My Blog

It's HOT

It's HOT and I'm not talking about the weather:)     Moderate priced Homes are selling quickly and at a good price.   So if this is the year you want to sell your home I'd think seriously about talking to your realtor now.

Although the market is strong and you may think you can get more for your home than typical remember there are a few precautions that your lender takes during this time of a hot market.   Your lender will hire an appraiser to give them an appraisal of the actual value of the home.    That appraiser is going to use comps from the past 6 months that the homes are of similar style and quality as yours.   And in the past 6 months the Newton market had been more stagnant than now.  So the comparables may not be up to todays cost.      Let me give you an example.    A couple years ago, when the market got very hot.   I had a home listed that received 6 offers.   We reviewed all of the offers and the seller chose the home that worked best with her time frame, price, type of loan and looked at how much the buyer was asking for closing costs, home warranty and other expenses.    She choose a full price offer with no additional request for closing cost assistance, a home warranty and what would meet her time frame to be moved.     The buyer went through the process of getting her loan secured.   However, when the appraiser did the appraisal he came in about $2500 short.   None of the offers that had been presented were for cash.   So at that point the seller choose not to void the offer and did bring the price down so that the buyer could get the loan secured.   

So if you are thinking of selling your home in this HOT market, please talk to an experienced Realtor.   There are many things to consider.    

Let's Talk Real Estate!   Barb Barr    have a wonderful spring weekend in Newton, IA :)


What about Sheriff Sales

How does a sheriff sale work?    You really need to know what you are buying as far as title goes.   While I was doing a little research today I found on the Jasper County Sheriff Sale site they answer a lot of questions.    So if you are considering buying at a sheriff sale I highly recommend you read through these questions.    I think you will be glad you did.          

A short story about a previous sheriff sale that happened.....I was representing a seller who had thought that he bought a house at the sheriff auction.   When in fact the loan that was foreclosed on was only for the siding.  The 1st mortgage was bought back by the bank holding the note.    It was a mess, many attorneys were involved.     It took years to straighten up.   In fact it took so long that I lost track of how they worked it out...this is simply an example of the kind of mess that can happen.

Let's Talk Real Estate, real soon!    Have a wonderful weekend in Newton, IA    Barb Barr

Can you compromise some things?

            When looking for a new home what are the things that are most important to you?      Take a look at how you live now.   What are the things you do?   Do you have collections that you need shelves and places for?   Do you load shot gun shells?   Do you need a place for your 9' dining room table?  
      Sit down the folks that matter, spouse, significant other, kids or whomever and talk about what would make a house function better for you.     Then decide what you want but what you absolutely can't live with out.     Do you absolutely have to have RV parking?  Or could you actually rent a spot and park it off site?
Sometimes we just have to work through the process.    In the past few months I have worked with folks who have a large dining table.   That has been decided it is a MUST.   But they are compromising on the 3rd bedroom.   

      As a realtor I do try to ask questions and listen carefully to what is important.   There just are a lot of decisions to be made.   And sometimes along the way we learn that we don't have to have a ranch, a story and a half with one bedroom on the main can work.   

It's a great life!    Lets Talk Real Estate!     Enjoy the beautiful week in Newton, IA   Barb Barr



Check out their website for more information about IFA's new loan program.   Up to $5000 loan at 0% interest, repayable at the time of sale or refinance.  Plus no monthly payments
Plus they offer an existing $2500 grant through the FirstHome and Home for Iowans program.

Visit with your favorite lender soon to learn more about these great programs and see if you are eligible.

Let's talk Real Estate!    Have a productive day in Newton, IA ...   Barb Barr   641-521-0512

The Real Estate Market broke in Newton, IA

This past week was crazy in our real estate world. Buyers are coming out of the woodwork, I am thinking because it finally warmed up here.    The interest rates are down.   And many are receiving their tax returns.    So if you have ever considered selling your home.   Lets do it!
Give me a call and we will start the process of getting your home on the market.  Be sure to look at my website under GET ADVICE.   There are some great articles to help you understand the process.   Sellers Timeline to Close & Selling a Home are very helpful.     Give me a call   Lets Talk Real Estate real soon!   The market is hot in Newton, IA .     Let's talk real estate!   Barb Barr  

What is in your basement?

Last weekend Carroll and I went to visit friends in AZ.   In looking at how homes are built there, most of us Iowans would not make it.    They do not have basements for us to store our majestic stuff.    We visited several homes there.   They have more larger closets and often times more storage in their garage but I know I would never fit my basement full of stuff into their storage spots.
So I am thinking it is time to get rid of all the stuff I have.   Do I really find joy in all of that.   Spring is the perfect time to start your spring clean OUT!    Today we searched for when the city wide garage sale was but could not find the information.   So I will keep an eye out for that and keep you updated.   Besides we might as well start now getting rid of stuff so that when we decide to leave this home we will have less to move.  
HAPPY SPRING CLEANING!!!!  It is spring in Newton, IA!

Let's talk real estate soon!   Enjoy your day.   Barb Barr

Some Arthritis advice

Millions of Americans suffer from the effects of arthritis, whether it be osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis.   Some times daily tasks can be a real challenge.   So if you are thinking of purchasing a different home and this your concern, there are a few things to think about.  

What are the your they include stairs, reaching, and bending?    Identify your road blocks...and here a few ideas.

Be sure your home has limited steps, check to be sure they are manageable if you do have steps,  are they a safe height and offer railing to assist in going up and down .    While in any home you can install slip mats on stairs, guard rails on outdoor steps, make sure the steps are well lit and remove all throw rugs and secure your carpets for better safety in your home.

What does your bathroom have to offer?   Ideally a walk in shower would be best.  To avoid slips and falls add some safety features to your bathroom.  Such as, keep an adjustable transfer bench next to the bathtub to assist in getting in and out.   Use a seat in the shower,   install grab bars by tub, shower and toilet.  Buy a highboy toilet seat if squatting is painful.  And be sure that you have good lights.

And then of course there is the kitchen.   Check your cabinets and drawers to insure they would be easily opened.   Be sure that you have adequate counter space to keep out some ergonomically designed kitchen tools, like an electric can & jar opener.   A few more ideas would be to replace heavier pots with lighter ones, get fruits and vegetables that are already cut up and/or keep a rocker knife handy.     A friend of mine told me to open her water bottles or pop bottles she uses a walnut cracker.   I tried it and it works like a charm.

Next thought, your laundry.   When looking for a new home try to find one with a main floor laundry.   But if this is not available be sure to find a home that you can have the laundry moved to the main level.   

If you have any thoughts or concerns about your home and your arthritis, feel free to give me a call.   I would be glad to visit with you.   Let's Talk Real Estate soon.   Barb Barr   Newton, IA

I think it is SPRING (officially on Wednesday March 20th, 2019)

It is time to get outside finally.  This weekend I got out and cleaned up the yard after the snow melted.  And now I am ready to start hiking, fishing and playing at some of Jasper Counties Parks.   One of my personal favorites is Rock Creek State Park located between Kellogg and Grinnell.  It offers a no wake lake, fishing, approximately 14 miles of trails around the lake, campgrounds with electric, disc golf course, sandy beach with NO lifeguard and several shelter houses.  There are 2 sites with homes near the lake.   I will actually be listing one in the next few days on the west side of the lake.  

Located near my home is Mariposa Park, it is a county park.   This park has had lots of dredging done to the lake, unfortunately for this spring it is still not open to the public.  It is unfortunate they missed all of the rain/snow melt to fill it back up.  But once it is up and going it is a beautiful park for picnics & fishing and primitive camping.     I understand when it reopens you will also be able to kayak on the lake.  

Ashton Wildwood Park is located near Baxter in NW Jasper County.   It offers an astronomical observatory, plus hiking trails, beautiful oak trees and wild flowers.   This park also offers some group camping sites.   A wonderful place to take your scout group.,-93035838,22070&tbm=lcl&ved=2ahUKEwig0_OYrY7hAhVq4IMKHcS0A0cQjGp6BAgAEDI&tbs=lrf:!2m1!1e2!2m1!1e3!3sIAE,lf:1,lf_ui:1&rldoc=1#rlfi=hd:;si:;mv:!1m2!1d41.8952952!2d-92.6928654!2m2!1d41.4920713!2d-93.4215928;tbs:lrf:!2m1!1e2!2m1!1e3!3sIAE,lf:1,lf_ui:1
Click on the above to get a map of where parks in Jasper County and Nearby are located.

The City of Newton offers a great Parks and Recreation  program.   With 5 city parks, 3 neighborhood parks, 1 public golf course and 2 recreational areas, plus a public swimming pool. 
Open this link to get information about all of the Newton Parks.

So just take time to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors.   There are many health benefits to getting outside and moving.   
Enjoy your spring!   Let's Talk Real Estate soon!   Barb Barr,   Newton, Iowa  

Is there Radon in Newton, IA homes

The answer is, if tested there is a high potential of the test being over the recommended level, so yes.    According to the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer following cigarette smoking.   So what is radon, it is a radioactive gas that forms naturally when uranium, thorium, or radium, which are radioactive metals break down in the rocks, soil and groundwater.    Radon typically comes in through cracks and gaps in buildings and homes.   Radon comes naturally from the ground so people are always exposed to it.   

There are sections of Newton Iowa that are naturally higher than other areas.  From what I have been told some areas of town use to be a mining area, kind of in the central south part of Newton.   These areas seem to run higher.   

First start by testing your home.   I just read that the Jasper County Extension office had 30 kits available for free.   The kits are not expensive, you can purchase a kit up at True Value in Newton if you want.   The long term test kits are more relevant for results as to your home and lifestyle.  

If your results come in higher than the recommended level of 4 picocuries per liter of air there are companies who will install a radon mitigation system.  There are qualified contractors in our area.  Get bids, the actual price of radon mitigation has gone down because there is more providers available.    Some things you can do yourself are, seal cracks in the floors and walls with plaster, caulking or other materials designed for sealing up cracks.

If you are selling your home and the buyer tests, you are not required to mitigate the property.   This is a negotiable cost.   The costs are usually around $1000-$1300 for a professional mitigation system.  

If you have more questions please feel free to give me a call .    Let's Talk Real Estate soon!    Barb Barr   Newton, IA

It's Ugly Outside

Right now in Newton, Iowa making a good impression from the street is hard.   I think this is one of the ugliest times of the year.   The snow is melting and uncovering all the dead decayed leaves, stuff that has blown into the yard, sticks that have fallen from the trees and at my house the 6 dog balls covered by the snow and all of the dog poop:(

Don't despair you can make it look better if you are currently selling your home.  Look at your front door.   Clean the windows, if you have room add a pretty colorful spring wreath.   Clean the sidewalks of the sludge, debris, salt and what have you.   Make that potential buyer feel comfortable when they walk in.   Be sure to keep a rug by the front door.  It will make your buyers more at easy, because no matter what there is a good potential your buyers may have wet feet.  And they won't feel comfortable walking in with no rug.

Pick up the sticks in the yard and if it is fairly dry, even rake the dead leaves.   Clean out the flower beds of left over flowers.   

Check the back yard.  Clean the deck up.  If you have a pet, pick up the dog poop.   Nothing worse than a potential buyer stepping in a bomb.  

It's not going to be spring clean but it is going to look better than doing nothing.   You can sell your home at this time of the year too!

So Let's Talk Real Estate real soon.    Have a great day in Newton, IA and everywhere!  Barb Barr
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