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Relocation Help is Here for North Iowa!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

In today’s blog post we are going to discuss Relocating for a new job. Congrats! You just received a job offer in North Iowa! It is time to move! Starting a new job and finding a new home at the same time can be a difficult process. Loan approval is dependent on proof that you can afford the mortgage. Your income and employment history are the best indicators of what you can afford. Although this can be a stressful time, it is possible to do both at once! Here is some important information to know about relocating.


 

What should I know before getting a mortgage?

Promotions are positive financial moves. If you are earning better pay or benefits or moving to a similar position at a new job, you should be able to Obtain a Mortgage with no problem. Be prepared to share your offer letter, with salary confirmation, to your lender. They will need to verify that you have been in the position for at least 30 days to determine what you can afford for the mortgage. It is important to note that if your position is commissioned based, these earnings are often excluded from loan amounts as they are difficult to prove in a new role.

How do I obtain a mortgage with new employment?

As long as your new position makes financial sense, obtaining a mortgage should not be difficult. The lender will want to see your employment history. Frequent job changes or large gaps in employment can be red flags for lenders. Have all of your past employment information available for your lender.

How can I get a home loan when relocating?

It is always in your best interest to secure your living arrangement before you move. Consider renting in the new location for at least 30 days in order to provide the lender with time to verify your new position. This gives you time to provide your first pay stub as well as get to know the community you are living in to find the perfect neighborhood for you. However, if you are not interested in renting, you can take the plunge into home ownership right away. Recognize that buying a new home and selling your old home takes time. Determine whether you can afford two mortgages at once in the case your old home does not sell right away. Find out what you can afford by using our Home Loan Finder tool.

 

What are Relocation Packages?

Many companies can help with your relocation process. They can offer a wide variety of options. These range from covering moving costs to assisting with down payments or closing costs to Guaranteed Buy Outs (when the company purchases your old home at its appraised value when it doesn't sell within a particular timeframe) or more. Find out what your new company offers to see what sort of assistance they might be able to provide. Any relocation package can significantly help you obtain a mortgage in your new location.


We hope this blog gave you a some helpful insights into relocation. 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/.

 

Clear Lake's Winter Dance Party!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

It's time for the biggest party of the year in Clear Lake! Celebrate three of rock n’ roll’s greatest legends [Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson] at the 2018 WINTER DANCE PARTY in the beautiful, historic Surf Ballroom. The town will be filled with fun, rock n' roll activity from Wednesday, January 31st, through Saturday, February 3rd! Check out the Schedule of Events to find information about recurring events, such as the “Rave On XIV” Art Exhibit, Rockin’ Boppin’ Record Show, Showing of The Real Buddy Holly Story Rockumentary, and Movie: Stand By Me, AND SO MUCH MORE!!!! Purchase Tickets HERE! This is the North Iowa event that you do not want to miss!!

 

Wednesday, January 31st

Family Sock Hop

*Please note that this is a separate ticket from the Thursday-Saturday festival pass!

 

Thursday, February 1st

Winter Dance Party: Thursday Night

 

Friday, February 2nd

29th Annual British Buddy Holly Society Luncheon

  • 10:30 am - 3:30 pm | Best Western Holiday Lodge

  • Performances by: TBA

  • Contact Margaret Majerczyk [margaretm@myomnitel.com] for ticket information.

Afternoon Live Entertainment

  • 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm | Cypress Lounge

  • Performances by: The Mockingbirds

  • Tickets: FREE for WDP Ticket holders | $5 for general public

Winter Dance Party: Friday Night  

Saturday, February 3rd

Memorial Site Tour

  • Surf Ballroom

  • Tickets: $8 per person (Limited Availability)

  • Escorted motor coach tour to the crash site. 75 to 90 minute tour.

Ritchie Valens Family Luncheon

  • 11:00 am | Best Western Holiday Lounge

  • Performances by: Richie Lee & The Fabulous 50s

  • Tickets: $20 in advance

  • Join the Valens family for a meal and dancing.

Winter Dance Party: Saturday Night   



Jane Fischer & Associates wishes everyone a rockin’ good time this week in beautiful Clear Lake, Iowa!  

 

 

 

Image Credits: 2018 WINTER DANCE PARTY


 

Strong Local Schools and the Value of Your Home!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

In today’s blog post we are going to discuss the effect of school ratings on your home value. Strong local schools are obviously a top priority for home owners with children. You want to ensure that your children are educated at the best schools possible. But, ALL homeowners should take into account the quality of schools in the area. Research has shown that it has a dramatic effect on the value of your home!

 

 

What are the benefits of strong local schools for buyers and sellers?

Although location has always been an important aspect of home searches, it is now more directly linked with schools in the area. A quality home in a top ranked school district will sell for a higher price and hold a better resale value over the years. So what does this all mean for buyers and sellers? According to a 2016 study by Realtor.com, home values in top ranked school districts were 49% higher than the national median. This doesn't mean that all homes close to the best schools are wildly expensive. Buyers can still find well priced homes within these districts. The best benefit for home buyers that choose to live in excellent school districts is that their home will retain its value. If you ever choose to sell in the future, you know that you will have a better return on your investment thanks to the strong schools! Sellers should use the local school district to their advantage when listing their house. Homes within quality school districts are viewed significantly more often online and sell faster than homes in less sought after districts.


 

What is the strongest local school district in our North Iowa area?

All of our area's school districts are dedicated to academic excellence and providing our students with a quality education. If a top ranked school district is your upmost priority for your new North Iowa home, however, you should look to the communities of Garner and Ventura! Garner-Hayfield-Ventura Community Schools (605 West Lyons Street, Garner) is a public school district serving 809 students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. It has a remarkable student to teacher ratio of 11-1, meaning each student gets the attention they deserve. According to state test scores, 73% of the students are proficient in reading and 83% are proficient in math. Educational review and ranking website Niche.com recently released their list of the best school districts in Iowa for 2018. Garner-Hayfield Community School District was ranked the 15th best district out of the 312 analyzed. That's in the top 5%! In addition to its overall ranking, it was recognized as the #9 district with the best teachers and the #10 safest school district. Here are all of the individual grades that this district received:

 


 

If you are interested in Homes for Sale in Garner-Hayfield-Ventura CSD, 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 North Iowa. Contact us today at 641-425-4900 or http://www.janefischer.com/.

 

Upcoming Events and Special Giveaway in Clear Lake!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Start your 2018 off right! There are great community events heading your way in CLEAR LAKE! Check out all the information below and find a special giveaway offer at the bottom! Jane Fischer & Associates wishes everyone a fun January with family, friends, and neighbors!


 

Destination Clear Lake Launch Party & Chamber Annual Awards Ceremony

Date: Thursday, January 18th

Time: 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Location: Rookies Rockin Sports Bar (307 Main Avenue)

Celebrate the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce's bigest night of the year! The 2017 Annual Awards will be presented, the 75th Anniversary year will be kicked off, AND the 2018 edition of Destinitation Clear Lake will be unveiled!

 

"The Jack" Iowa LeMans Snowmobile Championship Jack Helgren Memorial Race

Dates: Friday, January 19th - Saturday, January 20th

Time: Click HERE

Location: Clear Lake State Park

Enjoy snowmobiling fun at the Annual Jack Race weekend! The whole family will love this weekend of festivities. On Friday, enjoy a snowmobile ride around the lake, bonfire, and Welcome Reception. On Saturday, check out all the races, vintage show, and more. Check out the awards banquet and live band at the end of the night. This annual event is a memorial to Jack Helgren, a Clear Lake buisnessman and avid snowmobiler.

 

Poodle Skirt Workshop

Date: Saturday, January 27th

Time: 10:30 am - 12:30 pm

Location: Clear Lake Arts Center (17 South 4th Street)

Make your own poddle skirt for the Winter Dance Party! Join instructor Andrea Evelsizer as she teaches you a qucik, simple pattern. All ages are welcome to attend. The cost is $40 per adult and $30 per child. The cost includes supplies. Register today! Call (641) 357-1998 or email clac@cltel.net.

Boy Scout Chili Supper

Date: Monday, January 29th

Time: 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Location: United Methodist Church (508 2nd Avenue North)

Enjoy a delicious vegetable soup and chili soup by Clear Lake Boy Scott Troop 30. Carryouts will be available starting at 4:30 pm. The cost is $8 per adult and $3 per child (ages 12 & under).

 

The Real Buddy Holly Story Rockumentary

Date: Wednesday, January 31st

Time: 3:00 pm - 4:45 pm

Location: Clear Lake Arts Center (17 South 4th Street)

See Paul McCartney's Rockumentary about rock 'n roll legend Buddy Holly. Beverages will be available to purchase. This event is FREE to the public. Can't make it on the 31st? There are additional screenings February 1st through 3rd (all at 3:00 pm).

 

Winter Dance Party Family Sock Hop

Date: Wednesday, January 31st

Time: 7:00 pm - 11:55 pm

Location: Surf Ballroom (460 North Shore Drive)

Get a jump start on the rock & roll party with some family friendly fun during the Winter Dance Party Family Sock Hop! Dance the night away to live music by Johnny Rogers! Tickets are $10 advance and $13 at the door. Children 5 and under are FREE! Purchase tickets HERE.



FOR A CHANCE TO WIN 2 FREE TICKETS TO THE WINTER DANCE PARTY AND T-SHIRTS, CLICK HERE!!!

Image Credits: The Jack Race and Winter Dance Party

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/.


 

Short Film Premier in Lake Mills!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Come celebrate and support incredible local talent at the official premier of Kevin Isaacson's short film Oliver Short! Head to The Mills Theater (216 West Main Street, Lake Mills) on Sunday January 14th, as they host this FREE screening! Doors will open at 1:00 pm and the show begins at 1:30 pm. Grab some soda and popcorn and find your seats for this excellent local film.



Oliver Short stars Carly Neel and Frank Boyd. After losing her father last year, sixteen year old Alex does not know how to handle her grief. She acts out by spraying graffiti on her father's gravestone. While doing so, Oliver Short appears. This mysterious gentleman is in need of her help. Alex soon realizes that Oliver and other individuals she has met in the cemetary are spirits. All of the spirits are unsettled due to unfinished business with their still living family members. Alex chooses to help these spirits and is able to properly let go of her own father's death.



Be sure to stick around after the film for a talk back with the filmmakers! This is a great event that you do not want to miss!


 


There is always something fun and unique taking place in North Iowa! Be sure to check out website at http://www.janefischer.com/ throughout the year for other great community events like this one!

 

Photo Credit: I Like Ike Films

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Our Team!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

 

 

The Christmas Season is our favorite time of year! With all of the incredibly festive events taking place throughout Mason City and Clear Lake, it is impossible not to be filled with good cheer and fall even more in love with living in this area. As Christmas quickly approaches, we would to extend a very warm THANK YOU to all of our past and current clients for giving us the opportunity to assist you with all of your North Iowa real estate needs! It has truly been a joy to serve you this year!


We hope your North Iowa home is filled with laughter and love as you celebrate Christmas this weekend!


The new year often brings new goals. If real estate goals are on your 2018 list, our team is here to help you achieve them! Whether you are a Home Buyer or Home Seller, we can assist you every step of the way! Through our years of experience, we love sharing our knowledge of our communities and helping people find their dream home in our area. Work with North Iowa's best real estate team in 2018! Contact us today so we can help you in every way that we can. We look forward to meeting with you!



Jane Fischer & Associates Team Wishes You A Very Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year!


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!


 

TubaChristmas and Tom Fetty Krugerrand Auction this Saturday!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Head to Mason City's Southbridge Mall (100 South Federal Avenue) this Saturday, December 9th, for some festive fun and holiday good cheer!



The day begins with the annual Tom Fetty Krugerrand Auction from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. All monies raised during the auction are donated to our local Salvation Army. Help support a great cause this holiday season!  


Then, stick around for the 32nd annual North Iowa TubaChristmas concert in the mall’s Center Court at 1:00 pm! TubaChristmas is a live musical performance of everyone’s favorite Christmas carols by local tuba, baritone, euphonium, and sousaphone players. Beginning in 1974 in New York City, TubaChristmas concerts are now held every year throughout the country and around the world. North Iowa is proud to boost one of the largest such concerts in the nation! Enjoy a rousing performance of the greatest Christmas tunes by 100 local musicians!



Are you a musician? Come participate in TubaChristmas! Tuba, baritone, euphonium, and sousaphone players of all ages are welcome. Please head to the Mason City High School band room on Saturday morning at 10:00 am for registration. Cost is $10 per participant. Rehearsal will begin at 10:30 am. Musicians should bring their own instruments, Santa hat, and music stand. Be sure to decorate your instrument for the holiday!



Jane Fischer and Associates Team
wishes everyone a festive holiday season in Mason City and throughout North Iowa!  

 

Image Credit: Jake Rajewsky/Globe Gazette

Winterize Your Home in 7 Easy Steps!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

The cold winter days are finally upon us in North Iowa! Increase your home's energy efficiency, save money on your heating bill, and keep your family nice and cozy all winter long by following these 7 Easy Steps to Winterize Your Home!

 

1. Dodge Drafts! Drafts can waste 5% to 30% of your home's energy use, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)! Save that energy by placing a draft blocker under your doors.


2. Use A Window Insulation Kit! Head to your local hardware store for some plastic for your windows. This adds an additional buffer against the cold.


3. Add Storm Windows! Skip the plastic and install storm windows that will last you for years to come. Studies show that these windows can save 12% to 33% on your heating costs every year!


4. Caulk Windows & Doors! Air leaks throughout the house waste a lot of energy. Be sure to caulk and seal all your windows and doors properly.


5. Replace Furnace Filters! Dirty filters increase energy use by restricting airflow. Plus, the irritants trapped in it can make your family sick! Your furnace filter should be changed every month during the winter. To save time and money (in the long run), consider using a permanent filter.


6. Monitor Your Heat! Make sure you turn down the thermostat everytime you aren't home to reduce energy waste. Also, save money by turning down your heat a degree or two and wrap up in a warm blanket instead!


7. Lower Your Water Temperature! According to the DOE, you can annually save 4% to 22% by turning down your water heater's temperature! Most water heaters are automatically set to 140ºF. Lower the temperature to 120ºF. Trust us, you won't notice the difference....aside from the money you will be saving!

 

Looking for more homeowner, buyer or seller tips? Visit our website!

 

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

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