Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Nina Kraus Earns Buyer Specialist Designation

Nina Kraus OF Coldwell Banker Residential earns BUYER SPECIALIST CERTIFICATION from CARTUS Broker Services

Certified Agent Advantage offers Broker Network agent specialized expertise to assist customers.


Milwaukee, WI  4/23/13– Coldwell Banker Residential today announced that Nina Kraus has achieved the Cartus Network Buyer Specialist (CNBS) certification. This annual certificate is part of the Certified Agent Advantage program, a professional standard available exclusively to principal brokers of the Cartus Broker Network — the network of real estate brokers serving the clients and customers of Cartus.

Cartus requires qualified Network agents to become certified as relocation experts by participating in one or more Certified Agent Advantage courses and passing a written exam upon completion. The CNBS Certification course in which Nina Kraus participated covered issues surrounding the purchase of a destination home, as well as the most effective techniques for helping clients research communities, locate their new homes, and settle into their new areas of the United States.

“As members of the Cartus Broker Network, our agents strive to deliver excellent service to every client,” said Coldwell Banker Residential. “The Certified Agent Advantage program helps to differentiate our agents and provides them with a wider range of resources and career growth opportunities.”

Other certifications available through the Certified Agent Advantage program are Cartus Network Marketing Specialist (CNMS), Cartus Network Inventory Specialist (CNIS) and Cartus Network Affinity Specialist (CNAS).

About Cartus and the Cartus Broker Network

Cartus Broker Network is the nation’s leading network of more than 811 market-leading real estate firms representing approximately 3,000 offices and more than 109,000 agents. Cartus provides trusted guidance to organizations of all types and sizes that require global relocation solutions. Cartus serves 64 percent of the Fortune 50. We provide service in more than 165 countries, applying our more than half century of experience to help our clients with their mobility, outsourcing, consulting, and language and intercultural training needs. Cartus is part of Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY), a global provider of real estate services. To find out how our greater experience, reach, and hands-on guidance can help your company, visit; read our blog at; or click for more information.


Nina Kraus

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Kraus' Guide to Home Buying and Selling in Southeast Wisconsin: What Comes First? Finding a New House or Listing ...

Kraus' Guide to Home Buying and Selling in Southeast Wisconsin: What Comes First? Finding a New House or Listing ...: The times have definitely changed.  The last few years home buyers had lots of time to look at houses and make decisions regarding houses.  ...

What Comes First? Finding a New House or Listing Your Current House?

The times have definitely changed.  The last few years home buyers had lots of time to look at houses and make decisions regarding houses.  Average time on market for most homes was over 6 months.  A home buyer who had an existing home could write an offer with a home sale contingency and get it accepted and still have time to sell their home.

Alas, this is not the case anymore.  I talk to people everyday with a home to sell, but they don't want to list it until they find the home they want to buy.  This thinking does not work anymore.  With good houses selling the first weekend if they are priced right, there is no time to even take time to think about buying a home anymore, much less writing an offer with a home sale contingency.

We have a very good lesson in economics going on in our market in South East Wisconsin today. We have lots of buyers, but not as many listings.  Therefore, supply is down and demand is up and we are returning to a seller's market.

In this market, it is a definite must to get your house on the market and get an accepted offer before searching for the next home.  The house that is here this week will not necessarily be here next week.  If you are sitting on the fence about listing your home because you want to find the new home first, I would bet the house you think will be your new home won't be there when your house sells.

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Monday, February 25, 2013

If You Are Still Sitting on the Fence, It is Time to Get Off

Things have changed in the last year in the home buying market.  A year ago, there were so many homes available that buyers had plenty of time to look and then make up their minds on a property. They could keep a list of their favorites and a month later, go back and look at their top 4 or 5.

Alas, this is no longer the case.  Today homes which are priced correctly and updated or taken care of, are selling within 30 days or sometimes sooner.  The last 4 properties I have written an offer on, have had 2 or more offers.  Some of these properties had been on the market for a year or longer.  But, beginning right around Thanksgiving, things turned around.  Buyers were buying as inventory went down.

A year ago, a buyer could tell me that they wanted to spend $100,000 or less on a 3 bedroom home.  I would be able to send them a very long list of homes for that price.  Today, there are very few of those left and most of the those need some work.

A year ago, there were foreclosures everywhere.  Again, not true today.  There are very few foreclosures left in the suburbs and, even certain areas of the City of Milwaukee have few foreclosures left.

If you are in the market to buy a house, the time is now.  If you see the house you like, jump on it. Don't wait until someone gets the jump on you.

For more information on home buying or selling, call me at 414-207-3953
Nina Kraus
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Getting Your Home Ready To Sell

Times are changing in our area and home inventory is down.  If you have been on the fence about selling your house, now is a good time to do it. Making the decision to sell your home is a big one.  You have  to choose someone to market your home and get it listed.  That is the easy part.  Remember, just because you have chosen to list your home does not mean that it is ready to sell.  You have to prepare your house for the sale.

You need to remember that buyers make a decision about whether or not to buy your house within 15 minutes.  They see many houses in one day.  You need to make sure that your house stands out from the rest and when those buyers are going through the houses they saw that day, yours is one they remember.

There are some very easy and inexpensive things to do to make your home attractive to others.  In order to do these, however, you have to remember that your taste is not necessarily the taste that others have.  The first thing to do is to neurtralize your home.  Paint those bright green, blue and pink rooms in a soft neutral tone.  When buyers walk in and see those loud colors, their first thought is, "My bedspread won't match this color."  Paint is very inexpensive and walking into a home with the smell of new paint is always attractive to a buyer.

Another thing that is a relatively inexpensive thing to do is to update light fixtures.  Change out those swag lights for the lighting that is in today.  Go to Home Depot or Menards and you can find relatively inexpensive lighting.  Also, if your kitchen is older, change out the hardware on the drawers and cabinets to bring your home into this century.  When a buyer walks in and sees everything outdated, the first thing they think about is how much it will cost them to update the house.  To you, the house may seem updated, but to a buyer, it is completely outdated.  

The biggest thing you can do to help sell your home, is to DECLUTTER.  Get rid of all those pictures and posters and little collectibles.  That is your taste; not necessarily that of the buyer coming to see your home.  

These are just a few little details to help your home get ready for sale.  

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Kraus' Guide to Home Buying and Selling in Southeast Wisconsin: The Truth About Short Sales

Kraus' Guide to Home Buying and Selling in Southeast Wisconsin: The Truth About Short Sales: Many of my buyers start out by asking me to find a short sale for them. They really don't understand what a short sale is. First of all, a...

The Truth About Short Sales

Many of my buyers start out by asking me to find a short sale for them. They really don't understand what a short sale is. First of all, a short sale is anything but short. It can take up to 6 months to close on a short sale. 

A property which is listed as a Short Sale means that the seller is asking less for the property than is owed to the bank which creates a short fall. In order to get the bank to consider taking the lesser amount, there has to be an offer on the property. Once, the seller accepts the offer, then an application has to be made to the bank to approve the short sale. It can take up to 90 days to get an answer as to whether or not your offer was accepted. That means that you don't do any inspections or appraisals until you know for certain that your offer was accepted by the bank.

I generally advise clients who are on a time restraint such as needing to get out of an apartment by a certain date not to get involved in a short sale. A professional sales agent can write an offer on a short sale in such a way that after say 30 days, the buyer has the right to move on and make the offer null and void. If you are considering a short sale, consider whether you have the patience and the time to wait it out.

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How Important Is a Pre-Approval Letter?

Many people start looking for homes without being prepared to buy one. Buyers are prepared when they are ready, willing and able.

The most important step to becoming "able" to buy a home is to get a pre-approval letter from a lender. Not a pre-certification, but a pre-approval. This should be one of the first steps a new buyer takes when making the decision to buy a home. Starting a property search without knowing how much you can actually afford to spend could end up being a lesson in futility and emotional upheaval.

 I have had too many buyers who have been looking at properties and finally find that right one. Now, they agree to get in touch with a lender and, guess what, there is a mark on their credit which does not allow them to get a loan. Had they contacted the lender before they began searching, this minor detail could have already been removed. 

In another scenario, I have had buyers thinking they can afford a $250,000 home. Yet, when they go for that pre-approval, they truly only qualify for a $200,000 home. That is a big difference. Starting with the pre-approval can save the buyer a lot of emotional upheaval in the future.

Further, the market is shifting and homes are selling faster.  I have also had buyers who find a house and, by the time they get the pre-approval letter, the house is sold.  It could take a while to find another one that you like as much.

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