How to Save for a Down Payment

Do you have enough for a down payment?

You’re ready to leave your rental behind but don’t have enough down payment yet. Here’s how to start saving today to get you closer to moving into a home of your own.

Begin Saving Early

The sooner you’re able to start saving the better, especially if you’re able to invest some of your savings. The more you have saved, the more options you’ll have when looking for a home.

Follow a Budget

If you’re disciplined and able to stick to a budget, you should be able to set aside a specific amount of your paycheck to savings every month. You may have to cut expenses or seek additional income, but you will save in the long run by having lower monthly mortgage payments.

Save Windfalls of Cash

Start saving any extra money you come across. Tax returns, gifts and bonuses are perfect sources for your down payment. If you’re able to grow this money through investments, it will get you that much closer to your long-term goals.

Use Interest to Grow Your Savings

If you’re able to utilize high interest savings accounts or certificates of deposits (CD’s) you’ll automatically be putting your money to work for you. Seek out the best resources for earning more for your money.

If you’re wondering how much you need to save for a down payment, use this easy mortgage calculator

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Celebrate your freedom and choose to enjoy QC events offered in July.

Experience a new festivity or repeat a Quad-City favorite this month.

Holiday Fireworks and Events Schedule By City

Bettendorf 

July 4

12:00pm – Parade on Grant and State

2:00-9:30pm – City Festival at Cumberland Square

9:30pm (Dusk) – Fireworks at Veterans Memorial Park

Buffalo

July 3 at 9:30pm (Dusk) – Fireworks at City Park

July 4 at 2:00pm – Parade

Davenport

July 3 at 9:30pm (Dusk) – Red, White and Boom Fireworks with Patriotic Pops by the

Quad City Symphony Orchestra on the Davenport Riverfront

DeWitt

July 3 at 6:00pm – Parade

Durant

July 4 at 9:30pm (Dusk) – Fireworks

East Moline

July 3 at 9:30 – Fireworks at Beacon Harbor Parkway

July 4 at 1:00pm – 52nd Annual AMVETS Parade

Galesburg

July 4 at 9:30pm (Dusk) – Big Bang Boom Fireworks at Lake Storey Park

Geneseo

July 3 at 9:30pm (Dusk) – Thrill on the Hill Fireworks at Richmond Hill Park

Kewanee

July 4 at 9:00pm – Fireworks at Northeast Park

Rock Island

July 3 at 9:30pm (Dusk) – Red, White and Boom Fireworks at Rock Island Riverfront

Other Community Activities

36th Annual Genesis Firecracker Run in Downtown East Moline

July 4 at 7:30am

Mississippi Valley Blues Festival

July 6-7 at LeClaire Park in Davenport

John Deere Classic

July 9-15 at TPC Deere Run in Silvis

Walcott Truckers Jamboree

July 12-14 at I-80 Truckstop in Walcott

Brady Street Sprints in Downtown Davenport

July 26 at 7:00pm

Arconic’s Jr. Bix in Downtown Davenport

July 27 at 6:00pm

Downtown Street Fest at 2nd Street in Downtown Davenport

July 27-28

Ragbrai Ride from Iowa City finishing in Downtown Davenport

July 28

Quad City Times Bix 7 in Downtown Davenport

July 28 at 8:00am

Mississippi Valley Fair at the Fairgrounds in Davenport

July 31-August 5

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How Credit Score Information is Calculated

Calculating your credit

Your credit score affects your ability to borrow money and influences the interest you’ll pay on that loan. Most people don’t know how these scores are calculated. Here’s what you need to know.

All Credit Scores are Not the Same

People often assume their credit score is a single three-digit number. In truth each of the three major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, score you differently since they don’t have the exact same data. Be clear where your ratings come from when sharing your scores. 

Closing Accounts Won’t Always Boost Scores

Closing old or inactive accounts may inadvertently lower your credit score because your credit history appears shorter. If you want to simplify, close newer credit accounts first.

Paying Off a Debt Doesn’t Remove it from Your History 

Once a debt goes to collection, or you’ve established a history of late payments, your credit score is impacted even if you pay off what you owe. While your score will get a boost if you pay off an old debt, it may not be by as much as you think. The best way to increase your credit score is to make payments on time every month.

Co-signing a Loan Impacts Your Scores

When you co-sign for someone else’s loan, you are ultimately responsible for the debt. If the person you’re co-signed with does not pay, your credit score will be impacted. Determine ahead of time if the person you’re co-signing with can afford the loan and if it’s worth the risk to your own credit score.

Not sure who to trust when making decisions that could affect your credit score? Refer to a Mel Foster Co. agent for guidance.

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Farmers’ Markets in the Area

Enjoy fresh produce, scrumptious food and hand made crafts at our local Farmer’s Markets near you.

Davenport Farmers’ Market at Northpark Mall

Wednesdays & Saturdays May through October

8 am to Noon

Bettendorf Farmers’ Market at 2117 State St next to Alter Building

Thursdays May through October

2 pm to 6 pm

Freight House Farmers’ Market downtown Davenport

Saturdays May through October (outdoor season)

8 am to 1 pm

The Growers Market at Trinity Hospital Parking lot in Moline

Saturdays

8 am to Noon

The Growers Market at Skate City parking lot in East Moline

Wednesdays & Saturdays

8 am to Noon

Geneseo Farmers Market on Pearl Street in Geneseo

Saturdays June through October

8 am to Noon

Galesburg Farmers’ Market on E Simmons St in Galesburg

Saturdays June through October

8 am to Noon

Dubuque Farmers’ Market at 1300 Iowa St in Dubuque (Iowa’s Oldest)

Saturdays May through October

7 am to Noon

Galena Marketplace at 123 Commerce St in Galena

Saturdays May through October

7 am to Noon

Lyons Farmers Market at Lyons Four Square Park in Clinton

Wednesdays 4 pm to 6 pm & Saturdays 8 am to 11 am May through October

Kewanee Farmers’ Market at the corner of Third & Tremont in Kewanee

Wednesdays & Saturdays May through October

7:30 am – 11 am

 

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Preparing to Buy in the Competitive Summer Housing Market

Home Buying Tips

This summer will be a competitive season in the housing market where demand will be higher than supply. If you’re planning on buying a home, here are some tips to help you prepare.

Get Your Finances in Order Ahead of Time

Before you begin looking for houses, make sure you’re financially prepared to be a homeowner. This includes doing a credit check, gathering your employment and salary history, getting a current bank statement that shows savings and checking balances, making a list of your debts and anything else that could contribute to your net worth.

Be Prepared for High Prices

If you see a house you love, chances are someone else loves it too. Many sellers are receiving multiple offers and will often receive offers close to their asking price. Be prepared for firm prices and difficult negotiations. Determine your needs vs. wants when it comes to selecting a home and be willing to compromise so you can act and make an offer quickly.

Work with a Professional Real Estate Agent

Having a real estate agent on your team can make a big difference. An experienced agent can recognize what might make or break a deal. Your agent will offer the sellers your whole package and not just an offer number, making your offer more appealing to the seller. Your agent’s ability to negotiate on your behalf gives you peace of mind that you’re getting the most out of the deal.

To contact a Mel Foster Co. agent today visit our website.

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Area Promotion June 2018

A Father’s Day Tradition

Take time to indulge in the many Quad City area events in June.

Spend quality time with dad at one of the many events scheduled this month.

Kickin’ It Classic Rock with Say Days Ago at Bent River Brewery in Rock Island

June 8, 7am-10pm

Stock Car Races at Mississippi Fairgrounds in Davenport

June 8, 15, 22, 29; 6:30-10:30pm

Pickers Paradise Street Sale in East Moline

June 9; 7:30am-2:30pm

Quad Cities Triathalon at West Lake Park in Davenport

June 16′ 7am

Ride the River Father’s Day Bike Event starting in Bettendorf

June 17; 7am-3:30pm

Tour de CHC Cycling Event starting in Moline

June 30; 7am-10am

River Bandits Home Baseball Games in Davenport

June 12-17, 21-27

See schedule for specific dates and times

Microbrew Mile Race and Festival in Moline

June 16; 2pm

Planet Funk Con – Comicon Convention at Tax Slayer in Moline

June 22 at 9:00pm

June 23 at 6:30pm

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What to Expect When it Comes to Personal Property and Buying

What is included in your purchase?

Don’t assume everything is included in your home purchase. It’s important to get everything in writing so you’re not left feeling cheated. Here are some common house features buyers think are included in the deal, but aren’t necessarily automatically included.

  1. Appliances

It’s not always the norm when buying a home that all appliances are included in the sale. Things like refrigerators, washers and dryers, dishwashers and microwaves may be going with the seller. If you want a specific appliance left behind, make sure to clarify in writing that it’s a condition of the sale.

  1. Window Coverings.

Sometimes there are shades or drapes in the home during showings. The shades may be fully fitted for the window and attached, but the seller may be planning on taking them once they sell the home. If you don’t see it written anywhere, get the inclusion of window coverings in writing. Specify you want the existing window coverings either included or removed if you don’t like them.

  1. Mounting Materials

It’s common for homes to have TV’s mounted on the wall with a bracket supporting it. Be sure to ask. It may not actually be included with the sale of the home.

  1. Lawn Care Equipment

If the lawn at the home you are buying is large, you may want to negotiate with the sellers for any lawn care equipment you need. If the lawn requires a riding lawnmower the previous owners may be willing to include it in the sale.

Find more tips for buying in the Mel Foster Co. blog.

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Should You Raise the Asking Price of Your Home?

Pricing strategies

There are several strategies homeowners can follow when setting their initial asking price. Often sellers try to undercut their competition, but there are times when it actually makes sense to list your home for a higher price.

You should feel comfortable listing your home for a higher price when your residence offers more than other listings in your area. Maybe your kitchen was recently renovated or you have more storage that sets your home apart from all the others. These features may justify an asking price that’s a bit higher than other homes in your area.

Finally, frequently check market conditions to see if they have changed since you initially listed your home. If you notice more buyers are entering the market and homes are selling quickly, raising your own asking price might be a good move.

Setting the right asking price is a challenge you’ll face when listing your home. That’s why it’s so important to work with a real estate agent who knows your market. Find a Mel Foster Co. agent who specializes in listings in your area.

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Mulching Tips to Make Your Yard Look Great

Mulching Tips

If you want your yard to look its best, mulch is a great way to highlight various parts of your landscaping. These basics will help you get started.

  1. When to Mulch

When the weather starts to warm up it’s tempting to get started right away on landscaping. But don’t put mulch down too early in the spring. Give the soil a chance to warm up. Mulching too early will slow down the warming process and may cover up perennials that have not popped up from the ground. Normally, mid to late spring is the best time to put down mulch.

  1. How Much Mulch

The exact amount of mulch to place depends on the type you’re using, but generally you want about one or two inches of mulch. The main reason to apply mulch is to prevent weed growth, but too much mulch may stunt your plant growth. If you’re trying to keep a particular area free from any plant life, you can use as much mulch as you like.

  1. Choosing the Right Mulch

Choosing the right mulch material is your choice. Mulch’s purpose is to prevent weed growth, retain water, keep temperatures consistent and beautify the landscape. The color of the mulch is usually personal preference, but recycled mulch will break down more quickly and add nutrients to the soil. Rubber mulch is more expensive initially, but does not decompose.

Want more tips for caring for the outside of your home? The Mel Foster Co. blog has hundreds of articles for homeowners.

 

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Military on the Move Benefits You

Qualify for a rebate?

Throughout the year and especially during the month of May, we recognize and honor the men and women who serve or have served in our military. A national program, U.S. Military on the Move®, is a free real estate rebate and information program developed by Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® to allow active duty and retired military personnel or wounded warriors to earn a rebate when they buy or sell a home. Mel Foster Co. of the Quad Cities also extends this opportunity to include active career police and firefighters. That’s something to write home about!

U.S. Military on the Move® (MOM) is offered by top independent real estate companies who are experts in their local markets. When you buy or sell a home through Military on the Move®, you’ll receive a rebate based on the actual sales price – not a fixed amount based on a range of values – and you’ll receive your rebate when you finalize your home sale.

Receiving a rebate is a great benefit, but choosing the right agent is even more important. When you work with an agent who lives and works in your community, you’ll know you’ve secured a professional in your area with who will deliver the best service. It’s just another way of saying thanks for your dedication to our country.

To be eligible, participants must register with U.S. Military on the Move® before contacting a Mel Foster Co. agent.

Click here for more information or to sign up.

Want more great benefits as a thank you for your service? Ask your mortgage lender if you qualify for a VA loan. Click to learn more about the pre-approval process

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