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January is Radon Action Month!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

 

 

Keep your family safe in your North Iowa home during National Radon Action Month. Check out all of the EPA’s helpful information and home owner resources regarding radon HERE. For information related specifically for our state, including help finding certified radon mitigation professionals, use these links:

 

 

 

Find more great home safety and home improvement tips on our Website or by following us on Facebook!

What To Expect For The New Year's Housing Market!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Have A Happy Holidays For You And Your Pets!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

With everything going on around the holidays, it can be easy to forget that your home is now filled with many temptations for your pet! Although some of these temptations might only cause minor mischeif, others could have very dangerous consequences for your pet. Keep this important member of your family as safe and happy as the rest of you this holiday season by following these simple tips.


  • Your pet can very easily get hurt if they knock over the tree. Keep their curiosity at bay by using natural deterents around the bottom portion of the tree. 
  • Some ornaments are made out of edible materials and its hard to blame your pet on wanting to check these out. Eliminate the temptation by not placing such ornaments on your tree this year. 
  • Speaking of plants, poinsettias are incredibly toxic for animals. Either use a natural deterrent on them or replace them with silk ones. 
  • Opt for flameless candles to keep fire hazards from occurring while still maintaining the ambiance you want during the holidays. 
  • Cables can be seen as exciting new chew toys by our pets. Make sure they remain hidden or use a deterrent such as citronella infused covers on them. 
  • Make sure someone responsible has an eye on your pet at all times when entertaining. This will ensure they don't get out of the house when they aren't supposed to or getting into things they shouldn't be. 
  • If your pet gets anxious around lots of people or you just want the peace of mind that they are safe, find a designated spot that they can stay during gatherings. Check on them throughout the evening and provide them with treats and toys that will keep them entertained. 
  • All alcohol, which can have serious health effects on your animals, should be out of reach. 
  • Avoid giving your animal table scrapes during this time of year. There are too many foods that are unsafe for them to eat, such as chocolate, raisins, onions, and garlic. There are other hazards as well, such as plastic utensils and animal bones, that you don't want them getting into. 


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How to Care for Your North Iowa Home After A Snowstorm!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

As lovely as a white Christmas can be, snow and wintery elements can cause damage to your home. Be sure to properly take care of your home after snow storms. Follow these tips for winter home care to keep your North Iowa home in its best shape now and next year!

Concrete takes a beating in the winter. Ice and snow can cause cracks. Be sure to clear off your Driveway and Walkways as soon as possible after a snowfall. Take care of those slippery spots with eco-friendly gravel or salt. Once your driveway and walkways are clear, check for any damage that you might need to take care of this spring.  

The weight of snow can cause Dead Branches to fall from trees. If any of these branches are large and hang over an area of your home, they can cause serious damage when they break off. Go around your home to look for any potential issues and cut away the dead branches that you find.

Your Roof can crack under large accumulations of snow. Cracks in the roof can lead to more serious water damage in your home. Inspect your roof for areas with heavy snow accumulation. Safely remove some of the snow. Be sure to check inside your home for any signs that damage has already occurred and hire a professional to fix the problem if necessary.  

Ice and snow up against your home can cause moisture to enter the Foundation. Make sure you shovel all the way around the base of your home. Go inside and check for cracks in the foundation where moisture might have entered.

 

 

Cold temperatures can cause Pipes to burst. A burst pipe leads to expensive water damage if your home floods. Until spring, make sure that you keep the temperature at at least 55 degrees throughout your home. Check your pipes to see if any feel cold to the touch and add insulation to keep them warm.

 

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Getting Your Home Ready for Thanksgiving Guests!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Not only will you be filling your bellies with an incredible feast this Thanksgiving but you will also be filling your house with holiday guests! Get your home ready for all your friends and family now so you do not need to stress next week! Prepare your Mason City house and keep your guests comfortable throughout Thanksgiving by following these simple steps!

1. Let there be light!

You might be able to navigate your house in the dark but your guests cannot! Make sure to provide them with ample lighting during the night so they can safely walk to the areas they need to reach. Add nightlights to hallways, bedrooms, and bathrooms. Make sure that all outdoor lights are working properly.

2. Clear the clutter!

Ensure ample space for your guests by removing any unnecessary clutter. Place these items in closets and storage so they are out of the way. Clear off tables and counter tops.

3. Create a great first impression!

The foyer is the very first impression your guests will have. Make it welcoming! Also ensure it is functional for your guests. Clear out your personal items so guests have an easy spot to place their coats and shoes.

4. Prep your kitchen!

Your kitchen is going to see a lot of action on Thursday. Make sure that you have all the essential items you need easily accessible. Create a comforable spot for guests to hang out in the kitchen and keep you company while you prepare your food!

5. Make it cozy!

Create a relaxing spot for guests to get some rest. Ensure that all guests have ample bedding to stay warm at night. Consider adding a ceiling fan to your guest bedroom so your guests can control their own temperature.

6. Stock your bathroom!

Keep you bathroom fully stocked with toilet paper, toiletries, and towels. Have all these items easily accessible so guests can find them when they need them!


Jane Fischer & Associates wishes everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!  

Get Your Home Ready For the Cold!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

Winter weather might still be a couple months away but now is the perfect time to get your North Iowa home ready for the cold! Increase your home's energy efficiency, save money on your heating bill, and keep your family nice and cozy when the temperature plummets 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!

 

 

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Celebrate Fall in Osage - The City of Maples!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

 

Celebrate the upcoming fall season in the "City of Maples" - beautiful Osage, Iowa! This Saturday, September 15th, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm come to Autumn Artistry, the largest arts & crafts festival in North Iowa, for some seasonal fun!


With food, music, and art, there is something for the whole family to enjoy at Autumn Artistry! This fantastic community event is taking place throughout Osage. Head to Historic Downtown Osage for a wide variety of local artisans and food vendors. You will find harvest and baked goods, decor for your North Iowa home, handcrafted goods, holiday & gift items, and so much more. Head on over to the Osage Public Library (406 Main Street) for fantastic kids activities, including pumpkin carving! The Mitchell County Fairgrounds (1006 Chestnut Street) will be home to more incredible artisans and vendors, as well as the Blacktop Cruisers 16th Annual Car Show from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm (Registration begins at 8:00 am). Shuttle service will be available between the fairgrounds and a few downtown locations. And, do not miss a special edition of the Farmer’s Market (Parking Lot at South 7th Street & State Streets) from 8:00 am to Noon to find the freshest fall vegetables, colorful mums, delicious baked items, and more locally produced goods.

 

 


Jane Fischer & Associates wishes everyone a day of fun at this year's Autumn Artistry in beautiful Osage!


Image Credit: Osage Chamber of Commerce


Steps to Prep Your Garden for Fall!

by Jane Fischer and Associates

While we continue to enjoy the final days of summer, it is a great time to prep your North Iowa garden for the colder days ahead! Keep your landscaping looking great into the fall and next year by following these simple steps!

 

1. Water your plants and trees to ensure they have plenty of moisture in their roots.


2. Buy Bulbs so you can take advantage of lower prices in the off season.


3. Till Your Soil for next year's growth.


4. Plant Autumnal Annuals to keep your garden bright and colorful well into the fall.


5. Add Shrubs and Evergreens so they can root before the winter.


6. Cut Your Grass Lower to help the soil dry out quicker in the spring.


7. Remove Debris Rose Beds since fallen rose foliage is a spot where plant diseases can fester in the winter.


8. Cut Back Perennials so that they have room to grow next year.


9. Clean The Vegetable Garden of weeds and debris to keep pests at bay.


10. Remove Annuals that are dead and use them in your compost heap.


11. Dig Summer Bulbs and store them inside so you can enjoy them again next year.


12. Plant Bulbs that are hardy enough for colder temperatures so that they bloom as soon as spring comes around.


13. Nourish Your Lawn so it has all the nutrients it needs to last throughout the winter.


14. Rake all fallen leaves so your lawn can breathe and use the shredded leaves for mulch.


15. Protect Plants from the upcoming cold by placing frost barriers on them immediately after the first freeze.


16. Plant Bulbs Indoors to get a jump start on your spring garden.


17. Bring Container Plants Indoors after you have removed them of pests.


18. Empty Water from your hoses, fountains, and irrigation systems and store in a dry place so they are working properly next gardening season!

 

For more great home owner tips, visit our Website and follow us on Facebook!

 

Great Summertime Home Improvement Projects

by Jane Fischer and Associates

In today’s blog post, we are going to discuss 7 home improvements you should make this summer. Summer just officially began. This gives you ample opportunities to take advantage of the beautiful weather and make some great updates and improvements to your Mason City IA home that will allow you to get the most out of your summer and increase the value of your home! Here are 7 prime home improvement projects to complete this 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.

We hope this blog gave you a some helpful home improvement ideas for the summer. If you are looking for more tips or need help Buying or Selling your North Iowa home, work with the Top Realtor Mason City IA! 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!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 13

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

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