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Davenport Home for Sale


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By: Tim Riley

How many times have you Googled, "Davenport home for sale," hoping to find the house you just listed on Mel Foster or FSBOFox? If you are anything like me and finding ways to kill time on the computer, then I am sure you have tried it at least once. You probably did not see your house on the first couple results pages either. The truth is, people do not find for their next home with Google alone. There are a number of different ways people use the Internet to search for next house, and actually 60% of homes bought are first seen via the Internet.

If you live in Davenport, take the time to get to know your area well, if you haven’t already. Knowing the area can help you sell your Quad City home on the Internet. Buyers are looking for more than just a house. They want to buy a home in a neighborhood that will fit their needs. Neighborhoods can range from family friendly editions to the growing downtown lofts. When marketing your home, decide who you think will most likely buy your property. Is it a bachelor/bacherlotte, family, or a couple looking to downsize since their kids have moved out? Once you have decided who your audience will be, plan your staging, open houses, and listing descriptions to appeal to these people as they should be the most likely interested in purchasing your house.

Living in Davenport, everything is within a 15 minute drive. So lace up the sneakers and hit the pavement. Start walking around your neighborhood and find features which would be desirable to buyers. Look for parks, pools, golf courses, restaurants, stores, bars, and any other form of entertainment or necessity. The attractions around your house can be what closes a deal, or can be a decision maker fot a buyer who is interested in multiple properties.

If you don’t have the time to get out and learn more about your area, or are unable to get outside for a walk, then turn to Google Maps to see what is located in your area. Google Maps work great on computers and mobile devices. This tool can give you a bird’s eye view of all the attractions in your area and will give you more real estate tools when selling your home FSBO.

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Beautify Your QCA Home's Lawn


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By: Tim Riley

Winter is fighting tooth and nail to let go, but spring is upon us, and now is the time to start addressing your home's lawn. I have been looking at Bettendorf and Moline homes for sale. What catches my eye first? The lawn. Many of the photos were taken with snow on the ground or grass that is still dormant. Then, I came across a Davenport home for sale that has outdoor pictures which show off their lush, green lawn and bloomed flowers. Getting your lawn to look fuller and thicker is not hard at all. You will need grass seed, Scott’s 4-step lawn care plan, spreader, and water.

Before beginning, take the time to measure out your lawn to figure out what the square footage is, (length x width = area). Having this number will guide you in how much material you will need to treat your yard. Next, visit your local, gardening, hardware, or even department store. If you are unsure what grass seed to buy, I suggest a sun & shade mix. This mixture is good for a novice gardener. For fertilizer, pick up Scott’s 4-step plan for seeding. This is very important you get the plan for seeding as the original 4 step plan will not allow your seed to grow because of the crab grass blocker. I have asked friends, professionals, and scoured the Internet, and this is the best choice for a full season’s treatment.

I began the 4-step plan last weekend, and the whole process took me less an hour to treat over 3,000 sq. feet. It took me a little longer to treat the yard since there were some pretty bad bare spots I had to cultivate first using the garden weasel for a better chance of seed germination.

First, make sure your lawn is mostly debris free. If you did not rake you leaves last fall, then you will need to do this step first. Second, you will over seed your lawn to increase the thickness. On the back of the grass seed package, you will find where to set your spreader for proper seeding, and how much seed you will need to pour into the spreader. If using Scott’s Sun & Shade, you will need to set your batch spreader to 8.5. The spreader will cover a 4-8 foot diameter. Do a small test run in the middle of your yard to see how far the seeds will fly. Once the diameter is covered make passes across your yard moving along the longest path possible and overlapping seeds six to eight inches until you have covered your entire lawn.

The next step is fertilizing. This is very similar to seeding. Read the package for quantities needed and spreader settings. Begin covering your yard making passes using the longest direction of your yard.  Be sure your freshly seeded & fertilized lawn gets water within a day or two to prevent burning. Water, as needed, for the remainder of the season.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Perks to Using a QC Realtor Part 2


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By: Tim Riley

Still trying to decide if a realtor is for you, or not? Good news, we will finish up our 2 part series on the perks of using a realtor. Before covering what else a realtor can offer you, let’s take the time to share how to choose a realtor.

When hiring a realtor to list your home, begin with asking family and friends who they used in the past and what their impressions were of those realtors. You will have the advantage of choosing a realtor rather than having one assigned to you. Make a list of possible realtors and set up a time to share your house with them and have a set of interview questions. Some questions you may want to include are:

What makes you stand out from other realtors?

How do you plan to market my home?

What is your average selling price to listing price ratio?

How long have you been with your current broker?

Essentially, each realtor is self-employed, but by law they must use a brokerage, such as Ruhl & Ruhl, to sell homes as a real estate agent. While conducting your interviews you may come across some realtors that you just don’t get a good vibe from, do not let this discourage you from using that particular broker at all. Instead, keep looking at what each realtor may offer you and what additional perks they have with their parent broker. For example; you may have three interviews set up with realtors from three different brokers and you like them all. So, your decision might come down to what benefits a broker has to offer. You may decide to use Ruhl Homes because they are more popular in your area.

Onto the benefits of using a Quad Cities realtor to sell your Davenport home. Your realtor should be keeping an eye on the market and should be able to tell you about any trends they have noticed over the past weeks, months, and even years. This can be very helpful when planning to buy or sell a Quad Cities home.

Do you have a hard time deciding what updates need to be done to help your house sell more quickly? Maybe you need an outsider’s opinion on what colors or furniture will look best in your home before you list it. If this is the case, then this is another area a realtor can help. Real estate agents are in, and around, dozens of houses each month, and they are hearing what people like. If you do not have the time to research what changes need to be made, this is another area an agent may help with.

Finally, FSBOFox has conducted surveys, and the number one concern is legal issues connected with closing. The real estate lawyer you use will do most of the talking and clarifying at the closing. This experience may still be a little overwhelming for you. Your realtor can help calm your nerves and coach you along the way.

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Perks to Using a QC Realtor Part 1


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By: Tim Riley

Selling your Davenport or Bettendorf home can be a fun and engaging learning experience. Selling your very own home can have a real sense of accomplishment, seeing the whole process through from the beginning to the end. Typically, the people who take on the exciting task of selling their home are motivated do-it-yourselfers, someone looking to save money by not having to pay realtor fees, or they simply do not have the financial flexibility to use a realtor. To be honest, sometimes homes do not sell like you would expect. For one reason or another, a home may sell better as a FSBO property or by using a realtor. Some people do not have the time or interest to sell on their own, so what can a realtor offer you? Thanks to Twitter, I have gotten in touch will a reputable real estate company, Ruhl Homes, a.k.a. Ruhl & Ruhl, and they shared some tips for using a realtor to sell your Quad City home.

If you are looking to buy a home, maybe in the Rock Island or Moline area, you may consider using a realtor. Some people have a hard time narrowing down a group of houses they like best. This is a time to call in a realtor. They have resources and the know how to help you narrow down your house hunt using objective information on each property. Realtors may also help you find a property on a short sale or a foreclosure.

Realtors can provide you with financial information. These questions can really vary, from wanting to know what you can afford to insurance or tax costs. They can also point you in the right direction of a good mortgage lender. I would recommend Valley Bank or National Bank. Some realtors are also knowledgeable about housing assistance programs. I remember working with my Ruhl & Ruhl agent and they provided me information which led to thousands in purchase savings and home improvements.

If looking to use a realtor to purchase a home they can help negotiate a buying price. They can look at home values in the area (market analysis), if there is a potential in increased property value, what inspections need to be done, and give you the comfort of having to organize all of the inspections.

There are other services a realtor may provide in a housing transaction. Look for these perks in part 2 of my blog.

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Why to Buy a House in the Quad Cities


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By: Tim Riley

Did you know the Quad Cities is the largest metropolitan area along the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Louis? Spanning across two states, the Quad Cites has much to be desired for singles and families. One of the biggest attractions is the Mississippi River, the 4th largest river in the world, stretching 2,320 miles. The Mississippi also makes up the largest watershed in North America, draining 40% of the 48 contiguous United States.

The Mississippi River offer Quad City Area (QCA) homeowners entertainment and employment. Thousands of residents enjoy recreational boating in calm water sloughs, or sun bathing on beaches, and the occasional sand bar. The Mississippi offers diverse fishing, from largemouth bass to spoonbill snagging, but there is no question catfish is the most sought after fish. Campgrounds also surround this beautiful river. So, when you do buy a house in the Quad Cities you might focus your search for an Iowa home in Davenport, Bettendorf, Princeton, or Buffalo. If you are looking to buy a home in Illinois you can find great views of the Mississippi in Port Byron, Moline, Rock Island, and Andalusia. There are countless bars, restaurants, distilleries, and shopping centers along the river. Le Claire, Iowa, has all of these, plus is the home of History Channel’,“American Pickers” and is great couples get away for a day.

Home ownership in the Quad Cities is also great for those looking for golf, softball, movies, museums, night life and much more.  When buying or selling a home, keep your surroundings and interests in mind. Whether you are looking for great night life or time with the family, the Quad Cities has much to be desired. Good luck finding your next home, and don’t forget how great the QC really is.

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Living Mortgage Free


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By: Tim Riley

Have you ever dreamed of what it would be like if you never had a monthly rent payment, or even better no mortgage? This idea may seem so farfetched that it has never crossed your mind. I remember the first house I bought, the day I became a broke man. It was a proud moment in the life and times of Tim Riley. I was just a young guy just starting his career, and owned a new car.  It is a fact the number one purchase of all college graduates is a vehicle. I had great friends, and now I owned my own home. Sayonara landlords and rent payments, I had officially joined the ranks of a lifetime of debt… I actually broke the news of homeownership to my friends by saying, "I joined the club of forever in debt.”  

I was a blind idiot to accept the fact of being in debt my whole life. A young and irresponsible twenty something kid who didn't have a clue about finances. The reality of it is, you do not have to live a life of debt just because you buy a house. I did not realize this until I read Dave Ramsey’s, “Total Money Makeover.”  His lessons are old school and simple to explain but harder to follow because you need to change your behaviors.

I could step on my soap box a praise Dave for an amazing program and how it is the best thing since balloon mortgages, insert sarcasm here. Reality is, I do not follow Dave’s baby steps to a "T." He did give me an avenue to travel down, and more importantly gave me hope to one day keep the money I make, or spend it as I see fit. Imagine having an extra $500 to $2,000 every month! It would be like winning the lotto every month.

There are different methods to paying your house off early, ALL of which require you to pay extra towards your principal amount. Be sure to specify this with each payment otherwise the lender may apply the extra cash to principal and interest, which will not help you out much.  Ask your lender for a Amortization Schedule to become familiar with your mortage situation. All the mortage plans I have read aim to attack this schedule by throwing extra cash at it. The easiest way to pay your loan off early is by making at least one extra monthly payment every year. This could knock 4-6 years of your loan alone. Another popular route people take is refinancing their home from a 30 year loan to a 15 year loan. You will pay your house off in half the time and pay a fraction in interest. The downside is you will payout more money each month, but you will also receive a lower interest rate. There are many methods to choose from to help pay your house off early, so find what works for you, and remember someday you will live mortgage free.

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Taking a Real Estate Sunday Stroll


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By: Tim Riley

Most of my blogs circle around selling your home FSBO (For Sale by Owner) style in the QC and QCA, however with spring finally arriving, I find myself looking at houses to buy. The problem is, I am by no means in the need of a house. I simply enjoy looking at houses for sale and seeing what they have to offer for décor, style, size, and of course price.I’m not sure why I have such an interest in the housing market.

I suspect it goes back to my childhood when my dad would take me out to homes being built in our area. This might be frowned upon in today’s society where thieves and vandals break into houses to throw a party or steal the copper, but back in “the good ol’days” nobody thought twice about this, or maybe they did... Anyways, he would study how each carpenter was constructing their middle class mansion. He was always looking for ideas and critiquing their work, building his knowledge of home construction. It soon would pay off for him as he built most of our house on his own.  Being just a little tike, I followed in my dad’s footsteps soaking up the unique fabrication of each home.

I still love to see how each home takes on the personality of the builder, yet lends itself to be customized and updated to each new owner. This is why I love my job and love studying real-estate. I am guilty of taking a Sunday stroll in Bettendorf, Davenport, Buffalo, or Parkview to see what Quad Cities’ homes are for sale and take a glimpse of what the inside looks like on a flyer. Have you ever found yourself driving by a house and notice a For Sale sign stuck in the front yard, and say, “Wow, I wonder what the inside looks like?” This is quickly followed up with, “I wonder how much it is?”  Of course, this ends as if you are on Price’s Right’s final showdown trying to guess the asking price.

As you take your Sunday stroll this spring I hope you find yourself discovering the house of your dreams, or maybe grab a flyer for a friend or family member looking for their dream home.

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Quad Cities Real Estate Market


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By: Tim Riley

A couple weeks ago I wrote a blog informing residents of Davenport, Bettendorf, Moline, Rock Island, and surrounding areas like Eldridge and Andalusia about how good the housing market has been doing. The only “problem” with the market is supply is down and continues to stay low. BUT this does help out the seller. With more people looking to buy homes and fewer on the market the sold price has gone up. I found you evidence of what the sold price looks like over the past three years.

Iowa Association of Realtors, which reports on half of the Quad Cities real estate market, published the inset graphic. We have known the supply for houses is down in the area and based on the simple concept of supply vs. demand we assumed prices have raised some. Boy was I wrong. Don Marple, president of the Iowa Association of Realtors® said, “Both median and average sale prices rose significantly in February, likely due to reduced inventory levels.” Don also highlighted the increased sold price vs. list price, which stands at 94.6%. This ratio indicates sellers are receiving offers that are closer to their asking price than in 2011 and 2012, both of which were at 93.4%.

Keep these trends in mind when pricing your own home. Don’t get a swollen head either. Thinking your house will sell for $200,000, when in reality it is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it, but is only worth $125,000 can lead to your home losing interest quickly and staying on the market much longer than the average of 104 days.

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