Monthly Archives: December 2016

How Buyers Searching For Homes For Sale In Dubuque Has Changed Dramatically

Selling a home in Dubuque is more than putting a sign out front saying home for sale by owner. That might work if someone happens to drive by that is in the market to buy, is in your price range, and hoping to relocate in your neighborhood. People seldom drive around anymore looking for a home. Instead they do most of their searching from the comfort of their home.

Buyers Search Online

Searching for Homes

The internet has changed the way people search for homes. According to one recent report, 45% of home buyers begin their search online.  And 90% use the internet at some point in their search.

One of the main reasons for the increase in online usage is that there are so many advantages to looking online. Especially compared to a newspaper ad that has a photo of the home’s exterior and a few lines of description about the home. They can scroll through numerous color images of a home and have a detailed description of it. According to, of those that used the internet 89% found photos and 85% found detailed information for sale to be very useful.

When they search on homes, one of the first places they go to is Google to find home listings. The majority of these searches won’t go past the first page. This means that you want your home listed in online tools such as and Zillow. You also want to know that if you do go with a real estate agency, that their site is also on the first page of Google and Bing for Dubuque real estate. This ensures you’re getting the most maximum exposure for your home.

Mobile phones have also impacted how people search for homes. Now they search for homes while they are out going to open houses, looking for real estate listings close to their current location. They can also look up online to see its cost and what the interior looks like. They could fall in love with your home even before they’ve stepped out of their car.

They Still Look To Realtors For Help Searching

Despite the rise in online usage, having a Realtor is still critical to the buying process. Based on a survey by, 17% of home buyers contacted a Realtor even before they started searching.  And 88% of new home buyers purchased their home through a Realtor, with the main reason that they could rely on them to find the right home.

One benefit to using a Realtor is that they can let other Realtors know about your listings the minute it comes on the market. By the time the morning newspaper has come out you might have had 3 showings already.

Yet, its more than just helping with finding a home that people look to Realtors. It’s to help them through the process, from negotiating price to navigating all the paperwork involved.

Finally, they can help with Open Houses, which is still crucial for getting potential buyers into a home.

People Still Rely on The Newspaper, But Not As Much

The importance of print media has dropped over the years. According to only 20% of buyers used the newspaper to look for a home in 2015, down from 48% just seven years ago. While these numbers are down from what they were in the past, they still represent a good number of buyers. Having your home listed in the newspaper still has its benefits, particularly in a community the size of Dubuque.

As you can see from this graphic, potential home buyer use a lot of resources to look for a home and how they search has changed significantly.

If you’re looking to sell a home in the Dubuque area, then consider American Realty. We use a number of sources from online advertising to print ads to get your property exposure. Contact our office today to speak with one of our experienced Realtors.


With the buying or selling of real estate there are a lot of forms to review and activities to be completed before a sale is complete. Among these are a number of inspections. The inspection process is often misunderstood by buyers, sellers, and even sometimes agents. It can also be different from state to state. Some states require some type of inspections in order for title to pass from buyer to seller. For instance, in Iowa there is a state mandated septic inspection.

What a home inspection involves in Dubuque

What a home inspection involves in Dubuque

Since the inspection process is so complex, and yet so important for both buyers and sellers we are doing a four-part series in which we break it down to make it easier for you to understand.

Inspections should not be used as a negotiation ploy to get a lower price. I’ve actually had buyers whose attitudes were; we will make an offer and then beat them down when we get the inspection results. This not only doesn’t work, but can backfire. Many of these buyers lost out on some very nice properties.

Remember, there are different inspection forms used in different parts of the state or country. One of the key things in getting the most out of an inspection is understanding the process and the language used in a particular inspection document. For this discussion I’ll focus on a form that is commonly used in Dubuque. We won’t go over it word for word but will concentrate on important points.

Be aware that any inspections a buyer requires will need to be completed within the required time frame recited on the document. Sellers need to respond to buyer’s requests for repairs within a required time frame as well – “time is of the essence”. If neither buyer nor seller meets these deadlines, they will be out of luck as we’ll see.

One of the first statements in the inspection addendum is “any inspection(s) only cover conditions of the property not previously disclosed”. This means that if the seller or their agent has already disclosed a defect or condition of the property, then the buyer can’t ask for this to be remedied if it shows up in the inspection report. They also can’t void the purchase contract for the same reason. The only way they could remedy a pre-existing problem is if they had made the original offer contingent on the repairs being made.

The document also states that “items that have reached or exceed their normal useful life, so long as they are in working order that is not a basis for finding those items are defective”. For example, the inspector notes that the furnace has reached its normal useful life (it’s old) but that it is in good working order. The buyer can’t require the seller to install a new furnace nor can the buyer void the contract because of that (age) condition.

Both buyers and sellers will be asked to initial the document verifying that they acknowledge the above information.

I can’t emphasize enough that buyers only have a certain time period in which to have the inspection ordered (buyers order their own inspections), completed, and submitted to the seller. Likewise, sellers, when asked by buyers to complete certain repairs etc. will have a similar response requirement.

The document states that if either the buyers, or the sellers, do not respond on a timely basis then each could be impacted. The buyer will be required to take the property in “as is” condition while, if it’s the sellers that is late, then they will be required to make all repairs requested by the buyer.

If an inspection reveals a defect that has not been previously disclosed, and which the buyer considers serious, then the buyer should ask the seller to remedy the problem. Again since “time is of the essence”, the seller only has a certain time period to respond to the buyer’s request. They will have three choices:

  1. Make the repairs as requested
  2. Not make any of the repairs requested
  3. Offer some other solution – like make only some of the repairs, or pay a cash amount at closing to allow the buyer to make the repairs, etc.

If the seller chooses 2 or 3 as their response the buyer can:

  1. Accept that response
  2. Reject the response and declare the purchase contract void
  3. Submit another response requesting different procedures for the seller to complete in order for the buyer to move forward.

The objective of the inspection response form is to keep negotiations open between the buyer and seller until they reach an agreement. Or one of them makes the decision to cease negotiations.

If done right it will work smoothly

In part 2 of this series we will take a look at the addendum