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

Follow us on facebook at:

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.  

Find out more information:
Follow us on Facebook:

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.

For More Information on buying or selling a home,  visit us at: or

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.

For more homebuying tips: Follow me on facebook :
To help with your home search: