Tag Archives: real estate in Walworth County

A Time to Give

Keefe Kares check presentation to LG Food Pantry
Members of the Keefe Kares Team present a check to the Lake Geneva Food Pantry #GivingTuesday

Here at Keefe Real Estate, we feel that it is important that we give back in a tangible and meaningful way to help improve the quality of life in the communities we serve. Though giving back has always been something we value, we started Keefe Foundation, Inc. in 2006 as a matching funds program. Since then the Keefe Foundation has evolved into Keefe Kares, a program that is now so much more.

A big part of fundraising efforts by the Keefe Kares team at Keefe Real Estate, goes towards supporting the local food pantries in Walworth County. These local shelters help support families and individuals in Walworth County who may be going through tough times.

“I can’t thank you enough for your support. Your generosity means so much to the nearly 200 people and children we serve each year; gifts like this help families stay together and get back on their feet.” – Twin Oaks Shelter

How can you help? Contact your local food pantries in Walworth County to learn more about supporting families in need during the holiday season.


Lake Geneva Food Pantry

First Congregational United Church of Christ
715 Wisconsin Street
Lake Geneva, WI 53147

WC Resource Center Food Pantry
N3252 Hwy H
Lake Geneva WI  53147
Wednesdays 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.;
Saturdays 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Serves all of Walworth County

Mount Zion Christian Church
2330 Hwy 120
Lake Geneva, WI 53147
Saturday –  9 – 11 a.m.


Chapel on the Hill
N2440 Ara Glenn Drive
Williams Bay, WI 53191
Emergencies only. No regular hours.


Elkhorn Food Pantry
14 W Geneva Street
Elkhorn, WI 53121
Monday –  9.- 11 a.m.
Wednesday –  9 – 11 a.m.
Friday –  9 – 11 a.m.
Serves only people in Elkhorn Area School District


St. Catherine Catholic Church
125 Pearl Street
Sharon, WI 53585
Call for appointment


Delavan United Methodist Church Food Pantry
Delavan, WI – 53115
Food Pantry Location: 7.17 miles from Walworth Hours: Wednesdays 9:00 am – 12:00pm and 1:00pm – 3:00pm

St. Andrew’s Catholic Church
7th & Walworth Avenue.
Delavan, WI 53115
Saturday  –  8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
262-728-4438 or 262-728-6567 (Emergency #)


Twin Oaks Homeless Shelter
W9665 US Highway 14
Darien, WI 53114
262-882-3662 (For Shelter residents only)


2861 Austin Street – Village of East Troy Garage (rear)
East Troy WI  53120
Tuesday – 7:30 – 11 a.m.
Thursday – 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Friday –  9 – 11 a.m.


Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry
United Methodist Church
518 Booth Street
Genoa City, WI 53128
Thursday –  9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. or by appointment
262-279-6448 | 262-279-3270


Corner Stone Church
1553 Church Street
Lyons, WI 53148
Call for appointment Only


Immanuel United Church of Christ
111 Fremont Street
Walworth, WI 53184
Friday –  2 – 4 p.m.
Saturday –  9 – 11 a.m.

(Fontana, Walworth, & Zenda areas only)


National Guard Armory
146 West North Street
Whitewater, WI 53190
Wednesday –  9 am – noon. Thursday –  9 am – noon. Other times by appointment. Wheelchair accessible.

About Keefe Kares:

Under the Keefe Foundation, Keefe Kares collects and matches funds from our agents and employees. Based on guidelines it has established, the Keefe Kares Board then distributes these funds to charitable 501 c 3 service organizations. Keefe Kares members also volunteer their time. They serve on non-profit boards and committees, coach or mentor others, and provide hours of service to local charities and their events.

To finish each year, the foundation hosts an annual Keefe Kares Celebration to acknowledge the hard work of the organizations that we support. The event includes silent and live auctions, food and entertainment. Though the annual event is a part of the funds that we collect and distribute each year, the primary focus is on celebrating the communities that we support.

To learn more about Keefe Kares visit our website at www.keeferealestate.com/keefekares

Keefe Real Estate Charitable Foundation

72 Open Houses This Weekend in Lake Geneva, Elkhorn and SE Wisconsin

lake geneva open house
July 19th – 20th, 72 Open Houses in SE Wisconsin

Keefe Real Estate is having a company wide Open House Extravaganza this weekend!

Saturday & Sunday (July 19-20) we have put together an open house event that will have you grabbing your keys and heading out on tour.  Our real estate agents have planned 72 open houses this weekend.  Whether you’re looking for a home in Elkhorn, Delavan, Lake Geneva, Paddock Lake, Williams Bay, Fontana, Wheatland or Walworth, we’ve set up a time to open the home to public tour.

If you have not yet connected with a real estate agent, our agents will be happy to assist you with your search.  For a full list of properties on tour as well as the exact times of the open houses, click here to visit our open house listings.

We look forward to answering your questions and helping you to find the perfect home.  For a guided tour, use our “Live Chat” feature on our website or call our office and speak to one of our Realtors.

Keefe Lake Geneva – (262) 248-4492
Keefe Burlington – (262) 763-5454
Keefe Delavan – (262) 728-8757
Keefe Elkhorn – (262) 743-1770
Keefe Geneva National – (262) 245-2380
Keefe Abbey Springs – (262) 275-5736
Keefe Downtown Lake Geneva Office – (262) 249-5441

3 Tips to Pricing your Wisconsin Home for Sale

Lake Geneva Real Estate is a game of numbers.

In reality, no matter where you are buying or selling real estate in Wisconsin or Illinois it comes down to the numbers.  The number the buyer is willing to pay.  The number the seller has the property listed for.  The number of showings before a buyer writes an offer.  The number of days on the market.  The number of homes comparable to yours.  The number of homes sold.

lake geneva property for saleWe’ll be the first to tell you, if you’re not a numbers person, then you definitely want to work with a Realtor that has a firm handle on the numbers surrounding our local real estate market.  When looking to list your home for sale, setting your price correctly from the beginning is critically important.  Regardless of if you are selling your first home or you have a Lake Geneva lakefront property, setting your listing price is a pivotal piece of the real estate puzzle.  After all, the infamous Candy Spelling Estate in Bel-Air, California listed for $150 million, yet sold for just $85 million.  What the article doesn’t say is how long it was on the market!

So here’s 3 tips to help you price your Wisconsin property for sale:

1.  Look at SOLD comparables - those are the homes that have gotten the desired outcome you are aiming for, a successful closing.  Discuss with your Realtor those properties and how they compare to your home.  Number of bedrooms, baths, condition and location all played a part in why they sold.  Find out more about those properties and that will help you determine where to position your home.

2.  Compare what is on the market now and how long it’s been listed (days on market) - If you’re seeing many homes priced higher than what has sold in the last 6 months, you may think “Yeah, the market is dramatically improving.”  But remember, what has sold is the TRUTH about the market.  So you want to price your home to get results.  If your price is way to high, you’ll sit on the market for sale for a long time, you may or may not have any showings, and any buyers that do come through will see much better value in homes priced lower than yours.

3.  Make your house shine - Both figuratively and literally.  From a pricing standpoint, be competitive.  While we’ve had a good amount of activity over the last year, prices have not appreciated to where they were pre-2005.  So price according to today’s market so you’re inline with buyers’ expectations.  Lastly, do those little things that make a big difference in the eyes of the buyers.  Make sure your curb appeal draws people in so they want to call your Wisconsin property home.  Inside, freshen up the paint, clean the carpets and neutralize your rooms by packing or storing any unnecessary personal items.  Family photos, holiday decor, sports equipment, all can add up to make your rooms appear smaller and cluttered. By neutralizing you’re helping the buyer to see themselves living in your home.  When you can tie into their emotional desire to call a property home, then you’ll see success in the form of an offer.

To discuss your Wisconsin property and see what has sold in your neighborhood, contact a Realtor at Keefe Real Estate.  We have 7 offices in Southeastern Wisconsin to best serve you.   You can also do a live chat online with a Keefe Realtor right now!  Click the chat bubble on the right and be connected to one of our Realtors immediately.  We’ll answer your questions, help you understand the real estate market as the numbers show today and then price your home so you can get it sold.

Bedroom2We’re looking forward to helping you price your Wisconsin home for sale so you and your family can have peace of mind!

Keefe Lake Geneva – (262) 248-4492
Keefe Burlington – (262) 763-5454
Keefe Delavan – (262) 728-8757
Keefe Elkhorn – (262) 743-1770
Keefe Geneva National – (262) 245-2380
Keefe Abbey Springs – (262) 275-5736
Downtown Lake Geneva Office – (262) 249-5441

FacebookF100Want more real estate tips to help you buy or sell your next home?  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest for real estate advice and ideas on how your home improvement projects can help you sell for more money and faster than your neighbor’s house!

Yes – Curb Appeal IS a Really Big Deal when selling your home

If you’ve watched HGTV for hours on end, or you’ve followed real estate websites you continue to hear the gurus talking about how important your curb appeal is.

Well, we’ve got news for you… Curb Appeal IS a really, REALLY big deal! 

curb appeal selling my house lake geneva wiIt is especially true when you’re trying to sell your home in Southeastern Wisconsin.  Real Estate involves more than sticking a sign in the ground and hoping the right buyer drives past at the perfect time and writes you an out of this world offer.  Truth:  Real estate doesn’t work that way.  It takes planning and work to get your home ready to list and then marketed to the fullest.  With that said, we want to help you with a few tips to help your curb appeal so the buyers will follow through and request a showing to see more!

1.  Maintain the roof, chimney & gutters!  Make sure you don’t have any missing shingles and that the roof isn’t at the end of it’s life.  The same can be said for your chimney, no missing bricks and if any of the mortar is loose, have a chimney professional come out and tuck-point it.  With gutters, make sure they are cleaned out (we don’t want to see last years acorns growing into trees out of your gutters.)

2.  Maintain your windows & trim!  We all hear about spring and fall cleaning.  Well the time is now, when you’re planning on listing your Wisconsin home for sale to wash all your windows, inside & out.  Let the light in and showcase the home you are so proud of better.  You’ll also want to make sure that all the exterior trim is in good condition.  If you’re seeing peeling paint, buyers are thinking “needs too much work” even if you’ve completely renovated your entire kitchen, baths and family room inside.

3.  Get the grime off!  While it may have been very low on your priority list (if even on the list at all) now is a good time to have the exterior of your home power washed.  It’ll show how nice your siding or brick exterior is.  It’ll also get rid of any unsavory mildew that has potentially sprouted on the North side of your home that doesn’t get the sun.

4.  Make your entrance welcoming!  Now would be the perfect time to update your front door.  Install something as nice as you can afford.  Buyers appreciate a high end door that features a window or transom windows on either side.  While you’re working around the door, pick up some classy new house numbers that are easy to see from the road and look polished.  Lighting is also a major contributor to curb appeal.  Make sure your yard light is in tune with your entry, whether it be a porch, or along your driveway.

5.  Upgrade your mailbox!  With so many options on the market these days, a cheap, dented metal mailbox will give the wrong impression about your home.  Sometimes, neighborhoods have a uniform look and you’ll want to comply with what the standards are.  Take a visit to your local home improvement store to see what options would look best when you’re looking at your home from the street as buyers will be doing.

FrontPorch1By spending the time to get your Southeastern Wisconsin home polished and ready before you list it for sale, you’ll be pleased to see the buyers being more committed and writing you a stronger offer.  What is a “minor repair” in your eyes as a homeowner, spells $$ to buyers.  And unless you are selling your home as a fixer upper, buyers want to get the best value for a home in excellent condition that they can move into immediately with their family!

If you aren’t sure which projects are most important to help your home show better and sell higher, get a professional opinion from a Realtor.  We see houses everyday, 365 days a year for a living.  We know what buyers are looking for, what they expect and what’s unacceptable to them.

Call one of our local offices toll free (800) 690-2292 or start a Live Chat right here on our website.  With Keefe Real Estate being the largest, most successful real estate company in Walworth County, we have the most experience and are happy to help you sell your home successfully! curb appeal donts

Wisconsin Home Sales and Prices Continue Path of Robust Growth

MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin home sales and prices both grew in July, outpacing the solid rate established for the first half of 2013 according to data just released by the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (WRA).  Sales of existing homes for July increased 17.3 percent over July of 2012, which is stronger than the 11.4 percent rate of growth established in the first six months of this year over the first half of last year. Home prices also continued their strong rate of appreciation, increasing 9.0 percent in July over last July, to a statewide median of $155,299.  Prices for the first six months of the year were up 7.7 percent.

“It’s clear that 2013 is shaping up to be a very strong year for Wisconsin housing and the indications are that these trends will continue,” said Renny Diedrich, WRA board chairman. Diedrich pointed to recent signs of strengthening state economy, with improved unemployment and job growth rates. According to seasonally adjusted data reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wisconsin added over 24,000 non-farm jobs between June of 2012 and June of 2013, which has led to a slight improvement in the unemployment rate to 6.8 percent in June of this year.

All of Southeastern WI saw increases in the number of homes sold in July!
All of Southeastern WI saw increases in the number of homes sold in July!

Existing home sales were strong throughout the state, with three of the six regions growing more than 19 percent in July compared to July of last year. The fastest growth was seen in the West region, which increased 25.8 percent over the period; followed by the Southeast, up 21 percent; and the South Central region, which grew 19.4 percent. Also up by solid margins were the Central region, up 11.9 percent; the North region, up 11.1 percent; and the Northeast, up 6.6 percent. “We’re at the peak of the Wisconsin home selling season, with nearly 43 percent of all sales taking place between May and August in a typical year,” said Diedrich. “As long as the state job market continues to improve, we expect the market in the second half of the year to mirror the strong performance we’ve seen in the first half,” she said.

Wisconsin median prices continued to rise as well, increasing 9 percent in July 2013 compared to July 2012. “This is very strong median price appreciation and it’s consistent with national trends,” said Michael Theo, WRA President and CEO. Theo said statistics from the National Association of REALTORS® show that the median sales price of single-family homes nationally increased 12.2 percent in the second quarter compared to the second quarter of 2012, which represents the strongest year-over-year increase since the fourth quarter of 2005.

“Wisconsin’s second-quarter appreciation rate was more modest than the nation’s, but the trend of a tightening housing market is the same,” said Theo. Wisconsin’s median price rose 7.7 percent in the second quarter of 2013 relative to that same quarter last year. This has resulted in diminished affordability, with the state Housing Affordability Index standing at 220 in July compared to 241 for July 2012. The index gives the percent of the median-priced home that a buyer earning the estimated median family income can afford to buy, assuming current mortgage rates and a 20 percent down payment on that home. “This trend in declining affordability is primarily a consequence of rising home prices as well as a slight upward trend in mortgage rates,” said Theo.  “Even though new listings have seen healthy increases, demand is very strong and hence our available inventories continue to decline,” said Theo. Months of supply are down 20.5 percent to 10.1 months in July 2013, compared to July of last year. “We expect this trend to continue throughout the rest of the year, so those considering getting into the housing market should move quickly,” said Theo. “Using an experienced REALTOR® who is familiar with local market conditions remains the best way to get the most bang for your buck,” he said.

The Wisconsin REALTORS® Association is one of the largest trade associations in the state, representing over 13,500 real estate brokers, sales people and affiliates statewide. All county figures on sales volume and median prices are compiled by the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association and are not seasonally adjusted. Median prices are only computed if the county recorded at least 10 home sales in the quarter. All data collected by Wisconsin REALTORS® Association are subject to revision if more complete data become available. Beginning in 2010, all historical sales volume and median price data at the county level have been re-benchmarked using the Techmark system which accesses MLS data directly and in real time. The Wisconsin Housing Affordability Index is updated monthly with the most recent data on median housing prices, mortgage rates, and estimated median family income data for Wisconsin. Data on state foreclosure activity is compiled by Dr. Russ Kashian at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater.

How to Get the Best Appraisal Value for Your Home

Lake Geneva Lakefront Property
552 Sauk Trail, Fontana

With the numerous changes that have taken place in real estate over the last number of years, it’s not a surprise that one of the biggest hurdles to climb in a transaction is the appraisal contingency.

As the Wisconsin real estate market continues to show more activity and gain a better footing, we’ve seen more deals fall through because the lender’s appraisal is significantly lower than the negotiated selling price.  If you think about it, an accepted offer to purchase  should establish the property’s value.  Unfortunately, that’s not how appraisers are required to calculate the value of a property.

Appraisers use comparable sales to determine your value.  However, if your property is unique or there haven’t been many sales like it, appraisers are having to look outside of our market for comps and the values in a different market many times aren’t even close to what we see here.

How can you help your chances of getting a favorable appraisal? 

Make a List of Improvements

If you’ve updated the bathroom, installed new windows, added a new roof, done an addition on the house or did other home projects, create a list of all of them.  The more you can show you did improvements to add value to your home, the better footing the appraiser will have to assess your home fairly.  Include the dates and any documentation and details you have to show the value in those updates.  Even smaller repairs like plumbing fixtures can add to your value, so take a look at every room and make sure your list is thorough.

Maximize Your Curb Appeal

Remember, in our current real estate market in Southeastern Wisconsin, we are still dealing with a large number of foreclosures on the market for sale.  The properties are often significantly discounted in price because the lenders that own them just want them off their books.  Also, the condition of these homes varies greatly from needing major repairs and maintenance to overgrown and uninhabited.  The best way to put up a good fight against the foreclosed properties in your market is to make your home stand out and look great.  Your curb appeal is critical in gaining the attention of buyers but also it’s the first impression it makes on an appraiser as well.  Make sure your landscaping is trimmed and looks beautiful.  Trim your trees and bushes.  Update your front porch with beautiful flower pots or topiary arrangements.  All these things will help your home look beautiful from the road and help build more value in the eyes of buyers and the appraiser.

Update Your Paint Inside & Out

One of the least expensive updates that can completely transform a room or the picture of your home is paint.  Especially if the exterior of your home has any peeling paint.  Before you list your home for sale, do a thorough once over inside and out and take care of any chipping & peeling paint.  If your home is in need of a complete exterior painting, now is the time to get that done.  BEFORE your Realtor takes photos to put in the MLS for the world to see.  Before a potential buyer drives by and sees peeling paint on the window sills and discards your home because they perceive it “needs too much work.” Make sure the rooms inside your home exude warmth and welcome.  When you decide to list your home for sale, it’s a good idea to keep the rooms neutral and bring in your personality through color and texture in throw pillows, wall hangings and furniture.

cedar point park homes for sale williams bay
278 Circle Pkwy. Williams Bay, WI

These tips will help you to get a more favorable appraisal.  As our real estate market gets stronger, we will start to see values improve.  But as it stands today appraisers are having to look at the last 6-12 months of sold comparables and we haven’t turned the corner in property values yet.  The best solution is to be open with your Realtor.  If the appraisal comes in less than the accepted offer price, approach the situation with a solution in mind.  If you hold firm on your stance, your buyers will most likely walk away and find another property.  You will be left marketing your home to a new buyer, time has passed so you are no longer a new listing on the market, and ultimately your next buyer will also need an appraisal, so you’ll be facing the same situation.

The bottom line is this – once you have an accepted offer on your home, keep the communication open between all parties.  Share the common goal of getting the property to the closing table, so if you need to compromise and find middle ground because of a contingency, do so!  Time is money and the longer your property sits on the market, the more your holding costs are and the lower your perceived value in the marketplace.

If you are planning on selling your home it’s a good time to connect with a Realtor to see what the value of your home is in today’s real estate market.  Keefe Real Estate has 7 offices throughout SE Wisconsin to best serve you.  We’ve been helping families find their perfect homes since 1943 and we’ll be more than happy to answer your questions and help you sell your property!

Keefe Lake Geneva – (262) 248-4492
Keefe Burlington – (262) 763-5454
Keefe Delavan – (262) 728-8757
Keefe Elkhorn – (262) 743-1770
Keefe Geneva National – (262) 245-2380
Keefe Abbey Springs – (262) 275-5736
Keefe Downtown Lake Geneva Office – (262) 249-5441

Wisconsin Home Sales and Prices Rise in First Half of 2013

MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin home sales rose an impressive 11.4 percent in the first six months of 2013 compared to last year, according to recent statistics compiled by the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (WRA). In June alone, Wisconsin home sales were up 3.1 percent relative to last June, posting the 24th straight month of positive sales growth in the state. Median prices also continued to increase year-to-date, rising 7.7 percent to $140,000 compared to the first half of 2012. In June, prices were up 12.3 percent to $159,500 compared to June 2012.

“The pace of sales in the first half of this year is well ahead of last year,” said Renny Diedrich, WRA board chairman, “which is especially noteworthy since 2012 was an exceptional post-recession year for housing sales.”

According to WRA numbers, sales for the most recent six-month period are up 33.1 percent over the first half of 2011 — an increase of more than 8,700 additional home sales. Moreover, construction of new homes is showing signs of solid improvement as well. “The rebound in building is a very positive sign for our markets in Wisconsin,” said Diedrich. She noted that new single-family housing starts have increased 12.3 percent between January and May in 2013 compared to that same period last year and are up 27.7 percent compared to the first five months of 2011.

Adding to the good news was a significant drop in foreclosures during the first half of 2013. Unique foreclosures in the state are down 37.2 in the first half of 2013 compared to that same period in 2012, and down 44.5 in the second quarter this year compared to quarter two of 2012. “All in all, this paints a very healthy picture of the Wisconsin residential home market at the midyear point,” Diedrich said.

All regions of the state saw healthy growth in home sales through the first six months of 2013 over last year. The regions with the strongest growth were the South Central, up 15.7 percent; the West, up 13.4 percent; and the Southeast, up 12 percent. Growth in the other three regions was also solid, ranging between 9.9 percent for the Central region and 7.3 percent for the Northeast region, to 6.9 percent in the North.

southeast wisconsin real estate market update
Southeast Wisconsin showed an increased number of sales in ALL counties for the first half of 2013.

Wisconsin median prices increased 12.3 percent in June 2013 compared to June 2012, and were up 7.7 percent for the first six months of the year. “We’ve seen very strong growth in housing prices since they started improving 16 months ago,” said WRA President and CEO Michael Theo. And while higher prices impact housing affordability, homes in Wisconsin remain a good value. The Wisconsin Housing Affordability Index (HAI) shows the percent of the median-priced home that a buyer earning the estimated median family income can afford to buy, assuming current mortgage rates and a 20 percent down payment. In June, the index was at 214, indicating that a household with median family income of $63,100 can afford to buy 214 percent of the median priced home of $159,500. This is down from 239 in May and significantly below its peak of 292 in January of this year. “With personal incomes and mortgage rates virtually unchanged from last year, the dip in affordability can be attributed to raising prices,” Theo said, but added Wisconsin housing remains very affordable when compared nationally. He noted that the National Association of REALTORS® predicts its HAI will fall to 156 in the second quarter of 2013 compared to its level of 203 in the first quarter.

Although state and national job growth has been relatively slow the last couple of years, there have been some recent improvements for the state of Wisconsin. According to preliminary estimates released by the Wisconsin Department of Workplace Development and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Wisconsin improved to 6.8 percent in June from 7.0 in May, and the state has added nearly 27,000 nonfarm jobs since January (also based on seasonally adjusted data). “These preliminary jobs figures are promising, and if the trends continue, they bode well for a strong second half of the year,” said Theo. “With mortgage rates in the 4-percent range and home prices still relatively low, this is an excellent time to work with a REALTOR® to identify the best values in your neighborhood,” he said.

The Wisconsin REALTORS® Association is one of the largest trade associations in the state, representing over 13,400 real estate brokers, sales people and affiliates statewide. All county figures on sales volume and median prices are compiled by the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association and are not seasonally adjusted. Median prices are only computed if the county recorded at least 10 home sales in the quarter. All data collected by Wisconsin REALTORS® Association are subject to revision if more complete data become available. Beginning in 2010, all historical sales volume and median price data at the county level have been rebenchmarked using the Techmark system which accesses MLS data directly and in real time. The Wisconsin Housing Affordability Index is updated monthly with the most recent data on median housing prices, mortgage rates, and estimated median family income data for Wisconsin. Data on state foreclosure activity is compiled by Dr. Russ Kashian at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

4 Reasons your Lake Geneva Property isn’t selling

“Help, my Lake Geneva property has been listed for 2 months, and it hasn’t sold.  I’ve heard the real estate market is picking up and yet my house hasn’t sold.  We’ve had 8 showings and no offers. What’s going on?” A. Frustrated HomeOwner, Lake Geneva, WI

We receive emails and phone calls like this from homeowners in Elkhorn, Delavan and Burlington to.  The truth is, we’ve seen a lot of national media recently saying the real estate market is picking up.  And in some areas of the country, that’s true.  However, real estate is extremely localized.  Therefore what you’re reading in the newspapers and seeing on television doesn’t necessarily paint the picture of real estate activity in our local market.lake geneva wi homes for sale

If you’ve had your home on the market and you haven’t gotten an offer yet, there could be a number of reasons for this.

Unreasonable Price - Your price needs to reflect both the condition and location of your home.  You can’t change your location, but the condition of your home is in your hands.  When figuring out the price to list your home at, you have to take into account what has sold.  And if you’re like the homeowner above and have had showings, but no offers, your home is listed too high.  That’s your signal that a price adjustment is necessary.

Bad Decor –  Everybody has their own personal style and tastes.  When listing your Lake Geneva home for sale, your taste needs to come second to the tastes of potential buyers.  What does that mean?  Freshen up, add light and go neutral!  You want buyers to envision themselves living in your home.  They need to see their furnishings and tastes in your rooms.  So do away with the red walls and poppy print!  A soft neutral color, some fresh new throw pillows and great table lamps can transform the room into the perfect blank canvas for buyers to fall in love with.

Missing Necessities or Awkward Floor Plans - if your home is fairly new, this may not be speaking to you.  But if you have an older, charming, historic home this could definitely play a factor.  Just because you didn’t need a dishwasher when the old one went defunct doesn’t mean buyers don’t either.  Don’t leave that gap in your cabinet and call it storage space.  Replace the dishwasher with something that matches the rest of the kitchen decor.  There’s not much you can do with a floor plan barring major renovation.  So the best defense is a good offense.  Your price needs to reflect this compromise in your home.

Bad Photos - In this day and age, anybody can be a photographer.  All you need is a smartphone and a subject (in this case your house.)  If your home hasn’t sold, have you seen the photos online?  While you may not have a model home, your photos need to showcase the best features of the home.  They need to show your home in favorable light so buyers want to pick up the phone and set up a showing.  Buyers shop with their eyes first, so the first impression (even before your curb appeal) is online photos.  Laundry baskets, unmade beds, dog dishes, towels hanging over the shower all lead to less than stellar photos.  Pick up, freshen up, declutter and have new photos taken.

lake geneva realestate for sale
Spring is here! Time for a new listing photo!

*Note: seasonality does impact a buyers thoughts.  So if your home was listed during the winter and you have snow in your photos or the living picture has a Christmas tree next to the stocking decorated fireplace, it’s time to get those updated with current photos.  Nothing shouts “I’ve been on the market a long time” like a snow covered home in June.

Hopefully with these tips, you can get your home sold quickly, whether you’re in Lake Geneva, Elkhorn, Delavan or Burlington, WI.  For help with pricing your home accurately, it’s critically important that you talk with your Realtor.  It is a sincere waste of time pricing your home too high for what the market will allow based on national real estate news.  Prices locally have not gone up and that’s just the facts.  When you do receive an offer, negotiate smart and know there will be give & take on both sides.

To get all your real estate questions answered, Keefe real estate agents are happy to help.  With 7 offices in Southeastern Wisconsin, our agents have expertise in all local markets.  Call your local Keefe Office or go online and do a Live Chat with a real estate agent to help you get your home sold.

Keefe Lake Geneva – (262) 248-4492
Keefe Burlington – (262) 763-5454
Keefe Delavan – (262) 728-8757
Keefe Elkhorn – (262) 743-1770
Keefe Geneva National – (262) 245-2380
Keefe Abbey Springs – (262) 275-5736
Keefe Downtown Lake Geneva Office – (262) 249-5441

Keefe Real Estate Live Chat Connects You Faster

keefe real estate online chatHave you ever been in the position that you wanted to contact a real estate agent with a question about a property, the real estate market or to ask an agent for help finding what you’re looking for, but you hesitated because you didn’t want to make a phone call directly?

In today’s world there are a lot of people that find texting or interacting through a text system is faster, easier and less intrusive than picking up the phone and making a call. You might be one of these types of people. If you are, the Keefe Real Estate live chat is the perfect alternative for you to use to connect with an agent fast, get your questions answered and to see if the agent on the other end is engaging and understanding regarding your specific real estate needs.

Live chat is a widely accepted means to communicate over the internet and the consumer has voted with their fingers that they find it easy, efficient and effective to communicate their needs to a company representative no matter the industry.

Based on personal experience I can say that I’ve certainly had difficult, tenuous or stressful phone calls with people on the other end being less than cooperative, but I can honestly say that I’ve never had a live chat that was even remotely similar to those experiences. It’s likely most people have had similar experiences and it’s also likely that’s what makes Live Chat a method of choice for consumers to connect quickly and effectively when they have questions or inquiries that require an answer.

The Keefe Real Estate website gets a tremendous amount of traffic and we’re seeing our Live Chat system that was implemented in 2012 being used more and more by the real estate buying and selling public. If you’re on the website and you have questions for an agent about properties for sale, foreclosures, buying a home or selling your home just click on the live chat box that appears on every page.

The Live Chat box will inform you if someone is on standby to help you with your needs day or night and if there isn’t an agent available, you will be able to leave a detailed message in a window that opens for your convenience and we’ll receive that in our live chat coordinators email for a quick response.

At Keefe Real Estate we’re always looking for better ways to improve our customer’s experience and online technology through Live Chat is just another demonstration of our commitment to you our valued customer.

Are Prices for Lake Geneva WI Real Estate for Sale on the Increase?

lake geneva real estate updateYou know, discussing real estate markets and price appreciation or price declines only seem meaningful if the discussion surrounds your local market.  The inventory of homes for sale in Lake Geneva and homes for sale in Walworth County in general has declined in the last quarter of 2011 while the demand has remained quite steady.  Obviously, less inventory on the market for sale with stable demand can equate to higher sale prices for sellers, even if it’s just a few percentage points.
It’s been reported recently from the National Association of Realtors Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, that nationally sales of existing homes should edge up 4%-5% in 2012 and that mortgage interest rates should gradually rise from record lows in 2011 to around 4.5% in the middle of 2012.
If the information proves to be correct it would certainly confirm that we’re now bouncing along the bottom of the price decline of the last four years with the real estate in Walworth County and that the conditions that have held back any price appreciation or sales increase over this period of time may be easing.
In fact, any initial rise in interest rates usually causes buyers to get off the fence and make the purchase they’ve been planning, especially when the long term forecast for interest rates is definitely pointing up.  This may indeed become a main factor in next year’s overall increase nationally and hopefully locally in home sales in the Lake Geneva  WI real estate market and other Southern Wisconsin real estate markets,  as well.

Guest post by: Chris DeVincentis, Keefe Real Estate