Tiny Houses

As the cost of housing increases, alternatives like Tiny Houses are cropping up.  But there can be hidden costs to a Tiny House that makes this alternate a questionable move:


  1. A tiny house is hard to finance. Is it a trailer?  A house? Lenders are perplexed and not sure how to treat these things.  Plus a tiny house may not hold its value like a conventional home would.  See number seven below.
  2. It’s hard to find a location. There are zoning laws that prohibit you from just plunking one of these things down anywhere.  Alternatively, if you register the tiny house as an RV, you have to move it every 30 days.
  3. They’re expensive. Conventional housing is about $100 per square foot.  Tiny houses come in at around three times that.
  4. Appliances cost more. Because they’re so small, there is more customization and low volume mass production, which all adds up to paying more for less.
  5. You may need a new car. A tiny house is one thing, but you might need to upgrade your econobox automobile to a gas guzzling truck to move this thing around.
  6. Insurance can be hard. Just like the lenders, no one knows what to do with these things.
  7. Resale can be hard. Conventional homes appreciate.  Mobile homes decline in value and your tiny house is more likely to mimic the mobile home example.  It’s also another reason why these are harder to finance.


Instead of downsizing, why not move to Catalina Crossing or Wilson Heights instead?  Hey, you paid good money for that stuff.  Why get rid of it?  It will all fit in your attached three-car garage.

We say bigger is better. Come to Catalina Crossing Apartments in the McFarland area of Madison or the Wilson Heights Apartments in Hartford today and see how you can live large.  IMG 0721 300x251

Can I Smoke Marijuana in My Apartment?

no smoking icon 300x300More and more states are legalizing recreation marijuana use and others allow it for medicinal purposes, so what are your rights to smoke marijuana in your apartment? What if you live in a smoke free apartment complex, like Diversey Manor, or our new Catalina Crossing and Wilson Heights Apartments? In fact, now all of our locations are smoke free.

Be aware that housing providers are free to govern their housing offering in any matter they may choose to the limit of those regulations provided to shield protected class people within Fair Housing. Continue reading

Design Ideas for Small Spaces

OK, so you blew it. You should have moved into Madison’s newest development, Catalina Crossing, where apartments are as large as 1775 square feet. We call that floorplan the Sequoia. Maybe we should have called it the Shamu. While this townhouse is huge, the garage is too. You can fit three cars in your attached garage.

But I digress. We already said that you blew it. You moved somewhere else, into some cracker jack box tiny apartment and now you’re pressed like a grape for space. As always, we have the answers, with a little help from our friends at Ikea:

patio set 300x300Maybe try this patio set for your dining room:

Ditch the umbrella, but notice how the table can be expanded. In the up position shown, there’s hooks for storage.

mother in law suite bed 300x200No room for a dresser in your bedroom? Once again, at Catalina Crossing, the bedrooms are huge and they have walk-in closets. In fact, we don’t even call them closets. They’re called the mother in law suite. You just stick her in there with a bed like this one and she stores her stuff underneath:

crib bed 300x300Here’s a little something for the younger set, once again designed with efficiency in mind:

murphy bed 300x300Finally, there’s always the Murphy Bed.

murphy bed folded up 300x300I’d say hang a flat screen on the back of this thing under your bed and when you fold it up, it’s TV time.

Or of course, if you lived at Catalina Crossing, you wouldn’t have to be this clever. Hey, it’s only for a year. And then you can call us at (608) 575-4377 and get an apartment with plenty of room.

Catalina Crossing Is Changing Its Name!

nearby 300x188Construction hasn’t even been completed yet on Madison’s best and latest apartments, but we’re already realizing we’re going to have to change this property’s name. Instead of Catalina Crossing, it’s going to be Catalina Close-to-everything.

OK, so we’ve got granite counter tops, custom Amish cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, walk-in pantries, walk-in closets, in unit laundry, nine-foot ceilings, attached one, two, and yes even three car garages and enough square footage to accommodate you and your pet whale, Shamu. But what difference does that make if you’re never home to enjoy your castle because you’re forever stuck in traffic?

That’s why being Catalina Close-to-everything is so important. According to Google Maps, we’re just a 20-minute drive from the Epic campus without having to go on that miserable beltline, which looks more like a parking lot. We’re just 20 minutes to downtown, the university and the capital. We’re 20 minutes to American Family Insurance on the northeast side of town.

We won’t even brag about keeping your car out of the rain, snow and ice. For that matter, you can plug in your electric car too, your garage is prewired. And your garage space is private, attached to your apartment and included in your rent. Other complexes have more add-on charges than your cell phone carrier.

Be the first to live in these brand-new Madison apartments. Call (608) 575-4377 now before we change our name again!

The New Kid on the Block – Catalina Crossing Apartments in Madison!

madison catalina crossing apartments artists renderingThis kid is going to be a real contender. One that you’ve never seen before.

Oh sure, there’s the walk-in showers. But that’s been done before – at the Mayfair Apartments in Waupun and at the new Wilson Heights Apartments in Hartford. But they’ve never been seen before in apartments in Madison, but they’re here now and it’s about time. Isn’t Madison supposed to be the progressive city?

But we said this one was a contender. So there’s got to be more. Granite countertops? Sure, Catalina’s got ‘em, but that’s still not enough.

What about battleship size square footage? Now we’re getting warmer. At 1,775 square feet, Catalina Crossing has the largest apartments around Mad town.

But here’s the knock out punch: A three car attached garage! Can this be for real? Better call (262) 785-0840 today to find out.

The Top Six Tenant Complaints

complaint department take a number 245x300Our friends at Multifamily Insiders recently ran an article identifying the Top 6 Residential Complaints . . .

I thought they would be worth reviewing, so here they are:

1. Racial Discrimination.
Obviously, if you’re going to be denied housing unfairly, that’s not going to be a happy experience. Having taught Fair Housing seminars, we’ve made sure all our associates are well trained in the topic. And yet misunderstandings can sometimes happen. Knowing how to properly intervene early when these misunderstandings occur is important too.

2. Eviction letters and notices.
Residents resent these notices when they’re done publicly. Sadly, sometimes bad things happen to good people. Our notices are sent certified mail for the privacy of our residents. Continue reading

Squeezed By High Rent

scissors cutting a budget gif 300x300We’ve been talking a lot about how rents have been increasing faster than inflation. We’ve mentioned articles in the Wall Street Journal. Now to bring it all home, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has made a similar report in a recent article Households squeezed by high rents.

The article notes that there’s large segments of the population paying 50% or more of their income for rent. That’s going to make it tough to meet other obligations like utilities, car care and food. And it’s a precarious place to be. One missed paycheck and you could be out on the street.

Time for some solutions

Continue reading

Getting to Know the Criminal Next Door

crime scene do not cross 300x199Seattle recently approved an ordinance that mostly prohibits landlords from screening tenants based upon their criminal records. This is the illogical extension of recent HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) guidance instructing landlords to consider only actual convictions, not merely arrests, and to consider convictions on a case by case basis.

The HUD guidance is reasonable, but in the Seattle ordinance, a landlord may be able to deny housing to those listed on a sex offender registry, but only if the landlord can show a legitimate business reason for doing so. The standard of a “legitimate business reason,” is a wide-open invitation to litigation. In the meantime, the rest of the Seattle tenant population is immune from being denied housing based upon their criminal history.

Violations of this new law will be painful for landlords, up to $11,000 for a first offense. Continue reading

Bad Moon Rising

witch on a broomstick 300x270I see a bad moon a-rising
I see trouble on the way
I see earthquakes and lightnin’
I see bad times today
– – Creedence Clearwater Revival, 1969

OK, so now you know that I’m an old guy. But most people rate this one a classic, so you’ve probably heard it too. The thing about a classic, it always seems timely.

So the bad moon that’s rising today is your rent. Our friends at Apartment Therapy recently had this headline to share: Rent on the Rise: Prediction Says It’s Going Way Up in 40 of the 50 Biggest Cities. You can click on the headline to read the full article.

But here’s the gist of it: The good news is that job growth has come to just about every city, large and small. The bad news is that same expansion of employment brings with it increased population and increased competition for housing and in most areas, new construction has not kept up with demand. Continue reading