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!

April 13, 2021

April Newsletter




Posted in Monthly Newsletter
April 5, 2021

2021 Real Estate Forecast

The housing market has been affected by COVID-19 in somewhat unpredictable ways. The combination of the down economy and an increase in the number of people wanting to buy has resulted in tight inventory, increased demand, and higher prices.

Housing Price Forecast for 2021

Experts believe that house prices are going to continue to be very competitive. Some people are moving to permanent work-from-home and looking for a larger house in the suburbs, open plans are becoming much less desirable, and this is resulting in a high demand. Meanwhile, new builds are down due to the slowdown of construction last spring.

In December, the typical U.S. home was worth $266,104, an 8.4% increase over the previous year and the largest increase since 2014. While this was in part fueled by historic lows in mortgage rates, rates should stay low for the first half of the year and then start to rise in the second. This will slow the housing market a little, but not enough to stabilize prices. Those looking to buy should consider moving as soon as possible.

New builds are now increasing dramatically, which should also slow down the price increases, but there is not enough inventory coming into the market to meet demand. This has been the case for the past decade, and the pandemic has only made it worse.

How the Market Looks for Buyers

As prices increase, there is pressure to buy as soon as possible, but with inventory down 30% as of February 2021, it is definitely a seller's market right now. Some might benefit from holding off for another year if possible. Supply is more plentiful at the high end, so if you have the budget you might be better off.

But now is not a great time to buy. In fact, despite high demand, sales volumes have actually dropped simply because there is so little to buy. This is a time buyers need an expert real estate agent to help them find the right property, especially as homes are staying on the market a short period of time. New builds are generally more available, but more expensive.

How the Market Looks for Sellers

If you are looking to sell, on the other hand, now is a great long as you can find a place to move to. The mismatch is likely to result in more people relocating into temporary rental accommodation.

The demand is high enough that you can expect your home to sell quickly, and demand is unlikely to ease for a while. Supply, however, might, as many people are waiting until after the pandemic to move out.

The economy is likely to improve significantly through 2021 and into 2022, and this should make the housing pressure slowly ease off. Right now, though, buyers in particular need expert help to find the right home. Open To Close Real Estate Group can help you buy or sell your home (or both) and deal with the current tight inventory and tough market.

Posted in Market Updates
March 15, 2021

March Newsletter

Posted in Monthly Newsletter
March 8, 2021

Critical Considerations When Choosing A Real Estate Agent

It would be difficult to find a better time to sell your home than NOW. We are in a sellers' market. But, whether you are buying or selling a home, you'll need expert advice to negotiate the current landscape. Open to Close Real Estate Group is your home away from home in Madison WI for real estate expertise.


Should I Hire A Real Estate Agent?

The tendency is to enlist the help of a relative or friend who is a realtor, or even go the For Sale By Owner route. However, you are much better off hiring an independent realtor who can advise you without prejudice. There are important questions you should ask when you are interviewing an agent -- or two or three agents:


Let's look at some critical questions:

  • Ask the agent how long they've worked in the local market: What are the trends? Where are the neighborhoods with new construction and revitalization?
  • Ask the agent financial questions: How much can you afford in this market? What about getting pre-approved? How much do they think you can afford (and do you agree)? Ask for help understanding the true costs of homeownership in your area.
  • Ask the agent for referrals: Yes, it's awkward, but do it anyway, and then follow up.
  • Ask the agent about fees: You don't necessarily want to choose the agent with the lowest fees, but you should understand them.
  • Ask the agent if they are full-time or part-time: You want someone with the time needed to find you a home or negotiate your sale.

There are other questions you may have, or you may not even know yet what to ask, and we'll supply some of our own on this journey. We want to understand your goals and desires in order to connect you to the right home, the right resources, or the right buyer.


Consider Madison

Madison is the vibrant capital of Wisconsin, as well as the picturesque home of the University of Wisconsin. It is located near four beautiful lakes, and boasts many bike trails and parks. We know and love the area, and we want you to have the best experience possible. We hope you'll also call it home!



Let us help you do an Advanced Search or create a Market Report on available properties. We'll develop a strategy with you and help you have a smooth experience through an often complicated and very detailed process. Please contact us today. We are eager to earn your trust.

Posted in Choosing an Agent
Feb. 11, 2021

February 2021 Newsletter

Posted in Monthly Newsletter
Feb. 8, 2021

Why is it the Best Time to Sell Your Home in Madison, WI?

The real estate market is experiencing a steady decline in the supply of houses for sale. Housing undersupply occurs just when the demand for houses is tremendously high, and there are over 4.8 million young people willing to purchase their first home.

Buyer demand is very high; any listing on the market is going quickly. The short supply of houses only signals an acceleration in prices, as demand rises steadily in 2021. For HOME  sellers in Southern Wisconsin, the lack of inventory is good news. 

It is the ideal time to sell your home

Most home sellers are hesitant to sell due to market instability created by the pandemic. In Wisconsin, sales declined after the pandemic, and currently, the market is still experiencing shortages.

The good news is that the low inventory is fueling more demand, and you will sell your home for top dollar. Typically, your home will sell within days due to the high demand for houses.

Mortgage rates are low

Lenders have significantly reduced their mortgage rates to encourage home buyers to borrow more despite the market uncertainties.  The low mortgage rates are boosting the purchasing power of buyers, consequently increasing the demand for homes.

The trend is quite advantageous for you as a seller, and the pent-up demand is creating high competition for houses. Since there is a supply drain in the market, your property will fetch more and sell faster.

The low inventory might be short-lived

The real estate MARKET is experiencing stability after months of uncertainties due to the pandemic. Most sellers who were hesitant to list their homes might start penetrating the market. Now is the time to sell your home since future trends in the real estate market are unpredictable.

Seek professional guidance in the process of selling your home

If you want professional help when listing your home, Open to Close Real Estate Group can help. Our realtors will ensure your house is listed competitively. Contact us at 608-354-3076 or fill out our online intake form.


Posted in Market Updates
Jan. 18, 2021

Pre-Approval vs. Pre-Qualification

Pre-approval vs. pre-qualification. The two terms sound similar, and both pose as helpful steps in the home-buying process. However, what exactly is the difference between pre-approval and pre-qualification, and why is pre-approval deemed more beneficial?

What Is Mortgage Pre-Qualification? 


Pre-qualification entails your lender assessing your creditworthiness, to determine what mortgage amount you are eligible for. However, pre-qualification solely serves as a rough estimate of the mortgage amount you will be able to obtain. This is due to the fact that pre-qualification does not involve a thorough investigation of your financial history. To receive a pre-qualification letter, you are asked to report financial information such as your income, existing debts and your credit score. However, no financial documents are required when reporting this information. The lender relies on your word only and is unaware of the true accuracy of the numbers you provide.


The pre-qualification process can be helpful at the beginning of your house hunting process, serving as a rough preview of what mortgage amount you qualify for. However, a mortgage pre-approval is a more crucial element of the home search process when compared to a pre-qualification.


Why Is a Mortgage Pre-Approval More Important Than a Mortgage Pre-Qualification? 


Unlike a pre-qualification letter, a pre-approval letter grants you the leverage you need in the current competitive market. In the face of a bidding war, a pre-approval cements your financial reliability, serving as proof to sellers you are financially equipped to purchase a home.

An additional difference between pre-approval and pre-qualification is that pre-approval entails an extensive reviewal of your financial history and documentation. Due to this, a pre-approval is a more accurate statement of what mortgage you qualify for. In order to receive pre-approval, documents required to be submitted include, but are surely not limited to, pay stubs, tax returns, statements detailing outstanding loans, bank account statements and divorce settlements. Additionally, a credit check is conducted.

Gathering these documents may prove as a meticulous process. However, the process is worth it in the end. A pre-approval letter is the paperwork you need to prove reliability to the seller and saves time and energy for everyone involved in your home buying process. You, sellers and your realtor will benefit from an avoidance of exploring homes that do viably not fit into your budget.

If You Are Seeking Guidance in the Process of Buying a Home


If you are looking for a real estate agent who can aid you in the process of securing your ideal home, contact Open to Close Real Estate Group. Our realtors have the contacts and knowledge necessary to routinely maximize the favorability of our clients’ transactions. Let us serve as your trusted advisors during your home buying process. Contact us: 608-354-3076 our fill out our online intake form.

Posted in Financing a Home
Jan. 8, 2021

January 2021 Newsletter


Posted in Monthly Newsletter
Dec. 16, 2020

Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

Gearing up to buy your first home is exciting. However, the home buying process entails numerous intricacies. Before you set out on your home search, it is important to keep certain pointers in mind.


Get Pre-Approved


As a first-time homebuyer, it could be tempting to set out on the enticing home search process immediately. However, it is crucial to first obtain a mortgage pre-approval. A pre-approval letter informs you on what you will be able to afford, which is important information that will avoid time wasted on considering houses that are either above or below your budget. A mortgage pre-approval also provides leverage when dealing with sellers, as the confirmation from a lender that you have the financial resources necessary to close a deal is important. In fact, some sellers will not even consider an offer if a mortgage pre-approval is not presented. Refer to our previous blog for information on what the pre-approval process entails.


Effectively Pinpoint Your Needs


Make a list that includes everything you want in your future home and the surrounding community. This will serve as a reminder as to what you are looking for when you are comparing homes. Take your present and future lifestyle into consideration and identify what amenities and/or characteristics you would like your surrounding community to have. Drive by properties you are considering, in order to gain a better feel for traffic patterns, nearby schools, or other factors that are relevant to your search. Do not forget to additionally take into account if there are certain individuals or family members you are looking to live close to. These are all relevant considerations when looking at properties.

Find a Real Estate Agent to Represent You


The existence of the COVID-19 pandemic has made many of us used to making purchases solely with the help of ourselves, and sufficient internet access. During the home search however, the aid of an experienced real estate agent is paramount. A real estate agent is equipped to serve as your trusted advisor when making one of the biggest purchases of your lifetime. Your agent will aid in completing the abundance of paperwork necessary during the home-buying process and will pinpoint properties that fit your reality of a dream purchase. Your agent will ensure you are accurately informed on up-to-date market standards of your area. This is the information you necessary for formulating an initial offer. Additionally, your real estate agent will be able to effectively negotiate with the seller, to ultimately secure you the home of your dreams at the most beneficial price point.


The First Step to Finding Your Dream Home


If you are seeking guidance in the home buying process, contact Open to Close Real Estate Group. The home search process is a serious endeavor but becomes a seamless experience if you have an experienced advisor by your side. Our realtors routinely ensure our clients’ transactions results favorably.  Contact us: 608-354-3076 or fill out our online intake form.

Nov. 6, 2020

What Does the Mortgage Pre-Approval Process Entail?

What is mortgage pre-approval?


Obtaining a pre-approval letter from your mortgage lender is crucial, as it indicates you have successfully proven you have the financial resources to pay a mortgage. In order to obtain pre-approval, you must present key financial documents to illustrate a picture of your financial situation. What exact documents do you need to provide the lender in order to obtain pre-approval?


Documents Necessary to Obtain Mortgage Pre-Approval


Proof of Income and Employment Status


Lenders require you to prove your income is stable. This is proven by providing employment and salary details, such as the presentation of your least two years’ pay stubs, last two years’ tax returns and last two years’ W-2 wage statements. For self-employed individuals, the lender will typically take the average of reported income from the past two years. All of this information is crucial for the lender to examine, as it proves whether or not you will be able to consistently handle mortgage payments.


Asset Proof


Proof of assets including savings, owned property or investments shows a lender that if your employment status changes or your income level drops, you will still have access to funds necessary to pay your loans. This examination of assets also confirms if you have proper funds for the down payment and closing costs of a home.


Credit Score


You must indicate you have good credit before you are granted a pre-approval letter. The lender will look at your credit history and three-digit credit score. This information indicates how well you typically manage money, and if you pay your bills consistently. It is advisable to check your credit score at least six-months prior to starting the pre-approval process, to ensure there are no surprises or inaccuracies.


Additional Documents


In order to prove your identity, you will need to provide some personal information, such as you Social Security number, and a copy of your driver’s license or passport. This also allows for your credit scores to be checked.  


Pre-Approval Process Is Worth It in the End


The pre-approval process requires meticulous presentation of a handful of documents. However, the process is worth it in the end. Once you are successfully granted a mortgage pre-approval letter, you gain many advantages. Pre-approval indicates the exact amount of money a lender is willing to loan you, which guides you during the home search process. It also makes you appear more desirable to sellers, because a pre-approval letter indicates you have the financial resources to move forward in the home-buying process.


Home-Buying Process Made Easy


If you are looking for a seasoned realtor to guide you through the home buying process, contact Open to Close Real Estate Group. We ensure you are guided each step of the way, to aid you in seamlessly settling on your dream home. Our realtors have relationships and the knowledge to know which lenders to use in the area for each different type of scenario or situation.  With an extensive history of leading clients to success, we pride ourselves in personalizing our service to your needs. Contact us: 608-354-3076 or fill out our online intake form.

Posted in Financing a Home