June 2018
Portrait of Jim Christenson

Jim Christenson


First Weber Group Realtors


Weak Inventories Continue to Hamper Sales and Boost Prices

Weak Inventories Continue to Hamper Sales and Boost Prices

Wisconsin REALTORS Association, Home Sales Report

For the second straight month, home sales have fallen on a year-over-year basis even as strong demand has put upward pressure on home prices. April home sales were slightly off the pace of 2017, falling 0.4 percent in April 2018 relative to that same month last year. The strong economy continues to fuel the existing home market, which has increased median prices 5.9 percent to $180,000 over the last 12 months. On a year-to-date basis, sales were up modestly, rising 1.6 percent compared to the first four months of 2017, and median prices rose 6.7 percent over that same period.

The Wisconsin seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has been below 3 percent the last three months, falling to 2.8 percent in April.

The state had just 29,296 homes available for sale in April, and that is 19 percent below the level that existed in April 2017. This equates to just 4.2 months of available supply, which signals a strong seller's market. More than half of all home sales in Wisconsin take place between April and August.

“With prices rising so quickly on top of increased mortgage rates, even modest improvements in family income can't keep pace," said WRA President & CEO Michael Theo. The April index fell to 195, which is the first time that the index has been below 200 since June 2010. In fact, the Housing Affordability Index has fallen 10.1 percent over the last 12 months.

"Unfortunately, we don't see many signs of immediate relief, so we expect monthly sales to struggle to reach the levels of 2017 as we get into the heat of the summer market," said Theo.

What to Expect in this Real Estate Market:

  • Strong Demand and Tight Supply
  • Mortgage Rates Will Continue to Rise Over the Course of 2018


  • Be Ready for a Quick Sale
  • Have Alternative Housing Plans in Place


  • Be  Pre-Approved on Your Financing
  • Coming in With a Clean Offer, Without Contingencies, is Important in this Market Climate
National Outlook
Why your mortgage is getting more expensive

Home Inspection Mistakes Buyers and Sellers Make

Source: RISMedia, 5 Home Inspection Mistakes Buyers and Sellers Make, by Dana Dratch,

1. Not Researching the Inspector.
The inspection is only as good as the inspector doing it. Be sure to ask: How long have you been inspecting homes? How many inspections have you done? What are your qualifications, certifications and training? And, what was your job before you were a home inspector? (Ideally, your pro was in contracting or building.) You want a certified professional who stays current. You’re looking for an inspector who can analyze the home’s strengths and weaknesses, then explain them.

2. Not Attending the Inspection.
Being present for the inspection may not be mandatory, but it’s a smart idea, to make sure you understand the results. A good inspector can give you an estimate of how much you’ll need to spend on repairs and upgrades, which is very valuable information as you consider your budget.

3. Not Reading the Inspection Report. Ask for a copy report to see if the language is clear and concise.

4. Not Getting a Presale Inspection. Sellers need time to budget for and make repairs.

5. Not Prepping the Home for Inspection Ease.

IRS clarifies home equity loan tax deductions under new law

Did You Know

Source: RISMedia, Time to Rev Your ‘High-Performing’ Home, by John Voket,

Three Basic Home Improvements can Transform Your Home into a High-Performing, Clean, Efficient and Healthy Home.

1. Updating Insulation

2. Maintaining Heating System

3. Checking for Proper Ventilation and Air-Sealing


Raise Your Home’s Value and Increase its Future Resale Value at the Same Time

Source: RISMedia’s Housecall, 4 Cost-Effective Ways to Raise Your Home’s Value, by Dixie Somers,

With Energy Efficient Doors and Windows…Not only can your doors and windows be easily seen from the outside of your home, thus impacting curb appeal, but they also significantly impact your home's interior. Consider energy-efficient windows that keep heating and cooling costs down and also fit the design of your home. For outside doors, try steel or fiberglass doors that keep energy costs low and improve home security.

By Adding Space… This could be as easy as adding a patio or deck, or finishing off a basement.

With Updated Plumbing… Hire a professional to modernize pipes, drains, and fixtures.

Another easy fix is your garage door. It has a great return on investment.

Imagine the payoff with a functioning fire pit in your backyard. Not only will you be able to enjoy it while you’re still living in your home, but potential buyers will easily be able to envision themselves sitting around a fire.

And by Using Paint Wisely… Painting walls, cabinets, or the home’s exterior, for example, can do a great deal to modernize the home and improve its value without costing a fortune.

Apartment Rents Rose Again

Source: RISMedia,

Apartment rents rose, on average, to $1,371 in March 2018 according to data released in a report by Yardi Matrix.