Blog :: 11-2010

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.