First Time Home Buyers

JUST LISTED and OPEN HOUSE Sunday, October 2 11-1: 3553 Heather Crest, Madison

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3553 Heather Crest, Sunset Village in Madison, WI  $250,000

The “Lustron” home is an enameled steel prefabricated house that was immensely popular and highly promoted post World War II. A piece of history. Think outside the box because this is not your typical 3 bedroom home. The low maintenance design has stood the test of time. The historical value of these homes has been promoted and maintained through a strong online community. This community offers ideas and tips for new ways to enhance, redecorate and maintain your Lustron home. The space is efficient and the location is absolutely perfect. Enjoy an actual neighborhood with a city feel. You can walk to restaurants, book stores, grocery stores, coffee shops, ice cream shops, bagel store, yoga studio and all the shopping you could dream.

  • 3 BR, 1 BA,
  • 1217 Sq. Ft.
  • Immaculate interior and exterior
  • Excellent storage
  • For current price and more photos,  click here:

Property Features and Updates

  • Bathroom remodel, 2015
  • New Windows, 2015
  • New floors in Living room, Hall and Den, 2015
  • New custom Gutters, 2015
  • New Pellet Stove Fireplace, 2015
  • New Washer and Dryer, 2015
  • New Fenced backyard, 2015
  • New 1 ½ car garage, 2013 and insulated, 2015
  • New water heater, 2014
  • New entry and dining room tile, 2013
  • New Storage Shed, 2009
  • New carpeting, 2007
  • New stainless steel dishwasher, refrigerator and stove, 2007
  • Complete bath remodel, 2007
  • Complete kitchen remodel with wine refrigerator and Corian® counters, 2003
  • New Furnace, 2004

Sunset Village Neighborhood Information

  • Walk Score 79 (Very Walkable) and Bike Score 97 (Bikers Paradise)
  • Walking distance to Hoyt, Quarry, Oscar Rennebohm and Lucia Crest Parks
  • Close to many restaurants, shopping, library and local attractions
  • Minutes from Downtown, UW Campus, Capitol Square and Beltline

School District Information


This home is marketed by Brett Larson of the The Alvarado Real Estate Group. For a showing of this home or to discuss selling your home, please contact Brett Larson today at 608-575-4123, or


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 to get a general sense of where crime is happening, for a map of that labels types of offenses as well as trends, or 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.


JUST SOLD! 6111 Bridge Road by April Johnson

Congratulations to Beth and Brian on the purchase of their first home! Sounds like there is soon to be one lucky dog for that awesome fenced in yard!

JUST SOLD! 6111 Bridge Road in Monona, WI on February 22, 2016 for $204,000. 

3 Bedroom, 1.5 Bathroom - 1694 Square Feet - Great layout!


Sold by April Johnson of The Alvarado Real Estate Group. She is an expert working with buyers and brings great knowledge, experience and patience to the process. Feel free to contact April Johnson today at 608.358.7481 or


6914 Old Sauk Court - Madison Condo for Sale

6914 Old Sauk Court

Beautiful and spacious. This second floor condo sparkles with great updates, natural sunlight, white trim, neutral colors, and features a fantastic master bedroom bathroom. The living room is spacious with fireplace, built in bookshelves and huge south facing windows. Great layout, two full bathrooms, large closets. Roof new '11, flooring new '07, washer new '11, furnace '06, windows '10. Other features: stacked washer/dryer in the unit and private garage with extra storage. Enjoy the park like setting yet close to everything!

  • 2 BR, 2 BA, 932 Sq.Ft.
  • 1-car garage
  • For current price and more information, click here


Condo Features

  • Unit is in the Wyndemere Condo Association
  • Spacious living room with fireplace and south-facing windows
  • Private, in-unit stackable washer & dryer
  • Fantastic private master suite with full bath
  • One-car garage is included
  • New roof and gutters in 2011; siding in 2009
  • New washer in 2011
  • New kitchen flooring and carpet in 2007
  • Condo dues are $177 per month
  • Included in condo dues: condo management expenses, snow removal, common area maintenance & insurance, reserve fund


Neighborhood Information

  • Many neighborhood features including Odana Hills Golf Course, Woodland Hills & Wexford Parks, High Point Swim Club and High Point Church.
  • On bus line for easy access to all of Madison
  • Only minutes to shopping at West Towne & Westgate Malls
  • 10 minutes to the UW Campus
  • 15 minutes to downtown Madison


School District Information for 6914 Old Sauk Court

Sara Alvarado, The Alvarado Real Estate GroupThis home is marketed by Sara Alvarado, Broker / Listing Specialist - The Alvarado Real Estate Group. For a showing of this home or to discuss selling your home, please contact Sara at 608.438.5005, or

M&I Bank is offering a unique Neighborhood Home Loan Program

M&I, soon to be BMO Harris Bank, is offering another fantastic financing option called the Neighborhood Home Loan Program (NHLP), which is a 30 year, fixed-rate loan with as little as 3% down with NO PRIVATE MORTGAGE INSURANCE! Potential clients would also be able to receive a $1,600 closing cost credit from M&I Bank if they open a Portfolio Checking account and establish auto-pay for their new mortgage.

Typically, NHLP is an income restricted program, however, there is no income restriction when utilizing the program for the purchase of a home in a "low" or "moderate" income census tract (defined by the Federal Government based on census data). This program can be used on owner-occupied single family homes, duplexes (with 5% minimum down), or condos that meet Freddie Mac guidelines.

NHLP loans can also be utilized by borrowers buying a property in Dane County who make under $65,500 gross annual income. Borrowers under this income limit can use this program to purchase owner-occupied homes that are not located in "low" or "moderate" income census tracts. These borrowers buying outside of a "low" or "moderate" income census tract would be eligible to receive a $1,100 closing cost credit from M&I if they open a Portfolio Checking account us and establish auto-pay for their new mortgage.

With interest rates still at or near historic lows, coupled with this lending option, you really shouldn't wait to make a move. Get into a new home before the holidays!

Where are the homes for sale that qualify for this great program? Call Carlos Alvarado today to find out. Or if you'd like to speak to our preferred M&I Bank lender about this program, please contact David Clem at 608.231.5675 or or visit to apply online today.

JUST SOLD! Charming Monona Home

1011 Birch Haven Circle, Monona


Aaron was looking for an agent to get to know him and really listen to what he was looking for in a home. He had a lot of questions when he sat down with Adrienne Sella for a buyer consultation so they could discuss the details of what he wanted to find in a home and the right location. After fine tuning the results of his search there were only two homes that fit what Aaron was looking for. This is the fun part - they went out to see both homes, wrote an offer on the best one in Monona, got it accepted, successfully negotiated through the contingencies and closed within 30 days!

They could have spent weeks driving around, looking at houses that weren't right for Aaron but we all know that time is hard to come by in today's busy world. Finding the right house isn't just about looking at what is out is about taking the time to talk about what is important, having a Realtor that knows how to listen, knows the market and what is realistic and helping their client focus and understand on how the process works.

Before you start looking for your next home...find the right Realtor. It will make a difference.

JUST SOLD! Alvarado Real Estate Group

JUST SOLD! 4310 Sentinel Pass, Madison WI

JUST SOLD - 4310 Sentinel PassAfter many months we are happy to congratulate the Rodriquez/Zuniga family on the purchase of the FIRST home! During a time that has proven challenging in the lending industry Carlos Alvarado and Dave Clem at M&I Bank worked hard to help this family buy a home that they loved and that would cater to their big family dinners, great parties and that place they can call home.

4310 Sentinel Pass is just south of the beltline off of Seminole Highway and features four bedrooms, two bathrooms and 1,908 square feet. On the market for 41 days it was listed for $219,900 and sold for $200,000 in July 2011.

Thinking about buying a house? Check out our buyer tips and contac Carlos Alvarado for a consultation today, 608.438.6757,!

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 and the

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

1022 Reinke Dr. - 3BR Madison Home For Sale

1022 Reinke Drive, Madison WI

Alvarado Real Estate Group presents this great new listing - a bright and sunny ranch has many great updates! Beautiful hardwood floors, bay window in living room, open and large kitchen area and a huge 3 season porch makes a great play area and the perfect place to eat most months of the year. Newly remodeled bath features double vanity, ceramic floors. Lower level has a large rec room, guest room (not a legal bedroom), and office area plus a 3/4 bathroom. Fenced yard includes play structure too! One year home warranty included.

1022 Reinke Drive Property Features and Updates

  • New vanity, lighting & tile floor in main floor bath in 2010
  • New shed in 2008
  • Added lower level guest room in 2008
  • New fence and play structure in 2007
  • Replaced refrigerator in 2006
  • Replaced washer and dryer in 2006
  • Replaced windows in 2005
  • Spacious living room with south-facing bay window
  • Hardwood floors in living room and all 3 bedrooms
  • Pre Home Inspection by Amerispec available upon request
  • One year home warranty offered (value $495)
  • Easy to add wood burning stove in lower level 

Northland Manor Neighborhood Information

  • Walking distance to Wheeler Heights, Sherman Village, Northland Manor, Lake View and Wheeler Road Parks
  • Walking distance to beautiful Cherokee Marsh
  • Walking distance to Lindbergh Elementary and Black Hawk Middle School
  • Close to many restaurants, shopping and local attraction
  • Visit the Lakeview Library on N. Sherman Ave.
  • Easy access to downtown

Madison School District Information for 1022 Reinke Drive

  • Lindbergh Elementary School
  • Black Hawk Middle School
  • East High School

Sara Alvarado, Real Estate Broker / OwnerThis condo listing is brought to you by Sara Alvarado, Broker/Owner. For more information about selling or buying please contact Sara,, 608.438.5005.

SOLD! 6302 Mineral Point Rd #313 - Condo

Madison WI Condo for Sale

Wonderfully updated 2 bedroom in Marbella close to shopping & busline offers top floor unit, great natural sunlight, spacious open layout. Large living room with fireplace overlooks 3 season porch and wooded surroundings, kitchen features tile counters & classy backsplash, lots of light. Master bedroom with walk in closet, master bath. Updated glass & tile shower in 2nd bathroom. Laundry room across the hall. Unique condo assoc. offers a swimming pool, tennis courts, heated underground parking, clubhouse and lots more!

Marbella Condo #313 Features and Updates

  • Storage unit in building and basement
  • Screen porch
  • Large walk in closets
  • New carpet throughout
  • Remodeled bath with glass shower and tile
  • Natural sunlight from large 3 season porch
  • New backsplash and counters
  • Walk-in closet and master bathroom

Marbella Condo Association Features

  • Located in the midst of a private park
  • On the busline - easy access to downtown & UW campus
  • Clubhouse, heated pool and tennis courts
  • Heated, underground parking space included with unit
  • 40 additional outside parking spaces
  • Walking distance to shopping, restaurants and theatre
  • Walking distance to Mineral Point and Garner Parks
  • Condo fee of $296/month includes parking, hot water, water/sewer, management, trash removal, snow removal, common area insurance & maintenance, reserve fund, and recreational facility

Sara Alvarado, Real Estate Broker / OwnerThis condo listing is brought to you by Sara Alvarado, Broker/Owner. For more information about selling or buying please contact Sara,, 608.438.5005.