1914 Monroe St

Madison, WI 53711

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Wisconsin VA Home Loans

  Moving with your Military Family 

Military families are well aware of how tiring it can be to move often. With military installations scattered across the country, these families get to see a number of great cities; however, finding a place to call home delivers a good feeling and living in the Midwest provides a central location, so military families are never too far from friends and family. Madison, WI serves as a great place for service members and veterans to call home and can be a very affordable option, especially when they use a VA loan to finance their home.

The VA loan program, created in 1944, is unmatched in the benefits it provides to service members and veterans. Unlike any conventional loan, VA loans in Wisconsin allow qualified homebuyers to finance 100 percent of a home purchase without paying anything down. Any conventional home financing option comes with a down payment, some as high as 20 percent, which cuts into the purchaser’s savings. VA loans also offer a high loan limit in Wisconsin, which means homebuyers can fully finance their home up to $417,000 without putting a penny down.

Conventional loans’ monthly payments can be costly, in large part because of private mortgage insurance (PMI). This monthly charge does not exist in the VA Home Loan program, thereby reducing military homebuyers’ payments each month. In addition to lowering the payment, VA loans offer negotiable interest rates. VA-certified lenders are happy to reduce interest rates on Wisconsin VA loans because the VA backs up to 25 percent of each loan. Other benefits to Wisconsin VA loans include:

  • No prepayment penalty
  • Lower closing and concession costs
  • Capped interest rates for active duty members
  • VA Streamline, a way to refinance and lower interest rates
  • More lenient qualifying standards than conventional loans

Eligibility depends on discharge and service history. Veterans with a dishonorable discharge are ineligible for a Wisconsin VA loan. Honorable or injury-related discharges are permissible. Military homebuyers who may qualify for a VA loan fit one of the descriptions below:

  • While on active duty, military members who served for 90 days during wartime or 181 days during peacetime.
  • Reservists and National Guard members who served for at least half a dozen years.
  • Active duty personnel who meet the service requirements above.
  • Spouses of service members who died in the line of duty or because of a service-connected injury.

Completing a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is the first step in obtaining a Wisconsin VA loan. COEs are available through the VA or from a VA-certified lender. The latter is available to answer any questions about VA loans in Wisconsin.

Guest post by Matt Polsky with the www.vamortgagecenter.com and the www.vabenefitblog.com.

There are many lenders in the area that can help with your VA loan. Please check with your preferred lender to see if they can help or email Matt Polsky for more information at mpolsky@vamortgagecenter.com.

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Five Things to Look For in a New Neighborhood

So you’re on the home-buying market. Congratulations! Madison is a great place to live. Even so, you’re probably already overwhelmed by decisions: Wood or brick? One- or two-story? Carpet or parquet flooring?

And that’s not even including one of the most important factors in any new home-purchase: location, location, location. It might not be everything, but it’s almost everything. It will determine your commute, change your social life, shape your children’s education, and affect a host of other aspects in your life.

You probably have your own list of things to look for when looking for your new abode. But if you want a bit more guidance as you do research, we at ABODO have put together a handy checklist of things to look for (and avoid) as you examine possible settings for your new house. You will also learn more when you meet with your Realtor for a buyer consultation.

1.  School Districts

If you don’t have children and don’t plan on having them, skip to the next item. But if you have a family — or think you might have one within the next few years — school districts should be a major component in your neighborhood choices. There is a full list of Madison and surrounding schools with information here and other sites like, niche k12 offer testing statistics, user reviews, and contact information for hundreds of thousands of schools nationwide — public, private, and charter. It might be a good idea to schedule a tour, or attend an open house, so you can get an idea of how your child (or potential child) might fit in with the culture and educational philosophy. Here’s a map of Madison’s public school districts. You might also find the annual report from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction helpful. It collects data — test scores, AP enrollment, graduation rates — for public schools in Wisconsin, so you can compare schools across districts and cities.

2. Property Taxes

You’ll be paying taxes on your house and the land it sits on, so it’s a good idea to know the general tax rate in the neighborhood you’re investigating, and what it gets you. If you’re in the market for a particular property, it’s easy to find the value of the house and attendant land up for purchase. Just visit the Madison Assessor website and use this handy search tool: You type in an address, and the Assessor will give you the value of the property, the amount of recent taxes paid, and a host of other details about the property and area. You can even see how recently the roof of your potential home has been replaced.

3. Neighborhood Parks

Local parks — state, county, or city — provide health benefits and recreational opportunities beyond your backyard. Plus, studies show that nature sojourns are linked to lower blood pressure, reduced obesity rates, and mitigated pollution effects. Fortunately, Madison is loaded with parks and biking trails — it’s repeatedly named one of the most bike-friendly cities in the nation due to its expansive system of off-road trails.

Scope out the local parks and what they offer, such as tennis courts, basketball courts, grills, or beaches. Also, do a little research into which local parks often host festivals or concerts throughout the year. Armed with that information, you can decide how close — or far — you want to live to these events.

4. Safety Concerns

To check up on the crime rate in your potential future neighborhood, visit NeighborhoodScout.com to get a general sense of where crime is happening, CrimeReports.com for a map of that labels types of offenses as well as trends, or FamilyWatchdog.us for a map and details of nearby sex offenders.

5. Eye Test

This neighborhood measure is the easiest to research: just take a look around and see how you feel. Does it feel like you and your family would enjoy living here and walking around? Is the location close to what is important to you? If you value privacy and large lots but also want to live close to downtown, you might have to decide on how important the commute is to you vs the yard size. Location and neighborhood are important factors and makes the difference in a house feeling like a home. It’s a simple test, and it shouldn’t be underestimated.

 

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This home was sold and marketed by Susan Stoehr, Broker Associate / Relocation Specialist - The Alvarado Real Estate Group. To discuss buying or selling your home, please contact Susan at 608.251.6600, or susan@thealvaradogroup.com

 

 

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