How Much House Can I Afford?

How do you know how much house you can afford and how much cash you may need at closing and soon after moving? Mel Foster has a mortgage calculator to help you determine your monthly costs. This information is helpful when you apply for pre-qualification for your mortgage with a lender.

Mortgage Calculators

The mathematical formula for calculating monthly payments for a given mortgage loan amount is complicated. This is where a mortgage calculator comes in handy. It does the work for you by quickly calculating the monthly payment based on the amount of the loan, mortgage length and interest rate. Use these calculators.

Other Factors To Consider

The mortgage is not the only expense you’ll have when buying your home. Be sure to include these other costs as you prepare your budget:

  • Property taxes
  • Homeowner’s insurance
  • Mortgage insurance (if applicable)
  • Down payment
  • Homeowner’s Association fees (if applicable)
  • Attorney, title, inspections and closing fees
  • Moving expenses   
  • Utility service initial fees

Market Conditions

Interest rates are still at historically low numbers, which has been great for locking in affordable mortgage rates. Recent decisions within the Federal Reserve Bank will affect borrowing power for homeowners, with indications that interest rates are likely to start climbing again in 2022. Ultimately, this means consumers will pay more to borrow. It’s time to act quickly and secure your mortgage before interest rates rise.

Find a Mel Foster Co. agent to help begin your home search.

The Shift From Open Concept

Are you open to a home that is not open concept? Some buyers have reevaluated and now search for homes that reflect how differently we’re using our interior space, specifically when choosing an open or closed concept layout. Consider a few reasons why some are seeking homes with a more closed concept.

More Privacy

More rooms with distinct separation by walls and doors give you more options to find a spot for privacy. And the reality that we’re spending more time at home now than ever before just reiterates the value of having a choice in finding space to tuck away from others and regroup.

More Volume Control

While the sightlines of an open concept home are appealing to many, the acoustics and noise level can often be troublesome. Moms find little reprieve from the wild shrieks of spirited youngsters in an open-concept space where the kitchen flows to the family living area. A home with a separate kitchen allows for more volume control while preparing family meals.

More Rooms To Decorate

If you’re a fan of interior design but have trouble choosing just one theme, finding a home with multiple rooms means you have that many more chances to vary the décor. Instead of worrying that the open design plan flows from one room to another, you can arrange each room with creative flair.

More Energy Efficient

You have more control over the heating and cooling of your space with a closed-concept home. Managing the house temperature by closing off rooms used less often results in lower heating and cooling costs and makes the closed concept arrangement more energy efficient.

Now’s the time to give an older home a chance. Find more tips for buyers at

Home Buyers Change Their Wish Lists

The ability to work from home has motivated buyers to reevaluate the function and location of their home. The result is buyers are willing to search for properties outside their current neighborhood and even outside metropolitan areas to find homes offering items new to their wish list.

Working From A Home Office

Buyers are seeking additional space for a dedicated office. Working from home has become a common corporate policy and this trend may continue indefinitely. Workers who temporarily used a makeshift workspace at the dining room table now prefer their own area separate from the busy part of the house. If they don’t have the extra bedroom to convert, they are likely shopping the market for a new home with an office.

Families Want Room To Gather

When it’s time to celebrate an event or just unwind after a long week, many families are choosing to gather safely at home. They also desire a kitchen and recreation room with open concept so guests can congregate in one unified space. A home that used to feel big enough can suddenly feel small when everybody is together.

No Commuting Opens New Location Options

Not having a commute to work allows buyers to consider homes further from their corporate office. This opens up new search areas for buyers, and homes typically become more affordable outside of metropolitan areas.

Expand your search into Mel Foster Co.’s subdivisions to see how your budget can stretch to meet your new space demands. Some of the most popular neighborhoods include:

Bettendorf, IA – Century Heights

Davenport, IA – Georgetown Square

Eldridge, IA – Townsend Farms

Park View, IA – Dexter Acres

Geneseo, IL – Maple Leaf

Find a Mel Foster Co. agent if you’re ready to begin your search.

Buying a Vacation Home

Preparing To Move

Utilizing a timeline and checklist when preparing to move will help you stay on top of moving chores and help alleviate last minute frustrations. Ask your Mel Foster Co. agent for recommendations for moving companies that can pack and move you across town or across the country.

In The Months Before

  • Go through your home, including closets, garage, basement, shed and attic, and decide what you’ll take to the new house.
  • Order packing supplies, including specialty containers for dishes or hanging clothing.
  • Get measurements of the rooms in your new home and make sure your furniture will fit.
  • Ask family and friends for help with packing on moving day and schedule time off work to move.

In The Weeks Before

  • Change your address with your employer, bank, insurance companies, magazines, credit cards and utility companies.
  • Set up utilities, phone, cable or internet service at the new house.
  • Confirm details with the moving company and your friends who will help on moving day. A good tip for the movers is 10-15% of the total fee.
  • Complete a change of address form online or at the post office.

The Week Of Moving

  • Refill prescriptions and put important medications in a box marked do not pack on truck to make sure the movers don’t take this box with them.
  • Defrost the freezer and start cleaning out the fridge at least 24 hours before you move.
  • Call the moving company to confirm and get the names of the crew and the USDOT number of the truck.
  • Before the movers leave, sign the bill of lading or inventory list and keep a copy. Confirm the address of the new house with the movers.

Follow these suggestions when compiling your home inventory list before you move.


Why Condo Living Can Make Life Easier

Choosing where to live is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your life. If you are drawn to the idea of condo living as opposed to staying in your single-family home, consider a few reasons why making a move to a condo will may make your life easier.

  1. Downsize is the Right Size

You’ve read about Marie Kondo’s views on the magic of tidying up your life and now believe that your home is too big to bring you joy. Downsizing from a house to a condo can be your next step in fulfilling this need to simplify. There are a variety of condo floor plans available to help you find the right size and layout. Or be involved from the start in choosing finishes and features when selecting a new-build condo option. If you’re ready for less is more, a condo could be the perfect fit.

  1. Chores No More

Condominium living provides a lifestyle free of outdoor chores. The association will organize crews to rake leaves and mow the grass, weed and mulch your colorful landscape or shovel the heavy snow on your driveway and walkways. This gives you more time to do more of your favorite things. Any repairs that need to be attended to, like prepping your furnace for winter or fixing a leaky faucet in the kitchen, will also be taken care of by the association.

  1. Neighbors and Friends

Living in a condominium complex means close proximity to your neighbors, allowing extra opportunities to develop friendships. The association typically holds monthly meetings which provide a chance to become familiar with neighbors and where they live in your community. This formal setting makes for easy introductions for those either new to condo living or interested in expanding their friendship circle. While you still may choose a more private lifestyle, you’ll have more chances to get to know more people living closely to your neighbors.

Think you’re ready to begin the search for a condo? Connect with a Mel Foster Co. agent today to get started.

What to Expect When it Comes to Personal Property and Buying

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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