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Great Summertime Home Improvement Projects

by Jane Fischer and Associates

In today’s blog post, we are going to discuss 7 home improvements you should make this summer. Summer just officially began. This gives you ample opportunities to take advantage of the beautiful weather and make some great updates and improvements to your Mason City IA home that will allow you to get the most out of your summer and increase the value of your home! Here are 7 prime home improvement projects to complete this summer.

1. Start a Vegetable Garden

Fall produce is delicious! Continue to put healthy, fresh food on your kitchen table by starting a garden with plants that thrive in cooler weather. We recommend beets, cabbage, carrots, and kale.


2. Update Your Landscaping

Landscaping helps increase your home's value. Now is the perfect time to spruce up your yard so that it is looking its very best this fall and far into next year. You can choose to work on your landscaping yourself or hire a landscaping consultant or architect. Some landscaping centers offer free consultations, which is a great option if you need help coming up with initial ideas or knowing what would best accentuate your home's features. It can be easy to spruce up your landscaping on a budget. One great way to save some money? Mason City offers Free Mulch to residents!


3. Renovate Your Deck

Your wood deck requires yearly maintenance. Water and cold weather can lead to rot and cracking in the boards. Inspect the deck yourself or hire a professional inspector if you notice any problem areas. Spend the time and money to renovate your deck as necessary so you can continue to use it on those warmer fall days and to reduce the risk of further damage during the winter.


4. Buy New Patio Furnishings

End of season means great sales! As the weather cools, retailers will be looking to move their outdoor inventory quickly. Take advantage of huge savings on patio furnishings and lawn care equipment now.


5. Get Rid of Your Old Grill

Just like patio furnishings, grills will also be deeply discounted. Buy the grill you've always wanted so you can host those great fall football parties and be ready to barbecue all summer long next year.

6. Add an Outdoor Shower

Whether you want it for relaxation or to wash off after a hard day working outside, a great upgrade to your home can be the installation of an outdoor shower. Consider placement, sizing, materials, and plumbing as you think about adding this fun and convenient outdoor feature.


7. Install a Swimming Pool

We all know the summer months in North Iowa can get hot, hot, hot! Always dreamed of cooling off in your very own pool? The end of summer is the perfect time to install your dream pool. Get ready to have the best summer ever next year by adding a pool now. With soil that is easier to dig in, deals offered by pool builders, and less need to utilize your yard as the weather cools, take advantage of the end of summer by adding this ultimate upgrade.

We hope this blog gave you a some helpful home improvement ideas for the summer. If you are looking for more tips or need help Buying or Selling your North Iowa home, work with the Top Realtor Mason City IA! Give our experienced Team a call today at 641-425-4900 or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.

 

Debunking Home Buying Myths!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

In today’s blog post, we are going to discuss 9 major home buying myths. 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 in Mason City IA 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.

We hope this blog gave you a some helpful insights as you proceed throughout the home BUYING process. If you are ready to get started, 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/.

 

Here We Grow!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

 

Jane Fischer & Associates Team has moved! Come visit us at our new location at 1002 East State Street, Suite B, Mason City!

 

 Our team serves the entire Mason City Iowa real estate market, as well as the surrounding communities of Clear Lake, Rockwell, Rockford, North Springs and Osage areas. Let us help you with all of your real estate needs. Whether you are a Home Buyer or Home Seller, Jane Fischer & Associates is committed to helping you achieve all of your real estate goals! Come see us today!

Clear Lake: Iowa's Charming Beach Town!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

There is no better place to beat the summer heat than the beach! Think that living in Iowa means that a beach is out of your reach? Guess again!! The beautiful North Iowa community of CLEAR LAKE is the state’s BEST “Beach” Town!


This carefree, laid back lake town is home to around 7,000 people. Despite its small size, it is filled with so much to do on and around the beautiful beaches and crystal blue waters of Clear Lake! You will find charm and nostalgia in abundance in this close knit, active community.


--Take a stroll down Main Street to find unique gift shops, antique stores, and entertainment venues.

--Head to City Park (Main Avenue) for a paddlewheel cruise, delicious sweet corn, and live music by the municipal band on the weekends.

--Explore the great outdoors and go fishing at McIntosh Woods State Park (1200 East Lake Street, Ventura).

--Lounge on the beach and splash around at Clear Lake State Park (2730 South Lakeview Drive).

--Grab a delicious bite to eat with incredible views of the lake at one of the great local dining spots, such as The Anchor Inn (468 North Shore Drive) or The Landing Patio Bar & Grill (1603 South Shore Drive).

--Dance the night away to live music at the historic Surf Ballroom (460 North Shore Drive).

--Enjoy family fun community events that occur throughout the year, including Thursdays On Main and Lakeside DixieFest. These events often have no admission cost and provide residents with the opportunity to celebrate their community and spend time with family, friends, and neighbors.


Don’t just visit Clear Lake! Make it your home! Whether you are looking for your permanent residence or a great second home for your family, there are so many options in Clear Lake. Check out the incredible Homes for Sale Clear Lake IA where you can find stunning lakefront homes and more! Give the Jane Fischer and Associates Team a call today or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.  



Content and Image Credit: Only In Your State

How To Enjoy Home Buying Success in this Hot Market!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

In 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! The current housing market is hot and definitely favors sellers. However, having the right tools and knowledge can help you find and close on your dream home in no time. 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 successful 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/.

 

 

Sealing the Deal During the Closing Process

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Iowa: A Top State for Millennials

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Millennials, those individuals born between 1981 and 1997, are one of the largest generations in this country. They make up 21 percent of all discretionary consumer spending and are quickly making up the fast share of homebuyers throughout the United States. Despite their enormous economic and social influence, life for millennials is not the same across the country. Some states offer a more livable environment to this important generation than others. After ranking the 50 states and Washington DC to see where this generation has thrived, Iowa claimed the #5 spot as Best State for Millennials!

 

 To determine their rankings, WalletHub compared all the states using 5 key dimensions: Affordability, Education & Health, Quality of Life, Economic Health, and Civic Engagement. There were 30 relevant metrics within these 5 key dimensions and each was given a particular weight in order to calculate the overall score and ranking for each state.


So, how did #5 Iowa stack up?

Not only was Iowa ranked #5 overall but it also received these high marks:

#1 Lowest Housing Costs for Millennials

#4 Lowest Millennial Unemployment Rate

#5 Lowest Percentage of Millennials Living with Parents

Iowa is the perfect place for millennials to call home! And, where better to live within the state than Mason City and the North Iowa region. With great recreational facilities, fun community events, a multitude of entertainment, shopping, and dining options, strong economic market, and so much more, this area has much to offer millennials looking for a place to call home.


If you are interested in Buying your first home in the Mason City IA area, check out our current Homes for Sale. Give Jane Fischer and Associates a call today or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.

Clear Lake Earth Day!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Clear Lake IA has one of the most beautiful settings in the Midwest. The approximately 3,600 acres of clear, blue waters on the lake and the stunning natural landscapes along its shores offer endless recreational opportunities. Residents in Clear Lake know that having such a rich natural environment right outside their front doors is one of the greatest things about living here. And, this community loves to celebrate every year at Clear Lake Earth Day!!!! Earth Day is Sunday, April 22nd. For over 20 years, the city of Clear Lake has put together amazing, family fun events to celebrate our natural home and help protect/conserve it for ourselves and future generations to come. Come join in the fun and make a difference at these fantastic Clear Lake Earth Day events!

 


Trash Bash

Time to get down and dirty. Make a difference by helping with trash pick-up in public, highly-visible spot throughout the Clear Lake area. All ages are welcome to participate! Teams can choose from a list of spots or add their personal favorite. Register your team online HERE! The official Cleanup Day is on Saturday, April 21st, but teams can participate any day during the week of April 15th through April 22nd. Trash bags are available prior to Cleanup Day at the Chamber (205 Main Avenue) or Clear Lake Parks and Recreation Office (800 1st Avenue South) and at the Lakeview Room on Saturday. Please bring your own work gloves and dress appropriately. Enter for your chance to win fantastic prizes for participating by taking a selfie with your team and tagging it with #cltrashbash!


Green Expo

Head to Surf Ballroom on Thursday, April 19th, for an evening (4:00 pm - 7:00 pm) for an evening of educational and environmental fun! This FREE event is filled with great information. Dine on delicious fresh, local food. Visit with 50+ vendors, including businesses, non-profit organizations, and city departments, to learn incredible eco-friendly tips for your home, body, and more!


OutdoorFest

Do not miss the ultimate Earth Day bash! On Saturday, April 21st, from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm, head to Clear Lake City Park for a day packed full with fun. Participate in or cheer on the runners in the 10K / 5K Run (9:00 am), Kwik Kwikkel Walk/Run Fundraiser (9:15 am), and Fun Run (10:30 am at the Sea Wall). Bring in your old batteries, plastic planting pots, and expired medicines for recycling and safe disposal. Have fun with the

Hungry Hippo Games, Tiger Bounce House, and Giant Eagle’s Nest Display. Test your strength in Tug of War (10:15 am at City Beach). Watch the Go Wild! Kids & Family Parade (10:45 am). Learn about majestic birds during the International Crane Foundation Program (11:00 am). AND, SO MUCH MORE!


10K / 5K Run

Enjoy the fresh air and get active during the Clear Lake Earth Days 5K and 10K. This chip-timed race will take place on Saturday, April 21st, at

9:00 am. Check out the Race Maps to see the routes in and around Clear Lake City Park. The cost is $30 per participant (through April 19th).

Click HERE to register! Packet pickups are availabe at the Green Expo on Thursday, the Chamber Office on Friday (8:00 am - 5:00 pm), or on race morning (7:00 am - 8:45 am). Awards will be given to the overall winners in the men's and women's competitions, as well as to the top 3 males and top 3 females in each of the age brackets.

 

Backyard Treasures Hunt

Explore the best natural sites in our area during this fun treasure hunt. Visit one or more of the 16 Backyard Treasures Sites located throughout the area. While enjoying your time there, take a selfie with a recognizable feature of the site and tag it with #cltreasures. Winners will be chosen randomly from the posted selfies after 11:59 pm on Sunday, April 22nd.


The natural setting in Clear Lake IA truly makes it one of the best places to call home! We can help you find the perfect property to fit your needs within the Clear Lake IA Homes for Sale. Give our experienced Team a call today at (641) 425-4900 or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.

 

 

Image Credit: Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce



Stop Renting and Start Buying!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

In today’s blog post, we are going to discuss financial reasons why you should buy instead of rent. We understand that buying a home is a major step. If you are serious about your finances, though, it is time to stop renting and start buying! As a renter, you are helping someone else pay their mortgage and not receiving any of the financial benefit from it. Why make someone else money when you can invest in yourself and your future?! Check out the facts regarding renting versus buying costs and get ready to purchase your dream Mason City IA this spring!

 

Top Financial Reasons to Own a Home

1. Cheaper than renting.

2. Locked in monthly cost for housing.

3. Investment you utilize daily.

4. Forced savings.

5. Tax savings.


Need some stone cold facts? Research from the Federal Reserve shows that a homeowner’s net worth is 44 times greater than a renter. In addition, according to Pulsenomics, home values are expected to appreciate by 3.35% per year and grow by 24.34% cumulatively over the next five years. This means that homeowners are gaining equity from the moment they purchase their home this year!

 

We hope this blog gave you a some helpful insights into why you should BUY instead of rent! If you are ready to take the plunge and buy your first 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/.

Why North Iowa is the Perfect Place to Retire!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

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

 

Arts & Entertainment

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

 

Recreation

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

 

Amenities

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

 


Ready to enjoy retired life in North Iowa? 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/.

Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 30

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

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