Blog :: 10-2010

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.

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

Madison School District Information for 2645 East Lawn Ct.

Window Coverings Help Sell Your Home and Save Energy

I love meeting with Buyers for the first time and helping them create their top 5 most important considerations. Not only is it fun to listen to people talk about their dreams and their visions for their next home, but it is an important step that MUST happen before we go out looking at houses so we can create the right search criteria. Usually the list contains things like, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, a specific area, amount of square feet, etc. But then there are times I get things that are subjective like: charming, a great neighborhood, sunny. And that creates a whole new conversation. Let's talk about a SUNNY home...   

For Madison Sellers - IMPORTANT!

Sunny. Who doesn't dream of a sunny, warm home? Look around your home, go through each room with your Buyer's hat on. I know it might be the room where your youngest child learned to walk, but you need to take off your homeowner hat and get to work. You want to sell your Madison house right! You might need to address the window coverings. Here are some things I've learned:

- If you have blinds that are old and dusty you have two choices, 1) take them down and donate them or 2) clean them and pull them all the way to the top so no one can see them. Don't leave your blinds closed during showings.

- Get rid of horizontal shades. They rarely do anything for the aesthesis of a room and are old and outdated.

- Use curtains to: add color or neutralize  a room, add style and update a room, give the room personality.  

Dining room curtains that add style and can help save energy when closed at night.

Dining room curtains that add style and can help save energy when closed at night.


For Madison Buyers - IMPORTANT!

Sunny. Who doesn't dream of a sunny, warm home? Your living room bathed in natural light. All the lights are off because the sun in pouring in. Sounds dreamy? Yes, very dreamy on a crisp November afternoon. Not so much if it is July, 100 degrees outside and your air conditioner is working overtime. You are buying a home that not only provides shelter for you and your family (and just for that we are grateful) but the reality of living in a 1st world country is that our home also becomes an extension of who we are, a safe place to come home to each day. Our home represents us. Give it style (unless of course you don't have style, which I hardly believe).

You can MAKE IT EFFICIENT! You have the ability to spend a little time making tweaks to your home that will save you a lot each month on your energy bills. Here are some more things that I've learned:

- Cellular shades are amazing for keeping the cold air out in the winter and the bright sun from overheating your home in the summer. Replace vertical or horizontal blinds with cellular shades. For living areas and kitchens I prefer the light shades so when you need privacy and when the sun is too hot, you can close your shades and the sunlight can still provide excellent natural light.

- Natural light means you can turn off your lamps and energy sucking overhead lights!

- Bedrooms can either go with the lighter shades if you like the sunlight to wake you each morning, or there are room darkening shades that work wonders for keeping your upstairs rooms cooler during hot summer days.   

Dining room curtains that add style and can help save energy when closed at night.

Dining room curtains that add style and can help save energy when closed at night.


Create Energy Saving Habits

Summer habits: before you leave in the morning go through each room and close your shades and curtains. It will seem like you are leaving your home dark and depressing but this habit will keep your home as cool as possible throughout the day. Your air conditioner should be programmed through a programmable thermostat so you don't need to remember to turn the a/c down each morning.   

Winter habits: Open your shades and curtains every morning and let the sun in for natural heating. At night, close all shades and curtains to keep the cold air out.   

Be nice to yourself and remember that it takes a while to create a habit and it won't happen overnight. Do you unplug your cell phone charger every morning when you leave the house? Keeping chargers plugged in when not in use wastes a lot of unnecessary energy. But when you commit to creating that habit let me warn you (because it happened to me more than once) you will forget that it is unplugged at the end of the day and you will connect your phone but forget that the charger isn't in the outlet. The next day you will have a dead phone. Incredibly annoying. I promise you, it won't happen many times after that.   

More home energy tips here...    

Do you need shades and curtains? Yes. Well no, of course not. We only *need* shelter, food, water and love. But you may want them and they will serve the purpose of saving energy, adding personality to your home and they will help you in staging your home if you are trying to sell it. If this overwhelms you, feel free to contact us to help.  

6733 Jacobs Way, Madison WI, Westside 4 Unit For Sale

Great Rental 4 unit close to busline, Elver park, shopping, restaurants and easy access to the beltline. Each unit has two bedrooms, two full baths, a fireplace, private garage and storage area. All units include appliances, dishwasher, a/c, and private deck or patio. Upstairs units feature vaulted ceilings, lots of natural light. Large dry basement offers coin operated laundry area, 1 small and 2 large owner storage areas. Main roof new in 2003 & garage roof new in 2002. 

For additional information, including price, click here.

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

Madison WI - 3BR Home For Sale

Madison WI 3 Bedroom Home for Sale

3 Bedroom Madison Home

Great 2 story in friendly Ridgewood neigborhood offers perfect layout, laminate wood floors, half bath on main floor, open kitchen, breakfast bar, lots of counter space & dining area overlooking back deck & huge fenced yard! Main floor laundry! Master bedroom features two walk-in closets, full master bathroom. Lower level family room with large windows offers natural light, great playroom, office or guest area and 3/4 bath. Fresh paint, new light fixtures, NEW roof & 1 yr home warranty + credit for lower level carpet available!

Property Features

  • 3 BR, 3.5 Baths, 1650 sq. ft.
  • Finished lower level with 3/4 BA
  • Natural light, very bright and sunny
  • Large, fenced yard
  • New roof

For additional property information, including price, click here.

Madison East Side Neighborhood Information

Great neighborhood association info at

  • Just blocks from Glacier Hill Park (with soccer fields, playground equipment, basketball court, and coming courts and softball)
  • Near dog park
  • 5 minutes from East Towne Mall, shopping, restaurants & entertainment
  • Easy access to I-90/94, & 10 minutes to the airport
  • Only 12 minutes to downtown and University campus

School District Information for 1145 Glacier Hill Drive

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

Closing Day vs Moving Day - Madison Real Estate Insider Tip

New Homes Madison WI

keys to your new home

For those that are buying Wisconsin real estate now - there are IMPORTANT insider Buyers tips that you need to know about. It isn't as simple as shopping around for the best house, writing an offer, and then moving in. You need to know what neighborhood you want to live in, maybe research schools and understand Madison's short sale and foreclosure market. You need to learn about how market conditions locally will affect your negotiating position. It is crucial to understand the financing process and what the pre approval and loan commitment process means. We also will educate you on the inspection process and how the condition of the home can also affect your financing.

What about closing day vs moving day?

Here are the Top 3 Important Factors to Consider:

Pick a realistic and manageable closing date.

Don't assume you can change it later. Most likely your offer reads, "Closing shall be no later than ____" and there is a date in the blank spot. You can close earlier, although all parties need to agree but you can't close later. To close later you must amend the offer. To close earlier, you just need to coordinate schedules and it is not necessary to get an amendment signed by all parties. Sellers have complicated moving schedules as do Buyers so just remember that the closing day you write into the offer will most likely be the day you go to the title company for the closing if all goes well.

Consider Your Lender.

Your lender may be doing all they can to expedite the closing so it will happen quickly and in the timeframe you have agreed upon with the Seller. However, life is not as easy for lenders anymore either. The Buyers lender may be the cause of a delayed closing. It isn't abnormal for underwriters to ask for more documents even days before the scheduled closing date...which can postpone the closing date. Prepare for the worst and expect delays.

Your moving date should NOT be the same date as your closing date.

If you are the Seller, try to arrange to move out a couple of days prior to closing. You can even pre sign documents at a convenient day and time so that you are not rushed the day of closing. You may ask, "Where do I go if I can't get keys to my new house until I close on my current house?" There are a couple of creative ways to plan a different moving day from your closing day.

  • Negotiate a pre closing occupancy on the house you are buying. Now you have a couple of days to move into the next house before you actually close on it. Sometimes the Sellers won't allow this but may allow you to move your belongings into the garage. And this can be enough to create a smoother transition.
  • Stay with a family member or a friend. There are times that moving on the day of closing is what ends up happening. And that isn't the end of the world. It just takes a lot of planning and optimism.
  • Negotiate a post closing occupancy on the house you are selling. If the Buyers that are purchasing your home are in a lease and have until the end of the month to move out, it usually works out just fine to ask them if you can stay in your home a couple of days after the closing date to give you needed time to move into your new home and clean out the house you are selling. Many homebuyers are agreeable to this.

As a Homebuyer, my recommendation is to give yourself a 2 week buffer in planning your move. If you are negotiating a quick close and are hoping to close in 30 days, understand up front that there may be delays so don't plan to move on closing day. Don't order furniture or appliances to be delivered on or the day after closing. Don't arrange for the carpet replacement either. By assuming everything will go smoothly and you will close on time sets you up for frustration if there are delays. And the goal is to set yourself up for a smooth move - not a stressful one. If you give yourself additional time and things go well and you close on time, then you can move things up (and if not, then you wait). But it is easier to have extra time then to cancel and rearrange due to delays.

As a Seller it isn't as easy. There are risks in selling your home in any market, and especially in today's market. Again, there is a chance that something could go wrong the day before or the day of closing which would delay closing. As a Seller there isn't much you can do but prepare to move and continue with your moving plans. But if something goes wrong, it is smart to have backup plans. Make sure your Realtor continues to market your home. Negotiate a reasonable amount of earnest money so that if something goes wrong, you are compensated appropriately for the time and money lost.

Madison WI real estate is not what it once was.

I know I'm not telling you anything new. The media inundates us with a ridiculous amount of doom and gloom when it comes to the real estate market. It is all perspective. There are houses being sold. People need bigger, they need smaller and they are moving out of state. As long as couples continue to marry, and as long as children continue to grow and move on with their lives, there will be a need to move to a different space. There will always be someone that wants to move South or get the picture right?

Sara Alvarado, real estate broker

keys to your new home

A buyer's market doesn't mean that you are out of luck if you have a house to sell. It just means that you may get a better deal on the house you are going to buy then make a ton of money on the house you have to sell. You could wait until the market turns around and then get more money for your current house and pay more for your next house. That is simplifying a decision that is based on many factors.

Please call Sara Alvarado at 608.438.5005 if you want to discuss whether now is the right time for you to buy and sell.

2909 Foxwood Trail, Madison WI Home For Sale

Enjoy the suburban life on a cul de sac with the added bonus of being 7 minutes to all the urban amenities of downtown, the lakes, the bike paths and more. This home has a great yard, 2 stories (feels larger than the square footage) and an unfinished lower level with a walkout. Main floor offers a 1/2 bath, newer bamboo flooring and a dining room that opens to the back deck. Master bedroom has a walkthrough full bathroom and all new carpet throughout. UHP one year home warranty included.

Property Features

  • 3 BR, 1.5 BA, 1,352 SqFt
  • Huge backyard
  • Bamboo Flooring, New Carpet

For additional information, including price, click here.

Madison Neighborhood Information

Madison School District Information for Foxwood Trail

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