The Pros and Cons of Open Houses

open houseA great deal of sellers often speculate whether Sunday open houses are worth the bother. Some worry about the security of their home, while others complain that agents seemingly use open houses to pick up clients, rather than sell their home. Do the rewards really outweigh the risk?

Convenience, Visibility, and Outreach

To start, you may want to think about the convenience, visibility, and outreach an open house has to offer. Letting your realtor host a public open house provides additional market exposure that, in most cases, will increase your chances of a sale. Plenty of sellers have sold their homes without ever having a public open house however, many more sellers will admit that they actually found their home at a Sunday open house. Another factor to consider are those nosy neighbors. Once they spot your open house, they will impulsively want to get the word out, and inform everyone they know, that your house is open and for sale. Although they may not be in the market to buy, those nosey neighbors will instinctively want to fill your home with someone they already know. Additionally, there are the buyers who may be on the fence about moving, or those who are aren’t even considering moving at all. Some, will decided to take the leap after seeing an exceptional property at a Sunday open house. Lastly, those who resist the notion of open houses insist that only serious buyers will make appointments to see their home however, most of today’s buyers are just too busy. Many of them can’t take the time off during the week to go on showings. Sunday open houses provide an easy way for busy buyers to consolidate their home search.

The Serendipitous Buyer

Yet, another fact to consider is the Serendipitous Buyer. You may think this one is the exception to the rule however, it is actually quite common for buyers to purchase a home they’ve seen at an open house. Particularly in a buyers’ market. In this type of market, buyers are usually out in force, canvassing open houses, searching for new homes. Some buyers, like to preview a property casually at an open house before taking it more seriously. This is particularly true for the home that may be lacking in curb appeal, or may need some fixing up. For these homes, in most cases, buyers won’t bother taking the time to look at a house in which they have doubts, however, if that home just so happens to be open, often those same buyers who wouldn’t commit to making an appointment, won’t mind stopping by just to take a look. In the end, buyers are often pleasantly surprised to find they actually like the house they thought wasn’t worth considering.


Without a doubt, there are many good reasons not to have an open house. If your home is filled with irreplaceable valuables, you may want to consider forgoing the public open house. It may mean losing a buyer or two, however, this might be a reasonable trade-off for your peace of mind. However, if you’re in favor of the open house, but have security concerns, ask your agent to bring a colleague along to provide extra supervision. The majority of agents will be more than happy to accommodate.

In closing

Typically, the rewards of an open house will greatly outweigh the risks. Although open houses do potentially benefit real estate agents, in the end, you may find the added exposure, and expertise of a professional real estate agent well worth the risk. If you still have concerns, take my advice and talk it over with your realtor. You’ll be glad you did!

Home Improvements That Will Help You Sell Your Home Faster

sold home for saleIt’s hard to sell a house in this economy! With so many options to choose from, buyers are looking for the best of the best. Paying attention to the small details may be the thing that helps you sell your home faster. Below are a list of 10 home improvements that are a sure-fire way to help you sell your home faster.




  1. Repaint Rooms:  To appeal to more people, try painting the walls a neutral color. Light neutral colors will make the room appear more spaces. Darker colors will contribute to a smaller looking room.
  2. Fix Drywall Dings:  Dents and dings in the walls show lack of care. Be sure to fill holes in the drywall.
  3. Power Wash and Paint the Outside:  A dirty, moldy outside of the home doesn’t look good to anyone. Use a power washer to eliminate discolorations on the paint. Repainting the outside of your home can also help you to gain the curb appeal needed to sell your home.
  4. Organize and Declutter:  Help people envision their items in your home by taking out personal items and decluttering rooms. With less stuff in each room the area will look and feel more spacious. Consider hiring a professional organizer for areas that are harder to organize, like the garage.
  5. Repair/ Replace Window Screens:  This is a very inexpensive way to spruce up the home. It will also help your home be more up-to-date.
  6. Clean and Repair Gutters:  Nothing makes your home look more neglected than overflowing gutters filled with gunk. Be sure to regularly clean the gutters every six months. While cleaning, look out for damages that need repaired and fix them.
  7. Front Door Refresh:  One of the first things that potential buyers look at is the front door. Be sure to clean glass, shine hardware and consider repainting doors that are scratched and damaged.
  8. Remove Outdated Window Treatments:  Make your home look more modern by removing outdated or broken window treatments. Install new wood or neutral color treatments. These can be installed in a day and really make the difference in the state of a room.
  9. Convert Unfinished or Unused Space Into a Storage Area:  The best way to make an unfinished space usable is by installing a storage system. By installing a storage system into an unfinished basement, buyers will see an area for storage. Consider specialized and customizable shelving and cabinets.
  10. Finish with Flooring:  Make a room instantly pop by adding new epoxy floor coatings. These are especially great for garages with oil stains and imperfections and basements. Epoxy floor coatings can be installed in 24 hours and are easy to clean.

Monkey Bar Storage Solutions is a garage storage and organization company serving Milwaukee residents.

Guest post by Stephanie Hanson, who is the Community Manager for Monkey Bars and enjoys DIY projects


What Is A Deficiency Judgement?

What Is A Deficiency JudgementA deficiency judgement is where the mortgage lender files in court to require the borrower pay them the difference between what they owed on their mortgage and what the property sold for in a short sale or a foreclosure.

The deficiency amount varies but can be a very significant amount of money, even hundreds of thousands of dollars if your Wisconsin short sale is not properly negotiated.

The deficiency judgment is the difference of the loan amount as well as it may include any legal fees, court costs, interests, penalties and other associated costs that were incurred while the property was being liquidated.

About Deficiency Judgments in Milwaukee

Here is an example of a deficiency amount:

Original Loan Amount: $200,000
Price Home Sold For: – $125,000
Deficiency Amount: = $75,000

Some states are recourse states and others are non-recourse states. If the property is located in a recourse state this means the bank experiencing the deficiency has the right to pursue the borrower after the property is sold. If the property is in a non-recourse state then they cannot pursue a deficiency if they sell the property.

States may have time limits on how long they have to pursue the deficiency. It is important for you to educate yourself on the laws for your state.

However, in many cases, a good REALTOR® can frequently get that deficiency waived for you through the Short Sale negotiation process, even if state law does not automatically protect you.

Short Sale Or Foreclosure, What You Need To Know

Short Sale vs ForeclosureIs It Better To Short Sale or Foreclose On Your Milwaukee Property?

Whether you have fallen behind on your mortgage payments, are attempting to negotiate a loan modification with your lender or contemplating a strategic default, the ultimate goal should be to find a solution other than foreclosure.

In most instances, Servicers and Lenders do not want to foreclose on delinquent borrowers as the first option due to the amount of time and money that they may potentially lose going through the legal process and eventually getting the property re-sold.

The Difference Between Short Sale vs. Foreclosure

Depending on your particular situation and hardship circumstances, here are a few potential options your lender might propose to prevent foreclosure, provided you opened the lines of communication early in the process.


Time off from making current payments, or from catching up on past due balances. Lenders might agree to wait before taking legal action against you and let you work out a repayment plan that is affordable for you.

Forgiving a Payment:

If you can agree on a way that you will be current after missing a payment or two (without the means to pay it back), the lender might give you a break and waive your obligation. This is called debt forgiveness, and it rarely happens.

Repayment Plan:

Spread out the missed payments over a longer term. For example, if your payment is, say, $1,200 a month, the lender might let you add $100 a month to each payment for a year until you are caught up. This is called a repayment plan.

Loan Modification:

A Loan Modification is basically changing the terms of your loan. If your mortgage is an adjustable rate loan, the lender might freeze the interest rate before it increases or change the interest rate to a more manageable rate for you. A lender might also extend the amortization period.


If you have sufficient equity and meet the lender’s lending guidelines, the lender might increase your loan balance to include the back payments and re-amortize the loan. However, if you do not have equity and your mortgage is “underwater” due to a drop in value, there is a possibility for a government loan option called the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), provided you are not currently behind on your mortgage.

Partial Claim:

Certain government loans contain provisions that let borrowers who meet specific criteria apply for another loan, which will pay back the missed payments. This is called a partial claim.