Cedar Rapids, IA Real Estate News

By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
I have decided that every Thursday in 2019, I will blog about at least one thing that I am grateful for.  And to kick it off.....here we go. Every day I am reminded of the many things that I am grateful for in my life.  After all, there are so many people that have so much less that manage to smile and be happy with what they have.  When my kids were younger, I would ask them on the way to school to tell me one thing that made them thankful and I was always surprised by their answers.  Especially from my son, who is the youngest.  He would roll his eyes at me but always give me at least one thing.  Knowing that I would ask every day, especially in November of each year, he was more prepared with a response.  Today, I am thankful for the ability to decide that I am taking a day off.  Not...
Comments 5
By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
How many times is your home shown and you don't receive any feedback from the buyers agent?  It actually happens more than you think. There are several reasons that feedback may be delayed or non-existent.  I know.  It feels like time has stopped when you are waiting (albeit impatiently) to hear what the buyers thought of your home. Sometimes agents are showing 10 houses in a day, which can be to one buyer or maybe 3 or 4 and they are busy!  They need time to look at their notes before they submit feedback. And trust me, you want them to send thoughtful feedback in case there is something that can be addressed easily for future showings.  These agents usually respond back within 24 hours.   Other agents are a little slow in providing feedback.  It can be because they have shown so many ...
Comments 5
By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
When you are looking to purchase a home, you may meet dozens of agents whether through stopping into open houses or a referral from a friend or co-worker. Keep in mind, you will want to interview several agents before you choose one to represent you. This is a huge investment. And just because the agent was a great fit for your sister or friend, they might not be for you!  How do you like to communicate?  Can you answer the phone during the day or when you are at work? Do you prefer email or text durimg your work hours?  When are you available to look at homes? Are nights and weekends a must for you? All agents are not equal.  Some agents work by appointment only.  Some agents turn off their phone at 6:00. Will that work for you?   I recently assisted a couple with the purchase of an in...
Comments 3
By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Sellers: Are Buyers Swiping Left on Your Home? Let me back up a second...in case you don't know what I mean, which means that you have not experienced online dating...you would want a buyer to "swipe right" to get to know you better.  After all, just like the dating apps, your home is judged within seconds within the first few pictures.  If the first 5 photos don't show your wow factor, the buyer has already "swiped left" and is on to the next house. If a picture says a thousand words, a short video showing the best features of your home is like 10,000 words.  Buyers don't take the time to read all those flowery words in the remarks section.  The buyer wants to imagine how they would LIVE in the house.  It is all about convenience and lifestyle!   Oh, and buyers won't look at your home ...
Comments 14
By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
It is not the first time that I have thought about this.  I am not in the practice of performing dual agency, even though it is allowed in Iowa.  In fact, I have sold over 200 homes in the last 15 years and I have only acted as a dual agent less than ten times!  Since I rarely host open houses on my own listings, I have been able to avoid putting myself in a dual agent position.  For those of you that might not understand what a dual agent is and how it works.....here is your crash course! A dual agent is where the agent represents both the listing side (seller) and the buying side (buyer) at the same time.  It is required that this type of agency be disclosed and accepted in writing by both parties. In some cases, the agent may have known the buyer for longer than the seller.  In other...
Comments 4
By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
As a followup to my post earlier this week regarding property disclosures, I got to thinking about the handful of transactions that turned south once the buyer realized that the seller had been less than forthcoming about the condition of the property. In this case, it had severe consequences for the buyers in the first week of their ownership. The buyers had a thorough inspection and the seller had disclosed that they had a few inches of water in the basement a few years prior to the sale.  They had filed an insurance claim and because the basement was unfinished, there was what the termed "minimal damage".  The insurance quote for the home seemed reasonable and the buyer confirmed that the seller had disclosed this insurance claim. Fast forward to the week after the closing....the buy...
Comments 15
By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Recently, I received a call from a buyer's agent regarding a home that I had listed and sold to her buyers several months ago.  She was questionning whether the seller knew that there was old termite damage in the ceiling of the main floor of the house.  When I asked how it was found after the closing and not by the termite inspector, she indicated that the buyers had removed the crown moulding as well as the wallpaper and it was found then.  That explains why the inspector didn't find it, it was HIDDEN.  The agent was accusing the sellers, who had lived there for over 45 years, knowingly covered up damage with crown moulding over 20 years ago.  Well, since it was a POA that completed the disclosures due to an owner with dementia, there was limited information provided in disclosure oth...
Comments 28
By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
I have a buyer that is currently under contract on a home with VA financing.  The initial lender that was tasked with the pre-approval was a referral.  The buyer had friends that highly recommended this lender and so I felt reasonably confident that things would be smooth even though I was not personally familiar with the company or the lender.  Strike one:  The loan officer was on vacation.  Well, that was not the issue really.  We all deserve and need time away.  But it was the fact that she took the time to email the buyer and told him that he would hear back from her assistant the next day.  Crickets.  Three days later, still no answer or return call.  Strike two: The assistant contacts the buyer and instructs him to scan and email all of his financial documents.  What?  Nooooooo.  ...
Comments 2
By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
In fast moving markets, many listings are sold in the first few hours or days on the market.  But more and more sellers are continuing to show their home....in search of backup offers.  What does this mean to you as a buyer?  And why would sellers opt to do this?  I can answer those two questions in this post.  Then you can decide if entering into this type of offer benefits you in the long run. What does a backup offer mean to a buyer? A backup offer is when the sellers have already accepted an offer on their home, but due to inspection, appraisal and financing contingencies, there are continuing to show their home to other buyers in hopes of obtaining another acceptable offer.  That way, if something happens with the first buyer, the seller can move forward quickly without losing trac...
Comments 2
By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
When you are looking for a home, do you picture yourself in a single family home with a fenced yard?  Or do you picture yourself in a high-rise or townhome where you can leave on a work trip and not need to worry about what the lawn might look like when you return?  What stage of life are you currently in?   There are many reasons that you might want to consider condo living.  If you are single or married to your work, you travel a lot, or you just really hate to mow your lawn or shovel snow....you might be a great person to buy a condo.  Or if your kids are grown or you are looking to downsize to a smaller home, a condo could be a great fit.  Especially if there are no steps and a smaller condo affords you to be able to spend your winters somewhere warmer.  So what do you need to consi...
Comments 3
By Gary & Melynda Wolter (CRS) 480-269-1164, Reliable, Premier Personal Service since 2001
(ProSmart Realty)
This 1996 built ranch at 146 38th St. NE was received an accepted offer after 7 days and very close to the asking price of $150k.The garage was built in 2007 and features an open floor plan.Gary Wolter is licensed in Iowa and Arizona and has a team at Pinnacle Realty in Cedar Rapids. "We have sold 5 homes this summer and have averaged selling them all in a week or lesss for 99% of the asking price." says Gary, a veteran agent since 2001.Gary spends time with his clients negotiating and uses the latest technology and social media to sell homes for top dollar and in a short period of time. Gary says that the team aspect sets him a part as he has help with different parts of the transaction.For a free, informative consultation of his "premiere personal service" program, contact Gary at 319...
Comments 0
By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
I mean think about it.....if you needed to sell your home tomorrow, what would you do first?  If you are an agent or married to one, you would know that your first call would be to a professional.  But what if you are a successful professional in another field?  Would you try to sell it on your own to save the money?  Or maybe your last agent made it look so easy, that you think that you can do it yourself? In addition to spending time marketing your home, there is so much more to selling a home than putting it for sale on Zillow and putting a sign in the yard.  Here are some of the issues that could come up while trying to sell your home. 1.  Once you take photos of your home, you realize that you are not a professional photographer either.  Truthfully, most agents are not either.  But...
Comments 1
By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Sellers:  You Don't Need to Babysit Your Home One of the best reasons to hire a real estate professional is that the seller does not need to babysit their home.  What do I mean by babysit? As a for sale by owner, the seller would need to be present for all showings with potential buyers and their agents.  The seller would also need to be there to allow access to the inspectors, appraiser, and contractors for repairs if any were required as a result of the inspections.  This can cause a lot of schedule juggling for a homeowner, especially in the summer if children and pets are in the home.  Imagine inspections during naptime or potential buyers that schedule a showing and then don't show up!  When you hire an agent to represent you and your home, you are handing the keys over to someone ...
Comments 21
By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Sellers:  The 4 Best Tips to Make a Fabulous First Impression!  1.  Curb appeal is important.  While your home is on the market, keeping your home mowed, trimmed and landscaping perfect is important.  When a buyer drives by, the make a decision instantly whether they like what they see from the OUTSIDE enough to schedule a time to see the INSIDE.  2.  Remove the clutter from your kitchen!  The kitchen is the center of the home and is judged more critically than any other space in your home.    3.  Your outdoor spaces should show the buyers how they can enjoy your home.  Planting in pots means that you can take them with you to your new home too! 4. Consider staging your home, especially if it will be vacant when it is on the market. Fresh paint and new carpet creates a great first impre...
Comments 7
By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Buyer Question: What Does It Mean to be a "Backup Offer"? Buyer question: I called to see a home and was told that the seller is accepting backup offers.  What does this mean?  There are several reasons that a seller may be willing to continue to show their home after an offer is accepted.  1.  The accepted offer is contingent on financing through FHA or VA.  This means that there could be additional inspections and repairs required of the seller in order for the buyers to obtain financing.  The seller may be thinking that they could get a conventional offer that will not have these repairs required. 2. The accepted offer is contingent on inspections.  The seller may be nervous about what the buyers may find and based on the agreed upon price, the seller may not want to make the repairs...
Comments 2
By Gary & Melynda Wolter (CRS) 480-269-1164, Reliable, Premier Personal Service since 2001
(ProSmart Realty)
Iowa native, Gary Wolter has joined Pinnacle Realty in Cedar Rapids and will be helping many new and current clients. Gary and his wife Melynda started "Wolter Team Realtors" in 2001.As of late June, Gary has sold 4 homes and will list another one soon."We always kept our Iowa ties even after we moved to Gilbert/Mesa, AZ in late 2014. We have always had a referral team and would come back to assist while we visited family. When we received requests to sell a few more homes by our clients, I decided to come back and help some great friends," says Gary.The Wolter Team sold 57 homes in 2013 and were #1 in sales volume at their Marion office in 2012 and 2013, and are proud that so many clients still call them even after they moved to Arizona. Gary says they have sold 22 homes since leaving ...
Comments 4
By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
The new breed of buyers are looking on all of the websites, from Realtor.com to Trulia and Zillow, and even local company MLS feeds.  Most buyers believe that they can find a home on their own and they only need an agent to open the door.  There is just so much information available to the public...But your agent is so much more than a keyholder! I have always told my buyers that my job starts once the offer is accepted.  All the fun parts of looking for a home happen before the offer is presented and agreed upon.  After the offer is signed, the agent earns their keep.  There are many things that need to happen in order to deliver the keys the day of the closing.   So what is your agent doing behind the scenes between accepted contract to the closing table? 1. Communicating with the oth...
Comments 2
By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
This happens quite a bit in my market.  The buyers see a home that they like and they naturally want to know everything that they can about the neighborhood.  This is definitely a buying signal! Now for a real life example, Buyer comes through my listing with their agent.  Based on the agent's perception and conversation with the buyers at the end of the showing, he completed the feedback requested by ShowingTime.  His feedback was that the yard was a dealbreaker for them, but they really liked the house.  Less than an hour later, my seller called me.  They had talked to their neighbor.  The neighbor was out shoveling his driveway and the potential buyers stopped to talk to him after their agent had already left.  They told the neighbor that they loved the house and that they were plann...
Comments 3
By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Sellers:  Don't Forget to Change Your Address! A cautionary tale from the other side: Just this week, one of my sellers that closed on their former home with me just after Christmas texted me.  He had accidentally ordered a tool from Amazon and forgot to change the mailing address.  When you live in the same place for a long time you go into auto-pilot with such things.  It wasnt until Amazon told him that it was delivered and he didn't have it that he realized the mistake.  Fast forward to yesterday and the wife did the same thing, except it was through e-Bay.  Oops.  The new owner received two packages in the mail for the former owner in the past two weeks.  I contacted the buyers' agent who then contacted the new owner and I went to pick up their deliveries today.  I went to the post...
Comments 5
By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
May the best offer win!   Unfortunately, neither of my buyers this weekend "won" the house that they wanted.  A cautionary tale... This weekend, I had two different buyers at were interested in two different new listings.  The first buyer couple saw the house and wanted to "sleep on it".  Which is fine, I get it.  After explaining that this particular home would sell quickly and it would be difficult to find another like it, we parted ways.  But by the next afternoon when they decided to make an offer, the house was already gone.  Other buyers had slept on it the night before and there were multiple offers resulting in a sale price above the list price! In our current market, in specific price points, you don't have the luxury of "sleeping on it".  And if you do not already have your pr...
Comments 8