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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/!   

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


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

Clear Lake: Iowa's Charming Beach Town!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

There is no better place to beat the summer heat than the beach! Think that living in Iowa means that a beach is out of your reach? Guess again!! The beautiful North Iowa community of CLEAR LAKE was just featured by website Only In Your State as The Tiny Beach Town In Iowa You’ve Never Heard Of But Need To Visit!


 

This carefree, laid back lake town is home to around 7,000 people. Despite its small size, it is filled with so much to do on and around the beautiful waters of Clear Lake!


 

  • Take a stroll down Main Street to find unique gift shops, antique stores, and more.

  • Head to City Park (Main Avenue) for a paddlewheel cruise, delicious sweet corn, and live music by the municipal band on the weekend.

  • Explore the great outdoors and go fishing at McIntosh Woods State Park (1200 East Lake Street, Ventura).

  • Lounge on the beach and splash around at Clear Lake State Park (2730 South Lakeview Drive).

  • Grab a delicious bite to eat with incredible views of the lake at one of the great local spots, such as The Anchor Inn (468 North Shore Drive) or The Landing Patio Bar & Grill (1603 South Shore Drive).

  • Dance the night away to live music at the historic Surf Ballroom (460 North Shore Drive).

  • Enjoy family fun community events that occur throughout the year, including Thursdays On Main and Lakeside DixieFest.


 

Don’t just visit Clear Lake! Make it your home! Whether you are looking for your permanent residence or a great second home for your family, there are so many options in Clear Lake. Check out the incredible Homes for Sale. Give Jane Fischer and Associates Team a call today or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.  



Content and Image Credit: Only In Your State

Mason City High School One of Top Schools in Iowa!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Mason City High School (1700 4th Street Southeast) has made it to the top 12% of its class for 2017! Educational review and ranking website Niche recently ranked 330 public high schools throughout Iowa to determine which were the best of the best. Based on data from the US Department of Education and user reviews, Mason City High School was found to be the 40th best high school in the state!


The data analyzed looked at factors such as state test scores, graduation rates, teacher quality, college readiness, SAT/ACT scores, high school ratings, and more. Mason City truly proved that it is dedicated to setting its students up for success. The school has a graduation rate of 97%. It was ranked the 19th best school in Iowa for college readiness. 15% of its students enroll in AP courses. Beyond the classroom, Mason City High School provides excellent extracurricular opportunities for its students. It is the 21st best high school for athletes in the state.


Check out the full report card for Mason City High School!


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Great local schools is one of the many reasons why Mason City is the perfect community for families to call home. If you are interested in Buying your dream home in Mason City, give Jane Fischer & Associates a call today or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.    

Top Tips for Buying or Selling Your North Iowa Home this Spring!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Spring will be arriving soon throughout North Iowa. Along with warmer weather and greener leaves, spring makes the start of the busy housing market. If you have been waiting until spring to list or find your dream home, you can begin the process now! Follow these helpful tips for sellers and buyers to help you succeed in the Mason City area housing market this spring!



Selling this Spring!

The first step sellers should take is knowing Your Home's Value. This allows you to list your home at a correct price that fits with the current market trends. In addition, you need to make your home stand out from the other competition. This can be done by improving curb appeal, staging, and finishing those home improvement projects. Also, consider making some updates that will provide you with a great return on investment. Experienced Realtors in the Mason City area can help you throughout all of these steps and the rest of the selling process.  



Buying This Spring!

As a buyer, you need to have a good understanding of the Mason City housing market by knowing what options are out there as well as current prices. Working with a Knowledgeable Real Estate Team can help you with this from the very start. Before you actually start looking for homes, have your Home Financing in order. This allows you to know exactly what your budget is. Once you find your dream home, realize that there might be competition from other buyers in the busy spring market. There are ways to make you stand out from the crowd when there are multiple offers on the table. First, try to remain flexible with some of your conditions such as closing date. Next, write a personal letter to the seller expressing why you fell in love with the home and how it fits you and your family’s needs. This can really help you ensure that the house becomes yours.



Ready to buy or sell your Mason City home this spring? Give Jane Fischer & Associates Team a call today or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.

North Iowa Home & Landscaping Show This Weekend!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Looking for great ways to update and renovate your Mason City home? Come to the 26th Annual North Iowa Home & Landscaping Show this weekend at the North Iowa Events Center (3700 4th Street Southwest, Mason City)! On Friday, February 24th, through Sunday, February 26th, you can find everything that you need inside and outside your home!

 


Turn your North Iowa abode into your dream home by discovering millions of ideas and meeting with 120+ exhibitors for the following areas and more:


Bath Repair | Carpet | Decorating | Doors | Energy Saving Products | Equipment | Fireplaces | Flooring | Garage Doors | Gardens | Grills | Heating & Cooling | Homebuilders | Hot Tubs | Insulation | Kitchens | Landscaping | Lawns | Mowers | Paving | Remodelers | Saunas | Security | Siding | Sunrooms | Water Treatment | Windows



There are also amazing home and garden seminars scheduled all weekend long! Here is the full schedule:


Friday, February 24th

4:30 pm - Increase the Storage Space and Update your Kitchen (Steve Katkowsky)

6:00 pm - Backyard Birds and How to Attract Them (Ellen Montgomery)

7:00 pm - Transform your Garden & Bring your Living Space Outdoors (Steve Katkowsky)

Saturday, February 25th

11:30 am - Want a New Home and No Energy Costs for under $175,000? (Gregg Bacon)

1:00 pm - Increase the Storage Space and Update your Bathroom (Steve Katkowsky)

2:00 pm - Want a New Home and No Energy Costs for under $175,000? (Gregg Bacon)

3:30 pm - Increase the Storage Space and Update your Kitchen (Steve Katkowsky)

5:00 pm - Backyard Birds and How to Attract Them (Ellen Montgomery)

6:00 pm - Transform your Garden & Bring your Living Space Outdoors (Steve Katkowsky)

Sunday, February 26th

12:00 pm - Increase the Storage Space and Update your Kitchen (Steve Katkowsky)

1:30 pm - Want a New Home and No Energy Costs for under $175,000? (Gregg Bacon)

2:30 pm - Increase the Storage Space and Update your Bathroom (Steve Katkowsky)



North Iowa Home & Landscaping Show Details

Dates: Friday, February 24th - Sunday, February 26th

Times: 3:00 pm - 9:00 pm (Friday) | 10:00 am - 7:00 pm (Saturday) | 11:00 am - 4:00 pm (Sunday)

Location: North Iowa Events Center (3700 4th Street Southwest, Mason City)

Cost: $5 regular admission, FREE for kids 12 and under!

*Click HERE for special discount coupon!  


If you are interested in Buying or Selling your North Iowa home, give Jane Fischer & Associates a call today or visit our website at http://www.janefischer.com/.


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

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Jane Fischer & Associates
Century 21 Preferred
2800 4th Street SW #3
Mason City IA 50401
Cell: 641-425-4900
Office: 641-424-9400
©2017 CENTURY 21 Preferred. CENTURY 21® and the CENTURY 21 Logo are registered service marks owned by Century 21 Real Estate LLC. Equal Housing Opportunity. Each office is independently owned and operated.