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Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 101

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/.


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!


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!

 

How to Be An Effective Open House Guest!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Open houses are the most valuable tool you can use during the search for your dream home. They allow you to go beyond the online listing and truly see whether or not the home is the right fit for you. Knowing how to be an effective open house guest can help you get the most out of the process and ensure that you are moving into your new home in no time. Follow these helpful tips to make you the savviest open house guest on the block!

 

Scope Out the Neighborhood

Arrive a bit early for the open house and take a little tour around the neighborhood. Talk to neighbors that are out and about to see whether the area is a good match for you.

 

Arrive Early

Beat the crowd by getting there early. This will allow you more time to talk with the listing agent before you have to compete for their attention.

 

Be Friendly

If you like the house and want to make an offer, you will be entering into negotiations with the listing agent shortly. You want to always make the best first impression so that any part of the process that is yet to come will go smoothly.

 

Don't Overshare

Remember that the listing agent is there for the seller and not you. Be smart about what information you share in order to not weaken your negotiating power.

 

Ask Questions

This is your opportunity to truly see if the house will work for you and find out information beyond what is provided online. Don't be shy about asking questions and take lots of notes. These will help you make your final decision. Important questions to ask include: What offers have been made? What is the seller's timeline? How long has the home been on the market? Has the price changed at all? What recent repairs and renovations have been completed? What are the average utility costs in the summer and winter?

 

Thank the Listing Agent

After you have gotten everything that you need from the open house, be sure to thank the listing agent for their assistance and hospitality. Hopefully you will be seeing them soon as you close on the home!



For more useful home buying 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

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.

Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 101

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

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