Martha Cucco, of @ Properties, has been listing and selling vacation homes in the Lake Geneva area for the past 26 years.
Who better to ask for advice on navigating the current housing market than this lake and country real estate expert?
Note: The following has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Welcome Home: What do you think are the most important things that sellers should know about today’s local real estate market?
Martha Cucco: Your home needs to stand out in the market. Not only does it need to be properly priced, but it needs to be presented well. Your realtor can help you with both things.
Ask your real estate professional to go through your home with you before you put it on the market and show you what needs to be done — de-clutter, move furniture, neutralize colors, fix any maintenance issues, make sure it smells good!
Homes that seem neglected are a turn-off to buyers. Similarly, ask your realtor to educate you on pricing of similar properties so that you can position it to sell.
WH: What’s the most difficult challenges of being a first-time real estate buyer today?
MC: I think that navigating through the financing options can be overwhelming to a first time home buyer. It’s really important to work with a lender who will take the time to explain everything to you and who will keep the process going smoothly. Finding a house is the easy part!
WH: What’s the best way to meet those challenges?
MC: Your real estate professional can help to match you up with a lender who will best meet your needs. Your lender will pre-qualify you so that you’re looking at homes in a comfortable price range as it relates to your income.
WH: How has the local real estate market changed in the last couple years?
MC: There’s less inventory in general. In some segments of the market this is resulting in a quick turnaround and even multiple offers.
You need to be ready to buy, with financing in place and be well-educated on the state of the market to be able to make a quick decision if needed.
WH: What do you think will be the most significant change in the local market next year? Why?
MC: It looks like interest rates will be creeping up and that will affect people’s buying power.
There is a lot of new construction happening in our area, which will give buyers more options and will be tough competition for some existing home sellers.