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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/.


Debunking Home Buying Myths!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

In today’s blog post, we are going to discuss 9 major home buying myths. We know that there is plenty of information and advice out there for home buyers. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation too! 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.

We hope this blog gave you a some helpful insights as you proceed throughout the home BUYING process. If you are ready to get started, 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/.

 

Pricing Mistakes to Avoid as a Home Seller!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

In today’s blog post we are going to discuss common pricing mistakes made by home sellers. 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.  


 

We hope this blog gave you a little more insight into pricing your home to sell. However, we realize that you might still have some more questions. 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/.

How To Enjoy Home Buying Success in this Hot Market!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

In today’s blog post we are going to discuss tips for home buying success. Deciding to buy a new home is an exciting venture. And, there is no better place to buy than in North Iowa! The current housing market is hot and definitely favors sellers. However, having the right tools and knowledge can help you find and close on your dream home in no time. Ensure success during your own buying process! Look through the current Home Listings so we can help you begin your exciting journey, and follow these useful tips for being a successful home buyer!

WORK WITH AN EXPERIENCED AGENT.

Ensure buying success by teaming up with an experienced real estate agent. You will eliminate a majority of time and stress that can come with house hunting and buying by having someone else in your corner! Jane Fischer and Associates Team is here to help you every step of the way! We understand the North Iowa housing market, know what is currently available to fit your personal housing needs, and can negotiate the best deal for your new home! Learn more About Us in terms of our years of experience and our commitment to serving you!

GET PREAPPROVAL FROM A LENDER.

Let sellers know that you are serious about buying by getting preapproval for a loan from a reputable lender. Having this information ready to present to the seller ensures them that you can afford their home. Learn the important steps of Obtaining a Mortgage. The initial step of preapproval is easy to get out of the way from the very beginning if you have a high credit score and savings.

BE DECISIVE.

We understand that buying a home is a major life decision. This can lead to overthinking the process, though. Know exactly what you are looking for from the very start. Prioritize the important factors, such as location, type, and price. Start your house hunting with a clear understanding of exactly what you need in a new home. Once you find a home that meets all of these needs, make an offer! While you should be diligient in your decision making, do not allow over analyzing to get in the way of making an offer. If you wait too long, you risk the chance of losing your dream home!

MAKE A STRONG OFFER.

Always begin with a strong opening offer. In your initial planning stages, you should have set a budget for yourself and know the maximum that you are willing to pay for a home. We all always want to get the best deal possible but be respectiful of the needs of the seller as well. If you offer a price that is too low, you could miss out on your dream home. Ask your realtor for advice based on other homes on the market. Determine an opening offer that you care comfortable with and that will be appealing to the seller.

PREPARE FOR A BIDDING WAR.

A bidding war between you and the seller is an added stress. However, do not go into the process with the mindset that you want to avoid this process at all cost. It could mean missing out on a great opportunity. Have a clear understanding of what you can afford and search for homes below your max budget. This will allow you more wiggle room should a bidding war ensue. Trust your realtor during the negotiation process as they are there to help you get the home for the best possible price.

MISTAKES ARE LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES.

Although we want to make sure you end up in the first home you fall in love with, realize that this might not always work out. If a deal falls through, use it as an opportunity to learn what went wrong with the transaction and avoid it for the next offer. There are so many incredible options in North Iowa that you will find another home to love...perhaps even more so! Just stay true to what you are looking for and let our team help you find it!


 

We hope this blog gave you a some helpful tips for becoming a successful home buyer. However, we realize that you might still have some more questions. 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 Legend of St. Joseph and Home Selling Success!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

You are ready to Sell your Mason City IA! The best way to ensure home selling success is to work with the Top Realtor Mason City IA! But, what else can you do to help get a quick, winning offer from buyers?

 

Whether or not you are religious, you have probably heard about the legend of St. Joseph. Realtors and home sellers across the country swear by this time honored tradition for home selling success. St. Joseph was the earthly father of Jesus. He become a patron saint because he taught his son the craftsman’s trade and always ensured that Jesus had a home. The tradition of burying devotionals to him began in the 16th century when European nuns buried medals for him at their convent in order to expand their lands. It has evolved over history to the present custom of burying statues of St. Joseph when families are looking to sell their home (Source: St-Josephstatue). No matter the religious affiliations of the home sellers, the burying of St. Joseph statues has become a common practice and has often brought success to the people who utilize it.


Guidelines for Using St. Joseph for a Successful Home Sale

1. Bury St. Joseph in Your Yard!

Once you have purchased your St. Joseph home sale kit (which can be found at religious stores or online), it is time to bury him in the yard of the home you are selling. The most common method is to place him in a protective covering (i.e. cloth or bag) and bury him upside down in your front yard. He should be facing your home. This placement is believed to have the most assurance that St. Joseph will work hard to help sell your home. If you live in a condo or do not have a large front yard, you can bury St. Joseph in a flower pot near your front door.


2. Say A Prayer to St. Joseph!

Whether or not you are a practicing Catholic, part of the St. Joseph tradition is saying a prayer for his help with your home sale. The majority of St. Joseph home sale kits include a prayer card so you will know exactly what to say.


3. Thank St. Joseph When You Get an Offer!

Congrats! You have closed on your home. Now is the time to show your graditude to St. Joseph. Dig him up from your yard (or flower pot) and bring him with you to your new home. Put him somewhere in a place of honor in the new space to remind you of this new chapter in your life.


We would like to thank St. Joseph for his assistance in helping home sellers throughout the years! Ensure home selling success by working with the Top Realtor Mason City IA and St. Joseph! We will help you sell your home for top dollar and quickly this spring! Give our experienced Team a call today at 641-425-4900 or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.

Sealing the Deal During the Closing Process

by Jane Fischer and Associates

MAY: The Best Month to Sell Your North Iowa Home!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

 

Looking for the best time to sell your North Iowa home? Well the time is now! This study by ATTOM Data Solutions found that May and June are the optimal times nationwide to sell you home. These two months see a net average of 5.9% and 5.8% above market value, respectivally, for sellers! Although the data was for homes nationwide, the breakdown by states showed that May is the best month for sellers within Iowa. Set yourself up for getting the best price on your home and selling it within an average of 30 days (according to the National Association of Realtors) when you list in May!

 

 

Work with the Top Realtor Mason City IA to learn about the market conditions in North Iowa and help you find buyers that would love your home! We will help sell your home quickly and for top dollar this May! Give our experienced Team a call today at 641-425-4900 or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.


10 Reasons to Work with a Real Estate Agent!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

In today’s blog post, we are going to discuss the top reasons why you should hire a real estate agent. 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.

 


We hope this blog gave you a some helpful information on why you should work with a realtor! 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/.

 

Steps to Crafting an Winning Offer!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

In today’s blog post, we are going to discuss the steps in crafting an offer. The most important part of the home Buying process is crafting your offer. Being prepared for this process and well informed can help ensure that the dream home you find will be yours. Since this is the most technical part of buying, working with the Top Realtor Mason City IA can help ease your stress and help you get the best deal possible. Here is our step to step guide to offers for you to make a successful bid on your future home in Mason City IA!


1. Determine your limits. This includes your financial and lifestyle limits (i.e. your must haves). Once you know your limits, you can work with your agent on crafting an offer that is best for you.


2. Understand the documentation. Do some research ahead of time on offer forms so that you can understand the terminology. Ask your realtor to see some of the forms and ask any questions that you might have.


3. Set your price. The listing price is what the seller is opening the negotiation with. It is now your turn to provide an offer price. Work with your realtor to determine whether the asking price is fair based on comparable properties, how long it has been on the market, and other related factors. You want to make sure that you provide an offer price that is comfortably within your range and will also be attractive to the seller.


4. Prepare for your down payment. You should have a clear understanding of your finances before putting in an offer for the home. In order to get your mortgage, you will need to put in a down payment. While 20% is the standard for conventional loans, there are other options out there. Work with your lender to determine the option that work best with your finances.

 

5. Make an EMD. Consider making an earnest money deposit to show the seller you are serious about buying the home. Doing this can help you stand apart if the seller has received other offers. If the deal goes through, the money from the EMD will be applied to your down payment during closing.

 

6. Review contingencies. As a buyer, contingencies are especially important in protecting your investment. There are several contingencies that you might find within an offer, including home inspection, financing, appraisal, clear title, and home sale. Talk to your realtor about which ones need to be included. If there is a lot of competition for the home you are interested in, you might want to only include those contingencies you must have as to not scare the seller away.

 

7. Read all the details. It is important that you read every single detail, including the fine print, of a sales contract to avoid any surprises. Along with the obvious information included in these contracts, there is a property description section where the seller will specificy what items are being left behind with the house.

 

8. Set your settlement date. When you submit your sales contract, you will provide the seller with a proposed settlement date. This is how much time you have to obtain mortgage approval and complete a title search. It also gives the seller time to find their next property and move. Be flexible when you set the closing date to keep both you and the seller happy.

 

9. Write a letter. Along with the legal documentation, consider including a personal letter to the seller. You can com[;oment them on their property and tell them why you personally have fallen in love with it. Adding a personal, emotional touch to your offer can really help set you apart.

 

10. Be ready for a counter offer. Most real estate deals require some negotiation so do not be surprised or discouraged if the seller counters your offer. The preparation you did ahead of time and your relationship with your realtor can help you navigate this process with confidence.



We hope this blog gave you a some helpful information on the steps of making an offer! 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/.

Photography Tips to Make Your Home Stand Out Online!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

In today’s blog post, we are going to discuss tips on photographing your home to sell. 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.

 


We hope this blog gave you a some helpful tips on photographing your home for online listings! If you are ready to sell your home, work with the Top Realtor Mason City IA! We can help you find sell your home for top dollar and quickly this spring! Give our experienced Team a call today at 641-425-4900 or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.

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Contact Information

Jane Fischer & Associates
Real Estate Consultants
1002 East State St., Suite B
Mason City IA 50401
Cell: 641-425-4900
Office: 641-424-HOME (4663)

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