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Archive for the ‘Misc.’ Category

Spring is finally here! These neighborhood-organized rummage sales are a great opportunity to score some bargains.  It’s also a great opportunity to see how much Madison has to offer. Check out the full list HERE of all the local neighborhood garage sales happening around MadTown!

Have fun and enjoy!

Date Event Location
May 11 – May 13 Oregon Community Wide Garage Sale Oregon, WI
May 11 – May 13

 

Waunakee Garage Sale Days Waunakee, WI
May 13, 2017 Nakoma Garage Sale

 

Nakoma Neighborhood
May 18May 20 Hawks Landing Hawks Landing Neighborhood
May 19 – May 20 Deforest/Windsor City Wide Garage Sale Deforest/Windsor, WI
May 19 – May 20

 

Wexford Village Garage Sale Wexford Village Neighborhood
May 19 – May 20 Spring Harbor Neighborhood

 

5156 – 5148 Spring Court
May 19 – May 20 Blackhawk Garage Sale

 

Blackhawk Neighborhood
June 3, 2017 Emerson East Garage Sale Emerson East Neighborhood

 

June 3, 2017 Marquette Neighborhood Garage Sale Marquette Neighborhood

 

June 2 – June 3 Hill Farms Garage Sale

 

Hill Farms Neighborhood
June 8 – June 10

 

Portage Citywide Garage Sale Portage, WI

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Spring is finally here and it’s time to get planting! If you are selling a home, a beautiful garden can add curb appeal. If you’re staying put, a garden can add to your home’s value, the sustainability of your property, and your happiness. If you know of another, upcoming plant sale in the Madison area, let us know and we’ll add it to the list.

Homestead Title takes pride in being green and sustainable. Every year we provide a list of local garden sales in the Madison area. Enjoy!

Date Location Event
May 12th, 11am-5pm Olbrich Gardens Plant Sale with the Pros: Olbrich Gardens annual fundraiser.
May 13th-9am-3pm Olbrich Gardens Plant Sale with the Pros: Olbrich Gardens: annual fundraiser.
May 13th, 10am-2pm Troy Community Farm: 502 Troy Drive Spring Plant Sale: All plants Certified Organic.
May 11, 9am-2pm UW Arboretum Visitor Center Native Plant Sale
May 13th, TBD Shorewood Hills Garden Club: 1008 Shorewood Blvd Plant and Mulch Sale
May 13, 9am-2pm Oregon Garden Club: 8th Annual Oregon Garden Club Charitable Plant Sale
May 13, 8:30am-11am Mound Vue Garden Club: 709 Brookstone Crst Mound Vue Garden Club Plant Sale
May 12 – May 13 West Side Garden Club: 3918 Nakoma Rd West Side Garden Club Plant Sale
May 21, 2017 Master Gardener Plant Sale: 1 Fen Oak Ct.  Master Gardener Plan Sale

 

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Madison Farmers’ Markets

Spring is finally here and it’s time to get outside and enjoy the Wisconsin weather. Homestead Title takes pride in being green, sustainable, and local. Each year we provide a list of the local Farmers’ Markets for you to check out. Happy Spring!

Farmers’ Markets in Madison When Where

Eastside Farmers’ Market 

Tuesdays 4pm -7pm April to October Central Park

Capital View Farmers’ Market

Wednesdays 3pm -7Pm June to October 5901 Sharpsburg Dr.

UW Health at The American Center

Tuesdays 2pm – 5pm June to October 4602 Eastpark Blvd

Wednesday Markets

Wednesdays 8:30am -2pm April to November 200 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Saturday Market on the Square Saturdays 7:30am – 12pm April to November Monona Terrace

Union South Farmers’ Market

Thursdays 10am -2pm September to October 1308 W. Dayton St

UW Health at University Hospital

Thursdays 2pm -5pm May to October 1111 Highland Avenue

Northside Farmers’ Market

Sundays 8:30am – 12:30pm May to October

Northside Town Center

 

Rimrock Road Market

Mondays 2pm – 6pm June to October 2524 Rimrock Road

Hilldale Farmers’ Market

Wednesdays and Saturdays 7am – 1pm May to November Hilldale Mall

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Cyber-fraud is a constant, growing problem especially prevalent in the Real Estate industry. This post examines “Spoofed” emails and how to recognize them.  A video tutorial of this post can be seen here.

Scammers create fake emails that look like they came from a bank, title company, or Realtor. Clicking links in the email may download viruses, take you to malicious sights, or convince you to enter passwords or send money.

Always be suspicious of any email that asks you to click on a link, enter a password, provide personal information, or send money.  

Never send money until you call the contact at a phone number NOT provided in that email.

One recent scam involved a common Email Encryption program used by many banks and title companies called ZixCorp.  ZixCorp is a legitimate service that Homestead and other companies use for secure email . Fake or “spoofed” ZixCorp emails look exactly like a bank or title company has sent you a secure or encrypted email. How can you tell the fake from the real thing?

Click Here for a Short Video on how to detect Spoofed Email: https://www.screencast.com/t/0ItwBtOVKCm

cyberfraudvideo

Here’s how to recognize a fake or spoofed email:

1.  The Subject line is empty, vague, or unrelated to you. A statement that you have received a “secure message” is too vague.

cyberfraud12.  The email of the sender is not quite right. For example, if you receive an email from Microsoft, you should not open it if the address is @mxll2.microsoft.com.  The random letters at the beginning are sure sign of fraud. The ZixCorp message was harder to detect.  The scammer added ‘S’s in the name: @zixcorpmesssagescenters.com.

3.  The Link has a fake hyperlink. Always hover your cursor over a link before clicking — it will show you where you will be taken.

cyberfraud24.  There are grammatical or typographical errors. An email with errors is a red flag of potential fraud.

You can safely open emails from ZixCorp – the real emails are safe and secure.  The trick is recognizing the fakes.  If you have any suspicions or are unsure, always call the company that sent you the email.  Find their number in your contacts or their website, not on the suspicious email.  And, never wire any money without first calling to confirm all information.  Scammers used spoofed emails to try to convince people to wire money. Once the money is sent, it is usually gone to a foreign country and impossible to return.

Be cautious, vigilant, and safe.

Homestead Title

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 2015 Early Market Update

This is the time of year for forecasts and market predictions.  What will 2015 bring?  Will the market improve?  What kind of year can we expect?

We are hearing cautious optimism of a solid to strong year in real estate.  Our very early numbers are consistent with this prediction, with Sales orders from December 1st through January 15th up 28% over the same time last year!

Interest rates continue to influence the market, again nearing historic lows.  Mortgages traditionally follow the movement of the bond market. On Friday, the 10-year Bond Yield dipped to 1.76%.  To put this in perspective, Bond rates have only dipped lower for a short time in 2012, when Mortgage rates hit their all time low (just under 3.5%).

bondsvmortgages

Indeed, local Mortgage Rates dropped from 3.8% at the beginning of the year to today’s 3.6%.  It is conceivable they could go lower. This is good news for home affordability (and a good thing for buyers to know when considering houses), but signals weakness in the economy and markets.  Despite the weak stock market, NAR, Freddie Mac, and the Mortgage Banker’s Association all predict robust growth in housing sales in 2015 and an even better 2016!

projections

Thank you to my friend Joe Long at Waterstone Mortgage for this graphic and information. It is significant and unusual that all three predictions match so closely.  Interest rates will likely rise by year end, and this could dampen the market.  Nevertheless, interest rates may not be as important as consumer confidence, especially confidence about Jobs.  If people feel secure in their jobs and confident in their ability keep employed, they buy houses. The national jobs numbers have been strong, with 2014 having the best rate of job creation since 1999.

All of this should translate into a solid 2015. And, so far, our numbers are consistent with this hopeful prediction.  Happy New Year and we hope you have a healthy and prosperous 2015!

Homestead Title Company

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Welcome Amy Gervasi

We are excited to announce that Amy Gervasi has joined Homestead Title as our newest closing officer. Amy has over 20 years of real estate experience as a Realtor, lender, and closing officer. She has developed strong relationships and friendships with past clients and colleagues from her experience in the real estate and lending fields. Amy is passionate about home ownership and loves helping people achieve that goal. This passion shows in her commitment to making each client feel like they have a friend who cares about their purchase, sale, or transaction.

Amy grew up in Madison, graduating from Memorial High School. She attended college in Atlanta, GA and finished her education at UW Madison. During college, she was hooked by the Real Estate bug and has been in the field ever since. She lives in Verona and is married to Dwight, an IT geek with a great sense of humor, for almost 20 years. They have 4 kids that keep her hopping between sports, school events, and sleepovers.

Those who have worked with Amy know her to be an outstanding, caring, professional who makes Homestead Title an even better place to close. We are proud to welcome Amy into our Homestead family!

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Schemes, Scams, & Frauds

It seems like fraud attempts have spiked in the last 3 months. We have seen each of these scams either sting us or Realtors with whom we work:

  1. Toner Scam: Your company gets a call from your copier service company confirming your correct copier ID and that your shipment of toner is late, but on the way. A week after the shipment arrives, the invoice will arrive. It is from Supply World, Inc., IDC Servco, or some other company and is for 10-15 times the price of your product. If you’re not careful someone will pay the invoice. The scam starts with an earlier call in which the scammer asks to confirm your copier ID number, make and model. They might call later and get more information, such as the name of the person in charge of orders. Now, the hook is set and they can call with all of the information that makes them appear to be your legitimate servicer.
  2. Phishing and Malware Attacks: These are all over the internet – emails with malicious links or files. The key is that they are so well targeted to your business or interests that it can be very hard to tell the scam from the real thing.
  3. Microsoft Hacker Scam:   A “Microsoft representative” calls to tell you’re your computer is signaling their servers that the updates are not running properly.  This is causing trouble on their end and slowing down your computer (your computer is running slow, who’s isn’t).  They provide the Microsoft Webpage, you log in and give access to your computer, and they’re off!  You just gave a hacker access to your computer.  The call was fake, the website an authentic mimic, and the hackers job too easy.
  4. Advertising Scam: A number of local service providers fell pray to a scam in which a company sells advertising space on a prominent Realtor’s marketing materials. For $1500, their company can advertise on the folders that the Realtor gives to customers and clients at closing. The catch: The Realtor never agreed to this, the company has no plans on printing real folders, and the whole operation is just a scam. The parties lost their money and the innocent Realtor’s reputation took a potential hit with angry business owners feeling burned.

To Avoid these and other scams, here are a few simple rules:

  • NEVER provide private information that is solicited over the phone or by email.  Credit Card Companies, Banks, and vendors will never ask for this information when they contact you.  If you call a trusted number, then it is ok to give information.  Examples:
    • Credit Card Fraud:  You may receive calls alerting you of fraud on your account. Do not link to the site in the email and do not call the number provided.  Call the number on the back of your card!
    • Bank Account Issues:  You may receive email of phone alerts about problems with your bank account. Often the emails are incredibly authentic.  Do not link to the email or open any attachments.  Call the number from your own records or your local representative.
    • Toner Scam:  The key to this scam are the first phone calls asking for seemingly harmless information.  Often, the first call is just to “confirm” the copier ID number or the make and model.  Do not give this out. More importantly, all staff should be aware of this scam and avoid agreeing over the phone to anything relating to toner or computer supplies and avoid sending payment for any questionable item.
  • Computer Scams:
    • Microsoft Update Scam:  NEVER give access to your computer to anyone other than a person you have chosen to hire. If they call you, don’t give any information, access to information and certainly don’t allow them remote access to your computer.
    • Phishing Scams:  Don’t open any attachments you are not expecting or links.  An email with nothing but a hyper-link is not linking to something “Awesome” or “Interesting” or anything else.  It’s a virus, malware, etc.  Be especially wary of .zip and .exe files.
  • Advertising Scam: This scam can often be avoided with a simple Google search. Before committing to contracts or payments with unknown parties, do your research. It is as easy as a Google search. If the first page of Google is filled with Ripoff Report.com; bbb.org; snopes.com and complaintsboard.com, your are likely the target of a scam.

Much of this is easier said than done. Scammers are sophisticated and constantly adjusting to appear legitimate. Simply being aware of the scams will keep your radar up for red flags. Be skeptical and curious, do your research, and be cautious of these scams and you have a better chance of avoiding them.

Finally, don’t be embarrassed and don’t hide your story.  Share it with others in your organization and elsewhere.  Knowledge and awareness is the best way to shut these scams down.


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