real estate

Reasons to live in Wisconsin

  1. Everyone in the country talks about how nice Midwesterners are - We feel so privileged to finance dream homes in such a positive and safe communities. Our clients are the sweetest, which makes our job so easy and so rewarding.

  2. We love our local farmers - there’s an abundance of local meat, cheese, and veggies. Homegrown seems to taste better.

  3. Cheese curds - ‘nuff said

  4. Motorcycles - Milwaukee is Home of Harley Davidson. The rural roads of Wisconsin are perfect for a relaxing afternoon cruise.

  5. Water park capital of the world - The Wisconsin Dells are world famous! Water parks, shopping, and casinos (all of which probably have cheese curds).

  6. Lake recreation - There’s ample opportunity to get out and play! Rent a canoe in the Summer time or try your hand at ice fishing in Winter. Where ever you are in Wisconsin, you aren’t too far away from a lake. Rumor has it, Wisco has more lakes than Minnesota.

  7. We like the fresh air - Temperature doesn’t stop us. We’re always outside. Spring time makes for a beautiful hike in the bluffs, and you betchya we’ll strap on our snow shoes for a good romp around the woods.

  8. We’re really passionate about sports - Seriously. I’d be willing to wager that you can’t find ONE neighborhood without a Packer themed exterior paint job.

  9. Unmarried? Madison offers the most rights and legal protection for unmarried couples out of any other city in America.

  10. The 400 State trail - Explore Wisconsin on a family or solo bike trek.

bikes-on-trail.jpg

11. We like to work, and WI has awesome career opportunities. Our unemployment rate is at 6%. Wisconsinites love to roll their sleeves up and work hard (and reward that solid days work with a local beer).

12. University of Wisconsin - A great school with 13 campuses across the state with a leading biotechnology program.

13. Fish Fry Fridays - It’s a thing.

14. Culver’s - It’s like fast food, but it’s made with local ingredients. Basically guilt-free, right? (They have cheese curds)

15. Door County - Looking for a relaxing getaway? Door county has great cabins, recreation, beautiful views, and relaxation for a reasonable cost.

16. We’re Americans Dairyland - and we have cheese curds.

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

Here in Onalaska, we’re expecting temperatures in the balmy 30’s next week.

This Winter’s recent snow storms, polar vortexes, and negative temperatures has us ready for spring. Looking for ways to feel productive and shake off the cabin fever? Get outside and perform your Spring Home Maintenance Checklist.

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  1. Prevent mosquitoes - As the ice melts, your property may be left with reservoirs of standing water. These reservoirs serve as ideal breeding grounds for disease carrying insects. Perform a 360 degree walk around of your land, identify any standing water, and property discard it.

  2. Visually inspect your roof - Heavy snow build up and wind can cause a ruckus for our roofs. When the ice melts, perform a 360 degree walk around and look for any missing shingles or other obvious exposures on the roof. If there’s still snow piled high on your roof, it’s time to use the snow rake!

  3. Clean out the gutters - regular gutter maintenance prevents clogging, prevents rot, and prevents critters from getting into your attic space.

  4. Check for damaged cement - Take a peak at any foundation, driveways, or pathways on your property and look for any obvious cracks or damage.

  5. Give your home’s exterior a face lift - if the outside of your home is looking a little dull after winter.

  6. Clean out the chimney - Perform an exterior visual inspection of your chimney. Look for obvious cracks or damage. Call in a chimney sweep to remove the build up in efforts to reduce any fire hazards.

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All right home owners, we hope this Spring Home Maintenance Checklist has helped! Your home is one of the biggest investments you can make, and regular seasonal maintenance can assist you in protecting that investment. Our homes take quite the beating during winter months here in the Midwest, so it’s time for a little TLC!

Reducing Waste

What ways do you reduce waste around your home or office?

Homes For Heroes Giveaway!

Homes For Heroes is hosting their Experience Contest! Winner will receive an additional $500. All you have to do is fill in the form, record a 30 second video about your homes for heroes experience, upload it, and submit!


If you used the Homes For Heroes to finance your home, click here to enter!

If you’re interested in hearing more details about the homes for heroes program, click here!


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Mortgage Tip Monday

In the first installment of our blog series, Mortgage Tip Monday, we want to let you in on a secret.

Starting or sprucing up your garden can skyrocket the value of your home. According to an article in the Washington Post, improving landscaping around your home has a 150% return on investment.

We’ve all heard that curb appeal can either make someone fall in love with a home or drive right past that for sale sign. When you invest your time and dollars well on lawn care, it’s been consistently proven to produce an astounding difference for your home value.

If you are like me and don’t have a green thumb, don’t worry. We have budget friendly ways for you to take advantage of this value amplifying practice.

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  1. Weed control. Get your hands dirty and pull some weeds! You don’t have to be an expert landscaper to give your yard a more polished look.

  2. The grass should look greener on your side of the fence. A healthy, well trimmed lawn can do a lot for the overall aesthetics of your home’s exterior. Don’t have time or patience for lawn maintenance? Hire a local landscaping company or a neighborhood kid looking to earn some pocket cash.

  3. Plant. Invite a friend over who has experience with their own gardening if you don’t have a knack for it. Find plants that are easily maintained and place their labels in the soil to better keep track of how frequently they need care.

  4. Begin a community vegetable garden! Not only does this make your entire neighborhood feel more inviting, it’s an interesting conversation piece. It’s an avenue for the next homeowner to meet their new neighbors.

  5. Plant a tree. Who doesn’t love a beautiful shady tree? Planting it with your family will attach your legacy to the home. As an added bonus. they’re a lot less high maintenance than flower gardens. Just plant and watch it grow.

Fostering a welcoming appearance to your home’s exterior is a fun, relatively inexpensive, and wildly effective way to improve your home’s value. Even if you aren’t planning to sell anytime soon, a well established garden is a great way to make your house feel more like your home. It just may be the easiest DIY project you’ve ever taken on.

When in doubt, manage your debt.


So you’ve decided you want to buy a new home in the near future, but you aren’t sure you’ll be able to get approved. Lenders use things like employment history, annual income, and credit scores to determine whether you’re eligible for a loan or not.

We’ve compiled a list of things you can do to monitor, manage, and improve your credit scores. Keep in mind, increasing your credit score is much like weight loss: there is no magic pill. It requires consistency and patience.

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Where do we start?

Do you know what your credit score is? There are free online services, such as Credit Karma, that allow you to monitor your credit. Contrary to popular belief, keeping an eye on your credit score won’t result in any damage to your credit. In fact, it can keep you well informed about your overall financial health and security.


Well, it’s looking a little lower than I thought it would….

Don’t panic. Just like certain actions reduce credit score, certain actions can improve your credit score.


What’s the game plan?

  1. Set up auto pays. Make paying bills on time as hassle free as possible. Schedule reminders on your calendar when bills are due to withdraw from your account, so you have a good idea of where your bank balance is.

  2. Budget. In order for auto pay to function well, one first needs to make sure there’s always enough money in the bank to cover the auto drafts. Some people schedule all bills to come out on the same day, some people opt to spread it out. Consider what will work best for you, and make a plan.

If you can show consistent payment history, you may rack up some points on your credit score.


Let’s discuss debt to income ratio (DTI):

Another thing lenders have to consider when qualifying you for a loan is your debt to income ratio. DTI compares expense and earnings; how much of your income goes to paying off debts? A lower debt to income ratio shows lenders that you’ll have funds available to pay your mortgage on time every month.

To calculate your DTI:

Calculate monthly debts - car loans, credit cards, student loans, child support, etc.

Gross monthly income - income per month before tax deductions


Take your monthly debts and divide them by gross monthly income = DTI%

(Don’t forget to move the decimal over)



To work towards lowering DTI% percentage:

  1. Budget for an increased payment or extra payment towards your debt.

  2. Consider setting up auto pays for these debt accounts (further solidifying a consistent payment history).

  3. Avoid opening new lines of credit or making any large purchases.

  4. Focus on keeping lower balances on all debt accounts.

  5. Pay down credit cards with higher interest rates first.



These tips will help you monitor and manage your credit scores. However, if you find that your score is in need of some real repair, don’t be afraid to give Imagine Home Lending a call. We work closely with credit repair professionals who can get you on the path towards home ownership.



Congratulations On Closing!

Imagine Home Lending - Chris Claeys and the entire Imagine team thanks you for trusting us to finance your dream home.

Imagine Home Lending is grateful to be your local lending partner. 
NMLS#134666

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Realtors That Rock - Tyneal Beckius

We’re so excited to highlight a realtor that rocks, Tyneal Beckius! Tyneal serves clients in the Fargo and Moorhead areas of North Dakota and Minnesota.

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Her bio reads, “I work specifically with buyer's to help you find your dream home. I work diligently to get you exactly where you want to be. It's my life's mission to help people! I am passionate about the Homes for Heroes program that we participate in that can be utilized my current and former medical professionals, law enforcement, firefighters, teachers, and military!”

Homes for Heroes Savings. Tyneal Beckius clients saving $875 in closing costs! Homes for heroes is available to police, firefighters, military, veterans, teachers, and healthcare professionals.

As a fellow partner of Homes for Heroes, we love that Tyneal is so passionate about working with public and civil servants. We got together with Tyneal for an interview so you can get to know her better!


We asked Tyneal what got her interested in becoming a realtor. She responded,I initially went in to real estate because I have a passion for working with and helping people. Buying and/or selling real estate is one of the biggest investments a person can make in their life and I love being there every step of the way.”

We couldn’t agree more. A home is the largest investment a person can make, and we both strive to make it a smooth process for the buyer!

Tyneal Beckius. Realtor, wife, mother, leader, krabbenhoft real estate team. Mortgage professional, lender, first time home buyer, refinance, USDA, VA loans, Conventional, 0% down, home loan.


Though it’s a bit of an unfair question as it asked her to play favorites, we inquired about a time when working with a client felt particularly rewarding. She gracefully explains, “Every transaction that I have been a part of feels rewarding in its own way. That may sound insanely cheesy but it's true. Every transaction is unique and every single closing brings an immense amount of joy for myself and my clients. It feels especially rewarding if we overcame obstacles and were able to remain strong. I also take a lot of pride in being able to offer my clients the Homes for Heroes reward. Not every agent has that ability and it fills my heart knowing that I can give back to those who work or worked in Military, Law Enforcement, Teaching, Healthcare, and Firefighting.”

It is very rewarding to get to know your clients’ stories, backgrounds, goals, and dreams as you work together through the home buying process. Your realtor will inevitably end up on your speed dial. Buyers and realtors work closely together over the course of about two months, so it’s important to choose one that is willing to work hard for your best interest.

For the grand finale, we asked a question every buyer is dying to know the answer to. If she could offer one piece of advice to current house hunters, what would it be?

“It would be to enjoy the process and let your realtor do the dirty work!”

Thank you Tyneal for taking the time to talk with us. Thank you for being passionate about finding our community’s military, police, firefighters, teachers, and healthcare professionals their dream home!

To connect with Tyneal:

www.tyneal.FMhomesearch.com

(218)779-9151

tynealbeckius@gmail.com



Rising house prices

Conventional loan limits are rising in efforts to accommodate the rising price of housing. The demand for housing has risen beyond housing availability.

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So what does this mean for potential home buyers?

It means that as soon as a house hits the market, it probably won’t stay on for more than a few days. This is where pre-qualification and pre-approval gives you the upper hand.

If a seller has multiple offers on the table, they’re likely to select a buyer who is pre-qualified or pre-approved. They buyers know that this seller is serious, they’ve thought about financing, and have found a lending partner who is willing to work with them.


It takes less than five minutes to apply for pre-qualification! Just click Apply Now!


Winter is coming

Whether this will be the first winter in your new home or you’re hoping to save some pennies on your energy bill in your apartment to put towards your down payment, we have a few tips and tricks to show you how to make your home more energy efficient as the temperatures begin to drop.

Imagine home lending energy efficiency tips



Heat the spaces you spend the most time in. Set the thermostat to 62-68 degrees, and use space heaters in rooms that get the most traffic. We simply suggest that you use space heaters with auto shut off safety features when they’re knocked over. You can even go all out and get space heaters that look like fireplaces. Only heating the spaces that you’re most likely to occupy can shave a few dollars and cents of your monthly bill this winter.



Humidity. Warm air can be a little dry during the winter. Adding moisture to the air helps forced heat stick linger a little longer. Buy a humidifier, and set it on a timer.



Check your water heater. Set your water heater to 120 degrees. It’ll keep you from scalding you in the shower if you accidentally turn the dial a little too far, and cut down energy costs.



Check your furnace. Check your furnace filters monthly, and replace as needed.



Sunlight. Winter can bring about a lack of Vitamin D, so opening the curtains when the sun is shining can perk up your mood. Of equal importance, having south facing curtains open during the day will bring natural heat into the home. Just make sure you close them when the sun goes down in order to keep that warm air in.



More on curtains. Insulated curtains are worth the few extra dollars, and they come in an array of colors and patterns that will suit almost any room’s decor.



Check with your local energy co-op. Our local energy cooperative offers efficiency incentives programs. They give clients discounts for buying new energy efficient appliances, recycling old ones, for switching to LED lighting, for high efficiency water heaters, geothermal HVAC, and for having energy audits performed on your home. Most energy companies offer discount programs for sprucing up your home with energy upgrades. Visit your energy provider’s website for more information.  



Do you have any energy saving tips to share?

Find us on social media or email to tell us how you prepare when winter is coming.