Archive for October, 2010

Murder House for Sale. Ghost Occupants? Unknown.

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Many years ago, there was a house for sale in Ankeny, Iowa that had been the scene of the brutal murder-suicide of a family of 4. The crime had stunned the safe suburban community. And once the murder house was put on the market, it became the scariest house for Realtors® in Ankeny to show. The home eventually sold to a local Pastor who was aware of its history, yet unafraid of possible ghosts, for a substantial discount.

Oddly enough, I was asked this week if sellers have to tell buyers if their house is haunted. Fortunately, this question came from a creative friend during a lively dinner discussion, and not from one of our real estate agents or clients! They were a bit surprised at the ghoulish response. Iowa laws do not mention the mandatory disclosure of observed paranormal activity, or horrific events that occurred within the walls of a property at any point in its history; nor do they appear on the Seller’s Disclosure Statement.

Fortunately, haunted houses typically only appear in late October; and their ghost occupants are usually teenagers gifted in the dramatic arts enshrouded in a layer of costume makeup. But there is probably no need to be spooked by Iowa’s lack of ghost reporting laws. If a real haunted house found its way on the market, most real estate agents say they would be too scared to show it, or sell it, without telling the buyers anyway. Happy Halloween from Hunziker & Associates!

Post by Tabitha Zesch, Relocation Director

Photo Credit: Holloween Arcitecture Photos

Nevada Office Ribbon Cutting Photos

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

You can view photos of the ribbon cutting and open house for our Nevada office’s new location on our Facebook Photo Album.

Thank you to everyone from the community who attended!

Photo Album on Facebook

Craigslist scammers attempt to use an H&A listing

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

It’s not a new scam. In fact it has become common to hear of Craigslist rental scams around the country. But, it still is a little surprising anytime a scam hits close to home.

This morning we were notified by a soon-to-be resident of Ames that one of our listings was being advertised for rent on Craigslist. She became suspicious when she inquired and received back a reply from the (supposed) owners. It was a lengthy story of how they had moved overseas and would not be able to meet her to show the property, but would gladly take her application by email. Fortunately, this savvy shopper decided to check out the property online before sharing any personal information or cash with the scammer.

The home being advertised in the scam is actually a house that Hunziker & Associates has listed for sale. The owners are not trying to rent it and they currently live in the house, not in a foreign country. This classic Craigslist scam comes from people outside the U.S. who use various real estate websites to collect information about properties, download photos of the house, and then re-post it all as a house for rent at an unreasonably low price. This particular scammer even went to the trouble of setting up an email address with the name of the real owner of the house in the address through a free email service. It’s impossible to tell which website the perpetrator used to collect information for their scam, as we advertise our sellers’ properties on over 34 national websites.

We have reported the attempted scam to Craigslist as well as the Iowa Attorney General’s office and the Federal Trade Commission. Hopefully anyone else who read the scammer’s post remembered what their mother taught them and steered clear, because “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Post by Tabitha Zesch, Relocation Director

New Location for Hunziker’s Nevada Office

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Our Nevada office has moved to a new location! We are now in the heart of downtown Nevada, Iowa at 1104 6th Street.

We will be hosting the Nevada Chamber of Commerce Mix & Mingle at our new office next Thursday, October 14th from 5-7p.m. Everyone is welcome to stop by and visit us at our new location! 

Chicken Little is Missing the Hen-House Sale

Friday, October 1st, 2010

2 years ago, the world was captivated by the doom and gloom of the financial meltdown unfolding in front of them daily on their television sets. Stock market dives, bank failings, bailouts, and regular doses of experts sounding like Chicken Little, all convincingly stated that the sky was falling; The financial meltdown would soon take out the global economy.

Many sources are now stating that the recession is over. But there are always some who, like Chicken Little, allow fears to carry on in their mind longer than the situation warrants. Lingering fears often cause people to act irrationally. Take those individuals who never trusted banks again after the Great Depression. Even though their deposits were since secured by the FDIC, they chose to keep their money buried in coffee cans in the backyard instead.

Right now analyists from numerous segments of the economy are saying, “This is a great time to buy.” Their reasons are numerous, and backed by strong data indicating homes are as affordable as they may ever be, with sellers pricing aggressively & interest rates at all time lows. They also cite the great selection of homes to choose from and the many lifestyle & financial rewards of owning a home that have always made it paramount to the American Dream. 

However, many potential buyers still remain on the fence, cautiously watching the sky for signs it may fall. There is action in the market though, from another group of buyers. They are busy securing an affordable home before prices and interest rates rise and increase monthly payments (& likely their current rent rate). Instead of listening to Chicken Little, these buyers are acting more like the Little Red Hen, who grew wheat and baked bread while the other animals merely stood by and watched to see what would happen.

In the end, the Little Red Hen was the only character who benefited from the events in her fable, by wisely acting during a season of opportunity. The farm animals who mearly stood by and watched, missed out by choosing not to participate. And, Chicken Little suffered the only appropriate fate deemed appropriate for fables created by previous generations to scare their children: he was swallowed up by a villainous fox.

In today’s housing market, the Little Red Hen would be busy buying a hen-house. She would use it to provide shelter for her family, lock into low housing costs for the future, and to build a nest egg she could always sell later on to one of the farm animals who decided to watch the sky and sit out the best deal on real estate in decades.

Post by Tabitha Zesch, Relocation Director

Illustration Credits: The Little Red Hen by Usborne Publishing
Clip art by Microsoft Office.