Sunday, April 9, 2017

Did your assessment on your home go up considerably?





What is Assessed value of a Home?

An assessed value is the dollar value assigned to a property to measure applicable taxes. Assessed valuation determines the value of a residence for tax purposes and takes comparable home sales and inspections into consideration.

Fair Market Value
A property's fair market value (FMV) is a determination of what price the property would probably sell for if it were available on the open market. FMV is based on a number of factors, including size, features and condition of the property, supply and demand in the local housing market and recent market history (e.g., what similar nearby properties sold for within the past 18 months). While anyone can calculate a property's FMV, only determinations made by licensed property appraisers are considered valid by mortgage lenders and local property tax offices.

The following was from Polk county Iowa assessor website:
Market Value
·       An estimate of the price a property would sell for on the open market on January 1 of the assessment year
·       Sometimes referred to as an "arms length transaction" or "willing buyer/willing seller" concept
Supply and Demand in the Three Approaches to Value
·       The common element in all three approaches is that they must contain terms that represent the workings of both the supply and demand sides of the market
·       Each approach uses different sources of data to represent supply and demand

Accurate Market Data
·       All the approaches to estimate value depend in some way on market information
·       Assessor records must contain complete and accurate information about the sales prices and conditions of properties sold in the jurisdiction
·       Change
·       Market value is never constant because physical, economic, social, and government forces are at work to change the property and its environment.
·       Sales Ratio
·       In Iowa, residential and commercial property is assessed at 100 percent market value. Therefore, sale prices and assessed values must stay in sync. If the median assessment to sale price ratio (e.g. assessments divided by sale prices) in any given area deviates from the statutory 100 percent level by a difference of more than plus or minus 5 percent, the Iowa Department of Revenue steps in and mandates an across the board adjustment to bring things back into compliance. This is called equalization , and is generally not a good thing because it means all property values are affected, when usually only some are causing the problem.
·       A number of counties in Iowa have very few property sales in a given year. It is for this reason the Iowa Department of Revenue and Finance conducts appraisal of randomly selected property in each county-- they use this information to calculate assessment / appraisal ratios. In Polk County, this information is usually not received in time to be used in the assessment process, but it can be important in determining whether or not an equalization order will be forthcoming.
·       Arms length transaction
·       A sale between two unrelated parties, both seeking to maximize their positions from the transaction
·       Sales ratio
·       Sales Ratio = Assessed Value of the property / Sale Price of the property


Current Sales Statistics

o   Includes only deed sales that the assessor believes are "good" for market analysis
o   Sales with partially constructed dwellings are excluded
o   Sales with multiple dwellings are excluded
o   Includes only deed sales that the assessor believes are "good" for market 

·       Protesting Your Assessed Value

·       Property owners who disagree with the assessor’s estimate of the market value of their property should ask themselves, "Could I sell this property for that amount today?" If the answer is yes, then the value is probably correct. However, every property owner has the right to appeal an assessment. Remember that your protest and the information you use to support your appeal should be based on your property’s actual value on the assessment date (January 1).
·       Property owners may appeal their initial assessments to local boards of review by filing a written protest between April 2nd and April 30th of each year.If April 30th falls on a weekend, the deadline is extended to the following business day. These boards meet annually in May to consider the protests. Petition forms to the board of review are available at the local assessor’s office and from our web site at
www.assess.co.polk.ia.us - Protest Information



If you would like to know what your current value on your home is let us know we can help.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Helping a home buyer find their home.






One of the most valuable tasks we can perform for a homebuyer is to help them evaluate neighborhoods.
Among factors they should consider are their lifestyle and tolerance for long commutes vs. shorter drives to their jobs and schools. How important is a good view? Do they prefer an urban setting, the suburbs or a rural area? Is peace and quiet important to them, or does neighborhood activity energize them?

As experts in the community, we can help you analyze all these factors. We will provide information on schools, transportation, and amenities such as shopping areas, parks or any other factors that are important to them.

One hint: Even if they don’t have children, the school system is important because when they resell the home, it can have a strong influence on its value.


Feel free to give us a call and we can help you explore these issues as you move closer to becoming a homeowner.

Monday, March 27, 2017

High demand & Low inventory = SOLD!



With rising demand and declining inventory most of the Des Moines Metro area is in a strong
sellers market.  What does this mean for you if you want to sell your home?  It could mean you will sell your home for more.  We have seen more multiple offer situations and quicker sales this year.  How long will it last you ask?   



When a market has less than a 6 months supply of homes it is generally considered a sellers market.

Simply put "The best time to sell a home is when supply is low and demand is high".  So if you were thinking about selling your home in the next year or two now would be a great time to list your home and get it Sold for more money.



Monday, March 13, 2017

Ten reasons to buy a New Home!




ü Clean and Fresh-Never been live in.

ü State of the Art- Appliances, H.V.A.C systems and modern conveniences.

ü Customization-Opportunity to personalize and customize your home to your own desires.

ü Light and bright-New homes have more lights and outlets per code.

ü Energy Efficient and Green-The efficiency standards of new homes are much higher than that of homes built even a few years ago.

ü Low Maintenance- Spend more time doing the things you love.

ü Safety-New homes are typically more fire-safe and meet electrical safety standards. In addition, they are free of lead and asbestos.

ü Engineering- Modern technology enables us to build to exact specifications.

ü Contemporary Interior and Exterior design- Large kitchens, Media rooms, beautiful architecture and more are possible with a new home.

ü  Peace of Mind – New homes are customarily backed up by a comprehensive written warranty.


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Time to set the clocks ahead Sunday!




On March 12th 2017 it will be Daylight saving time again!  Don't forget to set your clocks ahead.
Some think that the farmers wanted daylight saving time while many say that in reality the farmers didn't want daylight saving time as it disturbed the harvesting schedule and the Cows milking schedule.  I think as time went on it could have been to conserve energy as it would match up with the times that most people were awake.  To me it seems to be a change that disrupts my schedule at least for a week or two.  If you had a choice would you like to keep the daylight saving time or would you like to eliminate it as Arizona and Hawaii have?

Don't forget to Move your clocks forward  Sunday March 12th -  Happy Daylight saving day!



Saturday, February 4, 2017

5 Reasons Homeowners Throw Better Super Bowl Parties!

  • Watching the Big Game at home with your friends & family offers many advantages.
  • There’s more room to entertain a large crowd, and you don’t have to worry about complaints to your landlord if you cheer too loudly!
  • The kitchen is big enough to make as many appetizers as you want, and if some of your guests are only there to watch the commercials, they can do so on a different TV in another room!
      What are you planning to do Super Bowl Sunday?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


There are many potential homebuyers, and even sellers, who believe that they need at least a 20% down payment in order to buy a home or move on to their next home. Time after time, we have dispelled this myth by showing that many loan programs allow you to put down as little as 3% (or 0% with a VA loan).
If you have saved up your down payment and are ready to start your home search, one other piece of the puzzle is to make sure that you have saved enough for your closing costs.
Freddie Mac defines closing costs as:
“Closing costs, also called settlement fees, will need to be paid when you obtain a mortgage. These are fees charged by people representing your purchase, including your lender, real estate agent, and other third parties involved in the transaction. Closing costs are typically between 2 and 5% of your purchase price.”
We’ve recently heard from many first-time homebuyers that they wished that someone had let them know that closing costs could be so high. If you think about it, with a low down payment program, your closing costs could equal the amount that you saved for your down payment.
Here is a list of just some of the fees/costs that may be included in your closing costs, depending on where the home you wish to purchase is located:
  • Government recording costs
  • Appraisal fees
  • Credit report fees
  • Lender origination fees
  • Title services (insurance, search fees)
  • Tax service fees
  • Survey fees
  • Attorney fees
  • Underwriting fees

Is there any way to avoid paying closing costs?

Work with your lender and real estate agent to see if there are any ways to decrease or defer your closing costs. There are no-closing mortgages available, but they end up costing you more in the end with a higher interest rate, or by wrapping the closing costs into the total cost of the mortgage (meaning you’ll end up paying interest on your closing costs).
Home buyers can also negotiate with the seller over who pays these fees. Sometimes the seller will agree to assume the buyer’s closing fees to get the deal finalized, which is known in the industry as ‘seller’s concession.’

Bottom Line

Speak with your lender and agent early and often to determine how much you’ll be responsible for at closing. Finding out you’ll need to come up with thousands of dollars right before closing is not a surprise anyone is ever looking forward to.