All posts by Martin

Tips For Staging And Selling Your Home With Kids

Tips For Staging And Selling Your Home With Kids

Getting your home ready to go on the market can be stressful. There are things to declutter, possible repairs, fresh paint, and the ability to schedule your life around showings, or even more challenging….keeping your house “show ready” with kids! I have a nice cheat sheet for parents to help them get through this process with as much help and guidance as possible. Here are some of my best tips for staging and selling your home with kids.

Prepare your kids for what it means to sell your home.  Explain the process to them so they can understand. You know your kids best. Think about it, your kids may have grown up in your home, have lots of memories in your home, and have probably made lots of friends in the neighborhood over the years. Let them know before the “for sale” sign goes up in the front yard that you are planning on selling this home and moving to a new one. Make it an exciting adventure for them.  Make them part of the “adventure” by letting them pack away toys. This allows your children to have a job and pitch in, it can make them feel helpful. I also recommend allowing your children to have some “input” on the new home to help them adjust to the change.

Make sure your real estate professional is a good fit for your family and the sale of your home.  Working with someone you like and respect is paramount.  Ask around to your trustworthy friends, one of your friends or neighbors may even be a real estate professional. Meet with a few Realtor’s before your sign a listing agreement. Do not make your decision based on whatever Realtor gives your home the highest listing price.

Selling your home with kids

Declutter, clean, and stage your home.  I typically have a special method for families selling their home with kids to get them on track for this arduous process. I help with giving specific recommendations on what has to go, if we should do any minor repairs, and how to stage the home to get top dollar. This is one of the most time consuming parts for a family with children. Children have lots of stuff and if you plan to get the best price you can fetch for your home, I recommend renting a storage unit or a pod and packing away most things to keep the home as clutter free as possible. It is difficult for prospective buyers to envision themselves in your home if there is too much stuff.  Clear out closets to make them look spacious, keep knick-knacks, photos, and toys to a minimum. Be ruthless about decluttering. Clean up the kids drawing on the fridge, save them in a special folder for the new home fridge! I always recommend keeping 3-5 of the kids favorite toys and let them pick, again so they feel like they have a place in this process.
When selling a home with kids it’s important that the rooms in your home are clearly defined as to what they are used for. For example, a bedroom that has been used as a playroom for your kids should be converted back into a bedroom or home office. “Neat and organized” should be paramount when decluttering and staging your home.
Once things are staged and rooms have been decluttered its time for a deep clean. I suggest taking the kids on play dates, to a babysitters, or family members home and get started. If you have family or good friends that live close by recruit them to help with this. Get plenty of supplies, some beer, and pizza. And don’t forget about the outside of the house as well. Cut the lawns, trim the edges, even plant a few flowers or shrubs for curb appeal. If you don’t have the time or the energy to do a big clean, hire a local cleaning company and/or landscaping company to come in and do it for you.

Styling your home for professional photos and future showings. It is down to this, for photos and showings your home needs to look GREAT! Some Realtors hire a professional stylist for a home, depending on the price point this may or may not be necessary. Even a modest home can benefit greatly from styling especially for photography. Most prospective buyers will look at homes online, so your home needs to look appealing in the photos. There is nothing worse than the dreaded wide angle lens distortion pictures that are absurd and unflattering. I have a lot of experience with styling a home so I often do this with my clients approval.  A good Realtor will take care of professional photos and styling needs for you. Also make sure you discuss with your Realtor if it makes sense to plan open houses when marketing your home. When you have children it may not be something you want but it’s good to weigh the pros and cons.

Get ready for showings! Have a plan! Sometimes you only get minimum notice of three or four hours before a showing. It may not seem like enough time to prepare a home for showings. You need to remember that a seller who is not flexible with showings greatly reduces the chances their home will sell. Make sure you clean floors and counters, clean up all toys, clean up all clothing, check underneath dressers and beds for your kids belongings, Make sure there are no foul odors present in your home and make all beds. Don’t forget, It’s also important that if you have kids that you don’t neglect the outdoor living areas. Before you leave for a showing, do a quick check outside around your home and make sure there aren’t toys laying scattered throughout your yard. The exterior of your home is the first thing a buyer will see.
Last but not least, have a plan for an activity during the showing. Go to the library, go to the grocer, if it’s nice take the kids to a park, or possibly go see a movie if the time works and your kids are old enough.
Selling a home with kids can be a tad stressful. A professional Realtor can take a lot of the stress out of the process of selling your home with kids by giving guidance, being a sounding board, and providing outstanding resources and marketing that is geared towards keeping your kids in mind. Keep things fun, be patient, and be realistic. A little planning and help will make the process seem easier. No matter if you are selling your first home or your 10th, selling a home with kids requires a little extra planning.
If you are considering selling your home, contact Martin Colver 608-335-8376 for a complimentary home assessment.

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7 Tips First Time Home Buyers Need to Consider

Buying a home can be an exciting and rewarding process for first time home buyers.   There are a lot of things to consider and first time home buyers will be on a learning curve.  Do your homework, have a Realtor that is acting as your “Buyers Agent” to assist you. Buying a home has do’s and don’ts. Don’t go at it alone. First time home buyers need to make sure they consider these things when looking for their first home.

Here are 7 tips first time home buyers need to consider:
1. Look at all the expenses when budgeting for a house. Look beyond principal, interest, and taxes. You must consider utilities, commuting costs, upgrades that may need to be done, and insurance. Call the utility company that services the  house you are considering and ask for an estimate of what the costs are.

2. Think big picture, the long term, and re-sale.  Are you planning to grow your family? Will you have to care of an elderly parent down the road? If you are planning to buy your first home how long do you plan to live there? 3 years? 10?  Who will want to buy this home when you sell it? Is the home in an undesirable school district?  IS the home you are considering located next to a high traffic area?  When you are ready to sell your home most families that have kids may not want to look at your home. In addition, if  you buy a one bedroom home, you limit the re-sale value and demographic of who will want to buy the home.  Those things should be considered.

3. Have your lender’s pre-approval letter BEFORE you start going on showings. In this real estate market, there is a shortage of homes for the amount of people looking to buy, especially starter homes in Madison. If you go around looking for homes and find one you love, most sellers will not consider your offer if you have not been pre-approved by a lender since it is more than likely other potential buyers are also making an offer.

4. Location, location, location, or more space? First time home buyers should consider what is more important to them.  Living downtown in the heart of everything will cost more per square foot compared to moving to a suburb and possibly getting a little more space for the money.  Before shopping for a home, it’s important to set your priorities and decide which is more important to you: space or location. If you settle on this ahead of time, you can make thought-out decisions during the home-buying process and avoid the unwanted feeling of buyer’s remorse.

5. You can continue to negotiate even after the inspection! If you discover something during your inspection you can attempt another round of negotiations. Use flaws to your advantage in the negotiation process.  A solid Realtor will do this on your behalf and have a strategy should something unforeseen show up in an inspection. I have had success with this practice for many clients.

6. A higher price point may save you money over time.  After renovations, many homeowners find that their budget has been stretched beyond what they initially wanted to pay for a home.  With that being said, it can be smart to adjust your price point a little to help you save money over time. By paying a little more upfront for a home that has all of the upgrades and extras you want, you won’t have to worry about paying for them down the road.

7. Save money for a down payment. It is a very good idea to put money down on a home.  Your offer will look stronger to the seller, and you’ll have more leverage during negotiations along with equity in the home from the start!

There are many other things to consider. If you would like more information please contact Martin Colver full time real estate professional and blogger at 608-335-8798

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5 Reasons Your Home Isn’t Selling

The Madison housing market has been very good for sellers in 2016. Insanely good. It appears to be a true sellers market. There is not enough inventory for the amount of people out there looking to buy a home (see my article  to learn what “inventory”  means). In this type of market everyone expects that their home will sell right away because the market is “hot”.  That is not always the case.   What if your home isn’t selling?

Here are 5 reasons your home isn’t selling:

1.PRICING! You priced your house too high. I would say without question that pricing a house too high is the #1 reason why your house may not be selling. Sellers often have an emotional attachment to their home and sometimes do not look at things objectively. Just because you need to get a certain price for your home doesn’t mean that is what it is worth. Quite honestly, your home is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay.  That is sometimes hard for a seller to hear. If you haven’t had many showings or inquiries in the first 30 days on the market, this could be a sign that your home is priced too high. I like to make sure I know a neighborhood really well and help my clients with determining the best price that the house will sell. A knowledgeable listing agent will have many resources and tools to assist in getting you the best price possible.  At the end of the day the seller has the final say on the price.
2. You’re not marketing your house correctly. Is your home listed on the MLS? Do you have have social media buzz on your home and neighborhood? Do you have a “For Sale” sign in front of your home? Do you have absolutely stunning photographs of your home that stand out online? Does your Realtor have connections and buyers to bring to the table? When I list a home I have a full detailed marketing plan that is tailored to my clients needs and their home.
3. Your house has too much, “you” in it. Let’s face it, our homes are an extension of ourselves. We make our homes to reflect our personalities, put pictures up of people we love, and collect lots of things over our time. If a potential buyer cannot see themselves in the home as “their home” then most likely they will move on to a house that does. I know it sounds cruel but we all don’t have the same tastes. Keeping things neutral, pictures and personal items to a minimal, and a warm and welcoming staging strategy really help.
4. You are not flexible. It’s not easy-peasy selling a home if you want top dollar and a quick sale. You have to keep your home clean, you have to be willing to accommodate showings, open houses, etc… If no one can get in to see the house you wont sell it.
5. You don’t have a professional kick-ass Realtor by your side! Yes, you need a realtor if you want to sell your home for the best price. When I see people try to sell a home on their own, I often see them walk away with a lot less than what could have been. You need an experienced, reasonably competent Realtor.  I’m not just saying that because I list homes and want your business. I am saying that because I believe it!  Would you decide to perform your own surgery if you needed one to save money? Would you undergo a serious renovation without a professional opinion? Yes, you can sell your home on your own and save money but many studies have proven that Realtors get top dollar and sell homes quickly without giving you the headaches of contracts or mistakes that could be a legal nightmare for you.

If you are currently selling your home without Realtor representation and your home isn’t selling, contact me with any questions at 608-335-8798 or email at


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2702 Stevens St, Madison Home for Sale in College Park

2702 Stevens St, Madison, home for sale in College Park. We are hosting an open house today June 19, 2016 from 12pm to 2pm. Check out the amazing location of this all brick cape cod. Delightful 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1 car garage home with a lot of character. This house is a classic including original woodwork, windows, brick siding, trim, and finished LL Den and bath. This house won’t last long in this market and location. Come by today to our open house to see this charming home near the University Hospital, Shorewood Hills Shopping Center, and Whole Foods Market. You are minutes from downtown via University Ave! There is even a beautiful park just steps from this home to enjoy playing, reading, and shade. 2702 Stevens Street borders on two neighborhoods College Park and University Heights where you will find elegant older homes that have unique features, designed by many famous architects.
The sellers are currently offering a $6,000 credit towards refinishing bedroom and replacing hardware floor along with $1,700 towards kitchen countertop replacement. The buyer can receive this credit as either: (1) price reduction or (2) flooring and countertop installed at seller’s expense. Option 2 allows the buyer to have the new floor, countertop and refinishing done without having to dip into their down payment or other savings.
Stop at this open house today or call/text Martin Colver at 608-335-8798 before this home is sold! Click here for a google map of the area.

MRB CC Stevens Main floor

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Father’s Day, 10 Ideas to Honor Madison Dads!

Here is a list of 10 ideas to honor almost every kind of Madison Dad this Father’s Day! Father’s Day is coming up this Sunday June 19, 2016. What better way to celebrate that special father figure in your life than spending time doing what he loves best.

1. Golf Dad-What better way to spend quality time with your
Dad than 18 holes of golf at one of his favorite spots? If you are budget conscious there is Vitense Golfland off of Schroeder Road in Madison. They have a few great specials for the big guy that include:

Buckets & Breakfast – $24. 2 Big George Buckets + Breakfast & Coffee 8 am – 10:30 am every day.

Buckets & Beers – $29. 2 Big George Buckets + 2 tap beers (or soda) available anytime.

For those looking for a full golf experience check out University Ridge and, “Play where the Badgers play.”  For a large list of local golf courses, info,  and fees check out Golf Now.

2. Go Kart Dad-VRROOOM! Who doesn’t like a little action on Father’s Day? Take dad on a thrill ride at Big Chief Go Karts Wisconsin Dells at 1450 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy.  The prices are affordable and the whole family can take part in a safe but fun ride.

3. Fishing Dad-One of the great things about living in Madison or the surrounding area is access to beautiful lakes. Catch up on life and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. Bond with dad at his local favorite fishing hole. We love Lake Mendota. If you are OK with an urban setting Lake Mendota is the largest of the chain lakes in Madison and had some really great areas. If you prefer a wilderness destination to fish check out Kentuck Lake in June up by Eagle River.

4. Music Dad-Spend some time with Dad by making a trip to some of the local record shops here in Madison.  Some options include Mad City Music Exchange, Strictly Discs,  and Exclusive Company. We also love Ear Wax Records on State Street for the Dad that loves punk and metal.

Who’s playing nearby? Go see a live band. Madison has a thriving music scene. You can see local or national acts roll through town. Pick up a copy of the local Isthmus and see!

5. Art Dad-You and Dad can enjoy a day at Madison Contemporary Museum of Art or the Chazen to look at Dad “inspired” art.  Or, take the local alternative route to art and visit some of the galleries around Madison like Hatch Art House on Williamson Street, in the Marquette neighborhood. June featured artist is Grace Lorentz. You can also check out HYART Gallery on Johnson near the Capitol.

6. Sports Dad-Tickets to a local sporting event are always a great idea or go big and get season tickets for his favorite team!

7. Beer Dad– Make your Madison dads day with a toast at a local brewery or beer event. You can even bring back a gift of his favorite six pack. If you are really looking for an amazing beer experience with Dad check out Hop Head Tours. Hop Heads main mission according to their website is “to provide fun, safe and educational tours of breweries, wineries, distilleries and related attractions.” This Sunday just in time for Father’s Day there is a Madison based tour called Country Roads Brewery Bus Tour. The tour starts at Wisconsin Brewing Company. Grab Dad and go!

8. Handsome Dad– Give the gift of less stress and book some time relaxing at a spa or even a professional shave.

9. History Dad– Take a tour of one of the many historical museums in the Madison area. Check out the Madison Historical Society and see if there are any tours of interest, you and dad will love the time together and learn about the past. A unique place to visit is the Wisconsin Historical Museum. For a list of history museums in Wisconsin click here.

10. Laser Tag Dad-You an dad can channel your inner warrior and take on a fun game of laser tag. A local favorite is the Ultrazone on Grand Canyon Drive on Madison’s west side.

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Bentley Green, Premier Madison Living!

Welcome home to Bentley Green! Located at Hawk’s Landing Golf Club on Madison’s far west side.  Bentley Green is a luxurious condominium project with modern conveniences, lovely historic architecture, and attractive amenities.

When you stroll through the neighborhood you will notice details like cobblestone streets, wooden shudders, and wrought iron lighting fixtures. It surely brings the feeling and look of classic European character. Of all the condominium developments in Madison, Bentley Green is very unique in its visual appeal and no other association is like it in the Madison area. You will find unparalleled quality & character of craftsmanship at Bentley Green.

The Edinborough

Bentley Green offers important lifestyle options, like shopping, restaurants, and golfing nearby.  At Bentley Green the attention to detail is paramount with authentic European style and class.

Association Overview
Association Overview

Currently, I have a listing available, but it will not last long! It’s a beautiful well appointed 2 bedroom, 2 and a half bath town-house condo at 9082 Paddington Parkway in Bentley Green. Walk up to your private entrance with an exterior of decadent traditional European architecture. Step inside this amazing home and you will find an inviting modern interior overlooking Hawk’s Landing Golf Course.

Living Room
Living Room

This gorgeous Bentley Green home offers high end fixtures, high ceilings, lots of natural light, and hardwood floors throughout the main level. Enjoy a night of gourmet cooking complete with stainless appliances, granite counter tops, glass tile back splash, and a large walk in pantry. Put your feet up and relax by your stone fireplace in the living room.

Gourmet Kitchen
Gourmet Kitchen

Upstairs you will find the master suite with two walk in closets, an en-suite complete with double sinks, large mirror, modern fixtures, and a beautiful tiled shower with glass door. Read a book or stargaze on your private walk out veranda which is accessible on the second floor from the master bedroom. There is also a full laundry room and second bedroom with a full bathroom that includes one very large walk in closet.

In addition, the townhouse boasts a private, fully heated two car garage with extra storage. The garage opens up to the lower level of the home which has a mudroom and bonus rec/flexible space. There is even space in the yard with a relaxing patio waiting for you to soak in some sun!

Come and visit Bentley Green at Hawks Landing and you will truly be amazed!

For information on my current listings or other homes in the neighborhood, please contact Martin Colver at 608-335-8798.

9082 Paddington Pky MLS 1774948


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Liberty Place, a Welcoming Community and Great Place to Live.


4809 Freedom Ring Dr front
4809 Freedom Ring Rd in Liberty Place

For many people, finding the right neighborhood is just as important as finding the right home. Let’s take a look at Liberty Place which borders with Madison’s south east side and The Village of McFarland. Liberty Place is a vibrant, charming community designed and created by Veridian Homes. Like many Veridian neighborhoods this one is situated near parks, recreational trails, schools, retail shops and more, building a sense of community among neighbors. Some things I noticed while walking through Liberty Place was the amount of friendly neighbors, kids riding their bikes, and families walking with strollers and dogs. I really got a sense that the neighborhood is ideal for young newlyweds, starter families, and anyone looking for a quiet, friendly, beautiful neighborhood.

Liberty Place is conveniently located less than a mile from Lake Waubesa to the west and the beautiful Yahara River. There are many amenities close by such as William McFarland Park, Veterans Memorial Park, and Owl Creek Park.

Recently, I’ve had the honor of listing a beautiful and well maintained home on Freedom Ring. This home has an incredible amount of value and I encourage you to take a look at all this home at 4809 Freedom Ring Rd has to offer. The sellers put over $60,000 of upgrades into this home and it certainly shows! Come over and take a seat on the spacious covered front porch and relax!

Kitchen with custom back-splash and upgraded appliances

Like to cook? Take a look at the beautiful kitchen with a new glass tile back splash and upgraded stainless appliances! Peak out the back patio door, and see your custom patio oasis designed with pavers! There is space to grill, entertain, and relax by the beautiful outdoor fireplace.

Custom Patio with brick paver's and Fireplace.
Custom patio with brick paver’s and fireplace.

When outdoor entertaining isn’t on your agenda you can come inside to the lower level and enjoy a family accommodating spacious theater room all of your own.  

Lower level theater!
Lower level theater room!

Yes, this home comes with a large screen and projector for lots of fun memorable moments with  family and friends!

The main floor of the house provides plenty of room with an inviting entryway immediately greeting you with an ample living room with large windows. The open floor plan really has a lot of thought put into it with the placement of the kitchen, dining, den living area, and half bath.

Upstairs you will find a master bedroom with a walk in closet and en suite. There are three other sunny spacious bedrooms rooms all with closets and another full bathroom on the second floor as well.

On the lower level take a look at the newly remodeled fully finished basement with an added egress that brightens and fills the lower level family room with plenty of sunlight.  This space could stay as is or be reconfigured into a fifth bedroom!

Lower level full bath with 2 person jetted tub.
Lower level full bath with 2 person jetted tub.

Also you will find another full bathroom complete with a two person jetted tub and a stand up shower.

Come and visit Liberty Place and you will really be delighted at the friendly atmosphere and custom additions to this great home!

For more information on my current listings or other homes in the neighborhood and Greater Madison Area please contact me, Martin Colver, at 608-335-8798. I’d be honored to work with you.

Liberty Place Association

4809 Freedom Ring Rd Details


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Professional Equity Analysis Review, what is it?

First of all I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read this.  I am thrilled to share the knowledge I have learned about what a Professional Equity Analysis Review is and what it means for you.  What I have to share with you in this short article, I feel, may increase any hesitations you have, or have had, about listing your home.

Most of us remember the housing market crash back in 2006 through 2008.  What I am talking about is when the market was doing very good and then all of a sudden your mortgage exceeded the value of your home by tens of thousands of dollars or even more. That was a really scary time and during that time selling simply wasn’t an option.  You just could not afford to do it,  because you could not afford the financial loss.

At that time there were many owners who had to move, these owners had no choice whether it was due to a job offer or some other reason, they just had to move.  Among these owners were those who decided to rent their property until the market turned around.

Well,  the good news is the market has turned around! There are now a lot of non-owner occupied homes in our area and guess what, we have plenty of buyers presently but we need more listings! Simply put there are not enough homes for the demand of buyers currently in the market!

If you are an absentee home owner (like what I described above) or you know someone who is, or you are one of the people who decided to just wait out the market until it came back, I urge you to contact me today to discuss just how much profitable equity you have in your home. My guess is that if you knew just how much equity
you have you might want to list your home and trade up for that home of your dreams, a shorter commute to work, or relocate to a better school district for your kids, etc.

Recent studies have shown that a majority of homes now have considerable positive equity opposed to the negative they had ten years ago. Thirty percent of the homes out there do not even have a mortgage on them. Furthermore the percentage of
homes with significant equity are up as much as 20% or more equity.

Here are some stats, 37% of Americans now believe they have 20% or greater equity in their home. In reality the latest numbers show that of those homeowners who believe they have 20% or greater equity actually have as much as 72.6% equity, that is huge!
More than 2 out of 3 of your neighbors can afford to sell their homes and they are not even aware of it!

If you couldn’t afford to sell your home a few years ago chances are likely that you are more than able to now. Find out just how profitable your home actually is and contact me right away for a complimentary Professional Equity Analysis Review. We will discuss exactly how much equity you have in your property and what the current market value of your home is and more!

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