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Tips To Make Your Online Listing Pop!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

An online listing is almost always the first time a buyer is exposed to your home. It can have a dramatic effect on whether or not they are interested in viewing your home. Make sure that your home attracts buyers by capturing the best photos you can. Although hiring a professional can help ensure that you have the best quality images, there are some simple ways that you can make your photos look less amateur. Follow these great photography tips to have your Mason City IA looking its very best in all your online images!

 

Use a Tripod.

Always use a tripod for your photos. A tripod helps ensure that your photos are never crooked (which can be jarring) by keeping the camera straight and helps keep the image sharp and reduces bluriness by eliminating camera shake.

 



Pay Attention to the Sun.

The first image buyers usually see online is of the front exterior of the home. Think about the best time of day to capture this shot. The position of the sun at different times of the day can have a dramatic effect on the image. Always shoot this image when the sun is shining directly onto the front exterior of your home. This will ensure that your home is well lit and eliminates shadows. Also, consider the height from which you are shooting the photo. By shooting from an elevated position, you can capture an image that includes the home and part of the yard.


Don't Use Your Smartphone.

The cameras on today's smartphones are technically advance but they still do not compare to a DSLR camera. The main issue with smartphones are their inability to handle low-light settings. Shoot with a DSLR camera and external flash to make sure your image is well-lit. Always have the room's lights turned on and the curtains open to utilize natural lighting. You want your image to reveal how bright your home is.

 


Capture the Outdoors Even When Inside.

The outdoor views from the interior of your home are just as important as what is inside. You want to make sure that both are in focus. This can be difficult to capture since focusing on the interior in the forefront can blur the view from the window and vice versa. Using a deep depth of focus can ensure that all is in focus. Professionals also utilize HDR imaging in order to layer multiple exposures within the room so the image shows both the inside and outside.


Think Wide.

You want to convey as much of the space as possible within your image. Use a wide-angle lens in order to capture more of an interior room. Standard lenses are great for revealing detail within tigher shots but you can convey more information (including the floor, ceiling, and walls) about the space in one wide-angle photo.

 



Always Look for the Best Angle.

Your position when you take the photo greatly affects how big the room appears in the image. Always look for the angle that makes the space appear larger. This often means shooting from the side of furniture instead of from behind (which can create distractions and make rooms feel cramped). A good rule of thumb is to frame your photo in a way that allows you to capture three walls within the room. This helps balance your photo and make rooms appear larger.

 


If you are ready to sell your home, work with the Top Realtor Mason City IA! We can help you sell your home for top dollar and quickly! Give our experienced Team a call today at 641-425-4900 or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.

 

Where To Vote On Election Day!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Tomorrow (November 6th) is Election Day! Regardless of what political party you belong to, it is important to exercise your right as an American citizen and head to the polls! Polls in Iowa will be open tomorrow 7:00 am until 9:00 pm.

Looking for your local polling place? Here is a list of all polling places for the North Iowa area:

 

  • Clear Lake Ward 1 | Zion Lutheran Church (112 North 4th Street, Clear Lake)
  • Clear Lake Ward 2 | Clear Lake City Hall (15 North 6th Street, Clear Lake)
  • Clear Lake Ward 3 | Church of Christ 2010 (14th Avenue North, Clear Lake)
  • Clear Lake/Grant/Union Townships Precinct | Ventura Community Center (4 North Weimer, Ventura)
  • Falls Township - Plymouth Precinct | Plymouth City Hall (616 Broad Street, Plymouth) Falls Township - Rock Falls Precinct | Rock Falls Community Center (3 South Nottingham, Rock Falls)
  • Geneseo Township Precinct | Rockwell Community Center (114 3rd Street North, Rockwell)
  • Grimes Township - Meservey Precinct | Meservey Fire Station (428 1st Street, Meservey) 
  • Grimes Township - Thornton Precinct | Thornton City Hall (404 Main Street, Thornton) Lake/Lincoln Townships Precinct | Area Education Agency (9184-B 265th Street, Clear Lake)
  • Lime Creek/Mason North Township Precinct | Lime Creek Nature Center (3501 Lime Creek Road, Mason City)
  • Mason City Ward 1 Precinct 1 | Trinity Church (213 North Pennsylvania Avenue, Mason City)
  • Mason City Ward 1 Precinct 2 | Highland Golf Course Club House (944 17th Street Northeast, Mason City)
  • Mason City Ward 1 Precinct 3 | Grace Evangelical Free Church (440 North Illinois Avenue, Mason City)
  • Mason City Ward 2 Precinct 1 | Cerro Gordo Courthouse Boardroom (220 North Washington Avenue, Mason City)
  • Mason City Ward 2 Precinct 2 | First Presbyterian Church (100 South Pierce Avenue, Mason City) 
  • Mason City Ward 2 Precinct 3 | Grace United Methodist Church (200 14th Street Northwest, Mason City)
  • Mason City Ward 3 Precinct 1 | Masonic Temple (304 1st Street Southeast, Mason City) 
  • Mason City Ward 3 Precinct 2 | Mason City School Administration Building (1515 South Pennsylvania Avenue, Mason City)
  • Mason City Ward 3 Precinct 3 | First Covenant Church (411 South Ohio Avenue, Mason City) 
  • Mason City Ward 4 Precinct 1 | NIACOG Building (525 6th Street Southwest, Mason City)
  • Mason City Ward 4 Precinct 2 | Rolling Acres CR Church (341 19th Southwest, Mason City) 
  • Mason City Ward 4 Precinct 3 | Columbia Club (551 South Taft Avenue, Mason City)
  • Mason South/Bath Township Precinct | Cerro Gordo County Engineer’s Office (2716 South Federal Avenue, Mason City)
  • Mt. Vernon/Pleasant Valley Townships Precinct | Swaledale City Hall (402 Main Street, Swaledale) 
  • Portland/Owen/Dougherty Townships Precinct | Hanford Community Church (12411 Spruce Avenue, Mason City)

 

 

To find your exact polling place, click HERE! Make sure to bring a valid form of identification.

 

We look forward to seeing everyone in North Iowa at the polls! Happy Election Day!


 

Easy Breezy Tips for Selling or Buying Your Home!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

We know a lot goes in to selling or buying your home. The process can undoubtedly feel overwhelming. But, when you boil it down to the basics, it can be less stressful for you. Just try to keep it simple! Follow these easy but helpful tips for sellers and buyers to help you succeed in the Mason City area housing market before the end of the year!


 

Selling Tips!

The first step sellers should take is knowing Your Home's Value. This allows you to list your home at a correct price that fits with the current market trends. In addition, you need to make your home stand out from the other competition. This can be done by improving curb appeal, staging, and finishing those home improvement projects. Finally, consider making some updates that will provide you with a great return on investment. Experienced Realtors in the Mason City area can help you throughout all of these steps and the rest of the selling process.  



Buying Tips!

As a buyer, you need to have a good understanding of the Mason City housing market by knowing what options are out there as well as current prices. Working with a Knowledgeable Real Estate Team can help you with this from the very start. Before you actually start looking for homes, have your Home Financing in order. This allows you to know exactly what your budget is. Once you find your dream home, realize that there might be competition from other buyers in the market. There are ways to make you stand out from the crowd when there are multiple offers on the table. First, try to remain flexible with some of your conditions such as closing date. Next, write a personal letter to the seller expressing why you fell in love with the home and how it fits your's and your family’s needs. This can really help you ensure that the house becomes yours.



Ready to buy or sell your Mason City home this year? Give Jane Fischer & Associates Team a call today or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.

 

Moving to North Iowa? Help is Here!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Congrats! You just received a job offer in North Iowa! It is time to move! Starting a new job and finding a new home at the same time can be a difficult process. Loan approval is dependent on proof that you can afford the mortgage. Your income and employment history are the best indicators of what you can afford. Although this can be a stressful time, it is possible to do both at once! Here is some important information to know about relocating.


 

What should I know before getting a mortgage?

Promotions are positive financial moves. If you are earning better pay or benefits or moving to a similar position at a new job, you should be able to Obtain a Mortgage with no problem. Be prepared to share your offer letter, with salary confirmation, to your lender. They will need to verify that you have been in the position for at least 30 days to determine what you can afford for the mortgage. It is important to note that if your position is commissioned based, these earnings are often excluded from loan amounts as they are difficult to prove in a new role.

How do I obtain a mortgage with new employment?

As long as your new position makes financial sense, obtaining a mortgage should not be difficult. The lender will want to see your employment history. Frequent job changes or large gaps in employment can be red flags for lenders. Have all of your past employment information available for your lender.

How can I get a home loan when relocating?

It is always in your best interest to secure your living arrangement before you move. Consider renting in the new location for at least 30 days in order to provide the lender with time to verify your new position. This gives you time to provide your first pay stub as well as get to know the community you are living in to find the perfect neighborhood for you. However, if you are not interested in renting, you can take the plunge into home ownership right away. Recognize that buying a new home and selling your old home takes time. Determine whether you can afford two mortgages at once in the case your old home does not sell right away. Find out what you can afford by using our Home Loan Finder tool.

 

What are Relocation Packages?

Many companies can help with your relocation process. They can offer a wide variety of options. These range from covering moving costs to assisting with down payments or closing costs to Guaranteed Buy Outs (when the company purchases your old home at its appraised value when it doesn't sell within a particular timeframe) or more. Find out what your new company offers to see what sort of assistance they might be able to provide. Any relocation package can significantly help you obtain a mortgage in your new location.


For more Home Buying Tips, give our experienced Team a call, visit our website, or check out our Facebook Page. We are here to help if you're considering Buying, Selling, or Investing in Real Estate in the North Iowa. Contact us today at 641-425-4900 or http://www.janefischer.com/.

The Price Is Right (For Your Home)

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Determining the price you are going to list your home at is the first big decision you will make after deciding to sell your home. It is just as important as the initial decision to list your home. If you price your home to high, you risk the chance that home buyers will not be interested. If you price your home to low, you risk not receiving the full amount that your house is worth. Making sure the price is correct from the very beginning will help avoid either of these scenarios. In order to ensure that your home is priced correctly from the start, work with a knowledgeable and experienced Real Estate Team as soon as you are ready to put your home on the market and avoid these common types of home pricing mistakes!

 

Mistakes Based on Emotion and the Past

Your house has become a home from your years living in it. It is always an emotional process when you decide to move. The personal memories that have become attached to your home can cause you to value the property more than it is actually worth. While we fully realize that this is easier said than done, you need to remove your emotions from the pricing process. Buyers are not going to pay more based on your emotional attachment. You need to price it based on what is physically in front of the buyers. Along the same vein, you cannot base your current selling price based on what you paid. The housing market at this very moment in time is different than it was when you purchased the home (even if it was in the recent past). Buyers want the best deal on the home based on the current market in the North Iowa area.



Mistakes Based on the Competition

Understanding what homes are selling for in your neighborhood is an important aspect of the pricing process. However, it can also lead to many mistakes made by sellers who do not understand how to properly utilize this information. When you research what similar homes are being sold for, be sure to take into account all the amenities and features of the home. Just because your home has the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms as another home on the market doesn’t mean that it should be priced exactly the same. You need to know if there are any renovations or additional amenities that have been added that need to be taken into account for the selling price. You also need to recognize that other comparable homes might be priced incorrectly. This is where working with an experienced real estate team comes in handy because they can accurately assess the competition. You should also consider how quickly a home might be needing to sell. Other sellers might be pricing their homes lower in order to stand out from the competition and speed the process along. In the end, be diligent in your research. This will allow you to have a profitable and successful sale of your home.



Mistakes Based on the Process

Price negotiations between you and potential buyers is an inevitable part of the process. Today’s buyers are much more informed on the value of homes on the market. You need to make sure you are just as informed. This will allow you to price the home appropriately and attract the kind of home buyers that is perfect for your home right from the start. Another common mistake made by sellers occurs if the home has been sitting on the market for a while. If it has, you have priced the home to high and you need to make an adjustment. Instead of making several, small price cuts, you should make a larger cut (typically $10,000+) to show buyers that you are serious about selling your home.  


 

For more Home Selling Tips, give our experienced Team a call, visit our website, or visit our Facebook Page. We are here to help if you're considering Buying, Selling, or Investing in Real Estate in the North Iowa. Contact us today at 641-425-4900 or http://www.janefischer.com/.

Don't Get TRICKED By this Buying Myths!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

HOME BUYING can be a TREAT but not if you are TRICKED during the process! Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there about home buying! From process to financing and everything in between, it is easy to be overwhelmed as a home buyer and make mistakes that could have been easily avoided. Let us debunk 9 major home buying myths to help you smoothly find your dream home in Mason City IA today!

 

Myth 1: The first step of the process is looking for a house.

Although the home search might seem like the obvious first step in the home buying process, it is not. Your first step as a home buyer should always be getting your finances in order! Make sure that your credit is in top form and, most importantly, get pre-approval on a mortgage. By doing these two things, you are able to focus your home search on those houses that actually fit within your budget. Pre-approval also makes you more attractive to sellers from the get go.


Myth 2: 30-year mortgage is your best finance option.

30-year mortgages can be deceiving. Monthly payments on 30-year mortgages are lower than those that are 15-year. However, since the amount of money borrowed is the same for both options but the time frame is twice as long to pay back on the 30-year mortgage, you end up paying MORE over those 30 years and at a higher interest rate. This is not to say that a 30-year mortgage is not right for you. Just make sure to do plenty of research to truly decide what loan option best fits your financial situation. Check out our Finance Information for help with this step of the process.


Myth 3: A down payment must be 20%.

Buyers can avoid paying for Private Mortgage Insurance by making a 20% down payment. However, not all lenders require that amount. You may be eligible for loans with a 5 or 10% down payment if you are willing to pay for PMI monthly. Additional down payment assistance options, such as FHA loans, might also be available for you.


Myth 4: Your only upfront cost is the down payment.

When budgeting for a new home, many home buyers only consider the initial down payment. However, you want to budget for additional costs that can always occur during the buying process. These costs include, but are not limited to, credit reports, closing costs, inspections, and insurance.


Myth 5: You cannot buy a home if you have bad credit.

You will undoubtedly have an easier time buying a home if your have good credit. However, you are not out of luck if your credit is less than ideal. There are several financing options, such as FHA loans, that you might be eligible for. Just make sure to do your research first to make sure that you are selecting an option that is best for you now and in the future.


Myth 6: You can skip the home inspection.

Home buyers should always complete a home inspection. Save money and time by discovering any issues with the house during the inspection process.


Myth 7: You will lose the house if you don't offer asking price.

Home buyers often worry that they will lose out on their dream home if they do not offer the asking price. Although doing so does make you attractive to the seller, there are other things you can do that will often cause the seller to be open to negotiation. By having a pre-approved loan, awesome credit, and a down payment ready to go, sellers know that you are 100% ready to make the purchase. Additionally, if the home inspection unveiled any issues with the home, you can negotiate for a lower price based on the findings and necessary repairs needed.


Myth 8: Home buying is easy on your own.

Whether it's your first home or you have purchased a new home in the past, working with an Experienced Realtor during the home buying process is always a good idea. We are filled with a wealth of helpful knowledge. We are experts on the local market, have years of negotiation experience, and can help take a lot of the stressful work off of your hands.


Myth 9: Your immediate needs are the most important deciding factor.

Choose a home based on your needs now AND in the future. Although it is impossible to know your future, you want to pick a home that you will continue to fit your potential lifestyle needs that have developed 10+ years from now. Consider the home and the neighborhood.

If you are ready to buy your dream home, work with the Top Realtor Mason City IA! We can help you find the perfect property to fit your needs within the North Iowa Homes for Sale! Give our experienced Team a call today at 641-425-4900 or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.

Trick or Treating in North Iowa!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

The streets of North Iowa will soon be filled with ghosts and goblins, princesses and cowboys! Trick or treating is right around the corner! Get your home ready for all the trick or treaters this Halloween!

 

Community Trick or Treating Hours

Sunday, October 28th

Rockford | 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Wednesday, October 31st

Nora Springs | 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Osage | 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Rockwell | 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Clear Lake | 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Mason City | 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

 

Follow these simple tips to make your home safe and festive for all your frightful guests!

 

  • Make a Clear Path: Ensure that there is a clear and safe route to your front door! Avoid trips and slips by clearing of your driveway and walkways of all debris. Keep the yard clear of all items, such as bicycles, toys, and yard equipment. Make sure that any decor is situated away in the grass or along the porch.
  • Keep Your Pets Away: You might have the world's friendliest four legged friend but keep them securely locked away from the front door. You have no way of knowing how they will react to the little visitors constantly coming to your front door. In addition, some trick or treaters might have a fear of dogs. Make sure that they feel comfortable when they come to your home.
  • Let There Be Light: A light on at the front door lets trick or treaters know that candy is available at your home! More importantly, though, it helps the kiddos see their way to the front door, ensuring a safe journey to their treats.
  • Make It Festive and Welcoming: Add some festive decor to your front entryway. Although part of the fun of Halloween is the over the top scares, consider choosing decorations that will not frighten the littlest ones coming to your door.
  • Stock Up On Candy: Hit the stores and make sure you have an ample supply of candy! You want to make sure that all the trick or treaters can get goodies at your home throughout the evening!

 

 

Jane Fischer and Associates Team wishes everyone in North Iowa a very happy and safe Halloween!

Looking to Buy? Work with a Realtor!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Buying a home is an important financial decision. You want to make sure that you are making the best choices throughout the process and are well informed. While some buyers choose to forego using a realtor when buying a new home, it is in your best interest to work with a professional in the field. They are there to help you in every way that they can. Here are 10 reasons why you should work with the Top Realtor Mason City IA to buy your dream home in Mason City IA!


1. Knowledge & Experience. Buying a home is a lot more than just finding the right property and signing the contract. There are a lot of technical aspects involved. Although you could try to make yourself more knowledagable about the process (which is still not a bad idea), why not hire some one you has dedicated their education and experience to understanding the industry and specifics of the field.

 

2. Filter. There is a lot of information out there. Some of it is valid and some of it is spam. An agent will work with you to help understand your wants and needs and can filter out all of those properties that do not fit within them. This saves you time and frustration.

 

3. Local Knowledge. Realtors are especially knowledgable about the specifics of a local area. They understand the market in ways that individuals not working in the field cannot. They can help you determine what neighborhoods are best for you, what asking prices make sense, and so much more.

 

4. Guidance. An agent is truly there to put your best interests first. They will always help guide you towards choices, particularly those related to pricing, that make sense for you and will help you with negotiations.

 

5. Market Conditions. Realtors understand sale prices, days on market, square footage, and all of the aspects that go into how to craft a winning offer for a home.

 

6. Networking. Realtors have an extensive network of professionals that work in services related to buying a home. They can help give you recommendations for providers to work with that they know you can trust.

 

7. Negotiation. Realtors are top negotiators. They have honed the craft over many years. Since they are able to remove themselves emotionally from the transaction in ways that a buyer personally cannot, you are more likely to have a negotiation that truly works for you.

 

8. Paperwork. There is a lot of paperwork that goes into purchasing a home. It will cost you a lot of time to manage yourself and the technicalities within those documents can easily be lost to the untrained eye. It is part of the realtor's job to handle this paperwork and eliminate the hassle for you.

 

9. Questions. A realtor is always there to answer any questions who have, regardless of which step you are in during the process. Even after you close on a house, your realtor will be there to help you deal with any confusion you might have moving forward.

 

10. Mutually Beneficial. Realtors garner business through positive referrals. Due to this, it is always beneficial for them to ensure that you are satisfied and happy with the outcome of your dealings with them. They will help keep you informed and will be there for you in the future should you enter the market again.

 


If you are ready to buy your dream home in North Iowa, search our Homes for Sale. Give our experienced Team a call today at 641-425-4900 or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.

Don't Delay! The #1 Reason to Buy Today!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Thinking of buying a new home but not ready to make the big move? Do not delay! The number one reason why you should buy a home before the end of the year is interest rates are expected to rise in 2019!

 

When you begin your home search it is important to understand where interest rates are expected to head. Interest rates have a direct impact on the amount you will be paying monthly so the higher the rate the larger your payment. Save money by locking in a lower interest rate today!

 

Need some data? Here are the actual interest rates from this year and where they are projected to go next year. As the data from Freddie Mac shows, rates are expected to rise steadily throughout the course of 2019.



 

Along with these increased interest rates, CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index shows a 6.2% appreciation of national home prices over the current year and predicts that home prices will be 5.1% higher in 2019. With increased home prices and higher interest rates, your monthly payments will likely be significantly higher if you wait to purchase your home in the new year. Keep more money in your pocket by buying today!

 

If you are ready to buy your dream North Iowa home before the end of the year, search our Homes for Sale. Give our experienced Team a call today at 641-425-4900 or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.

 

Get Your Home Ready For the Cold!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Winter weather might still be a couple months away but now is the perfect time to get your North Iowa home ready for the cold! Increase your home's energy efficiency, save money on your heating bill, and keep your family nice and cozy when the temperature plummets by following these 7 Easy Steps to Winterize Your Home!

 

1. Dodge Drafts! Drafts can waste 5% to 30% of your home's energy use, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)! Save that energy by placing a draft blocker under your doors.


2. Use A Window Insulation Kit! Head to your local hardware store for some plastic for your windows. This adds an additional buffer against the cold.


3. Add Storm Windows! Skip the plastic and install storm windows that will last you for years to come. Studies show that these windows can save 12% to 33% on your heating costs every year!


4. Caulk Windows & Doors! Air leaks throughout the house waste a lot of energy. Be sure to caulk and seal all your windows and doors properly.


5. Replace Furnace Filters! Dirty filters increase energy use by restricting airflow. Plus, the irritants trapped in it can make your family sick! Your furnace filter should be changed every month during the winter. To save time and money (in the long run), consider using a permanent filter.


6. Monitor Your Heat! Make sure you turn down the thermostat everytime you aren't home to reduce energy waste. Also, save money by turning down your heat a degree or two and wrap up in a warm blanket instead!


7. Lower Your Water Temperature! According to the DOE, you can annually save 4% to 22% by turning down your water heater's temperature! Most water heaters are automatically set to 140ºF. Lower the temperature to 120ºF. Trust us, you won't notice the difference....aside from the money you will be saving!

 

 

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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 78

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

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