natural look, unlike other pressurized wood treatments that result in the greenish hue with which most people are familiar.

You can leave MCA–treated lumber in its natural state for a more organic appearance in your outdoor spaces, or you can choose ProWood Dura Color decking that is color–infused with pigment driven deep into the wood fibers. This process creates beautiful treated wood grain that will stand up to the elements for many years, with no need for staining.

"People like the natural look of redwood and cedar, but they don't want the drawbacks that come with them, such as the high price and the fact that they quickly fade to gray," says Fox. "ProWood Dura Color lumber not only looks like natural cedar or redwood, but the color lasts much longer and is backed by a two–year color assurance warranty."

When researching treated wood materials for outdoor home improvement projects, such as a deck addition, Fox suggests discussing the project with the local lumber dealer and to be sure to understand and check the end tag for:

1. The description of use (above ground or ground contact)
2. Warranty statement
3. The quality standards it meets
4. Third–party quality inspection which assures product has passed retention and penetration tests

Friday, June 6, 2014


Congrats to this years RE/MAX REALTY CENTER SCHOLARSHIP recipient of $1000. 

Shelly Robertson is graduating tomorrow from Watertown High School. She will be attending UW Madison in the fall and has her eye on the business world.

Monday, June 2, 2014

2014 April Home Sales Report - Wisconsin REALTORS® Association

2014 April Home Sales Report - Wisconsin REALTORS® Association

Date: May 19, 2014

Wisconsin existing home sales fell in April even as median prices
continued to rise according to the most recent analysis of the state
housing market released by the Wisconsin REALTORS®
Association (WRA). Home sales declined 11.6 percent in April compared
to the same month last year due to a combination of higher home mortgage
rates, higher prices and harsh winter temperatures.
Median prices rose
over that same period, increasing 1.4 percent to $139,900.

“As we enter the second quarter of the year, we have been expecting some
improvement in home sales, but it’s important to remember that April
sales are still impacted by the February weather given the 6 to 8 week
lag between the time an offer is accepted and a closing takes place,”
said Steve Lane, Chairman of the WRA Board of Directors. He also noted
that there were heavy snows in the northern part of the state as late as
mid-April 2014. Every region of the state experienced a decline in
April sales. The Central region fared the best, falling just 3.8
percent over the April 2013 to April 2014 period, followed by the
Northeast region which dropped 8.5 percent over the period. The South
central region fell 9.6 percent and the Southeast region saw a decline
of 10.1 percent. Finally, the North region dropped 17.4 percent and the
West fell 25.5 percent. Interestingly, home sales fell more
substantially in the metropolitan counties which averaged a 13 percent
reduction in sales in April compared to rural counties which declined 7
percent between April 2013 and April 2014. “This may be due in part to
much tighter inventories in the urban counties compared to rural
counties,” said Lane. Rural counties had just over 14 months of
available inventory in April compared to just 6.9 months for
metropolitan counties.

“The national economy barely grew in thefirst quarter which under normal circumstances might suggest an economic slowdown, but even that has been partially blamed on the weather,” said
Michael Theo, WRA President and CEO. The advance estimate of first
quarter real GDP growth revealed that the economy grew at just 0.1
percent, and the combination of a harsh winter, lower trade and lower
inventory replacement kept the economy stagnate in the first quarter.
Countering that was a relatively strong consumption component of real
GDP, and a relatively strong April jobs report. The latter indicated a
stronger than anticipated 288,000 jobs created in the US in April which
is the largest monthly growth in more than 2 years. “The key to
sustained growth in the housing market is a growing economy we hope the
current employment trends continue,” said Theo.

For the second straight month, median home prices grew at a modest pace with April
prices up 1.4 percent over April 2013. “The relatively slower pace of
sales over the last four months has allowed our inventories to increase
this year although we are still below April 2013 levels,” said Mr. Theo.
The inventory of unsold homes stood at 8.9 months in April compared to
9.4 months this time last year. “We always expect our inventories to
expand in the winter since home sales cool off, and our inventories have
increased quite a bit this year, which has helped stabilize our
prices,” he said. Wisconsin median prices increased 7.2 percent in 2013
compared to 2012, and they were up 4.2 percent in the first quarter of
2014 relative to that quarter in 2013. In contrast, the price increases
the last two months have been less than 2 percent on an annual basis
which is more in line with general inflationary trends.

The Wisconsin Housing Affordability Index measures the percent of the median priced
home that the household with median family income can afford to buy at
current mortgage rates, assuming a 20 percent down payment. The index
currently stands at 231 compared to 252 in April last year. “Although
slipping slightly, Wisconsin still has very affordable housing, which is
an asset that continues to be a solid hedge against inflation,” he

Real Estate Advisor: June 2014

The Art of the Approach: Curb Appeal, and More

When considering the mysteries of what attracts the ultimate buyer, few will deny that ?curb-appeal? is a sort of magic bullet. The term is a buzz word for the enticing image of your home as seen from the street, and is similar to the adage of ?judging a book by its cover.? Buyers who rely upon this might overlook a treasure in the rough, but savvy sellers know curb appeal is a key tool to finding a buyer more quickly.

Curb appeal is key when buyers are looking through multiple listings, getting a feel for neighborhoods from the comfort of their cars -- just ?driving by.? Often, buyers will look at advertisements and listings online or in print, and if they are local will take a peek on their way home from work. Because of the power of this ?curb view,? often the primary photographs used in advertisements and listings are from this angle. Money spent in improving this viewing angle is among the smartest investment. Simply put, painting and pruning trees and shrubbery can transform a home, helping to shed light on its features.

Other aspects of the approach to a home can be equally enticing and help to pave the way for a successful interior viewing. After all, when care is taken to the outside of a home, people feel that the interior will also have what they are looking for. Driveways and walkways that are well maintained and artfully presented greet potential buyers as soon as they step out of their vehicles.

Trees and shrubs that lose their leaves can create slick areas on driveways and walkways and be unattractive if allowed to affect landscaping and lawns. Ensure that you consider this when selecting trees to plant near driveways, and keep leaves in check during fall viewings. During the winter, when snow and ice might prove to be a problem, it is essential to maintain driveways and walkways carefully. This is not only for safety, but it illustrates the type of person who has owned and maintained the house itself.

One helpful exercise is to take time to view a home with curb-appeal in mind. At each juncture where a potential buyer might approach and view your home or property, stop and look around. Notice details. Take photographs. Look straight ahead, to the right and left, and even at the ground. If there are appealing features, play those up. If there are issues that block the enjoyment of the home, you can choose to address them. In each instance, seek to frame the view of the home or property in an appealing light, tending to the ground under foot, the areas close to the viewer, and that which they see.

The Results of curb-appeal come when assessing views from inside the home and at various places on the property. All views are important because they are attention-getting elements of the property you are selling. Views are memorable, and a bad one can deter potential buyers.

Whenever possible, seek to create eye-catching points around the home. If certain views are less than desirable, seek to minimize, distract, or even block those views. If you can remove the offensive elements, do so, but whenever possible, contain them, screen them or otherwise affect a change.

Additionally, certain areas in homes have an element of ?approach? to them. You control all the views inside the home, so assess each one carefully. The foyer or entryway has its own view into the home and serves as a curb of its own, or a launching pad, so to speak. As a viewer enters the home, moves to the living room, kitchen, master bedroom, or backyard, each transition creates an impression and should be considered a ?view.? Try walking through the home and noting the approaches so that you can begin to create views within the home that offer the best feelings and highlight the home's strengths. Make sure lighting, furniture, and clutter are all under control so that impressions are good every step of the way.

Follow these tricks for creating the best impression:

    • Ensure that the yard and landscaping is neat, tidy, and well-maintained. Seek to flatter the home first, then to show off your gardening skills. Freshly pruned vegetation illustrates careful stewardship.

    • If flowering plants are past their prime, trim them back and add in some seasonal plants for color. Re-edge and add mulch to existing beds. Plants in containers may be easily changed out or positioned where they are most needed, and if you invest in nice pots, you can take them with you.

    • Control growth of large trees to optimize light and safety of the home and surrounding buildings and property. Remove debris under trees daily, if needed.

    • Pay close attention to the front door and garage doors, including paint or stain condition and color, hardware and details ? these doors command a lot of attention. Consider adding seasonal decorations like a wreath or potted plants near the door, but keep these tasteful and few ? don?t distract from the house itself.

    • Clean steps, ensuring that they are free of scratches, chips, moss or signs of wear. Repair or upgrade handrails when appropriate.

    • A new Welcome Mat at the door will not only make a statement, it is also an invitation for viewers to wipe their feet as they enter the home.

    • Investing in new and unique numbers for your home not only makes it easy to identify, but can set it apart with flare.

    • Pressure wash the exterior of your home and ensure the gutters and roof are clean.

    • Assess and improve the driveway and any walkways to and around the home.

    • Upgrade lighting by doors and pathways. Providing safe and stylish lighting will make your home stand out in viewings throughout the day and evening.

    • Upgrade your mailbox. Creating a secure and attractive mail receptacle is akin to having a plush welcome mat at the end of your driveway or by your door.

    • Ensure that windows and screens are clean and well-maintained. Viewers from both the inside and outside of the home rely on being able to see through them. Shutters and screens should be in top shape. Easy-to-install PVC trim neatens and dresses up older windows and doors. Drapes and shades should be clean and in good working order.

    • Familiarize yourself with views from decks and various rooms, and improve those views when possible.

  • Decks can be used year-round in many places. Spruce up your deck, porch or patio and show what an inviting space it can be to potential buyers.