Look for Hidden Details in Older Homes

stone surrounding natural fireplace and sunroom off of living space

What immediately comes to mind when I say “older home”?  Probably a home that needs some sweat equity, right?  That may possibly be the case with older homes that have not been updated recently but if you are a buyer who has seen some older homes either online or on a tour, did you notice anything special about the older home?  Did you look beyond what is obvious to the naked eye?  Did you open the doors that are a darker finish than you’d prefer and notice the inlaid detail behind the door?  Did you see the fireplace and not think twice about the stone surrounding it?  The seller custom-built the home and chose all of the stone materials themselves.  Buyers in general are looking for granite kitchens, updated cabinetry, open concept, master suites with en suite bath and large walk-in closet, nice sized yard, etc.  If most buyers are looking for the same details, then sellers update their homes to have all of those same details.  Eventually all of the homes look the same on the inside.  Older homes offer the opportunity to own a home that is unique not just on the outside but inside as well.  That is exactly what the home at 8860 N Seneca Rd in Bayside offers.  It has the updated kitchen that buyers want, hardwood floors, open concept layout, large master suite with a 4-piece en suite bath and large walk-in closet, yard plus a large sunroom that doubles as another living room.  If you visit the home, don’t forget to open the closet doors because you do not want to miss the inlaid detail.  The stone surrounding the fireplace was hand-picked by the seller when they bought the land and built the home.    The home has detail and history that you will not find anywhere else!  In a country full of cookie-cutter homes, why not invest in a home with the one thing that most buyers say they want but can’t get with a newer home – character.  As always, please feel free to contact me at 414-350-6358.


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.