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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!


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!

Debunking Home Buying Myths!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

In today’s blog post, we are going to discuss 9 major home buying myths. We know that there is plenty of information and advice out there for home buyers. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation too! From process to financing and everything in between, it is easy to be overwhelmed as a home buyer and make mistakes that could have been easily avoided. Let us debunk 9 major home buying myths to help you smoothly find your dream home in Mason City IA today!

 

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

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


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

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


Myth 3: A down payment must be 20%.

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


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

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


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

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


Myth 6: You can skip the home inspection.

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


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

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


Myth 8: Home buying is easy on your own.

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


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

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

We hope this blog gave you a some helpful insights as you proceed throughout the home BUYING process. If you are ready to get started, work with the Top Realtor Mason City IA! We can help you find the perfect property to fit your needs within the North Iowa Homes for Sale! Give our experienced Team a call today at 641-425-4900 or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.

 

Mason City's Ride to Fight Suicide

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Suicide is a topic that most people do not want to discuss, yet it is very prevalent in today's society and more attention needs to be given to prevention.  Join AFSP in their Ride to Fight Suicide Saturday, June 9th and bring awareness to all those affected by suicide. 

To register today, follow this link:  Registration

If you aren't able to join in the ride, consider donating to this important cause here:  Donate to AFSP Ride to Fight Suicide


How To Enjoy Home Buying Success in this Hot Market!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

In today’s blog post we are going to discuss tips for home buying success. Deciding to buy a new home is an exciting venture. And, there is no better place to buy than in North Iowa! The current housing market is hot and definitely favors sellers. However, having the right tools and knowledge can help you find and close on your dream home in no time. Ensure success during your own buying process! Look through the current Home Listings so we can help you begin your exciting journey, and follow these useful tips for being a successful home buyer!

WORK WITH AN EXPERIENCED AGENT.

Ensure buying success by teaming up with an experienced real estate agent. You will eliminate a majority of time and stress that can come with house hunting and buying by having someone else in your corner! Jane Fischer and Associates Team is here to help you every step of the way! We understand the North Iowa housing market, know what is currently available to fit your personal housing needs, and can negotiate the best deal for your new home! Learn more About Us in terms of our years of experience and our commitment to serving you!

GET PREAPPROVAL FROM A LENDER.

Let sellers know that you are serious about buying by getting preapproval for a loan from a reputable lender. Having this information ready to present to the seller ensures them that you can afford their home. Learn the important steps of Obtaining a Mortgage. The initial step of preapproval is easy to get out of the way from the very beginning if you have a high credit score and savings.

BE DECISIVE.

We understand that buying a home is a major life decision. This can lead to overthinking the process, though. Know exactly what you are looking for from the very start. Prioritize the important factors, such as location, type, and price. Start your house hunting with a clear understanding of exactly what you need in a new home. Once you find a home that meets all of these needs, make an offer! While you should be diligient in your decision making, do not allow over analyzing to get in the way of making an offer. If you wait too long, you risk the chance of losing your dream home!

MAKE A STRONG OFFER.

Always begin with a strong opening offer. In your initial planning stages, you should have set a budget for yourself and know the maximum that you are willing to pay for a home. We all always want to get the best deal possible but be respectiful of the needs of the seller as well. If you offer a price that is too low, you could miss out on your dream home. Ask your realtor for advice based on other homes on the market. Determine an opening offer that you care comfortable with and that will be appealing to the seller.

PREPARE FOR A BIDDING WAR.

A bidding war between you and the seller is an added stress. However, do not go into the process with the mindset that you want to avoid this process at all cost. It could mean missing out on a great opportunity. Have a clear understanding of what you can afford and search for homes below your max budget. This will allow you more wiggle room should a bidding war ensue. Trust your realtor during the negotiation process as they are there to help you get the home for the best possible price.

MISTAKES ARE LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES.

Although we want to make sure you end up in the first home you fall in love with, realize that this might not always work out. If a deal falls through, use it as an opportunity to learn what went wrong with the transaction and avoid it for the next offer. There are so many incredible options in North Iowa that you will find another home to love...perhaps even more so! Just stay true to what you are looking for and let our team help you find it!


 

We hope this blog gave you a some helpful tips for becoming a successful home buyer. However, we realize that you might still have some more questions. For more Home Buying Tips, give our experienced Team a call, visit our website, or check out our Facebook Page. We are here to help if you're considering Buying, Selling, or Investing in Real Estate in the North Iowa. Contact us today at 641-425-4900 or http://www.janefischer.com/.

 

 

Patriotic Desserts to Impress your Memorial Day Guests!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Memorial Day weekend is almost here!  A time to honor and remember all our military men and women who have sacrificed so much so we can live the freedoms of today.

If you'll be hosting a Memorial Day get-together, make sure to impress your guests with these very patriotic & tasty desserts!


No-Bake Summer Berry Lasagna

Ingredients
  • For Whipped Cream:
  • 1 2/3 cup heavy cream-chilled
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • For Red Velvet Crust:
  • 3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup strawberry jam
  • ½ cup+ 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • Red gel food coloring
  • For Cheesecake Layer:
  • 8 oz. cream cheese-softened
  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup of whipped cream
  • 2/3 cup diced fresh strawberries
  • For Blueberry Jello Salad Layer:
  • 2 (3 oz.pckg) berry blue Jello (or other flavors to your taste)
  • 1 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups blueberry pie filling
  • 1 cup of canned crushed pineapple-drained from juice (if using pineapple chunks, pulse it in a food processor to get fine crushed pieces)
  • For Topping:
  • 2 ½ cups whipped cream
  • Fresh strawberries halved
  • Fresh blueberries
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips
  •  

Instructions

To make the crust:

  1. Combine graham cracker crumbs, strawberry jam, melted butter and red food coloring( drop the color directly in melted butter or jam, it will dissolve better).
  2. Mix until evenly moistened. Press the mixture in the bottom of 13 x 9 x 2-inch dish. Place the crust in the freezer to firm.

Filling:

  1. First, make the whipped cream. In a bowl beat chilled heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and continue mixing until really STIFF peaks form. Measure out 1 cup of beaten whipped cream for cheesecake layer. Cover remaining whipped cream and reserve for topping.
  2. To make cheesecake layer cream together softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla and softened butter. Mix in 1 cup of whipped cream(do not use soft whipped cream, cheesecake filling have to be thick or it won’t hold dense blueberry jello salad layer on top)
  3. Gently fold in diced strawberries and spread over the crust. Place in the fridge to set.
  4. To make the blueberry jello salad layer in a large bowl place 6 oz. berry blue Jello gelatin mixture. Pour 1 ¼ cup boiling water and stir for a few minutes until the gelatin dissolved completely. Set aside to cool for 15-20 minutes, then stir in crushed pineapple and blueberry pie filling. Wait until it’s cooled to room temperature and soft set, or place in the fridge to speed the process but stir from time to time.
  5. Spread blueberry jello layer over chilled cheesecake layer. Do not pour warm blueberry jello over cheesecake layer, it will melt it.
  6. Place in the fridge to chill until jello layer is set completely.
  7. Top with remaining whipped cream. Before serving  arrange fresh berries on top. Melt white chocolate chips, transfer melted chocolate to a ziplock bag, cut off the corner and drizzle over the top of lasagna.
  8. Store in the fridge.
  9. RECIPE COURTESY OF OH MY GOODNESS CHOCOLATE DESSERTS
  10. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  11. RED, WHITE AND BLUE DESSERT!

INGREDIENTS

2 - 8 oz packages cream cheese softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped

2 quarts strawberries, halved, divided

2 quarts blueberries, divided

DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and extracts until fluffy. Fold in whipped cream. Place a third of the mixture in a 4-qt. bowl. Reserve 20 strawberry halves and 1/2 cup blueberries for garnish.

Layer half of the remaining strawberries and blueberries over cream mixture. Top with another third of the cream mixture and the remaining berries. Spread the remaining cream mixture on top. Use the reserved strawberries and blueberries to make a "flag" on top. Yield: 18 servings.

RECIPE COURTESY OF TASTE OF HOME

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CRISPY STAR POPS

INGREDIENTS

8 cups miniature marshmallows

6 tablespoons butter, cubed

12 cups Rice Krispies cereal

12 popsicle sticks

1 cup white baking chips

1/2 teaspoon shortening

Red, white and blue sprinkles

DIRECTIONS

In a Dutch oven, heat marshmallows and butter until melted. Remove from the heat; stir in cereal and mix well. Press into a greased 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Cut with a 3-in. star-shaped cookie cutter. Insert a wooden pop stick into the side of each star; place on waxed paper.

In a microwave, melt white chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Spread over stars. Decorate with sprinkles. Yield: 15 pops.


RECIPE COURTESY OF TASTE OF HOME

Sealing the Deal During the Closing Process

by Jane Fischer and Associates

MAY: The Best Month to Sell Your North Iowa Home!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

 

Looking for the best time to sell your North Iowa home? Well the time is now! This study by ATTOM Data Solutions found that May and June are the optimal times nationwide to sell you home. These two months see a net average of 5.9% and 5.8% above market value, respectivally, for sellers! Although the data was for homes nationwide, the breakdown by states showed that May is the best month for sellers within Iowa. Set yourself up for getting the best price on your home and selling it within an average of 30 days (according to the National Association of Realtors) when you list in May!

 

 

Work with the Top Realtor Mason City IA to learn about the market conditions in North Iowa and help you find buyers that would love your home! We will help sell your home quickly and for top dollar this May! Give our experienced Team a call today at 641-425-4900 or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.


Top Native Plants for Your North Iowa Garden!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

The ground is thawing and the temperatures are rising. Spring is finally here! Make your Mason City IA home the envy of the neighborhood with a stunning garden this season! Add some beautiful color and fragrance to your yard to drive away those winter blues. In order to ensure planting success, consider using native plants in your garden. These hardy plants are particularly resilient to the climate and soil conditions in the Midwest. Here are the Top Native Plants for Your North Iowa Garden!

 


SPIDERWORT (Tradescantia sp) – Place these perennials anywhere in your garden and enjoy the three-petaled flowers that blossom in the spring. These plants can survive in sun or shade.

WILD ANEMONE (Anemone canadensis) – This plant with large white flowers. is perfect as a garden border. It grows best in moist soil.

 

SWAMP MILKWEED (Asclepias incarnata) – These pink flowers will attract monarch butterflies this summer. It can survive in most any kinds of soil.

COMPASS PLANT (Silphium laciniatum) – Place this tall plant towards the back of your garden as it can grow up to 9 feet hight. Enjoy the yellow petals that aligns themselves north to south in the summer.

PALE PURPLE CONEFLOWER (Echinacea pallida) – Add some interesting texture to your garden with this plants dark red cones and pale pink flowers. This self-seeding plant will naturally spread throughout your garden so place it in areas with room to grow.

JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT (Arisaema triphyllum) – This plant is perfect for shady areas of your garden. Enjoy green flowers in the spring and summer and red berries in the fall for color throughout the year.

 

BLUE SAGE (Salvia pitcheri) – This lovely sky blue perennial needs full sun and well drained soil.

 

BLOODROOT (Sanguinaria canadensis) – This is another plant to put in those shaded spots. The spring time brings lovely white flowers.


BUTTERFLY WEED (Asclepias tuberosa) – This stunning orange flower attracts more butterflies in the summer. It is incredibly hardy and resists pests and diseases.

LITTLE BLUESTEM (Schizachyrium scoparium) – Enjoy some native grass all year round in your yard. It changes from a blue-green in the spring and summer to a purple-bronze in the fall and winter.

 

PENSTEMON (Penstemon digitalis) – This great perennial offers lovely white flowers and burgundy leaves.


POPPY MALLOW (Callirhoe involucrata) – Use this pest resistant plant in the front of your garden and enjoy the wine colored flowers.

COLUMBINE (Aquilegia canadensis) – Perfect for sun or shade, these yellow and red flowers will attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden.

CULVER'S ROOT (Veronicastrum virginicum) – Place these white flowers in light shade but make sure to water consistently.

GOLDENROD (Solidago sp) – This plant grows best in well drained soil and full sun. It offers a lovely yellow color to your garden well into the fall season.

Updating your garden with these native plants will offer a peaceful spot for you and your family, enhance your curb appeal, and increase your home value. If you're thinking of Selling your North Iowa home, your garden is an easy spot to invest some extra money and time to attract buyers. Turn to Jane Fischer & Associates for more great home selling tips. Visit our website http://www.janefischer.com/ and follow us on Facebook!

Photography Tips to Make Your Home Stand Out Online!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

In today’s blog post, we are going to discuss tips on photographing your home to sell. An online listing is almost always the first time a buyer is exposed to your home. It can have a dramatic effect on whether or not they are interested in viewing your home. Make sure that your home attracts buyers by capturing the best photos you can. Although hiring a professional can help ensure that you have the best quality images, there are some simple ways that you can make your photos look less amateur. Follow these great photography tips to have your Mason City IA looking its very best in all your online images!

 

Use a Tripod.

Always use a tripod for your photos. A tripod helps ensure that your photos are never crooked (which can be jarring) by keeping the camera straight and helps keep the image sharp and reduces bluriness by eliminating camera shake.

 



Pay Attention to the Sun.

The first image buyers usually see online is of the front exterior of the home. Think about the best time of day to capture this shot. The position of the sun at different times of the day can have a dramatic effect on the image. Always shoot this image when the sun is shining directly onto the front exterior of your home. This will ensure that your home is well lit and eliminates shadows. Also, consider the height from which you are shooting the photo. By shooting from an elevated position, you can capture an image that includes the home and part of the yard.


Don't Use Your Smartphone.

The cameras on today's smartphones are technically advance but they still do not compare to a DSLR camera. The main issue with smartphones are their inability to handle low-light settings. Shoot with a DSLR camera and external flash to make sure your image is well-lit. Always have the room's lights turned on and the curtains open to utilize natural lighting. You want your image to reveal how bright your home is.

 


Capture the Outdoors Even When Inside.

The outdoor views from the interior of your home are just as important as what is inside. You want to make sure that both are in focus. This can be difficult to capture since focusing on the interior in the forefront can blur the view from the window and vice versa. Using a deep depth of focus can ensure that all is in focus. Professionals also utilize HDR imaging in order to layer multiple exposures within the room so the image shows both the inside and outside.


Think Wide.

You want to convey as much of the space as possible within your image. Use a wide-angle lens in order to capture more of an interior room. Standard lenses are great for revealing detail within tigher shots but you can convey more information (including the floor, ceiling, and walls) about the space in one wide-angle photo.

 



Always Look for the Best Angle.

Your position when you take the photo greatly affects how big the room appears in the image. Always look for the angle that makes the space appear larger. This often means shooting from the side of furniture instead of from behind (which can create distractions and make rooms feel cramped). A good rule of thumb is to frame your photo in a way that allows you to capture three walls within the room. This helps balance your photo and make rooms appear larger.

 


We hope this blog gave you a some helpful tips on photographing your home for online listings! If you are ready to sell your home, work with the Top Realtor Mason City IA! We can help you find sell your home for top dollar and quickly this spring! Give our experienced Team a call today at 641-425-4900 or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 13

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Contact Information

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

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