Madison WI Real Estate Blog

Free Things to do Before Summer is Over

It won't be long before it's time to start thinking about the winter activities you love in Madison. However, summer isn't over yet and there are still plenty of fun and free things to do around Madison. Here are some of the top options to enjoy before the summer comes to a close.

University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum

You can explore the Arboretum for free year-round. However, in the summer, you'll be able to enjoy the wonderful areas without worrying as much about the weather. The Arboretum features 1,200 acres of wonderful gardens, woodlands, prairies, wetlands and so much more. You can even bring your bike and enjoy the 20 miles of trails for hiking and biking. Once winter rolls around, the trails will become the place for snowshoeing and skiing, but for now, get out and enjoy this great attraction while the weather is warm.

Monona Terrace

The rooftop concerts are free throughout the summer and provide a great activity to enjoy before the summer ends.

Olbrich Botanical Gardens

You can enjoy the Olbrich Botanical Gardens for free all throughout the year. It's one of only four places in North American with a Thai Pavilion. In addition, there are about 16 acres of wonderful gardens to explore.

Bolz Conservatory

Another great place to discover during the summer, the Bolz Conservatory is free on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. You can enjoy the huge glass pyramid, the indoor gardens, the beautiful waterfalls, plenty of flowers and plants, along with the many birds found throughout.

Area Lakes

Of course, the many wonderful lakes found all throughout the Madison area are great for the summer. You can get the boat out a few more time before summer ends or just head to the lake for a swim. With more...

WI57 | The Real Estate News | Josh Lavik | Keller Williams | 7/19/2017

In the recent episode of Real Estate News, Josh Lavik discusses a few hot properties hitting the market. He also talks about the advice his team gave to a seller, which helped the seller make more from the deal. 

If you're looking to sell your property in Madison and you want to take our advice, as this recent seller did, contact our team today. We can help you get that home sold for more. 


Answering a Couple Common Madison Real Estate Questions

Every real estate market is different. Some cities don't have four seasons like Madison, Wisconsin does and others may have a longer summer compared to the winter. In addition, some markets are very hot and favor buyers, while others are very hot and favor sellers.

If you're looking to buy or sell in Madison, you may have questions. Well, we have answers. Below you'll find answers to a few common questions about Madison real estate. If you have additional questions, just contact our team and we will be happy to help.

How long will my Madison home sit on the market before selling?

Commonly, sellers want to know how long it will take to get their home sold. This question comes up because they may be shopping for a new home or they may need to sell quickly. While the answer may change from one season to another and from one year to the next, right now, it's a seller's market, which usually means homes are selling faster than normal.

There are too many variable to put an exact number of days on it or even give a range. The list price will make a huge difference and so will how the home has been prepared. It's best to speak to an agent to find out how long they think it will take to sell your home with the current state of the market.

Which time of year is best for selling my home?

The media used to tell everybody that spring was the best time to sell. This was pretty correct, but the media also likes to say winter is a horrible time to sell, which is dead wrong.

In fact, during the winter, sales don't really fall as much as you might think. They only fall...

A Closer Look at Parkwood Hills

A great location in Madison, Parkwood Hills is a neighborhood offering a little bit of everything. It's close to parks, schools, shopping options, dining options and so much more. If you're looking for a good neighborhood to call home in Madison, WI, Parkwood Hills should be at the top of your list.

The Neighborhood Vibe

With parks, a community center, a pool and four schools nearby, it's a very active community. Many of the residents walk to the attractions and schools. It's not uncommon to find residents at the West Towne Mall, either. It's right around the corner and includes plenty of shopping and dining options.

Everglade Park is found near the community, which offers a great place for the entire family. Many residents enjoy going for bike rides, walking their dogs and the many nearby activities.

The Amenities

One of the biggest draws, at least in the summer is the Parkcrest Swim and Tennis Club. It's found nearby and features swimming pools, tennis courts, fitness classes, trivia nights and basketball courts.

Along with the club, there's a playground at the John Muir Elementary School and Everglades Park also offer a playground. Everglades Park has soccer fields and provides the home for a few great events throughout the year.

Another park found in Parkwood Hills is called Owen Conservation Park. It has more than 3 miles of trails and provides a great choice for hiking and skiing. The park covers more than 100 acres and offers a great place for many...

How to Find a Good Mover When Relocating

Whether you're just moving from one Madison neighborhood to another or you're moving from another city to Madison, finding a good mover is a huge part of the relocation process. Packing, loading up the truck and moving can be exhausting. However, with a good moving company, you can enjoy relocating while they take care of the heavy lifting.

Finding the right movers for you can be difficult, however. Here are a few ways to go about finding great movers when you're relocating to Madison, WI.

Ask Your Agent

Real estate agents tend to have a pulse on the community and the services offered throughout. They will probably know which moving companies you can trust and which ones you should avoid. Whenever you need a local recommendation, your real estate agent is the first place to turn.

Check the Website

When a mover has a website and it doesn't show an address, it can be an issue. This is known as a rogue moving company and they may ask for a large cash deposit and not show up. If they don't list an actual address on their website, they probably shouldn't be trusted.

Check the Reviews

Of course, online reviews will tell you plenty about any moving company. Make sure to check out what Yelp has to say, but also consider looking at Angie's List, and the Better Business Bureau.

Get 2-3 Estimates First

Getting multiple estimates will give you an easy way to pre-qualify your moving company. If they don't offer a free estimate, they are probably not worth your time as all reputable movers will give you an estimate free of charge. You should also be aware that too low of a price is probably a red flag. Compare a few estimates and you will be able to see which company is the right choice.

Ask Questions


No Admission Museums for Rainy Days in Madison

When it's raining outside, it can put a damper on your summer plans. However, it doesn't have to be a day stuck inside and feeling like you have cabin fever. Instead, you can get out and enjoy some of the best museums offered without spending a penny.

Wisconsin Veterans Museum

For not cost at all, you can enjoy the Veterans Museum, which highlights the military history of Wisconsin. You'll discover history from the Civil War to present day with plenty of exhibitions, artifacts and even a functional submarine periscope.

Chazen Museum of Art

Another good choice on a rainy day is the Chazen Museum of Art. This museum is free and offers a permanent collection with plenty of great works of art. You can enjoy a Docent-led tour, as well.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Both admission and educational programs are free at the MMoCA. Enjoy the building itself, which was designed by Cesar Pelli. Of course, the many exhibits are quite amazing and great for all ages. You can even come out for film screenings, special events and exhibit openings.

UW-Madison Geology Museum

When it rains, why not head inside and enjoy all kinds of rocks and minerals. The Geology Museum offers all kinds of fun with dinosaur and fossil exhibits, fluorescent displays and so much more. Check out the meteorites and the many minerals throughout with a self-guided tour or you can enjoy storytelling times, as well.

Wisconsin Historical Museum


Upcoming August Events Around Madison, WI

August is a month full of great events before the summer starts to turn to fall. Many of the top festivals near Madison, WI will be held throughout August. Here's a look at some of the top choices to add to your calendar.

Arlington Fireman's Festival - August 3rd to 5th

Celebrating the summer in style, the Arlington Fire department will bring plenty of fun to the area early in August. This event will include a softball tournament, a volleyball tournament, truck & tractor pulls and live music on both Friday and Saturday. The parade will be held on Sunday.

National Mustard Day - August 5th

An annual event held at the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, National Mustardy Day will include plenty of free fun for the entire family. Enjoy free hot dogs, plenty of games, music, free mustard sampling and so much more. This event has been held in Middleton since 1991.

Great Taste of the Midwest - August 12th

One of the top events in Madison for the summer, the Great Taste of the Midwest is a huge beer festival. In fact, it's one of the best beer festivals in the entire country with more than 100 microbreweries and brewpubs from all over the Midwest on hand. It will be held at Olin-Turville Park from 1pm to 6pm.

This festival is the perfect choice for beer lovers with all kinds of beer options. Sassy Cow Creamery will be on hand with beer ice cream, along with plenty of special releases and unique beers. You must get your tickets early, however, as no onsite tickets will be sold.

Sweet Corn Festival - August 17th to 20th

Another rather large festival, the Sweet Corn Festival is held in Sun Prairie every single year. This event will include carnival rides, plenty of crafts, a family stage, beer tent, live bands, petting zoo, plenty of sweet corn...

Enjoy Food Cart Dining in Madison, WI

If you haven't had a chance to make it out for the Let's Eat Out! Series this year, you need to make your plans soon. You have through August 3rd to enjoy the great food carts found throughout Madison. They will be at various parks from 5:30pm to 7:30pm every Monday through Thursday until August 3rd. Of course, this is weather permitting.

About 30 local vendors participate in this event giving you plenty of choices to enjoy. Let's Eat Out!  has become a huge advocate for local and mobile food businesses, along with bringing those in Madison together as a community. They want families to get out and enjoy quickly made, delicious food at these great events every week.

Locations for Food Carts

The schedule can change at any time, but currently, Let's Eat Out! has the following locations for food cart dining:

  • Mondays - Randall Park, Cypress Spray Park and Holy Cross Church
  • Tuesdays - Vilas Park, Fitchburg Nine Springs Golf Course, Orfan Park in Sun Prairie, Midvale Boulevard (400 block) and Worthington Park
  • Wednesdays - Allied Dr. Neighborhood, Scenic Ridge Park in Verona, Haen Family Park, Country Grove Park and Heiden Haus in Shorewood Hills
  • Thursdays - City Church, Meadowood Park, Nakamoa Park, Atwood Avenue at Jackson Street and Wheeler Road at Comanche Way

These locations are expected to provide dinners from food carts through August 3rd. After this date, a third session is expected to be announced for September and October.

Food Carts

Several food carts participate in the event every week. Some of the choices you may run into at each location include:

  • Ladonia Cafe
  • Leia's Lunchbox...

What to Keep in Mind When Going from Renter to Homeowner

It's not uncommon for renters to one day go from a renter to a homeowner. While it may seem very similar, especially if you've been renting a home, there are some things to keep in mind.

Renting is certainly not the same as own. The mortgage doesn't translate directly to your rent in a perfect ratio. Instead, you have to think about other expenses, as well. Here's a look at some of the things to keep in mind as you go from a renter to an owner.

More Upfront Costs

When you rent, you pay a security deposit or maybe you pay first and last month's rent up front. As you become a homeowner, you will find out there are other fees you have to deal with. It starts with a down payment, usually 10% or 20% of the selling price, but it can be as low as 3%. Then, it moves on to the closing costs, which will another 1% to 3% of the selling price. Sometimes, the seller will cover closing, but you still have to think about the title insurance, home inspection, appraisal, insurance escrow and much more.

The Mortgage Payment isn't your Only Monthly Bill

Sure, you may have paid utilities at a home you rented, but you didn't have to pay for the homeowners insurance and the property taxes. These can be rolled into your mortgage payment, but they can also be separate bills. Either way, you need to account for these expenses when going from a renter to a homeowner.

No More Free Maintenance

When something breaks, you don't get to call a landlord and let them deal with it. It's now your issue. You have to fix it or have it fixed. This is where building an emergency fund becomes important before you become a homeowner.

You can't Leave Your Neighbors

When you rent, you may be able to leave the neighborhood for a new one after a year or less. Owning your home means your neighbors...

Top Strategies to Win Your Madison, WI Bidding War

The Madison real estate market is hot for sellers right now and buyers are finding themselves trapped in huge bidding wars. Some properties have had as many as a dozen or more offers after just one open house. It can be hard to deal with losing out on the bidding war over and over again.

It's just the start of the hot summer real estate season and you need to be prepared if you're shopping for a home in the Madison area. Whether you're looking in Fitchburg, Downtown or in Monona, there are several homes, but many more buyers. Expect a bidding war and use the following strategies to give yourself the best chance to win.

Have a Plan

You need a plan for shopping and bidding on the home of your dreams in Madison. This plan starts with a pre-approval from a lender. If you don't have one of these, you better have a suitcase full of cash to pay for the home (or at least have it sitting in the bank). You have to go into the bidding war armed and your pre-approval is your best weapon.

Hesitation is Costly

You cannot hesitate in the current market. You have to make an offer as soon as you're interested and you cannot wait. IF you hesitate to act, you could lose out as another offer could already become accepted before you even had a chance.

Hire a Good Agent

The right local real estate agent will make a huge difference. Not only will they be able to negotiate on your behalf, but they will also know exactly how to deal with bidding wars. You'll get good advice about whether or not to up your offer or even make an offer in the first place. Hire a good agent and you'll be well on your way to winning a bidding war soon.

Make the First Offer Clean


Top Madison Area Festivals for July 2017

Festivals throughout the summer are a huge social gathering in Madison, Wisconsin. With so many choices, it can be hard to decide which ones to go to and which ones to skip. Here's a look at some of the top choices for July 2017.

Lodi Agricultural Fair - July 6th to 9th

Held at the Fairgrounds in Lodi, Wisconsin, this fun event will include softball, music, raffles, a demolition derby, horse pulls, carnival rides and so much more. It's a great choice for the entire family.

Art Fair Off the Square - July 8th and 9th

The Monona Terrace Community and Convention center in Madison will host the Art Fair Off the Square event. This two-day event will show off about 140 different Wisconsin artists with plenty of food and fun. Check out the art and enjoy the unexpected at this popular event.

Mount Horeb Art Fair - July 15th and 16th

Another art event found in Downtown Mount Horeb, the Mount Horeb Art Fair provides all types of beautiful art along the historic Main Street. It will include plenty of food, a silent auction, music, raffles and plenty of fun for everybody.

Dane County Fair - July 19th to 23rd

One of the premier events of the summer, the Dane County Fair will be held at the Alliant Energy Center. This family-friendly event includes plenty of fun rides, nightly concerts, animals, excellent food and so much more. It's the place to go this July and one event you won't want to miss.

Midwest Fire Fest - July 22nd and 23rd

A unique event held in Cambridge, Wisconsin, the Midwest Fire Fest will include plenty of art forged in fire. Demonstrations...

Top Madison, Wisconsin Area Place for Fireworks

The 4th of July is nearly here and that means it's time for fireworks! Finding the best place to go for fireworks isn't always easy, but there are some great events throughout Dane County you can enjoy this year. All of the events listed below include fireworks, which will start around 9:20pm.

Monona Community Festival - July 3rd and 4th

This annual event helps to celebrate Independence Day the right way. It will include plenty of fun with great food, live music and all kinds of activities. The festival includes a Car Show, Keg Toss Tournament, Art Fair, Hole-in-One Contest, Wisconsin Wife Carrying Championship Race and even a Carnival.

Of course, fireworks will be a part of the event on the 4th of July. They will be held on Tuesday night and will start right around 9:20pm. This event will be held at Winnequah Park in Monona, Wisconsin.

Shorewood Hills 4th of July Celebration - July 3rd and 4th

Another huge event happening near Madison, the Shorewood Hills 4th of July Celebration will start on July 3rd at 8:30pm with the Independence Day Dance. This event will include DJs laying great music with refreshments and it is family-friendly. On Tuesday, the celebration will continue with the "Tri-It" Triathlon, a Softball Game, a Bake Sale, the Village Art Fair, a Parade, plenty of games, Waterfights and a Family Picnic. Of course, the event will also close with fireworks beginning at dusk. This celebration will be held at the Blackhawk Country Club.

WaunaBoom!! - July 4th

Held in Waunakee, Wisconsin, this event will provide plenty of fun for the 4th of July. It will be held at Ripp Park...

Millennials Love Madison & The Midwest

Madison, along with other cities in the Midwest have started to attract a large number of millennial homebuyers. The affordability and large number of amenities are two of the main reasons this area of the county has become popular for millennials. While retirees may be looking to escape to a  warmer climate, younger generations love Madison because of the many things it has to offer, especially the five awesome lakes.

In addition, millennials tend to enjoy college towns. Madison is at the top of the list for college towns followed by Omaha, Minneapolis, Columbus and Des Moines. These areas tend to be very popular for millennial homebuyers throughout the Midwestern area of the United States.

More than Lakes and Universities

Madison, Wisconsin isn't just a city with universities and lakes, however. Millennials love these two cool features, but, they also love the zoo, Monona Terrace, the farmer's markets, Olbrich Gardens, the incredible trails and the many other attractions found throughout. Of course, there are plenty of sports to both play and watch and the restaurants are rather amazing, too. In fact, Madison has been named as a top foodie destination in the past, which lines up with what millennials seek.

With 2017 expected to see about one-third of the homebuyers from the millennial generation, it shouldn't be surprising they are flocking to Madison and other Midwestern cities. Many are returning to their alma mater or their hometown, as well....

WI57 | The Real Estate News | Josh Lavik | Keller Williams | 6/14/2017

In the latest episode of the The Real Estate News, Josh Lavik covers a few great condos in the Downtown Madison area and one in Fitchburg. Josh also covers a few of the benefits of living in a condo, along with the current real estate market.

With the competitive buyers market currently going on throughout Madison, Wisconsin, many buyers are getting beat out by multiple offers. This certainly makes finding and buying the right new homes or condo challenging. Now is the time to sell. If you're looking to buy or sell in Madison, Contact our team and let us help you get your home sold for the best price possible.


How to Properly Photograph Your Home Before Listing it

When it's time to sell your Madison area home, you need the right real estate agent. In addition, you need the best possible pictures for the online listings. If you don't have good pictures, it will be hard for any real estate agent to really do their job and get your home sold.

Usually, your real estate agent will provide some advice for taking the pictures. Some will take the pictures for you or recommend a good professional. If you have the ability to use a professional with experience in real estate pictures, this may be the best way to go. However, if you will be taking your own pictures, here are a few tips to help you get the best pictures possible.

Pay Attention to the Camera Angle

If you have a tripod, it may come in handy when taking pictures of your home for your listing. You want to make sure you have good camera angles and a steady surface can certainly help. Keep the camera level when you take the picture to ensure potential buyers can see your home from a good angle.

Get a Picture from the Curb

You've already created the best curb appeal you can with new landscaping, maybe a little paint and other quick fixes. Now, you need a great picture of that curb appeal for potential buyers to see. Make sure you get the best picture possible and get all the unnecessary things out of the ay first. Remove bikes, garbage cans, toys, cars and anything else distracting.

Keep Decorations to a Minimum

Staging your home properly before the pictures is a huge plus. If you won't be staging, make sure you eliminate any unnecessary items. Get rid of any old holiday decor or anything that makes your home look too personal. Then, when you take the pictures, it will help to show your audience the home as a bit of a blank canvas.


Dane County New Construction Condo Projects

Madison has seen the condo lifestyle grow over the past few years with millennials looking for their first home and baby boomers looking for maintenance-free living. Condominiums fit with many lifestyles and provide a more affordable option compared to single-family homes.

Over the past few years, the market in Madison has changed quite a bit. Condo sales have become very competitive, which has spurred plenty of new construction projects. Here's a look at some of the best new construction condos found throughout Dane County.

Condo Projects in Madison

Madison has five new condo projects to choose from, which include:

  • Villas at Secret Places - Zoned for the McFarland School District with a Madison address, this project provides many three bedroom/two bathroom units with prices starting under $300K.
  • Hawks Woods - Found in the Far West areas of Madison, this condo project is selling quickly. These are ranch-style condos starting around $300K.
  • Starliner Condominiums - Found on East Mifflin Street, some excellent spaces are found here. The project includes 43 condos with prices starting around $300K and going up to about $500K.
  • Bentley Green - High-end condos in the Far West area of Madison, these condos are close to Hawks Landing Golf Club.

Hawks Reserve - Another project found near Hawks Landing Golf Club, these condos are upscale choices starting at prices lower than $300K.

Condos in Sun Prairie

Sun Prairie has two condo projects, which are Pleasant Meadows and Simply Home Condominiums. Pleasant Meadows is...

5 Great Ways to Honor Dad for Father's Day

Father's Day is coming up very quickly. If you're looking for some great ideas for dad this year, here are five in Madison to honor dad on his special day.

Fishing with Dad

If you and your dad love to fish, head to Lake Mendota, Lake Monona or one of the other area lakes. You'll find plenty of great places to enjoy the fresh air, get some sunshine and catch some great fish. Rent a boat or fish form the land and you're sure to find the time to catch up with dad and have plenty of fun.

Historic Tours

If your dad loves history, head to the Wisconsin Historical Museum or one of the many other area museums. Touring one of the Madison area museums will allow you and dad time to talk, discover something new and learn about the history of the area.

Brewery Tours

There are several great breweries found around Madison, WI. If you and dad love to share a beer together, enjoy one of the Hop Head Tours or head to the Capital Brewery for a tour. The Hop Head Tours are held on Sundays and will let you discover a few great breweries as you take the time to learn about the process of brewing beer. Of course, you'll get to enjoy some samples, too.

Take Dad Golfing

Choose one of the many great golf courses throughout Madison and hit the links. Vitense Golfland provides a good choice if you...

Upcoming Summer Festivals Near Madison, WI

Plenty of festivals happen every year throughout the Madison area. In fact, for many residents, the summer is their favorite time of year because of the many events. While the abundance of outdoor fun may have you excited, the upcoming festivals near Madison, Wisconsin might just put you over the edge.

If you're looking for something fun, you have plenty of great options. Parades, festivals, food, live entertainment and more are on deck this summer. Here's a quick look at some of the top upcoming summer festivals near Madison.

Waterfront Festival - June 10th & 11th

Coming up right around the corner, the Waterfront Festival is a great way to get your summer started. It will be held at Yahara Place Park on the northern shore of Lake Monona. This festival will include plenty of fun with a goal of raising funds for MNA through sponsorship, concessions and donations.

4th Annual Bacon, Brew & BBQ Fest – June 24th

An adult event for those 21 and older, the Bacon, Brew & BBQ Fest is a huge event with plenty of fun. It will feature Jones Dairy Farm serving up Bacon-infused appetizers, entrees, drinks, desserts, soups and dips. Along with the bacon, there will be hundreds of craft beers on hand and so much more. The festival covers about eight acres of space with activities, such as Ladder Ball, Bag Toss, Volleyball and more.

Oregon Summer Fest – June 22nd to 25th

Held at Kiser Firemen's Park in Oregon, WI, this festival will help to raise money for the Oregon area Chamber of Commerce. It's a fun filled event with plenty of activities all centered around the community with a focus on four areas: Promote, Inform, Connect and Advocate.

WaunaFest 2017 - July 27th to 29th


April 2017 Market Recap

A lack of supply with strong market demand continues for 2017 in April throughout Dane County. Even with low interest rates, positive job reports, stronger demand from buyers and high consumer confidence ratings, sales of condominiums and single family homes have not reached their potential due to a lack of inventory. Dane County continues to see an active inventory of less than two months, which makes five months in a row now.

Six months of active inventory usually means the market is very balanced between sellers and buyers. However, with only 1,070 active listings at the end of April, the inventory is lower than it has been in Dane County since 1997, according to the South Central Wisconsin MLS Report.. April saw 663 sales in Dane County, which was 12% lower than the same month las year when buyers had 35% more listings to choose from.

While listings are down, the monthly median sales price is up. For the 20th time in the last 21 months, the median sales price went up. It's 6.4% higher over the past 12 months and reached $250K.

Active listings continue to be the problem with only 980 new listings in Dane County for April 2017 compared to 1,085 for April 2016 and 1,156 for April 2015. The lack of listings has caused the number of sales to drop, as well.

Now is the time for anybody looking to sell a house or condo to get it listed. Dane County is a seller's market with a lack of inventory causing prices to go up and plenty of properties are getting multiple offers. Buyers are waiting, so don't hesitate if you've been thinking about selling.