“Mmmm, Smells Like Fall”

October 1, 2010 at 3:08 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Autumn is finally here! After a long miserably hot, humid summer, we finally have relief and I couldn’t be happier. Cool weather has finally arrived and it’s so much easier to breathe, ha ha. Why is fall my favorite season? Well, let me tell you…

I think the best thing about fall, after the cooler weather, is of course the changing of the leaves. The colors are so varied and vibrant ranging from green to gold to orange and red…sometimes you even get lucky enough to see different shades of purple!  There’s just something in the air in Wisconsin in the fall. It smells different…like fall. I know that sounds funny, but it’s something that we actually say in our house. Open the door, stick your head out, take a deep breath…”Mmmm, smells like fall”.

Something happens to my spirit during autumn.  Is it the coming holidays? The fact that the kids are back in school? Possibly the wonderful aroma of spiced cider, the joy of a  juicy apple freshly picked off a tree at the orchard, tailgate parties, squirrels foraging for nuts, crunchy leaves or something held over from my childhood? Who knows… Who cares?

So put on your turtleneck, don your barn coat and set out on a walk by the lake…or try a scenic drive.  Don’t forget your camera, to snap some photos of the wonderful-ness of it all.

Happy Fall, Everyone!


Is Staging Really Important?

June 14, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Posted in Misc, Selling, Staging | Leave a comment
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In a word…YES!  Staging is preparing your house for sale…kind of like detailing your car before you sell it. Putting your house in it’s best possible light will get you the highest amount of money for your house, and… get it sold faster than if you hadn’t staged.

So how do you stage a house? Well, um…you can call a professional stager and pay anywhere from $100 to $4000 (or even more in major metro areas),or  you could do it yourself.

Should you decide to do it yourself, here are 6 basic tips:

1.) De-clutter- This is the most important thing you can do (after realistic pricing) to help sell your house.

2.) De-personalize- Remove, or better yet, pack up all your personal items.

3.) Deep clean- If you have to…hire a professional. Even if it’s only once.

4.) Remove large furniture pieces.

5.) Don’t forget the outside, curb appeal is SO important.

6.) Empty your kitchen counters of everything except a coffee maker, canisters and a bowl of fruit or veggies.

These are just basic things you can do. If you did these 6 things and nothing more, you would still have a better chance of getting your house sold and at the price you want than doing nothing. If you would like more information on  other staging ideas, contact me.

Happy Staging!

What I love about Twin Lakes

June 3, 2010 at 5:00 am | Posted in Area Interests | Leave a comment
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I have lived in many places in my life.  Twin Lakes, WI is my current home and I must say, I believe I have the best of all worlds. Twin Lakes is a small village where there is almost never any traffic. There are an abundance of spring fed and sparkling clean lakes in every direction. Our parks can’t be beat, they are clean, well maintained and free. Twin Lakes is just 12 minutes from beautiful Lake Geneva where you can take a narrated boat tour, ride in a horse drawn carriage and shop to your hearts content.

Spring in Twin Lakes finds many lakefront homeowners readying their lots and lake fronts. Putting in the piers and boats,  cleaning up the landscaping and sprucing up their summer (or weekend) homes. The air smells different each of the 4 seasons in Twin Lakes, WI. It usually smells of flowers and blossoming trees but occasionally the smell of natural fertilizer from the nearby dairy farms let’s you know that spring has indeed arrived.

Twin Lakes comes alive every summer starting with the Memorial Day weekend. Boating, picnics and BBQ’s are quite common on any day of the week.  4 days of partying, Country music and camping highlight our summer every July when Country Thunder comes to town, with the likes of Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Sugarland, JoDee Messina, Billy Currington, and many others.

Summers at the beach are a favorite past time of many. Lake Mary in Twin Lakes has a public beach with boat launch and every Wednesday at 6 pm you can watch the Aquanuts ski show at no charge. Lake Elizabeth in Twin Lakes (the lower lake) has a public boat launch on E. Lakeshore Drive and a few small public beaches on the west side of the lake. Sunrises and Sunsets are gorgeous in Twin Lakes. Independence Day is celebrated with Libertyfest at the lakefront at Lance Park following the July 4th parade.However, not always celebrated on the 4th.

In the fall, the beauty of the leaves turning from green to gold, orange and red along the lake, is something to behold. The air is crisp and the traffic on the lakes slows as piers are removed from the water and boats are stored for the winter. Long walks with that special someone are relaxing and peaceful. In September and October, area apple orchards are bursting with apples of all varieties for picking, as well as homemade goodies and gifts for sale.

Winters are beautiful as the area gets blanketed with snow. The lakes freeze over and ice fishing, snowmobiling and skating take place. The holiday decorations go up and a winter parade can usually be seen mid December, as well as the Chamber’s “Trees on Parade” and the annual tree lighting  in the center of town.

If antiques appeal to you, Richmond, Illinois is just a two minute drive down Rt. 12 where you can find homemade candy and ice cream, bistros and quaint shops. Every Friday in Summer, Dog-N-Suds hosts “Cruise Richmond” where old time cars are on display for your enjoyment.

So what do I love about Twin Lakes, WI?

EVERYTHING! And I’m sure you will too! Come find out for yourself.

Times Have Changed…or Have They?

June 1, 2010 at 5:20 am | Posted in Buying | Leave a comment
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With the first time home buyer tax credit behind us, and still an over abundance of homes for sale to choose from, excellent bank rates, and sellers negotiating like crazy, it’s a wonder EVERYONE doesn’t own a home!

Just a few short years ago (2003) when my husband Dan and I were purchasing our 3rd home (we are now in our 4th) we were discussing how expensive real estate was and how fast the prices were rising (housing bubble). We wondered how our children would ever be able to afford a decent house. We lived in that 3rd house for 3 years and made $70,000 profit when we sold. WE were happy that the housing prices were skyrocketing (for our sake) and were able to profit from it, but were dismayed about our 4 [soon to be] grown children finding affordable acceptable housing. We certainly didn’t want them living with us forever!

Then the housing bubble slowly began to deflate. September 2007…I didn’t think the market would get any worse. You see, in all my years I had never, and I mean NEVER seen the housing market depreciate. Never. I didn’t think it could happen. It just didn’t seem logical to me. But, it did and it got worse…and worse…and worse still. So bad in fact that two of our children have been able to buy houses! They have mortgage payments that are lower than rent and actually lower than the mortgage payment we had on our first house we bought way back in 1978, when we purchased it for $65,900 at 10% interest (and yes, we were quite happy to lock in at 10% too). I thought those days were gone forever. Happily they are here for a while. Happily, because now those who never thought they would be able to afford to buy a home, can and are! Happily because now our children can experience the pride of home ownership, and living on their own. And one day Dan and I will be living on our own, yippee!

No one can say when this market will turn around. We won’t for sure when it’s hit bottom until the market starts going back up. So, I would say that if you’d like to take advantage the great interest rates and huge inventory of affordable housing, you’ll need to move fast (pun intended). Contact a lender, find out what your budget is and then get out and start looking before you regret it! You’ll be glad you did…and maybe your parents will be too : )

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