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Oct. 26, 2022

A Brighter Home

MDR Featured in Redfin Blog, Design Tips for a Bright Home or Apartment When Darker Days Arrive:

Add layers of lighting to spaces

MAKING DREAMS Realty servicing the Southern Wisconsin area, recommends adding layers of lighting to spaces in your home to create quality brightness. “As you observe the natural lighting coming into a room throughout the day, consider all three types of layering options – ambient, task, and accent lighting. Add various layers of lighting after you have witnessed shadows and dark corners within the room while also staying mindful of the use of the room and the focal point.”

Read the full article here.


Aug. 1, 2022

Why People Are Moving Today

Why Are People Moving Today? Why Are People Moving Today? | MyKCM

Buying a home is a major life decision. That’s true whether you’re purchasing for the first time or selling your house to fuel a move. And if you’re planning to buy a home, you might be hearing about today’s shifting market and wondering what it means for you.

While mortgage rates are higher than they were at the start of the year and home prices are rising, you shouldn’t put your plans on hold based solely on market factors. Instead, it’s necessary to consider why you want to move and how important those reasons are to you. Here are two of the biggest personal motivators driving people to buy homes today.

A Need for More Space

Moving.com looked at migration patterns to determine why people moved to specific areas. One trend that emerged was the need for additional space, both indoors and outdoors.

Outgrowing your home isn’t new. If you’re craving a large yard, more entertaining room, or just need more storage areas or bedrooms overall, having the physical space you need for your desired lifestyle may be reason enough to make a change.

A Desire To Be Closer to Loved Ones

Moving and storage company United Van Lines surveys customers each year to get a better sense of why people move. The latest survey finds nearly 32% of people moved to be closer to loved ones.

Another moving and storage company, Pods, also highlights this as a top motivator for why people move. They note that an increase in flexible work options has helped many homeowners make a move closer to the people they care about most:

“. . . a shifting of priorities has also affected why people are moving. Many companies have moved to permanent remote working policies, giving employees the option to move freely around the country, and people are taking advantage of the perk.”

If you can move to another location because of remote work, retirement, or for any other reason, you could leverage that flexibility to be closer to the most important people in your life. Being nearby for caregiving and being able to attend get-togethers and life milestones could be exactly what you’re looking for.

What Does That Mean for You?

If you’re thinking about moving, one of these reasons might be a top motivator for you. And while what’s happening with mortgage rates and home prices in the housing market today will likely play a role in your decision, it’s equally important to make sure your home meets your needs. Like Charlie Bilello, Founder and CEO of Compound Capital Advisors, says:

Your home is your castle and should confer benefits beyond just the numbers.”

Bottom Line

There are many reasons why people decide to move. No matter what the reason may be, if your needs have changed, let’s connect to discuss your options in today’s housing market.


Oct. 22, 2021

Real Estate Market Trends

Blog Contributor: Rachel Clark | Social Media Marketing Specialist for MDR

WHAT IS GOING ON with the housing market? This has been the most common question we have heard from clients in the last few years, and it is one that doesn’t have a true straight-forward answer, but new data from the Wisconsin Realtors Association (WRA) can help make the trends more clear in the midst of confusing times. 

The housing market has gone through plenty of ups and downs throughout the years, but since 2020, there have been some interesting new developments in the real estate world. 


In Wisconsin, housing trends have indicated a lower volume of sales and a higher average price compared to last year’s statistics. 

The decline in total home sales is speculated to be simply due to the unique circumstances surrounding 2020 and the record home sales that year. 


However, this is also due to an inventory problem, since total statewide listings are down over 10% from last year while the monthly home sales are only down 6.3% from last year. 


“Given the supply problem, it’s not surprising that sales this summer have not quite kept up with the record pace established last summer. Even though realtors have been moving homes quickly, they can only sell what’s on the market, so we’ll continue to struggle to increase our sales on a year-over-year basis until the inventory situation improves,” said Mary Duff, 2021 Chair of Board of Directors for Wisconsin Realtors Association. 


Because of this inventory problem, homes are listed for less time on the market, with less active listings overall. 

“If you look at 2015, the number of sales were 186 in September, but at the end of the month there were six times the number of active listings, which shows a balanced market with 6 months of inventory. Fast forward to September 2021, we are only at about one month of inventory with the amount of active listings,” said Kevin Clark, Broker and Listing Agent for Making Dreams Realty with Keller Williams


The other big indicator of the housing market this year is the increased home prices. 


Looking at this from a simple supply and demand standpoint, the lower inventory (or supply) has increased the demand for the few listings that are active, therefore inflating the price. 


Another perspective to the higher prices of listings is that overtime, the consensus is that home prices always go up, and that’s why a home purchase is considered an investment. 

“From 2011 to 2021 what stands out to me from the month of August (year over year) is that the median sales price has more than doubled combined with the highest number of sales in the past 11 years and the lowest amount of available inventory,” Kevin Clark, said. 


In the south central region of Wisconsin, the majority of homes sold were in the $200,000 to $349,999 category in the last year, while the next highest category was in the $125,000 to $199,999 range. 

“The purpose for looking at these numbers is to show that we will continue to run into limited inventory, probably into the next year at least, making it more challenging for buyers than it was in 2015, but we are still getting these deals done. It is all about building trust and following the process,” Kevin Clark said. 


If you have any more questions about the housing market or real estate in general, don’t hesitate to give our team at MAKING DREAMS Realty a call: 608.480.8599.


Real estate market trends data from: https://www.wra.org/HousingStatistics/ 


Sept. 21, 2021

Seasonal Décor: How to get the most out of your seasonal decorations

Seasonal Décor Tips

Fall is quickly approaching, and while that just means the changing of weather and scenery for some people, for most homeowners it means the start of the never-ending cycle of decorating for Halloween, Thanksgiving, then the cascade into the Christmas season, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, St. Patty’s Day, and Easter. Decorating all year round can become expensive, time consuming, and can take up a lot of storage space, so here are some tips to help you to get the most out of your seasonal decorations:

Consciously shop for decorations:

If you want all of the little trinkets and holiday décor for your home, but it’s just not in your budget, consider “timing out” when you’re shopping for these decorations. When looking for fall decorations, the best time to buy is usually right after Thanksgiving – but not necessarily on Black Friday if the commotion is too much for you. However, for décor with a hefty-er price tag like Christmas trees or large wreathes, Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopping may be your best bet (1).

Aside from planning out when you buy your decorations, thrift stores like Goodwill and St. Vincent DePaul’s have great options for discount decorations during each holiday.

Use versatile pieces:

Try keeping the majority of your decorations versatile for multiple seasons and then add a few overt decorations like Jack-o’lanterns for Halloween or Santa Clauses for Christmas so that you only have to remove a few decorations immediately after the holiday passes (2).

An example of this is using metallics and neutrals for all seasons so they can easily be incorporated into non-holiday décor as well. Consider orange/beige and gold for the fall season, and blue and silver for the winter season. On the other hand, if you prefer the traditional red and green color waves for Christmastime, pick out pillows and decorations that only have one or the other so that you can eventually use them separately and incorporate into the normal décor of your home. In addition to this, instead of using colored holiday lights, use bulb string lights that look good year-round!

Nail down your storage:

Lastly and probably most importantly, make sure you have a sure-fire storage system for your decorations with storage bins, labels, and a plan for their location (3).

Some clean organization tips for the holidays are to wrap up your holiday lights and use masking tape to hold them together so that they don’t get tangled.  In addition to this you can also label the tape to show how long the lights are, or which color they radiate. For even more storage you can use hanging storage organizers for smaller decorations and gift wrap or incorporate a rolling storage bin that conveniently fits under a bed.

Making sure to organize your storage bins so that the most used items are easily accessible and the least used are in the back will also make changing out seasonal décor less daunting. You can have one bin (or more) for each separate holiday’s unique decorations, and then bins for seasonal decorations that can be intermixed with each holiday (4).

A good tip to maximize your storage space is to incorporate a once-a-year item storage area in a high or hard to see area so that it can stay out of the way until you need it. For more storage strategies and tips, visit our past blog, Storage Strategies for your home.

In the end, however you decide to decorate or not decorate your home, we hope these tips can help you save time, money, and diminish at least some of the stress that comes with the holidays. Happy Fall!

Blog Contributor: Rachel Clark | Social Media Marketing Specialist for MDR

If you want more information on styling and designing your home, visit our Home Styling and Design page for a complimentary phone consultation with a MDR Home Design Specialist.  

Interested in creating your own fall centerpiece? Join us for our fall workshop! Buy tickets here.

MDR Workshop: Fall Centerpiece

Blog Sources:
(1)   https://www.thespruce.com/christmas-decor-that-works-all-year-4149605
(2)   https://www.realsimple.com/work-life/money/saving/how-to-save-on-holiday-decorations 
(3)   https://www.thecleaningauthority.com/blog/organization/10-steps-to-organized-seasonal-decorations/
(4)   https://www.thisoldhouse.com/platform/amp/storage-organization/21018650/12-smart-ways-to-store-holiday-decorations
Sept. 9, 2021

Choosing the Right Fireplace for Your Home

cozy fireplace

A fireplace or fire pit is a coveted feature for any home, but most people aren’t aware of how many different kinds there are. Different models of fireplaces and firepits can range from simple to complex, price-conscious to expensive, and practical to aesthetic, but survey data reveals that no matter the type, most homebuyers will pay extra for a home with this feature. 

The most obvious difference between fireplaces and firepits is that one is indoors while the other is outdoors (of course, duh!). Outdoor fire pits are most practical for warmth in cooler seasons, and they are great for outdoor gatherings and for keeping bugs away with smoke. Indoor fireplaces are typically more aesthetic than outdoor ones and are great for cozy Christmas or Halloween gatherings. (1) (2)

Besides the obvious, though, there are different types of fireplaces and firepits that most people are not aware of. If you're considering adding this cozy touch to your home, use this guide to discover what may work best for you. Let's start with fireplaces:


-Wood Burning Fireplace: Wood burning fireplaces are the oldest and most common type of indoor fireplace. Types of wood burning fireplaces are traditional open hearth, enclosed fireplaces, fireplace inserts, and wood burning stoves. Traditional open hearth fireplaces are typically made of stone or brick and have all the authentic parts of an outdoor fire, complete with crackling noises. However, they are not great at heating large spaces and require chimney ventilation. Enclosed fireplaces are wood burning fireplaces with large glass panels overlaying it so that it is not as scalding hot when you are close to it, and more of the heat is able to circulate the room. Fireplace inserts are a way to make your traditional open hearth fireplace more heat-efficient by simply inserting it into your old fireplace. Wood burning stoves are little different than traditional fireplaces, and they allow you to burn wood to heat a dwelling without a whole structure of a fireplace and chimney. However, it still does require a pipe to vent smoke outside. 


-Gas Burning Fireplace: Gas burning fireplaces are usually cleaner and able to create more heat for a lower cost, but in turn, they sacrifice the authentic feel of wood burning fireplaces. Direct-vented built-in fireplaces are vented similar to wood burning fireplaces and can be built into an existing chimney structure, or they can vent through a pipe. Ventless built-in fireplaces can be installed anywhere and do not need a chimney or pipe. However, these fireplaces are usually less hot and less authentic, since the flame is blue instead of yellow like the direct-vented gas fireplaces. 


-Ethanol Burning Fireplace: Ethanol burning fireplaces are gaining popularity due to their relative cleanliness and lack of odor. Also, they are seen as environmentally and price friendly, although they do not produce as much heat as other fireplaces. Fireplace conversion fireplaces are a way to convert your existing fireplace into an ethanol burning one by simply using an ethanol burning insert. Wall mounted fireplaces are great for aesthetics, since it allows you to mount your fireplace on any wall and feel heat from it while it doubles as a piece of art. Tabletop fireplaces vary in sizing and are easily portable to different areas in the home, making it a great option for more indecisive decorators. 


Best Ventless Tabletop Fireplace

Image from ventlessfireplacereview.com


-Electric: Electric fireplaces are easy to control and relatively cheap, while still doing the job of heating a room and looking similar to a wood burning fireplace. Mantel electric fireplaces are set up very similar to traditional fireplaces, but without the hassle of venting or cleaning up burnt wood. Electric fireplace TV stands are similar to mantel electric fireplaces, but come built into furniture, like an entertainment center or TV stand to conserve space. (3)

And then there's your fire pit:


-Wood Burning Fire Pit: Wood burning fire pits are the closest you can get to a campfire in the woods, and there are a few different types of these outdoor fire pits like stone or brick, wood burning grill, and outdoor fireplace. Stone and brick fire pits are built into the ground and immobile, while wood burning grills and outdoor fire pits are moveable to anywhere in an outdoor space.

 -Propane Fit Pit: Propane fire pits use propane gas instead of wood and they give you the ability to control how strong you want the flames to be by releasing more or less propane. Copper bowl fire pits are propane fire pits that are usually on the more expensive side, but stay around for a long time. Propane portable fire pits are moveable and usually light in their design while still emitting a good amount of heat. A fire pit table uses propane gas to light a small fire built into an outdoor table so that there is still enough room to sit and eat around it. 

Fire Pit Tables • Insteading

Image from insteading.com


-Gel Fuel Fire Pits: Gel fuel fire pits are vent free and use burning gel canisters for a fuel source. They don’t require any power or hook-up, so they can be moved wherever and lit simply with a match. Types of gel fuel fire pits are tabletop fire pits similar to a propane fire pit table, and gel fueled logs that burn similar to regular logs and provide the same ambiance as a traditional wood burning fire pit, but without the filth. 


-Natural Gas Fire Pits: Natural gas fire pits are similar to propane fire pits, but they provide an endless supply of gas through a gas line, rather than having to replace a propane tank every time. However, this makes them highly immobile, and they require high start-up costs. Sunken design natural gas fire pits are an underground version of a natural gas fire pit while table top natural gas fire pits raise the flames from the ground by building in a stone foundation. (4)


Taking the information above, have you decided which type of fireplace (or fire pit) best suits you? Below are some additional images from MAKING DREAMS Realty listings that have fireplaces or fire pits of their own. Can you guess which types each of these are?  


Image from MDR | Janesville, WI

Image from MDR | Janesville, WI

Image from MDR | Janesville, WI

Image from MDR | Janesville, WI

Visit our website www.mdrealtyWI.com for more information on home buying and selling. To learn more about our home design sessions, visit www.mdrealtyWI.com/stagenstyle.

Blog Contributor: Rachel Clark | Social Media Marketing Specialist for MDR

Aug. 24, 2021

Get to Know the MDR Team!

MDR Team Members

Our team at MAKING DREAMS Realty is continuing to change and grow, so we want to provide a little insight into what our current team looks like now! Follow along the Q&A to learn our team members’ deepest secrets (well maybe not their deepest) and most interesting quirks (to watch this MDR Team interview on YouTube, click here):

Q: What did you do before you joined real estate (if anything)? 

A: A large majority of our team has work history in the hospitality industry, interestingly enough, so it makes sense that they all find joy in serving people! Amy Curcio, Renee Clark, and Roxy Blaser all have previously worked in healthcare, while Kristin and Ryan Koenig were in the Ministry for 20+ years, Kim Crouch was a marketing coordinator, Todd Bailey served as a law enforcement officer, Kevin Clark was a high school math teacher, Michelle Anich was in lending and sales, Rachel Clark was in the restaurant/hospitality industry, and our intern Briana Urban has been working hard in high school!

Q: What is a hobby of yours that brings you the most joy?

A: While we have a very hardworking team, we also like to have a lot of fun! We believe that your job should be your passion so that you can use your unique skills to succeed as best as possible! This is why we believe so much in a team approach where every team member does what they do best! And although we do have a lot of fun at work, everyone has their vices. Some of our team’s favorite hobbies include boating, live music, cooking, card games, reading, traveling, running, hunting, golfing, hiking, and being with other people! Amy says she enjoys her hobbies because they are “just so good for my soul!” Michelle loves reading because she says it “takes me away to other worlds!!”

Q: What is your favorite thing about living in Wisconsin? 

A: A big part of our team’s identity is the state that we all live in, and since we serve south central Wisconsin, we get to learn a lot more about the state! Our team’s favorite part about living in Wisconsin is mostly the four seasons, although each of us favor different ones over others. Michelle, Todd, Roxy, Kristin, Ryan, and Amy express appreciation for all four seasons that Wisconsin has to offer, but Kevin’s response was simply “Spring, Summer and Fall.” Not everyone likes winter, and that sure isn’t surprising. Aside from the seasons, Renee and Briana said their favorite part is the cheese and cheese curds!

Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? 

A: Snow birds: Amy, Kevin, Renee, Todd. Ryan doesn’t really care as long as he can golf! Close to family. Bora bora, croatia, somewhere tropical, Myrtle Beach, Colorado, Carolinas, NYC. Many said they love Wisconsin because it is near their family and others said they would just love to travel more. 

Q: What are three words that best describe you? 

A: Here are the words straight from MDR team members themselves: 

AMY: Caring, Understanding, Sincere 

KIM: involved, caring, silly.

KEVIN: Steady, Confident, Positive

KRISTIN: Simple, Thoughtful, Kind

RENEE: Meticulous, organized, energetic

MICHELLE: Passionate, giving and loving. 

RACHEL: Ambitious, Positive, Creative

TODD: Compassionate, Dedicated, Sincere.

BRIANA: Loyal, Funny, Hardworking

RYAN: Fun, Passionate, Competitive

ROXY: Fun, Funny and Kind

Q: What is your favorite movie or singer? (pick one)

A: Movies

AMY: Dirty Dancing.

KIM: Nacho Libre

KEVIN: Forrest Gump

MICHELLE: Sweet Home Alabama movie

TODD: SuperBad

ROXY: Hidden Figures 

BRIANA: The Fault in Our Stars

RYAN: Nacho Libre

KRISTIN: I don't have a favorite, I just love a great movie night... with a bowl of popcorn and sour candy!

A: Singers

RENEE: Suzie K, my sissy!

RACHEL: Dua Lipa

Q: What is one thing you are looking forward to most in the next year? 

A: Our team has many exciting things coming up this year! Amy, Kim, Todd, and Kristin are looking forward to watching their children grow and thrive, Ryan and Kristin have their 20th wedding anniversary this year, and Briana is graduating high school while Rachel is graduating college. Other things our team is looking forward to is traveling and seeing more stability. 

Q: What is the weirdest thing about you (if you had to choose just one)?

A: We will leave the names out of this one so you have to TRY AND GUESS! The ‘weird but true’ facts about our team: 

-Detroit Lion's fan

-Hates peanut butter and pancakes

-Likes cleaning (gave a very specific thing they like cleaning as well)

-Hates chocolate

-Likes pickles with chip dip

-Talks a lot, but enjoys being alone

-Does pull ups at social gatherings

-Brushes their teeth in the shower

-Says they are a “very hairy [man/woman]”

-Can make a clover with their tongue

-Likes to snap gum when chewing


To learn more about our company and the MDR Team, visit our ABOUT page.

Blog Contributor: Rachel Clark, MDR Soc Media Marketing Specialist

June 29, 2021

Getting Your Home Ready to Sell in A Seller's Market

Sell my home with MDR

With the average price of listed homes for sale continuing to rise and the days on market trending steadily downward since last year in Southern Wisconsin, it's easy to continue describing the current housing market as a seller’s market.  

And while such numbers and statements can scare prospective sellers off due to their unknown buying situation, it also may give a false impression that selling a home for a high profit is extremely simple and easy. Regardless of your perception, with the right strategies and the right planning in place, it's as great a time as ever to get your home ready for resale and listed on the market; not to mention, plenty of strategic opportunities to receive multiple offers above your asking price.

While it may be daunting to jump into this market and put a for sale sign up in your yard, there are certain things you can do to ease into this while also making sure you prepare to get the most value possible from the sale of your home.

Recently on the MDR Home Show on 1310 WIBA iHeartRadio, Kevin and Renee Clark, Owners of MAKING DREAMS Realty, talked about the Wisconsin seller’s market and what you need to know when it comes to getting your home ready for resale. 

They discussed how people hear the words “sellers market” and tend to think that they can easily sell their house for top dollar, and with no effort. 

However, this is not always the case, especially with today's millennial buyer.

“In order to get the best, you have to work with the best of the best, and do the best of the best. You can’t just throw your house on the market and expect 30-40k over list price,”  said Kevin Clark.

While a hot sellers market may present better opportunities to make more money on the sale of your home, there are still steps you need to follow to be able take advantage of these opportunities.

Renee went on to mentioned during the show that as a seller, you need to "take advantage of what is in front of you from the real estate team you are working with." There are three phases to prepare for, and your real estate team should guide you through the entire process.

The first phase is preparing for your photo shoot, then you're preparing for showings and open houses, and finally, for the negotiation process.

In this first phase to selling your home, you're getting ready for a photo shoot. When you partner with MAKING DREAMS Realty you are getting a professional photographer, an electronic copy of MDR's Home Stage 'N' Style Guide that walks you through all sorts of tips and home style ideas, and key advice or personalized staging from a certified home stager.

One tip to start you out with right away is to depersonalize and declutter. Decluttering your home and putting away those tiny trinkets that can't be seen very well in photos will help your home look less 'busy', more open, and much cleaner when posting the pictures online.

MDR before staging pic  MDR Staging

MDR Before & After Staging | Image Credit: MAKING DREAMS Realty

The next phase is to prepare well for showings and open houses. In order to get the word out and make things happen, you need to have an online presence, but first impressions matter: peeling paint, cobwebs, door knobs, switches, matching light fixtures, working light bulbs -- and other little details that make up the curb appeal should be paid close attention to. 


MDR Virtually Staging | Image Credit: MAKING DREAMS Realty

The final phase is to get strong, multiple offers through negotiation strategies with your Realtor. It's important to partner with a great Realtor that has extensive experience in this market. They will help you look at all the various factors of the offer, outside of just price, so that you can get through to a successful closing process.

Some low cost ways MDR recommends you get your house ready to sell right away are:

1.  Minimize the clutter in your home, one room at a time. Pack your bags and get rid of stuff you no longer need or want. Positively prepare your mind that you are moving, and use that positive energy to help you ready yourself to actually move!

2.  Fix that lingering list of maintenance items that you have been putting off! Little things like 3-way switches, paint chips, carpet stains, etc. Go room by room around your house, make your 'to-do' list, and get started.

3.  Up your front entrance’s curb appeal. Start with your landscaping, then move over to painting, if necessary. Make sure that the walkway area is well-lit and clean, including washing down front doors and doorknobs to make the best first impression you can of your home. 

Find detailed information of these 3 recommendations in a MAKING DREAMS Realty video here

 MDR Staging Image

MDR Before & After Staging | Image Credit: MAKING DREAMS Realty

Listen to the full podcast of Selling in a Seller's Market on iHeartRadio here.


Blog Contributor: Rachel Clark, MDR Soc. Media Marketing Specialist

June 15, 2021

Outdoor Pools in Wisconsin: What to Know

sitting at swimming pool

With the weather being so warm lately, all I want to do is just float in a cool pool on a sunny day without a care in the world. But then I remember: I don’t have a pool and the dream subsides. However, the demand for outdoor, inground pools is growing, and many homeowners are considering adding pools to their backyard, but they don’t know where to start.