Cedar Rapids, IA Real Estate News

By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
We Hate to Say No to Showings, But it Happens! It happens to the best of us.  We haven't had a showing since Christmas.  No one came to the last open house.  The weather has been horrible with subzero temperatures for weeks. My seller has always been accommodating for showings.  Especially when the agent calls with 24 hour notice, which is always appreciated.  The showing desk has instructions to call me first and then I contact the seller to confirm.   But when I called the seller, she said no.  It happens.  Life happens.  She has been very ill, in the hospital in fact, and the condo is NOT ready to show.  She felt horrible to say no to a showing.   I called the buyer's agent right away and explained.  The agent was very understanding and set me at ease by stating that this would be th...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Losing Your Dream Home Really Stinks! We have all been there.   You look at dozens of homes, and finally, you find it..."the one"...that one house that checks every box on your list. Sometimes it is at the top of the price range.  And it is usually the house that just came on the market. No matter how hard the buyer's agent tries, our price recommendation falls flat. The buyer wants to test the seller and see how firm they are on the price.  It doesn't matter that it has been on the market for less than a week and we saw the tell tale pile of cards on the kitchen counter.  We knew that it was the cleanest and nicest home on the market in their price range. And other buyers would think so too. But some buyers need to lose one dream home to learn.   Sometimes they are listening to parents...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Make Sure Fluffy and Sam are Welcome BEFORE You Buy That Condo! I received an email today through the company website about a condo that is for sale in Cedar Rapids.  The prospective buyer wanted more information about the condo, specifically information not seen online.  I sent an email including the seller disclosure, information regarding what is covered by the association, and information regarding pets that are allowed. The buyer emailed me back immediately, stating that he has 2 cats.  He wanted to know if there were requirements or restrictions on the number of pets that are allowed per unit.  Upon reviewing the condo bylaws, I found that the only mention of pets was that they needed to be registered with the association due to insurance liability issues, this applies more specif...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Relocation Sellers Don't Sign Any Offers! The biggest rule in the real estate business might be the job of the agents to get the contract in writing.  Unfortunately, homeowners that are part of a relocation package do not sign any documents.  There are able to negotiate only verbally with buyers until an agreement is made. This can cause a lot of uneasiness for the buyer.  They are not sure if they can trust me or the seller since everything is verbal.  Especially if there are other possible offers in the mix.  Because on a weekend, the relocation company is not available and the house stays on the market and continues to be shown until the signed documents are received back from the relocation company.   The buyer signed documents are sent on to the relocation company for signature.  T...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Sellers:  I Must Present All Offers.  Even When You are Sale Pending I am speaking about the state of Iowa here.  All offers must be written, so no verbal offers or contracts because they are not enforceable.  No matter how ridiculous the offer may be, I may know with every part of me that you will reject it, but I still must present it to you.   Why?  Because I cannot filter what you see.  You must have the opportunity to make those decisions for yourself.  If I don't present an offer to you because I think that it isn't worth your time, there will be no rejection to send back to the buyers showing that you saw their offer.   Think about that.  If a buyer writes many lowball offers, just to see if any of them stick, and agents refused to present them, the buyer could have a case....in ...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
How I Bought My First Stove It was a first time homebuyer.  She purchased a home from me my first year in the business.  It was a very inexpensive home, no basement, about 700 sq ft, but it was perfect for one person.  It had been vacant for awhile.   The buyer could not afford to pay for a home inspection, so her dad and uncle took a look at everything.  The seller had not offered a home warranty and I had not thought to ask for one to be included when she offered on the home. The final inspection day came and we walked through the house.  I remembered someone in my office telling me that you should encourage the buyers to flush toilets, turn on the dishwasher, the stove, the faucets, etc.  Just to make sure that everything was working. We turned on the burners of the stove.  It was on...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
This week, Nathan Seyfer gives us relevant information about where we can obtain an acccurage credit report.  After the Target breach, thousands were affected and many more may have been affected and don't know it yet.  In effect, we have all become, well, for lack of a better term "targets" for identity theft! (Pardon the pun)  In Target's defense, they did the best they could to notify people as soon as they knew and they are now offering free credit protection.  Click here for more information about that as well.   Don't wait until it is too late!  When you go to apply for a car loan or a home loan, an identity thief can destroy your good credit that you have worked so hard to build.  Thank you Nathan for providing such timely information!   Keep smiling!   Karen ____________________...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
A Really Expensive Typo I will give you an example of an extreme situation that happened to me early in my real estate career.  The condo had been listed for a long time.  It had recently changed listing agents and the seller disclosure was the same except that a new date was added and the seller re-initialed the documents for the new listing agreement.  The MLS sheet AND the disclosure both stated that a washer and dryer would be included.    Problem was, there was no washer and dryer in the unit to be included, they were already gone.  The listing agent never corrected the information, almost as if they didn't notice that they were not there. I might even venture to guess that the listing agent had never been to their new listing as all of the photos portrayed a lived in version of th...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Are the Washer and Dryer Included with the House? This also goes for the draperies, curtains and rods, the blinds, and any other appliance listed on the seller disclosure.  The MLS sheet for the property has a summary of the included items.  Just because the MLS sheet does not state that the washer and dryer are included, doesn't mean that they cannot be.  Conversely, the house may be vacant, but you cannot assume that everything will stay that is there.  It may already be sold to someone else that has not yet picked them up! Sometimes a seller will stipulate on the seller property disclosure that certain appliances are not included but negotiable.  Why would a seller do that?  Well, maybe the appliances are brand new and they don't want to have to pay to replace them.  Maybe the seller...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Buyer Tip #1: Beware of 100% Financing if You Plan to Move in 2 Years! Don't get me wrong.  These types of loans, whether they be conventional, VA, or USDA Rural Development loans, are sometimes the best option for first time homebuyers that have limited funds for a down payment.  And I have many buyers that take advantage of these programs every year to achieve their dream of owning their first home. But, this is a cautionary tale that I need to share with every buyer.  Because it has happened several times to my buyers.  When you purchase a home with little or no money down, your home is not going to pay you huge dividends early in your ownership.  It takes several years of payments before you start to see a real dent in your principal loan balance.  It is a long term investment for y...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
So No One Came to Your Open House We did everything right.   We lowered the price this week.   We created new marketing materials for the condo to give it a fresh look. We posted your home all over the internet with the new price and the time of the open house. You cleaned the house and removed the cats and all of their things for the hour and a half for nothing. But please don't give me that look. And unfortunately, it was the nicest weather that it has been for the last two weeks.  Normally nice weather would have meant that we might have had traffic at the open house.   But I saw many people at the grocery store, stocking up for those football games today.  Something about the Broncos and the Patriots playing?  :) So it is okay.  We will find another weekend to have your condo open. ...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Sellers: No, You Can't Leave Your House Messy Once You Accept an Offer It is sort of like the last day of school feeling, isn't it?  The "no more teachers, no more books"...no more showings, no more looks.  Except there will be a few more "looks" and it is very important to keep up your appearance.  These looks are just as important as the buyer showings prior to receiving the offer. Here are two reasons why: 1.  The buyers have only seen your home in its' perfect model home state.  If the buyers come within the next 10 days for the home inspection and see the beds unmade, the dishes on the counter, laundry all over the floor, and can smell the Chinese food you had last night, they get a very different feeling about your home.  Sometimes, buyers use this opportunity to bring their frien...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Must See This Weekend in Cedar Rapids!  Carmen at The Paramount! If you have not been to the renovated Paramount Theater or if you have never seen an opera, this is your opportunity!  Hometown singer, graduate of Jefferson High School, Janera Kellerman owns the lead role as Carmen in this beautiful opera.     Tickets are still available with 2 shows this weekend only.Friday January 17, 2014 at 7:00 pm and Sunday January 19, 2014 at 2:00 pm.  Click here for ticket information!  And don't be afraid that you won't understand what they are singing.  There will be subtitles above the stage for you to keep up with the story. You won't want to miss it!   Photo courtesy of Hoopla   Keep smiling! Karen      
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Seller Would Not Accept Full Price Offer: The Devil is in the Details The buyer's agent called me in a rage.  "My buyer offered full price to your seller.  There was no reason to counter offer.  They should just take the offer and be happy about it." Really?  All things considered the price that your buyers offered was the list price. But the Devil is in the details: 1. Your buyer's offer is contingent on their home selling.  And it ISN'T EVEN ON THE MARKET YET.  Furthermore, it is out of state and we don't know how long that will take to happen. 2.  No closing date in the near future.  My seller cannot move forward and offer on another home.  We NEED to keep showing the home to other buyers that can buy AND close in a reasonable amount of time. 3.  Your buyers asked for $5000 in closin...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
You Sold My Home Too Fast! You would think that this is a good thing if you are selling your home in Cedar Rapids.  The market is picking up.  Not much competition. And you did everything that you were told to do including pricing it right.  So why are you feeling blue? Inevitiably, many sellers just aren't expecting or are not fully prepared for the move.  The agent told you the average days on the market is 2-3 months.  So when it sells in the first week, your head is spinning. Did we price it too low? Where are we going to go?  We haven't even started to look! Should we keep the house on the market until the inspections are done just to be sure?  Let's address these questions one at a time. Pricing it too low.  When you priced your home, we looked at the sold properties in the area a...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Do Hand-Written Notes Have an Impact Anymore? When I first started in real estate 10 years ago, my broker told me to never underestimate the power of a handwritten thank note.  And I used to write 10 a day....to everyone that did something for me.  Occasionally, I write notes now.  I would say 10 per week at most.  But I must say that everytime I send one, I receive a call or an email thanking me for the gesture.   Honestly, I love receiving handwritten notes in the mail.  It makes getting the mail and sorting through all the bills and junk mail to get to something that I actually want to open.  In an electronic age, it seems that we are all more concerned with instant gratification.   I was watching Ellen yesterday and there was an interview with Ms. Post about manners and what we shou...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Attention First Time Home Buyers in Cedar Rapids! Must Read! Today's information comes from Nathan Seyfer with University of Iowa Community Credit Union.  His contact information is listed at the bottom of this post.  For more information, please contact Nathan to see which programs you would qualify for in 2014! The Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) will be rolling out their TakeCredit! Mortgage Credit Certificate program again this spring! They indicate early February 2014 they will have full details out to participating lenders, of which myself and UICCU Mortgage will be one. It is available to first-time homebuyers, providing they are within income guidelines for the property location and household size, and provides a tax credit up to 50% of your mortgage interest or $2,000 (whichever i...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Seller Tip #4: Decluttering, Purging and Staging Your Home In the process of getting your home ready to go on the market, you will want to start packing away things that you are not using but intend to keep, purge the things that you don't want to move with you, and staging your home to appeal to the most buyers. Step one is decluttering.  This is just as much for the safety of your things as it is for the buyers looking through your home.  The less things that could get stolen or knocked over, the better.  Buyers are snoops.  They will open your cabinets, your refrigerator, and your closets.  Now is the perfect time to go through all of your closets and get your wardrobe down to just what you are wearing now.  If your closets are busting at the seams, a buyer will assume that there is ...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Seller Tip #3: Why You Need to Leave for All Showings of Your Home There are many reasons that you decided to list your home with a real estate professional.  Handling the showings of your home is a biggie.  After all those months of trying to sell on your own, you told me that not a single person had a bad thing to say about the house.  Of course they didn't....no one will say anything negative to the owner of the house. I know that you know your home better than anyone.  That is why I requested that you write a homeowner letter to the future home buyer to tell them all of the reasons that you chose this home for your family.  The things that people wouldn't know or think about.  This is why you diligently prepared your feature and update sheet to show the buyer all of the time and mon...
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By Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
(Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group)
Seller Tip #2: Natural Light, Deep Clean, and Sparkle   You can never underestimate the power of natural light in a home.  On the positive side, it makes rooms brighter and larger.  On the negative side, it shows dust, wear and tear and flaws easily. Deep cleaning is like spring cleaning on steroids. When you are getting ready to list your home, you are going to clean things that you probably never cleaned before.  And if you cannot do it, you need to hire someone to do it for you.  In addition to taking apart and washing the windows, we are talking about orange oil on the cabinets and baseboards, dusting the blades of the ceiling fans, wiping down or replacing all of the switchplates and light switch plates, taking light fixtures apart, cleaning vents and air registers, and cleaning al...
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