My Blog



Today I got to laugh at myself again.   I thought I would attempt to make the new craze...cocoa bombs.   Well my cocoa bomb is nothing that looks like the pictures on pinterest.   
Which makes me think about photographs of homes.     Sometimes when I look at photos of listings I wonder about the photographer.   How many times have I got back and found myself in the picture, by being in a mirror.   Or sometimes the sellers simply don't turn off the television in a photo and what is showing in the picture is inappropriate, like condoms or feminine products.     Then there are the times you don't notice until you get back to the office,  but the cat is using the litter box .   Or even the one when the dog was humping another dog at the corner of the yard.   That one got edited by cropping.   
I wanted to show you a photo of my cocoaBOMBS, but I can't figure out how to make it work on here...So I laugh again.   I needed to have been born 20 years later (like with my children,  I would have made a great sister to them:)   Maybe you can kind of see them now.   Arts Fartsy I am not.   Have a wonderful day....And Lets Talk Real Estate real soon.

Funny stuff

One of our favorite laughs is kind of at the expense of another agent.   But she laughed at herself.   My good friend and coworker, Kathy Macy, makes the best peanut clusters.   And she always shares with us at Christmas time:)    One time GD was eating them.   ANd she remembered she needed to go let the mediacom guy into a house.   She ran out the door and met him.   When she got back she went in the bathroom and while washing her hands she noticed that she had a peanut hull on her front tooth.   It made her look like she only had 1 front tooth.    We still laugh to this day whenever the peanut clusters come out.

Moral of the story:   Take a minute to look at yourself.    Cuz you aren't fully dressed until you have all of your teeth showing in your smile...hahaha.     

stay warm friends.    And Let's Talk Real Estate real soon.    Barb


This week while walking I have been listening to a book, Humor, Seriously.  It is by Jennifer Aaker & Naomi Bagdonas.     It has made me start thinking about the humor in this business.   We have made good laughs over the years.  26 years of a job I love.  And I thought to myself, "Self why don't you share some of the fun you have had.   
  When I was first in the business after a couple years an agent told me that they thought of me as a Barracuda.   I thought apparently barracudas like to have fun.   Now I am sure they simply call me a pussy cat.  So at 65 years old, let me share some of our stories.
Today, I will tell you about a fun thing I did when I was the broker of the office...It was April Fools week and We still had real land line phones on our desks .   I sent a note to each agent telling them that we were going to blow the phone lines out over the weekend.  So before they left for the weekend to be sure to put their phone in a plastic bag which we provided and to put it in their garbage can.   
   Well in the mean time our phone guy came in unexpectedly and the office secretary was asking him about it.   So she ended up being in on the secret.  And I just laughed until I cried many times that week trying to keep the secret.  Several agents really questioned it.  Most put their phones in the bag but those that didn't had a big surprise come Monday morning.    Carroll (my husband) and I went in and put glitter in the bags or on their phones if they didn't put in the bag.    It was hilarious .   Many agents are no longer in the business from then, but when we see each other we still laugh about it.
   The book discusses how humor in the workplace is so important.   We were a very fun loving group that liked to help each other.    Stay safe today!

It's been awhile

It's been awhile since I have said much.   But for those who have an interest the Newton and Jasper County real estate market is still very good.   That is despite the fact that we are in a pandemic and a recession.    Never in our lifetime has our homes become more important to us than they are currently.  Many have started to work from home.  Some live in apartments and are just wanting to be in a home away from others.   And others have just decided it is not the home that they want to continue to live in.  

So with this said we are in a shortage of listings.   Many sellers are reluctant to put their home on the market for fears of COVID 19.   Some want to put their home on the market, but they can not find a place to go.   It's a vicious cycle.   

So if you are thinking this is the year to move to a different home.   Talk to your real estate agent and start the process.   

In the mean time, stay safe!   And may God bless you with good health!

New Homes in Newton, Iowa

Report from the Newton Housing Director, Bruce Showalter...

Since July 1, 2014  (5 years)  -  63 viable, new construction building permits have been issued 
Of the 63 
49 have been sold
  7 are currently pending or custom homes
  6 under construction or finished and not sold
  1 not started
For the first time the % of new families to town is over 50%    25 new, 24 existing families
Of the 63 units permitted -  45 started as spec homes and 18 were custom homes
average 12 to 13 new homes a year over the 5 years
Total values on the permits is over $15,000,000  or average  $3,000,000 per year   

Property Tax figuring??? SIGN UP FOR HOME STEAD TAX CREDIT!!!

   How are taxes figured?   Why are each counties different?   And actually why are each communities different?
Counties begin by determining the value of taxable properties.     Next the assessor adds all assessed values together and provides that information to the Auditor.   The information is examined and equalized.   Budgets are established by different departments.   Then the tax rate is established and distributed by the new tax levy per $1000 assessed value.     And credits are subtracted.   Credits include Homestead Tax Credit, Military Credit and others.

Click on the above link to figure property taxes

Jasper County's new tax bill will arrive in August once it has had it final approval 
The above link will help you to understand how your county rates with other counties in comparison to amount of taxes you pay for your actual assessed value.

So, if you own the home you live in and have not signed up yet, go sign up by June 28th,2019 to receive your homestead tax credit.    You only need to sign up once while living in the home.   This credit can save you around $200 per year.  

Flip it

  Flipping homes has become big business.   It is a business I do appreciate.   It can be a good living for an investor.   But I do feel that if an investor is going to spend the time and money to remodel a home they should complete the work.   
   This week I am experiencing an investor, who sided 3 sides of a garage, left the back with old siding.   Did not put on gutters and the roof is not in very good condition.   Plus the electric was a mess.     Plus they do not want to do any of the work to complete the repairs needed to make the home more livable.  (I represent a buyer)     
   What ever happened to taking pride in your work.   Not everything should be  $$$$.   
   It will be interesting, hopefully in the next month Carroll and I have a small home listed in Newton, that he has spent 5 years working on.     Mind you, flips should not take 5 years to complete:)    But I can tell you when this hits the market there should not be any issues found...if there is he will be very disappointed.   Carroll does take pride in his work.  
   So flip away investors, but please finish your work and take pride in what you do.   
Give me a call soon.   #Let'sTalkRealEstate       Things are looking good in Newton, IA   Barb Barr

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
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