Coming back from a CRAZY summer!

The market has CHANGED.  This may not come as a surprise to you as you’ve seen sold signs come up and down over the past few months.  The truth is, I have been so busy since the market changed that I haven’t had the opportunity to blog!  I promise to be back soon with more real estate tidbits for buyers and sellers.  Today, lets concentrate on Sellers.  If you are considering selling right now, but are wondering if the time is right, I am here to tell you that it is!

Four Reasons to sell NOW:

  • Less competition
  • The buyers that are in the market haven’t found their “dream home” yet.  They are ready to pounce on your home!
  • Interest rates are projected to come back down, after increasing during the Summer.
  • Buyers want to get in to their new home before the holidays AND before Winter really hits.

Be proactive!  Get ahead of the competition that is waiting for the spring market. You will be glad you did!


Preparation – the key to selling your home.

It’s Spring time in Wisconsin!  The crocuses have come and gone, Brewers Opening Day is less than a week away, the daffodils are up and the Junco’s have left for cooler weather.  Real Estate “FOR SALE” signs are popping up like the dandelions that are sure to follow.

Get your ducks in a row before signing on the dotted line.  What do I mean by that?

  1.  Prepare your home for the market and the microscope that buyers will be placing it under.   Pre-Sale home inspections have become increasingly popular over the past few years in response to these economic times.   Better to know up front what a buyer will be asking for than after negotiations have begun.  Make repairs as necessary in order to allow for a smooth transaction.
  2. Eliminate all clutter!  Empty out all closets.  Start packing.  Use a corner of the basement to organize the things you can pack up now, before showings begin.  Make certain to NOT pile boxes around the foundation walls.  Buyers want to see what the walls look like.  I don’t have an issue with putting boxes in the middle of the basement – you have to put them somewhere!
  3. Touch up all woodwork!  Nothing says “I don’t take care of my home” more than chipped woodwork.  Little things add up and mean a lot.  Those things translate to dollars off the purchase price.
  4. Clean, Clean, CLEAN your house.  Hire a professional service if necessary. No one wants to buy a dirty home!
  5. Organize your kitchen cabinets and pantry.  Even if you normally don’t live this way, a buyer won’t know that.  When Buyers see an organized home they feel comfortable that the house itself has been maintained during the seller’s ownership.
  6. It is no secret that bathrooms and kitchens sell homes.  Eliminate all appliances from the kitchen counter tops for all showings.  Put everything in a large laundry basket and store in the garage until the showing is over.  Re-caulk your bathtub and shower if the caulk has seen better days.
  7. Consider hiring a professional stager!  They make a world of difference!! 
  8. Start your Spring clean-up outside too!  Make your home welcoming from the street.  Plant a few pansies in pots to make a positive first impression.

It is never too early to make a good impression on your buyer.  It starts from the moment they drive up to the house.  Do things that your competition isn’t doing.  Tip the scales in your favor.  It’s easier than you may think!!

Good luck!  And remember, feel free to email me with questions.  I am happy to help!

Fran Maglio Wallace

Finally, an offer!

This scenario has played out many times in the last few months.  Buyers seem to want the earth, moon and stars from the Sellers.  Not only have prices dropped considerably, but, the Buyers are also looking for a great deal off the purchase price for repairs once the inspection has been completed.  Don’t these Buyers know they are buying a used home?   We didn’t have these problems 5 years ago.  It is a whole new ballgame.  The rules have changed, and it is time for you to understand them.

As a Seller, do you have to do what the Buyer is asking for?  The best answer I have is; it depends. 

The Seller’s motivation will have a great deal to do with how much they will be willing to give to the Buyer.  Are you moving out of the area?  Is this a job transfer, or are you simply needing a larger home.  Have you owned the property for a long time, or did you purchase the house at the height of the market.  All of these factors must come in to play when deciding to take an offer or not.

FACT:  Some Buyers are being unrealistic when making demands on the Seller.  My best advice is to make certain that you have hired a strong agent that has exceptional negotiation skills AND is respected within the real estate community.  Those personal relationships go a long way when negotiations get tense.  It is essential that both agents work together or nothing is going to get accomplished.  There is nothing worse than a Buyer’s agent that digs their heels in and stops working to put the transaction together.  It is almost like a child taking their ball and going home!

There are Sellers that wish that they could turn back the clock and take that low ball offer that came in last summer.  An offer that once was a ridiculous joke is now something a weary Seller would seriously consider.  They have carried the house for a number of additional months and are at the point where they are frustrated and aggravated, not to mention almost unresponsive.   Sellers are depressed.  They’ve been beaten up.  They realize that pride should not have gotten in the way of a business decision.

When your offer is presented don’t be insulted if the offer is low.  Be thrilled that an offer came in at all.  How motivated are you?  Is half of your family here and the rest somewhere else?   Look at it as a business decision.  Does it make sense to carry that house for an additional five, ten, or twenty thousand dollars?  There are many sellers wishing they were the lucky ones to be beginning the negotiation process.  Don’t forget, an offer is just the beginning of the dance.  There is so much that has to occur between the offer, the inspection, the appraisal, and the closing.  Your Realtor has experience in negotiating all of these steps.  Listen to what they have to bring to the table.

Tips on how to find the best listing agent to help you sell your home.

So, you’ve decided you’ve outgrown your home.  The family is growing and what once was the perfect size doesn’t fit any longer.  Where do you go from here?   What’s the next step?

First things first!  Interview no less than 3 agents that specialize in your market area.  They are the experts and are an invaluable resource that comes without a charge.  Each agent should provide a market analysis.  After all is said and done, the prices they come up with should be all in the same ballpark.  BEWARE of pricing that is way out of line.  A higher asking price is NOT a reason to choose one agent over another.

A great agent has recommendations from a number of different people who have already bought and sold in your market area.  Ask to see a copy of those recommendations, or go on the agent’s web site to read their testimonials.  See what other buyers and sellers are saying about the agents that you are interviewing.

The agents should also bring their marketing plans to the table.  This is something you shouldn’t have to ask for.  A marketing plan is something that each agent should present to you in writing.   Review each of those plans and don’t be afraid to offer suggestions to your agent.  You are, together with the agent, working as a team to get your home sold.  The agents should explain to you why their company stands out from all the rest.  Finally, there is that “X” factor…………..personality.  Personality plays a huge role in the success of any agent.  Look for someone who is upbeat, friendly and has a positive attitude.  In this business, attitude is everything.  The agent that you choose should be able to make friends easily, and able to put even the most skeptical person at ease.

Buying a new home can be fun, or it can be torture.  The choice is pretty much up to you.  If you approach the process with a bit of knowledge of what may occur along the way, it will be easier on you and your family.

Fran Maglio Wallace


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First Blog Post!

Welcome to my blog!  My name is Fran Maglio Wallace, I am a real estate professional with the First Weber Group.  I live and work on the North Shore and have been selling real estate for the past 28 years.   During those years I have sold millions of dollars of real estate and have accumulated a great deal of experience and many stories to tell.  My goal is to provide you with insight into the real estate market that we are currently experiencing.  I am happy to answer any questions you may have.  Please feel free to email me at with any questions.

This is my more than “full time” job.  In order to be successful, especially in a down market, I have had to work increasingly long days spending many more hours to get my listings sold.  I have seen all kinds of markets come and go during my career, however, none has been more challenging than the market we have been experiencing for the past 3 years!  Please check back to my blog I am giving away free tidbits of information that will be useful!

If You’re Selling Your Home, Get Ready for a Beauty Contest

Beauty Contest Winner - Small Kitchen

For better or for worse, like it or not, today’s home sellers are participating in a “Beauty Contest”.  There is a ton of inventory available and a very small pool of buyers.   Your merchandise must stand out from the rest.

For the most part, buyers want to walk in to a home and fall in love with it.   They want updated kitchens and bathrooms, the current color palette on the walls, and mechanicals in acceptable condition.  New windows and roof??  That is definitely a plus!

If you are considering updating your home, do it!  It will help you when it is time for you to sell.  Today’s Buyers want to close on their new home, place their furniture in the house and go out to dinner that evening.  The more “move in” ready you can make your home, the more likely you will be to win the “Beauty Contest”!   Don’t forget, there are many homes from which to choose, and only a handful of buyers out there that are ready, willing and able to buy.
Don’t be left out in the cold!  Make the improvements that will get your home in the running to be a finalist.  Tip the scales in your favor.  Do everything in your power to make your property stand out from the rest.  Your real estate professional should guide you.  Take that advice and run with it.