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Top Valentine's Day Dining Spots in North Iowa!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Valentine’s Day is almost here! What better way to show your sweetheart how much you love them than with a romantic dinner for two! Luckily for you, there are many incredible dining options for you in beautiful North Iowa! We compiled a list of our top choices for Valentine's Day dinner in Mason City and Clear Lake to make planning your romantic evening even easier!


1910 Grille’ | 7 West State Street, Mason City | (641) 422-0015

--Enjoy a fine dining experience with upscale cuisine and tasty cocktails at this beautiful restaurant located within the last hotel that Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built.


GeJo's By The Lake | 12 North 3rd Street, Clear Lake | (641) 357-8288

--Look out over beautiful Clear Lake as you enjoy delicious, hearty Italian fare.


Prime N Wine | 3000 4th Street Southwest, Mason City | (641) 424-8153

--This spot might not offer the most intimate setting, but the large wine list, prime cuts of

meat, and delicious food make it a great spot for a special dinner.


The Anchor Inn | 468 North Shore Drive, Clear Lake | (641) 357-8688

--This Clear Lake staple might seem casual for a romantic dinner but the food never disappoints and the small town feel cannot be beat.


The Quarry & Tapas Bar | 10 South Federal Avenue, Mason City | (641) 421-0075

--This restaurant has incredible service and delicious menu offerings. While it’s full meals are equally delicious, it is a good spot for those that like to try a wide variety of items to share throughout their meal.



Jane Fischer & Associates wishes everyone a very Happy Valentine’s Day! Follow us on Facebook for more holiday ideas and community information throughout the year.

Keep Your Home Nice And Cozy During The Cold Winter!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

This winter has been brutally cold! Make sure your North Iowa home is keeping you nice and cozy during the last few months of the season! Increase your home's energy efficiency, save money on your heating bill, and protect your family during the frigid temperatures by following these 7 Easy Steps to Winterize Your Home!

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

 

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Understanding Home Buying Contingencies!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

During your search for a new home, you find that many have Contingent Offer statuses. It is important to understand what these are and whether or not you want to proceed with that particular property. Contingent offers are standard in real estate contracts. They mean that once an offer has been made by the buyer and accepted by the seller, the final sale is contingent upon a set of criteria. There are 3 major contingencies you will find: Home Inspection, Appraisal, and Mortgage. These contingencies allow the buyer to back out of the sale within a certain amount of time and regain their deposit if something goes wrong.


 

HOME INSPECTION CONTINGENCY

The one contingency that you almost always want to have is the home inspection contingency. This gives the buyer the right to have the home professionally inspected before the deal is finalized. A good inspection will find anything wrong with the house. When an issue is found, the buyer can ask the seller to fix it or back out of the sale.

 

APPRAISAL CONTINGENCY

The appraisal contingency means that the lender will hire a third party to evaluate the fair market value of the home. If the appraised value comes in less than the sale price, the buyer can back out of the deal. This helps protect the buyer from overpaying for a home. Here is an example. A home is selling for $250,000. Your loan covers 90% and you need to put down 10% upfront. The home is appraised for $215,000. The loan will now be for $193,500, covering 90% of the appraised value. This means instead of paying a down payment of $25,000 you now are expected to pay $56,500. If the seller will not lower the price based on the appraised value, the buyer can walk away and get their deposit back. In a market with a lot of competition, buyers might want to waive this contingency to be more appealing to the seller. However, realize that waiving this can be a risky move. You can always ask for a second appraisal and present the lender with evidence as to why the home is worth more. This might enable you to secure a loan for the full amount.

 

MORTGAGE CONTINGENCY

The mortgage contingency protects both the buyer and seller by ensuring that the proper finances are in place before getting into a sale. This contingency gives the buyer a certain period of time to obtain a loan that covers the mortgage. If a loan cannot be secured, the buyer can exit the sale with their deposit. This contingency can be easily avoided by knowing that you qualify as soon as you start the home buying process. Use our Loan Analysis tool to help find out what you can afford.

 

Still have 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/.


Craft A Winning Offer Like A Real Estate Pro!

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/.

January is Radon Action Month!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

 

 

Keep your family safe in your North Iowa home during National Radon Action Month. Check out all of the EPA’s helpful information and home owner resources regarding radon HERE. For information related specifically for our state, including help finding certified radon mitigation professionals, use these links:

 

 

 

Find more great home safety and home improvement tips on our Website or by following us on Facebook!

How To Find The Perfect Neighborhood For You!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

While the house itself is clearly the most important aspect of the buying process, it is important to remember that you are buying more than just the physical property. You are also “buying” its location! You want to invest in a neighborhood you want to call home. 

 

Clear Lake, Mason City, and the other communities of North Iowa are filled with unique neighborhoods that are sure to fit your particular needs. Unsure how to find the right one for you and your family? These are the important factors when choosing your perfect neighborhood!

 

 

 

1. Home Value: The value of the property is important to understand in terms of what you are paying for right now, but also how the value might change in the future. Make sure you are getting the most for your invest by checking the comps for similar properties within the neighborhood to ensure the home you are interested in is correctly priced. 

 

2. Taxes: Along with your other housing payments, you need to think about and budget for property taxes. You can find out the taxes for the homes you are looking at by checking their listing information. 

 

3. Local Schools: Whether you have children or not, local schools should be a factor you consider. Strong schools have a positive effect on property values, helping increase your profitability were you to ever sell the home in the future. If you have children, living near the best schools possible helps to give them the strongest education you possibily can. Along with schools, also consider if there are any parks or community centers nearby as these can also add value. 

 

4. Crime & Safety: We all want to feel safe and secure at home and in our neighborhood. Check out the crime rates for particular neighborhoods on safety websites, such as City-Data and CrimeReports™. When you do your searches, be sure to include those neighborhoods that surround the one you are considering moving to as well. After you gather the information, you can decide if you are comfortable with the safety of the area. 

 

5. Geography & Topography: Geographic or topographic features can come at an additional cost. Is it important to you to live in a waterfront property or on a hillside? Determine what sort of outdoor features are important to you so you can narrow in on the neighborhoods that offer them. While you do this, be sure to consider the insurance needs that might come along with the particular geography/topography of those neighborhoods. 

 

 

 

Want to learn more about a particular North Iowa neighborhood or interested in Buying a home? Give Jane Fischer & Associates a call today or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.

 

Why You Should Retire To North Iowa in 2019!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

After spending your years dedicated to your career, you are ready to retire. Congrats! This is such an exciting life step. Now that you will have time to spare, you want to live in a community that offers plenty to do along with all of the amenities and facilities that you could possibly need. Look no further than North Iowa!! Although our area might not be recognized as a top retirement destination, it truly is the perfect place to find a home and enjoy your retired life! Still don't believe us?! Check out all that the communities of Mason City, Clear Lake, and the surrounding towns have to offer!

 

Arts & Entertainment

Despite it's smaller size, the North Iowa area is filled with incredible cultural amenities. Whether you love live music, art, history, or anything else, you will find it in Mason City and Clear Lake. Mason City is home to a rich history. Find incredible Music Man sites to explore. Check out the incredible architectural sites designed by the incomparable Frank Lloyd Wright. Learn about the history of the region by stepping back in time at the Kinney Pioneer Museum (9184 265th Street, Clear Lake). Browse the impressive collection of American art, Bil Baird puppets, and more at the Charles H. MacNider Art Museum  (303 2nd Street Southeast, Mason City). Enjoy incredible live performances at the Mason City Community Theatre (215 South Delaware Avenue, Mason City) and North Iowa Performing Arts Series at the North Iowa Community Auditorium (500 College Drive,Mason City) throughout the year. Dance the night away to live music at the world famous Surf Ballroom (460 North Shore Drive, Clear Lake). If you are looking for a bit for excitement and adenaline, check out the great events at North Iowa Events Center (3700 4th Street Southwest) and Mason City Motor Speedway (3700 4th Street Southwest).

 

 

Recreation

North Iowa is filled with endless recreational spaces for you to enjoy and stay active in retirement. You will find diverse landscapes to explore, well maintained biking and walking paths, and so many ways to enjoy some recreational fun in the great outdoors. Mason City has beautiful Parks located throughout the city that offer a wide variety of amenities. Water lovers will love living in Clear Lake with its stunning, blue waters. Find some of the best fishing in all of Iowa and relax on the stunning beaches at City Beach Park. Explore nature and view wildlife at McIntosh Woods and Clear Lake State Park. Looking forward to spending your retirement on the green? There are so many golf courses in North Iowa. Highland Park Golf Course (944 17th Street Northeast, Mason City) and Pine Creek Golf Course (15566 317th Street, Mason City) are courses open to the public. The Mason City Country Club (3331 19th Street Southwest, Mason City) offers world class golf to its members as well as an amazing array of amenities.

 

Amenities

North Iowa offers all of the amenities and facilities you could possibly need. Find everything for yourself and your home at the many Shopping facilities. Grab a delicious bite to eat at the Restaurants in the region. Take advantage of the world class health care provided through Mercy Medical Center - North Iowa (1000 4th Street Southwest) and its affiliated clinics.

 


Ready to enjoy retired life in North Iowa this new year? 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/.

 

Buying And Selling Tips For The New Year!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

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


 

Selling Tips!

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



Buying Tips!

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



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

What To Expect For The New Year's Housing Market!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

A Very Happy Holidays From Our Team!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

 

 

The Christmas Season is our favorite time of year! With all of the incredibly festive events taking place throughout Mason City and Clear Lake, it is impossible not to be filled with good cheer and fall even more in love with living in this area. With Christmas here, we would to extend a very warm THANK YOU to all of our past and current clients for giving us the opportunity to assist you with all of your North Iowa real estate needs! It has truly been a joy to serve you this year!

 

We hope your North Iowa home is filled with laughter and love as you celebrate Christmas!

 

The new year often brings new goals. If real estate goals are on your 2019 list, our team is here to help you achieve them! Whether you are a Home Buyer or Home Seller, we can assist you every step of the way! Through our years of experience, we love sharing our knowledge of our communities and helping people find their dream home in our area. Work with North Iowa's best real estate team in 2019! Contact us today so we can help you in every way that we can. We look forward to meeting with you!



Jane Fischer & Associates Team Wishes You A Very Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year!


 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 68

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

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