2272 Antler Ridge – Dubuque, IA

OPEN HOUSE – SUNDAY, APRIL 29, 2012 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Beautiful walkout ranch with 3 BR, 2 1/2 BA, 3 car garage and nearly 1800 sq. ft on main level.  Features tray ceilings, crown molding, wide trim & casing, hickory cabinetry and hardwood flooring, tiled walk-in shower, covered deck, stainless steel appl. and so much more . Located near the new grade and middle school.  A great buy! $234,900 Brenda Charlson 580-2345  DBQhomes.com



Millwork Redevelopment: The Backstory

Had the privilege of touring the Caradco development under renovation at 900 Jackson Street in Dubuque, IA yesterday.  This is going to be a great addition to the community.  See more information on the history and future use of this building below.

Millwork Redevelopment: The Backstory.


Brenda Charlson, Re/Max Advantage Realty, 4029 Pennsylvania Avenue, Dubuque, IA 52002   563-580-2345    www.DBQhomes.com   Brenda@DBQhomes.com

Check out the latest real estate statistics from the Dubuque Multiple Listing Service for March, 2012…

Real Estate Statistics – Dubuque, IA, March 2012

Call Brenda Charlson with all of your real estate needs 563-580-2345.

Brenda Charlson, Re/Max Advantage Realty, Dubuque, IA.  www.DBQhomes.com   Brenda@DBQhomes.com


7 Tips When Buying Foreclosures and Short Sale Homes

Patience is a Virtue
Agents and sellers tend to establish a low asking price to attract buyers. Banks can be unaware of the asking price and since they have the last word on whether to accept or reject offers, and since properties with low initial asking prices can spark feeding frenzies, buyers need to remain patient throughout the process, which can take months.

Don’t Get Caught in a Bidding War
Some foreclosures and short sales are put on the market at cut-rate prices to avoid expenses like property taxes, insurance, upkeep and utilities. Lowball prices attract dozens of buyers who can bid the property from a bargain to overpriced in short order. Help your clients calculate how much they want to spend and don’t exceed that price.

Know Your Market and Demographics
To help determine an appropriate valuation and asking price, be sure to research recent home sales in the area to give buyers a better idea of what properties are selling for. Consult the Realtors Property Resource for current and historical information, including the largest database of foreclosure information by county in the industry.

Know What the Bank Wants
Some banks want strong buyers and some want strong offers. Build a relationship with lenders directly by getting to know asset managers at banks. Some banks prefer large down payments, some want the highest price and there’s always the possibility for deeper discounts with all-cash offers.

Don’t Count on Repairs
Keep your clients’ expectations in check – the reality of the situation is that home repairs on short sales and foreclosures are seldom completed. The good news is that buyers willing to absorb repair costs are usually more attractive to banks.

Tour the Property
Foreclosed and short sale properties can be in deficient shape, making it important to tour the property with a qualified contractor to spot major problems and add repairs to the overall budget. Some issues can be minor, but others can be deal breakers. Help your buyers know what they’re getting themselves into.

Get Your Paperwork in Order for Short Sales
In short sales, there’s no leniency with the closing escrow date. Take care of all loan paperwork immediately after opening escrow and be prepared a few days before the closing date. Then, if unexpected delays occur, a request for an extension can be made early enough for banks to consider them.

Brenda Charlson, Re/Max Advantage Realty, Dubuque, IA 563-580-2345  www.DBQhomes.com  Brenda@DBQhomes.com


What You Must Know About Home Appraisals – Dubuque, IA

What You Must Know About Home Appraisals

By: G. M. Filisko

Published: March 12, 2010

Understanding how appraisals work will help you achieve a quick and profitable refinance or sale.

1. An appraisal isn’t an exact science

When appraisers evaluate a home’s value, they’re giving their best opinion based on how the home’s features stack up against those of similar homes recently sold nearby. One appraiser may factor in a recent sale, but another may consider that sale too long ago, or the home too different, or too far away to be a fair comparison. The result can be differences in the values two separate appraisers set for your home.

2. Appraisals have different purposes

If the appraisal is being used by a lender giving a loan on the home, the appraised value will be the lower of market value (what it would sell for on the open market today) and the price you paid for the house if you recently bought it.

An appraisal being used to figure out how much to insure your home for or to determine your property taxes may rely on other factors and arrive at different values. For example, though an appraisal for a home loan evaluates today’s market value, an appraisal for insurance purposes calculates what it would cost to rebuild your home at today’s building material and labor rates, which can result in two different numbers.

Appraisals are also different from CMAs, or competitive market analyses. In a CMA, a real estate agent relies on market expertise to estimate how much your home will sell for in a specific time period. The price your home will sell for in 30 days may be different than the price your home will sell for in 120 days. Because real estate agents don’t follow the rules appraisers do, there can be variations between CMAs and appraisals on the same home.

3. An appraisal is a snapshot

Home prices shift, and appraised values will shift with those market changes. Your home may be appraised at $150,000 today, but in two months when you refinance or list it for sale, the appraised value could be lower or higher depending on how your market has performed.

4. Appraisals don’t factor in your personal issues

You may have a reason you must sell immediately, such as a job loss or transfer, which can affect the amount of money you’ll accept to complete the transaction in your time frame. An appraisal doesn’t consider those personal factors.

5. You can ask for a second opinion

If your home appraisal comes back at a value you believe is too low, you can request that a second appraisal be performed by a different appraiser. You, or potential buyers, if they’ve requested the appraisal, will have to pay for the second appraisal. But it may be worth it to keep the sale from collapsing from a faulty appraisal. On the other hand, the appraisal may be accurate, and it may be a sign that you need to adjust your pricing or the size of the loan you’re refinancing.

How to Use Comparable Sales to Price Your Home -Dubuque, IA

How to Use Comparable Sales to Price Your Home
By: Carl Vogel

Published: August 5, 2010

Before you put your home up for sale, use the right comparable sales to find the perfect price.

Knowing how much homes similar to yours, called comparable sales (or in real estate lingo, comps), sold for gives you the best idea of the current estimated value of your home. The trick is finding sales that closely match yours.

What makes a good comparable sale?
Your best comparable sale is the same model as your house in the same subdivision—and it closed escrow last week. If you can’t find that, here are other factors that count:

Location: The closer to your house the better, but don’t just use any comparable sale within a mile radius. A good comparable sale is a house in your neighborhood, your subdivision, on the same type of street as your house, and in your school district.

Home type: Try to find comparable sales that are like your home in style, construction material, square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, basement (having one and whether it’s finished), finishes, and yard size.

Amenities and upgrades: Is the kitchen new? Does the comparable sale house have full A/C? Is there crown molding, a deck, or a pool? Does your community have the same amenities (pool, workout room, walking trails, etc.) and homeowners association fees?

Date of sale: You may want to use a comparable sale from two years ago when the market was high, but that won’t fly. Most buyers use government-guaranteed mortgages, and those lending programs say comparable sales can be no older than 90 days.

Sales sweeteners: Did the comparable-sale sellers give the buyers downpayment assistance, closing costs, or a free television? You have to reduce the value of any comparable sale to account for any deal sweeteners.

Agents can help adjust price based on insider insights
Even if you live in a subdivision, your home will always be different from your neighbors’. Evaluating those differences—like the fact that your home has one more bedroom than the comparables or a basement office—is one of the ways real estate agents add value.

An active agent has been inside a lot of homes in your neighborhood and knows all sorts of details about comparable sales. She has read the comments the selling agent put into the MLS, seen the ugly wallpaper, and heard what other REALTORS®, lenders, closing agents, and appraisers said about the comparable sale.

More ways to pick a home listing price
If you’re still having trouble picking out a listing price for your home, look at the current competition. Ask your real estate agent to be honest about your home and the other homes on the market (and then listen to her without taking the criticism personally).

Next, put your comparable sales into two piles: more expensive and less expensive. What makes your home more valuable than the cheaper comparable sales and less valuable than the pricier comparable sales?

Are foreclosures and short sales comparables?
If one or more of your comparable sales was a foreclosed home or a short sale (a home that sold for less money than the owners owed on the mortgage), ask your real estate agent how to treat those comps.

A foreclosed home is usually in poor condition because owners who can’t pay their mortgage can’t afford to pay for upkeep. Your home is in great shape, so the foreclosure should be priced lower than your home.

Short sales are typically in good condition, although they are still distressed sales. The owners usually have to sell because they’re divorcing, or their employer is moving them to Kansas.

How much short sales are discounted from their market value varies among local markets. The average short-sale home in Omaha in recent years was discounted by 8.5%, according to a University of Nebraska at Omaha study. In suburban Washington, D.C., sellers typically discount short-sale homes by 3% to 5% to get them quickly sold, real estate agents report. In other markets, sellers price short sales the same as other homes in the neighborhood.

So you have to rely on your REALTOR’s® knowledge of the local market to use a short sale as a comparable sale.

6 Reasons to Reduce Your Home Price – Dubuque, IA

6 Reasons to Reduce Your Home Price

By: G. M. Filisko

Published: March 19, 2010

While you’d like to get the best price for your home, consider our six reasons to reduce your home price.

These six signs may be telling you it’s time to lower your price.

1. You’re drawing few lookers

You get the most interest in your home right after you put it on the market because buyers want to catch a great new home before anybody else takes it. If your real estate agent reports there have been fewer buyers calling about and asking to tour your home than there have been for other homes in your area, that may be a sign buyers think it’s overpriced and are waiting for the price to fall before viewing it.

2. You’re drawing lots of lookers but have no offers

If you’ve had 30 sets of potential buyers come through your home and not a single one has made an offer, something is off. What are other agents telling your agent about your home? An overly high price may be discouraging buyers from making an offer.

3. Your home’s been on the market longer than similar homes

Ask your real estate agent about the average number of days it takes to sell a home in your market. If the answer is 30 and you’re pushing 45, your price may be affecting buyer interest. When a home sits on the market, buyers can begin to wonder if there’s something wrong with it, which can delay a sale even further. At least consider lowering your asking price.

4. You have a deadline

If you’ve got to sell soon because of a job transfer or you’ve already purchased another home, it may be necessary to generate buyer interest by dropping your price so your home is a little lower priced than comparable homes in your area. Remember: It’s not how much money you need that determines the sale price of your home, it’s how much money a buyer is willing to spend.

5. You can’t make upgrades

Maybe you’re plum out of cash and don’t have the funds to put fresh paint on the walls, clean the carpets, and add curb appeal. But the feedback your agent is reporting from buyers is that your home isn’t as well-appointed as similarly priced homes. When your home has been on the market longer than comparable homes in better condition, it’s time to accept that buyers expect to pay less for a home that doesn’t show as well as others.

6. The competition has changed

If weeks go by with no offers, continue to check out the competition. What have comparable homes sold for and what’s still on the market? What new listings have been added since you listed your home for sale? If comparable home sales or new listings show your price is too steep, consider a price reduction.