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Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

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Local Events - Dont forget to Check Them Out

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

The State Historical Museum has opened an exhibition that shares the stories of the Iowa residents who had supported the First World War. "Iowa and the Great War" is open every day through May 1, 2017 with more than 100,000 men and women from across Iowa who served in the military during the war. 

May Day is a a local event that celebrates the arrival of beautiful weather with a short hike through Brown's Woods. During the hike, many residents bring a May Day basket and look for spring wildflowers to take home with them. 

Local farm sites may seem mundane, but Living History Farms has changed it up. Engage in each of the working farms around the area, with a blacksmith, general store, print shop, and see the Flynn Mansion and Barn, both historic places. Open May 1 through August 27, Monday through Saturday. 

 

Beat the Rising Interest Rates!

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Mortgage Rates have risen to the highest level since 2014, with a likely hood to keep increasing through out the year. What does this mean for you? Acting sooner than later will make sure that you are locking in a lower rate.

Rates have already passed 4% in the last months, property economists have predicated that mortgage rates may rise to as high as 5.5% by 2018. This small percentage difference may not seem like a lot, but over the life of a mortgage, this can mean tens of thousands of dollars to the buyer. 

Following the increase in mortgage rates, home prices are predicted to see an equal increase in 2017. This means that home buyers will see a double hit in the cost of owning a home in the next year. Combining higher mortgage rates with home values going up, it will become more difficult to buy that home you are looking for. So beat the increase, go find your future home! 

The Benefits of a Pre-Approval

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Whether you are looking to buy a house soon, or buy a house in the near future, applying for a pre-approval is a great way to prepare for the right house at the right time. By getting pre-approved, possible buyers can have all their financial concerns and questions answered before the special time comes to buy a new home. There are many reasons to get pre-approved:

  • Understanding total monthly costs, not just a monthly mortgage cost. Including tax rates, insurance, mortgage cost, possible HOA, property tax, and (depending on down payment) Private Mortgage Insurance. This will help the buyer narrow down a price range of a home they feel comfortable buying. 
  • Planning for down payment, closing costs, and any fees that are involved in buying a home. There is more than just the down payment on a house, and being prepared for all the cots makes the real estate purchasing process that much more stress free. 
  • Getting all the paperwork needed to apply for a mortgage together. Buying a house can be time sensitive, and the last thing you want to do is not be able to provide the correct paperwork needed to buy a home. 
  • Helps the seller know that they are choosing a serious buyer who already knows they are ready to purchase a home. 

Among the listed reasons, pre-approval to a home mortgage makes sure you are serious buyer! 

Celebrate with a Great Easter Brunch in Des Moines!

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Easter Weekend is fast approaching, make sure to plan for some local activities. This year, Easter Sunday will fall on April 16th, 2017. Make sure to check out the following list of the most popular local events for a nice family brunch:

  • 801 Chophouse (801 Grand Ave, #200, Des Moines) from 10:30am to 3:00pm
    • Price: $10 to $65
  • Blank Park Zoo’s Feast with the Beasts (7401 S.W. Ninth St.) from 9:45am to 2:15pm
    • Price: $24 nonmembers, $22 members, $12 for 12 and under, Free for 3 and under
  • Cozy Café (8385 Birchwood Court, Johnston) from 10:30am to 3:00pm
    • Price: $11 to $21
  • HoQ (303 E. Fifth St., Des Moines) from 10:00am to 2:00pm
    • Price: $10 to $19
  • Hotel Pattee (112 Willis Ave, Perry) from 10:30am to 1:00pm
    • Price: $10.95 to $24.95 (Price based on age)
  • Johnny’s Italian Steak House (6800 Fleur Drive, Des Moines) from 10:00am to 3:00pm
    • Price: $26 Adults, $13 Kids, Free for 4 and under
  • Le Jardin (2815 Beaver Ave, Des Moines) from 9:00am to 1:30pm
    • Price from $10 to $25

For Family events such as Easter Egg Hunt, see the following link: Events

We all know this time of year means candy candy candy. Make sure to get you and your family out and about, and stay healthy! Des Moines & the surrounding communities have many parks & events that offer great outdoor activities to make sure you stay on your feet coming into a beautiful spring. 

Your New Property Assessment

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

By now Iowa property owners have recieved thier new 2011 assessment in the mail. Property owners in Iowa have from April 16 through May 5 to appeal your assessment. Thursday, The Des Moines Register reported that the average property in Polk County had dropped in value by 3.1%. Jim Willett of the Polk County Assessor's Office says "We are required to revalue property every two years so the changes you see in your 2011 assessment is a result of what the market has done in your area during 2009 and 2010". The Polk County Assessors office shows that the sales trend for 2009 through 2010 has been approximatly 98% of the assessed value. If you disageree with your new assessment you may obtain an appeal form at your local Courthouse or at the following links.

Appeal Form

Iowa Association of Assessors Links

 

Resources: Des Moines Register, Polk County Assessor,  Iowa Property Owners Alliance

Prorations When Buying Or Selling A Home

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

The proration will credit the seller higher and higher depending on the rate of the proration and they will get reimbursed for what they have prepaid for the specific time period. However, the seller will not "own" the property. Every state will base its property tax differently. For example, in California, the calendar year is from July to June whereas it might be different elsewhere. Also, some states collect taxes ahead of time whereas others will make collections after the unpaid balance is expired. There are various kinds of pro-rations each one with its own definition.

Three of the most widely used are Insurance, Rent, and Utility. The Insurance proration has to do with the insurance premiums which will most likely be paid ahead of time buy a buyer. This will insure things like fire insurance. The rent proration is also paid in advance and is typically used as a buyer that is investing in a property that he or she plans to either sell or use for rent purposes. The last one, utility, is not used very often. The reason behind that is because utilities are not usually used as a proration at the end of a closing. For example, in a state such as Pennsylvania, if the seller doesn't pay the county or city utilities such as trash or water, then a roll-over happens and is added to the tax assessments.

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10 Contingencies You Need To Have

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Buying a home means there will be costs involved in the process, such as earnest money deposits, appraisals, inspections, title searches and the costs to market your existing home. You may think you have all the bases covered in negotiating the terms of your contract, but things happen and deals do fall apart – some at the last minute.One way to protect yourself from additional loss is with appropriate contingencies. Accepted contingencies give you the right to walk away from the contract with no penalty (other than some of the incidental costs mentioned above).

In some cases sellers avoid contingency contracts and may pressure you to move quickly and drop contingencies. But what if the property fails to appraise at the right value, or your lender fails to fund your loan? Know what you can include in your contract as a contingency and be prepared to stand firm!

The home inspection provides the opportunity to help you decide if you should walk from a tempting deal. Even properties that look well maintained and in good condition can have hidden flaws. In addition to the basic home inspection, there may be other inspections (for lead, termites, sewer and others) or areas that need to be addressed in your contract. Make sure you know what you are getting into!

The types of contingencies vary from state to state. Here are the top 10 most common contingencies and what be aware of as you make your offer>

Common Purchase Contract Contingencies

  • Appraisal. Beware of the possibility that the appraisal may come in low.
  • Loan Contingency. Your lender may fail to find your loan as requested, even if pre-approved.
  • Home Inspection. One of the top indicators of flaws in the home.
  • Lead-based Paint. Federal laws gives all buyers 10 days to inspect for lead-based paint.
  • Wood Destroying Pest Inspection. The contract should specify who pays for termite inspection and correction.
  • Roof Inspection. Make sure the roof is part of the home inspection, and if not specify a third party inspection for the roof.
  • Sewer Inspection. This can be especially important for an older home or home on a septic system.
  • Preliminary Title Report. Make sure the seller can transfer a clean title, with no unpaid liens against the property.
  • Seller Statutory Disclosures. Some states require sellers to disclose all know material facts about the history of the property.
  • Contingent on Existing Home. This is one of the most common contingencies, and sellers usually specify a number of days to perform.

When negotiating your offer and contract, make sure you protect your rights as a buyer and understand your state laws and other requirements necessary to close on your new home!

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Top Property Insurance Claims

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Homeowners insurance is something that every homeowner needs and while you never want to have to use it, it is vital that you have it in case of an emergency. Did you know that water damage is the most common (and costly) homeowners’ property insurance claim? Keep in mind, you don’t have to live in a flood zone to be hit by this kind of property loss. Roof leaks, bursting pipes and drainage issues are also contributing factors to water damage in your home.

It is vital that you review your policy so you know what is covered in and to make sure you are adequately cover this kind of loss.

Don’t get caught short in case of an emergency and your property suffers any kind of material damage.Do your homework when you select your insurance company and policy. Property insurance claims vary based on geography and even neighborhood, so it is also important to understand what the risks are for your address,

According to Allstate Insurance Company, below are some common types of property claims.
• Hail
• Water
• Wind
• Theft
• Physical damage (other)
 
Each area is different so be sure that you understand the specific risks associated with your neighborhood and that the policy you choose protects you from those kinds of damages.

Allstate offers a great tool called the Common & Costly Claims, check it out on their website www.allstate.com. Simply put in your zip code and the tool offers the top five property claims and the average cost by zip. This tool can help you determine the kind of policy or rider that you may need to make sure your home is safe and that your assets are protected.

It’s also a good idea to work with an agent so that you understand exactly what your policy covers; and in the event of a claim, how to recover the full value of your belongings or real property. Certain policies also cover temporary housing or living expenses for catastrophic loss- make sure you take full advantage of the premiums you pay!

 

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Is Your Contract Binding?

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

If you haven’t already entered a binding contract for a new home, then you’ve missed part one of The Home Buyer Tax Credit (it was April 30th).  If you have, then keep it mind that part two requires that you close on the home on or before June 30, 2010.

One of the questions that has come up as part of the tax credit push is what exactly is a ‘binding contract’ in the eyes of the IRS. No one really seems to know, but it does raise some interesting points.

For any kind of tax benefits or allowances, it is best to seek the advice of a tax accountant or attorney. They can help translate murky guidelines and offer the best course of action when buying or selling a home.

When it comes to actually writing an offer, the next step is to allow your realtor to craft the contract or use a standard state contract. Your offer should be thorough and concise. Don’t leave any terms blank or undefined. Any ambiguities in an offer can lead to interpretation down the line that render the contact ‘non-binding’. Not only can this have an impact on your Home Buyer Tax Credit, other tax advantages or even the ability to close on the deal.

Do your homework – and let tax and real estate professionals guide you. From the IRS to your local chapter of NAHB to your CPA, you should make your decisions based on a number of resources:

Internal Revenue Service

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)

National Association of Realtors

All contracts have some contingencies – and some are more important than others. Just be sure to consult with an expert to make sure your offer is clean, clear and enforceable.

 

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Common Misconceptions About Residential Appraisals

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

You have found the perfect home and are ready to buy, and you lender needs a real estate appraisal. If this is your first time buying you may not understand exactly what that is. A real estate appraisal is a detailed report that is created by a licensed appraiser in your state and establishes the market value of a residential property. A number of considerations go into an official appraisal, and it forms the basis of the bank’s determination of the loan value. While appraisals do consider market comparisons, the actual appraisal value comes from much more than a market analysis.

Here are the components of a residential appraisal:

  • Property details
  • Comparisons  to at least three similar properties
  • Evaluation of the market conditions in the area
  • Environmental conditions that could decrease the property’s value
  • Structural issues that could decrease the property’s value
  • Estimate of time on the market
  • Status of the home site – new development, established neighborhood, acreage

Common misconceptions

  1. Appraisals aren’t the same as home inspections
  2. Appraisals are owned by the lender and not the buyer
  3. Assessed values don’t necessarily match market value
  4. Realtors do not provide appraisals
  5. Consumers do have the right to question appraisal facts and contest them

Understanding the neighborhood and ‘comps’ are an important part of your buying experience, but you are also bound to the official appraisal given to the lender. Work with your realtor, lender AND appraiser to make sure you understand all the details in the appraisal report of your new home.

 

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Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 119

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Contact Information

Photo of Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, SRES, SFR Real Estate
Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, SRES, SFR
Iowa Realty
3521 Beaver Ave.
Des Moines IA 50310
515-240-2692
Fax: 515-453-6404
 

 

 

Licensed in the State of Iowa