Hillcrest seeing increased activity
By Mark Sherry
A “spec home” in Kieland Meadows was constructed last year by Hillcrest. Kieland Meadows is a new subdivision located on Kiel’s southwest side which offers the benefit of bordering a nature conservancy area.

They are not the only ones saying it, but the fact that Hillcrest Builders/Hillcrest Realty is excited about the direction the real estate market is heading should have everyone in eastern Wisconsin excited as well.

As one of this area’s premier home construction/remodeling and real estate companies, Hillcrest clearly has its finger on the pulse of the real estate market— and Oyvind Solvang of Hillcrest likes what he is hearing and seeing.

“Things have changed—the market is clearly picking up as of the beginning of the year,” Solvang said recently from his office in Glenbeulah. “Based on our inquiries and orders, it’s a dramatic change.”

Solvang said indicators that the Wisconsin economy is improving—coupled with how long some people have been sitting on the sidelines—has the real estate market ready to break loose.

“People are tired of waiting,” he said. “At some point the pent-up demand turns into activity.”

Low interest rates helping

Mortgage interest rates at historic lows, lower prices for new homes/lot packages, and people having or wanting to take the next step in their lives are other contributing factors to a real estate recovery which is already under way, Solvang said.

“That unlocks the gridlock that has been in place,” he added. “The outlook is better. Unemployment rates are still high, but unemployment is starting to decrease which is what is needed for people to feel more confident.

“There isn’t a lot of new home inventory left in our area, so we’re building more homes. People see great value and they want to take advantage of the extremely low interest rates.”

Hillcrest made a name for itself as the developer and builder of some of eastern Wisconsin’s finest subdivisions. It weathered the worst of the recession by doing remodeling projects big and small, but these days its realty services have grown to become an integral part of the complete package which is Hillcrest.

Hillcrest’s realty services are very comprehensive. If homeowners want to sell their home, Hillcrest can handle that. If they want to sell their home and build a new one, Hillcrest can put an affordable package together.

Hillcrest Realty will fully analyze the market value before they recommend the listing price to their client. They will be objective in their analysis and share this information with their prospective client up front. They also monitor the market during the listing period and advise the client promptly if they find new information which warrants a change to the listing price.

Uses multiple methods

Hillcrest uses the Multiple Listing Service. The MLS service has an extensive library of features which allows for constant updating and optimization of listings, not to mention the national exposure a property can get through MLS. Hillcrest also has other online marketing strategies and uses open houses and print advertising for all its clients.

“Our realty is growing quite a bit,” Solvang said. “We’re staying in tune with the market. We’re gaining by leaps and bounds.”

Hillcrest lists everything from available lots to existing homes to condominiums, from the north side of Milwaukee to throughout northeast Wisconsin. As an independent realtor and builder, Hillcrest has no special restrictions on its territory or any other aspect of the real estate or construction markets.

“People know who we are,” Solvang said. “They know we’ll stand behind everything we do. They recognize the name. We will help them with the staging. We help them with the fix-ups.”

Hillcrest customers benefit from working with a company which has remained grounded and focused on quality despite its growth over the years. “We’re growing and we’ll staff accordingly, and we’re used to responding quickly,” Solvang said.

New window line added

Hillcrest Builders will continue to do the smaller jobs for customers as well, including replacement windows. Customers now have the option of having Hillcrest install high-end H Windows made in Ashland. A Norwegian design, H Windows are built for architects, builders and homeowners who demand the very best in quality, environmental and energy efficient design. It offers innovative composite aluminum/wood construction (not a clad window) with a unique fully reversible operating system. It also offers more colors, fine woods and glass choices than any other manufacturer.

On the other end of the construction spectrum are custom homes also built by Hillcrest Builders, such as the home they built in the town of Plymouth last year which they hope to soon have certifi ed as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum home, which is one of five Wisconsin homes to receive this highest energy efficiency rating available in the United States. The owner of that home is collecting checks from her local utility for the solar energy the home is producing, and she opens the home on occasion for study by groups interested in seeing the top of the line in home energy efficiency. Interested parties can contact Hillcrest to get a tour and can learn more about that home and about all aspects of Hillcrest on its newly redesigned Web site, www.hillcrestbuilders.com.

“There’s a lot of activity right now,” Solvang said about both his business and the area’s real estate and construction markets. “This is perfect timing.”

And that is perfect news for everyone in eastern Wisconsin.