Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Nov. 19, 2021

Don’t Overlook Your Smallest Spaces

When preparing to sell a home, the costs of common renovations can add up quickly, leading home sellers to look for DIY opportunities to cut costs. Sound familiar to you? We recommend starting your DIY journey in your powder room, a small room where minimal renovations can lead to maximum value.


What Is a “Powder Room?”


A powder room is the name given to a bathroom that is meant for use by guests. A powder room typically lacks a bathtub or shower and is often smaller than the other bathrooms in a home. The meaning behind the name comes from the prohibition days, when women would powder their noses to cover up any redness that came from drinking.


Refreshing a Powder Room

A quick refresh – much like a nose powdering – can help your home make a good impression guests and potential buyers. A simple coat of paint can go a long way. Since powder rooms are small and isolated, feel free to experiment with colors that you might thing are too “showy” or daring for the other rooms in your home. Wallpaper or wallpaper like products are another way to quickly spruce up the walls in a powder room.

Updating your light fixtures can improve the ambiance of a powder room and most lighting swaps can be done without the help of a professional electrician. Speaking of fixtures, updating your sink fixtures, towel racks and other accessories can bring your humble powder room in line with the times without sending your budget into the red.


Not the DIY Type?

Don’t sweat it. If you are hiring a contractor to remodel your bathrooms, the powder room will be the cheapest place to start and is an opportunity to make a great first impression on visitors and potential buyers who need a place to freshen up.

Posted in DIY
Nov. 16, 2021

Q4 Open to Close Newsletter

Posted in Newsletter
Oct. 5, 2021

Will The Sky Continue To Be The Limit On Home Prices

It is possible that there has never been a better time to sell your home than the current market we are living in. Home prices have been rising with seemingly no end in sight.

The continued strength of the housing market has led to some speculation that a bubble may be forming or, even worse, a bubble may be about to burst in a messy scene reminiscent of 2008.

When it comes to transactions as valuable as home sales, it is best to focus on cold, hard facts rather than thoughts, feelings or intuitions.

What do the expert forecasts say about home prices?

Before looking at what is to come, let’s take a moment and think about what is driving the current housing boom. Much of the current hot streak can be tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. People spending more time at home, access to low interest rates, and simulative policies have all been contributing factors in rising housing prices.

Some of those factors are dissipating and, combined with increased housing inventory, the market may start to turn slightly in the direction of buyers. This is still a great seller’s market, but it would not be surprising to see prices soften in some regions as buyers hesitate to purchase homes at the top of their budget and additional homeowners list their homes due to fear of being left out of a historic seller’s market.

One projection from a real estate research firm predicts 2.7% appreciation in the next 12 months, while Freddie Mac expects appreciation of 5.3%.

What does this mean for you?

If you are a potential seller, this is still a great time to sell your home and think about your next steps, whether you are looking to downsize, move, or cash in on your greatest asset. It’s also a time for potential sellers to be alert as the market shows signs of stabilizing.

Posted in Seller's Market
Sept. 28, 2021

2022 Home Price Appreciation Predictions

Home prices in 2021 have been skyrocketing, and competition for properties has been hotter than ever. The exact reason behind the rapid and unexpected rise in home values is unknown but can be partially attributed to the pandemic. The hot housing market is causing a low supply of homes, and many buyers and owners wonder if prices will continue to rise in 2022 in the Wisconsin real estate market. Here is an overview of home price appreciation predictions for the following year. 

Home Price Appreciation in Wisconsin Predictions


Real estate company CoreLogic predicts the demand for housing will continue to increase in 2022. Given the rising need for properties, the single-family housing market is projected to be undersupplied by nearly 4.5 million homes in the next year. Home values are also expected to continue rising. For instance, The Home Price Expectation Survey predicts that property values will increase by over 5% in 2022. Further, here are four home appreciation predictions for next year from major U.S. real estate companies: 


      The National Association of Realtors: 4.4% 

      Fannie Mae: 5.1% 

      Freddie Mac: 5.3% 

      The Mortgage Bankers Association: 8.4% 


While home prices are forecasted to level off in the next year, the supply of housing units is likely to be lower than the demand for years to come. 

Housing Market Supply and Demand 


In many cities around the U.S., properties sell a few days after they go on the market. If you are planning to buy a property in the next year, you should work with Wisconsin real estate agents to ensure you can tour properties as soon as they become available.  

Partner With Open to Close Real Estate Group


Are you looking for the best real estate agents in Wisconsin? Open to Close Real Estate Group is a respected leader in the Wisconsin real estate industry. Contact us now to set up an appointment with one of our experienced agents. 

Sept. 2, 2021

What Will Happen When COVID Forbearance Ends?

Many have suffered significant financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, the government stepped in with some help. Part of that help was mortgage forbearance for homeowners with government-backed mortgages. The CARES Act grants up to 12 months of forbearance.


The forbearance period has been extended more than once. However, as the economy slowly returns to normal, individuals will be faced with the end of forbearance.


What Are Your Options After Your Forbearance Plan Ends?


After your forbearance plan ends, a number of options will be available.

Such options include: modifying your loan, increasing payments over a period of time and deferring payments.


If you choose to defer payments, the payments you missed will be added onto the end of your loan. There will be no additional interest or late fees. You will owe the payments when and if you pay off the loan, refinance, or sell.


Lenders are not allowed to require you to make the payments as a lump sum, but you have the option of doing so. For example, this may occur if you had a life insurance payment or other lump sum.


What Are Those in Power Doing to Prevent Foreclosures?


In addition to extending the enrollment period, the Biden administration is allowing borrowers to modify government-backed loans to reduce payment amounts. This includes enhanced loss mitigation tools, a zero-interest subordinate lien to support deferred payments, and a modification to reduce the P&I portion by 25 percent.


If you are coming out of a period of forbearance and cannot pay, you may have no option but to sell your home. For those in this situation, Open to Close Real Estate Group can help. Contact us to find out how we can help you sell your home, and perhaps find a new home you can better afford.

Posted in Financing a Home
July 26, 2021

Quarterly Newsletter Q2 2021

Posted in Monthly Newsletter
July 21, 2021

Guide to Buying a Home in a Seller's Market

If you are a buyer who is interested in purchasing a home, you must know you are entering a seller’s market. In such a market, sellers have more power to dictate the prices of homes, so you must prepare before you start your search for your next home. Here is a guide to help you navigate a seller’s market.


Seek Out Homes Under Your Budget So You Can Bid Up


In a seller’s market, it is not uncommon for multiple people to bid on a single home. This can be difficult to deal with as a buyer, but there are ways to handle such situations. Avoid seeking out homes at the top of your budget, primarily because you can always count on someone outbidding you.


Get Preapproved for a Mortgage


There are countless tactics sellers can use to obtain a home in a seller’s market, but one rule numerous experts agree on is to get preapproved for a mortgage before you start searching for a home. A mortgage preapproval will show sellers you mean serious business and are ready to move. According to Bank of America, roughly two-thirds of mortgage pre-approval applicants were first-time homeowners.


Find the Right Real Estate Agent 


A phenomenal real estate agent can be your best secret weapon in a seller’s market. Not only will a great agent have excellent negotiation skills and a strong understanding of the area you are interested in, but they will also have great connections, which you can use to your advantage. Before you hire a real estate agent, you should take the time to look at their reviews and meet with people they have worked within the past. Once you narrow down your list to the top contenders, you should ask each one the following questions:

      Do you have access to unlisted properties?

      How familiar are you with the area I’m interested in?

      What are your fees?

      How can you make my offer stand out in such a competitive market?

Once your potential agents answer the questions above, you will know who to choose.


Contact Us


If you are ready to purchase your next home, we would be more than happy to assist you, no matter what the market looks like. Contact Open to Close Real Estate Group today to learn more. 

Posted in Seller's Market
June 15, 2021

Top Reasons to Sell Your House Now

If you are considering moving, now is the time to sell.  Demand proves extremely high as individuals reevaluate where they live, and the home amenities they wish for. It is truly a seller’s market. Here are some reasons why:


Low Inventory


There are not enough homes on the market to meet the current demand. In many areas, the housing shortage has reached historic levels. Houses are being taken off the market extremely quickly. While new construction is picking up, it was depressed during the pandemic. Additionally, a shortage of lumber has increased the price of new builds. Your home is likely to be considered by many buyers, at high price points.


Prices Are Up


Overall, prices are up, and homes are selling for the asking price. Now is the right time to price your home high and let the buyers come to you. There is a good a chance that a bidding war will allow you to get a price above your initial asking price. Even better, you're more likely to be able to sell your home "as is" rather than having to engage in expensive repairs.


Mortgage Rates Are Low


Mortgage rates may rise in the future. However, currently, they remain low. As buyers are widely advised to take advantage of this, demand has only increased.


Needs Have Changed


Following the onset of COVID-19, people have re-evaluated what they wish for in a home. As homes have become much more than a place to return to at the end of the end, many have realized they would like more home amenities. Such amenities include as an office space, at home gym and larger yard.

Of course, all of this impacts you as a buyer too. However, if you are savvy, specific about your needs and get the best deal on your existing home, you can still take advantage of the sellers' market. A good real estate agent can help buyers and sellers come out on top amidst the current market.

Posted in Selling Your Home
May 17, 2021

How To Secure Your Dream Home in the Current Seller's Market

Demand for homes is high, and the pandemic only made it higher. It really is a sellers' market right now, and many buyers are struggling to find the right home in limited inventory.

How can you navigate the market and find your dream home?

Get Pre-approved

Ensure you are pre-approved (not just an initial estimate) before you start looking. Your offer will have more credibility over competing offers. Pre-approval ensures you do not risk losing your dream home to somebody else.

Establish Price Discipline

In a sellers' market you can't get away with counter offers and lowball tactics. Don't bother with an offer below the asking price, and go for an initial bid of slightly above. At the same time, don't get carried away and bid more than you can afford. Set a firm limit and don't go above it. 

If bidding goes too high, you may find that you are offering more than the home is appraised for. If this happens, your loan may not be approved. Consider talking to your lender first to get a rough idea of what they think it will appraise for.

Making a list price offer quickly can often secure the home if the seller's agent is lazy, but you must be ready to bid.

Show Cash

If possible, show more cash than you normally would as earnest money. Find out what a good earnest money deposit in your area is, then increase it. This helps show the seller you are serious and will help get your offer considered, sometimes even over ones which are slightly higher.

Be Flexible

You can't afford to be too choosy about the perfect house. Make a list of your criteria and prioritize. Consider which things cannot be changed, such as location, over things which can.

You should additionally be flexible about contract deadlines. The seller might appreciate a little bit of extra time to move out.

Getting your dream home in a sellers' market involves finding a good buyers' agent who can help you establish what to bid and avoid pitfalls such as paying more than the home is worth. Combined with these tips, you can be successful in finding the house you want for the price you can afford.

Posted in Market Updates
April 13, 2021

April Newsletter




Posted in Monthly Newsletter