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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!

 

Helpful Tips For Buying and Selling This Fall!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Fall might not be the most happening time on the real estate market but it can be a beneficial season for both buyers and sellers to get out there. 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. Take care of your housing needs before the busy holiday season by getting started today! Follow these 5 Tips for Home Buyers and 5 Tips for Home Sellers to have the most success this autumn season!

 

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/.

Time To Downsize? Help is Here!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Although you love your current Mason City IA home, it no longer fits your lifestyle needs. Whether all your children have moved out, you recently retired, or want to live a more sustainable lifestyle, there are multiple reasons why homeowners choose to downsize. You may be moving into a smaller space but there are large considerations that need to be had when you start thinking about this move.

 

Downsizing your North Iowa Home

Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering Downsizing


1. Does size matter? What will I miss about a larger home?

We often equate size with status...after all "bigger is better". Consider how much this matters to you and whether you can readjust this conventional thinking based on your new needs. Also consider what you like about your current home. Weigh out the features and amenities you enjoy about your current home with the benefits of owning a smaller home (i.e. less time spent cleaning).


2. How will a smaller home affect other life events?

Life can be unpredictable. Although your children might have moved out, you never know what circurmstances might arise that could cause them to need a place to stay for a while. Consider whether a smaller home can fit any potential situations that might occur now and into the future. Your new, small home should fit all of your emotional, financial, and physical needs.

 

3. What will the cost be for me?

Logically, a smaller home will cost you less than a larger one. However, you should consider the costs related to downsizing. Fewer rooms means less space for your stuff. There will be some costs accured for replacing furniture, since downsizing your home means also downsizing your furniture. Also, consider whether there are costs to getting rid of items and possessions that won't fit in the new space. Finally, make sure that the price you get for selling your current home will help cover the costs of buying a new home.

 

Finding the Right Home

If after asking yourself those questions above you know that downsizing is the right move for you, then you are ready to start searching for a home. There are many things to consider when downsizing. The first has to do with the style of home. If you want something low maintenance, consider a townhouse or condo. Just make sure you consider the HOA fees when figuring out our budget. For those that prefer a single family home, consider the layout of the home and make sure it will fit your physical needs now and in the years to come. Avoid older homes that might require renovations or continual upkeep. Be sure to understand how small you are willing to go and begin to make adjustments to ensure your lifestyle needs will be met in a smaller space. Along with the home itself, you want to consider the neighborhood. You should determine whether you want your smaller home to be in a pedestrian friendly area, close to all necessarily amenities. Consider whether you want to live in a tight knit community with other residents at the same life stages as you. Work with an experienced North Iowa realtor to help you find the perfect home in the perfect location for you.

 


If you are ready to downsize your 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/.

Celebrate Fall in Osage - The City of Maples!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

 

Celebrate the upcoming fall season in the "City of Maples" - beautiful Osage, Iowa! This Saturday, September 15th, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm come to Autumn Artistry, the largest arts & crafts festival in North Iowa, for some seasonal fun!


With food, music, and art, there is something for the whole family to enjoy at Autumn Artistry! This fantastic community event is taking place throughout Osage. Head to Historic Downtown Osage for a wide variety of local artisans and food vendors. You will find harvest and baked goods, decor for your North Iowa home, handcrafted goods, holiday & gift items, and so much more. Head on over to the Osage Public Library (406 Main Street) for fantastic kids activities, including pumpkin carving! The Mitchell County Fairgrounds (1006 Chestnut Street) will be home to more incredible artisans and vendors, as well as the Blacktop Cruisers 16th Annual Car Show from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm (Registration begins at 8:00 am). Shuttle service will be available between the fairgrounds and a few downtown locations. And, do not miss a special edition of the Farmer’s Market (Parking Lot at South 7th Street & State Streets) from 8:00 am to Noon to find the freshest fall vegetables, colorful mums, delicious baked items, and more locally produced goods.

 

 


Jane Fischer & Associates wishes everyone a day of fun at this year's Autumn Artistry in beautiful Osage!


Image Credit: Osage Chamber of Commerce


The 3 Contingencies in Home Buying

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/.


Celebrate Labor Day Weekend at the Craft Beer Shindig & Street Food Fair!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Celebrate the long holiday weekend at the Craft Beer Shindig and Street Food Fair!!! Join Mason City Brewing for this fantastic 2 day festival that will truly delight your taste buds and your ears!

 

 

 Head to East Park (802 3rd Street Northeast, Mason City) on Friday, August 31st, (5 pm to 11 pm) and Saturday, September 1st, (Noon to 11 pm) for craft beer, food, and music!


 

The Shindig will feature 56 uncommon Iowa beers on tap! Participating breweries include Mason City Brewing, Lake Time Brewery, Maple City Brewing Company, Rustic Brew, Worth Brewing Company, WestO Beer, and more! Find your new favorite brew while supporting the best local breweries in our state!

 

 

 Dine on delicious food from your favorite food trucks and vendors! Food will be provided by Grandma Sugar's Cupcakery, Hot Beef Sundaes, Little Chicago Pizza, Meat Nick & Meat Justin, and Mr. Taco.

 

 

 Dance the days away to fantastic music from the best local and regional acts! There will be music by Max Hay, Emmett Sheehan, John Carden, and more!


 

Jane Fischer & Associates Team hopes you have a fun and safe Labor Day Weekend in Mason City!  


 

Image Credit: Globe Gazette

Iowa Independent Film Festival is Bigger than Ever!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

The IOWA INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL  is BACK and BIGGER THAN EVER! Enjoy the best independent films from around the world this weekend on Friday, August 24th, and Saturday, August 25th! The 11th annual IIFF is jam packed with feature films, short films,  documentaries, and filmmaker discussions!


NEW THIS YEAR: The festival is no longer just in Mason City! There are also screening locations throughout the beautiful city of Clear Lake! Along with all the cinematic fun, take the opportunity to explore these incredible venues throughout our fantastic North Iowa communities!

The Main Event (112 2nd Street Southeast, Mason City)

Mason City Community Theatre (215 South Delaware Avenue, Mason City)

Mason City Public Library (225 2nd Street Southeast, Mason City)

Clear Lake Lake Theatre (4 North 4th Street, Clear Lake)

Clear Lake City Park (Main Avenue, Clear Lake)

Clear Lake Arts Center (17 South 4th Street, Clear Lake)


With additional venues and more films than ever, your weekend at the IIFF will be the best one yet. Check out the FULL SCHEDULE to plan out your Friday and Saturday!


Tickets cost $30 per person and include access to ALL movies on both days! Purchase tickets at the door or in advance HERE! Don’t miss out on any of the cinematic fun!


Mason City is filled with incredible cultural events, such as the Iowa Independent Film Festival, all year round! If you want to call this incredible community home, give the Jane Fischer & Associates Team a call today or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.



Image Credit: Iowa Independent Film Festival  

Steps to Prep Your Garden for Fall!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

While we continue to enjoy the final days of summer, it is a great time to prep your North Iowa garden for the colder days ahead! Keep your landscaping looking great into the fall and next year by following these simple steps!

 

1. Water your plants and trees to ensure they have plenty of moisture in their roots.


2. Buy Bulbs so you can take advantage of lower prices in the off season.


3. Till Your Soil for next year's growth.


4. Plant Autumnal Annuals to keep your garden bright and colorful well into the fall.


5. Add Shrubs and Evergreens so they can root before the winter.


6. Cut Your Grass Lower to help the soil dry out quicker in the spring.


7. Remove Debris Rose Beds since fallen rose foliage is a spot where plant diseases can fester in the winter.


8. Cut Back Perennials so that they have room to grow next year.


9. Clean The Vegetable Garden of weeds and debris to keep pests at bay.


10. Remove Annuals that are dead and use them in your compost heap.


11. Dig Summer Bulbs and store them inside so you can enjoy them again next year.


12. Plant Bulbs that are hardy enough for colder temperatures so that they bloom as soon as spring comes around.


13. Nourish Your Lawn so it has all the nutrients it needs to last throughout the winter.


14. Rake all fallen leaves so your lawn can breathe and use the shredded leaves for mulch.


15. Protect Plants from the upcoming cold by placing frost barriers on them immediately after the first freeze.


16. Plant Bulbs Indoors to get a jump start on your spring garden.


17. Bring Container Plants Indoors after you have removed them of pests.


18. Empty Water from your hoses, fountains, and irrigation systems and store in a dry place so they are working properly next gardening season!

 

For more great home owner tips, visit our Website and follow us on Facebook!

 

Start the School Year in One of Iowa's Top Districts!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

A new school year is right around the corner! Now is the perfect time to check out the best school districts in our area to set your child up for success! Living near highly rated schools is a top priority for home buyers and helps increase the value of your home!

If you are looking for a new home in North Iowa that is located within one of the state's top school districts, look no further!


GARNER-HAYFIELD-VENTURA COMMUNITY SCHOOLS - A Overall Rating! A+ ratings for Teachers, Administration, and Health & Safety! A/A- ratings for Academics, Clubs & Activities, Sports, and Resources & Facilities! The district ranked in the top 7% of ALL districts in the state!  GHV serves 972 students in PK-12th grades, with a student-teacher ratio of 12:1.



Want to start off the school year in one of Iowa’s top school districts?! Search all homes for sale in the GHV School District. If you have more questions about this district, Give our team a call! We will have you find the perfect home for your family in this incredible district!



Get more local information  about North Iowa by Following us on Facebook!

 

Image Credit: GHV School District

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

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