Home Buyers

Home Buyers, Home Selling

Cold Weather…

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Tips & Tricks To Stay Safe This Winter When Buying Or Selling

Winter can be a lot to handle when you live in Central Wisconsin! In theory it should only last a few months but often sticks around a lot longer than expected. Here are a few tips & tricks for buyers and sellers on staying safe this winter.

  1. Daylight. It’s important to remember the daylight hours decrease quite a bit during the winter months. When you’re scheduling a showing, it’s best to do them during before 5 pm. It’s easy to slip, twist an ankle or get hurt in the dark in an unfamiliar place. For sellers, if you have programable outdoor lights, turn those on! Not only do exterior lights offer a nice ambiance they can help illuminate walkways during the morning and evening.
  2. Ice, ice, ice. It can be slippery out there. If you are a seller, always salt the primary walkway to the home to help improve the access for buyers and agents. You can always leave a bag of salt along the side of your garage or porch and ask your agent to give showing agents a heads up prior to the showing, that if conditions are very slick the showing agent can sprinkle some salt down.
  3.  Plan accordingly. In bad winter conditions, driving to showings may take longer than expected. This can delay showings. As a seller, be prepared to leave your home for a slightly longer time to give buyers more time to view your home. For buyers, plan to leave early to try to stay on schedule and respectful of the sellers time.
  4. Be courteous. The winter can bring a lot of snow, salt and sludge into the home. Try to take your winter boots on the entry rug, if possible. Even if the home is vacant, tracking all that wet residue through the home can cause a lot of wear & tear and additional work for the sellers to clean up. If you’re uncomfortable taking your shoes off, then bring another pair of indoor shoes or booties during the showing.

That’s a wrap! I hope these tips were helpful as you go through the winter months! We still have a few more left!

Austin Solomon | Realtor  with The Solomon Group – Coldwell Banker Action (715) 212-4693


Home Buyers, Home Selling

Small Updates that Make a Big Difference

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Small Updates that Make a Big Difference

There are a a few small things in homes that are relatively inexpensive and can really make a big impact. Check them out below!

  1. Wall colors: The colors of the walls can set the mood in a room. Bright, bright colors can cause someone to feel overwhelmed, while mellow, neutral colors offer a more calming feel. It’s safe to assume more buyers will enjoy neutral colors than something that shocks them when they walk through the door.
  2. Smell: If someone walks into a home that has a strong smell, it can be overwhelming. Doing a good clean and having a few light air fresheners can really make a space feel more comfortable. Hint: try to not have too overpowering of smells, that can be uncomfortable as well.
  3. Amount of Items in a Room: Less is more! Truly! Having too many items in a home can make the space feel smaller than it actually is. Don’t sell yourself short. Take a few boxes and de-clutter shelves, remove extra wall hangings, and extra furniture.
  4. Clean: A clean room is SO much better than a messy room. Tidy the space up with some good old fashion elbow grease. Having a clean home can really improve how someone perceives the quality of the entire home.
  5. Don’t Forget the Details: Organize areas that you may overlook. Yes, I am talking about closets, pantries, basements. It’s not critical that you eliminate your Christmas collection or outdoor gear, not at all! It’s nice to have it organized in bins or boxes. We live in Wisconsin, we all have seasonal items and full basements, but keeping it organized not only presents well, but also helps buyers maneuver around easier if they need to get a closer look at the mechanicals.

These are just a few tips to help you as you’re thinking about getting your home ready for showings!

Provided by Austin Solomon | Realtor with The Solomon Group – Coldwell Banker Action (715) 212-4693

Home Buyers, Home Selling

Managed Forest Land

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Managed Forest Land

Throughout the past year, I’ve had the privilege to work with a number of buyers and sellers either buy or sell land.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had to do some research on Managed Forest Land, so I thought it’d be a great time to shed some light on the subject for those looking to purchase or sell land.

Managed Forest Land is governed by the DNR Managed Forest Law (MFL) and that applies to private owners with at least 20 acres of contiguous land & 80 percent of that be productive forest land. MFL is the only forest tax law that is open to enrollment.

To keep things short, the program allows private owners to enter a management agreement which includes a harvesting schedule, and in return, the private owners receive a lower tax per acre for the productive forest acreage.

For some who plan to maintain the land themselves, this is a great program! For others, it may be more desirable to purchase land that is not zoned as Managed Forest Land.

If you’re considering purchasing Managed Forest Land, I’d recommend contacting the DNR of that local municipality prior to purchase, to confirm the length of the current agreement and the process to change over the ownership as well.

You can read A LOT more about Managed Forest Land on the Wisconsin DNR website – https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/ForestLandowners/mfl/

Provided by Austin Solomon | The Solomon Group | Coldwell Banker Action

(715) 212-4693


Home Buyers, Home Tips, Inspection, Wausau, Wisconsin

Inspection Vs Appraisal – What’s the Difference?

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Inspections and Appraisals

A common question many buyers have when looking for their first home or fourteenth home is what is the difference between an inspection and an appraisal. The answer is pretty simple, yet it’s easy to get the two confused. Here’s a quick summary of the purpose of both the inspection and appraisal.


An inspection is conducted by a state-licensed inspector, who typically spends 2 – 5 hours observing the condition of a home and formalizes the results in an inspection report. An inspection often includes a thorough analysis of the home’s condition including cosmetic blemishes and sub-surface concerns. This may include highlighting plumbing, electrical, foundation, roof, mold, and other overlooked concerns to the buyers attention. Although most inspectors are not specialized contractors, they often can identify when a concern should be further assessed by a specialized contractor, or if it is simply a cosmetic concern.

It is common for an inspector to conduct the entire inspection and then invite the buyers to the last 30-minute summary to review the findings. After reviewing the results, the inspector formalizes the information into a report that can be as short as a 1-5 pages or a short book of 50-60 pages.

The older the home is, likely, the longer the inspection report will be. As a buyer, it’s important to understand the inspector’s goal is to help educate you on the condition of the home, but not everything in the inspection report may require remediation. Talk the inspection report over with your Realtor to come up with the best strategy.


On the other hand, an appraisal is a third-party assessment of the home’s value. In most situations we hear the word ‘appraisal’ from our lenders / banks as it’s often a requirement for obtaining a loan. This assessment is conducted by an appraiser, who is an independent, state-specific licensed contractor.

An appraiser’s role is to determine a value evaluation of the home based on the home’s condition and comparing that to recently sold homes and currently available homes in the area. From here, the appraiser proposes a value and supporting summary of their findings in an appraisal report.

From a lender’s perspective, a third-party appraisal ensures they are making a solid loan on a home that is worth what the buyers are paying. In the event of a foreclosure, the lender can recover the amount of money loaned against the property.

From a buyer’s perspective, an appraisal gives them another value to validate the purchase price of the home. Although it does provide some information about the condition of the home, an appraisal is not often used to determine the condition details of a home. Similar to a comparative market analysis, an appraisal value can change over the years, as much of the data supporting the home’s value is based on variable market conditions.


Overall, both the inspection and appraisal are helpful in a real estate transaction. Although the nature of each home sale or purchase is vastly different, it’s best to partner with an experienced, local agent who can help you navigate each of the steps along the way.

This article was brought to you by:

Austin Solomon, Coldwell Banker Action (715) 212-4693
Schofield, WI
October 25, 2018

Home Buyers

Six Questions to Ask Next Time You’re at an Open House

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An open house is an event hosted by a real estate where they allow walk-ins to tour a home that is for sale. The real estate agent often distributes information about the home and surrounding community during the tour and gives you the opportunity to explore the home. Many searching buyers explore open houses in neighborhoods they’re interested in to get a feel for the layout and structure of the home. If you’re new at touring opens, here are some key questions to ask that will help you make the most of your visit.

How long has this home been on the market?

The amount of time a home has been on the market indicates a few key elements concerning the price and marketability. If the home was just put on the market at a lower price, that may indicate the sellers are looking to sell quickly, making it more advantageous to put in an offer quickly. If the home has been on the market for a few months, the price may not match comparable home prices, therefor, may be a bit more stagnant. In either situation, talk to your Realtor about optimizing your offer for acceptance.

How many offers have been made on this home?

The number of offers on a home may impact your strategy when making an offer. If there are one or more offers on the table, consider meeting with your Realtor to determine the best way to reach offer acceptance Don’t let other offers intimidate you. Your ability to make an offer is the same as anyone else’s. In the event there are no offers on the table, you may have a higher opportunity to purchase at a lower price point.

What year was this home constructed?

Understanding the year the home was built will give you an understanding of the age of the internal home systems including cooling, heating, plumbing, etc. Unless explicitly stated, older homes often come with the original home systems.

What is the surrounding area like?

It’s important to consider the surrounding neighborhood, crime-levels, school districts, neighboring home appearances, etc. when buying a home because these indirectly affect the value of your potential home. Your Realtor should have an understanding of the area, as well as have additional resources for you to reference that will provide additional information.

Where are the lot lines?

In many residential areas, it can be difficult to determine the lot of the home. The Realtor at the open house should be able to provide you with an estimate of the home’s lot; however, in order to get exact measurements, a certified surveyor’s opinion would be required.

What are the property taxes?

Property tax will vary based on a number of factors that may or may not be apparent after walking through an open house. Your Realtor should have the previous years property tax valuations that will give you an estimate of the annual tax amount.

Brought to you by:
Austin Solomon, Realtor | Coldwell Banker Action, Schofield, WI