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What to Know About Contingency Offers

by Jane Fischer and Associates

In today’s blog post we are going to discuss contingency offers. 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.

 

We hope this blog gave you a some helpful insights into contingency offers. However, we realize that you might still have some more 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/.


 

Tips For Being A Successful Home Buyer!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Home Buying in North IowaIn today’s blog post we are going to discuss tips for home buying success. Deciding to buy a new home is an exciting venture. And, there is no better place to buy than in North Iowa! Although January is not considered a hot real estate month, buyers can use the timing to their advantage. Less competition from other buyers and the potential for higher savings from sellers eager to close can help you be in your dream home before you know it. Ensure success during your own buying process! Look through the current Home Listings so we can help you begin your exciting journey, and follow these useful tips for being a successful home buyer!

 

WORK WITH AN EXPERIENCED AGENT.

Ensure buying success by teaming up with an experienced real estate agent. You will eliminate a majority of time and stress that can come with house hunting and buying by having someone else in your corner! Jane Fischer and Associates Team is here to help you every step of the way! We understand the North Iowa housing market, know what is currently available to fit your personal housing needs, and can negotiate the best deal for your new home! Learn more About Us in terms of our years of experience and our commitment to serving you!

 

GET PREAPPROVAL FROM A LENDER.

Let sellers know that you are serious about buying by getting preapproval for a loan from a reputable lender. Having this information ready to present to the seller ensures them that you can afford their home. Learn the important steps of Obtaining a Mortgage. The initial step of preapproval is easy to get out of the way from the very beginning if you have a high credit score and savings.

 

BE DECISIVE.

We understand that buying a home is a major life decision. This can lead to overthinking the process, though. Know exactly what you are looking for from the very start. Prioritize the important factors, such as location, type, and price. Start your house hunting with a clear understanding of exactly what you need in a new home. Once you find a home that meets all of these needs, make an offer! While you should be diligient in your decision making, do not allow over analyzing to get in the way of making an offer. If you wait too long, you risk the chance of losing your dream home!

 

MAKE A STRONG OFFER.

Always begin with a strong opening offer. In your initial planning stages, you should have set a budget for yourself and know the maximum that you are willing to pay for a home. We all always want to get the best deal possible but be respectiful of the needs of the seller as well. If you offer a price that is too low, you could miss out on your dream home. Ask your realtor for advice based on other homes on the market. Determine an opening offer that you care comfortable with and that will be appealing to the seller.

 

PREPARE FOR A BIDDING WAR.

A bidding war between you and the seller is an added stress. However, do not go into the process with the mindset that you want to avoid this process at all cost. It could mean missing out on a great opportunity. Have a clear understanding of what you can afford and search for homes below your max budget. This will allow you more wiggle room should a bidding war ensue. Trust your realtor during the negotiation process as they are there to help you get the home for the best possible price.

 

MISTAKES ARE LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES.

Although we want to make sure you end up in the first home you fall in love with, realize that this might not always work out. If a deal falls through, use it as an opportunity to learn what went wrong with the transaction and avoid it for the next offer. There are so many incredible options in North Iowa that you will find another home to love...perhaps even more so! Just stay true to what you are looking for and let our team help you find it!


We hope this blog gave you a some helpful tips for becoming a succesful home buyer. However, we realize that you might still have some more 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/.


Avoid These Pricing Mistakes Commonly Made By Home Sellers!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

In today’s blog post we are going to discuss common pricing mistakes made by home sellers. Determining the price you are going to list your home at is the first big decision you will make after deciding to sell your home. It is just as important as the initial decision to list your home. If you price your home to high, you risk the chance that home buyers will not be interested. If you price your home to low, you risk not receiving the full amount that your house is worth. Making sure the price is correct from the very beginning will help avoid either of these scenarios. In order to ensure that your home is priced correctly from the start, work with a knowledgeable and experienced Real Estate Team as soon as you are ready to put your home on the market and avoid these common types of home pricing mistakes!

 


Mistakes Based on Emotion and the Past

Your house has become a home from your years living in it. It is always an emotional process when you decide to move. The personal memories that have become attached to your home can cause you to value the property more than it is actually worth. While we fully realize that this is easier said than done, you need to remove your emotions from the pricing process. Buyers are not going to pay more based on your emotional attachment. You need to price it based on what is physically in front of the buyers. Along the same vein, you cannot base your current selling price based on what you paid. The housing market at this very moment in time is different than it was when you purchased the home (even if it was in the recent past). Buyers want the best deal on the home based on the current market in the North Iowa area.



Mistakes Based on the Competition

Understanding what homes are selling for in your neighborhood is an important aspect of the pricing process. However, it can also lead to many mistakes made by sellers who do not understand how to properly utilize this information. When you research what similar homes are being sold for, be sure to take into account all the amenities and features of the home. Just because your home has the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms as another home on the market doesn’t mean that it should be priced exactly the same. You need to know if there are any renovations or additional amenities that have been added that need to be taken into account for the selling price. You also need to recognize that other comparable homes might be priced incorrectly. This is where working with an experienced real estate team comes in handy because they can accurately assess the competition. You should also consider how quickly a home might be needing to sell. Other sellers might be pricing their homes lower in order to stand out from the competition and speed the process along. In the end, be diligent in your research. This will allow you to have a profitable and successful sale of your home.



Mistakes Based on the Process

Price negotiations between you and potential buyers is an inevitable part of the process. Today’s buyers are much more informed on the value of homes on the market. You need to make sure you are just as informed. This will allow you to price the home appropriately and attract the kind of home buyers that is perfect for your home right from the start. Another common mistake made by sellers occurs if the home has been sitting on the market for a while. If it has, you have priced the home to high and you need to make an adjustment. Instead of making several, small price cuts, you should make a larger cut (typically $10,000+) to show buyers that you are serious about selling your home.  



 

We hope this blog gave you a little more insight into pricing your home to sell. However, we realize that you might still have some more questions. For more Home Selling Tips, give our experienced Team a call, visit our website, or visit 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/.


Staging Your North Iowa Home to Sell!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

In today’s blog post we are going to talk about the process of staging your North Iowa home to sell. Many home sellers wonder whether this is truly a necessary step when listing their property. We hope to answer some of your questions and show you the benefits of staging your home. 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?

We hope this blog gave you a little more insight into benefits of staging your home to sell. However, we realize that you might still have some more questions regarding the topic. 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!


 

Mason City IA Housing Market Update: 10/04/17

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Mason City Iowa continues to be a great Home Seller's Market! Although the 7 day trend for home prices has dipped a bit, the 90 day trend is still above average.  If you're considering selling your Mason City home in this Fall market, contact the Jane Fischer and Associates Team of Century 21 Preferred.  Wondering what your home is worth in this market?  Get an instant, free home analysis here.


Here are the current Real Estate Stats for Mason City

Market Index: 30.91 (Sellers Market- Buyer Demand is Strong)

Median Home Price: $106,000.

Average Square Footage- 1,986

Average Number of Bedrooms- 3

Average Number of Bathrooms- 1.5

Total Properties on the Market- 177

Average Days on the Market- 106

Average Price per Square Foot- $56.


Clear Lake 7 and 90 Real Estate Market Trends to Watch:

Market Index

 

Total Number of Properties on the Market

 

Median Sales Price

 

Average Days on the Market

 

Price per Square Foot

Are you searching for the perfect Mason City home for you and your family?  Sign-up for our Preferred Email Listing Alerts and receive new properties to the market that only meet your personal requirements!  Sign-up here.

 

Presented by Jane Fischer & Associates Team of Century 21 Preferred

2800 4th Street SW #3
Mason City IA 50401
Cell: 641-425-4900
Office: 641-424-9400

 

 


Clear Lake Iowa Housing Market Update: 09/27/17

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Great news for home sellers as the Clear Lake home prices continue to rise while average days on the market have stabilized.  Fall is an excellent time to consider putting your home on the market!

Current Real Estate Stats for Clear Lake IA:

Market Index: 26.38 (great for Home Sellers & Buyers)

Median Home Price: $254,023.

Average Square Footage- 2,144

Average Number of Bedrooms- 3

Average Number of Bathrooms- 2

Total Properties on the Market- 54

Average Days on the Market- 128

Average Price per Square Foot- $108

Clear Lake 7 and 90 Real Estate Market Trends to Watch:

If you are currently searching for a Clear Lake Iowa Home, sign-up for our Preferred Email Listing Alerts and receive new homes to the market that only meet your personal preferences.  Sign-up here.

 

Considering selling your Clear Lake Home?  Get a free Home Analysis here.

 

Brought to you by:  

Altos Research and Jane Fischer Associates Team of Century 21 Preferred

www.janefischer.com

2800 4th Street SW #3

Mason City, IA  50401

Cell- 641-425-4900

Office- 641-424-9400

Avoid These 9 Home Buying Myths!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Congrats! You have decided to buy a new home! We know that there is plenty of information and advice out there for home buyers. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation too. From process to financing and everything in between, it is easy to be overwhelmed as a home buyer and make mistakes that could have been easily avoided. Let us debunk 9 major home buying myths to help you smoothly find your dream home today!


Myth 1: The first step of the process is looking for a house.

Although the home search might seem like the obvious first step in the home buying process, it is not. Your first step as a home buyer should always be getting your finances in order! Make sure that your credit is in top form and, most importantly, get pre-approval on a mortgage. By doing these two things, you are able to focus your home search on those houses that actually fit within your budget. Pre-approval also makes you more attractive to sellers from the get go.

Myth 2: 30-year mortgage is your best finance option.

30-year mortgages can be deceiving. Monthly payments on 30-year mortgages are lower than those that are 15-year. However, since the amount of money borrowed is the same for both options but the time frame is twice as long to pay back on the 30-year mortgage, you end up paying MORE over those 30 years and at a higher interest rate. This is not to say that a 30-year mortgage is not right for you. Just make sure to do plenty of research to truly decide what loan option best fits your financial situation. Check out our Finance Information for help with this step of the process.

Myth 3: A down payment must be 20%.

Buyers can avoid paying for Private Mortgage Insurance by making a 20% down payment. However, not all lenders require that amount. You may be eligible for loans with a 5 or 10% down payment if you are willing to pay for PMI monthly. Additional down payment assistance options, such as FHA loans, might also be available for you.

Myth 4: Your only upfront cost is the down payment.

When budgeting for a new home, many home buyers only consider the initial down payment. However, you want to budget for additional costs that can always occur during the buying process. These costs include, but are not limited to, credit reports, closing costs, inspections, and insurance.

Myth 5: You cannot buy a home if you have bad credit.

You will undoubtedly have an easier time buying a home if your have good credit. However, you are not out of luck if your credit is less than ideal. There are several financing options, such as FHA loans, that you might be eligible for. Just make sure to do your research first to make sure that you are selecting an option that is best for you now and in the future.

Myth 6: You can skip the home inspection.

Home buyers should always complete a home inspection. Save money and time by discovering any issues with the house during the inspection process.

Myth 7: You will lose the house if you don't offer asking price.

Home buyers often worry that they will lose out on their dream home if they do not offer the asking price. Although doing so does make you attractive to the seller, there are other things you can do that will often cause the seller to be open to negotiation. By having a pre-approved loan, awesome credit, and a down payment ready to go, sellers know that you are 100% ready to make the purchase. Additionally, if the home inspection unveiled any issues with the home, you can negotiate for a lower price based on the findings and necessary repairs needed.

Myth 8: Home buying is easy on your own.

Whether it's your first home or you have purchased a new home in the past, working with an Experienced Realtor during the home buying process is always a good idea. We are filled with a wealth of helpful knowledge. We are experts on the local market, have years of negotiation experience, and can help take a lot of the stressful work off of your hands.

Myth 9: Your immediate needs are the most important deciding factor.

Choose a home based on your needs now AND in the future. Although it is impossible to know your future, you want to pick a home that you will continue to fit your potential lifestyle needs that have developed 10+ years from now. Consider the home and the neighborhood.

 


Ready to Buy your dream home in North Iowa? Give Jane Fischer and Associates Team a call today or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/!   

Top Tips for Buying or Selling Your North Iowa Home this Spring!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Spring will be arriving soon throughout North Iowa. Along with warmer weather and greener leaves, spring makes the start of the busy housing market. If you have been waiting until spring to list or find your dream home, you can begin the process now! Follow these helpful tips for sellers and buyers to help you succeed in the Mason City area housing market this spring!



Selling this Spring!

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. Also, 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 This Spring!

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 busy spring 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 you 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 spring? Give Jane Fischer & Associates Team a call today or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.

Properties in Mason City Continue to Be Reappraised

by Jane Fischer and Associates

The reappraisals of homes in Mason City began on April 1st and continue still today, they're half done with properties in the area with another 5,500 left to go along with 3,000 other parcels. By the time they're done they will have appraised 14,000 properties in the Mason City area according to Dana Naumann the City Assessor. The project should be completed by the end of summer, the city employed Vanguard Appraisals out of Cedar Rapids to help with the large undertaking. The appraisers are currently work in the southeast area of town this week.

Naumann stated the reappraising is taking place because "it is establishing the current market value of each property and to ensure that like properties are equitably assessed." The city wants to try to ensure taxpayers are only paying their share of their property tax and that it's not falling burden to others. The last time this project was completed was in 1992 so it is now time to inspect and appraise to homes since not every property will decrease or increase in value over all those years at the same rate according to Naumann; the information will be used to estimate the fair market value of properties.

The state law does require owners to allow access to appraisers to complete their assesment, for the most part Naumann said it's gone pretty smooth but there have been a couple issues with home owners refusing to allow the appraisers inside. Only a handful of calls have been made to the local police department to assist in the process or to assure people in the neighborhood that there isn't a stranger lurking in the area. 

All appraisers photos are on the city assessor's webpage and they all carry their photo ID. All property owners will be able to discuss the reappraised value of their home depending on the findings. The new values will be made available January 1, 2018 for taxes payable in 2019-2020. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the reappraisal process you are asked to conact the City Assessor's office at 641-421-3061.

Are Manufactured Stone Exteriors the Right Choice?

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Faux Stone House Siding

More and more we are seeing faux stone exteriors added to houses to add to the look of the house, not to mention the lightweight and cost effective alternative to natural stone is quite alluring to many homeowners and builders alike. Due to the wide array of colors and styles the trendier stone veneer option is becoming popoular over the standard vinyl siding or paired with vinyl to spruce up the look of the home to the point stone veneer sales increases in recent years by double digits. However, home inspectors across the nation are cautioning homeowners about the possibility of water damage because of the poor installation techniques that are being used.

Scott Patterson, a home inspector out of Tennessee, has noted that 9 out of 10 homes he's inspected has had the manufactured stone applied incorrectly causing water seepage behind the siding which in turn leads to rotting walls as well as mold problems. Unfortunately, some problems don't become evident for many years after the manufactured stone is installed. The American Society of Home Inspectors is recommending members become familiar with faux stone siding and inspect the areas thoroughly because of the penetrable nature.

The good news is that not all homeowners that choose to have the manufactured stone installed have ongoing issues as long as the product is installed correctly. The price of the manufactured stone is $3-$8 per square foot before installation, although double the cost of vinyl siding it's only 1/3 of the cost of natural stone.

As a buyer you may want to consider hiring an inspector with specialized training in faux stone installation to know ahead of time what you're buying and to get all the information needed to make a decision on a home. The question is how would a buyer or homeowner know there's a problem? The answer isn't simple because there may or may not be visible signs of the problem. A severe example of when the stone was installed without the proper sealant and backer rods around a large window caused caused water to pour into the walls which damaged the interior wall and alerted the owner there was an issue.

Tapping the stone to see if anything is loose or if there might be water behind it is a good test to try as a homeowner looking for any suspect signs of problematic manufactured stone installation, unfortunately all too often the problem is masked behind the wall without a way to detect until the damage becomes visible on the interior of the home. Some home inspectors do have specialized equipment to assist in finding a problem including a moisture meter and infrared camera, the inspector can check that stone has been installed correctly up to windows and door frames as well as having the correct type of sealant. If the inspector does find damage related to the manufactured stone the homeowner may want to find a qualified structural engineer in order to find all areas of moisture which can help lead to the extent of the damage within the walls behind the stone. Replacing the stone can run anywhere from $30-$38/square foot of wall which wouldn't include the cost of labor or any additional damage done to the structure of the home.

Both buyers and homeowners alike are still being drawn to the new trendy manufactured stone. Remodeling magazine's 2016 Cost vs Value Report highlighted manufactured stone veneer as having the second highest ROI (return on investment) out of 27 home projects, with nearly 93% of the cost recouped at resale. Be vigilent in choosing your contractor to ensure the product is installed correctly and to avoid problems down the road.

Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 21

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Contact Information

Jane Fischer & Associates
Real Estate Consultants
119 2nd Street NW #2
Mason City IA 50401
Cell: 641-425-4900
Office: 641-424-HOME (4663)

2018 Jane Fischer & Associates Real Estate Consultants Logo are registered service marks owned by Jane Fischer & Associates Real Estate Consultants. Equal Housing Opportunity.