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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/.


 

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!  

Where To Vote On Election Day!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Tomorrow (November 6th) is Election Day! Regardless of what political party you belong to, it is important to exercise your right as an American citizen and head to the polls! Polls in Iowa will be open tomorrow 7:00 am until 9:00 pm.

Looking for your local polling place? Here is a list of all polling places for the North Iowa area:

 

  • Clear Lake Ward 1 | Zion Lutheran Church (112 North 4th Street, Clear Lake)
  • Clear Lake Ward 2 | Clear Lake City Hall (15 North 6th Street, Clear Lake)
  • Clear Lake Ward 3 | Church of Christ 2010 (14th Avenue North, Clear Lake)
  • Clear Lake/Grant/Union Townships Precinct | Ventura Community Center (4 North Weimer, Ventura)
  • Falls Township - Plymouth Precinct | Plymouth City Hall (616 Broad Street, Plymouth) Falls Township - Rock Falls Precinct | Rock Falls Community Center (3 South Nottingham, Rock Falls)
  • Geneseo Township Precinct | Rockwell Community Center (114 3rd Street North, Rockwell)
  • Grimes Township - Meservey Precinct | Meservey Fire Station (428 1st Street, Meservey) 
  • Grimes Township - Thornton Precinct | Thornton City Hall (404 Main Street, Thornton) Lake/Lincoln Townships Precinct | Area Education Agency (9184-B 265th Street, Clear Lake)
  • Lime Creek/Mason North Township Precinct | Lime Creek Nature Center (3501 Lime Creek Road, Mason City)
  • Mason City Ward 1 Precinct 1 | Trinity Church (213 North Pennsylvania Avenue, Mason City)
  • Mason City Ward 1 Precinct 2 | Highland Golf Course Club House (944 17th Street Northeast, Mason City)
  • Mason City Ward 1 Precinct 3 | Grace Evangelical Free Church (440 North Illinois Avenue, Mason City)
  • Mason City Ward 2 Precinct 1 | Cerro Gordo Courthouse Boardroom (220 North Washington Avenue, Mason City)
  • Mason City Ward 2 Precinct 2 | First Presbyterian Church (100 South Pierce Avenue, Mason City) 
  • Mason City Ward 2 Precinct 3 | Grace United Methodist Church (200 14th Street Northwest, Mason City)
  • Mason City Ward 3 Precinct 1 | Masonic Temple (304 1st Street Southeast, Mason City) 
  • Mason City Ward 3 Precinct 2 | Mason City School Administration Building (1515 South Pennsylvania Avenue, Mason City)
  • Mason City Ward 3 Precinct 3 | First Covenant Church (411 South Ohio Avenue, Mason City) 
  • Mason City Ward 4 Precinct 1 | NIACOG Building (525 6th Street Southwest, Mason City)
  • Mason City Ward 4 Precinct 2 | Rolling Acres CR Church (341 19th Southwest, Mason City) 
  • Mason City Ward 4 Precinct 3 | Columbia Club (551 South Taft Avenue, Mason City)
  • Mason South/Bath Township Precinct | Cerro Gordo County Engineer’s Office (2716 South Federal Avenue, Mason City)
  • Mt. Vernon/Pleasant Valley Townships Precinct | Swaledale City Hall (402 Main Street, Swaledale) 
  • Portland/Owen/Dougherty Townships Precinct | Hanford Community Church (12411 Spruce Avenue, Mason City)

 

 

To find your exact polling place, click HERE! Make sure to bring a valid form of identification.

 

We look forward to seeing everyone in North Iowa at the polls! Happy Election Day!


 

Easy Breezy Tips for Selling or Buying Your Home!

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 before the end of the 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 this year? Give Jane Fischer & Associates Team a call today or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.

 

Moving to North Iowa? Help is Here!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Congrats! You just received a job offer in North Iowa! It is time to move! Starting a new job and finding a new home at the same time can be a difficult process. Loan approval is dependent on proof that you can afford the mortgage. Your income and employment history are the best indicators of what you can afford. Although this can be a stressful time, it is possible to do both at once! Here is some important information to know about relocating.


 

What should I know before getting a mortgage?

Promotions are positive financial moves. If you are earning better pay or benefits or moving to a similar position at a new job, you should be able to Obtain a Mortgage with no problem. Be prepared to share your offer letter, with salary confirmation, to your lender. They will need to verify that you have been in the position for at least 30 days to determine what you can afford for the mortgage. It is important to note that if your position is commissioned based, these earnings are often excluded from loan amounts as they are difficult to prove in a new role.

How do I obtain a mortgage with new employment?

As long as your new position makes financial sense, obtaining a mortgage should not be difficult. The lender will want to see your employment history. Frequent job changes or large gaps in employment can be red flags for lenders. Have all of your past employment information available for your lender.

How can I get a home loan when relocating?

It is always in your best interest to secure your living arrangement before you move. Consider renting in the new location for at least 30 days in order to provide the lender with time to verify your new position. This gives you time to provide your first pay stub as well as get to know the community you are living in to find the perfect neighborhood for you. However, if you are not interested in renting, you can take the plunge into home ownership right away. Recognize that buying a new home and selling your old home takes time. Determine whether you can afford two mortgages at once in the case your old home does not sell right away. Find out what you can afford by using our Home Loan Finder tool.

 

What are Relocation Packages?

Many companies can help with your relocation process. They can offer a wide variety of options. These range from covering moving costs to assisting with down payments or closing costs to Guaranteed Buy Outs (when the company purchases your old home at its appraised value when it doesn't sell within a particular timeframe) or more. Find out what your new company offers to see what sort of assistance they might be able to provide. Any relocation package can significantly help you obtain a mortgage in your new location.


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/.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 62

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

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