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Hunziker & Associates, REALTORS®
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In This Issue

Ready Buyer

Making Home Affordable

Vacation Ideas

Energy Audit

Market Numbers
  Approved Stamp

Are You a Ready Buyer?

As of this writing, there are 17 inches of snow on the ground and no signs of spring, yet the spring real estate market has already begun as we are seeing a rapid increase in the number of homes going "under contract," or "sale pending." We have already witnessed several competing offers on homes thus far this year. In making and presenting an offer to a home seller, there is a distinct advantage to the home buyer who is already pre-approved as opposed to one who is simply pre-qualified. The home seller and the Realtor® representing the home seller, will almost always give greater weight and credibility to the offer of the home buyer who has a written letter of pre-approval.

For those of you who are looking to purchase a home, ask yourself,
"Are you a ready buyer?"
  • Are you "pre-approved" to make a purchase, or merely "pre-qualified."
  • Has your Realtor® shared with you the market values of comparable properties?
  • Have you discussed negotiation strategies with your Realtor®?
  • Should you find the house that you want, are you prepared to take action?

Please contact your Hunziker & Associates Realtor® should you have any questions about the entire home buying process. Your Hunziker & Associates Realtor® will not only explain the benefits of being pre-approved for a mortgage, but is ready to assist you through the entire home buying process from the very first steps, to the closing, and beyond.
 
Making Home Affordable
Do you know anyone who may be struggling to make their mortgage payments due to income changes or other difficulties? There may be help that they are not aware of and it is FREE. As part of the President's comprehensive Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan (HASP), struggling homeowner's may be eligible for a special Making Home Affordable loan modification or refinance, to reduce monthly payments and help people keep their home.

Foreclosure Avoidance Counseling - Assistance from a Housing & Urban Development (HUD) approved housing counselor is FREE. HUD approved housing counseling agencies are available to provide information and assistance needed to avoid foreclosure. Lenders and financial institutions do not want to take homes through foreclosure. Many times all it takes to keep this from happening is a conversation with a lender.

Refinancing - Many homeowners pay their mortgages on time, but are not able to refinance to take advantage of today's lower mortgage rates due to a decrease in the value of their home. If you are a homeowner who is current on your mortgage payments but unable to refinance to a lower interest rate because your home value has decreased, you may be able to refinance through this program.

Modification - Many homeowners are struggling to make their monthly mortgage payments because their home mortgage interest rate has increased or they have less income. If you can no longer afford to make your monthly loan payments, you may qualify for a loan modification to make your monthly mortgage payment more affordable. Millions of borrowers who are current, but having difficulty making their payments and borrowers who have already missed one or more payments may be eligible.

Are you eligible? Visit MakingHomeAffordable.gov to use the self-assessment tools provided to see if you are among the 7 to 9 million homeowners who may be able to benefit from Making Home Affordable or call 888-995-4673 and speak with a counselor about your situation.

 
Spring Break

Vacation Ideas

The official tourism website for Iowa offers wonderful ideas for a vacation or weekend getaway.

Tips for a great Staycation Stay home this year for spring break and enjoy what your city has to offer with a Staycation.

Alt Breaks Logo Family Adventure Vacations Create an adventure for your family's next vacation.

Iowa State's Alternative Breaks Program Learn how some Iowa State students are spending their spring break volunteering and helping others.

Spring Break Safety. If you are traveling to a warm and sunny destination make sure to read these tips for spring break safety.

Family Vacation Bargains Read this story from CCN if you are looking for a good vacation deal.

Kayak.com allows you to compare hundreds or travel sites at once to find the right deal for you.

Iowa's Indoor Waterparks A list of indoor waterparks here in Iowa.

Honey Creek Resort Unwind while gliding down the lazy river at the indoor waterpark or soak up the sun taking a peaceful hike around Rathbun Lake.
 

FREE, COMPREHENSIVE ENERGY AUDITS FOR HOMEOWNERS!

Energy Audit Alliant Energy, Mid-American Energy, and The City of Ames Electric Department are currently offering services at no charge to all of its homeowner customers. On top of learning how to lower your utility bills based on the results of the audit you may also qualify for utility rebates and tax credits for energy efficiency improvements. As one example, after considering the 70% utility rebate and 30% tax credit for insulation, a qualified homeowner can receive the first $1,000 of insulation labor and materials at no cost.

A home energy audit is not a simple walk-through checklist, as it can require up to three hours of data-collection, testing and report-writing. The result ia a customized report that objectively details the following:
  • Assessment of insulation, windows, doors, water heater, furnace, air conditioner and other high energy-consuming appliances.
  • Answers to your home energy efficiency questions.
  • Air leakage test with specific suggestions for how to tighten the home, if needed.
  • Recommendations for cost-effective improvements, including information on all applicable utility rebates and tax credits.
The City of Ames audit is conducted under contract by Jim Clark, Sustainable Living Solutions. You can schedule your audit by contacting him at 515-451-8864. Your audit can typically be completed within two weeks. For Alliant Energy and Mid-American Energy customers you can follow the links in this article to learn more about free energy audits for your home.

 
 

Ames Market Numbers*

  Ames 2010 Ames 2009 Story County 2010 Story County 2009
Active listings as of 3/1 242 265   180 NA
Homes SOLD Recent 12 mo. 557 573   268 240
Average Sale Price $185,565 $181,289   $151,139 $141,968
Average Days on the Market 97 93   120 132
Sale Price to List Price Ratio 95.0% 95.2%   92.7% 92.7%

*Based on Sales information as reported to the Ames Multiple Listing Service as of 3/1
Ames - Ames Residential and Rural Subdivisions
Story County - Residential, excluding Ames and Ames Rural Subdivisions
 
Hunziker Logo

Hunziker & Associates, REALTORS® has been helping people buy and sell homes in Central, Iowa for over 50 years. With offices in Ames, Ankeny, Boone and Nevada, our real estate agents can help you find the "right" place to call home. Our agents have access to hundreds of homes for sale in the Ames, Ankeny, Boone and Nevada areas through the various Multiple Listing Services (MLS). Corporate office location 105 S. 16th St. Ames, Iowa 50010, phone number 515-233-4450. Agents and Brokers are licensed in the state of Iowa.