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Autumnal and Halloween Fun in North Iowa!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Fall is fully upon us and Halloween is just around the corner! Enjoy the festivities of the season in North Iowa! Whether you are looking for something frightfully scary or something that celebrates the beauty of autumn, there is a great event for you. Check out our recommendations for things to do this October in Mason City and Clear Lake!

Halloween Hike at Lime Creek Nature Center

Explore Lime Creek Nature Center on a spooky evening hike. Learn about all the creatures that call the center home from your trail guide and enjoy refreshments after all that fresh air. The outdoor fun takes place on Thursday, October 19th, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. The hike costs $3 per person and reservations are required. Call (641) 423-5309 to reserve your spot!

 

Cocktails and Canvas "A Night in the Pumpkin Patch" at Clear Lake Arts Center

Get artistic at an Arty Party at Clear Lake Arts Center on Friday, October 20th. Join instructor Linda Dlouhy as she helps you create your very own “Starry, Starry Pumpkin Patch” while enjoying refreshments. The cost is $30 for members and $32 for non-members (cost includes all supplies right down to the paint smocks). Space is limited. To register, Call (641) 357-1998 or email clac@cltel.net to register!

 

Haunted Hike at The D and D Ranch

Find frights around every corner at The D and D Ranch (2532 South Shore Drive, Clear Lake). Every Friday and Saturday night, along with Halloween, 7 pm to 11 pm. Begin in the Halloween Museum before braving the haunted, wild west town. This fun and scary Halloween attraction costs $12 per person.

 

Scarecrows at Central Garden

Enjoy the crisp fall weather and beautiful autumnal setting of Central Gardens as you admire the scarecrows that now populate the gardens. All the scarecrows were handmade by local residents and organizations. This exhibit is open daily.

 

Boogie Spooktacular at Surf Ballroom

Dance the night away with Boogie and the Yo-Yo’z at Surf Ballroom. This great concert will take place on Saturday, October 28th. Doors open at 8:00 pm. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at door. Must be 21+ to attend.


 

Celebrate Fall at the Clear Lake Harvest Festival!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Celebrate Fall in beautiful Clear Lake for the annual Harvest Festival!! Head to Main Street on Saturday, October 7th, for a day of autumnal fun and festivities! This great street festival features Beer & Wine Tastings, farmers market, vendors market, trolley rides, live music, fun events, and so much more! Find something for everyone from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm this Saturday at Clear Lake’s 13th Annual Harvest Festival!


*Events Schedule*

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM | Vendor Market

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM | A Table Setting Affair | Wilcox Furniture

11:00 AM, Noon, 1:00 PM, & 2:00 PM | Fall Color Trolley Tours | Yacht Club

1:00 PM - 5:00 PM | Make Your Own Wine Charm | Larson's Mercantile

2:00 PM | Grape Stomp | Unique Boutique

3:30 PM | Pumpkin Roll Relay Race & Bennigan's Waiter Race | Chamber Office


*Live Music Schedule*

11:00 AM - 1:30 PM | Betty & The Gents | Festival Stage

11:00 AM - 2:00 PM | Five Friends Jazz Combo | Lady of the Lake

11:30 AM - 2:00 PM | NOVA Jazz | Clear Lake Arts Center

2:15 PM - 4:30 PM | Feldspar | Clear Lake Arts Center

2:30 PM - 5:00 PM | Last Minute Combo | Lady of the Lake

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM | According to Hoyle | Festival Stage



Purchase the Harvest Festival Tasting Pass ($35) HERE.



Jane Fischer and Associates Team wishes everyone a very happy Fall weekend in Clear Lake!  

 

Image Credit: Clear Lake, Iowa

Avoid These 9 Home Buying Myths!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

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


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

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

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

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

Myth 3: A down payment must be 20%.

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

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

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

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

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

Myth 6: You can skip the home inspection.

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

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

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

Myth 8: Home buying is easy on your own.

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

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

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

 


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

Pumpkin Picking in North Iowa!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Get in the fall spirit by planning a weekend trip to Enchanted Acres! Located less than 20 miles away directly south of Mason City, this fabulous, family owned farm offers the perfect weekend retreat! Pick your own pumpkins, enjoy arts & crafts, take a hayride, feed the goats, fire the pumpkin cannon, and so much more! There are also incredible Special Events & Workshops planned throughout the season. Your entire family will love their day on the farm!


Fall Season Information

Address: 1071 250th Street, Sheffield, IA 50475

Phone: (515) 371-0450

Dates: Friday, September 16th - Sunday, October 29th

Hours:

  • Monday - Wednesday | CLOSED

  • Thursday - Saturday | 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

  • Sunday | 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

Cost: $5 per person | Children 2 & under are FREE

  • Admission includes regular attractions, unlimited hayrides, and entry into Books in the Barn


Whether you are picking pumpkins to decorate your Mason City home or bake a delectable pie, you want to make sure you pick the perfect pumpkin! Here are some helpful pumpkin tips!  


  • Look for pumpkins that are visually appealing. The color should be an even deep orange.

  • Make sure there are no cuts, soft spots, or bruises. The exterior should feel hard. If it doesn’t, it could indicate that it is starting to rot! Make sure the stem is attached.

  • Cure your freshly picked pumpkin in a dry place to toughen its rind and reduce the chance for rotting. Place it in a cool (50-65 degrees), low humidity environment so it lasts throughout the season!

  • If you are using the pumpkin for carving, odd shapes and lopsided pumpkins can make for the coolest looking creations!

  • Pumpkins for pies are a different variety. You want one that has been developed for eating. They are smaller, sweeter, and smoother than decorative pumpkins.

Great River City Festival in Mason City!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Head to downtown Mason City this weekend for the Great River City Festival! There are fun events all weekend long for you to celebrate everything you love about Mason City, past and present! Don’t miss out on any of the festivities!

 

14th Annual Ethnic Lunch

Date: Friday, September 15th

Time: 11:00 am - 1:30 pm

Location: Federal Avenue (East Side of Central Park)

Come for the incredible ethnic food, cultural exhibits, diversity awards, and so much more.

Menu

  • April Concepcion – Filipino egg rolls, rice noodles, fried rice, & meat on a stick

  • Bethlehem Lutheran – German brats, runzas, apple dumpling, hot potato salad, & baked goods

  • Columbia Club – Beef tacos, taco salad, & fried ice cream sundaes

  • Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa – Beverages

  • MC Noon Lions Club – Indian Bhel-Chat snack & Mithai dessert

  • Mr. Taco – Tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, & burritos

  • Ruth Anne’s Home Baked – Breads & pastries

  • St. John’s Episcopal Church – English bangers and mash & scones

  • State Street Deli – Italian roast beef sandwiches

  • Suzie Q – Greek gyros & Philly cheesesteaks

  • Trinity Lutheran Church – Norwegian meatballs & almond bars

 

Friday Night Live

Date: Friday, September 15th

Time: 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Location: Central Park

Enjoy live music by Mason City favorite’s The Chocolate Crackers. Check out the craft show, kids games and inflatables, delicious food, and pub crawl! There might also be a special appearance by the gangsters!

 

The Great River City Festival

Date: Saturday, September 16th

Time: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

Location: Downtown Mason City

See John Dillinger and the Public Enemies of 1934 as they “rob” the First National Bank at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm! It will be a fun-filled, action-packed reenactment! In between the “robberies”, Denny's School of Dance will be performing. Join in the fun by participating in the costume contest! Enjoy delicious snacks and beverages throughout the event.

 

Home Improvement Projects to Complete Before the End of Summer

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Summer officially ends on Friday, September 22nd. That still gives you plenty of time to finish those last minute home improvement projects you've been putting off. Take advantage of these last weekends of beautiful weather and make some great updates and improvements to your Mason City area home. Not sure where to begin? Here are 7 prime home improvements to make at the end of 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.

 

 

For more home improvement tips, check out our Blog for related topics. If you are interested in Buying or Selling your North Iowa home, give the Jane Fischer and Associates Team a call today or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.



Source Reference: Realtor.Com


Fun Ideas for Labor Day Weekend in North Iowa!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Labor Day Weekend is Here! Often considered as the last hurrah of summer, this long holiday weekend is the perfect time to spend with family and friends. is considered to be the last hurrah of summer. There are so many ways to make the most of your weekend in the Mason City area! Here are our top recommendations for things for you and your family to do this Labor Day weekend! As an added perk.....these are all affordable options that ensure the most amount of fun without breaking the bank!


Go Camping!

Camping is a time honored tradition over Labor Day Weekend. Enjoy the beautiful summer weather and stunning natural setting in North Iowa. Get active and explore the great outdoors. There are many campgrounds nearby at local and state parks for you and your family to enjoy. Each of these spots offers unique recreational options that will keep you and your family having fun all weekend long! Check out these great spots nearby for your camping adventure:

Beed's Lake State Park (1422 165th Street, Hampton)

Camp at the Woods (22097 Fallspark Drive # B, Mason City)

Clear Lake State Park (6490 South Shore Drive, Clear Lake)

MacNider Campgrounds (901 Birch Drive, Mason City)

McIntosh Woods State Park (1200 East Lake Street, Ventura)

Pilot Knob State Park (2148 340th Street, Forest City)


Have a Potluck!

Invite family and friends offer for a delicious feast! Prepare a delicious main course and ask each of your guests to bring a side dish to share. After all, we love our potlucks in the midwest! Enjoy time dining with your guests and set up some fun lawn games or outdoor activities to enjoy.

Vacation at Home!

We often overlook the incredible local sites and attractions that are located in our own backyard. Explore all that Mason City and the North Iowa region have to offer. Check out the local tourist spots that you never visit. Pick some great outdoor spot for some recreational fun to take advantage of the warm weather. You will find a whole new appreciation for everything that our communities have to offer while saving money by lodging in your home for your staycation!

Attend a Local Event!

There is always something going on in our area. Labor Day Weekend is no exception! Check out the Mason City Events and Clear Lake Events calendars for great local events taking place all weekend long! You are sure to find something fun and unique for the whole family to enjoy.


Jane Fischer & Associates Team wishes you and your family a very Happy & Safe Labor Day Weekend!   

Iowa Independent Film Festival in Mason City!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Enjoy the finest independent films from around the world at the IOWA INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL!! Head to downtown Mason City on Friday, August 18th, and Saturday, August 19th, for 29 films! The 10th annual IIFF features feature films, short films, and documentaries, and discussions with some of the filmmakers! Films will be screened at The Main Event (112 2nd Street Southeast) and a student film showcase will be head in the Mason City Room at the Mason City Public Library (225 2nd Street Southeast). Tickets cost $30 per person and include access to ALL movies on both days as well as coffee, lunch, dinner, and popcorn on Saturday! Purchase tickets at the door or in advance HERE! Don’t miss out on any of the cinematic fun!

 



FRIDAY, AUGUST 18th | THE MAIN EVENT

4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

  • The Gurgle (6 minutes)

  • King in the Mountain (55 minutes)

  • Controlled Burn (3 minutes)

  • Elly* (10 minutes)

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

  • Ten More (12 minutes)

  • Untruth* (11 minutes)

  • Camp Algona* (57 minutes)

8:00 pm - 10:15 pm

  • Bakemono (49 minutes)

  • Repartiation (72 minutes)

SATURDAY, AUGUST 19th | MASON CITY PUBLIC LIBRARY

9:15 am - 11:00 am

  • Everything’s Gonna Be OK (15 minutes)

  • Beyond the X (17 minutes)

  • The Way Out (26 minutes)

  • Running Condition (16 minutes)

11:00 am - 1:00 pm

  • The Canjoe Man* (20 minutes)

  • Release* (84 minutes)

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

  • Fish (4 minutes)

  • A Night at the Movies* (16 minutes)

  • Bridging Color (24 minutes)

2:00 pm - 4:30 pm

  • Rise of the Sea Urchins*

SATURDAY, AUGUST 19th | THE MAIN EVENT

10:00 am - 11:45 am

  • North & Nowhere (12 minutes)

  • Falling South (39 minutes)

  • No Name Maddos (26 minutes)

11:45 am - 2:00 pm

  • Strongroom (23 minutes)

  • The Tree* (94 minutes)

2:00 pm - 4:30 pm

  • After Hours Trading* (103 minutes)

4:30 pm - 6:30 pm

  • The Whole World (30 minutes)

  • The Barn Raisers* (56 minutes)

6:30 pm - 8:45 pm

  • The Ragman - A Hobo’s Story Untold (16 minutes)

  • The Gatehouse* (96 minutes)

8:45 pm - 10:00 pm

  • Gary Kroeger Awards Ceremony



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  

Back 2 School in North Iowa!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

August means the start of school for students throughout North Iowa. It's time to check those school supply lists, pick out your first day's outfit, and get a good night's rest before that first school bell of the year. Mark your calendar with the your district's first day of school!


 

Central Springs Community School District | 105 South East Street, Manly

First Day of School: Wednesday, August 23rd

2017 - 2018 District Calendar


Clear Lake Community School District | 1529 3rd Avenue North, Clear Lake

First Day of School: Wednesday, August 23rd

2017 - 2018 District Calendar  


Mason City Community Schools | 1515 South Pennsylvania Avenue, Mason City

First Day of School: Tuesday, August 29th (Grades 7 & 9) | Wednesday, August 30th (All Grades)

2017 - 2018 District Calendar


Osage Community Schools | 820 Sawyer Drive, Osage

First Day of School: Tuesday, August 22nd

2017 - 2018 District Calendar


Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock CSD | 1460 210th Street, Rockford

First Day of School: Wednesday, August 23rd

2017 - 2018 District Calendar


West Fork Community School District | 210 South 2nd Street, Rockwell

First Day of School: Wednesday, August 23rd (Grades 9-12) | Thursday, August 24th (Grades PreK-8)

2017 - 2018 District Calendar

 

 

Jane Fischer and Associates Team wishes all students in North Iowa a successful and fun 2017-2018 school year!!!

Tips for Buying a Home with a Septic System

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Understanding where the waste from your home goes might be one of the least glamorous aspects of homeownership but it is of the utmost importance. Since many of the homes throughout North Iowa are located in rural areas, the homes have a septic system instead of a sewer line connection. A septic system works by collecting the waste water from a home’s kitchen and bathroom into a tank on the property. There are bacterias and compounds within the tank that help decompose the material and convert it into a harmless byproduct that can be eventually absorbed back into the ground. This is often a greener system than traditional sewer systems. Unfortunately, improperly maintained septic systems can lead to backups causing costly clean ups and dangerous contamination of the local soil. Buying a home with a septic system? Here is all the information you need to keep your septic system running properly for the health and comfort of you and your family!

 

Inspect the Septic System During the Home Inspection

Not all home inspectors have the right expertise when it comes to septic systems. If the home inspector you hire does not have experience in this area, hire a septic professional to inspect the systems operation as well as the land around it. This will ensure that it is already functioning properly and help you avoid any potential damage to your yard or, worse, your home!

 

Maintaining Your Home’s Septic System

You’ve ensured that the septic system is working properly upon buying your new home. Now, it’s time to make sure that you maintain it! Avoid putting any oils down your home’s drain and be sure to use a food disposal system to help prevent malfunctions and backups within the system. Add bacteria supplements to the tank by flashing a bacteria pack down the toilet based on the directions from the manufacturer. If your septic system has an electric pump, consider installing a backup battery and/or water level monitoring alarm for additional protection. All septic systems should be pumped out every 3 to 5 years, based on household usage, to help ensure continued functionality. In the unfortunate case that your system does backup, do not run any additional water into the drains, unless absolutely necessary, as this will just perpetuate the issue. Hire a professional septic system servicer to evaluate and repair the problem immediately.

 

 

Follow these helpful tips to keep the septic system within your new home operating properly! For more information regarding homes with septic systems in our area or for any other helpful homeowner tips, contact the Jane Fischer and Associates Team! We are here to help your through every step of the home buying process!  


 

Information from CinciNKYRealEstate.com

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