Buena Vista County, Iowa - Property Valuations up 10% - 20%!!!

Agland and residential real estate have increased since 2005 - BUT they have not increased 10-20%. Agland is calculated on a 5 year rolling average according to Kathy Croker (BV County Assessor). Residential real estate is based on actual sales in 2006. The importance of comparable properties and the criteria for those properties when you sell or purchase a home are noted in a previous post. CMA Post Link

Both Ag and Residential will be subject to equalization by the State of Iowa but start preparing now. Contact a Realtor or an Appraiser if you think you assessment is incorrect (you will have it by April 15th). A Realtor can do a CMA (Competitive Market Analysis) and an Appraiser will appraise your property - both can show what the fair market value of your property actually is. This is very important because this amount is the one you should be taxed on.

The assessors will notify you by April 15, and you will have until May 5 to appeal the new assessment. To appeal you will need to be armed with facts that show your home has been assessed higher than the actual fair market value to get the taxes reduced.

Pay your fair share, but don't you work too hard to give your money away?


CMA - the most important tool next to your agent

Storm Lake and Alta sellers get ready, it's a seller's market but more and more properties are listing every day.

So what, you say - well if your home isn't a lake home priced over $400,000 and it's been on the market for a while (over 60 days), without an accepted offer something is wronge- we are in a Sellers Market. It could be you are not correctly priced - how do you know if you are priced right? That's where your agent's skills and the CMA (competitive Market Analysis) come in to play. CMAs have to be accurate to be of any value - that means:

  1. Properties used in the CMA must have sold within the last 12 months
  2. Properties used in the CMA must be of similar structure and square footage
  3. Properties used in the CMA must be in the same area/town your home is located

*Incidentally this process is very close to what the bank's appraiser will use

What's that? Your agent didn't do a CMA to guide you as to where you should price your home, they asked you what you wanted to list at?

YOU ARE IN BIG TROUBLE unless you guessed really good, and chances are you didn't.

Let me share with you what will happen when I show your property to one of my buyers

  1. If my buyers are interested in making an offer on your property I will do a CMA to make sure your home is priced correctly for the market - I use all the criteria above. I do this because I am looking out for my client's best interests.
  2. If my CMA doesn't produce a listing range that includes your home price, I will call your agent and ask them for the comparative properties they used in their CMA to arrive at the price they listed the home at.
  3. If they say, "I didn't do a CMA, I just listed it where the sellers wanted to be or if they give me bogus properties (those that don't fit the proper criteria) I discuss that with my Buyers
  4. I recommed they do one of 2 things - first walk away because you (the seller/s) are not serious about selling or second we make an offer including the CMA I did to backup our reasoning.
  5. If I have a Buyer who loves your house and decides against the CMA results and recommendations to offer higher than the CMA results You may be in even bigger trouble trouble - if my Buyer needs financing (about 99.9% do) the bank will do an appraisal and use nearly the same criteria I used in my CMA.
  6. If the bank decides the house is not valued at what my Buyers offered, they won't make the loan - result - no sale.

Don't risk a no sale, or no offers on your home - you are paying a lot of money to be represented by a Brokerage, get your money's worth.

Personally, I won't take an overpriced home. Why - because basically the agreement you have with me is an employment contract, you are hiring me to do a job - sell your home. I can't perform on that contract if you insist on pricing it unrealistically. Even if I could sell it, there is a good chance the bank would not agree with the price and not loan on it and now there are 4 unhappy parties - you the Seller, me the listing agent, the Buyer and their agent.

It is really simple, I won't list a home too high just to get the listing and then later figure I can drop the price, to me that's an unethical practice. It is also an ethical practice to the National Association of Realtors.

Check out the NAR Code of Ethics and Standards of Prcatices

Take home - choose your Realtor very carefully, you are paying a lot because your agent has a lot of work to do. Let them do their job and insist that they do the research to help you position your home to sell.


Free Rental Listings for Residential Property in Alta and Storm Lake Iowa

Our office has a list of some local landlords and we give it out to anyone who comes in and askes for it. Renters can look in the newspaper, talk to the Chamber of Commerce but there isn't a one stop shop for all rental property available in Storm lake and Alta. That's a big problem if you need somewhere to live or if you have a property to rent.

As you know I am a landlord (par excellence, I might add) and I have been frustrated with the existing mish-mash system so I have a solution. Best of all it is free to local residential landlords!

My real estate website www.SLRealtyCheck.com is building a page with all local landlord info, if you would like to be added send me the following information:

  • Your name, phone number and email if you want to receive requests online ( yes, you need to check it more than once a month!)
  • Location of rentals (Alta and Storm Lake only)
  • Types of rentals, ie houses, apartments, acerages, bedrooms and baths
  • Pets and smoking - allowed or not


Georgia Weaver, XXX-XXX-XXXX, Georgia@SLRealtyCheck.com

Location - Alta

Types - 3 apartments(1-2Br, 2-1Br, 1 ba each) 1 house (3-4 Br, 1.5 ba)

No pets or tobacco any of our properties

Rental Rates in Buena Vista County - FYI RE Investors

FYI according to City-Data.com BV County has the following rental averages
1 Bedroom Apartment - $391
2 Bedroom Apartment - $512
3 Bedroom Apartment - $614

How does your rent stand up to those numbers?

LakeReport: Methamphetamine contaminated properties - mandatory disclosure? Testing?

LakeReport: Methamphetamine contaminated properties - mandatory disclosure? Testing?


Farmland Prices in Iowa

With all the ethanol and bio-diesel plants going in the price of agricultural land is climbing. Overall Iowa experienced a 14% increase in the last 6 months! Now that's a return I'd like to get. My experience is that good crop land is selling for about $4,500 an acre in this area. The state average is $4,313 so we are a little higher. There hasn't been a lot of land change hands in Buena Vista County and what has is estate land.
Farmers are getting top dollar for corn and soybean they can afford to buy land as it comes available. Few real estate investors, who aren't already crop farmers, are investing in ag land. I believe the reasoning for this is the amount of knowledge required to know what type of land you are buying and how to rent it if you don't farm it yourself.

Ethanol Plant for Alta

The 115 million gallon a year plant is a go! Denver based BioFuel Energy LLC plans to begin construction prior to June this year at the site located between Alta and Aurelia just off Iowa highway 7. Buena Vista county gave BioFuel ENergy LLC a $7.875 million tax abaement over the span of 18 years.

A previous post noted the number of homes available in Aurelia, if you would like to do a little real estate investing it may pay to take a drive.

$775,000 Lake Front Property on Storm Lake

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Lake Houses on Storm Lake

"How do you justify the price of lake houses on our lake?" That was the question before the person on the other end of the phone even told me their name.
My answer, "Simple rules of supply and demand." " Lake property is in short supply, houses on lake property in our area are in short supply, short supply and high demand push up price."

Lake houses are expensive, but they do sell, so in my opinion they are not priced too high. Correct pricing is critical to selling a home, lake properties can stay on the market longer than other homes but part of that is due to the limited number of buyers in that price range.

Gone Fishin' in Alta, Iowa for a Great Cause

Friday, April 13 a benefit concert aptly named, "Gone Fishin, will be presented at Summit Evangelical Free Church in Alta. The Christian music artist include some of our homegrown talent - HC Derksen. The proceeded go to Christian Motortcycle Association's "Run For The Sun", and Campus Crusade, Open Doors and Missionary Ventures. Other artists scheduled will be : Solid Gospel Praise, Elaine Peacock, SOS and Dallas Clark. Tickets are available for $15 pre show and $20 at the door, at Salt and Light Books and More in Storm Lake, Village Boutique in Aurelia, Builder's Sharpening in Cherokee and On Eagle's Wings in Spencer or call 712-200-9255.

77 New Condominiuns on Storm Lake - Just the Beginning?

Sunset Bay is scheduled to start moving dirt by the middle of April on their initial phase of construction. This phase is slated to result in 77 high end condos being completed by early spring 08. Phase 2 will add another 33 if the initial 77 sell. Eight floor plans that are 1 or 2 bedrooms with square footage ranging from 1,100 to 1,650 and anticipated. A fitness center, club room, centrally located elevator and underground parking are available to all residents. According to the local representative about 50 of the units have been spoken for. Check out the AWAYSIS.com website

Storm Lake Area interest - happenings

The Relay for Life is beginning to gather speed - no pun intended. This is a great event, please give to this if you can. The event is June 23 at the Storm Lake High School Track, all proceeded go to the American Cancer Society. For more information contact Bev Wetherall or Carol Wadsley at 732-7594. Be a blessing to someone less fortunate.

Real Estate Investors in the Storm Lake Iowa area - listen up

Just found a website every real estate investor needs to have at the very top of their favorite list www.biggerpockets.com
This site has a lot of tools including a property analysis spreadsheet I just ran 2 commercial bulidings through. I was so impressed with the results I printed them and used them to take to the bank as part of my proposal. Check it out, and get ready to be amazed!


Wyoming Driftwood - Life's Complexities

Drift wood found on the lake shore in Wyoming, reminds me of the complexities of life.
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Real Estate Growth in Storm Lake Iowa Area

Last post was aimed at becoming financially independent, this one will address some ideas to think about.
Fact: Aurelia has a large number of homes for sale - some are deals
Fact: A new ethanol plant going in between Alta and Aurelia - need housing for construction people
Fact: New plant will bring in some personnel but hire most locally (if previous plants are any indication)
Fact:Major growth in Storm Lake - AWAYSIS project, King's Point Resort, new marina, Little Storm Lake improvement, .......
See any opportunity?

Storm Lake, Iowa in Spring = Buyers

Warm weather is moving in and so are buyers. We have seen a large increase in the number of people looking for homes in the last 2 weeks - a sure sign of Spring!

The Storm Lake and Alta market are both seeing activity, it is a Seller's market currently with more buyers than sellers.