Cedar Rapids, IA Real Estate News

By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
The Importance of the Floor Plan In our Cedar Rapids/Marion market, the floor plan rules the roost.  You can see the trends by driving through any new construction neighborhood.  It is an ocean of ranch style homes.  One level living.  Which seems strange unless you know the demographics.  After all, we have a large segment of the population that is older and in some cases, snowbirds that are only in the area for the summer months.  But mostly, these are young professionals without children and young families with maybe one child or one on the way. I have had a couple of different experiences in the past few months with my clients that I would like to share. The first being a couple that relocated out of the area to Des Moines, Iowa.  The trend there is the same.  They felt great pressu...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Karen's Pick Three for May 15th-17th 1. Marion Arts Festival and Half Marathon Saturday May 16th-Experience collaborative, creative merrymaking at its finest. Join friends old and new 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 16th, 2015 in City Square Park for the free, fun and family-friendly 23rd annual Marion Arts Festival.  Click here for more information!   2. Cirque Musica and Orchestra Iowa May 16th and 17th- Take in this unique twist on Classical pop! Click here for ticket information and details of the shows. 3.  Houby Days in the Czech Village May 15th-17th.  Click here for more information about this great event for all ages.  You can even stop by the award winning Lion Bridge Brewing Company for a drink and an appetizer.  There will be live music, a parade, bingo and much more! Get ...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
1. Noelridge Farmers' Market starting at 4:00 on Friday May 8th  Click here for more information and get out and enjoy the first of many farmers markets in the area for fresh baked goods, produce and more. 2. The Matchmaker at Old Creamery Theatre  Take in a show and brunch in the Amana Colonies.  Tickets available here!  I love this story and it might be a great way to celebrate Mother's Day on Sunday May 10th. 3. Festival of Iowa Beers at Millstream Brewing in the Amana Colonies.  Here is your opportunity to sample many different types of beers and make the rounds through the wineries and shops too. Click here for more information and prices. Have a great weekend and don't forget about Mother's Day on Sunday May 10th! Keep smiling! Karen 
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Hello all!  Spring is FINALLY in full swing!  This week is tough as there are so many great things going on in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Corridor! 1.  Cedar Ridge Winery Dinner Theatre Saturday May 2nd-If you have not been to a murder/mystery dinner show at Cedar Ridge Winery in Swisher, you are in luck!  "Hooray for Homicide" is still available for your Saturday date night!  Click here for more information and tickets!  Don't wait on this one, tickets sell fast! 2. Maifest in the Amana Colonies May 1st-3rd-It looks like it will be a great weekend to get out to the Amana Colonies, just 20 minutes from the west side of Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.  Click here for all of the events.  Fun for all ages and visit Millstream Brewing Company for their summer ales and wonderful root beer for th...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
I  don't know about you, but I am sure glad that spring is right around the corner!  That means that there are so many things to do!  This weekend is no exception.  So, here are the three things that I would recommend for this coming weekend in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Corridor! 1.  NewBo City Market-Iowa Humane Alliance's Mega Pet Adoption Event Sunday April 26, 2015  11:00 am to 3:00 pmIf you are thinking about adding a four legged furry child to your family, this is the time and place to do it!  On site adoptions for just $40 with over 200 animals and many agencies.  11:00-3:00 on Sunday April 26th.  Also, you can bring your pet for discounted micro-chipping!  Something for all pet owners. Click here for more information. 2. Sign the Beam at the new Children's Hospital in Iowa City...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
I Didn't Really Think That I Would Find a Place to Buy! The buyer called to set up the home inspections and she told the home inspector that she really didn't think that she would find a place to buy...Karen is just a really good salesperson.   Now you could take that negatively.....but I didn't.  She didn't mean it in a bad way.  I understand that when a buyer perceives themselves to be "picky", they already have in their mind, and have accepted, that the process may take a bit.So imagine her surprise to go out on the first day, without even getting a lender letter in advance, and finding a place that she really could see herself living in long term.  So much so, that she called her daughter and best friend to come and take another look with her the same day. In between showings, she h...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Buyer Question: How Important is the School District?   Surprisingly, this question seems to come to me from buyers that don't even have children.  They are purchasing their first home and they are already thinking about selling it one day in the future.     We are fortunate in the Cedar Rapids area to have fantastic public school systems.  But there are school districts right now that have higher prices on the homes and taxes on those homes as well.   So if you are a buyer that does not have a child to take advantage of the school district, how important is it?  After all, it is anyone's best guess of what the future will hold for any school district.   For example, there are two homes on the market.  One is located in the NW quadrant of Cedar Rapids and is priced at $155,000.  The sam...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
The Age Old Question: Who is Chosen First?  The Agent or the Lender?   It is kind of like the chicken and the egg to the consumer isn't it?  This was a question that came up on a Zillow question thread over the weekend.  I am sure that it has come up many times before and will likely be a topic many times after.  What I found was interesting was the variety of responses to a buyer that simply asked,   "Where do I start if I want to buy a home?"   The agents jumped in and spouted off their credentials.  They blustered about their "network" of great lenders and how choosing an agent first is best.   Then the lenders jumped in... and said that they can refer the best agent in the market area and of course, you guessed it, it is best to start with the lender first.   What is a consumer to d...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
What are Restrictive Covenants and Who Do They Protect?   Over the past 11 years, I have had both buyers and sellers question restrictive covenants and who they protect, or punish, depending on the violation.  It seems in our Cedar Rapids market that the condo association bylaws with their restrictive covenants have more "teeth" in them to enforce.  But in a normal neighborhood of single family homes with NO homeowner association, it seems that restrictive covenants may be much more difficult to enforce.  Especially if the development is completed and the builder or developer is no longer readily available.   For example, there is a neighborhood in Northeast Cedar Rapids that has a restrictive covenant that reads that homeowners will have no more than 2 dogs.  Yet, there are many homeow...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
I have noticed lately that there have been some posts pointing out that listing agents are not correctly updating their listing status as quickly as buyers and their agents would expect or want.     Case in point, a listing is vacant.  The buyer's agent schedules the showing and the showing service has no update on the status of the listing. Or maybe the agent does not schedule the showing or call the listing agent.   The agent and the buyer assume that because it shows as "active",  it must be "available". Wrong answer.  Now you have an unhappy buyer that really liked a home that was not really available and already under contract.  A call to the listing agent prior to showing could  have solved that issue by allowing the buyer to decide if they wanted to take the risk of submitting a ...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
 Buyer Tip:  What You Don't Tell Me, CAN Hurt You!   Case in point:  If you know that you are making payments on a "civil matter" that does not show up on your credit report, it might be a good idea to let the lender know.  It WILL come up in the buyer lien search and could end your dreams of home ownership.     How does this happen?  Let's say it was ten years ago and you leased an apartment with a friend.  You left the lease prior to the end and thought nothing of it.  Until you try to buy a home.  There it is and with interest, it needs to be satisfied in order for the lender to feel comfortable closing the loan.  These liens could be $200.00 or $2000.00.  And if it is $2000.00, it may jeopardize your ability to buy.   This is what happened to a buyer last month.  It could have been ...
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By Gary & Melynda Wolter (CRS) 480-269-1164, Reliable, Premier Personal Service since 2001
(ProSmart Realty)
The word is "salability" a word that most people don't even know how to spell as the word "sale" isn't even it it. We learned the word many years ago being a part of the Master Sales Person Society with the Floyd Wickman program.  If you want to sell your house you need to know if you house is able to sell and what are the items on this list. There are 13 things that are "must haves" to get a sold sign in your yard. Many people want to take the easy way and try most of them. We declare that if you are missing just one of the items on the list, you will have a very difficult time attracting a buyer in the Cedar Rapids area. We will share one of the items and the complete list is reserved for our clients. Call us anytime to see the complete list and get your house sold for the most money ...
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By Gary & Melynda Wolter (CRS) 480-269-1164, Reliable, Premier Personal Service since 2001
(ProSmart Realty)
This home on the SW of Cedar Rapids is newly remodeled in 2009 and is move in ready. Wow talk about paying less than rent, this is it! Large kitchen and living room with adjoining formal dining room. Easy access to I-380 and downtown Cedar Rapids. Make a move today and call us for a private showing!   See more photos at www.WolterSOLD.com 
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
  Cedar Rapids Buyer Tip #1:  A Home Buyer Guide and Checklist   It is no accident that some buyers sail through the buying process.  It is like they almost know a secret that the average buyer doesn't.     This is the most important purchase a person makes and it is not a time to fly by the seat of your pants.  Having a plan of action, a checklist to follow, will get you to where you want to be.  A sort of road map to entire home buying process.     As a first time home buyer, this would be a priceless benefit. It would be to a relocation buyer as well since the process may be completely different than your previous state.  Even if you have bought before but it has been more than 5 years, a lot has changed in the real estate industry and in our local market.   Doesn't it seem like the ...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
I Am Interviewing My Clients, But Are They Interviewing Me?   I recently read somewhere that over 77% of buyers work with the very first agent that they meet.  Whether that means that they found the agent online, at an open house, or through a referral from a friend/co-worker/family member, that is an interesting and frightening statistic.  Even more, the average seller only interviews one agent at least 89% of the time.   If you want to let that sink in for a minute....I will wait.  :)   This is the largest purchase that the average person ever makes.  And it is the largest asset that the average person has to sell.  Are more than 77% of consumers really leaving their choice of representation up to a whim?  An impulse?  A hunch?     I hope truly that the average consumer is at least re...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
The Little Buyer That Could   We met on a warm day in September.  She had contacted me through Zillow with interest in a property.  I asked her to meet me at the office that day and we began to discuss the home buying process.  We immediately stepped into the office of one of my lender partners to discuss her pre-approval.   Roadblock 1:  There were a couple of things that needed to be removed from her credit.  No problem, she would have the money in two weeks with her monthly bonus.  Paid and now the wait for the credit billing cycle to rescore.   Roadblock 2:  Two weeks later, credit score had gone up, but not quite far enough.  There was one of the bureaus that had not yet rescored.  So another two weeks before we could try again.   Roadblock 3:  Finally, 45 days after our first meet...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Breaking Into Your New House...That's One Way to Meet the Neighbors!   This one was my fault.  When we went to the house for the final inspection, we saw all of the keys and the garage remotes laying there.  But I didn't think to take any of them...after all, we were closing in the morning and the key in the lockbox would be enough.   Not quite.  The key in the lockbox was only for the deadbolt on the front door, not the door HANDLE.  So after the closing, when the buyers went over to start cleaning and moving into their new home....they could not get in.     It is a secure house, we tried all the windows and doors.  No avail.  A locksmith was called to open the house and $60 later and 35 minutes, and the door was open!  Next order of business.....to have the locksmith re-key all the lo...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
What If My Dream House Sells Before I Get Pre-Qualified?   I won't lie.  This sometimes happens.  Especially in certain price ranges and neighborhoods.  It usually happens to "buyers" that weren't really looking to buy but stumbled into an open house or upon a home that they have always loved.   A few weeks ago was one of those days.  An excited buyer contacted me through Zillow.  This particular home had been on the market for months.  As I request with every new buyer, I ask that she meet me at the office for a home buyer consultation.       We discussed her timeline, her budget, her wants for her first home, etc.  She even had been to a lender but didn't feel comfortable with that particular person and wanted to meet with some others before choosing.  Fair enough.  She had called and...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Did You Forget About Me? Or Just Give Up on Selling My Home?   This is not just a comment reserved for sellers that have failed to sell the first time.  Though I often here this from sellers of an expired listing or soon to expire.  Where the seller starts to feel a disconnect with their agent.  Where the agent reaches out to the homeowner less and less leading up to the expiration of the listing contract.   In the interest of not having any seller feel like I forgot about them or that I have given up, I want to talk about how I work differently.     Today, I am talking more about what agents can do to better communicate DURING the process.  As a relocation specialist, it is all too familiar to me that when a homeowner leaves their home and moves out of state, it causes a level of anxie...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Sellers: Are You "Spooking" Potential Buyers?   Just like anything else, everything is better in moderation.  When you come along a home that is over the top decorated for Halloween, or any other holiday for that matter, is it creeping you out?     How much is too much?  If your home is on the market, a couple of pumpkins, a few scarecrows, a harvest wreath for the door.  Maybe your fireplace mantel is decorated for fall too.       But an entire graveyard, spooky dark netting over the windows, smoke machine and screeching noises......no.  Maybe for the weekend of Halloween, but not while you are marketing your home.   Everything in moderation, we don't want to scare away the buyers before they walk in the door.  If this is what your home looks like at the front door, what will the insid...
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