Madison Real Estate Firm Has an Eco-Friendly Niche

Real estate duo’s unique approach to their business finds a home in the Madison marketplace

The Alvarados’ unique love story began in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Sara was as an English teacher; Carlos owned a restaurant. They soon found in common a passion for the real estate business. Carlos moonlighted as an agent and Sara’s family had spent years in
the business.

After marriage and a child, the Alvarados decided to move to Sara’s native state in 2002. She went to work for multiple real estate agencies; he went into banking. As he built a large bilingual clientele, Carlos would refer customers looking for a home to Sara. The partnership worked so well that in 2006 the Alvarado Group launched.

An eco-friendly business model was born out of personal experience. After they moved into their new home, their son developed various health issues. Extensive testing found that in addition to asthma, the home’s carpet, paint and cleaning supplies were making their son very ill. So the family made the necessary environmental changes and became advocates for going green. So much so that selling green homes has become their niche. The Alvarados spread the going- green message to all of their clients, promoting the use of non-toxic paint, carpets and cleaning supplies, to name a few.

Together, they make a great team. Sara is a natural business-person who made the seamless transition from agent to owner. Carlos is the calming influence who loves one-on-one meetings and crunching the numbers. Along with their staff, the Alvarados have built a team approach that includes a transaction coordinator who takes the process from contract to closing. And despite opening a second office recently, their desire is to stay small. The reasons are clear. “We have built a niche market and want to keep it that way,” Sara says. “We love what we do, and we work very hard. But family and being involved in the community are our priority.”

THE VITALS
• Members, Latino Chamber of Commerce
• Board member, Sustain Dane (Sara)
• Member, Badger Rock Middle School Committee (Sara)
• Originally from Madison (Sara)
• Graduated from the University of Minnesota (Sara)

The Breakdown

Community Caretaker
Madison mourns the passing of a friend, great man and leader, LaMarr Billups, who for eleven years was UW–Madison’s director of community relations. But titles don’t do justice to his legacy in the areas of education, government, economic development and community service. Among his contributions was serving as president of the Urban League of Greater Madison before leaving for Georgetown University in 2007. Both he and his commitment to economic and social justice will be sorely missed.

Ideas in Action
The UW’s Morgridge Center for Public Service is funding six new community projects. They include a course on community tutoring, researching and reducing stigmas on Madison’s south side and a strategic renewable energy plan for southwest Wisconsin. It’s just the type of endeavor we need to make Madison a stronger, more vibrant community for all.

Lessons Learned
The child sexual abuse scandals at Penn State and Syracuse University should serve as a wake- up call for all of us. Leadership at both schools appeared to have cared less about protecting children than their reputations, records and financial interests. Let’s hope that in the future we focus on what truly matters: the victims.

Derrell Connor hosts “Outreach” on NewsTalk 1310 WIBA, pens a column for Channel 3000 and freelances for Madison Magazine.

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