Jay, who has lived in the Waukesha area for over 20 years, is an active volunteer who has served on numerous local boards and committees. He's married to Colleen with three kids having gone through the Waukesha schools. He is the VP of a local distribution company.
Our oldest daughter, Kelly, has joined the ranks of Waukesha Homeowners. It was her stated goal approximately 1 year ago to save enough money and buy her own home. Last Thursday she achieved this milestone.
The journey of home-buying was interesting, challenging, frustrating, daunting, exciting, and filled with emotional highs and lows. There were over-promising ads, slightly fuzzy pictures, deals "too good to be true" (they were!), below appraised prices (with good reasons), open houses where the homeowners forgot and didn't clean or hide dirty laundry, offers put in prior to the "For Sale" signs being posted, and far too many with the ominous "Short Sale" noted.
As she searched the internet and kept expanding her price and location options, there was a palpable sense of growing frustration that the 'right" house didn't exist for her budget and needs in SE Wisconsin. This was compounded by any number of television shows where buyers in other geographic markets get their dream house, and within their budgets... These, along with the genre of "How to Re-do your entire home - with furniture - for under $2,000!" shows, compounded the situation.
Reflecting back on our own experiences going back 26 years ago, we offered encouragement to keep searching with the advice that it would pay off in the long run. My own most far-sighted comment was "Keep looking - you will be that much more knowledgeable and ready to act decisively when the right opportunity presents itself". Another close friend said "You will just know when it's a good fit..."
Kelly bounced from a narrow geographic and price point, to areas far afield as well as low-priced fix-me-ups and houses well beyond her affordability. She went "Home - Condo - Duplex - Home - Condo - Home - Home - Condo - Home". All this time the $8,000 First-Time Homebuyer clock was ticking down...
Ultimately, she contacted a realtor referred to us by friends: Mr. Steve Bauman of Shorewest. Kelly asked for help in setting up 2 showings. We accompanied her and Steve and finished house #1 when he asked if we had time to look at another home which had come on the market earlier in the day. Reading-off the realtor's listing sheet, Steve announced "The furnace, air conditioning, Aprilaire, water softener, dishwasher, stove, refrigerator (all included), and windows were between 1-2 years new!" We arrived and... Kelly knew! Nice neighborhood where pride of ownership is readily apparent; big flat fenced-in yard; 2-car garage; a nearby park and school; 3 bedrooms; nice kitchen/dinette/living room arrangement; and a whole lot of potential for her to make this house her home! 10 minutes into the tour and... Kelly knew! She took charge, asked Steve for his input and if he could prepare an offer that night. Being an extremely nice gentleman (and a realtor!), Steve met with her that night and thoroughly went through the "Offer to Purchase" process. He called the listing agent and let her know an offer was forthcoming.
Offer - Counter - Accepted Offer - Inspection - Financing (Thank you- First Federal ) - Closing...and the house is Kelly's! And she could not be more thrilled! The long months of searching and building her knowledge base positioned her perfectly, and the timing could not be better with competitive home pricing, low interest rates, and the $8,000 homebuyer credit. She got the perfect home in her first choice of neighborhoods at a price within her budget.
Kind of a nice "Waukesha Story" - Local graduate of Waukesha Schools buys Waukesha house through Waukesha realtors, financing through a Waukesha bank, and the City of Waukesha retains an energetic, tax-paying, promising young resident.
That's a true Waukesha Stimulus Package!