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Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 28

Don't Delay! The #1 Reason to Buy Today!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Thinking of buying a new home but not ready to make the big move? Do not delay! The number one reason why you should buy a home before the end of the year is interest rates are expected to rise in 2019!

 

When you begin your home search it is important to understand where interest rates are expected to head. Interest rates have a direct impact on the amount you will be paying monthly so the higher the rate the larger your payment. Save money by locking in a lower interest rate today!

 

Need some data? Here are the actual interest rates from this year and where they are projected to go next year. As the data from Freddie Mac shows, rates are expected to rise steadily throughout the course of 2019.



 

Along with these increased interest rates, CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index shows a 6.2% appreciation of national home prices over the current year and predicts that home prices will be 5.1% higher in 2019. With increased home prices and higher interest rates, your monthly payments will likely be significantly higher if you wait to purchase your home in the new year. Keep more money in your pocket by buying today!

 

If you are ready to buy your dream North Iowa home before the end of the year, search our Homes for Sale. Give our experienced Team a call today at 641-425-4900 or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.

 

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/.

 

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/.


Stage Your North Iowa Home to Sell!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Many home sellers wonder whether staging is truly a necessary step when listing their property. Well help is here! If you are interested in selling your North Iowa home, learn more about why you should stage your home in order to receive top value for your property!

 

Home Staging and its benefits to your home sale

 

What is Home Staging?

Home staging is the process of getting a home ready to sell on the market. Its goal is to make the home appealing to the largest number of potential homebuyers. Staging helps create the best possible first impression of the home. It turns it into a welcoming site that highlights the property’s features. Professional home stagers eliminate clutter, arrange and eliminate furniture, extentuate the flow of the house, and add decor to broaden the appeal of the property. Staging allows buyers to visualize themselves in the home and imagine how they would utilize the space if they were to live there. As such, staging helps homes sell more quickly and at higher values.

 

Is Staging a Good Investment?

Home staging does require some capital to do it effectively. Hiring a professional stager is always a wise choice. They are incredibly experienced in the art of staging and know the best ways to highlight your home. If you would prefer to stage your home yourself, you will still likely incur some costs, such as general maintenance and cleaning costs, upgrades, and storage fees for items you want to remove. Although you might not want to put more money into your home right before selling, the Return on Investment (ROI) for staging is well worth it! Any money you spend now, you will see returned to you as your home increases its value through the staging process!

 

What are the Benefits of Home Staging?

There are many benefits that can come from staging your home. Need some hard facts to convince you? The National Association of REALTORS® recently released their 2017 Profile of Home Staging. Their collected data shows the benefits from the points of view of both sellers and buyers of home staging.

 

Buyers’ Agent Perspective

  • 49% of buyers’ agents found staging to have a positive effect on the buyer’s view of the home

  • 77% of buyers’ agents found buyers had an easier time visualizing the home as their own through staging

  • 40% of buyers were willing to see online listings that were staged

  • ⅓ of buyer’s agents found staged homes had an increase offered dollar value of 1% to 5%

Sellers’ Agent Perspective

  • 29% of sellers’ agents saw a 1% to 5% increase in the dollar value offered by buyers for staged homes

  • 21% of sellers' agents saw an even greater increase of dollar value at home 6% to 10%

  • 39% of sellers’ agents found staged homes has less days on the market (DOM)

 

These numbers highlight that the greatest benefits of staging your home are an increase in offered dollar value for your home, increased competition amongst buyers, and less DOM. Home staging truly is a win-win!

 

Is Home Staging a Good Investment for your North Iowa Home?

What are some Key Tips for Home Staging?

While far from being an exhaustive list, here are some simple steps you can take to stage your home to sell. Start with paint! Adding a fresh coat of paint throughout the home gives it an instant face lift. Choose a light, neutral color that will appeal to a broad array of people and make the rooms in your home look larger. The next step is to do a deep cleaning. Make sure that dirt has been removed from every nook and cranny and everything is looking shiny and new. Complete any lingering home maintenance projects that you have been putting off. Now, you need to go through your home and declutter and depersonalize. It is imperative that homebuyers can visualize themselves in the space. This can be difficult to do if there are a lot of your personal items and memorabilia throughout. Create clean, open spaces by removing all unnecessary items from counter and table tops. At the same time, pare down the amount of furniture to only those pieces that help showcase the size of the living space. Put furniture in areas that help highlight the flow of your home or accentuate architectural features. Your final step is to make the space homey. Place flowers and candles in rooms throughout the house to create a cozy, inviting atmosphere during showings. The most important rooms to stage, as found in the NAR 2017 Profile of Home Staging, were the kitchen, living room, dining room, and master bedroom.

 

What Should I Do if I am Interested in Staging My Home to Sell?

 

Still have staging questions? That is where we come in! Call our experienced team at Jane Fischer and Associates Team  to answer any questions you have. We are more than happy to come look at your home and give you some helpful staging advice before listing your property. We can also put you in contact with the professional stagers in the area that we trust to get the job done right. We are looking forward to hearing from you today!


Don't let the closing on your North Iowa home stress you out!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Congratulations! You’ve found your dream home in North Iowa and the seller accepted your offer! You are now in the home stretch to getting handed the keys to your new life. There are a few more final and essential steps that need to be made. Here is an easy guide to home closing so that you are prepared in the last days of your home buying process!

 

#1 Square Away Contingencies

Make sure that any contingencies (i.e. home inspection, appraisal, and financing) are met before the final transaction. This protects you in the event an issues arise.

 

#2 Clear the Title

Your mortgage lender will check for anyone that claims title to the home and see if there are any liens attached to the property. Make sure to buy title insurance so that you can protect yourself from any legal claims as the ownership transfers to you.

 

#3 Get Approval of Your Final Mortgage

Even if you got pre-approved for the loan, your mortgage lender must now verify that you accurately represented yourself by going through the underwriting process. As long as you made no large purchases during closing that will affect your credit score, or changed jobs, you should make it through this step like a breeze.

 

#4 Check Your Closing Disclosure

Review your closing disclosure against the loan estimate you received when you first got your pre-approval. Check out the mortgage payments, interest rate, loan terms, and closing costs to make sure that everything matches.

 

#5 Do One Last Walk-through

Do a final walk-through of your new home in the last 24 hours before closing. This allows you to make sure that the previous owner has truly moved out and that the home is in the condition that you agreed upon. Most sales contracts allow buyers to do a walk-through of the house before closing, within 24 hours. Make sure the previous owner has vacated unless you’ve allowed a rent-back arrangement.

 

Now get your hands ready to do some signing of paperwork and the keys to your new home will be waiting for you!

 

Have more questions about the home buying or selling process?  Contact us at anytime. You can also learn more about the community, real estate and more by following us on our Facebook page

How to Build a Great Credit Score

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Are you looking to purchase a home or get a personal loan?  Having a good credit score gives you many more options!  Some people haven't had a chance to build their own credit as of yet, while others may have had a financial setback that threw their credit backyards.  If you are in either of these categories, don't fret!  We've got the tips to help you build your credit to where it needs to be!

If you’ve never had any credit to your name, here’s what you need to focus on:

  1. Apply for a secured credit card.  This is to help you establish credit, without putting down a deposit.  This won’t be used for the long-term, just to get you started. 
  2. Apply for a credit builder loan- This is exactly what it sounds like.  A way to build your credit with a manageable loan amount.
  3. Do you have someone who could co-sign a loan?  If so, you can opt for this option to build credit, but normally at a lower interest rate.
  4. Make sure the rent you pay is being reported to the credit bureaus. RentalKharma and RentTrack are just a couple of platforms who will do this.

If your credit has taken a hit in recent months or years, working to rebuild it is critical.  Building good credit takes at least 6 months of an on-time payment history. Building good credit habits will help you get back on track.

  1. Make 100% of your payments on time.  This includes; rent, credit cards, utilities, school loans and medical bills.
  2. Keep your credit utilization low.  Meaning not more than 30% of the credit offered should be used.
  3. Keep your accounts open for as long as possible. Unless one of your unused accounts has an annual, all accounts should be kept open and active to count toward your length of credit, payment history and utilization.
  4. Make sure not to open too many accounts as this will initially lower your credit score and shorten the average time open of all accounts.
  5. Check your credit reports frequently for errors and your credit score on a monthly basis to see your progress.  Websites like www.creditkarma.com and www.nerdwallet.com, offer free credit score checking without causing a ‘hard hit’ to your credit.

Do you have more questions about the mortgage loan process or home buying?  Visit our website or contact the Jane Fischer team directly.

 

For more helpful information for home buying, check out website and facebook page regularly.

What are Home Sellers really looking for in a Real Estate Agent?

by Jane Fischer and Associates

With such a strong real estate market, many individuals are considering selling their North Iowa home this year.  With this in mind, we wanted to review what potential home sellers are really looking for in the real estate agent they partner with to get their home SOLD!

First, it's important to know that homeowners, on average, are staying in their homes much longer than before.  According to a NAR study, homeowners are averaging 6-7 years in their homes before selling.  Today's real estate market is definitely changing that for some homeowners as they see the great potential of selling their home now.  

Home Sellers in the past have typically asked for a referral from a friend on whom they should hire to sell their home, but today home sellers are savvier and realize what they want in an agent. Here's what was found:

 

  • Sellers rank the following as 'most important' in partnering with a Real Estate professional to sell their home:
  • Make recommendations on getting the home to sell quicker and for top dollar
  • Communicate with them on a continual basis
  • Strongly market the home to potential buyers using both digital and other marketing.
  • Sell their home in a specific timeframe.
  • Negotiate the strongest offer and terms of sale

 

98% of home sellers worked with an agent to sell their home instead of trying to sell on their own.

If you're considering a home sale for your Mason City or Clear Lake home, contact Jane Fischer and Associates today.

For more local real estate, community and event information, like and follow us on our Facebook page.

What's your mortgage rate? Not knowing could cost you thousands of dollars!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

What is your mortgage rate?  It may seem like a simple question, but often times individuals cannot readily give an answer!  Almost 3 out of every 10 mortgage holders don't know this answer, and that could spell trouble for you!

Interest Rates are continuing to climb, so lock in now!

Do you have an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM)? If so, you need to contact your lender immediately and lock in your interest rates.

Interest rates will continue to rise, so this could be your last chance to lock in a low rate for years to come. The average 30-year fixed rate is now 4.70%, up from 4.13% one year ago. This is a $119 increase monthly from the 4.13% rate and a $1,428 increase annually!

Have you been considering a refinance?

Did you know that when you refinance you actually pay-off your initial mortgage and get a new one?  That means you are starting from the beginning and can get a new rate and new terms.  You can also get a 'cash-out' refinance where you are getting cash for equity in your home or you could pay money in and get a lower mortgage.  Here are some examples of individuals who opt for the 'refinancing option:  They currently have an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), the current interest rate is higher than the standard 30, 15 or 10-year rate.  Should you refinance?  Here are things you need to consider;  how much do you owe? What is the appraised value of your home? Do you have a good credit score?  Debt to income ratio at this time?  

Who takes the cash-out option in refinancing?  Most people opting for the cash-out option are using it for the following;  pay-off high-interest credit cards, higher rate consumer debt overall, sending a child to college and get a new mortgage with a lower interest rate.

What costs would you incur if you were to refinance your North Iowa home?  It's important to note that refinancing fees vary by state and lender, so it's important to work with a mortgage lender directly in determining your actual costs.  For example purposes, here are possible items that would incur costs with a home refinance:

 

  • Application Fee
  • Loan Origination Fee
  • Points on the Loan
  • Appraisal Fee
  • Title/Insurance Search
  • Homeowners Insurance
  • Home Inspection
  • Surveys
  • Attorney costs
Some of the time these fees can be rolled into your new mortgage. So check with your agent on what would apply to you and if it can be rolled into your new mortgage.

Have more questions on home buying or refinancing?  Contact us at 641-424-4663 today.

 

The Legend of St. Joseph and Home Selling Success!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

You are ready to Sell your Mason City IA! The best way to ensure home selling success is to work with the Top Realtor Mason City IA! But, what else can you do to help get a quick, winning offer from buyers?

 

Whether or not you are religious, you have probably heard about the legend of St. Joseph. Realtors and home sellers across the country swear by this time honored tradition for home selling success. St. Joseph was the earthly father of Jesus. He become a patron saint because he taught his son the craftsman’s trade and always ensured that Jesus had a home. The tradition of burying devotionals to him began in the 16th century when European nuns buried medals for him at their convent in order to expand their lands. It has evolved over history to the present custom of burying statues of St. Joseph when families are looking to sell their home (Source: St-Josephstatue). No matter the religious affiliations of the home sellers, the burying of St. Joseph statues has become a common practice and has often brought success to the people who utilize it.


Guidelines for Using St. Joseph for a Successful Home Sale

1. Bury St. Joseph in Your Yard!

Once you have purchased your St. Joseph home sale kit (which can be found at religious stores or online), it is time to bury him in the yard of the home you are selling. The most common method is to place him in a protective covering (i.e. cloth or bag) and bury him upside down in your front yard. He should be facing your home. This placement is believed to have the most assurance that St. Joseph will work hard to help sell your home. If you live in a condo or do not have a large front yard, you can bury St. Joseph in a flower pot near your front door.


2. Say A Prayer to St. Joseph!

Whether or not you are a practicing Catholic, part of the St. Joseph tradition is saying a prayer for his help with your home sale. The majority of St. Joseph home sale kits include a prayer card so you will know exactly what to say.


3. Thank St. Joseph When You Get an Offer!

Congrats! You have closed on your home. Now is the time to show your graditude to St. Joseph. Dig him up from your yard (or flower pot) and bring him with you to your new home. Put him somewhere in a place of honor in the new space to remind you of this new chapter in your life.


We would like to thank St. Joseph for his assistance in helping home sellers throughout the years! Ensure home selling success by working with the Top Realtor Mason City IA and St. Joseph! We will help you sell your home for top dollar and quickly this spring! Give our experienced Team a call today at 641-425-4900 or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.

MAY: The Best Month to Sell Your North Iowa Home!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

 

Looking for the best time to sell your North Iowa home? Well the time is now! This study by ATTOM Data Solutions found that May and June are the optimal times nationwide to sell you home. These two months see a net average of 5.9% and 5.8% above market value, respectivally, for sellers! Although the data was for homes nationwide, the breakdown by states showed that May is the best month for sellers within Iowa. Set yourself up for getting the best price on your home and selling it within an average of 30 days (according to the National Association of Realtors) when you list in May!

 

 

Work with the Top Realtor Mason City IA to learn about the market conditions in North Iowa and help you find buyers that would love your home! We will help sell your home quickly and for top dollar this May! Give our experienced Team a call today at 641-425-4900 or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.


Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 28

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

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