Madison Real Estate Values – On the Rise

Finally, after the recession, Madison real estate values rose 3.5 percent, which is the first increase in value of the average home in six years.

As reported by the South Central Wisconsin MLS, the number of new listings were flat with 23,502 in 2014 compared to 23,404 for 2013. Year over year the number of sales decreased less than 1%, however, the average sale price increased just over 1% to $193,340.

“Real estate values are recovering in a very significant way in Madison,” Mayor Paul Soglin said. “We can expect to see more recovery in future years. It’s because of the strength of the people of Madison. This is a desirable place.”

“It’s good news for the state,” said Todd Berry, president of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. “It suggests values statewideedgewater hotel
will finally go up.”

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the bright spot is $392 million in new construction — a 76% rise over the previous year and the most since 2007. The construction includes the high-profile project – The Edgewater Hotel redevelopment on Lake Mendota.

The building boom is critical for the city, which has increasing costs but is under state revenue limits that restrict increases in tax collections to the growth in net new construction of buildings, additions and remodeling minus the value of properties that have been demolished. Revaluations of residential properties — single-family homes, condos and apartments with up to three units, rose $288 million, the first increase for that category since 2007 as reported by the Wisconsin State Journal.

3445 crestwood“We’re seeing bidding wars again,” said Jo Ann Terasa, assistant assessor for residential property, adding that homes are selling more quickly. “We’re back to days and weeks opposed to months and years.”

Wonder what your home is worth? To find the value of your home you can visit my website, I would be happy to send you a Free Comparative Market Analysis.

Whether you’re thinking about selling your home, or are considering purchasing a new luxury home, contact Mardi Stroud – Madison’s real estate expert — at 608.469.5555.

You can also follow me on Facebook or LinkedIn to read more of my blogs with information about the local market and many other subjects.

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The Beauty of Hardwood Floors

Whether it’s a residential interior, or a commercial installation, hard wood floors add an air of class, as well as structural strength. Hardwood floors are said to lend a sense of permanence to an interior and remain to be the most popular flooring choice for those who value tradition the most.

But then there are reasons, beyond the traditional values, which make hard wood floors a practical and decorative preference. Here is an overview:

  1. Straight-forward installation for those with experience: quality hard wood floors are specifically engineered to ensure a uniform and stable fit. The choice between finished and unfinished hard wood floors is an important factor in this, of course.
  2. Easy to clean: Hard wood floors are very easy to clean as they do not accumulate a lot of dirt, dust, and debris. A weekly cleaning procedure involves vacuuming, moping and keeping the floor dry. That’s it!use in blog 2 Living room
  3. High quality look: Hard wood floors give an elegant aesthetic and high-end look. Hard wood floors offer the warmth, beauty and value of wood and never goes out of style. Hard wood floors are also said to enable a look of spaciousness wherever they are installed.
  4. Strength and durability: High quality hard wood floors that are kiln-dried, manufactured, installed and finished to certain standards can last for generations. The hard wood floors are tough, hard-wearing, and have long term durability. They can stand up to active workspaces and heavy foot traffic.
  5. A Good investment: Choosing hard wood floors increases the value of your property. It is a great long-term investment and can actually become a strong resale argument, exceeding the initial installation cost of the floors. It also enables a faster sale and brings higher prices at the time of resale.

Hardwood floors has an ageless beauty and quality. When other floors will begin to look tired and worn, your hard wood floors will still look beautiful. And your hard wood floors become more valuable as time goes by. Also keep in mind that unlike carpeting and vinyl, hard wood floors can be refinished rather than replaced when the finish has worn out.

Hardwood Floors Species: The Luxury of Choice in Flooring
With hardwood floors there are different species. That is the luxury of hardwood. Presently there is a range of choices for you to consider. One such choice is that of species. Some species are very hard, and stand to be a notably durable choice. Others are less hard, but more. Some species of hardwood have colors which remain more or less constant. Others exhibit “photosensitivity”, which means that the color of the hardwood flooring species changes as it is exposed to light. Whatever your requirement, hardwood flooring presents an option in floors that enable you to choose the perfect look, texture, and general effect.

hardwood grayAlong with the advantages of appearance, hardwood is and continues to be a choice in flooring that can add structural strength and natural beauty to your home.

Buyers definitely like hardwood floors but it also depends on your location. Hardwood floors do draw your eye and adds a finished appeal to you home. But does this add value to your home.

To find the value of your home of your home you can visit my website, I would be happy to send you a Free Comparative Market Analysis.

You can follow me on Facebook or LinkedIn to read more of my blogs with information about the local market and many other subject.

If you are thinking of selling or purchasing a new home you can contact me at 608.469.5555.

Considering Buying a Home? Here Are The Reasons To Buy Now!

Many people are thinking, “Its winter, I will wait until spring to buy a new home.” According to the experts now is the time to buy and winter ice and snow on househere are questions to consider and information you should know to take the next step in a home purchase.

1. Will  Home Prices Continue to Rise?
The very low home prices have come and gone. Home values are predicted to continue to appreciate for years. If you are waiting, it no longer makes sense. The Home Price Expectation Survey polls is a distinguished panel of economists and investment strategists. The most recent report projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 15.1% and 32.8%.

2. Will Mortgage Interest Rates Increase?
Although Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have softened recently, most experts predict that they will begin to rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will be up almost a full percentage point by the end of 2015. An increase in rates will obviously impact your monthly mortgage payment.

3. You are Paying a Mortgage or Monthly Rent
As a recent paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does end up making more financial sense than renting.”

4. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life
There are two components to the cost of a home. They are: the pricekids playing in snow of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both may be on the rise.

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe it is time to buy.
If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase or sell your current home this year, buying or selling sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

Contact Mardi Stroud, Madison’s real estate expert, for more information at 608.469.5555.

Or, connect with me on Facebook and LinkedIn too!

Upgrading To a Luxury Kitchen

Everyone knows the home’s heart is its kitchen. Luxury homes have advanced past the kitchen be simply functional. The home’s central room needs to be an upscale showcase, combining functionality with high-end tastes.

Designing or upgrading your kitchen you can never go wrong. Here you will find a few ideas to help you get started.

Countertops need to be high-end
The tops of the island and the counters are the focal point of your kitchen, make sure they stand out.  Granite has become the most requested countertop material, but be sure to check the rating on it first. Instead of the typical polished granite,high end kitchen countertop perhaps look into more rare granite countertops with honed, brushed, or suede finishes. There are options beyond granite, as well. Growing in popularity is the highly durable quartz. Not as durable, but lovely to look at are marble countertops. For those looking for unique designs, there are various other counters made up from natural stones or even from sealed woods, created to closely match the kitchen cabinetry.
Custom Cabinetry
When designing your kitchen remember the most expensive and time consuming portion of the new kitchen tends to be its cabinetry. For high-end homes, custom-made cabinets are the way to go, designing them to the exact dimensions of your new kitchen, and enabling the kitchen designer to make best use of every inch of wall space around the built-in appliances. Be sure to add toe kicks to the base of the upper cabinets and valances to the tops of the upper cabinets to help conceal under/over cabinet lighting.

Other considerations include creating coffee stations, “bread box” or “garage door” cabinetry to hide countertop appliances when not in use, Lazy Susans in corners, easy-glide pull-out drawers, self-closing drawers, full-extension drawers and a retractable trash can, wine racks, glass doors, and cabinet covers for built-in dishwashers and refrigerators.

Double Wall Ovens
For those still using a single oven that is part of a standalone stovetop range unit. It’s time to upgrade to a double wall oven. The upper and lower ovens can be used independently of each other, with different meals being prepared at differentdouble wall oven temperatures. For those households that need to, one oven could be designated as the gluten-free oven. If your kitchen is big enough, you may even want to consider room for four wall ovens, with one of them being a microwave and another being a steam/convection oven. When shopping, be sure to look for the newest models of ovens, which will feature systems that can prepare food up to 15 times faster, as well as ovens that can be operated by smart phone apps or over the Internet. Google’s Android, the same operating system used to power more than half of all U.S. smart phones, also now makes an operating system for smart ovens.
While tile floors are the norm, wood flooring in the kitchen has made a huge comeback. For those looking for eco-friendly alternatives to standard wood flooring, bamboo flooring is growing in popularity. Bamboo offers a wider range of coloring from white to charcoal, as well as light-dark mixes. However, for homes where the kitchen will get heavy traffic from dogs’ claws, high heels, work boots, or shoes with sand from the beach on them, you may want to consider more durable flooring. Stone flooring, using such materials as granite or quartzite makes for lovely and tough alternatives to tile or wood.
Pot Fillers and Bar Sinks
Why walk across the kitchen with a pot of water, when there is wall spigot close by your stovetop for filling up these pots? The device is mounted high enough on the backsplash near the stove to easily fit a large pot under the faucet, allowing it to quickly be filled by cold or room temp water. A bar sink in the island or butler’s pantry gives the chef a secondary, smaller sink location to prep for dinner and wash vegetables. (Note: As both of these handy faucets require extensive plumbing, these should be selected in advance of starting work on the kitchen.)
Add a television to your eating or food prep area. The flat screen televisions can be recessed into walls to keep with the smooth sightlines of the rest of your new kitchen.
Whether you’re thinking about remodeling your home in the New Year, or are considering purchasing a new luxury home, contact Mardi Stroud – Madison’s real estate expert — at 608.469.5555.

New Property Tax Update from Mayor’s Office

We have received the following announcement from the Mayor’s Office:

City to Offer Property Owners Four Installments for Tax Payments: More Options for Easier Budgeting

Madison property owners will soon have the option of paying their taxes over four installments. By offering taxpayers more than the typical two installments, beginning in December, Madison joins most of the larger communities in the state, such as Kenosha, Racine, La Crosse, and most of Milwaukee County’s municipalities.

Studies have shown that municipalities that collect property taxes over multiple installments see a significantly lower rate of delinquency than the two installment method.

The three most important things to remember about the new system are:

  • There will be no effect for the majority of property owners who pay all of their taxes in December, so that they can itemize the deduction on their Federal income tax;
  • The four due dates will be: January 31st, March 31st, May 31st, and July 31st. Taxpayers can pay whatever they like at any time as long as they meet the accumulated minimums by those due dates;
  • All payments on current taxes will be made to the City Treasurer; no longer will taxpayers pay the city for one installment and the county for the other.

“At the height of the recession the city’s delinquency rate was over twice the historical average,” said Mayor Paul Soglin. “Even today, delinquencies are 30% more than what we would expect. We hope offering the four installment option will help some of our property owners avoid the considerable penalties incurred when you go delinquent on their taxes.”

Depending on the specific bill, it is generally not a matter of taking your total taxes and dividing by four. Special charges, credits, and other factors will determine the exact amount of each installment. To help explain all of these variations, the City Treasurer’s website: has more information for taxpayers to give them a better understanding of how four installments would work for them. Property owners can expect their tax bill the first week of December.