Iowa Home Prices Increased; Sales Decreased in May

Iowa Home Prices Increased; Sales Decreased in May CLIVE, IOWA (June 2014) – Home prices continued to climb while sales decreased last month in Iowa, reports the Iowa Association of Realtors® (IAR). According to the IAR’s May 2014 Housing Trends Report, the median sale price across the state increased by 1.1 percent, climbing from $137,500 in May of last year to $139,000 this May. The average sale price decreased slightly by 1 percent, going from $161,098 last May to $159,442 this May. “With the expectation that interest rates may rise, we urge buyers to start building wealth and invest … [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...]

Iowa Farmers Markets – There’s an App for that!

Whether you’re gearing up for summer vacation or planning a weekend to visit family on the other side of the state, the Iowa Farmers Market app can help you find a local farmers market no matter where you go! With information on more than 230 farmers markets in the state of Iowa, the app can search for local markets using your GPS location or by entering a city or zip code. The app also provides information on vendors, hours and location, as well as contact information for the market manager. Once you've visited the market, you can leave your photos or reviews for others to see. Download … [Read more...]

“Leaves of three…” wait, what was it?

Hiking and Biking are wonderful ways to get out and explore the many wonderful trails in the Cedar Rapids area and really all of Eastern Iowa. And while you may remember that familiar mantra, “leaves of three, leave it be” from your childhood days, identifying poison oak, ivy, or sumac isn’t as easy as counting plant appendages. Poison Ivy and Oak Poison ivy and poison oak can adopt the growth pattern of neighboring plant life, making them very difficult to distinguish from other harmless plants. In an area filled with tall shrubbery, they will grow tall as well. In a field with grasses … [Read more...]

Remember Safety First with your Pool!

The weather is really heating up lately, and the pool is a welcomed refresher whether you’re just taking a dip, swimming some laps, or splashing around with the kids. But sadly, drownings and pool related injuries affect thousands of families each year. Homeowners: prevention starts with some of these practical ideas courtesy of Pillar to Post Professional Home Inspection: Anyone using the pool who isn’t a strong swimmer should be accompanied by someone who is an experienced swimmer. A fence should surround all sides of the pool and be at least four feet high. The gate should be self … [Read more...]

Rain Barrels: EVERY GALLON COUNTS

We are coming up on the four year anniversary of the Floods of 2008, and while much was lost and the destruction still visible, something was also learned. According to a study published on December 28, 2011, rain barrels can be used by citizens to help control rain water run off and thus ease the risk and severity of the flood season. Rich Patterson, director of the Indian Creek Nature Center in Cedar Rapids states, “every gallon counts. Will one  rain barrel change the course of  nature? Of course not. But would 100,000 barrels make a difference?  Most definitely.” Harvesting Rain … [Read more...]