Cedar Rapids Market Activity

Cedar Rapids, IA city of Five Seasons

Things are improving and here’s some data to support that:

Number of Sold Homes:
January – April 2011 – 977 Homes Sold
January – April 2012 – 928 Homes Sold
This number is down but we contribute that to incentives being offered last year.

Days on Market (DOM) – The number of days a home is on the market from Start to the point it goes Sale Pending
Jaunary – April 2011 – 106 DOM
Jaunary – April 2012 – 114 DOM
It may take a little longer to get your home sold, but it will sell.

Average Sale Price
January – april 2011 – $142,171
January – April 2012 – $153,165
The good new here is that on average families are purchasing more expensive homes over a year ago. Not to be mistaken for homes selling for $11,000 more in value per transaction.

Gross Volume – Total Volume of homes selling.
January – April 2011 – $138,901,545
Jaunary – April 2012 – $142,138,030

Good news if your home is in the Cedar Rapids area.  Things are improving!

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Decorate Your Ceiling

We decorate our walls and we pay great attention to our choice of flooring but what about the view above.  My friends at Houzz recently blogged about this topic and I too am going to share my thoughts on the topic. 

The biggest bang for the buck is paint.  In the photo above these homeowners painted the ceiling a dark coordinating color which adds so much depth to the space.  Remember to prime the space first and purchase some pain meds as your neck will be tired when you’re done but the result is priceless.

Wood Plank Ceiling

Coffered Ceiling

A wood plank ceiling adds a great natural element to your space.  I’ve had this type of ceiling in a previous home.  I’d suggest installing a whole house humidifier to your furnace if you live in a dry climate as the boards will shrink in the winter and cause trouble if you aren’t careful.

A Coffered Ceiling is by far my favorite option for adding texture and appeal.  It’s typically a traditional look but depending on how it’s done it can also have a contemporary look.

Fiber Optic Ceiling

This is such an interesting look for a child’s bedroom, a theater room or any place you’d enjoy the look of stars indoors at night.  Talk about Fun!

An exposed beam ceiling is not the easiest “Home Improvement” option but if you’re adding on or building new it offers a “Rustic Old World” look.
Keep your ceilings in mind as you decorate and design your rooms.
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College Community Passes Bond Vote

College Community School DistrictVoters in the College Community School District on Tuesday approved a $15 million dollar bond to build a new elementary school

This is HUGE as elementary students in this district are over crowded with more than 25 kindergarten student in each class room. The school district is one of the fastest growing in the state. With some of our Cedar Rapids schools closing, it is exciting to see that a few of our schools are growing and at a rapid rate.  All of the schools in this district are located on one campus which is very unique and quite comforting. I love knowing all of my kids are in one area.

The 5th elementary school is headed into a design and bidding phase. Completion is expected for the start of the 2015 – 2016 school year.

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The GO-GIVER

I just read the book “The Go Giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann and thought I’d share with you what Joe learned and what I learned too.  This book is very inspiring and a National Bestseller, so needless to say it a great read.

The book tells the story of a young go getter, Joe who works very hard and strives for success but finds at the end of the 3rd quarter he’s just lost a key account to someone he’s never heard of. Frustrated, he seeks advice from a consultant named Pindar.  This is where his world as he knows it changes, one day at a time for five days.

Pindar teaches Joe the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success.  He has to apply what he learns each day prior to meeting with Pindar the next day.

Day 1 Joe learns The Law of Value…..Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.

Day 2 Joe learns The Law of Compensation…..Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.

Day 3 Joe learns The Law of Influence…..Your influence is dertmined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.

Day 4 Joe learns The Law of Authenticity…..The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.

Day 5 Joe learns The Law of Receptivity…..The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.

I place great value in these laws both professionally and in my personal life.  I enjoy my career so much and seeing the smiles on my clients faces when I’ve helped them accomplish their goals is priceless.  If you have the time, read the book……..you won’t regret it.

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It’s Going to Cost WHAT?

Seller Closing Costs Explained.

Selling your home should be an exciting time and once you understand the details it will be.

Lets assume you’ve received an offer on your home and you’re trying to decide if you should accept the offer or not. Lets take a look at an Estimate of Proceeds which includes your closing costs.

First a seller will have to pay off any Mortgage or Home Equity Loan associated with the home.  Interest on the loan will be pro-rated to the day of closing and will need to be included. Most loans today don’t have a pre-payment penalty so there usually is no need to consider this.

The next consideration is Realtor Service Fees.  Theses fees vary across the country.  The Brokerage I work for charges 7% of the sales price and then splits that 50/50 with the Selling Brokerage. The Brokerages then split their $$$ with the Realtors who represent the buyers and sellers.  Where I work there are no additional brokerage fees, but depending on where you live there may be so ask your Realtor.

Property Taxes must be paid to current on the day of closing.  In the State of Iowa our taxes are in arrears (meaning you’re paying for past taxes when you’re paying your current bill).

Abstracting is a fee charged to bring your abstract up to date. Iowa is an Abstract and Title state and the Abstract needs to be brought up to date and include the new buyers.  Your job as the seller is to have this done.

We also have this thing called Revenue Stamps……What’s this? It’s a county tax that’s charged on the sale of your home.  Although not expensive, it too has to be paid in order to transfer title.

The next set of fees are for Deed Preparation and Recording Fees along with a Property Settlement Fee. An Attorney will prepare the Deed for closing. Once signed it must be recorded. The Property Settlement Fee is the $$$ charged by the Escrow company to pay off the loan, pay the taxes and fees associated with the closing and record the deed for the seller.

The remaining expenses vary depending on your purchase contract.  The seller may be responsible for the following: Special Assessments, Buyer Closing Costs, Home Warranty etc.  All of these expenses will be recorded on the HUD-1 Settlement Form at closing.

As you can see, there’s a lot involved with a Real Estate transaction. There is however nothing to fear, I guide my clients through the process every step of the way.

Here’s a Link to a site I found that explains closing costs in wonderful detail.

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How Do I Price My Home RIGHT to Sell Without Giving It Away?

Super question and the most important question a seller should ask. Pricing your home at the right price can almost guarantee that a buyer will snatch up your home quickly while pricing it wrong can cause your home to sit on the market for months with not so much as a showing.

Research is key.  Call your Realtor for a free Market Analysis.  A market analysis is a detailed report providing market value information by comparing your home to similar properties that have sold within the last 12 months and a comparison to homes currently on the market.  No home is identical to yours but my goal when doing a market analysis is to find homes most similar to yours, with a location as close to yours as possible and with amenities similar to yours.  There are adjustment factors for square footage differences, differences in features etc.  Once I’ve made my comparison, I have a price range for which I believe your home will sell.  I will present this to you and give you the opportunity to determine where in the range you’d like to price your home.

The next step is determining your level of motivation….how quickly do you want your home to sell?  If you list your home at the top of the market, be prepared to be patient.  If you list it at the bottom of the market, you will certainly get showings and you’ll more then likely sell your home quickly.

There are also costs associated with selling your home so make sure you know what those costs are (Yes, I will have a Blog coming soon with the costs associated with selling a home……so stay tuned!) and know what your mortgage pay-off is.  These numbers will give you the whole picture of what to expect when your home sells.

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Is a Neighborhood With an HOA For Me?

Is a Neighborhood With an HOA (Home Owner’s Association) for Me?

It all depends on the style of home-owner you are.  Do you want to follow rules that are made to better the neighborhood? Do you like shared green spaces and amenities that a HOA maintains? If the answer to these questions is Yes, then a neighborhood with a HOA might be for you.

As a Realtor and homeowner I have a huge appreciation for neighborhood and the look/feel a great neighborhood has.  When I pull into my neighborhood I love that we have a beautiful entrance (that’s maintained by the HOA).  I love that our HOA is active and works to provide a safe and fun neighborhood to live.  We have a pond with water fountain, basketball court and acres of land for our neighborhood families to play.  Each Summer we have a neighborhood party and when a new neighbor moves into our neighborhood we welcome them with a welcome basket and help them feel comfortable with their new “Hood” as we like to call it.

We also have “Rules” to keep our neighborhood safe and beautiful.  These rules are usually the things that drive some families crazy.  For example, you can’t park your boat/RV/company vehicle in your drive for more then 3 days at a time.  This rule doesn’t bother me as I know it keeps things looking orderly and I don’t have any of those things hanging out in my drive any way.  Other folks hate the rules and feel as though they should be able to do what they want with their personal property.  These are important questions to ask before you move into a neighborhood that has an HOA.   Restrictive Covenants are the rules that an active HOA follows.

HOA Fees vary from area to area.  In our neighborhood, we pay less than a dollar a day but we don’t have a swimming pool or high dollar gate system.  Those that do and live in more of an exclusive area could see those numbers jump significantly.  In some neighborhoods the HOA actually maintains the garbage collection system and even the water/well system.  Before moving into a neighborhood with an HOA you’ll want to make sure the association is in good financial standing and that you won’t be assessed any extra fees due to the associations failure to maintain a positive balance.

So, when looking at neighborhoods make sure you ask if there’s an HOA, Restrictive Covenants and Fees and what those fees cover.  You may also want to ask how active the HOA is as this will help you determine if the neighborhood you’re looking at is for you.

I LOVE my neighborhood because it fits my personality perfectly. You just have to decide what type of neighborhood fits you.  Please contact me if you’re looking to move into a neighborhood with an HOA as I can help you answer some questions you may have about it.

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