What are home buyers willing to pay more for?

November 20th, 2013

What are home buyers willing to pay more for?

According to an article in the USA News in April 2013, there are some extras in a home that a buyer is looking for and will pay extra for.  Some of them might surprise you.  The article mentions that the first things usually on a home buyer’s list are location, school district, and the commute to work.  What a home buyer is looking for also depends on their age.  If a home buyer is younger, they are most likely looking for a property to “hang their hat” and build some equity.  If the home buyer is older and has a family, they are looking for a few more comforts, space, etc. in order to raise their family.   Here are the other extras mentioned in the article that a home buyer would be willing to pay more for in order to buy the home:

One or more fireplaces

Percentage of home buyers willing to pay more: 40%

Amount willing to pay – $1,400

The article mentions that some 40% of home buyers without a fireplace said they would spend additional money for at least one and would cough up an extra $1,400 in order to have one.

Eat-in kitchens

Percentage of home buyers willing to pay more: 40%

Amount willing to pay – $1,770

Most home buyers looking for this feature have families and need this extra space for all their activities the family is involved in – extra entertaining, kid hangout space, etc. and will pay more for it.

 Home less than 5 years old

Percentage of home buyers willing to pay more: 40%

Amount willing to pay – $5,020

Some people simply want a newer home and will pay more for this feature.  Maintenance in an older home can certainly be above and beyond what they would consider paying extra to have a newer home.

 Stainless steel appliances

Percentage of home buyers willing to pay more: 41%

Amount willing to pay – $1,850

The article stated that from a cost perspective, stainless steel appliances are not necessarily the best investment.  People are primarily driven to buy stainless steel appliances because they look more attractive.

Kitchen island

Percentage of home buyers willing to pay more: 48%

Amount willing to pay – $1,370

This feature, again, appeals more to families who are looking for more space for the kids and when entertaining.   Buyers are willing to shell out some additional money for this feature, but less than others more important to them.

En Suite Master bath

Percentage of home buyers willing to pay more: 49%

Amount willing to pay – $2,030

This is a feature that appeals more to married couples who are looking for a “sanctuary” in the home and are willing to pay quite a bit more for this feature.

Hardwood floors

Percentage of home buyers willing to pay more: 54%

Amount willing to pay – $2,080

This features appeals to many more buyers because of the ease of cleaning.  Older buyers prefer carpeting due to its comfort and warmth.

Granite countertops

Percentage of home buyers willing to pay more: 55%

Amount willing to pay – $1,620

There has been more emphasis on beautiful kitchens because people are spending more time in their kitchens, and granite countertops are part of the beauty.

Walk-in closet in master bedroom

Percentage of home buyers willing to pay more: 60%

Amount willing to pay – $1,350

Extra storage space is a highly desirable feature for people as they get older and acquire more clothes, etc.  The space allows for better organization and people are willing to pay more for this feature.

New kitchen appliances

Percentage of home buyers willing to pay more: 69%

Amount willing to pay – $1,840

Home buyers do not want to deal with the stress of having an appliance break down and are willing to pay more to assure this won’t happen.

Central air conditioning

Percentage of home buyers willing to pay more: 69%

Amount willing to pay – $2,520

Nearly seven in 10 homebuyers said they would be willing to pay more on central air conditioning.  Central air was considered “very important” by more than 60% of people in all age groups.

Ten tips for moving with children

November 18th, 2013

Ten tips for moving with children

All the paperwork is final, it’s a done deal – you are moving.  Whether you are moving out of state or around the corner, it is a change for everyone involved, including children.  Here are a few tips to make this transition easier on everyone:

  1. Call a family meeting and let them know of the upcoming change and how it will impact the whole family.  Encourage them to express their feelings and concerns.  Let them know you’ll be depending on them to help out during the move, from packing to settling in to the new house.
  2. If possible, involve your children, especially if they’re older, in the selection process of the new home and get their feedback.  If you are moving to another city, show them photos of each home.  Let them know you’ll take their comments into consideration when making the final decision.
  3. Purge before packing.  Let the kids know that now is a great time to get rid of some clutter.  Get the kids to help you go through the whole home, not just their belongings, but everyone’s.   Let them know it’s okay to keep certain things that hold important memories, but things that are no longer used should be donated or sold.
  4. Organize a moving sale.  Once you have figured out what you want to pack and get rid of, get the kids to help you organize a moving sale.  Let them know that the proceeds from the sale will be used for something for the family and everyone can vote on what that might be.  Whatever it is, the more invested the kids are in the goal, the more helpful they will be in organizing the sale.
  5. Research the new place.   Try to learn as much as possible about the new neighborhood, community and town.  Let your kid’s help you do the research and learn about the community organizations and groups, school and sports events and other community activities.
  6. Make plans for their rooms.  To get your children excited about the new home, help them plan how they can decorate their room.
  7. If you are able to, take the kids to the new home for a visit and check out the community also.  Visit the public library, local stores, schools, etc. to make them more comfortable with the idea of moving.
  8. One of the most difficult things about moving for any child is saying goodbye to friends.  You could lessen the anxiety by hosting a get-together with family, friends and neighbors.  During the party, make sure everyone exchanges contact information and takes pictures to keep as mementos.  Make arrangements for future visits depending on the distance of the move.
  9. Map the move.  Let your kids know exactly where it your new home will be on a map.   This is a good visual idea for them.
  10. Once you have moved, make it a point to continue to explore the community and learn new things.  Maybe you have moved to a historical town, make sure to check out any museums that might be of interest to the family.

This is an exciting time for everyone, but keep in mind, transition may be difficult so continue to encourage your children to express their thoughts and feelings and the adjustment will be easier.

Friday feature home at 515 Deerwood Court, Hammond WI

November 15th, 2013

Friday Feature home at 515 Deerwood Court, Hammond, WI 54015

Check out this home recently listed on the market.  Features include:

*4 bedrooms/2 bathrooms

*Priced to sell at $169,900.00

*Built in 2002

*1,152 square feet

*Two car attached garage

*.22 acre lot with irrigation system

*10’x8’ shed in backyard for extra storage

*Large kitchen with lots of storage

*Patio door off dining room to 20’x12’ Trek deck (new in 2002)

*Finished basement with lots of extras

*New shingles in October 2013

*Close commute to the Twin Cities

Call us today at 715-410-3883 or 651-261-4600 to schedule a showing and close before winter!



Top 12 tips for buying an Investment property

November 13th, 2013

Top 12 tips for buying an Investment property

  1. Location, location, location.   Invest in the best location you can afford.  A property in a desirable neighborhood will appreciate more over time and may be less susceptible to the ups and downs of the real estate market.
  2. Don’t go overboard when fixing up an investment property.  You don’t need granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.  Décor that is light and bright and clean is what most renters will be happy with.
  3. Forget about flipping. Investment properties are a buy-and-hold investment for at least five to ten years.  You will face considerably more risk holding onto the property for a shorter timeframe.
  4. Think long-term.  For most small investors, long-term ownership makes the most sense.  Historically, real estate has always been a good investment.
  5. Be prepared to have cash.  Buying a non-owner occupied property requires at least 20-30% down.
  6. Calculate the cost of ownership.  Make sure you consider the expenses of owning and managing an investment property:  mortgage, maintenance, taxes, insurance, utilities, repairs, and vacancies to name a few.
  7. Look for the possibilities in a property.  A buyer with a little imagination can look past bright colors and overgrown landscaping and see potential.
  8. Hire and pay skilled workers to do your renovations. Get recommendations from friends and family for electricians, plumbers, painters and subcontractors.
  9. Always screen your tenants.  Always run credit checks and call old landlords.  Ask if they paid rent on time, what condition the property was left in, and if they caused any problems with neighbors.
  10. Know your rights as a landlord.   Learn about the eviction process and know your rights as a landlord to save potential time and money.
  11. Consider your options. Is it more cost effective for you to buy a duplex and live in one unit and rent out the other or invest in more units.
  12. Enjoy the advantages of your investment.  Investment properties can be a great source of extra income now and when you retire.  In addition, take advantage of tax benefits to make your investment pay off.

Renting versus owning a home

November 11th, 2013

Renting versus owning a home

Have you ever considered owning a home?  Are you currently renting?  While owning a home isn’t right for everyone, here are some things to consider if you are thinking of owning a home:

Most times you can pay the same, or even less, while building equity.  In addition, you may be able to save on your federal taxes by deducting the interest paid on your mortgage.


  • Build equity — your wealth will increase as you gain more home equity
  • Gain tax advantages — mortgage interest is tax deductible as per IRS code
  • Stabilize your payments — monthly payments are relatively steady if your loan has a fixed interest rate, while your landlord can increase the rent
  • Have a secure place for your family to live — a home provides a permanent place where your family can live and grow, and you can decorate or expand a house the way you like to create your dream home
  • Gain a sense of community — homeowners often are more involved in the well-being of their communities; many homeowners work together for better schools and less crime.


  • Maintenance costs — it takes work and money to keep a home in good condition
  • Ties up your cash — selling the house may not be possible during the first few years of ownership; moving is more difficult and complicated and you may not have as much flexibility in choosing a new job location
  • Can fluctuate in value — there is no guarantee that your home will increase in value; it could decrease in value
  • Obligates your finances — when you buy a home, you are obligated to a set monthly payment
  • Seek out professionals who can help.  Search realtor websites and find out how much house you may be able to afford.  A banker can also help you discover some spending limits on a house payment also and can pre-approve you for a loan if decide home ownership is for you.

Below are some links for further information to help with the decision making process.

Tax Information for First-Time Homeowners:
What You Can and Cannot Deduct:

Home Inspection Process – What to expect

November 6th, 2013

Home Inspector pictureYou have found the home of your dreams!  Awesome!  Next comes the home inspection.  This can cause first time home buyers stress wondering “what if”, but relax, a home inspection is a normal part of the home buying process and you will get through it!  Here are some things to expect:

The home inspection is basically an objective examination of the physical structure and systems of the home from the roof to the foundation.  The buyer generally pays for the inspection.  The process can take 2-4 hours depending on the size of the home.  The inspection can also include tests for the presence of radon, mold, termite/carpenter ants, and possible septic system inspection.

The purpose of the inspection is to notify the buyer of the conditions that exist that could NOT be seen during your initial visits to the home.  The inspector is there to discover items you can’t see or know about without further inspection by a professional.

A general checklist of a Home Inspection Checklist items that will be covered are:

*Structural:  This includes walls, ceilings, floors, roof and foundation.

*Exterior:  Grading, drainage, siding, trim, fascia, windows, gutters, driveway and walkways, patios and decks.

*Roof and Attic: Framing ventilation, insulation, age and type of roof, flashing and any evidence of leaks.

*Plumbing: This includes toilets, sinks, faucets, pipe material, showers/tubs, any evidence of leaks, and water pressure will also be checked.

*Electrical: Main panel, circuit breakers, type of wiring, exhaust fans, receptacles, ceiling fans and light fixtures.

*Systems and Components: This would include hot water heater (age and condition, furnace, duct work, chimney and fireplace, central air (depending on the weather).

*Appliances: Range and oven, dishwasher, garbage disposal, built-in microwave.

*Garage: Walls, slab floor, garage doors and electric door openers.

Once all of these areas are inspected, you will receive a detailed report within a few days of inspection.   Remember, no house is perfect.  As the buyer, you might decide to ask the seller to fix certain things, or instead, give you a credit at closing so you can fix them with your own service providers.  Remember, there is always a solution for every problem!   Enjoy your new home!

Home Energy Saving Tips

November 4th, 2013

Home Energy Saving Tips

Whether you rent or own your home, it is always beneficial to take an audit of your home to see what areas could be improved to save you money.  Following are some of the areas to check:

Air leaks and insulation:  Sealing air leaks is the quickest way to reduce energy waste.  Air leaks can lead to huge energy loss.

Heating and Cooling:   Proper maintenance of your heating and cooling systems is essential for maintain your systems efficiency.   Receiving annual check-ups from a professional HVAC professional is a good way to determine this.

Water heating:  Water heaters are the second area of the home that uses the most energy.   Four areas to cut your water heating bill are to: use less hot water, turn down the thermostat, insulate the water heater, or buy a new more efficient model.

Windows:  Windows can account for 10-25% of your heating bill by letting heat out.  Installing double-pane versus single pane is always a wise investment.

Lighting:   Switching to energy efficient light bulbs is probably the easiest and least expensive ways to save energy in your home.

Appliances:  If you are in the market for a new appliance, always look for the ENERGY STAR label.  This label also shows the operating cost of the appliance, something wise to consider.

Home office and electronics:  ENERGY STAR labels are also on home office electronics.  With more people working from home, this is something to consider when purchasing a new electronic device for your home.

Check out the following link for an abundance of home energy saving tips and ideas:  http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2013/06/f2/energy_savers.pdf


Friday Feature property at 1052 99th Street, Roberts, WI

October 24th, 2013

Friday Feature property at 1052 99th Street, Roberts, WI

This home is new to the market and features:

*2,650 square feet

4 Bedrooms/2 Bathrooms – Three bedrooms on one level

*12+ acres with lots of beautiful trees, landscaping, and gorgeous view- lots of room to play!

*Four car oversized garage and additional sheds– tons of storage

*Fireplace in living room and family room

*Large open living room with large windows showing the great view

*Lower level bedroom and family room

1052 9th St branded picCall us today at 715-410-3883 or 651-261-4600 to see this home before it is gone!  There is still plenty of time to close and move before winter!

Halloween Events in Hudson

October 23rd, 2013

Halloween Events in Hudson

Check out all the upcoming events in Hudson for Halloween!

Bring the family and enjoy the fun!

Pumpkin Giveaway

Thursday, October 24, 2013 from 4 to 6 p.m.

Free event for the whole family – cookies and cider also

Borchardt Realty Team/Keller Williams Realty, 2424 Monetary Blvd, Hudson

Casanova’s Haunted Caves

October 24, 25 and 26 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Family friendly day is October 27 3 to 6 p.m.

October 31 and November 1 – 6 to 9 p.m.

Admission is $6 and $5 if you bring a food shelf donation

Hilltop Pumpkin Party

Saturday, October 26 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Free event – food, crafts, horse drawn wagon rides, K-9 demonstration by St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department, etc.  All supported by local businesses.

Pet costume contest at 11 a.m.  Parade at 11:30 and kids costume contest at noon.

Willow River State Park

Saturday, October 26 at 5:30 p.m.

Crafts, games, snacks and storytelling – $2 per person

9th Annual Haunted House at Emerald Bend

Saturday, October 26 at 6:00 p.m.

2329 Emerald Bend, Hudson – To support local food shelf

Trick or Treat on Locust Street in Hudson

Wednesday, October 30 from 4 to 7 p.m.

60th Annual Rotary Halloween parade

Thursday, October 31 at Newton Field (near Rock Elementary)

Signup begins at 4 p.m. with parade starting approximately 4:45 p.m.




Common Code Violations Found by Inspectors

October 21st, 2013

The three most popular categories for violations are electrical, plumbing and building/structural.

The most common electrical hazard inspectors find are too many wires plugged into one outlet or switch that can cause a fire.  A lack of GFCI outlets in bathrooms and kitchens and other minor electrical issues like reverse-polarity on outlets are also commonly found.  Most of these are inexpensive repairs that home sellers would benefit from fixing in order to sell their home.

Plumbing issues can sometimes be small fixes also–dripping or leaking faucets, loose toilets, and improper drainage.  Unfortunately, not making these repairs can lead to major problems, so finding and fixing them when they are small is of benefit to everyone.

The third issue is related to building/structural codes.  These would include illegal additions to properties, which mean someone added a room or altered a garage, etc. without a permit.   In addition, roofs tend to be included on this list also due to aging, rotting and wear and tear and possible leaks.

Just remember, the home inspector is only doing their job, and when they find an issue, it is everyone’s benefit to make the repairs.  Home Inspector picture