Friday, July 20, 2012

Homeownership: The American Dream (Part 2)

Homeownership: The American Dream (Part 2)

Homeownership: The American Dream (Part 2)

Homeownership: The American Dream (Part 2)

by The KCM Crew on July 19, 2012 ·
A major benefit to homeownership is community. There is a greater sense of community among homeowners than there is with renters. Studies have shown that homeowners have a higher participation in local volunteer activities; participate more in local political activities and organizations; have higher voting rates; and are more involved in self-help activities (like the PTA and neighborhood crime watches) than those who rent. Homeowners do not move as frequently as renters, therefore providing more neighborhood stability. This helps reduce crime and support neighborhood upkeep and value.

Let’s look at homeownership as an investment. In 1998 the average Homeowner’s net worth exceeded that of renters by 31 times. In 2001 it was 36 times and eventually in 2007 it was all the way up to 46 times that of renters. Even in these toughest times, the wealth of the homeowner is still over 30 times that of renters. Now, homeownership isn’t about a guaranteed financial short-term return – the market goes up, down and back up again. We have to be prepared for the long-term and a key component to wealth is homeownership.  In Pew Research Center’s The Home as an Investment Survey, 81% of Americans agree that buying a home is still the best long-term investment a person can make.

There’s also the aspect of an educational investment. United States Immigrants all talk about home ownership because they want a better education for their children. It’s proven that children of homeowners achieve greater math and reading scores, they have lower high school dropout rates, and more years of schooling by the age of 25.

Not to mention there’s also a greater social network among homeowners than renters. You have a built in support system of neighbors and friends. You know the local merchants and they know you. You have that support system for you and your family – and it’s there for life.

There you have it. You now know the benefits to homeownership and the American dream.

Welcome to Wisconsin Real Estate with Lisa Bear

Thank you for visiting.  Please feel free to contact me for any of your real estate needs including an online market if you are a seller, or finding a home if you are a buyer. My real estate focus in the  Waukesha County, Milwaukee County, Lake Country, Jefferson County, Dodge County and Washington County areas.  I have my IRES designation (International Real Estate Specialist) so I can assist you with all your real estate needs in Wisconsin, the USA or anywhere in the WORLD!

When you are seriously looking or just browsing at real estate in Wisconsin, I am a great resource to help you with all your needs and questions, whether a first time home buyer, relocating to or from the beautiful LAKE COUNTRY area, looking to invest or explore foreclosure opportunities or just thinking ahead to the future.

Lisa Bear of RE/MAX (262-893-5555) is an experienced real estate agent in Waukesha County and the entire Milwaukee Metro area including:

The prospering communities of Waukesha County including Delafield, Waukesha, Oconomowoc, Pewaukee, Waukesha, Sussex, Wales, New Berlin, Dousman, North Prairie, Mukwonago, Chenequa, Menomonee Falls, Brookfield, Elm Grove, Okauchee, Eagle, Muskego and Merton.

Great municipalities in Milwaukee County including Milwaukee, South Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, Hales Corners, Greenfield, Glendale, Franklin, Bayside, Brown Deer, Cudahy, Fox Point, Greendale, Shorewood, Oak Creek, St. Francis, West Allis and Whitefish Bay.

The hometown favorites of Washington County, Jefferson County and Dodge County including Watertown, Hartford, West Bend, Germantown, Jackson, Richfield, Ashippun, Lake Mills, Jefferson, Johnson Creek, Slinger and Erin.

Real Estate in Wisconsin is an excellent investment!

  Lisa bear southeastern wisconsin waukesha county lake country lakes

Monday, July 9, 2012

Preparing Your Seller to Prepare the Home to be Prepared for Showings - Wisconsin REALTORS® Association

Preparing Your Seller to Prepare the Home to be Prepared for Showings - Wisconsin REALTORS® Association

Preparing Your Seller to Prepare the Home to be Prepared for Showings

Part 1: Pets

By: Cori Lamont
This article was born because of a Facebook posting. A Louisiana friend just reunited with her yellow Labrador Retriever, Emma. Apparently, Emma was let out of the house by an agent conducting a showing, and after a few days, she was returned unharmed and happy. However, Emma’s tale — pun intended — made me begin to wonder: what conversations are agents having with sellers when it comes to preparing their homes for showings?

This conversation has many layers and requires a couple of magazine installments. The first: owners of properties for sale with pets, and the second installment in the July magazine will highlight other concerns, such as protecting the seller’s personal property and the safety of the agent.

The family pet conversation can be a tricky one. For some sellers, the most important quality they look for in any person, including their listing agent, is how they treat the owner’s pet or pets. The appropriate way to address the family pet’s presence in the home during showings and open houses can be a bit like trying to navigate a boat through rock-infested waters at night — a slow, painful process that can leave holes and irreparable damage.

Often agents are equipped to go into a seller’s home and provide direction as to room d├ęcor and color, suggesting removal of personal pictures and memorabilia, and packing away extra clutter. There is no quicker barometer to determine the love for the family pet until the agent begins to discuss options regarding the presence of the pet in the home during showings and open houses. Such options during showings and open houses may include: removing the pet from the property, kenneling the pet, placing the pet in a closed-off space, or placing the pet in the enclosed backyard. It is at this time that the agent will fully comprehend what that pet means to that seller and the agent’s appropriate approach.

Per lines 174-182 of the 2008 WB-1 Residential Listing Contract:
OPEN HOUSE AND SHOWING RESPONSIBILITIES: Seller is aware that there is a potential risk of injury, damage and/or theft involving persons attending an “individual showing” or an “open house.” Seller accepts responsibility for preparing the Property to minimize the likelihood of injury, damage and/or loss of personal property. Seller agrees to hold Broker harmless for any losses or liability resulting from personal injury, property damage, or theft occurring during “individual showings” or “open houses” other than those caused by Broker’s negligence or intentional wrongdoing. Seller acknowledges that individual showings and open houses may be conducted by licensees other than Broker …

Listing brokers should review this language with all sellers. According to the terms and conditions of the listing contract, the seller agrees to prepare the property for showings. This obligation would appear to include securing any pets. The listing also states that the seller agrees to hold the broker harmless for any loss or liability resulting from personal injury occurring during individual showings or open houses unless the broker was negligent or there was intentional wrongdoing. Good communication between the listing and showing brokers would indicate if pets are present at the property and if any precautions need to be taken.
Illustrating a positive exchange, the listing agent called the cooperating agent to tell them, “the hamster got loose this morning and the family could not find where Lightning was before they left for work. So I wanted to let you know that the property is not infested with rodents; it’s just a family member on the lam.” In the event the buyers encountered Lightning, they were prepared.

In contrast, while in the kitchen admiring the space, one of the buyers opened the pantry door and out flew Leopold, the seller’s ferret. Luckily, Leopold scampered off without injury; although the buyers did not fare so well. I am told that any time that a buyer opens an unfamiliar cabinet or door, they do so with great caution. The listing agent did not inform the cooperating agent of Leopold’s presence in the home, let alone a penchant for hanging out in the pantry.

The listing agent should clearly express to the seller that the suggestion of removing the pet from the property or placing the pet in a limited space is as much for the pet’s safety as it is for the prospective buyer’s and agent’s. While a seller assures you that their pet is nice and wouldn’t hurt a fly, you should politely remind the seller that not everyone is comfortable around animals and you want to make sure that their pet is safely secured, allowing buyers to focus on the home and not the pet or the buyers’ personal level of discomfort. Also, remind the seller that the buyers may have children, which could add another layer to the safety concerns for the pet.

Tell the seller that this is as much about protecting your dog, cat, ferret, rabbit, snake, hamster, bird or pot-bellied pig as it is the buyer and cooperating agent. The ability of an open house host to monitor the activities of all guests is limited, especially if the agent is attempting to contain a pet throughout the home. I can personally recall watching a listing agent hosting an open house struggle with holding back the dog while watching the cat to ensure that neither of them made a break for the open door. The listing agent may even be able to persuade the seller to remove the pet all together from the home, and if possible, make sure all the pet’s toys, beds and the like are also put away. If a buyer is not a pet person, they may not be open to seeing a litter box right next to the kitchen island.

There is, however, a movement to promote the pet with the home. One staging blogger recently suggested staging the dog with the home. In her personal experience, she wanted to keep the dogs in the home and not locked up for hours in a small kennel. She dressed the dogs in matching sweaters and contained them in the laundry room with a gate. On the gate, she posted s sign with photographs where the dogs communicated their excitement for the prospective buyers to see the home and apologize if they were a little noisy due to the excitement. For more on this go to

However the listing agent and seller decide to work the pet into or out of the home during showings, it is important to be candid and genuine about the concern for the safety of the pet, prospective buyer and cooperating agent.

Cori Lamont is Director of Brokerage Regulation and Licensing for the WRA.
Published: June 06, 2012

Some Points About Points

Some Points About Points


Some Points About Points

by Dean Hartman on July 5, 2012 · 0 comments

One of the more frequent topics discussed between loan officers and borrowers center around discount points.
“What are points?”
“Should I pay points?”
“What about NO points?”
And so on…
So today, I decided to give you some information and some things to consider:
  • First, a definition- Discount Points are pre-paid interest that allows a borrower to lower their interest rate on monies borrowed. Because points are prepaid interest and mortgage interest is tax deductible, points are tax deductible in full in the year you pay them when you use the proceeds of the loan to purchase a home. (Consult your accountant for rules concerning points on refinances.)
  • As an example, paying a point (one point is equal to one percent of the loan amount) may lower the rate on your 30 year mortgage .25%. To give some practical numbers to it:
      • On $100,000 loan, one point would be $1000.00.
      • The difference in your monthly payment from a 4% rate to a 3.75% rate on a 30 year fixed rate loan would be $14 ($478 vs $464).
      • Are you better off spending $1000 today to save $14 a month? It will take you nearly 6 years to make your money back. For most, it’s easier to find $14 a month than to save $1000. On the other hand, if you expect to have this loan for 30 years, your $1000 expense will wind up saving you over $5000.

  • Next, talk to your loan officer about ACTUAL prices. The old guideline of 1 point for .25% in rate doesn’t hold true every day or at every price point or at different times of the month or year. Mortgages are bundled together and sold in packages called MBSs (Mortgage Backed Securities). These MBSs often are bought and sold before there are loans to fill them up. A given company may have projected (and committed to deliver) a certain volume of loans at a particular rate. To attract these loans as their deadlines approach, they may offer a “deal”. There are times when a lender can make more money selling a 3.75% Note than a 3.875% Note because of other commitments. Ask your LO the different costs (in points) you would have with different rates. Then, calculate the time needed to recoup the monies.
  • Often, I have advised clients closing toward the end of the year to pay points because they can “get back” a good portion of the cost quickly if they file their tax returns early. The theory is you can spend $1000 and get the benefit of it but, after your refund, maybe you really only spent $750.
  • Many deals today are structured with seller’s concessions wherein the seller (as an inducement to get you to buy their home) offers to pay all or some of your closing costs. At time of contract signing, there is an estimation of what that will be. Whether your contract says a flat dollar amount or a percentage, there is often a few extra dollars available at time of closing. A few days before closing, you should ask your LO for a more accurate number because you may have a few bucks the seller can pay to secure you a lower rate.  If you don’t do it, the seller just walks away with more money than they agreed to.
  • Also, you can pay non-round numbers in points to achieve your objectives.  It is not unusual to see loans today with 1.045 points or.781 points. For the lender, it’s about the yield that arises from the combination of rate and points.
  • Lastly, points can work in reverse. Rather than paying them, you can “create” them for your own use. That is really what a lender-paid closing costs loan is. You pay a higher rate so the lender can then sell that loan for more money. The lender then makes the additional money available to you to spend on closing costs.
Pricing on your mortgage is complicated yet understandable. Take the time to look at it from multiple angles. Use your LO as a resource/advisor. That is where the good ones can add tremendous value. Most people only ask about rate and closing costs. Go deeper to get the real answers.