Blog :: 03-2011

The Alvarado Group will be at Isthmus Green Day - April 16th, 2011!

Alvarado Group at Isthmus Green Day

Sara and Kathryn at Isthmus Green Day

This is one of our favorite expo's. It is the earth friendly expo and Madison's finest!

April 16th, 2011 from 9am - 5pm come down to the Monona Terrace and visit local businesses, organizations and learn from the informational presentations.

This year the Alvarado Real Estate Group will be there to:

  • Showcase our great Madison area listings
  • Educate on the benefits of working with an EcoBroker
  • Introduce you to the Slow Home Movement

Informational & entertaining presentations: * An amazing line-up of speakers talk about shortening the distance from farm to table. * The Fabulous Beekman Boys from Discovery's Planet Green reality show share adventures from their urban-to-rural life with goats, chickens, pigs, and one diva of a llama. * A townhall discussion on healthy food in schools features farmers, students, parents and school representatives.

Fun for little ones too! Isthmus Green Day's Family Play Zone has hands-on activities, arts and crafts, sponsored by Aldo Leopold Nature Center, MSCR, and Friends of the Henry Vilas Zoo.

Tickets are $5 at the door or in advance at the Isthmus office, 101 King Street in Madison. Free admission for children under 12, and if you walk, take the bus or ride your bike. Bring donations for Goodwill and get in free, too!


537 Woodside Terrace, Madison 4 BR in Westmorland for Sale

537 Woodside Terrace, Madison WI Home for Sale

Classic colonial in one of Madison's favorite neighborhoods - Westmorland! Main floor features lots of sunlight, hard wood floors, charming fireplace in the living room, dining area and a main floor family room and half bath. The attached garage enters into the back hallway with direct access to the kitchen. The kitchen needs updating but has a great layout. Upstairs are four bedrooms and the large master bedroom has plenty of space and closets. Lower level: lots of storage and rec room (or TV room, office) plus front loading washer and dryer. One of the big benefits of this home is the great backyard, completly fenced with beautiful trees! 

  • 4 BR, 1.5 BA, 2,473 Sq. Ft.
  • 1-car garage attached
  • Current price and more photos can be found at the Alvarado Group MLS page.

Woodside Terrace Property Features & Updates

  • New low-flow toilet in upstairs bathroom in 2010
  • New low-flow toilet & pedestal sink in 1st floor bathroom in 2010
  • New basement flooring in 2009
  • 10 new windows replaced in 2006 (Renewal by Anderson windows)
  • New roof in 2004
  • New vinyl flooring in kitchen in 2004
  • New stove, refrigerator and dishwasher in 2004
  • New front loading energy efficient washer and dryer in 2004
  • Re-finished hardwood floors in 2003
  • New carpet in stairway, hallway and back room in 2003

Westmorland Neighborhood Information

  • Near three golf courses: Odana Hills, Glenway & Nakoma Golf Club
  • Close to Lake Wingra, Arboretum, Zook Park and Westmorland Community Park
  • Visit the New Sequoya Library and shops on S. Midvale Blvd.
  • Hilldale is close and offers Sundance Theatre, great shopping variety, restaurants and more!
  • Convenient to downtown and easy access to the Beltline

Madison School District Information for 537 Woodside Terrace

Sara Alvarado, Real Estate Broker / OwnerTo find out if there is an open house soon or to schedule a tour of this home please contact us at 608.438.4315. This listing is brought to you by Sara Alvarado, Alvarado Real Estate Group.

Tips for Hiring a Heating and Cooling Contractor for your Madison WI Home

It is the end of March in Madison WI and we still have our heat on. Waking up to 15 degrees outside at the end of March? Not fair. We all know that living in Madison can be cold and bitter during the winter months. So what happens when your heating and/or cooling system breaks down? It can be an overwhelming experience to find a local heating contractor if you don't have someone you already trust. You need to find someone quickly but don't want to make the wrong choice or end up paying way more than necessary.

With many years in the Madison real estate market and loads of connections with contractors, we have access to the most trusted people, tips and information that can help you find a contractor you are comfortable with. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, be prepared by following these tips from

Study up

Find out about license and insurance requirements for contractors in your state. And before you call a contractor, know the model of your current system and its maintenance history. Also, make note of any uncomfortable rooms. This will help potential contractors better understand your heating needs.

Get a referral

Ask your favorite Madison Realtor, friends, neighbors, and co-workers for contractor referrals. You can also contact local trade organizations for names of members in your area. Take it another step and call for references.

Find special offers

A heating and cooling system is one of the largest purchases you'll make as a homeowner. Keep your costs down by checking around for available rebates on energy-efficient ENERGY STAR-qualified heating and cooling equipment. Begin your search at


ENERGY STAR-qualified products meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and offer significant long-term energy savings. Contractors should be able to show you calculations of savings for ENERGY STAR heating and cooling equipment.

Expect a home evaluation

The contractor should spend significant time inspecting your current system and home to assess your needs. A bigger system isn't always better; a contractor should size the heating and cooling system based on the size of your house, level of insulation, and windows. A good contractor will inspect your duct system (if applicable) for air leaks and insulation and measure airflow to make sure it meets manufacturers' specifications.

Get written, itemized estimates

When comparing contractors' proposals (bids), be sure to compare cost, energy efficiency and warranties. A low price may not be the best deal if it's not the most efficient because your energy costs will be higher.

Check City of Madison guidelines

The City of Madison requires a permit for the installation of a new furnace. And then they need to come back to inspect it after the furnace has been installed. Make sure your contractor arranges for this and cooperates with the City. If you don't live in the City of Madison, call your building inspector at your village, town or city hall.

Sign first 

Sign a written proposal with a contractor before work gets started. It'll protect you by specifying project costs, model numbers, job schedule and warranty information.

Pass it on

Tell friends and family about your experience with your heating and cooling contractor. Another great tip is to gather two or more of your neighbors and see if you can get a group discount for your annual furnace check up by all hiring and scheduling together.  And of course tell your friends about ENERGY STAR. Almost one-quarter of households knowingly purchased at least one qualified product last year, and 71% of those consumers say they would recommend ENERGY STAR to a friend. Spread the word, and we can all make a big difference.

For more tips on taking care of your home, stay in touch with us on facebook! And please be sure to share the love and pass our contact info on to your friends and family when they talk about moving.

725 Jenifer Street, Gorgeous Madison WI Lakefront Home

725 Jenifer St, Madison WI lakefront home

One of a kind lakefront home with gorgeous views of Lake Monona just 8 blocks to the Capitol, Willy St shops, restaurants and a vibrant community. Beautiful sun-filled open floor plan and lovingly maintained with a new roof, furnace, mosaic surround fireplace, new concrete shared driveway with 2 spaces, shoreline, limestone patios and perennial  gardens with auto sprinkler. Master bedroom features vaulted ceilings, sunroom area and wood burning fireplace. Lower level with bedroom, kitchenette, living area and fireplace.

  • Current Price and more photos on the Alvarado Group MLS link.
  • 4 bedroom, 3 Bath 
  • 2532 Sq. Ft. Victorian
  • 40 feet of frontage on Lake Monona

725 Jenifer St. Property Features

  • New roof in 2008, Re-painted in 2007
  • New forced air furnace installed in 2011
  • New concrete driveway with two off-street parking spaces in 2010
  • Installed new lakefront shoreline with boulders and gravel fill in 2009
  • Extensive landscaping in lakeside garden with fire pit, patios and perennial flower beds in 2008
  • Installed automatic landscape irrigation system in 2006
  • Added a sunroom off master bedroom facing the lake in 2005
  • Installed custom gas fireplace with variable speed fan and remote in living room in 2008 and a new canopy on 2nd floor deck in 2008
  • Custom mosaic kitchen counters and fireplace hearth in living room

Willy Street Neighborhood Information

The Williamson Street -Marquette area ("Willy Street" as residents call it) is perhaps Madison's most thoroughly walkable and funky neighborhood. Less than a mile from downtown, Willy Street blends an eclectic mix of historic homes, unique stores and wonderful restaurants and bars, all within walking distance of Lake Monona, the Yahara River and its anchor, the Willy St. Grocery Co-op. But beyond the lively businesses, natural features, and stately architecture, is a diverse group of residents drawn together by their desire to live in a neighborhood that values community.

· Walking distance to BB Clark Beach, Orton Park, Capitol Square, Willy Street Coop, many restaurants and local shopping, coffee shops and art galleries                                                                                                                                                                                  · Close to Capital City Bike Trail and across the street from bus stop · Walk score of 82 (very good)

Madison School District Information for 725 Jenifer Street

For more information on this home please contact Sara Alvarado at 608-438-5005 or You can also watch for upcoming open houses by following us on twitter and facebook.

A Political Statement by Madison Realtors. Gasp!

I never thought it was necessary or good business policy to publically state my political views in written form (as a company). I've never been afraid to talk about them and I'm not one to avoid discussing religion either. I think any topic that ignites such passion in people makes for an interesting and many times enlightening discussion. But to write about it and make a public statement? I haven't found that in any of my business books. Yet here I am, weeks into a heated political battle, publically stating something that is very important to me and to the others in our company. I'm writing this letter because many of you care and want to know where we stand in light of today's political climate (and if you don't, feel free to stop reading). 

We are a small company but a small company on purpose. All of the agents that work with us share the same values. Our values are more important to us than how many transactions we close each month. The agents in our company care a lot, are actively engaged in our community, in politics (some more than others) and are naturally outspoken about issues they are passionate about.

In addition to our environmental values, which have become a strong core in our business and something we promote on a daily basis, we also believe in public education. We support our schools and we know that good schools mean a lot for our community, for the future of our children and our planet. Good schools mean a lot for neighborhoods too. When we meet buyer and seller clients that are looking to move and are specific about the school districts that they want to move to it is again confirmed that good schools are crucial to sustainable neighborhoods. We support teachers and we support unions. We support the UW and value what it brings to Madison. We believe in health care for all. We believe that all people should be treated with respect no matter what how much money they make, the color of their skin, how they vote or their favorite food.

Quality of life is what makes Madison desirable. Take that away and what does that leave us with? So we are fighting and we are standing up because we are passionate about the city we live in, the people that live in it and the quality of life it offers us. Everyone is affected by what is happening right now. Everyone will feel it whether we are union workers or not. In real estate we will feel it because our clients won't be able to move, they won't have the salary to support a move. They may not be able to pay their mortgage and we'll have more foreclosures and distressed properties to deal with. Those are hard transactions for everyone. They are horribly sad. If our schools suffer and we don't have a vibrant community to sell we'll have fewer relocation clients.

And in our personal lives we will feel it. This is what I want to stress. Not one of our agents has contributed to the Realtors PAC because none of us believe in voting on single issue policy like real estate. When we vote for a candidate, when we help support a candidate it is because we agree with many issues that a candidate stands for. For me personally, education and environmental issues trump estate and landowner issues. Health care and immigration issues trump property rights issues. I believe we can have an influence on real estate issues with whoever is in office, but I will not vote on those narrow issues alone.

I'm not proud that I can't contribute. It is a clear indication that I am part of an association that doesn't share my values. I would like to see the WI Realtors Association take a long hard look at why they choose to endorse and support candidates on behalf of the whole association when many members do not agree. But that is a post for another day. This is about who we are, what we stand for and what we care about. And because many of you have questioned that about us (as members of the WRA) and because we feel confident in where we stand, we hope this letter has clarified all of that and more!

In Solidarity, Sara Alvarado, Carlos Alvarado, Kathryn Wunnicke, Julie Campbell, Darcy Haber and Robert Grether

10 S. Hillside Terrace - Sunset Village Home For Sale, Madison WI

10 S. Hillside Terrace Home For Sale, Madison WI

Alvarado Real Estate Group presents this charming, open and spacious home on Madison's near Westside. You don't normally hear people describe a 2 bedroom with no basement as spacious but 1,406 sq ft and an open floor plan will change your mind! Inviting & warm living room with fireplace and built ins. Off the kitchen is a multi-use room: laundry, mudroom, pantry, and it even has a toilet! Dramatic WOW as you enter the family room with vaulted ceilings, lots of windows and a great view of the fenced backyard and screened in gazebo. Did we mention that it is a short walk to the Hilldale shopping/dining/entertainment area? Come visit soon!

Hillside Property Features and Updates

  • New gutters in 2011
  • New roof with architectural style shingles in 2007
  • Replaced chimney in 2010
  • Rebuilt fireplace firebox in 2006
  • New LG front load washer and dryer in 2010
  • New toilet and faucet in bathroom in 2010
  • Replaced cooktop in 2006
  • 14-foot, 8-sided screen porch/gazebo
  • 8x12 garden shed 

Sunset Village Neighborhood Information

The Sunset Village Community is located about 4 1/2 miles west of the Capitol Square.  Approximately 1000 households comprise the much desired neighborhood. The Sunset Village is a popular, cozy, neighborhood nestled on tree lined streets with rolling hills and panoramic views. The predominately single-family housing was built in the 1940s and include: Cape Code, Ranch, Split Level Ranch and the Bungalow styles. Single-family houses are generally modest with two to three bedrooms. Revitalization of Hilldale Mall area has brought new shopping venues into the neighborhood along with wonderful local restaurants and entertainment. The neighborhood is close to University of Wisconsin Hospital, Veteran Hospital, and the University Avenue corridor.

Madison School District Information for 10 S. Hillside Terrace

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


1022 Reinke Dr. - 3BR Madison Home For Sale

1022 Reinke Drive, Madison WI

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

1022 Reinke Drive Property Features and Updates

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

Northland Manor Neighborhood Information

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

Madison School District Information for 1022 Reinke Drive

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

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

Sustain Dane's Eco Salon - March 2011!

badger rock middle school madison wiThese events are amazing! Every month Sustain Dane hosts an evening to gather, meet new people and learn about important and relevant issues in the Madison area. This month is no exception.

This month Sustain Dane's Eco Salon presents: "Schools. Food? Gardens!" An evening discussion about the growing importance of recognizing good food in our public schools.

March Speakers include:

  • Madison School District Superintendent Dan Nerad
  • Megan Cain who manages East High's food/garden program
  • Jay Affeldt representing Badger Rock Middle School

Thursday, March 10th 301 S. Few Street, Madison WI Doors open at 6 pm, program begins at 7 pm Beer & wine provided along with engaging discussion

SOLD! 6302 Mineral Point Rd #313 - Condo

Madison WI Condo for Sale

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

Marbella Condo #313 Features and Updates

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

Marbella Condo Association Features

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

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

My Ideal Backyard. Creating a Sustainable Oasis for Madison Area Homeowners

Learning how to make garden beds with Growing Power

We work with many Madison area first time home buyers. We sit and drink coffee or tea together and our clients tell us their dreams in a home. With first time home buyers we usually hear things like: We are tired of sharing walls with neighbors, we want more privacy and we want to paint the walls whatever colors we want. We want to invite our friends over to to grill on the deck. And of course:

We want a yard. A place to let the dogs play. A place to garden. A place to grow food, plant flowers. A place to compost or build a chicken coop. 

So we help them buy their first home. They get their yard. And then what?

They love their new home but don't know what to do now that they have the yard. We have heard it many times. And now in perfect partnership with Sustain Dane we are excited to bring you a springtime seminar:

MY IDEAL BACKYARD: Turn your yard into a sustainable oasis. 

Part book club, part get-your-hands-dirty workshop, these series of interactive classes teach how to put together a sustainable backyard. Learn the building and gardening skills necessary to install a raised bed, to put in a water catchment system, and to build a chicken coop--and then make them happen!

Throughout the program, participants meet with experts and practitioners to learn the reasons for backyard gardening--and then will take those skills to their own homes.

Each week, participants meet at one person's backyard and install that week's lesson.

Limited availability so sign up today!


  • Thursday, March 17th, Madison Children's Museum, 6:30 - 8 pm Initial design: Kate Hieber-Cobb, Madison Area Permaculture Guild
  • Saturday, March 26th, Madison Children's Museum 1--2:30 pm Review Backyard Designs
  • Saturday, April 2nd, 1 --4 pm Install garden beds: Megan Blodgett, Willy Street Co-op
  • Saturday, April 9th,1 -- 4 pm. Madison Children's Museum Introduction to Chicken Coops: Julie King, Rooftop Ramble Coordinator, Madison's Children Museum
  • Saturday, April 16th, 1 -- 4 pm Install a chicken coop
  • Saturday, April 23rd, 1 -- 4 pm Install water conversation and irrigation systems: Jim Guither, rain barrel program
  • Saturday, April 30th, 1-- 4 pm Worm bins and bee-keeping: Kiera Mulvey, Madison-area Agriculture Supported Coalition
  • Saturday, May 7th, 1-- 4 pm Canning, jarring and enjoying your backyard: Sustain Dane staff

SIGN UP TODAY! Or contact Phil Busse at Sustain Dane with further questions:, 608.819.0689

334 Amoth Court, Madison Near East Side Condo for Sale

334 Amoth Court Madison WI condo for sale

Near East side of Madison now offers a corner condo listed by Alvarado Real Estate Group on the 2nd floor right in the heart of Schenk's Corners in the Atwood neighborhood. This is a great place if you are looking for convenience, walkability and a sweet place to call your own. This condo association is made up of 18 units. Each building has an entrance to 4 units creating a small knit community. Enjoy an open floor plan with natural sunlight and a deck surrounded by mature trees. Large walk in closet, large bathroom, huge storage area. Move in ready and condo fees are only $175/month. 

  • 1 BR, 1 BA, 737 Sq. Ft.
  • 2nd Floor garden-style condo
  • exterior parking included
  • For current price and more photos visit the Alvarado Group MLS Data page.

Amoth Court, Madison Condo Features

  • Surrounded by mature trees.
  • Walking distance to all the Willy Street / Atwood hotspots.
  • Unit completely remodeled in 2005 with new appliances, flooring and mechanicals.
  • New siding on all buildings in 2010.
  • New roof, 2010.

Near East Side Neighborhood Features

  • Just blocks from Lake Monona
  • Vibrant, healthy community living
  • Award winning restaurants within walking distance
  • Local grocery shopping: Willy Street Co-op, Jenifer Street Market
  • Great parks close by: Yahara Place Park, Yahara River Parkway, Orton Park, Olbrich Gardens & Park
  • On the Capitol City Bike Path
  • Walk to Schenk's Corners

This property brought to you by Sara Alvarado, Listing Broker - Alvarado Real Estate Group. For a private showing please contact Sara at 438-5005 or