How do you decide where to live in Cedar Rapids?

Moving can be an exciting prospect, especially if you’re moving in the Cedar Rapids area. You get to change your scenery, change your commute or even change your home’s size. But there are SO many neighborhoods and communities to choose from, how will you know which area or neighborhood is right for you?Or, if it is THE right area for you? Consider the following: Proximity- That is, how close is it to “your” places? Work? School? Favorite shopping or restaurants? On that note, would you like to live close to a park or entertainment venues? Would you prefer to avoid crowded areas or … [Read more...]

Home prices and sales still on the rise in August

Press Releases Iowa Home Sales and Prices Continued to Climb in July originally posted by Josh Hibben | Aug 14, 2013 CLIVE, IOWA (Aug. 14, 2013) – 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 also up by more than 8 percent. Throughout Iowa 4,074 homes sold/closed in July 2013, and 3,444 homes sold/closed in July of last year. Listing activity increased in July compared to July 2012 and 2011. … [Read more...]

How to get your Hands on Money for Your Down Payment

Many years ago (like six) you didn't need much of a down payment to purchase a home in the Cedar Rapids area. However, in light of what has happened over the last six years, times, they are a changin'. The desired down payment today is 20%. If you qualify for an FHA, Rural Development, VA or other loan program, down payments range in the single digits. Iowa may have a payment assistant program: Iowa Finance Authority Cedar Rapids First - Time Buyer Program If you or your home doesn’t qualify and there’s not a mattress stuffed with cash, large piggy bank or enough in savings, where do … [Read more...]

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...]

FHA to hike premiums on mortgages

Recently the Federal Housing Administration has changed some of their loaning practices like insuring loans on condos, renovation loans and even jumbo loans. But we knew there would be more, didn’t we? According a recent article on CNN Money, the Federal Housing Administration, which is the largest insurer of low-down payment mortgages, announced last week that it will raise premiums by 10 basis points, or 0.1 to 1.35% percent, on most of the new mortgages it insures. The change goes into effect June 3, 2013 and according to Pat Zaby, “The staggering increase will occur on 6/3/2013 when … [Read more...]

Military Homeownership Assistance Program is Back!

Governor Brandstad recently signed legislation designating $1.6 million to once again fund the Military Homeownership Assistance Program. The program provides eligible Service Members with a $5,000 grant to be used for closing costs or the down payment on a qualifying home purchase. Applications are being accepted beginning July 2, 2012. Eligible Service Members must have: Have served 90 days cumulative active duty (not for training purposes) since September 11, 2001; or Is a federal status injured service person having served in active duty since September 11, 2001; or Is a … [Read more...]

10 uses for hydrogen peroxide. Who knew?

Most of us have heard of the common “green” cleaners such as vinegar and baking soda, maybe even used some castile soap. But here’s a super cheap and effective gem—hydrogen peroxide! Here are 10 uses for the 3% solution in all areas of your home: Kitchen 1. Cutting boards and countertops. Watch those bubbles clear away remnants of the meat or fish you made for dinner. Remember to store it in an opaque spray bottle, though– light will kill hydrogen peroxide’s effectiveness. 2. Refrigerator and dishwasher. Hydrogen peroxide is non-toxic, so it’s great for cleaning spaces that hold … [Read more...]

Don’t Miss these 5 Signs to Sell!

Most years, homes sell best during the Spring. The market revs up in March or April, stays busy until July, and then relaxes for the summer. However, in 2011, the seller’s market was active during the beginning of the year but stalled out in April. So if you waited until spring to list your house, you may have missed out. A contributing factor to the slow down was the end of the homebuyer stimulus package for taxpayers. But a look at the economic conditions explain why the real estate market flip-flopped last year and may provide insight as to how to spot a sellers’ market in the … [Read more...]

April is Fair Housing Month

Check out this short video and the Realtor® Fair Housing Declaration. Fair Housing is very important to real estate. Whether you are buying or selling, I am passionate about making sure that everyone is treated fairly. Please be sure to let me know if you have questions!   REALTOR® Fair Housing Declaration: As a member of the REALTOR® Associations, I agree to:   Provide equal professional service without regard to the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin or sexual orientation of any prospective client, customer, or of the residents of … [Read more...]

What YOU need to know about Flood Insurance

 As the warmer weather settles here in Eastern Iowa, it’s about the time we start concerning ourselves with the river levels. That means considering whether we have the level of protection we need in case of a flood. Whether or not you decide to purchase flood insurance should be determined by considering the value of your home and possessions, as well as the risk of flooding in your area. Some homes that are located in certain high-risk areas, called “Special Flood Hazard Areas,” may be required to carry flood insurance. According to insurance professional DonnaLyn Geigerich, Red … [Read more...]

Tick Tock! Time is Running Out!

Time is running out to give yourself the gift of energy efficiency for this holiday season AND to benefit when you file your 2011 federal tax return. December 31, of this year may be the last time you can take advantage of these credits since Congress may not renew them in 2012. Not only will you be able to take advantage of the tax benefits for these energy efficient improvements, but over the long haul, these will save you money on your home energy and improve your home's comfort level. Learn more about the how the tax credits work. What Does The Credit Apply To? Five basic … [Read more...]

Whirlpool is Calling Back & Hiring for 2012!!

Good news from Amana and it's just in time for the Holidays! The Whirlpool Corporation announced they plan to add 250 production workers in the Middle Amana refrigeration plant during the first three months of 2012 IN ADDITION to bringing back the laid off workers. They will be able to return after the 1st of the year. This is exceptional news to our local economy after it was announced in July of layoffs numbering 350 due to the slowing economy. “The increase in employment is related to additional demand for product being made at this plant as well as seasonal fluctuation,” … [Read more...]

Top 7 Reasons To Use A Buyer’s Agent In A Real Estate Transaction

(Reprinted with Permission) Purchasing a home is a big step, and a big decision. The average person spends around 1/3 of their income on their home. The home that you choose has a big impact on your life, and can have a big impact on your finances, as well. It always surprises me when Buyers attempt to “go at it alone” because of the possibility of mistakes. A good Buyer’s Agent is invaluable to a Buyer, and can be the difference between a wonderful transaction, and a nightmare. Full Access to the MLS The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a powerful tool that only Realtors have access … [Read more...]