Alta Iowa 4-Plex Remodel Update

Demo is nearly all done upstairs, what's left: 1 bathroom (including a large cast iron tub - enjoy a little hammer time :), removal of plaster, and removal of cabinets we plan to keep (for the shop).
Thanks to our son Nick, we have all the scrap wood out of the 2 upstairs apartments. What a help - saved Ronnie and me 4-5 hours hauling it down the stairs. And I got to spend some quality time with one of my most favorite people. I have 4 most favorite people: Sons Nick and Brian, daughter-in-law Kacey and my husband Ronnie. Oh, I forgot Spike - he thinks he is a person, actually royalty.

Check back for pictures of the complete demo next week. The exciting part begins soon - I get to design the kitchens, I love that part. It is very easy, get exact measurements, go to Lowe's or Menard's and give them to the kitchen design assistant. They will enter them into a CAD program and show you several ways to lay out the kitchen and even print you a picture of what it will look like completed. It really looks better then the picture when finished.
Happy 4th of July to everyone, I hope to see you at the Star Spangled Spectacular.

Please remember our veterans and their families. There are a lot of hurting people out there, do what you can for any of them God sends across your path. May God Bless You with Safety especially if you are traveling.

New Realtor! Bonnie Lewis

Announcing Bonnie Lewis - the newest Real Estate Specialists of Storm lake Inc. member. Bonnie has been a Realtor for years, has previous banking experience, and is an active member of the Aurelia community. Her banking experience adds valuable skills to our team.
Previously, an agent with Northwest Realty of Cherokee, Bonnie is a great addition. Bonnie is a strong Christian, and a people person with an obvious drive to make people happy and to do her best. Her family, like mine is spread out over this big beautiful country.
Please email Bonnie and welcome her to the Storm Lake, Alta and Aurelia market! Bonnie welcome aboard, I see great things in the future for you.
Georgia A. Weaver Broker/Associate, BS, GRI


Trulia - Real Estate Info at your Fingertips

This website is great, it lists new listings, average sales price, average price per square foot, income and home prices, school info, and just about anything you want to know about Alta, Iowa! To view click on this link http://www.trulia.com/real_estate/Alta-Iowa/ or on the article title.


Televator - new access to attic space

Check out this new type of access to attic and areas above. Compact, easy to install, inexpensive, and can easily be installed by a DIYer. This product is one we will be installing, the foot print is tiny compared to the pull down attic stairs we have looked at - 22 X 22. The opening can be larger but not smalled. It comes in 2 sizes, one for ceilings between 7 ft 4 in and 8 ft 4 inches and another for ceilings up to 10 ft 3 in.
Prior to attempting to install one of these be sure you space (attic or otherwise) is capable of handling the weight you want to put on it. Never cut trusses or supporting structures in your attic or anywhere in your home, doing so can impair the structural integrity of your home. IE - it can fall down, sag or otherwise cause really big problems! To see this cool new telescoping ladder follow this link or click on the article title. http://www.lernerladders.com/

NEW Federal Mortgage Calculator

A new tool developed for home buyers who are shopping for mortgages is available from the Federal Reserve. The tool will calculate mortgage payments and home equity accumulation. This great new consumer tool is a must use - it enables you to calculate mortgage payments for different mortgage products like adjustable rate mortgages, interest-only loans and fixed-rate mortgages. All consumers need to shop for the best mortgage product for their specific situation - your mortgage is one if not the biggest financial decision you will make in your life. Ask your Realtor to help you with your mortgage, a good Realtor has financial knowledge and an established working relationship with all the local financial companies. Website for this calculator is www.federalreserve.gov/apps/mortcalc or you can click on the title to get to this calculator.


Iowa Mortgage Closing Costs

Ever wonder what the average closing costs are for Iowa and how they compare to other states? Well, if you are into that sort of thing - I personally really like it but I also like spreadsheets, check out this article. Just click on the title of the article.

Negotiate Your Closing Costs

Did you know most people including many Realtors don't know what all the charges that makeup closing costs really are and that they are negotiable? What are those charges for; they are usually a minimum of 3% of your loan that's $4,500 for a $150,000 loan- shouldn't you ask what they're for?

After receiving your Good Faith Estimate (this comes from the bank approximately 2 business days after you have an accepted offer on a property and the bank has been sent a copy of the completed contract. It is not your preapproval or prequalification information.

Ask your Realtor if they go over the Good Faith Estimate to help you understand the charges or if they will go into the bank with you to negotiate your closing costs. If they won't, look for another Realtor. Check out this article, it is excellent just click on the title!


10 Small Fixes Bring Big $$$ Rewards When Selling Your Home

Think you home is ready to sell - checkout the list of 10 small fixes
1) Remove old calk from tub, shower sinks etc, super clean and dry the area, recalk
2) Clean your stainless sink till it sparkles
3) Clean all bath fixtures until they sparkle
4) Check all floor corners - be sure they are clean
5) Trim all landscaping, especially around walks, beds and trees for a well taken care of look
6) Clean all windows until they sparkle, clean inside window sills too
7) Buy some Old English Oil, it comes in light and dark - go over your woodwork, it will look great and smell great
8)Paint unfinished basement walls white
9) Clean gutters
10) Place blooming plants (vibrant colors like rich red or deep orange) in strategic places inside and out.

These 10 tips will help you sell assuming your home has been accurately prices with the use of a Realtor and a Competitive Market Analysis (CMA).

Call me to look at your home, together we will get it in the best shape to sell in the shortest time and for the highest price! Direct: 712-574-5426


Total Property Remodel? Follow this Plan for Success

For those of us who remodel and do big projects (like whole houses or apartment buildings) this information is priceless. The logical flow of a project is one of the most important lessons you can learn, doing things in the right order can save you thousands of dollars, lots of headaches and time. Time in a remodeling project translates directly in to dollars - usually hundreds if not thousands! We develop a plan for each project, planning is important, as someone said - Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail. I don't know who said that but they knew what they were talking about.

You want your financial partner not just comfortable but happy loaning you money, always have a written, professionally presented, detailed project plan. Your plan should include a time line, along with supplies and contractor's names (if you aren't doing it your self), costs and end results. Do not "fudge" on your plan, to put it simply "fudging" is lying.

If you under fund the project you could end up with an incomplete project, we see this more than we should - we buy these projects - usually at a discount! We calculate a 25-30% over run, and it is noted as "overrun" on our plan to our financial partner - this covers an increase in lumber, other materials, demo surprises and other items.

Check out the link by clicking on the title and check back to see what we have to help you in your Real estate investing adventure!

15 Minute CleanUp for Every Room

Need some cleaning help - we all do! Most of us work fulltime, have a family, have a yard, friends, church, children have activities, stc..... time spent cleaning is usually time taken away from some other pleasurable activity (say kayaking). This is a great article, I use the info weekly, I send it to my clients to help them get ready to list and to keep their home show ready without becoming a slave to their home.

I also use it in my home, I am a fulltime+ Realtor, part owner and full time worker in our renovation business, slave to a large yard with lots of flowers, owner of a 100+ year home, Mother of 2 sons and a wonderful daughter-in-law, active in the church and community, my family lives half way across the country, need I say more? Any and all help I can get is very appreciated!

Why You May Want to Remodel Now Rather than Wait

Check out this article at Bankrate.com, why you may want to remodel now rather than wait until next year.


Notice: Storm Lake Foreclosure that may be a good Investor Property

New Foreclosure that could be a good investor purchase:
Address 1713 Tupil Lane
Plantiff: Central Bank (Local bank - easier negotiations, faster response)
Defendant: see notice at http://www.stormlake.com/ page 5C or get a copy at the Sheriffs office
To go to the Buena Vista Assessor's link click on the article's title
Sale July 10th - downstairs in Buena Vista County Sheriffs office (court house)
Judgement approximately $17,500, but see actual notice

Property assessed at $61,020

Could be an excellent buy, need an attorney to ensure there are no liens or judgements recorded against the current owners.

My Personal strategy: After I get the go ahead from my attorney I would go directly to the sellers and buy it before the sale. At this price you could even afford to give the Sellers something on top of getting them out of a foreclosure. A little extra money is a good incentive to have them clean up the property prior to moving out and it can help them get a new start without the black mark of foreclosure on their credit report.

Remember mark this blog to stay up to date with Storm Lake and the surrounding area's Real Estate trends! Go to www.SLRealtyCheck.com to see local homes, info on rentals, investor info, sign up for a great free reminder service and a lot more.

New Storm Lake Housing Development - not a local contractor

Twenty one residential lots are planned for single-family home development on Storm Lake's north side. Des Moines based Colby Development requested their initial plat and zoning changes to the area be approved by the Storm Lake Planning and Zoning Commission.

Colby Development is planning to build single-family homes on all 21 lots. The Planning and Zoning Commission recommendation will be presented at the Storm Lake City Council tonight at 5:00 pm.

Please respond to this if you have an opinion one way or the other that a contractor out of Des Moines appears to be going to get approval for this project. Should it have gone to a local contractor?


Real Estate Investor Links

New to real estate investing - check out these links, articles and additional blogs. Add these to your favorite list to keep you in tune with what's going on in this great area of investing.

One site I really like for the down home way it comes across is www.realestateinvestingfixers.com lots of before and afters and very good info on how they did it. Another is www.biggerpockets.com, it has so much info you could get the equivalent of a Real Estate Investor associate degree in about 2 weeks - just kidding.

Every real estate investor is in search of a really good tax advisor - check out this web site www.realestateinvestingtax.com. Lots of good info you need to know including 1031 exchange and how it works!

Rather see a video or download to your iPod (I love this, I can listen while I drive, cook or walk Spike) every week a new topic, go to www.getrealrei.com - great short teaching modules, a blog to search for info you need to know, ask a question and a lot more.

Great article on predatory lending http://www.mortgagelowdown.com/2007/02/will_the_suitab.html

Aurelia Iowa - Next Big Real Estate Investor Spot

Aurelia is 13.1 miles from Storm Lake, 8.1 miles from Cherokee and 7.2 miles from Alta. The real estate market is slow slow slow! A number of houses have been on the market over a year, several apartment buildings are available. Need I mention the new ethanol plant slated for fall - contractors need places to live, employees also need homes.
Shown at left is the dining room of a 3 bedroom, completely remodeled, ranch home with a 2 car garage and shop - listed for $62,000!
So, you say, if it's such a good deal why haven't you invested there? Only one reason, we have two projects inb the works - a 4-plex that is a complete remodel and a laundrymat. Need I say more?
Money is still pretty cheap, so if you want to begin investing check out some of the Real Estate Investor tools and take a drive to Aurelia. Call me if I can help!