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Surfing in the North Woods

Surfing in the Northwoods

I was tired of the sun” she said. Winter in Wisconsin was approaching.

Julie, a surfer in her youth, worked in the medical field. She lived on the West Coast, near Venice Beach. Nearing retirement age, she wanted a change, she wanted four seasons. The north woods called. Snowshoeing would replace surfing.

(If you don’t read any further, I encourage you to watch the video at the end)

Her new home is designed for two, 1200 square feet, including space for an Airbnb rental.

The home sits on 1.5 acres surrounded by trees and is designed to LEEDS (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards. The goal? To reduce energy consumption, conserve water, improve indoor air quality, lower operating costs, and live more sustainably.

The design is open concept. “Why no skylights?” I asked. “Windows are given a point value and skylights are not as energy efficient as windows. I lose points with skylights”, she responded.

The interior walls are finished in American Clay, a healthy, clean and environmentally friendly building material containing no chemicals or harmful toxins to help improve indoor air quality. The interior wall R-value is 20.

Solar is part of the plan, but on the advice of the installer, our West Coast surfer was told to wait for a year of living in the home to determine how many panels would be needed to meet her energy needs.

Julie’s housing goal caused me to think about the homebuying (and selling) process and how intimidating and tiring it can be.

Julie was fortunate, she bought a home in California years ago and sold into a crazy market. Her Wisconsin home was going to be easily affordable. When real estate is not easy, (now) sometimes the willingness to work hard or willingness to continue gives you an advantage.

As you consider your housing situation, whether Boomer, Millennial or Gen X – selling, buying or downsizing – consider a home in the context of your overall financial health.

According to the Washington Post, in the United States, the bottom 80% in terms of wealth have 65% of their wealth tied to their primary home and only 12% in financial assets. By contrast, the top 1% has just 9% tied up in their primary residence.

It’s important to think through your housing wants and needs (dream vs. goal) at stages of your life. A home is more than the purchase, the larger the home the greater the expense for taxes, insurance and energy use. Balance your wants with needs.

If you buy what you need, you many end up with enough excess income to “make money while you sleep.” (Investing in in the stock market or taking advantage of matching investment plans your employer offers.)

Residential real estate can be confusing and stressful today. If you’d like to discuss your wants, needs and goals, contact us and we’ll listen and talk. Discussion and information is the starting point to address confusion and stress.

Speaking of California, the Link below (there is an ad to begin) is a fun story about one way to live life. The Slo Mo way.

I look at the video twice a year to remind myself what’s important in life.


If you don’t want to share this e-note for its real estate content, share it for the Slo-Mo video.


Thanks for reading,
Michael D. Holloway

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Homebuyer Associates
1835 N. Riverwalk Way
Milwaukee, WI 53212
Phone: 414-254-4129