Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Could buying a smaller new home be your best choice?

When we say smaller we are not talking about the tiny homes that are 300 square feet or less in this blog I am talking about downsizing from a much larger home to a home that is much smaller.  Some of the benefits to buying a smaller home could be…..
1.       Spending much less on the purchase price.

2.       Less taxes to be paid.

3.       Less time cleaning and maintaining the home.

4.       Paying less on utility bills.

How do you know when it’s time to downsize?

1.       Have your kids moved out and you may not need all the bedrooms and space you have?

2.       Would you like to keep your costs down?

3.       Are tired of cleaning and taking care of your larger home?

 Things to think about when downsizing.

1.       You will need to go through your current home and the stuff you have that you could give away, sell or throw away.

2.       Make sure that the design of your new home is open and functional so you can still enjoy your home.

Make sure to communicate with your Real estate professional to what you are looking for in your new property and what features you need along with what is your preferred location.  When you move into your new smaller home enjoy the extra time you have in doing some of the things you love to do.

Happy House hunting.


Friday, January 26, 2018

What is Earnest Money when buying a home?

What is Earnest Money?

Earnest money shows that the buyer is serious and willing to commit money towards a home purchase.  In most cases you pay the earnest money at the time an offer is accepted.  The earnest money is credited to the buyers upon closing of the home.  The Earnest money is deposited into a escrow/trust account that is typically held by the sellers broker, title company or attorneys firm. 
Typically on average you can expect to pay 1-2% or the total purchase price although it could be more or less than average in some markets. 

What happens if the deal falls apart?

The money could go back to the buyer or seller.  It is not as simple as it sounds as both buyer and seller have to agree to who will get the money.  The money cannot be transferred until both parties agree. In some cases it may be split between both parties. The deal could fall through due to a home inspection issue, home not appraising at purchase price, sellers not able to deliver clean title or something else.  Additionally the buyer may have done something to cause the deal to end and the seller y be less likely to agree to the earnest money for instance if the buyers does something that causes their mortgage to be denied, they don’t work in good faith when working out repairs or just change their mind and no longer wan the house the sell may decide they are keeping the earnest money.  The real estate company, Title Company or attorney will hold onto the earnest money until both parties agree who gets the money or a court orders payment to one of the parties.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

 Your offer was accepted what is next?

1. Make sure that your Realtor® has all your signed documents and earnest money.

2. Property inspection: Choose your inspector and get them scheduled asap to determine if any repairs are needed.

3. Lender docs: Let your lender know that you are under contract and get ay required paperwork to them as quickly as possible.

4. Termite inspection- Seller typically gets this ordered in the Des Moines market (check with your Realtor® to see who is responsible for this)

5. Title commitment

6. Appraisal

7. Insurance:  Choose your home owners insurance provider. Make sure that you get the applicable information to your lender/title company.

8. Ten days prior to closing schedule all of your utilities to be transferred into your name on the day of closing.

9. Schedule closing with your lender/title company.

10. Final Walkthrough:  Before closing do on final walkthrough with your Realtor® to make sure everything is ready for closing.

11. Closing: Bring your photo ID and 2nd ID along with certified funds if applicable.


Congratulations you now own a home!


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 - Protest Information

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


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.