Madison WI Real Estate Blog

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...

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...

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...

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