Archive for August, 2010

Iowa Foreclosures Hit New High

Friday, August 27th, 2010

 Iowa has been a sheltered state in terms of foreclosures during the economic crisis that has deeply impacted much of the country over the last two years. But now we are seeing the numbers of foreclosures in Iowa climb; does this mean the housing trouble is getting worse?

Although it is distressing that homes in foreclosure in Iowa hit a new high of 2.82%, it is important to recognize that the homes included in this number only include properties that have been turned over to the bank, and not homes occupied by owners who are struggling to make payments. The distinction is important because the process of foreclosure in Iowa is lengthy and often takes at least 8 months to complete. Therefore, the numbers just released for the 2nd Quarter of this year are actually a reflection of what was happening with homeowners over a year ago.

To predict if foreclosures are headed up or down, the delinquency rate is a better indicator. During this same period (2nd quarter 2010), homeowners who were seriously delinquent on their payments dipped from the previous quarter. This sign of improvement may indicate that the worst is behind us. Fortunately, even with the current increase, Iowa’s foreclosure rate of 2.82% is still significantly better than the national average of 4.57%. Photo & stats source:

Post by Tabitha Zesch, Relocation Director

New Home Sales up 33%

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

HCS Builders in Ames has been experiencing a substantial increase in sales of brand new homes. “We are starting back on the growth path. Sales (at HCS) are up 33% thru 8/17/2010 over the same period in 2009,” noted Dean Hunziker, Broker of Hunziker & Associates, REALTORS. Hunziker & Associates, REALTORS markets homes constructed by HCS Builders, a sister company with offices at our Ames location. 

Interestingly, most of the growth is due to an increase in custom home orders.  Custom homes are built to the specifications of the customer from the ground up. HCS has two home designers on staff to design home plans for clients. Custom homes can be at any price point, although they tend to be more elaborate.

HCS also offers build-to-suit homes, where clients choose the floor plan and then customize all of the options from there, and spec homes, where the homes are built without a buyer yet but are still customizable until their completion. Jill Anderson, HCS’s in-house Project Coordinator, assists customers with selecting their home’s decor to fit their personal style.

A great aspect of building with HCS Builders is that Clients can be as involved (or not involved) in their new home as they desire. Our agents can help you through the entire process from selecting a lot to previewing home plans HCS has already built.

Additional information about HCS Builders, Inc. is available on their website. . Post by Lyndsey Van Soelen, Communications Intern.

Do your homework to find the best agent for you.

Friday, August 6th, 2010

Selling or buying a home can be a thrilling experience, or it can be incredibly frustrating and stressful. The difference is often heavily impacted by the caliber of your Realtor® and how hard they will work for you. But with all of the real estate agents out there, how can you select an outstanding Realtor® over one who is just average?

The first step is to look for a company with a trusted name, one that is established and respected, and a company that is involved in the community. These companies tend to put a lot of merit in their reputation, and generally only hire people that will represent the company well. Consider if they have the resources and support personnel to properly market your home. Hiring a company with extensive marketing resources and strong networking connections will increase your odds selling quickly for the best possible price or finding that perfect home.

When considering agents, you can ask whether real estate is their full-time job, how much experience they have, if they have completed advanced education (often shown as designations behind their name such as CRS, GRI or CBR), and what they will do to represent your best interests. Although years of experience can be an indicator of ability, more important is effort, enthusiasm, and networking ability. Try asking potential agents what has been happening in the real estate market to see how knowledgable and current they are on local market conditions.

It is always critical in real estate to use someone intimately familiar with the town where you plan to buy or sell. By asking how many homes they have sold in your target area it is easy to confirm if they regularly work in the area. It is also a good idea to find someone knowledgeable of the type of property you will be dealing with, such as an acreage, condo or fixer-upper. For example, to find an agent for purchasing or selling a rental property, it would make sense to select an agent who owns rental properties themself. Asking friends or neighbors to recommend an agent they had a good experience with is one way to start. Or, you can ask potential agents for referrals from past clients, or call a reputable company and ask to speak to the Relocation Department to reach a staff member who can personally recommend an agent for you based on your needs.

Finding an agent who can help you successfully buy or sell your home with the least hassle possible is worth the effort. Do your homework, and don’t settle until you find the right agent for you!

About Hunziker & Associates, REALTORS

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Post by Lyndsey Van Soelen, Communications Intern