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How to Care for Your North Iowa Home After A Snowstorm!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

As lovely as a white Christmas can be, snow and wintery elements can cause damage to your home. Be sure to properly take care of your home after snow storms. Follow these tips for winter home care to keep your North Iowa home in its best shape now and next year!

Concrete takes a beating in the winter. Ice and snow can cause cracks. Be sure to clear off your Driveway and Walkways as soon as possible after a snowfall. Take care of those slippery spots with eco-friendly gravel or salt. Once your driveway and walkways are clear, check for any damage that you might need to take care of this spring.  

The weight of snow can cause Dead Branches to fall from trees. If any of these branches are large and hang over an area of your home, they can cause serious damage when they break off. Go around your home to look for any potential issues and cut away the dead branches that you find.

Your Roof can crack under large accumulations of snow. Cracks in the roof can lead to more serious water damage in your home. Inspect your roof for areas with heavy snow accumulation. Safely remove some of the snow. Be sure to check inside your home for any signs that damage has already occurred and hire a professional to fix the problem if necessary.  

Ice and snow up against your home can cause moisture to enter the Foundation. Make sure you shovel all the way around the base of your home. Go inside and check for cracks in the foundation where moisture might have entered.

 

 

Cold temperatures can cause Pipes to burst. A burst pipe leads to expensive water damage if your home floods. Until spring, make sure that you keep the temperature at at least 55 degrees throughout your home. Check your pipes to see if any feel cold to the touch and add insulation to keep them warm.

 

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Buying And Selling Tips For Today And Into The New Year!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Close out 2018 or kick start 2019 by entering the housing market! Whether you are looking to buy or sell your Mason City IA home this time of year, there are a couple of things you should do to prepare. Follow these 5 Tips for Home Buyers and 5 Tips for Home Sellers!

 

Buyers Tips

  1. Stay flexible. Use our Wants vs. Needs Checklist to help you determine what amenities and features you must have in your new home and what you are willing to sacrifice. Homes are going to move fast so it is best to focus on the essentials. Always have a Plan B and prepare yourself for potential deals that fall through.

  2. Budget realistically. Set your budget ahead of time and stick with it. Examine your own individual finances and how you spend your money in order to determine what you can actually afford. This will assist you before you meet with a lender and will also help you narrow your home search down to just those properties within your budgeted range.

  3. Set up financing early. Use our handy Loan Analysis Tool to help you start looking for available loans. Meet with several different lenders ahead of time so that you can receive competitive offers and find the best mortgage for you. Getting pre-approval for a loan before starting your search can help you stand out from the other buyers in the market since it shows sellers that you are serious and financially ready to buy.

  4. Work with a top agent. A real estate agent with a winning record can greatly help you throughout the home buying process. They are experts in the local market and well versed in negotiation skills. For your North Iowa home buying needs, work with Jane Fischer & Associates Real Estate Consultants. For 20+ years, we have dedicated ourselves to helping buyers find and move into their dream homes throughout our beautiful communities.

  5. Keep communication open. Your realtor is your main ally throughout the buying process. Stay in frequent communication with them throughout the process. Let them know whether you prefer to be contacted by phone or email so that communication lines stay open.

Sellers Tips

  1. Start today. Find out Your Home's Value so that you can price it correctly for the market. And, then prep your house for selling! Make sure you put the necessary time into your home in order to sell it quickly and for top dollar once it is listed.

  2. Work with Experienced Agent. Although you might want to sell your home on your own, research has shown that sellers receive more money and sell their home quicker by working with a realtor from the very beginning of the selling process.

  3. Think about your online presence. Most home buyers start their home search online. Help insure that your home stands apart from the competition by having a strong online listing. Talk to your realtor about video or drone footage as well as professional photos in order to determine what is the best course of action for your listing.

  4. Consider home improvements. While the thought of putting more money into the home you are leaving might seem silly, sellers usually receive higher than list value prices by making improvements before selling. There are many improvements that can be a worthwhile and offer you a great return on investment. Sign up for our Total Access for some great improvement ideas.

  5. Try, try again. There might not be as many buyers during the fall. Do not get discouraged if your home sits on the market for a few weeks or a deal falls through. Continue to work with your realtor to figure out the best option for you to be successful this season.

If you are ready to enter the housing market this season, 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 and/or help sell your home for top dollar! Give our experienced Team a call today at 641-425-4900 or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.

Follow Your Ears to TubaChristmas!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Follow Your Ears to Mason City's Southbridge Mall (100 South Federal Avenue) this Saturday, December 8th, for some festive fun and holiday good cheer!


 

It's time for the 33rd annual North Iowa TubaChristmas concert in the mall’s Center Court at 1:00 pm! TubaChristmas is a live musical performance of everyone’s favorite Christmas carols by local tuba, baritone, euphonium, and sousaphone players. Beginning in 1974 in New York City, TubaChristmas concerts are now held every year throughout the country and around the world. North Iowa is proud to boost one of the largest such concerts in the nation! Enjoy a rousing performance of the greatest Christmas tunes by 100 local musicians!


 

Are you a musician? Come participate in TubaChristmas! Tuba, baritone, euphonium, and sousaphone players of ALL ages are welcome. Head to the Mason City High School band room on Saturday morning at 10:00 am for registration. Rehearsal will begin at 10:30 am. Musicians should bring their own instruments, Santa hat, and music stand. Be sure to decorate your instrument for the holiday! Please contact Jeff Kirkpatrick at jkirkpatrick@osage.k12.ia.us or Bob Fisher at robert.fisher@alphamediausa.com with any questions!


 


Jane Fischer and Associates Team
wishes everyone a festive holiday season in Mason City and throughout North Iowa!  

 

Image Credit: Jake Rajewsky/Globe Gazette

Tis The Season For Holiday Cheer...and Selling!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

The holiday season is upon us. You and your family are busy wrapping presents and preparing for guests. Even though it might not seem like the ideal time, it is actually the perfect time to sell your Mason City home! Whether your home has been on the market for a while or you have been putting off listing it, now is the season to sell! Not convinced? Here are the top reasons why it is the season for holiday cheer AND home selling!


1. Less Homes On The Market!

The majority of sellers will take their homes off the market during the holiday season. This means less competition in the market. With fewer listings, your home is more likely to rise to the top when buyers search for properties.

2. Closing Moves Quicker!

When the housing market heats up in the spring, lenders get busy. That means buyers have to wait longer for their loans to be processed and approved. The slow down in December means lenders can move the process along faster which means faster closing on your deal!

3. Time To Make Adjustments!

At this point of the year, it's possible that your home has been sitting on the market for a while. With everything slowed down, this season affords you the time to leave your listing up while you make adjustments for the home to be more attractive to buyers. This could mean improvements to your home or changing your listing price.

4. Festive Ambiance!

Is your home ever as cozy as it is during the holiday season? The fireplace is going, the smell of homebaked goods fills the air, and your rooms are filled with beautiful greenery. Important elements of staging are already done for you, creating a homey feel for all buyers who enter. To be as effective as possible, limit how many decorations, especially personal ones, you use while your home is on the market. You want to showcase the features of your home without excess clutter and give buyers the opportunity to envision themselves within the home.

5. Serious Buyers!

Any buyer that is still looking during the holiday season is serious about buying! Either they are still looking for that home that meets everything on their wish list and/or they need to buy fast. These buyers will be highly motivated which means an easier negotiation process for you as a seller.

6. Families Have A Limited Time Frame!

This reason goes hand in hand with the previous ones. Buyers with children utilize breaks from school to find the perfect home. This includes the winter break. These buyers will want to settled in their new home before school resumes in the fall so it is the perfect time to show off yours!



Ready to Sell Your North Iowa Home This Holiday Season, give Jane Fischer & Associates a call today or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.



Information Source: Realtor.com®

Find The Perfect Home For You And Your Little Ones!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Are you a home buyers 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.



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/.


 

Celebrate Christmas By The Lake!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Do you hear those jingle bells getting closer?! It is almost time for Christmas by the Lake! One of the holiday highlights in North Iowa, Christmas by the Lake in beautiful Clear Lake offers two days of festive fun for the whole family! Do not miss out on any of the fun! Find the full schedule below and enjoy a weekend of yuletide cheer!

 

Saturday, December 1st

  • 8:30 am | Cookie Walk/Coffee/Cinnamon Rolls | United Methodist Church

  • 9:00 am - 4:00 pm | Holiday Bazaar | Senior Citizens Center

  • 10:30 am & 11:30 am | Storytime & Crafts for Children (Ages 3-6) | Public Library

  • 11:00 am | Crowning of Christmas Prince & Princess | Clear Lake Bank & Trust

  • 11:00 am | Free Movie Screening | Lake Theatre

  • 11:00 am - 1:30 pm | Soup/Sandwich Lunch | United Methodist Church

  • 11:00 am - 3:00 pm | Simply Nourished European-Style Outdoor Market | North 3rd Street

  • 11:00 am - 4:00 pm | Indoor Nativity Scene Displays | CL Regular Baptist Church

  • 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm | Children’s Petting Zoo & Pony Rides | City Park

  • 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm | S’Mores & Christmas Karaoke | 400 Block of Main

  • 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm | Visit with Santa | City Park

  • 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm | Free Main Street Trolley Rides

  • 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm | Santa’s Workshop Festival | Clear Lake Arts Center

  • 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm | Free Horse Drawn Sleigh & Carriage Rides | Wilcox Furniture & Ge-Jo’s

  • 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm | Strolling Dicken’s Characters

  • 5:00 pm | Lighted Christmas by the Lake Parade & Fireworks Finale

  • 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm | Visit with Santa | City Park

  • 7:00 pm | Ronnie Milsap | Surf Ballroom

 

Sunday, December 2nd

  • 11:00 am | Free Movie Screening | Lake Theatre

  • 12:30 pm | Polar Bear Dip | City Beach

  • 1:00 pm | Treasure Hunt | Lakeview Room

  • 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm | Visit with Santa | City Park

  • 2:00 pm | Messiah Sing with a Concert by NordKor Children’s Choir | United Methodist Church

 

 

Jane Fischer and Associates Team wishes everyone a very merry time at Christmas by the Lake!

 

 

 

Image Credit: Clear Lake, Iowa


 

Tips To Help You Become A Great Home Buyer!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Deciding to buy a new home is an exciting venture! And, there is no better place to buy than in North Iowa! 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!


 

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/.

 

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Your favorite North Iowa holiday tradition is here!  It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas opens this weekend!!!!  Head to beautiful Music Man Square to enjoy the holiday spirit with family, friends, and neighbors. Marvel at the spectacular window displays and decor as you as transported back to Christmas in 1912! Celebrate the holiday classic “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas, composed by Mason City native Meredith Wilson. The stunning holiday display is open to the public Saturday, November 17th, through Christmas. It will be open Tuesdays through Sundays from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children.


Celebrate the opening of this grand display at Holiday Premier of It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas this Friday, November 16th. From 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, get access to the festive wonderland in Music Man Square early. Enjoy holiday entertianment, delicious cuisine from Hy-Vee East, a live and silent auction, and so much more. Call (641)424-2852 for ticket information.


Also, be sure to stop by Music Man Square every Sunday in December to have your photo taken with Santa!


Jane Fischer & Associates cannot wait to see you all for a jolly good time this holiday season in Music Man Square!




Image Credit: Visit Mason City


Getting Your Home Ready for Thanksgiving Guests!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Not only will you be filling your bellies with an incredible feast this Thanksgiving but you will also be filling your house with holiday guests! Get your home ready for all your friends and family now so you do not need to stress next week! Prepare your Mason City house and keep your guests comfortable throughout Thanksgiving by following these simple steps!

1. Let there be light!

You might be able to navigate your house in the dark but your guests cannot! Make sure to provide them with ample lighting during the night so they can safely walk to the areas they need to reach. Add nightlights to hallways, bedrooms, and bathrooms. Make sure that all outdoor lights are working properly.

2. Clear the clutter!

Ensure ample space for your guests by removing any unnecessary clutter. Place these items in closets and storage so they are out of the way. Clear off tables and counter tops.

3. Create a great first impression!

The foyer is the very first impression your guests will have. Make it welcoming! Also ensure it is functional for your guests. Clear out your personal items so guests have an easy spot to place their coats and shoes.

4. Prep your kitchen!

Your kitchen is going to see a lot of action on Thursday. Make sure that you have all the essential items you need easily accessible. Create a comforable spot for guests to hang out in the kitchen and keep you company while you prepare your food!

5. Make it cozy!

Create a relaxing spot for guests to get some rest. Ensure that all guests have ample bedding to stay warm at night. Consider adding a ceiling fan to your guest bedroom so your guests can control their own temperature.

6. Stock your bathroom!

Keep you bathroom fully stocked with toilet paper, toiletries, and towels. Have all these items easily accessible so guests can find them when they need them!


Jane Fischer & Associates wishes everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!  

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/.

 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 102

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

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