Archive for May, 2010

Dive into Memorial Day Weekend!

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Several exciting family-friendly events are taking place in the Ames area this weekend. First, the new Furman Aquatic Center opens tomorrow, May 29, and features several slides, a lazy river, and several depth pools the whole family can enjoy! Hours are 1 pm-8 pm, and cost of admission is between $4 and $4.75 (Children under the age of 2 are only $1). The pool is located at 1635 316th Street near the Squaw River.

In addition, there are several Memorial Day celebrations in the area.

In Ames, the Ames Patriotic Council is sponsoring a parade to honor veterans.The parade begins at 10:30 a.m. at City Hall, goes north on Clark Avenue, east on 9th Street, and will conclude at the Ames Municipal Cemetery. A program will begin at 11 a.m. featuring patriotic readings, musical performances by Jim DeHoet and the Ames Municipal Band, a flyover by the Iowa Air National Guard, and a free lunch provided by the American Legion Post 37.

Ankeny’s Legion Post 42 will be holding two Memorial Day services, the first service  at Wagner Park at 10 a.m. on West First Street, the second service at 10:30 a.m. at Ankeny Memorial Gardens at 4208 N. Ankeny Blvd. There will be refreshments after the 10:30 a.m. service.

Post by Lyndsey Van Soelen, Communications Intern

Des Moines Rated #7 in Best Cities 2010

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Des Moines has recently been gaining fame as one of the nation’s most business-friendly cities. The latest ranking, from Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, ranks Des Moines as number seven in the nation for “Best Cities for the Next Decade” because of its new job potential.

This designation follows on the heels of April 14th’s #1 rating of Des Moines by Forbes magazine for being “Best Places for Business and Careers”. Why the recent fame for Des Moines?

There are several reasons. Des Moines (and Iowa in general) has a low cost of living, relatively inexpensive housing, a low cost of doing business, a relatively low crime rate, an educated workforce, an increasing amount of entertainment and cultural events and has many natural resources available- especially in the agricultural sector. All of these factors combine to equal a pretty attractive place to live and do business, for both the companies and the people that call it home.

Link to Kiplinger’s story:

Link to Forbes story:

Response to Today’s Ames Tribune

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

If you read the front page of the Ames Tribune today, you may have read Effects of home tax credits remain to be seen, which reports a drop in closed home sales in the first quarter compared to 2009. We have submitted the following reply on their website:

Based on numbers reported by the Central Iowa MLS, the number of homes that closed in Ames increased in the first quarter of this year by 12% compared to the first quarter of 2009. Additionally, the number of homes that went sale pending during the first quarter also increased by 13%, from 132 in 2009 to 149 in 2010.

As stated by the City Assessor, there may be homes that sold that have not been reported to them yet. The data available through the MLS would be complete for the first quarter at this time. Small discrepancies between the City Assessor’s numbers and those of the MLS are typical as only homes sold by Realtors® are included in the MLS figures. Ames rural subdivisions are also included in the MLS data, which are not tracked by the City Assessor.

We would also like to point out that the figures quoted by Paul Livingston were transposed. The correct amount of homes that closed in April is 102, not 201.

Word-day Wednesday: Pre-approval

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Do you ever wonder what all of that REALTOR jargon really means? Wednesday is the day where we take those crazy phrases, tell you what they mean, and explain how they are relevant to you!

Today’s Wednesday Word: Pre-approval

If you’ve been talking to a REALTOR® about purchasing a home, the word pre-approval has probably come up. Pre-approval is the first step in the home buying process. It basically means you have discussed your monetary situation with your lender, they have verified all of your accounts, credit checks, and employment, and officially approved a certain loan amount.

This differs from pre-qualification, which is only a rough estimate from a lender about how much you will be approved for, where no verifications or credit checks have occurred. These are only nominally reliable.

There are many benefits to pre-approval. First, you will not waste time  or emotional stress looking at homes you wont be able to secure a loan for. Second, pre-approval signifies to both your REALTOR® and potential sellers that  you are taking the sale seriously, and it could give you more bargaining advantage over other homebuyers. Many sellers will not even consider an offer unless the buyer has been pre-approved for the loan amount. Additionally, loan pre-approval  is a somewhat rigorous and monotonous task. Do you really want to worry about loans when you are trying to move into your dream home?

Our best advice: Don’t make the mistake of looking for homes until you know exactly how much money is in your budget. Pre-approval should be your first step in the home buying process, so you don’t have a disappointing money situation later!

Post by Lyndsey Van Soelen, Communications Intern

The Unexpected Rate Drop Explained

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Contrary to the forecasts of most financial experts, mortgage interest rates are currently at the lowest in 50 years.  Because of the negative financial situation in Europe,  international investing in U.S. bonds has increased dramatically, causing a dramatic drop in rates that no one had anticipated.

The average rate for a 30 year fixed mortgage last week was 4.84%. The past few years rates typically were in the range of 5.5-6.5%. This equals huge savings for those purchasing homes or refinancing.

To illustrate just how much this means in savings, consider this: For every 1% decrease in the interest rate, a purchaser will save 10% off their monthly payments and on the total price paid over time. That is like purchasing a $200,000 home for $180,000 with just one percent difference in interest!

Don’t wait too long if you are thinking about purchasing a home. Postponing might cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

To start your home search and take advantage of these great rates, check out this link!

Post by Lyndsey Van Soelen, Communications Intern

The Italian Glass House

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Everyone likes windows. They add value to a home, bring the outdoors in, and make a room feel bright and airy. Recently Italian designers took this ideal to a whole new level… This home, pictured,  is made almost entirely from an ultra-clear and strong variety of glass. The designers, Carlo Santambrogio and Ennio Arosio, even included such elements as a functional kitchen, bathroom, and beautiful staircase entirely from glass. Beautiful, but not the best when it comes to privacy.

While it may not be necessary to go to such extreme lengths to bring the outdoors in (especially with our Iowa seasons- glass is not the best insulator), showcasing the windows you have adds beauty and value to your home. If you are trying to sell your home, make sure to highlight windows and clean them until they sparkle. Buyers will definitely notice and appreciate their beauty!

Post by Lyndsey Van Soelen, Communications Intern

Hunziker and City Cooperate to Bring New Jobs to Ames

Friday, May 21st, 2010

A ribbon cutting took place this morning to symbolize the completion of South Bell Street, a product of the cooperation between Dayton Park, L.L.C. (a Hunziker company) and the City of Ames. In an effort to create a larger inventory of enticing lots for commercial land development, the City of Ames spent over $1 million to connect South Bell between Lincoln Way and Sourth 16thStreet, as well as providing infrastructure including storm drains, water mains, sanitary sewers, street lights, and electric distribution facilities. Hunziker then committed to sell the lots at less than market value, which overall creates an attractive scenario for new businesses.

The new street and 14 corresponding lots are the latest phase in the Ames Community Development Park. This situation positively impacts the Ames community, as it encourages permanent employment opportunities and expands the property tax base to add revenue for government services.

by Lyndsey Van Soelen, Communications Intern

Ames: Great Growth in First Quarter Home Sales

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Home sales are off to a great start as compared to the first quarter last year.  Home sales have risen 10.3 percent, although the average price of homes sold has dropped 3 percent. This may be due to the 1st time buyer tax credit, as this incentive was primarily geared to first time homebuyers. With their generally smaller budget, most of the homes purchased were distributed  in the lower end of the home price spectrum.

The Ames Economic Committee First Quarter Development Report, which was recently published, provides the public with highlights the economic conditions in the Ames area. One significant indicator of economic development is home sales. To see the full report, including home sales as well as other Ames economic climate indicators such as  job growth, retail sales, and business news, please visit:

Post by Lyndsey Van Soelen, Communications Intern

May 2010 Newsletter: Technology

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Hunziker & Associates, REALTORS® is proud to announce the launch of several new technological tools to make the buying and selling process easier, as well as keeping you better informed about real estate in general. Check  out this newsletter and see what we can offer you!

In This Issue…

Hunziker Technology Launches: New Blog, Weekly Video, Hunziker Search App, Top Ten Ways to Unplug, Des Moines & Ames make Forbes List, Market Numbers.

Post by Lyndsey Van Soelen, Communications Intern

Select Four Seasons Homes- No Bank Financing Needed

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Struggling with bad credit or other financial circumstances that are keeping you from becoming a homeowner?

Very rarely an opportunity arises where a home can be purchased with seller financing, also called buying on contract, which can really make a difference for buyers struggling with difficult financial situations. This means that you finance with the seller and make payments directly to them (if approved) rather than trying to finance through a bank, which typically has more rigorous qualifications.

Right now Hunziker & Associates, REALTORS® is offering the opportunity to buy on contract for select properties owned by the company in its newest modular community, Four Seasons. Four Seasons was established in 2007 and features a swimming pool, a fireside room in its beautiful clubhouse, storm shelters, underground utilities, playgrounds, paved off-the-street parking, municipal water and sewer, cable/internet/phone, and a great location just minutes from downtown Ames.

For more information on Four Seasons, visit or call Marty Darnell at 515-451-5122.

Properties available to buy on contract: 2503 Browning, 2616 Browning, and 2622 Browning.

Post by Lyndsey Van Soelen, Communications Intern