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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!

 

 

Like and Follow-us on Facebook for more great tips and new homes to the market.


Out of the Darkness Mason City Walk

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Walk to Fight Suicide in Mason City. Participate in the Out of the Darkness Community Walk for Suicide Prevention this Saturday, October 6th, at the Southbridge Mall (100 South Federal Avenue). Hosted by the Iowa Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Chapter, this 12 annual event raises awareness and funds for the work of the AFSP, including advocacy, support, education, research, and more.



Register for this important event HERE! Online registration will close tomorrow (Friday) at noon but walk-ins are welcome the day of the event. The walk takes place from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, with check-in/registration beginning at 9:00 am.

 

 

The event has raised $11,250+ so far! Help the AFSP reach their $25,000 goal by registering and fundraising today!

 

 

Join those teams from your community in reducing the stigma and helping support everyone that has been affected by suicide. Together we can make a difference through great community events like these!

Clear Lake's Harvest Festival 2018!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

 

Get in the spirit of Fall at Clear Lake‘s 14th annual Harvest Festival!! Head to beautiful Main Avenue on Saturday, October 6th, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, for a day of autumnal fun and festivities! This favorite street festival features something for everyone! Enjoy delicious beer and wine samplings at 10+ locations throughout downtown. Do some seasonal shopping at one of the numerous downtown stores and special vendors that will be set up along the avenue for the day. Learn something new during the interesting seminars and artist demonstrations. Participate in or watch the fun contests, including the pumpkin roll relay, homemade salsa contest, grape stomp competition, and waiter race. Stroll through the expanded farmer’s market to pick up some fresh produce. Dance the day away to fantastic live music.

And, So Much More!!!


 

Purchase the Harvest Festival Tasting Pass ($35) HERE. Ticket price includes a souvenir glass, wine themed gift, coupon packet, and treats from Cookies, etc. and Cabin Coffee.

 


For the first time ever, start of your Harvest Festival with the Champagne 5K Fun Run/Walk! Toast the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce’s 75th Anniversary with this inaugural race! Enjoy a fantastic run/walk along South Shore and finish off the race with some bubbly! Run/Walk starts at 9:00 am on Saturday. The cost to participate is $30. Register online HERE until 5:00 pm on Friday, October 5th.




Jane Fischer and Associates Team wishes everyone a very happy Fall weekend in Clear Lake!  



Image Credit: Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce

2018 North Iowa Studio Tour this Weekend!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Explore North Iowa in a colorful new way during the 2018 North Iowa Studio Tour!! This fun, inspiring, and beautiful event allows visitors the rare opportunity to get up close and personal with 20 North Iowa artists as they showcase their artistic talents. Visitors can tour the studios, see the creative process in action, ask questions, and purchase original works of art. The tour covers 13 different studios that are located throughout Clear Lake, Mason City, Sheffeld, and Ventura! Be sure to spend your weekend getting artsy at the 2018 North Iowa Studio Tour!

 

 

Dates & Times

Friday, September 28th | 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Saturday, September 29th | 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Sunday, September 30th | 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

 

 

Locations

Sandra Quintus, Fine Art

3415 260th Street, Ventura

--Sandra Quintus, Fine Art


Images Photography

606 Buddy Holly Place, Clear Lake

--Craig Kienast, Photography


Metamorphosis

2202 16th Avenue North, Clear Lake

--Chris White, Fused Glass & Mosiacs

--Brenda Neshelm-Fuller & Tim Fuller, Jewelry


Edge to Edge Poster Art

518 3rd Street Northwest, Mason City

--Jesse Fox, Paintings


Richard Leet Studio (Saturday Only)

Brick and Tile Building, Suite 425

103 East State Street, Mason City

--Richard Leet, Paintings


David Lee Jeweler

202 2nd Street Southeast, Mason City

--David Lee, Jewelry


Tonja J Fine Arts

502 South Jersey Avenue, Mason City (Entrance in back)

--Tonja Ihienfeldt, Mixed Media


Hand Built By Marg

69 River Heights Drive, Mason City

--Marg Richards, Pottery


Pottery & Painting

68 River Heights Drive, Mason City

--Pam Bergo Coffey, Pottery & Painting

--Gloria Beeman, Fused Glass

--Gretchen King, Enamel Jewelry


Old Oaks Pottery

16125 310th Street, Mason City

--JoAnne Willemsen, Pottery

--Becky Kyhl, Silk Artist


Kostka Artistry

1425 Plymouth Road, Mason City (Backyard)

--Jan Kostka, Painting


Mudworks by Peggy Cornick

205 Red Fox Court, Mason City

--Peggy Cornick, Pottery


Bill Mateer Pottery

11976 110th Street, Sheffield

--Bill Mateer, Pottery

--Margie Kline, Pottery

--Meagan Steinberg, Glass Jewelry

--Linda Sorensen, Fiber


How to Craft Your Offer!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

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 comment 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.



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/.

 

Friday Fun in Mason City!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

September 22nd is the official last day of summer. Have one last hurrah in beautiful Mason City to celebrate this fun season! Check out the fun events planned this Friday in downtown Mason City to end your summer on a high note!

 

15th Annual Ethnic Lunch

Date: Friday, September 21st

Time: 11:00 am - 1:30 pm

Location: Federal Avenue (East Side of Central Park)

Enjoy delicious ethnic food, interesting cultural exhibits, fun live music by Cucho Madero, remarkable diversity awards, geneaology information, and so much more!


Menu from Participating Vendors & Non-Profits:

  • Bethlehem Lutheran - Brats, Hot Potato Salad, Runzas, Apple Dumplings, Baked Goods (German Cuisine)

  • Columbia Club - Beef Tacos, Taco Salad, Fried Ice Cream Sundaes (Mexican Cuisine)

  • Filipino Foodie - Meat on a Stick, Egg Rolls, Fried Rice, Rice Noodles (Filipino Cuisine)

  • Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa - Water & Soda

  • Mr. Taco - Specialty Tacos, Enchiladas, Burritos, Quesadillas (Mexican Cuisine)

  • Ruth Anne’s Home Baked - Ethnic Breads & Pastries

  • St. John’s Episcopal Church - Bangers & Mash, Scones (English Cuisine)

  • State Street Deli - Roast Beef Sandwich (Italian Cuisine)

  • Suzie Q - Philly Cheese Steak, Gyros (Greek Cuisine)

  • Trinity Lutheran Church - Meatballs, Almond Bars (Norweigan Cuisine)

 

Friday Night Live

Date: Friday, September 15th

Time: 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Location: Central Park

Cost: FREE admission!

Enjoy live music by Mason City favorite’s The Chocolate Crackers. Check out all the food from your favorite local vendors, as well as great family activities, including inflatables, Imagination Playground, obstacle course, and more!

 

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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.