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How to Be An Effective Open House Guest!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Open houses are the most valuable tool you can use during the search for your dream home. They allow you to go beyond the online listing and truly see whether or not the home is the right fit for you. Knowing how to be an effective open house guest can help you get the most out of the process and ensure that you are moving into your new home in no time. Follow these helpful tips to make you the savviest open house guest on the block!

 

Scope Out the Neighborhood

Arrive a bit early for the open house and take a little tour around the neighborhood. Talk to neighbors that are out and about to see whether the area is a good match for you.

 

Arrive Early

Beat the crowd by getting there early. This will allow you more time to talk with the listing agent before you have to compete for their attention.

 

Be Friendly

If you like the house and want to make an offer, you will be entering into negotiations with the listing agent shortly. You want to always make the best first impression so that any part of the process that is yet to come will go smoothly.

 

Don't Overshare

Remember that the listing agent is there for the seller and not you. Be smart about what information you share in order to not weaken your negotiating power.

 

Ask Questions

This is your opportunity to truly see if the house will work for you and find out information beyond what is provided online. Don't be shy about asking questions and take lots of notes. These will help you make your final decision. Important questions to ask include: What offers have been made? What is the seller's timeline? How long has the home been on the market? Has the price changed at all? What recent repairs and renovations have been completed? What are the average utility costs in the summer and winter?

 

Thank the Listing Agent

After you have gotten everything that you need from the open house, be sure to thank the listing agent for their assistance and hospitality. Hopefully you will be seeing them soon as you close on the home!



For more useful home buying tips, visit our Website and follow us on Facebook!

Start the School Year in One of Iowa's Top Districts!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

A new school year is right around the corner! Now is the perfect time to check out the best school districts in our area to set your child up for success! Living near highly rated schools is a top priority for home buyers and helps increase the value of your home!

If you are looking for a new home in North Iowa that is located within one of the state's top school districts, look no further!


GARNER-HAYFIELD-VENTURA COMMUNITY SCHOOLS - A Overall Rating! A+ ratings for Teachers, Administration, and Health & Safety! A/A- ratings for Academics, Clubs & Activities, Sports, and Resources & Facilities! The district ranked in the top 7% of ALL districts in the state!  GHV serves 972 students in PK-12th grades, with a student-teacher ratio of 12:1.



Want to start off the school year in one of Iowa’s top school districts?! Search all homes for sale in the GHV School District. If you have more questions about this district, Give our team a call! We will have you find the perfect home for your family in this incredible district!



Get more local information  about North Iowa by Following us on Facebook!

 

Image Credit: GHV School District

How to Build a Great Credit Score

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Are you looking to purchase a home or get a personal loan?  Having a good credit score gives you many more options!  Some people haven't had a chance to build their own credit as of yet, while others may have had a financial setback that threw their credit backyards.  If you are in either of these categories, don't fret!  We've got the tips to help you build your credit to where it needs to be!

If you’ve never had any credit to your name, here’s what you need to focus on:

  1. Apply for a secured credit card.  This is to help you establish credit, without putting down a deposit.  This won’t be used for the long-term, just to get you started. 
  2. Apply for a credit builder loan- This is exactly what it sounds like.  A way to build your credit with a manageable loan amount.
  3. Do you have someone who could co-sign a loan?  If so, you can opt for this option to build credit, but normally at a lower interest rate.
  4. Make sure the rent you pay is being reported to the credit bureaus. RentalKharma and RentTrack are just a couple of platforms who will do this.

If your credit has taken a hit in recent months or years, working to rebuild it is critical.  Building good credit takes at least 6 months of an on-time payment history. Building good credit habits will help you get back on track.

  1. Make 100% of your payments on time.  This includes; rent, credit cards, utilities, school loans and medical bills.
  2. Keep your credit utilization low.  Meaning not more than 30% of the credit offered should be used.
  3. Keep your accounts open for as long as possible. Unless one of your unused accounts has an annual, all accounts should be kept open and active to count toward your length of credit, payment history and utilization.
  4. Make sure not to open too many accounts as this will initially lower your credit score and shorten the average time open of all accounts.
  5. Check your credit reports frequently for errors and your credit score on a monthly basis to see your progress.  Websites like www.creditkarma.com and www.nerdwallet.com, offer free credit score checking without causing a ‘hard hit’ to your credit.

Do you have more questions about the mortgage loan process or home buying?  Visit our website or contact the Jane Fischer team directly.

 

For more helpful information for home buying, check out website and facebook page regularly.

Tips for making the most of your bathroom remodel!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Looking to upgrade your bathroom?  Keep this in mind!

Many homeowners are looking to upgrade their baths or kitchens to add value to their home at sale time.  But what should you really include in a bathroom upgrade to get a great return on your investment?  Take these tips into consideration:

  1. New tiling.  An easy and inexpensive option to truly change the whole look of your room! Some contractors can even install heated flooring so your tile stays nice and toasty during the winter months.
  2. Upgrade your vanity.  Vanities have come a long way in the past several years.  Once you’ve decided on the look for your bathroom, research all the options for your vanity.  Do you want one or two sinks? Looking for a modern or farmhouse feel? What color would accent your wall and tile color? Will you use regular basins or above counter bowls?
  3. Add storage.  One thing missing from many bathrooms is adequate storage.  This has a terrific return on investment as most home buyers love the idea of cute and efficient storage options; whether they are tucked into an otherwise wasted space, or encompass a full linen type closet.  Work with the options best suited for the space you have.  We love using baskets on shelves for design, storage, and efficiency.
  4. A bit of luxury.  Everyone wants to feel like they’ve entered a ‘spa’ when they're in their bathroom, so pay attention to luxurious extra’s that aren’t lavish.  Think a jacuzzi tub, heated towel warmers, soft lighting and cozy accents.
Need advice as to what upgrades return the best investment for home remodels?  Contact Jane Fischer and Associates.

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What are Home Sellers really looking for in a Real Estate Agent?

by Jane Fischer and Associates

With such a strong real estate market, many individuals are considering selling their North Iowa home this year.  With this in mind, we wanted to review what potential home sellers are really looking for in the real estate agent they partner with to get their home SOLD!

First, it's important to know that homeowners, on average, are staying in their homes much longer than before.  According to a NAR study, homeowners are averaging 6-7 years in their homes before selling.  Today's real estate market is definitely changing that for some homeowners as they see the great potential of selling their home now.  

Home Sellers in the past have typically asked for a referral from a friend on whom they should hire to sell their home, but today home sellers are savvier and realize what they want in an agent. Here's what was found:

 

  • Sellers rank the following as 'most important' in partnering with a Real Estate professional to sell their home:
  • Make recommendations on getting the home to sell quicker and for top dollar
  • Communicate with them on a continual basis
  • Strongly market the home to potential buyers using both digital and other marketing.
  • Sell their home in a specific timeframe.
  • Negotiate the strongest offer and terms of sale

 

98% of home sellers worked with an agent to sell their home instead of trying to sell on their own.

If you're considering a home sale for your Mason City or Clear Lake home, contact Jane Fischer and Associates today.

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What's your mortgage rate? Not knowing could cost you thousands of dollars!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

What is your mortgage rate?  It may seem like a simple question, but often times individuals cannot readily give an answer!  Almost 3 out of every 10 mortgage holders don't know this answer, and that could spell trouble for you!

Interest Rates are continuing to climb, so lock in now!

Do you have an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM)? If so, you need to contact your lender immediately and lock in your interest rates.

Interest rates will continue to rise, so this could be your last chance to lock in a low rate for years to come. The average 30-year fixed rate is now 4.70%, up from 4.13% one year ago. This is a $119 increase monthly from the 4.13% rate and a $1,428 increase annually!

Have you been considering a refinance?

Did you know that when you refinance you actually pay-off your initial mortgage and get a new one?  That means you are starting from the beginning and can get a new rate and new terms.  You can also get a 'cash-out' refinance where you are getting cash for equity in your home or you could pay money in and get a lower mortgage.  Here are some examples of individuals who opt for the 'refinancing option:  They currently have an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), the current interest rate is higher than the standard 30, 15 or 10-year rate.  Should you refinance?  Here are things you need to consider;  how much do you owe? What is the appraised value of your home? Do you have a good credit score?  Debt to income ratio at this time?  

Who takes the cash-out option in refinancing?  Most people opting for the cash-out option are using it for the following;  pay-off high-interest credit cards, higher rate consumer debt overall, sending a child to college and get a new mortgage with a lower interest rate.

What costs would you incur if you were to refinance your North Iowa home?  It's important to note that refinancing fees vary by state and lender, so it's important to work with a mortgage lender directly in determining your actual costs.  For example purposes, here are possible items that would incur costs with a home refinance:

 

  • Application Fee
  • Loan Origination Fee
  • Points on the Loan
  • Appraisal Fee
  • Title/Insurance Search
  • Homeowners Insurance
  • Home Inspection
  • Surveys
  • Attorney costs
Some of the time these fees can be rolled into your new mortgage. So check with your agent on what would apply to you and if it can be rolled into your new mortgage.

Have more questions on home buying or refinancing?  Contact us at 641-424-4663 today.

 

2018 North Iowa Fair this Weekend!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

No one does a county fair like North Iowa! Enjoy a weekend of family fun at the 2018 North Iowa Fair!!!! Head on down to the North Iowa Events Center (3700 4th Street Southwest, Mason City) this Thursday, July 19th, through Sunday, July 22nd, for the ultimate celebration of living in North Iowa. Get your adrenaline pumping on the carnival rides and inflatables. Win fun prizes at the games along the midway. Dine on delicious fair food. Dance away to incredible live music. Check out action packed shows, including the BMX Stunt Show, Demo Derby, and "Extreme Raptors" Show. Say hello to the farm animals and explore the exhibits by local farmers, vendors, and businesses. "Rise & Shine!" above the fair during the 3rd Annual Hot Air Balloon Rally. Discover amazing local talent during the Bill Riley Talent Search. And, SO MUCH MORE! There is truly something for everyone at this year's fair!

 

 

Check out the Complete Fair Schedule to plan your trip to the 2018 North Iowa Fair!

Small Stage Music Festival

Listen to live music by the very best local and regional performers during this annual music festival, held at the Marion E. Olson Building. Tickets are required for the Thursday evening concert. They cost $15 and can be purchased in advance HERE. Friday and Saturday evening concerts are FREE!

Official Lineup

-Thursday, July 19th

8:30 pm | Betty and the Gents

9:30 pm | LIT

-Friday, July 20th

6:30 pm | Hawk McIntyre

8:00 pm | The Hepperly Band

-Saturday, July 21st

7:00 pm | William Elliott Whitmore  

9:30 pm | The Jesse Allen Band

 

Jane Fischer & Associates Team cannot wait to see you all at the Fair in beautiful Mason City!  

 

Image Credit: North Iowa Events Center

 

Factors to Consider When Buying A Home For Kids

by Jane Fischer and Associates

In today’s blog post, we are going to discuss factors to consider if you are a home buyer with children. There are several major factors that parents consider as they look for a new home: number of bedrooms, yard to play in, local school district, safety of area. These are all incredibily important. But, there are other factors that often get overlooked and can have a serious effect on the livability of the home for everyone in your family. Here are the additional factors you should consider as you look for your dream family home in Mason City IA!


Open Floor Plan

Basements and bonus rooms are important to have so kids can have their own areas to play, especially as they get older. When they are younger, however, it is important that you can supervise them at all times. This is where an open floor plan comes in handy. When the kitchen, dining area, and family room are all connected, you can keep a watchful eye on your children while still being productive. Plus, even after the kids are older, this is still a great area for the family to gather together throughout the day.


Bedroom Placement

Although the number of bedrooms is important to ensure your family has enough personal space, it is equally important to consider where those bedrooms are placed. If the home has multiple stories, it is possible that the master bedroom is located on the first floor while the rest of the bedrooms are upstairs. As a parent, you need to decide whether you will enjoy the privacy of having a room on a separate floor or whether you want to be close to your children at night and have all the bedrooms together.


Potential Burns

Kids like to touch things and a home can be filled with lots of hot items that are easy to forget about. In particular, you should consider how the home is heated. Older homes will likely have radiators which are incredibly hot and will cause serious burns. It might be best to only look at homes with central heating if your children are small to eliminate this risk. Gas fireplaces are great but the glass doors on them become dangerous when a fire is going. Make sure you monitor your children during and after a fire and put some sort of protection over the fireplace's on switch so the kids cannot accidentally turn it on when you aren't around.


View of the Backyard

Make sure that the interior of your home provides easy sightlines to the backyard. You will receive piece of mind by being able to watch your children play outside while you get some chores done inside.


Flat Yard

Steep hills can add some visual interest to your landscaping but they make it difficult, and potentially dangerous, for children to play. Find a lot that is flat so all of your children's favorite activities will be fun and easy.


Know the Neighbors

Try to find out who the neighbors are and make sure there are not any dangerous individuals living within the area.


Sidewalks

Parents often consider how busy a street is when making housing decisions. But, even on a quiet street, sidewalks add an extra element of safety by removing the children at play even farther away from the road. Plus, it is more inviting for family walks around the neighborhood.


Nearby Amenities

Parents know how difficult it can be to pack everyone and everything into the car everytime you need to go some where. This is why it is great for home buyers with kids to find neighborhoods that have amenities within walking distance. See what schools, parks, restaurants, stores, and other amenities could be easily walked to from the home.



We hope this blog gave you a some helpful information what to factors to consider as a home buying parent! If you are ready to Buy your dream family home in North Iowa, search our Homes for Sale. Work with the Top Realtor Mason City by giving us a call today at 641-425-4900 or visiting our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.


It's Time for Rockford Fun Days!!!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Celebrate every thing that you love about living in beautiful Rockford, Iowa at the 10th Annual Rockford Fun Days!!! It is the ultimate summertime celebration in your home town. Friday, July 14th, and Saturday, July 15th, will be filled with all your favorite family fun events! Dine on delicious food, compete in the disc golf and kickball tournament, catch the parade, play some games, see incredible live performances, and so much more!

 

One of the best things about Rockford Fun Days is the Jon Tumilson Go Crush It 5K Challenge and Kids Frogman Fun Run! This annual run/walk honors the memory of Navy Seal and local hero Jon T. Tumilson. This brave man lost his life in Afghanistan on August 6th, 2011 while serving his country. Honor his memory by participating in the event or cheering on all the racers.

 

 Here is all the information you need to make the most of your time at the 10th Annual Rockford Fun Days!


Schedule of Events

Friday, July 13th

3:00 pm - 6:00 pm | Race Registration and Packet Pick Up for Jon Tumilson Go Crush It 5K Challenge | Rockford Fossil and Prairie Park

  • $40 per participant
  • Register HERE!

8:00 pm | Family Movie Night: The Lion King | Pocket Park

Saturday, July 14th

8:00 am | Opening ceremony for the Jon Tumilson Go Crush It 5K Challenge | Rockford Fossil and Prairie Park

8:30 am | Jon Tumilson Memorial 5K Run Starts

9:30 am | Kickball Tournament | Town Hall Fields

  • Contact Monica Murray at (641) 430-5253 to participate

10:00 am | Jon Tumilson Frogman Fun Run | Rockford Fossil and Prairie Park

  • Open to kids ages 12 and under
  • $25 per participant
  • Register HERE!

11:00 am | Parade | Downtown Rockford

  • Parade Line Up at 10:30 am in the RRMR School parking lot (1460 210th Street)
  • Contact Monica Murray at (641) 430-5253 for parade inquires

11:30 am | Awards Ceremony for the Jon Tumilson Memorial 5K Run | Central Park

11:30 am - 3:00 pm | Food, Games, Inflatables, and Vendors | Central Park

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm | Photo Booth | Central Park

  • $1.00 for one 4x6 photo

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm | Kids Disc Golf Clinic & Tournament | Central Park

  • Contact Jeremy Schlader at (319) 415-6055 to participate

1:30 pm | Pedal Tractor Pull | Central Park

  • Open to kids ages 3 to 8
  • Register that day at the Wrist Band Stand

3:00 pm | Magic Show | Central Park

3:30 pm | Greased Pig Catch | Rockford Fire Station

4:30 pm - 6:00 pm | Adult Disc Golf Tournament | Central Park

  • Contact Jeremy Schlader at (319) 415-6055 to participate

5:00 pm - 6:00 pm | Dead Engine Drag | Main Avenue

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm | Dinner | Rockford Fire Station

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm | Hypnotist Show | Rockford Fire Station

8:00 pm - 12:00 am | Sideshow Bob (80’s & 90’s Rock) | Rockford Fire Station

Dusk | FIREWORKS! | Central Park



Jane Fischer and Associates Team would like to take this time to remember the sacrifice that Navy Seal Jon Tumilson made for us and our country. We hope everyone in Rockford has an amazing time at this year’s Rockford Fun Days!

 

Image Credit: Rockford Fun Days

 

It's the Clear Lake Bicycle, Blues and BBQ Festival!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Are you ready?  It's time for the great Clear Lake Bicycle, Blues and BBQ festival!

Date:  July 6-8, 2018

Where:  City Park, Downtown Clear Lake and other locations throughout the area.

Time:  Starts 5:00 pm Friday night

The proceeds from this event support improving a healthy lifestyle through bike related activities that include;  creating and improving bike trails, bicycle safety training and cycling events and activities.

There will be superb food, fantastic blues music, and a USCF sanctioned road race on Sunday!  You won't want to miss this wonderful summer event.

Click here for the schedule of events:  Events

The great blues sounds will come from the following groups:  Brother Sun Sister Moon, Left Wing Bourbon, Brandon Santini, and Jimmy Nick.

July 7th will be the terrific Brews on the Beach on the shores of Clear Lake!  Space is limited so get your tickets now

 


Make it a great holiday weekend with these fantastic local events!  See you there!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 113

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Contact Information

Jane Fischer
Real Estate Consultants
641-424-HOME (4663)

2018 Jane Fischer & Associates Real Estate Consultants Logo are registered service marks owned by Jane Fischer & Associates Real Estate Consultants. Equal Housing Opportunity.