Tuesday, January 21, 2014

2013 Sales and Prices Up: Great News for Iowa Property Owners

2013 Sales and Prices Up: Great News for Iowa Property Owners

CLIVE, IOWA (Jan. 21, 2014) – 2013 proved to be the fantastic year that Realtors® around the state were anticipating. “It’s great to see that the real estate market is strong once again. The year ended on a positive note and provides an encouraging look into the future,” says Kathy Miller, a 31 year Realtor® veteran and 2014 President of the Iowa Association of Realtors®.

According the Housing Trends Report released by the Iowa Association of Realtors® (IAR), numbers have improved across the board. Sales are up, prices are up, and days on the market (DOM) are down. This is great news for both Realtors® and property owners throughout the state.

IAR reports that closed sales were up again this year, for the third year in a row. Sales increased from 34,842 in 2012 to 37,618 in 2013; which is an increase of 2,748 homes or 7.9 percent. When looking at the historical data, Iowa’s market has clearly bounced back from the crisis in 2008 and is strong. Sales activity went from 32,595 in 2008 to 37,618 in 2013.

The average sale price increased by 5.5 percent; going from $147,563 in 2012 to $155,606 in 2013. The Sales Price/List Price ratio has also continued to improve over the past few years with this year showing a 0.6 percent increase over last year.

Days on the Market (DOM) continued to decrease as well. With the peak at 107 DOM in 2011, this year’s 88 DOM further illustrates the strength of Iowa’s Housing Market.

 Miller reminds buyers and sellers that real estate is local and to contact a local Realtor® for more information on the market in their community. She also adds, “The improved real estate market shows that the pride in homeownership has been renewed; which is a good thing for all Iowans”

The term Realtor® is a registered trademark, which identifies real estate professionals who follow a strict code of ethics as members of the National Association of Realtors®. The Iowa Association of Realtors® is the state’s largest real estate professional organization representing more than 6,300 members and affiliates. The IAR releases a Housing Trends Report each month. Data is collected from local Realtor® boards through their multiple listing service (MLS), which tracks sales activities in the board area. The IAR compiles all of the local board data into the statewide report each month. Reports are available online to IAR members and affiliates with a login and password. Anyone is eligible to become an IAR affiliate. For membership information, visit www.iowarealtors.com

Monday, January 13, 2014

Keep the Holiday Season Feeling

It’s part of holiday tradition to celebrate with family and friends and to share gifts with our loved ones.  There’s no measuring how much is spent on the combined effort and money to find the perfect gift.
seasons greetings.pngThe challenge is to identify the right gift in the right color and size; something they really want and need; and something that won’t break the budget.
“Eight Gifts That Do Not Cost a Cent” are suggestions that have been offered on numerous Internet sites attributed to an anonymous writer.  They may be just what you need to find the perfect gift.
• THE GIFT OF LISTENING...but you must really listen. No interrupting; no daydreaming; no planning your response; just listening.

• THE GIFT OF AFFECTION...be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back and handholds.  Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for family and friends.

• THE GIFT OF LAUGHTER...clip cartoons and share articles and funny stories.  Your gift will say “I love to laugh with you."

• THE GIFT OF A WRITTEN NOTE...it can be a simple "thanks for the help" note or a full letter.  A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime and may even change a life.

• THE GIFT OF A COMPLIMENT...a simple and sincere, "you look great in red" or "you did a super job" or "that was a wonderful meal" can make someone's day.

• THE GIFT OF A FAVOR... go out of your way every day to do something kind.

• THE GIFT OF SOLITUDE...there are times when a person wants nothing more than to be left alone.  Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.

• THE GIFT OF A CHEERFUL DISPOSITION...the easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone.  It’s really not that hard to say, Hello or Thank You. 

Invest in Good Light Bulbs!

LED 200.jpgIf you’ve considered changing your light bulbs to energy-saving LED bulbs but decided not to make the investment because the prices were too high, you might want to investigate again.  The prices have come down considerably.
An initial investment now will generate immediate returns through energy costs and because they last longer, you won’t need to replace them for years.
The life of LED bulbs is projected to be from 35,000 to 50,000 hours compared to an incandescent bulb at 750 to 2,000 hours.  For normal home use, a LED bulb could last more than 20 years.
80-90% of the energy used by fluorescent and incandescent bulbs is wasted by the heat generated.  In contrast, cool LED bulbs converts 80% of the electrical energy to light energy.
• The color of LED lights is bright white, more like daylight, instead of the warm yellow of incandescent or the greenish tint of fluorescent bulbs.
• LEDs light up instantly instead of building to their intensity like some of the fluorescent bulbs.
• LEDs are more durable because they don’t have filaments or thin-glass bulbs like incandescent and fluorescent bulbs.
Shop around to find the best price on LEDs. If the LED only lasted 20,000 hours, you might have to purchase 20 incandescent bulbs during that same period of time.  Using the chart below, you can see that the LED uses about 10% of the wattage without compromising on the brightness.
Watt comparison.png

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Protecting Your Home in Winter Weather

Below is information from State Auto about how to protect your home from Ice Dams and Freezing Pipes.

As if slippery sidewalks and snow-covered cars aren’t
bad enough during the winter, you face another potential
headache: ruined carpets and water damage to your ceilings
and walls from leaks caused by ice dams or bursting
pipes. You may be able to avoid the resulting aggravation
and expense by taking basic steps right now to prevent this
kind of damage.

Ice Dams

An ice dam is an accumulation of ice at the lower edge of
a sloped roof, usually at the gutter. Once an ice dam forms,
the potential damage can be serious. Take these steps now
to avoid trouble later:
• Keep the attic well-ventilated. The colder the attic, the
less melting and refreezing on the roof.
• Keep the attic floor well insulated to minimize the amount
of heat rising through the attic from within the house.K-950-E (0213)

Freezing Pipes

Frozen water in pipes can cause water pressure buildup
between the ice blockage and the closed faucet at the end
of a pipe, which leads to pipes bursting at their weakest
point. To keep water in pipes from freezing, take the following

• Fit exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping to
slow the heat transfer.
• Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations
near water pipes with caulking.
• Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets
connected to pipes that run through an unheated or
unprotected space.

Keep these in mind to reduce your severe winter weather risk.