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Seller Must Dos --Before Listing

1. Clean, clean, clean. Be sure to clean every nook and cranny in the house.2. Pay attention to smells. Sellers should not smoke in the House or exits duringthe listing period. If pets are allowed in the home, refresh the home daily withair freshener - like Glade.3. Clear out the clutter in the closets, in the bookcases, on the tables, in walkways, on counters, orlaying on furniture. Your goal is to make the house neat and attractive.4. Boost the curb appeal - by trimming bushes, shrubs, pulling weeds, cutting grass, andedging around driveways and islands.5. Freshen up the decor with a new coat of paint in a neutral color and update curtains and bedding.6. Remove bulky couches or arrange furniture to make home look spacious and inviting.7. Last -remember to repair or replace broken lighting or fixtures so buyers feel the houseis well maintained.
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Nashville's housing market is due for a correction. Ask any local agent and they will tell you, we have never seen times like this before. My point is, our local market is completely and utterly operating outside of its balanced, healthy parameters. The only time in our history that we saw markets like this, was back in 2006 / 2007. The local housing market correction will be preceded by a national market correction which I do believe will happen towards the end of 2016....if not sooner. So, what's happening?

 All of the measures used to prevent the total collapse of our economy in 2007 during the bubble burst, has done nothing more than further weakened our economic foundation. Sure, you may think I am sounding a bit like the sky is falling but, I have to tell you, I really do believe the Nashville housing market is overly blotted by speculation, lack of inventory, cheap money and greed.

As a homeowner or a potential buyer you need to be aware of this pending correction but, prepare for it as well.

#1: The stock market wipe out: Margin Debt - This measures the amount of money being borrowed to invest. What this reveals is that banks and wall street firms are leveraging their money at record levels. The last time we were this high, was in 2007. Essentially the stock market is going up because people are gambling with debt….not cash. They are borrowing money on credit to invest in the stock market.

#2: Participation Rate: This simply measures the volume of the stock market. Right now we are selling at extremely high evaluations but, astonishing low volumes. So, in other words, even though the stock market is selling at all time highs, very few people are actually investing. The biggest factor for this is because of stock buybacks. Essentially companies are borrowing money to buy their stocks back to increase their share prices even though their profit margins are falling. To make their business look healthier than it really is, they borrow cheap money, to buy their stocks back on debt and increase their share prices. For many companies on the stock market, their high share price has NOTHING to do with them increasing sales or making profit but, how much stocks they can buy back. VERY DANGEROUS.

#3: Price to earnings ratio: The measure of the stock of a company vs. how long it takes to actually a return on the investment. The Shiller PE Ratio is historically 16, right now it’s 27. The last time we saw this was in 2007.

NOTE: if the stock market drops 70%.....that will put us back to our 2009 levels. That will collapse real estate world-wide. Let me explain.

#4: Home Equity Slaughter: On average, prices are up about $40,000 per home. Some areas, are up much greater….100k+. The problem is, homeownership rate is at its lowest level since 1965, nationwide.  So…how is real estate so strong? Over 10 million people lost homes in 2007. This was s huge buying opportunity for private equity funds. In other words, big investment companies swooped in and bought  billions of undervalued / distressed nonperforming assets to drive up prices. We saw Fannie sell HUGE portfolios, worth BILLIONS, to these funds, like Blackstone or “NBS’s” aka Non-Bank Servicers, like OCWEN. They were tasked by this administration to “Save people from foreclosure” or “Preserve homeownership” and that’s exactly what they did but, by doing so, we created a nightmare of a situation where a select few companies own so much real estate, if they flood the market, they can collapse the housing market in a city, over night. Now, you would think that would never happen but, let me just leave you with one, spine chilling thought.

Mortgage rates are at historical lows. In fact, the prime rate can’t get any lower….it’s virtually zero. It’s a fair and valid argument to say, fast, easy, cheap money is causing buyers to come out of the wood work and that’s why housing is booming. With that being said, what happens when those interest rates go up to 6-8%, which is historically what we consider a balanced healthy market? You see, many, many people are getting 30 year fixed rate mortgages and because the money is so cheap, they can buy a bigger, more expensive home because their money goes further. When interest rates go up, that same money becomes more expensive and buyers who could once afford a 200k home, now can only buys a 150K home… such, this will account for nearly a 20-40% loss in home values.

Let me put it this way, the fact is, interest rates rise, buyers evaporate. The fewer buyers in the market, home prices have only one direction to go. When those prices start falling, all those private equity firms will begin off loading properties at unbelievable rates to cut their losses.  Don’t think it can happen…..well, HUD is already doing it, RIGHT NOW! That’s right folks, HUD has announced it’s MM3.7 winners and will be releasing hundreds, of foreclosed properties into the markets that are “booming” so they themselves can recoup their losses while the getting is good. Once it gets out that HUD is about to start driving down prices in “over heated” markets… these equity firms start off loading as well. When this occurs, combined by the drop in the stock market this year…..2007 will look like a cake walk. We may be talking 2nd Great Depression.

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Homes for Heroes

Homes for Heroes in Wisconsin!

Homes for Heroes is a national program dedicated to providing extraordinary savings to heroes who provide extraordinary services to our community each and every day, when they buy or sell a home.

HeroesInWisconsin.com_-300x222.jpg?width=300Who Qualifies?
-Active Military
-Healthcare Workers
-Law Enforcement

What are the savings?
Savings will depend on the sales price of the home. As an example, a $300,000 house would receive over $3,000 in credits and discounts from all the participating affiliates and vendors involved.

What does it cost me?
Nothing because it's FREE. There is no cost to you. All costs are covered by your local participating vendors.

Can I buy any home and in any area?
Yes. This is not a government program with limitations or restrictions. This is the private sector giving back simply as our way to say Thank You for all that you do every day.

Are there any other benefits or savings after my transaction is done?
Yes. Through the "Friends of Heroes" Network participating vendors will offer discounts on various other services such as moving, storage, pest, lawn care, plumbing, electrical, cleaning and remodeling to name a few.

Are there a lot of extra applications, forms or some future obligation?
None. The Homes for Heroes Promise is:
-No hidden fees 
-No red tape 
-No catch

How do I find out more?

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This is really going to be good for home or condo sellers. Please contact me to get started and for more information.

Three reasons why to sell this spring.

Many sellers are still hesitant about putting their house up for sale. Where are prices headed? Where are interest rates headed? These are all valid questions. However, there are several reasons to sell your home sooner rather than later. Here are three of those reasons.

1. Demand is about to skyrocket

Most people realize that the housing market is hottest from April through June. The most serious buyers are well aware of this and, for that reason, come out in early spring in order to beat the heavy competition. We also have a pent-up demand as many buyers pushed off their home search this winter because of extreme weather. Sellers in markets where seasonal weather is never an issue must realize that buyers relocating to their region will increase dramatically this spring as these purchasers finally decide to escape the freezing temperatures of the winters in the north.

These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now!

2. There Is Less Competition - For Now

Housing supply always grows from the spring through the early summer. Also, there has been a growing desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners have seen a return to positive equity as prices increased over the last eighteen months. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase over the next few months. Don’t wait until all the other potential sellers in your market put their homes up for sale.

3. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by approximately 4% this year and 8% by the end of 2016. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30 year housing expense with an interest rate at about 4.5% right now. Freddie Mac projects rates to be 5.1% by this time next year and 5.7% by the fourth quarter of 2016.

Moving up to a new home will be less expensive this spring than later this year or next year.

Stop by or contact us:

Mukilteo Executive Offices

8490 Mukilteo Speedway Suite 107

Mukilteo, WA 98275

Gerhard Swiderski  (Real Estate Designated Broker/Founder)
Phone: (206) 261-2440  FAX: 425-939-0820
Residential, Commercial, Relocation, Lots and Land, Investment Properties, REO, Short Sales, First Time Home Buyers and Luxury Homes.

I would greatly appreciate your referrals and recommendations to your friends, family, and business colleagues; they are a substantial part of my successful business services.
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First-Time Homebuyers Discounts through FHA

People in the market for their first home can take advantage of a new offer from FHA. This new initiative aims to provide more information to buyers though classroom education and will reward them with a reduction in the premiums paid towards mortgage insurance.




HAWK to the Rescue

The name of the new initiative is called Homeowners Armed with Knowledge (HAWK). The borrowers are asked to complete a series of classes prior to buying the home as well as a few courses scheduled after the home has been purchased. At the time of this writing the classes are broken down in the following ways

* 1st class to be completed before the buyer completes a purchase contract

* 2nd class will be completed after a contract is signed and before the loan is finalized

* 3rd class will be completed within 12 months after the loan is finalized

Goals of the Program

Simply put, the HAWK initiative is hoping that people buying their first home will have a better understanding of the overall process thanks to the counseling and will be in a better position to make wise financial decisions in the future not only in regards to their housing but also to their other needs.

Monetary Benefit

Once the customer has completed the necessary classes their upfront mortgage insurance premium will be reduced along with the monthly premium that is paid as part of the mortgage payments. In addition, if the customer has no delinquent mortgage payments within the first 2 years of the loan the monthly premium will be reduced again.

Some Limits and Expiration Dates

Since this is a new program with no history to review the FHA is rolling this out with limits. The program is currently scheduled to only last for 4 years. In addition, not all FHA loans are going to be accepted under this program. At this time there is no news about how many loans will be allowed to use HAWK but FHA has stated that there will be a maximum number each year.

Class Time Requirement

For the class completed before the contract signing the prospective buyers will need to finish at least 6 hours of counseling and education.

The class that is conducted after the contract signing is a one hour class as well as the class that comes after the loan is closed.

Each class will issue a certificate to the students indicating that the course has been successfully completed. These certificates will be necessary in order to get the reduction in mortgage insurance premium.

In general, this is a great program that FHA is offering. It provides critical information to potential home buyers in order to better prepare them for a prosperous future and it rewards them by reducing the amount paid on their mortgage.

Take a look at --> Madison, WI Homes for Sale or browse through --> Janesville, WI Real Estate Listings!

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Preapproval Letters, A Security Measure for Realtors

It’s about 10:30 am and the phone rings, it’s a potential buyer for a property I just listed. He says he has been waiting for a property in this neighborhood to come up on the market and is ready to put down an offer today but, he needs to see the property first. As a faithful, good Realtor, I offer to meet him out at the house in 30 minutes or 11:00 am. He says fine, he will see me there.

I pull up, formally introduce myself, open up the house and start walking him through. He tells me his wife is on her way but, she is running late. We get towards the back of the house and, well….I don’t remember anything else after that.

Sad but, this type of story happens and all too often Realtors are victims of horrible crimes while showings homes to strangers. Unfortunately, too many of us are more concerned about doing the best for our clients that we sometimes put our own health and safety at risk. The story above is inspired by countless true stories of Realtors who have been abducted, raped, robbed or even murdered.

One of the simplest things you can do as a Realtor to mitigate your exposure and risk is to ask buyer that you don’t know for a preapproval letter. It may sound very simple, in fact, you were likely taught in real estate school to never show a home without a preapproval letter because, who do you know they can even afford the home you are showing them but, too many of us don’t do this, we don’t require a preapproval letter.

When a buyer calls into my office and wants to see a home, one of the very first questions I ask are, “Have you been preapproved?”. If they say no, then I inform them, before we schedule a showing through my office, we require a preapproval on file. I do this because when I get my copy of their preapproval letter, I call the lender and ask some simple questions…..

                A: Did the buyer come in, sign and submit his loan application?

                B: Did you verify identity and get a copy of an acceptable picture ID?

                C: Did you verify employment, income, debt, credit and tax records?

I hope that at this point, you understand what I am doing by asking these questions. Sure, I am verifying if the buyer can actually purchase but, I am ensuring that the buyer’s identity has been verified. If I know that the lender has done these things, I can be confident that not only is the buyer able to purchase but, we know who the buyer is in case something doesn’t go as planned.

Finally and maybe the most important piece to my personal security and that is a schedule. So many of us, almost all of us I assume, don’t keep thorough showing schedules. Again, it sounds so simple but, so few of us actually do it. Sure, we may plan out our showing route and sure, we call the appointment desk or the other agent if we are running late or early but, how many of you print a copy of your showing schedule out, with a copy of the buyer’s pre-approval letter and verified contact information, place it on your desk in a file titled, “Today’s Showings”. This additional little process gives investigators a place to look and who to look for in case something goes bad. My staff know that Jesse has his showing schedules and buyer list on his desk in his “Showing Schedule” file so, if they ever need to know where I am and when I am suppose to be there….they just go grab the file. Best of all, it has a copy of my planned route via map quest, the times I expect to be at each property and who I am meeting there. On the outside of my folder are my emergency contact numbers and other vital information about myself.

I know chances are, before the year is out, we are going to hear another story about another Realtor who has been victimized and that breaks my heart. I really hope that more and more of us would do more to take care of ourselves and remember, we can’t be a great Realtor …….. if we aren’t here to be one.

Be safe friends, be smart…..get that preapproval letter.

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GNAR or the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors reported 3,079 home closings were turned in by local Nashville Realtors in May 2014. This is up .6% over May 2013. This is good news because Nashville home sales were actually down 1.2% in March and .5% in April which shows we are definitely trending upwards in time for the summer selling cycle. Keep in mind, before March this year, Nashville home sales hadn’t seen a down month all the way back to June 2011.

The really good news for homeowners is that year to date, home sales of Nashville are up 1.6% during this same period in 2013.
Of course, with sales like this, we should expect to see prices increase and we are. It’s slight increase in prices for both single family and condo sales yet, it’s still affordable for many potential home buyers. On average, a single family home cost $209,900.00 in May which is up from May 2013 where a single family Nashville home would cost you $174,000.00. As for condos, they sold in May for an average of $174,000 which is up from $166,900 in May 2013.
By the time May ended, the MLS saw 3,108 pending sales which is a great sign that June’s numbers will be just as good as May, if not better.

Nashville’s total inventory of homes, condos and lost was at 15,926 for sale by end of May and that’s down from last year where we had 16,760. This means competition for good quality homes is increasing and as the summer season is only starting, we expect summer 2014 to be good for homeowners seeking to sale their Nashville Home

Get your homes value at

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ion REAL ESTATE | by Michael Humphries | Compass Roads Realty, Inc


4359187347?profile=originalA Short Sale is defined as any sale of real estate that generates proceeds that are less than the amount owed on the property. A real estate short sale occurs when the lender and borrower decide that selling the property and absorbing a moderate loss is preferable to having the borrower default on the loan. It is therefore an alternative to foreclosure. Lenders try to recoup as much money from the sale as possible because they must also pay settlement fees, including agent commissions, at closing.




Who Can Do a Short Sale?

There are two basic qualifiers for a short sale. While these two qualifiers do not cover every conceivable type of short sale, they are pretty standard for about 90% of the short sales. They are:

  • Zero or Negative Equity
  • Seller Hardship

With a few exceptions, if you've got those two qualifiers going for you, you are likely to get a short sale approval. There are a few banks who will not do a short sale under normal circumstances. Most banks aggressively pursue short sales and want to approve them. There are nearly twenty thousand short sales currently For Sale in South Florida.

Who Pays the Commission?

In a traditional sale, where the transaction results in net proceeds to the homeowner, agent commissions are the responsibility of the seller. In rare markets, a buyer may also pay agent commissions. In a short sale, the commission technically remains the responsibility of the seller, but the lender covers it with part of the sale proceeds. Because short sales are designed for financially-distressed homeowners, sellers seldom can afford to contribute money to close the deal. The lender effectively plays the role of seller in decision-making and bearing the expenses of selling.

Are There Any Cost to the Seller?

In addition to the commission, the lender typically also pays for all closing costs, including title insurance, taxes and document stamps. Other than being responsible for past due utility payments, the seller usually pays $0 at closing. The federal government has streamlined the short sale process for more than 100 lenders participating in its Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program, or HAFA. The lender can pay up to 6 percent of the sale price in agent commissions on a HAFA short sale transaction. In general, lenders base the maximum commission fee allowed in a short sale on what is "reasonable and customary" for the market

Do You Need to Use A Realtor?

Most lenders require that the sellers hire a real estate agent to represent them in a short sale. Although in some states a seller may initiate a short sale request directly with his lender and even market the home and receive an offer on his own, it is likely that at least one agent will be involved -- either representing the buyer, the seller or both. A short sale is one of the most complex sales in today's market and requires a tremendous amount of time and experience to successfully close the deal. There have been over 21,000 short sales completed by realtors over the past 6 months within Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Michael Humphries, designated broker for Compass Roads Realty, Inc. and real estate author covers local and national real estate news, industry trends and market analytics. Read more of his work here.

follow Michael: 4359187458?profile=original

Search for thousands of homes in South Florida with direct access to the MLS.

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FHA Back to Work Program

Exciting News! FHA Is Allowing People that Suffered through Recent Economic Hardships to Apply for a Home Loan with the FHA Back to Work Program.

photo credit: Daquella manera via photopin cc
photo credit: Daquella manera via photopin cc

In the not so distant past people had to wait 3 years or more after suffering through a financial hardship. Bankruptcy, foreclosures and other major financial disasters would sideline people for a number of years before they could buy a house again. However, all that has changed with the FHA Back to Work Program.

Previous Guidelines

For years the FHA program has helped people finance the purchase of a home with a modest 3.25% down payment. In general, the FHA rules for credit and employment history were more forgiving than conventional loan guidelines. However, there were strict rules about waiting a significant length of time after filing bankruptcy, losing a home to foreclosure, getting a loan modification or a deed-in-lieu.

New Guidelines

The Back to Work program waives waiting periods based on certain hardship situations. People that have suffered through the following types of problems are no longer forced to wait multiple years to apply for an FHA loan

* Bankruptcy (either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13)

* Short sale of previous home

* Foreclosure

* Modification of previous mortgage

* Sale of a home due to pre-foreclosure status

* Deed-in-lieu

Due to the recession of the past few years the government has given FHA the ability to relax their rules in order to help people qualify for home loans. Now people will only have to wait 12 months.

Meeting the New Qualifications

For borrowers that have faced a hardship like the ones described above they will need to meet a few qualifications.

First the borrower will need to prove that their current financial condition is recovered from the impact of the financial hardship.

Second, the borrower will need to provide proof that their income declined by a minimum of 20% for 6 months or longer. This can usually be shown by presenting federal tax returns and the supporting W-2 forms.

Finally the borrower will have to agree to complete a counseling session aimed at educating home buyers.

In addition to these items the borrower must re-establish their credit. This does not mean that the scores must be 700+. However, once the hardship has ended the borrower will need to have good payment history on all credit accounts in order to prove that they are able and willing to make their monthly obligations.

Types of Borrowers

The Back to Work program can be used for people buying their first home as well as people buying their second, third, fourth, etc. home. It can also be used with the FHA 203(k) program for people that wish to renovate or modernize a home. Even people that are currently in a Chapter 13 plan could be approved for the FHA back to work program. The court will have to grant permission for the loan and the borrower will have to meet the other requirements.

The recent recession has hit a lot of people and left a lasting impact on them. The Back to Work program is aimed to help these people put the past behind them and return to the stability of owning a home.

Additional Mortgage Information: Mortgage Home Loans Financing

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Simple Ways to Get Your Home Ready to Sell

photo credit: Neil Kremer via photopin cc
photo credit: Neil Kremer via photopin cc

For those homeowners that have waited to sell their home, heed the advice of Nike: “Just Do It.”  Interest rates are still really low and the upcoming changes in mortgage lending may disqualify some buyers.  Now is the time to sell your home.  In order to help your home sell quickly follow the timely advice offered below.

Spend a Little Now to Get More Later

With so many homes available many buyers are seeking out a property that is move-in ready.  This means that small repairs and maintenance items will possibly turn off some buyers.  Take a walk through the home and pick out the small things that need to be fixed.  Leaking faucets, a chipped tile, a flaky bit of paint and other similar items can negatively impact the appearance of your home.

You should also consider spending a little money to get the carpets thoroughly cleaned and ask a local heating/air conditioning company to service your unit.

Put Yourself in the Shoes of the Buyer

If you are looking for a new home, what items are important to you?  The majority of people want to live in a clean home that smells nice with lots of room in the closets, cabinets and other storage areas.  Therefore, you should put a lot of time in to making your home look clean, neat and organized. Start with the cabinets and closets.  Remove as much clutter as possible and even add some shelves if it helps improve the look.  Go through all the rooms and put everything away in a nice, orderly fashion.  Finally, get a few aroma dispensers and put them throughout the house.

Make People Interested in Coming Inside

So many homeowners spend time, money and a lot of effort improving the inside of the home that they ignore the outside appearance.  It is important to have an inviting appearance.  Homeowners should trim all the bushes, clean out the gutters, make sure the driveway and walkway are clear and clean the windows.  For people that have siding, consider power washing the siding as well.  It is really important that the front door and the surrounding entrance area look clean and homey.

Two Important Rooms: Bathrooms and Kitchens

The bathroom and kitchen will usually have more influence over selling a home than any other part of the house.  It is a good idea to go through these rooms and spend extra time, and even money, to make sure they look attractive and modern.

Many types of cabinets can be painted with a little bit of planning and work.  All bathroom plumbing should be in good working order.  Make sure there is plenty of light with good looking fixtures and that the ventilation to both the kitchen and bathroom is more than adequate.  Also, make sure the counters are clean and devoid of clutter.

It may seem like a crazy idea to spend money on a home that you are planning to sell.  However, spending money in the right areas can greatly improve your chances of selling the home faster and may yield a good return on the investment.

Why list your home with Rock Realty?? Rock Realty Marketing Outline

Recent Testimonials: Rock Realty Client Testimonials

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5 Factors Affecting Sales Demand For Real Estate

Wherever you go, real estate holds a distinctive role in shaping up a country’s economy directly affecting the buyers and sellers in the market. Highly responsive to the law of demand and supply, realtors and independent sellers alike have to keep watch on various factors critical to their income-generating means. With hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of money on the loop, finding time to scrutinize the following critical factors affecting real estate demand will help generate positive results to your planned resale.
1. Current Demographics
The composition of the overall population concerning age, income, migration and population growth is critical. Most home buyers usually consider location as a top priority when researching for home investments making demographics highly critical when it comes to demand and, subsequently, pricing. Florida’s real estate market, for instance, has continually been tagged as a perfect haven for retirement due to the consistent number of baby boomers migrating to the area.
2. Demand Vis-à-Vis Supply of Real Estate Properties
There is no doubt that real estate properties’ supply largely affects demand in the market. As real estate can go through various cycles, so does its demand and supply. When supply surpasses demand in the market, prices can easily plummet. This is what took place in the US real estate market in the last three years or so. As the number of foreclosure rises, price of real estate took a nosedive. If you are in a realty buy-and-sell business, buying low and selling high later on will give bang to your buck. For someone selling a home, this can mean disaster as you will be competing with low-priced foreclosures.
3. Employment Condition
Areas with high employment availabilities are sure-ball real estate buying magnets. Cities usually equated with well-paying jobs can easily shift migration patterns leading to an increase in demand for more developments. Most cities with more employment requirements most often enjoy an upswing trajectory in real estate demand. As a result of this high demand, prices have the tendency to rise, too.
4. Correlating Credit Markets and Interest Rates
Not everyone can buy homes in cash. Most rely on mortgage or real estate loans to buy a property. If interest rate is low, loans can be had at a much lower cost making it highly beneficial for buyers. Low interest rates means easier to acquire loans or credit from financial markets and, subsequently, lower monthly amortization. With this, more demands for real estate will be imminent.
5. The Overall Economy
The health of the overall economy, of course, largely influence sales demand for real estate. A strong economy attracts more jobs and population growth increasing the demand for housing and development. A sluggish one does the opposite as consumer confidence is usually stunted. 

When you have a home or a piece of realty and you have plans for resale, it is important to take these critical factors into consideration. Do remember that in real estate, selling a property requires not just efforts but, most importantly, the right knowledge and timing. The perfect convergence of these factors will largely contribute to lucrative sale deals in the market.

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Milton Wisconsin Home Sold

Lake-Lot-in-Edgerton-WI.jpg?width=300Just Sold! 1303 E Koshkonong Dr, Milton Wisconsin 53534

We are happy to announce a recent home closing in Milton, Wisconsin. Although, this bank owned home may be a tear down, the lot and location really were ideal. Being just steps away from Lake Koshkonong made this REO property a super buy, listed at just $34,650. Congratulations to our Rock Realty buyer, Keith! We can't wait to see what you do with this great lake lot in Milton!

If you are thinking of selling or buying a home in Wisconsin, our home buyer specialists would be happy to assist you. Give Rock Realty a call at 877-774-7625. We are a full service real estate brokerage.

 Madison Wisconsin MLS ListingsMadison, WI Homes for Sale


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Top Renting Out Tips for First Time Landlords

Deciding on renting out your home or condo is no easy task. It requires patience and perseverance, and a lot of responsibility. You do not just find a tenant and let it be. You need to ensure that you obtain the right person to rent out your place at a rate you specify. However, if you play your cards right, renting out your place and becoming a landlord can be rewarding and a good way to make money without selling your real estate property. For first time landlords, coming prepared requires that you do your homework before renting out your property. To get your wheels turning, here are some important renting-out tips to guide you by.
Tip #1 – A Well-Prepared Property Attracts Numerous Renters
It is important to comply with required standards as prescribed by the law such as structural repairs, adequate ventilation and heating, safe electrical system, and other stipulations. Keep in mind that well-kept properties often get the highest nod among potential renters and, often, earn huge respect, too.
Tip #2 – Learn Your Landlord Obligations Properly
There are stipulated obligations required from landlords. In most states, the need to register your property for tenancy is essential for tax requirements. One of your main responsibilities, however, is to ensure that your tenant have a safe and functional living space. This means your rental property must have passed the specified standards stated by the federal and local housing code. This means plumbing, electrical and structural system, lighting, ventilation, and security systems must be in place. Repairs and maintenance must be shouldered by you, thus, when reimbursable when paid by your tenant. Keep in mind to give adequate notice of termination when you plan to cut-off the lease on your property.
Tip #3 – Learn About Your Rights
Never go to war uninformed of the terrain. As important as your obligations, you need to also know about your rights. This means receiving correct rent on stipulated due date, receiving added charges according to lease contract, annual review of rental contract, be informed of damage or any problems in the property, and subsequently, be given due notice on any planned repairs or home improvement.  Protect your rights by putting this into writing. As a rule, make sure to have a valid contract before setting out a lease on your property.                                                   
Tip #4 – Always Check Tenant’s Payment Ability
Of course, your priority is to gain substantial income from your hard-earned investment. It is wise to check if your tenant can pay-up your rental rate. A reference from previous landlords or employers is a wise move. If you plan to accept students, call in the attention of parents or guardians as guarantors for the lease.
Tip #5 – Better Be Insured
Consider having a rental home insurance. This ensures that your home’s structure, medical expenses, legal fees and loss of rental income is covered when needed. Encourage your tenants to buy an insurance suited for them as renters, too.
Tip #6 – DIY or Professional Real Estate Agent
Advertising a rental property on your own may sound a noteworthy job but it can also be quicksand if not handled right. For first-time landlords, having the assistance of professional real estate agent can help cut down cost involved while increasing your chances of finding a tenant quickly and efficiently. Most real estate firms or independent agents usually do background checks on potential tenants to protect their reputation in the market. If possible, choose one which can also perform managerial functions for your property.
Renting out your home for the first time can be both exciting and overwhelming. This, however, is one lucrative deal that you should not miss if you have a house, a condo, an apartment or even a room to spare. In all these, having a professional (attorney, accountant and real estate agent) to give you sound advice and point you to the right direction will ensure great rewards.
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We would like to introduce you to our home buyer specialist, Eric Engels, Realtor® | Real Estate Agent serving the Janesville, Wisconsin area!

Eric-Engels-240x300.jpg?width=240"Hello Rock County! I am very happy to have joined the Rock Realty team. I have been a resident of Janesville for over 13 years. I lived in the Quad Cites before that living in both Illinois and Iowa. In 2006 I had the chance to move back to the Quad Cites, I thought about it for about 2 seconds, but Wisconsin is the best place to live I couldn't leave. I am a big fan of the Midwest way of living! I am very excited to meet some of the great people in Rock County, and to help them in there home buying and selling needs."

"At Rock Realty we use the newest and most innovative technology to help us in our advertising and researching needs. Please feel free to call or e-mail me with any questions you may have. Again I look forward to meeting the great people of Rock County."


Eric Engels

Visit my site to search for Janesville, WI Real Estate Listings:
(Homes for sale in 53545, 53546 and 53548 and the rest of Dane & Rock County)

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Sad to say but, another one bites the dust. See filing paperwork below.




Realtors, if you haven't already, you need to be protecting yourself and be sure you are getting reimbursements back on time in full. I am getting flooded by emails from agents who are owed lots of money.....lots of money and they aren't going to see it ever again.

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photo credit: ifmuth via photopin cc

It Takes a Good Plan to be Successful in Rental Property

(Investment Properties: Part 5 of 5)

For people considering a purchase of a rental home this is truly an opportune time. The tremendously low mortgage rates coupled with attractive home prices makes this a buyer’s market.

However, numerous reports indicate that home prices are rising consistently, although modestly. If you are considering buying a home it is time to take action. Here are a few guidelines to help you plan out your first purchase.

Look to Experts

If you are looking at your first investment property purchase it would be wise to work with a real estate agent that is experienced in these kinds of deals. An agent that intends to work with an investor over the long term will be meticulous about the property recommendations to insure the investor meets their financial goals and comes back to the agent for more homes.

It is also a good idea to speak with other investors. They can provide you some guidance about what to look for in homes, what areas to avoid and other general information that is generally not found in a textbook.

What Type of Investment Do You Wish to Pursue?

Some first investors choose to buy a home at a great price and rent it out on their own. Others use the service of a management firm. And then there are the individuals that buy a home, spend some money on repairs and put the home back on the market at a price to make a profit.

It is important to consider your options and tolerance for risk. Buying a home that you can easily afford while looking for a tenant may be a good opportunity to get your feet wet.

Develop Your Team before the Purchase

If you plan to manage the property on your own, there will be a few individuals you need to contact prior to purchase. First, you will need a lender that can handle investment loans. Second, you should consult with an accountant and attorney to make sure you are covered legally and that you minimize your tax liability. Third, you should speak to an insurance agent about the proper policies to cover your investment. Finally, you will need to talk to a general handyman or one each of plumbers, electricians, roofers, painters and HVAC repairmen. Having these people lined up and ready to work for you will make much of the process go by smoothly.

Choosing the Right Area

It is important to pick a home in an area that is accustomed to rental property. Places with a high population close to schools and shopping districts are usually safe bets. Rural areas can be difficult simply because the number of available applicants is typically small. Keep in mind that you may want to sell the property in a few years. If you buy the smallest, or the largest, home in a neighborhood it can be tough to unload later.

Buying an investment home should be approached as a strictly business transaction. Decide how much you can comfortably invest and how much you hope to make as a return and let those types of items help you with the decision.

Investment/Rental Properties (5 Part Series)

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You are Paying for Motivation?

You are Paying for Motivation?

Ok….so, last week I was contacted by a lead generation company which, for now, will go nameless. I do like getting calls from these types of companies because, I love drilling the poor, unfortunate soul who has to try to convince me that I want to buy leads. Good luck with that. So, they guys starts of telling me that I can be the exclusive agent for their program in my area. They like using the word exclusive, it makes them sound important. He goes on to blow up my ego by telling me that they only accept the top producing agents and he found my information on Google so, he knows I am a top producer….lol. Finally he goes on to tell me that he has a limited time frame that he can hold this exclusive spot reserved only for top producing agents and I need to make a decision today.

Well, I felt like I was going to tell him, “No body puts baby in a corner” but, I totally restrained myself and was like, “Oh my god, that sounds so fabulous” I don’t think he caught it that I was joking with him because, then he went on to tell my about his companies exclusive IDX and how it generates thousands and thousands of hits on their site for my zip code each week. At this point, it reminded me of being back in school, having to listen to my teacher, kind of like Charlie Brown and his teacher. It’s also kind of like when a woman is mad at you and she starts to raise her voice but, all of a sudden, she hits a particular tone and my ears start shutting down and before you know it, I can’t understand a word she is saying.

Finally, the spill is over and truth be told, I wasn’t buying crap but, I thought, let’s have a little fun here. Let me ask if maybe they can give me some numbers, specific numbers so, I asked, “How many leads a week can I expect to get?” Now, the preverbal crap hits the fan and he diverts the question and starts talking about how they have a wonderful motivational series and I will get a daily inspirational thought, inspirational message and once a week, a inspirational phone message / webinar. I was a little taken back because I have never really had someone completely ignore my question so, I asked it again, “How many leads can I expect each week?” He then tells me that the program can’t guarantee a number of leads because it’s all based on business need but, I will get these motivational messages regularly, I can attend training webinars they do monthly, etc… etc….

At this point, I am over it, I am spent so, I stopped him and said, “So you are telling me that I would primarily be paying for motivation?” The call got silent and as he started to talk some more, I ended the call with a nice, “Thanks but, no thanks……

One of the members of this network gave me some really valuable advice once. It rang so true to me that even now, I hold it close and don’t steer away. We were talking about this same thing, these lead generation companies who really aren’t provided leads as they are providing something else, motivation, training, etc…. He said, “If you as the lead provider don’t have enough faith in the lead you are providing me to work, to take your fee at closing, why would I have faith the lead would ever close and why would I pay you up front for it.”

Food for thought?!?!?!?

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We would like to introduce you to our home buyer specialist, Bethany Alexander, Realtor® serving the Oregon, Wisconsin area!

Dane County WI Real Estate
"I am excited to be a part of the Rock Realty team to help expand their services throughout Dane County. I am originally from Corpus Christi, Texas, but have lived in Oregon Wisconsin for the past 20+ years. As a long-time resident of Oregon and an Oregon High School graduate I have an in depth understanding of the area which will assist me in helping you to select a home location that best suites your family’s needs."
"As a Rock Realty real estate agent, I use the latest tools available to help advertise, broadening the range of qualified buyers for your property. It is my top priority to educate and help guide you through the exciting and sometimes stressful process of buying or selling a home. I truly care about my clients and their needs and will work hard for you to ensure that your experience with buying or selling a home is as simple and stress free as possible. If you are looking for a Realtor® to put your individual needs first, look no further, call me today to discuss what I can do to help you with your real estate needs."
If you are looking to buy or sell anywhere in Dane County, I'd love to help!
Bethany Alexander
Real Estate Agent/Realtor®
608-212-4101 (cell)
Search the MLS via my site:


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                          For more information, please contact:

Michael Collins, CDPE, SFR, BPOR

Local Agent Provides Alternatives for Homeowners Facing Foreclosure

Online report outlines alternatives to foreclosure for distressed homeowners in Dane & Rock County Wisconsin, including Janesville, Madison, Milton, Stoughton, Oregon, Monona, Edgerton, McFarland, Evansville, Verona, Fitchburg, Brooklyn & .

CDPEReflectionLogoJanesville, WI – (3/19/2013) – Local CDPE-designated agent, Michael Collins of Rock Realty, has developed a website providing information describing several opportunities for homeowners to avoid the negative financial impact of foreclosure.

This community resource is available at and defines foreclosure alternatives including short sales, loan modifications, and forbearance.

“It’s a concern to me that so few in our community know their options when they start to fall behind on mortgage payments,” Collins said.  “If they act quickly and get informed, they can make informed decisions to find financial stability.”

Foreclosure alternatives such as short sales—which now make up over one-third of real estate closings across the nation—are an increasingly popular way for both homeowners and lenders to minimize their losses in this tough economy.

“More lenders are realizing that they can save money in a short sale versus a foreclosure, and are more likely than they were three years ago to approve a short sale offer.” Collins said.  “This is good news for homeowners because they now have more options than ever.”

The CDPE designation Michael Collins has acquired provides real estate professionals with specific understanding of the complex issues confronting distressed homeowners.  Through comprehensive training and experience, CDPE-designated agents are able to provide solutions for homeowners facing financial hardship in today’s market.

For more information about the CDPE Designation, visit www.

IMPORTANT GOVERNMENT DISCLOSURE: You may stop doing business with us at any time. You may accept or reject the offer of mortgage assistance we obtain from your lender (or servicer). If you reject the offer, you will not have to pay us for our services. The above brokerage is not associated with the government, and our service is not approved by the government or your lender. Even if you accept this offer and use our service, your lender may not agree to change your loan.
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REOPro Launches for Investors

REOPro Launches for Investors

Friday 2/8/2013, REOPro, the nation's largest foreclosure network of agents, asset managers, attorneys, property preservationist and others, launches a sister site,, focused on self directed real estate investors.

As with REOPro, the Mather Network has blogs, forums, real time live chat, video sharing, event calendar, group creation and much more however, it's soon launching a new tool to put the investor and investee together.

InvestConnect will give investors the ability to advertise what type of real estate investments they are looking for as well as give investees, those with deals, the ability to come on and search for potential investors. The best part of the InvestConnect tool is that it works in reverse as well. The tool allows investees, those with deals, to advertise their opportunities while investors, those with money, can come on line and search through the different opportunities. Making the network much more than a social media tool but more of a "E-harmony " or "" for investors and investees.

InvestConnect is on schedule to launch towards the end of March however, current membership of and those who join before the launch of InvestConnect, will get access to the tool for the first 12 months free, at no cost. When REOPro's founder, Jesus "Jesse" Gonzalez was asked about how much the tool would cost he explained,

" As always, membership to the network itself will be free however, this new tool comes with some cost and that cost must be paid for. REOPro has built a reputation based on adding value and keeping cost low....or non-existent all together and, I expect the Mather Network to maintain this strategy by working closely with advertising partners to keep InvestConnect cost low. At this time, I don't have an exact figure however, I assure you, it will be highly competitive to other tools on the market and best of all, as the network grows, as membership in InvestConnect grows, we can use increased funds to put towards R&D to make the tool better. Our biggest advantage is our low cost of operation and I will use that advantage to its fullest potential by keeping cost low, providing excellent value and ensuring our members are not just satisfied but, become our raving fans."

REOPro is proud of the Mather Network and looks forward to it becoming a valuable resource for its members with education, advocacy, social media and wealth building tools. For more information on the Mather Network, you can visit their site at or contact Jesse Gonzalez Directly at

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