Foreclosures And Short Sales

JUST SOLD! 430 S. Thornton Ave. Madison, WI

430 S.Thornton Ave, Madison, WI- Home For Sale

This foreclosure home came with the great option to keep it as a 2 unit or easily convert it back into a 4 bedroom single family home. It is located in the heart of the east side of Madison across from the Yahara River. The home has many recent updates including an updated kitchen, new electrical, roof, windows... and even some TLC from the bank!   The home was listed at $290,00, and sold for $277,000. Congrats to the new happy homeowner!

The amazing teamwork of Alvarado Real Estate Group can do this for you!  Contact Sara Alvarado at 608.438.5005, today for information about listing your home and getting it SOLD!


JUST SOLD - 3415 Blackhawk Drive in Shorewood Hills

3415 Backhawk Drive Shorewood Hills

This home in Shorewood Hills required the right buyers with a vision of the possibilities this home has to offer.  This home finally found its new family, and they are now working on making their vision their new home.

It is located on a gorgeous wooded lot, close to Shorewood Elementary School, Four Corners park, & Blackhawk Country Club. The community features the Shorewood Pool & community center & access to Lake Mendota. Just a bike ride away from UW, hospitals, Hilldale area & downtown.

This home was cared for and loved for 39 years. It features a huge family/rec room adds a loft area, vaulted ceilings, great light. Beautiful wood floors, easy layout.

The amazing teamwork of Alvarado Real Estate Group can do this for you!  Contact Sara Alvarado at 608.438.5005, today for information about listing your home!


Free Foreclosure Legal Clinic in Madison WI

FREE Foreclosure Legal Clinic in Madison is now available for any homeowner who is facing foreclosure now. As foreclosure and short sale experts in the real estate world, our team talks to a lot of people who are concerned with their ability to continue to pay their mortgage. Whether their adjustable rate mortgages are coming due or someone in the home has recently lost a job or a divorce is causing financial stress; there are many reasons that a looming foreclosure is a reality. Our website has great information as you start to understand what your options are and there are great local organizations that are here to help too. One of our favorite resources is the Dane County Foreclosure Legal Clinic.

Madison WI Foreclosure Legal Clinic

DATES: Every Tuesday TIME: 9am - 11am (This is a walk in clinic so come when you can) LOCATION: Room L0001 (West End) of the Dane County Courthouse at 215 S. Hamilton St.

Dane County homeowners facing foreclosure have access to a free legal clinic staffed by volunteer lawyers and law students. The clinic operates on a walk-in basis, no appointments are necessary.

The purpose of the clinic is to provide homeowners in foreclosure with basic legal information. Homeowners who have been served with a foreclosure lawsuit can receive help preparing a written response, which the homeowner can then file with the court. The goal of the program is to increase access to the legal system. A recent sampling of court filings shows that in 85% of cases in Dane County homeowners face foreclosure without the benefit of legal counsel. The clinic will help those who are unrepresented become more engaged in the process. Experience shows that homeowners who engage in the process early have better opportunities for a positive outcome. 

The Foreclosure Answer Clinic is a collaborative effort of the Dane County Foreclosure Prevention Taskforce, the Dane County Bar Association and the UW Law School, with grant funding provided by the State Bar of Wisconsin and other support provided by Dane County.

The Dane County Foreclosure Prevention Taskforce is a coalition of public agencies, non-profit service providers and other community partners working together to develop sustainable alternatives to foreclosure in Dane County. Sara and Carlos Alvarado are proud to be a part of and support the Dane County Foreclosure Prevention Taskforce.

Visit the Dane County Foreclosure website: or contact Carlos Alvarado at 608-438-6757 or for further questions.

2039 E. Johnson St., Madison WI Income Property for Sale

2039 E Johnson St Madison WI

Madison East Side Two Flat For Sale

Great opportunity for owner occupied Madison WI 2 unit or as an income property with great potential for cash flow. There is a parking area or room for a garage in the back. First floor unit one bedroom with large eat in kitchen, back porch, private entrance that leads to fenced yard (great for pets!), spacious rooms, natural sunlight & access to basement. 2nd floor two bedroom with large kitchen, four season porch area, natural woodwork. Newer roof, vinyl siding, water heater 2009, lead pipe has been replaced. This is a Short Sale transaction. Please read more about short sales here.

  • 2 unit duplex (2 BR and 1 BR)
  • 2 bedroom unit on second floor with 787 sq. ft. (rent $850, lease through 8/15/2011)
  • 1 bedroom unit on first floor with 768 sq. ft.
  • off-street parking and room for a garage

Current price and more photos here.

2039 E. Johnson St., Madison WI Property Features

  • New water heater in 2009
  • Lead pipe replaced in 2008
  • First floor bathroom updated in 2007
  • Roof replaced in 2005
  • Newer vinyl siding
  • Fenced yard perfect for pets

Madison East Side Neighborhood Features

  •  Walk to neighborhood restaurants & shops
  •  Close to Madison Schools
  •  Easy commute access to Downtown or Aberg to Stoughton Road
  •  Just blocks to Tenney Park
  •  Minutes from Downtown, Capitol & Beltline
  •  Visit the Hawthorne Library on E. Washington Ave.
  •  Visit the Barrymore Theatre on Atwood Ave.
  •  Walkscore of 68 (pretty good!) at  

This home is a short sale. The Alvarado Real Estate Group has team members that can assist you in learning more about short sales as a buyer or as a seller. Please contact us for a private tour or more information on short sales and the buying or 608.438.4315.

Do you know what impacts your Credit Score? It's Quiz Time!

Understanding Credit Scores from Alvarado GroupTake the Alvarado Real Estate Group's monthly quiz and find out if you know what impacts your credit score: According to credit experts, 42% of U.S. consumers have credit scores between 550 and 699. As a result, these consumers typically don't qualify for preferred interest rates and, depending on their overall credit profile, they may not even qualify for certain loans and credit cards.

As a Madison WI Real Estate Broker, I have worked with many home buyers and sellers throughout my years in the business and have seen first-hand how credit scores can really upset the opportunity of securing a favorable mortgage. Most clients I work with don't have a clear picture of what impacts their credit profile and, more importantly, don't know what steps they can take to help improve it. I find this short quiz, from credit consultants, to be very helpful when it comes to understanding how your credit profile works.

1. To have the best credit-profile impact, what is the maximum amount of your monthly credit line that should be used?

a) 70% b) 30% c) 50%

2. What is the number-one contributing factor to a good credit score?

a) Length of credit history b) Amounts you owe c) Payment history

3. If you pay 2% each month on your credit card (typical minimum payment), when will you pay off a $3,000 balance at 10% interest?

a) 18 years b) 6 years c) 3 years

4. After paying off a high-interest credit card, you should:

a) Continue using it occasionally b) Close the account c) Use the full amount of available credit every month

5. Applying for credit cards in order to just receive a free sign-up gift (t-shirts, mugs, etc.) has no impact on my credit profile?

True or False

6. Rewards points on credit cards are a good deal when:

a) I get cash back b) I get free airline tickets c) I carry no balance each month

7. To have a credit score, I must have at least one creditor reporting activity on my credit report for:

a) 12 months b) 8 months c) 6 months

8. Credit bureaus that manage your personal credit report data and credit scores are a:

a) Government entity b) Non-profit agency c) Regular business corporation

9. Banks and credit card companies think you are creditworthy by how many credit offers you receive by mail?

True or False

10. Credit scores are used by lenders mainly to:

a) Tell how I compare to other consumers b) Tell if I make my payments on time c) Predict the likeliness that I will repay my loan on time

Answers: 1 - c, 2 - c, 3 - a, 4 - a, 5 - False, 6 - c, 7 - c, 8 - c, 9 - False, 10 - c

If you find you answered more than half of these questions wrong, you're not alone. ApprovalGuard says that the majority of consumers do not know the answers to these and similar types of questions. The good news is it's not too late. With a good understanding and proper guidance of how credit works, consumers can learn how to effectively manage their personal credit profile. For more information, you can email me at and since I'm not a credit expert, I can connect you with the right person if I can't answer your question(s). Please feel free to forward this quiz to others.

From a local Madison WI perspective, credit discussions come up a lot in conversations about short sales and foreclosures. This is a hot topic because there are so many factors in understanding your best options if you are in financial distress. And I'll save that for another post so stay tuned!

Foreclosure Prevention Workshop - FREE in Madison WI

Madison WI Foreclosure and Short SalesFREE Foreclosure Prevention Workshop for any homeowner who is concerned about the affordability of their mortgage. As foreclosure and short sale experts in the real estate world, our team talks to a lot of people who are concerned with their ability to continue to pay their mortgage. Whether their adjustable rate mortgages are coming due or someone in the home has recently lost a job or a divorce is causing financial stress; there are many reasons that a looming foreclosure is a reality. Our website has great information as you start to understand what your options are and there are great local organizations that are here to help too.

Madison WI Foreclosure Prevention Workshop

Monday, September 20th 6-8pm and Monday, September 27th 6-8pm *MUST ATTEND BOTH NIGHTS

Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa Street, Madison WI Click here for the map.

This two part workshop is hosted by the Dane County Foreclosure Prevention Task Force and is designed to educate homeowners about options for their mortgages including loan modifications:

  • Learn about programs to help you manage your mortgage.
  • Leave with tools and resources to help you make informed decisions.
  • Small group conversation with housing counselor, attorney, real estate agent, financial educator.

Please contact Ellen Bernards, 608-576-8658, to register. Registration is not required but recommended. And visit the Dane County Foreclosure website: or contact Carlos Alvarado at 608-438-6757 or

4817 Anniversary Lane, Madison WI Condo For Sale

Madison Foreclosure | Anniversary Ln

4817 Anniversary Lane, Madison WI condo for sale

Stop Renting! This spacious and sunny townhome is brought to you affordably courtesy of the Madison Community Land Trust. Watch the sun pour in the patio doors and highlight your vaulted ceilings. Enjoy your open living room/dining room/kitchen concept layout with a guest bathroom conveniently located downstairs. Up the open staircase you will find 3 spacious bedrooms and a full bathroom. City of Madison down payment assistance is available. Buyers must meet income qualifications. This condo is in pre-foreclosure. More details about the short sale / foreclosure process for Buyers can be found on our website. Our check out this blog post about the top 10 factors to look for in purchasing a Madison Foreclosure.

3 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, 1,300 sq. ft. Built in 1998, 1 car garage attached

View current price and more photos - click here!

Contact a team member for a showing or call 608.251.6600 or email:

Buying a Foreclosed Home in Madison WI? Here are top problem areas to look out for...

Madison WI Foreclosures

Today's Madison WI real estate landscape offers some great buys for savvy real estate consumers, especially when it comes to foreclosure properties. Unfortunately, even though there are already a large number of foreclosures on the market, analysts are predicting that yet another wave of distressed properties will crop up in the coming months.

As a local Madison area Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE), I've consulted with many clients seeking to capitalize on a foreclosure purchase. I always advise them, however, to weigh the pros and cons. While a foreclosure could represent your best chance to get a great deal, make sure you educate yourself about the potential pitfalls of purchasing a distressed property in advance - and what correcting those pitfalls might cost. In most cases, it's not so much about what damage occurred but rather the source of the damage and how long before the problem was addressed.

Here are the top 10 signs that may indicate trouble in a foreclosed home:

  1. Unheated house in winter months. If the home has been properly winterized, there's no need for heat. But if the home has not been properly winterized, pipes will burst and cause water damage.
  2. Missing sinks, toilets and other fixtures. Make sure they've been properly removed and not ripped from walls and floors.
  3. Peeling, bubbling and discolored paint; swelling in walls or ceilings (especially around kitchens and bathrooms), or a musty odor all indicate water damage and, potentially, the presence of moisture and mold.
  4. Fungus growth inside cabinets, behind drawers and built-ins. Fungus could mean that there has been water damage. Since water falls down, look for the source above the mold.
  5. Blocked drains or pipes will cause future problems and may have already created sewage backups.
  6. Black cobwebs, greasy gray residue on walls and/or a strong oily odor. This could point to potential soot damage or a malfunctioning furnace.
  7. An older home with extensive renovations. Check with the city for pulled permits in order to get remolding details. If asbestos is present and has been disturbed, be sure it's been remediated by a certified specialist.
  8. Excessive painting of every nook, cranny, door and floor may mean that the seller is covering up mold.
  9. Discolored subflooring. From the basement, check the subflooring above for stains and small holes, both caused by mold.
  10. Air quality. The air quality within a home tells a lot about the home's condition. Be sure to include air and surface testing in your home inspection. It's a few hundred dollars well spent.

Please keep in mind that not only are there potential issues with the condition of a foreclosed property, but each foreclosure property is sold subject to restrictions of record which are unknown to the Sheriff and subject to any unpaid taxes and water bills or assessments. One of our favorite resources is the Dane County Foreclosure website.

There are indeed many great opportunities in today's market, but proper education and preparation are essential to making the right investment. Please call 608.251.6600 or email us for further information and be sure to forward this article to others who might be considering a foreclosure purchase.

Search all foreclosure homes in the Madison area.

Starting with Something Free in the Madison WI Real Estate Market

Foreclosures in Madison WI real estate market

Foreclosures can bring new opportunity

Guest post by Michael Carlson, Madison Area Community Land Trust

When You Start With Something Free

Homes live and they decay. Foreclosed homes - any homes - demand stable or permanent occupancy. Many foreclosed homes have fallen into disrepair, or are old, or have been neglected, or bear projects abandoned by owners in the midst of foreclosure. These properties need more money, but of a certain type, namely, capital improvement dollars. The project at 709 Gannon in Madison, WI fascinates both in the mechanics of its capital improvement financing, as well as its broader implications for home lending policy.

Madison Area Community Land Trust and Operation Fresh Start jointly purchased the Madison property with help from Buyer Specialist Darcy Haber of the Alvarado Real Estate Group, and paid with MACLT's allocation of federal, Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funding. The NSP dollars are issued federally, distributed to the states, and then municipally administered. The fund acts as a grant, which we're not obligated to repay: In a sense, a home has been donated to MACLT and OFS, on the condition that it be both bank-owned and located within a 'HUD-qualified census tract.'

MACLT chose to exhaust the grant dollars on the acquisition of the foreclosed home, reserving a nominal portion to cover the cost of administration. The grant effected a transfer of title free and clear to the Land Trust.

The Land Trust will sell the home to an income-qualified homebuyer. MACLT, like many of the housing non-profits around the Madison area, sells homes to households who earn incomes of 80% or less than Dane County's median income. Practically, those incomes can support a mortgage of $100,000 or less.

The Board of Directors authorized MACLT to borrow up to $100,000 in construction credit to carry out a 'deep green retrofit,' through which the home will be reconstructed using techniques that reflect a modern understanding of energy-efficiency, healthy building systems, and the like.  Residential Services staff from MG&E, the local power utility, have partnered with the project in the review and development of construction specifications and performance modeling.

Operation Fresh Start, Madison WIConstruction will be carried out by Operation Fresh Start, located on Madison's East side, whose participation not only maximizes the sweat-equity value of the dollars borrowed to build, but whose joint ownership brings an additional infusion of federal subsidy to defray the cost of building materials. OFS will fully remediate the lead paint on site; they intend to deeply insulate the shell of the home and install new mechanicals; they will reconstruct the west facade to take advantage of solar gain; they will rebuild the rooflines, to protect the home from wet Wisconsin winters and springs, and to better shelter the interior from hot summer sun; they will restructure the interior to optimize space and build in accessibility; they will reconstruct the ceiling, to add architectural and aesthetic interest to a comparably small interior: These tasks paint the broad strokes of the 'deep green retrofit.'

The qualifying homebuyers will be pre-approved for a mortgage somewhere between $85,000 and $110,000. The quality of the improvements they stand to inherit, feels almost surreal. The funding volume is a builder's dream, and only a conservative, pragmatic ethic restrains what might be built, given how much money there might be to spend.  In any event, MACLT will repay the construction loan from the proceeds of the sale, which itself is paid by the homebuyer's first mortgage. 

MACLT anticipates and budgets upon $75,000 in capital improvements to the property. Because we bought the Madison WI East side property outright, and because the Land Trust model insulates homeowners from the liabilities of land ownership, the homebuyer's mortgage dollars match the construction dollars virtually one-for-one.  Because the buyers can afford up to $110,000, our incentive - the almost embarrassing incentive, for an 'affordable housing provider' - is to upgrade, upgrade, upgrade: Upgrade the systems, upgrade the form, and upgrade the longevity of this structure, to endure for the next 100 years. 'Best practices' are well-known, and here the money exists to implement them, at a price the homebuyers can bear. Free transfer of title catalyzes the volume and the quality of these capital improvements.

When debt that was attached to the initial building of the home, is erased, new, productive money can flow into the home. In a sense, 'improvement dollars' buy you more than 'new build dollars,' -- as they intensify, rationalize, and perfect an existing, workable 'substrate' whose own construction dollars may have been spent less intentionally - and thereby shrink the total volume of loan needed by a potential buyer, even as the end product excels against the marketplace.

What needs to be done in housing, can in fact be supported by the reality of the incomes available, given free transfer of title to a responsible steward. Further, the free transfer stimulates at least two other loans - one to the steward or builder for construction, and one to the buyer - and both loans reactivate the home's asset value and recalibrate that value to market reality.  When a bank releases the existing debt on the home, it frees itself to create new, productive loans that flow to right where they're needed, and at a volume that the occupant can responsibly bear.

In a sense, these piles of foreclosed, bad mortgage debt can restructure or crystallize themselves around an endeavor to finance capital improvements into pre-existing housing stock, and to fix the new mortgage loans to the cost of those improvements. The leap of faith, is letting go of the old, in favor of the new.

Cash for Keys

Sounds like something you'd hear about in Arizona, Florida, Las Vegas or California real estate markets. But we live in Madison WI and the Madison WI real estate market isn't that bad! Puhlease people, the economy and the burst housing bubble has sprinkled (and sometimes exploded) into every corner in the United States. I'm a glass is half full kind of a girl, but I'm also very tuned into reality. And even when the glass is half full and there are just as many opportunities in a swimming pool of threats, you've got to know what is out there.

Cash for Keys is when the lender just wants the keys back to the house that they hold the mortgage on and is willing to pay the homeowners (who are in default on their loan) to move out and sign the deed over to the bank. This gives the bank the ability to sell the house and get it off their books.

Why would a homeowner do this?

1) The homeowners are ready to move on from what is many times a nightmare of a situation. Typically there is a hardship that has happened; a divorce, loss of a job or the inability to refinance for a more manageable monthly payment and it has become clear that the homeowner won't be able to get back to the same place they were and will need a less expensive monthly payment.  

2) Cash in hand. When times are tough and money is tight, getting cash to move on and into a new place is appealing. You aren't pushed out quickly, you can typically negotiate with your bank so you have time to find an apartment and get the house clean before signing the paperwork and handing the keys over.

3) Avoid foreclosure. Let's get something straight though, you are not avoiding foreclosure consequences completely, you are signing over the deed in lieu of foreclosure. It still can have a negative effect on your credit. Check with a credit counselor or attorney before making a decision like this.

Why would a bank want the house back? That we'll leave for another post.

Yes, we live in our bubble in Madison WI, and life is progressive and purposeful here YET there are many suburbs of Madison that have been hit hard and as a homeowner, a concerned neighbor and/or an investor, it is important to understand what is happening and what options are available.