Archives for September 2011

Fire up those Fireplaces!

Building a fire in your wood burning fireplace is one of the advantages of living here in Iowa. The temperatures go down and we light up the fireplace. However, before we start lighting that fireplace for the first time this year, there is maintenance to be done now. If annual maintenance is not done, you may be just blowing dollars and heated air right up your chimney, or spewing dangerous smoke inside or even causing a chimney fire. Between 2003 and 2005, there were 25,100 US house fires caused by a fireplace, chimney, and chimney connectors for a cost of $126.1 million in damage … [Read more...]

Have you gotten your lawn ready for winter?

Did you know you have until Halloween to prepare your lawn for its winter sleep? Did you know that fall prep is just as important as getting your yard ready in the spring? Oh, I know that we can't wait to get out in the yard when the first dandelions peek out, but in order to hinder those little yellow weeds, there are about four things we should do now. You need to Aerate. For proper aeration, earth plugs actually need to be pulled out of the ground and not just punched into the ground. This process gives more room for your grass giving it less competition with the weeds. The pulled out … [Read more...]

Mortgage Prepayments and How It Can Benefit You!

I am pleased to present guest blogger, Marie Spodeck. Marie S. Spodek, DREI, GRI is a highly regarded real estate educator and author. Her seminars have been attended by thousands throughout the U.S. Mortgage Prepayments and How It Can Benefit You! Pre-payment is legal and it does allow you to avoid some major interest payments, but oh, yes, you do have to pay interest. Just remember that as long as you pay off any part of the principal before the due date, you don't have to pay interest on those portions prepaid. For instance, if you decide to pay off the entire loan tomorrow, … [Read more...]

In a Disaster, Help May Arrive at Tax Time

I saw this article on HouseLogic website and thought it was very good information, especially when we have had damaging storms this year. September 13, 2011 from HouseLogic In recent months, home owners across the country have been forced to flee their homes to escape tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, and other harbingers of doom. Now comes the cleanup, and it won’t be cheap. Recovery will be particularly costly for thousands of families in the Northeast whose homes were flooded by Hurricane Irene. Standard home owners policies don’t cover flood damage, and only a fraction of home … [Read more...]

Iowa Farm Ground has increased 32.6% since last year!

The Iowa Farm & Land (Chapter #2) of the Realtors Land Institute released its bi-annual survey. Since the last survey was released six months ago, Iowa farmland values increased an average of 12.9 percent. And 32.6 percent over the previous year which ended September 1, 2010. The Land Institute reported $6,477 an acre for an average value of medium quality crop ground, up from its previous report in March of this year as $5,711 per acre.  Northeast Iowa had the largest increase per acre up 17% in the last six months Southeast Iowa had the lowest ground value increase of … [Read more...]

Get Ready to Buy that Home!

Buying a home may not seem like a big deal or it can be very overwhelming. Either way, there are definitely steps you need to do before you begin searching for your perfect home. You may want to keep these in mind when you start your process: Saving enough money for your down payment. The more money you can put down on your home with the initial purchase will reap huge rewards in less interest paid over the life of your mortgage. It also may help you qualify for a lower interest rate and make your mortgage payment lower per month. Figure out how much house you can afford. Keep in mind … [Read more...]

How to Improve Your Credit Score!

As I have mentioned in a previous blog, your credit score is VERY important. What if your score isn't what you'd like it to be, what can you do to improve it? Keep the cards you open at a minimum. Every time you open a new line of credit through a plastic card, the company takes a look at your credit. If you have too many companies are taking too many peeks at your credit, this will lower your credit score. DON'T MAX OUT YOUR CARD! Just because you may have a $10,000 limit on a card, does not make it a good idea to borrow that much money on it. As a rule of thumb, only borrow half of … [Read more...]