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Displaying blog entries 31-38 of 38

Iowa: A Great State for Well-Being!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Homebuyers looking to relocate want to find a place that promotes happiness, health, and overall wellbeing. The state of Iowa is the perfect place for just that! In fact, Iowa has been named the 19th best state for well-being in America, according to a report released by Gallup-Healthways!


Gallup polled 177,192 adults over the telephone in order to determine the overall well-being of Americans nationally as well as statewide. The Well-Being index was calculated based on a 0 to 100 scale for the overall score as well as 5 element scores. 5 key elements of well-being were examined, including Purpose (happiness with what one does in their daily lives), Social (happiness with personal relationships), Financial (happiness and security with economic situation), Community (happiness in the city where they live), and Physical (ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle).


Iowa was ranked 19th overall for residents’ well-being. It ranked high for financial and community well-being.


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Mason City and the North Iowa region are the perfect spot for homebuyers looking for a sense of well being. With annual community events, endless park and recreational facilities, and strong economic development, every day brings happiness to residents in this beautiful area.



If you are interested in moving to the Mason City area, give Jane Fischer and Associates a call today or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.


Source: Gallup-Healthways State of American Well-Being

Clear Lake's Annual Winter Dance Party Started off with a Bang!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Surf Ballroom Winter Dance Party

The 1950s themed sock hop kicked off the winter dance party yesterday at the Surf Ballroom with kids of all ages dawned in saddle shoes, Buddy Holly style glasse and poodle skirts which is the start of the annual three day tribute event. It has been 58 years since the plane carrying Ritchie Valens, J.P. "The Big Bopper", Buddy Holly and Roger Peterson the pilot crashed in the night. The first memorial event was held on February 3, 1979 which marked the 20th anniversary of the last performance at the Surf Ballroom prior to the plan crash, the event was entitled "The Tribute to Buddy Holly Concert" and has since grown into a large music celebration of 50's and 60s music. 

The executive director of the Surf Ballroom, Laurie Lietz said "We're exciited to mix new events and activities for our visitors with the many great traditions that have been around since 1979 when the event first began." Austin Allsup will be doing a tribute to his father Tommy Allsup  who was one of the original guitarists for the 1959 Winter Dance Party and played at the Surf on Feb 2, 1959. Tommy was scheduled to play today at the event but sadly passed away just weeks prior to the big event. The Killer Vees: Rmembering Bobby Vee will be performing a tribute on Saturday to Bobby Vee who was a supporter and performer of the annual Winter Dance Party event. Bobby Vee died in October 2016.

The Surf executive director has already started preparation for next year's event because of the large undertaking, even with the help of volunteers and countless hours of planning they stay ahead of the event each year to ensure the line up ofperformers are booked and to avoid scheduling conflicts. On average the event will take 12 to 14 months of planning ahead of time in order to secure all the performers outside of the 3,000+ hours dedicated to scheduling out the events. The community is very supportive of the event that draws thousands of people who fill up all the local hotels and restaurants for a good week; some people travel from as far as the UK to attend the annual event which includes the 28th annual British Buddy Holly Society luncheon at the Best Western on Friday this year. 

Lietz said, "Our event is like no other in the country. In addition to the four evenings of live entertainment here at the Surf, visitors will enjoy everything from dance lessons and wedding vow renewals to luncheons, movies at the local theater and record/memorabilia shows." The event will run through Sunday so make sure to get out and enjoy all the Winter Dance Party has to offer!

Clear Lake's Annual Color the Wind Event to be Covered by CBS Sunday Morning

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Clear Lake's Annual Color the Wind

North Iowa will make nation wide news again on February 18, 2017 as CBS Sunday Morning prepares to film the festival live accroding to Larry and Kay Day who are the organizers of the annual festival. The crew plans to be in Clear Lake for the entire weekend so plan to see a camera crew wandering around on the ice to capture the great kite festival, which is the Midwest's largest winter kite festival. The festival will run from 11 am to 4 pm on the 18th at the Downtown Seawall in Clear Lake, ice conditions look favorable for the event with 17-19 inches on the lake currently. 

Kite flyers from various states travel to Clear Lake annually to display their collection of unique kites and banners with some even having stunt kite teams with two or more lines choreographed dances to music. Come out and enjoy the FREE show where you can purchase hot food and beverages from the lunch wagon. 

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.

Which North Iowa Town Will Make the RAGBRAI Route Cut?

by Jane Fischer and Associates

North Iowa RAGBRAI Route 2017

The big announcement for the RAGBRAI 2017 host towns along the route will be held on Saturday at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, many cities representatives from across the state will be in attendance to find out if their town was chosen for 2017. The Register's Great Annual Cycle Ride Across Iowa will be July 23-29th with eight cities being chosen as overnight stay hosts.

Officials from both Clear Lake and Charles City plan to be in attendance for the announcement this weekend, Charles City Administrator Steve Diers was staying hopeful that Charles City will end up as a choice for this years ride. Although Clear Lake hosted an overnight stop in Ragbrai 2010, Mayor Nelson Crabb applied to be considered for a stop along the route this year; Crabb along with Clear Lake's City Administrator and Mayor Pro-Tem will be attending Saturday's event. In 2014 Clear Lake was one of the towns that was passed through but they hope to host again this year. Mason City recently hosted an overnight of Ragbrai so although they applied to be on the route it wasn't likely they would be chosen according to Mason City Manager, Brent Trout. The committee tries to spread the hosting towns around the state but Trout stated Mason City really enjoyed hosting and would like to do it again in the upcoming years.

Barb Smith, the Forest City Administrator, said hosting Ragbrai is a good community thing that brings people to town. Smith wasn't sure if Forest City had applied to host in 2017 or not but hopes to be a part of the ride at some point in the future. Algona also applied to host although they hosted overnight in 2010, the City Administrator Curt Wiseman said they won't know until after the announcement is made whethere Algona will host again or not they're just waiting anxiously.

 

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.

The Surf District Rock'n Roll Restaurant Opening in Clear Lake

by Jane Fischer and Associates

North Iowans will have a new restaurant to try out SOON! The Surf District Rock 'n Roll Grill will be opening in the next week with many pieces of music memorabilia from the Surf Ballroom itself. It's located in the former District 619 building just across the parking lot from the Surf Ballroom owned for the past 16 years by Grant Maulsby who worked intensely with the Surf to create the new restaurant idea which started back in September 2016. The idea for the new restaurant was reviewed by the organization's board over a year ago; the Surf had so many pieces of music history that wasn't able to be displayed so Maulsby thought what better way to help showcase these pieces than at the restaurant! Within the new restaurant there are over 70 pieces of Surf Ballroom memorabilia.

The restaurant will have a stage for live music and memorabilia along with seating for 134 people and standing room for 190 people. The bar and grill will offer various foods including those named after songs and music legends like La La Bamba Chicken Avocado and Big Bopper Burger. Other foods offered on the menu include sandwiches, salads, burgers, shrimp, wraps, burgers and steaks along with a full bar. 

Some of the renovations Maulsby had completed in preparation for the new place are a stage, lighting, video system to play music videos which will help create a wonderful atmosphere for those loving rock'n'roll as well as a private room for events. The artists that have performed at the Surf have a plaque with a photo and additional details put together for display at the restaurant. Maulsby stated "Every piece of memorabilia has been played at the Surf and signed at the Surf. That's what makes us more unique." Guitars line one wall of the restaurant that have been used at the Surf and autographed by artists such as B.B King, Slash, and Willie Nelson to name a few as well as drums and other musical instruments used by music artists. The executive director of the Surf Ballroom, Laurie Lietz, said "we're very excited to expand our displays, we just don't have all the wall space to display everything."

Future plans for the new place include live music on the weekends in upcoming months. The grill will be open seven days a week opening at 4 pm daily. Next time you're in the area make sure to stop by and try out the new place!

To Remodel or Not to Remodel Your Garage

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Garage Remodel Poject

Who worries about remodeling their garage? It's the place to park the cars, collect clutter, tool storage, and overflow from the house, right? According to a new report from the New York Times more homeowners are turning their garages into showpieces for organization and getting clutter off the floor. A finished garage can add value to the property as a whole and can have a positive effect on buyer's interest in a property which can be a direct reflection of how well the homeowner maintains the entire home. 

The sellers who have the budget and remodeled a good portion of the home are continuing the trend of moving onto the garage as their next project. After they spend all the money to add value to their house they don't want to have a big clutter area in the biggest area of their home.

On average a garage renovation can cost from a few thousand to upwards of $50,000. For those that are wiling to spend the money you'll see remodels that include custom cabinets, floor to ceiling organizing cabinets, and installing drywall and insulation. Do you need to go full out demo to the bones and remodel like you would in the house? Probably not, however, the trend is remodeling the kitchen and using the old kitchen cabinets attached to the wall in the garage for storage. A few other budget friendly tips include using hooks for hanging items such as tools, ladders, patio furniture and bikes to keep the floor clear of clutter as well as using an epoxy to re-finish the floor. The appearance of cleanliness and organization in the garage can go a long ways for a motivated buyer.

The New York Times has titled the renovations as "the final frontier of remodeling." Buyers keep your eyes open for this added feature in homes and sellers take note of this hot new trend on the market!

Displaying blog entries 31-38 of 38

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