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Friday, December 24, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rising interest rates are a side effect of an improving economy, they are up over 100 basis pts in 30 days to 5%. Buyers now is the time to buy!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Click here to view out our listings

Why buy a home? Although real estate moves in cycles, sometimes up, sometimes down, over the years, real estate has consistently appreciated. Many people view their home investment as a hedge against inflation.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mortgage Interest Deductions ( One reason home ownership is good option)
Home ownership is a superb tax shelter and our tax rates favor homeowners. As long as your mortgage balance is smaller than the price of your home, mortgage interest is fully deductible on your tax return. Interest is the largest component of your mortgage payment
What is an Earnest Money?
It's a good faith deposit but not to be confused with a down payment. When buyers execute a purchase contract, the contract specifies how much money the buyer is initially putting up to secure the contract, to show "good faith," and how much money all together will be deposited as a down payment. The balance is generally financed as a mortgage or a combination of mortgages. An earnest money deposit says to the seller: "Yes, I am serious enough about buying your house that I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is."

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monroe Arts Center Holiday Silent Auction
Bid on excellent art pieces. Auction bidding through Dec. 10 at the Holiday Concert and Community Sing-Along.
Bid on original and limited edition art to home-baked goods and specialty dinners, home decor items and sports-related memorabilia.
Location:1315 11th St

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

When it comes time to buy a home, you may need to come up with some creative ways to boost affordability. Let's take a moment to explore a one of these options. The first order of business could be to sit down with your family to see what assistance they'd be happy to offer. You may find that a mother or grandfather would be more than happy to co-sign on a loan, or even offer you a loan at low, or zero, percent interest. You could also discuss a shared-appreciation or shared-equity arrangement. This is when a family member buys a portion of the prospective home, and then is able to share in its appreciative value when it is sold. When credit gets tough the tough get creative.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Holiday Selling
from Realty Times Chongchua, Phoebe
Property sellers can take comfort in the fact that buyers touring their homes during the holiday season probably are serious about making a purchase. Sprucing up a residence by decorating for the holidays is recommended, but it is important not to go overboard. Sellers should put up a single Christmas tree, but avoid putting gifts under it. They could put up holiday lights and a wreath outside, meanwhile, but they should avoid inflatable characters on the lawn. Additionally, they should hang stockings -- though not ones with names on them -- and use cinnamon pine cones or mild potpourris to freshen up the room. Experts say sellers should keep in mind that buyers will want to imagine their own holiday celebrations in the home.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fall Home Tip: Clear debris out of you window wells, gutters, and downspouts. This will allow the water to properly drain, minimizing standing water and stalling the freeze and thaw expansion process that often occurs during colder months.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Winter Tip : Clean your windows. Sparkling clean windows let in lots of sunlight that will help chase away winter's doldrums and warm the home.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Winter curb appeal for home sellers: Transform the unused bird feeder into a seasonal display by adding twigs with red berries and greenery. Check out the local craft stores for other colorful ideas. Add some WOW to get noticed

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New homeowner?Here is the basics. A toolbox. There is nothing more tiring than having to search for the tool you need. Keep everything together and you'll never waste time hunting for the right tool. Hammer. It seems basic enough, and it is. If for nothing else, you'll need it to hang all your artwork and pictures. Level. From hanging pictures to framing a garage, a level is a must. Screw Driver. You'll need more than one! Be sure you have multiple sizes of both phillips-head and flat-blades. Plyers. Have you ever tried to disconnect a fitting on a pipe? Hand Saw. Many handymen prefer power tools, but for those remote spots with no electrical access, you can always count on a hand saw. Tape Measure. How long does that new counter-top need to be? Do we have room for the couch to fit through the front door? Exactly. Use a tape measure. Wire cutters. To cut wires.
Cordless Drill and Bits. It's perfect for the ladies that need a little extra oomph to finish a project.
Utility Knife. This is great for cutting exact edges.
This is just a starter kit. There is a tool for practically every need, so over time, your tool box will grow!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Good morning everybody, it's going to be a great Friday. Just a reminder to set your clocks back this weekend for "Daylight savings time". Enjoy your extra hour of sleep.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Well the votes have been counted and new leadership has been elected now lets hope they remember the reasons they were chosen.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Today is election day so get out and vote!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Home Selling Tip. Stage each room for one purpose. You might use your dining room as a home office or playroom, but buyers will respond better to the space if you stage it with a dining table and chairs and chandelier. Even nooks and crannies are valuable square footage, so play them up. An odd alcove at the top of the stairs becomes a cozy reading corner with the addition of an armchair, ottoman, side table and lamp.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Home selling mistake: Putting the home on the market before it's ready. Most times this happens because the seller has pushed himself up against a moving deadline without getting the pre-sale work done. So it comes on the market with the horrible carpet or they are painting it while it goes on the market. Presentation is everything -- so get the work done before marketing the property.
I hope this tip was helpful, sell that home!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Just finsihed a Prudential Real estate training on the latest internet tools to help our clients buy and sell homes. Call me today to see how I can assist your in finding the home of your dreams. 608-214-9844

Thursday, October 21, 2010

5 Ways Sellers Can Minimize "Pet Factor"

5 Ways Sellers Can Minimize "Pet Factor"

Pets can make it difficult to sell a home, but there are several steps owners can take to minimize an animal's presence.

Boarding may not be an option, but owners should consider taking pets with them during showings, putting them in day care, or having a friend/relative/neighbor care for them.

Most importantly, sellers should ensure their dwellings are extremely clean by repairing scratched floors or chewed moldings, repainting rooms, cleaning carpets and removing other traces of their pets.

Finally, sellers should relocate feeding bowls, litter boxes and pet toys as well as ensure the yard is clear of animal waste.

Lowest Mortgage Rates Since 1950's

Lowest Mortgage Rates Since 1950's

The last time borrowers could get rates this low, every television was black and white. American's liked Ike. Thirty-year fixed mortgages dropped to 4.27% this wee. Freddie Mac also reported the 5 yr adjustable rate mortgage fell to 3.47%, and the 1 yr adjustable rate dropped to 3.4%. Buyers should take advantage of the current mortgage rate environment.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Work hard, play smarter.

Work hard, play smarter.
"In times of great stress or adversity, it's always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive."
--Lee Iacocca
When I came across this quote from Lee Iacocca, it immediately became apparent to me how people might mistake Iacocca's advice as hard-nosed CEO's advice to channel negative energy into higher levels of productivity.
One of the greatly misunderstood American business values is determination. The idea of grit, self-reliance, and "buckling down" to meet a challenge is too often misinterpreted as a need to simply "work harder" in times of adversity.
You might be able to turn the sting of anger or weight of stress into motivation to make a change, but "doing more" isn't always going to be the most advantageous path in times of adversity. Iacocca doesn't say, "work harder," he actually only argues for focusing on "something positive."
That "something positive" might well be working shorter hours with better focus. Emerging research on personal and company productivity suggests that the time-honored workaholic's tradition of "longer hours doing more with less" doesn't result in higher levels of achievement.
In fact, a wide range of compelling evidence suggests that waves of concentration and effort are best paired with periods of positive recovery. Recovery may take the form of exercise, healthy food, naps, and other restorative, "non-work" activities which help us reset our focus, replenish our energy, and allow us to approach our challenges with a fresh perspective. (For an excellent read on this topic, check out Tony Schwartz' book, The Way We're Working Isn't Working.)
As everyone in real estate faces the challenges of a recession, it may be very tempting to preach the gospel of "just work harder," but giving in to what sounds good could ultimately be counterproductive to your success. Have you neglected to give yourself time to recharge, refuel, and reenergize yourself? Are you balancing hard work with healthy play? What's the "something positive" that will get you through?

Article written by Scott Levitt Oakley Signs & Graphics, Inc.

Something for us all to think about no matter what occupation we find ourselves doing.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cookies and Flowers

Selling Tip: Finishing Touches
Bake cookies, light a fire, put out fresh flowers...these are common techniques to help create a feeling of welcome before open houses or scheduled showings. Talk with me about what aspects of your home are the most appealing and how you can take the extra steps to highlight them for potential buyers. Visit my website for more information.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Buzz words with mortgage financing

Here are somethings to consider when thinking of buying a home.
Learn & Follow the 3Cs.
Location may be the buzz word in real estate, but capacity, character and collateral are the buzz words with mortgage financing.

Capacity - your financial ability to repay your loan;
Character - an examination of your credit history and history in paying previous debts; and
Collateral - the value of the home must appraise for at least the amount of the loan.
I highly recommend that you talk to your local bank to see where you are with the 3 C's before you go home shopping

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Heres a couple of ideas to help sell your home

Monroe and Green County Wisconsin Real Estate by Scott Larson Here are ‎2 Things to help sell you home: Furniture arrangement – Instead of arranging your furniture against the walls, add visual square footage by first removing one or two pieces of furniture and pulling the rest away from the walls.
Fresh bedding – Make your bed an inviting focal point with an updated bedding set layered with neutral pillow shams, or extra comforter folded at the foot of the bed. Choose simple patterns.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Should I buy a house today?

Should I buy a house today?
A Home Is a Better Place to Raise a Family

Don’t take my word on this. When Fannie Mae asked current renters for the major reason to buy a house in their National Housing Survey 2010, these were the answers renters gave (they could pick multiple answers):

* 78% said it was a good place to raise children
* 75% said because they would feel safe
* 70% said because you have control of your own space

With interest rates under 4.5% you can own some homes for less than renting. Call me today and see how you can become a home owner.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Do you have cash reserves?

Cash Reserves

Buyers, when you apply for a mortgage loan, the lender is going to request your bank account information. They will check again just a few days before your closing date. They want to know how much money you have in the bank, and whether or not you can afford your closing costs. They also want to make sure you have enough to cover your first couple of mortgage payments. This is referred to as “cash reserves.” The amount needed will vary based on lender and loan program. Just know that the lender is going to scrutinize your liquid assets.

Monday, July 12, 2010

QUESTION: Should you focus more on your rate or getting a price reduction?

QUESTION: Should you focus more on your rate or getting a price reduction?

ANSWER: Price swings are sign of the times. For potential buyers who are waiting to see if home prices come down a little more, that means the wait could well cost you more money in the long run.

Let's look at an example: A homebuyer wants to buy a home that costs $300,000. But the buyer wants a better deal on the home, so he/she delays a transaction until the home is reduced by $10,000. If, in the meantime however, rates were to rise .75% to 6.00% and the buyer financed 90% of the purchase price, the amount of total payments over a 30-year term would be over $35,000 more than paying the $300,000 purchase price and locking in the 5.25% interest rate. In other words, the buyer would save $10,000 only to end up paying $35,000 more.

Now these prices and rates are just for the sake of example. But the point is that home prices are already very affordable...and rates are still at historic lows for now. So in the end, waiting for a home price to reduce may end up costing you much more than you expect if rates rise.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Save for Closing costs

Closing Costs

Closing costs are the various fees, taxes and other costs associated with buying a home. They include such things as attorney fees, property survey fees, title insurance, recording fees, home appraisal and more.

Depending on where you live, your closing costs could add up to $3,000 or more.

In some cases, the seller may contribute money toward the buyer’s closing costs. This is often the case in a buyer’s market, when sellers are more motivated. But even in such cases, you’ll have to pay something toward your closing costs. This is another reason why it’s so important save money.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Save up for your home-buying

Saving, Why is this so important? Here is good reason to save up for your home-buying process:

1. Down Payment

When you buy a home, you’ll have to make a down payment of some kind. The days of “no money down” ended when our economy collapsed. Almost 100% of lenders today will require you to put some money down. The amount needed will vary, based on the type of loan you are using. With an FHA home loan, you can put as little as 3.5% down. With a conventional mortgage (one that’s not backed by the government), you’ll need to put even more money down. Many buyers aim for a 20% down payment, to avoid paying private mortgage insurance.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Save even More with lower intrest rates

Buyers who jumped to get the tax credit most likely received an interest rate of 5%-5.25%. That $8,000 is mild in comparison to the payment savings a 4.5% 30yr rate will generate over the life of a mortgage. Call me today to see some great homes. 608-214-9844

Why can't I buy a home?

First-time home buyers are often surprised by the total costs associated with buying a home. Some buyers don’t even realize that a lack of cash reserves can hurt their chances of getting a loan. But it happens all the time. In fact, a lack of up-front cash is one of the most common reasons for mortgage rejection. That’s why it’s important for future home buyers to start saving money early on.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Common Misconceptions About FHA Home Loans

Common Misconceptions About FHA Home Loans

FHA home loans are a popular financing strategy for home buyers. They’re especially popular with first-time buyers who don’t have much of a down payment saved up. But FHA loans are also commonly misunderstood. Here are some of the biggest misconceptions about these loans.

But first, a quick definition. An FHA loan is simply a mortgage loan that’s insured by the Federal Housing Administration. The FHA is part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, better known as HUD. This government agency insures mortgage lenders against losses resulting from borrower default. This makes the lenders more inclined to use the program, and to give loans to people who might not otherwise qualify for a mortgage.

Myth #1: Anyone can qualify for an FHA loan.

Truth: Not everyone will qualify. Generally speaking, it’s easier to qualify for an FHA home loan than a conventional mortgage loan. But that doesn’t mean they’re available to everyone. In fact, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has recently tightened up their lending standards for FHA loans. One of the changes affects people with low credit scores. If your credit score is below 580, you’ll have to make a larger down payment. If your score is way below 580, you probably won’t get approved for the loan. With good credit, you’ll still have to make a down payment of at least 3.5% to get approved. You’ll also need to document your income and expenses, to show that you can afford the monthly payments.

Myth #2: You can get an FHA loan with no money down.

Truth: In the current economy, you can’t get any kind of loan without making a down payment of some kind. The days of “easy credit” and “no money down” disappeared when the housing bubble burst. The minimum down payment for an FHA loan is currently 3.5%. And, as mentioned earlier, you’ll need a credit score of 580 or higher to qualify for the 3.5% down payment. If your score falls below that cutoff point, you’ll have to put 10% down.

Myth #3: FHA loans are safer, because the government will bail you out if you fall behind.

Truth: Wishful thinking. If you fall behind on an FHA home loan, you can be foreclosed upon — the same as any other type of loan. Remember, the FHA is not the one giving you the money. You must apply for one of these mortgages through an FHA-approved lender. The government just insures the lender against losses resulting from borrower default. So the lender can still foreclose on you, if you fail to make your payments. As an FHA borrower, you might have more workout solutions and modification options available, but that’s about it. The FHA will not “bail you out.” So make sure you buy an affordable house!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Should you be buying an investment property?

In reports recently housing experts are stating we could see a housing shortage in the next 1-2 years. New home construction has hit some current lows and with a population that never ceases to grow, this will pose a problem in the future. This will bode well for sellers down the road along with individuals holding rental property. There are many valued single family homes on the market today. Should you buy an investment home? Call me and let’s talk. 608-214-9844

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Monroe Wisconsin Home sales

May Home Sales in Monroe

Monroe: 18 sold;average price, $107,976 Average of 79 days on market. Many of the homes sold have been influenced by the 1st Time Home Buyers Credit. We should see June home sales higher also. With interest rate at historic lows now is a great time to buy a home.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What can you do about pet urine spots?

Strong pet odor can ruin a showing, so what can you do to avoid this problem?

First the bad news: Not all urine stains are removable. The types of damage caused vary according to the urine content. This is determined by the pet's diet, age, sex, and any medications being taken. If it is removable, the following steps may get it out.

1. Blot up the urine as soon as you discover it. Use plain white paper towels to avoid dye transfer.

2. Mix 1/4 teaspoon liquid dishwashing detergent (non-bleach and non-lanolin) in a cup of warm water. Apply this to the spot.

3. Blot up the moisture, rinse with warm water, and apply more of the detergent mixture. Rinse, and continue the process until you don't see any urine transfer to the paper towels.

4. Mix two tablespoons of ammonia in a cup of water. Apply this to the spot, blot it up, rinse with warm water, and repeat. Blot the area dry.

5. Mix one cup of white vinegar with two cups of water. Apply this to the spot, blot it up, rinse, and repeat. Rinse well when you are done, and blot the area to remove as much moisture as possible.

6. Put a stack of plain white paper towels on the spot and weigh them down with something flat and heavy (something that won't lose its color if it gets wet). Change the paper towels occasionally, until the spot is dry.

The faster you get to the spot, the more likely it is that it can be removed. When urine spots develop over time, and are not noticed right away, the dyes and carpet fibers may be permanently damaged. In beige carpet, the stains will appear red, yellow or orange. Color can sometimes be restored by treating with a solution of two tablespoons of clear, non-sudsy ammonia in a cup of water.

To get urine odor out, it's often necessary to remove virtually all the urine - especially in the case of cat urine. Many products simply mask the odor, and fail even at that during times of high humidity. Some pet stores and veterinary offices now have enzyme treatments that work better, and professional carpet cleaners can apply these for you if you aren't sure how to do it.

If odor persists, you may have to remove that section of carpet. You can replace it with scraps if you have saved them, or cut a piece from an area that isn't visible. Unfortunately, sometimes the padding and even a section of flooring has to be removed to totally eliminate odor from old urine stains.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Another satisfied customer

Becky Robertson May 19 at 12:39pm

The sale of our home with Scott Larson was an amazing experience. Before we had even met he had pages of comparative market research done on our home which allowed us to compare our home with others for sale in the area. That was helpful to us as we decided on an asking price for the home. During the first meeting he was also extremely helpful in explaining to us all the details of selling a home. We had sold a home before and yet, after our first meeting with Scott, we realized that we didn't understand a lot of what happened with the sale of our first home.

Scott also explained to us the numerous routes he would take to market our home; routes which included various online websites, as well as newspaper ads and word-of-mouth networking. The latter form of marketing was what sold our home is record timing! 24 hours after we listed the home with Scott we had our first showing and 4 hours later we were signing the paperwork on the accepted offer!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Are you at RISK? 12 Things a Burglar Won't Tell You,

12 Things a Burglar Won't Tell You

Number 8 just happened to one of my clients, have you warned yours?

1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.

2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier.

3. Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste … and taste means there are nice things inside. Those yard toys your kids leave out always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.

4. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it.

5. If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don’t let your alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it’s set. That makes it too easy.

6. A good security company alarms the window over the sink. And the windows on the second floor, which often access the master bedroom—and your jewelry. It’s not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there too.

7. It’s raining, you’re fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to lock your door—understandable. But understand this: I don’t take a day off because of bad weather.

8. I always knock first. If you answer, I’ll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters. (Don’t take me up on it.)

9. Do you really think I won’t look in your sock drawer? I always check dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet.

10. Here’s a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids’ rooms.

11. You’re right: I won’t have enough time to break into that safe where you keep your valuables. But if it’s not bolted down, I’ll take it with me.

12. A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm system

From Scott Larson of Towne Square Realty in Monroe, Wisconsin

"Your Realtor of the Region"

E- Mail

On the web at

I think you will be surprised how affordable the Dairyland is,

so come to my land of cows and plows and visit for a day, but stay for a lifetime

608-2124-9844 Direct

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Should you Rent or Buy?

Should you Rent or Buy?
Are you likely to be transferred to another city within the next two years? If you had to sell due to a job transfer, your property would need to appreciate at least 10% to cover the cost of selling; otherwise, you would lose money on the sale. When you buy a home, you should plan to stay put for a while.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ready, Set, Buy your first home. Step 1.

The first step: figuring out whether you are ready to own a home. This does not only mean that you are financially capable of owning a home. It also includes emotional readiness, as buying a first home is a huge step for most people, as well as a huge commitment and responsibility.

One of the easiest and most valuable things you can do to prepare is obtaining a copy of your credit report and making sure that lenders will like what they see. The Web site,, offers this service for free, as do many other sites. If your credit report is less than stellar, it is probably a better idea to continue renting while you pay off debts and investigate questionable problems.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Home buyer Tip #3 How much home can I afford?

Aim for a home you can really afford.

The rule of thumb is that you can buy housing that runs about two-and-one-half times your annual salary. But you'll do better to use one of many calculators available online to get a better handle on how your income, debts, and expenses affect what you can afford. I have links on my web site at

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Don't buy if you can't stay put. First-time Homeowners advice.


Don't buy if you can't stay put.

If you can't commit to remaining in one place for at least a few years, then owning is probably not for you, at least not yet. With the transaction costs of buying and selling a home, you may end up losing money if you sell any sooner - even in a rising market. When prices are falling, it's an even worse proposition. Make sure you discuss your plans with your Realtor so he or she can give you sound advice on this your biggest life-time purchase.

Monday, May 10, 2010

What if you get a very low offer on your home?

Negotiate! Keep the conversation alive with the buyer for as long as you can. Do not settle right away. Always maintain open communication about your limitations with your agent; he or she is there to help you get the best price possible for your home. Remember, if the offer is too low, always counter; don't walk away. Sometimes buyers simply want to test the waters.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Did You know?

Did you know that I can show you any home, listed with any company, in any community in Wisconsin, any time? Put me to work for you or if you have a friend, I will do my very best to help them find their dream home

Changes in lending

The magic number for your credit score is 740. The lower the score, the higher the rate.
A score under 620 in not acceptable for conforming loans.
You can check your score at

Call me if I can be of service

Thank you,

Scott Larson

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Should You Buy a Home in Today's Market?

First, if you are thinking about delaying a purchase because you want to "time the market" to get the very best deal, that is almost impossible to do with precision. Even if you are in an area with declining market prices, the most knowledgeable experts cannot reliably anticipate the "bottom" of a real estate market.
Second, if you aren't an owner, you're a renter. Renting is just throwing money away. You don't get to reduce your income taxes by itemizing deductions like property taxes and mortgage interest. However, for many, renting can provide a better home in a better area than they could afford to buy and is cheaper than owning. And, the money saved during the renting period could be saved. The period of time spent renting and saving could also be used to repair and improve credit, so that when the time does come to buy a house, it will be possible to get a mortgage with more favorable terms, conditions and interest rates. As a renter, you are limited on what changes you can make to your living quarters. As an owner, you can paint your living room chartreuse if you want or put in an avocado green carpet. You can change light fixtures, garden and landscape. You can do whatever you want that makes your home a comfortable place for you and your family. It's your home, not a temporary place to sleep and eat until you do buy a home.
Third, interest rates are very low right now. If you wait, interest rates could be higher. That means your monthly payment could be higher, too. No one can predict rates that far in the future, of course, but rates are very low right now.
Plus, the easiest way to accumulate wealth is through home ownership. Three out of four people have more equity in their home than assets in retirement plans, stocks, mutual funds, and savings. Though no one can guarantee your property will appreciate, over time it generally does.
How do you minimize the possibility of lower appreciation for your home? Determine your price range. Then choose a neighborhood where your target price is in the lower tier of prices in that neighborhood. That way, your home has less vulnerability on the down side and the higher-priced homes will help pull you up during hot markets.
Finally, talk to me Scott Larson a real estate agent with Re/Max Towne Square Realty and ask for advice. Ask me what the market is like in your area.
Ph. 608 214-9844 or E-mail
On the web at,

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

As the song goes " Time keeps on ticking, ticking in to the future"

As the song goes " Time keeps on ticking, ticking in to the future"

The first time home buyer tax credit allows a buyer to enter an agreement with a seller by April 30, 2010 and close on the house by June 30, 2010. First time home buyers are defined as anyone who has not owned a home for the past 3 years. First time home buyers will get up to $8,000 tax credit. Other home buyers, who have owned their current home for at least five years, are eligible for a $6,500 tax credit.

Income limitations $125,000 for single filers and $225,000 for joint filers. The purchase price of the home must be less than $800,000.

There it is, the clock is nearly striking midnight on this fantastic offer for first time home buyers. It is still possible but you must get an accepted offer on the home you want within 10 days.

From Scott Larson of Towne Square Realty in Monroe, Wisconsin

“Your Realtor of the Region”

E- Mail

On the web at

I think you will be surprised how affordable the Dairyland is,

so come to my land of cows and plows and visit for a day, but stay for a lifetime

608-2124-9844 Direct

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Let go of your attachment to the home

Ready, Set , Sell

Every seller wants their home to sell quickly and bring top dollar. While there are some factors you can't control, like neighborhood popularity and market fluctuations, you can help your house put on its best face for showings and open houses. Before any physical preparations, you first need to prepare yourself emotionally. Begin to dissociate yourself, and decide to let go of your attachments to the home. From now on, this is a house you really want to sell, not your own beloved home.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

You need Homeowners insurance to close on your home.

5 Key Concepts of Home Insurance

If you plan to buy a home in the near future, you should be researching the various components of homeowners insurance. Why? Because you’ll need to have a policy in place by the time you close on the house. In fact, your lender will require you to provide proof of insurance on closing day.

Here are five important things you need to know:

1. Understanding Premiums and Deductibles

Here are two key definitions you should know, before we go any further: The home insurance premium is the amount you pay for the policy. The deductible is what you’ll have to pay if you ever make a claim against the policy, before the insurance company will pay the rest. If you can keep these two definitions in mind, everything else will make more sense. Let’s move on to discuss the relationship between these two things.

2. Raising the Deductible Can Lower the Premium

Premiums and deductibles generally have an inverse relationship. This means you can lower your premium (the amount you pay every year) by raising your deductible. A lot of financial experts recommend this very strategy, as way of lowing the overall cost of insurance.

According to the Insurance Information Institute: “If you can afford to raise your deductible to $1,000 [as compared to the standard $500 deductible], you may save as much as 25 percent.”

3. There are Other Ways to Control Costs

So how much does a homeowners insurance policy cost, anyway? In the United States, the average policy costs about $800 per year. This is just for the premium, which is the amount you pay year after year. Deductibles vary from one policy to another, and they can be raised or lowered by the insured party.

You can lower the cost of coverage by increasing your deductible amount (mentioned earlier), by shopping around for competing offers, and by getting a multi-policy discount from your current insurance company.

4. Replacement Cost is Better Than Cash Value

When you choose a home insurance policy, you will probably be asked to choose between replacement cost and actual cash value (as they pertain to your belongings). Replacement cost offers more protection, because it will replace the items you have lost with comparable items — even if they are worth more today than when you bought them.

Take a big-screen television, for example. If you lose a model that’s ten years old, it’s possible that a newer but comparable model will cost hundreds more than what you paid for your older model. Replacement-cost coverage will pay the higher amount. Cash-value coverage will only give you what you paid, ten years ago.

5. Flood Protection is Extra

Did you know that most homeowners policies do NOT offer flood protection? It’s true. So if you live in an area where there’s a reasonable risk of flooding, you should get a separate policy or a “rider” for flood coverage. You can learn more from the federal government’s website at

These are the most important concepts to keep in mind when shopping for homeowners insurance. Obviously, there is more to the picture than what is discussed in this article. But if you keep these concepts in mind, you’ll have a much easier time choosing a policy.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Consider Scott for your Realtor

In your search for a competent real estate agent let me share with you how I try to cultivate that quality. You can judge whether I deserve the opportunity to work for you.

I’m on the job for you everyday

There’s an old saying, “All things come to him who waits” but unfortunately at times it’s just the scraps from the people who got there first. Not only will I show up when I’m expected, but I will also be ready to engage in the real estate transaction no matter what kind of circumstances or how difficult the hurdles may be.

2. I’m dedicated to keep improving

I continually search for ways to keep learning, growing, and improving in my knowledge of marketing real estate. Just like any 5yr old, I ask why, because the person who knows how will always have a job, but the person that knows why will always be the boss. I seek to be on the cutting edge to assist in all your housing needs.

3. Complete with excellence

Willa Foster said, “Quality is never an accident, it is always the result of high intentions, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution, it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” When you entrust me to represent your real estate interests you can expect me to perform at a high level of excellence and adhere to strong ethical business practices. I play the within the boundaries of the game.

I hope these 3 points give you some insight into why you would consider me for your real estate agent.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Rural developement $ running out!!!

Very important news came out yesterday. USDA or Rural development is estimating they’ll run out of funds by the end of April. This 100% no money down, no PMI, purchase program is highly utilized in the state of Wisconsin. Buyers who are or who want to use this financing they must secure funds now. There is no set date to these funds being gone…but once they’re gone, they’re gone. USDA must petition Congress for more money to fund the program and it’s unknown at this time when/if that will happen.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Home Buying Tip (Credit Score)

Paying your bills on time is the single most important contributor to a good credit score. Even if the debt you owe is a small amount, it is crucial that you make payments on time.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The best way to avoid foreclosure is to prevent the filing of a "Notice of Default." Lenders do not want to foreclose but will file a Notice of Default to protect their interests, if necessary. If you know you are unlikely to meet your mortgage obligation, call your lender. Many lenders work and live in your local community and they don't want to see you lose your home. There are several options available to avoid foreclosure that I will share in upcoming blogs.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The kitchen is the heart of the home.
* Sand the butcher block and re-oil.
* Caulk the backsplash if there are gaps.
* For wood cabinets, you can strip the finish and re-staining or painting
* Buy new knobs for the cabinet doors. New hardware will transform the appearance of your cabinets.
* Replace an old kitchen faucet.
* Remember to trade out the fluorescent bulbs they have a funny look in some fixtures.

Monday, February 22, 2010

One reason to buy now.

One reason to buy now.

A factor to consider is that FHA is tightening their guidelines. FHA is a loan program that has become increasingly popular over the last year. Buyers only need a 3.5% down payment and minimum 620 credit score. The Up Front mortgage insurance that is required is currently 1.75% of the loan amount, but will be increasing to 2.25% of the loan amount on April 5th. That’s a significant difference when looking at a mortgage! Along with the home buyers credits now is the time to make your move to home ownership.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Repeat Home Buyers Credit $6500

Did You Know?

The $6,500 Move-Up / Repeat Home Buyer Tax Credit summary

* To be eligible to claim the tax credit, buyers must have owned and lived in their previous home for five consecutive years out of the last eight years.
* The tax credit does not have to be repaid.
* The tax credit is equal to 10 percent of the home’s purchase price up to a maximum of $6,500.
* The tax credit applies only to homes priced at $800,000 or less.
* The credit is available for homes purchased after November 6, 2009 and on or before April 30, 2010. However, in cases where a binding sales contract is signed by April 30, 2010, the home purchase qualifies provided it is completed by June 30, 2010.
* Single taxpayers with incomes up to $125,000 and married couples with incomes up to $225,000 qualify for the full tax credit.
Interest rate for 30yr mortgage on the secondary market is steady at 5% and a 15yr is 4.4%. Take advantage of the historically low rates.

Friday, February 12, 2010

$8000 First Time Home Buyers Credit

$8,000 First-time Home Buyer Tax Credit at a Glance
• The $8,000 tax credit is for first-time home buyers only. For the tax credit program, the IRS defines a first-time home buyer as someone who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase.
• The tax credit does not have to be repaid.
• The tax credit is equal to 10 percent of the home’s purchase price up to a maximum of $8,000.
• The tax credit applies only to homes priced at $800,000 or less.
• The tax credit now applies to sales occurring on or after January 1, 2009 and on or before April 30, 2010. However, in cases where a binding sales contract is signed by April 30, 2010, a home purchase completed by June 30, 2010 will qualify.
• For homes purchased on or after January 1, 2009 and on or before November 6, 2009, the income limits are $75,000 for single taxpayers and $150,000 for married couples filing jointly.
• For homes purchased after November 6, 2009 and on or before April 30, 2010, single taxpayers with incomes up to $125,000 and married couples with incomes up to $225,000 qualify for the full tax credit.
Here is the site to get information in the home buyers credits, or call me. 608-214-9844

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What is an Appraisal?

What is an Appraisal??

Real estate appraisal, of property is the service of developing the value of real property, usually its market value. The need for appraisals arises from the unique nature of property, whereas no two properties are identical, and all properties differ from each other in their location. This is the most important determinants of their value. So there does not exist a standard setting for the trading of property. The absence of a market-based pricing mechanism determines the need for an appraisal. Although some areas require no license, a real estate appraisal is generally performed by a licensed appraiser. If the appraiser's opinion is based on market value, then it must also be based on the highest and best use of the property. For mortgage valuations of improved residential property in the US, the appraisal is most often reported on a standardized form. Most consumers have their first contact with an appraiser when they seek financing on their home purchase. The property they desire must appraise to a certain value in order for the lender to approve the buyer’s loan.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Stately Elagance on the Golf Course

Home Buying, What’s Escrow

Home Buying, What’s Escrow
You'll probably hear the word escrow many times during your home buying transaction, and the term can be confusing, because it is used to describe different events that take place before and after the real estate settlement, the day of closing when the property becomes yours.
Let's take a look at the definition of the term escrow.
Escrow: Documents or something else of value, often money, held by a neutral third party in order to be used at a later date to fulfill an obligation.
Escrow During the Home Buying Process
Earnest Money Deposits If you are buying a home, your first exposure to escrow was probably associated with the earnest money deposits that accompanied your offer to purchase the house. That money likely went into someone's trust account, where it will remain , protected by that neutral third party, until it is credited to you when the transaction closes (or is dispersed in other ways if the transaction fails to close).
Escrow Agent You'll hear the term escrow used to describe the title company, attorney or another person who is hired to handle your closing transaction. That person is often called an escrow agent, because she maintains all documents and funds related to the transaction until the day of closing.
Lender Escrow Accounts The term escrow is used again to describe accounts your lender sets up in order to pay your home insurance and property taxes when they become due. Remember the initials PITI? You saw them when the lender calculated your projected monthly payment. Those letters stand for the components of each payment:
o P, Principal
o I, Interest
o T, Taxes
o I, Insurance
Tax and insurance bills are typically sent directly to your lender. Both of those bills are paid annually, but most lenders require you to pay 1/12th of the annual bill each month. The lender deposits the partial payments in an escrow account, where they'll accumulate until it's time to pay your taxes and insurance the following year.
You'll begin funding your your escrow accounts by making a payment into them at closing.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Green county real estate the total listings are 279 and a median listing price of $168,242.
How does the Monroe WI real estate market look? Monroe has a average listing price for homes for sale of $173,708. The Green county average is $221,046.The current Monroe properties for sale 95. The Monroe media list price is $129,902.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Improve Your Credit Score

Improve Your Credit Score

Suggestions on what you can do right now

A credit score reflects credit payment patterns over time, with more emphasis on recent information. Ways to improve a credit score generally include the following:

· Pay your bills on time. Delinquent payments and collections can have a major negative impact.

· Keep balances low on credit cards and other "revolving credit." High outstanding debt can affect a credit score.

· Apply for and open new credit accounts only as needed. Don’t open accounts just to have a better credit mix. It probably won’t improve your credit score.

· Pay off debt rather than moving it around. Also, don’t close unused cards as a short-term strategy to improve your credit score. Owing the same amount but having fewer open accounts may lower your credit score.

Know which items can improve credit scores the most

· Paying your bills on time is the single most important contributor to a good credit score. Even if the debt you owe is a small amount, it is crucial that you make payments on time.

· Minimize outstanding debt, avoid overextending yourself and refrain from applying for credit needlessly. Applications for credit show up as inquiries on your credit report, indicating to lenders that you may be taking on new debt. It may be to your advantage to use the credit you already have to prove your ongoing ability to manage credit responsibly.

· Pay your bills and wait. If you do have negative information on your credit report, such as late payments, a public record item (e.g., bankruptcy) or too many inquiries, you may want to pay your bills and wait. Time is your ally in improving your credit scores. There is no quick fix for bad credit scores.

One common question that many consumers have regarding their credit score involves understanding how very specific actions will affect it. However, it is impossible to provide a completely accurate assessment of how one specific action will affect a person’s credit score. For example, someone might ask if closing two of his or her revolving accounts would improve his or her credit score. While this question may appear to be easy to answer, there are many factors to consider. Simply closing two accounts not only lowers the number of open revolving accounts (which generally will improve credit scores), but it also decreases the total amount of available credit. That results in a higher utilization rate, also called the balance-to-limit ratio (which generally lowers scores).

How Long Does It Take to Rebuild a Credit Score?

Actually, you don’t rebuild the credit score. You rebuild your credit history, which then is reflected by your credit score. The length of time to rebuild your credit history after a negative change depends on the reasons behind the change. Most negative changes in credit scores are due to the addition of a negative element to your credit report, such as a delinquency or collection account. These new elements will continue to affect your credit scores until they reach a certain age. Delinquencies remain on your credit report for seven years. Most public record items remain on your credit report for seven years, although some bankruptcies may remain for 10 years and unpaid tax liens remain for 15 years. Inquiries remain on your report for two years.

If you have any questions regarding your credit score, please feel free to contact Steven L. Bechtolt, Vice President, Wisconsin Community Bank at or 608.328.4016

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Did you know you could be in your own home for as little as $456 based on a $85,000 loan at 5% for 30yrs. Yes you can today I have a nice 3br home that is your Rent Buster. Call 608-214-9844

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bad joke. Just poking fun at myself

Q. What does a Realtor call a phone call from a telemarketer in the winter?

A. A HOT prospect

Home buying costs going up

Since FHA’s reserve account has been under the required 2%, HUD has decided to start raising upfront mortgage insurance premiums (1.75%-2.25%), increasing down payment for lower credit scores, and reducing allowable seller concessions from 6% to 3%. These changes will take affect this spring, possible as early as April. What that means for a buyer is buying a house in months to come will cost more than today. FHA has taken up 30%-40% of the purchase market due to their low down payment and flexible credit criteria so this will impact A LOT of first time buyers.
Between the anticipated rate increases once the government steps out of the market and higher cost to get a low down payment loan…home financing will inevitably get more expensive. If you have been on the fence about buying a home, delaying this process any longer will cost you more long term. Call me today at 608-214-9844 Scott Larson Towne Square Realty
What is a Abstract? An abstract of title is a written history of all the recorded documents and proceedings related to a specific property. An attorney or title insurance company reviews an abstract of title to determine whether there are any title defects which must be cleared before a buyer can purchase a clear, marketable and insurable title.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pre-approval Letter
A pre-approval letter, is harder to obtain, but gets the tumbs up from sellers. The home buyer will go through the actual approval process including, but not limited to, credit checks, debt to income ratio surveys and verification of down payment. The pre-approval letter does state that the bank has made a preliminary approval of the loan and is willing to complete the loan process in order to finalize the sale. The pre-approval letter does not, however, lend a definitive answer as to whether the sale will go through. Before a final sale, the buyer will again have to go through a credit check and present the down payment.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pre-qualification Letter

A pre-qualification letter is one of the easiest documents to obtain from a lender. The prospective buyer will set an appointment with a bank. At the appointment, the loan officer will ask simple questions about income, debt and savings. The answers to these questions will render a quote, of sorts, as to how much the buyer can afford to spend. There will be no verification of income or credit worthiness checked during this appointment. The pre-qualification letter in no way binds the bank to a loan for a home sale. On the contrary, there are actually clauses within the letter than relieve the bank from any legal obligations. It is better to have a Pre-Approval letter. I will discuss this type of letter in my next blog.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Consider this when you hire a home inspector

Choosing a Home Inspector
Before you hire a home inspector there are several factors you should consider:
• Ask if they carry Errors & Omissions Insurance - this helps protect you in the event an inspector missed or misdiagnosed a component of the home that the inspector is required to inspect according to industry standards.
• Look for inspectors who offer General Liability Insurance as an added layer of protection for you and your client - An inspector who doesn't carry general liability insurance does not protect against property damage in the event the inspector damages your property before or after inspecting the home.
• Request training qualifications - Training is a key to a proper home inspection. Many inspectors may not have received formal training. Training limitations can lead to potential problems for you in the event something is not properly inspected.
• Seek out inspectors who meet industry and/or state standards - Hiring an inspector who does not adhere to industry or state standards could result in missing thousands of dollars in problems, costing you additional money, time, or aggravation.
• Identify inspectors who are impartial - Impartiality during the inspection process helps to avoid raising unnecessary alarm; the inspector should remain objective while communicating the inspection findings in a professional, non-threatening manner.

Monday, January 18, 2010

#4 Morgage Reduction Builds Equity

Each month, part of your monthly payment is applied to the principal balance of your loan, which reduces your obligation. The way amortization works, the principal portion of your principal and interest payment increases slightly every month. It is lowest on your first payment and highest on your last payment. On average, each $100,000 of a mortgage will reduce in balance the first year by about $500 in principal, bringing that balance at the end of your first 12 months to $99,500.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Reason #3 for home ownership
Consumers who carry credit card balances cannot deduct the interest paid, which can cost as much as 22%. Equity loan interest is often much less and it is deductible. For many home owners, it makes sense to pay off this kind of debt with a home equity loan. Consumers can borrow against a home's equity for a variety of reasons such as home improvement, college, medical or starting a new business.Not that more debt is a good thing , but being smart about debt is.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Home ownership is a excellent tax shelter and our tax rates favor homeowners. As long as your mortgage balance is smaller than the price of your home, mortgage interest is fully deductible on your tax return. Interest is the largest part of your mortgage payment.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pride of ownership is the number one reason why people seek to own their home. It means you can paint the walls any color you desire (even Orange), turn up the volume on your stereo, attach permanent fixtures like moose heads and decorate your home according to your own taste, sorry Martha Stewart. Home ownership gives you and your family a sense of stability and security. It's making an investment in your future by something we call home.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Home buyers tip. If you're short on cash for the closing costs and can't roll the closing costs into the mortgage, ask the seller in your offer if they're willing to pay all or part of the closing costs. The worst that can happen is that the sellers say no.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Start Getting Ready to Move by Canning the Clutter

Start Getting Ready to Move

Pack Up Personal Things … Can the Clutter

When you have cleaned your home to prepare it for selling, clutter is the next project you should undertake. As you walk through your home, immediately place personal things you wish to keep in moving boxes and label them. This accomplishes two things. One, it helps you stay ahead of all the packing you should do for your move. Second, it allows you to keep clutter at bay. Taking down alot of your personal item helps the buyer see the home as theirs not yours. One other crucial use for storage boxes is for quick hiding spots for clutter. If a prospective buyer wants to see your house at the last minute, temporarily cast the clutter into moving boxes and close the lids. Buyers will understand moving boxes around better than clutter

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Clean Home is a SOLD Home

House Selling Tip

Do Some Cleaning

With all the homes I've shown I would agree that no one will be impressed with a home that is not clean. Among the greatest (and most affordable) investments you can make is in a complete cleaning of your house. In addition to the normal mopping and dusting you do, clean the windows (inside and out), clean carpeting, wipe down walls and baseboards, clean fingerprint marks off inside and exterior doorways including the light switches, and sweep, sweep sweep. Clean out the fireplace, add candles ( light for showings) they make a warm statement. People are typically more willing to pay higher sums of money for houses that feel as though they have been well cared for.