Susan Stoehr

My day job is being a realtor and broker associate with the Alvarado Real Estate Group.

I just started my eighth year in this role and while I work all over Dane County, I specialize on the Near West Side. Madison is my home town and I’m really familiar with the entire area.

In addition to helping clients to buy and sell homes, I also do staging, though mostly for my clients. The research indicates that staged homes sell faster and this has definitely been my personal experience. It’s challenging to sell an empty home and I’ve had multiple times when I’ve come in after a home’s been on the market for a while, staged it and watched it move.

I originally worked in real estate in the ‘80s, up in Door County, where the focus was on second homes. Definitely a different type of market. I took some time off when my kids were younger, but I was always intrigued by houses, design and staging and jumped back in as they got older.

I love the variety in this role—the chance to solve a problem, to negotiate in a tough situation. The reality that you’re just a phone call away from something different. It’s been a great way to meet people and I tend to stay friends with my clients, long after the sale is over.

There have certainly been changes throughout my career. Technology is one of the biggest ones: It’s made the entire process easier for buyers and sellers.

And of course FSBOs (for sale by owner) and discount agencies. When we go through periods when things are moving quickly, people tend to think “I can do that myself.” And sometimes they can—and more power to them.

But when it’s your home, there’s an emotional attachment that can make it difficult to price your home effectively. People tend to start too high and end up lowering the price, which can cause people to assume something’s wrong with the house. And just because you get an offer, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get to the closing table.

As a full-service realtor, I feel I bring expertise and service that yield a better outcome for my clients. And I work hard to provide the extra value and the care factor—I love knowing people can count on me from start to finish to make sure they’re taken care of.

My most memorable caffeine was with my Nana. When I was about eight years old, she took me to a restaurant in Racine and told me “I’m going to get you your first cup of Nana’s coffee.”

It was just coffee with cream and sugar, but I loved it so much because it was Nana’s!

I was the only granddaughter and to spend that time with Nana, and have my first cup of coffee be “Nana’s coffee,” was about the best thing in the world!

My current caffeine of choice is a sugar-free, vanilla breve latte, extra hot—and the extra hot is crucial. The barista can modify that and make it as hot as you like.

I started drinking this back in the day, when the low-carb, high-fat thing started. You got that hit of sugar, that high fat. It’s so warm and fuzzy; so comforting.

My favorite place for caffeine is Colectivo on Monroe. I love the cross section of people it attracts, plus the music, the openness—especially when they open up the big garage door windows in the summer—and the overall atmosphere. I love to support Monroe St. businesses and my office is just down the road.

The people I’d love to share a cup of caffeine with fall into two categories:

First, my father and my grandparents, all of whom have passed away. They all had such a large impact on my life and were my foundation in terms of who I am today and what I’ve passed on to my kids.

And I’d also love to sit down with Stevie Nicks. I’ve been a fan of hers since I was in college.

She’d have such a story to tell and she’s certainly done it all! It would be so interesting to sit down across from her, recite her lyrics, have a dress like hers with bat wings!

I love watching her perform and she added so much to songs she’s done with other performers like Tom Petty and Kenny Loggins.  Even though my kids pretend I drive them crazy with my love for Stevie, they all really like her too!

World problem that could be solved with the right amount of caffeine:  How do we equalize opportunity in Madison and make our community a more welcoming place, especially in terms of employment and affordable housing.

We need to be able to see the world through other people’s eyes and realize the struggles, racial disparities and lack of opportunity so many people face.

I’m so inspired by Sara Alvarado, who heads our company. She is a champion in raising awareness. Sara has really opened my eyes to what’s happening in our community around race and social justice, and working hard to make a difference.