Blog :: 2010

JUST SOLD! 2645 East Lawn Court in Madison WI

Congratulations on your new Madison home!Congratulations! Alvarado Real Estate Group is happy to announce another successful sale on Madison's East Side! This home sold quickly - 38 days - for $125,900 by Sara Alvarado.

2645 East Lawn Court is absolutely the sweetest home & incredibly maintained! Two bedrooms on main floor, hardwood floors, open floor plan from kitchen, eating area to living room & updated bathroom. Kitchen features newer appliances, new flooring, new sink, tiled counters. Lower level finished with amazing detail. Great bonus room! Ceiling fans in almost every room, updated electrical, loads of shelving in basement & garage. Beautiful deck, fenced yard. The Sellers did a fabulous job getting their home ready, keeping it clean and making sure they said yes to all showing requests.

2645 East Lawn Ct, Madison WI

JUST SOLD! Congratulations!

 For more information on selling your home in Madison's real estate market - contact Sara Alvarado today, 608.438.5005,  sara@thealvaradogroup.com.

4904 Spaanem Ave. - 3 BR Madison Home For Sale


4904 Spaanem Ave., Madison WI

4904 Spaanem Ave., Madison WI



Alvarado Real Estate Group is marketing a new Madison area listing: this 3 bedroom ranch home at 4904 Spaanem Ave is on a spacious lot backing up to the Monona Golf course. Open floorplan, hardwood floors and natural sunlight. Enjoy a perfect backyard that is fenced, offers lot's of space and access to the golf course. The two car garage has new doors and siding! Remodeled lower level offers a 3/4 bath, guest room, rec room plus a lot of storage!

The front bay window in the living room creates beautiful natural sunlight. Kitchen is open to the dining room and features a built-in microwave, gas stove. Enjoy the proximity to parks, schools, shopping and easy access to beltline, downtown, and more!

One year home warranty included!

To view more photos and for the most current price - visit the Alvarado Group mls data page

  • 3 BR, 2 BA, 1540 Sq. Ft.
  • Newly remodeled lower level
  • Fenced yard, adjacent to golf course
  • Walking distance to parks and schools
  • 2-car garage

Property Features and Updates:

  • New dryer in 2009
  • New washer in 2008
  • Lower level remodeled with 3/4 bath and family room in 2008
  • New vinyl in lower level in 2008
  • Gas stove new in 2008
  • New garage siding in 2008
  • New garage door opener in 2008
  • New roof in 2006
  • New disposal in 2005
  • Newer windows throughout (age unknown - not original)

East Side Neighborhood Features:

  • Walking distance to Quaker, Stone Bridge, Lake Edge, Acewood, and Edna Taylor Conservation Parks
  • Walking distance to Nuestro Mundo/Frank Allis Elementary, Sennett Middle School, and La Follette High School
  • Golf the Monona Golf Course and use the backyard entrance for cross country skiing throughout the winter too
  • Visit the Pinney Library on Cottage Grove Rd.
  • Close to many restaurants, shopping and local attractions
  • Minutes from Downtown, Capitol & Beltline

Madison School District Information for 4904 Spaanem Ave.

For a showing of this home or if you need any further information please contact Alvarado Group at 608-438-4315 or info@thealvaradogroup.com.

Family Fun on New Year's Eve in Madison WI

Madison New Years Eve Party

Take the kids out dancing!

There is so much to do on New Year's Eve and I could list a number of hot spots in Madison to celebrate a brand new year but I'm a mom with two young boys and without a doubt our favorite event is U.S. Bank's New Year's Party. (If you really are just looking for that list of hot spots...this link will take you there).

Thank you for letting me take this moment to say THANK YOU all for a great year in 2010. Everyone on our team at Alvarado Real Estate Group has been blessed with amazing clients. And we are blessed to work with each other, to learn together, help others and do our part in creating strong communities, healthier homes and inspiring change for a better planet. So let's celebrate Madison style!

U.S. Bank Eve's fireworks finale will take place over Lake Monona at 10:05. Best viewing is from the Lake Monona bike path between Monona Terrace and the Lake Shore.

Madison's Best Family Friendly New Year's Highlights - for more info on tickets click here.

U.S. Bank Plaza - Downtown Madison

1 South Pinckney 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Concessions provided by Sunprint

  • Main Street Wisdom 6:00 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.
  • Kiddie countdown with hats, horns and confetti 7:30 p.m.
  • Complimentary 20th U.S. Bank Eve birthday brownie and cup of hot chocolate in the Sunprint Café at our Madtown Party. 6:00 until supplies last!
  • Get a temporary airbrush tattoo or balloon hat creation, then step into our photobooth to record your New Year's look 6:00 - 9:30 p.m.
  • Design your New Year's savings goal visor and START to save with a new piggy bank 6:00 until supplies last!
  • See the Spec-can-ular, eco-friendly holiday tree
  • Take a tour back in time on the Holiday Trolley, which leaves every 15 minutes beginning at 6:30 p.m. at our Webster Street entrance. Last one boards at 9:30 p.m.

Monona Terrace

6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. 1 John Nolen Drive Concessions Available

     Grand Terrace

  • Truly Remarkable Loon 6:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

     Hall of Ideas

  • Learn how to Tango, Conga, Salsa and Merengue from 6:05 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

     Madison Ballroom

  • Rick Wilcox's Magic Show at 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

     Mid Level

  • UW Space Place Photo Show
  • Fly a US Bank Plane

     Olin Terrace

  • View wonders of the night sky on the Olin Terrace through telescopes operated by UW Space Place volunteers.

     Exhibit Hall

  • Gomeroke: Kid's karaoke with the Gomers Band from 6:30 - 9:30 p.m.
  • Big Inflatables
  • Obstacle Course
  • Little Bounces
  • Take a ride on the Circus Train
  • Enjoy fun and games in Madison Parks hands-on village
  • Take part in our 9:30 p.m. Balloon Drop Countdown!

Madison Children's Museum

6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. (Madison Children's Museum website) 100 North Hamilton

Join a sing-a-long led by Ken Lonnquist at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the 2nd Floor Celebrations Room.

  • Make a masterpiece on MCM's new paint wall.
  • Play in the shadow room.
  • Be part of creative crafting in MCM's permanent, collaborative collage.
  • Get your face painted, walk through the rooftop garden or enjoy refreshments at Bean Sprouts Café.
  • Countdown to our early New Year's in the main hall at 8:30 p.m.

Olbrich Botanical Gardens

5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Olbrich website) 3330 Atwood Avenue

  • Holiday Train
  • Flower Show
  • Bolz Conservatory
  • Temporary Tattoos
  • Henry Vilas Zoo Animals in the Conservatory
  • Wii and Xbox Game Station
  • Strolling magician Tom Krzystof
  • Games and prizes
  • Color your Savings Goal and decorate your new piggy bank, while supplies last!

Prairie Athletic Club and Sun Prairie Ice Arena - New Site!

5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Prairie Athletic Club website) 1010 N. Bird St/655 Athletic Way

Ice Skating - Bring your own skates, rent for just $2, or rent for free with a donation of two non-perishable food items for the food pantry.

  • Swimming
  • Gym Games
  • Temporary Tattoos
  • Bouncy Castle
  • Cakewalk
  • Design your New Year's Savings Goal
  • Snakes Alive! in Studio 2 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Concessions and raffle to benefit Sun Prairie Youth Ice Hockey Association's Capital Campaign to build a new ice rink

Keva Sports Center

 8312 Forsythia Street, Middleton (Keva website) 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

  • Open play sports including soccer, football, yard games, tumbling, parachute, basketball and more!
  • Concessions
  • Hats and Horns
  • Temporary Tattoos
  • Raffle
  • Inflatables for tots and pre-teens from Fun Play
  • Design a cookie or your New Year's savings goal (while supplies last)
  • Coat Check and Cubbies Available

So where will you be? Wherever you end up on New Year's Eve - and even if you stay home and get the kids to bed early please know that we will be wishing you all a Happy Happy New Year! We hope that 2011 will be full of happiness, peace, friendships, laughter and lot's of LOVE! Best wishes from your friends at the Alvarado Real Estate Group!

10 Maintenance Tips for New Madison WI Homeowners

Moving into a new home is indeed one of the most exciting times of your life. That's why it's important to start out on the right foot and start caring for your home - and protecting your investment - right away. Living in Madison, WI - the greatest city ever - we get the benefit of four seasons! Which means some extra maintenance and a watchful eye as you care for your home. If you are still searching for the perfect house, we have a great search tool for you: search Madison homes here.

Our clients often ask us what are the most important areas of a home to consistently maintain so our team at the Alvarado Real Estate Group has come up with 10 key trouble spots to watch for. If you regularly check on these areas you might be avoiding larger, more expensive, problems down the road:

  1. Windows and doors - Be sure to regularly check seals around all your doors and windows to keep drafts out. This simple measure can result in big savings when it comes to your heating and cooling bills. We highly recommend an energy audit with a Focus on Energy contractor.
  2. Safety devices - Check all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace batteries twice a year. Also, keep small fire extinguishers in appropriate places. A great tip is to make sure you change your smoke alarm batteries at daylight savings!
  3. Roof - In early fall, check around vents, skylights and chimneys for cracks or leaks and repair or replace tiles as necessary.
  4. Gutters - Keep gutters clear of leaves and debris to prevent clogging, and always make sure they drain away from the house.
  5. Fireplace - Have a chimney sweep assess any fireplaces to check for cracks and creosote build-up that can cause chimney fires.
  6. Filters - Clean or replace furnace filters once every month or as needed. Check and clean the dryer vent, air conditioner, stove hood and room fans regularly.
  7. Air conditioner - When you cover your outdoor furniture for inclement weather, be sure to cover your air conditioning unit as well.
  8. Refrigerator - Test door seals to ensure they are airtight. If you have a coil-back fridge, the coils should be vacuumed twice a year.
  9. Faucets - Check for leaks in kitchens and bathrooms and replace washers as necessary.
  10. Siding and paint - Look for cracks or peeling areas. Repaint or replace caulk as necessary.

These are just a few home maintenance tips to be aware of. For more information, feel free to contact one of our team members and feel free to pass these tips along to your fellow new homeowners or make comments if you have more tips to share!

JUST SOLD! Madison East Side 3 BR Ranch

805 Bewick Drive, Madison WI

Congratulations! We are excited to announce the sale of 805 Bewick Drive in Madison WI. This 3 bedroom ranch home was listed at $158,000 and sold for $151,500. Incredibly well maintained ranch in a well established, sweet East side neighborhood close to Sycamore Park. There were many updates and one of the best features is the amazing fenced backyard, a beautiful pond w/fish, gorgeous landscaping, and a patio for entertaining. The Sellers did a great job staging the home for sale!

Congratulations on your new Madison home!For more information on selling a home in today's market, contact Sara Alvarado at 608.438.5005 or sara@thealvaradogroup.com

Getting Your Madison Home Ready to Sell

Dane County WI home for sale

Every detail counts!

First impressions are everything. When you are selling your Madison WI home you have control over an important selling factor - condition. Here is a list of important improvements and staging tips that can make a HUGE difference in capturing a buyer's interest and getting you top dollar! 

Paint

Some homes have too much color or wild colors and need to be neutralized. Some homes are too stark with white walls everywhere. Give rooms some color. Touch up paint. Make the home move in ready.

Light fixtures

Outdated light fixtures give the buyers a perception that the home needs to be updated and create the impression that bigger items like the roof and furnace may also need updating. Spending $50 - $300 updating light fixtures is a smart move.

Kitchen and bathroom hardware

Changing the knobs and handles on cabinets and drawers can make an older kitchen newer without having to replace cabinets.

Clean, Clean, Clean

A deep cleaning will make the home sparkle. Be sure to clean cobwebs in the basement, high ceiling corners and around the mechanical equipment.

Pack and organize

You are moving so don't wait until the last minute to start packing. If you start moving things to a storage area now (or create an organized space in the basement, garage or storage shed) and de-clutter your home, it will look bigger and feel more spacious to prospective buyers. No one can do this for you so if you are overwhelmed with what to spend time and money on, hire out the repairs and cleaning and spend your time packing and organizing your home.

Remove big pieces of furniture

Again, the goal is to make the home feel bigger and spacious.

Replace Appliances

Buyers see new kitchen appliances and are immediately wowed. It is always nice to have a new water heater, but a new refrigerator and stove is a better buy if you are trying to capture a buyer's interest.

Landscaping

The curb appeal is a huge aspect to the emotional draw for buyers. There are times a buyer is scheduled to see a home and when they drive up to the showing they decide they don't even want to go in.

Window coverings

Updating window coverings with simple curtains can warm up the room and soften a vacant home.

New flooring

Sometimes it seems it would be easier to replace the carpeting after you've moved out but the initial reaction of old and stained carpet or ancient vinyl flooring can be a big turnoff for buyers. If you can't replace the carpet at least let the buyers know in writing when they come to the home that you are willing to replace the carpet or get the carpets professionally cleaned  prior to close or provide a credit for new carpet. Changing vinyl flooring in kitchens and bathrooms can make a big difference and is worth looking into.

Staging

Talk to us about help with staging your home using our services or local experts that provide accent pieces, wall hangings and even furniture to dress up your home. Here is a great blog post about Green Designs in helping you sell.

Maintenance checkups

Have the furnace cleaned and checked, the air conditioner, fireplace/chimney and have a plumber come over and repair any leaky faucets or loose toilets (here is a list of our preferred vendors). Providing the potential buyers with these reports and receipts of a well maintained house will go a long way.

It may feel like a lot of work and even a substantial amount of money to prepare your home to sell it. However, if you put your home on the market for $250,000 and you are getting showings but no offers, you are getting feedback from the market. 

The three most important factors in selling your home are:

  • Price
  • Location
  • Condition

Of those three factors, what do you have control over? Price and Condition. So if you aren't getting any offers you now have a couple of options: one is to lower your price. Most likely your next price adjustment will be a minimum of $5,000. But it may mean changing the price to $240,000 (a $10,000 adjustment). Consider keeping your home at $250,000 and investing $3,000 into improvements and you'll make more money and your house will sell quicker! 

When you first think about spending $3,000 to sell your house it sounds like a lot doesn't it? But when you think of lowering the price from $250,000 to $245,000 because you haven't had any offers and your house has been on the market for 60 days that seems reasonable. 

Of course it is all perception. I challenge you to consider this perception when thinking about properly preparing your home for current market conditions. 

It is never to soon to call Sara Alvarado when you are thinking about selling your home. Call 608.438.5005 or email Sara@TheAlvaradoGroup.com.

Top 10 Reasons to List During the Holiday Season

Many people are calling now to talk about listing their Madison area home at the beginning of the year. Maybe mid January. Some are even talking about selling in the Spring and requesting consultations. This is great to have such proactive Sellers willing to start preparing their house for showings so far in advance. No matter what month it is, people are always asking, "When is the best time to sell?" The best time to sell your home is when you need to/want to/are ready to sell. Period.

How about the calls we're getting to come and list their house NOW? Here are the Top 10 Reasons why some Sellers are Ready, Set, Go:  

  1. People who look for a home during the Holidays tend to be more serious buyers. Yes, you may have fewer showings then the month of May, but you KNOW that every showing during December is a motivated, serious Buyer. Who else is out looking for homes this time of the year?
  2. Serious buyers have fewer houses to choose from during the Holidays and less competition means more money for you.
  3. Since the supply of listings could increase in January, there may be less demand for your particular home. Less demand means less money for you.
  4. Houses show better when decorated for the Holidays. (well, sometimes. Don't over decorate. And please, no smelly candles).
  5. Buyers are more emotional during the Holidays (and sometimes more stressed out), so the quicker they find the right house, the better. That makes for faster negotiating and can mean more money for you.
  6. Buyers have more time to look for a home during the Holidays. Relocating Buyers may be scheduling their holiday travel around the city they are moving to.
  7. Some Buyers must buy before the end of the year for tax reasons.
  8. January is traditionally the month for employees to begin new jobs. Since transferees cannot typically wait until spring to buy, you must be on the market now to capture that market.
  9. You can sell now for more money and we will provide for a delayed closing or extended occupancy until early next year.
  10. You can still be on the market, but you have the option to restrict showings if necessary (for example, the day you're hosting a holiday party or the days your in laws are visiting).

If you are ready to sell and someone told you to wait until after the holidays - don't. Contact Sara Alvarado at 608.251.6600 or email sara@thealvaradogroup.com and get moving!

The Best Local Holiday Shopping in Madison!

perfect photo thanks to Rachel Best Henley!

It is time to remember to SHOP LOCAL! And that isn't hard to do in Madison this year as there are plenty of great opportunities in our wonderful city. My favorite place to find local shops is at the Dane Buy Local website. Although, even easier, is checking out these great events that bring many local businesses together in one place for OUR convenience! Love it! 

Shopping Local for the Holidays

-          Dane Buy Local promotions, 11/19 - 12/31 -          Anthology Holiday Craft Lounge, 11/27 -          Arboretum Sale, 11/28 -          The Fair Trade Holiday Festival, 12/4 -          Glitter Workshop's Annual Craftacular, 12/11

Dane Buy Local Businesses Reward You When You Think Local First

Visit and appreciate the unique locally owned businesses in our area this holiday season, and you could be a big winner! From November 19th - December 31st, register to win prizes at 62 participating Dane Buy Local businesses.

You could win the Grand Prize of a local getaway at The Madison Concourse Hotel, with dinner, an overnight stay, and two tickets to a Forward Theater play! Over $6,000 in additional prizes will be given away, including gift certificates and merchandise! Look for the drawing boxes in locally owned businesses, and enter each time you visit. Visit more participating businesses to enter more often. See the map here for all 62 entry sites. We All Win When You Think Local First.

Anthology's Holiday Craft Lounge

Downtown Madison shopping now features a great holiday shopping event in the lobby of the Overture Center. You'll find 20 artists hosting from the Madison area. Mark your calendar for Nov. 27, from 10am to 3pm, at 201 State St in the Overture Center. Admission is a $1 donation or a can of food, both of which go to Second Harvest. The "make and take" crafty projects cost between $5 and $25. Kits will also be available if shoppers don't have time to linger.

Close to Home: Arboretum Local Products Expo

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum will be hosting its second annual "Close to Home: Arboretum Local Products Expo," celebrating sustainability, recycling and locally produced goods on Sunday November 28 from 10 am to 4 pm at the Visitor Center, 1207 Seminole Highway in Madison. Admission and parking are free.

Art, edibles and "green" gifts will take center stage, showcasing local enterprise and creativity that's "Close to Home." This second annual event has doubled in size with more than 40 vendors. New this year, shoppers can have custom gift baskets created on site incorporating their purchases, along with the option to have the baskets mailed.

Fair Trade Holiday Festival

This year's Fair Trade Holiday Festival is located at the Monona Terrace on December 4th, 9 - 4 pm and features more than 50 vendors of fair trade goods. Visit calamadison.org for details.

Glitter Workshop's Annual Craftacular

This year the Glitter Workshop's Craftacular sale will be held at the East Side Club, 3735 Monona Drive on December 11th from 10-5pm. Featuring more than 40 vendors this is a great place to buy gifts for your loved ones and help support local businesses.

Some of these events offer more information here.

If you are ready for a BIG present you can jump in the market and buy a new home for your family - start your search here! Work with our local brokerage, The Alvarado Real Estate Group and we'll provide friendly, professional and highly experienced Realtors to help you! 

Open Houses this Sunday, November 21st, 2010!

12 Quinn Court, Madison WI home for sale

OPEN SUNDAY 1-3pm!

12 Quinn Circle, Madison Home For Sale

Come visit 12 Quinn Circle this Sunday from 1-3pm. Priced at $269,900 this 3 bedroom home is tucked away in a peaceful neighborhood, 1 block to Esther Beach on Lake Monona, the bike path & just minutes to Downtown Madison and features many updates and green features.  Click here for a virtual tour!

- 3 Bedrooms, 2.5 Bathrooms, 2224 Square Feet - 2 car attached garage - Screen porch & deck overlooking gorgeous fenced yard

The updated kitchen features a gorgeous granite island creating the perfect dining experience & open living space that everyone raves about. The large lower level sunny family room features a gas fireplace, french doors, surround sound and a walkout to the wooded backyard & 6 person hot tub. It is hard to decide which is better, the kitchen or large screened porch with amazing views. Meet Kathryn Wunnicke for a lovely tour of this home from 1-3pm or contact her for a private showing: 608.279.8887, kathryn@thealvaradogroup.com.

2922-2924 Traceway Drive, Madison area Duplex

2922-2924 Traceway Drive, Madison WI Duplex for Sale

OPEN SUNDAY 1-3pm!

Open Sunday, November 21st from 1-3pm, the Traceway Duplex is an excellent opportunity for an owner occupied income property within walking distance to Aldo Leopold Elementary School. Offered at $210,000 - $215,000.

Each unit has: - 3BRs, 1.5 baths. Owner's unit = 1453 square feet - Screened-in porch with fenced backyard - Private entrances - Attached 1-car garage - A one year home warranty!

$70,000 renovation just completed includes new energy star low E windows, a new roof, and the owner's unit features all new flooring, new countertops, refrigerator, stove, microwave vent and new water heater. Each unit also features brand new fireplaces and flue liners.

Meet Darcy Haber at the Traceway property or contact her to schedule a private showing: 608.358.6180, Darcy@TheAlvaradoGroup.com

2922-2924 Traceway Dr. - Madison Duplex for Sale

2922-2924 Traceway Drive, Madison WI Duplex for SaleThis is the opportunity you have been waiting for!  Own for less than renting, and build equity in this freshly renovated duplex presented by Darcy Haber, Alvarado Real Estate Group!  Both spacious units offers many green and energy efficient features: all brand new energy star low E windows, new roof, open concept living room/dining room area, wood-burning fireplace, screened-in porch, full basement, fenced yard and a one-car garage. Owner's unit also has a new stove and refrigerator, a bonus room in the basement, all new flooring, and a tile entry. Value Range Price: $210,000 - $215,000, for mls data info and more photos, click here.

This property is owned, and has been renovated by, Project Home and is made available to purchase through the NOAH program (Neighbor-owned Affordable Housing).  See guidelines below.

  • Each unit has:
    • 3BRs, 1.5 baths. Owner's unit = 1453 square feet
    • Screened-in porch with fenced backyard
    • Private entrances
    • Attached 1-car garage
    • A one year home warranty!

Traceway Property Features

$70,000 renovation just completed including:

  • New energy star low E windows
  • New roof
  • Owner's unit features all new flooring, new countertops, refrigerator, stove, microwave vent and new water heater
  • Brand new fireplaces and flue liners in each unit

Neighborhood Features

  • Around the corner from Aldo Leopold Elementary School (no street crossings)
  • 2 different shopping centers within a half mile include restaurants, groceries, bakery and more
  • Aldo Leopold Park and playground one house away!

Buyer  Eligibility and other Guidelines

Buyer must be a first-time homebuyer, and must owner-occupy one unit while renting out the other. Buyer must be under 120% of Dane County median income which equals $96,000 a year for a family of four. Subsidies available for lower-income buyers. Renter must be under 50% of the Dane County median income and rent on the unit cannot exceed $847 per month.

Please contact Darcy Haber to schedule a showing and for more information: 608.358.6180, Darcy@TheAlvaradoGroup.com

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: www.daneforeclosurehelp.org or contact Carlos Alvarado at 608-438-6757 or carlos@thealvaradogroup.com for further questions.

JUST SOLD! 316 Virginia Terrace, Madison WI

Congratulations on your new Madison home!The beautiful classic 2 story home at 316 Virginia Terrace in Madison WI was recently sold by Alvarado Real Estate Group to a very happy new family. A couple of the most important selling factors was the proximity to the University of WI - Madison and Madison West High School along with the very special Madison neighborhood (mature trees, close community, great parks)! And for a home built in 1926 you can imagine the charm: arched doorways, natural wood floors, wood burning fireplace, nooks and crannies, along with the spacious kitchen & a main floor half bath! 

Asking price in July 2010: $334,900 (price reduction to $324,900 in September) Final sales price: $314,300, Sold October 2010, Days on the Market: 56, Price per square foot: $210.

For more information on selling your home in the Madison area, please contact Sara Alvarado, phone: 608.251.6600 or email: sara@thealvaradogroup.com.

Highlights from the ATHENA Young Professional Award Night 2010

What an amazing evening hosted by The Business Forum! And a big THANK YOU to Kristin Verstegen for nominating Sara Alvarado and for her leadership within the Business Forum.

Gov Doyle and First Lady Jessica Doyle with Sara and Carlos at Athena Young Professionals event

Governor Doyle and First Lady Jessica Doyle with Sara and Carlos Alvarado at the ATHENA Young Professional Award Night

ATHENA Young Professional Award Program, Madison WI   One of our own, Sara Alvarado, Broker/Owner of Alvarado Real Estate Group was one of the 19 nomimees (these women area awesome!) for The ATHENA Young Professional Award 2010. The program was launched by ATHENA International in 2007. It honors emerging community leaders whose professional and personal achievements make them ideal role models for young women.

The nomination and selection criteria set by ATHENA International, which administers the ATHENA Award® Program worldwide includes both men and women between the ages of 25 and 40. The criteria are:

  • The individual is an emerging leader who demonstrates excellence, creativity and initiative in his or her business or profession.
  • The individual clearly serves as a role model for young women, personally and professionally.
  • The individual provides valuable service by contributing time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community.

Sara is dedicated to building strong communities through education, vibrant neighborhoods and a passion for making a difference.

31 Creekside Way - Madison WI Condo For Sale

31 Creekside CondoAlvarado Real Estate Group presents this two bedroom condo for sale. Excellent Westside location and spacious layout make this updated condo a great place to call home. Beautifully remodeled kitchen is open to large living/dining area. 2 generously- sized bedrooms each have their own updated bath. The deck overlooks nicely landscaped green space. Private entry, private laundry and one car garage complete the package. Seller is including $1000 flooring allowance. Close to everything-shopping, beltline, bus, cinema.  

  • 2 BR, 2 BA, 1060 Sq. Ft.
  • Private entrance, private laundry
  • 1-car garage

For current price and more photos, click here! 

31 Creekside Way Features and Updates

  • New toilets in 2009
  • New solid surface bath vanities in 2009
  • New laminate wood flooring in 2007
  • Replaced roof in 2006 (garage roof in 2010)
  • Refaced kitchen cabinets in 2006
  • New Corian countertops in 2006

Madison WI Westside Neighborhood Features

  • Award-winning restaurants within walking distance
  • Close to Copps, Brennan's Cub Foods & Woodman's
  • Great parks close by: Haen Family Park, Sauk Creek, Walnut Grove & Junction Ridge
  • Point Cinema on Big Sky Drive
  • Walkscore of 77 (pretty good) at www.walkscore.com

Madison School District Information for 31 Creekside Way

Contact Julie Campbell for a showing, call 608.577.3767 or email: Julie@thealvaradogroup.com 

Madison's Green Realtors present our Top 10 Green Design Tips

Green Design IdeasAs the green movement gathers steam, many homeowners -- and soon-to-be homeowners -- are exploring ways to become environmentally conscious within their living spaces. Creating a healthier and more energy efficient home not only helps the planet but can also boost your home's value when it comes time to sell. We notice that once there is a desire for more sustainable living, simple actions help create an awareness that then helps shift your daily habits and how you think about the choices you are making, not only in your home, but in your life. And creating a green home isn't as expensive and hard as you may think.

Madison is at the forefront of the Green movement in many ways. Our team of EcoBrokers and agents with the GREEN designation have specialized training to help buyers and sellers (find out how we help here). Our MLS offers a searchable category to search for Green Built and Energy Star homes. And our local REALTORS Association partners with other local associations in hosting an annual Sustainable Showcase every fall. Madison is known for our natural settings and Lakes, Farmers' Markets, amazing parks, bike paths, community building and strong initiative on local businesses and foods. All these factors support the concept that doing your part in creating a greener home is certainly a selling point that will add value.  

These days, there are an increasingly wide range of products that offer a variety of environmental values but fall short when it comes to style. As members of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, however, we have access to many credible sources on the subject, such as Robin Wilson, a pioneer in the eco-friendly design sector, and Vickie Gilstrap, vice president of color and design for Mohawk's Residential Business. They offer the following areas to zero in on when greening your home ... while, of course, being mindful of design.

  1. Carpet. Did you know that one out of every four recycled plastic bottles is made into carpet? That's more than 3 billion bottles each year! Choose carpet made from renewable or recycled materials. Sergenians Flooring has an innovative program that will keep your old carpet out of the landfill. (Thank you Sergenian's!)
  2. Paint. Create a cozy space by painting an accent wall in a warm earth tone like cocoa or cinnamon. Choose paint that is non-toxic and contains little or no volatile organic compounds. If your home was built before 1978 read up on new lead regulations before starting your project.
  3. Pillows. Use certified organic fabrics to create window treatments or accent pillows. You'll be surprised at the variety of colors and patterns available.
  4. Floors. When choosing hardwood flooring, using reclaimed wood adds a touch of antique, natural beauty to your home. We recommend Eco Friendly Flooring and Habitat ReStore.
  5. Counters. Look for those made from recycled glass, ceramic or sustainable bamboo. Use them in both your kitchen and your bathroom. The Alvarado Real Estate Group office features a counter top made from pressed sunflower seeds (View our Eco Friendly Work Space Slide Show to see what else we have done).
  6. Accessories. Don't just throw away your older items -- breathe new life into vintage pieces instead by pairing them with fresh accessories. Reupholster an old arm chair or add an accent pillow to give it a fresh, new look. Or look for accessories at garage sales and resale shops.
  7. Lighting. Install dimmable compact fluorescent lights, which can consume up to 75% less electricity and last 10 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs. Or open your shades and let the natural sunlight shine in (and check out our blog post on windows and energy savings for more info).
  8. Bathrooms. A new shower curtain can update the entire look of your bathroom. Opt for nylon, which is one of the more eco-friendly materials available. Learning how to ensure your indoor air quality is healthy, take the time for Green Cleaning and use non toxic cleaning products!
  9. Faucets/Toilets. Look for faucets with the WaterSense label, which can save the average household more than 500 gallons of water each year and hundreds of dollars in utility bills. If you buy a low water use toilet don't miss out on the City of Madison's great rebate program!
  10. Bedrooms. Transform your bedroom with eco-friendly bedding. Duvets, shams and linens are available in organic materials and recycled yarn.

Thankfully, manufacturers are answering the consumer demand for eco-friendly products that are also beautifully designed. Be conscious of consumerism and only buy when you need to and when you do - BUY LOCAL! Check for tax rebates too or call us for the most up to date information.

Please pass this email on to your other eco-conscious family and friends or use the Ask a Question form on the sidebar to request our monthly email tips and updates.

Pie Palooza is this Weekend in Madison WI!

wholepies for pie paloozaFor the LOVE of REAP we present Pie Palooza! Sunday November 7th at the Goodman Community Center.

We are lucky to have REAP: Research, Education, Action and Policy on Food Group (REAP) is building a regional food system that is healthful, just, and both environmentally and economically sustainable. And to keep REAP strong there are great fundraiser events throughout the year that help bring our community together to educate and celebrate all that REAP is doing and engage its members. Pie Palooza is a Madison favorite that many of our clients rave about! With so many Madison residents harvesting their own food in their backyard gardens and their passion for eating locally grown food, the members of REAP have created a powerful community. We all look forward to gathering together for events like Pie Palooza. Much of this information comes directly from REAP's website...   Pie Palooza is a delicious Sunday brunch including:

  • a choice of two slices of scrumptious sweet or savory pies,  baked by area chefs using local products
  • a farm-fresh salad
  • and beverage.   

All proceeds from Pie Palooza support REAP Food Group programs, which promote the inclusion of healthy, local, sustainably grown foods in schools, restaurants, food stores and home kitchens. 

Here are the pies that will be available: Bacon, Potato and Cheddar Quiche Mushroom, Cheese and Herb Quiche Greens, Fennel and Feta Pie with yeasted crust Savory Autumn Vegetable Tart Autumn Harvest Quiche w/squash, onion, parsinips, spinach, & sweet potatoes Spicy Crawfish Cheesecake Pie Mushroom Leek Asiago Strata Bacon Lardon, Leek, Gruyere, Tomato Quiche Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse Pie Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Tart Apple Crisp Cheesecake Pumpkin Whoopie Pies w/cinnamon cream cheese Local Raspberry-Almond Tart Sweet Potato Pecan Pie Hickory Nut Bourbon Caramel Pie Cranberries and Cream Apple Pie with Cheese Crust Pumpkin Pie with hickory nuts and caramel Chocolate Pecan Pie

*You can also buy a whole pumpkin or apple pie too! See website for pre order info. 

How do I get tickets for Madison's Pie Palooza?Tickets are sold for three timed seatings to assure good selections and shorter lines for everyone.

Seating times are 9:30-10:30am, 10:30-11:30am, and 11:30am - 12:30 pm. Walk-ins welcome at 12:30 (and for other times if not already sold out.) Advance tickets are $16. Tickets at the door are $18. Purchase your tickets online.

We hope to see you there!

JUST SOLD! Understanding Buyers Helps to Sell Homes.

Treichel Street, Madison Just Sold

Congratulations on your new home!

JUST SOLD! This 5 year new home was not easy to sell though. On paper it looks like an amazing deal: 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths, built just 5 years ago and the back yard borders a large park area/soccer field all for an asking price of $169,900. But with so many homes for sale in this Madison neighborhood the objection to the floorplan was constantly noted by potential buyers along with the lack of storage. Selling a home in today's market is more than just pricing it right. It is important to present the home in its best light and to promote it to a targeted market.

In a popular Madison area neighborhood on the Southeast side, this split level home has a living room upstairs, wonderfully vaulted ceilings, kitchen, dining area and a master bedroom and master bathroom. The lower level has 2 bedrooms a full bathroom and the mechanical room (with some space for storage). Understanding and listening to what Buyers really want takes skill and patience. What did buyers object about this great home? They want all 3 bedrooms on the same floor. They want the master bedroom to provide a bit more privacy (it was a negative that it was directly off the dining/kitchen area). Buyers want storage. They want their basement to provide storage and this home had a lower level that was completely finished which cut into storage space. Buyers also want a family room. However, when you get into a lower price range you find that buyers make concessions. The Buyers that purchased this home loved the fact that this home was move in ready with neutral and warm paint colors, nice window coverings, newer appliances and didn't mind the floorplan. The 2 car attached garage gave it the storage they needed (coming from a rental with no garage) and the proximity to the green space in the backyard was a huge bonus for them. At a final sales price of $163,500 this home was an amazing opportunity for the Buyers. 

There is give and take in buying a home on a budget.

The Buyers love their new home. The Sellers are relieved to finally move on to new places.

And we loved making it happen. Our team of Realtors are here to help Sellers understand the complexities in selling a home right now and planning their future real estate moves. The Alvarado Group team has trained agents that specialize in helping Buyers understand what their needs and wants are in their next home and the best way to get there with the least amount of added stress to their already busy lives. We love helping our clients (and from what we hear from them, they feel the love too!), we love engaging with the community and we are passionate about a strong local economy. We don't just have a mission, we live our mission.

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 www.walkscore.com  

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 processoffice@thealvaradogroup.com or 608.438.4315.

Appraisals - Real life in Madison WI Real Estate

We had a listing with an accepted offer of $157,000. One week prior to closing we had to amend the price to $155,000 because that is what the appraisal came in at. Result: a successful closing. Sellers were prepared for potential issues with appraisals and accepted the position they were in to adjust the price. Buyer was happy. Sellers were happy that it didn't kill the deal.

We worked with a buyer on a foreclosure that had an accepted offer of $155,000 - the appraisal came in at $172,000. Result: a successful closing. Happy buyers. I'm not sure the bank cared.

One of our listings got an accepted offer for $274,000. It was appraised at $258,000. Result: that appraisal killed the deal. Unhappy Buyers. Unhappy Sellers.  

We are in a different market. Prepare yourself and your home properly!

Madison WI fixer upper

Not a good candidate for an FHA loan

10 Ways to Prepare Your Home for an Appraisal:

 1.  You only get ONE chance with the appraiser. Make sure your home is ready because not only are first impressions important, but the appraisal can affect the outcome of your sale. Take this part of the home selling process very seriously. 2.  Get your home in good condition. Be sure to trim the lawn, clean out and garage, repair cracked windows or torn screens, check for leaky faucets and secure gutters and down spouts before your appraisal. Basically get your home in the best showing condition you can. No longer are the days of drive by appraisals. FHA appraisers have to complete a different set of inspection forms and if there is chipping paint, missing handrails or evidence of pests (for example), the lender may require repairs done to comply with the FHA lending regulations. Not all repair items are part of inspections - some items come up as part of financing requirements with FHA loans. Talk to your agent about what to expect. 3.  Get organized. Put together a checklist that will help you get ready for your appraisal. 4.  Be flexible when scheduling the appointment. Don't delay it. Work with their schedule. 5. The appraiser will need approximately 30 minutes to one hour to complete the inspection phase of the appraisal process, which includes: exterior photos of the front and rear of the home and a photo of the street in front of the property; measurements of the exterior of the home, garage and any outbuildings; a walk-through inspection of all rooms and levels of the interior of the home, including the basement. 6.  Provide marketing materials and list of improvements. If your Real Estate Agent has a booklet with information about ages and dates of mechanicals, appliances and any features that add value to the home, please leave that information out for the appraiser to review. Don't make them guess how old the roof is. 7.  Point out any amenities that may not be obvious to the appraiser: sprinkler systems, radiant floor heating, security systems, built-in vacuum, energy efficient and green features. 8.  Allow your appraiser access to the entire property, including access to any crawl space or attic areas. This is specifically important for FHA appraisals. 9.  Provide a copy of last year's tax assessment information. 10.  The first thing appraisers look for is comparables, so be prepared and have a list of recent sales of similar properties in the immediate neighborhood. You shouldn't have to provide this to the appraiser, that is their job. However, you can prepare yourself by asking your real estate agent to show you at least 4 or 5 comparables that are similar in style, proximity, square footage, age and number of bedrooms. Finding comparables is a balance in science and art.   

Following these steps will go a long way toward making the home appraisal process a bit easier. For more information on the appraisal process and preparing your home for sale, please contact Sara and feel free to forward these tips to your family and friends.

 

2645 East Lawn Ct., Madison WI Home For Sale

2645 East Lawn Ct, Madison WIAbsolutely sweetest home, incredibly maintained and in move in condition. 2 bedrooms on main floor, hardwood floors, open floor plan from kitchen, eating area to living room and updated bathroom. Kitchen features newer appliances, new flooring, new sink, tiled counters. Lower level finished with amazing detail. Currently used as a family room & 3rd bedroom - great bonus room! Ceiling fans in almost every room, updated electrical, loads of shelving in basement and garage. Beautiful deck, fenced yard. One yr home warranty included.

- 2 BR, 1 BA, 972 Sq. Ft. - Newly finished lower level rec room - Beautiful deck, fenced yard - 1 car detached garage

2645 East Lawn Ct Updates and Features

  • New tile floor in kitchen in 2010
  • New granite kitchen sink in 2010
  • Replaced refrigerator in 2009
  • Replaced stove in 2006
  • Replaced washer and dryer in 2003
  • Added deck in 2003

Madison's East Side Neighborhood Features and Highlights

  •  Walk to area restaurants, Famous Ella's Deli, shopping & Walgreens
  •  Easy commute access to Downtown or Aberg to Stoughton Road
  •  Close to the bike path and parks
  •  Visit the Hawthorne Library on E. Washington
  •  Minutes from Downtown, Capitol & Beltline
  •  Walkscore of 68 (pretty good!) at www.walkscore.com

Madison School District Information for 2645 East Lawn Ct.