All Blog Entries by Laura Kocum

Laura Kocum is a marketing and public relations consultant based in Madison, Wisconsin.

Found 113 blog entries published by Laura Kocum.

When deals need to be made, it all comes down to trusted relationships. You can buy and sell homes in Madison, but to do it well, you will need a Realtor who values relationships and brings solid negotiating skills to the table. This adds some strength to your real estate plan, and it helps remove some of the emotion that could otherwise cloud the negotiations. The Mad City Dream Homes Team can help you look at the big picture, and they have enough history in the business to creatively problem-solve, and get you the best deal.

"Our team places a high-value on quality communication, " says Maureen Moran. "We can gather so much more information about the sale for our clients, simply by picking up the phone and talking with the other agent." 

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Do you feel like you’re always running behind - like there’s never enough time in the day? You know you need to take care of yourself and find ways to relax and stay sane, but with everything on your to-do list, there’s never time. We may even look enviously at others thinking, “they have it so much easier than I do. Look at how much time they have to spare in the day!”  Sara Ifert, owner of Go Simple Wellness, says there is hope! "The reality is that we all have the same 24 hours in a day. It’s up to us how we spend that time, for the most part." Lack of time is one of the biggest challenges Ifert's clients have when it comes to creating a healthier lifestyle or finding better balance. There’s no time to cook a meal, work out, read that book, get sleep,…
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It can be easy to watch the market reports, and to obsess over the mortgage rates rising or falling. But Laurie Ellis-McLeod of AERIE Preferred Financial Group, LLC, says the market isn't the most important thing to consider. "Your purchase will ultimately be more dependent on factors you can control, like your credit score, or the amount you've saved for a down payment."

The credit score is key to getting the best rates, and it can be improved. Do you have debts? Do everything you can to pay them off, or develop a plan to do this efficiently. Avoid making large purchases, or opening (or closing) credit card accounts. Your credit score has great impact on the mortgages and other loans for which you can qualify. Do everything you can to pay your bills

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You have made an offer to purchase and are going through the property inspection. The inspector finds an issue with the property, and now you, as the buyer, need to determine the next steps. I asked the Mad City Dream Homes team how they handle these situations, and they shared good advice for buyers to consider.

First: Know what matters.

Not every issue raised is worth pursuing with the seller -- especially in a fast-paced market, with low supply. “In some cases, buyers need to have a plan in place for simple repairs. The quick fixes are rarely worth risking the sale, especially when there is a line of buyers behind you, ready to buy the property,” says Tammy Steiner.

Maureen Moran agreed. “You really need to consider, what is a significant

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In the current economy, much is being said about rising interest rates. This has home buyers wondering what a mortgage will look like 3 or 6 months down the road. While you may hear conversation about climbing rates, this isn't time to be discouraged. Karen Wedvick, VP and Senior Loan Officer at Johnson Bank, says, "Mortgage rates are at such great levels. It's an excellent time to buy." 

Wedvick understands the fears buyers have about rising rates. She has watched the rates closely, and insists that they are still near historic lows. If you look at rates beginning in the 1970s, and compare them to current years, the evidence is clear. Even so, Wedvick's office has tools available to help bring more certainty to the buying process. Johnson Bank offers

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The Mad City Dream Homes team believes local lenders are the most ideal partners to help you with your home purchase. Why? It’s because they often have more flexibility and a quick turnaround time, which can be the keys to a successful real estate purchase in the current, fast-paced market.

The team has worked with all kinds of lenders, and has learned a few things along the way. “I’m always amazed when we have to chase down a loan commitment,” says Chris Venden. This has happened when working with lenders that aren’t local.  They don’t always understand the quick turnaround needed in the Madison area, and they sometimes have multiple layers of red tape that need to be worked through before they can make a commitment. "There is nothing more

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As the holiday season begins and the snow starts falling, South Central Wisconsin is full of places to go to enjoy a night out.

Holiday Light Show in Janesville

Holiday Light Show in JanesvilleRotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville is just a short drive from Madison, but offers one of the largest light displays around.  The gardens include 20 acres of beautiful scenery and, beginning this weekend, they will light it all up for evening enjoyment. This year's display will include more than 500,000 lights, a record for the gardens. Walk through the paths, enjoy more than 100 lit archways, search for the decorated evergreens (there are more than 100!), see decorated garden obelisks, and all kinds of individual displays. Santa occasionally makes a stop at the Rotary Gardens, and is

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Here's a new spin on trick-or-treating- Cave of the Mounds is encouraging guests to bring their costumes underground. This weekend, through Wednesday, October 31, all ages are invited to explore the hidden treasures that sit beneath Blue Mounds.Cave of the Mounds is located roughly 30 minutes southwest of Madison. The cave was first discovered by accident in 1939, when miners blasted through the limestone hiding it. Since then, the cave was designated a National Natural Landmark, and areas of the cave were opened for visitors to tour and explore the magnificent paths underground.  Today, visitors can tour the cave, study the fossils found inside, and enjoy biking and hiking trails surrounding the cave's entrance. 

Candle Cave

This weekend, visitors will enjoy

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Skiing at Blackhawk Ski ClubThe Blackhawk Ski Club is thriving and, as fall begins, the club is preparing to welcome new members. With six alpine skiing and snowboarding trails and miles of cross country skiing trails, more than 5 miles of mountain bike trails, 60 acres of land, even targets for biathlon participants, the club aims to make winter weather fun, and to make summer trails worth a visit, too. Blackhawk Ski Club is located in the Town of Middleton, on Blackhawk Road. It was founded 71 years ago by a group of ski jumpers who were seeking more space to practice. Today, the club sits next to Pleasant View Golf Course. It has expanded its offerings and aims to teach new generations to love the outdoors.

"I wanted my kids to learn how to ski, and this was the perfect

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Sometimes it takes a turn of events for you to find your passion. For Grant Priehs, a move to Madison was the impetus to explore new opportunities and do what he loves.

Grant Priehs Madison WIPriehs left work as an Art Director at a fast-paced marketing agency and began a successful career as a handyman in Madison. His company, Honey Do Handyman Services, has provided a rewarding way to help others. “Every homeowner has a list of things they notice every day - small tasks or updates that they just never get to; their ‘Honey-do’ list. But when you’re selling your home, you don’t want to have potential buyers leaving a showing with a dozen things they’ve noticed,” he says.

Priehs enjoys helping people complete projects they may not have the time or ability to complete on

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