There Really IS a Best Month to Sell Your Home!!!

This Just In: Data Says May is the Best Month to Sell Your Home  From "Keeping Current Matters" -  Wednesday May 2nd, 2018  For Sellers, Move-Up Buyers, Pricing   According to a newly released study by ATTOM Data Solutions, selling your home in the month of May will net you an average of 5.9% above estimated market value for your home. For the study, ATTOM performed an “analysis of 14.7 million home sales from 2011 to 2017” and found the average seller premium achieved for each month of the year. Below is a breakdown by month: TTOM even went a step further and broke … [Read more...]

Should you hire a Buyer’s Agent to purchase a home in the Cedar Rapids area?

What IS a buyer’s agent? In short …. A buyer’s agent is a real estate professional, who may also be a member of the REALTOR® Association, who represents ONLY the buyer and not both the seller and buyer. According to the REALTOR® Association, “A buyer's agent serves as your representative during the home search and purchase process. The tasks that they perform can include helping you find a home that meets your needs, liaising with building contractors, providing you with an analysis of the prices of similar properties in the area and any property value trends and identifying any problems that … [Read more...]

Has the Late Spring Affected Iowa Home Sales?

Press Release- CLIVE, IOWA (April 2014) – The latest report from the Iowa Association of Realtors® (IAR) shows that home sale prices continued to increase across Iowa. According to IAR’s March 2014 Housing Trends Report, home prices increased by 1.7 percent from last year at this time. The average sale price was $143,565 in 2013 and $146,059 in 2014. Median Sales Price showed no change, staying at $125,000. Twenty-six local Realtor® boards reported increases in sales price. The number of sales decreased statewide; dropping 16.2 percent from last March. The report indicates a total of 2,300 … [Read more...]

Iowa Housing Market Continues to Look Strong

As we wind down to the end of the year, it’s good to know 2013 housing market is closing on the strong side. Even though home sales are down right now, Trulia predicts an increase in real estate inventory is predicted this year. Higher home prices will help spur an increase of home listings and even though mortgage rates will increase, home loans may be easier to secure. New mortgage rules in 2014 may make lenders more confident lending money. Contact me today at 319-480-5262 for more details. Press Release from the Iowa Association of REALTORS® The Iowa Association of Realtors® (IAR) … [Read more...]

Bloomsbury Farm open for fall season

Press release from Bloomsbury Farm. Bloomsbury Farm, near Atkins, is open for the fall season, featuring a 10-acre and 4-acre corn maze, 1200-foot round-trip dual zip lines and a pick-your-own pumpkin patch. Bloomsbury Farm is open from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays throughout September and October. Admission is $11.50 per person age 3 and older. Visit for an admission coupon. In addition to corn mazes, zip lines, and pumpkins, Bloomsbury Farm also offers a range of activities for out-of-the-office excursions, including a … [Read more...]

FHA’s Back to Work Program for the Cedar Rapids Area

The recent housing crisis really hurt many #CedarRapidshomeowners as well as those homeowners in the surrounding areas. Some even lost their homes to foreclosure, short sale, or deed –in-lieu of foreclosure. When that happens, generally it means a LONG time before even thinking about buying again and is a huge black mark on your credit. There are many reasons mortgage payments weren’t made - perhaps a company cut back or closed which made house payments very difficult to make, not to mention selling wasn’t an options since more than likely home values in the Cedar Rapids area was under … [Read more...]

Iowa Home Sales and Prices Continued to Climb in July

The housing market in Iowa is starting to heat up. Homes are selling almost as fast as they are coming on the market. It’s not too soon to start thinking about moving before the weather turns colder and snow is flying. Call me today and let’s get started!! Also, follow me on Facebook!! Originally posted by Josh Hibben | Aug 14, 2013 CLIVE, IOWA – Home sales and prices continued to increase substantially in July, according to the Iowa Association of Realtors®. IAR's July 2013 Housing Trends Report shows that sales were up 18.3 percent from a year ago, and year-to-date (YTD) sales were … [Read more...]

First Time Home Buyer Program

The First Time Home Buyer Program is back – or at least another version of it.  The City of Cedar Rapids is offering another round of first time home buyer assistance.  While the additional funds have been approved for this program the timing is still unknown but is expected to be available in August or September. Program Overview: The purpose of the program is to increase home ownership by creating opportunities among lower income and underserved households.  As a result, revitalizing neighborhoods in the Cedar Rapids area.  $5000 will be provided as down payment and/or closing cost … [Read more...]

How to keep Mosquitoes from biting when outside in the Cedar Rapids area

Ah, summer time …. What a great time to spend outdoors in the Cedar Rapids area!! We look forward to this all winter and now that it’s here, we have to share it with MOSQUITOES!!! You need a blood transfusion every time you step outside in the Morning or evening. Should you spray? Splash yourself with Skin so soft, vanilla, absorbine jr., OFF or wear dryer sheets? Are you a mosquito magnet? For such a little insect, it is sure a big and costly problem. What should you do? Remove any and all standing water including drill holes in the bottom of any outside container. Clean and … [Read more...]

Happy 4th of July!!

Happ … [Read more...]

Iowa home sales and prices rose in April

[social Press Release from the Iowa Association of Realtors(r) ]The latest report from the Iowa Association of Realtors indicates that home sales and prices rose in April. The IAR's April 2013 Housing Trends Report shows that sales climbed 6.1 percent from April 2012. A total of 2,851 homes sold/closed last month, while 2,688 homes sold/closed last April. The median sale price across Iowa rose by 3.2 percent from $124,000 in April 2012 to $128,000 in April 2013. The average sale price also increased by 1.4 percent. The average sale price was $144,813 in April 2012 and $146,885 in April … [Read more...]

Iowa Home Prices are on the Rise

According to a news release from the Iowa Association of Realtors®, home prices are still going up and sales are steady throughout Iowa. “The IAR’s March 2013 Housing Trends Report shows the median price across Iowa increased by 5.9 percent, climbing from $118,000 in March 2012 to $125,000 in March 2013. Similarly, the average sale price increased 4.4 percent. The average sale price was $138,265 last March and $144,372 this March.” Sales across the state increased by 0.7 percent with just 18 more homes selling last month than last March. The total number of homes that sold/closed was 2,672 … [Read more...]

Open House Sunday 1 to 2:30 pm for 213 Apache Drive, Norway

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How Late Payments Affect Your Credit Score

In today’s world of large purchases and electronic purchasing we use credit to do a great deal of our business. Whether you’re applying for a home loan or a credit card having a good credit score is your ticket to obtaining a home loan in the Cedar Rapids or surrounding  area. Your credit score is incredibly important and can directly affect your way of life. There are some definite ways to maintain your credit score and therefore your way of life. One important way is by paying your bills on time consistently. According to a recent article on a single late payment … [Read more...]

Can you still deduct your Private Mortgage Insurance on your Taxes?

It’s pretty exciting when you’re looking for your home and getting your financing in order. There are so many things to know and do, it can be overwhelming. What if you don’t have enough money to make a large down payment? Are there still ways to purchase a home in the Cedar Rapids and surrounding area? Your lender may have a solution requiring Private Mortgage Insurance, if 20% is not available for down payment on the purchase of your home. Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is actually an insurance policy taken out in for the bank in case a buyer (you) defaults on your loan. It’s taken … [Read more...]

Have you turned on your AC yet?

Can you believe this heat already – well not today, but in March? I don’t know about you, but I sure hate turning on my air when I just turned off my heat. However, every year around this time in Benton County, we all start to use our air conditioning units – or at least thinking about it. Sometimes we forget how much money it costs to run and keep one up and there is another cost that could affect you this year and the next. Is your air conditioning unit more than two years old? If so you may be in for a big surprise. If you have a unit that is more than two years old it uses what is … [Read more...]

USDA Rural Development Home Loan

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Home Loan program allows buyers to be issued a mortgage with 0% down. Buyers can also rely on financial gifts from various sources, including friends and family, to cover the closing costs. The following steps will help outline the process: Ensure you will be able to afford the mortgage payments: Make copies of your last two federal tax returns, 60 days worth of pay stubs, Credit card and other loan statements, Retirement and other savings account statements, and Checking account statements. Contact a … [Read more...]

USDA Downloadable Plant Hardiness Zone Map

The USDA has not printed maps for the 2012 USDA Plant Hardines Zones. Instead, the USDA has made available all maps downloadable  by state, region and national views. There are a variety of sizes and file types for you to download. NEW THIS YEAR, the USDA just released their virtual interactive plant hardiness map online. Click on your state and you get by county average temperatures. Enter your zipcode and for an immediate rating of your soil. It's fun, fast and EASY! Check it out today!! or If you have planted already - better cover your plants!! Frost is forecast tonight and tomorrow … [Read more...]

Attention First Time Home Buyers!

Check out these tips to make your first home buying experience a success: Weigh the Benefits of Home Ownership Everyone has been telling you that you should buy your own home, so you’ve done your research and weighed the benefits. It all adds up and you’ve decided that it is the best decision for you, which is a major hurdle overcome. Define Your Search Parameters With just a few clicks of the mouse, a home buyer can search through hundreds of online listings and view dozens of virtual tours and photographs of homes and neighborhoods online. By the time you meet with a real estate agent, … [Read more...]

Are you ready to get a puppy or a house?

Spring is in the air and real estate signs are popping up all over the place. One question you may ask yourself is, “Is it a good time to buy?” However, the better question may be, “Am I ready to buy?” Like getting a puppy, buying a home is a HUGE commitment and one you can’t walk away from if things get a little rough. Also, like a puppy, make sure the size is right for your lifestyle – and budget. There are some things to consider when considering a purchase: Is my/our income reliable? Is it steady enough that I can depend I’ll have a job in the future? Is there stability in my … [Read more...]

Home Inspection Checklist

You have home inspection ordered. So, what are they going to check out? Better yet, you should ask what they won’t/don’t inspect and will that be a worry for you? If they specifically don’t check for Radon and you want to have your home checked out for Radon, you will want to find an inspector who does check Radon. So, what are they going to check out? If they specifically don’t check for Radon and you want to have your home checked out for Radon, you will want to find an inspector who does check Radon. Your home inspection will not cover septic or well inspections. Those are other … [Read more...]

Do you REALLY need to have a home inspection?

Should you hire the services of a home inspector before purchasing your home? I suggest you do. The purchase order forms I use there is a  box to check whether you want a whole house inspection, partial inspection of particular sections of the house (roof, furnace, plumbing, etc.) or to waive inspection all together. Once checked to have an inspection, a contingency clause is implemented on which type of inspection you are going to use. The contingency means that if a home inspection reveals anything disagreeable, the contract between the parties may be broken.  If you waive this option, you … [Read more...]

How Most Find a Real Estate Agent

How did you find your Real Estate agent in the past - or now, for that matter? Did you Google it on the internet, hear from friends, or see an add in the newspaper? Wonder how your search compared with others who have looked for real estate agents? Which way is the best to find the best agent? Here are a couple of articles I found on which details how most people find their real estate professional. How do you find an agent you can trust your biggest purchase to? An agent to really represent you? Contact me today to see how I can be your agent! On January 6, 2012, … [Read more...]

Not too late to winterize!

If you’re like most, you have been putting off some winterization ….. well it’s after Christmas and we’re still experiencing 50 to 60 degree weather. Mother nature has been really kind to those who have been putting things off, but if you've lived in Iowa for any amount of time …. You know we’re going to pay for this lovely weather ….. you may want to get started this weekend!   ·         Check attic insulation. You will want at least 12” of blow-in or R-38 (batt insulation) in your attic. This blanket will keep the heat rising from your rooms and out through your roof. You may actually be … [Read more...]

How are You Paying for Christmas?

It' December 26th. The presents are opened, ribbon and paper thrown away, boxes broken down to recycle. You're looking at a lot of money strewn all over the floor and the Holiday bills are going to be delivered within the next few weeks. How are you going to take care of Holiday bills? You may want to rethink if you are considering a Home Equity Line of Credit. You will want to have full knowledge of what you are getting into. The decision of using your home as a piggy bank, shouldn't be taken lightly. A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is using the equity you have acquired through … [Read more...]

Are you ready for snow??

  It's officially winter - and we have no snow. YET! Give it a little while and I'm sure we'll be giving our snow blowers a workout and a pain in our backs. Living in Iowa, we do see our fair amount of snowfalls. However, other years we may not get much of all. What we do know, is when we do get hit by the Big One, we want the horse power to clear that snow! Because we have recently received over 2 feet of snow over the winter, you may want a moderate to heavy snow removal jobs. These are made for up to 40 inches of snow during that time. These are usually a single-stage … [Read more...]

Not a creature was stirring …

I know it's only days until Christmas and a few more days until 2011 ends and 2012 begins, however listing your home could really benefit you NOW! Right now, inventory is low. Your home doesn't have the competition it will in Spring when everyone is thinking to list. You also won't get lost in the crowd if you list now. Serious buyers are looking now, so you won't have site seers going through your home. Your home may show better now decorated for the holidays. Having it all decked out may give it just what it needs to have someone fall in love with it. It is okay to have some … [Read more...]

Real Estate as a Hedge against Inflation

Here is a great article to read about inflation and your monthly mortgage payment.... We haven't heard a lot about inflation recently. However, prices have started to creep upward over the last year. As examples, here are a few categories that increased from November 2010 to November 2011: Food at home is up 6.2% via Real Estate as a Hedge against Inflation.   If you would like to see how to prepare yourself for possible inflation, contact me today. It is a great time to purchase and be making the same house payment every month even when other costs are rising. … [Read more...]

6 Online Tools for Do-it-Yourself Electricians

A doorbell that doesn’t quite ring the way it’s supposed to, a new TV that needs to be hooked up, and simple outdoor lights that need fixing, are projects that do-it-yourself electricians can complete by themselves at home. If there are a few projects around your house that you would like to get started on, head online to find help. Apart from the important safety procedures, there are many other resources available for DIY electricians. Remember: Safety First! Before beginning any electrical project, make sure you have the proper tools and the knowledge to see the project all the way … [Read more...]

Four Real Estate Myths you may not know about

Home buying and selling can be tricky, especially when there are so many myth, urban legends, half-truths and un-truths flying around by many well-meaning folks. Once people find out you are either buying and selling, suddenly everyone becomes an expert in real estate and want to give you advise on what you should do. It amazes me how a person who is very learned and educated in their own profession, suddenly becomes a real estate professional when they find out you're buying or selling. However, as well meaning as they are, they aren't professionals in the Real Estate business. Truth … [Read more...]

Is NOW the time to become a Landlord?

If you're like most people in recent months and years, you have seen your 401K and other retirement portfolios shrink. Perhaps you have reallocated funds to other retirement funds only to have them disappear, too. There may be another option for you. Rental properties. More and more people are investing money into income properties as an additional answer to their additional income needs for retirement. Interest rates are at historic lows. Housing prices are such that properties which wouldn't even be previously priced as income properties, may actually pencil out as viable … [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...]

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...]

What Makes up Your Credit Score?

Whether you're 18 or 80, you should know your credit score. However, more importantly, you should know what your credit score is based on …. 35% - Payment History. This is the largest portion of your credit score. If you are more than 30 days late, late pays, slow pays or no pays, all this does make a huge negative impact on your score. 30% - Amounts Owed. How much you owe does impact the amount you are able to borrow. If you have a lot of debt, this may show you are overextended financially. However, you can solve this by making sure you only charge up to half or less of your card limit … [Read more...]

What is YOUR most important reason to buy a home?

What is YOUR most important reason to buy a home? Is it a solid and safe place to raise your family? Does it give you more space for your family to live? Does owning a home give you more control of your environment? Even though those are very good reasons to purchase, is it still a sound investment?  Out of most of people asked, 65% of the general population consider homeownership a "safe" investment. 56% think ownership is more of an asset than any other traditional investment. 69% believe NOW is a good time to buy a home, which is an increase over the last 2 … [Read more...]

Farm Prices in Iowa

The DOW is down. The NASDAQ is down. Housing prices are down. Interest rates are down. Unemployment is up. Foreclosures are steady. Do you want to know what ISN'T down? IOWA FARMLAND! Farmland values in Benton County, Linn County, Tama County and Iowa County have done very well in 2011 and are seen more as better  investments. Much of the Midwest has seen land values increase 20% to as much as 30% since 2010, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City reported Monday, August 15, 2011. This is actually the highest surge of land prices since the 1970's. The number of Iowa farms … [Read more...]

Best 25 Housing Markets in the United States by The Housing Predictor

The Housing Predictor, Real Estate News & Forecasts in the Public Interest, posted August 17, 2011, the Recovery in the Best 25 Housing Markets in the United States. If you have been listening to the national housing market reports and seeing what has been going on in the general Cedar Rapids area, things  here haven't been all that bad. The housing inventory is only a few months and we're one of the rare states in which our home prices are appreciating in all of its 2011 markets. We do have foreclosures, but are not the plague they are in most states, which does help the real estate … [Read more...]

Do what I say, Not as I do …

You have decided to sell your home. Many factors play into deciding your next move, but the major decision may be …. Do you hire an experienced REALTOR® or go through one of the many for sale by owner companies? Yes, it may sound like you are saving THOUSANDS of dollars, but is it such a good deal? Recently, the creator of, Colby Sambrotto, hired a traditional real estate broker to sell his home. That's right, the company telling you that you can sell your home yourself, hired a professional and paid the standard for their area's real estate commission of 6% for … [Read more...]

Thinking of Selling Your Home? You may not want to wait.

The real estate market in the Cedar Rapids and surrounding communities (like Atkins, Belle Plaine, Blairstown, Cedar Rapids, Center Point, Elberon, Fairfax, Hiawatha, Keystone, Luzerne, Marengo, Marion, Newhall, Norway, Palo, Shellsburg, VanHorne, Vinton, Walford, Watkins, Urbana, Walker, and Mt.Vernon) has really been pretty strong through the entire market downturn. As you can see from the charts below that the only thing declining is the inventory we have on the market. This is good if you are selling your home as there is now less competition than in 2010 and 2009. This is in direct … [Read more...]

Housing market turning around in several rural states

We all know we live in a pretty great state, but even when things are pretty darn tough around here economically, we are better than many other places and it looks like we'll rebound quicker than most states. So what does this mean for you? You may want to really jump off that fence if you're thinking about buying, homes values may be on the rise. If you're looking to sell, homes are selling. HOWEVER, not like they have before or by the same ways agents were marketing before the Real Estate Downturn in 2007. Real Estate Agents need to use more technology and resources never thought of … [Read more...]