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Wauwatosa Living

Beth Jaworski


Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 33

Tour the Christmas Fantasy House this Weekend!

by Beth Jaworski

If you are not familiar with the American Cancer Society (ACS) Christmas Fantasy House, you are missing out. Each year, local designers decorate a beautiful home and transform it into a "Christmas fantasy". The public is then able to tour it for a small fee, and the proceeds go to help fight childhood cancer. 

This all began in 1993 because of Loretta Thomson. She was a dedicated ACS volunteer who loved both Christmas and children. Loretta wanted to share her Christmas collection with others, but sadly died before she saw her wish come true. For the last 19 years however, her friends and family and the ACS have worked together to make her dream a beautiful tradition, raising over 1.5 million dollars so far.

Elm Grove is home to this year's Fantasy House. To get there however, you need to go to Bluemound Plaza at 15800 W. Bluemound Road in Brookfield. There you can park and take a shuttle bus to the home. The house is open for touring this weekend, Friday 11/11 from 11 am to 8 pm, and on Saturday and Sunday, 11/12 and 11/13, from 10 am to 6 pm.

You will not believe your eyes as you go from one incredible room to another. The designers really do go all out and transform the house to a true wonderland. Be sure to plan on spending some extra time at the end of the tour in the lower level also. There you will find a sweet shop with lots of treats for sale, a memory tree, and a raffle sale with two rooms full of incredible gift baskets, decorated wreaths and trees, all donated and available to win.

My friends and I so enjoy touring the house every year, that this year we decided to also volunteer. Yesterday we worked the 11-2 pm shift and it was very rewarding to see the amount of people coming through. Imagine my surprise when the co-chair of the event told me that it will take 900 volunteers to run the house this year. If you enjoy touring the house this year, you may want to consider volunteering next year!

You can find out more information on the website, along with a preview of the (undecorated) house: Hope you can make it through this weekend. You will not be disappointed! 


The Milwaukee County Zoo - A Local Gem

by Beth Jaworski


Anyone who knows me, knows that I am an animal lover. I say this in the interest of full disclosure, as I could be seen as a bit biased when it comes to animals. That being said, I maintain that you do not need to be an animal lover to appreciate all the Milwaukee County Zoo has to offer.

The Zoo moved to its present location on Bluemound Road in 1958. With over 200 acres of parkland and over 320 species of animals on exhibit, it is no surprise that it is rated as one of the top zoos in the nation. One can view 2,275 different types of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles here, more than the average visitor can see in one day. Luckily they do offer season passes; only $65 for a family pass that is good for 12 months! Quite a value.

Monkey Island and the Children's Zoo are popular attractions, and no visit to the Zoo is complete without a ride on the train. What I love most about the Zoo however, is that it is open year round, and that there is always something happening. Every summer we try to make it to Zoo a la Carte, a three day festival with live music (both local and national acts). Numerous local restaurants also set up booths throughout the Zoo, so it is also a great chance to try new places and to sample new cuisines.

​Many people don't know that you can actually camp at the Zoo! They call it "Snooze at the Zoo" and you must preregister for this special experience, only offered one weekend a year. Picnic on the shores of Lake Evinrude, sing songs around a campfire, and sleep under the stars (or in your tent) listening to the animals. How cool is that?

Holiday celebrations are extra special too. "Boo at the Zoo" is this weekend, Oct. 21st & 22nd. Visit a pumpkin patch with hundreds of jack-o-lanterns carved by volunteers and try to make your way through the Haystack Maze. Or wait until next weekend, Oct. 28th & 29th, and attend in costume! There will be trick or treating Friday night from 6-9 pm and on Saturday from 9 am to 9 pm. There is even a parade at 2 pm on Saturday.

Zoo Brew will be held on Oct. 27th, offering you a chance to sample beers from 18 different breweries, and Breakfast with Santa is rapidly approaching also​. Visit the Zoo's website for a calendar of current events: You will see on the calendar that there are many "Family Free" days, which always helps with the budget. Milwaukee County residents, with id, also receive $1.75 off admission every day, except Wednesdays. On Wednesdays Milwaukee County residents receive the reduced admission rate of only $8 for adults & $5.50 for children. 

​Hopefully you can see why I say the Zoo is a local gem. And if you haven't visited in a while, maybe this post will inspire you to stop by. There is always something to do and the animals are always happy to see you!


Why Get a Home Inspection? Especially on a "new" home?

by John Rocco


I hear the comment "Why should I get a inspection on a new home? It is under warranty and it's new." Anyone who does not get a professional inspection on any home purchase is taking a big risk on a big investment. I find most problems in the attic where it is out of sight out of mind. You say warranty? If you do not know what to look for what good is the warranty? Defects can take more than a year to surface.

Recently I was asked to perform a radon test on a new constructed home. The buyers felt no need to do an inspection. Well when I was at the home picking up the radon test I noticed a major defect. The plumbers cut completely through an engineered I joist, see photo below. This can be disastrous. Cutting the top and bottom cord significantly weakens the structure of the home. I was not inspecting this home and still noticed this defect. How?  Because I am a trained professional. This is also not the first time I have found this condition. I have actually found this three other times! Considering the fact that I don't inspect many new construction homes, this really concerns me.


 Why get a home inspection on new construction? This is why!


I have also found defects in the attics of new homes, such as missing insulation. I inspected a five year old home that had no insulation, there were measuring sticks, but absolutely not a speck of insulation  In another home the water heater vent was disconnected in the attic. It looked great on the roof, it looked great at the water heater, but it went into the attic and did not connect to the roof vent. This could cause severe mold and rot and could even cause death due to carbon monoxide poisoning. No warranty will cover that. Most people never go into the attic, so without an inspection will never know this condition exists.

Any new dishwasher is also a concern of mine. Plumbers install them without testing. I find many new dishwashers that leak. You may say hey that is under warranty and I agree, but will they cover the damage done to the flooring or basement ceiling?

Once I found poor flashing at the chimney on a new home and brought it to the buyer's attention, but the buyer did not do anything about it. Two months later the dining room ceiling was leaking. The home owner told me it took the builder six months to fix it. So yes, it was covered under the builder's warranty, yet the owners had to live in a new home for six months with buckets on the dining room floor catching water from the ceiling. The warranty unfortunately does not mean they will be there tomorrow.

I have found many other issues in new construction. If you are planning on buying a home that is old, new or "as is" don't make the mistake of not hiring a Professional Home Inspector. You can take that to the bank.

John Rocco

Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspection



23rd Annual Tour of Homes

by Beth Jaworski

Being both a residential Realtor and a Wauwatosa resident, I always look forward to the annual Wauwatosa Historical Society's tour of homes. The society has been organizing and holding a one day tour of Wauwatosa neighborhoods since 1989 and this year's tour is upon us. Running from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday, October 1st, this year's theme is "Beverly Hills 53226" and all six of the homes on tour are located in the Swan Park neighborhood. (Swan Park runs from North to Center and from 92nd to Menomonee River Pkwy - more info on the different Tosa neighborhoods and a map of  neighborhood boundaries can be found on the city's website:

The tour allows attendees to learn about the architecturally significant details found in local homes, along with a glimpse into the rich history behind them. Advance tickets are sold at the Little Read Bookstore on 76th and State and at Wisconsin Garden and Pet on 85th and North for $14, or you can purchase tickets at 2324 Menomonee River Parkway at the tour for $17. 

I am especially excited about this year's tour for two reasons. Although I have helped as a sponsor in the past, this will be the first year that I will also be volunteering as a docent. I will be volunteering at the home located at 9605 Wilson Blvd from 2 pm to 4 pm, so be sure to come through and say hello. Secondly, I have just listed a gorgeous brick colonial right down the street from where I will be volunteering, at 9221 Wilson. This beautiful home could be on the tour, it is so special. Please view the listing at:

Also visit the Wauwatosa Historical Society's website, for more info on this worthy organization: Proceeds from the tour help the society continue it's mission of education and preservation. Hope to see you on the tour!


2011 Oktoberfest

by Beth Jaworski

It's Oktoberfest time!  Make plans to join your neighbors at the oldest and most authentic Bavarian Oktoberfest in the Midwest right here in Glendale, Wisconsin, located just minutes from downtown Milwaukee and a short distance from beautiful Lake Michigan. This Oktoberfest, modeled off the one held in Munich, Germany, is held on the four weekends following Labor Day, and is open Fridays from 5 pm to 11 pm and Saturdays from 4 pm to midnight.

Entertainment includes traditional German brass bands, Schuhplatter folk dancing, singing, yodeling, sing-alongs, dancing and authentic German food and drinks  for everyone. So get out your lederhosen and get ready to celebrate!

Admission is $4 in advance or $5 at the door and Parking is FREE! Also love that on Fridays all firefighters, police and members of the armed forces get in FREE (id required). For more details please visit the Bavarian Inn's website:




Discover The Fine Artists in Wisconsin

by Beth Jaworski

Looking for something to do this weekend? Head over to the Hidden River Art Festival at the Wilson Center for the Arts. In addition to enjoying the work of over 80 of the state’s finest artists working in a wide variety of media, there will be exciting events all weekend. This year will feature a beer tasting event where you’ll have the opportunity to experience the art of brewing and sample over 30 fine-crafted domestic and international beers.

There will also be artist demonstrations and activities, Emerging Artists Gallery and delicious food. This is a unique three-day event; one of the largest of its kind featuring solely Wisconsin artists.

You can view samples of artists and their work on the Wilson Center for the Arts website.  I am very excited to have two past clients participating in the show:  Justin Racinowski from West Allis and David Sear from Wauwatosa. Please make sure to stop by and check out their work!

Hours are: Friday 1-7,  Saturday 10-6, Sunday 11-4

Tickets:   $5 advance $7 door  Buy Tickets here!

Children 12 and younger are FREE! FREE Friday for Wilson Center Donors!







10 in Tosa

by Beth Jaworski

Wauwatosa has become a dining destination that you must experience! Come and dine in beautiful Wauwatosa  during 10 Days In Tosa, September 12th through the 21st.

Twenty-one participating restaurants are offering you a dine or beverage special - each with a real value of $10 to you!  Purchase the Access Card for $10 here online, at three Wauwatosa area M&I banks, at the Wauwatosa Chamber of Commerce, Crowne Plaza Hotel Milwaukee West or at the Radisson Hotel Milwaukee West

You must present the card at the time of ordering to reap the benefits of the special. Some restrictions may apply.  Visit all the restaurants in 10 days and you could save $210!

Please note that unless you are an M&I customer you must pay cash for the cards. You may pay via credit card but it would be treated as a cash advance which typically will cost more. M&I bank customers can write a check or charge without a cash advance transaction.

This is the first dining week brought to you by the Wauwatosa Chamber of Commerce. Come out and experience all that this wonderful culinary community  has to offer!


TosaFest 2011

by Beth Jaworski

Tosafest 2011 continues Wauwatosa's 32 year annual tradition of music, food, and family fun, to celebrate our historic village and community spirit.

Each year, proceeds from TosaFest support community projects in the areas of education, safety and neighborhood improvement, to name a few. Countless volunteers work year-round to create this memorable event that entertains and benefits the whole community.

TosaFest is an annual event and this year will be held next Friday and Saturday, September 9th and 10th. Every year Shorewest sponsors the wristbands and agents volunteer "wristbanding" on Friday and Saturday night (you need a wristband to drink alcohol so we check ids of anyone who looks under 30).

Stop by and say hi, this will be my 4th year volunteering. I will be there working the last shift, Saturday night from 8 pm to 11 pm.

For more information visit the offical
web site and they are also on Facebook!




Top 5 Mistakes I See Buyers Make

by Beth Jaworski

I work with a lot of 1st time buyers. I really love this, as I love their energy and excitement. I also must have an educator gene somewhere, as I love teaching them about the home buying process, and about homes (architecture, mechanical systems, construction quality differences) in general. In nearly 20 years of selling real estate however, I have seen both 1st time buyers & repeat buyers make the same mistakes. If you are going to be buying a home soon, or know someone who is, please read the following:

1.) Don't get caught up in the decorating! This truly is the number one mistake I see. Buyers fall in love with the way the current owners have the house decorated and don't see any of the flaws of the home. It is hard to look past the way the home currently looks, but you really need to be concentrating on other items when making a home buying decision.

2.) Not paying enough attention to location. Another mistake I see made over and over. The old mantra of the 3 rules of real estate being location, location, location is so often repeated because it is true! I just had a very smart 1st time buyer tell me last weekend, "we were thinking about it, and decided we rather buy a home that needs some work in a great neighborhood, than buy a really beautiful move-in home in a so, so neighborhood." That is the way you need to think if you are concerned about resale value and/or about building sweat equity in a home.

3.) Underestimating the expense of "fixing up" a house.  This may seem contradictory, considering what I just said in #2, but I do see some buyers wanting to take on way too much work, usually because the house is such a great price for the area. This is especially true lately, with the bargain priced foreclosures available in every community. You do have to know your limits. If you have some experience with home improvement, that is one thing, but a house that has been vacant for a year or more, and neglected for some time before that, is going to take a lot of time and money to bring back. Especially if you have never owned a home before and don't know much at all about houses, you probably should stick to homes that really only need cosmetic improvements, and/or easily quantifiable mechanical improvements (new furnace for example).

4.) Not hiring a buyer's agent to represent you. This is crucial. You really need to do some research and select an agent to represent you. You should do this before you go and look at any homes for sale. A good agent will guide you through the process and make things much easier for you. A great agent will also save you time & money! Ask around for recommendations and do some online research. Sit down with a few agents for "buyer counseling" (if they don't normally do that with new buyers, move on to an agent that does). You want an agent that is knowledgeable, personable, experienced and accessible. You also want to feel comfortable with your agent, as you will be sharing a lot of information, time and trust with them. Take some time selecting the right one to help you achieve your goals.

5.) Get preapproved before you do anything else. So many people still try to skip this step, it just amazes me! It does not matter if this is your first or fifth house, nor does it matter if you are making more money than you were the last time you bought a house. Nothing is guaranteed in today's mortgage world and the seller of the house you want to buy doesn't know you at all. Take the time to get preapproved (meaning a credit check is done) by a lender you trust before you do anything else in the process. This one step will save you a ton of headaches. If you are not sure of what lender to use to get preapproved, contact some of the agents you want to sit down with and see who they recommend, then contact a lender and make sure you have your preapproval in hand before you sit down with the agents.

I hope you found this post informative. Please feel free to comment below. If I can ever be of any help to you in the future, whether buying or selling, or even if you just have a real estate question, please contact me. I love what I do and will be happy to help.

Winging It

by Beth Jaworski

Almost 20 years ago the residents of the Olde Hillcrest neighborhood came up with the idea of an interactive dinner theater as a fundraiser for the Wauwatosa Historical Society. It was a great success and has become a well loved and attended tradition.

Occurring only every other year, this February will be the 9th production. You won't want to miss the Hysterical Society Players, presenting Winging It - The Wedding of Celia Kozinsky & Philip de Vigny. Guests are encouraged to wear wedding attire (dig out that old bridesmaid dress) and for a few brave souls there are a limited number of guest parts available.

In keeping with tradition, there will be four performances held, Friday, Feb. 18th, Saturday, Feb. 19th, Friday, Feb. 25th, and Saturday, Feb. 26th. Tickets are only $30 & include an Italian dinner, wedding cake, beer, wine or soda. You may pay online or download a registration form on the Historical Society's website:

I will be attending opening night as a guest and will be volunteering in the kitchen on Saturday, Feb. 26th, so I hope to see you there! Performances do normally sell out, so be sure to get your tickets today.

Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 33

Contact Information

Photo of Beth Jaworski Real Estate
Beth Jaworski
Shorewest Realtors
11622 W. North Avenue
Wauwatosa WI 53226
Direct: 414.844.1118
Cell: 414.520.8555
Fax: 262.782.1551

I hope that this website was able to assist in your search for a home, or in your quest for information about buying or selling a home.  Please do not hesitate to contact Beth Jaworski of Shorewest Realtors with any questions. Email is  and cell number is (414) 520-8555. Thanks!