Monthly Archives: February 2017

Why you Need a Realtor To Help Sell Your Home in Dubuque

For a while now you’ve been planning to sell your home. You finished up the remodeling, emptied out many of the rooms, and you’ve put a fresh coat of paint on the outside. You’re anxious to get it sold, but you also want to get as much out of it as you can. So you decide you’re going to sell it on your own and avoid paying a Realtor a commission. It seems like a good idea at first, but over time it might be a decision you regret.

One would think that putting a sign in the yard that says for sale by owner would be easy to do, especially in a city the size of Dubuque.  Or maybe you live in even smaller communities like Dyersville or Peosta. Whatever the case, how hard can it be to get the word out. Yet, pounding the sign into the ground is the easy part. It’s everything else that can be difficult and which a Realtor can make a lot easier for you. And potentially get you a higher price, as well.

Here are some reasons you want to have a Realtor help sell your home instead of doing it on your own.

A Realtor Can Advise You On What You Can Do To Sell Your Home Quicker

One of the first steps a Realtor will do is to tour the house.  One of the main reasons is that they want to determine the price to list your home at. Yet, they’ll also be looking for things you can do to improve the home and also any red flags that might come up during the final inspections.

An experienced Realtor can provide guidance and suggestions on your home that you might not have thought of. And if they discover potential problems that you will need to fix, it’s better to take care of them right away instead of having something derail a sale at the closing. Most likely they have contractors they’ll refer you to if there are problems you need to address that are experienced and affordable.

They’ll also advise you on how to stage the home so that potential buyers will be immediately attracted to it. It could be simple things that will make your house stand out or items that you can eliminate that might have limited your selling options.

Price Your Home To Sell

As mentioned the Realtors tour of the home will be to determine its size, it’s age, what features they have etc. You may have a price already in mind based on homes that have recently sold in your neighborhood. Are their factors in those other homes, however, you didn’t consider or weren’t even aware of? You could be overpricing your home based on limited information or worse, underpricing it. Your goal in selling your home is most likely to sell your home as quickly as possible and at the best price.  This is why the extensive research they do will help you to price your home to sell.

Get Your Home the Most Exposure

The for sale sign might attract the attention of a few passerby’s, but even you know you need more than that. You might consider taking an ad out in the Telegraph Herald, as well, which will also help. Yet, the majority of people today search online for homes. For some it’s because they live out of state and just moving to the Dubuque area.  Yet even locals will look online because its more convenient and time saving.

So you need to get your site on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and maybe directories like Zillow or Trulia.  Some of this you can do on your own, but often it takes time and money to do it. And you’ll also need to have photos to work with, of the rooms in the house and the exterior.

Yet, a Realtor often has access to other ways to get your home found. For example, the American Realty site is on the first page of Google and Bing and it has searches every day for homes for sale on its site. People from all over the country.

Realtors also network with one another and when a house becomes available, the other Realtors in the area soon know about it and can alert their clients who might be in the prime candidates for your home.

Schedule the Showings and Open House

Once the word is out on your house, then it’s time for people to begin going through it. If you’re doing it yourself, then you need to field each and every one of these calls and emails. If you’re working during the day, then you’ll want to get back to them as soon as you can.  Respond too slowly and you might end up losing potential candidates. Or you might schedule a showing with a family and then no one shows up at the scheduled time.

And if you really want to get foot traffic, you’ll want to have an open house.  That means getting the word out and also having flyers for people when they arrive on the home.

Having a Realtor means they do all of the scheduling and marketing. They know you’re schedule and can work around it when they want to show the home. They’ll respond timely to all requests.

Help With Negotiations and the Closing Process.

Bids are starting to come in and you are excited to take offers. Yet, you have to read the fine print of the offers and make sure there aren’t contingencies to the bid. Perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to get a bid for the full asking price or maybe even higher. Yet, if not, then you want to make a counteroffer, something a Realtor can advise on.

Once you receive and accept an offer it would seem like everything is in the clear. Yet, there is still a lot to do before the paperwork is signed. There are inspections (read our 4-part article just on inspections alone), both on behalf of the buyer and their loaning institution.  If anything major turns up it could impact the sale, but even if there isn’t, there could be requests from the buyers you might not expect.

There are legal aspects, as well. You’ll have to bring an attorney in at some point. You need to have disclosed any potential issues about the home and if you haven’t there could be repercussions later.

Help You With Complications That Arise

Throughout the process things can change or unexpected things occur. Nothing is definite until everything is signed and that can be a month or two down the road. It can be overwhelming for some people, which is why having a Realtor to handle and explain the situation is helpful.

There are many people who successfully sell their homes by themselves, but most likely they’ve done their homework and are willing to put in all the time necessary to learn the process. Yet, a number of them will soon give up at some point and bring in a Realtor.

If you’re looking to sell your home in the Dubuque area and thinking of doing it yourself, you might want to at least schedule an interview with a Realtor. You might realize the value they can bring to the process. Feel free to contact an agent at American Realty to discuss your home.

The Home Inspection Process in Dubuque Part 3

This is the third in a four-part series we’re doing on home inspections. In the first part we focused on all the inspections that take place, while in the second we focused on an actual inspection addendum. in this entry we’ll look at how to review the inspections you receive.

So you have an accepted offer on your dream home and your home inspector sends you his report. First, make sure your Realtor has also received a copy of the report. Sit down with your Realtor and review the report. Bear in mind you are under a time constraint here – you need to respond to the seller within the agreed to time frame.

OK, a number of things showed up on the inspection – as they usually do. I always recommend

Builder And Inspector Looking At New Property

categorizing these issues into two categories – I call them “minor” issues and “major issues”. A minor issue might be a torn screen or a missing window crank etc. and a major issue might be a furnace with a cracked heat exchanger etc.

My advice to my buyers is not to worry too much about the minor issues and address the major issues. Be aware that sometimes major issues pointed out by an inspector turn out to be minor issues. For instance, there might be a small amount of mold in the corner of the basement; about the size of your thumb. The inspector tags the house as “having mold”. Well, most likely the house is not infected with mold (accept for that small spot) and the issue can be remedied easily.

So after your discussion with your Realtor you need to decide how you are going to respond to the seller. If you got a great deal on the house, the seller may not be very willing to make the repairs you request. If not, you will need to decide what direction you wish to take.

That said, you will need to make a written response to the seller. If you are not requesting any repairs that’s what the response should say. Then you might not need to read what follows. If you are requesting the seller to make repairs, then read on.

Take a look at the “Response to inspection” form we us in the Dubuque market – read it over. This form can be used to respond to multiple inspections. Notice under “BUYERS RESPONSE” that it says (2nd paragraph) “In order for the Buyer to proceed with the Purchase contract they require seller to”: – this is where you will list the repairs you are requesting the seller to make. Your realtor will guide you through the proper use of this form. So you list repairs 1. 2., & 3. whatever they might be.

Your Realtor will see that the response form is presented to the seller.

Under “SELLER’S RESPONSE” the seller has 3 options: 1. “To complete the repairs requested”; 2. “Not to complete the repairs you request”; or 3. “Other” – for instance the seller says I will make repairs 1 & 2 but not repair 3. If they choose 1 then no further negotiation is required. If they choose 2 or 3 then the form is returned to you for a decision on how you want to proceed.

Your options will be 1. “Accept the seller’s response” 2. “Reject the seller’s response” or 3. “Submit another response form requesting different procedures for the seller to complete in order for you to move forward with the purchase”. If you select 2 then negotiations end and you go your merry way –without the property. If you select 3 then you are leaving negotiations open and hopefully you can arrive at an agreement with the seller as far as repairs go.

Unless there is an overwhelming reason, I rarely recommend that a buyer not negotiate requested repairs with a seller.

So there you have it!!  At this point, whether or not you move on toward closing on your new home depends on whether or not you are willing to negotiate inspection repairs if the seller is not willing to make the repairs, or is willing to make some of the repairs you request but not all of them.

I have seen many buyers lose their dream home because of requested inspection repairs. Remember, no house is perfect – not even newly constructed homes. It seems the older the house the more apt you are to encounter some issues. Be reasonable in your negotiations and you will usually be successful.

Next time we will wrap up this series with a summary of what we have talked about in regard to inspections.

10 Reasons You’ll Love Moving To Dubuque Iowa

Are you looking to buy a home soon in Dubuque Iowa? Maybe you’re getting transferred here or you just found a new job. Or maybe you are moving to Dubuque because of someone you know. Whatever the reason for moving to Dubuque, you’re going to love it.

If your image of Iowa cities is that they’re flat open areas with a lot of corn you’re going to be in for a surprise. Yes, we have farms in the area and many do grow corn. But Dubuque is anything but flat.  And it has a lot of attractions one wouldn’t expect in a city the size of Dubuque.

Here are 10 Reasons You’ll Love Moving to Dubuque

  1. Its an Award Winning City.

Each year it seems Dubuque is being honored by some national organization.  Last year it was recognized for its cultural diversity and in the past is has been regularly chosen as one of All American City. Its waterfront was chosen by the USA Today as one of the best in the United States.

  1. It has the Mississippi River

What drew early travelers to the area, and which continues to draw tourists, is the Mississippi River. There are paddle-wheels and dinner cruises that take you along the river. In addition to boating you can fish along its shores or go biking. You can walk along the river or take part in dragon boat races. On the 3rd of July you can watch fireworks explode above it. And in the fall you can take in all the bright colors of trees not just in Iowa, but across the way at Illinois and Wisconsin.

  1. It has the Mississippi River Museum

One of the sites that has made Dubuque one of the top tourist attractions in the area is the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. The museum has both indoor and outdoor exhibits, as well as 12 aquariums. There are interactive exhibits and a 4D movie theater. It’s also associated with the Smithsonian Museum so it has constantly changing displays from everything from the Titanic to dinosaurs.

  1. It’s a Kid Friendly Environment

In addition to being able to take your children to the museum, there is also much to do to keep them busy. There are baseball, softball, soccer, and basketball programs for boys and girls. In the fall there is Pop Warner for boys.

The Grand Harbor Waterpark and Resort has a 25,000 square foot indoor waterpark that children can enjoy year round. And there are two public pools they can enjoy in the summer.

If your child likes to perform on stage, then there are plenty of opportunities for them to act. There are two summer theater programs that offer a number of musicals that children can try out for.

  1. There are plenty of parks

If you’re looking for a more subdued way to take in the breathtaking scenery there are a number of parks in the city, including Eagle Point which overlooks the river. The Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is such a beautiful location you can almost always find a wedding party using the flower garden as a backdrop for photographs. In the winter, Murphy Park is transformed into a Christmas light display.

  1. It’s a very social city

During the summer there seemingly is an outdoor concert every weekend at which people gather and drink and eat. Four times a year All That Jazz takes place in downtown Dubuque, while the rest of the year various other outdoor concert events occur.

Every Saturday people go to the Farmer’s Market to get locally made produce and goods or have some freshly made breakfast.

  1. It’s a Historic City

Dubuque is the oldest city in Iowa and is named after a French explorer who discovered the city in the 1780s.  Julien Dubuque’s grave is along the bluffs of the river. The Shot Tower dates back to the Civil War, while there are many Victorian homes that date back to 1800’s. The Fenelon Place Elevator is the world’s shortest, steepest scenic railway and is over a 100 years old.

  1. Plenty of Outdoor Activities

One of the advantages of there being so many hills in the area, is that Dubuque has one of the best skiing resorts in the Midwest. There are biking and hiking trails in the area, including a 26-mile trail.  There are a number of golf courses in the area that challenge golfers in their own unique way.

  1. Casinos and Gaming

The Diamond Jo Casino has slots and gaming tables, as well as a bar that hosts weekend live entertainment. It also has a 26-lane bowling alley. The Iowa Greyhound Park has live dog racing in the summer, but slots and table games all the year.

  1. Places To Eat

There are many dining opportunities in Dubuque from locally owned restaurants to many popular chains. You can find great Italian food, some delicious Chinese, and some authentic Mexican restaurants.

If you’re moving to Dubuque, then you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised when you get here. In addition to the many things to do in the area, there are many beautiful homes for sale. If you’d like to get a tour of the city and begin looking for a home to buy, then contact one of the Realtors at American Realty. We know the city and its many attractions, as well as the housing market.