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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 28

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

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/.


Great Summertime Home Improvement Projects

by Jane Fischer and Associates

In today’s blog post, we are going to discuss 7 home improvements you should make this summer. Summer just officially began. This gives you ample opportunities to take advantage of the beautiful weather and make some great updates and improvements to your Mason City IA home that will allow you to get the most out of your summer and increase the value of your home! Here are 7 prime home improvement projects to complete this summer.

1. Start a Vegetable Garden

Fall produce is delicious! Continue to put healthy, fresh food on your kitchen table by starting a garden with plants that thrive in cooler weather. We recommend beets, cabbage, carrots, and kale.


2. Update Your Landscaping

Landscaping helps increase your home's value. Now is the perfect time to spruce up your yard so that it is looking its very best this fall and far into next year. You can choose to work on your landscaping yourself or hire a landscaping consultant or architect. Some landscaping centers offer free consultations, which is a great option if you need help coming up with initial ideas or knowing what would best accentuate your home's features. It can be easy to spruce up your landscaping on a budget. One great way to save some money? Mason City offers Free Mulch to residents!


3. Renovate Your Deck

Your wood deck requires yearly maintenance. Water and cold weather can lead to rot and cracking in the boards. Inspect the deck yourself or hire a professional inspector if you notice any problem areas. Spend the time and money to renovate your deck as necessary so you can continue to use it on those warmer fall days and to reduce the risk of further damage during the winter.


4. Buy New Patio Furnishings

End of season means great sales! As the weather cools, retailers will be looking to move their outdoor inventory quickly. Take advantage of huge savings on patio furnishings and lawn care equipment now.


5. Get Rid of Your Old Grill

Just like patio furnishings, grills will also be deeply discounted. Buy the grill you've always wanted so you can host those great fall football parties and be ready to barbecue all summer long next year.

6. Add an Outdoor Shower

Whether you want it for relaxation or to wash off after a hard day working outside, a great upgrade to your home can be the installation of an outdoor shower. Consider placement, sizing, materials, and plumbing as you think about adding this fun and convenient outdoor feature.


7. Install a Swimming Pool

We all know the summer months in North Iowa can get hot, hot, hot! Always dreamed of cooling off in your very own pool? The end of summer is the perfect time to install your dream pool. Get ready to have the best summer ever next year by adding a pool now. With soil that is easier to dig in, deals offered by pool builders, and less need to utilize your yard as the weather cools, take advantage of the end of summer by adding this ultimate upgrade.

We hope this blog gave you a some helpful home improvement ideas for the summer. If you are looking for more tips or need help Buying or Selling your North Iowa home, work with the Top Realtor Mason City IA! Give our experienced Team a call today at 641-425-4900 or visit 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/.

 

Here We Grow!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

 

Jane Fischer & Associates Team has moved! Come visit us at our new location at 1002 East State Street, Suite B, Mason City!

 

 Our team serves the entire Mason City Iowa real estate market, as well as the surrounding communities of Clear Lake, Rockwell, Rockford, North Springs and Osage areas. Let us help you with all of your real estate needs. Whether you are a Home Buyer or Home Seller, Jane Fischer & Associates is committed to helping you achieve all of your real estate goals! Come see us today!

Clear Lake: Iowa's Charming Beach Town!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

There is no better place to beat the summer heat than the beach! Think that living in Iowa means that a beach is out of your reach? Guess again!! The beautiful North Iowa community of CLEAR LAKE is the state’s BEST “Beach” Town!


This carefree, laid back lake town is home to around 7,000 people. Despite its small size, it is filled with so much to do on and around the beautiful beaches and crystal blue waters of Clear Lake! You will find charm and nostalgia in abundance in this close knit, active community.


--Take a stroll down Main Street to find unique gift shops, antique stores, and entertainment venues.

--Head to City Park (Main Avenue) for a paddlewheel cruise, delicious sweet corn, and live music by the municipal band on the weekends.

--Explore the great outdoors and go fishing at McIntosh Woods State Park (1200 East Lake Street, Ventura).

--Lounge on the beach and splash around at Clear Lake State Park (2730 South Lakeview Drive).

--Grab a delicious bite to eat with incredible views of the lake at one of the great local dining spots, such as The Anchor Inn (468 North Shore Drive) or The Landing Patio Bar & Grill (1603 South Shore Drive).

--Dance the night away to live music at the historic Surf Ballroom (460 North Shore Drive).

--Enjoy family fun community events that occur throughout the year, including Thursdays On Main and Lakeside DixieFest. These events often have no admission cost and provide residents with the opportunity to celebrate their community and spend time with family, friends, and neighbors.


Don’t just visit Clear Lake! Make it your home! Whether you are looking for your permanent residence or a great second home for your family, there are so many options in Clear Lake. Check out the incredible Homes for Sale Clear Lake IA where you can find stunning lakefront homes and more! Give the Jane Fischer and Associates Team a call today or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.  



Content and Image Credit: Only In Your State

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/.

 

 

Sealing the Deal During the Closing Process

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Iowa: A Top State for Millennials

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Millennials, those individuals born between 1981 and 1997, are one of the largest generations in this country. They make up 21 percent of all discretionary consumer spending and are quickly making up the fast share of homebuyers throughout the United States. Despite their enormous economic and social influence, life for millennials is not the same across the country. Some states offer a more livable environment to this important generation than others. After ranking the 50 states and Washington DC to see where this generation has thrived, Iowa claimed the #5 spot as Best State for Millennials!

 

 To determine their rankings, WalletHub compared all the states using 5 key dimensions: Affordability, Education & Health, Quality of Life, Economic Health, and Civic Engagement. There were 30 relevant metrics within these 5 key dimensions and each was given a particular weight in order to calculate the overall score and ranking for each state.


So, how did #5 Iowa stack up?

Not only was Iowa ranked #5 overall but it also received these high marks:

#1 Lowest Housing Costs for Millennials

#4 Lowest Millennial Unemployment Rate

#5 Lowest Percentage of Millennials Living with Parents

Iowa is the perfect place for millennials to call home! And, where better to live within the state than Mason City and the North Iowa region. With great recreational facilities, fun community events, a multitude of entertainment, shopping, and dining options, strong economic market, and so much more, this area has much to offer millennials looking for a place to call home.


If you are interested in Buying your first home in the Mason City IA area, check out our current Homes for Sale. Give Jane Fischer and Associates a call today or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 28

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

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