Build Your Dream Home From The Ground Up

You consider yourself a person who knows what you want. Others might label you picky or hard to please. If you’re not seeing your dream home on the market, maybe it’s time to consider new construction. Before you start searching for a lot, consider these factors to determine if new construction is the right option.

New subdivisions can pop up on the outskirts of town. Some new neighborhoods will be in a location a few minutes from town, which is ideal if you’re looking for a little serenity. Larger lots are typically available a little bit out of town where there is more room to spread out. A new build might be just the thing if you’re looking for a little space between you and your neighbors.

Building your own home is exciting and requires an open mind. Flexibility is key when building a new home as weather, delivery of materials and schedules of subcontractors can shift without a moment’s notice. By remaining positive and staying focused on the end result, building your home can be a thrilling adventure.

You have the opportunity to make all finishing choices. If you are not a decisive decision maker, building a home may not be for you. But imagine the possibilities of picking lighting fixtures, cabinet pulls, paint and carpet. The home you build is a blank canvas that you can customize to reflect your personality and lifestyle. Every decision is yours. If you have very specific ideas of what you want and enjoy the option of selecting every detail, you can create the home of your dreams from the ground up.

Remember to budget for the finishing touches. If you budget carefully and plan for additional costs for window treatments, landscaping, fencing, closet systems and exterior storage, you can customize your home and get the amenities you need.

Consider upgrades to increase your home’s value. Your real estate agent can help you determine where you can save and splurge with resale value in mind. As your home is being designed, consider what options you’d like to add that are beyond builder basics.

If you aren’t scared off by making decisions and can roll with the punches that come with a construction project, then new construction can give you the freedom to create a home you’ll love. Start the process by looking at Mel Foster Co. subdivisions and selecting a real estate agent. Mel Foster Co. represents over 40 subdivisions in eastern Iowa and western Illinois in urban and rural areas. Our Realtors® can guide you through the process to help you find a lot, builder and financing options that will make building a home a rewarding experience.

Putt Raised Money for Humility of Mary Housing

Mel Foster Co.’s Putt for Charity event raised $15,000 for the Humility of Mary Housing, Inc.  The money collected from the November 8th Putt for Charity event will help empower, strengthen, and increase self-reliance of homeless single parent families.

150 golfers and “caddies” enjoyed 18 themed holes of miniature golf and enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, music and a cash bar.  Two lucky winners tried for a chance to win $5,000 at a hole-in-one contest sponsored by Radon Solutions.

“To have Mel Foster Co. as a partner and raise money to help homeless families turn their lives around and to become productive members of the Quad City communities is rewarding,” commented Sister Mary Ann Vogel of Humility of Mary Housing, Inc.

“With the help of our generous partners, we can help Humility of Mary Housing, Inc. deliver help to individuals and families in need,” said Kris Ratigan, director of corporate marketing of Mel Foster Co.  “Since the inception in 2009, this was our largest donation yet!  A strong sense of family and community prevails at Mel Foster Co. and with our sponsors.

The Low Down on Relo

Mel Foster Co.’s award winning Relocation Division is staffed by specialized agents who understand the challenges of moving to a new community. There is more to a move than just buying or selling a house. Utilizing the services of a Mel Foster relocation agent is like having a personal assistant guide you through the moving process. The service is free and Mel Foster relocation agents can help you move into or out of the Quad Cities.

When it’s time to make the big move, the first step is working with your relocation agent to determine your budget to rent, buy or build. You might also need temporary housing while you conduct a more long-term home search and your agent can do all of this for you and help you find a lender if you are buying.

While you are preparing your budget, a cost of living comparison can be done to help you find out how far your money goes in your new community. The analysis looks beyond home prices and examines utilities, groceries, transportation and healthcare.

The Mel Foster Co. website is packed with useful information for homebuyers. In addition to seeing photos of homes for sale, you can gather community data and neighborhood specifics that will help you narrow down your search with your relocation agent.

No matter where your move takes you, your Mel Foster relocation agent can set up a community orientation tour. It’ll help you get a basic lay of the land, see where your new job is located and help you find schools, stores and restaurants. This tour also shows you where you can have fun and helps you visualize the community you’ve been studying online.

If you are moving to the Quad Cities, you can request a free Mel Foster relocation package. You will find out what arts and cultural amenities exist, where you can explore the outdoors and what incentives may be available to buy or build in a particular town.

Once your search is underway, your relocation agent can help you transition to your new location by tying up loose ends at your old home. Finding a listing agent and working on the move out check list together will allow you to confidently walk out of your home knowing that you’ve left it in the capable hands of your agent.

As you prepare to move into your new home, your agent can provide contacts for utilities and repair companies to get your home move in ready. Your relocation agent can also assist with securing insurance coverage for your new home through our Insurance Division. Consider the time you’ll save by relying on your Mel Foster relocation agent!

Relocation agents are specially trained to understand the needs of an entire family during a move. It can be a time of much uncertainty and relocation agents can assist spouses in finding employment in a new town. Your relocation agent is the one constant you can rely on to make a smooth transition to a new community. Why go it alone when there’s help from the Mel Foster Relocation Division.

Nobody knows this town like we do! At Mel Foster Co., we MAKE it HAPPEN!

Insure It Before You Move In

Moving to a new home is the perfect opportunity to shop around for homeowners insurance. Ask your current agent for a cost for insurance for your new house. That figure can be compared to the cost your Mel Foster Insurance agent can secure from one of the 25 available providers.

You can save up to 25% on your insurance by carrying coverage for multiple items. Your homeowners can be combined with your auto insurance, allowing you to qualify for a multi-line discount. Be sure to also include insurance for a boat, motorcycle, RV or collector car. The more toys you have to insure, the more you’ll save!

If you are a first time homeowner, you’ll have plenty of questions for your insurance agent. You might need help determining the deductible that’s comfortable for you. Carrying an umbrella policy might also be wise when you move into your new home. An umbrella policy is an excess liability policy that protects you against liability losses that could exceed your primary coverage. It’s an added option that can give you peace of mind in your new home.

Before you pack up your electronics, jewelry and precious family heirlooms, take pictures of everything. It’s a good idea to have an inventory with photos in case of damage during the move or a catastrophe. Leave the photos, CD or flash drive in your safe deposit box or a fireproof safe in your home so it will be available after a disaster. Your agent should review these assets to help you determine if you need additional coverage for your jewelry. You may not have enough coverage to pay for the replacement value of everything you own under your standard homeowners policy.

Determine your savings potential today by getting a free online quote of your insurance coverage.

Why they’re driving by and not stopping

It’s the over grown bushes. The peeling paint. The dead potted plants on the porch. These are things you’ve been overlooking for so long that you hardly notice them. But potential buyers do notice.

Buyers think these small things to fix mean bigger repairs are lurking. Maybe there are other things in the house that have also been neglected. They’ll drive right past your house to find another home that’s less work to fix up. Your home becomes known as “that house with the dead plants on the porch” instead of the home with the spacious rooms and beautiful kitchen.

Some basic tools and a few hours on a weekend can get the front of your home in top showing condition. Walk up your driveway or front steps just as prospective buyers will be doing. Take a picture and examine every detail closely. Look for signs of wear, tighten loose bolts, replace light bulbs and declutter your front porch. Give every surface a heavy cleaning and patch holes or paint as needed.

Regardless of the season, your yard needs attention. In the winter, keep your drive, walk and steps clear of snow and ice. Making your surfaces spotless, even in cold weather, projects an image of cleanliness and order. This also reduces the chances of slips and falls when hosting open house.

In the warmer months, it takes more effort to keep the yard looking manicured. Be sure to keep the lawn tidy and use a few colorful potted plants near the door to make your porch more inviting. Potted annual plants only cost a few dollars and should be replaced if they get unruly or dry out from the heat. Before the first frost, retire your plants and place some pumpkins on your porch for seasonal interest.

If you had only $100 to spend to spruce up your front yard and entrance, consider purchasing some solar landscaping lights, new house numbers, a new mailbox and paint for the front door. A nice coat of paint can freshen your entire entry and hide any imperfections on your front door. This small investment could go a long way in securing a buyer for your home.

The final step in your home’s mini make over is to take another picture from the curb. How does it compare now to other homes on the market?

Get Smart With Your Home Search

You’re already online if you’re reading this blog. That’s a great first step to embracing technology to find a home. But there’s more out there to make your home search faster. Use your web enabled phone and our free app to search anywhere, anytime.

The free app is available for download through iTunes® App Store and the AndroidTM Market. You can search for homes, see photos and contact an agent to schedule a showing. The apps show all homes for sale in Mel Foster Co. markets giving you a full range of listings.

Mel Foster Insurance Offers Tips for National Flood Safety Awareness

Mel Foster Insurance, a local, independent insurance agency announces that March 12 – 16 is National Flood Safety Awareness Week.  This week is intended to highlight for individuals, families, businesses and communities the many ways floods can occur, the hazards associated with floods, and what you can do to save life and property.

Floods can happen at any time, and especially with the Mississippi River located right in our community.  Floods can occur when too much rain falls or snow melts too quickly.  There are simple steps individuals can take to reduce their risk of a flood.

Mel Foster Insurance offers these tips to prepare for a flood.

  • Develop an emergency kit that has insurance documents, medications and important items in case you need to evacuate your home.
  • Keep drains, gutters and downspouts clear of debris.
  • Inspect sump pumps and drains regularly to ensure proper operation.
  • To prevent sewage backup, have a licensed plumber install an interior or exterior backflow valve.
  • Make sure your yard’s grading (slope) directs water away from the home.
  • If your home is located in a flood area, elevate the furnace, water heater and electrical panel.

Standard home owners insurance does not cover floods, so contact a Mel Foster Insurance agent to learn about flood insurance options or to save money on your current flood insurance.

Mel Foster Co. Nominated for Performance Awards

Mel Foster Co. Inc. is pleased to announce that their Relocation Division has been nominated by Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® for two 2011 Awards.  Mel Foster Co. is one of five real estate companies nominated for these awards in their size category.  The two nominations include

  • Award of Excellence for Outgoing Referral Production – determined by the number of outgoing referrals
  • Award of Excellence for Outgoing Sales Production – determined by the number of outgoing closings

The awards will be presented during the Annual Performance Awards Dinner and Ceremony in Orlando later this month.  For the past 17 years, Mel Foster Co.’s Relocation Division has been nominated for an award from Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®.

Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® is a global network of 550 premier real estate firms.  LeadingRE is comprised of select independent real estate companies who set the standard of quality service, while generating a highest volume of referral, relocation, and real estate business opportunities for its members.  Mel Foster Co. has been with the prestigious affiliation for almost 20 years.

Collectively, LeadingRE has sold 800,000 homes worth $225 billion last year.  The Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® dominates the U.S. list of top 500 Real Estate firms, with more of the number one market leaders in the top 96 markets than any national brand.

Mel Foster Co. Earns Website Quality Designation

Mel Foster Co. has earned the Website Quality Certification (WQC) for the second consecutive year presented by Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® to member companies that have demonstrated excellence in website design, functionality and execution.  Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® – a global network of over 500 premier real estate firms who set the standard of quality service, while generating a high volume of referral, relocation, and real estate business.  Mel Foster Co. has been with the nation’s leading network of independent real estate brokers for 20 years.
Every aspect of the site,, was reviewed to ensure exacting standards were met in six key areas, ranging from design and content to human interactivity to search engine optimization.  The WQC recognizes and encourages superior websites among Leading Real Estate Companies of the World’s over 500 member firms.  Mel Foster Co. is one of 148 applicants to earn the 2011 WQC designation.
“Receiving this designation for a second year in a row confirms that we continue to be a real estate leader in using “best practices” in website design and internet communications.  Our webiste users are experiencing superior results and an excellent customer service experience on our site,” explains Kris Ratigan, director of corporate marketing for Mel Foster Co.


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