Home Buyer FAQ

Time for the BIG Move

So you want to look for the house of your dreams. If it is in the country, Crossroads Real Estate is the Broker you want to work with. Looking for a nice sized house on a few acres with maybe an extra garage, or a large pole building to house your business or hobby? That’s what we look for at Crossroads Real Estate. The countryside is full of properties like that in all price ranges.

Gathering the Facts

What’s holding you back? The commute time? You can check Google Maps to get an idea of the daily commute time and distance. Worried about paying extra for gas? Compare the prices and taxes on houses inside and near the city limits to those outside the major circle most people live in. Tax savings may not pay for all your gas, but it can offset the cost to an acceptable degree.

What about the job? If you work for an employer who allows you to work at home on certain occasions, you have it made. If not, here are a few ideas to consider.

The trick is to buy the house of your dreams while you are working for the same employer a number of years. Creditors like to see applicants with a long work history with the same employer. It makes the lender feel safe. But what about after you secure the mortgage and the house of your dreams? Then look for a new job.

How do you know you will be able to find local employers? You have to get out of the big city and explore the country side. The major growth in America over the past few years has been in and around small towns. Take a look at them. They sure don’t look like the same small towns a few years ago. Major companies have moved in. Not just the Walmarts and McDonalds. There are many more companies to choose from.

What are the advantages of working in a small town? If you do your research, you just may find a selection of small, family owned businesses to choose from. In the big city the big corporations are overflowing with departments that didn’t exist a few years ago. Those new departments and mangers love to track pert near everything. That requires a mountain of paperwork. You know those reports. You spend more time filling out reports than on the actual task at hand. In the real world we call that pressure. Small family owned businesses don’t have those departments or reports. They are looking for skilled people like you who just want to get the job done and do it to the best of your ability. They would love to hire a skilled worker like you who focuses on the task at hand and knows how to do their job. Finally you can get the best of both worlds.

How do you find employers like that? I’ve put together a few simple packages with links you can follow. I’ve done the footwork for you. All you need to do is choose a location, get pre-qualified for a home loan, and let me help you find the perfect place. Now for a quick run down on some of the most poplar and growing locations in Wisconsin. But first, here are a few of the best sites to search job openings. But remember, you may want to consider getting the house first, and then continue the job hunt.

The Job Hunt

Indeed Resume

Indeed is one of the best job hunting sites. Their layout is nice, easy to navigate, and with all job sites, you can set up your custom search and get email updates. The problem is, they will send you emails everyday. And you will see the same employers offering the same jobs over and over again. You may want to take a look at some of the employer ratings and comments.


Glassdoor for Employers

Glassdoor is another job site. Glassdoor also has custom searches with email updates. The problems is, many of the jobs are outside your personal search criteria.


Cb logo navy

Carrier Builder is another site I looked into and used. Like Glassdoor, they offer custom searches and many of the emails are beyond the scope of the search criteria.


Those sites will give you an idea of the available jobs and may be the best place to begin your search for jobs in the area you choose. At least you will get an idea of job opportunities in and around the community you choose. If you prefer to do additional research, you can check out a few more websites that contain growth predictions, home prices, and other community information.

Information on Local Communities

The American Registry | well deserved

American Registry will give you information on the largest employers per county.


American FactFinderAmerican FactFinderAmerican FactFinderAmerican FactFinder

American Fact Finder will give you information on average income, housing, education, and other details.


GMAR, the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors will give you information on housing statistics.


Whatever you are looking for, information is on the Internet. All it takes is a bit of research. I can’t promise you the perfect job in the perfect community, but leaving no stone unturned leaves you with the satisfaction of trying to accomplish what few people put into motion. And we do learn from our experiences. Our learning curve makes us more valuable on the work site. Living in a house gives you ideas on what to look for in the next house, how to remodel the one you are in, or how to build the house of your dreams if you choose to take that route. Experience is the best teacher. And it leaves you with something to pass along to other people.

Frequently Asked Questions Real Estate

Information is Power

We’ve all heard the term, “information is power.” But what does that mean in the Real Estate Industry? Let’s take a look at big time investors. What do they look at. Price of course. How do big time investors know if they are getting their best price? This applies to both the seller and buyer side. They check comparable properties in the general location. This is far more difficult for an industrial or retail property than for a single family home. They also look at local demographics. The key here is, “local.” It doesn’t matter what is on the other side of town with 32 competitors in between. The smaller the area is in the report, the more concentrated the information is. A new fast food store is concerned with local traffic. How many cars pass by in an hour and how many per day. What attractions are near by. You heard the term, “the most important thing in Real Estate is location.” Then why do people rely on websites to tell them a market price on a home they are going to buy or sell?

Website estimated values have major draw backs. They typically look at the zip code. Sure they have computer programs that give you an estimated price. The problem with computer programs is, garbage in – garbage out. What experience does the programmer have in Real Estate? What does the programmer know about your neighborhood? If major investors look at opportunities in a block by block spectrum, shouldn’t you take advise from successful people?

Websites have another problem. They want to increase site visits. The truth as it sits rarely attracts the flow of visitors those websites are looking for. So they add a little spice. They try to predict future market trends. A market crash attracts the most amount of attention. That is why you see websites predicting so many market crashes over the past three years when we have seen nothing but increased prices.

Those websites also predict high numbers of future foreclosures. The information is false, but it drives in repeat visitors. Those websites don’t have to be right. All they have to do is keep predicting news and information that brings in the maximum amount of visitors.

Websites sell ads based on number of visitors, clicks, time spent on the website, and a few other factors. Numbers are all those websites are concerned about. They could care less if you sell your home, or if you receive the right market price. On the other hand, a good, local Real Estate Agent only gets paid if the property is set at the right market price, receives an accepted offer, and closes. Real Estate Agents are paid after the closing. They have a lot riding on their local market analysis. They have to be right all the time. And they have the tools to look at a specific neighborhood for prices, time on the market, and actual sale prices.

Buying and selling a home is one of the few times when knowledge, the data you review has to be concentrated. It has to be local. It has to be up to date. And it has to be easy to understand. Get a report on the house you are selling, or looking at buying. No buyer or seller should make that final decision without a market report.

Frequently Asked Questions Real Estate

Smart Phones and Homes

There is something you may not have considered with your next home purchase. What if your next home includes some of the new so called, “smart devices?” What if the Seller has set up their home with door locks, surveillance, heating controls, and other controls on the house? If the proper measures are not taken, the Seller will still have access to your new home and control over features you don’t want anyone to control.

Buying a home with smart features requires another layer of preparation and for lack of a better term, set up. No one wants a former owner with access to video cameras, heating units, stove, refrigerator, nor the front door. So how do you protect yourself against the possibility of invasions when the house is transferred from one owner to another?

Smart Home Options

It seems there are a lot of options when it comes to purchasing smart home equipment. Most easily link to a smart phone app that offers a variety of options. When you read up on some of those options, it becomes apparent that some companies didn’t plan for the sale of the home and those features. What are the options? Depending upon the actual product, there may be no option other than to remove the equipment. At whose expense? Other smart home products offer a seamless transfer from one user to the next. Some products may offer agreements that can be included in the Offer to Purchase and final closing documents. That type of information is important. A good Listing Agent can and should investigate those types of scenarios and plan ahead. Those types of features need to be disclosed during the sale process.

Changing Smart Home Users

Smart devises normally operate through an application on a smart phone. They all require a password that is saved to your phone. The easiest way to transfer ownership of smart devices for the home is to:

  • Install the smart devise app on your phone.
  • You will need the password from the previous owner to access the devises.
  • The previous owner can change their password to a temporary password to transfer ownership and control.
  • The new owner enters the current password, accesses the account, then changes the password so only they have access to the smart devises.
  • Other set up may be required.

It’s a good thing we have the Internet and companies who market smart devises for homes have websites. Those websites have instructions and manuals that can be downloaded and reviewed. Most also have online support. Check with the Seller before the transaction is complete to get details on support. Is the support free? Is support limited, or lifetime? Are there fees involved in a transfer? Are there monthly fees involved? There are a number of questions that could come up. All of these details have to be addressed before the final closing and transfer when the home will be occupied by the Buyer.

Crossroads Real Estate Marketing

Crossroads Real Estate Marketing

Crossroads Real Estate has taken Real Estate marketing to a whole new level. Forget the one size fits all marketing strategy. That one size fits all theology may sell houses, but at what price? And who pays that price? Crossroads Real Estate does not apply the one commission fits all sizes concept to any seller or listing. Each property, Buyer, Seller, Client, and Customer are unique. Each requires a different approach and technique to assure success on both sides of every transaction.

Crossroads Real Estate Marketing is based on a long list of proprietary information. Few if any other Brokers in the nation use marketing techniques honed by years of experience, the local market, changing market conditions, economic conditions, and forecasts.

Crossroads Real Estate Marketing utilizes a high degree of research focused on understanding the local market. In turn that research reveals a number of Buyer interests. Buyers do have different interests in the same property. There can be anywhere from 3 to 6 major interests in any property. Each interest requires a different marketing approach to draw the greatest number of qualified Buyers to a property.

In many cases Crossroads Real Estate marketing results in multiple offers for the Seller to review. That is the goal. On the Broker side, multiple offers require more time, work, and effort. For the Seller, multiple offers places the Seller in the drivers seat and in most cases, places the Seller in a more relaxed stage throughout the sale process.

What does Crossroads Real Estate Marketing consist of? The actual process is proprietary information. Some of the general steps consist of gathering local market data. Automated systems are installed and refined to suit specific needs. Working with a Linux based system is one of the most important keys. Linux based systems are more secure. Which not only protects client information, but protects the actual process used by Crossroads Real Estate from prying eyes on the Internet. Internet security is a major concern for Crossroads Real Estate.

As you all know, Linux systems require a certain degree of programming knowledge and skill. Simple computer applications can track and report on local market conditions and changes that can effect the entire marking concept. A few properly timed changes to the marketing concept on a property can make all the difference.

Rest assured, Crossroads Real Estate does not rely on any third party involved with Internet information gathering, which most often relies on spyware, and selling information. All of the information used by Crossroads Real Estate is actually public information offered by the most reliable sources in the nation. The best news is, this information is free. Which allows Crossroads Real Estate to offer its clients the best commission rates in the area, along with services that go way beyond the cutting edge of the Real Estate Industry in general. This information and its sources is shared with Buyers and clients to help equip themselves with the information they need to make the right choice when it comes to making the decision on the next property they will purchase. Information is power.

Computers are a tool. The information is out there and available. All it takes is a little imagination and a few computer skills to put the best package together, and offer services the competition has never dreamed about. Crossroads Real Estate marketing brings that concept to reality. And with that concept and technology comes the innovative marketing techniques that Buyers and Sellers need to stand above the crowd.

Home Buyer FAQ

Buying a New Home

Before looking for a house, you want to talk to a few Lenders to get pre-qualified for a loan. That way you’ll know what price range to look at.

We just spent some time looking at houses and you want to put an offer in on one. Now what do you do?

Before we write an offer, we want to look at similar homes in the area. Something better may pop up on that search. We also want to check out prices of other homes for sale, as well as look at what homes have sold for over the past few months. Are prices going up or down? How does the list price on the home you want compare to what other buyers have been paying? That will help establish the price.

After the Offer is Accepted

What do you do after the offer is accepted? First, decide which lender you want to work with. I like working with Lenders who provide constant updates. Lenders with a list of what needs to be done, and when it needs to be done. A great Lender will provide a list of what needs to be done, add the proper dates, and a note explaining how to get it done.

Deposit the Earnest Money Check

Schedule an Inspection if you decide to have one.

Talk to your lender, get in all the paperwork and information they need.

I’m not a Lender, but here is a short list of what you’ll need.

Fill out a loan application. There may be a fee. Compare fees between Lenders.

Tax papers

Bank Statements

If you are taking money out of a retirement fund, it may take as long as 3 weeks. Talk to your lender, as well as the company handling your retirement fund. Also talk to a tax account to find out your tax liabilities.

Funds for down payment and closing costs should be in an account. Don’t touch those funds. Add to them, but try not to withdraw and redeposit funds.

What Not to Do After an Offer is Accepted

There are a few things that could hurt your credit score and and any chance of a loan being approved to buy your new house. Here is a short list.

Don’t change jobs. Not even if it is the same job with a new employer.

Don’t make any major purchases or take out any new loans.

In this Internet age, someone is going to find out you are talking to a Lender and buying a new home. If you use Yahoo, Gmail, and other popular email services, all your information can and will be sold to anyone with a nickle. You’ll get offers saying you’re pre-qualified for loans, charge cards, and all kinds of special offers. Don’t apply for those charge cards or accept any new charge cards. That can bump your credit score down a few points and wind up costing you in the long run.

Avoid Internet Scams

We will set up a system to let you know when I will send an email, and what that email is about. Outside sources with basic information about the home buying process may send you emails about signing paperwork, special offers, details that need your immediate attention, and in the worst case, asking you to wire funds. DO NOT click on any links on those emails. Forward them to me and I will take the necessary actions and keep you updates.

Crossroads Real Estate Site Logo

Real Estate Pricing Today

Everyone knows, each neighborhood in the city has its own unique real estate pricing today. Older sections of the city have one price. As you move out from the center of the city, construction in the 1940’s, then 1950’s have a different real estate price today, as well as different styles of homes. Homes built in the 1960’s have similar styles and real estate prices today. Once we get into homes build in the 1970’s, real estate prices go up and the styles have a different flare. Homes built in the 1980’s and later are in high demand, and real estate prices today reflect that demand. Then we reach that section of homes built in 2000 and later. Homes that far out from the center of the city are larger, have more updates, and of course higher real estate prices and with that comes higher taxes.

You can pretty much determine your location based on real estate pricing today. There are of course a few deals known as fixer uppers. In most cases, foreclosed homes. As we progress into sections with higher priced homes, the number of fixer upper units decreases. But the number of buyers increases to a degree that those fixer upper prices are only a little below market value. There is little wiggle room when you add the purchase price to the cost of repairs. Those may be a good investment for the buyer who plans on buying the home then remodeling it to suit their taste. But for the investor, it could spell doom when the cost of their initial investment and remodeling exceeds the market real estate pricing today. Add into that a few months of taxes, and the investor feels like their time and effort were eaten up by the tax man.

There is one section of real estate pricing today few people consider. That’s because most people are drawn to the general location of the city, and the suburbs that surround it. When we look at those real estate prices today, we can draw a set of rings around the city and see prices and taxes change. Just outside the city, prices sky rocket because of the high demand. But outside of that price range, we generally see prices begin to drop back to moderate levels. If we looked at a map, we would find one price drop after another in both purchase price and taxes.

When looking for a new home, location is said to be the most important factor. What do they mean by that? In reality location equates to drive time. People are willing to pay so much for a home within a 10 minute drive from work. Even more for a home within 20 minutes from work. Go past that 20 minute drive time and we see prices begin to drop. But those real estate prices today are generally based on a center point established long ago, before suburbs began planning industrial centers. The thing is, many workers purchased homes between the industrial park in the suburbs and the center of the major city. In hindsight, moving in the other direction would have been the smart move.

Over the past 10-15 years small towns have grown at astonishing rates. Property values have increased and so have taxes. Many people have found jobs in and around those small towns and made the move to country living. They are living their dreams.

Finding the best value in a growing community is now becoming the new trend in Real Estate. It takes a little more research, but in this computer age, that information is only a few clicks away. All you need to do is decide which direction to go, and we can look at that radius away from the central city that offers the best prices, lowest taxes, and greatest opportunities.


Make Your Next Move More Than a New House

So you made the decision to live the dream of life in the country, What’s next? Are you going to drive to the city five days a week? Check out local businesses and the local economy to find out if your work skills are in high demand.

Crossroads Real Estate has already laid the ground work to get the information you need to make your move a reality. Websites with local business listings, the best job search sites, and more statistics than anyone could imagine. The most important step is to drive the neighborhood. Take a look at the growth, local businesses, and layout of the land to find one location that fits you like a glove. Meet a few people. Your new neighbors. And see what they think about life in the are you are considering.

The following list of links show statistics, and some of the general make up for cities and towns. To get a list of local businesses in the area, enter the city or town and Business Directory. I.E. Search “West Bend Business Directory”

This will give you a list of local businesses in the area.

Here is a set of Links for additional research.

Research Local Schools

Great Schools: https://www.greatschools.org/gk/summary-rating/

Niche Best Schools: https://www.niche.com/k12/search/best-schools/

Research local data and statistics

American Fact Finder: https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml

Job Search Sites

Indeed: https://www.indeed.com/

Carrier Builder: https://www.careerbuilder.com/

Home Buyer FAQ

Buyer: How do I Begin

How do I begin the home buying process? This may the best question every Buyer should ask. Based on my 15 plus years of experience I can tell you, the first step in the begin the home buying process has not changed.

Buying a new home is not much different than any trip to the store, or shopping on the Internet. Before you purchase anything, you know you have the money in your pocket or in an account. Most Buyers use financing to purchase a home. The first logical step is to contact a Lender to find out how much you qualify for.

There are many types of loans to choose from. Other articles will cover that phase of the home buying process. Choosing the lender is one of the most important steps in the home buying process. The first logical lender to interview is the local bank where you already have an account established. Not all banks are created equal, so you have to more or less interview each lender. Bring a set of questions so you gauge each lender on the same criteria. In other words compare apples to apples.

After you are pre-approved for a loan, and you know how much money you have for a down payment, it is time for a little window shopping. Like a trip through the mall, you are focusing on prices, quality, and sales. You want the best bargain for your money.

Make a list of the basics you need in a house.



Garage Spaces

And the Basement

Do you want a finished basement to entertain, a garage to work in, or are you looking to create your own finished room in the basement? Do you want a turn key house, a fixer-upper, or one that you plan to remodel when you have the time and money? All of these are important factors when it comes to the house search phase.


Location is an important factor.

There are a variety of sites to research cities, towns, and neighborhoods. Use the power of the Internet to find the best location. You may also want to check out the schools. Popular attractions and activities may be important to you. Websites can fill you in on information about the neighborhood to make sure it suits your lifestyle. Take advantage of that information.

How do you search for a property?

Many people like to begin their search on the Internet. That may or may not be a good idea. Home search sites provide information on houses, allow you to enter custom searches, save information, and provide market information. Some of that information is good and some is misleading. Before you want to write an offer to purchase on any property, you have to look at local market data. Home buying sites provide information by zip code. That can be misleading. The market a few blocks away can be a completely different story. To avoid that scenario, ask for a market analysis for the subject property. This is a small section of the market typically a half mile radius around the subject properly.

The basics to begin your home search are to:

Qualify for a loan with a great local Lender.

Decide on a location to search.

Make a list of basic features you need.

Make a list of features you want, would like to find in a house, but are not deal breakers.

Begin your search with FREE MLS email updates.

Get to know the market you are going to buy your next home.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.