All Blog Entries by Samantha Haas

Found 113 blog entries published by Samantha Haas.

In one way or another, we each live in a bubble. And as we encounter new experiences, that bubble may widen so we are able to see beyond our own viewpoint. Like many others in my mostly white sphere, we were seeing the world through rose-colored glasses...until 2020. 

"The death of George Floyd woke more people up who weren't tuned into the atrocities that the black community has been enduring for centuries," said Vanessa McDowell, CEO of YWCA Madison. "We at YWCA Madison are glad people are starting to wake up and learn about racial injustice and want to do something about it, but quite frankly, it is about time."

Vanessa is a Madison native and the first Black woman to lead the 111-year-old nonprofit, which addresses challenging issues such as

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After years of in-person and hands-on staging with Debbie Lea of Showcase Home Stagers, our team quickly adjusted to doing business virtually because of the pandemic in order to prioritize everyone’s safety. 

Because of Debbie’s incredible eye for design -- even through video chats and emailed photographs -- and close collaboration with our nimble agents and marketing staff, our sellers continue to reap the benefits of home staging services (free of charge as part of our complete marketing plan). 

In a previous post we shared what sellers can expect during a virtual staging consultation with Debbie. As a follow up to that blog, Debbie and agents Ann Raschein, Maureen Moran, and Shelley Lazzareschi reflect on the importance of making a great first

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When we put out a call in our last newsletter and blog for recommendations of another local nonprofit to spotlight, we were pleased that the word traveled quickly in our networks and beyond. Several people connected us with the incredible work of JustDane, whose mission is to help transform individual lives and social systems to create a just and equitable community. 

The name “JustDane” was at first unfamiliar to me, and I soon learned why. The nearly 50-year-old faith-rooted nonprofit, originally named Madison-area Urban Ministry (MUM), recently emerged from a rebranding effort this summer. A phoenix with a north star has been selected as JustDane’s new logo to better reflect its inspiring and hopeful vision of a community where everyone can succeed,

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Earlier this summer, some members of our team visited State Street to view the temporary Downtown Street Art and Mural Project by local artists -- including those who have been affected by racial injustice and violence. Of the 100 or so murals that covered storefront windows and sides of buildings, we started to notice a distinctive style featuring the silhouette of Black girls’ faces with pops of bright colors and words of affirmation among a few of the displays. Also featured on the beautiful artwork near Goodman’s Jewelers and the Overture Center for the Arts were the hashtag #DefendingBlackGirlhood and Instagram handle @LiladasArt. 

These pieces of art were created by Lilada Gee, a lifelong Madison resident who has rediscovered the healing

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In 2017, when I made a career switch from journalism to two part-time positions in real estate marketing with Mad City Dream Homes and communications with a Madison-based environmental nonprofit, I had no idea what to expect. In that time, I have learned so much about these fields of work as well as what I find fulfilling each day. And what fuels me most is finding creative ways to connect with others to help them achieve their goals. Thanks to the support of Dan Miller and this amazing team, I will be able to do more of what I love with people whom I respect. 

I am excited to announce that my role is growing on the Mad City Dream Homes team! In November, I will transition to a full-time position as a marketing and community outreach specialist to

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When Nancy Breden bought her Spring Harbor bungalow along Lake Mendota six years ago, she saw its potential for being a “really cute place to live” -- especially with its cathedral ceiling, loft, boathouse, and spectacular view of the sunrise. 

In that time, Nancy has made some sweet updates to this 2 bed/1.5 bath property on 47 feet of waterfront, including wood flooring throughout the house and swapping out the garage door for French doors in the boathouse (which could be used as an office, art/yoga studio, or exercise room). 

“I've received so many comments from boaters passing by,” she said. “I think both updates helped with the appeal of this home.”

This fall she approached REALTOR Chris Venden to sell her home, who enlisted

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Hi! I’m Samantha Haas, and I joined Mad City Dream Homes as a photographer and writer in 2017 when our team had just started partnering with a local nonprofit called the Foundation for Dane County Parks. Through that collaboration, I have been able to document what it’s like to explore many of these special parks, forests, trails, and wildlife areas throughout the Madison area. 

Several members of our team -- and their dogs -- have been enjoying these parks, too! For example, Shelley Lazzareschi recently brought her dog, Tucker, to join our team meeting at Mendota County Park in Middleton, where we can take a break from our screens and enjoy the beautiful summer weather while social distancing.

Ann Raschein likes to go to Capital Springs Recreation

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Groundswell Conservancy began as a collaborative effort with the city, county, university, local nonprofits, and individuals nearly 40 years ago to protect Wally Bauman Woods (part of the UW-Madison Lakeshore Nature Preserve) from condominium development along Lake Mendota. Since then, this Madison-based nonprofit has continued using a partnership mentality to permanently preserve hundreds of other special places throughout Dane County and the seven surrounding counties. 

College students with the Prairie Partners ecology restoration summer internship program crew remove invasive species at Patrick Marsh near Sun Prairie. Photo by Ben Jones.

One of more than 50 land trusts in the state, Groundswell Conservancy often consults the Dane County

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Preparing to sell a home can be stressful, but we're here to guide you every step of the way. 

One of our recent home selling clients said the experience working with REALTOR Dan Miller and the rest of the Mad City Dream Homes and RE/MAX Preferred team helped put her mind at ease during what could have been an overwhelming process. 

After nearly a year on a waiting list for an apartment in Lancaster, Judy B. got word in April that a vacancy was available. Suddenly it was time to sell the home she had lived in for 28 years in Madison. She had to downsize and move quickly, and especially with an injury that’s not so easy to do. So Judy reached out to a friend who is a real estate agent up north to see if he had any recommendations for a good local

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As rental rates and home prices rise in Dane County, it’s becoming more difficult for some people to find safe, affordable housing options.

Several local organizations are trying to bring awareness to these issues and make a difference in the community, such as Habitat for Humanity of Dane County, Project Home, and the Dane County Housing Initiative, which you can learn more about on our blog.

Our newest team member Ann Raschein works with compassion, diligence, and professionalism to ensure that all families have the opportunity to become a homeowner. She volunteers her time on the board of both Habitat for Humanity and Dane County’s Home Buyers Round Table, a group of industry professionals that networks, listens to speakers, and coordinates and

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