Who Took the Dogs Out & Where’d They Go?

Dog Friendly Spots in Waukesha County

There’s no doubt about it, dogs are humankind’s best friend & more than ever – we are looking for places we can relax, exercise, or eat that will allow a canine plus one. So, check out some of our top picks for dog friendly spots in Waukesha County. 


The Tap Yard 

Enjoy a beer garden with your dog by your side at The Tap Yard in Minooka County Park, which happens to be a dog-friendly beer garden in Waukesha, WI. With brews, rotating food trucks, and the occasional live music – it’s a pretty stellar place to relax with your four-legged bud. It is open at select times of the year, so be sure to check before you go. 

Minooka Park also has a dog exercise area on 19 acres with an area for large and small breeds to run & play. 


Kiltie Drive-In 

We know quite a few people are counting down the days until Kiltie’s flags are flying again; we know quite a few pups who are too! 

The Kiltie Drive-in allows both owner and pup to enjoy the warmer seasons while dining on some classics, either in their car or the provided picnic tables. 

Keep an eye on the Kilties Facebook page, where they post as soon as they’re open!


Lapham Peak

At 1,000 acres, Lapham Peak State Park, in Delafield has something for everyone; with cross – country, hiking, mountain biking, and even horse riding trails. Dogs are also allowed to walk the trails, while on-leash. 

If you’re looking to get out in nature and get the dog some exercise – without going to the typical dog park, then this state park is a fantastic spot for you to visit. 

You will need to purchase a day pass for entrance purposes or purchase a year-long pass. 


Nashotah Dog Park  

Nashotah Park has two dog areas, encompassing 18 acres for off-leash roaming and playing. They have a large and small dog (20 inches tall at shoulder or less) exercise areas, to allow dogs to play with other dogs of the same size, with watering stations. 

There are also plenty of trails outside the dog park areas, where dogs can walk while leashed – if your dog prefers a more individual park visit. 


Lucky Mutts Bakery 

Oconomowoc is lucky enough to have its very own doggy bakery & if you haven’t gone yet, it’s certainly worth the trip. With sweet treats, custom creations, and anything else a dog could want, they’ll tell you they need one of everything! 

It’s also located in the back of the building that also houses Roots Coffee Shop, so while you’re picking up some treats for Fido, you can also treat yourself. Then, take your treats and enjoy a walk around Fowler Lake – which is steps away. 


We’re going to be enjoying these dog friendly spots in Waukesha County with our dogs this summer and hope that you will be able to get out & visit them too! 



seller real estate myths

Myths are commonplace in our world; it can be hard to distinguish between the truth and fiction with such established lore. Unfortunately, myths are profuse on both sides of the transaction when it comes to real estate. On Myth Mondays, we will be analyzing common real estate myths and using our experiences/knowledge to label them as truth, fiction, or somewhere in between. 


  1. You should price your house higher so you have room to negotiate.
  2. Home values listed online are accurate. 
  3. You should always renovate your kitchen & bathroom before you sell.
  4. Going with the first buyer is never a good idea. 
  5. Selling a home is just how it looks on TV.  



Overpricing a home is not the best tool to facilitate negotiations. The first step in starting negotiations with a buyer is getting them through the door, overpricing a home can prevent them from ever happening.

Additionally, buyers categorize homes in their minds often by price point; overpricing a home will lead to stiffer competition in the minds of buyers, as it bumps it into a different category of homes that may have more bells and whistles. 

Overpriced homes are more likely to stay on the market for longer, which can lead to buyers questioning the issues that may be causing a longer length of time – when it is all due to price. 

If you’d like to learn more about the issue with overpricing homes, check out our blog post on the topic by clicking here. 

Myth One: Busted 



An innovation in the world of real estate is the ability for sellers to look up estimates about their home prices online with websites like Zillow & Realtor. However, some sellers take these online prices as total truth – when in some cases, they may be misleading.

The estimates are calculated through an algorithm based on the price/square foot in the area. In this way, it is automated, focused on patterns, and does not give value to unique property aspects. So, although these estimates can certainly provide some insight, they may not be 100% accurate in all cases; especially if it is a unique property or there is a sudden market change that the algorithm has not accounted for in time.

It is important to note though that the algorithms have been worked on and are gradually becoming more nuanced, but at this point, it doesn’t seem that they can account for all property benefits.  

Myth Two: Busted 



Renovations are something sellers need to consider before putting their home on the market. Often, major renovations, like that of kitchens & bathrooms will not result in a major return on investment.

Zillow study found that a “mid-range bathroom remodel of $3,000 or less could bring back $1.71 for every dollar spent,” while higher-end remodels saw a more modest .87 cent return on the dollar. Meanwhile, Zillow found that kitchen remodels saw a return of .50 cents. So, if you’re remodeling these two areas solely for a return on investment, it is generally not advisable. However, minor touch-ups may be a good idea, with changing out fixtures or cabinet pulls to more universal options to help present more of a blank canvas for interested parties to imagine their own lives in the home. 

If you’re interested in learning more about remodeling or selling as-is and our agent’s thoughts – check out our previous blog post on the topic. 

Myth Three: It depends on the property and the seller



Some sellers go into a sale with the intention of not taking the first offer because they don’t see it as a good idea. They think that something better will always come along; however, that may not be the case. It is always a good idea to carefully consider all offers – no matter what order they come in. 

There are situations where it might be a better idea to wait and others where you may want to take that offer – it is all dependent on the situation. A good agent will be able to walk you through all the considerations

Myth: Talk to your agent to get the best option for you!



We all know it, HGTV. The channel were we can see home selling, renovating, updating, and building all the time!

There are so many television shows that showcase the process of home selling & buying. However, like most things on television, there is an element of production that separates it from reality. In this way, it makes it look like buyers only choose from a few homes, that sellers make decisions in minutes, and that open houses always sell a home. Although it does make for excellent television, it can be confusing & disheartening when real-life selling doesn’t work out the same way. 

Myth: Busted (but that doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying all of your HGTV shows!)



Myths can easily influence people’s choices and viewpoints on things. In the case of selling a home, it’s an important thing to be able to see clearly and not be influenced by the rampant misinformation. We hope that this gives you a better idea of whether these particular myths are truth, fiction, or something else. If you have any more myths or viewpoints on selling real estate that you’re wondering about – please contact us; one of our qualified agents would love to help you!



zombie buildings

They’re not out for your brains, but the empty office buildings have been termed zombie buildings – as they sit vacant, wasting away. These “zombies” are, largely, a result of the pandemic and the boom of work-from-home that came with it. Even now, three years on, hybrid work has become more of the norm, and these buildings remain empty. Experts fear these these buildings represent a debt timebomb and a potential destruction of the commercial real estate market as we know it, as commercial landlords walk away from these zombies. 


A building is a “zombie” when its vacancy rates result in  50% or less utilization. A research study done by the Boston Consulting Group found that, on average, vacancy rates have risen 5% and utilization has dropped by 28%. 


A big reason for these empty buildings is the covid-19 pandemic, pushing office workers to hybrid or work-from-home models. It also lead to more short-term lease options; as a result, 60% of office leases are set to expire in the next three years.


Although it may seem that the low utilization would be just an issue for the owner(s) – it’s not the case. As zombie buildings have been noted for a time now, experts are starting to see a cycle emerging

Offices are not being rented –> less money spent at surrounding businesses –> less rent revenue for those building owners –> less money for building improvements –> decreases property values & resources –> other businesses that cater to office workers must relocate –> more vacancies –> cities suffer 

This is not a problem for just one group of people or people of a certain tax bracket. Therefore, solutions require the work of owners, city leaders, lenders, and others. It requires collaboration on options for improvements and on how to break the cycle. 

In some cases, there are fears that building owners may owe more than the building is worth, leading to defaults. In February of this year, two office skyscrapers were defaulted on, with 784 million dollars in loans. Faced with loans due and decreasing profit, some investors are electing to give the keys back to the lenders. 


These buildings are a problem in most major office markets, but typically in markets that have a higher concentration of office buildings than residential and retail; as well as areas whose prevalent industries are able to accommodate work-from-home structures, like tech. 

Some examples of cities hit hard by zombie buildings are: 

Per Investopedia, within the ten largest US markets, more than 50% of office space sat unoccupied in June 2023. This could spell future trouble as leases come up, experts are afraid that the tenants won’t renew & as delinquency levels rise. 

There are also certain buildings more at-risk of becoming zombies. These buildings are specifically older, cubicle office buildings that lack modern amenities or are occupied by industries that do not have to work on site.


Property managers will have to consider their commercial portfolio and sections of different buildings to determine if they should:  

Many are asking for these zombie commercial buildings to transform into residential units. The National Bureau of Economic Research found that more than 2,000 office buildings in America could be converted into apartments; yielding between 170,000 & 400,000 new apartment units. As the United States is in a housing crisis, these new units could be good to help remedy the situation – especially as the three worst areas for zombie buildings are also ones that have high housing costs and a need for more housing. 

This conversion would also be a more eco-friendly and potentially more economically beneficial option – as it can be cheaper to retrofit buildings and if they were done in a “green” way it could also open up the opportunity for grants

Some other ideas that have been posed for these office buildings include: hotel or hostel conversions, pop-up shops, educational institutions, green spaces or urban farms, art/cultural centers or tech/innovation hubs, amongst others.


Although it may seem that these zombie buildings only affect the corporations that own or manage them, experts believe that the ramifications will be far reaching if no resolution occurs. They believe that over the next three years the number of unoccupied buildings will continue to increase; therefore, it is vital that cities, lenders, and owners get ahead and begin brain-storming ideas to reduce their economic hit and keep the economies of these cities thriving.   



use of ai in real estate


You’ve undoubtedly heard about it; Artificial Intelligence, commonly shortened to AI, is a hot topic in the news. Essentially, it is the simulation of human intelligence by software, which allows it to. . .

  • Complete tasks
  • Create content
  • Drive cars,
  • Play chess
  • Comb through data
  • Analyze information and much more!


AI is impacting every industry; real estate is no exception – experts expect to see notable impact. They expect it to alter various areas of real estate, from transactions, to property management, to home ownership.


However, AI is already present in the industry, with data analysis programs providing information to agents, buyers, and sellers. It is a different market than it was around thirty years ago; when realtors were knocking on doors to obtain this information, they can now get it in a few clicks.


Current AI tools are things like Zillow’s Zestimate, tracking home values/sales to calculate an estimated value. As to the accuracy, Zillow states they are always trying to improve it through updates.


Although AI is already present in the realty industry, experts expect further advancements to make some significant changes.



The changes to AI will continue to affect buyers, sellers, and agents in a transaction.



Buyers will benefit from AI due to the increased amount of data and personalization offered to them. For example, AI Learning models will be able to create incredibly personalized searches. It will allow for more natural language searches, like “homes with water feature” rather than using a sqft. It will also promote other homes that buyers are most likely to want based on previous interactions. This will be similar to a website like Amazon, offering other homes based on an original search.



AI will impact sellers by allowing them to consider more data when pricing. They will also benefit from optimized listings, more marketing features like digital tours, and more predictability in decision-making regarding their home sale.



Some agents have already begun utilizing the new AI methods available – the most recognizable being ChatGTP. They use it to write home descriptions, create social media posts, automate responses, calculate numbers, and tweak emails. However, other agents see ChatGTP as a way to lose credibility or an agent’s voice in an industry primarily formed on personal relationships.

Some other ways in which AI is projected to assist agents are: optimizing their listings based on data, predictive analysis, and fraud detection.


Some agents are excited about future AI developments that aid their clients in making more personalized decisions, but that technology is still not here as of today. Other agents are apprehensive about this change. In the past, the real estate industry has been slow in accepting new technologies. So, to what extent or the speed at which the industry will adopt AI is still up-in-the-air.



Besides transactions, AI will impact countless other areas of the industry, like:
  • Property Maintenance & Management: AI can be used to plan better when properties will need maintenance based on running data and respond to maintenance requests from tenants
  • Property Valuation: AI is useful in valuing a property by compiling all relevant information on a site
  • Customer Service: Some agencies will use AI chatbots and response services for replying to common inquiries
  • Marketing & Lead Generation: Many will turn to AI for graphic design or content creation and chatbots for interacting with potential clients
  • Using AI to Build a Dream Home: Use it to visualize a space before actually building it.


There could be. AI has the potential to be useful and good, but it can be an evil force in the hands of unscrupulous or even unsuspecting individuals.


In the past, AI has been accused of discriminatory hiring and lending practices. In 2014, Amazon began to build an AI meant to review applications and help in hiring. The project was scrapped after a year, as the results showed that women applying for more technical jobs were discriminated against. They built the program with resumes of current employees, who were overwhelmingly male, so it searched for resumes that matched their current workforce. Luckily, they caught the discriminatory nature of it before using it on actual applicants.  It found three areas as discriminatory:

  • Any candidate who went to a women’s college
  • Downgraded resumes that contained the word women’s
  • Privileged resumes that used more verbs that men tend to use


Mortgage lenders already use software to run applications for a mortgage – called Classic FICO to determine whether an applicant meets the standards to be considered for a conventional loan. This algorithm was created 15 years ago with data from the 90’s and many consider it to be harmful to people of color. This is because it relies heavily on traditional credit, which statistically they have less access to. It also doesn’t consider on-time payments, but late payments will be regarded as harmful and punish people for previous medical debt even after it has been paid. Besides this standard, institutions may also run applicants through their own programs, which are often considered secret and the specific algorithm not public information.

In October 2022, the Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA) announced some changes to the Classic FICO to reduce any discrimination [even though it has previously been denied that any prejudice was occurring]. They expect the changes to be fully in place by the end of 2025.
As AI becomes more used in real estate, transparency is critical to show that it is not unfairly discriminating against a protected class. In addition, the algorithm must be constructed in a way that will be fair and not lead to one population getting unfair treatment, either good or bad.



The answer to this question depends on who you ask. Some believe that AI can absolutely take over for real estate agents, with automated drones taking photos, ChatGPT (or the like) writing descriptions, and self-tours by way of automatic codes.


Others believe that while AI can undoubtedly take over the tasks of real estate agents, it will never completely replace agents – for the following reasons:

  • The process of buying a home is a complex and emotional process
  • Personalized service is an aspect of the industry
  • Humans are adaptable
  • There is value beyond transactions, like advice on property investment or assistance with property management
Meanwhile, others believe that there can be a happy middle ground, where qualified agents utilize AI tools to better assist their clients in their real estate purchase, sales, and searches.
If you’re looking to see why a good real estate agent is irreplaceable, reach out to one of our qualified agents who can get you started on your own real estate journey!

accessory dwelling units


An Accessory dwelling unit or ADU is a secondary housing unit on a single-family residential lot. There are different types of accessory dwelling units, with most falling under the following categories:

1) Detached ADU 

2) Garage/Shed Conversion ADU

3) ADU Above Secondary Structure 

4) Attached ADU

5) Basement Conversion ADU

6) Internal ADU

Although there can be many different types of ADUs, they have some similarities. These include aspects like. . .



Like most things, ADUs have their supporters and opposition

The supporters use the following in their defense of the units. . . 

Meanwhile, the opposition’s points against them include:

Some of these opposition points aren’t necessarily 100% accurate, but it is what is said in opposition of expanding ADUs in communities.



There are illegal, or rather unpermitted ADUs; these occur when additional living space is added without permits to allow extra habitable space. ADU owners that have the necessary permits, have legal ones though as they are fully permitted and follow all relevant zoning rules. 



ADUs are not regulated by state law, which means municipalities are welcome to establish the defining characteristics and rules for such places. 

Some municipalities have decided to regulate aspects like limiting the number of ADUs per lot, minimum lot size, setback limitations, square footage, aesthetic requirements, parking, etc. 

We recommend contacting your municipality directly if you are interested in potentially building or remodeling a space into an ADU to determine the restrictions or regulations. 



An ADU can be value-adding to your property, providing rental revenue or an increase in the appraisal value of a home. Different categories of ADUs can bring different levels of value



ADUs were common before the age of zoning took over, with extra little homes that were more affordable; however, the increase in zoning rules led to a decrease in ADUs. Recently, the housing crisis has pushed forward a new wave of ADUs, especially as rental prices rise. 

California is an excellent example of the increase of ADUs. In the 20th century, California pursued the removal of ADUs — instead preferring a homogenous neighborhood of single families to ADUs and apartments. In 2016, a policy change led to an increase in ADU applicants, and between 2016 and 2021, the number of ADU permits jumped 6,230% in L.A., and the number of ADUs permitted increased by 1,421%.

ADUs may not solve the housing crisis, but they could certainly be an excellent first step for a few reasons: 


Whether you call an accessory dwelling unit a backyard cottage, granny flat, or in-law suite, this form of housing is making a comeback and offering individuals an alternative to typical housing. If you are interested in adding an ADU to your space, we recommend the following steps:

  1. Be sure it is permissible in you municipality
  2. Identify your needs
  3. Evaluate your property
  4. Find a contractor
  5. Choose an ADU Style
  6. Set your budget
  7. Obtain the permits



Real estate is not immune to scams; one that has become more common is real estate wire fraud. This scam occurs when a scammer contacts a homebuyer through phishing, tricking them into wiring cash to a fake account. This is a complex scam, with well-developed conversations to convince homebuyers to trust them as valid entities. 

Unfortunately, it’s one of the most prevalent cybercrimes in the United States, with over 13,000 people falling victim to it in 2020, a 17% increase from 2019. The highest reported came in the form of emails, with hackers forging emails and other information to assume the role of a party in the transaction. 

The amount of wire fraud increased from previous years primarily due to covid, according to those who monitor the crime. With the onset of the pandemic, transactions quickly pivoted to online communication, which made it easier for hackers. In total, there was an estimated $1.8 trillion loss in 2020 due to this scam, with the average victim losing nearly $100,000. The online presence of the necessary information to complete the scam, coupled with the number of transactions, rising prices, and all-cash offers all were factors that increased the occurrence of wire fraud. 

There are plenty of heart-breaking stories related to this scam, with people losing their life savings to these criminals. Hence, why it’s essential to be aware of this scam, how it works, and the best ways to avoid it. 


Real estate wire fraud relies on phishing. Phishing occurs when a hacker uses fake emails, phone numbers, or websites to impersonate someone. In this case, they would be impersonating a party within the real estate transaction. 

Typically, the hacker will use stolen information to craft an at-first-glance, legitimate email. These are not your run-of-the-mill scam emails either; they will look highly correct. However, after taking another look, you may notice some inconsistencies like double letters, an incorrect signature, or a different host domain. 

The process typically follows the following pattern, as criminals. . . 

       1) Gain access to a known party’s email

       2) Monitor communications, but wait to act until the money is moving

       3) Use a compromised authentic account or a spoofed account to impersonate. 

       4) Provide instructions to the buyer to steal from them 

The emails have four hit points, according to an expert in the field, that are common across all these scam emails:

The confirmation request after you’ve wired the funds is for their fast re-routing of the money into their own account, attempting to ensure the scam is complete without intervention.  

As a note, just because the person seems to know a lot about the transaction, it doesn’t mean they are legitimate. As these scammers watch the transaction, gathering vital information, they will know the perfect time to strike and also have answers to questions you may ask to verify their legitimacy. 


The first mistake is thinking that you’ll never fall for a wire fraud scam. It could happen to anyone, no matter how intelligent or well-versed in the world of real estate one is. 

In order to avoid falling victim to these scammers, these steps are suggested by experts. 

We would always recommend double-verifying information provided via email by contacting a trusted party via their established phone number. 

Also, if it’s an option in your transaction, to avoid wiring the funds altogether, you could always pay with a cashier’s check as a safeguard. 


There’s no straightforward answer; it varies based on the situation. 

It might be assumed that the bank or financial institution will bear the burden, as they typically do so in other instances of fraud. However, in real estate wire fraud, the bank is rarely found liable — as in most cases, the consumer willingly authorized the transaction. 

While the consumer is usually liable, it’s not always the case. Courts have also found the fault to be attributed to real estate agents, brokers, escrow companies, and sometimes even title companies if they are found to be negligent in their duties. 


The following are the best ways to improve the chances of recovery. However, it is important to note that only 29% of victims see all their money recovered, and in 40% of cases, only 10% or less is recovered. 

This article provides some further context regarding the steps listed above if you would like to learn more. 


Real estate wire fraud has become the unfortunate reality in this modernizing industry. In order to attempt and prevent the continual rise of wire fraud in transactions, education is vital. By reading this blog, you’ve already started your journey to learning more about this vicious scam. We would recommend continuing to read and keep up to date with this fraud, especially if you’re employed in the industry or entering it as a buyer or seller.



to rent or sell an additional property: exterior of homeIn some situations, a person may face a situation where they have additional property; perhaps they’ve inherited it, or they’ve recently moved out of a starter home into their forever home. Then, they’ll be faced with the question, to rent or sell an additional property?

It’s a question that involves thoughtful consideration — as it’s a big decision. Potential considerations may include. . . 


One thing to consider when deliberating the question is taxes for selling and renting. Rental income is taxable at your regular tax rate; however, you can write off rental expenses . If you decide to rent and then eventually sell the rental property, there are also tax considerations, as taxes will be payable; the longer you own the property, the larger the tax payments may be. 

First is a depreciation recapture tax, as owning a rental property allows you to depreciate the property’s value, reducing the taxable net income. When the rental property is sold, the IRS seeks to get this returned through recaptured depreciation, which is taxed as normal income at the normal tax rate. 

Second, capital gains taxes occur when an asset is sold for any amount of profit, categorized as short or long-term. Short-term is a gain on a property held for less than a year and taxed at the same rate as regular income tax. Long-term gain is when a property is held for a year+; taxation is set at 0%, 15%, and 20% (2021), based on your income. There are ways for capital gains taxes not to be charged, but these would require certain aspects to be met. 

To best understand the tax considerations associated with renting or selling a property, we always recommend that parties discuss with an expert in the field. 


In most cases, if someone is already a homeowner, they use the proceeds from their current home to put towards purchasing their new home. If this is the situation, there is no question of whether to rent or sell. 


The real estate market is ever-changing, with prices rising and falling as demand and supply ebb and flow. If prices are low, it may be better to hold onto the home until prices rise. However, if selling is the plan someone is leaning towards, and it’s a seller’s market, it may be better to sell right away — as there may be more involved with bringing it back to a presentable condition after tenants reside in the home. 

It would be best to discuss with a local real estate agent when considering the current real estate market, as they can provide a better idea of it and the home’s saleability in the current market. 


There are expenses to renting a home to weigh against the cash flow from renting out the house. 

  1. Mortgage 
  2. Insurance (rising cost)
  3. Repairs (a certainty)
  4. Taxes (rising cost)
  5. Advertising (to find a tenant)
  6. Miscellaneous Expenses (because there always is)

There may also be additional expenses, like: 

Additionally, if any repairs or renovations are necessary to make the unit rental-ready, these are additional costs to consider before even getting started. 


Managing a property can be time-consuming and present challenges; it’s more complex than collecting a rent check each month. There will undoubtedly be issues that require fixing, which will require you to roll up your sleeves or hire a contractor to make the fix. Landlords are also responsible for the big fixes, so money would need to be set aside in case of a significant problem. Additionally, you’ll be responsible for filling the home — screening potential tenants, and showing the unit. Finally, various legal obligations and responsibilities are associated with being a landlord that must be followed. 

If you don’t want to be responsible for the property management (but still want to rent it out), you would need to hire a management company to do so — which is an added expense. 

Alternatively, you could consider doing short-term rentals, provided your locality allows it; however, this can still be labor intensive. You’ll need to locate a cleaning company that can be on call for your bookings, furnish the home with the necessities (plus any extras to attract guests), manage the booking schedule, repair any broken fixtures, and deal with any guest problems. Again, you could hire a company to handle this all for you, but it will be an added expense. 


Some homes just don’t make good rentals, whether that’s due to their location or layout. Additionally, some homes won’t generate enough rental income to cover the necessities: mortgage payment, taxes, insurance, and general maintenance costs. 

Also, if you are in a condo association or HOA, some have rules against renting out residences — in which case, selling would be the only option. 


You should also consider your own personal life plan when making the decision. For example, do you want to keep the home in your family for a future residence for you or a family member? Are you temporarily relocating for a job or emergency but wish to return to the area after? These may be circumstances where renting out the home to a suitable tenant for a time may be preferable to keep the house for a future date. 


Overall, there are solid reasons to consider renting a home out, like:

However, there can be equally practical reasons for selling, like:

If you’re in a situation where you are considering the question of rent or selling, connect with a qualified tax expert and a real estate agent. These experts will be able to provide answers to some of these considerations. If you’re looking for some advice on the Lake Country or Southeastern Wisconsin real estate market, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our qualified real estate agents who will be able to assist!


a collection of remodeling choices-paints & tiles
Is the Housing Market Finally Slowing Down?
Overpricing a Home is (one of) the Worst Mistakes a Seller Can Make
couple holding up keys
5 Times to Think About Walking Away From a Home Sale as a Buyer



i-buyers: key in door home sale


An I-Buyer is, essentially, an instant buyer. It’s a real estate company that uses algorithms and technology to buy and then re-sell homes quickly. So, to put it simply, the company estimates the value of your home, then makes an offer. If you accept, they then sell the home themselves. 

These I-Buyers claim they developed due to the frustration caused by more extended, traditional real estate transactions & the more on-demand service many expect in today’s society. There is still a commission to be paid, though, typically 6 to 8%; it can be higher than a traditional commission due to the added convenience of their service. 

Although it might seem like I-Buyers and flippers are similar, the homes each target are unique to them. Flippers typically target low-priced homes with more repairs needed; while I-Buyers’ target homes that match the following specifications

I-Buyers are looking for these styles of homes because they strive for efficiency. They offer and try to close quickly, then try to re-sell the house within 60 to 90 days. That’s why they prefer desirable homes in good condition and don’t typically go after the “as-is” homes that flippers search for. These companies are not only looking for particular houses, but also particular areas. I-Buyers operate in mostly metro, popular places like Dallas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles — the big players are not active in small, more suburban areas. 


Perhaps the most well-known I-Buyer is Opendoor, which first debuted in 2014. They had large capital reserves to purchase homes and the technological capability to value properties quickly. From there, other I-Buyers began to come to market, marketing themselves as an alternative that address sellers’ pain points in the “traditional” home sale market. In 2022, the largest I-Buyer companies are the following.


This is the largest I-Buyer, serving 53 metro areas. In Q2 of 2022, they sold 10,482 homes — a 201% from Q2 the prior year. In addition, Opendoor has worked on becoming a one-stop real estate shop, including title, home insurance/warranty, home upgrades, and moving services. They are fee-based, with their charges averaging 5% according to their marketing. 

However, things aren’t all rosy. Recently (August 2022), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) went after Opendoor for misleading advertising that deceived sellers into thinking they would make more by selling to Opendoor. When in reality, it’s usually the opposite; sellers typically make less by selling to I-Buyers. The report also found the following to be deceptive to buyers:


This is the 2nd largest I-Buyer company with 31 metro areas serviced and 3,792 homes purchased in Q2, an 87% increase from the prior year. The fees are also stated as 5% in their marketing. 


This is Keller William’s version of an I-Buyer program, resulting from a partnership with Offerpad. This allows them to offer you both the I-Buyer route and the more traditional option if this new method fails to work for you. This I-Buyer program is relatively new, just being started in 2019. 


Two other main players in the space were Redfin Now & Zillow Offers; however, both were recently shut down. 

Zillow went first. A big name in online real estate, Zillows announcement that it was getting out of I-Buying was a bit shocking to the market. So what went wrong? Well, Zillow put itself in a position where it offered above-market prices to homeowners — which they blamed on their “Zestimates” and the unpredictability of the market. Ultimately, they had to take losses to unload all of their final inventory, around 7,000 homes. However, in August, Zillow and Opendoor announced a partnership, bringing Zillow back into this market and customers to Opendoor. Whether this partnership will be more beneficial and profitable for Zillow than their previous I-Buyer model will be an interesting development to watch.  

Meanwhile, Redfin just announced the shuttering of its I-Buyer program in November 2022. They invested quite a bit into this portion of the real estate market but ultimately could not justify the staggering amount of money and risk for the uncertain benefit of it all. All in all, they expect a loss of 22 to 26 million dollars in 2022 from this discontinued venture. 


Recently, even the I-Buyers still in the market have pumped the brakes a bit. With the hot market, I-Buyers had to fight for a piece of the action, and they did so with aggressive, high offers. Now, these offers are more moderate due to higher mortgage rates, which has slowed down the market. I-Buyers have also slowed down over fear of having high amounts of inventory that they will not be able to offload as talks of a market dip loom. So instead, they’ve put their focus on selling off their current inventory. 

Experts still believe that I-Buyers fill a need in the market and that those still in operations will continue to do business. Whether it’s something that can go national and to what extent it will grow in current markets, still remains to be seen. Most of the research on I-Buyers is a bit dated now, so it’s something that will be interesting to watch develop.


Benefits (+)

Overall: it can be a speedier process that allows for more convenience and predictability

Drawbacks (-)

Overall: if your home does qualify, you’ll likely receive less than a market offer and have no power for negotiations (price, repairs, etc.) in the I-Buyer transaction. 

According to the NAR, I-Buying only accounts for around 1% of all U.S. home sales. However, it is an option that some home sellers choose to take due to the benefits listed above. We always recommend that sellers consider all options available to them when selling their homes. If I-buying is available in your market, it is something you may want to consider if the benefits are something that will help you in your real estate journey.



City Chickens

Chickens are moving to the suburbs; they used to be commonplace, even in more populated areas, but societal changes and regulations kept them out of city limits. However, recent trends of homesteading and self-sufficiency, as well as the popularization of chickens on social media, have led to changes in city rules as people fight for the right to have chickens. 

Recently, a band of chicken lovers got Oconomowoc to alter their stance on chickens, and they are now permitted within the city. However, the ownership of chickens is controlled, with various regulations in place. These include aspects like lot dimensions, coop placement, and number of birds permitted. 

So, what is up with city chickens? This blog post seeks to provide a simple guide to chickens, from their history, a step by step to getting chickens, and some different types of chickens to consider getting. 


Originally from Asia, chickens rapidly became popular across the World, creating a fervent “Hen Fever.” Chickens in America roamed backyards, raised by families, for meat or egg production in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It wasn’t until ideas on how people should interact with animals changed, mainly due to the push for industrialization, that chicken raising also became industrial. Suddenly, farm animals were seen as unclean; many considered raising animals for food production a “lower-class” activity. 

Then, in the 1920s, the US Supreme Court upheld the ability and legality of municipalities to regulate land use; this ruling allowed localities to control chicken husbandry. Urban sprawl, after WWII, only cemented the idea that urban and rural practices should be kept separate. This local control, coupled with the low prices of chicken due to industrialization, limited the practice of raising chicken amongst the masses. 

However, with the broader acceptance of homesteading and other self-sufficiency practices, many people have decided to bring chickens back to the backyard, to get dozens of fresh eggs or enjoy their feathered friends company. 


Of course, there are some things to consider with city chickens, including . . . 


There are believed to be 100’s of different types of chickens (although only 65 are officially recognized), and each breed has a different purpose. Most breeds are divided into four categories: egg layers, dual-purpose, meat birds, and pet chickens. 

Those looking to get city chickens will likely want to nix any meat birds immediately, as most localities will not permit raising meat birds. 

Below we’ve highlighted a few egg laying and more pet chicken types, although there are plenty more to choose from. This site or this one here are both great resources for learning more about chicken breeds.



Leghorns are a smaller breed of chicken and are more flighty and nervous. They are white with large red combs. They are very heat tolerant but may not handle the cold as well. In terms of egg production, you can expect 280 large or extra large white eggs per year or 5 to 6 per week. Due to their flighty nature, they may not be the best bird for a beginner’s flock. 

Rhode Island Red

These hens are reddish-brown and very good layers. They are self-sufficient and low maintenance, but can be more aggressive with other chickens than other breeds. In terms of egg production, you can expect 300 large brown eggs per year or around 6 per week. These chickens are great for beginners. 

Plymouth Barred Rock

These black and white hens can withstand cold winters and are traditionally easy keepers. In terms of egg production, you can expect 200 medium pale tan eggs per year or 4 to 5 per week. These chickens can lay eggs for ten years (compared to 5 to 8 years for most other breeds).


These chickens come in a few different colors and are quite large. They are very friendly, personal, and cold-hardy. You can expect 200 to 280 eggs per year in terms of egg production.

Easter Egger

Easter eggers are a hybrid breed of chicken. Lots of people like them as they lay eggs that can range in colors, from green, blue, olive, and even pink (however, each hen will only lay one color so if you want the rainbow, you’ll need more than one Easter Egger). 


These solid black hens are rather large, friendly, and talkative. They are also cold-hardy. In terms of egg production, you can expect 250 large light brown eggs per year or 5 to 6 per week. 



Silkies are small chickens with fluffy feathers that almost look more like fur. They are not known for their laying ability, but are very personable and considered great chickens with children. They also come in a variety of colors, including: white, black, blue, gray, partridge chocolate, and so many more (some can be seen in the graphic above)! However, they tend to go broody (wanting to sit on eggs), and then they will not lay. You can expect 3-4 small eggs per week when they are laying.


These birds are fluffy all the way down to their feet. They are sweet, personable, and very friendly. They come in both standard and bantam (smaller chicken) sizes (the bantam size is displayed above). But, like the silkie, they tend to go broody wanting to hatch out chicks; when they are laying eggs, you can expect 3 to 4 medium light brown eggs per week. 


People love the look of the polish chicken with their hairdo and many color varieties. However, they are very docile, so they will typically be lower on the pecking order. It’s best to raise them with their coop mates, so they are not too fearful. Their feather poof can sometimes get in the way of their vision, but it can be remedied with a quick trim. They are not great egg layers and will only lay 2 to 3 smallish-medium white eggs. 


If you’d like a good breakdown of chickens and their stats, from the ability for confinement to heat tolerance, check out this website! They haven’t done every breed yet, but they are working on them. 

We’ve only included a few chicken breeds here, but there are many more. Checking out hatcheries or local chicken breeders is the best way to learn about all the different breeds available to you. 


For those who live in Oconomowoc, chicken keeping is under Ordinance 21-0997. You can learn more by accessing the following document: Chicken Keeping Ordinance (Oconomowoc)

Remember that even though Oconomowoc may allow chickens,  if you live in an HOA, they may not allow them. Additionally, your lot size many not be able to accommodate them. 


Chickens are egg-cellent pets, whether you live in the city or country. If you’re city, HOA, and lot (based on your city’s restrictions) allows for the raising of chickens and you can commit the time, money, and energy to them, then you should certainly consider adding some poultry friends to your yard!




walking away from a home sale: accepted home under contract

It can be difficult to consider walking away from a home sale when you receive an accepted offer as a buyer; however, there are situations where it may be easier to walk away from a sale in the long run. 



Recently, many have decided to waive a home inspection to make their offer more appealing (21% did not include a home inspection contingency versus 13% in 2019). However, the findings of inspections are one reason you might want to walk away from a sale. 

Home inspections are a non-invasive review of the condition of a home done by a qualified individual; they will inspect the electrical, HVAC, plumbing, roof, foundation, attic, and other structures. They are looking for areas that may be in poor or unsatisfactory condition. 

The largest benefit of a home inspection is that you’re more likely to avoid costly surprises later down the line. One horror story is of an investor who bought a home without an inspection, and when she started removing some water-damaged cabinets, she found abnormal wiring and extension cords. The previous owner had DIY-ed the electrical in the home, resulting in having to rewire the entire house. She was out an extra $150,000 with all the new wiring and additional work that had to be done. 

The inspection allows you the chance to walk away from a deal if something like DIY wiring is uncovered. 



The title is a history of who owned the property, a physical description, and any liens on it. The title company works on behalf of the lender and buyer to ensure that the title is clean. Some potential title problems would be outstanding property taxes, liens against it, or easements. 

If there are issues, it can be costly and stressful. It is certainly something you should consider before proceeding with the sale. You wouldn’t want to buy a home and later down the line that someone has claim to it. 



When first finding a home you like, it’s easy to be blinded by finding something that meets your qualifications. Then, if you get an accepted offer, rationalizing anything problematic away can be even easier. 

However, perhaps after seeing the home at different times, you notice neighbors possibly engaging in activities that bother you (like late-night band practice), or maybe you notice that the neighborhood isn’t particularly pet-friendly and you have multiple pets. 

Although it may seem petty in these situations, considering walking away from the sale could be a good idea rather than dealing with neighbors or a neighborhood that is not to your taste. 



Sometimes, you might have a chance in your financial situation after putting in an offer for an unexpected reason. In these situations, it might be the responsible choice to walk away from the sale. Also, depending on the change, it might mean that you no longer qualify for financing.  

It’s always best to iron out the financial aspect before even looking at homes, but sometimes random things cause unexpected life changes that may make it necessary to walk away from a sale. However, we would never recommend looking to make a significant life change before your closing, as it might affect your ability to get financing. 



When buying a home, buyers also can include an appraisal contingency. Appraisals are generally required if obtaining funding from a lender; however, the contingency will allow you to have some negotiation ability if the appraised value comes in lower than the agreed-upon price. 

Low appraisals may happen for various reasons, but according to data from Case-Shiller, appraisals came in below 19% of the time in 2021. When this does happen, there are a few remedies

In the last case, where the buyer cancels the contract, it will be due to the inability to compromise with the seller or not being able to increase the down payment. In this case, walking away from a home sale might be your only remedy as a buyer. 



Although it can be challenging to walk away, in these 5 circumstances, it will likely be to your benefit to consider it. A good real estate agent will be able to help you through the process and advise you as to whether terminating the agreement is a wise choice. 

One thing to think about when walking away is the earnest money situation. Earnest money is to show seriousness to the seller, often considered a good faith deposit. The amount will vary depending on the sale but is typically between 1 to 5% of the purchase price. However, walking away from a sale could cause you to lose out on your earnest money

If you are walking away for the following reasons, you can expect a return:

On the other hand, if you walk away because you’ve had a change of heart or due to the neighbors/neighborhood — you shouldn’t expect any return. Although, in some situations, it might be better not to get a return and avoid a problematic living situation down the road. 


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