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March Madness: Real Estate Style

For many college basketball fans, March means one thing: "March Madness", the annual NCAA Basketball Tournament which declares a single, national champion. As Realtors, we celebrate a similar March Madness in the form of Residential Real Estate Madness. March historically marks the beginning of a very busy four month period in real estate sales, and this year should be no different as we come off the rather robust months December, January, and February. This residential real estate season, we will likely see a greater number of new listings as home sellers realize that there is a shortage of homes for sale in our marketplace. There is good news for the home buyer as well, as interest rates for a mortgage remain very close to historically low levels-- affording greater purchasing power.

Unlike NCAA Basketball March Madness, we will not crown a single Championship winner, but we will instead celebrate the successes of many home sellers and home buyers who successfully accomplish their real estate goals. If selling or buying a home is a goal of yours, we would like to assist you and celebrate in your success.
 
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Cabin Fever Setting In? Reinvigorate Your Home!

Starting to get cabin fever after the long, cold winter? The change in season is a great time to look for inspiration for your home. March is the perfect time to update, renovate and invigorate your home and usher in SPRING! Try these simple steps to refresh your home.

  • Change up your furniture. Sometimes, by changing the formation of your seating, you can create fresh and inviting spaces.
  • Change out your throw pillows and throw blankets. Tuck the dark, heavy pieces away until next fall and replace with some light-weight textiles in bright, spring colors.
  • Paint the walls. This is a very affordable way to make a big impact in a room. Lighten up with some bright, crisp color!
  • Update bedding and towels. Replace your fabric with lighter, brighter options. It's an easy and relatively inexpensive way to update a smaller space.
  • Add a pop. Choose one or two Spring colors that you love and 'sprinkle' them around your home for a whole-house theme. Candles, throw pillows, vases, picture frames are great options for this subtle transformation.
  • Change out the hardware on your cabinets. It's amazing how this little project can update the look and feel of your kitchen or bathroom.
  • Bring the outside in. Beautiful, colorful flowers or bright green plants are a wonderful way to make your home feel like Spring is on it's way.
 
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Don't Miss These Home Tax Deductions

Owning a home can pay off at tax time. Take advantage of these homeownership-related tax deductions and strategies to lower your tax bill:
  • Mortgage Interest Deduction Interest you pay on a mortgage is deductible when you use the loan to buy, build, or improve your home.
  • PMI and FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums By the way, the 2014 tax season is the last for which you can claim this deduction unless Congress renews it for 2015, which may happen, but is uncertain.
  • Prepaid Interest Deduction Prepaid interest (or points) you paid when you took out your mortgage is generally 100% deductible in the year you paid it, along with other mortgage interest.
  • Property Tax Deduction You can deduct on Schedule A the real estate property taxes you pay.
  • Energy-Efficiency Upgrades If you made your home more energy efficient in 2014, you might qualify for the residential energy tax credit.
  • Homebuyer Tax Credit If you claimed the homebuyer tax credit for a purchase made after April 8, 2008, and before Jan. 1, 2009, you must repay 1/15th of the credit over 15 years, with no interest.

Get more information on Homeowner Tax deductions
visit our friends at Houselogic.


 
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March Area Events

Kidfest.png Children & Families of Iowa's Kidfest
Mar. 6 from 6pm-9pm
Mar. 7 from 9am-6pm
Mar. 8 from 10am-4pm
Varied Industries Building, Iowa State Fairgrounds, DSM

Iowa Deer Classic Mar. 6 from 3pm-9pm
Mar. 7 from 9am-7pm
Mar. 8 from 9am-4pm
Varied Industries Building, Iowa State Fairgrounds, DSM

2015 Big 12 Wrestling Championships
Mar. 7 starting at 10am
Iowa Events Center, DSM

The Chieftains with Paddy Moloney
Mar. 13 at 7:30pm
Stephens Auditorium, ISU, Ames

Iowa Flower, Lawn & Garden Show
Mar. 6 from 1pm-8pm
Mar. 7 from 10am-7pm
Mar. 8 from 11am-4pm
Iowa State Fairgrounds, DSM

Leprechaun Chase 10K
Mar. 14 at 10am
Downtown Des Moines

St. Patrick's Day Parade
Mar. 17 at 12pm
Downtown Des Moines

HungerFight2015.png Meals From the Heartland Spring Break Hunger Fight 2015
Mar. 17, 18, 19 for 90 minute shifts beginning at 8am
Meals for the Heartland, 357 Lincoln St., WDSM

Greater Iowa RV & Boat Show
Mar. 27 from 10am-9pm
Mar. 28 from 9am-9pm
Mar. 29 from 10am-5pm
Varied Industries Building, Iowa State Fairgrounds, DSM

Spring Egg Hunt
Apr.4 from 9am to 11am
Reiman Gardens, ISU, Ames

Living History Farms Family Easter Party
Apr. 4 from 9am-12pm
Living History Farms, Urbandale

Geocache Egg Hunt
Apr. 4 from 10am-12pm
McFarland Park, Ames

Blank Park Zoo Eggstravaganza
Apr. 4 from 10am-2pm
Blank Park Zoo, DSM

Ballet Des Moines "Wizard of Oz"
Apr. 4 at 1pm & 6:30pm
Civic Center, Des Moines

 

Market Numbers

Ames 2015 2014
3/2/2015 Active listings 97 101
Homes SOLD YTD 61 51
Average Sale Price $201,761 $195,011
Average Days on Market 67 75
Sale Price to List Price Ratio 95.6% 97.6%
Story County 2015 2014
3/2/2015 Active listings 90 101
Homes SOLD YTD 29 23
Average Sale Price $175,476 $122,130
Average Days on Market 61 80
Sale Price to List Price Ratio 94.3% 92.1%
Based on Sales information as reported to the Central Iowa Multiple Listing Service as of 3/2/2015
Ames - Ames Residential and Rural Subdivisions
Story County - Residential, excluding Ames Residential and Ames Rural Subdivisions